20 Weeks - Halfway There

By 3:05 PM , ,

Today marks the halfway mark of my pregnancy, and I can hardly believe it. I’m officially five months pregnant, and it’s been quite the whirlwind. While on some days, I can’t remember ever not being pregnant, it also feels like just yesterday that I was getting that absolute miracle news that after being told we would never have another child we were expecting again. For my post today, I wanted to give you an overall update on how I’m feeling and what’s been going on for the last few months. 
While I feel insanely blessed to be carrying this little one inside of me, not everything about pregnancy is pretty. Sometimes it's hard and exhausting. The first trimester I was very sick and have only gained 4 lbs to date because of how often I was throwing up. Combine that with super early days and super late nights due to my job training and full days and it was a tough season but **knock on wood** the morning sickness seems to be letting up some and I am feeling a LOT better! Now if my energy would just pick up...
Cravings: El Fudge cookies and Taco Bell...I know....so weird and so unhealthy but I could literally eat a pack of those cookies and a taco everyday
Feeling: REALLY tired but sickness is starting to get a little better although I still can't attempt pre-natals before 5pm
Movement: While I have felt her for a few weeks my husband was able to feel her move for the first time this morning which was super special there is nothing quite like it - it is so cool and so amazing all at the same time 
Excited about: decorating her nursery and seeing her in an ultrasound on Monday - we have all her bedding picked out and I am really starting to get that urge to "nest" 

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30 hours in Chattanooga

By 1:05 PM ,

This past weekend we made a fun little family getaway trip to Chattanooga. I think this town is easily looked over and I am not sure why...it is very close to Atlanta (only 2 hours), offers lots of fun for kids and adults alike, and has great food. I would go as far as to say it is a little hidden gem. 

We drove up Friday night and stayed in a Marriott property that offered complimentary breakfast and an indoor pool (because let's be honest - to a 3 year old you are winning with those two amenities alone).

We started off our day by making the trip to Rock City for their Oktoberfest event. It was SO much fun! Our little guy loved exploring all Rock City has to offer and meeting the characters that were there special for the Oktoberfest event while my husband enjoyed the Oktoberfest beverages. ;)






We stayed at Rock City until a little after lunch time exploring and having fun and then headed to Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls was in the process of renovation and the lines were long but well worth the wait. E thought the caves and "HUGE" waterfall were so awesome. 

After Rock City were drove just about a mile up the road to watch the incline railway come down the mountain and check out the cute country store on the side of the road. After watching that we headed to downtown Chattanooga to enjoy a delicious dinner and live bluegrass music by the river. 

We concluded our trip Sunday morning with a little indoor hotel pool time and drove the two hours back to Atlanta. 

I highly encourage you to consider Chattanooga as a fun family weekend getaway. If you go during the month of October they have a ton of family friendly (and even adult haunted houses) that I think would be a blast to participate in...

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Secrets from a Traveling Mommy: Dressing the Kids

By 3:58 PM , , ,
This is my second in a series of hacks I have discovered as a working, traveling mommy. If case you missed my first post you can view it here

While I can't take the credit for this idea (a fellow traveling, working mommy shared this one with me) it has been a lifesaver and time saver for our family so I wanted to pass it along to others. 

One thing I noticed as I started to travel more was that my husband would often put our son in the same outfits over and over again and it was not always exactly what I would have chosen he wear that day. When I asked my husband why he rotated between the same couple of outfits his answer was simple. He choose whatever was at the top of the drawer as mornings are very pressed to get out he door and he does not have time to sit there and shift through clothes to find a new outfit. 

Upon this discovery and a suggestion from a friend I purchased a hanging 10 shoe organizer off of Amazon (for like $8) and now I pre-pick out outfits on Sundays while I am home for our son to wear for the next 10 days. This makes life so much easier on all of us. For one I know my son matches and will be appropriate for the day, for two it makes life a lot easier on my sweet husband who has 10 outfits all picked out, matched, and ready to go, and for three in case our three year old son is having a picky day and does not want to wear the outfit I selected for him he has 9 other options to pick from. Below are some photos of this tip in action...it has truly been a lifesaver for our family and I hope it helps you too! 



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Our Kitchen Remodel

By 7:13 PM , , , ,

Well friends I am sorry if I have been a little MIA lately. Friday I graduated from six rigorous weeks of off-site training for my new job. During those six weeks the job training and growing a baby were about all I could manage but now that I am done I am very much looking forward to getting back to normal life and all of you. 

My rock-star of a husband not only supported and encouraged me every step of the way while I was away in training but also killed it as a single dad AND also somehow managed to complete a gorgeous remodel of our kitchen while I was gone. 

While he subbed out the painting of the cabinets and the granite work he completed all the tile, back splash, and plumbing work himself and we couldn't be more happy with the way it turned out. Remodeling our kitchen is something we have wanted to do since we moved in over 5 years ago but it has never made it high enough on the priority list from a budgeting perspective. Now that our home is on the market we decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and do the remodel in hopes it would help sell the home. 

The only problem? We love it so much and it makes our home look so much better and bigger that now I don't want to move! Ha. Why is it that we make our homes look the absolute best when we list them on the market?

We went with Riverwhite exotic granite and eggwhite painted cabinet. Here are some more detailed pictures of the kitchen remodel.







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The most exciting news ever, ever

By 9:27 PM , , ,
Our big reveal

Hello friends! I hope all are staying safe and dry from hurricane Irma. I have been cooped up in a hotel room all day and am starting to go a little stir crazy but so thankful that my family is safe and so far we have had no damage to our home. 

This past weekend we found out the gender of our baby and got some AMAZING news....please click on the link above (at the top of this post) to watch our big reveal...

THAT'S RIGHT FOLKS. We are having a GIRL. We are literally THRILLED. So incredibly thankful to God for this huge blessing! Little Brighton will arrive in February and we are so excited for her arrival and love her so much already. 

When the ultrasound tech told us we were having a girl I started bawling so hard that she was like "um, you are going to have to stop crying for me to get the rest of this ultrasound" lol!  I may have asked her about 20 times if she was sure it was a girl. Needless to say we couldn't be any happier including big brother who swore she was a girl all along. 

We were so incredibly overjoyed and in shock that I sadly forgot to get any pictures from our little gender reveal family with family other than the two below. 




Having been cooped up in a hotel room all day the day after finding out I am having a girl I have been doing a little shopping ;). I have found some adorable outfits on Amazon for sweet Brighton. Yes, that's right Amazon has adorable outfits that are super affordable. I bought the below cute outfits. 






For everyone with girls I need to know...where are you favorite places to get girly things?

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Our Big Miracle

By 9:50 PM , , , , ,

We are THRILLED to announce we are expecting baby #2 in February! (I realize this photo says March but we took the photo before we had the official date because we knew I would be gone for job training when it was time to announce). After a year and half of struggling with infertility due to a number of factors including complications from birth of our first child and ultimately being told we had less than a 0.001% chance of being able to conceive naturally again we are so excited and thankful to God for this miracle baby that ultimately came as the most wanted, yet unexpected surprise! While timing initially seemed a little crazy with me having just started a new job that puts me on the road a lot and right at the time where I am kicking off 6 weeks of intense training away from home we are still so thankful and trusting in God that His timing is always the best timing. Big brother is thrilled as well and he says, "God has finally answered his prayers just like I knew He would." He swears the baby is a girl. We will find out Sunday....can't wait! Now if we can just get this sickness to pass that would be oh so wonderful. 

We will have a planned c-section this go round due to complications from my last birth; however, I am very grateful to have found a doctor who will complete a family Cesarean (more about this later - if you are interested you can google for more information). 

While we are absolutely thrilled and praising God for our little miracle I still post this with bitter sweet emotions very well aware that some of my readers will see this and feel a sting in their heart because they want a baby so badly and are praying madly for their own blessing and God has not yet answered their prayer. To that someone please know precious friend that I know that sting so very well and am praying for you even though I may not know who you are...even though I am probably the last one you want to talk to right now please know I am here to talk if you ever want someone to talk to. Know it's ok to feel sad. Also trust me in believing God's timing and plans for your family is always best although I know from personal experience it may not always feel like it in the moment! 


"I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him." 1 Samuel 1:27


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Secrets of a Traveling Mommy: Staying Connected

By 2:21 PM , , , , , , ,
I travel a lot for my job. With a little one at home, a busy working outside the home husband, and a mommy on the road I have learned (and am still learning) some secrets along the way that I would love to share for other traveling mommies to make life a little easier. Whether you travel a lot for work like me, take a girls weekend every now and then, or just want to make life a little easier I am hoping that this series of post brings you a few tips and tricks that will help another Mommy (or even Dad) out. 

______________________________________________________________________

This post is all about staying connected and what I do to stay connected to my family while traveling. 

First of all...thank goodness for Facetime. I can not imagine being on the road in a generation prior to the invention of Facetime. It is a life changer. It is so nice to be able to call home everyday and actually see my little guy and hubby. 

One thing I learned early on when traveling is that it can be hard on the little guy and me both...we both know we want to be with each other and the thought of being away from each other for a couple of days is hard. I knew I wanted to do something intentional to let my little guy know I was thinking of him while I was away but did not want to get in to the habit of buying something for him every trip. I watched a few of my friends do this and they were often scrambling at the last minute at the airport to buy a $30 souvenir knowing, if they were honest, that it would end up in the next yard sale. I thought about sending postcards but most of my trips are only for 2-3 days and the postcards don't have enough time to make it home before Mommy is back.

So I came up with another idea and it has been a HIT. The morning (or night before if I fly out early) before a trip I let my son pick out one "friend" for me to bring with me on my trip. This ends up being a stuffed animal or action figure. He gets very excited to pick someone out and see where his "friend" ends up on their adventures. While away I intentional take at LEAST one photo a day of my son's action figure or stuffed animal in the coolest locations I can find (although sometimes the best I can do is take a photo of the figure in a hotel bed or airplane window but he doesn't seem to care) and text them to my husband. When my husband picks him up from school it is one of the highlight's of his day looking at the photos and seeing what adventures his friend has been on with Mommy.

This has proved to be an easy way to show him I am thinking about him while I am away and something we both look forward to...instead of it being sad "Mommy is going out of town again" it becomes an adventure to see where his friend goes. Here are some photos of some of his "friends" on recent trips...it looks like most recently we have been on a Star Wars "friend" trend.






Sometimes I am in the photos and sometimes I am not. Although I will admit I have gotten a few strange looks from strangers as i pull out a monkey or Star Wars action figure to pose for a photo it has been a fun tradition we have created and something we plan to continue during the years of Mommy on the road. 

Would love to hear if you have other ways of staying connected when you travel. Please comment below if you have any.

The next post in this series will be about one trick I have found for planning outfits for the kids while I am away to make life easier for Dad and so you can ensure they match ;). 

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Lead Me Where My Trust Is Without Borders

By 4:27 PM , , ,
Life. It's so fun and so unexpected. If I had to use one word to describe life for our family lately it would be "change." I started a new position at my company about a month and a half ago as a LEAN/throughput consultant. This in and of itself was a huge (yet exciting) change for our family. While I am very excited about this position, new team, and new opportunity it will mean more trips on an airplane, leaving my work team whom I have come to know as family, and an intense training session that lasts six months (with a very rigorous six week training that will have me moving to Houston for several weeks). 


If a new job/career change wasn't enough change for us we decided to list our home on the market and start working on building our dream home. This has resulted in us putting half our home (included all our family photos, fall clothes, most of E's toys, etc.) in a storage unit so we can 'stage' our home. It also unfortunately means making all the beds and pushing the vacuum every morning before heading out the door to work. Yuck. Needless to say we are hoping our home sells quickly and the search for a rental home can begin soon. 
 
In the midst of all the change it is easy to get stressed and start letting my mind play the "what if" game. However, I have recently been reminded to use this time to trust even deeper in God moment by moment. I have an all time favorite song by Hillsong United (this is one I want played at my funeral) that you may have heard before that I have recently been playing over and over to remind myself to draw closer to God and trust Him...it is called "Oceans" and the lyrics are below: 

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

I love that... "when oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace." What sweet, sweet words. I hope they are an encouragement to you this week as they have been to me. 

In other words I celebrated six amazing years of marriage to this stud last week with an escape weekend trip to our own city. We had the BEST time being together, biking the belt line (an Atlanta icon), eating great food, and just enjoying each other's company. SO incredibly blessed by this dude. 



Happy Sunday friends! I hope you have the best week! 

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July Book Review

By 11:28 AM , ,
It's time again for my book review from what I have been reading lately.  I have read 6 books since my last review (here). I recently started a new position at work so it is a mix between books for fun and books for work. However, there are several ones that I have read for work that I would still highly recommend. That brings me to a total of 13 books for the year....that's pretty good considering my resolution was one book a month ;). Ok without further delay here is the latest:


Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weinsberger
  • Ok I hate to do this because I know I am an abnormality here but I rate it 2/10 stars - so many people love this book included my bestest best friend who loaned it to me to read but I just couldn't get in to it: It is about three best friends and a pact they make to each challenge themselves to change something major about them in one time what ensues is full of drama and sexual relationships. I know many love it but it really was not my style of a book. 
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • I also give this one 9/10 stars: It is modern day "what would you do?" love story of a couple madly in love when the husband gets lost at sea for many years they assume he is dead. The wife falls in love again and is engaged to be married when the husband lost at sea shows up. I won't ruin the ending but it is a story that keeps you on your toes and unsure of who you want to win throughout the book. I really enjoyed it! 
2 Second Lean by Paul Akers
  • I gave this one 10/10 stars: this was one that I had to read for my new job and I am so glad I did. It is all about growing a lean culture at home and at work and is written as a quick and easy read that makes lean very easy to understand. It will totally have you reorganizing your entire home by the end. I highly recommend this to anyone! 
The Hypnotists Love Story by Liane Moriarty
  • I give this one 7/10 stars. It was my first of two Liane Moriarty books I read in the same month. It is pretty interesting in that it tells the story of the life of a hypnotist and her family. It is a little bit of a mystery. Engaging - good not great.  
Chess Not Checkers by Mark Miller
  • Another book I read for work I gave this one 8/10 stars. It is a leadership book that will transfer your leadership style. 
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  • My second Liane book of the month I actually liked it even better than the first - give it 8/10 stars! This story is about someone who falls off a bike and when she wakes up she has totally forgotten the last 10 years which include having three children, divorcing her husband (whom she thinks she is still very much in love with), loosing her best friends and making new friends, and a strained relationship with her family. While I didn't love the ending I was so curious to find out what was going to happen I couldn't put the book down. 
That concludes my list so far this year. My favorite book of the year is still Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman.  

What should I read next? What is your favorite book so far this year?



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Our Big News

By 4:03 PM , , , , ,

Well friends...we have big news! We have listed our first home as a family of three on the market. This home is so special to us in that it is where we have made so many incredible memories including bringing our little boy (who is now three) home from the hospital. We have loved everything about this home and while we look forward to what is to come we will miss this incredible home, location, amenities and great neighbors so much. 

In our five years in this sweet home we have completed too many to count home DIY projects, hosted friends, and made countless memories. While the thought that our home is on the market is a tad bittersweet we are so very thankful for God's amazing provision and always providing exactly what we need when we need it. Now we are just hoping we get an amazing offer soon and hoping we can find a short term rental home for the interim. Especially since we are paying month to month for a storage unit to house our family photos, toys, and a ton of our clothes as we 'stage' our home.

Now on to even bigger news- we are in the early stages of building our dream farmhouse. We have spent the last couple years dreaming and the last month or so working with an architect to get our house plan just the way we want it as we plan for this to be our forever home. We actually plan to build on five of my parents 30 acres. This land is very precious to us for a variety of reasons. It is where I grew up, we got married, and the grandparents will now be in walking distance. Not only that but as we approach Kindergarten we will be zoned for awesome schools and will also shorten my husband's commute (mine will extend but only by about 10-15 mins).  

We are so excited to take you all along with us throughout this journey of building our dream farmhouse! 


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Who doesn't love saving money?

By 10:12 AM , , , ,
Who doesn't love saving money? I have recently discovered a way to save even more money at the stores I already shop at all the time like Target and I just had to share with you all.


I am assuming most of you have probably heard of Groupon? They offer great deals on local experiences and I have been able to save a lot of money in the past on fun experiences for my family. What you may or may not also know is that they also have a website that offers 70,000 deals on over 9,000 retailers! I just recently learned this myself and now anytime I have online shopping to do, I use Groupon to save more money. I don’t know about you but, if there is a chance for me to save some cash I am taking it. I have searched the internet for the best deals and when it comes to saving money, Groupon is where it is at! At his very moment Groupon is even offering 25% off your first Groupon with code WELCOME at check out. Deals on top of deals? It doesn’t get any better than that.

On the Groupon site there are 71 deals and coupons for Target. One of my absolute favorite deals for Target is $5.00 off $50.00 plus free shipping! We all need a reason to do a little online shopping this afternoon, right? ;) This deals is not only good online but, in store as well. They also have 30% off in their home department which is great as I have been recently redecorated E's big boy room. While on the Groupon site be sure to check out all of the other retailers they offer deals and coupons for such as Ebay, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walgreens, Aeropostale, Home Depot, Macy’s and so many more. Groupon has all of your shopping need covered and will save you that extra money you want to save. Your welcome for the fun Thursday fact. Have fun shopping! 

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Sunday Funday / Atlanta Favorites

By 10:27 AM , , , ,
This Sunday was SO fun! Anytime I get to spend with my boys is my favorite but this Sunday was extra special as we got to experience two Atlanta iconic fan favorites with some of our friends (if you are planning a trip to Atlanta these both need to be places you visit). 

We started off our family fun date with a trip to the Varsity for lunch. If I am completely honest I really do not care for the food at the Varsity (with the exception of the Frosted Orange, because who doesn't like a Frosted Orange?) but let's be honest...that is not why you go.  You go for the experience and because it is an Atlanta staple. Don't believe me...check out the strangers behind us eating Veggie chips (AMAZING). 



The little boy we went with is E's best friend. They are in the same class at school and his parents are some of Josh and I's best friends. 

After our trip to the Varsity we headed over to the Fox Theater to see Paw Patrol Live. These two little boys love Paw Patrol (Marshall is there favorite) and we love the Fox (such an amazing venue and so much Atlanta history) so we thought it would be a great trip to take them to their first Fox Theater performance.




We had such a great time. The little guys loved the show and the I enjoyed showing off the Fox to E for the first time.








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