Thursday, August 27, 2015

Maternity wear up to 18 weeks

I thought it would be fun to do a "maternity wear" post now that my bump is a little more obvious. A lot of what I wear is still non-maternity, but maternity pants/shorts/leggings are all way more comfortable at this point. 
So here we go, a few random outfits from 15 weeks to almost 19 weeks. 

15 weeks: 
Dress: target (non-maternity, but it's too small now just since taking this a few weeks ago)

16 weeks: 

Blue crochet dress: Target (non-maternity $8 on clearance. Thought it would be a good tunic over some leggings with a cardi this fall once my belly makes it too short to wear as a dress. Also, because it's a little short already, in the top photo I am wearing it over a gray skirt to add a little length)
Necklace & Earrings: Stella & Dot

17 weeks (at Shaun's 30th birthday party): 
Dress: Francesca's (non-maternity) 
Gold Sandals: Shoe Carnival
Earrings/Ring/Bracelet: Stella&Dot

17 weeks: 

I love this look during pregnancy... flowy skirt over the belly and a knotted t-shirt. 
T-shirt: J. Crew (old) 
Maxi skirt: Abercrombie (Clearance for $14 recently!) 

All below this are from 18 weeks: 
Tunic t: Modcloth
White maternity pants: Target
Black Sandals: Old Navy
Turquoise necklace: Pendant- 1 cent on amazon. chain- Stella&Dot

Hats are my favorite right now. I have three that I am loving. This one was only $12 at target. (Target has a great hat selection if you are wanting to start somewhere) 
Hat: Target
Dress: AE (old) 
Black Sandals: Old Navy

Flowy top: Old Navy maternity
Black leggings: Target maternity
Not pictured: black sandals from old navy and black hat from forever21


Rose colored tank: Boutique in Bethany beach a long time ago (it's not maternity but has worked great in pregnancies for me) 
White maternity pants: Target
Jean jacket: H&M 
Sandals: Urban Outfitters
Ring&Earrings: stella&dot 

I'd love to do a post of the few limited pieces I got to take me through the winter this pregnancy (all my maternity clothes were for summer in my past three pregnancies) I am pretty excited about the couple of things I got and the many ways I envision wearing them to make them work the whole time. 

Hope these outfits inspire some ways to wear your non-maternity pieces too for those of you who are expecting!! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A (Non-DIY) 30th birthday party for my favorite man

I haven't had time to write nearly like I've wanted to lately. I could write post after post on what Shaun means to me, the amazingness that our marriage is, the beautiful places the Lord is leading us. I hope it's not annoying to say that I think my marriage is amazing... It's actually extremely humbling and wondrous to me when I say it... It's something we've been putting a ton of effort into, learning how to be deep and vulnerable and honest and protective of each other. Learning to be a safe place for each other. Learning that in the midst of kids and more busyness than we've ever known before we need to be more intentional than we imagined, but it's worth more than any other investment we will ever make. But it's honestly nothing we've accomplished on our own... It is all and only because of the Lord. He is so faithful, he writes the most beautiful stories, and he used circumstances from the past few years to set the stage perfectly for us to come to this point. It is my favorite season of our relationship yet, and I am so excited to see where He takes us from here.
All that to say, Shaun just had his 30th birthday on August 15th. I had been thinking for years that I wanted to have a surprise party for him when he turned 30. And this may have been my favorite party I've ever thrown. As it went, Shaun found out I was having a party for him when he accidentally saw a facebook message between me and someone who was invited to the party... however, he didn't know the details like where it was, who was coming, what the food would be etc until the night it happened. As badly as I wanted to have that "surprise!!!" moment, it did take some stress off me once he knew that I was putting together a party. I could double check some things with him that I had been having the hardest time making decisions about.
Because of this season in life, and because I was still sick when I started planning the party and just feeling better when it was finally here, I went for something that would be as amazing as possible, with the least stress and most enjoyment for me. As much as I love DIY parties and adding cute little touches of my own, that was not the route I was headed this time.
I decided to throw him a party with our closest friends, most who have known us as long as we've been a couple, some who've known us long before we knew each other, and a few others who we've grown close to along the way. We rarely get a night out with friends without kids these days, so I thought it would be fun to have a classy, relaxing party with just adults... I rented a room in the Montgomery house at the Penn Square Marriott, and the room was perfect... just the right size to create a cozy, intimate atmosphere that was still big enough to accommodate about 30 people. Half of the room was set up with smaller cocktail size tables and half of the room was set up with comfy sofas and chairs like a fancy living room with a fire place.
These were the stairs that led to the room where the party was.

For food we had lots of yummy appetizers. The party was at 7:00, and I wanted people to mingle and talk and go back for more food as often as they wanted, so appetizers made more sense than a meal. We had pizza, and mini sliders on pretzel rolls, and wings and soft pretzels with dip and, my personal favorite, a nacho bar with bomb guacamole. 

For drinks we had strawberry mint water (in the coolest pitchers) and a cash bar. And then the cakes... they were homemade deliciousness by a friend of ours in exchange for a photo shoot I did for them. Caramel Apple Bundt cakes, and they were SO SO good!! 

It was so much fun spending the evening with all our best friends, and seeing them all interact too... I didn't want it to end! 

We sang happy birthday and then we all pulled chairs into a circle in the living room part of the room to share our funniest memories of Shaun... We laughed and laughed and laughed... I married such a hilarious and unique man... stories about his extreme competitive side, whether it was hockey or settlers of catan, him fainting when I was getting the epidural with Drew and forgetting his wallet on our first date, many stories of him in his underwear (some things never change) stories of him in his convertible that flooded (so there was several inches of water in the bottom in the summer and a sheet of ice in the winter), him shooting cows with his air soft gun on his drive to church with the top down in that same convertible, stories of him preparing for the end of the world (that was a recent one) and then there were some really sentimental moments mixed in, stories of him staying up praying all night, sharing his heart when he was really young... stories that brought tears to my eyes. I can't describe the overwhelming amount of love I felt in the room that night. To be surrounded by people who know you and love you and want to celebrate you... the closeness and sentimentality and laughter and bond that we share... It was really amazing. We couldn't stop talking about what amazing friends we have on our drive home. It makes me want to cry just to think about it. I am so thankful for the people God has placed in our lives to lift us up, surround us, support us, laugh and cry with us. Looking around the room and thinking of the things we've been through. The way someone rushed to our house and beat the ambulance there when Drew had his first seizure. The way someone else stayed overnight in the hospital to help keep Shaun and Drew awake for a test they needed to run in the morning when he had his second seizure. People who have brought us meals when we've brought home newborns. People who have celebrated pregnancies with us, prayed with us in hard times, know our stories inside and out and love us all the same. People who have given us words of encouragement, made a point to give us cards on our birthdays full of spiritual encouragement, people we lead a church with, worship with weekly, and who sharpen us to be better. Siblings we've grown up with and shared life with from the beginning, and the amazing spouses they've each married. My sister and her husband weren't able to be there because of their recent move to Minnesota, and Randi cried on the phone as I told her about the party because she'd wanted to be there so badly.
I love these amazing people so much, and missed the few that weren't able to be there. 

I know all about how to have a party that photographs pretty. There's nothing wrong with that. I know all about how to spend a ton of time on the decorations. I know how to stress myself out preparing all the food myself, and arranging to have people bring things to the party to help. I just didn't want to have a pinterest party for Shaun's party. Instead, I let the Marriott take care of everything. I didn't even tell them what I wanted in the centers of the tables. When we got there I saw there were tea light candles, and they were perfect. After all, a party isn't about the things at all. Things can help add to the atmosphere, but the party is about the people. The only thing we did when we got there was hook Shaun's phone up to the speaker system to play the red hot chili peppers Pandora station during the party. I enjoyed myself so much.... There were two waiters and a bartender making sure the food stayed warm and replenished, that the pitchers stayed full, they even lit the birthday candles for me. I spent all my time with the people. And it was glorious.
I really didn't take many pictures at all for the four hours we were there. I'm glad I have the ones I do to remember the party by, but my goal is not to have people "pin" these pictures and try to recreate this look... my goal was that for those four hours we spent there, that we made the most of every moment and came away with our hearts full. I honestly couldn't fall asleep that night for all the things I wanted to stay up remembering.
Shaun loved it. It was a night I'll look back and smile on forever. Thank you to everyone who came and made it so special!! 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

I had a day.


Thursday I had a day. You probably know the kind. Life had been building up to that kind of day for a little while. And then it all exploded. But God was there in the midst of the explosion. So I'll just write it all down for memory's sake.

I've been feeling less and less nauseous, it's mostly just at night right before bed now that I don't feel well (except that yesterday I threw up breakfast and dinner... but that's been a lot more rare the past week or two) So now that I'm feeling less sick, it's like all of life that went on hold is coming rushing back in at me. Piles of mail. Floors that haven't been vacuumed in forever. Photography and painting work that I'm behind on. Friends I want to catch up with. Organization that came undone at the seams. Dentist appointments for us all, and an eye appointment for me, and check ups for baby, and a grooming appointment for the dog, and details that need taken care of before Drew starts kindergarten, and bills and life and a deductible that will be met when the baby comes that have left me stressing over finances at 3 am in the morning when I should be sleeping.... All of that to say that I desperately want to get life sorted and stacked and organized and flowing in a peaceful way like it was before I was sick again. So as the sickness has subsided, I've taken a running leap at this pile up of stuff... only my energy is not back yet. At all. And I've been crashing and burning on repeat at about 2 in the afternoon. But as my mom suggested, and as I know makes all of life seem simpler, I made a list, and I've been checking things off and adding things to it as they come. It helps it have it all on paper instead of cycling through my head over and over again.

So I went to bed Wednesday night with a dirty kitchen, but with a plan for the next day that made me feel better. The plan for Thursday was to check one or two small things off the list, clean up the kitchen, leave around 11 to take a dinner I had made the day before to a friend who just had her first sweet little girl, visit with her for a bit, head straight from there to a children's ministry meeting, get home from that in time to make a healthy dinner before Shaun got home from his extra long day at work. Sounded simple enough in my head. But I woke up Thursday morning feeling like I was moving in slo-mo.... I got one thing crossed off my list, then was working on washing dishes when I got a phone call from the school Drew will start at this fall. They had just gotten a call from the busing transportation system that because Drew was doing 4 day kindergarten instead of 5 they were not mandated to transport him at all. And for whatever reason, that one simple detail was the straw that broke me. Thinking about making two 40 minute round trips a day to get Drew to and from school, one of them being in the middle of Jaden's naptime, and adding to it the fact that I will have a newborn halfway through the year was just too much for me to process. It wasn't just that fact alone, it was that added to everything else that felt piled on me. I called Shaun and left a teary voicemail to let him know what was happening, and barely hung up the phone before I sank down on the kitchen floor and sobbed like I haven't in a long, long time. Like shoulder shaking, face in my hands, straight up ugly cry. The one thought that held me was that even though I don't have what it takes in this motherhood thing, Jesus has got my back, and He will work all things for our good.

The cry ended with my boys one by one peeking around the kitchen corner and coming to me and hugging me and looking quite concerned over seeing mommy in such a state. I just held them and finally picked myself up off the floor, left the dishes, got dressed, and left at noon to take the meal to my friend. Because I hadn't had time to make the boys lunch I decided to just stop somewhere and get it for them so they could eat on the way. We pulled into a wawa, all jumped out of the car and headed for the door. I reached back to double check my keys were in the pocket of my back pack like I always do and realized the pocket was open... and my keys were not there. I stopped, turned back to the van, and looking through the window could clearly see my keys sitting on the console inside our completely locked tight van. I had even closed the sunroof when we pulled into the parking lot. Oh. My. Gosh. I am locked out of my car with three little boys at a gas station. I was determined not to cry, so I silently sent a prayer to heaven asking God not to let anyone say anything mean to me or look at me funny or I might just lose it again. I went into Wawa, and asked if they had a phone I could use. The cashier immediately put a closed sign at his register and led me to a side room, where he said "this nice lady is locked out of her car, can she use our phone?" This nice lady? He didn't know me at all, wow, thanks God, for sending me a kind comment right away. So they let me use their phone, and Shaun got his second voicemail of the day from me... "Hey babe, it's me again... I accidentally locked my keys in the van at wawa, and I'm not sure what we're gonna do... if you can call back call this number, this is the gas station..." Then I called my mom. No answer, which never happens. Then I remembered that we have triple a, and fortunately I had the card in my wallet. So I called them next, they said it could be an hour or more til someone came but that they were sending someone. So I bought the boys lunch and we sat in the strip of grass alongside the gas station parking lot while we waited. It wasn't nearly as hot of a day as we have been having recently, so I was immediately thankful for that. And I've been craving quality time with my boys in the midst of the frenzy of crossing off to-do's, so I just took this picnic as that. It wasn't what I planned for the day, but I was going to enjoy it anyway. Amazing how perspective is everything. And a third thing to be thankful for... my boys have never behaved so well in all their lives all at the same time. If I could give them all a solid gold medal for the way they were quiet and stayed right with me and didn't touch each other and waited and went with the flow and didn't complain I would so do it. Fourth thing to be thankful for... triple a only took about 30-40 minutes to get there instead of an hour. We went and watched as they tried to break into the van, and I swear, the nicest people in all the universe kept walking by us and saying the most encouraging and kind things. When they finally did get in there was a whole group of people cheering and clapping for us.

I went and dropped off the dinner and sadly did not get to stay and visit with my sweet friend, and I was 45 minutes late to my meeting, but the meeting went SO well. And again, during the three hours I was at the meeting my kids were little angels. Now I want to make it clear, they are not always little angels. They fight and demand and cry and throw fits and take things from each other like any other kids. But on this day, God knew what I could handle and they were seriously so good. So the meeting went amazing, we got so much accomplished, and I got home at 6. I went to start making dinner and my bag of spinach that I had just bought the day before was going bad. :( So into the car again with my boys and I, we drove to the store, exchanged the spinach, and came home to start again on dinner. Could have been the icing on the cake, that last unexpected delay, but by this point my day was just out of my hands and I was past the point of complaining about it. We finally ate at 7:30, and I went to bed again with a dirty kitchen.

I know, I know, a phone call with disappointing news, keys locked in a car, and a bad bag of spinach are not the end of the world. They're extremely minor events. But sometimes, in the world of a hormonal, expecting, emotional mom, they are breaking points. In a weird and somewhat refreshing way, it was comforting to know that even when I come to the end of myself and all my human limits of emotion are surpassed, my heavenly father is still holding it all together. And so for that reason, Thursday was not quite the train wreck it could go down in history as in my mind, but rather a reminder of who is really in control, and that I can trust Him with my days even when they go nothing like I had planned.

Thank you Jesus for holding me through my tears.