Mommy Monday: 25 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Monday!

I'm feeling so incredibly thankful this evening!

Here are a few things making me feel so so blessed:

  • An uneventful, normal, run-of-the-mill pregnancy and healthy, growing baby
  • My sweet little James
  • Ben getting safely home from London
  • My amazing parents
  • My grandparents
  • My loyal, gentle little old dog
  • My beautiful garden
  • My home
  • My health

What are YOU feeling grateful for right now?

This is going to be a rather boring Mommy Monday update. Not much to report, other than the fact that I'm quickly turning into a hormonal, emotional wreck! :p

James and I spent a night at my parents' house this weekend because Ben was in London for school. It was so nice being able to play in the lake and be with my dad on Father's Day! But we missed Ben terribly! It's so good to have him home!

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I swear, James is growing up so quickly right before my eyes. Every morning when we wake up he looks bigger and seems more grown up to me. It's going so fast, slow down!!

My belly is growing, my stretch marks are multiplying, my feet are starting to hurt, and my back is a little achey, and baby boy number two is kicking up a storm. It's the absolute best. :)

I have my next doctor's appointment in one week, so I'll have lots of updates and stuff for you guys in next Monday's post. I'm having my glucose test and my rhogam shot, so stay tuned for all of that!

Here's this week's survey:

How far along: 25 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19 lbs so far as of my last appointment. Will update this after my next appointment!

Maternity clothes? Yes! Pretty much exclusively, at this point!

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: It's been ok!

Best moment this week: Surprising my grandpa on Father's Day!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much!!

Food cravings: Fruit!

Anything making you queasy or sick: No.

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? The top part it out, the bottom part is in. haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Emotional!

Symptoms: Light-headed, out of breath, thirsty, hungry, stretch marks, spider veins, feet feeling really sore and burning by the end of the day.

Thanks for reading, and thank you, as always for your continued prayers for a safe, healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery!

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Thanksgiving Tablescape + Thankful For...

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Click here to shop the eucalyptus garland

Click here to shop candlesticks

I hope you all had the BEST Thanksgiving yesterday!!

We hosted my parents, my uncle, and his girlfriend and it was such a fun, cozy get together! But I'll be honest - hosting STRESSES ME OUT. haha I just get SO incredibly anxious about whether or not everyone is enjoying themselves and has what they need, and it's just too much social sensory overload and I just was EXHAUSTED by the end of the night haha...and that was a pretty small group of my CLOSEST family!! Geez louise!

Tomorrow we are hosting Ben's dad's side of the family, so this introvert has been resting up today, recharging in preparation of Thanksgiving Round TWO! :p

I asked you guys in a poll on Instagram if you would be interested in seeing my Thanksgiving tablescape and you voted an overwhelming YES, so today I'm sharing pictures of my tablescape. I'm pretty happy with how it all came together!

I made the centerpiece, and I honestly feel so crafty now, haha. I carved a Cinderella pumpkin, put some of the floral foam in it and stuck flowers in it and voila! Autumnal floral centerpiece win! Super easy and a really pretty touch! :)

My heart was set on a eucalyptus garland for the table and my mom searched high and low and found one the day before Thanksgiving!! *Thanks mom!* Click here for a similar one!

The table cloth that we used was my Grammy's, so that was really special! I love the burnt orange color of it - so Fall-ish! I kept the rest simple with white plates and napkins. I added place cards from Papyrus, and two white candlesticks to finish off the look. I love these candlesticks (click here) - they are so elegant and classic AND they are on sale for $8!!

I will wrap up this post with sharing a few things that I am feeling sososo thankful for:

  1. My husband. Ben is the most caring, selfless, patient, loving, hard-working, funniest person and I thank God every single day for blessing me with such an incredible man to spend my life with.
  2. James Henry. There are no words. This little boy has changed me in practically every way. He has completely turned what I *thought* I knew about love upside down and has made my life so brilliantly beautiful it hurts.
  3. My health and the health of my loved ones. Health is something that is so easy to take for granted. I am so thankful for a healthy, whole, fully-functioning body and mind, and that my loved ones have their health as well.
  4. My home. This is our first holiday season in our beautiful new home, and I feel so blessed that we get to live HERE, in this amazing house that Ben has worked so hard for.
  5. Getting to be a stay-at-home-mom. I nearly cry when I think about how blessed I am to be able to stay at home with my baby boy and watch him grow and learn. Our days together are so precious and I am absolutely soaking in and cherishing every single minute.
  6. Ben's job that provides so well for our family. He is such a hard worker and incredible provider for our family.
  7. Gunner...sweet sweet loyal little Gunner. He brings so much joy and gentle companionship to our lives.
  8. My parents. They are the best. That's all there is to it. They get me and love me and support me no matter what, flaws, and quirks and all, through the ups and the downs.
  9. My extended family, for loving me. Being loved is a beautiful, special, precious thing. I don't take for granted those who love me. Family is so dear and special and I am so so thankful for everyone in mine.
  10. Our country. I feel incredibly thankful to live in such a beautiful, safe country where I am free and where I can pursue my dreams and explore and learn and strive for the highest of goals. We are so blessed to live in the United States of America. I'm thankful that my son gets to grow up in this place.

What are you feeling thankful for?

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How To Be Happy: Lessons From My Son

His little face is still all chapped from his cold, but I lovelovelove these photos of my sweet, blue-eyed boy. James is such a joy - always smiling his big, bright-eyed, tooth-y (he has FIVE teeth now!) grin that lights up the room, as well as the hearts of everyone who sees him. He is a happy baby...people tell us that everywhere we go. He loves life and loves people and just always has so much fun, no matter what we are doing.

It's contagious!

Watching my happy, cheerful, bright baby boy, I can't help but admire his optimism and joy. I want to capture some of it and infuse it into my own life.

Everything is new and interesting and exciting and wondrous to baby James. As we grow and have more and more experiences, some of that newness and wonder unavoidably and inevitably fades away. We discover that, along with the amazing and fun and beautiful, life also holds many unpleasant things. We learn what it means to feel pain, betrayal, disappointment, and fear. We become disillusioned, losing that innocence, blind trust, and curiosity.

But watching James, I see that he is the perfect example of how to be happy. Here are some things that I've learned from my son:

  • Try new things, new foods, new places, new activities. Step outside of your comfort zone - new things challenge us, thrill us, scare us, and teach us. We grow mentally and physically by doing new things. The mundane can be depressing, discouraging, boring...no growth takes place there.
    But to try something new...that is what puts the excitement in life. That is the adventure of it.

  • Trust. Dare to trust. Dare to give people the benefit of the doubt. With age comes wisdom and intuition and good judgement. Use those. But also, try to let your guard down and trust. Take a leap of faith.
    Time can harden our hearts...try to let yours soften and see what happens.

  • Ask for help. When James wants a toy that he can not reach on his own, or when he wants to go somewhere that he can't get to, he turns to me and makes it clear that he would like help. He has no pride that gets in the way of receiving help when he needs it. Our pride often stands between us and our goals, and at times, even our needs. We become so intent on independence and self-sufficiency, which are important things, without a doubt. But it is also important to recognize the times when we would be better off and more successful by asking for help. There is no shame in acknowledging that we can not or should not do something on our own.

  • Appreciate the little things. My son takes such pleasure from the very littlest of things. Tickles on his tummy, a funny sounding voice, a silly word, birds chirping, a squirrel standing on a path, splashing water, a spoon banging a pot, his dog licking his face... watching him giggle and experience SO MUCH GENUINE JOY from the simplest of things makes my heart swell and yearn to be so easily HAPPY. We should remember that happiness, joy, and grace can be found in the little things...the things and events and items and experiences that maybe we have come to take for granted.
    Try to be consciously and intentionally grateful for the little things.

  • Show more affection. Cuddles, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses, gentle caresses of the face and arms and chest, a warm bright smile, holding hands...these signs of affection are second-nature to James. He shows his love so openly and so honestly. That kind of love is so rare. Life lends itself to heart-ache and each of us has - or will probably - experience betrayal, hurt-feelings, or heartbreak at some point. Experiences train us to be guarded with our emotions and with our feelings. We hold back, even at times when maybe what we should really do is rush into someone's arms and give them a big smile and kiss. Sometimes it is right to be unashamedly in love, enamored, and infatuated. Sometimes we need to cuddle, to touch, and to openly, genuinely adore...in all of the vulnerability that that entails.

My son is honest, kind, grateful, curious, loving, vulnerable, trusting, and brave. He has so much joy and happiness in his heart, and he has already, in his short little 8 months of life, been the greatest teacher I have ever known.

Thankful

This is the BEST time of the year...amIright?!? Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and then it's CHRISTMAS SEASON!! haha I can't wait for the holidays this year. It is going to be so much fun because it will be James' first time experiencing Thanksgiving dinner and then all of the beauty of Christmas! I realize he's still very little, but he is very aware of what's going on and he is just going to have so much fun - especially when all of the Christmas lights start popping up. He LOVES lights!

Anyways, as Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself in awe of how blessed my life is. I have SO much to be thankful for this year. I thought I'd go ahead and make a list of just a few of the things that I'm feeling really really thankful for at the moment:

  • my family
  • our home
  • ben's and my jobs
  • baby james
  • that i get to do parenthood with ben
  • my marriage
  • gunner (our dog) and rainy (my parents' dog) and the joy and companionship they bring to my life
  • my health and the health of my loved ones
  • that james and i both made it safely through that pregnancy and delivery
  • that i got to experience pregnancy and carrying a baby to full term and delivering him safely
  • that i live in a beautiful country where i'm free
  • that i get to stay home with my baby
  • that i have a strong, capable body
  • travel and all of the other exciting things in store for next year

As I said, just a few things. I could go on and on, because truly, I am so so fortunate. What are YOU feeling thankful for right now? I think it is such a great practice to write down what you are grateful for. Then, you can look at your list and visually see just how very very blessed you are! :)

The Bright Side Of Bed Rest

I’ve been on bed rest for over five weeks now, and believe me - I’ve had plenty of time to just think. There is no way around it: bed rest is HARD. It’s hard for a number of reasons. First of all, I am constantly worried about my baby. I’m constantly scared that something is going to go wrong and that he’ll come out early. I’m scared of what that would mean - weeks in the NICU, complications, risks, and pain and discomfort for my little boy. I’m uncomfortable all of the time because sitting and laying down ALL day and not being able to move around other than going to the restroom and getting water and food leads to an achey back, a sore and tight neck, and a SORE BUTT. I miss working out and the endorphins that it gives me and the way my body looks and feels when I work out daily. I miss taking my dog, Gunner for our thrice daily walks. I miss being outside. I miss hiking and backpacking and fishing and going on adventures with my husband. I miss being able to cook and clean and do things for my husband. It’s hard to see how much he is juggling now that I can’t do anything. I don’t like feeling helpless and dependent on others for EVERYTHING. I get bored. I am disappointed that I am missing out on my baby shower and on having a “normal” pregnancy. There are SO many thingsthat make bed rest very very hard.

BUT, over the past five plus weeks, I have also realized something so incredibly wonderful: there is a bright side to bed rest! 

Every week - no, make that every DAY that passes and that my baby boy is still safe inside of me is a reason to rejoice, praise God, and do a (seated) happy dance! Every day we get closer and closer to his due date and to him being full-term, and that makes me SO happy! Every day feels like an accomplishment, and every week feels like a HUGE leap forward and I breathe a sigh of relief. 

As far as not being able to move around, or take Gunner for walks, or workout, I realized how freaking LUCKY I am that I am not on hospital bed rest! I get to enjoy the comfort of being in my own home with my own things and with little Gunner lying at my feet. I’m lucky that I’m ABLE to get up to go to the bathroom and to get food and water, rather than having to use a bed pan and be served my meals in a hospital bed as so many women on bed rest do. 

While Ben and I may not be able to go hiking, backpacking, and fishing together right now, I keep reminding myself that this whole experience is SO temporary and that we will be going on amazing adventures soon - with our son! And me being on bed rest has brought Ben and I closer together and it has made my love, appreciation of, and respect for him grow immeasurably. I see him in a whole new light and I just feel so much gratitude towards him. He takes such great care of me, of Gunner, and of our home - all while working 60+ hours each week. He is a saint. In our wedding vows, we promised to stick together in sickness and in health and in hard times and good times. He is upholding his end of that promise now in caring for me and our son during this hard time. He sits with me for hours on the weekend, just being with me, and waits on me hand and foot and I just can’t even say how much I love him and how blessed I feel to have him as my partner through this. 

And on that note, let me mention how appreciative I am of the friends and family who have shown their love and support during this time! You really see who truly cares in times like these! One girlfriend sent me a coloring book, pencils, and book marks and a sweet little note, and has been checking in frequently. My grandparents sent me a stack of books to read and have been so sweet checking in and offering encouragement. My dad’s cousin, Kris, and her husband, Ross, have brought us food, books, and constantly e-mail with me to see how me and the little guy are doing. The Tone It Up Community has been SO supportive, encouraging, and loving, even though I haven’t even met MOST of those women in person. They blow me away with their kindness. And last but not least, my parents have been so incredible, coming to visit to help clean, cook, walk Gunner, and keep me company while Ben is at work. They’ve bought us groceries, they’ve run errands, they’ve driven me to doctor’s appointments…they are already such great grandparents. Being on bed rest has made me appreciate the people in my life so much more. Every little note, prayer, well-wish, act of kindness means the WORLD to me and I am so grateful. 

This time is allowing me such a unique experience to bond with my little boy. Sometimes, when he’s kicking, I sit for a half hour or so just feeling his little movements and talking to him. It’s such a special time, and I am already so in love with him.

As my dad’s cousin, Kris (who was also on bed rest), said to me, this time is essentially forced leisure. That was such a refreshing perspective, and as soon as she said it, I began to look at my situation in a different way. Once our son comes, I wont have nearly as much free time for reading, meditating, writing, coloring, fly tying, studying, etc… This is a wonderful opportunity to do all of the things that I’ve been meaning to do and to enjoy being able to sleep, rest, and relax! I’ve been writing so much more and just flying through my reading list. It’s been so nice getting to focus on my passions.

Speaking of studying, I also signed up for a Graduate Certificate Program in Wilderness Management from the University of Montana. I had applied to Grad schools before I found out I was pregnant, and since our little one is due in July, I decided the timing was just not right to start working on my Master’s Degree this coming September with a newborn. But now, with this time that I have, I decided to keep my mind stimulated and get back to learning. I’ve been loving the courses so far! 

I’ve been able to spend so much time meditating and praying. I have really grown to love meditation, and I spend most of my time meditating in prayer. I haven’t talked to God so much in a very long time. This experience has made me rely on him and put everything in His hands. I have SO little control over this situation. I have learned to trust that God is watching out for my son, and that He will continue to care for us, no matter what happens. I just have to trust Him and stay positive and faithful. 

Though my pregnancy is now anything but “normal”, I’m grateful for this experience. I am so grateful that my shortened cervix was caught before it was too late and we lost our baby boy. I am so grateful for the doctor and medical team that helped to save our son. I am SO grateful that I am PREGNANT and that I got pregnant on our FIRST TRY - so many women don’t get to experience pregnancy, or struggle with getting pregnant in the first place, and I feel so so blessed to be able to carry this child and to be able to experience the changes in my body and in my mind as I become a mother. As far as my baby shower goes, I’ve realized how silly that is to be too upset about not getting to have one. Yes, a baby shower would be so fun to be able to celebrate the coming of our little boy with friends and loved ones. But, I can have one once he is born, and that way he will be able to meet all of the beautiful women who care about him! 

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Bed rest is NOT easy and it’s NOT ideal. BUT, there are so many things about it that are beautiful and that I am so grateful for! Above all, I am grateful for bed rest because it is keeping my baby boy safe and allowing him to grow as he should. I keep reminding myself that this is all for him, and that I am SO lucky to be on bed rest, because that means that the problem was caught and that I didn’t lose my son, and that he is being taken care of. I thank God every day for watching over this baby - first with the Zika virus and our almost trip to Cabo, and then with the catching of my shortened cervix JUST in the nick of time! This little boy is SO loved and so cared for already. My parents got us a muslin swaddle blanket for him that says “God holds you in the palm of his hand.” It is my FAVORITE thing, because it is SO true. God is holding him in the palm of his hand. And that is such a HUGE comfort to me. 

13 weeks 4 days until baby boy’s due date! Woohoo! We’re gettin’ there! 

xo, Anna

 

 

A Case For Gratitude

There are moments in life when you are overcome with a sense of gratefulness - where you are totally consumed by a warm feeling of joy and thankfulness. It might be while watching a sunrise, or while holding a precious child. Maybe it’s when a family member or friend does something selfless or thoughtful for you. Or when you get a job that you’ve been dreaming about, or get engaged, or adopt a new puppy… No matter what causes it, there is no denying: gratitude is a good feeling.

But, for most people, that feeling of gratitude is short lived and only comes around every once in awhile when something special or exciting or extraordinary occurs. Think about how wonderful it would be to feel that sense of gratitude all of the time. Luckily, gratitude - that feeling of immense thankfulness and an awareness of the blessings in life - is something that can be cultivated through practice and through focus. It is a habit…a state of mind. You can set the intention to feel gratitude throughout each day. And the cool thing is, when you look for things to be grateful for in your life, you will find them…and you will realize that there are WAY more things in your life for you to be grateful for than you ever could have imagined. 

Cultivating a habit of gratefulness will lead to you viewing all of the beautiful - and even the not so beautiful at first glance - things in your life as gifts, and you will then see just how much you have been given in life. You will see that when you focus on being grateful for things (no matter how small) in every day, and on looking for the good in each situation, you will be much happier. Happiness is a choice: you can either choose to be happy, or to not be happy. In fact, it’s the simplest of choices. If you choose to be happy, then be happy! Gratitude can help to get you there. Even in the most unfortunate of circumstances, there are ways to look at a situation in which you can find things to be grateful for. And focusing on gratitude and the blessings and lessons in each moment of your day will contribute to your increased happiness.

Some great ways to cultivate a habit of gratitude include meditation, starting a gratitude journal, and doing a little check whenever you think of it by taking a moment to breathe deeply, close your eyes, and think of three things that you are grateful for. How can you not be happy when thinking about life’s blessings? If you are in a situation that feels scary, overwhelming, frustrating, depressing, infuriating, or hopeless…try to think of how the situation may in some way be a blessing. Maybe there is a lesson that can be learned? Maybe there is a chance to start new or to learn something about yourself? Maybe there is a chance to grow stronger? Maybe there is an opportunity to try something new or meet new people? Maybe there is a chance to reflect on something beautiful? I promise that if you LOOK for things to be thankful for…you can find them. And you will be happier, less stressed, and healthier for it. 

This is a great article on the health benefits of gratitude. Check it out here if you are interested!

How to you cultivate gratitude in your daily life?

xo, Anna