Bumpdate: Week 34

Friday, March 31, 2017

How far along? 34 weeks, 2 days.

Weight gain? 35 pounds and counting.

Maternity clothes? Yes, the stretchier the better.

Sleep? This past week the pregnancy insomnia has kicked in full force, and if I wake up in the middle of the night I have the worst time getting back to sleep. This is unfortunate considering I need to pee at least twice during the night, so I think I'm spending more time awake than asleep at this point.

Best moment this week? Finishing up all the final preparations for the baby shower (which is tomorrow!) I'm excited for it, and also a little bit ready for it to be over with.

Weird pregnancy moment? On Wednesday, the baby kicked a nerve and suddenly a quarter of my stomach felt like I was getting electric shocked. It was WEIRD. And it felt slightly numbed for a solid five minutes afterwards. I'm hoping it doesn't get worse as she keeps getting bigger. Also, hearing that someone I know who was only a week further along than me just had her baby a couple of days ago. Nothing like hearing that to send you into instant panic mode.

Food cravings? All the food. I'm still not having any specific cravings, but I'm just hungry all the time. I actually had a patient at work tell me how "cute" it is that I'm always shoving food into my face now every time she sees me. Thanks? I think...

Movement? Yes! All the time and I'm loving it.

Gender? A sweet, little girl.

What I'm looking forward to? Seeing all my sweet friends and family at the shower this weekend, and of course that we're getting closer to our due date by the minute.

Things I'm Saying Yes to This Week.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

I'm saying yes to getting out of my comfort zone. This weekend we're having my baby shower which means that 25 people (that I love) will be coming to our house and all the attention will be on me and this baby belly. As excited as I am, I'm also incredibly nervous and not generally a fan of anything that directly revolves around me, so I'll definitely be out of my comfort zone.

I'm saying yes to being prepared. I'm usually an over-preparer and this week hasn't been any different for me. Yesterday I took my car to a place where they helped me install our carseat base,  and I bought everything that I'm going to need for my hospital bag. We're getting closer and I'm getting ready.

I'm saying yes to knowing when to say no. This weekend I did so many crafts for the shower (generally involving lifting things I shouldn't have been lifting, and bending in ways I shouldn't have been bending) and I immediately regretted it on Monday morning when I woke up and realized that at least for now, I have to slow things down, which means saying no when I know that I'm pushing my body past it's comfort point.

I'm saying yes to mid-week celebrations. This week we celebrated our four year wedding anniversary. And by celebrated I mean that Daniel had work, and then school, and then work again and I bought him his favorite snack foods and a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and we ate lunch together and it was a perfectly small but wonderful mid-week celebration of our love for each other.

I'm saying yes to accepting my body. Yesterday I put on the dress that I was going to wear for my shower (a really pretty, red dress) and instead of looking like I remembered, I looked a little closer to my own version of the koolaid man. So after a minor total breakdown, I reminded myself of all of the amazing things my body is doing right now and decided that I'm going to work harder on saying yes to feeling comfortable in my own skin.

I'm saying yes to being happy. Because if you look at all these other things: getting out of my comfort zone, being prepared, saying no (when it's necessary), celebrating the little things and accepting my body, than it's pretty clear that there's so much to be happy about.

What are you saying yes to this week? 

Happy Anniversary. Love You, Forever.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Four years of marriage.

Four years of lessons.

Four years of movies & take-out date nights.

Four years of growing up together.

Four years of adventures.

Four years of choosing each other.

Four years of understanding.

Four years of silly questions.

Four years of teamwork.

Four years of creating our family.

Four years of love. 

Happy 4 years to my best friend. I love you more.

Pre-Baby Adventures You Need to Have

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Recently I've been considering how much our lives are going to change after the baby gets here. Not in any bad way, but down to the smallest details I've been noticing the little things that just probably won't be the same once she arrives.

Like last night for example, I woke up and didn't know what time it was. So in the middle of the night I made the decision that I needed to buy a new clock that I could put somewhere in view for those middle of the night baby wake up calls.

Obviously, I know that adding a new clock to our bedroom is on the list of very minor things that will be different about our lives in the grand scheme of bringing home a baby (by the way, how fun is this vintage clock?). But, such a small thing got me thinking about some of the bigger things.

One thing that I know will stay the same is our love of adventure. We like taking day trips, and exploring new things. We live in Los Angeles and it's a city that is just bursting with things to do if you know where to look for them. By bringing a little baby along with us I know we're going to be able to appreciate some of these things as if we're seeing them for the first time, because she will be.

There are a few adventures, though, that are more suited for before she makes her way into our lives. Although I am eight and a half months pregnant at this point, so you may notice that some of these are a little smaller-scale, I plan to try and check off as many of them as possible before her arrival.

Spend an entire afternoon at the library. Library's are notoriously non-baby friendly. But if you're anything like me, spending an afternoon curled up in one of the library chairs with a pile full of books is an adventure in it's own. So before your baby arrives, take a day and get lost in what will probably be some of the best adventures of your life. 

Take a trip to your favorite amusement park. This is totally something you can still do once your baby arrives. But, you may be more limited in the activities you can do once you're there. Daniel and I swear by Disneyland as the greatest amusement park on earth, but if you're more of a Universal Studios or Six Flags type of person then spend your day there filling up on over-priced foods and riding anything that you can still fit your baby bump on. 

Go on a road trip. At this point my range of travel is just about two hours before I'm too uncomfortable to sit in the car, or before Daniel is too sick of me asking him to stop for more snacks or let me pee just one more time (tmi?). Lucky for us, we live in a place where two hours can get you to the beach, or the mountains, or into the city. If you're able to make a trip a little further, than I say go for it. Get lost in a new place, listen to music you love and lost track of time and schedules. I promise you won't regret it. 

Try a few (fancy) recipes. Chances are when baby arrives it's going to be more a matter of what can you cook quickly and shovel into your mouth in between nap time, and less focused on what you can make that actually tastes good. For us, cooking has always been an adventure. We love trying out new recipes and making food that we've never made before. This weekend we pulled a recipe from my favorite cookbook of all time for scallops, warm corn salad, and coconut rice. I've never made scallops before and we were lucky enough to find them on sale at Sprouts. The whole meal was so easy to make, and tasted amazing. Pick a few recipes you would never usually make, and turn cooking into an adventure. 

Celebrate your favorite holiday (no matter what time of year it is). Holiday's with our little girl are one of the things that I just about die over whenever I think about how wonderful they're going to be. But if you have certain holiday traditions that won't necessarily suit having a baby around for them, then who says you can't celebrate it at a different time of year? If you love Halloween, than buy a few bags of candy in July and watch your favorite Halloween movies. Christmas calling your name? String up a few lights, light one of your favorite Christmas candles from bath and body works (I know you've still got them around somewhere), play your favorite Christmas playlist and bake some cookies! You'll probably have just about as much fun as you will when the holiday actually arrives. 

What other adventures do I need to have before we welcome our littlest love? 

What I Read in March

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Plot: In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life. 

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn't even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they cam for her without warning. 

Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They've killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon. 

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it's her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous. 

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of. - Via Goodreads

What I thought: I liked this one a lot. At times it was a little longand certain parts were a little drawn out for me but the story kept my attention. I found the characters to be likable and the relationships between them to be at times funny, at times sad, but overall good.

Do I think you should you read it? If you've ever read and liked any of Stephenie Meyer's other books than I'd say yes you should read this one as well. Her writing style is pretty similar in this one as it is in her other stories, and she stays true to herself as an author. My biggest criticism was that I kept finding myself waiting for the next big thing to happen rather than just enjoying the story but I don't know if that says more about me as a reader or about the story itself. Give it a try and get back to me on that one.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Plot: Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a "wonderful" husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical, most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver. 

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie, and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper. 

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges. - Via Goodreads

What I thought: Loved, loved, loved this book. It was so adorable. The story came from the point of view of one of the most interesting narrators that I've read in awhile. It was light hearted and at times had me laughing out loud. It was a quick read and had me wishing there was more by the time I got to the end, which is why I immediately went and put the second book on hold at the library.

Do I think you should you read it? Yes! Right away!

Here's To Us by Elin Hilderbrand 

Plot: Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver share only two things; a love for the man they all married, Deacon Thorpe -- a celebrity chef with an insatiable appetite for life -- and a passionate dislike of one another. All three are remarkable, spirited women, but they couldn't be more different. Laurel: Deacon's high school sweetheart and an effortlessly beautiful social worker; Belinda: a high-maintenance Hollywood diva; and Scarlett: a sexy southern belle floating by on her family money and her fabulous looks. They've established a delicate understanding over the years -- they avoid each other at all costs. 

But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon's tragic death on his favorite place on earth: a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage. Deacon's final wish was for his makeshift family to assemble on his beloved Nantucket to say good-bye. Begrudgingly, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett gather on the island as once again, as in each of their marriages, they're left to pick up Deacon's mess. Now they're trapped in the crowded cottage where they all made their own memories -- a house that they now share in more ways than one -- along with the children they raised with Deacon, and his best friend. Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett each had an unbreakable bond with Deacon -- and they all have secrets to hide. 

Before the weekend is over, there are enough accusations, lies, tears, and drama to turn even the best of friends -- let alone three women who married the same man -- into adversaries. As his unlikely family says good-bye to the man who brought them together -- for better or worse -- will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to raise a glass in Deacon's honor? - Via Goodreads

What I thought: This was my first Elin Hilderbrand novel. I picked it up randomly after it seemed like just about everyone and their mother's were recommending her books.

I'll be honest about it, at first I found myself getting slightly annoyed with some of the main characters. All three women who were married to Deacon seem to give him free passes for literally anything and everything that he did wrong in their marriages, and even after he was gone they justified the way he hurt them, and why.

However, each woman became increasingly likable as the story went on. It's overall a good read that reminds you that no one is perfect and there are things that everyone can do to try and better themselves. It's a book about love, and forgiveness and family. And it takes place on Nantucket which kind of sounds like one of the most swoon-worthy places to vacation. Also, it has recipes. Really delicious sounding, but also kind of difficult recipes that would be worth trying if you are at all good at cooking.

Do I think you should you read it? The setting of this book reminded me of Summer time and as we keep hinting at warmer days, I am so desperate for anything that makes me feel that way. If you're in the same boat, or if you're just looking for a generally easy read I'd say to give this one a try. It wasn't the greatest book I've read by any means, but it had a lot of good qualities and the author did a great job of giving each character something that the reader could connect to.

What have you been reading lately? 

Things I Couldn't Wait to Tell You About This Week.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Is it just me or has this week been extra long? I feel like people have been telling me to have a good weekend since Tuesday, which made me feel like Friday might never arrive. But, we're finally here and I ended this week on a good note when our sweet office staff threw me a baby shower during lunch.

However long your week has been I hope that you're ending it on a high note as well. If you're still reaching to get to that point than I've got a solution for you, these are a few things that I found out about this week that I just couldn't wait to share with you!

These Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips. They've got a ton of color options and if you take the time to put these on correctly, they seriously look like a high end manicure. They're roughly between two and ten dollars depending on the design and I promise you'll love them! PRO TIP: When you apply them, don't let any part of the polish strip (that you plan on putting on your nail) touch your skin. If you do, the oil from your hands will keep them from sticking to your nails as well as they should.

Argo Tea. I found these in a local grocery store and was drawn to them by the bottle. The fact that the tea tasted AMAZING was an added benefit. I tried the hibiscus and the ginger twist, and if you're interested in trying them I definitely suggest the sample pack. Even better, the bottle is glass so you can easily just pop the label off and fill these up as water bottles when you're done.

Grace and Frankie on Netflix. The new season arrived to Netflix today. Do yourself a favor and start binge watching from season one if you haven't yet.

Lush Easter Collection. Today Lush released their new collection of Easter bath and body goodies. They're just about the cutest things I've ever seen. If you need a little excuse to pamper yourself, why not make today that excuse? Try these golden egg bath bombs or bunch of carrots bubbles.

The Happy Planner. Earlier this week I wrote about my love for new planners and starting over in the Spring. And after a week of using my new Happy Planner I am still as obsessed with it as I was a few days ago. If you need a little sunshine in your week, these planners give you that plus some.

Happy Friday, friends. I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Is there anything I need to know about this week? 

It's Okay to Not Fit Into Any One Category

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I try to spend at least a half hour each morning reading blogs. I love them because if you know where to look, you can find something about anything you want to read. There are fashion blogs, food blogs, mom blogs, inspiration blogs, and pretty much everything in between.

My blog fits a little bit more into the everything in between category. I love writing here because there's no pressure to fit into any specific niche.

I've noticed that in a lot of blog posts that offer advice to other bloggers, one of the main points that continually comes up in way of growing your blog is the advice to find one thing that you can write about that will keep your readers coming back.

Since I've started blogging, I've always looked at this space a little differently.

Now, I am in no way what I would consider a "successful" blogger. I don't make money from my blog, I put in what others may consider minimal time in running my blog and it's not by any means a business. But when I do spend a little extra time creating content and sharing honest, upfront posts with you all, I absolutely notice an increase in readership and interactions with my posts.

Today for example, I want to write about blogging. Tomorrow maybe I'll share a recipe or give a few book recommendations. I haven't felt the need to narrow my blog down to any one specific category, because my life doesn't fit into any one category.

I write for the love of it and I'd rather share what means something to me, interesting or not, creative or not, because this space is a place where I feel like the best connections can be formed when there's a certain amount of honesty in each post.

I love taking a glimpse into the lives of other bloggers, don't we all? I think it helps me gain a certain amount of perspective, and when someone else's post helps me to change my mind about something or teaches me about something new, I feel a connection to that person through their words.

I'm okay with the fact that my blog doesn't fit into any one category, in fact, I hope it stays like that. I hope to some extent that I'll always focus on writing things that matter to me at the time and as I change, I expect those things to change as well.

As I continue to write, I hope you'll pop in from time to time and maybe on some level connect to something I've written. Whether it's a post about our soon-to-be newest addition, or believing in the unimaginable, I hope that you'll find something you can relate to. These are the little glimpses of my day-to-day that come together to make up my life, and just maybe you'll see a little bit of your own life reflected back to you.

Where do you stand? Do you prefer blogs that focus on one thing or a little bit of everything? Are there any kinds of posts you'd like to see more of? 

Fresh Starts and Reintroductions

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I don't really need an excuse to buy a new planner, but I sure do love one. It's a Tuesday? Time for a new planner. The start of a new month? There's your chance. A a trip to Michael's to "just look around"? I dare you to try to leave without a new planner.

The start of Spring is just another one of those perfect excuses, and this year it just so happened to fall on a Monday which I took as the universe telling me it was time for a fresh start. I hopped on over to Michael's and purchased one of these Happy Planners and had the most productive day ever best time filling my new planner with all of the things that will lead me to more productive days in the future.

I like to keep things real around here and so now that I've gone on a two paragraph rant about my love for planners, I figured I could use the rest of this post to share a few other things about myself as a bit of a reintroduction.

So hi, I'm Abbey.

I am an incredible over-planner. Hence the entire point of this post. I'd rather have 17 planners that all say the same thing than risk possibly not being prepared for something.

I'm married to my best friend. His name is Daniel. He's an EMT, a full time student, and in the Army reserves. We've been married for four years this month and we've NEVER had a "normal" schedule. His goofy-ness balances out my seriousness and we make a really great team.

We're expecting our first baby in May. A little girl, that we've decided to name Kensington Grace. We're incredibly excited, nervous and at times overwhelmed. We can't wait for our newest little adventure to arrive.

My family runs a book publishing company. And I owe my love of reading to my parents.

I believe in fresh starts. On any day, at any time. I'm a firm believer that it's never too late to start new.

My absolute favorite movies are Disney classics. I just don't think I could ever stop loving them.

I absolutely love the holidays. My favorites include Christmas, Halloween and July 4th (in that order). I also like birthdays and anything else that gives me a reason to celebrate.

My diet could consist entirely of pasta, bread, and sushi and I'd be content to live out my life. Hello, carbs. And fish. I love you.

I'm generally a shy person. But this blog gives me the perfect excuse to meet new friends, and to share a little piece of myself that other people don't usually get to see.

So won't you introduce yourself? I'd love to come stop by your blog. 

You Can Do Hard Things

Monday, March 20, 2017

The closer I get to this whole having a baby thing, the more nervous I get about the actual having a baby part.

As nervous as I am to actually give birth (because lets be honest, we all know that it's no walk in the park), I'm much more nervous about the fact that it is going to become my sole responsibility in life to raise a tiny human into a fully-functiong adult. And that is just the slightest bit totally and completely scary.

There's a part of me that understands how absolutely rewarding all of this is going to be, but another part that also understands that this will probably be the most difficult, although completely wonderful, thing I'll ever do.

I've always been a believer that even in the most difficult times, life will never throw more at you than you can handle. And if it seems like it has, chances are you're probably one step closer to becoming the much stronger person you will be on the other side.

Of course there have been plenty of times in my life that I've absolutely felt like I've hit a wall, but looking back on most of them now I've realized that they've helped get me to where I am today, and for that I'm thankful.

If you're in a situation right now that is making you feel unsure, nervous, or like you might not come out on top, I'm here to remind you that you can do hard things. 

You can finish school. 

You can work towards your dream job.

You can live on your own, or you can live with someone else. 

You can make your marriage exactly what you want it to be. 

You can have a baby, and be the type of parent you've always known you could be.

You can do hard things.

Too often I think we miss out on opportunities because of the fear of not being able to overcome something difficult in our lives.

I hope that you'll start this week by taking a chance on something you've been hesitant about. Or move in the direction of being overall more comfortable about something you're eventually going to face head on. And that one day you'll look back on it and realize that maybe it wasn't as hard as you thought it would be, or that if it was, you were always strong enough to handle it.

You can do hard things. So pour yourself your second third cup of coffee and take on the world. 

Easy Crockpot Posole

Friday, March 17, 2017

I've always been a firm believer that crockpots are not just for the winter. I could eat soup any time of year, and this one is no exception. This posole is not just one of the easiest things to make in the crockpot, it's also one of my favorites. 

If you've never had posole before, it's basically a Mexican style soup with pork (or chicken), hominy, enchilada sauce, chicken broth, and seasoning. There really isn't much else to it (in any of the versions I've ever tried) besides that, which in my opinion adds to it's appeal. 

I have no idea how they make it in restaurants, but Daniel's grandma taught me how to make this and I trust her cooking knowledge on just about anything. 

In general, I'm not a huge fan of pork but when it cooks for as long as it does in this soup, it is one of the most tender and delicious parts about it. 

We usually start by buying whatever pork shoulder is on sale and letting it cook for 8 or so hours overnight with just some salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. 

In the morning I just use two forks to shred it up and put half into a bowl, and half into the freezer to use for another time (the pork will be ridiculously hot at this point so let yours cool if you need to before shredding it up). It should already be falling apart by the time you start shredding it. If i'm going to make the posole right away, I wait a little bit of time to let the crockpot cool down, then clean it out and gather my ingredients for the soup. 

*If you are using pork that you've already frozen, you don't have to worry about thawing it out first, it can go right in during step 4 of the directions. 

All you need to make this recipe is:
1 Pork Shoulder (I usually use half for one meal and save half of it for another)
1 Can Red Enchilada Sauce
1 Large Can of Hominy 
Chicken Broth (enough to fill the crockpot more than halfway)
Menudo Seasoning (this can generally be found among the other seasonings at any regular grocery story and is usually only like 69 cents)

For garnish:
White Onion

1. Fill the crockpot with chicken broth. I usually fill it close to three quarters of the way full. 
2. Drain the hominy (it's okay if there is some liquid left) and pour that and the enchilada sauce into the crockpot with the broth. 
3. Add your shredded pork back into the crockpot. 
4. Pour in some of the menudo seasoning and mix everything with a spoon. This part is not an exact science, more seasoning WILL result in spicier soup so please keep that in mind (it does contain red pepper flakes). The first time you make it, add a small amount (a tablespoon or so) and taste it mid-way through cooking. If you want more spice, continue to add more. 
5. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7 or 8. At this point, the meat is already fully cooked so the longer cook time really just allows for the seasoning to become more developed in the broth. 

By the time you eat the soup it will be close to four shades darker than when you first put everything in, and that's exactly how it should be. And that's all there is to it! It is so simple and seriously one of the most comforting soups.

Before serving, Daniel and I like to add a lot of fresh lemon juice into ours, as well as some chopped white onion and cilantro, but the best part about this recipe is that it's pretty much all to taste. Experiment to see how much more or less seasoning you'll want to use later, and you can't go wrong. This also makes great leftovers. It will separate some when you cool it down, but just heating it back up in the microwave will mix everything together. I hope you enjoy!

What are some of your favorite easy crockpot recipes? 

Baby Shower Themes You Can Totally Afford

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It's no state secret that it costs money to have a baby, duh. But there are also things that come into play before your baby even arrives that cost money as well, such as a baby shower. 

If you've decided to throw your own shower (I'm going about 50/50 on mine) you may have noticed that costs quickly rise, especially if you're expected to host a lot of people. 

It can be overwhelming when you're trying to save up for important baby gear, to put aside any money for a party. But it can also be fun. I've put together a list of some of my favorite (affordable) baby shower themes. This list doesn't include the price for food for any of your guests, but more generally focuses on the decor and preparation and gives you the ability to customize each theme as it fits to your needs.

Each theme is uniquely different and all are under $100 for the supplies.

What You'll Need: 

Red & White Striped Table Skirt $7

Popcorn Bags $4

Candy Apple Kit $13

Barnums Animal Cookies $1.50

Carnival Cupcake Stand $7

Photo Booth Props $5

Raffle Tickets $4

Red & White Paper Straws $6

Average cost for decorations: $47.50 
What You'll Need: 

Average cost for decorations: $71.00
What You'll Need: 

Average cost for decorations: $74.00
What You'll Need: 

Burlap Banner $7 (customizable to whichever saying you'd like) 

Average cost for decorations: $73.00
What You'll Need: 

Average cost for decorations: $81.00

Hand make what you can, where you can and you'll also save yourself some extra money. These themes are intended to be no stress, fun ideas for showering yourself and your baby with a little extra love. For my own shower we're going with an animal theme, but there's more to come about that later. 

Did you throw your own shower? What kind of theme did you go with? 

The Big Bad D-Word

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Daniel and I have decided recently to try to make ourselves more accountable for our spending. It's not just the two of us in the picture anymore, and we've noticed a few things in our spending habits that aren't exactly conducive to bringing a baby into our home.

Debt is a tricky thing. It's a little like quick sand in that it's easy to get into and tough to get out of.

We aren't perfect and we've accumulated some credit card debt, car loans, and student loans over the past few years since we've been married. With all the moving we had to do in the military it was only natural that we wanted to feel settled in each place, and more often than not, that led to buying things. We've been lucky enough to always have a consistent paycheck, and both of us have been healthy enough to work, but that didn't always mean we were making smart decisions.

More recently, we've been taking into account all of the added costs that having a baby will bring. We've looked at our budget from every angle and we've realized that even the smallest bad habits like eating out once or twice a week adds up to more than a few boxes of diapers or a couple of baby outfits.

We've decided to use Dave Ramsey's 7 baby steps as a means to guide us through eliminating some of our debt, and getting some more money into savings. Dave Ramsey uses something he calls the snowball method as a means of getting rid of debt. I highly recommend researching it if you're looking for a relatively easy-to-follow guide for paying down your debt.

It starts you off simple, by getting a little money into an emergency fund, and continues from there by allowing you to pay off one section of your debt at a time. Even better, you don't need to pay for any of his methods as most of his information can be found online. We've already surpassed step 1 by keeping some money in a savings account over the past few years, so we're jumping right into step 2 and attacking our debt as quickly as possible.

We've been looking closely at where our money is going and it's true that a majority of it goes each month to paying off debt we've already acquired.

We'd like to be in a better position, especially by the end of the year, and I've decided to use you all as a means of helping us keep accountable! I'll be checking in with updates on where we stand, how we're progressing and of course the inevitable ups and downs of the good and bad months we're sure to have. I'm also hoping to get creative by coming up with more affordable ways to still do the things that we love.

We're heading into this optimistically and with a positive attitude and we can't wait to see where this journey takes us. Wish us luck!

Do you have any tips or favorite resources for getting out of debt? 

Book's for Baby's Library

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Originally I had planned to ask everyone who was coming to our baby shower to bring a book with them instead of a card. But as I've come to find out, one of the most difficult things in the world once you know you're having a baby is going into any place that sells children's books and not buying at least three of them at a time. 

If you aren't sure which children's books you would like to get for your littlest love, then asking people to bring them at a shower is a wonderful way to start a collection. 

But if you're anything like me and already have an ongoing list of children's books that you love and know you need your baby to own, then you're probably safer just picking them out yourself. 

Here are a few of the books I absolutely can't wait to have for my little one's library:

9. Anything Dr. Seuss but some of my favorites are Oh, The Places You'll Go! and The Lorax.  

I could go on forever with a list like this but those are some of my absolute must-have's for this little love's library. 

What are some of your favorite children's books? 

Two Years of Blogging: What I've Learned

Monday, March 13, 2017

A lot has changed around here in the past two years since I've had this little space on the internet. Not just on my blog but in the blogging world in general.

Over the past couple of years I've used this blog for a lot of things, as a way to connect, as a place to keep digital memories, and much less frequently as a source of income.

After two relatively consistent years of showing up here, I thought I'd share a few things I've learned so far with all of you.

If you fall off the blogging planet for any period of time, it will still be there waiting for you. Life gets busy, we've all got a million and one things to do. If you take a little hiatus it will be okay. The blogging world will take you back.

Write for yourself. This goes a little into the first point. This is your space, and these are your words. Write what matters to you, when you have the time, and if you happen to connect with others out there than it makes it that much better.

Don't be afraid to reach out. If you want to connect with another blogger or a brand, don't be afraid to reach out. Start with a few comments, or email a company to tell them how you could help them promote their product. The absolute worst they can do is tell you they're not interested at the time, and that's okay too. Just keep trying.

Use other social media's to share your posts. If you are looking at increasing your readership, using other social medias to share your posts is one of the best things you could do. I love using Pinterest to share my posts, especially if I have a relevant picture that would look appealing on a Pinterest board. Find out which social media accounts work best for yours through trial and error.

Idea's will come and they will go. I like to try to have a few "series" type posts that I know I can use each month to fill in space when the inspiration isn't necessarily flowing. You can also always try to find things in your life that you could use for a post, but don't be discouraged if you're not full of ideas at some point or another.

Don't compare yourself. It's easy to see someone else's blog and automatically assume they're doing something you aren't because they have more comments on a post, or because they always seem full of interesting and new blog post ideas. But the worst thing you can do is compare yourself to them. Instead, engage in other people's posts. Spend some time putting in the work, and likely the results will follow.

Have fun with it. There isn't anything being expected of you, so have some fun, get creative and make your online space something you're proud of.

Have you been blogging for awhile? What have you learned so far? 

Favorite Maternity Shops

Friday, March 10, 2017

Finding maternity clothes that fit me/that I actually want to wear has been one of the bigger challenges for me so far throughout this pregnancy. 

For the most part, the weight that I've put on so far has generally stayed around my belly, which is great in some aspects and not so great in others. It's proving relatively difficult to find clothes that fit around my arms and legs (which haven't put on much weight) and my stomach (which definitely has) all at the same time. 

I spent an hour in the fitting room at Nordstrom last weekend searching for a dress for my baby shower. After what felt like 27 different options, I still didn't leave with anything except a little discouragement. I know this isn't forever, and I know what my body is going through is something truly amazing. But I can't get around needing to find clothes that fit.

Luckily, it's getting warmer and I've been able to track down a few good options for places that sell flowy dresses which is exactly the type of thing I want to be wearing. 

If you're looking for a few options for maternity wear, here are some of my suggestions.

Target. Obviously Target is not a maternity store but I think we can all agree that when we really need something we can always count on the fact that we can probably find it there. I practically lived in these leggings for the first 4-5 months of being pregnant. I loved the belly support and although I can't fit into the size I bought originally anymore, I plan to head over and get a few more pair asap.

ASOS. Prior to getting pregnant I had never shopped ASOS before. I've loved my entire shopping experience with ASOS because they have a free return policy. It's difficult when your body is changing so rapidly and you aren't able to try something on, but they always shipped items quickly and if I didn't like them I just put them right back in the mail. One of my favorite dresses was this one I bought it in two colors and I love that I'll still be able to comfortably wear it after Kensington arrives. They also have tons of cute, and cheap, maternity tops and pants.

Piper & Scoot. Also not technically a maternity shop. However, most of their dresses can easily be turned into maternity wear because of the stretchy material. I recently purchased this dress and there is little stopping me from wearing it every single day. Their clothes are so comfortable and soft and are perfect for someone who is pregnant, or not!

Amazon. Another non-maternity shop, I've started using amazon to purchase things like nursing bra's and tank tops. You can't really beat $27 dollars for three nursing bras, even if they only last you a short time.

Destination Maternity. I've gone back and forth with this one. Some of the tops I purchased here have been great, others I haven't loved as much. One thing that I absolutely did love from here were the jeans. Although a little bit on the pricier side, these jeans grow with you as your bump does so they are perfect for anytime during your pregnancy. I gave in and bought two pair after it seemed like I was buying (and squeezing myself into) a new size of non-maternity jeans every week. I suggest getting these early on in your pregnancy and just wearing them throughout. You won't regret it.

H&M. This has been my go-to store for maternity wear for work. They have some really cute button-down tops that are also belly friendly. I also love their selection of basics.

Where are some of your favorite places to shop for maternity wear? 


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