Bump Updates, Jameson, Pregnancy

Bump Update: 20 Weeks

Woah, we’re half way there
Woah, livin’ on a prayer
-Bon Jovi

Cheesy to quote Bon Jovi in regards to pregnancy? Probably. Do I care? Not one bit. At 20 weeks, we are HALFWAY to meeting our little guy. We have one more month left of the second trimester | five months along.

About this time in the pregnancy, all the apps start to really differ on sizing. So he’s somewhere between a large sweet potato and a really fat banana. 😀 Weighing in around 11 ounces and stretching out to 6.5 inches.

Last week we had our anatomy scan where they confirm the baby’s gender, check all the baby’s organs and spine to make sure they are all there and growing correctly, and point out your baby’s body parts to you. You get to hear and see the heartbeat. Jameson looked wonderful, no issues. And we got updated pictures that I put up around the house.

I am very grateful to have had a low-key pregnancy so far. Just some minor back aches and paints, exhaustion, frequent hunger, trouble sleeping, constant peeing, and a bit of pregnancy brain. Pregnancy Brain is a new offender as of the last couple of weeks. Nothing too bad, mainly just losing my train of thought, but it causes me to talk to myself a lot which is always fun.

Right now, I am just busy putting together Jameson’s nursery and gathering some cute clothes. I honestly I had no idea I would be so excited to shop for boy clothes, but I’ve found some great stuff! Currently on a spending freeze until next month, because baby stuff is just so so so adorable.

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Uncategorized

Books I Plan to Read in 2021

As so many of you know, I love reading. It’s what got me into blogging and through so many rough times. It’s an escape like no other. I used to read so much – my best GoodReads challenge was back in 2014 (the first year I signed up for the challenge) when I was a lonely college freshman and I read 31 out of 30 books. Over time life has just gotten in the way. Ever since I had Hazel, I have literally read three books. THREE. Just acknowledging that frustrates me and breaks my heart.

I didn’t make any resolutions this year, but I am consciously making an effort to make time for reading. I think it will be good for my daughter to see me reading and maybe sit down and read next to me. So with that in mind, I picked up Jodi Picoult (my favorite author)’s newest novel and started reading it on the first of the year. My goal was just to read at the very least a page every night before bed… just to get back in the habit. Well that has taken on a life of it’s own and I can’t seem to put down the book. And you know what, that feels incredible, like I’m – dare I say – finding myself again.

Now that I’m currently on fire for reading again, I started looking into what books I might want to read this year. My goal is 12. I’m thinking it will be a mix of fiction, parenting, and potty training. 🙂

Fiction

  • The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  • Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
  • Fable by Adrienne Young
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Writers and Lovers by Lily King
  • Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Parenting

  • How to Raise a Reader
  • The Montessori Toddler
  • The Whole Brain Child
  • No Drama Discipline
  • The Yes Brain
  • Raising Good Humans
  • How Parents Can Raise Resilient Children
  • Conscious Parenting of Your Toddler
  • The 5 Love Languages of Children
  • Baby Sign Language Made Easy
  • Gentle Discipline
  • Raising Boys to Be Good Men
  • Strong Mothers, Strong Sons
  • How to Raise a Boy
  • Better Boys, Better Men
  • Boys Should Be Boys
  • Decoding Boys

Potty Training

  • Early Start Potty Training
  • Potty Training in 3 Days
  • Potty Training for Busy Parents
  • Oh Crap! Potty Training
  • The No Cry Potty Training Solution

What books are in your TBR pile this year?

Pregnancy

It’s A Boy!

We have actually known since late October that we were having a boy and it was so so so hard to keep the secret! I may have spilled the beans to more than a few people. 😀

My midwife knows how much of a planner I am and how I like to know the gender as early as possible, so she told me about a blood test that can reveal your baby’s gender as early as 8 weeks. This was literal music to my ears and of course I didn’t hesitate to pick this option. I got the blood test as soon as I could and we knew the results within a few days. Amazing!

Like last time, we let my mom do a little reveal for us. The gender results company sent my mom the gender in an email and that night we came over for the reveal. This time she did a fun and suspenseful balloon popping. She filled (I think!) six black balloons with tissue paper. Five had white tissue paper and one had colored tissue paper. The trickster that she is knew which one had the colored tissue paper, so she held onto it ensuring we popped it last. We each took turns popping a balloon and it was incredibly suspenseful. Hazel did really well with the loud noises too!

It’s hard to tell, but there’s light blue tissue paper mixed with the white.

As the blue paper fell around me, I was truly shocked. I really thought we were going to have another girl – I can’t even explain why – some might even say we had one of those gender reveal fails, because at the end of the video you can hear me saying “I really thought it was a girl…” But after a few minutes I came around and am truly very excited and grateful for this little boy blessing.

Back before we were even married, Jeremiah and I picked out a girl and a boy name. We used the girl name for our first-born girl and now we get to use the boy name for our first-born boy. Welcome to the family, Jameson Taylor Grey!

Faith, Uncategorized

How We Christmas

It feels weird writing this after Christmas has passed, but now that all the festivities are over, I need to take a moment to collect my thoughts.

Christmas used to look the same for me every single year. My family are creatures of habit that don’t like or invite change. We had a few traditions we stuck to, but overall it was pretty basic and uneventful… not necessarily in a bad way, I just have never loved or enjoyed Christmas the way other people do. I always thought that when I grew up and had a family of my own that it would be different – that somehow Christmas would be so special. I married a guy who really likes Christmas, which you’d think would make the holiday season easier… but honestly I felt extremely uninspired this year, was hella stressed out, had a breakdown on Christmas day, and already took down all the decorations.

I’m truly relieved that Christmas is finally over and that makes me really sad which leads me to what this whole post is about – how I want to change the way my family does Christmas moving forward.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

As a Christian, I participate in Christmas because it is the celebration of Jesus’ birth – when God gave us the greatest gift of all. With that being said, moving forward I want that to be at the core of why we do all of the things we do during this season.

Santa Free Zone

We don’t do Santa. Yep, I said it. I’ve never “played” Santa. I’ve never talked to Hazel about Santa. We have no Santa decor or books in our home. We also do not do Elf on the Shelf (side note: my mom has homemade elves that her grandmother sewed that have been in her family since she was a little girl. She inherited them and sets them up in funny places around the living room – wayyyy before elf on the shelf was a thing – and I hope to inherit them one day and do the same, but purely as a happy childhood memory). We don’t do Santa for many reasons, but this pretty much sums them all up: Christmas is about Jesus. Jesus was the greatest gift – He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, and died as a sacrifice for all of us sinners. God sent us Jesus, so that we could have a relationship with Him. God provides us grace and forgiveness, so essentially we can receive the gift of Jesus whether we are naughty or nice.

Three Gift Rule

This is one that I have never done before, but am extremely excited to implement. I heard about a lady that only gives her kids three gifts on Christmas – her reasoning: Jesus’ received three gifts, so why would you get any more than him? I love love love this and think it’s brilliant and can’t believe I’d never heard of it before. Starting this next Christmas, we are going to do three gifts + stockings. Since Christmas is all about Jesus, this is a great way to weave his birth story into your festivities and keep the real meaning of Christmas on your mind and in your heart.

It’s Not Just a Tree

Last year, Hazel’s first Christmas and our first Christmas in our house, we started the tradition of going as a family to a tree farm and picking out a real tree. I’d never had a real tree growing up, so this tradition is really special to me. As our kids get older, I cannot wait to head up to the farm and let them work together on picking the right tree for us and then watch as Jeremiah cuts it down for us.

Decorating the Christmas tree has always felt like a chore to me. Growing up, I never put my ornaments in the right spot on the tree, so as I got older, I just stopped enjoying the act altogether and avoided it whenever possible. Well now I have a family who wants a decorated tree and I just dread it – this year our tree only had lights – but the more I have been thinking about Christmas and how it is about Jesus – I realized that the Christmas tree symbolizes Jesus’ death – the ultimate sacrifice. So moving forward, I won’t just be decorating a silly tree because everyone else is, I’ll be decorating a symbol of God’s love for me, so that I can look at it with awe and thanks and be reminded of what this little baby ultimately was born to do for me.

The Brighter The Better

Christmas lights are probably the best thing about Christmas for me. I love seeing the lights when I drive around at night. I feel like there are less and less lights every year which is disappointing, but only fuels me to try to make our house really bright. I wasn’t in the spirit this year, so we only did the lights around the edge of our house and some twinkly lights around our door. Next year, I hope to add some twinkly lights around our porch posts and outlining the windows. Eventually, I’m thinking we will needs lights down our front walkway as well as across our fence. Similar to our tree situation, the more I thought about what Christmas lights and how they could be connected to Jesus, I realized that in the Christmas story, the wise men follow a bright star to find the baby, that Jesus was the light of the world, and that Jesus calls us to be light in the darkness. Lights aren’t just lights after all.

Simple Christmas Day

Navigating family during Christmas can be tricky. We have a good family, but they can be overwhelming. One of the hardest parts of getting married for me is having to compromise – especially at holidays. I’m getting better and better at including my husband and meshing his traditions with mine, but I’m also an A+ people pleaser, so sometimes things get rocky when the extended family gets involved. Moving forward, I am going to be really straight yet firm about my family’s plans and festivities… we will do Christmas Eve with the whole family per tradition, but Christmas Day will look a bit different.

Ever since we got married, Jeremiah has been so kind to concede his Christmas Eve traditions for mine. But in doing that, I have tried to incorporate as much of his traditions into Christmas Day as I can, but that hasn’t always sat well with my family. Jeremiah’s always done a simple, lazy if you will, Christmas. They just kind of hang out together – watch movies, bake some cookies, play in the snow, whatever. So he really wants something reminiscent of that for us. At first it was hard to picture, because I come from a go, go, go family, but the more I thought about it – and after this latest Christmas – it sounds quite nice. So I’ve decided that starting this next Christmas, I will be creating a Christmas Day schedule. This will include breakfast (cinnamon streusel muffins – my tradition), opening presents at our own pace, late lunch (homemade pizza – Jeremiah’s tradition), nap + play games + do whatever, baking cookies, dinner (homemade pizza/sugar!!!) + watch It’s a Wonderful Life. These will be the activities – family is more than welcome to come for what they want to participate in, but I will not be bullied or guilt tripped into feeling bad for how our Christmas Day looks.

Misc.

Obviously, there will be other stuff, but I plan to keep it simple. We can go look at lights, see a nativity, attend Christmas Eve service, build gingerbread houses…. the lists goes on, but it’s going to more like, let’s do what we can and if we can’t get to it or don’t feel up to it, then we skip it. I want Christmas to be more Jesus and less pressure.

My hope is that the more we focus on Jesus and remember what we are actually celebrating, that magic of Christmas will become a lot more obvious. I’m actually looking forward to trying again next year.

Nesting

House Update

Two and a half years ago, Jeremiah and I bought a house. It’s a cozy little house, perfect for our current needs. When we first moved in, the entire inside of the house had been painted gray. That may be our last name, but it is not my cup-of-tea for the color of my home, so I knew that I would eventually be painting all the walls. So far I have painted every wall except for the kitchen, hallway, and master bathroom. I’m very proud of that progress so far.

I love dreaming up and planning out how I want to update and decorate each room of the house. I have google docs galore and get excited every time I get to cross off one of my ideas. Each room is a work-in-progress which is why I don’t post about the updates I’ve done so far. I’m debating whether I will start since it can take a long time to get a room exactly the way you want it.

Hazel’s room was the first one I worked on – which I posted about. The next one I tackled was painting the hall bathroom – it’s an icy blue. Next was the playroom – I ended up painting the entire room white, which is rare for me, but the color scheme for the playroom is rainbow, so I felt that the white walls would make the decor and toys pop. For my birthday this past year, I worked on our master bedroom – three deep navy blue walls and one white wall to offset the color. Then over the summer, Jeremiah and I decided to brighten up our living room – one and a half walls mint, one and a half walls yellow, and one wall white – the half walls are both sides of the fireplace. I got bored and chose to do something about our entryway – I painted three walls white and then the main wall three-fourths navy (from our bedroom) and one-third light pink (from Hazel’s room). Lastly, we have been working on our new baby’s room – but what we have done is a secret, because we haven’t released the gender yet, but it’s one of my favorite rooms in the house so far.

As you can see, I love color and I am bringing that into every inch of our home. I feel like color is so important to feeling alive, being positive, and creating a space that can be lived in. This may sound harsh, but I cannot stand this new fad of having neutral colored homes – an entire home of cream, white, and beige is all the rage on instagram and makes me want to vomit.

I’m really excited about how our house is turning out and every room makes me want to stay at home. There’s a lot more projects to come and a few more rooms to paint… with baby coming this upcoming year I don’t know how much we will get done, but I see lots of bright and happy days ahead of us.