Weekend Pretties


Another week gone by, already?  And we’re in May?  But how?  This week flew by but didn’t really have any major newsworthy events.  I spent the days it was supposed to be raining spring cleaning and the sunny days tirelessly working in the garden again – but it’s almost finished!  The big flower bed I‘ve been working so hard to tame has been a lot more work than I anticipated, but it makes such a big difference.  Neighbors have been stopping by to give encouraging words and say how much better the yard looks.  I planted some shasta daisy and peony plants and am headed outside to lay down some wildflower seeds and mulch now before heading off to a lunch date on a patio (it’s forecasted to be sunny and 70 today!).  Monday is Cinco de Mayo and that also happens to be our 10th anniversary – me and Frank’s anniversary that is (Frank’s my dog).  So tomorrow my family is coming over for a celebratory feast and I’m scrambling to find a mini sombrero for Frank to wear.  He used to have one, but I got rid of it in a purge years ago (curses!).  Hope you are having a great weekend!  Here are a few interesting things I found this week.

Ingenious cooking tricks.

We’re all familiar with gender wage gaps – but did you know it happens in children’s allowances??

A new gluten free flour and I’ll bet you can’t guess what it’s made from.

USA and Canada: no touching allowed.

A post about giving birth that perfectly sums up my frustrations with the standard hospital systems and protocols.

Junk food from the 90s was pretty atrocious.

The new coconut water.

26 real places that look like they’ve been taken out of fairy tales.

Kate and William’s anniversary was this week (I love them!) and to celebrate, here are pictures of them looking perfectly in love (I just love them!).

Real life inspirations behind Disney characters.

A gorgeous and unexpected way to decorate your kitchen.

Look at the lights over the dining table in this house!

A beautiful story about marriage and getting through “for better or worse”.

Nursery Things

collecting nursery things (print by minted)

I’m 16 weeks pregnant as of yesterday and I’ve started accumulating a few items here and there that will go into the nursery of our little babe.  So far, we don’t have any of the necessities like a crib or rocking chair, but we’ve collected a few personal items that are sweet reminders of who is going to be living in this room come October.  A tiny rocking horse that my grandfather made for my brother and me when we were babies.  He even painted the face and tacked on that padded leather seat, what a guy.  A hand-knit chimp that Parker brought home from work one day that I absolutely love.  And this “Be Unique” fish print from Minted that they sent me as part of their involvement with Every Mother Counts for Mother’s Day.

collecting nursery things (print by minted)

Every Mother Counts is an advocacy and mobilization campaign founded by Christy Turlington Burns to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally. A woman dies every 90 seconds around the world from complications of pregnancy. 90% of these deaths are preventable. Being pregnant for the first time certainly brings me a whole new level of awareness and empathy for mothers around the world and it breaks my heart to think that simple procedures and interventions could save the lives of so many women, if only they had access to proper care.  This Mother’s Day, Minted is donating 20% of ALL art proceeds if you use the code PRETTYEMC at checkout.

I love this organization and applaud its efforts to raise awareness and help mothers around the world, so I was really pleased when Minted reached out and asked me to spread the word to you guys.  The Every Mother Counts website is great, check it out and watch the videos to learn more (like this one about how the lack of basic transportation is an obstacle that can turn a minor complication into life or death situation, or this message from founder Christy Turlington Burns.).  It’s truly eye opening.

collecting nursery things (print by minted)

collecting nursery things (print by minted)

collecting nursery things (print by minted)

 I love this print for our nursery and the message I hope our kids grow up to embrace.  I’m excited to start collecting more art for the space because I really believe having fun things to look at in those quiet moments have such an impact on a child’s imagination.

collecting nursery things (print by minted)

So what do you think of my little collection so far?  Lots of blues and reds, which might be leaning toward a more traditional boy color palette, but I don’t really care about that.  Colors are colors in my mind, and both genders have equal claim to them.  Although, if we do find out we’re expecting a little girl, I probably won’t be able to help myself with a few feminine touches.  :)

Be sure to check out Minted for Mother’s Day this year.  There are so many unique art prints that would make great gifts for your mom this year.  I love all the ideas Minted pulled together here.  And don’t forget to use the code PRETTYEMC at checkout to have 20% donated to Every Mother Counts.


Weekend Pretties


Happy weekend!  How was your week?  Hope it was a good one.  I have spent the last two days in my yard, digging up weeds and tons upon tons of monkey grass, odd plants, and so many wild onions I don’t know what to do with.  Everything was overgrown and unkempt, and I just decided what we needed was a clean, fresh start.  So I’ve been hacking away and just about got it down to bare dirt and hopefully I can make it over to the nursery to stock up on new plants that will make everything look pretty, like those peony bushes above!  Aren’t they lovely?  Anyway, I’ll be taking advantage of the good weather and staying outside this weekend.  Hope you have a good one!  Here are 11 fun links to browse through if you find yourself in a browsing mood.

Loved peeking in to Anna Bond’s typical day.

A very helpful infographic to keep in the kitchen.

A brilliant West Elm hack that I’m considering doing for our bedroom.

Seawer is a self-supported hydroelectric power station that can generate electricity using seawater at the same time that it cleans up plastic waste.” Uhhh, awesome.

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” slowed down to 33 RPM sounds surprisingly beautiful and haunting.

Hilarious (and unfortunate) celebrity photoshoots from the 90s.

Women are awesome.

Finally! The secret to making hard boiled eggs with easy-peel shells.

Heartwarming story of a kitten nursed back to health.

Fascinating photos from the past.

100-year-old woman talks about her one true love.




Smiling from all your sweet comments regarding Monday’s post announcing my pregnancy.  Thanks you guys, y’all are the best.  :)

Chowing down on leftovers of this recipe I made last night for dinner (except I subbed parmesan for grueyere since it’s what I had).  YUM.

Playing this playlist in the mornings for my workouts.  It’s a good one, gets me pumped.

Still thinking about this blog post I read a couple days ago on how important skin-to-skin contact is with newborns.  I’m fascinated by the statistics!

Listening to men working outside our house for termite treatment.  Luckily we live in a brick house, but somehow termites still found a home in one of our wooden windowsills.  Jerks.

Binge watching Mad Men.  I’ll tell you my secret: I try to get dinner mostly done early, around 4 or 5, and sneak in one or two episodes before Parker gets home.  Pop dinner in the oven when I see him leave the office (via the Find Friends app) and that way I can watch my show and have dinner ready when he gets home.  Brilliant!!

Looking forward to my first chiropractor adjustment next week.  Pregnancy is doing weird things to me, like messing up my sacrum.  Owie.

Laughing at this video (and also seriously considering the benefits of a $1 a month razor subscription).

Trying to talk myself out of paying another visit to this shop this weekend.  I’ll probably lose.  :)

Psyching myself up to get out and work in the yard today.  It’s gorgeous out, yes, but today is one of those low-energy days pregnancy seems to bring and all I want to do is lie on a blanket in the yard instead of pulling the weeds that are taking over.

What are you up to these days?

We’re having a baby!!

we're having a baby!!

I am so happy to finally announce it here!  Parker and I expecting our first baby this coming October!  I’m 15 weeks and counting, and according to my midwives, everything looks as healthy and perfect as can be.   Yeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Okay, so details: Remember when I posted this at the beginning of the year saying that one of my goals for 2014 was to have a baby?  Well, just a couple weeks later I got pregnant!  I was hoping I was pregnant when I attended Alt Summit and took all the necessary precautions just in case such as avoiding the millimeter wave scanner at the airport (FYI they just let you through without any screening if you say you’re pregnant.  No pat down or nothin‘…), I didn’t have even a sip of alcohol at any of the parties, and even went cold turkey on my coffee habit and have been opting for decaf instead ever since.  All totally overkill I‘m sure, but I just wanted to be extra-super careful.  I had finally decided I wanted a baby, I wasn’t going to do anything that might ruin that.  I still had to wait a couple of weeks to test, but when I did, the test starting showing that second pink line before I could even get out of the bathroom.

Parker was home sick that day (with The Man Cold), laying in bed watching a  movie, and I didn’t tell him that I was going to take the testjust in case it turned out I wasn’t, I didn’t want a big buildup beforehand.  But I walked into the bedroom afterward, holding the test and grinning like a goof, and, with a tiny hint of a goofy grin on his face too he asked, “What?…”  and I just kept looking at the test, and then looking at him, and he kept asking me, “What? What does it say?” And finally I said, “I think I’m pregnant!” To which he replied, “You think you’re pregnant?” And I said “Well, look at this!  The second line certainly looks like it’s there.  I’m pretty sure I’m pregnant!”  And then, taking nearly all the fun out of the moment, he asked why in the world I didn’t just buy the digital read-out tests that either say pregnant or not pregnant, and I said these were on sale and he said this was not the time to be concerned with saving three dollars.  Touché.  But as we had this conversation and weren’t paying attention, the second line indicating pregnant kept getting darker and darker to the point there was no denying it.  Pregnant!

I knew I was pregnant though.  In the days leading up to the test, and especially the day of, I felt an overwhelming exhaustion that I had never experienced before.  I remember being at a stoplight in the car and feeling so tired (for absolutely no reason) that I could fall asleep right then and there if I wanted to.  I thought to myself, “Ooooh, I’m definitely pregnant.”

Oh, but back to finding out.  Once we finally knew for sure, a lot of happy smiles and kisses ensued WHICH may not have been the smartest idea since, likeI said, Parker was at home sick with a cold.  And though I usually have an immune system like a ninja (I never get sick!), I forgot that when your body is trying to make a baby, your immunity is much lower than normal, and of course I got sick with a cold too.  Oh well.

we're pregnant!

So how have I been feeling?  Great!  For the most part.  My energy isn’t what it used to be, and I find myslef getting worn out more easily.   Since entering the second trimester though, I have found I am much more energetic than the first.  The lethargy is mostly gone (one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging as much these past few months; another reason is because it’s so hard for me to keep secrets and I’ve wanted to share the news for so long!).  I had one week of nausea and morning sickness.  And then, miraculously, it went away.  I have so much empathy though for women that have morning sickness for months.  That mess is no joke!  I remember going through the grocery store and even looking at most foods made my stomach turn.  Or I could tell just by looking at certain foods if they would give me heartburn.  I ate mostly small meals of cutie oranges (lots and lots of cuties…), crackers, babybell cheese, and yogurt.  Pregnancy tapas, as I called it.  I read this post at some point during that week and felt like it was the best advice ever.  I went to the grocery store immediately after to stock up on those items I just mentioned and stopped feeling guilty for not wanting to cook or eat regular meals.  But then it all went away only a week later, and for the most part I have had a very easy pregnancy so far.  Not even a whole lot of exhaustion like those first few weeks.  Although, given the chance for an afternoon nap, I can zonk out cold for a good two hours, no questions asked. :)

 Other symptoms I’ve had?  For a little while I would find myself wide awake in the middle of the night, sometimes for no reason and sometimes because I was absolutely starving.  Like, the kind of hunger I’ve only ever felt before while running a marathon.  It’s primal hunger that’s rooted in the deepest pit of your stomach where need true sustenance is needed, not just a little snack.  Not the kind where you find yourself awake and like, hmm I forgot about those cookies we have, I think I’ll sneak a few.  No, it’s like, “OMG I could eat a steak right now and if I don’t get something in my belly soon, I am seriously going to FRRRREAK OUT.”  I tried to just go back to sleep several times, thinking, “Why am I hungry?  I shouldn’t be hungry. Just try to sleep.”  But soon realized that resistance is futile when dealing with middle-of-the-night pregnancy hunger pangs.  So, I found myself making mini-meals in the dark (usually egg salad on toast or cereal – or both!), and then would immediately fall back asleep after I had eaten a sufficient amount.  It was a good lesson in listening to my body.  Give that baby what it needs!  That hasn’t happened in a few weeks though, and thankfully I’ve been getting lots of good sleep lately.  Some weird dreams though, which I’ve heard are prone during pregnancy too. :)

Any cravings?  Okay, so I thought you weren’t supposed to get cravings until a lot later, but I was walking through the grocery store about a month ago and suddenly I saw pimento-stuffed green olives and lord have mercy, my mouth started watering so bad I thought I might drool all over myself.  It took everything I had not to open the jar right then and there and start shoveling olives into my mouth.  It was the STRANGEST thing!  Everything in my body was drawn to those olives and I just had to have them.  Weird, right?!  (Even writing this now, my mouth starts watering at the thought of them.  What does it mean?!)

Are we going to find out the gender?  Heck yes!!  I don’t have the patience of those parents who like to be surprised.  I want to know!  We still have about a month before we find out, and Parker refuses to discuss names until we know if we’re discussing names for a boy or a girl, but of course I already have a list for both.  I’m also excited to decorate a nursery, though I will admit I‘m feeling overwhelmed at all the stuff we’re going to need to buy (strollers – plural! – a car seat, a crib, cloth diapers and all that entails, breast feeding stuff, the list keeps growing).  Cup of Jo has a great list of only the things she says you need, but it’s still SO MUCH!! And all I’ve bought so far is a tiny pair of shoes, gender neutral (though I might add tiny flower clips if it’s a girl because I won’t be able to help myself), that I can’t wait to put tiny feet in.  :)

What else?  We had an ultrasound around week 10 and got to see our baby.  What a trip!  I mean, you see women getting ultrasounds on TV and hear about it all the time, but when you’re the one with your pants unzipped and the tech feeling around your belly with the wand, it becomes a whole different thing.  When the image first appeared on the screen, you could see clear as day, there was our baby.  Head, torso, arms, legs, and my favorite – little baby butt cheeks! (Squeal!!) It wasn’t like that Friend’s episode where Rachel pretends to see her baby on the screen and be touched, but really she has no idea what she’s looking at.  No, for us, the baby was in perfect position to be seen for the first time and we were kind of mesmerized.  And I cried, which surprised me.

This past Friday, Parker and I had an appointment with one of our midwives and got to hear the heartbeat again, to which I felt relief that there’s actually still a baby in there.  For weeks, I’ve felt totally normal and find myself wondering, “Is it possible to have a miscarriage and not know?  What if I’m not pregnant anymore?” but hearing the heartbeat again made me happy.  Our baby is still in there!  Growing stronger and bigger every day.  And my midwife said it’s totally normal to feel that way, especially for first-timers since the time between feeling nauseous and feeling the baby kick can be several months and you can feel totally normal in between.

I find myself suddenly motivated to exercise and have been working out consistently, which feels awesome.  For the first three months, I just couldn’t muster the energy or motivation for much activity.  And even though I wasn’t nauseous, I also wasn’t psyched about eating healthy foods either, which isn’t like me.  I always thought when I got pregnant I would eat KALE morning, noon, and night to help grow a strong and healthy baby.  Butthat was just not possible in the first trimester.  Pizza was like, freaking necessary a lot of nights.  I’ve been looking forward to eating healthy, clean foods again though so that feels good.  My “bump” so far just looks like I’ve let myself go and can’t suck in my stomach anymore (maybe that’s the reason behind my sudden motivation to exercise, actually….) but my midwife assured me that no, that is indeed my uterus growing and pushing out my stomach and I’m not just fat (though that’s what it feels like, especially since my pants are starting to get tight!).  I’ll be happy to get to the point where it’s obvious that there’s a baby in there :)

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention Parker, my beloved.  He’s been amazing and so supportive.  He gives me a break when I’m hard on myself and can’t do as much as I feel like I should be able to.  He just brushes off my self loathing and says, “Relax, you’re pregnant.  All you need to do is grow our baby.” I couldn’t have chosen a better man to raise a family with.  He is the best.

I’m so excited!  Sorry for this LONG post, but this being my first pregnancy and all, I want to remember everything.  I know how unique this time is – never again will I be able to sit and contemplate pregnancy in peace and quiet, for unlimited amounts of time, and relish the unknown and anticipation.  Next time around (knock on wood), there will be a toddler running around and I may not get to savor it like I can now.  Thanks for indulging me!  I’m really excited to share everything here with you guys!

Tell me: Anyone else out there pregnant?  Any moms remember this time in the early stages?  I love hearing about everyones’ stories and find that every mom has a completely unique experience.