Finding the Right Fit

Church is a commitment Paul and I have every Sunday.  It’s never a discussion.  We never wake up and say, “Are we going to church today?” It is a priority of ours, and without fail, we will be there every Sunday, and we will plan our day around church.  That being said, finding the church that is the right fit for you is difficult.

In Tallahassee, I really liked our church.  Which is funny, because the first few times I went with my sister and brother-in-law I didn’t care for it too much aside from the Pastor.  He was amazing.  I hopped around to a few churches, before finally I decided to give their church a chance, and when I did it grew on me so quickly.  I got involved in the nursery, and Paul and I did a couple small groups.  In all honesty, when we moved I was really upset to be leaving a church that I actually felt I was forming a connection with.

When we moved to Orlando, we started going to the church I grew up in.  I think this was just because we were getting settled into our new life, and we wanted to be sure we were still going to church.  At first Paul wasn’t sure how he felt about it, but it’s really grown on him and he likes it a lot.  I was actually the one who decided I don’t feel at home in this church.  The church here is great, and I’ve always absolutely LOVED it, because it was what I was used to.  After being exposed to a completely difference church experience in Tallahassee, it just isn’t what I picture as a church home anymore.  I am quite literally craving a different church environment.

I’ve tossed around the idea in my head for a while to try new churches, but Paul was getting comfortable where we were.  Each week that we go to church, I just feel this longing to have an environment similar to the way they were back in Tallahassee.  A close knit community, and relationships that we were building.  This past weekend, I had something come up that took longer than expected and we missed the early service at church.  So we decided to go to the later service, but instead I started browsing the internet for other options.  I asked Paul how he felt about trying a new church, and he was on board.  So we headed to a new church.  This church was great.  We talked to more people in the first 5 minutes at this church, then we had in the first 5 months at the church we’ve been attending.  During worship I actually was smiling to myself, because I felt like we were finally getting the atmosphere I now expect from a church.  The sermon was great!  Paul and I definitely enjoyed the experience, and we would go back, but we also found that we were probably the youngest couple there.  Quite possibly one of the only couples in our age range, and there was probably only a handful of kids.

We really want to find a church that has EVERYTHING we are looking for.  We want a church with powerful worship, an excellent Pastor that goes through scripture, younger families, and a feeling of community.  Now that we’re settled here in Orlando, I think we’ve officially decided to begin our hunt for the right fit for us.  I’ve already done more searching and found the church we will try next week.  I have high hopes for this church, and I just pray that eventually we will find our new church home.

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Baby M – 24 Weeks

24 Weeks

Bump Analysis? Paul is in the arctic tundra of Milwaukee this week, so selfie it is! I’ve officially reached the point where strangers are sure I’m pregnant, and feel it is safe to ask me questions.  I’ve had two of those in the last week… luckily no strangers have tried to touch my belly, because I will be swatting their hands away… personal space people.

Month/Trimester? 6 months [22 weeks – 27 weeks] / 2nd Trimester!

Fruit of the week? Our baby is the size of a cantaloupe! 10.5 -11.8 inches long and 12.7 – 20.8 ounces!

Development? Her skin is becoming more opaque, and less see through.  She also has a little pink glow due to the small capillaries that have recently formed.

Movement? I’m definitely seeing her sweet dance moves from the outside of my belly.  It looks so crazy, and I can watch it for hours.  I am also starting to feel body parts.  I’ve felt what I believe is her butt or her head… I just can’t decipher which one it is yet!  She is becoming more active, and I tend to feel her the most right when I wake up, around 3-4pm, and right when I lay down to go to bed at night. 🙂 For a while I was pretty positive she was nocturnal, because I NEVER felt her during the day.

Name? Aubrey Joy 🙂

Testing? Next week we go back to the specialist.  They will be double checking her heart and performing another echo.  If all looks good, we won’t have to go back again.  Praying for a healthy little girl!

Weight Gain? Well this week I jumped up 3 lbs for a total of 14 lbs.  Then I cried and decided to fight my cravings… Kidding.  I didn’t cry.  I know the weight gain is for a good reason, but it is still hard to adjust to seeing those numbers continually going up on the scale.  I did however go grocery shopping, and buy all things for clean eating… except that one pack of Oreos.  Moderation right?

Symptoms? 

  • Back pain
  • Acne
  • My belly button is losing the battle, and halfway to an outie.
  • Excessive pee breaks
  • Faint line (Linea Nigra) forming below my belly button – not cute.
  • Losing hair at my hair line – so much for luxurious pregnancy hair.
  • Tailbone Pain

Cravings? I’ve struggled to drink water this whole pregnancy, during the last week I just want big huge glasses of ice water.  This is a craving I’ll take happily, but now it means even more bathroom breaks than I was taking before!  I’m still just craving lots of sweets…and now I’m trying to ignore them, and find healthy alternatives… Like these healthy cookies made with bananas and oats!  Wish me luck!

IMG_6835

Aversions? Buffalo Chicken Dip

Sleep? Just waking up 2-3 times a night to go to the bathroom.  Other than that, I can’t complain.  I love my snoogle pillow!

Maternity Clothes? I busted out maternity jeans this week… why did I wait so long to do this!? They are heavenly!

Exercise? I made it to the gym 3 times this week.  My cardio consisted of the bike, stair climber, and attempts at the treadmill and elliptical.  I did some weight training as well, because weights make me feel productive.  My goal this week is 4-5 times now that I have less going on.

Wedding Rings? ON!

Stretch Marks? There are two areas I’m keeping an eye on, I’m not sure if they are stretchmarks or not yet.  After my shower I use Burt’s Bees Mama Baby Belly Butter, and before I go to bed at night I use BioOil.

Labor Signs? I am pretty positive I’ve felt Braxton Hicks a few times this week.  I wasn’t sure until I felt them last night on the elliptical and texted my doctor.. AKA my sister.

What I miss? Having my husband home for an entire week.  Thank goodness this week should be the end of his crazy travel schedule for a while!  I’m kind of over it.

Looking forward to? Seeing our little girl on the ultrasound next week!! This is probably the last time we will get to see her before she’s born so I’m going to soak up every minute!

The Pregnancy Struggles 1.0

Pregnancy is absolutely beautiful when you look at the big picture that God is blessing me with a baby, and I am literally GROWING a person!  When I can feel her moving around, when I imagine what she will look like.  It’s absolutely amazing, and I love it! You will find me (and countless other pregnant women) with my hands constantly on my belly.  Maybe it’s to feel like I’m protecting her, or maybe it’s because I just want to be close to her and I can’t wait to actually hold her!  I’ve dreamed of being a mom for years, and my dream is finally coming true!

Recently though, my sister and I were talking about pregnancy.  She has two little girls, so she’s been through the rodeo of pregnancy.  She has never been the girl who said, “Oh I loved being pregnant!” so don’t expect any sugar coating from her.  I was telling her about my aches and symptoms, and her response was something along the lines of, “See pregnancy sucks.” Pregnancy is kind of awful.  The more pregnant I become, the more difficult certain activities are, and pregnancy is not beautiful on a day to day basis.  I am so not that girl that has the “pregnant glow” unless the glow of my acne counts.  Why is it so difficult you ask??

  • Morning Sickness. The whole puking thing for the first 8 weeks was miserable!! When it went away I finally got to the point where I was enjoying my pregnancy.
  • Feeling winded. Little activities leave me winded.  i.e. putting on my socks.  It’s a struggle!  Won’t be long before I’m asking Paul to put them on for me!
  • Trying to stay in shape.  Working out at the gym is getting harder, because it’s a whole lot more difficult to maneuver with a basketball on your stomach! Not to mention, you try to workout so you can stay in shape, be healthy for you and baby, keep from gaining too much weight, and to help with labor… but then your body screams for sweets to be your main food group. It’s really a cruel joke.
  • The dance.  The dance I am referring to is the pants dance.  The jumps and wiggles to get those suckers on!  I really should just upgrade to maternity jeans… I think I just decided to do that.  I’ll be 24 weeks tomorrow, and I’m giving in.  Bring on the stretchy waist!  [Also, all I can think of right now is the FRIENDS episode where Joey steals Pheobe’s maternity jeans.  Pheobe: Joey those are my maternity pants.  Joey: No! These are my Thanksgiving pants!]
  • The turtle stuck on it’s back.  This is how I feel when I try to get off the couch, or out of bed.  This is only going to get worse as the pregnancy progresses… It’s quite the show really.  My sister and I laughed about this one the other night.  When something I said reminded her of  her blog post on this here.
  • Old Lady Syndrome.  Seriously, just consider me an old lady.  My back aches, and I want to sit on a donut.  No worries, I’m only 25, but I’m acting worse than an 80 year old.
  • Hormone Overload.  It’s like your body doesn’t know how to function normally with all these crazy hormones running through your body.  I have unintentional bangs, not from a bad haircut, but because it’s literally falling off ?  Breaking off? Who knows!  The ugly line down my stomach has started, along with darker hair down my belly.  NONE of this sounds beautiful.

So really, pregnancy isn’t that great on a day to day basis.  [yes I’m aware most of these struggles will only get worse as I get further along] I think women say they loved being pregnant, because the end reward is so incredibly great.  You would go through the struggle a hundred times over to hold your little baby in your arms.  I can complain about the crazy symptoms I’m having everyday, and how much pregnancy sucks.  In the grand scheme of things, I am LOVING this time,  as awkward and uncomfortable as I feel sometimes, because I can’t get enough of what I know is coming.  I love seeing my belly move from her little kicks, I can watch it for hours.  Or when she balls up on one side and I can actually feel her butt or head.  I cannot wait to see her precious little face in person, and to hold her in my arms.  I can’t wait to see how quickly her Daddy gets wrapped around her tiny little finger.  If I have to go through the pregnancy struggles for those little moments, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I will thank God for each and every discomfort, because He has given me the greatest blessing.

Aubrey Joy, I cannot wait to meet you sweet girl… and maybe also for you to get off that nerve you love sitting on… 🙂

The Toaster War

Last year a friend of mine was recently engaged, and we were talking about some of the disagreements she was having with her fiancé regarding their big day.  So she asked me what Paul and I had problems with while wedding planning.  I realized we didn’t really fight while wedding planning. Paul gave his input, but for the most part we agreed on the big things, and the other things he let me do my way.  He was pretty hands off – more of the tell me when and where to be kind of guy.  Our fight was over our registry.

I think this is absolutely hysterical now, because I had actually forgotten this whole story.  In all the excitement of wedding planning, one of the best parts is registering for all of the things you see in your house as your new  life as husband and wife.  What can go wrong right??

So we start registering and pretty close to the front of the store are the kitchen appliances, more specifically toasters and toaster ovens.  Paul wanted a toaster oven.  I wanted a toaster.  His argument – It’s convenient, and he grew up with one.  My argument – we have a really tiny kitchen (at the time) with zero counter space as is, where the heck are we going to put a toaster oven?  I should also mention I HATE clutter and things on my counter tops.  We probably went back and forth for about 5 minutes, before we skipped over this item entirely.  We continued to register, but at this point Paul was annoyed with me, and it was apparent.  He was frustrated more so with the process of the store trying to up sell you and get you to register for crazy expensive things that you will never use, and I certainly did not disagree with him there.  “What china pattern do you want??” China?  I want an everyday plate that matches my kitchen, that won’t sit in an cupboard for the entire year as wasted space.  We’re not that fancy, and I don’t need something else cluttering my house.

So registering came to an end, and it did not include a toaster or a toaster oven.  Fast-forward to current day.  We’ve been married for almost 2 years, and we STILL do not have either product.  If you want something toasted you pop it in the oven.  Since then, we’ve never discussed a toaster.  I never realized it until my friend and I recently had this conversation, and it absolutely cracks me up looking back.  I think we can probably revisit this topic and go out and buy a toaster or toaster oven now.  It will make bagels and waffles easier for this pregnant girl anyways. 🙂

Baby M – 23 weeks + 1 day

Bump Analysis? No bump picture this week – Paul is currently in San Diego, and I just got back. So we will skip this week, but I assure you my bump is still there and growing…

Month/Trimester? 6 months [22 weeks – 27 weeks] / 2nd Trimester!

Fruit of the week? Our baby is the size of a grapefruit! 10.5 -11.8 inches long and 12.7 – 20.8 ounces!

Development? She’s forming little nipples, and her face is fully formed.  She can listen to my voice and heartbeat, along with other loud noises like dogs barking… I’m sure she’s already been woken up a few times by ours… Poor thing.

Movement? Her kicks are getting so much stronger!  A few nights ago, it felt like she was literally having a dance party in my stomach.  I had Paul put his hand on my stomach, and he felt her moving more than just the once now! I’m sure if I would have lifted my shirt we would have seen my belly moving…

Name? Aubrey Joy 🙂

Testing? Nothing new at this point!

Weight Gain? Holding steady at 1 lb a week for a grand total of 11 lbs.

Symptoms? 

  • Back pain
  • Acne
  • My belly button is losing the battle, and halfway to an outie.
  • Excessive pee breaks
  • Faint line (Linea Nigra) forming below my belly button – not cute.
  • Losing hair at my hair line, which is super cute and makes my hair look AWESOME…. not.
  • The newest pregnancy ailment – tailbone pain.  I want to sit on a donut like an old lady.

Cravings? Food as people mention it.  This week someone said Milkshake, and I HAD to have one… or two.

Aversions? Buffalo Chicken Dip

Sleep? I busted out my sister’s SNOOGLE pillow this week… big giant pregnancy pillow that is long and skinny, and curves at both ends like a snake.  The first night I thought it was useless… now I love it.  It typically holds me in one position at night on my side, and I can actually fall asleep on my side with it.  The downfall is it creates a wall along the side of the bed that locks me in, and when I have to climb out of bed to pee or wake up in the morning it’s a struggle to get over the dang pillow.

Maternity Clothes? Some shirts…I’ll definitely be busting out maternity pants soon.  My jeans are so uncomfortable now, I’ve been wearing outfits that go with leggings for comfort.

Exercise? I made it to the gym 2 times last week, but with traveling and having people in town it just got pushed to the side.  This week Paul will be gone again, which will leave me unmotivated, but I’m gonna go!

Wedding Rings? ON!

Stretch Marks? Don’t say that word around here!  After my shower I use Burt’s Bees Mama Baby Belly Butter, and before I go to bed at night I use BioOil.

Labor Signs? Praying not to have these anytime soon!

What I miss? Every time I make a trip to Tallahassee I come back seriously missing my nieces.  I’ve been going back once a month, but they change SO much in that month!  Kennedy amazes me each time I see her with her memory, vocabulary, and personality.  Reese just melted my heart the whole time I was there.  She is just the sweetest thing, and she’s starting to talk, but my absolute favorite is when she runs up and clings to my legs to tell me “UP”.  Then I pick her up and she just cuddles… cue melting heart, and then the urge to cry because I CAN NOT WAIT to cuddle with Aubrey! I miss seeing those crazy girls all the time!    This post may or may not be a hint to tell my sister she needs to get home more frequently, especially since my trips will be much less frequent in 4 months! 🙂

Looking forward to? Spending the weekend with my handsome husband before he leaves me for the arctic tundra that is Milwaukee.  I’m also seriously looking forward to the mail coming in a few days… I may or may not have ordered the cutest little baby TOMS for Aubrey for when she starts walking.  I may have jumped the gun on these, because she won’t wear them for quite some time, but they were on sale and I’m obsessed.  So it’s justified.

Happy Valentine’s Day… Help Me Choose!!

I’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day.  I think it can be cute, but to be honest, I feel like it’s an excuse for people to spend an excessive amount of money on food/flowers/candy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love showing Paul that I love and appreciate him on Valentine’s Day, but neither of us feel like we have to have some crazy expensive date night, and if he sends me a $100 bouquet of roses he knows very well that he will have a response along the lines of, “Oh honey that is so sweet… why the heck did you spend $100 on FLOWERS?! They die! Go to Publix!”  (He knows this so well that the last time he bought me flowers, he bought flowers at Home Depot that we could plant in our yard!)

So our Valentine’s Day usually consists of us making a nice dinner together at home, some cards, and of course some chocolate.  I usually spend the day doing sweet things for him like making his favorite breakfast and cake (someone once said the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach… I guess I really believed them!). That being said, we’ve never bought presents for each other.  So this year, I didn’t think anything changed.

This year, we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day early.  We have friends coming into town this weekend, and we didn’t want to deal with the rush anyways.  So on Thursday, we had plans to go to dinner.   Nothing crazy.  That’s how excited we get about Valentine’s Day!  So as usual, I got Paul a card, and Reeses, and I left him cute little love notes in the shape of a heart on the mirror telling him all the reasons why I loved him (cheesy I know, but so fun to do!), then I made his favorite cake and was ready to call it a day.

Well, to my surprise, we exchanged cards and Paul made me go first.  I opened the card and inside is a note, “Cirque du Soleil or Orlando Ballet Battle of the Sexes – You pick!” I got so excited I cried (dang pregnancy hormones.)

Now let me explain how this came about… I subtly started hinting around Christmas time that I hadn’t seen The Nutcracker in years, and I wanted to see it… my subtle hints were apparently too subtle.  As the dates of The Nutcracker neared, I asked Paul if we had any plans or if he had any surprises for me… he looked at me like I was crazy.  (Such a girl thing to do – hint, and then ask for it!) Then not long ago, we met some friends at Downtown Disney for dinner, and we walked past Cirque du Soleil.  I looked at Paul and said, “Since you missed my Nutcracker hints, let me just tell you.  I WANT to go to Cirque du Soleil, so if you want to take me there, I won’t be mad”.  He just laughed at me and gave me a kiss.

So much to my surprise yesterday he came through, and now I have to choose!! The problem is I have no idea how to choose!

Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – I saw this show about 7 years ago with my mom and sister.  It’s absolutely amazing. If you’ve never seen a Cirque show – GO! Seriously! They are absolutely phenomenal and there is no way you can leave disappointed!  I’ve also seen “The Beatles LOVE” and a traveling show I cannot remember the name of for the life of me.   I honestly think of the 2 options, Paul would enjoy this much more than a ballet.

The Orlando Ballet – Battle of the Sexes – After reading Misty Copeland’s autobiography, I’ve been dying to see a ballet.  I guess reading it reignited how much I love dance in general  After reading it, I asked Paul to take me to a ballet in New York.  He laughed, it’s currently not an option.  So I settled for the Orlando Ballet, but I really want to see a classical ballet like Swan Lake or Firebird.  So even though I’m sure Battle of the Sexes is great, I want to see a classic.

So now you see my problem.  I have no idea how to choose! Help!

The Downfall of Pregnancy

Weight gain is an inevitable part of pregnancy.  So far, I’m on track to gain the recommended amount of weight, but apparently the last few months those numbers can escalate quickly.  That being said,  people always say the cardinal rule for a husband, is not to talk about your weight while your wife is packing on the pounds.  Call me abnormal, but this doesn’t really bother me.

Paul noticed he put on a few “sympathy pounds” in the last 5 months (by a few I literally mean a FEW and not some huge weight gain), and since then he has become super motivated to get back in shape.  He’s been drinking water, snacking on fruits and veggies, and been increasing his workouts.  He used his “blow money” (any Dave Ramsey fans?) this month to purchase an Adidas FitSmart Heart Rate Monitor.  So now seeing how many calories he’s burning, has made him more motivated!

This is all great!  I’m proud of him – I feel like I should add that bit in before I go into the point of this post.  In his motivation, he’s motivated me, and this can be something we do together.  Except for that one MINOR detail… I’m pregnant, and definitely GAINING WEIGHT!  No big deal.  Give me about 6 months or so to pop out our little girl, and be cleared to workout again, then let’s get motivated! This is what bothers me!  In his weight loss talk, I want to do it to!  Except, I shouldn’t be losing weight right now.

Regardless of the minor detail, and the fact that I will not be getting in shape anytime soon, he has successfully motivated me to get back in the gym, and keep myself from gaining an exorbitant amount of weight.  I’m honestly not that worried about my weight gain, I just don’t like the thought of having to try and lose it after she comes when I’m sleep deprived.

I guess it’s just frustrating to watch him get excited to see the number on the scale go down, while my number keeps going up.  Excuse me while I sit in the corner eating Oreos and binge watching Netflix to make myself feel better… Ironic right?

I guess the downside of this whole situation for Paul could be that he thinks I’m trying to sabotage his weight loss by keeping our house stocked with Oreos, Heart Reeses (because the holiday ones are the best), and random sweets.  I definitely wouldn’t do that… but Aubrey would 🙂

Baby M – 22 Weeks

22 Weeks

Bump Analysis? This is a pre-gym picture.  That belly just keeps growing, which means my little girl is growing! 🙂

Month/Trimester? 6 months [22 weeks – 27 weeks]  – Is this real life?!  / 2nd Trimester!

Fruit of the week? Our baby is the size of a papaya! 10.5 -11.8 inches long and 12.7 – 20.8 ounces! That’s a pretty wide range for the weight change this week!

Development? Her eyes and lips are more developed, and she is looking more like a newborn than a foreign alien 🙂 She is sleeping in cycles about 12 -14 hours a day.

Movement? Her kicks are finally getting stronger, and her daddy finally felt her for the first time this past week!! His words, “That’s weird…”. Touching, I know. 🙂

Name? Aubrey Joy 🙂

Testing? Nothing new at this point!

Weight Gain? 10 lbs… I’ve officially hit double digits. Scary.

Symptoms? This may be easier to list at this point

  • Back pain.  Seriously – Ouch.  It’s not uncommon to see me with a rice bag attached to my back via ace bandage.  Getting creative over here!
  • Acne
  • Belly button losing the battle, and being pushed out.
  • Excessive pee breaks – seriously, this last week I’ve been peeing more than normal, and I don’t think that will be going away anytime soon.
  • Faint line forming below my belly button – I believe its called Linea Nigra, and it’s not cute.

Cravings? I feel like my cravings are weaning off… I just really want food/sweets in general.

Aversions? Buffalo Chicken Dip

Sleep? Between fighting a cold, and waking up to pee or because I HATE sleeping on my back and side, sleep is no fun right now.  I’m dreaming of the days I can sleep on my stomach again!

Maternity Clothes? Some shirts… It’s technically “winter” in Florida.  As in it get’s cold a couple times every few weeks, and I’m desperately trying not to buy any winter maternity clothes.  I’ll need summer clothes, but I’m making do with the same 4 shirts over and over again.  🙂

Exercise? So this is a new update this week that I figured I should add, and hopefully keep myself accountable?  Long story short, I’ve been slacking on exercise mainly due to the fact that I’m being lazy or my back is bothering me.  This past weekend I decided enough was enough, and in fear of gaining too much weight I hit the gym with Paul.  The downfall is the only cardio I can do right now without shooting pains in my back is ride the bike – so much for variety.  As for weights, I have a very protective husband.   So with lots of monitoring and very little weight I’ll be doing some weight training as well.  So my goal for this week is 2-3 times since we have a LOT going on this week!

Wedding Rings? ON!

Stretch Marks? Don’t say that word around here…

Labor Signs? Praying not to have these anytime soon!

What I miss? No back pain – I’m kind of terrified it hurts this badly at only 22 weeks… How the heck am I going to function at 30+?!

Looking forward to? A date night with my sweet husband, and a trip to Tallahassee to see my sister and her crazy little family, and my friends! 🙂

Registering for a Baby

Registering for a baby as a first time mom is overwhelming to say the least!  SO. MUCH. STUFF!  How do you determine what you need? There are so many brands and price ranges on products, how do you know what is best for your baby?  How much of something do you need?  All the while you’re registering, you’re bombarded with products that sound great in theory, but do you NEED them?

Fortunately, I’ve spent the last couple years watching my sister raise her 2 little girls.  I got lots of “ya, you don’t need that” or “you really don’t need 8,000 bottles”  when asking her questions.  Not to mention, I am NOT a fan of clutter.  I can’t do it, and I won’t do it.  So I think I like more of a minimalist approach when it comes to a baby.  I don’t want 8 million toys they will never play with because they’re going to find my car keys, or a water bottle and be thrilled for 20 minutes!  I think so many of the products are gimmicky.  Mom’s have been taking care of babies for YEARS without half the products on the market today.  It’s an industry that is meant to profit.  Of course they’re going to try to sucker you in with “convenience” and “latest technology” nonsense.  My baby won’t know a difference if she has a warm wipe or a cold wipe.  She will get used to it, and it won’t hurt her.

So we decided to register at Target, and I actually did the process online… which could have been a bad idea, because then you see ALL the options, and their ratings.  Which obviously led to me reading pages, and pages of reviews.  Don’t do it!

Here are some tips I tried to stick to that worked for me while registering:

  • Talk with other moms – I have talked to so many moms that told me they had so much unnecessary stuff that they NEVER used, and what they really needed or what kind of products they loved!  Find moms near you and hear their opinion!  They can help point you in the right direction before you register!
  • Register for the obvious needs (i.e. car seat, stroller, etc.) and choose what brand will work for you.  I do recommend researching these, because there are so many options, and will vary based on your uses.  Car seats should obviously be researched for safety ratings. Chances are these are the more expensive items that will not necessarily be purchased items for your shower (unless it’s grandma and grandpa), but it gives friends/family the choice if a group wants to go in on items together and purchase it for you.  Also keep in mind if you register at Target, they provide you with a 15% off coupon for the remaining items on your registry that were not purchased.  This saves you money if you do have to purchase it on your own, so you might as well throw it on your registry! Always check the incentives where you’re registering because they vary by store!
  • Don’t register for clothes, baby blankets, stuffed animals, etc. – I think it’s almost a given, that baby clothes are adorable, and at any baby shower I’ve gone to these items are given.  Let’s be real they’re adorable, and soft, and what woman can resist when they see baby things like that?!
  • Don’t go overboard on bottles and pacifiers – The truth is, you probably can never have enough pacifiers for your baby, but there are so many different kinds, and your child may only take a certain kind.  So stock up on a few, but wait until your baby arrives so you can learn what he/she likes.  Same goes for bottles.  Register for 1-2 brands, and see if they work for your baby.  They sell all sorts of bottles now with “benefits”, but really I think a bottle is a bottle.  So choose what you like best and see how it works for you after baby arrives! (Granted I could be wrong on this approach since I’ve obviously never had real life experience, but this was just my approach while registering!)
  • Diapers and Wipes – You can ALWAYS, ALWAYS use more of these!  So don’t forget to register for them, even register in a couple sizes.  Just remember to attach gift receipts to boxes in case you need to bring one back and trade it in if you’re baby outgrows that size before you can use it!   In my case I registered for cloth diapers, but I also registered for some disposables as well.
  • Keep Budget in Mind – Apparently the stroller I fell in love with was the “Cadillac” of strollers.  I fell in love with it based on reviews.  Then after I registered for it, I realized it didn’t come with ANY accessories.  No cup holder, no snack tray, no car seat adapter for infant use.  So this stroller itself was over $350 and all the accessories ranged from $15-$60 each.  I honestly felt guilty after I looked at it on the registry, there is no way I would spend that kind of money on stroller, and I sure as heck wouldn’t want anyone else to spend that kind of money on a stroller for us!  So I went back through and registered for a MUCH cheaper stroller, with all the accessories included, and great reviews.  It’s easy (especially with your first baby!) to get carried away and want EVERYTHING and the BEST of everything for your baby.  You don’t NEED the best of everything, your baby won’t notice, and she would probably rather you ensure she is safe, happy, healthy, and you’re going to start saving for college before you break the bank on a stroller.

These are just some of the guidelines I used while registering, and you may feel differently or have even more tips to add!  Have fun when you’re registering, but at the end of the day, remember that you’re registering for a baby, and yes it is so exciting, but it is also expensive.  Don’t get too carried away and go overboard!

My Husband to the Rescue

The last week or so has been pretty rough for me.  I just feel like there have been a lot of things going on, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.  I don’t know what God wants me to do, or what direction He’s trying to tell me to go.  Yesterday was just one of those days where it all piled on at once.

I was really frustrated with work.  I kept getting kicked off the server, and it was making simple tasks take forever.  I think that, on top of my other frustrations (and pregnancy hormones) were just enough to send me over the edge.  At one point I went into Paul’s office.  I honestly don’t even remember what we were talking about in his office, but I know I was short.  When I get short, my attitude comes out often times without me meaning to have an attitude.  He hates my attitude (so does everyone else in my family). I turned and walked back into my office thinking to myself that I probably just made him mad.

A few minutes later, Paul walks into my office.  He gives me a big hug and kiss, and he says, “Do you know how much I love you?”.  I just started crying, and apologizing while telling him all the things that have been running through my mind lately.  After some reassuring words, he decides instead of having me make dinner he wants to take me out to get my mind off things.  So after work, we headed out to dinner, and we had a great night together.

I think marriage comes with a learning curve.  I think when Paul saw how short I was being he knew I was getting discouraged and frustrated.  Instead of getting mad at me for being short, which typically would lead to a fight, he came and turned my day around.  He knew exactly what I needed, and he came to my rescue.  I cannot thank him enough for being our rock when I can’t.  The longer we’re married, the more I see us learning about each other, and working together.  I loved the beginning of our relationship where everything is new and exciting, but relationships change and evolve.  Now, almost 2 years into our marriage, our relationship isn’t new, but it’s still exciting in completely different ways.  We know more about each other then we’ve ever known, and we’ve grown together.

People always tell you marriage is hard, but what they don’t tell you is that it is so incredibly worth it.