Life Lately: I Take a #Bumpie, and We Tear Up Our House

First, this is, I’m informed, is called a #bumpie. A selfie of your baby bump. Second, I’m sorry. For those of you who really don’t want to know these things, just skip this part. Because I have family and friends spread out all across the country, I need a way to update them on how the pregnancy is going, and I felt like this is a better alternative to posting photos every week to Facebook. We’ll see. 
So, the bump. This is week 14, I took that photo Saturday, and honestly, I feel like it changes in size every day. Some days you see it, some days you don’t. It makes getting dressed a stressful affair. I must be smack in the middle of the awkward phase when none of my regular clothes feel right and my maternity clothes are way too big. It’s aggravating.
Also, can we talk about my hair? See that messy bun above? I wore it that way for three days straight. And most of the week. My hair won’t do anything I want it to – at least not quickly, and in the morning, when I’m trying to sleep in as much as possible, I really need it to behave. It’s gotten unduly long and wavy, and I really want to chop it all off. 
The one bright spot lately in all this is that I’m rarely having morning sickness now. Even during the previous 13 weeks, it hasn’t been bad. Mostly gagging, not a lot of actually throwing up. Now, I only have isolated instances. The downside is that I’ve been having horrible headaches. Oh, hormones. So not fun.
Early on, all I wanted to eat was pizza and macaroni and cheese. Now, usually nothing sounds particularly good or bad. I’m making a conscious effort to eat at least one vegetable and one fruit every day, which sounds like a small goal, but if I didn’t make the effort I could easily go days without any fruits or vegetables. 
I also started working out! Hi-five to myself (which yes, does look like clapping). Most days now I have more energy when I get home after work, and I don’t fall asleep on the couch every evening. I found some pregnancy workouts on youtube: Denise Austins’ toning workout and Apple Yoga’s prenatal yoga
I’m having a hard time winding down to sleep, and staying asleep. But, it’s been extra motivating for me to get to bed in good time to read some Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. 
Saturday, I managed to sleep in as long as possible through a lot of banging and clanging. When I did finally get up, I discovered that Brian had ripped out the carpet of the office. 
It’s a good riddance – very good. It was nasty. But I wasn’t expecting to replace it until we’d found flooring for the room. We have a couple boxes of the same bamboo flooring that’s in the rest of the house, but it’s not enough for the entire room. And we have no idea where it came from. And we were going to repaint the room – which I’d rather do before putting in new flooring.

Now, at first I was thrilled. Then I realized that now all of our office stuff was in the kitchen/rest of the house, we have no flooring, and we have family coming to visit. My sister and brother-in-law, closely followed by my sister-in-law, an overlapping visit from my other sister-in-law, and then sometime after that, my mother-in-law.

Quickly, my initial joy at getting out of all the ripping out the carpet work changed to more than a little stress at having to live in the midst of piles office stuff for the unforeseeable future. Add to that the fact that we are in the middle of redo-ing the baby room too, getting it ready to paint as soon as we find out if we’re having a boy or girl.

And then I had the great idea to tackle the fireplace too.

Add that all to my pregnancy hormones, and I might have sorta kinda flipped out at Brian a few times this week. In my defense, it didn’t help when his response was “Wah-wa-wah-wa-wah,” Charlie Brown style.

This is the fireplace in the cleaning process. Normally, I’m not a fan of painting fireplaces, but I’m not a fan of this one’s color. White will really brighten the whole room. I’ll show you the finished result in another post soon. 
Since I’m trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, I finally broke in the juicer we got for Christmas with fresh oranges from our own yard.

Cheers! So easy and so delicious.
And that brings us to today. It rained all day, and I worked from home, cozied up on the couch with hot tea, and later, Hilary Rushford’s Instagram With Intention Class. I’m two videos in, and already learning a lot.
More house projects tonight, and probably some Chick-fil-A for dinner. If I was to have a craving this week, it’d probably be for an original Chick-fil-A sandwich and waffle fries with Chick-fil-A sauce and lemonade.
Week 14 is a wrap!

On My Nightstand: Books on My List This Year

One of my resolutions this year is to read one book a month. Last year I only read six books, but still, aim for nothing and you’ll hit it every time, right? 

1. Harry Potter Series

Always. Well, the first time I read the Harry Potter books I was 21. I have a lot of lost time to make up. This is only my second time reading the books, and it’s been so much fun. It certainly motivates me to get to bed at a good time, so I have time to read. Especially now that the suspense is really picking up. The Order of the Phoenix is one of my favorites of the whole series, so it’s a great start to the new year.
I got this book for Christmas, and we’ve been nearly inseparable since. With John and Sherry’s help, I can’t wait to tackle more projects around our new house!
I discovered this book after watching Susan Cain’s TED talk on the subject. I loved her talk so much, I think her book will be great. It’s been on my list for quite some time, but I’m planning to make that change this year.
Also based on a TED talk, this time by Brene Brown, I also recieved this book for Christmas. I can tell it will be one of those books I’ll have to read slowly, to savor it and take it all in.
I bought this book on my ipad, and started reading it last year. It’s a truly fascinating look at the culture of innovation built at Google. This book is a little more business than pleasure, but I’m looking forward to finishing it.
This one is definitely more work related for me, but I just started reading it on my ipad over Christmas, and it’s mind-blowing. 
I suppose I should add some parenting or baby books to the mix! I’m not really sure where to start on those … any ideas?
What’s on your reading list? Any books you recommend from last year? Leave a comment below!

This Year . . .

This year needs to be different. 

When I look back over 2014, nothing really stands out. It feels like a dark, stressful, rushed, frustrated, and tired blur. I don’t even have to look at my resolutions for last year to know I didn’t accomplish many of them. 

I spent so many long hours trying to finish a project at work – all to realize at the end of the year that it was out of my control. I neglected my family, friends, and all the things I enjoy, really all for next to nothing.  

I feel like last year was a waste. Yes, we paid off some debt, we bought our first house, I got promoted, we’re now expecting our first baby – but while we passed so many milestones, I didn’t take the time to enjoy them and let them sink in. Looking back now, I’m saddened. 

This year, beyond just checking off my resolutions, I want to end in a better place than when I started. Better spiritually, relationally, emotionally … all around healthier, happier, and more satisfied because I’ve spent my energy on what really matters in life and what refreshes and refuels me. 

This year is going to be really hard. I’m having a baby in July, Lord willing. And my dad is getting deployed this spring, to Liberia, to provide security at the Ebola camps. Talk about scary. 

And who knows what will happen in the next 12 months that I never anticipated. But this year, I want to be present for it, even the hard things. 

I want to take time to feel happy, to do some things that make me happy, and to take care of my health and family. I want to take time to grow. And to just be. 

JJ Heller puts it well, per usual, in her new song. 

I do have a list of “resolutions.” But it just boils down to one thing: making 2015 a better year.

Do you have resolutions for this year? Or a word or phrase that’s your focus? Share it in the comments below.

The Christmas Crafts I Did Make

As I started taking down my Christmas decorations yesterday, I realized that I never posted which of the Christmas crafts on my list I accomplished. So yes, we’re halfway through January, but we’re supposed to honor the spirit of Christmas in our hearts all year, right?

1. Something involving a deer and gold glitter. 

Fail. I was intimidated by the deer, and couldn’t make up my mind what to do with it. 
2. Something involving book pages and pinwheels. 
Success! I made a book page Christmas tree. Here’s how: 
  1. Fold your book pages like an accordion. Then, shape them like a fan, and attach them to each other to form a full circle. As you make more circles, trim the edges to create smaller and smaller layers. Eventually, bend the accordion in half, and then create your full circle. Fold and trim until you have enough layers to form a tree-like shape.
  2. Pour some glue on a paper plate, and pour some white chunky glitter on another. Dip the edges of each layer in glue and glitter, and allow them to fully dry.
  3. Then you’ll need to attach the layers together. I used a small scrap of paper between each layer for more surface area. 
  4. Let it dry, and you’re done!
3. Something involving cones and fancy paper. 
Success! I wrapped styrofoam cones in gold glitter paper (which also made elegant wrapping paper).
4. Something involving a big chalkboard. 
Fail. I’m still looking for a big chalkboard on Craig’s List, but I’m also trying to talk Brian into making me one. 
5. Something involving bottle brush trees, and more glitter. 
Well, I didn’t end up bleaching or dying any bottle brush trees, but I did find some sparkly ones at Target that light up. So, close enough.
I also made those white Christmas trees with cones and not-fancy paper – coffee filters, actually. 
Here’s how: 
  1. Fold each coffee filter in half, and starting at the bottom, glue each filter to the cone, layering and overlapping them. I used Elmers glue, but a hot glue gun would probably be faster.
  2. Pinch the top filter to form a nice tree point. That’s it!
And here’s the final Christmas mantle: 
Wait, four stockings? 
Yep, I’m so creative, I made a person. Merry Christmas!