links + loves vol 5


I don't know about you, but I am really happy it's Friday. I had Monday off, but is it just me or do those four-day work weeks seem to be the slowest? We are finishing up a big project at work and it's been really stressful for the past few weeks, so I'm excited for the weekend.

On the way home from the gym on Tuesday, I stopped at the grocery store to get a few things and also picked up these $5 tulips. They have really brightened up our table this week. Today I'm just going to share a few recent links and loves. I hope you all have a great weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday!

-I've never been a fan of the amount of sugar in pasta sauce that comes in a jar, and a few weeks ago I finally tried my hand at making my own sauce at home. I used this recipe for homemade crockpot marinara sauce, and it was great! I froze some in 1- and 2-cup portions and it thaws well for an easy spaghetti dinner. I think next time I'll try to mess with the seasoning a bit, but it's a great base to start with if you don't want to use pasta from a jar.

-We live in an age where our personal information is a lot more available than it used to be, and for the most part that doesn't bother me all that much (as long as I don't think about it too hard). But this freaked me out. I tried it for myself, and it's a real thing. Follow the instructions in the link to opt out if you want!

-I've started doing these workout videos a few times a week from BodyFit by Amy on YouTube. She's got some great prenatal strength and core workouts!

-I finished this book in one day last week. Recommend if you like murder mystery/thriller-type novels. The style reminded me of Girl on a Train, with the difference being that I did not like Girl on a Train and I liked this one. I just picked up Lauren Graham's new memoir, so I'm excited to get to that after I finish the book I'm currently reading.

-Last year I shared about this book. Highly recommend for anyone wanting to know about feeding a baby/toddler. Each chapter includes healthy recipes, and I have tried four or five recently and loved every single one! I think this book would be a great baby shower gift.

-Isn't this puzzle so fun? I want to get one for R. (Thanks, Amy, for sharing it!)

-I recently used some tips from this post to organize my freezer and it has changed my life. I'm not being dramatic.

-Yet another organizational hack from my "Be Organized" Pinterest board. I want to try this!

-I am obsessed with the gorgeous prints from this shop. I purchased her 2017 calendar, and it's sitting on my desk at work!

*For previous link love posts, click here. For link + love: the baby edition, click here.

How Pregnancy #2 Has Been Different (in a good way!)


It's still so strange to be able to say things like "the first time I was pregnant..."

I found out I was pregnant when I was only 4 weeks along (technically 2 weeks pregnant, but they start counting 2 weeks before conception because science likes to be difficult). The first ten weeks or so crawled by at the speed of a dying turtle. But the past few weeks have started to pick up, and sometimes I have to remind myself that hey, there's a baby in there!

I kept a weekly pregnancy journal for my pregnancy with R, and it's been so fun to be able to compare my symptoms and general feelings from two years ago with this second pregnancy. So much of it is the same as far as how the first trimester went physically (which I why I'm currently thinking baby #2 is going to be a girl), but there are a few things in particular that already have been so different in a really good way for me emotionally.

1. I have been able to control my daily anxiety better this time.
Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time during my first pregnancy being anxious. Anxious of a miscarriage, of the baby not kicking, of the baby not kicking enough, of a birth defect, of early labor, and on and on. I got really worked up for my prenatal appointments and counted down the days until my next one. 

This time, I still feel anxiety. I don't know how that would ever completely go away. I still get anxious before my doctor's appointments. But I have really been focusing on not letting anxiety control me, and it's made a huge difference, so much so that Jordan has even noticed and commented on it. It's not that I'm not nervous about things being okay, but I've realized that nothing I do can control how my baby develops and what is going to happen. I am focusing on enjoying being pregnant, being excited to meet this new baby, and being thankful to have the opportunity to carry another human. It's made this pregnancy so much more fun! It's also just been nice to know what the heck is going on a little bit more than last time. I feel like less of a newbie with doctor visits and symptoms.

2. I know I can survive labor, so it's not quite as terrifying.
Don't get me wrong. Labor was absolutely the most painful thing that has ever happened to me, and I would be lying if I told you that I wasn't scared of doing it again. When I was giving birth to R, I asked my doctor multiple times if I was going to die. I laugh about it now, but in the moment I was completely serious. It was so painful that I really thought it might kill me. 

Jordan and I never ended up taking a birthing class before I had R due to a scheduling conflict, but mostly it was because the mere thought of labor terrified me to my very core, and I would start crying if I even talked about it. It was The Great Unknown, and I had no idea what to expect. I know that no labor is the same, and I still don't know what to expect this time around, but I do know a little bit more about what exactly the words "labor and delivery" mean, and I know that the pain will eventually be over and I will be okay. I am excited that this time the idea of labor will not be this dark cloud hanging over my head until June. My plan is to basically just block out the idea that I'm even going to have to do it until it happens. Wish me luck with that one.

3. I am prepared for a newborn.
I'm not necessarily saying that I'm prepared to be more tired than I've ever been in my life. Or that I'm prepared for the midnight feeding sessions and the crying and the impossibility of getting the baby to sleep somewhere not on my chest for just one nap please. I'm definitely not saying I'm prepared to have a newborn with a toddler running around. But I've brought home one baby and kept her alive for a while, so I feel more prepared in general for bringing home another one. 

With R, I literally asked my mom what babies sleep in because I didn't know. I didn't know what to do when she had a fever or how to help when she had gas. Over the last year and a half, I've learned a lot about taking care of a baby, and I'm thinking that when this second baby comes home, it won't be such a complete and utter what-on-earth-is-going-on kind of shock.

4. Similar to #3, Jordan and I are prepared for a newborn.
Adding a baby to our lives really rocked our marriage. We were both so tired and got so stressed out when it was 2am and R was crying and we didn't know what to do. We had to figure out our roles and what worked for us. I know that going from one kid to two is quite a leap, so I am by no means saying it's going to be easy, but I think that Jordan and I are going to be a lot more prepared to add another baby to our family now that we've done it once before, and hopefully we can be a better team this time.

5. I know I can survive taking my baby to daycare.
If you don't know this by now, I'm basically am emotional basket case. I cry a lot. When it came to thinking about taking R to daycare, I broke down in full-on sobs. I could barely think about it without crying. We are hoping to put baby #2 in the same daycare as R, and that eases a lot of stress already. I know the people there, we like it, R did well, and most of all: I know I can do it. I'm thinking this will allow me to enjoy my maternity leave more instead of sadly counting down the days until I have to start back at work like I'm on death row or something. I (hopefully) won't have to tour daycares and call around and get on waiting lists because we will already have something lined up that we know has been working for us.

6. I believe that somehow, everything will work out.
Before we had R, I said things like, "I don't know how we are going to afford to have a baby" because I honestly didn't feel like we had enough money to pay for all the things we were going to have to pay for (not only diapers and wipes but big things like insurance and actually paying for my delivery). With baby #2, I look back and wonder how I thought we wouldn't have enough money for a baby because now we really don't have enough money.

I do wonder how it will all work out, and it stresses me out to think about it. But I don't for a second wonder if it will all work out, because I know somehow it will. God has provided for us, and so far that hasn't looked like me being able to quit my job. It hasn't looked like raises or bonuses at work for either of us. It hasn't looked like random checks in the mail or an inheritance in a will from a long-lost relative. 

It hasn't looked like anything, really, except that we pay our bills and buy food and tithe and still have a little money leftover at the end of the month to put in savings. And isn't that really all we need anyway?

Of course I worry about a birth defect or an expensive NICU stay or labor complications. I worry about SIDs and developmental problems and proper weight gain. I worry that I'll have the same pumping issues I had the last time and not be able to have enough milk.

But I don't worry about how my life is going to change. I don't worry that I won't be a good mother. I don't worry that I won't be able to bond with my baby or that I won't love him or her. I was scared of that once, but I'm not anymore. And that's the biggest thing that is different this time.

Baby Bum #2, we already love you so much and can't wait to meet you.

*This post was based in part on one I wrote during my first pregnancy: The Fear