Charleston Trip and Restaurant Recommendations

Thanks to my parents who kept Davis and Kenan, and our sweet friends and hosts, Patrick and Maureen, we were able to spend a wonderful weekend in Charleston!  Todd had been traveling for work since last Sunday.  First he went to Arizona, then to Charleston. I met him there on Friday, and we spent some time with our friends who we hadn’t seen in a while.  Todd’s co-worker’s wedding was there on Sunday, so it was a perfect weekend to combine that with a getaway.

On Friday our friends took us to dinner at Red Drum in Mt. Pleasant.  We each had fish dishes, and they were delicious!  Maureen and I are both 18-19 weeks pregnant, so we called it an early night. :)

Patrick took us kayaking and paddle boarding on Saturday morning.  Those are some of mine and Todd’s favorite activities, so we were in heaven!  The weather and conditions were beautiful, and it was such a relaxing time.  I spent a few minutes silently talking to God and thanking Him for allowing us this life that we love so much.

kayaking in Charleston, SC

So far, bikinis are more comfortable than one-piece bathing suits, so I’m just rocking the bump! 

Later that day we grabbed lunch and headed to the beach!  It was plenty hot to sit on the beach, and we even swam in the water.

weekend trip to Charleston, SC

He may not appreciate me posting this, but it’s too good not to. ;) 

That night Todd and I went on a date to The Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island, and then out on King St for ice cream at Jeni’s (our first time) and a cocktail (water for me) at Macintosh.  I will never ever be bored with dating my husband!

Flash-Fried Shishito Peppers with Chipotle Dip; Brussels with Farro (I skipped the farro); (gluten free) Short Rib Pasta – all so delicious!

Jeni's Ice Cream

From left-right: Salty Caramel; Brown Butter Almond Brittle; Bourbon Salted Pecan; Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk

Sunday morning involved brunch at Poogan’s Porch, and a walk around downtown Charleston and the Battery.  It was our first time eating at Poogan’s Porch, and it was a fun experience.  The restaurant is charming, and overall the food and drinks were yummy!  I had a vegetable frittata with fennel topped with a baby kale salad, with a side of grits.  Todd had the chicken and waffles, which looked amazing.

18 weeks pregnant bump picture; brunch in Charleston

18 weeks pregnant; Charleston trip

We couldn’t stop mentioning how perfect the weather felt!

Todd’s co-worker was getting married that afternoon, which is one of the main reasons we made the trip.  Her wedding was outside beside the water, and it was very picturesque.  If you’re looking for a wedding or event venue around Charleston, it was the Creek Club at I’On in Mt. Pleasant.

wedding attire for wedding; 18 weeks pregnant

my dress (only $52, and also comes in patterns and a creamy white)

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I also wore this ring from Asos all weekend – I’m kind of obsessed

wedding at Cross Creek Club in Charleston, SC

wedding at Cross Creek Club in Charleston

We arrived back home around midnight last night, and finally got to see our favorite boy bright and early this morning!  As much as we loved the time away together, we truly missed Davis!

Topsail Island with Friends

Broken record over here, I know, but we love Topsail Island!  It is a home away from home for us, and we were so happy to share a weekend there with some of our closest friends!  We always have a good time together, and it was fun to have our boys join us for this trip.

We played on the beach, and the boys didn’t seem to mind the colder weather too much.  I did, though.  (I am a wimp)!  We stopped at the new favorite donut shop in Surf City – The Fractured Prune – on our way to explore “The Point” at the end of the island.  On our last night we took the boys out for seafood.  One ended up with a spilled drink in his lap, and the other was standing up in his chair and lifting up his shirt to show us his full belly.  But we had a blast!

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We tried to get a picture of all the matching chambray boys.  They were so into it – ha! Our attempt at bump pictures was kind of ridiculous, but I love them.  Don’t we look like naturals?! IMG_6746IMG_6758

We had a wonderful time, and were so grateful for a relaxing weekend away…

Especially because when we returned on Monday, we had to deal with a mess.  Literally.  A utility company who was working in our yard busted our underground septic tank with a tractor.  I won’t go into details, but it has been a rough situation. Doing our best to stay positive. If there was ever a time when I needed a glass of wine… ;)

I will be back tomorrow with some Friday Favorites!

Five on Friday

I hope you all have had a great week!

Today I am linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.

ONE: Back to Topsail this weekend!  With the Honor Roll Designs crew and our little boys!  Thank you to our awesome employee/brother-in-law, Seth, for holding down the fort while we’re gone!

Last year we took a big trip to the Caribbean, but with babies on the way for both of us, we at least wanted to fit in one weekend away together before the newborn stage.  Love these 3 people so much!

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TWO: I posted 2 new recipes this week: Sparkling Pineapple Mint Meyer Lemonade and Apple Rosemary Grilled Pork Tenderloin.  If you missed them, you should check them out!  They are both perfect for entertaining.

sparkling pineapple lemonade with fun fruit strawsapple rosemary grilled pork tenderloin

THREE: Self-tanner review!  I posted about the Fake Bake Flawless tanning system a few weeks ago.  (The link takes you to a seller on Amazon…Prime eligible and only $15!).  You can also find it here and probably find a discount code, if you aren’t a fan of Amazon.

I used it once after I bought it and immediately loved it.  Then I used it again this week, and I am still loving it.  If you’re looking for an inexpensive, at-home tan, this is the way to go!  Without a doubt. It comes with the mitt, so don’t worry about getting it all over your hands! I do have to say – this time I put on clothes and got in bed soon after applying…I woke up with a streak on my arm and my leg, BUT, the streaks came right off with a quick rinse in the shower.  Next time I will be sure to let it completely like I did the first time.  And it is washable from your sheets and clothes. 

FOUR: If you’re in an area, such as Charlotte, Fort Mill, Charleston or Nashville, with a Juice Bar, I highly recommend trying it!  Last week I got their Sweet Greens juice, and it is unbelievably good – and healthy!  And I really am not a big green juice person.  If this spot was closer to my neighborhood, I might be there every day.  Juice > Starbucks…yeah?!

best green juice in Charlotte

By the way, my aunt and my mom introduced me to Essie Ladylike (on my nails in the picture above) and it is definitely on my to-purchase list.

pretty nei

FIVE: Goals for this weekend.  Yes, yes, and yes! (source + a great instagram account to follow)

quote from harley quinn and co.

Happy weekend to you all!  Thank you for visiting this random space of mine that I enjoy so much!  I love and appreciate all of the comments and feedback and friendships made from blogging.

Friday Favorites graphicFive on Friday linkup graphic

 

 

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Five on Friday

Happy weekend, everyone!

Today I am linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.

ONE: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who commented on my blog and on instagram, and sent me texts and emails after we shared our news yesterday!  We are thrilled and feel beyond blessed and grateful!  I seriously could not have been happier yesterday!  We should find out whether we are having a boy or a girl in a little over a month, and we will definitely share!  Either way, I can’t wait to see our sweet Davis become a big brother!

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TWO: Speaking of Davis, sort of, do you all like country music?  If you love it like I do, or even if it’s not your favorite, you should listen to Tim McGraw’s new song “Humble and Kind.”  We heard it in the car the other day, and I just can’t help but pray those things for our children.  It’s a great message, and I don’t know if it’s my pregnancy hormones, or just because I’m a mom, but it about makes me teary every time I hear it!

new Ray Bans sunglasses

Also….I finally bought some Ray Bans!  They have been on my wish list for a very long time, but since I have never owned nice sunglasses, I was hesitant to purchase.  I saved up gift cards from Christmas and my birthday, and bought this pair!  I love them! PLUS, they are currently on SALE!

Don’t worry – my car was completely stopped when I took this. 

THREE: Todd and I are working on eating closer to a paleo diet, and I wanted something new for dinner this week.  We are not doing it strictly by any means, and we are adjusting to no grains/sugar/dairy slowly.  I do have to say, not eating dairy the past few days has been great!  We will “cheat” every now and then, and if I feel like I need to eat something off the ‘diet’ I will!  I just want to eat much cleaner.  Anyway, I made a version of these turkey sweet potato burgers from Dashing Dish, and they were delicious!  My changes:  I added about 1 Tbsp worcestershire, and left out the garlic powder.  I grilled them, served them over baby spinach, topped them with tomato and avocado mashed with salt and lime.  Davis loved them as well!!

paleo meal; sweet potato turkey burger

P.S. Costco sells organic ground turkey!

FOUR: Honor Roll Designs has some new looks!!! One is dedicated to the Summer Olympics, specifically the gymnastics team!  When you all were younger, did you watch the Olympics?  I remember that Sarah and I were so into watching gymnastics!  Remember these names from the 1996 USA Gymnastics team?…Kerri Strug, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden, Jaycie Phelps, Dominique Moceanu!  This shirt is in honor of them!  Also, I recently bought the Gap shorts pictured (in a size up) for the warmer weather.

Olympics gymnasticsSummer Olympics gymnastics shirt; Magnificent 7 shirt

FIVE: We were able to go down to Topsail Island last week with some of our family.  It was a weekend dedicated to improving and cleaning my grandparents’ beach house, but we also had a little fun on the beach.  Davis LOVES the beach, and it makes my heart so so happy!

Topsail Beach, NC

Also, if you need any more convincing to visit my favorite place, read this article by my cousin, Allie!  9 Reasons Why Topsail is the Best Beach in NC

 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Thank you again for all of the amazing support!

 

 

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We Have News!

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I am bursting at the seams to finally announce our good news!  We are adding to our family – and not in a way that we ever expected!  I’ve told parts of our story here before…we experienced years of infertility and a miscarriage before our son was born, and then after he was born, we were faced with the same issues.  We went through another couple of years of infertility, treatments, and another miscarriage.  August of last year was a turning point for us (more on that below), and we realized we felt called to adopt!  We were quite far along in the adoption process, and had prepared our hearts for welcoming a new baby into our family through domestic adoption.

Then, in February we received the surprise of our lives and found out that I am pregnant!  We had honestly written this off as a possibility.  One thing I absolutely cannot deny is that God writes our stories.  Even through hardship and confusion and waiting, He has undeniably blessed (and surprised!) us, and we are so thankful!

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Here’s the full story and some background on our years of infertility and how we came to the decision to adopt, and what our “plans” for the future are…I’m sorry it’s so long!

When we had been married for almost 4 years in 2009, we found out that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant.  We tried all of the basics for a year and a half, including Clomid and seeing a fertility doctor for testing.  Fast forward to late 2011, and I had a miscarriage.  Following that, we saw the fertility specialist again, and he told us to wait a little while to give my body time to heal and reset.  Soon after we got pregnant with Davis! I went on progesterone to prevent another miscarriage, and I was considered high risk for the first trimester.  Davis was born at 40 weeks, in December 2012, and was perfectly healthy, praise the Lord!  He was certainly a miracle, and we could not have been more thankful!

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A year after he was born, we went back to the fertility doctor, since I hadn’t gotten pregnant on my own.  I have an uncommon form of PCOS, plus I rarely ovulate, plus my body typically doesn’t make enough progesterone to provide a habitable environment for a baby – why I have miscarried.  We began treatments to combat all of that.  It started with one or two drugs, lots of bloodwork and ultrasounds, and ovulation induction.  Plus the progesterone if needed.  That didn’t work, so we moved on to IUI.  I miscarried on the second one, and the others were unsuccessful.  Having 2 miscarriages, even though I was not very far along, was devastating.  All in all, we did 4 rounds of IUI, with one 6 month gap in between the 3rd and 4th.  It involved more drugs, including giving myself a lot of shots (nothing like IVF, though), and plenty of emotions and stress.  We found out that I was not pregnant, on our last chance at IUI, on Todd’s 31st birthday.  Infertility timing can be brutal.

After 4 rounds of IUI, we had to decide if we wanted to move forward with IVF.  Well, Todd and I have always discussed adoption – even while we were dating.  In August of last year, we knew we had a decision to make between IVF and adoption.  We met with our doctor and his nursing team, and we also began gathering more info about adoption.  We prayed about it, and talked about it for weeks.  One thing that I could not get out of my mind was that we had already been blessed with a biological son, who is the most amazing gift!  If I had never had a successful pregnancy, I think our decision could’ve been much different.  As a woman, the desire to carry a child is deep, but I had already been given that opportunity.  We came to the mutual decision in September that we felt called to adopt!

Please do not misunderstand me, though.  I have nothing against IVF at all.  I think the couples who choose to go that route are extremely brave and patient.  The desire to be parents is a strong force, and after having Davis, Todd and I said that if we had to go back, we would do anything to be able to have him again. 

In October, we chose an adoption agency, and began to move forward in the process.  Our paperwork was finally completed and approved this past January, and we were set to begin the home study in February.  We were overjoyed with excitement and terrified all at the same time!

Then things changed!  I found out on Valentine’s Day that I am pregnant!  I was quite late (normal for me), but I found a pregnancy test stashed in the back of my closet.  I didn’t even tell Todd I was taking a test!  It was immediately positive, and I about passed out!  This is the 4th time I’ve been pregnant, but the only time that we got pregnant completely on our own.  We weren’t “trying,” or thinking about it, and we were not praying for this.  We were focused on adoption, and praying for that baby who we thought would be joining our family.  I am still in shock that this happened!  It is a huge mix of emotions, because I don’t know if we will adopt in the future.  We are keeping the possibility open, but we don’t want to rush into any concrete decisions. And I automatically felt guilty that I am pregnant, but so many others I know haven’t had their chance yet.  It can be a very dark place, and I know how hard it is to hear that someone else gets to be pregnant when you don’t.

Infertility has greatly affected our marriage, but we are in awe of how the Lord has worked through it in our lives.  We have had our highs and our lows, and our lowest lows have come as a result of infertility taking its strain on us.  But we are coming up on our 10th wedding anniversary, and we have a huge list of reasons to praise God!  He has blessed our lives more than we could have ever anticipated, even through the hard times, and we are grateful.  The more I’ve experienced, the more I can clearly see that He writes our stories. He allowed me to have another chance to carry a child, and I am overjoyed!

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Here is a quick pregnancy update: I will be 13 weeks tomorrow!  I had one scare, but thankfully everything is okay so far.  I have felt really rough, which is why my blog has been so neglected.  But, that is starting to ease off – I think.  My due date is mid-October, and we told Davis the news on Easter!

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Thank you all for the support I’ve received in the past when I’ve opened up about our miscarriages and struggle with infertility.  It is greatly appreciated.  Some of the greatest help while I was trying to get pregnant, was reading others’ blog posts about their similar struggles.  If you are having a hard time conceiving, please feel free to reach out to me!

I asked my cousin, Allie, to take some photos of us while we are at the beach last weekend. She has a budding photography business!  I love how these turned out!  She was a trooper because it was early in the morning, it was quite cold, I was picky, and Davis was not exactly the easiest to photograph. ;)  But she did an amazing job.  Thank you, Allie!! (FYI, these are not edited.  I think she captured the light so well!).

Dreaming of a Summer Vacation

Admittedly, I have never enjoyed cold weather.  I go straight from comfortable to freezing…anyone else the same way?  If temperatures drop below 60 degrees, I turn into a complete wimp and bundle up in a million layers!  I’m sure I am not alone in wishing for a vacation, specifically one in warm weather.

We have already been discussing our family beach trip for this coming summer, and it has me thinking of bathing suits, beach bags, and outfit ideas!  Plus last year when I went to purchase a new bathing suit, so many of them were already sold out. I’m starting earlier this year!

I mentioned some Forever 21 workout clothes earlier this month, and while shopping there online, I also found a super cute bikini top.  That I LOVE!  Bonus – it was under $16!

Forever 21 bathing suit; black, white, gold for Summer

Bikini Top | Bikini Bottoms | Weekender Beach Bag (same brand, different pattern)

This top will be perfect for chasing around a 3 year old at the beach and pool! 

I’ve also been saving some ideas for rompers, other bathing suits, and sundresses/cover-ups.

summer clothes wish list

rosy peach cutout romper | striped one piece | peach tassel beach tote | neutral flat sandals | palm print high neck bikini top and high waisted bottoms | colorful strapless bikini top and bottoms | frill off the shoulder chambray sundress | white lace romper | off the shoulder white coverup | black embroidered romper | off the shoulder frill romper (only a wish list item!)

It is supposed to snow this weekend and warmer temperatures are still months away…but we can dream, right?!

Beach Trip: Part 2

We’ve been back from Topsail for over a week, but I wanted to catch up on posting the second half of our vacation.  Todd’s family came down to the beach house, and we were able to spend a couple days with them!

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Thank you for some of these pictures, Abbie & Ginna! IMG_1755 IMG_1756 IMG_1753

We celebrated Todd’s birthday on Monday with beach time, corn hole at night, and a shrimp boil (lowcountry boil) for dinner!  I made a version of Bev Cook’s recipe – so good!  On Tuesday morning, to celebrate Todd’s and his dad’s birthday (belated), we decided to rent jet skis! (picture on Friday’s post)

IMG_1720 IMG_1751 family style meal; shrimp boil; lowcountry boil

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It is so rare that we are all in the same place, so it was nice to have a little family reunion! Can’t wait to go back to TI!