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!

Our Weekend and a Tiny Pregnancy Update

My mind is all over the place lately.  My neighbor texted me this morning and asked what we had going on this Monday morning.  I said “I’m trying to focus and work on about a million projects.”  She said “Focus?  What’s that?” Haha, exactly!  If I wasn’t expecting, I think I’d over-do it on coffee today.

At least our weekend was productive!  We spent a lot of time working in the yard and made a couple of home decor decisions.  Home improvements are always so rewarding.

I am not planning to do bump/pregnancy updates, but I did snap a picture before running errands on Friday.  I looked rough, but this does show my bump.  This is kind of an embarrassing picture…keeping it real around here!  I was 15 weeks on Friday. And this is deceiving – by the time I go to bed, I look huge!

We will find out if we are having a boy or girl in a few weeks!  Eek!

15 weeks pregnant bump picture

Though I still have some “morning” aka afternoon/night sickness, I am feeling much more energetic lately!  I am not craving my typical diet, but I have loved salads lately.  And I have been buying and eating fruit in bulk.

We’ve been eating fewer grains and dairy, but I’ve had some days when I just couldn’t do that.  If I’m nauseous, sometimes vegetables and chicken just won’t cut it.  I rarely eat dairy, unless burrata is an option, and I haven’t been cooking with any butter – baby steps! I’ve also tried making some paleo alternatives to foods we love.  I will post those recipes and details later this week.

salmon salad

Todd brought home these flowers the other day, just because!

flowers from my husband

On Saturday, we were finally able to celebrate my sweet sister-in-law, Ginna.  She turned 30 recently, so Davis and I made her a “29 Again” cake!  I wish we had gotten a picture while we were out with them!

29 again birthday candles

That’s all for now!  I’m off to work on that never-ending to-do list, and do my best to make this my Monday mantra.

don't be lazy quote

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!).

Catching Up

Since I haven’t kept up with blogging very well lately, I thought I’d post a few recent happenings…

We’ve spent a ton of time outdoors!

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Green for St. Patrick’s Day at school!

St. Patrick's Day 2016

St. Patrick's Day

Last Friday at the start of March Madness, Todd had a bunch of guys over to watch the games and hang out.  10+ guys, 2 flat screen TVs, pizza, beer, and chips.  I didn’t take any pictures of them, but I did get a picture of these cuties.  One of the wives I am friends with came over and we took our kids to get frozen yogurt. :)  Emerson and Davis make quite a cute pair!

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This past weekend my cousins and aunt threw a baby shower for Caroline, one of the four sisters.  I was able to help a little, and I truly enjoyed all of the time with family!  They did an amazing job with the shower – it was beautiful.  All of the guys hung out during the shower, then we all spent some time together after.

Caroline's baby shower food buffetCaroline's baby shower gold balloonsCaroline's baby showerCaroline's baby shower food buffet

family time after Caroline's showerCaroline's baby shower; family picture with grandparents

I got dressed on Monday and realized I looked like my mom’s twin. She would definitely wear this exact outfit!

cardigan, striped shirt outfit

We spent a morning showing Davis around Bass Pro Shops (he loved it), visiting the Lego store, and eating Mexican food for lunch.  I really love times like these with my boys.

family day in March at Bass Pro Shopsfamily lunch

 

That’s all for now!  But I will be back to post on Friday…2 posts in 1 week is basically a record around here lately.  Thank you for sticking with me!!

GO PANTHERS! + Birthday Celebration + Snow Days

 

Snow days, NFL success, and a birthday celebration…this is a look at our January (with far too many pictures)!

THE CAROLINA PANTHERS ARE GOING TO SUPER BOWL 50!!!!!! We are pumped!!  Here are some pictures from the last 2 Sundays, cheering on our underdog team! IMG_4976IMG_4969

Carolina Panthers

We have a new Carolina Panthers t-shirt design in the etsy shop!  It features a few of the stars of the team.  Panthers gear is sold out almost everywhere, but we should have these shirts ready to ship soon!

Super Bowl 50 shirt; Carolina Panthers players t-shirt; Panthers shirt

Winter weather hit Charlotte last week, so we had a few snow days at home.  If I had my wish, it would be 75-85 degrees year round. But, being stuck at home and having quality time with my boys and snowy adventures was pretty great.

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We also celebrated my mom’s birthday two weekends ago!  We had a small family birthday party at our house.  For dinner, my brother and I made roasted salmon with a white wine-lemon sauce; risotto; mushrooms with thyme and garlic; roasted grape tomatoes; caesar salad; chocolate-coconut-pecan cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream; and champagne of course!

gluten free chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream and coconut and pecansIMG_4942IMG_4948

roasted salmon; mushrooms; risotto; caesar salad

Our Weekend

This past weekend was full of fun and time with family and friends.  We were busy, but it was a good busy.  Lately I have felt such a sense of gratitude for the friends that God has placed in our lives!  We have a circle of people that love us, and we love them and their kids.  It’s an incredible blessing, and I do not take it for granted!

On Friday, Davis was a carpenter. :)  He put on his tool belt and safety glasses from our friends Ryan and Ashley.  I love this picture so much! IMG_4234

On Friday night we watched Charlie Brown Christmas and ate popcorn on the couch. This was one of our advent activities! IMG_4241

Another advent activity was to decorate Christmas cookies with our cousins!  Sarah, Jeremy, Bryleigh, Cam, and Ezra all came over on Saturday morning and we decorated cookies and played outside.  It was such a beautiful day that we were able to eat lunch outside, too.

I used the recipe that I posted about on Friday, and the cookies turned out really well.  They kept their shape, but were still soft.

P.S. I love how Ezra is looking at his Uncle Todd in this picture.  (heart eyes!)IMG_4256IMG_4253

Sarah and I, in our Christmas-colored baseball tees.  Apparently we think alike! IMG_4274

IMG_4281IMG_4278decorated christmas cookiesIMG_4280

Our sweet pup had to go to the vet on Saturday because of some joint pain.  If you have a lab or a golden, you’ve probably seen this happen in your dogs as they get older.  I hate that it’s affecting him already! IMG_4303

On Saturday night we had a team dinner with our Honor Roll Designs partners and friends.  We always have fun with them, and it was great to celebrate!

After church on Sunday, we made nachos for lunch.  It was the perfect football-watching food!  It has been so exciting to watch the Panthers have an undefeated season so far!

I posted the how-to for the nachos on instagramIMG_4288

Our friends Adele and Jeremy invited us to a local parade on Sunday afternoon.  The weather was perfect to be outside.  The parade was quite a small-town experience ;), and we had a great time with our friends!  I wish we had taken a group shot!  IMG_4307

Have a great day!  Thank you for stopping by!

Our Halloween Weekend

This past weekend was so fun!  On Friday night, Todd was out of town, so Davis and I went to ride on a Halloween trailer ride near where my parents live.  They had a neighborhood contest to judge whose house was best decorated.  Davis of course loved being pulled by a green tractor!

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On Saturday morning we spent some time outdoors with neighbors, then we got ready for our Halloween tradition!  This is the 3rd year in a row that we have gone trick-or-treating with Sarah‘s and Ashley‘s families.  This time Sarah’s in-laws joined, and so did mine and Sarah’s parents.  We ate a taco dinner at Sarah’s and got the kids changed into their costumes.

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So, getting a picture of that many kids together, when all they want to do is play and trick-or-treat, is not easy ;) Spiderman and the firefighters were not into keep their mask/hats on – oh well! 
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This precious boy was a little wolf!  Sarah found his outfit at Gap.  The hood has ears on it – so cute! 

Then we went to my aunt and uncle’s neighborhood for trick-or-treating!  My uncle borrowed a trailer from a friend and hitched it to the back of his jeep.  We rode around the neighborhood on that, and it was so fun!

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Though I am not huge on the scary parts of Halloween, I love this tradition with family, and friends who are like family.  We had a blast!  And I finally had some time together with two of my best friends! (Girls night is needed asap!)

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Later that night, Todd and I joined some friends next door for a bonfire and drinks.  It was such a perfect Fall day!

 

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well!  I’m looking forward to all of the blog posts of cute Halloween costumes. :)