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5 Toddler Activities

5 Toddler Activities

Toddlers are so fun! I love how Mae finds delight in the simplest things sometimes, and I love finding activities for her that are fun, educational, and keep her occupied for a long time so I am able to have a bit of uninterrupted time […]

Our Morning Routine

Our Morning Routine

Although all our days are all looking the same, no two days are ever exactly the same. We have loose routines we follow most days, but how our days actually look depend so much on sleep, the weather, Mae’s attitude, and many, many other things. […]

Pregnancy Update: Baby #2

Pregnancy Update: Baby #2

Today I entered into the third trimester with baby number two! I thought I’d write a little pregnancy update and tell a bit of the story with this sweet baby we get to meet in a few more weeks.


Getting pregnant/finding out


I was only 20 years old and we had been married for 6 months when I found out I was pregnant with our first child, Mae. It was a complete shock and it took me some time to comprehend it all and be happy about it. Of course Mae is the biggest blessing in our lives and I am so happy she came when she did, it was just a shock and struggle at first!


When Mae reached a certain age we decided we were okay, and ready to get pregnant again. I had finished school and in nine months Mae would be ready to be a big sister. Once we made this “decision” and changed our mindset I was very, very ready to be pregnant again.


But, as is normal, things did not go as we planned. Friends and family around me began announcing pregnancies, and I had negative test after negative test.


I believe God’s timing was perfect though.


In December I began getting slight suspicions that I could be pregnant, but I wouldn’t let myself dwell on it or read into my feelings too much. On a trip to Walmart I decided to pick up a pregnancy test, but they were all gone! Except for a few more expensive ones, and I was not sure enough to spend a lot of money on a test. I decided it was fine, and I could wait a little longer if I was going to be disappointed again.


A few days later we made the trip to Florida to be with Sam’s family for Christmas. We ran by Walmart to pick up a few things, and I made sure to grab a pregnancy test.


It was positive.


I went into the room where we were staying and told Sam. I was a little in shock, and I kept asking him if he really saw two lines. Were they really there?


Telling the family


I calculated my due date and how many weeks I thought I was, and I figured I was about 8 weeks. We decided it was not too early to tell his family, so we told them that day at lunch.


Sam wanted to tell them very casually, so I left it up to him. When my mother-in-law began bringing out dessert, someone mentioned making coffee. My pregnant sister-in-law requested decaf coffee, and Sam said, “Julie will take decaf too.”


I remember my sister-in-law giving me a look like she knew, and Sam simply said, “She’s pregnant, you know?”


I started feeling nauseous about a week later, but we had decided to wait until Christmas to tell my family. It was so hard to keep it a secret! On Christmas Eve, when the whole family was together (except, sadly, our brother-in-law) I put a shirt on Mae that said “Big Sister.” We were about to eat dinner, so we put a bib on to cover it up. After we all sat down, Sam made a comment to Mama about Mae’s new shirt. She lifted up the bib and immediately asked, “Is it real?”


We told a few close friends right away, and we announced it to everyone else after I had my first doctor’s appointment at 13 weeks.


First Trimester


So far I have been blessed with very easy pregnancies. The first trimester was the hardest both times, but overall it was not so bad. I even felt better with this baby than I did with Mae.


I was absolutely exhausted all the time, and having an energetic toddler who was still nursing didn’t always help! I felt nauseous and had an aversion to many foods and smells, but that was the extent of it. I never threw up or had any extreme symptoms.


By week 15 or so I felt my energy coming back and I started eating more normal foods and handling smells.


Second Trimester


I love the second trimester! My energy is back, I start exercising much more regularly, and baby starts growing and kicking! Oh, how I love sweet baby kicks.


Although we did find out Mae’s gender before she was born, we decided to be surprised this time! At first I was sure baby is a boy, but later I began to waver and think she’s a girl. Now I have no idea and no feelings, but I am so excited to meet him or her!


Mae definitely does not understand, but she loves babies in general and she loves to talk about the baby that is going to come live with us soon. She will rub and kiss my belly, lovingly calling it “baby.” Sometimes she also says there is a baby in her belly or Dada’s too. She changes her answer every time we ask her if she thinks baby is a boy or girl, but she loves to say the name we have picked out for a girl (we already decided on both names).
I am excited for her to be a big sister. She is so sweet and loving to all her baby dolls, giving them kisses and bottles, asking them which book they would like and sharing all her snacks and toys with them. I’m not sure how she will be with a real baby taking up my attention, but I do think she will love him or her.


We are immensely blessed by God, and I am so thankful for both of my precious babies. I can’t wait to meet Mae’s little sibling!

3 Ways to Show Hospitality When you can’t Leave your House

3 Ways to Show Hospitality When you can’t Leave your House

First, a little family update! At the beginning of this week Sam began an online PhD program at Faulkner University. He is on track to be a Dr. of Humanities in a few years! The first week has already proved to be slightly challenging, but […]

What I’m Learning from Sheltering in Place

What I’m Learning from Sheltering in Place

I am used to staying home most of the time, but the past several weeks have been a whole new level. At the beginning of this current global pandemic I had no idea it would actually come so close to home. I remember sometime in […]

Mae’s Big News

Mae’s Big News

You are my sunshine,

My only sunshine.

You make me happy

When skies are gray

Our little sunshine is getting promoted to big sister in August!

Adventures part two: Sam’s Big Race!

Adventures part two: Sam’s Big Race!

Last year for Christmas, Sam asked for his present to be the entry fee to a race. Not just any race, but the LongHaul100, a one-hundred-mile-race. Saturday morning, we woke up early and packed our bags for the day. I had lots of snacks for […]

Adventures part one: Mae’s First Airplane Trip!

Adventures part one: Mae’s First Airplane Trip!

We have had quite the adventures the past couple of weeks! To begin, poor Mae got sick. This is only the second time she has been sick enough to merit a visit to the doctor and it is always so pitiful and sad. She began […]

Why I Journal

Why I Journal

I began my first journal when I was ten years old. The idea of keeping a journal had always appealed to me, as I loved to write and notebooks, paper, and pens were a few of my favorite things.

I opened up a purple shimmery spiral-bound notebook from the dollar store, sharpened a pencil, and began to write. Once I started, I didn’t stop filling the pages with random happenings of the day, ways my siblings annoyed me, and stories, plans, and dreams covered the pages, transcribed in chunky, printed pencil letters.

I journal to remember

For years I kept my journals on and off, always filling them with girlish secrets and thoughts that filled my head, begging to be let out on the paper.

Over time my journal entries began to change. I filled the pages with less of my silly disappointments and secrets (life as a 13-15-year-old felt very tumultuous), and more with memories, I wanted to remember, prayers I prayed in my heart, and truths I was learning.

Although I cringe to read what I wrote in the earliest notebooks I filled, I am thankful for what they contain. I am grateful to see how I have grown and matured and what God has done in my life.

I especially love to go back and read my thoughts from my first semester of college, when I had so much uncertainty and fear. The entries are filled with doubts and worries, but they are also underlined with admiration and excitement. After I met Sam the first couple weeks of school, my journal began to be filled with everything he did and said, and prayers asking God what it all meant.

Now I look at my life and see the amazing way He answered those prayers!

I journal to think more clearly.

While it has gotten better as I’ve gotten older, I often find myself struggling to speak words when they would simply flow out on the page. Something seemed to click in my mind when I put pen to paper and my thoughts were unlocked.

I noticed this especially as Sam and I dated. He would ask me questions and opinions, and I felt I simply couldn’t answer. That night I would write all my thoughts and feelings on whatever subject about which we had spoken. Sometimes I would ask Sam to read whatever I had written.

Now, thankfully, I am much more able and comfortable to speak about certain things, but I still find that writing my thoughts provides much more clarity.

I journal as a discipline.

A few years ago (2011? 2012? I can’t remember) I had the goal of writing in my journal every single day. Some days I wrote only one sentence. Some days I wrote three pages. But I wrote every day, and it helped me form a habit.

Journaling is not beneficial to me every day that I do it, but overall it has been a helpful practice, sometimes the help just being the habit itself.

The reason this habit that I’ve had for nearly 12 years made it to my list of 20 goals for 2020 is that after Mae was born in 2018, I have not consistently journaled. My goal for this year is to journal all 366 days!

I will continue to journal for these reasons. I will continue to record what is happening in my life, from truths God is teaching me in His Word, to prayers and requests, to sweet memories of my family I never want to forget.

Do you keep a journal? How has it helped you?

20 for 2020

20 for 2020

Twenty things. This year I have twenty goals, ranging from huge, year-long goals, to small one-day goals, and different achievements in between. Some are important, others are merely for fun. For all of them, I am excited! In no particular order, here is my list […]