Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Best Apps for Bloggers

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

When you first start blogging, you might just pull out a laptop one day and decide it's a good day to start a blog. Your photo quality may not be great, your photos probably aren’t all that impressive, and it may not be until later that you'd like to step it up and work on delivering more professional content. I definitely have made a lot of blogging mistakes along the way, but a lot has changed since my first year of blogging. When you're ready to take your leap into the world of more serious blogging, using applications will make your workflow as smooth as possible and provide a lot of support for you. Many applications even have a free package that will work well for you. Here are some great apps to check out!


Photos

Photography and editing photos are the bread and butter of blogging. They affect not only your blog itself, but also your Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts, and so much more. You want them to be slick and easy to access. Icloud sharing is fantastic for this. Of course, that will only work if you own something in the Apple family - an iMac, Macbook, or iPad. The file transfers take seconds. SmugMug comes highly recommended for ease of access to high-res images when you don’t want to compromise on quality and aren’t at home. Of course, for things like screenshots for information step-by-step guide style posts, you should read https://setapp.com/how-to/screenshot-on-mac. I also really love working with Canva for easy, high quality posts and labels for Pinterest-friendly titles. Before using Canva, consider using filters on Preview, Lightroom, or Adobe Photoshop. If you need free use photos, Unsplash is a great option!

Social Media

Once you have written a post, you can't just post it and be done. In fact, writing the post is only the beginning of the work most of the time. After all, you created the content for people to read and enjoy. In order to do that, you need to share it- as much as possible, and sometimes even more than once on a platform! It is worth remembering that even though the blogging world might seem small and oversaturated - you can’t over saturate the internet - it is limitless. So share a lot and often. Hootsuite is very popular and manages all of your social media in one space. It's especially great if you hate swapping between tools. Buffer now has more options than it has in previous years, and the free package is worth checking out. Once you have that in order, creating a drip feed campaign with MissingLettr will serve you well too. You can also stick to simple schedulers like Tailwind, which is a nice option I use.

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Writing

You may not always be home when inspiration for a great post shows up. There are a few spaces that offer great ways to capture those ideas that pop up on the fly. I've even used text- to- speech before to get great blog posts started while I'm driving. Google Docs is a leading contender - they are constantly introducing new tools within docs. Slack is great if you are working with a virtual assistant, or need to be in communication with people often. Trello is perfect for arranging your to-do list and having it there on your phone to access instantly, and Pocket is a quick way to save pages that you want to read later. I love just sitting and writing on Blogger for my posts, but some people even kick it old school and hand write some draft of posts! 

Focus

If you struggle to stay focused, then you really need to think about putting deadlines throughout your day. Staying productive can be exhausting sometimes, but setting goals means you are more likely to get everything done when you need to. Pomodoro is the most popular method to get things done. There are a few options for this in terms of apps:
  • FocusBooster
  • Be Focused Pro
  • Pomodoro Tracker
  • Pomelle
  • Toggl
When you are creating content, it is better to maximize the time you have, and apps like the ones mentioned are a quick way to streamline what you do and help you get it done better.

All in all, blogging is a rewarding creative outlet, but there is definitely a lot more to it than people may assume at first. It's a great idea to use the tools available for you in order to make it less work and less time-consuming overall. Hope these tips are helpful, friends! 

Currently,
Kelsie

 

Monday, September 2, 2019

England and Scotland: A Travel Guide + Recap

This summer, Aaron and I got the chance to visit Europe on a 9 day baby-free trip to England and Scotland through EF Tours. We were chaperones as part of a group of 46 travelers that included students going into the 9th grade, plus their parents. We had quite the adventure getting over there, but once we arrived it was a wonderful trip full of history, beautiful sights, and irreplaceable memories. Here are all the details, tips, and photos from our adventure!


Getting There

To make a very long story short, our task as chaperones was much much harder this time around with some serious delays on the way out- something that had never happened to us on tour before! Our flights from Atlanta to New York City were delayed for five hours and then cancelled, which meant that we missed our overnight connection from NYC to Edinburgh, Scotland. We had a nightmare of a time in the airport trying to get our large group rebooked, with little help from any customer service, and we ended up having to stay overnight in Atlanta and try flying out again the next day.

Our group had to split up into several smaller groups for re-booking, so we had people flying all over the place, with our specific group flying from Atlanta to Boston to Amsterdam to Edinburgh. All of us ended up missing an entire day on tour, which was really a bummer. Additionally, in Amsterdam we had a student think that he lost his passport, which led to a mad dash and hour-long scramble searching around the airport before we found it in his brother's bag. Phew. Did I mention I was pregnant and tired and mildly morning sick? We were SO happy to get there, and then things really got much better!


Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is beautiful, and full of so much history! Aaron and I had been to London before back on our 16 day trip to Europe in 2015, but we hadn't been anywhere else on our tour itinerary. (See my London Tips in this post!) Scotland was just what I expected: old and full of amazing accents. Once we finally arrived, we headed directly to Edinburgh Castle, which had breathtaking views, engaging exhibits, and a wonderful free guided tour! Definitely check out the prison exhibits. Once we were done at the castle, it started raining, so we ducked into a couple of shops on our way to the National Museum of Scotland, home of stuffed "Dolly" the sheep and other free exhibits, along with a cafe and coffee shop. We were so jet lagged at this point that we could barely keep our eyes open, but we made it through, grabbed dinner, and then headed off on a "Specters of Scotland" ghost tour, which told the story of legends, deaths, grave robberies, and other numerous horrific things that happened in Edinburgh back in the day. The guides were actually fantastic and quite funny, and our worn out group found a little pep in our step.




The next day, we were able to squeeze in a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh. This was an awesome visit we were able to fit in that wasn't originally a part of our tour, which was extra exciting because of the day we lost on tour. They had an incredible self-guided tour with headphones, videos, and a map that walked you through everything. It was one of the best guided tours I've ever seen anywhere, which is saying something because I've been on a ton. One of their exhibits even included Meghan Markle's wedding dress! I did throw up on the bus on our way there- it was one of the few times I got morning sickness on our trip. Thankfully I was able to do it subtly and no one really knew.

Warwickshire, England

After our adventures in Scotland, we took a quick drive and entered England. We were able to visit Warwick Castle, which was kind of a jazzed up castle with lots of touristy options for visitors. There was a long walk you could go on with lots and lots of stairs, which I tackled like the pregnant woman that I was, but it did offer some really great views. Unfortunately, the trebuchet was broken, so we didn't get to see it launch, but we were able to hear more about how it was used- let's just say that the hamster wheel job was not one I would be signing up for anytime soon. It was about 65-70 degrees for this entire portion of the trip, which was a lovely break from the steamy KC summer.




Stratford-upon-Avon, England

The next day was probably one of my English teacher favorites: a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare's Birthplace. It was pretty crazy walking through rooms where Shakespeare was actually born and grew up, especially since I teach his plays to my students every year and talk about the history of his life. We were also able to visit Anne Hathaway's Cottage nearby, which had the most beautiful gardens ever. Just for reference, this not the actress in her 30s, this is the original Anne Hathaway who was Shakespeare's wife. Sometimes people are confused as to why "our American" Anne Hathaway has a cottage over there! We also got to visit Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried.




Oxford, England

Oxford was up next, and it was totally what I would expect out of a Harry Potter book. We explored the streets and found some great coffee and gelato (something I can never pass up in Europe). We got to explore many of campuses of New College, including their beautiful chapel, and all of the small schools that make up Oxford University as a whole. The architecture was quite beautiful, and we found a delicious lunch at the local favorite Turf Tavern, which is hard to find but worth the trip. Fun fact, you order your food at the bar at almost every restaurant here- no one comes to your table to take an order!




London, England

After our visit to Oxford, we headed down to London for our last three days. Aaron and I had been here once before, but we'd always said that we wouldn't mind coming back- so here we were! We were bused around everywhere prior to this, but once we got to London we often rode the underground, or "tube" as they call it here. Let's just say that navigating that with 46 people was quite an adventure! London has almost 9 million people, so it's a huge city and we definitely had to buckle down on our chaperone groups to make sure we didn't lose anyone here! Did you know that curry is the national dish of England? With a large Indian population, British-Asian dishes like chicken tikka masala are incredibly popular, and very delicious, as we got to find out at dinner on multiple evenings!


Our first night in, we were able to take the twilight ride up on the London Eye. Aaron and I didn't do this back in 2015, so it was an extra special treat, and it offers amazing 360 degree views of the city. It was fun looking out and seeing all the places we had visited previously.




We started one morning on a narrated bus tour which was actually phenomenal. We got to see a bunch of places we didn't visit the first time around, including Abbey Road. Of course, we had to get a picture crossing the famous crosswalk! We also saw Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guard again, visited Westminster Abbey, saw Big Ben (which was sadly covered up and under re-construction), and many other tourist favorites.




The next day, we were off to Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world! This is the Queen's weekend home, and also has the famous St. George's Chapel where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married! We were able to tour both, and again, the audio/video tour was incredibly well done. They also had lots of benches which helped this pregnant mama rest her feet from all of the walking we did each day (we're talking 5-9 miles a day).




One evening we were also able to catch a theatre performance, which was Thriller - a Michael Jackson tribute show. I guess the British folks are pretty obsessed. It was well done and the singers were great. The London nightlife is a whole different ball game, and after a long day I was ready to get back to our hotel, which was right next to the Wembley Stadium. We were in town when Wimbledon was taking place! I really enjoyed London, and felt like we have a really good grasp on it after visiting twice!

Stonehenge, England

One of things I was really looking forward to on our trip was getting to check Stonehenge off of my bucket list. As one of the new seven wonders of the world, it was a place I knew I'd want to visit someday. Ironically enough, Aaron and I took Eli to visit the Stonehenge Exhibit that happened to be at Union Station in KC this summer, so we had a lot of prior knowledge coming into our visit. We also planned to do our pregnancy reveal photo in front of the iconic stones, so I was extra excited for that! I'm really glad we got to visit, and I would definitely recommend it, although it did fit a bit underwhelming in the moment. Maybe because the pathway is fairly far back in some places, but it just felt a little smaller than I had anticipated. It was still really cool to see though, and I love the photos we got to announce that Baby K was on the way again! Definitely worth a trip outside of town a bit!





Salisbury, England

On the same day as our visit to Stonehenge, we got to visit the city of Salisbury. This was honestly one of my very favorite parts of the trip. We got to tour and visit the beautiful and historical Salisbury Cathedral, which has the best preserved original copy of the Magna Carta (only four remain in the world). After that, we went into the city, and I just loved the rolling hills, the sheep, and the feeling of being outside of the big city after our time in London. They were even having a farmer's market in town that day, and they had some of the very best bread, sausages, and hummus I've ever had! I would highly recommend a visit here as a part of your visit to Stonehenge!




All in all, a trip to Europe is never a bad one, and once we got over the initial craziness of trying to get over to Scotland, we thoroughly enjoyed the rest of our trip adventuring around Scotland and England. If you're looking for a great trip for July, with temperatures in the 65-75 degree range (with it being cooler in Scotland and warmer down in London), definitely consider this trip! Some of our group also went on to Paris, which is an easy ride through the Chunnel or a short plane ride away. We had been there before and had been away from Eli long enough so we decided to pass and come home earlier. Either way, it would be easy to add on a trip to Ireland or a trip to Paris and make this a multiple country adventure! Send any travel questions my way!

Currently,
Kelsie


Monday, August 19, 2019

18 Week Bumpdate: Baby K 2020

I remember thinking that pregnancy went fast the first time around, but wow- it has gone even faster with Baby K number two!! I think some of that is a result of having another little one to chase around. To be honest, I'm sort of in that stage of pregnancy where I forget that I'm pregnant sometimes: I'm not sick anymore and I'm just now starting to feel our little nugget move around more in there. But then I look in a mirror and I'm quickly reminded that I am in fact growing a human!


 This is my first "bumpdate" since I announced my pregnancy back in Mid-July. This time around, I have been snapping photos outside of church each Sunday, right after I take Eli's weekly "cheesing after church" photos. I like doing it this way because I'm typically actually wearing makeup and am in some sort of a cute outfit, so I feel like I'm presentable for a photo, but don't have to make the effort to go get ready again like I did for my first pregnancy bump photos. We have a consistent background each week, so I think it's been perfect so far. We'll see what it's like in the colder months, since these photos have been outside so far ha.

14 Weeks 

So far I've only included the photos on my Instagram stories, so if you're someone who loves peeking around behind the scenes, be sure to follow me on Instagram for some fun photos, videos, and extra goodies (including more than just pregnancy updates). It was fun for me to hit 15 weeks pregnant on my 30th birthday- so that bump photo is especially meaningful! Now that you've seen the bump, here are some answers to some questions I'm getting a lot, or things you may be curious about!

15 Weeks

How I'm Feeling

Compared to my first pregnancy, the nausea and pukiness weren't as bad this time around- thank goodness. I did get sick a good amount, but not multiple times a day like previously. Those days are over now, and I'm feeling pretty great! I'm also over the fatigue that comes along with the first trimester, which is especially nice considering that I'm back into teaching full-time. Thankfully, both of my first trimester experiences have happened largely in the summer, which means that I haven't had to worry as much about fatigue or vomiting while at school. I'm so thankful for the goodness of God's timing in that way.

What's New This Month

I've had a few headaches here and there, along with a few nights where I woke up in the middle of the night to the baby in a weird position that was fairly uncomfortable for me. I've also seriously "popped" within the last week or two, and I still do a bit of a double take sometimes when I'm heading to the shower or when I am unable to put on a single pair of my regular pants for "jeans day". They say it happens quicker with the second baby, and I feel like that has definitely been the case. Baby K is also moving and grooving around in there more lately, which is a welcome change because I was starting to get a little anxious about that.

16 Weeks 

What I'm Craving

At this point, I'm not really craving anything, but earlier in the pregnancy that was not the case. Last time around I just loved all of my normal favorites, but this time around there were a few times I told Aaron that I HAD to have Jimmy John's or KFC, or something weirdly specific. I also absolutely could not have certain things or stomach certain smells for a while, including bacon and other random foods that I actually do like. Bathroom smells were horrific for a while there, and I was always feeling like I had to use the restroom and also get sick at the same time- which wasn't so fun! But that's in the past now, and I just have one healthy appetite!

What I'm Wearing

I was pretty much unable to button my shorts or pants almost from the get go this time around. Because I'm not fully or formally "announcing" my pregnancy to my students just yet, I've been cautious about wearing things that don't quite accentuate the bump. I'm mainly hanging out in cute dresses that still fit me thus far, as well as some sized up shorts and lots of Nike shorts for hanging out and working out. I'm due about six weeks earlier than my March 5th due date with Eli, so I've found that I'm more pregnant in the warmer end of summer than I was last time. I've got plenty of maternity stuff, but I'm not quite big enough to commit to it so I'm just in that weird middle ground. I'm actually looking forward to cooler weather and my maternity leggings!

17 Weeks

How I'm Sleeping

I've been battling staying hydrated all summer, but I typically do wake up about once a night to use the restroom. There are days I know I haven't had enough water, because I can make it until 5 am or so without going. I haven't gotten my body pillows or pregnancy wedge back out yet, but I'm going to look for them this week because sleeping is starting to get less comfortable as my belly starts to pull to the side.

What I'm Looking Forward To

I'm really excited to keep feeling Baby K move more and more, as it is truly such an amazing feeling that I honestly kind of missed once Eli was on the "outside". It has been so fun to talk with Eli more about his baby brother or baby sister (he's still convinced it's a sister), and he is very sweet and likes to put his hand on my bump and tell Baby K that he loves them. I'm also looking forward to our ultrasound in a couple of weeks. Even though we aren't planning to find out this baby's gender (Eli was also a surprise and it was the BEST), I'm excited to see Baby K and am praying for healthy results and good news for mama and baby alike. We had some follow up ultrasounds with Eli last time that were very stressful and emotional, so I'm hopeful that I can enjoy this experience and not be worried because of past experiences. I appreciate your prayers!!

I'm also planning to keep this baby in the same Gender Neutral Nursery that Eli had and is still currently in, so Eli will be getting a "big boy" room overhaul in the bedroom next door and we will be transitioning him over and to a big boy bed before the baby comes. I've got some painting and redecorating to do in there, which I'm excited about and will be sharing on the blog in the coming months! I'm really still in love with our nursery, and I'm excited to have another sweet baby to love on in it. What a blessing this little one is- I'm already so in love! More to come later. Thanks for following along!

Be sure to like the Currently, Kelsie page on Facebook to stay up to date on recent posts! 

Currently,
Kelsie

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Parent-In-Law Proposal

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

When a man asks his girlfriend to marry him, he may assume it’s all about the two of you. This is your special moment, after all, and the time when you’re finally able to commit to each other. For me, this moment with Aaron was one I would never ever forget, and I still love thinking back to it.


In reality, though, as much as your wedding is about your guests, you may soon find that your engagement isn’t just for the two of you, either. Getting engaged also means (sort of) getting engaged to your future in-laws. Even if your future groom has always gotten along with the in-laws as a boyfriend, things stand to change the moment you bring a ring into things. In fact, if he goes about this wrong, you may find that those inter-parent relationships go a little pear-shaped. The role of future husband comes with a whole new load of criteria, after all, and he’ll need that parental seal of approval all over again.

The trouble is that he might not have any idea how to sweeten the engagement deal with his future in-laws. And you also may have never talked through it with him. You’ve never done this before, after all. When it comes down to it, though, most in-laws look for the same basic courtesies. To help you stay on top and achieve the husband seal of approval, talk through these steps and consider letting them be a part of the engagement process.

Always Ask the Dad

It may seem unnecessary and perhaps even outdated, but I believe that any future groom should ask a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. I knew that I really wanted Aaron to do it this way, but I also love surprises- so I didn't want to know anything about where or when it was going down. We’re lucky in that we no longer live in an age where fathers dictate their daughter’s marriages. BUT, this is still a tradition in our culture. Of course, a future bride is free to choose who she wishes, but that’s not really what this is about. Instead, this is one of those special moments every father looks forward to. It’s a sign of respect if nothing else, and a way for you to prove you’re facing your decision head and with the responsibility any father-in-law would like to see. One thing’s sure; depriving a dad of this moment will sour relationships like you wouldn’t believe.


Include the In-Laws in Proposal Prep

By this, I don’t mean that you have to hide them behind a bush when the big moment comes. You don’t even need to let them know precisely when you’re going to pop the question. But personally, I loved that my parents were involved and that my mom was was even THERE. (Read more about our proposal here.) Still, it pays to let the in-laws take some part in the proposal prep. Their daughter’s engagement is a huge life event, after all, and leaving them out in the cold could lead to some struggling to settle into the family quite as fast. That being said, your guy should consider letting your in-laws take some small part in the engagement preparation. Have them appear on a video he's making for his future bride. Let your mom make sandwiches for your engagement picnic. Have the entire family there (along with friends) for a celebratory dinner afterwards, like Aaron did for our proposal! These measures will take some pressure off and help to show future in-laws how much this whole thing means to you. 


Be Practical, But Romantic

At this stage, the time for fun and games is over. Your guy's in-laws (and his future bride, for that matter) will want to see that he is practical. Sweeping his girlfriend away on some excessive engagement vacation may seem like a good idea, but it could be a mistake. You’ll have a wedding coming up if all goes well, and grand gestures like these can drain that marriage budget in a hurry. Instead, aim to be both practical and romantic with the proposal. When it comes down to it, a more subtle, down-to-earth, meaningful option often works best anyway. Choose somewhere that means a lot and is easy to get to rather than some expensive place you’ve never been. For example, Aaron proposed in our church sanctuary, which was incredibly meaningful because church is where we met! Don’t make the mistake, either, of blowing a fortune on your engagement ring. Instead, show off your financial savvy side with Tacori rings which are affordable yet custom-made with beautiful brides in mind. These are all steps which show that you’re in this for life, not just for Christmas. They also show that you’re going for romance rather than big gestures which simply can’t stand the test of a marriage. Because believe me, marriage isn't all grand gestures.

Of course, when it comes down to it, you should also let your love for each other shine through. No matter your proposal choices, parents will mostly just want to see that your future husband loves their daughter as much as they do. Let that be evident, and you should all be one happy family in no time.

Currently,
Kelsie


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Goodbye, Twenties: A 30th Birthday Reflection

And then, just like that, my twenties were over. I am a naturally reflective person by nature, nostalgic to a fault. My heart warms at fond memories and my husband is always amazed by the minute details I can suddenly conjure from the past, so specific that I'm nearly back in those very moments. Last year I wrote a birthday reflection on year 28, looking specifically at the year and all the iced coffee, chiropractor visits, and running goals that it brought. But now I feel the almost weightier task of reflecting upon an entire decade. The twenties: a time of so much unknown, so many major life decisions, such huge life events. A time of figuring out who you are, who you want to be, and who you want to share all of your days with. At 19, thirty seemed so far away- so old, so mature. And then I blinked, and here I am, starting my age with a new digit, new dreams, and a new outlook on life.


I entered my twenties as a single sorority girl, YoungLife leader, and English Education student at Mizzou. I had my eyes set on graduating college, finding my first "big girl job", and hopefully finding a nice young boy who loved Jesus and would chase Him right alongside me. I was right in the middle of an incredible community of folks my same age- something I definitely took for granted, but didn't realize until I was an adult out in the work world struggling to find the same type of deep and equally reciprocated friendships. I often wrestled with the lack of dating interest from guys in my college circles, but I see now that the time alone as just me was a gift: a pause to figure out my faith, who I was, and where I wanted to go without depending on someone else.


Now, I leave my twenties as a nearly nine year teaching veteran, a wife of six years, a home owner of six years, and a mom of one sweet baby boy with another kiddo on the way. Along the way, I fell in love, got engaged, got married, traveled the world, learned a lot, changed a lot, bought a house, bought a car, grew a baby, birthed a baby, jumped into the working mom world, coached some kiddos, started a blog, worked some side hustles, and jumped into a really big dream I alluded to in my recent post The Edge Pieces. There have been many ups and downs along the way, but I truly believe that I'm right where I'm supposed to be, and that I wouldn't be here without the hills and valleys I climbed to get here. And I can't wait for what's next.


If I could say one thing to a 20 year old, it would be this: there is so much good ahead. You will find way more joy than you ever thought possible in the sweet snuggles of a snoring baby on your chest, a simple evening home laughing around pepperoni pizza, and the soft murmurs of intentional conversation with those who really "get you". When gray hairs start to appear and laugh lines suddenly show up, you'll be less worried about your appearance and more grateful for the joyful moments that you've seen each and every day you've aged. You'll care less about the "popular" crowd and scene and more about just carving out and protecting precious time blowing bubbles with your not-so-little boy or sharing prayer requests with your best girls over brownie sundaes. You will look back on your twenties and you honestly will. not. miss. them. Because (for the most part, Lord-willing) you're still young, still healthy, still have amazing parents who are healthy and even better grandparents, and there is much too much life ahead for you to look back with sadness, longing for what came before.


I'm realizing more and more that aging is a gift, and that many would love to be able to see their loved ones hit 30. It is a number, not a definition or quality of life. It does not mean that I have to become old and decrepit, and it certainly doesn't mean I have to fully "grow up", because I'm not sure I can ever sign up for that. Instead, it means that a new era lies ahead: one where I get to watch my babies grow up, both marvel and hurt as they gradually need me less, chase after my dreams fully and more capably, grow older and more deeply in love with my husband, and not worry one bit about what others think or what the world says I should or shouldn't do.


So cheers to you, 30. I think you're going to be the best decade yet, and I'm excited for all that lies ahead! I'm so thankful for the amazing friends and family who have loved me for all or part of my first thirty years, and I'm ready for the next thirty to really knock my socks off. Goodbye, twenties. Hello, thirties! Let's do this thing.

Currently,
Kelsie

Monday, July 15, 2019

Baby K is on the Way (Again): Coming January 2020

Oh baby, it's time for another one!! #BabyKisontheway: again! Ever since the start of 2019, I've been excited and ready for another baby, and it looks like God had that in the plans for us as well. We are so blessed. It's been super hard to avoid sharing for a while, but I feel like shouting it from the rooftops today! We're having another baby, y'all!! If you're interested in the details on my due date, how I've been feeling, and how we told our family, as well as some adorable videos of Eli discussing his new sibling, then this post is for you!


How We Found Out

We got pregnant with Eli the very first month, so we really weren't sure what to expect this time around. I was comfortable with trying for another baby once Eli turned two, so basically during the month of February. I didn't get pregnant for the first three months, but then May rolled around and I was only a few days from expecting my period. I felt different than I had the previous months, even though I got sick from the KC water issues back in March and was kind of convinced I was pregnant then, even though I wasn't. Anyways, I woke up early to use the bathroom on Thursday, May 9th and decided to take a test. I almost threw it away shortly after, thinking it was negative, but something made me keep it (though I was half asleep). I got back up out of bed and looked again and thought I saw a really faint line. I just wasn't sure.

Both Aaron and I inspected it that morning, and I sent a photo to a close friend who told me she thought it was positive. I took another test the next morning, May 10th and had the same result: super faint, yet a line. At this point, I was so done not knowing. I didn't want to get too excited about a false positive or test defect, but I needed to know definitively either way. So I dropped Eli off a few minutes early at his daycare, and then stopped by Sunfresh to buy a "pregnant" or "not pregnant" test at 7:15 am. They were locked in a case and there was no one working the pharmacy, so I was out of luck- who knew!? Luckily, there is a CVS right next to the High School I teach at, so I went inside and bought the more pricey ClearBlue test so I would have some clarity. I literally took it in the faculty bathroom at my school, and there it was: I was pregnant! I had to put on a pretty good poker face right away for my kids and co-workers, especially since I didn't have my pregnancy "confirmation visit" until May 29th, which was almost the last day of school.



When I'm Due

My official due date is January 19th, 2020 (although I was measuring almost a week ahead at my 12 week appointment). This means that Eli will be not quite three years old when Baby K makes his or her arrival. I had wanted to wait a bit longer to have another kiddo, and we are really excited about this age gap. We're hopeful that Eli will be completely out of diapers by then, and we will also just slide him over to the other bedroom and keep our gender neutral nursery without buying another crib. I don't have near as many days saved up as I had when I went on leave with Eli, so we're still figuring out just how long we'll take off when the Baby comes, but most likely I will only have to go back to work for about a month before summer comes, so that will be a nice way to ease back into it. To be honest, I'm a little nervous about going back and being a working mom with two kiddos, but I know that God always equips those that He calls to things (plus I've got some amazing help with grandmas, family, friends, and Eli's sitter).

How We Told Our Family (and Some Friends)

Since we found out just two days before Mother's Day, we considered telling our families then (when they were all at a lunch at our house), but we decided to wait and tell them on another day. I was seeing my mom and Aaron's mom every week when they came to watch Eli, so I knew I wanted to tell our families soon, because I felt like I was hiding something. We also never tell anyone else until our families know, so this meant we were keeping it a secret from basically everyone. I've always had the approach that it was okay to tell family and super close friends earlier, because I was going to need their support anyways if something did go wrong. It sure was sweet secretly knowing I was a mama of TWO on Mother's Day!

If you're a video person, just click here and you can see several announcements in action (along with my very favorite videos of Eli talking about being a big brother). I'll give you a hint- he is convinced he's getting a certain type of sibling! He just kills me.


For those of you word folks:
We decided to tell my parents the following Friday night at dinner. I needed to get a stroller from them anyways, so I talked to my mom about meeting up to grab that, then just casually asked if they had dinner plans. I had bought a couple of "One Question a Day for Grandparents" journals back around Christmas time, and they had just been sitting in the basement until we needed them. I planned to write "Becoming a Big Brother: January 2020" on a sticky notes and tuck it onto the January 19th page for my mom to find- with the journal being a thank you gift for watching him this year. I bombed on filming their reaction, but we did get a video of my parents talking a little bit about it (see video above).

We thought about telling Aaron's family that same weekend, but it was his sister's college graduation so we didn't want to take that from her. Instead, we waited until the next weekend, Memorial Day weekend, to tell them while we were all on our trip to Branson together. We used the same strategy with Aaron's mom that we did with mine over a pizza lunch. We also told my brothers and my sister-in-law at a dinner at my parents' house. My sister in law is a labor and delivery nurse who had recently graduated and gotten a job. We wrote in the card that she was going to be an awesome nurse, it's just too bad she wouldn't be at North Kansas City in January 2020!

We also had a lot of fun telling friends and family here and there with memes and the help of a server, over meals and date nights, and on our extended family trip to Colorado when Eli wore his "Big Brother" shirt for the first time. I didn't get photos and videos of all of those moments, but they sure were sweet. A second baby isn't as much of a "shock" as the first, but we still felt like it was worth celebrating and trying to tell people in some fun ways!



How I'm Feeling

I'm at 13 weeks pregnant, and all in all, I've been feeling pretty great! Compared to when I was pregnant with Eli, the morning sickness hasn't been as bad! With him, I was throwing up multiple times a day when we were in Greece, but this time around I've probably gotten sick less than ten times total. I have felt fairly constantly nauseous, and been pretty dang tired. Thankfully, I didn't feel sick until the last couple of days of school. One day while we were potty training Eli, he went over and fake puked over his little potty because he had seen me do it. He also told me that "Daddy's working. Mommy's puking." You're not wrong, buddy! But thankfully, just like when I was pregnant with E, this has all been during the summer, so I've been able to take naps while Eli is napping and rest as much as I needed. I'm so grateful I wasn't having to do that while being at school all day and wrangling Eli in the evenings. Also, let's just say that they aren't kidding when they say that bumps show up way quicker the second time around than they do the first time! Some of it is bloating, but still. I'm already seeing differences in my body that I feel like took much longer the first time I ever grew a baby. And apparently, I love taking my unborn children on trips overseas, as Baby K just got home from a 9 day trip to Scotland and England. Bumpdates to come!




Where I'm Planning to Deliver

Baby K will be born at North Kansas City Hospital just like Eli was. I have an amazing doctor that I love in the women's center there who delivered Eli, which was an overall fantastic experience! (Read all about his birth story here!) I know the drill there and feel very confident in the labor and delivery and mom and baby teams there. Of course we have no idea what this labor and delivery will look like, especially since Eli was ten days early, but I've got a bit more experience this time around, so no childbirth classes or as much reading for me!

Are We Going to Find Out the Gender? Do We Want a Boy or Girl?

In case you didn't know, we didn't find out if Eli was a boy or girl, so it was a total surprise the day he was born. (Here are our reasons why if you're curious, or are considering waiting for a surprise too!) People have asked us if we're going to find out this time, and I don't think we are! We already have gender neutral stuff for those first few weeks. We LOVED having Aaron tell me it was a boy in the delivery room, and of course we really just wanted a healthy baby. We would love to have a girl, and Eli is convinced he's getting a baby sister, but we also think that having brothers would be super fun (and not disappointing)!! We have always talked about having three kids, so it's not necessarily out of the question to have another shot at a girl if we have a boy this time. We'll see what happens!

Aaron and I are so, so grateful for the chance to love on another precious life, and we feel so blessed and overjoyed that Eli will be a big brother. Growing our family has always been a dream of ours, and we just pray this baby will continue to grow healthy and strong and will love Jesus with all that they have! We already love this precious gift so much. Thanks for being a part of this adventure with us!

Currently,
Kelsie