Monday, December 30, 2019

2019: A Year in Review

As I reflect on 2019, and all that happened, I am truly blown away. Looking back at the word I chose for the year (listen), I certainly could have done a better job in some areas, but I believe that both Aaron and I have done our best to listen and trust in a variety of ways for the last 365 days. It has been a year of growth, of dreaming, of watching things unfold, and of taking huge leaps. It has been a year that stripped away all "control" that I thought I had, teaching me how much better it was that I wasn't the one deciding how it would all unfold. Some of you may stop by this corner of the web more often than others, so whether you're new here or read regularly, here's a recap of the year: complete with highlights, posts, big news, and fun photos and videos. Here's to you, 2019.


In January, this blog marked its fourth birthday! Wow! I didn't post as much this year, as we were just a little busy with several things, but I still love showing up in this space and I'm so thankful for those who faithfully read, comment, encourage, or even email about a post. In January, I sought to start the year strong by listening, we set off on a trip to Austin that would change our lives forever, and I learned a little more about saying no to working on weekends and yes to loving on my sweet boys.


Between January and February, we had a TON of snow days. So many that I was ready for them to end because it meant we had to go to school until May 30th! I shared my Three Days in Austin Travel Guide,  and the big excitement for the month was throwing Eli his second birthday party: a Taco TWOsday party. Boy did we have fun with the fiesta theme and all the yummy food and pinata fun that came along with it. I wrote him a birthday letter, and loved making his one second everyday video of his 2nd year (you can view it below)! It's crazy how fast time has gone and how big he is now. He will be three in a couple of months and I simply can't believe it.

Two special guests at Eli's birthday party were actually our architect (the one we randomly met in Austin) and his fiancee'. They are the sweetest, and they flew in to design the chapel over Eli's bday weekend - I felt some mama guilt, but it was so worth it! We also started trying for a baby in February, and I shared in this post about how I nearly ruined Valentine's Day.


March came and I went on my first mom trip away to visit my sweet friend in Wisconsin. I thought I may have been pregnant at the time (like she was!) but I wasn't. I shared my travel must haves (including my new luggage that I'm still obsessed with). Aaron and I also got the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Clint Harp, and we learned a lot about marriage and about running a business while also being married!


April came and brought along Easter, Spring fun, and family adventures as we looked towards the summer. We started to do more work on our land, and I shared one of my favorite pieces of the year, One Fork at a Time on the blog. I also wrote a little reflection on marriage and how it looked these days in my post With This Ring. This was a month full of baby showers, and it was another month where I thought I may be pregnant but wasn't.


In May, I finished up my 8th year of teaching, and Aaron finished his 6th! I had many of my kiddos three years in a row at school, so it was weird saying goodbye for the summer and knowing I wouldn't see them in the fall. I woke up on May 9th and took what I thought was a pale-lined positive pregnancy test. That day on the blog, I shared No Matter What about unconditional love and my son. The next morning I took another test to confirm things- one that said "pregnant" just seconds after I took it in my school's faculty bathroom! We went to a wedding the next day, secretly basking in the fact that we were having another baby! 

I wrapped up the month by writing a post about The Edge Pieces, which was hinting at all that was going on with The Brim- about six months before we finally "went live". We had a great Mother's Day with our little secret, sister Angie graduated from Mizzou, and then went on a short vacation with Aaron's family to Branson- where we told them the happy news (just shortly after we had told my parents). 


In June, we finally started our summer vacation! I was able to share our Tuscan Villa Styled Shoot photos after the shoot was published on Confetti Daydreams (my friend Lacey of Lacey Rene Studios is SO talented.) We were also able to join my family for a trip out to Colorado for some fly-fishing, beautiful mountain views, and Eli's personal favorite: a ride on the Georgetown Loop! 

I got to help Lacey with a couple of weddings, which proved to be not only fun, but awesome experience for our new adventure in the world of weddings! I also took on the role as wedding coordinator at our church. Speaking of weddings, Aaron and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on June 15th. 

On the blog, I wrote The View from the Valley, a reflection about viewing the ups and downs of life from a different lens. We enjoyed lots of pool time and settled in to the sweet simplicity of summertime as teachers. I had a surprise early 30th Birthday surprise with the sweetest friends.


In July, we enjoyed a free visit to the zoo, had a wonderful Fourth of July (Eli loved the poppers and getting involved with the fireworks this year), and soaked up all of the moments with Puddle Jumper pool time, sunny days, and train rides. Aaron and I jetted off to England and Scotland for an EF Tour (minus Eli), and we announced our pregnancy at Stonehenge! It was quite the adventure getting there (yikes), but it was the most amazing trip once we were there!

I read a bunch of great books, and turned the big 3-0 on July 28th! I wrote a blog post reflecting on the decade, saying goodbye to my 20s and my first 30 years. I also did an entire wedding, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and reception at our church- it was for the sweetest couple and was so fun running the whole shabang. 


August started out with a bang when Aaron threw me a surprise 30th Birthday Party at Tribe Collective in the KC River Market. What started as a fun "girls' afternoon" celebrating my belated birthday with coffee and an escape room led to going for a bite to eat- where 32 of my favorite people happened to be waiting. Aaron really pulled off a great one for me, and I felt so loved and special. 

It was back to reality for us both as school started, but I knew that getting through this semester put me right at the end of my pregnancy, with lots of time with BOTH of our babies starting sometime in January. I shared my 18 week "bumpdate" on the blog, and kicked off my 9th year of teaching. We also jumped into the start of our parking lot and irrigation with things at The Brim.


In September, I wasn't training for the Kansas City Half Marathon for the first time in three years, which felt kind of weird. We settled into school, and I shared our big England and Scotland Travel Recap with all the details on our crazy delay (along with gorgeous photos of our adventures). I also got to share my thoughts about what I really need and want as a second time mama in a blog post called And the Kitchen Sink.

We enjoyed a wedding and a couple of birthday parties, along with a football game at my school with E. As a family, we celebrated our SIXTH house-iversary, where I shared more about our new deck project!


October came and I shared my 25 week bumpdate! We celebrated sweet Grandma Alice's (or "Gigi" to Eli) 80th Birthday, I helped with another beautiful wedding, and I struggled a bit with my mama guilt while at work each day. On the blog, I also shared something a bit heavier in We Don't Know, a post about the things we say when we don't know what people are going through: including some of my own experiences prior to getting pregnant with our second child.

After surviving conferences, Aaron and I were able to jet off on a little "babymoon" getaway to San Antonio, which was super fun minus the delay that left me sleeping on the floor of the Houston airport overnight. We had an amazing Halloween with our little dino, who just continues to get more and more fun.


In November, we celebrated Aaron's 29th birthday, and we hosted a special "preview night" kickoff with some of our closest friends and family out at The Brim. It was amazing and emotional to have so many folks out there to hear the story from us on our land and to watch us leap head first into our dream.

 We took family photos with the talented Kaylee of Kaylee Hoeflicker Photography, and then spent most of our month taking people up to the land and sharing our story with them. The blog was all about finally opening up and sharing all that had happened over the course of the last two years. If you'd like to read it, here are part one, part two, and part three of the story. It is truly incredible, and we are thrilled to continue to watch this big journey unfold! Definitely take a read if you haven't yet, and if you're looking for an affordable wedding venue in KC that cares about your marriage too, be sure to take a look:

To round out the month, I hit 30 weeks in my pregnancy, went to a ton of baby showers and sprinkles for other friends having little nuggets soon, and we ended the month with a rainy, chilly, 51st annual Thanksgiving Day family football game and good time with our sweet families.


And here it is, the last couple of days of December, and of the entire decade! I can hardly believe it! On the blog, I shared a quick 2019 Holiday Home Tour, along with my 36 week bumpdate (gosh that went fast). We had two snow days, battled Eli's constipation woes, and enjoyed some fun Christmas parties with friends. We also had the pleasure of taking a bunch of really amazing couples out for tours of The Brim, and had probably my favorite Christmas ever with a joyful and wonder-filled Eli.

We don't go back to school until January 6th, and with this baby due on January 19th, I have numbered days ahead of me at school this semester. Time will tell if I'll be early like I was with Eli (10 days), on time, or late. Depending on when baby comes, I'll have to go back for the last month or so of school, which will be brutal but then it will be summer! Time will also tell if we'll have a girl or boy- it could be really any day now which is crazy!

Cheers to 2020, a new decade, a new baby, weddings, and everything else that it will bring! I pray that it finds you healthy, happy, and oh so loved. Thanks for sticking around this year and loving on us through all of the ups and downs. We hope you'll join us next year for all of our new adventures! 


Monday, December 23, 2019

36 Week Bumpdate

Hey there, friends! It's been eleven weeks since my last "bumpdate", so I'm a bit behind and nearly through this pregnancy. Safe to say that this will be my last bumpdate, and it's crazy to think that if this little one comes when Eli did (10 days early), I will have him or her within the next 17 days! AHH. I am feeling as ready as I can be- sometimes I'm still emotional about Eli not being my only baby, and then other days I simply can't wait for Baby K to get here. Here's more on how everything is going, complete with lots of weeks of bumps to commemorate this pregnancy!

 How I'm Feeling

Lately, third trimester has been kicking my butt a bit. I think some of this is because of the crazy of the semester winding down at school, while other factors include getting ready for Christmas, preparing to birth a child while also having a two year old, and attempting to potty train that two year old. Partner that with some trouble sleeping and being comfortable, and working a full time job while trying to get The Brim going, and I've been a little bit tired to say the least.

26 Weeks

27 Weeks

What's New This Month

Baby K is moving and grooving like crazy! It is still such a joy to feel those big ole kicks, even when they keep me up, and I'm trying not to take it for granted. That being said, I have had some not so fun new things this month as well. Mainly, the appearance of an itchy, nasty looking rash on my belly that basically won't go away until after I deliver. It's usually referred to as PUPPPS, and I'm one of the lucky 1/200 who happens to get it during pregnancy. So I'm just doing my best to manage it with hydrocortisone cream and Benadryl to help sleep at night. It is making me think it would be okay if Baby K came sooner rather than later.

29 Weeks
30 Weeks

What I'm Wearing

I'm basically living in my maternity leggings at this point, and I feel like they are one of the only comfortable things I still own. For whatever reason, I am carrying this baby different this pregnancy, and I feel like I'm wanting to stick to Aaron's big comfy tees and either maternity dresses or sweatpants half the time- there truly is no middle ground. Thankfully, I don't have much longer at all that I will have to dress up and go to work, so that has made it easier to manage. All of a sudden this baby is seriously bumping.

31 Weeks

 How I'm Sleeping

Between discomfort and itchiness, sleeping has been rough lately. Last time around, I just did a pregnancy wedge, pillow between my legs, and pillow around my back. This time I am using both a wedge and a c-shaped pillow that a friend loaned me. They have been a lifesaver, as I was feeling more back pain while sleeping much sooner this time. I am waking up about twice a night to pee and get a drink of water (a double-edged sword), and heaving my big ole belly out of bed in the middle of the night is no easy feat. Guess I'm just getting prepared for the newborn fog again!

32 Weeks

Wives' Tales: What's Your Guess?

One thing that I'm incredibly excited about is meeting Baby K (2.0) and getting our big surprise: boy or girl! I know how much fun it was not knowing with Eli, and how special it made the delivery, so I know I have so much to look forward to again this time. Not knowing hasn't been hard for me, and we just moved Eli over to his big boy room so we are using our sweet gender neutral nursery again for this baby. I did do a few paint touch ups on the walls and I put up a few new photos that are specific and special to this baby. Otherwise, we've got the gender neutral clothes and items all out and ready to go! We should probably finalize our boy name soon...ha! 

33 Weeks

As far as wives' tales, I'm pretty much split down the middle between boy and girl. Baby K's heartbeat has been in the mid 140s lately. I am carrying higher this time, was sick from weeks 8-13, and have had some acne. I haven't gained a ton of weight, but have definitely craved sweets more this pregnancy. Not sure if it's true, but PUPPPS is supposed to be more common with those carrying boys. My kids at school made a calendar guessing "What Day for Baby K?" and they wrote their names in either pink or blue to guess boy or girl. Put in your votes or guesses in the comments below!!

34 Weeks 

What I'm Nervous About

Even though I've done this all and birthed a baby once before, you just don't really know what to expect. I'm honesty less nervous about the whole childbirth thing this time around, and more nervous about the transition for Eli and for our family. I think a little bit about where I'll be when I go into labor, where Eli will go to be taken care of, how he'll handle us being gone, etc. It's certainly going to be a big change for us all, and I'm both scared and also thrilled at the idea of having two kiddos! Kinda weird after having just E for the last almost three years. Eli has made a great transition to his big boy room and big boy bed, but we have been fighting potty training/constipation battles so I'm hoping I can still navigate that with grace and somehow find time to occasionally rest and recover with a newborn too. I know we have amazing family and friends who will be there to help (and I'm not too shy at all to ask for it)!

36 Weeks

 What I'm Looking Forward To

I am so excited to see if this little blessing is a boy or girl, to watch Eli be an amazing big brother and "helper", which he is always passionate about being, and to tackle life as a family of four. I know it will be challenging and overwhelming at times, but I think my heart can't even understand just how incredible it will be. I also won't mind saying goodbye to the not so fun parts of the end of pregnancy!

Thanks for following along on this journey with me. It has been quite the ride, and I know the best is yet to come! 


Are you following along on Instagram? It's where I share extra little photos and fun updates from daily life (like these bump pics). It's also probably the first place where you'll hear the news when Baby K is born! 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Our 2019 Holiday Home Tour

And here we are again, just fifteen days away from Christmas. I can't believe it! Something about a late Thanksgiving coupled with the fact that I'll be giving birth to a child sometime in the next six weeks has really made this Christmas season (and a good chunk of December) fly by! Between crossing off lists and trying to nest and plan ahead as much as possible, I've found it's so easy to slip into the stress of the season rather than enjoying it. This year, I'm doing my best to soak up the sweetness in the little moments, and see the holidays through the eyes of a child. Here's a little glimpse into our home this year!

I have always loved Christmas, and pretty much everything that comes with it. Being due less than a month after Christmas (Jan 19th), and knowing that I had my son ten days early has made me approach this season with a bit more haste than in previous years. I have found that one of the best ways for me to decorate is in small chunks so that it's fun rather than stressful. I started with our basement mantle, as we spend a lot of time down there with our feet kicked up on the couch.

I love this space and how cozy and bright it is during the day time. And you know I had to sneak in a little baby stocking for the baby that will be here before we know it! I love finding deals on things at the end of the season and then getting them out for the next year for the first time. I did that with this berry piece from Hobby Lobby and I love it! 

Moving this pew downstairs was new this year because we had a new piece up in our front room that had to be moved where the pew normally sits. I was worried it would crowd up our basement, but I actually love having it there! 

I'm always a sucker for simple pops of red, and I love tying these cranberry stems together throughout the house. I use them in my upstairs centerpiece too.

I love the little ornament strand we made years ago, and I still hang my red ribbons up on kitchen cabinets for a festive pop that also holds all of our Christmas cards! 

The front room has a new look this year because of this piece that Aaron built. It's basically an entertainment stand (which we had chilling in our garage for like a year), but we don't have another TV in our front room, so we're using it for storage and more of a bookshelf for now. I loved jazzing it up a bit for Christmas without it being overbearing, especially since our Christmas tree is in the same room and it can easily overpower the small space.

Target Clearance finds for the win! Also, everytime I plug our tree in, Eli's eyes light up and he says, "It's beautiful!" I will plug that tree in a million times for the sweetness of that reaction. He also has a small tree in his big boy room, which he is adamant about plugging in every morning. He is making this year SO fun.

The porch always gets a little simple snowman flair too, and we have a typical wreath on the door to greet those who warm our home and our hearts with their presence.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our holiday home. Merry Christmas to your family from ours!