Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pregnancy Essentials [#thecirclelinkup]

I’m linking up today again with Kiki at In Its Time to share a few of my latest pregnancy essentials.  I am by no means an expert on pregnancy… if you’ve read any of my “bumpdates” then you know I haven’t had an easy go of things, but there are a few things that have really helped me through these past 35 weeks.

top ten pregnancy essentials

one- Motherhood Maternity Leggings. These leggings are the most comfortable things in the world!  I have black and grey, but I wish I would have invested in a few more colors earlier on in pregnancy.  Also, in store and online at the Motherhood Maternity website they frequently have BOGO free or 50% deals on these!

two- Extra Spearmint Gum.  Dealing with constant nausea and heartburn is rough… but I’ve found that chewing a piece of mint gum really helps me out.  This has been my go-to flavor for the past few months.

three- Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter.  Most articles and books you read say that stretch marks are mostly genetic and there’s not a lot you can do to prevent them… I however did not want to chance it.  I ordered this belly butter and use it frequently, and so far *knock on wood* I haven’t gotten any stretch marks. The lack of smell was really nice in the first 2 trimesters too when I was sensitive to any strong smells.

four- Adidas Women’s Ultimate Fleece Sweatpants. During my second trimester when my normal clothes started getting a bit too uncomfortable, Zack decided I needed a good, cozy pair of sweats.  We went to the Adidas outlet where they were having a BOGO free sale for all fleece, and Zack and I both got some!  (Only mine were a size or two bigger than my pre-pregnancy size. :)  It’s been nice to have a big pair of sweats to change into after a long day of work… I highly recommend it.

five- Honey Crisp Apples. It’s been no secret that for the past few months I’ve been obsessed with apples.  These are my variety of choice… so delicious!

six- Peppermint Tums.  Heartburn blows.  Tums help.  ‘Nough said.

seven- Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins.  At the beginning of pregnancy I researched all the different prenatal vitamins and immediately ordered the top of the line brand with the best reviews.  Well, after a few days of throwing those up (sorry) I could not even stand looking at the package of them.  Enter these gummy vitamins… I am really bad at taking them consistently (sorry baby!) But they don’t make me vomit… and that’s always a plus.

eight- Snoogle Body Pillow.  My sister let me borrow her snoogle the second she found out I was pregnant and it. is. wonderful!  I haven’t slept well since I found out I was pregnant… but I’m convinced it would be even worse without this.

nine- Hot Chocolate.  Along with apples, this has been a big craving.  So delish!

ten- Gilmore Girls.  Or Netflix in general.  I’ve spent a lot of time these past 35 weeks on the couch and in bed.  My go-tos have been the Office first, and now Gilmore Girls.  I’m currently watching Season 4, I wonder how far I’ll get before our little bundle gets here! :)


What are some of your life essentials lately?  Pregnant or not, everyone has a few things that help get them through a rough day… I’d love to hear yours!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Baby Harrell [weeks 32-34]


Baby is the size of…  a cantaloupe! [34 weeks!]  This week, our baby measures about 18 inches long and he weighs about 4 3/4 pounds. 

Big Developments… His fat layers — which will help regulate body temperature once he's born — are filling her out, making him rounder. His skin is also smoother than ever. His central nervous system is maturing and his lungs are continuing to mature as well. So grateful to read this week that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine.  PTL!

Cravings? Apples and hot chocolate are constant cravings. :)

Aversions? Mostly everything still. I am fully convinced I may never again have a normal appetite. 

Sleep?  Not much… nothing new to report here.

Other Symptoms? Baby hiccups!  I’m feeling little baby hiccups in womb 3-4 times a day.  It is so crazy!  The heartburn is still pretty prominent too, some days worse than others.  I’m trying to not eat a few hours before bed which mostly helps, but some days are just worse than others no matter what I do.

baby shower

Big Events? I had my second and final baby shower!  My sister and cousin threw me an amazing winter themed shower complete with hot cocoa and ice cream!!  They are seriously the best.  I know I’ve written this before… but I am really hoping to blog about my 2 showers soon. :)


I seriously can’t believe that I am 35 weeks pregnant… this blows my mind.  I’m starting to panic a bit in regards to everything that needs to be done before our little guy gets here, but I know we will be fine. :)  The countdown continues!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hello November!

This past weekend the lovely Charity tagged me on Instagram to share what I’m looking forward to most in November.  I decided to turn it into a blog post because there are just so many things to look forward to this month!

red starbucks cups

1- Drinking my weight in peppermint white mochas out of the infamous red cups.  To be exact a tall, 1 pump peppermint 1 pump white chocolate mocha, and for now… decaf. :)  I get so much joy out of this drink, it truly is Christmas in a cup and I get giddy just thinking about it!

2- Thanksgiving!  Our plans for this year’s Turkey Day are pretty much up in the air.  We are kind of playing it by ear to see how I’m feeling and if I will be able to make the long drive down south to spend it with Zack’s family.  Either way, we can guarantee the day will be filled with lots of delicious food, and soaking up lots of precious family time.

3- My “home” baby shower.  As I mentioned, I had a fabulous shower already with Zack’s side of the family… Now I’m looking forward to another one with most of my family and friends! 

4- Getting Baby Harrell’s nursery all setup and ready for his arrival NEXT MONTH!  Next month?!  How did this happen??  I have started to get the “nesting” urge lately.  I am so ready to start putting things in order and getting things all ready for our little guy… but this hasn’t happened yet.  We are getting new carpets in our place next week so we have been holding off most of the preparations until that is all done. After the carpets are complete you’d better believe I’ll be organizing and setting things up like crazy!  Want a sneak peek at our theme?  Check out this Pinterest board dedicated to the nursery… let’s just say it was Zack’s idea.

5-Spending lots of QT with the hubs in our last full month as a family of 2!  This is such a crazy season of life, and we could not be more excited to welcome a new member to our family… but it’s bittersweet to close this chapter as just 2 newlyweds.  We plan to enjoy it thoroughly. :)

We feel so overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving… (fitting, seeing as it is November…)  We are just so very blessed!

What are you looking forward to this month?!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Baby Harrell [weeks 26-31]


Baby is the size of…  a coconut! [31 weeks!]  This week, our baby measures over 16 inches long and he weighs about 3 1/3 pounds.

Big Developments…He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up.


Cravings? Apples! (still :) And hot chocolate.  Sweets in general are still the only things that sound appealing to me.

Aversions? Week 30 was a rough week for me, the nausea and vomiting were back in full force.  With that, new aversions came… this time bacon sounds awful, which I never had a problem with before.  Despite the sickness and lack of weight gain, baby continues to grow and be extremely healthy so we are incredibly thankful.

Sleep?  Not much still.  My back has been killing me at nights making it so hard to sleep peacefully.


Other Symptoms? This past week I experienced my first Braxton Hicks contractions.  They didn’t hurt at all, it was just a severe tightness in my lower stomach area… very uncomfortable.  After talking to my midwife I decided I probably should focus more on drinking more water and listening to the cues my body has been giving me.

Big Events? I had my first baby shower!  Zack’s mom and cousin threw me an adorable shower during my 30th week down in Southern Oregon.  A big group of my family made the trip down with me, and a huge group of Zack’s family came to help shower baby and I with lots of love and gifts!  I left that day with my heart feeling seriously full.  I’m hoping to dedicate a post to that shower soon!

During that time in Southern Oregon I unfortunately was feeling pretty awful and I think my feelings got the best of me.  I had been looking forward to that weekend for so long and once it was here, I felt like I couldn’t fully enjoy it because I felt so nauseous and uncomfortable!  I was really frustrated and had a little breakdown that first night we were there… Luckily, the next day (the day of the shower) I felt 10x better and I was so thankful for that!


9 more weeks (*fingers crossed*) until we get to meet this little guy! I can’t believe how quickly these past few weeks have flown by.  Although this pregnancy has not been easy, I am so grateful and have been trying to just savor the good moments and not take it all for granted. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Report [ #thecirclelinkup ]

Can you believe that it’s almost November?  I definitely can’t.  Time is flying by, and Baby Harrell will be here before we know it!

I know that my blogging has fallen by the wayside since being pregnant, but I have so many things that I’m hoping to put into posts soon… I have nothing but good intentions. :)

First up on that list is a little report of what I’ve been reading lately.  I haven’t done an update on any books I’ve read since July, but not a full post since February… So today I want to link-up again with Kiki at In Its Time for a little twist on this month’s #thecirclelinkup.

Instead of answering the lovely questions that Kiki provided, I wanted to kind of just go through the books that I’ve read lately and give my own little review.  Some good, some not so good… but I’ll be honest. :)

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

“When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.”

Zack’s mom lent this book to me and it did not disappoint.  This true account of Susannah Cahalan’s experience was equally intriguing and terrifying to read.  I had to constantly remind myself throughout that this was a real story happening to a real person, it was just insane.  I think it would be a good read if you’re interested in psychology but also if you’re in the medical field of any kind.  It’s a good lesson on empathy and truly listening to your patient’s needs and concerns.

Thumbs Up!

Save the Date by Jenn Doll

“In Save the Date, Jen Doll charts the course of her own perennial wedding guesthood, from the ceremony of distant family members when she was eight to the recent nuptials of a new boyfriend’s friends.”

I wanted to like this book, I really did.  I LOVE going to weddings, and I thought this book would be an interesting one for me… Sadly, it was not my favorite.  I felt like the whole book she was trying to make some profound connection between all these weddings and life… but never fully got there.  

Thumbs Down!

The One by Kiera Cass

“The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of IllĂ©a, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen—and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.”

This is the third book in “The Selection” series.  I was a fan of the series in general, but I’m really into the YA dystopian genre.  It was a mindless read that entertained, kind of the Bachelor meets YA dystopian society?  Sounds pretty lame, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to people, but I wouldn’t advise against reading it also.  I just read somewhere today that Kiera Cass will be writing 2 more books to this series.

Thumbs up!

The One & Only by Emily Giffin

“Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.
But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her.”

That description up there is extremely misleading.  Let me preface by saying I’m normally a huge fan of Emily Giffin’s books… but this one was not my favorite.  I always finish a book no matter how bad it is… but I seriously contemplated not finishing this one.  It was just too weird for me.  Of course I still finished it, but only with the hopes that Giffin could somehow turn it around, but that was not the case.

(big) Thumbs Down!

Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

“Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.  Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.  To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.”

I had been meaning to read this book for a long time, I had heard great things.  Luckily it lived up to all the hype and I really enjoyed it!  It was a breath of fresh air after that last read up there. :)  This was my favorite read of the bunch.

Thumbs Up!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

“Eleanor, 15, is the new girl at school and bullied because she's overweight and dresses in a flamboyant manner. Park is a half-Korean boy who has lived in Omaha, Nebraska, all his life but still feels like an outsider. This is a story of first love, which very slowly builds from the first day Eleanor sits next to Park on the school bus. First they ignore each other, and then they slowly become friends through their love of comic books and 1980s alternative music. Park is the only good thing in Eleanor's life. Her home life is a miserable exercise in trying to stay out of her abusive stepfather's way, and finding new ways to wear the same clothes repeatedly since there is no money for anything extra. Park adores everything about Eleanor, and she finds refuge at his house after school with his understanding parents. Things finally explode at Eleanor's house and Eleanor and Park's relationship is truly tested.”

This was another book that I had been wanting to read for awhile and finally got around to it.  The story was heartfelt and it was a good read overall… I was just not a huge fan of the ending.

Thumbs Up!


What’s next on my reading list?  Someday, Someday, Maybe and Beautiful Ruins… not to mention a couple childbirth books that were recommended to us!

What was the best book you’ve read this year?!