bébé numéro deux | 19 weeks

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progress & countdown: 19 weeks down & 147 days to go!

baby size: an heirloom tomato

food & drink: smoothies have been very tasty lately. i love fruit but downing a whole bowl of it is a bit intense these days. the growing ball of baby makes my stomach not so excited about filling it to the brim with food… so, smoothies! i have been tossing some blueberries and cherries into the blender with some coconut milk and flax milk and my protein plus some cacao and whatever superfoods i have in the pantry. yum. i have been snacking on nuts and veggies and hummus and kombucha and lunch seems to be all about the massive chopped salad with all the veggies i can find. officially obsessed with chopped salads these days. with lots of herbs and vinegar and oil and preferably some olives and feta. so, greek chopped salad. minus any tomatoes or cucumbers. now dinner, dinner has been tricky. i meal plan for the week but then have some crazy idea about tacos on a wednesday night. (p.s. i want mexican food like, every single day) so, i have been a bit more flexible with the planning. a nice mix of planned meals and a few nights that are more spontaneous. whether it is just a last minute trip to whole foods or a dinner out as a family, this approach seems to be working right now. structure plus spontaneity.

bump stuff: that itty bitty bump is growing! such fun. i can see a little ball of baby whenever i am on my back and after a nice meal, the bump pops out quite nicely (perfect timing for bump shots). and those movements are getting MUCH stronger. i’m sure that it is only a matter of days now before ben can feel them too. the flutters are definitely becoming distinct movements and punches and kicks. it still surprises me when i feel them and i can’t wait for others (a few choice others…i am not talking to you, random creeper hippie dude in whole foods…) to get to feel the baby wiggle and dance and karate kick too!

highs: celebrating ben’s birthday for a solid three days + seeing the bump really start to take shape + laughing at elinor’s new phrase, “oooooh. my.” complete with dramatic pause and all. hilarious stuff. + getting new iPhones to replace our relics and doing a major storage upgrade for new bump and baby pics!

lows: not really any lows to report and i will take it! 

new developments: baby’s sensory development is exploding! his/her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. some research suggest that your baby may be able to hear mama’s voice now so it looks like my morning reading time with elinor is doing some double-duty now! baby weighs roughly 8.5 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom. the arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of the body now. baby’s kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on his/her scalp is sprouting. and the waxy vernix coating on baby’s skin to protect it from pickling in the amniotic fluid is forming.

meaningful moments & hormones & feelings: overall, i am feeling really good. more energy and building excitement and happy times. i am getting ready for a baby growth spurt and feeling more and more pregnant which is so cool. trying to enjoy this bliss period before i become antsy and ready for baby to just get here already!

superficial stuff: my skin has been extra dry. a mix of outdoor time and wind and cold air and i’m sure, hormones. so, if you need me, i will be coating myself in all the lotion.

looking forward to: our ultrasound appointment today. tonight. mere hours from now. we get to peek at baby and make sure that everything looks healthy. your prayers are appreciated. i always get a tad nervous before ultrasounds…and for some reason, i am feeling the nerves more this time than last. AND, AND! we are also hoping that we will get to find out the gender. any guesses? crazy that we are almost half-way now. crazy that we might know boy or girl so so soon. i love being able to pray by name for him or her (oh yeah, gotta figure out the name thing…) and plan out a dreamy space for our little one to enjoy.

a weekend of ben

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ben’s birthday was on thursday so instead of doing a date night and then having to face friday the next day (lame) we opted for a nice family celebration at home with some tasty treats for ben to enjoy…and then, date night for us on friday night sans two-year-old.

we dropped off elinor for a playdate with ben’s family and we took off for dinner at the gladly. one of our faves. mostly, we selected this spot because the birthday boy’s pregnant wife was majorly wanting the best burger in town. and he did not object.

we were dressed up all swanky and dapper like and it felt so nice to have an evening of just us. oh how we need these nights together. and it is extra fun when we are celebrating a birthday!

here are a few snaps from the evening.

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pssssst…that is what they call a “hillbilly egg roll” which is a cool name for an egg roll filled with bbq style meats and cole slaw and such. with extra spicy dipping stuff. it was mighty tasty.

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after fondue and that hillbilly business, we decided to share the burger so that we had some space left for dessert. not gonna lie. kind of wanted another round of burgers… 

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okay, okay…the lighting isn’t the best and it may look like a mess, but this dessert was incredible. fig bread pudding topped with chocolate marscapone fluff and served with dreamy caramel and some cacao nibs for extra crunch. ben was a happy man.

after all that food and fun, we figured that we should extend it into saturday. we hosted a family brunch at our place so that a larger crew could celebrate together and enjoy some of ben’s favorite foods. we had extra dark roast coffee and fresh orange juice and caramel turtle kringle (thank you for that “appetizer” contribution, mark and amy) and fruit salad and then…ben’s brunch request: my homemade buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy. and not to be all braggy but it was pretty darn good. i can do a mean plate of comfort food, when called upon to do so. not good for everyday meals (or our waistlines) but it comes in pretty handy for a hubby who wants a plate of over-the-top goodness for his birthday.

and of course, you must have a birthday cake. rachel claire to the rescue. ben’s sister made TWO coffee cakes for us to enjoy after our feast. you gotta end on a sweet note…

incredible stuff, that coffee cake. and sadly sadly. i failed to capture a picture because as it so often is, the best stuff is devoured before it can be photographed. but let me tell you that it is the best coffee cake ever. and so dangerous… zero self control with that stuff. oh my.

here are a few more pics of food and such. enjoy!

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good stuff. we also did lots of birthday shopping for ben. i am talking new phones and fancy suits and business attire. we are way too grown up. buying suits. sheesh. but that is what he requested and what can i say? the man looks good in a suit.

i think he felt celebrated and spoiled which is as it should be. AND, we still have a little shindig planning for this weekend with my family. let the party continue. ben’s birthday is the best.

 

 

a marriage (and life) polestar for 2015 (and always)

as i have been reading through romans and (painstakingly-ridiculously-absurdly-slowly) attempting to commit it to memory, a small passage popped out.

romans 12:10

be devoted to one another. outdo one another in showing honor.

i have most definitely read that before. it was familiar to me. i had committed it to memory long ago, sometime in high school, i think. but for some reason, it spoke to my heart in a very specific way. your marriage, rachel. do this in your marriage.

i must confess that it is often much easier to be kind and courteous and gracious towards others than my own loved ones. please and thank you roll off my tongue with complete strangers and yet, do i use respectful words with husband? do i maintain a kind tone with elinor? do i use my manners at home? not always. home is my safe space. and i often – quite foolishly – allow this security to make me lax. that is unacceptable.

my husband. my daughter. my family. the ones that i love the most should be treated with the most care. instead, it is easy to give them that, “well, they have to love me…they will love me in spite of…he is bound to me in marriage soooo…” attitude. goodness. i need to devote some attention to this.

with this passage in mind, i have resolved to be more mindful when it comes to the treatment of others. especially, my husband. ben is so kind and gracious towards me. he forgives slips and sins on a daily basis. he loves me in spite of and because of my flaws. he’s pretty great. and he deserves more. quite frankly, even if your spouse or family members are less than the best, we are still commanded to give our best.

this year (and beyond) i am going to focus on living romans 12:10. i am going to be more devoted. i am going to outdo the socks off of my hubby in showing honor. i will find little ways to be thoughtful and big ways to be extravagant. the ultimate in godly competition. outdoing one another in showing honor. one action more recklessly romantic or kind or polite than the last. and this is one competition that i can feel okay about “winning” because if i am the bestest at being honoring, then ben wins too. blessings upon blessings. that’s what i want for my marriage and relationships.

get ready for an honorfest, husband of mine.

happy birthday monsieur!

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33 never looked so good, monsieur. you are more handsome and bright and devoted and determined and wise and thoughtful and remarkable with every year. truly. getting better and better with age. i am so blessed and honored to share this life with you. to date you and be married to you and share a home with you and laugh and cry with you. to be your friend and confidant and partner. to watch you as a son and friend and employee and brother and in-law. to watch you father elinor and very soon, another little life.

i know that God has great plans for you. i look forward to watching them unfold and seeing you grow and develop and learn and excel. you are a remarkable man, my beloved.

here’s to a lifetime of experiences and moments and celebrations and adventures. “where you go i will go, and where you stay, i will stay.”

a very merry birthday to you! let’s party.

preggo faves

preggo faves so, pregnancy can kind of mix things up a bit. hormones people, hormones. those first few weeks are always odd because you don’t even know-know that you are pregnant (with the exception of that pee stick thingamabob saying so) but very quickly, there are little things that can seem a little…off. i have a love-hate thing with that time. i am grateful for changes because it reassures me about baby long before i can feel it or see it or hear the heartbeat BUT those changes bring about necessary adjustments to my routine. the first thing that went wonky was my hair. it was wild. thick and heavy and unmanageable. i felt like i couldn’t get it clean enough! and styling it was useless. it was oily and limp and sad and dull. in an attempt to figure something out, i ventured out to aveda. the lovely lady at aveda was actually the first person we told about the pregnancy. lucky her. i looked at all the options and settled on a deep cleansing, refreshing shampoo that would keep my locks squeaky clean and i added in a moisturizing clove color conditioner to give my brunette some shine. they totally did the trick and have been my best buds ever since. in addition to hair care, there were a few other items that i purchased to help me with my nutritional needs, cravings, skin changes, general wellbeing, and pregnancy glow. i am all about stocking up on things that help me feel good and give me a little dose of pampering, pregnant or not. here are a few of my preggo faves. 1 perrier sipping fancy, fizzy french mineral water helps me get in my daily water needs  |  2 tulsi moringa tea  my favorite way to start the day. magical herbs that heal and invigorate and nourish  |  3 soapwalla belly oil  this is the best! a luxurious oil for my bump. gotta keep those stretch marks away!  |  4 soapwalla deodorant cream  i found this stuff about a year ago and i am hooked. i moved away from drugstore brands a few years ago and i have never looked back. especially with a baby on board or while breastfeeding, i like to steer clear of icky chemicals. but, it is hot here! you gotta have something that works… |  5 lulu organics hair powder  an absolute MUST. i am all about the three-day or four-day or even five-day hair. it keeps moisture in and let’s be honest…saves a ton of time. but, i need a little help in the oil department. this powder (i like the patchouli one) removes unwanted oil from your roots and gives your hair an amazing smell.  |  6 aveda rosemary mint shampoo  as i mentioned above, the best shampoo for keeping my hair clean, fresh, and manageable.  |  7 aveda clove conditioner my go-to for making my locks smooth and soft and shiny.  |  8  mercola krill oil  good fats for baby’s brain and growth.  |  9 garden of life vitamin code raw prenatals  the best of the best. plant based and raw so they digest easily and act like food in your system.  |  10 luluorganics all purpose/face cream amazing amazing. an all-purpose cream that i love to use on my face and hands at night. it has lavender and clary sage so it calms and balances too…great for restful sleep. should come in extra handy in those later pregnancy months… |  11 gt’s kombucha  my craving. all the time. i drink a green chia kombucha almost every day and the ginger or mojito are my go-to for when i want something bubbly or special at night. you know, when ben is enjoying a glass of wine or beer.  |  12 essential oil blends for diffusing, applying, and pulling we have used a few of these singles and blends topically for elinor since day one and i have added to the collection since then. they are life-savers while pregnant. support for my immune system. help for digestion. general feel-goodery.

a morning with dear and darling friends

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yay for saturday mornings with kind and interesting people…and adorable kiddos…and scrumptious food…and ice cream at noon. my kind of day.

over the weekend we met up with kate and cooper and their little darling of a boy, roman. we have gathered with them before (and another time for crepes which was never properly documented on this blog of mine) to enjoy a tasty meal and good conversation and this occasion did not disappoint. sadly for us, we are losing them for a spell as they embark on a new season in little rock and elsewhere. military, man. i have such respect for the sacrifice that these servants of the red, white, and blue make for our country. their boldness and dedication is remarkable. and military families are a special breed. that is tough stuff, to be separated for long stretches like that…especially with a little one! i can’t imagine the strain of all that. physically and emotionally. for those who leave and have to miss those moments at home. and for those who stay and have to endure the daily grind and celebrate the special things of life, alone. we lift those families up in prayer. and we are blessed to know this sweet family. they have such strength and love. and it doesn’t hurt that they have a hefty dose of southern charm. we really like being with them.

you know how there are some people who are just easy to be with? it feels effortless and natural and pleasant. no pretense. no expectations. none of that junk. just talking and laughing and sharing stories and “me too!” moments and hurts and trials and joys. being on the same page and discussing differences. encouraging each other. celebrating each other. that is what these two are about. the amazing thing is that we just met a few months back. before that, it was just a series of likes and comments on social media. and here we are, hugging in the parking lot of a restaurant and just settling into conversation and mealtime and dessert and baby swapping. like old friends. what a cool thing when people like that come into your life. it is such a rare thing and so nice. we are excited to follow their adventures from afar for the next stretch of time and know that God will sustain. and then! we anticipate their return to AZ so we can meet up again. oh, the places we’ll go!

p.s. elinor even curled up next to kate in the booth with her snuggles blanket and just sucked her thumb and relaxed, totally comfortable and at ease. like they were best buds. so, yeah. good stuff.

and now for a totally mediocre picture of us with our littles. the light was terrible. we are in an ugly parking lot. elinor and i are making weird squinty faces. and mr. roman is not really into the photo opp. oh well, at least we managed a picture of us this time. success. and of course, kate looks fab so…there’s that.

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