Here’s something crazy: right now, I’m creeping up on being HALFWAY THROUGH my pregnancy. There are a lot of feelings to dive into with that, but let me start by sharing this:
Being overweight and pregnant is a super weird experience.
After years of struggling with my weight, I found myself at my highest weight when I got married. Then I went ahead and topped that and hit my highest weight when I found out that I was pregnant.
When I was younger and I imagined getting married and starting a family and such, I would imagine that by then I’d have my life together. I’d eat so many vegetables every day and like exercising. I’d love being in pictures with my person and then people and my hair would most likely always be brushed.
SO ANYWAY, now that I’ve set the stage.
I’m a part of all of these pregnancy forums and I started noticing that people were posting about their growing little baby bumps. In high school, there was an old lady at my church who would come up to me EVERY SUNDAY and touch my stomach and ask if I was pregnant. I’d laugh and say “no, these are oreos,” but man. So I know that I’ve got me a round little midsection.
Y’all I’m over here on PHYSICAL PROOF OF PREGNANCY watch 24/7. Thanks to a smaller appetite, I’ve actually been LOSING weight. My pants fit the same. Everything is basically the same except I can’t have runny egg yolks or ride on rides at Disneyland.
On Easter, I woke up to Justen saying “if you wore that one pink dress today, we’d match.” Usually if I try to match him, he changes his clothes. You can imagine how excited I was to wear that pink dress.
The last time I’d worn it was on our 1 year anniversary in October.
I put on my trusty Spanx, the pink dress, and set off on my day.
ps I actually have a full set of fingers on my left hand, inc are you were concerned.
Then came the “oh my gosh, you’re starting to show!” comments. Wearing a dress that fit and looked no different than it did in October, under the watchful eye of someone dying to see or experience any actual signs of being pregnant.
Like someone actually came up and touched my Spanx controlled stomach and said it.
So on Easter, my Spanx – which I often identify with smoothing and holding in and hiding lines and such – my Spanx betrayed me. For whatever reason, probably because the pregnant women on Instagram all look like they have firm, stretched out stomachs, the smoothness of my round stomach suddenly triggered the baby bump exclamation.
Bless all y’all.
and bless you Spanx for the huge letdown for the first time in my whole entire life. You really betrayed me on this one.
Never in my life have I been more willing to wish winter a fond get the f*** out of my life farewell. Our winter was a whirlwind of quick downsizing, making ourselves at home living in a studio, finding out I was pregnant, finding out we had 4 days to move back to our old apartment (praise hands for the timing of that), feeling like “okay, this is finally back to normal”… just in time for Justen to find out his job was being terminated.
In the midst of all of that comes things like the unexpected days of crippling grief, a constant fear that our baby had died but my body hadn’t done anything about it, and honestly the off and on feeling of being a complete monster because I daily wished I wasn’t pregnant at this moment.
Finally it all broke when we were sitting in the car outside of the parking lot and Justen asked me a question that I’ve been asking myself for years, but man it stings coming from someone who loves you: Why can’t we just be happy? Why can’t this just be happy?
Through the chapped lips of winter, I responded that I didn’t know. I’ve watched other people excitedly announce their pregnancies while I wonder what’s so broken about me that I literally have started referring to it as a “medical condition.” To be fair, the app from my medical provider has a list of “Ongoing Health Conditions” and mine are as follows:
Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent Episode, in Partial Remission
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Supervision High Risk Pregnancy
It IS a medical condition I’ve found myself in, along other things that have caused me severe pain, crippling emotions and a fear of the most irrational things. It’s a neat combination.
But winter is literally the picture representation of what my life with depression feels like. It’s cold, often to the bone. Walking outside often requires so much more work: SOCKS AND shoes, not just flip flops or flats. Gloves. A jacket. Maybe a scarf.
Then going places requires so much work. Snow tires. Warming the car. Scraping the ice. Driving slow and cautiously.
It’s easier to stay inside. Alone. Secluded. Short, darker days.
So trust me when I say Spring is the most welcomed season of my year. It’s not my favorite, that’s summer for sure. But by the time I start going “wow, it’s 7 pm and still light out!” or “it’s so nice I won’t wear a sweater” or the first day of the smell of turning on the A/C in my car, I am living for it.
Spring reminds me of this:
Darkness eventually fades.
Spring is a season of transition, so the chill of winter doesn’t completely dissipate, but it’s more frequently accompanied by blue skies than a sheet of gray.
Rainy days help me appreciate breaks in the cloud.
Lots of things are burrowed into the ground during winter; they don’t die, they’re just waiting to bloom again.
The sight of the first tiny flower of spring can often bring more joy than a field full of flowers once you’ve started seeing them everywhere.
Spring keeps winter in check, the fall keeps summer in check, and life really is just a back and forth between both the predictable cold chill of winter and the blistering heat of summer.
Anticipation works best if we’re constantly appreciating and noticing what’s around us, otherwise we go from jackets and scarves to shorts and flip flops without even noticing that nothing has changed.
One day I believe I’ll be able to embrace the cold dark winter with open arms and a heart ready to learn from it. The past few years I’ve merely tread its icy waters waiting to get out, but the sun through the windows, the birds chirping in the trees and the plants coming up from the ground makes it a lot easier to feel hopeful about what will inevitably come.
But for now, let me say that I am so grateful for spring.
ps I’m pregnant. I’ve shared it on Facebook and Instagram but not officially on my blog. So there you have it.
We’re not on Whole 30 and we haven’t been on Whole 30 for… like two years. But whenever we’re looking for a new recipe, we tend to search “Whole 30” and then the thing we’re looking for. Whole 30 chicken recipes, Whole 30 taco recipes, etc. If we discover something that is 1. easy and 2. Whole 30 compliant, then we know we can make it a part of our lives on the regular and not feel bad about it. Enter these Whole 30 compliant cinnamon apples.
Honestly, I found this recipe years ago when I was babysitting a little boy who ate a LOT. I wanted to make him something easy and tasty. Since then, this has been a staple in our house AND is often requested by kids I babysit for.
Get ready because it’s the simplest.
Three ingredients for these Whole 30 compliant cinnamon apples:
It’s been a year since I started listening to podcasts, and my podcast interests have changed a LOT. In the beginning, my favorite podcasts were just the 4 podcasts I listen to. Now that I’ve started and stopped a bunch of different podcasts, here’s a list of my five favorite podcasts (for right now, we’ll see how it stands in a year)!
ONE // THIS PODCAST WILL KILL YOU
Never in my life did I imagine that I’d love listening about infectious disease. The other day I told Justen “now I’m going to know about disease AND murder, so I’m going to be great at a party!” 🙂 It’s run by two epidemiologists (say that outloud, it’s REALLY SATISFYING). So far they’ve covered influenza, rabies, yellow fever, smallpox, polio… it is crazy to hear about the history of these infectious diseases and how they’ve affected our world. They are a delight to listen to and present the information in a way that is really easy to understand.
TWO // DR. DEATH and DIRTY JOHN
I’m listing these two together because they’re both finished (for the most part, Dr. Death has some updates). They’re stories of two really crappy human beings and the people they affected. Dr. Death is the story of a completely unqualified monster of a human being who operated on people with LITERALLY NO REASON to ever hold a scalpel. Dirty John is another monster of a human being who was a con artist who wreaked havoc on a family and the story came to a really surprising end.
THREE // MY FAVORITE MURDER
I just love true crime and I really love this podcast. Every week they have a smaller “minisode” where they share listener e-mails and stories, and then on Thursdays each of the hosts shares a true crime story. There’s a lot of f bombs and foul words, so just beware if that’s not your thing.
FOUR // THE INFLUENCER PODCAST
I wanted to include some sort of blogger/influencer podcast for any of y’all interested in that sort of thing. I had a hard time deciding. Not because they’re all great but because so many of them are so-so. People who can’t pronounce the word especially, who have terrible audio, respond “I love that,” to every single answer given to a question. I chose this one because while it’s popular, I’m not completely annoyed with the host… as of now.
If you listen to any blogging/influencer/social media podcasts, do me a favor and recommend some to me!
FIVE // BROS BEFORE ROSE
Of COURSE there’s going to be a Bachelor podcast. A Bachelor podcast is what started my love of podcasts, after all! I’m still trying to find my most favorite Bachelor recap podcast, but I REALLY like Bros before Rose. It’s two men and their wives recapping the Bachelor. I apparently have no pride and am totally fine giving more than just 2 hours of my week to the dumpster fire that is The Bachelor. If you’re like me in that, I’d recommend giving them a listen!
After our sudden move out of our apartment, we un-decorated for Christmas and got the opportunity to re-decorate our new one! Since we’ve only experienced one married Christmas, our decor was all for our original apartment… that has a living room, kitchen, bathroom… oh, and bedroom. Now we live in a small studio where the living room, bedroom and kitchen are all one big room.
I’ve shared that I regretted how little I shared of our beloved 202 1 bedroom apartment, so I’m trying to take more photos in our new one. That said, a few days after we moved in, I took some photos of the little glimpses of Christmas we put up. I’ll try to post an actual, proper tour of our apartment, but for now, enjoy these belated Christmas Studio Apartment decor photos!
Not actually Christmas related but y’all our bed just is so cozy looking in this apartment!
One day we were driving on the freeway and I saw a car with an Instagram handle decal, so I went to the instagram handle and it was an adorable Instagram store, The Sweetie Bee! I began following and this year we went to a holiday bazaar and bought this beautiful hand painted silent night sign.
We had this entryway cabinet in the other apartment and I knew I wanted to recreate it as best as possible! My friend Heidi sent us this it is well sign for our wedding and our friends gave us the cartoon drawing of us! OK funny story about the fa la la la la sign! Sometimes antique vendors find stuff at like Target and will include it in their booths. Last year we were in the antique store we live above and I saw this adorable sign and freaked out. It was like $12 but I just loved it. The next week, we were in Target and I saw it… in the bullseye playground area… for like $7. UGH! But whatever, I love it enough 😀
The glass spray bottle (it’s just an old Kombucha bottle) is a spray we used to make our fake tree smell a little more… tree-ey. It’s dōterra’s Holiday Peace with a bunch of witch hazel. Also note the adorable Kate Spade wood + gold polka dot frame. I just can’t with it, I love it so much.
Last year we bought $1 stockings and said we’d buy better ones this year. When I saw these plaid with gold polka dots stockings at Home Goods, I knew they were perfect! Justen’s a little plaid and I’m a little gold polka dot, so it worked out well. I really wanted garland for the desk our TV is one to kind of turn it into a mantle, and I couldn’t find anything I liked so I just made it myself! Pretty proud of how it turned out, not gonna lie!
This year I’ve developed quite a love of ornaments! Not matchy ones, but cute symbolic ones that have meaning and I want to keep forever! The top one was given to us by my mom – it’s Lauren Conrad! Last year, Justen’s mom got him the camera one.
Curly Girl Design is ADORABLE. Years ago I’d found this Curly Girl Ornament and I love it. Justen’s mom found this old computer ornament of Justen’s, we’re always looking for Starbucks ornaments at thrift stores (bc duh) and then this year at Goodwill, I’d found these Young Living diffuser ornaments! I don’t use their oils, but heck YES I’ll use this adorable diffuser! I bought 3 of them and gave one to my sister in law.
The snowman ornament thing? When I placed my December order, a “Snowman Bottle Topper” mysteriously appeared and I was so excited to see what it was!… well… literally a snowman bottle topper! I died laughing.
Last year we bought this Liberty Theater ornament from Camas Gallery – we live next door to the Liberty Theater here in downtown Camas, so having this hand painted ornament is definitely sentimental. I love it so so so much. Can you tell I love a lot of things so much? 😀
Sorry for the overblown photo, but how do you like our tree topper? Yes, those would be my Christmas sequins mouse ears from Disneyland! It was sparkly and seemed fitting. I tucked my other sequins mouse ears all over the tree to give it a little more sparkle. The circle ornament is a dōterra diffuser ornament from last year 🙂
The full Christmas scene. See the hidden Mickey ears?! Also, there’s a Nutcracker ornament because while we were dating, Justen took me to see The Nutcracker for the first time. There’s also a Yoda Ornament and a silver Packy The Elephant (RIP) ornament!
I spent awhile picking out our wrapping paper this year. We got this cute pink paper with a crocodile that says “Master wrapper.” It was premium wrap (aka REALLY THICK) and came in sheets on a roll. It left glitter freaking EVERYWHERE! The pretty blue wrap was ALSO premium wrap. Premium wrap is hard to deal with.
This post is sponsored by Joan Of Arc Cheese but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
When people ask Justen and I what our Christmas plans are, we both kind of take in a deep breath, glance at each other and start “Well…” because we have 5 family Christmas gatherings in 3 days. It’s fun! You know what else is fun? When they start passing around a list of what you’re supposed to bring to help feed people at the gatherings.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a very… um.. amateur chef. I have dreams of making impressive, instagram-worthy dishes… but until I get myself in some cooking classes, that’s really far off.
Trust me when I say that the recipe I’m about to share with you is hands down one of the easiest little appetizers you’ll ever encounter.
Three ingredients. 5-10 minutes of prep, 30 minutes of cooking, 15 minutes of drooling and waiting and boom. 3 Ingredient Brie Filled Croissant Roll for the absolute win.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Next, you’ll break open the croissant dough. If you’re anything like me, that will include about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to pop open the ends of those cans. Split the dough in half, tearing along perforated lines. Keep the other half nearby! Lay the square on an ungreased baking sheet and then press together the perforated pieces.
Once you’ve squished together all of the dough, now comes time for the brie! I’m using 8 oz of Joan of Arc Brie Cheese. Just take the whole thing of brie, put it in the middle of the dough, and wrap the dough around the cheese.
Add the rest of the dough to the top. I ripped them off into the perforated triangles so I could more easily cover all the cheese!
Crack and beat that egg, then brush it all over the outside of the dough. I didn’t use the whole egg, just as much as needed to get the whole thing good and coated. Once that’s done, pop it into the oven for 30 minutes!
It’ll stay in the oven for 30 minutes, then it’ll rest for 15 after you take it out.
Justen said he had been sitting there drooling for 15 minutes because it smelled so good.
After 15 minutes, we cut out a little pizza-shaped piece, took a bite and said “oh, this is so good,” to each other with a mouth full of delicious food.
We pulled out crackers, but the cheese wasn’t as gooey as we’d thought, though we did scoop cheese out to eat on the crackers.
I’ve seen various ways you can up level this recipe, including adding sliced apples and 2 tablespoons brown sugar on top of the cheese before you cook, and including cranberry sauce.
This was our first time even trying brie cheese and we’ll be keeping our eyes open for Joan of Arc Brie Cheese from here on out.