Hello 2016!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone’s holidays were full of joy and fun!

Jesse and I both had off from Christmas Eve through January 1st and we were very productive with our time. I started “nesting” aka, I went through closets and put together a very large Goodwill donation. You gotta squeeze that last deduction in before the new year! ūüėČ Jesse had some work to do in his office too, which he did get most of it done. Jesse’s office/man cave is becoming the nursery, but we had to wait to move stuff until his work was done. Now we are ready for painting, moving furniture and probably more purging over the next few months before Baby Girl gets here. With our time off we also had a spa day, went out to eat a lot and had a few relaxing vacation days. I’m definitely not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Bleh.

We spent New Years Eve at home, where we struggled to stay up until midnight and had popcorn instead of champagne. That time on the couch definitely gave me a lot more time to reflect on the past year than most other New Years. 2015 was definitely not my favorite year. It was pretty dark for me as we tried to conceive and I struggled with being stuck in a job I didn’t really care about. I faced some criticism on the blog toward the end of 2014 which affected me more than I wanted it to and on top of already being pretty down it zapped me of my creative mojo. Not having that hobby definitely didn’t help my mood, but it’s hard to care when you’re just not in the mood.

On top of all of those feelings in April we lost one of my uncles unexpectedly, suffered a miscarriage in early July, and then lost another of my uncles to cancer in October. I’ve never experienced so much loss in such a short amount of time and it was rough. But in the midst of all that, we got pregnant with our precious baby girl at the end of July. She truly is a beacon of hope to what otherwise would have been a very dark year. She also serves as a reminder that in the midst of all the difficulties of this past year, there were also some happy times. And when I say reminder, I mean she has a tendency to kick me extra hard when I get too bummed out. It’s like she’s saying “Cheer up mom! It wasn’t all bad!”

In light of that I wanted to do a recap of all the happy things that happened in 2015, now that I’ve gotten all the sads out.

January

I turned 26 and celebrated my birthday with great friends. We also got to meet several of our friends brand new babies.

January Memory

February

We celebrated Jesse’s birthday and Valentine’s Day. We also got a fairly large amount of snow and went sledding and built a snowman.

February snowman

March 

I accomplished two goals off my bucket list, so this was a really good month. Jesse and I met Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional at a small show with his new band Twin Forks. I also ran my first 10k with an average mile of 10 1/2 minute miles. This is actually something that I would love to do again after I recover from birthing Baby Girl.

10k complete

April

Jesse and I celebrated our 4th year of marriage. For my anniversary gift Jesse surprised me with tickets to see Bryan Adams in Raleigh, NC. This was another item off my bucket list and it was a phenomenal show.

Bryan Adams

May

I went to a bachelorette party, which is always a good time. We also had help getting all of the tile in our guest bathroom laid. It looks so good! I got Jesse tickets to see Garrison Keeler do a recording of Prairie Home Companion, one of his bucket list items.

Garrison Keeler

June

Jesse and I took a week long vacation to go to a wedding in the Outer Banks. All of our friends were there and it was a grand time. We also went VIP to a Dashboard Confessional and Third Eye Blind show, where we met Chris Carrabba again. We also went with friends to Smith Mountain Lake and spent a weekend swimming, jet skiing and wishing we had a lake house. Another of our friends also gave birth to a precious baby in the middle of the month.

June Memory

July

We hosted our 3rd annual 4th of July party, which had an action hero theme. I was Lara Croft and Jesse was John McClane from Die Hard. We visited with family on the Eastern Shore one weekend. We also did Paint Nite, which was a ton of fun. On the last day of the month, we found out we were expecting Baby Girl!

lara croft costume

August

My work hosted a day at Busch Gardens for all of the employees. Since I couldn’t ride anything we gorged on food and saw all of the shows.

August Memory

September

We had our first and second ultrasounds to see Baby Girl. One of our friends scored us tickets to watch the World Cycling Championship from a VIP tent, which was a truly awesome experience. We also announced our pregnancy and entered the second trimester. Jesse also got a new job, with a promotion.

UCI World Cycling Championship

October

One of my best friends from college got married in mid-October and our old college group was reunited for the first time in two years.

October wedding

November

We found out that we were having a girl, not a boy like we had originally thought. I saw the Newsies with girlfriends. I felt Baby Girl kick for the first time on Thanksgiving. And Jesse’s sister had a baby.

21 Weeks

December

STAR WARS! Plus Jesse felt Baby Girl kick for the first time during the Star Wars premiere and all of my siblings got to feel her during the week of Christmas. We also finally paid off Jesse’s student loans (now we just have mine to go).

Sisters

Looking back at that list, it’s impossible for me to doubt that we are blessed and that there is always sunshine after the storm and sometimes right in the middle of the storm. Jesse and I had a year full of adventures, accomplished so many goals and spent so much time with people that we love. 2016 is going to be even more full of adventure and love. We are so excited to meet this feisty little girl and love on her.

How was your 2015? What are you looking forward to in 2016?

Gender Reveal and 24 Week Bumpdate

Whew! The holidays are such a crazy time of year! I love decorating the house and spending time with loved ones, but boy does it wear me out! Especially being pregnant and having a tiny being sucking my energy up. But I wanted to pop in to document, and to share, how pregnancy has been going thus far.

First things first, in case some of you hadn’t seen on social media, baby is a GIRL! Jesse and I are absolutely thrilled. We really did think it was a boy but it never really mattered. I’m especially excited because I’m going to finally have a chance to create a super girly nursery for her. I’m thinking pink, gold and glitter. I’ve been working on a mood board, which I will share on the blog after the holidays.21 Weeks

Another big change has been that I’ve got nesting urges and more energy. I can get in the zone and start cleaning and organizing random things and not even realize how long I’ve been at it. That is until I stop and realize my feet hurt and I’m hungry. Also, I can feel Baby Girl kicking and moving a lot more now. That started at about 21 weeks, and it’s just been getting stronger. Jesse was just able to feel her this weekend. We were at the movies seeing Star Wars for the 2nd time and Baby Girl just went nuts. He felt some really strong kicks, which was exciting for both of us.

IMG_7547

How far along? 24 Weeks
Baby Size: A cantaloupe
Total weight gain/loss:¬†I’ve gained a total of 20 lbs. which is right on target, especially since 8 of those were making up for weight lost in the first trimester.
Maternity clothes?¬†I basically live in maternity leggings now and I’ve bought quite a few more tops. I wear as many of my non-maternity tops as I can, but it’s getting harder.
Stretch marks?¬†Yes. I don’t have any on my belly yet, but other areas are pretty bad.
Sleep:¬†It’s gotten way better. I alternate between using 5 regular pillows and the pregnancy pillow. I still wake up a few times to adjust or use the bathroom but not as frequently as every two hours.
Best moment this week: Jesse feeling Baby Girl kick!
Miss Anything?¬†Sushi, like real raw fish sushi. And wine. At parties I walk around sniffing people’s wine. It’s weird.
Movement:¬†Yep! She’s my little warrior princess kicking and punching all the time.
Food cravings: Still pizza and Coke. I also eat way more ice cream than I used to. Jesse also makes me homemade veggie sushi at least once a week.
Gender: GIRL!!!!
I will be back this week with a few photos of the house for Christmas, so stayed tuned! Also Jesse and I both have the whole week after Christmas off, so we are going to start working on the house. I’m hoping to have a post or two to share since I wont be at work all that week.

19 Weeks

I’m really bad at this whole “getting back to blogging” thing. Honestly, I’ve been feeling much better! I have more energy, Jesse and I have been spending most weekends out of the house (even if I fall asleep as soon as we get home), and I’ve even been doing some seasonal decorating. All of that means that taking “bumpdate” photos is kind of on the back burner most weekends. I definitely don’t want to stop them though, not for you guys, but for me. I want to look back at how my belly is growing and how this pregnancy is progressing. That being said…

19 weeks

How far along? 19 Weeks
Baby Size: An heirloom tomato
Total weight gain/loss:¬†I’ve gained¬†7 more lbs. in the past few weeks, and I’m definitely starting to feel “big.”
Maternity clothes?¬†I went shopping last weekend and got a few more tops. My other tops dont really fit any more, so I’m running out of options.
Stretch marks?¬†I’ve seen a few crop up recently. Yikes! But I’ve been using a cocoa butter cream so hopefully I wont get too many.
Sleep: Still using the preggo pillow and I usually get a solid 3-4 hrs. before I wake up and spend the rest of the night getting an hour or two here and there.
Best moment this week: Being able to eat several dishes with meat!
Miss Anything?¬†I¬†still miss my regular diet and eating veggies without gagging. I’m also starting to miss my pre-preggo body as I get bigger and have to slow down.
Movement:¬†Maybe? I still can’t tell the difference between baby and gas or hunger. I really want to feel some movement!
Food cravings: Still loving Coke and pickles. Pizza is definitely my favorite thing right now though.
Gender prediction: Jesse and I both still think boy. We find out next week!
My energy has definitely been coming back. I feel better and better each weekend. Most people say they were back to normal by 20 weeks, which is Monday, so fingers crossed! Also, I’ve started building my registry and let me just say that it’s one of the most overwhelming things I’ve done!

16 Weeks

Hi folks! I missed a week of bumpdates because last week was just a lot to handle. My family lost one of my uncles to cancer so we had the memorial service and visitation, not to mention all of the emotions that go along with losing a loved one. Our baby’s due date is actually on this uncle’s birthday, which is so special. Thank you to all those that messaged, texted and sent prayers! They meant so much to me!

16 weeks

How far along? 16 Weeks
Baby Size: An avocado
Total weight gain/loss:¬†I’ve gained 4 lbs. since week 12, so I’m right on schedule.
Maternity clothes? I bought more maternity leggings and a few maternity tank tops. The tank tops are long and cover my butt, so I wear them with the leggings and cardigans most of the time. So comfy!
Stretch marks? Still not yet
Sleep: After almost a week of bad sleep I got out the pregnancy pillow and have been sleeping much better and usually through the night.
Best moment this week:¬†Hearing baby’s heartbeat at my doctor’s appointment on Thursday.
Miss Anything?¬†I miss my appetite. I’m still having strong aversions to a lot of foods, like meat and green vegetables, so I don’t get to eat what I want most of the time.
Movement: Not yet, but my doctor said I should feel some movement before my 20 week appointment.
Food cravings:¬†Still loving Coke, pickles and potato chips. This week I’ve also been on a breakfast pizza kick.
Gender prediction: Jesse and I both still think boy.
I’ve felt my energy returning in bursts and some days I go without nausea for most of the day, so I really hope that as this trimester progresses that will keep improving. Fingers crossed!

14 Week Bumpdate

Hey again! Thank you all so much for your well wishes and congratulations on my big news. Jesse and I are so excited for our little bundle of joy to join our family in April! This week I have been feeling a little better as far as nausea goes, but definitely still struggling especially in the evenings. One of my best friends is getting married this weekend and I’m roadtripping with my girlfriends to the wedding, so I’m hoping for a good weekend in regards to not feeling very sick so I can have a good time!¬†14 weeks

How far along? 14 Weeks
Baby Size: A lemon
Total weight gain/loss:¬†My scale isn’t the same as the doctor’s office, but I’ve gained back most of the 6 pounds I lost.
Maternity clothes?¬†Two pairs of maternity leggings (which are amazing) and a Belly Band since I can’t button any of my pants any longer. I’m also thinking I will buy a new dress for the wedding.
Stretch marks? Still not yet
Sleep:¬†I’ve been tossing and turning more frequently, which makes getting up for work a struggle, but I’m still clocking 8-9 hours a night.
Best moment this week:¬†Setting up my maternity leave through my work. I can’t wait to have time off with my baby!
Miss Anything? Still missing my energy, but fingers crossed that returns soon.
Movement: Not yet, but hoping to feel some soon!
Food cravings:¬†Dr. Pepper has been replaced with Coke and I can’t get enough Brunswick Stew!
Gender prediction: Jesse and I both still think boy.
I can’t wait for this weekend with my best girlfriends. I’m nervous about the three hour car ride and being tired most of the time, but we will still have great time! Have a good weekend all!

My Greatest DIY Project to Date

Hello? Anyone out there? I know that the blog has been quiet for sometime now, but I have been working on a very special DIY project.¬†Baby Rowlands AnnouncementYep, Jesse and I are having a baby! And for me this first trimester has been tough. I’ve been very sick and my energy level has been at zero. After work I’ve literally been going straight to bed, and almost once a week I’ve totally missed work due to being sick. I’m hoping that the further I get into the second trimester the more I will feel like myself though! And hopefully get back to this blog, which I really have missed terribly.

Actually, to be totally honest over the past year I was struggling with who I was. I was not motivated to do anything creative and was kind of depressed. A lot of that had to do with Jesse and I trying to get pregnant and it just not happening, some of it was work stresses. Trying to conceive was a hard process for us. I struggled with ovarian cysts, pulled a muscle in my back, and in late June we lost a pregnancy. After we lost our first pregnancy, about a week after we found out we were expecting, we decided to step back from trying. We booked a trip to Disney World and tried to relax. Well, we never made it to Disney because low and behold the next month we found out we were expecting again, and this one has stuck! Despite feeling so sick and tired all the time, I have a joy that I finally will get to be a mom and it is definitely breathing new life into me. I’ve had so many nursery ideas and I’ve got a long list of projects that we need to finish, and I can’t wait to get started!

All that being said, this has been a journey for me and I want to celebrate every step. This includes weekly bump updates here on the blog. If those aren’t your cup of tea, if anyone is even out there any more ha!, feel free to skip. This won’t be a total mommy blog, but it will get a regular mention. So without further ado, here’s the Week 13 bump!¬†13 weeks

How far along? 13 Weeks
Baby Size: A peach
Total weight gain/loss: Due to being so sick I’ve actually lost 6 lbs. but I’m hoping to make up for that soon!
Maternity clothes?¬†Two pairs of maternity leggings (which are amazing) and a Belly Band since I can’t button any of my pants any longer.
Stretch marks? Not yet
Sleep: Sometimes it takes a while to get to sleep, but I’m still getting 10+ hrs. a day
Best moment this week: Announcing our pregnancy to everyone.
Miss Anything?¬†Just being myself. I’m hoping to get that back in the next few weeks.
Movement: Not yet, but this kid is always moving when they do an ultrasound
Food cravings: Dr. Pepper, Starbursts, and Ranch Dressing
Gender prediction: Jesse and I both think boy.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope to have more, less baby-centric posts up soon! :)

Finally Coming Together

Woah! I can’t believe that I’m finally writing more than one post a month! And to boot this one is actually about some home DIY! Jesse and I have been taking our sweet time working on our guest bathroom but this summer we’ve actually made a lot of progress. The last I left you in the bathroom saga, this is what we were working with:¬†destroyed bathroomYep, that’s a giant hole in our bathroom floor next to where the toilet formerly was. We had noticed some water damage and it resulted in taking out the toilet and all of the tile, plus replacing the subfloor. We even had to replace a few floor braces, which was quite the task. We worked on it a little at a time, and then took the whole winter off. Finally come May we had some help from my father, who is a contractor, to lay the tile.¬†new guest bathroom tileJesse and I had never tiled before, so having someone there to help was HUGE. He had all of the tools and he was able to knock the floor out in a day! One of the ways he was so fast was that he laid the tile by just eyeing it. No spacers or anything like that!¬†Gray bathroom tileThe cement backerboard and the tile were laid before lunch and then after lunch we did the grout. The tile was on super sale for $1.99 per sq. ft. at The Home Depot. It’s the 12×24 Metro Charcoal porcelain tile and I am absolutely in love with it! I chose a light gray grout in the hopes that it would look less dirty than white over time and that it would compliment the tile. It definitely is complimentary, but only time will tell it’s durability.¬†pretty blue bathroom makeoverAfter the tile was done, it was time for painting! The paint is Olympic Alpine Valley, it kind of reminds me of Tiffany Blue. The truth is I wanted to paint this room a pale pink, but Jesse was absolutely not on board. Instead I went with the girliest blue I could find that I thought would pair well with a few pale pink accessories. I’m totally a great wife.¬†guest bathroom total makeoverI gave myself a deadline of before our July 4th party to finish painting so that we could put in our brand new toilet before filling our house with people. There’s nothing like a toilet shortage when there’s 30+ people hanging out at your house. That self imposed deadline definitely kept us motivated and now we are so close to being done! Painting the cabinet is one of the last major things and it’s already been primed.¬†painting bathroom cabinetsWe will be painting the cabinet this weekend and then I think we will end up painting the wood trim in this room. I know that we (aka Jesse) have been opposed to painting the trim, but we put in some new white trim since we could not find wood to match and we love it. I think the room can work without painting the trim around the doors, but I also want to paint the closet doors, so I feel like we don’t have much of a choice. ūüėČ

So do you love my new tile as much as I do? How about the paint color? Does it have that girly vibe that I’m looking for?

4th of July Throwdown #2

Hey there folks! Remember me? I know I’ve been pretty AWOL lately, but I do have a few posts up my sleeves and I have really missed you guys! And this blog. One of my favorite posts from last year was when I recapped our ‘Murica party. We had so much fun that we decided to have another big party this year with a slightly different theme, Action Heroes. I used a lot of the same decorations from last year with a lot of added camo and a few Chuck Norris posters, plus some super fun costumes! There were several Katniss Everdeens, Rambo, Indiana Jones and Khaleesi. I was video game action heroine Lara Croft and Jesse was John McClane from Die Hard.lara croft costumejohn mcclaneWe had our usual party food spread of buffalo chicken dip, bean dip, punch, sangria and meatballs. Our party games weren’t any where near as elaborate as last year’s True American, but it was still a blast playing beer pong and slap cup.¬†IMG_2571This party was also a great time to use my new favorite toy, the selfie stick! I’ve been using this stick for our vacations and I took it to a wedding a few weeks ago and I love it. It was only $10 and well worth it. I got a lot of fun pictures with our friends, but for privacy’s sake I wont be sharing them on the blog. Unfortunately, the only picture I got of our decorations was when I was demonstrating to a friend how to use the selfie stick.¬†IMG_2581So who wants to come to our next throwdown? Mark your calendars for the first weekend of July. ūüėČ

Tulips Are My Favorite

Hey there! I hope everyone’s weeks are off to a good start! Sorry for my absence, we had a pretty crazy awesome weekend celebrating our anniversary at a Bryan Adams concert in Raleigh. Seeing Bryan live was one of my bucket list items so I was especially excited. I love having a husband that likes making my dreams come true. :)¬†Bryan Adams

Unfortunately, after the concert I ended up pulling a muscle in my back, so I’ve been laid up for the past few days. Since I’m not exactly up and about I figured I would share a project that I didn’t post about a few weeks ago, my Passover table. This table was definitely one of my favorite settings ever, mostly because it featured my favorite flowers: tulips.¬†Tulip table settingsThis table setting was thrown together at the last minute because I spent the day of Passover at a funeral for a very close family friend (part of the personal stuff I’ve referenced last week). When I came home I wanted a cheery task to distract me, so I bought some tulips and got to work.¬†Spring Table settingI already had some yellow and pink faux tulips on hand, so I chose pink and yellow for the real flowers to match. I also had some pink and white striped napkins on hand from my birthday in January, which added some extra color and to compliment the faux flower garnish.¬†Passover table settingI also loved having my green bowls from Ballard Design to complete the look of my table. They are fun and a super great quality. Plus they also compliment my green stemless wine glasses!¬†Pink, green and yellow decorEven though a put this table setting together super quickly, I think it’s one of my Passover favorites. You can’t go wrong with pink, green and tulips!¬†Tulip centerpieceSpeaking of tulips, the reason I had those faux tulips on hand is because I used them to make a simple spring wreath for the front door. It was April and I still had a snowflake wreath on the front door. Totally home decor slacker over here.¬†Spring wreathThis wreath was super easy to put together, like ridiculously easy. I simply took a few of the faux tulips and stuck them into a grapevine wreath. Seriously, that easy. The only tricky part was getting the spacing correct, but it wasn’t that much trouble.¬†Spring tulip wreathI love coming home everyday to this cheerful springy wreath. It always puts a bit of a smile on my face, even when I’m sad (or crippled). I think it’s important to make sure that you never stop letting the little things make you smile. Life is always going to be busy, full of disappointments, sad at times, stressful and just plain unfair, but if you let the little things keep you smiling it all seems bearable.¬†Tulip grapevine wreathSo what are your favorite flowers? Do you use them a lot in your spring decor? I also love hydrangeas, but those don’t bloom until closer to the summer. I’m anxiously awaiting that time of year!

My First 10k

Hey there folks! Happy Hump Day! Sorry for the silence over here, there’s been some personal stuff going on, but things are finally getting back to normal.

I wanted to take some time today to chat about running my first 10k two weeks ago. Running a 10k was something I never thought I would be able to do. A few years ago I started small by running a 5k twice, and it pushed me to put running a 10k on my bucket list. And there it sat. A “maybe one day” thought on my list, but something I still didn’t think I would ever actually be able to do. Until I started my new job and started working with a personal trainer at the company gym. That first session with the trainer really opened my eyes to what being healthy and in shape was all about. I learned that I had bad cholesterol, slightly high blood pressure, and a terrible BMI for a 26 year old woman and I wanted to change that. I started running two plus miles and doing a weight routine and saw great improvement, I even started looking into doing another few 5k’s.

A few weeks later, I was talking about all the 5k’s and my gym routine with a coworker ¬†and she said she was looking for a running buddy and suggested we start running together. I was really nervous at first since this girl used to run cross country and was in much better shape than me, but I did it any way. On our first run we ran almost 4 miles without stopping and I didn’t die. Then a few days later we made it the full 4 and I was hooked. I also decided what the hell! if I can run 4 miles without dying then I can run another 2 and actually complete a 10k. So for two months I trained with my coworker, and by myself, until March 28th when I finished my first 10k.¬†Monument Ave 10k

I’m not going to say it was easy, because that would be a total lie. It was hard and it was 35 degrees outside. I’ve never been so sweaty but been able to see my breath at the same time. There were times I thought I was going to vomit and I was sore for 2 days after, but I did it! I pushed through my mind telling me to give up and accomplished something that last year I never thought I’d be able to do. The energy of the people around me and the early 2000’s rap playing on my iPod pushed me and I’ve never been so proud of myself!¬†10k complete

My final time for the race was 1 hour and 4 minutes, which I think is pretty good! Especially since my first mile was almost 13 minutes because the starting line was so crowded. (That’s one thing I wish I had done differently. I started in the slowest running group and there were 1,500 people in it. If I run the Monument 10k again I will definitely start in a smaller, faster wave).¬†10k results

Accomplishing something that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do has inspired me in so many more ways too. I’m learning to push through being tired at the end of the day to clean the house or work on a project, instead of just vegging out in front of the tv. I’m learning to push through cravings so that I make better food choices. And I’m learning that I’m capable of a lot more than I think I am. Getting fit has been a life changing event for me, and this 10k was the catalyst of it all.¬†Monument 10k

I’m also pushing myself even harder and will be running a second 10k at the end of April. This race is smaller than the last one and has more actual runners rather than walkers, so I’m hoping that will help push me. I would love to run this race in under an hour, another thing I never thought I’d be able to do! I’ve been in the gym running and pushing myself to be faster and I will let you guys know after the 26th how I did!

Also, if you’re interested, I use the app MapMyRun to keep track of my runs. You can add friends, join challenges, and save a record of your workouts. I also love that it alerts me each time I run a mile, gives me my time for that mile, my total time, and my average time per mile. It’s a great resource to help keep a steady pace and set personal goals. I used it for this 10k and for all of my training runs.¬†MapMyRun 10k

I know this post isn’t something you’d typically see from me, but this blog is about my attempts at life in general (see what I did there) and so I don’t want to skip over something because it’s not house or DIY related. Beyond that, I hope I can encourage someone else out there that maybe isn’t looking for a fitness blog but could use some motivation.

And thanks for those of you that have cheered me along via social media. You guys rock! :)

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