Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dreaming of Spring

As I'm sure we all are doing, I'm definitely dreaming of a warmer temperature. Don't get me wrong, I love bundling up in blankets and the rare chance for snow the south gets is FANTASTIC but I still have moments of missing some sun and greenery. I don't want the blazing Georgia heat yet (because trust me, it's rough) but 70 degrees can be quite nice to think of when you can't feel your fingers after going outside for 10 minutes. Ah, spring and your not-too-cold temperatures.

Part of the reason why I am missing Spring is because I love, love, love gardening. I'm certainly no expert and I have tons more to learn, but I really get so much enjoyment out of it. Every year I learn something new and get a little bit better at it. That is life isn't it? Trying and trying until you succeed!

I found some old pictures of our first try at gardening and my heart ached for Spring!

We live in an apartment, so we are a bit limited on what we can grow. We keep it simple and just do a few herbs and on occasion some peppers or small tomatoes. It feels so good to eat or use something you've grown yourself!

Blurry but beloved picture of my darling tomatoes.
I don't usually do resolutions, but if I were to have one it would be to really take my little plant-babies seriously this year...you know, before the ACTUAL baby comes, haha. It is definitely something I would like to raise our kids doing and seeing us do. It's very therapeutic and not to mention healthy. You can see my past gardening attempts here, and here . And who knows, maybe this year I'll get REALLY crazy and plant some flowers too. Having a look at this post really makes me want some flowers that I can just pick and place around the room and not have to buy...because I'm all about the cheap thrills, baby.

again, rough picture, but I miss these little guys!

Do any of you garden? Know any good gardening blogs? Do tell!

~ B ~

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Keep On Crocheting

     Since this winter is apparently the worst ever (even down South), I had to go rummaging through my "warm scarves" so I would not freeze to death. Yes, this implies that I have scarves that are just cute and not really functional at all. Doesn't everyone?

     Anyway, as I clawed through my scarf bin, I came across this old, kind of haggard scarf. It is maroon and very uneven and curves where it really should not be curving. In other words, I made it. However, despite its major imperfections and its obvious lack of good craftsmanship, it is one of the dearest items I own.

     I made it in a time of great personal angst and trouble, when I felt pretty hopeless and depressed. We've all been there, I know. Out of all that trouble, I decided to learn to crochet. I was super bad at it, but I never quit. I kept going even when it looked like a three year old had done it. It wasn't really about the scarf or about learning a new thing, it was about letting all of the bad things fuel me to do something new that made me happy. I cried while making the scarf. I prayed. I laughed. It was amazing how something so seemingly insignificant could make such a big difference in my life.

     When I was finished, I beamed with pride. I had never been so proud of something as I was of that weird-looking scarf. I guess I identified with it. It was imperfect and simple, but I loved it because it was mine and I had put my heart into it. I guess it finally had hit me that maybe that was how God felt about me. I never forgot how that felt. And every time I wear it, I still get that goofy smile on my face as I remember that precious, life-saving reminder.

     Hard times can kick us in the butt, but sometimes something beautiful can come from them. Maybe, it's only beautiful to you, but it can be beautiful. God still sends his reminders and encouragements and we keep on "crocheting" if you will. 

Do you have an experience like this? I'd love to hear. It's always encouraging to know :)

Take good care, everyone,


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Literature Love: Young Adult Fiction

Greetings everyone!

It's been a while since I have gotten one of these posts in and indeed it is high time to do one! I love all kinds of books and I consider myself to be quite a bibliophile (read: I would rather read than do anything else). Today's focus will be Young Adult Fiction. I am a sucker for this genre and probably always will be. I took a class on this genre and it's importance and that is where I have discovered some of the titles I'm about to recommend. These are all fantastic reads and each very different. Take a look at the links in each one to get to know the authors a little better too.

Here we go!

1. Meant To Be by the amazingly talented Lauren Morrill. I'm not huge into the sappy teen romance thing (well, not always) but this book was just an absolute joy to read. The characters are so loveable and funny and it's a sweet first-love story. It has a New Girl kind of charm/awkwardness to it, which we all love. The author of this book lives in Macon, Georgia as well and she came to my YA Lit class to talk about this book and her career as an author and all around cool person. And she signed my book. And I felt famous. And I live tweeted her whole discussion. I wish I weren't so awkward.

2. Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book is about a little boy who has a facial deformity and all of his struggles and triumphs. I laughed and cried all the way through this book and was so moved by the beautiful message of understanding. I recently let my best friend borrow this book to read alongside her kids that are 8 and 9. They were at the time becoming acquainted with the fact that some people look differently because of disabilities or what have you. This book helped them all ask questions and discover things about themselves and about others. Guys, it's really amazing. The author also has some great teacher resources for class discussions!

3. Coraline by the infinitely talented Neil Gaiman. On top of being my (current) favorite author, this has made its way to one of my favorite books as well. It is in some ways like a modern Alice in Wonderland but far creepier and very captivating. And God help us if we really all DO have an Other Mother with button eyes. Coraline is like a gateway drug to the rest of his works, because once you start you can never stop. He's that good. Also, if you are a bookish type, you should see what he has to say in his Newberry Award acceptance speech from 2009. Bloody brilliant, this guy.

4. The Graveyard Book by (yes, again) Neil Gaiman. As I said, you've already had the gateway drug so let's just get down to it. This book is near and dear to my heart and has the most beautiful message of self-discovery, identity, confidence and even understanding others. Based loosely on the style of the Jungle Book, this story is about a young boy but it has just as strong a message for us grown-ups. If you like a bit of whimsy and humor then please give this a read. It's one of those books that you'll never forget!

Have any of you read any of these books? Is there another book you're curious/passionate about? Likes, dislikes? Do let me know!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Back in the Habit / 1st Trimester Essentials

NO, I'm not secretly a nun. Although that would be a brilliant plot twist, wouldn't it?

What I mean is, it feels really good to be back in the habit of blogging again! I've missed the community and the cathartic act of putting pen to paper...er...finger to keyboard. The last three months have been busy, as previously mentioned, but also quite exhausting. I am new to this whole growing-a-human thing but I have lots of darling friends who are seasoned veterans and have helped me along the way. Despite all of their Gandalf-like wisdom, everyone is different and we all have unique experiences in the baby-growing process.

My poor classmates and professors were afraid I'd keel over in my classes because I looked like DEATH. I felt like death too. I only threw up once, but I was nauseated 24/7 without rest, which made homework so much fun. By the grace of God, I made it through. Getting sick is probably my top fear of most fears (I know, it's lame) so I kind of feel like if I could do 3 months of my worst fear, labor will be a cake-walk. (Cue hysterical laughter from every other mother in the world because I'm talkin' crazy).

However, all was not lost. Thanks to blessed, blessed Pinterest, I was able to search countless boards about what helped most women through the first trimester. Some of it worked, some of it didn't. Trial and error is life's way of showing us what's up most times. I made to document all of the things that worked for me so that I would be prepared the next time around, because honey, pregnancy ain't for wimps.

So here are the things that saved my life throughout the 1st grueling trimester!

1st trimester essentials

1. Loose-fitting button ups. My favorite ones were from Target's One Star brand that I bought on clearance. They were perfect for my irritated and (glamour alert) bloated self.

2. Leggings. I have had a pair of Danskin leggings for like a hundred years (seriously, since high school) and God bless them. My jeans made me sick and those were some of the only things that were comfortable. I'm sure everyone thought I was homeless because it's all I wore.

3. El Paso Minnetonka Moccasions. Call me a hippie, but I wear those bad boys everywhere. They were so comfortable and since my job on campus required a lot of walking, they were perfect.

4. Peppermints, peppermints, peppermints! I had no idea that these kept nausea at bay and they totally work! I have a huge bag that I keep in my suitcase purse just in case.

5. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I couldn't stomach very much and one of the only things I could eat, oddly enough, was cinnamon toast crunch with 2% milk. I still eat it now.

6.Water. One of the most important things to do in any stage of pregnancy is to stay hydrated, especially if you're getting sick a lot. I finally had to quit using my plastic water bottle because I could taste EVERYTHING, including the plasticy taste. This water bottle from Ello Products was/is a Godsend. Glass all the way!

7. Perrier Lime. Ginger did NOT work for me. The sugar in it made me even sicker, which was really disheartening. But seltzer water was good, and Perrier (once I finally tried it) was heaven. The Lime kind has been my favorite since I was kid and so it remains.

8. Listerine. I had a horrible taste in my mouth at all times, especially after eating. Like, it was terrible. So every so often I did and still do have a quick swish and then I'm good. Gum works too, but this was my go to when at home.

9. Saltine Crackers. You've heard it before and you'll hear it again from me, these are a sick person's best friend. At times it was all I ate...well that and soup when I could bear it. Yeah it sucked but when random hunger that is synonymous with nausea hits in the middle of the night (and it does) these puppies will give you relief. I had a pack on my nightstand and in my purse.

10. My iPod. I read somewhere that if you get really sick when you drive (and I did) that listening to music helps by balancing out some something that made no sense to me. Even though I didn't understand, I tried it and it worked. It could have just been me thinking it worked, but when you can't get to your job because you're gagging on the highway, you'll do what you have to. No it wasn't that safe, but I wasn't throwing up so...tomato-tom-ah-to.

Well, this is my list..check it twice...heh heh. These things sure helped me and perhaps for some poor suffering pregnant person in the blogosphere, they will help you too.

Happy trails,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

News from Our Nest

Hello everyone!

Well, after about a 12,000 year absence (give or take) I have returned to the blogosphere, albeit with some shame attached. A lot happened near the end of 2013 and in the midst of it, blogging simply just fell by the wayside. You will perhaps understand when I explain...or not...but either way I have good intentions.

Some things that were accomplished:

1. I finally graduated from school, which is suuuuper exciting! I now have a Bachelor of Arts in English and boy does it feel good.

2. My darling cousin Meredith married the man of her dreams! Many happy tears were shed.

3. Toby fulfilled a lifelong dream by getting to step in  and be a groomsman at the wedding. The groom's best man had to leave the day of the wedding because his wife was in labor, so we got a call early that morning to my cousin telling us that Toby was up to bat! He was thrilled...and so was I :)

From my phone all dolled up at Mer's wedding!

4. Toby met Chad L. Coleman who plays Tyreese in The Walking Dead. HUGE deal to us.

5. And the 5th thing kind of deserves its own little section...

We're adding a little bird to our nest!
This is baby Manolis at 10 weeks!
We are absolutely over the moon about this! I am 16 weeks along now, and actually have a doctor appointment tomorrow to check up on the little baby. Right now, it is as big as an avocado so we are lovingly calling it the "guacababy" right now...and maybe forever. That nickname came from my sister-in-law, who is hilarious. I will try not to be one of those obnoxious moms who only writes about things that are pregnant or babies, but I can't make any promises, because it really is exciting.

16 week belly via @thebebebird on instagram!

Can't wait to share more with you all!

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