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For a while I got into a really good rhythm of writing authentically, saying what I was really thinking and feeling and processing. And then, a handful a months ago, I fell out of that rhythm for one reason or another. It’s not that I’m intentionally keeping anything from this site or not saying what I mean to say, but the truth is that this pregnancy has been all-consuming. The rocky beginning that shook us to the core, the desperate pleas for prayer and more prayer, the waiting between weekly appointments, the awe of the miracle God performed, holding our breath not knowing what the next week held, week after week, in all of its uncertainty.

I told myself for weeks that once we got out of the first trimester I would breath deeply and relish in the beauty of pregnancy, but anyone who’s been fearful of something can tell you there isn’t a magic point when the fear subsides. Instead, that fear is replaced with another fear, another fixation, another date on the calendar. I’ve been doing it, too. After the first trimester ended there was the next appointment, and then the 19 week ultrasound, followed by the appointment with the specialist. I told myself I would feel more peace and breath a sigh of relief after each milestone I placed on the calendar. But the truth is, I replaced once fear for another, one milestone for the next.

As I look at my thoughts and my behaviors I’m embarrassed. God has been so faithful to us and done such a miracle in this pregnancy! He’s led us through tough times in our marriage and our careers and through times of uncertainty, and yet I sit back at where I started, filled with doubt and uncertainty, wringing my hands and feeling fearful of what comes next. Even to me, when I look at it logically, it seems silly and petty and immature.

It’s times like these that I’m thankful for a God who offers forgiveness and grace in my weakness and doesn’t give up on me, time and time again. No matter how many times I have to learn and re-learn the same dang lesson, we worship a God that’s faithful and patient enough to overlook those weaknesses and give us another go at it. So if today, you find yourself stumbling over the same lesson you learned a thousand times before, don’t be discouraged. Take heart that we can come to God time and time again, no matter how many times we’ve done so before.

Madison

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How far along are you? 21 weeks 1 day 
Cravings? Orange juice, milk and pizza. Although I can’t say any of my cravings have been super strong except the orange juice, which is strange since I never drank or craved orange juice or milk before this pregnancy. Now I drink both every day! Pizza, on the other hand, I’m trying to limit to once a week!
Weight Gain: I don’t have another doctor’s appointment until next week, so I have no idea!  Perhaps 15 pounds?
Fears: This is incredibly silly, but this week I’ve been battling body image issues as my body continues to grow and change. I’m SO thankful for these changes, because it means our little one is thriving and growing (yay!) but it’s still hard to see your body changing in such extreme ways. It’s something I’m surrendering control of daily. I try to remind myself that I’m eating healthfully and sensibly, and my body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing, growing this baby, Praise God! On the flip side, I’ve been worrying about baby not growing enough, since that’s something my doctor will be monitoring monthly with our 2-vessel cord. Reminding myself daily that it’s truly out of my control! 
Generally Feeling: Really good! I’ve been sleeping better and exercising more, mainly in the form of long walks. My appetite has really dropped off lately, but I think that has more to do with the fact that Joe and I both seemed to get a very mild case of food poisoning last week that took away both our appetites. Other than that, I’m feeling wonderful. 
Looking Forward To: Thank you for your tips on registering! Joe and I decided, with your suggestions, to use Baby List, and it’s been so fun to put together our registry with items from a variety of stores and sources. I’ll admit I’m still totally clueless, but I’m having fun thinking more about our baby’s arrival as I add items to the registry. It makes it seem so much more real. And Joe and I purchased our first item of clothing for baby which was so much fun. 
What I’ve Been Loving: Still absolutely loving all the movement of this little one. Lots of kicks and rolls that I can tell are getting stronger! Also, I feel like my bump has popped out a little more (see above photo) which makes sense since it seems baby is moving up, too. 
Maternity Clothes? Dressing is becoming increasingly difficult. I still don’t have a large bump, just a small/medium sized one that is hard to accentuate but hard to hide, too, so I find that I’m just sitting somewhere in the middle right now. It’s a fun challenge to try and maintain your personal sense of style while pregnant and figure out what works for you/your body. 
Boy or Girl: Keeping it a surprise until March! 

Madison

Cookie Dough Bites (2) | Espresso and Cream

How was your weekend, friends? Joe and I had the best weekend with absolutely no plans on the schedule. After traveling or being crazy busy for the last month, this was the first weekend that we had a chance to hang around the house with no actual plans. It was glorious. We did a big deep “fall clean” of the house on Saturday morning, tossing and throwing things away and sorting. Please tell me I’m not the only person who gets a huge sense of relief throwing/giving away things we don’t need? I think a little bit of nesting has been kicking in because I suddenly have the desire to organize and sort every drawer and closet in our house!

I also made a little time for baking cookies and am super excited to have a new recipe to share today. Most of the time I’m a from-scratch baker, not because I feel like that’s what I should do but because I find it incredibly relaxing to bake, especially when I don’t have anything on the agenda. But sometimes I like to bring in a little help.

Since I work for Betty Crocker, I ended up with a bunch of pouch cookie mix in my pantry after a photo shoot last week. I pack Joe’s lunch each weekday morning and like to put a little something sweet into his lunch each day and we had absolutely nothing sweet around the house that would suffice, so a quick cookie baking session was calling my name. But instead of devoting a bunch of time baking, I made these cookies during halftime of the Vikings game and was back on the couch in time to watch the second half. Win-win!

Be aware that these cookies don’t spread out like regular cookies, which is by design. The edges get delightfully crispy and crunchy while the centers stay soft and chewy. It’s a fantastic combination, and these little cookies fit well inside almost any lunch box, for husbands or for kiddos!

Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
These cookies do not spread out like regular cookies but, rather, they hold their shape in more of a "ball" form by design. If you want your cookies to be flatter, flatten each dough ball with the back of your hand before baking.
Ingredients
  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter (I didn't test with regular peanut butter, but I think it would work!)
  • ¾ cup miniature pretzels, finely chopped/crushed
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cookie mix, butter, egg and peanut butter until a soft dough forms and all ingredients are well combined. Beat in the pretzels and pecans until evenly combined.
  3. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or use a cookie scoop like I did.) Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown and set. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes; cool completely on wire cooling rack.

Madison

Sketchers Shoes (1)

My family, like a lot of families, has been touched deeply by cancer. I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned it on this site, but when I was in middle school I lost my grandmother to bone cancer and a few years later my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully, my dad is many years post-surgery and cancer-free. Skin cancer also runs in my family and I have an aunt who had breast cancer, and all there really is to say on the topic is that cancer sucks.

Any time I can partner with a company to talk about cancer awareness, I jump at the chance. So when Skechers asked if I would be willing to partner with them to raise awareness about breast cancer in the month of October I said “yes” without hesitation. They sent me a pair of their Skechers Performance GOwalk 2 Flash shoes to work out in and share my motivations for staying healthy and active.

Honestly, before this campaign I wasn’t even aware that Skechers had a performance line of shoes for working out, but I was blown away by how comfortable and cute the shoes are. The weather was beautiful yesterday, so I took full advantage after work and went on a long walk in my new kicks.

Sketchers Shoes (3)

Since becoming pregnant, my workouts have changed quite a bit. I’ve been focusing more on staying active in the form of walking, Pilates and exercise videos geared toward pregnancy. That’s not to say that being active isn’t still extremely important to me! In fact, I think eating healthfully and staying fit is even more important now that I’m doing everything for me and our little one. When I’m lacking motivation, it’s easy to remind myself that I’m doing this not just to look good but to do good for my baby. If that isn’t enough motivation, I’m not really sure what is!

Sketchers Shoes (2)

PS: If you’re looking for a great shoe (seriously!) that benefits an amazing cause, I would highly recommend the GOwalk shoe from Skechers.With a few workouts in them under my belt, I can honestly say that I was super impressed by the comfort and quality.

Madison

Thank you to Skechers for supporting today’s post! The shoes were provided to me free of charge, but opinions are strictly my own. 

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How far along are you? 20 weeks 1 day 
Cravings? Lately food has really sounded unappealing to me and my appetite seems to either be raging or completely non-existent. It’s strange to fluctuate between the two! Pizza always sounds good, but I’ve been limiting my pizza consumption to once a week and opting for veggies, fruit, whole grains, protein and dairy instead. I’m pretty thankful not to have many cravings, since it means I can eat like my usual self. Sweet still sound terrible most of the time, which is strange since I usually have a huge sweet tooth. 
Weight Gain: I don’t have another doctor’s appointment for 2 weeks but I’m guessing close to 14/15 pounds at this point. 
Fears: We had our follow-up ultrasound with the perinatal specialist today and were blessed and relieved to get a healthy report from the doctor. I was scared to see a specialist, but given our 2-vessel cord, my doctor wanted to make sure everything else was healthy, especially the heart. I was SO nervous for the appointment, but feel such a sense of peace and well-being now, which is the first time I’ve really felt this peaceful all pregnancy. We’ll continue to have monthly ultrasounds to keep an eye on growth, but so far baby continues to measure ahead! Praise be to God! 
Generally Feeling: Great! This week I truly feel fantastic. After battling pregnancy headaches for weeks on end, I started taking an iron supplement since my prenatal didn’t have added iron and I heard that headaches can be a sign that you’re lacking in iron. I haven’t had a headache since and it’s such a relief! 
Looking Forward To: Registering! We haven’t really even thought about registering, but I think it’s time to get on that soon. If you have any registry advice, please let me know! I’m clueless. 
What I’ve Been Loving: Joe felt the baby move for the first time with his hand on my stomach. Seeing his excitement was the highlight of my week! He’s going to be a great dad. 
Maternity Clothes? Nothing new to report here. I have still been loving the maternity dresses I purchased from ASOS (thanks for the recs!) and have been wearing a lot of my pre-maternity tops and pants with the help of the Belly Band. I also purchased a few more pairs of these Gap leggings and a pair of black maternity dress pants so I can wear more of my tops. 
Boy or Girl: Keeping it a surprise until March! 

Madison

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