Second Trimester Recap

Ladies – it’s true what they say about the 2nd trimester, at least for me.  It’s the honeymoon trimester!  I felt good, I had some energy back, and some moments of the day, dare I even say that I kind of forgot I was pregnant?  These last three months have been SO MUCH better than the first three months.

That being said though...

Here are the things that surprised me about my second trimester:

1. Itchy - I am SO SO SO itchy. I have pretty sensitive skin to begin with, and all the stretching going on is making me itch so badly!  Some days are worse than others, but I think some of it has to do with those darn high waisted maternity pants.  The fabric against my skin is just so uncomfortable. I do moisturize daily with Burt's Bees Momma Bee Belly Butter (I love that it's scentless & non-greasy, thanks for the recommendation, Lis!) -- I can't image how itchy I'd be if I didn't.

2. Stuffy nose /congestion - It’s the worst at night.  I lay down in bed, and can’t breathe out of my nose.  So I breathe out of my mouth and then my throat gets dry, my lips get chapped, and I might even snore. God Bless Zac for putting up with me. And God Bless Aquaphor -- my favorite lip protectant. 

3. Nose bleeds - I think it's partially due to pregnancy, and partially due to the dry air.  Couple that with blowing my nose all the time, and bam. Every once in a while, it will bleed.  I recently purchased this humidifier that I run in our room at night a few times a week, so I'm hoping that helps!

4. Charley horses -  I've had a couple in my feet and calves since becoming pregnant and ouch!!! SO PAINFUL!!!

5. Mobility issues - It’s becoming harder to get out of bed, to put my socks & shoes on, and it's harder to pick up crumbs off the floor.  Where did all my stomach muscles go?!

6. Free stuff - People want to give you their hand-me-downs: maternity clothes, toys, books, baby items... it's wonderful & very appreciated!

7. Baby movement - And lots of it! This is obviously the best feeling in the entire world.  Zac & I joke that our babe is either playing soccer in there or doing ballet.  I think baby has restless legs like his/her rmomma ;)


Some dates/moments I never want to forget:

9/24/16 – Week 17: Felt baby move for the first time!  We were at the First Annual Annoye Patio Parade Party (such a fun day!), sitting around Jamie & Travis’s campfire.  I felt a little “bubble pop” feeling in my tummy and got instant chills.  It happened a few more times that day, and has continued ever since.  BEST FEELING EVER!

Week 17: Started wearing maternity pants this week… to be fair, I had been using a belly band or the hair tie trick weeks prior to this, but week 17 is when I said good bye to all my old jeans & work pants.

10/6/16 – Week 19: Zac was able to feel baby kick for the first time! 

10/20/16 – Week 21: Zac & I can SEE baby movement in my belly!

11/16/16 – Week 24: Felt baby hiccups for the first time, at 3:10 AM!


What did you love about your second trimester?

Click HERE for my First Trimester Recap

Elena's Memory Book: A Gift Idea

What do you get a child that has everything and needs nothing?

A memory.  A memory lasts forever...

When I came across this Story Starter Memory Book from Pinhole Press, I instantly knew it would be the perfect Christmas gift for my Godchild Elena.  It's the ideal way to foster her creativity and savor all those memories that we've made over the last year together.  And, it won't be another toy collecting dust in the corner (I hope!)

The cover

Plus, it was very easy to create.  You just upload your photos, drag & drop them into the sheets of the book, and then the recipient gets to fill the blank space around the photo with art to describe their memory.  Each page includes a few lines for writing about the picture...  and little hand kid writing is the very best.

I love that Elena can look back on these memories and her drawings, at age 6.  She'll have a vivid and colorful memory diary that she can cherish forever!

*This post is not sponsored in any way, I just love their products & wanted to share a good thing!

Christmas Nostalgia

This time of the year always brings back so many memories.

Christmas traditions (and Christmas movies!) are some of my very favorite memories.  My parents always made this time of the year so special for us, and I hope to do the same for our little babe.

A few memories I will never forget...

- Christmas jammie photos

Christmas Nostalgia | My Darling Days

- Begging dad to bring up the Christmas decor boxes from the basement immediately following Thanksgiving. I loved to help mom decorate -- she always had the best decorations (she still does). My very favorite was the mantel above the fireplace, because that is where our stockings hung.  I love that she hand-stitched each of our names on our stockings.

Christmas Nostalgia | My Darling Days

- Going to the tree farm as a family & dad cutting down our Christmas tree.

- Going Christmas shopping as family -- Fleet Farm's Toy Land was always a stop on our list.  We would beg to go down the pink aisle (aka, the Barbie aisle) and while we were marveling at all the pink goodness, mom would be running around gathering toys in her cart and hiding them on us.

- Becky & I always had matching Christmas outfits...

Christmas Nostalgia | My Darling Days

Christmas Nostalgia | My Darling Days

- Dad in his blaze orange "onezie" snow suit putting up all my grandpa Elmer's homemade Christmas decorations outside.  We would help him for about 10 minutes, but then quickly lost interest... we had snow forts to make!

- Putting reindeer horns on Cuddles.

Christmas Nostalgia | My Darling Days

- Making turtles at grandma's house with my Aunt Jane -- her's are the very best!

- Always being spoiled rotten for Christmas (we still are).

But even if Christmas meant no presents, I'll never forget these memories.  As we've gotten older and married into new families, we have new traditions and memories, but these old ones will surely never fade.

I can't wait until we get to share some of these traditions, and make some new ones with our child next year.  Until then, Zac & I are savoring these last couple of months with just each other... and Grace!

Merry Christmas to all!

Best Christmas Movies

Winter is the perfect season to cozy up and watch movies.

Picture this: The glow of the Christmas tree lights... a yummy bowl of popcorn... homemade hot cocoa with *just* the right amount of marshmallows... and your favorite cozy blanket.

Best Christmas Movies, popcorn, hot cocoa | My Darling Days

The only thing that would make this scene better is a crackling fire place!

With the help of Luma, a WiFi system that surrounds your home with fast & secure internet, I've rounded up my favorite Christmas movies to put you in the holiday spirit!

Slip into your favorite pajamas, and stay in to binge watch your night away!

Tell me, what are your favorite Christmas movies?!

The Year of the Baby Christmas Tree

The first weekend in December drew upon on us, and that meant going on the hunt for our Christmas tree... something I look forward to every year.

Christmas Tree Hunting | My Darling Days

We're fortunate to have a tree farm literally 4 miles down the road from our house -- perks of living in the country!

I told Zac I wanted a "smaller" tree this year... smaller, as in skinnier.  Maybe a little Charlie Brownish, too.  Something different.  I just didn't want it to take up a lot of space in our small living room, and I didn't want to move out any furniture this year.

Last year, it took us 4 minutes to find our tree .  This year it took maybe 10 minutes?  We don't mess around.
We found a skinny one, Zac cut it down, I yelled "timber!" and we we're on our way home.

Christmas Tree Hunting |My Darling Days

Christmas Tree Hunting | My Darling Days

2016 Christmas Tree | My Darling Days

When Zac carried the tree in the living room, my jaw dropped... uhh, why was it only appearing approximately 3 feet tall?
How could this be?  We both swear it was much taller when we cut it down...

But, it was too late now.  An 8 mile round trip and $40 later...  we propped the tree up on a crate for some added, much need height & loved it anyways.

2016 Christmas Tree | My Darling Days

2016 Christmas Tree | My Darling Days

If Christmas of 2015 was the year that it took us 4 minutes to find, agree on, & cut down a tree, let the Christmas of 2016 be the year of baby tree!

2016 Christmas Tree | My Darling Days
 In hindsight, it does look pretttttty little in this pic ;)

Happy Holidays, friends... only 20 more days till Christmas! 

First Trimester Recap

If you saw our announcement, you’re aware… I’m pregnant!

While I have no intention of turning my blog into a pregnancy or mom blog, it is a scrapbook of my days.  I’ve been blessed by God to carry this child, and I want to remember every second of it; and to help those also expecting or interested, I’m sharing my journey…

First Trimester; pregnancy | My Darling Days

As I’m moving along in my second trimester, (it’s weird… time simultaneously is moving so fast yet so slow) I wanted to look back on the first few months.

Here are 10 things that surprised me about my first trimester…

1. Heightened anxiety – I am a pretty anxious person to begin with, so along with the joy & gratefulness of receiving a positive pregnancy test, I was a wreck.  Due to some complications early on, I had & still have constant wonders if this pregnancy would remain viable, even after seeing and hearing the heartbeat & multiple ultrasounds later.  It's stressful, to say the least.

2. Morning sickness – or should I say, ALL DAY sickness.  For about the first 12 weeks, being nauseous was an all day occurrence for me.  Waves of it would come & go, but the nausea was worst in the morning & at night.  It wasn’t toilet-hugging debilitating, but I had a constant feeling of ‘throw-up’ sitting at the bottom of the throat.  I usually was always able to talk myself out of actually throwing up though -- mind over matter!! haha

3. Exhaustion / tiredness  all I wanted to do was sleep.  Like, be in bed by 7:00-8:00 every night.  I am usually go go go & never sit down after I get home from work, but the couch definitely became my best friend.  Also, simple things like walking the parking lot into work, left me short of breath.

4. Bloating /indigestion (and tight pants!) – most women don’t start showing until they're into their 2nd trimester, however after eating lunch & supper, most days I had a noticeable little bump.  It was gone by morning (that’s how I knew it was just bloating) – but now it’s here to stay… at least until March, I hope. ;)

5. Hunger – for as nauseous as I felt, I was still hungry all.the.time.  I had to eat every two hours otherwise the nausea would get out of control.

6. Cravings – besides sleep, I wanted any food full of carbs.  Though I loved carbs pre-pregnancy, during those first 12 weeks, carbs were about the only thing that sounded good.  Bread, cereal, pasta, but especially baked goods… muffins, bagels, banana bread.  Bless my mom, she so very kindly dropped off lots of homemade banana bread those first few weeks.
And Zac -- he makes me breakfast almost every morning before work.
I'm also craving ice water -- the colder, the better.
7. Aversions – food-wise, nothing was so bad that I couldn’t stand to eat it or smell it, but every once in a while just cooking supper made me queasy.  I usually forced myself to eat whatever it was that I just cooked, but a few times I just ate cereal instead (Cheerios, Golden Grahams, & Honey Bunches of Oats are my jam!) One thing that surprised me was my lack of interest in my usual breakfast smoothies – I’ve been drinking one every day for the last 3 years and during the first 12 weeks, I just couldn’t do it.  I still really don't want them.
    Smells – perfume, lotion, air fresheners… though I think the fragrance may actually smell nice, it’s just SO overpowering it makes my stomach turn.  Even one tiny little squirt makes me nauseous.

8. Frequent urination – I used to never get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Now, I usually get up twice.  I know this is only going to get worse as the pregnancy progresses... maybe that our body’s way of prepping us for those late night feedings?

9. Sore chest – my goodness, I swear just looking at my boobs made them hurt. Haha  They were sooo tender, I didn’t even know it was possible for them to hurt that much.

10.  Secrets are hard – we weren’t comfortable sharing the news of our pregnancy with family & friends until the second trimester, and it was incredibility difficult not to be a hermit, or having to pull for any excuse as to why I couldn't have an alcoholic beverage.  I am THE worst liar on the planet.  I secretly wanted to shout from the roof tops “I’M FINALLY PREGNANT” but, I refrained. ;)

While the above list sounds not to fun, there are somethings that do help during those first 3 months...
  - Keep crackers on your night stand.
  - Voice any concerns to your doctor & try to stay off internet forums (though I am totally guilty of this).
  - Listen to your body: sleep when you’re tired & realize that you can’t do it all.  Take on less, slow down, & let the 
    housework slip.  It's not the end of the world.
  - Drink lots of water.
  - Get some fresh air –  if you can muster up the energy to get outside & take a walk, chances are you'll feel better.
  - Remember that God has a plan for you – you may not understand it, you may not like it, or it may not go the way you 
    thought, but He would never give you anything you couldn’t handle.

If you’re struggling though your first trimester, know that you’re not alone!  Life is not easy right now and it’s full of change -- I get it girl!  If you’ve been through it before, what was your experience like?  I'd love to read your comments!

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving, friends!  We all have so much to be thankful for.
If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year & need some tablescape inspiration, check out this post from last year.

Travel: Burano Island, Italy

If Venice has my heart, Burano has my soul... 

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Burano is a cheerful little archipelago in the Venetian Lagoon that’s exploding with color.  Known as the The Island of Lace, thanks to the women makers in the 16th century, it’s a quaint & picturesque town just 40 minutes off the coast of Venice, which we traveled to by boat.  Its four single islands, separated by canals & connected by footbridges, like Venice.

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Upon arriving to shore, we were greeted by the leaning bell tower of Church of San Martino, and couldn’t wait to explore the town on foot.

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

We were told that if you live on Burano and wish to paint your home, you much request permission from the government, who will advise which colors you’re allowed to paint your lot as the hued homes are not determined randomly.  It was said that the fishermen originally painted their houses to find their way home from sea – little did they know their colorful choices would make this a popular tourist attraction!

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

We found a literal row of rainbow houses...

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Wouldn't you love to spend a few days here? Getting lost in the alley ways & relishing in all this colorful goodness?  

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
A grainy iphone pic, but a favorite none-the-less

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Right before we were about to hit the sea to return to Venice, a waterspout appeared in the distance... kinda cool, but kinda freaky too!

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Definitely put Burano on your travel list.  It's quite darling!

Six Year Anniversary Photos

Every year, for our anniversary, we find a location.   We set-up a tripod, our camera, & use a remote to do a little DIY photo-shoot. 


Not because we enjoy doing it (it's not that fun...) and not because we like to get our picture taken (who does?)

It's because I'm a firm believer that our marriage shouldn't stop being documented, even after we've said our vows.  Every year deserves to be celebrated. 

We often let life, and jobs, and hobbies get in the way of love.  But documenting "us" -- standing next to the person I said "I do" to and promised to love no matter what, is worth celebrating.

And twenty years from now, we're all gonna say "Look at how much hair Zac had!"  ;) 

So, keeping up with tradition... our six year anniversary photos:

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days