Introducing Hope Annette

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hope came into this world at 2:13 am on Saturday, January 16 weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces and 17.7 inches long! She is healthy, praise the Lord! 

Giving birth to her was the best experience of my life and I wish I could relive the moment she arrived every day. 

After she was born, she was admitted to the NICU for testing and observation and after a battery of tests, was deemed completely healthy. We are overjoyed and grateful, for this is nothing short of a miracle. 

We came home - together, something I didn't think would happen given the scares we had - on Monday night, January 18. Since then, we've been getting to know each other and settling into this new sweet season of life! Alex and I are so in love with our precious gift. 

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:13-14


Hope's Nursery

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I've dreamt of decorating a nursery for a little girl practically my whole life. I love bright colors, beautiful patterns and Lilly Pulitzer, so it was obvious where my inspiration would come from! Very happy to reveal Hope's Lilly Pulitzer-inspired nursery! 

I like the color pink and think all little girls deserve a good share of pink in their rooms, but I didn't want to overwhelm Hope's room with it. Blue is actually my favorite color, and this wall color - Tahitian Breeze by Behr - is feminine but not overpowering. I LOVE this color and am so happy with how it turned out! 

The ribbon mobile above the crib was a collaborative effort by me and my friend April (okay, she did 90%), and the fabric bunting across the window was made my my bestie Lesley for use at my baby shower - I just added a little yellow to tie in the rest of the room.  

I used Lilly prints to accent the room (above the bookcase, on the shelf and in the quilt made for Hope by my bestie's mama, on the back of the glider).

We stuck with a gender neutral custom glider/recliner and ottoman in case there are any baby boys down the road. Same for the crib: I wanted it to be appropriate for Hope but also for any little brothers she might one day have! But the dresser and bookcase (the Ava series from Pottery Barn Kids) are all hers.

I really love how it turned out and just can't wait to get her home and see her in that crib! It's now my favorite room in the house; sometimes I just go sit in there and feel so at peace. And it somehow already smells like a newborn! 

Hope, your mama had so much fun designing and decorating this room for you, baby girl! 


Things people say to pregnant women

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Never, ever is it okay to comment on a woman's size. But when people see a pregnant woman, they say things that they would never say under any other circumstance. I've always known this and heard this, but I had to capture some of the more memorable comments I've gotten over the last few months. Some of them were quite nice. And some...were just hilarious.


"You are TINY!" - why, thank you! I will take that as a compliment.

"What? You're only 7 weeks from your due date? No way, you look great!" - I guess when you're that close you should start to look haggard?? But thanks!

"Wait - you're pregnant?" - um, yep. Not a beer gut. 

"You look great!" - there's really nothing more a pregnant lady wants to hear

"WOW, you're due SOON!" (Said when I was 8 weeks from d-day) - don't worry, if my water breaks, I'll aim away from your shoes. 

"I thought you must be pregnant because your face is too skinny for you to be obese." - a server at an upscale restaurant. Ummmm, thank you??

"Hey, skinny!" - an usher at Christmas Eve service, said while staring at my belly. Not sure what to make of this one!

"That shirt makes you look...PREGNANT." - thanks, Mom

"You STILL haven't had that baby?" - is it that I look huge or that you have no concept of time?

"You're having a baby next week?? You don't look 9 months pregnant..." - said with disbelief and a little disgust by a HomeGoods employee. Yes ma'am, I'm lying to you for kicks.

"Your life is about to change." - everyone. REALLY? I had no idea. I may not be able to fathom just how much, but I do know that life is about to change. And I'm ready for it! I can't wait.


36 Weeks | 37 Weeks


How far along: 36 weeks

Baby Size: Hope is the size of a large cantaloupe - at least 6 pounds

Weight gain: somehow down 1.5 pounds from last week, so up about 11.5 total

Maternity clothes: I never want to stop!

Stretch marks: nope

Sleep: getting up to tinkle 3-5 times a night

Best moment this week: confirmed at our check-up that we will be induced next week! Eeeeeeek!

Looking forward to: getting the nursery done (now or never, people)

What I miss: sleep 

Movement: lots of rolls and little jabs

Food cravings: not really

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: no

Symptoms: high BP still 

Belly Button in or out? still in, amazingly

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: excited - it's my last week of work before leave! 

Nursery: getting there! Almost done.


How far along: 37 weeks

Baby Size: Hope is the size of a winter melon (??? - this is why I stopped trying to find the fruits/veggies for my weekly photos!) and weighs about 6.5 pounds

Weight gain: up about .5 lb from last week and about 12 overall 

Maternity clothes: This is probably my last week pregnant, but I don't plan to stop wearing maternity clothes anytime soon

Stretch marks: nope

Sleep: still getting up a lot

Best moment this week: we found out Tuesday we are scheduled for induction beginning Thursday night! We also had our last ultrasound - next time we see Hope, she'll be on the outside! 

Looking forward to: meeting my baby girl very, very soon!

What I miss: sleeping well

Movement: Hope has been even more active than usual the last few days. Maybe she's trying to bust out!

Food cravings: would love to eat some Dunkin' Donuts munchkins (darn you, gluten)

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: no

Symptoms: high BP still 

Belly Button in or out? STILL in! I don't think I'm going to get an outie at this point! 

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: excited, nervous, happy, and a little sad that pregnancy is coming to an end although the best reward is just around the corner

Nursery: finishing touches are going up today! (if not now, when? No... seriously, when?) 

Prayer for Baby: Lord, thank you for the ultimate blessing of being able to carry Hope these last 9 months. It has been the greatest privilege of my life. Feeling her move inside me is a constant reminder of your perfect plan and your miraculous works. I pray for her health in the womb in these last few days of pregnancy, and for her health when she makes her grand debut. I pray that her abdomen is strong and healthy. I pray that her foot is healable. I pray that her vitals are normal and she thrives in this earthly world. God, thank you for all the things you've taught us over the last 2 years in our journey to become parents. I know this is just the beginning of many, many lessons. We are honored to be Hope's mommy and daddy, and ask for guidance as we become parents and raise her to know and love you. In your holy name, Amen.

Our Palm Beach Babymoon

Sunday, January 3, 2016

{This post is now over a month late but...better late than never!}

While we were in Florida with my family for Thanksgiving, we decided to take advantage of the proximity to Palm Beach and take a little Babymoon! To be fair, it wasn't a true babymoon because A had to work some during the day. BUT because he was technically on a work trip, we were reimbursed for our hotel - so that worked out!

He was recruiting at a junior tournament held at the classic PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens (which is only an hour 15 minutes from my hometown), so we were able to enjoy the Palm Beach life for a few days of luxury.

Our first night there, we went to an amazing Italian restaurant that had gluten free pasta, so I was able to enjoy my favorite kind of food! 

The first morning, I spoiled myself with room service since A had to get up early to work. 
It was rough on me ;)

While A recruited that day, I spent most of the day at the PGA Spa indulging in the Mommy-To-Be package: a prenatal massage, facial and pedicure. Heavenly!

The second night, we splurged on a fancy night out in Palm Beach proper at The Breakers. If you've never been, you've got to make it there - especially if you're a Lilly Pulitzer lover! That's where it all began! The resort itself is like stepping back in time. (Side note: we were there the day after Sophia Vergara had her wedding there, so we got to peek at her reception room. Gorgeous!)
At The Breakers with actual breakers behind us!

Such a beautiful Florida classic

Apps at the Henry Flagler bar before an incredible seafood dinner

In the lobby (those flowers - gahhhhhh!)

The second and final morning, we went to brunch at an authentic Irish pub before heading back to my hometown. 

We had such a nice time eating, drinking (well, drinking for A), relaxing and celebrating this baby! I am so glad we squeezed in this quick Babymoon between my baby shower and Thanksgiving: it gave us the perfect little getaway, just the two of us! Although we probably won't have another vacation alone for some time, that's okay with me: it won't be long until we're doing real "family" vacations and I can't wait!


Favorites from our maternity shoot

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I was about 32 weeks pregnant when we did our maternity shoot a few weeks ago, which was perfect timing to do photos for our Christmas cards! I found a wonderful new-to-town photographer in Columbia who was able to squeeze us in at the last minute.

It was a chilly day in Cola but a gorgeous one with pretty light. I love how they turned out and I'm so glad we did them to document this special season of life!

34 Weeks | 35 Weeks


How far along: 34 weeks

Baby Size: Hope is the size of a pineapple!

Weight gain: down .5 pounds from last week, so up about 11 pounds overall

Maternity clothes: oh yes!

Stretch marks: no

Sleep: occasionally I sleep all night other than the 2-3 potty breaks, but usually not! 

Best moment this week: we had another ultrasound this week and got to see Hope in 3D - finally! They have tried to capture her face in 3D several times now and the little stinker always shifts just as they're getting the 3D wand! But this time, we got to see her and she has chubby cheeks, big lips and a dimpled chin like her mom :)
It was also Christmas this week, and we spent the holiday with A's parents. Hope had her own stocking, complete with her name on it, and was spoiled with clothes, toys and books come Christmas morning! 

Looking forward to: celebrating Christmas #2 with my mom and stepdad next week

What I miss: eggnog with a little somethin' somethin' in it

Movement: yep! But there are definitely more defined periods of sleeping - more like a newborn

Food cravings: all things Christmas: candy, cookies, honeybaked ham! 

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: no

Symptoms: didn't have my BP checked this week because we were just in for an ultrasound, but I completed my oh-so-fun 24-hour urine test to rule our pre-eclampsia 

Belly Button in or out? still in, believe it or not

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: Merry and bright! 

Nursery: looking for white blackout curtains like a madwoman! Bought a sweet lamp that matches her new ceiling light. 


Hope has now surpassed Penny, who clocks in at just barely over 5 lbs!
How far along: 35 weeks

Baby Size: Hope is the size of a canary melon (whatever that is), or about 5.5 lbs. BUT - at our growth check this week, she is estimated to be at 6 pounds already!

Weight gain: up 1.5 lbs from last week; up 13 lbs overall 

Maternity clothes: gotta love 'em! Had to buy a new pair of maternity jeans to get me through the next few weeks and it was a great move. 

Stretch marks: nope

Sleep: not well! My mind is what's keeping me up half the time. 

Best moment this week: (tied for most "things just got real" moment of the week): At our MFM and U/S appointment this week, my BP was up - again. Thankfully, the results of my 24-hour urine test came back normal (no pre-eclampsia!) BUT having a consistently high BP for the last few visits places me in the Gestational Hypertension category (if I wasn't already seeing a specialist, I would be now according to my doc). doc casually said that he isn't going to wait to let me go into labor naturally, as we'd discussed 2 weeks ago - but he will INDUCE at about 37.5 weeks - which is IN TWO WEEKS! Ummmm, what?! I am SOOOO excited to meet this baby but having 2-3 weeks of prep time evaporate is stressful!

We also toured the NICU and had a consult with a neonatologist - just in case her abdomen issue (which is still an unknown) requires special care. I have to tell you, I feel like we are in really good hands and the visit got a lot of my questions answered! It really put my mind at ease. 

Looking forward to: meeting my baby girl in 10-15 days! Holy smokes!

What I miss: being able to toast with real bevy at midnight on NYE!

Movement: yes, but Hope definitely has her sleep patterns down pat! She's sleepy mid-morning, super active all afternoon and most of the evening, and it's hit or miss during the night. 

Food cravings: not really - I think I've eaten too much over the last 2 weeks! 

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: no

Symptoms: high BP, again :(

Belly Button in or out? in, but we're on the brink of out!

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: nervous, feeling a little stressed because we have so much to do! But SO excited! 

Nursery: well now I don't have the luxury of time to search high and low for all remaining decor, so I'm about to go on a decorating bender to get it knocked out! 

Prayer for Baby: Lord, we are thankful every day for this little blessing you've given to us! Knowing that we will meet Hope sooner rather than later is so very excited. Please be with her and protect her during her final days in the womb, and prepare her for life outside! Please keep her healthy and growing and hitting all the marks she should. Please also be with Alex and I as we prepare to become parents. Help prepare our hearts and minds for this life-changing experience. Amen.

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