2015: A Year of HOPE. 2016: A Time for HOPE.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

If there's one word that carried me through 2015, it's hope. Thinking back on this time last year, we were so ready for a new year after a year of losses of loved ones and our first baby. New Year's Eve is not usually a favorite time for me - for some reason it makes me sad to say farewell to a year and be nostalgic - but saying goodbye to 2014 was easy to do. 

Fast forward a year. 2015 is coming to an end in a few hours, and it has been a a good year and a year of hope for many reasons. We entered the year praying God would provide a way for us to become parents, and He did. We prayed that this pregnancy would "stick", and it did. And although we have had so many ups and downs over the last 15 weeks, we focused on different verses of scripture that centered around one recurring theme: hope. Through all of the trials lately, we have remained hopeful. The Lord has great things in store for us and for our baby girl, and 2016 will be incredible - I just know it. 

So with that, I'll leave 2015 with the announcement of our baby girl's name: Hope Annette. Because we can all use a little HOPE for 2016!

Blessings and hope to you all in the new year! 
The Hamiltons  

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- Jeremiah 29:11

Merry Christmas, baby!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Wishing you joy on this Christmas day and everyday! 

The Hamiltons 

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. - Luke 2:11

Five on Friday: Chistmas-y things

Friday, December 18, 2015

How in the world it's already December 18, I have no idea. This Christmas season has just absolutely flown and I feel like we haven't really done the Christmas-y things we usually do! (Other than watch Love Actually: that is a must. Anyway.) We've been so busy with work, making progress in the nursery, and a smattering of Christmas events that I would love to have a weekend to just relax in our own home, sit by the tree sipping hot chocolate and watching Christmas movies but I don't think it's in the cards this year. Maybe next year when we have a 10 month old?? (HA!)

Being in my third trimester, I didn't have the energy to put up alllll the Christmas decor I normally do. Notably absent: our second Christmas tree, aka the "fun" tree with all our random ornaments from over the years. Truly, it was more the thought of me taking everything down at 36 weeks pregnant that sealed the deal for fewer decorations than normal! But here's our tree and stockings: THREE little stockings this year! So exciting.

Christmas Cards are my FAVORITE! I hope this tradition never, ever goes away. Or goes to an all-eCard format. Oh, the horror! Our cards are en route from Shutterfly as we speak and I plan to bust them out over the weekend.
Our cards and Advent calendar/tree

Parties, parties everywhere. Between company parties, cookie swaps, book clubs and family stuff, 'Tis The SEASON for sweets and overeating. Gotta say: living gluten free definitely removes a lot of the temptation!

The nursery is really taking shape! I can't wait to get it all done, but for now I'm happy with the progress we've made in such a short amount of time (about 5 weeks). All the furniture has arrived, it's painted, I've found a rug I don't hate and the decor is starting to come together. When it's done, I know it will be my favorite room in the house.

Here's a sneak peek at our maternity photos (that doubled as our Christmas card shoot). It was fun to document this sweet season with a pregnant belly and I know we will cherish these photos forever! Will share the rest soon :)

ENJOY the last week before Christmas and remember the reason for the season!

Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

32 Weeks | 33 Weeks


How far along: 32 weeks

Baby Size: the baby is about 19 inches and 4 pounds

Weight gain: up .5 pounds from last week; up about 9.5 pounds overall

Maternity clothes: yessss

Stretch marks: not any from pregnancy, I don't think

Sleep: getting up to tinkle about every 2.5 hours. It's very disruptive. 

Best moment this week: we started our weekly appointments this week, complete with a weekly BPP (biophysical profile) to make sure she's doing all the things she should be doing in there. And she is!

Looking forward to: getting the rest of the nursery furniture

What I miss: not much

Movement: lots of it

Food cravings: none

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: nope

Symptoms: tired, heartburn, slightly high blood pressure at last 2 appointments - eeek

Belly Button in or out? Definitely getting stretched but still very much in

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: stressed this week due to work - but Christmas is in sight!

Nursery: starting to get organized!


How far along: 33 weeks

Baby Size: the baby is the size of a honeydew (19 inches, 4.5 pounds)

Weight gain: up 1.5 pounds from last week; up about 11 pounds overall

Maternity clothes: yes!

Stretch marks: no

Sleep: this getting up to pee 3 times a night thing is getting old!

Best moment this week: at our 2nd BPP ultrasound this week, baby girl was crazy active and we got to her practicing her breathing at the same time she had hiccups. It was pretty darn adorable. 

Looking forward to: making some progress in the nursery this weekend!

What I miss: sleeping on my back. Good sleep in general. 

Movement: SO much this week. I can tell she's starting to run out of room because her movements are so much more pronounced. 

Food cravings: Christmas cookies

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: no

Symptoms: blood pressure was even higher this week: no bueno. No swelling or protein in urine, so we're hopeful that I'm not developing pre-eclampsia -- but to be sure, I have to do a 24-hour urine sample test this weekend as a baseline. 

Belly Button in or out? still in!

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: happy!!

Nursery: the glider, bookcase and wall shelf have all been delivered this week

Prayer for Baby: Lord, thank you for this miraculous gift you have given to us. At this Christmastime, I can relate more to Mary than I ever have before and understand more than ever what a sacrifice you truly made of giving your Son. We are hopeful, thankful and so very excited about this baby girl: thank you for entrusting her to us. I pray you be with her as she grows stronger each day, keeping her safe in the womb for the next few weeks until she enters this world. Amen.

30 Weeks | 31 Weeks

Monday, December 7, 2015


How far along: 30 weeks...THIRTY weeks!

Baby Size: baby girl is about 18 inches, 3 lbs

Weight gain: forgot to weigh myself this week while in FL for Thanksgiving

Maternity clothes: oh yeah. Best things ever. 

Stretch marks: nope

Sleep: still having rib pain at times when I'm laying down. On Thanksgiving night, I had really sharp pains in my stomach - probably just over-ate!

Best moment this week: This was an absolutely wonderful week, so lots of best moments.  One was my shower in my hometown! I got to see so many of my friends and family members, and baby girl got so many nice things. We also took our Babymoon in Palm Beach and I had an amazing spa day with a Mommy-to-be package. And lastly, we decided on a name for baby and shared with our family on Thanksgiving. 

Looking forward to: getting all our gifts from the shower home and going through what we got again it was all a whirlwind! 

What I miss: not too much. Would have been nice to have a glass of wine Thanksgiving night :)

Movement: yes!

Food cravings: mac and cheese (not the GF kind, unfortunately - so it's a no-go)

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: nope

Symptoms: back is starting to hurt more and more 

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: thankful, hopeful, happy

Nursery: making progress


How far along: 31 weeks

Baby Size: the baby is the size of a large coconut (~18.5 inches, 3.2 lbs). But she measured nearly 4 pounds at our ultrasound this week! Which is insane to me. 

Weight gain: up 1.2 pounds from 2 weeks ago; up about 9 pounds overall

Maternity clothes: yep

Stretch marks: no new ones, anyway!

Sleep: some nights are better than others...

Best moment this week: bringing my mother-in-law to our ultrasound - she was so excited to "see" baby and take home ultrasounds pics! We also went to ATL for the day to see our "Greenville friends" and they threw us a little surprise shower! So fun! 

Looking forward to: working on the nursery some more!

What I miss: not much

Movement: oh yes - I can tell she is growing and getting much stronger!

Food cravings: not much right now

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: nope

Symptoms: back is starting to hurt more and more; have had a few Braxton Hicks contractions (I think!), and the energy of the 2nd trimester has officially left the building. 

Belly Button in or out? In but it's starting to be more sensitive and feel stretched

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: tired but happy. Love feeling baby girl move around so much. 

Nursery: currently full of tons of boxes and bags of baby goods and gifts! Ordered the light fixture and rug, so we're making progress. 

Prayer for Baby: Lord, please be with our baby girl as she grows day by day and nears her big debut. We are head over heels in love with her and in awe of the miracle she is. We know she is perfect in your sight, and pray for her health and wellbeing while in the womb and once she arrives in this world. Thank you for the many family and friends who pray for her and who have showered us with so much love over the last few weeks. We are blessed beyond measure! Amen.

On my wish list & gift list

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's on, girls: the race to Christmas. I hate to call it that, but it's the truth! If you started shopping before Thanksgiving, good for you! I usually have about half of my shopping done by now but have been a little distracted by baby stuff to get too much done. But, I do have an idea of what I'm buying for those on my list, especially the ladies (is it just me, or is shopping for men the hardest thing EVER?).

This year, as I do most years, I plan to gift a lot of monogrammed items. Truly, this is the best way to say "I really thought about you and what I was going to buy you because monogramming isn't instantaneous." Amiright? Buying monogrammed gifts definitely requires a little foresight; you can't swing by the mall en route to the Christmas party and pick up a last-minute monogrammed gift. And it's special, because it's basically one-of-a-kind.

As I've done the last two years, I plan to purchase several Christmas gifts from Marley Lilly. ML has the best selection ANYWHERE of monogrammables, has a pretty quick turnaround time, has a low threshold for free shipping ($50!), and almost always offers a free gift with purchase. And they are HQ'd right here in the Palmetto State, and it feels good to support a local business!

Here is my top list of things I'm wanting from Santa...and that I will probably gift to others!

ONE. Monogrammed Tassel Keychain
Let's start with the basics: a lovely monogrammed disk with your choice of 22 color combos between the tassel and disk. I LOVE my orange one because, hello, Go Gators! This gift is perfect for basically anyone - teachers, co-workers or boss, babysitter, mom, friend, MIL, December graduate, etc. The real beauty of gifting a keychain is that it's ONE SIZE FITS ALL! That takes the awkward out of the situation. And right now it's $12.99 so you can buy one for all of the above.

TWO. Monogrammed Herringbone Vest
I've been wanting this black-and-white vest for 2 years and I just need to buy it already! But Marley Lilly complicated life when they added the tan option. Which to get?? Either way, this vest is classic, goes with anything, and can be worn to the office or on the trail. Also, this is currently on sale for $39.99, the cheapest I've seen it ($30 off!).

THREE. Monogrammed Scoop Sweatshirt Tunic
This thing looks crazy comfy. If I paired this with maternity leggings, I doubt I'd ever wear anything else (sounds like danger ahead to me). I love that this is long enough to cover your behind when wearing leggings, and looks cute with flats, Bean boots, wellies or sandals. This is a great gift for anyone who likes to be comfortable. $39.99.

FOUR. Monogrammed Printed Pullover
I love the orange and navy pattern on this pullover (close enough to Gator colors!). My mom could use a new gameday top or two, so this would be perfect for her! $69.99

FIVE. Monogrammed Baby Bloomers
Now that we have finally decided on a name for baby girl (will reveal soon!), I want to monogram EVERYTHING. To me, nothing is sweeter than little monogrammed bloomers! Love the seersucker fabric - so classicly Southern - and love that they're only $19.99.

Hopefully this list will give you some ideas as you finish up (you overachiever, you) or, eh, just start your Christmas shopping. Happy shopping!


Marley Lilly provided a product sample for this post, but the opinions are mine...and I really love ML!

Showered with love!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I still can't believe I had a baby shower...for a sweet baby girl, no less...but that's exactly what happened on Sunday afternoon! My cousin Heather, best friends Lesley and Lindsey, and cousin's wife Megan hosted the most beautiful, Lilly Pulitzer-themed shower for me and our baby girl in my hometown in Florida. And I got to see so many friends and family members on top of it all. It was perfect!

One excited mama-to-be before the shower! 

The decor was gorgeous, especially those flowers!

The guests signed the mat around the Lilly-themed invite, which will go in the nursery.

Shower hostesses and my cousin's daughter

Me and my mommy!

This darling garland Lesley made of Lilly fabric will go in baby's nursery!

Lilly-esque cake! And the top layer was gluten free = perfection. 

High school friends!

Three generations (four if you count baby!)

We got a LOT of cute loot! 

So many people who love us. Delicious shower goodies (including GF cake) and punch. Too many adorable pink things. Old friends, family who drove hours to be there, and multiple generations in one room. It was the perfect day! We are feeling so, so, so blessed in every way. 

Next up: get this stuff home to South Carolina! :)


Five on Friday: almost Turkey Day!

Friday, November 20, 2015

What a week! I am tired, y'all.

Baby gifts are starting to arrive! We've had several gifts arrive this week, since my shower is this weekend in Florida. The nursery and baby girl's closets are filling up fast!

Speaking of the nursery: thanks to the helping hands of my mom, stepdad and brother, we were able to knock out the nursery paint over the weekend! And Alex and my stepdad Dave built her this awesome closet. So excited to fill those rods with sweet little outfits.

Each year as part of my job, my team plans a huge fundraiser with an even huger budget. For the last 2 years, I have been the lead project manager for the event and while it's super fun, it's super stressful. The event was held this past week and it went so great - like the best yet (that I've been there for). My brother was still in town, so he got to see me "in action" and it was special to have both him and the hubs there for support!

My mom and I picked out the glider over the weekend for the nursery - her gift to baby girl! We chose a glider/recliner combo (Alex is very excited about the recliner feature), plus an ottoman because I thought that would be easier with a sleeping babe in my arms. This is the style, but not the color. Can't wait to get it in about 5 weeks!

We are en route to FLORIDA today for a lot of fun stuff: baby shower this weekend, babymoon next week, lots of family time and my favorite holiday! I am so looking forward to turning off my work email for the next 8 days and to R E L A X. Bring on the sunshine!


Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

29 Weeks

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How far along: 29 weeks

Baby Size: the baby is the size of an small cabbage (17 inches, 2.9 lbs)

Weight gain: up .8 pounds from last week; up about 7.5 pounds overall

Maternity clothes: yessss

Stretch marks: not yet!

Sleep: still having rib pain at times when I'm laying down. Also had a lot going on this week with work, so I was restless with work anxiety. 

Best moment this week: seeing the nursery painted! It feels like it's really happening now. 

Looking forward to: by baby shower in my hometown on Sunday, and our babymoon in Palm Beach next week!

What I miss: chardonnay

Movement: yes, yes, yes!

Food cravings: sweets (still!)

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: nope

Symptoms: back is starting to hurt more and more

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: so happy now that a long and stressful work week is behind me! And excited to be home with family and show off the bump at Thanksgiving next week. 

Nursery: it's painted and the crib and dresser are in it! 

Prayer for Baby: Sweet baby girl: I pray for you everyday and that you are growing stronger and packing on those pounds! I pray for your sweet little foot and your abdomen and that you will be born healthy. As each day passes, I can "see" you getting bigger and know that you will be a fighter. We love you SO incredibly much and haven't even laid eyes on you yet! Amen

27 Weeks | 28 Weeks

Thursday, November 12, 2015


How far along: 27 weeks

Baby Size: the baby is the size of a very long cucumber (15 inches - since she's now measured head to toe; 2.2 lbs)

Weight gain: up 1.5 pounds from last week, up about 5.5 pounds overall

Maternity clothes: they're the best!

Stretch marks: not yet...

Sleep: ehhhh...I sleep well about every third night

Best moment this week: getting to see my family in Gainesville over the weekend - the first time with the baby bump!

Looking forward to: the crib delivery this week!

What I miss: a glass of wine after work would be nice

Movement: all the time

Food cravings: sweets

Anything making you queasy or sick: not really, just get full really quickly

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: nope

Symptoms: rib pain, heartburn, not sleeping great, back is starting to hurt

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: feeling happy about baby, but stressed about work! 

Nursery: just the dresser but the crib is coming soon


How far along: 28 weeks - we are officially in the THIRD TRIMESTER! (so, that escalated quickly!)

Baby Size: the baby is the size of an head of cauliflower (17 inches, 2.5 lbs)

Weight gain: up 1.2 pounds from last week, up nearly 7 pounds overall

Maternity clothes: yep

Stretch marks: nope

Sleep: waking up with sharp pain in my ribs at times - not fun!

Best moment this week: seeing baby girl again at our ultrasound. And my mom came, too - so she got to see her grandbaby for the first time! 

Looking forward to: making progress in the nursery this weekend!

What I miss: beer - even GF beer 

Movement: yes, yes, yes!

Food cravings: cookies and baked goods

Anything making you queasy or sick: not really

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: nope

Symptoms: ribs hurt, back hurts

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: stressed from work but looking forward to that ending after next week when some big projects are wrapped up!

Nursery: in progress, finally! We moved the guest bedroom furniture out this week and are getting ready to paint this weekend. It's coming together!

Prayer for Baby: Dear baby girl, you are prayed for every day by us and by so many others! You are already so very loved. I know in my heart that you are going to be just fine - and probably a handful! Every move you make reminds me of the blessing you are. I pray for your health and well-being in the womb before you get ready to make your grand entrance in 12 weeks or less. We love you! Amen

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