2016 Family Photos

I was so excited to have our first family photos taken with Olivia this fall (would love to have had our pup Bailey in them as well, but she's not so good with new places, people, sights, sounds, smells, etc. you get the picture), and was so thrilled with how they captured our new little family. 

A huge thank you to Virginia Ann Photography for the gorgeous photos! Can't recommend her enough.

The Day I learned I Was Pregnant

It was one of those moments… the kind of moment we only experience a few times in our lives. The kind of moment when you know nothing will ever be the same again.

                                                               (Image  credit )

                                                              (Image credit)

By the time it came, we’d been dealing with infertility for so long that I think we’d both reached the point where we were starting to wonder if it just wasn’t ever going to happen for us. We’d always been pretty hopeful that when the time was right, it would come.

But time has a way of wearing on even the strongest and most steadfast hopes. I’d looked at pregnancy tests with just one line so many times, I almost couldn’t imagine ever seeing two lines. Maybe it just wasn’t to be.

Not even two months prior I’d had a surgery that was somewhat our final hope. If it didn’t work, we weren’t sure what the next step would be, or if there even were any other steps. My doctor had high hopes for the surgery giving us a strong chance of getting pregnant, but after so much time gone by, I was firmly in the “believe it when I see it” stage of infertility.

But I thought that if it did work, it would take a bit longer. I mean, the scars on my stomach were still feeling pretty tender, so surely it was too soon for it to make any real difference just yet. I still tracked and charted all of my symptoms and we still tried, but in my mind, it wasn’t even in the realm of possibility that I’d get pregnant yet.

When I started to feel a little off one day, it still didn’t enter my mind. A few days after that, I had an actual crying meltdown over something minor that had happened at work, and I never cried over work stuff, so I wondered what my deal was and thought maybe I hadn’t been getting enough sleep. The day after that little episode, I wondered why my stomach had been feeling so weird for a few days. And then the day after that, I realized I was behind on my symptom charting, so I went to log everything in. After looking at my chart for several minutes, counting and recounting days, I realized that I was two days late.

And that was when the thought occurred to me for the first time. “What if I’m… Could I be?”

To be honest, I think I knew then. But getting your hopes up and having them come crashing down is so hard. It was a feeling I was all too familiar with, and I was not interested in feeling it again, so I told myself that if I was still late the following day, I’d take a test.

Yeah. Right. I’ll just sit on this for an entire day and wonder.

At the same time he usually did, my husband called to let me know he was on his way home from work and asked if I wanted him to stop and pick up food. I told him no, that I’d whip up something at the house. But by the time he pulled into the garage a short time later, I knew I’d reached the point where I HAD to know. I couldn’t wait.

Up until this point, I never told my husband when I was going to take a pregnancy test or if I thought it was possible I could be pregnant. I'm sure some people might find that weird, but the emotional roller coaster of wondering, taking a test, and then being disappointed was hard enough, and I just couldn’t put us both through that every time. So I would always just take a test and then let him know afterwards that I’d taken one and it was negative. 

So as he was walking through the door from work, I whirled right past him and told him I was going to pick up food. I barely even listened as he questioned me… “I just offered to pick up food!” I quickly ran to the store to pick up a test, ran to pick up food, came home, whirled back past him and headed into the bathroom.

But for a reason that I either can’t remember or can’t explain, I couldn’t take it. Maybe it was just nerves, but I shoved it in the bathroom cabinet and didn’t work up the courage to go get it back out until much later that evening.

Maurice was in his office quietly working on something and I knew I had to just do it. So I went in the bathroom and took the test. I set it on the counter so that I could wait the requisite 3 minutes and suddenly my heart began to pound so hard I couldn’t stand it. All I knew was that I couldn’t stand there for 3 minutes just staring at it, so I grabbed a tissue, covered it up, and sat myself down on the toilet to wait. I wouldn’t look until I knew enough time had passed.

And there I sat, biting my nail and bouncing my foot, not knowing what I was going to see when I lifted that tissue. I closed my eyes and prayed. I told God that no matter what that test said, it was okay. No matter what, I loved and trusted Him.

I waited. I waited longer. I knew 3 minutes had passed. Probably 10 minutes had passed, truthfully. So I finally stood up and stepped to the counter. In my heart, I just knew. My eyes welled with tears and I felt the weight of the moment so strongly. I took a deep, slow breath, and lifted the tissue.

Two lines.

Honestly, I can’t tell you whether 2 seconds or 20 minutes passed at that point. It was the first time in my life that I felt like time actually stopped. Everything went quiet. I eventually picked up the test and then double checked the box 11 times to make sure that two lines really, unmistakably meant pregnant.

Finally, I burst out of the bathroom holding the test and called Maurice’s name frantically - so much so that I’m pretty sure he thought I’d somehow been shot in the bathroom. But by the time he was coming out of his office with a legitimately concerned look on his face, I had reached the end of the hallway and I just stopped and held up the test.

I’ll never forget watching his face turn from confusion to realization… when it hit him why I would be standing there holding up a pregnancy test with a shaking hand. I know that at some point, I finally uttered the words I’d wanted to be able to say to him for years… “I’m pregnant.”

After a lot of tears and shock and hugging, I finally sat down at the dining room table. And that’s when I had the moment. The moment where I suddenly looked around, at my husband, our house, our dog, and realized that nothing in my life would ever be quite the same again after that moment. In a scary but wonderful way, everything had just changed.

Our whole reality was set on a new course in the blink of an eye. We’d reached the end of our long and heartbreaking road with infertility, God had brought us out of that tunnel, and now an all new journey awaited us. I was flooded with relief and joy and anxiety and wonderment.

I looked down again at the test sitting on the table in front of me.

Two lines.

Hello Again!

Well… that was a break! I’m sitting here in a bit of disbelief that it’s been over 2 years since I last blogged. It definitely wasn’t my intention to let this slide to the back burner for so long, but over the past few months, I’ve been working on a re-design and doing a lot of thinking and praying about how I wanted to venture back into something that I love and feel passionate about.

I love design, food, trends and all of life’s simple pleasures, and I still plan to post plenty of that here. I also love to capture my heart in writing, and I plan to do much more of that here too.

And that’s exactly what you can expect. My heart. The things I love. The things that bring me joys great and small. The experiences I’ve had. The things I’ve learned. The things I struggle with. The purpose I continue to find my way towards.

Looking back at the last post I left here, my heart swells at all that has happened since. Our journey with infertility has been shared here several times, and as most of you already know, that journey came to an end last Summer when we learned we were expecting our beautiful daughter, Olivia.

But it’s a topic that I still feel I have a lot to say on. So many women came before me on that road, and there are so many still behind me. It’s a topic that remains close to my heart and probably always will.

Lastly, I’m excited to take a look back at such an exciting time in our life… when we learned we were expecting, pregnancy, and Olivia’s arrival. Over the next few weeks especially, I’ll be sharing those stories.

I’m so happy to be back on this venture. It makes my heart feel glad. It brings me a ton of joy. I hope it’ll do the same for you.


I always debate posting about this. I wrote this post, almost erased the whole thing, re-wrote it, re-wrote it again, thought about it, saved the draft for a few weeks... you get the idea. It's intensely personal and a big part of me wants to keep it that way. But the amazing thing about this past year has been learning how many others are facing it. More than I ever realized. So many came to me and shared their stories. All of them unique, all of them difficult, and all of them amazing stories of courage and faith and hope. And I needed that, and I think they probably need it too. And that makes me happy.

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About a year ago, I shared a story about our journey with infertility. In addition to all of the beautiful stories that people shared with me, the outpouring of comments, emails, texts and general love we got in response felt like a big gigantic hug and was so encouraging. You guys were amazing to us. And we needed it.

But I'm going to be honest. If you'd asked me that day what I thought our life would look like a year later, I thought for sure it would have happened by now. A year is a long time, and I just figured it was bound to happen. But here we are, a year older, hopefully wiser, and it still hasn't happened. And if you'd asked me a year ago how I would feel about not being pregnant after all this time, I'd probably have guessed that I'd be a bitter, defeated heap of tears by now. But that's another thing I would have been wrong about.

People ask us often how things are going, and I can tell that sometimes they're hesitant to ask. And I get it. I know they don't want to bring up something that they know is painful, but I also know that they love us and want to share this journey with us and be there for us. And what I usually tell them, is that I wouldn't trade where we are now for anything. We have so much to be thankful for, certainly more than we deserve, and we are so hopeful about the future.

That's not to say there have been no tears. There have. There have been many, in fact. It never stops being a sad thing to be faced with. But I'm learning to not let the sad days feel like a setback. There's something beautiful even in the sadness, because it always teaches me a little more about God's ability and willingness to comfort. There have definitely been hard days, but the good news is that there have been so many more hopeful days.

But whether it's been a good day or a bad day, the one thing that has remained constant is God's presence in our lives. It's sort of an odd thing, really, the things you learn about Him and the unexpected ways He speaks to you. Seeing His face through the lens of hope, patience and joy, as well as through confusion, anger, disappointment, and totally imperfect faith has taught us more about His love than we ever could have imagined.

Our story is looking less and less like how I thought it would, but it's so much more beautiful and I've learned things that I might never have had the opportunity to learn otherwise. The learning has been the most wonderful part of all of this, really. It doesn't always feel wonderful at the time, but it's a lovely thing, to endure those growing pains with the peace that truly does surpass your understanding.

And that's the update. Waiting isn't always easy... in fact it almost never is, but we have so much joy and happiness in our lives and we're so grateful for the journey we're on. We're excited about the future. Physically speaking, I've had some great doctor's appointments and we're seeing great progress. We've always known that it was possible for us, but that it would likely just take time.

But I've learned to not let my hope be dictated by how things seem to be going with my body. Our hope is in something much bigger. It's in the promise of God's goodness in our life, no matter what that life winds up looking like or where it takes us. And that's a hope that never disappoints.



You know how sometimes you find a shop, and as you begin to peruse the inventory you think, "Yes... one of everything please." Not that most of our budgets allow for that sort of extravagance, but you just feel so akin to the style, and you're so excited to find it that you just want to become besties with the shop owner. For me... that is shop is A Sunny Afternoon.

a sunny afternoon.

Sarah Sherman Samuel runs a blog called Smitten Studio, which has become one of my favorites over the past few months. If you want to know why, just check out the cabin she's been renovating. She has just the loveliest sense of design and style, all of which comes across in the shop, and its simple assortment of boards, towels and napkins. So if you're at my house sometime in the future, and find yourself wanting to ask where I got the super fun napkins... let me save you the trouble. I got them at A Sunny Afternoon. And it's all made here in the U.S. of A. Which means you pretty much have to shop there.