motherhood, Uncategorized

I wake up to “ba-ba” sounds coming from across the hall. 6:50am. Grace slept in… yes! It’s still dark outside and it’s chilly in our house. I roll over. Corey whispers, “Happy birthday” and gives me a kiss. I smile and make my way out of bed. I open Grace’s door and even though the sun hasn’t risen and her room is still dark, I can see her sleepy eyes and two-toothed smile. She’s bouncing up and down in her crib without lifting her feet, anxiously waiting for me to come scoop her up. I do, and she starts whispering ma-ma’s as we make our way back into our bedroom. I lay her down in our bed and climb in myself. The three of us are cozy for a moment, until Grace crawls over us both like we’re a playground. My favorite 15 minutes of the day.

Corey and I throw on jeans, get the baby dressed, and the three of us are out the door. He drives us into the city to pick up coffee. The man behind us in line at the cafe is holding one of those small foil balloons that belong in a vase of flowers and Grace cannot stop staring at it. I fall in love with how new everything is to her. I make a mental note to pick one up for her next time we’re at the grocery store.

We stop to pick out donuts on the way home. I order one with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles. Corey tells the cashier I’ll also have the pumpkin streusel flavor. It is my birthday, after all. I make big eyes and act like that’s just crazy, but I eat both, happily. Corey has Grace sitting on his knee and I let her try some icing, but she is more concerned about her next banana puff. We finish and leave, a sugar haze around us.

Corey holds my hand the entire drive back in the car. Grace goes down for a nap when we get home and I collapse on the couch, closing my eyes in thankfulness. I open them and ask Corey to come sit next to me. We talk, look at home furnishing ideas for the investment property, and just exist next to each other. Never mind the dishes, the toys on the floor that we so often trip over, or the half-completed first birthday invitations and envelopes I have strewn across the ottoman. The mess can stay today.

Maybe this isn’t a birthday morning that some would call extraordinary. To me, it is magic. I want to soak in and remember every detail. When I turned 27, I was heartbroken. When I turned 28, I dreamt of this day.

How grateful am I that no matter how much I change year to year, God NEVER does. He is with me today just as much as he was in years past, and not any less than he will be in the future. 27 was a time to lose, a time to embrace. 28 was a time to heal, a time to plant. I don’t know what 29 will bring, but he does. Maybe it will be a great year by definition; maybe it will be the most heartbreaking yet. Regardless, I trust him and am thankful for this season of peace.

For everything there is a season, and a tie for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

a first time mama’s hospital bag


When you’re on bed rest for 4 weeks leading up to your induction, you really have a way of making sure every t is crossed and every i is dotted when it comes to checking off your hospital bag list. I read blog after blog and multiple books outlining what I had to make sure I brought to the hospital with us. Hindsight is 20/20. This was my list…BOLDED what I actually USED!

  • Birth Plan
  • Insurance information
  • Ultrasound picture to push inspiration


  • My glasses
  • Pillow + old pillowcase
  • Witch hazel wipes
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Vaseline
  • Hair bands
  • Contact lens case and solution
  • Hair Brush
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • MascaraI actually was glad I brought it. Putting it on for visitors made me feel at least a bit more human!
  • Face wipes
  • Bath Towels


    • iPad & charger
    • Cell phone chargerI’d recommend this one.
    • Bible
    • Snoogle
    • Yoga eye pillow


  • Nursing bra
  • Robe & nursing dressI’d recommend this. It was practical and I felt comfortable when guests came to visit.
  • Change of clothes for going home
  • Throwaway undiesEnded up wearing Depends.
  • non skid socks


  • Boppy
  • Nipple cream
  • Nursing pads


  • Blanket
  • Swaddle
  • Going home outfit
  • What I didn’t pack but wish I would have: Baby nail clippers!

For Corey: I packed protein bars. And they were EATEN!

My advice? When you’re at the hospital, family, friends, and nurses can bring you any items you absolutely need. Spend time researching the self-care and breastfeeding items you will need when you return to your home.

  • Set up a nursing station at your house:Breastpump
      • Bottles, bags, caps
    • Phone charger
    • Remote
    • Boppy
    • Large water bottle
    • Nipple cream
    • Milk savers – I actually slept in these at night when Grace would go long stretches in those early months!
  • Self-care baskets in your bathrooms:Depends
    • Dermaplast
    • Witch hazel wipes – I’d recommend these. They are shaped like wipes instead of the Tucks small round pads and were more effective at alleviating pain.

What were your hospital bag must haves?




A year ago today, I never could have imagined what this birthday would look like. I could barely get through 9/21/2016 without crying. A week prior to my 27th birthday I lost my first pregnancy.

In the months following, I dreamt of how I would tell Corey I was pregnant again when it happened, getting the nursery ready, and what it would be like to feel a first kick someday. I imagined all of these moments so vividly but it was still so hard to believe any of them could ever be real. I felt overwhelmed with guilt for being so undeservingly blessed, but still feeling an emptiness. I wrestled with the constant tug of the calling God gave me to be a mother, and the pull of it so easily becoming an idol. We prayed a lot in those months following; For a baby, yes, but mostly for completeness in Christ and contentment in the season we were in. The first month I let go of expectations and surrendered, God gave us Grace: Our sweet daughter, and truly the definition of the word.

My heart will always mourn the soul of the one we lost. There are so many of us who have experienced miscarriage, and I never realized how common and devastating it was until I went through it myself. It is isolating. When emotional situations arise, I notoriously “go into my shell” – as my best friend lovingly describes it, but I found myself consumed with grief and wanting to talk about it constantly but feeling like a burden if I did. It was by far the darkest time in my life and perhaps that’s why almost a year later, I still have hesitancy in sharing such a personal piece of our story.

But… there is always a sense of thankfulness for our rainbow and cherishing each and every flutter, elbow jab, and unpleasant symptom that reminds me our little one is with me. Her heart is next to mine, both of us so fragile.



Mid-flight: Orlando, FL → Baltimore, MD

He reigns over all
calms my worried soul
Paints his masterpiece
A white blanket of clouds stretched between rainbow skies
He has no need for the obvious
His timing isn’t rushed
Air fills my chest
My first true breath in months
Rejoice in this brand new day

by the hands of God


Siesta Key, Florida

On the pathway by the beach, I pick up the tiniest shell I’ve ever seen. I trace the spiraling grooves, shift it between my fingers and wonder all the places it has been. I think about how it was molded into beauty by violent thrashing waves, before washing up on shore. Each line, each curve tells of travels in sea and land. Perfectly in tact. And I tremble at the thought of this little one growing within me, barely the size of this shell now. So small, but so powerful it has shaken our world in an instant…crafted by the hands of God, the greatest gift we will come to know. I tuck the shell inside my bag. God finds ways to speak to us in the ordinary if we look closely enough.