Oh Baby! || Week 14

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
It's time to rejoice, I've officially entered the second trimester! Over the last couple of weeks I've slowly been feeling better. The nausea is waning and the fatigue, well it's getting a bit better. Hitting this milestone makes my heart happy, and getting to this stage of the pregnancy feels like a huge victory!

How far along? 14th week

Baby's Size: A lemon || about 3.4 inches and about 1.5 ounces || Baby Hill is growing!!

Gender: We'll know in the coming weeks and I can't wait! 

Weight Gain: Supposedly you gain a pound a week once you hit the second trimester. I'm not on a scale daily or even weekly so I can't say for sure. 

Maternity Clothes: I'm definitely in maternity pants with the exception of pants with elastic bands. I bought my first two pairs of maternity jeans over the weekend and sported them yesterday. It feels good to be in a pair of jeans that fit. Tops are becoming harder to make work. Between a growing belly and chest, not too much is working. I'm sticking with my baggier pieces. My next shopping goal, to find maternity shirts! If you've got suggestions on where to find great maternity pieces, I'm all ears!

Sleep: By the time night falls I'm very ready for bed. I'm sleeping a bit better through the night for the most part. But, I can guarantee that I'm up at least once for a potty break, and that typically disrupts any chance at great sleep for the rest of the night. 

Symptoms: The nausea is really sparse, and I'm thankful for that. The fatigue is still a factor, but not as intense as it was. Stretching has become a whole lot more mild, and my belly is becoming a lot firmer. By nighttime it's like a rock. 

Cravings: Insatiable thirst! The downside of that is trying to not drink too much late at night so I can avoid multiple bathroom trips. My other cravings are just about the same. 

Miss Anything? Extended tummy time. Sleeping on my stomach is fading and fast. I try to make it happen, but it only lasts for so long. Another thing I'm missing is being able to pick any clothes from my closet. Not everything fits like it did pre-pregnancy!

Best Moment This Week: Getting to meet up with Rachel and her family. Husband and I had such a fun weekend in Winchester. It will be so exciting when this babe is here to get to take him/her with us on family travels!

Worst Moment This Week: I was on an emotional roller coaster Sunday. I just felt off and I didn't like feeling so all over the place for no good reason. It's nothing a nap and evening at the drive-in movie theater couldn't cure :)

Looking Forward To: Feeling this little babe move. I know it could be several more weeks before I feel anything at all. And I'm trying to enjoy the time when baby's movements aren't making me uncomfortable. But, I am so excited for that first movement that I crosses my radar.

How's Husband? He's still a superhero in my book. I'm not sure how he deals with me sometimes, between the range of emotions I go through and the foods that I plan for our weekly menu and then can't stand. Husband is my hug when I need it, the place I nap when the tiredness is overwhelming, and my soundboard when I have something to talk about in regards to all things pregnancy and baby. 

Meeting Floral & Fudge

Monday, June 29, 2015
This past weekend was one I had been looking forward to for several months now. As a blogger, one of my very favorite parts is getting to know other bloggers, making connections, and eventually friendships. This was the case for Rachel and I toward the end of last year. We share a lot of the same tastes, likes, etc., and our friendship easily unfolded during 2015. Fortunate for us, we both live on the east coast, and not too terribly far away from one another, which meant a meet-up was definitely a must! 

We scheduled the date, time, and place, and waited until it arrived. It came faster than I thought it would, and we had the best time getting to meet one another in person and introducing our families. This is how the weekend unfolded... 

Winchester, Virginia, was our meet-up destination. With it being equidistant from both of our homes, it made all the sense in the world to pick it. Winchester holds a special place for husband and I as well. It was one of our meet-up locations during the distance part of our relationship. When we arrived Friday night, we knew Thai Winchester would be on the menu for dinner. Curled up on the hotel bed in our pajamas, watching Family Feud (yes, you heard me correctly) we enjoyed a favorite that did not disappoint. 

Since we were meeting up later in the day, Saturday morning looked a lot like Hobby Lobby, a place I had never visited until this weekend. I was swooning over all the fall d├ęcor they already had out, and even made it out of the store with a couple of purchases. The aisles were like a pumpkin paradise! And it didn't help that the temperatures were cool and the day was rainy. It felt like fall, people! Husband was a total sport though :) 

For lunch husband and I found a quaint little diner call the Papermill Place. It was your typical southern food kind of menu in a mom and pop setting. I ordered the potato soup and a country ham sandwich on sourdough bread. It was delicious! 

Mid-afternoon rolled around and we found ourselves at the Marker-Miller Orchards and Farm Market to meet Rachel and her family. I have to tell you, I was slightly nervous! Here I was about to meet someone that I had gotten to know fairly well online, through emails, and texts. But, what if I was a disappointment and she didn't like me in-person?! I've got a tendency to feel inadequate at times, and I was praying for an awesome meeting and afternoon/evening together. 

Silly me, I had nothing to worry about! Rachel and I picked up like we'd just been together. Our husbands meshed so well, and her boys were nothing short of darling. It was surreal to be face-to-face with one another after months of correspondence and collaborations. Rachel truly was just as genuine and sweet as the gal behind Floral & Fudge, and I feel so lucky for our friendship, both in blogging and outside of it!

We spent a lot of time playing around the orchard. (I'm bummed I didn't back up enough to capture this moment), but you get the picture! 

Before heading out, we went inside the market/bakery. I loved the rustic feel inside. A very simple place, it was full of fresh fruits, veggies, and baked goods. 

We ended our time there rocking on the front porch, enjoying sparkling cider and apples. Our next destination was the pedestrian mall at Old Town for dinner. 

Dinner, brick oven pizza, was had over really great conversation. We talked a lot about blogging and our experiences with it. I've always found it so helpful and encouraging to find someone who knows exactly where you're at in something. And because both of our husbands are as much a part of our blogs as we are, they were able to join in and share their take on it all. It was a really cool way to find new insight and perspective.

Dessert at the Red Fox Creamery followed. I went with coffee ice cream and it was perfection. We spent the rest of our time together talking like old friends and sharing stories. When it came time to leave and head our separate ways, I was sad to see our time come to an end so quickly. But it was such a wonderful experience with really incredible people! Hopefully, we'll find another time to meet up again, but until then we will keep our friendship going the way it started, on the blogs!

Happy Monday!! See you all back here tomorrow with a bumpdate from the second trimester (woohoo!)!

Thoughts For Friday + The Pick: Week 25

Friday, June 26, 2015
For awhile now I've been trying to come up with a new post idea for my Fridays. I loved recapping my week in favorites, but felt that I was sharing repeats of my Instagram photos instead of original content. I thought about recapping my week, but that didn't feel quite right either. I'm still working through what I want my Friday posts to look like. So I'm testing out this new idea, Thoughts For Friday. Kind of a way to put up my thoughts and experiences from the week that I don't necessarily share on any other social media platforms. I find that I stumble across a lot of things in a week's span that I might want to share. So I'm going to give it a go. We'll see if it works....and it might, but it might not. As a blog reader what would you like to see?? Is there something you want more or maybe less of?? I'd love your feedback as I transition into a different Friday posting schedule! 


>> SWOONING << Fall has been on the brain like crazy. It all started when I craved the scent of a pumpkin candle a couple of weekends ago. Because I'm pregnant, and it's the little things right now, I caved immediately and pulled a pumpkin candle out, lit it, and fell in love with fall all over again. Now it's on my brain non-stop. As in, I've had at least 4 caramel apple spice drinks from Starbucks in a week and a half span. That cider is like heaven and I am overjoyed that they serve it year round! Now I know what you all must be thinking....summer just officially started! Know that I'm not rushing summer away. I'm just eagerly anticipating fall and all its fabulousness :) And it didn't help that I went through all of last year's blog posts from the fall months...

>> PONDERING << For the past couple of weeks I've been going back and forth with myself about growing my hair back out or maintaining it short for a bit longer. I was having a really hard time deciding. On the one side, I have never maintained short hair and I broke that habit this go around so maybe I should go a while longer with short hair?! On the other side, I'm missing my long locks and the flexibility of hairstyles that came with it. But, then I am reminded that come December, after the baby is here, I wills start to lose my hair. So is short hair better after all?? For now, I've voted to grow it out. It will take some time for that to happen, and if I decide to chop it in the meantime, then so be it! Mamas out there, what is your opinion on hair length postpartum?

>> FEELING << Like I mentioned, I went through my blog archives and reminisced about the fall goodness in my posts from August through November of last year. That got me thinking about how this blog has been a virtual scrapbook of our life over the last two and half years. And how our children will one day be able to look at this blog and see their parents and who they were/what they did before they knew us. It feels really special in a very sappy kind of way.

>> PLANNING << Speaking of virtual scrapbooks, I've decided I want to print my blog every couple of years. As in turn it into a book. I'm researching my options right now and I'll let you know what I find out. If you've ever done this and have suggestions, I'd love to hear!

>> CATCHING UP << I didn't forget to let you know about the Hour by Hour link-up!! I've been trying to figure out when the best time to plan it would be! Thanks for your input on it! Let's shoot for the second Monday of every month to share our weekends by the hour. That would make our first one on July 13th, the second one on August 10th, the 3rd on September 14th, and so on! I'm really looking forward to seeing all of your posts; it's such a fun insight into real life! And I know I love seeing other's realities!

And that's my first go for thoughts this Friday. We'll see if this is something I keep and how it will transform if I do! I hope you all have a very lovely weekend! We've got a great weekend planned, which includes some traveling and meeting a blog friend for the first time!

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Pregnancy After Miscarriage

Thursday, June 25, 2015
If you haven't noticed, the blog has been taken over by all things baby. Because that's very much this season of life for the Hills. From preparation to anticipation, husband and I have this babe of ours on the mind just about always. Another thing that creeps into my mind often is our first pregnancy and the miscarriage that resulted. Our first experience with pregnancy ended in a very different way than we ever imagined, but through it we so tangibly experienced the overwhelming love and faithfulness of the Lord.

In more ways than one, this pregnancy feels so very different than the first. However, this pregnancy wouldn't be what it is without having walked through the valley first. As with most things, when you have had a bad experience first, it's hard not to have trepidation in a second chance. After miscarrying our first baby, I worried about becoming pregnant again. Would it happen or was there something wrong with me? Would we become pregnant soon again or would a long stretch of time pass first? And if we did become pregnant, would we endure another miscarriage? These questions swirled around me, but with every fear and anxiety I tried to give it to God instead of letting it consume me. He knew what I could and couldn't carry after losing our baby, and He carried what I could not. The Lord guided us through one of the hardest parts of our life, sending our community to rally around us and love us well, encouraging us through worship songs, and giving us joy in a difficult time. 

Walking with the Lord so closely through the miscarriage completely shaped how we walk through this pregnancy. We trust in His sovereignty over our lives and the baby's. That makes all the difference in the peace we feel rather than the fear that could so easily grip us. And while we do feel so hopeful in this pregnancy and we know that God's got this (He always has), there are still moments where I fear the worst. How could I not after experiencing a miscarriage?! It's a natural response, and one that I don't beat myself up over. I share my worries with husband, with family, and with friends. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and express my fears out loud always brings me back to the Truth as I process through my feelings. 

I've found so much grace over the last six months, and because of it I don't feel scared when it comes to carrying a baby to term. Becoming pregnant again was such an unexpected surprise to both husband and I. We didn't plan it and weren't trying. That speaks volumes to the faithfulness the Lord showed us. In knowing the depths of our hearts and the burdens we simply couldn't handle, God gave us one of our biggest blessings...the opportunity to become parents again and so soon after feeling as if parenthood was nowhere in sight. He gave us another opportunity of having a baby, wiping away every single question that first went through my head. And I can't wait to share with our sweet babe just how much of a testament to the Lord's love and goodness, an answer to prayer, he/she is. 

As I approach the second trimester on Saturday, I feel a huge weight lifting. We've made it. My sweet babe is growing and thriving. Husband and I are getting to experience pregnancy in all its glory, even the horrible symptoms, which I welcome even if I do despise the nausea. I know that the thought of losing this baby will not escape me entirely. There will be days when I worry about every little thing...is my belly growing like it should? Is there still a heartbeat? Why haven't I felt the baby move? You name it, I could worry forever about it. But, that's where my big and awesome God comes in. He reassures me, giving me the peace of His plan in my life. This time around everything feels right. It feels good. And it feels like God's got everything under control. 

Experiencing a healthy pregnancy after one that ended far too soon has given me a new-found appreciation for the miracle that is a baby. I don't take any of this season of life for granted....from the mood swings, food aversions, and sickness to decorating a nursery and planning for a gender reveal party...I am soaking it all in. This incredible gift was given to me, and I don't want to take a single thing for granted. Pregnancy after miscarriage can be a scary thing, but it doesn't have to be. Although there will be times of worry and doubt with every joyous milestone, I rest assured in knowing that God's will for my life is being carried out. 

Bump Style :: Coffee Date

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I love chambray, and I think it's showing. Last week's Bump Style featured a chambray shirt I've had for years. And this's week's style features a new chambray button up that I just added to my closest. This particular blouse is lighter in color and perfect for summer months and a transition into fall. 

Also, I'm over the moon to have found some super comfortable maternity pants. Let's be real, the hair tie trick and the belly band aren't quite cutting it with my pre-pregnancy jeans. I scored this white pair at Target and have lived in them for a few days. Not to mention white is perfect for summer. And yes, I'll be wearing them past Labor Day **gasp**. Check out the details of where everything is from at the bottom of the post. 

For this ensemble, I went with simple jewelry, and just enough to bring some color into the outfit. The leather wrap and bangle are oldies, but goodies. As are the earrings. Again, I love to layer my bracelets and because I wanted a laid back feel, I went with quaint pieces that weren't too much of a statement. 

Whether at home for some downtime, out shopping, or grabbing coffee with your girls, this outfit hits the mark. Simple, understated, and it looks like you threw it together without much thought (I wish that was a daily thing for me!). And if there's a chillier evening, you can always layer a cute shirt under the chambray blouse and leave the blouse unbuttoned. So many options. For shoes (not pictured) I went with strappy sandals. Come fall, I'll wear ankle booties or flats. 

It's really quite simple to pair new and old pieces together to make an entirely fresh outfit. I love staple pieces that can be used during all different times of the year, for any season. I would most certainly consider the chambray shirt one of those. And hallelujah for maternity pants! I'll be wearing these quite frequently and loving every minute! See more Bump Styles for inspiration! 

CREAM & GOLD BANGLE :: similar
DANGLE EARRINGS :: similar, similar

Oh Baby! || Week 13

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Woohoo, just this week stands between me and the second trimester!! It feels huge to me, like the biggest hurdle is being jumped! I can't believe how fast time has been moving, and that this pregnancy is a third of the way over. I know, right, that's insane isn't it it?! I'm so looking forward to this next part of pregnancy, to feeling better and really enjoying this sweet time as a pregnant gal. 

How far along? 13th week

Baby's Size: A peach || about 3 inches and about 0.81 ounces

Gender: We've got the date set to find out!

Weight Gain: None to-date. And I have to say I was relieved after stepping off the scale at the doctor's office. I know the weight gain is coming, and I'm okay with that. After all I am growing a baby :) But it was my goal to make it through the first trimester without putting anything on, and after the wacky food cravings/aversions and junk food consumption I'm glad I accomplished that. 

Maternity Clothes: Hallelujah for maternity pants!! I've never loved pants so much! On Friday I bought my first pair, and couldn't be happier. They fit great, make me feel great, and my belly thinks they're great. Other than that I'm still working with my non-maternity tops and dresses. I'm really looking forward to shopping for more maternity fashion!

Sleep: It's gotten better. I feel myself gaining more energy (hello, quickly approaching 2nd trimester!). Sleep disruption is still a nightly thing between bathroom breaks, weird pregnancy dreams, and waking myself by rolling over. For the time being I'm trying to sneak in as much belly sleeping as I can. It's slowly starting to get uncomfortable (whatever will I do once I can't anymore?!). 

Symptoms: I'm happy to report that the nausea is not such a common occurrence. It still creeps up on me though, and I'm certainly looking forward to it being gone for good. Stretching is still certainly happening, stomach pangs are a thing, and a nap every now and then is always good for combating the bit of fatigue that is still hanging around. And lately, if I eat to the point of being really full then I end up super uncomfortable. It's like there just isn't the room that there used to be and I have to stop eating sooner. I learned my lesson after a couple of too full episodes!

Cravings: I'm still digging salty foods. Normally I've got a huge sweet tooth, but not so much these days. Pregnancy has definitely been changing up my tastes and preferences. For instance, as a child I didn't like Sunny D at all, but now I crave it. 

Miss Anything? Being able to eat normally. Between food aversions and my newest avoidance of getting too full, meal times just aren't the same. 

Best Moment This Week: We had a routine appointment yesterday, and although there was no ultrasound (big bummer) we did get to hear our little one's heartbeat. And even better, my mom got to join us and hear it too. It was really nice to be able to share that with her. Hearing that sweet beat is good for my mama heart and husband's too. 

Worst Moment This Week: Really there hasn't been one. The 13th week has started off swell, and I think it will continue as such. 

Looking Forward To: This weekend husband and I are traveling north a little ways to meet one of my sweet blogger friends! I'm super excited for the weekend!

How's Husband? This guy of mine is incredible. He takes the time to listen to all my pregnancy complaints, anxieties, excitements, etc. And he shares his too. It's the smallest gestures that make the biggest impact for me right now. Like setting aside several hours to just nap with me and hold me yesterday because I was feeling emotionally drained and sick. Husband loves me well, and this little babe too :) 

The Pick: Week 24

Friday, June 19, 2015
Happy, happy, happy Friday!! It's just a half a day at work, and then hello weekend! Husband and I will be heading to my hometown this afternoon to celebrate my little sister's birthday. And tonight we'll be enjoying the Festival Around Town, an annual fair that has taken place in the center of town since I was a tot. I'm so excited to gobble up a funnel cake and fresh squeezed lemonade. There's nothing like it. If you're weekend doesn't include funnel cakes...well I guess I'll have to eat one for you. Just kidding (but really...this pregnancy thing is no joke!)!

So I have question for all you bloggers. On Monday I shared my hour by hour weekend with you. The post was not only fun for me, but you all really liked it (thank you!). Some of you even mentioned doing a post just like it on your blog. Now for the question...what if I start a link-up for the first Monday of every month where we link-up and share our hour by hour weekend? Does that sound like something you'd want to do? Who would join? Leave a comment or send me an email hillcollectionblog@gmail.com and let me know what you think! On Monday I'll let know if we'll kick this link-up off!

Also, if you missed it last night on ABC, you must check out Astronaut Wives Club. It's SO good!

 follow along with our weekend, family fun on Instagram @astleigh_hill
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And don't forget to link up with me for The Pick, by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you.

DIY Red, White, & Blue Floral Wreath

Thursday, June 18, 2015
When it comes to the holidays, I'm all in. Even the smaller holidays. Last year, I whipped this wreath together for some patriotic flair for the Memorial Day weekend. It stayed on our front door through July, also perfect for the 4th of July.

And today I wanted to share how you can make a wreath just like or similar for your door for the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

You will need to grab the following from you local craft store. I found everything I needed at Michaels >>

  • straw wreath
  • burlap ribbon (not sure that it's technically ribbon)
  • polka dot ribbon
  • striped ribbon
  • 8 pieces of white felt
  • 8 pieces of red felt
  • hot glue gun and extra glue sticks
  • a CD
  • permanent marker
  • scissors
  • green paint

Start off by tracing the CD on pieces of felt. Make sure to trace an even number of circles on both the red and white felt. You'll get three circles to each piece of felt. So if you are planning on making more flowers than what I have on my wreath, be sure to buy more felt!

Then cut out all of the circles. Be sure to keep the scrap felt for the time being. You can use it for stuff like the flowers. 

Here's the "tricky" part, or rather where you have to freehand. Don't worry about perfection here...and I can say that because I'm a perfectionist. 

You'll start cutting at the outside and then wind your way into toward the center, making a spiral. Be sure not to cut off the center nub. 

Starting with the nub, place a small drop of hot glue on its underside. Stick that at an upward angle to the side of the felt. You'll make a cone like shape, looking straight down at it. I hope that makes sense!

Now wind the felt spiral around and around. Be sure to go in an upward direction to give the flower some definition. If it gets too high at a certain point, then begin winding back down. 

As you come to the end of the spiral, use hot glue to fasten it. Make as many flowers as you want. This is the pattern you will follow for each. 

Now for the wreath. Begin wrapping the burlap 'ribbon' around the wreath. Hot glue it in the first place to fasten it. Once you have the burlap completely around the wreath, use the hot glue to fasten it again. I made sure to start and stop the burlap on the back side of the wreath so it couldn't be seen from the front. 

I don't have a photo of it, but next you'll start wrapping the navy polka dot ribbon around the wreath, leaving about two the three inches of space in between. 

As for those scrap pieces of felt, cut out some leaves. Cut as many as you want. And then paint them green. Or another color if that's your style!

Glue the leaves down first, and then go to town hot gluing the flowers down. There's no pattern, just glue like you feel it. I wrapped some flowers on the underside of the wreath just to give it a full look. You can put as many or as little as you want.

In no time you'll have the perfect patriotic wreath for your front door. What kind of red, white, and blue wreath do you have??

And, bloggers, don't forget that we'll be linking up for the Every Girl series on July 2nd to share our 4th of July touches around our home. If you make a patriotic wreath, be sure to snap some pictures and share it! 

If you have any questions about this DIY, send me an email! I'm happy to answer! hillcollectionblog@gmail.com