Currently Reading April 2018

I can never just read one book at a time.  I always have some combination of nonfiction, fiction, and self-help/faith driven books, as well as a blog, and my favorite kid's book I'm reading with Claire.  So why not share what I'm currently reading? Maybe we can discuss together!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
The Cult of Pedagogy Blog
Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis
What are you currently reading?


Some Things Have Happened (Part Two)


  • I had the chance to participate at the CEW at St. Ann's in a meaningful way.  It was awesome!
  • I went to the Behavior Conference in Kansas City and had a chance to connect with my aunts while I was down there.
  • We had a fun Easter, Claire loved the Easter Egg hunt!
  • I joined Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping and got in shape, lost some weight, and started taking better care of myself!
  • After many ear infections, Claire visited an ENT and she got tubes in her ears.
  • Ryan and I took our first vacation away from Claire and enjoyed four nights in Boston while Claire enjoyed time with her grandparents and aunt and uncle.

  • We had an awesome summer than concluded with a trip to the Ozarks and Claire being the flower girl in my aunts' wedding!
  • My nephew, and Godson, was born at the beginning of September and all of hearts grew three sizes!
  • Fall brought us Halloween, and weekend getaway in Nashville, and Claire's second birthday, which we celebrated at the Iowa Children's Museum in Iowa City.
  • We concluded 2017 with some family pictures taken by my amazing mother (if you want contact info, let me know!) and a super fun Christmas with family!


Some Things Have Happened (Part One)

Hi there!  So...it's January...of 2018...TWO. THOUSAND. EIGHTEEN.  I've been thinking about making a blog post pretty ever since my last blog post, in August of 2015.  But then, I had a baby.  You'd think that would be the perfect time to want to keep up the blog, but holy crap; that little girl took over my life.  Add that to my first few years of teaching and taking grad classes, and yeah, the blog sat on the back burner for awhile.  And ultimately, the blog was forgotten about.  Whoops.

But here I am, wishing I was better about documenting my life, Claire's life, our family adventures, my teaching experiences, etc., without putting it all over Facebook and Instagram.  So I'm going to give this another go.  And I'm going to TRY to keep it up, with a little more focus.

Here's the quick and dirty update (since my last update in August of 2015)-


  • Started my first year of teaching at Bettendorf High School.
  • Thoroughly, honestly, enjoyed the last few months of my pregnancy (until the last two weeks).
  • Had Claire Lindsey in November. She was 9 pounds 2 ounces, 21 inches long, with a head full of gorgeous hair!
  • My grandma passed away in November. I miss her every single day.
  • This year revolved around Claire - what a whirlwind it was to watch her fly through all of the milestones and become the cutest, smartest, sweetest, and most perfect little girl in the world.
  • Claire had her first flight as we took our first big family vacation to Las Vegas and San Diego.

  • We celebrated Claire's first birthday with a dinosaur princess themed party and close family members.  The year went insanely fast, but was wonderful.


August 2015 Recap: Part 2

...Let's continue the recap of my August adventures.  There is so much awesome to remember!

Maternity Photo Fun!
Mom wanted to practice taking some portraits, so we used the good weather and my current pregnant status to take some fun pics!  It was a good time, though I'll have to have a round two so Ryan can get in a couple!
Awesome Adventure #3: Indianapolis Road Trip
Having a small break between summer school and the beginning of the school year led to an opportunity to visit my bestie in Indiana!  I drove out to visit Brooke on a Tuesday and came home on a Thursday.  It was too short a visit, but it was also just what I needed before the school year began.

We enjoyed our time with Jack, lots of catching up, a fun trip downtown, and a nice girls only dinner on my last night.  It was the perfect end to my summer!
Awesome Adventure #4: Inservice/First Week of School
Ok, so this doesn't really seem like an "awesome" adventure...but for me, it sure was!  This August marked my very first beginning of the school year as a real full-time teacher!  I excitedly went to inservice each day, anxiously anticipating the first day of school with the students.

At this time, I don't really have any pictures from this fun time in my life, but hopefully I snap some with my amazing co-workers soon!  This time in my life has been so exciting, but also stressful.  It's all been worth it though, because I am finally following through with the dream of being teacher, a dream I've had since junior high and that I too easily set aside for several years.  But in retrospect, this is the perfect time in my life to begin this career, as I think I've finally reached a point that while it's stressful, I can truly enjoy it and handle the workload a first-year teacher has.  

Yes, it's inconvenient to have to take maternity leave during the first semester of my first year of teaching...but I already know that it will be so much easier to return to a job that I love after my baby girl is born.

More August Extras:
Sometimes, I really slack at taking pictures.  August wrapped up with a dinner out at Alli's parent's house...a mini reunion of high school best friends.  So lovely to see my long-time girl friends, as always.  I also spent an evening baking and watching movies with Hannah!  We enjoyed a day up in La Porte City visiting family and attending yet another family reunion.  I went to my first high school football game at Bettendorf, wearing the black and gold of the Bulldogs.  It was a fun time, though I felt like a traitor the whole time, lol!

September has already started out with excitement, so this month's recap will be a great one too, hopefully with more pictures!  I also need to try to take more bump pictures...I've totally been slacking!  That, and I plan to post another pregnancy update soon. :)

I hope you all have an amazing Labor Day weekend!


August 2015 Recap: Part 1

August has been a full month and now that it's almost over, it's time to recap the awesomeness that occurred this month before I forget it all! Warning: This is a long one!  In fact, I'm going to split it into two parts.

Awesome Adventure #1: Des Moines/Cascade
We were originally headed up to Des Moines to go to the Hinterland Music Festival, but the location moved to outside of the city and we were offered a refund if we didn't want to go.  We really wanted to have time to see Nick and Emily too, so we decided to skip the concert and just hang out in the city.  

We spent some time catching up with the Reeds and then Ryan and I had a date at Exile Brewery, which was really delicious food!  We also checked out Confluence Brewery which had a really fun atmosphere.  We sat and played cribbage while Ryan sampled a few beers.

When we got back to Nick and Emily's, we got in our cozy clothes and settled in for some Fibbage before bed.  In the morning, we headed over to Laura and Jason's new place in Ankeny for some delicious brunch.  Unfortunately, the only picture that I got for the whole Des Moines experience is this cute one of me and Laura, showing off our bumps!
After brunch, we drove to Cascade for a family camping day with my mom's side of the family.  This day was full of great food, awesome weather, lots of family time, paper lantern fun, and bags!
Awesome Adventure #2: Flaters Visit/Stolt's Wedding
On Friday, August 7th, Andy and Ashley got here just in time for us to head straight out to Le Claire for some fun.  We first went to the distillery to pick up some more of their awesome bourbon barrel-aged Boetje's mustard.  We stuck around for some samples as well...obviously, I only enjoyed the food samples, not the yummy drinks.  Then we went and put our name in for dinner and had a 45-minute wait, so we checked out the brewery in town: Green Tree Brewery.
We continued our fun, double-date night at Blue Iguana for some Mexican food and then headed to the village in Davenport to Brew for a final drink before heading home.
In the morning, we headed up to Chicago.  We met up with Nick and Emily for lunch in Libertyville before checking in to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.
After a little rest, it was time for the big party.  We got all prettied up and headed out to beautiful location for the wedding and reception!
This wedding was so much fun, I'm certain a recap can't possible describe it.  Let's just say we were spoiled with the most amazing appetizers, drink choices, dinner, and dessert spread.  We were overly satisfied and I'm not complaining!  At the end of the night, a hot dog cart even rolled out!  We had such a good time catching up with friends and dancing the night away.  Ryan and I left a pinch before everyone else, because this pregnant lady was tired at 12:30...but it was an awesome night!

On Sunday, Ryan and I stopped at IKEA to get the last thing we needed for the nursery and then made the boring drive home.

August Extras
The beginning of the month was also when I had my new teacher orientation for Bettendorf Schools.  It was so exciting to get started down my new career path.  I also spent a night babysitting little Kamelia, and loved every minute of it!
To be continued...


5 Months Pregnant: Is This Real Life?

Some days, I feel like any average pregnant woman, with the normal aches and annoyances of a typical pregnancy; all worth it, of course, because of the bundle of joy waiting at the end of 9 months.  And some days, I am washed over with disbelief in that I am actually pregnant, after all of the struggles and questioning what our path would actually be.  It just hits me: holy crap, there is a miracle baby growing in my belly!  A baby I often doubted would ever exist and that I sometimes take for granted when complaints of achy feet and sleepless nights overwhelm me.  

This little girl is a very real baby, one that I am nurturing and caring for as I write this.  She reminds me of her reality by punching me in the bladder regularly.  But I am so grateful for her proof of living inside me.  At 23 weeks, I wonder how her active ways will increase as she grows.  This leads me to wondering a lot of things about my precious little daughter.

In less than 4 months, I will meet the child that will forever change our lives.  What will she be like?  Will she take on my flair for the dramatic?  Will she be practical and responsible like her daddy?  Will she be blonde or brunette?  Will she inherit Grandpa's sense of humor?  Perhaps she'll be faithful and love the Lord like Grandma? Chances are, she will be completely unpredictable and full of surprises.  And she will be loved.  Our hearts already grow day by day as the reality of her existence grows stronger with each kick, each doctor's appointment, and each day that ticks away on the countdown.

We are truly blessed with our little miracle girl.  We can't wait to meet our princess, and while we wait, we will continue to be grateful for the journey that brought us this far.  We will cherish our final months as a family of two, awaiting our future as a family of three.  I will be grateful for the back pain, the swollen fingers, and the urgent need to pee every hour.  Nothing is quite as rewarding and exciting as the period of waiting for your biggest wish to come true.
23-Week Bumpie


Pregnancy Update: It's A Girl!

Ok, a lot has happened since my last post.  Pregnancy is crazy...a lot of changes happen; it feels like it's dragging one day and then it's going SO fast the next.  Over the last few weeks, I had my 18-week check-up and heard baby's heart beat again!  The doctor found the heartbeat pretty much immediately, so no panic like last time.  :)

I started taking bumpies to document my growing belly.  I'm always taking them myself, so my face isn't in most of them...I should probably have Ryan take a few going forward.  Here are just a couple.
19 Weeks 
21 Weeks
I am wondering how I am going to double (or more) in size as this belly seems pretty ridiculous already!!

My most favorite physical development over the last couple weeks is feeling baby move.  It's still very subtle, but getting stronger every day.  Yesterday, for the first time ever, I actually felt a kick from the outside! Insane!!!
My favorite pregnancy moment BY FAR has been our anatomy scan.  We went in on Monday, July 6th.  I was 20 weeks and some change.  We did want to know the gender, but we didn't want the focus of our attention to be on finding out.  Plus, we wanted to share that special moment just the two of us.  So we told our tech right away that we DO want to know, but we want her to write it down and seal it so we could open it later.  The ultrasound itself was so amazing!  It was so detailed and the tech scanned and measured baby from head to toe.  We could see the kidneys, the umbilical cord, the four chambers of the heart, the little toes and fingers...ah, so awesome!

Later that night, Ryan and I were home together and opened our envelope so we could stop calling baby "it" and start calling baby a "he" or "she."
A girl!  What was great about opening it later was that, no matter what our "preference" would have been, we just got to spend 30 minutes looking at a healthy baby during our ultrasound and regardless of the gender, we were so SO thrilled everything looked good and now we're just so excited to meet her!

We kept the secret to ourselves for 48 hours and then had our families, plus Brooke and Jack, over on Wednesday night for the big reveal.  It was a ton of fun and everyone seemed so excited to be welcoming a girl into the world in November.  It was super fun, the pictures say it all! :)
We're really just sooooo excited.  We can't wait to meet our little princess in November.  According to the ultrasound, little girl weighs 15 ounces, almost one pound already!  She was measuring a little ahead of schedule, so she'll probably be tall like her mommy and daddy.

I should probably wrap up this crazy long post, baby girl is kicking me in the bladder anyway! ;-)