Why You Should Actually Say Yes More Often

It may seem counterintuitive but I really think that instead of saying “No” more we need to start saying “Yes”.

Why You Should Actually Say Yes More Often

Why Should I Say “Yes” More Often?

First off life is short. No one knows exactly how many days are left of their life. Therefore we should use our limited time to the best of our ability.

Additionally, we shouldn’t be selfish in how we designate our time. I love this quotation my mom shared with me this past week from Beth Moore: “God what will you have me do today?”. Instead of getting caught up with the stress of life and letting it dictate our day what if we started our day asking what God would have for us? A simple mindset change can make a huge difference in how our circumstances are perceived. Plus when we intentionally look for ways in how God can use us we are less likely to feel like our life lacks purpose. This also leads to more fulfillment and a less self-centred approach to life.

Here are a few simple ways God can use you today:
  • send an encouraging text to a friend
  • bring a coffee to a friend or coworker
  • donate to a cause
  • smile to the people who serve you and be genuinely kind to them
  • give a generous tip
  • be a courteous driver
  • write down what you are grateful for and why
  • pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
Relationships Matter

Secondly, relationships are the single most important aspect of life. Our number one relationship is with God as He teaches us how to love, forgive and treat others. He teaches us all people are created equal, to love our enemies (how easy is it to just love those that are kind to us?) and to forgive as we have been forgiven. He doesn’t demand us to follow a strict set of rules instead He gently calls us to follow Him as he teaches us how to live an abundant life.

In addition to our relationship with our creator is our relationship with His created-the people around us. Our family foremost, our friends, our church, our communities. Instead of pursuing things and success more than we pursue others what if we made a conscious effort to connect with just one person a week. Personally, I am so bad about this! I haven’t made it a habit to sit down once a week and just text or message someone important to me. I am aware of this and working to reach out to others more often. One benefit of connecting is feeling more fulfilled and it’s important for my mental health.

Plus I want to share my life with others, I want to build a strong community of people who will encourage me and keep me accountable.

What Are We Saying “Yes” To?

Our Marriages + Families

I firmly believe that a strong marriage is the basis of a strong family. Furthermore strong families lead to better societies. When children know their parents love each other they feel safe and secure. Now, this doesn’t guarantee a perfect family but it does avoid a lot of potential problems.

Furthermore, parents are the primary model for their children’s behaviour. I know this may seem intuitive but I see parents all the time who yell at their child for acting out when the parent is almost acting worse than the child. Children will mimic the behaviour they see demonstrated in the home. As a mom to be this really weighs heavy on me as I think about the habits and behaviours I want to work on. Such as complaining less. I find it so easy to see the negative in situations and I don’t want Baby K to be the same. I’m almost at the point where I’m going to write down “complain less” next to “take vitamin” on my refrigerator whiteboard so I don’t forget.

In order to have a strong marriage and family, we have to be willing to say “Yes” to our families desire for relationship.

Just the other day my husband had an appointment in Hamilton and after he was going to a park to play Pokemon Go. He asked me to join him on his trip so that we could spend time together after the appointment. Although Pokemon is not my most favourite activity I said yes. I reasoned that we only have so much time together so why would I say no to spending time with him. However, I also said yes because I wasn’t committed to any other activities for that day.  We have limited time together during the week so I wanted to take advantage of the extra free time we could enjoy together. I am not advocating to be a doormat and always say yes to your husband. I firmly believe in “Courtney time” and “Mike time”, it wouldn’t be healthy if we spent every waking moment together. Yet under the circumstances, it was advantageous for me to say “Yes”. I also know my husband appreciates that I’m willing to join him in an activity he enjoys.

The Little Things

Secondly, it’s important to say yes to the little things. Perhaps your child wants to play a game with you or your sister wants to have a movie night together and buy snacks. The moments I most regret saying no to are others invitations to spend time together. I may feel tired or the activity sounds boring but once I’m doing the activity it often turns out to be more enjoyable than I thought. Don’t be afraid to do things with others that seem silly or a waste of time, because at the end of the day what matters is the precious quality time you were able to spend together.

What Are We Saying “No” To?

Saying yes to a relationship with others means we have to say no to other less important things.

Technology

First off we need to say no to technology. The emails, tweets and Instagram captions can wait. I know a lot of families schedule a period of time where technology is not used.

Activities

Secondly, say “No” to too many activities. Another great tip I’ve heard is for families is to let each child participate in one sport or activity a season. This avoids overwhelming children with too many scheduled items and while allowing for spontaneous family fun. Additionally, parents should be aware of how much time they are committing to volunteering. Even if it’s a ministry activity, the families relational needs should always come first.

Say “Yes” to Quality Time and “No” to Wasted Time

Overall what I’m trying to say is that our time is precious. We don’t know how much time we have with those we love. Although it can be easy to not be intentional with our time it is imperative we make time for relationships.

My challenge to you is to say “Yes” to one thing somebody asks you to do with them this week.

Why You Should Say YES

What are some other things you think we should say “no” to?

How do you intentionally make time for relationships with others?

University Without Debt

Does graduating from post-secondary school without debt sound intimidating or unrealistic to you?

At first, it did to me too. With all the pressure to take out student loans, it seems like the norm is to graduate with at least some debt. However, have you ever considered that there’s another option and it doesn’t include a bunch of scholarships or working two jobs while in school?

It’s a lot simpler than that but it does take planning and intentionality.

Does graduating from post-secondary school without debt sound intimidating or unrealistic to you?At first, it did to me too.

I recently completed my four-year undergrad to achieve a BA in Human Ecology. I finished without any student debt in four years. While living away from home and getting married. Plus I didn’t have to work during the school year.

It is possible to not have student debt hanging over your head when school is over. Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to take the money you’re earning after graduation and save it for a house or car?

Keep reading to learn about the strategies I used to avoid the all too common student debt trap.

1. Work + Save as Much as Possible

The most efficient way to save money is by not spending it. While planning for school start working as soon as possible. I began working part-time in grade 12. I saved my meagre minimum wage paychecks. After a while, I had saved my first thousand, which was a huge milestone for me!

At the same time, I didn’t spend lots of money on clothes, makeup, entertainment or much else. It wasn’t the most fun. However, I had a goal of cash flowing school. My future would be more enjoyable if I made some sacrifices now.

In my final year of high school, I deferred my acceptance to university for one year. During my gap year, I went from a part-time to a full-time position (still minimum wage). Working 40 hours a week I put most of my paycheck into a savings account. At the time I still lived at home so my expenses were very little. My parents also supported my desire to pay for school without debt.

During that almost year of working full time from September to July I saved up enough cash to cover over two years of tuition ($16,000). As a result, I didn’t feel pressure to work part-time during school. Rather I could focus on my academics. I’m grateful I didn’t need to work because to succeed in academics I have to work really hard, the extra time to study was a great blessing.

2. Buy Used: Laptops, textbooks, household items

Laptop

On my first day of classes, the majority of students had shiny, new Apple MacBook Pro laptops. In contrast, I had a white 2010 Apple MacBook. However, I paid $500 for my used laptop off of Kijiji whereas the other students (or their parents) had paid upwards of $1000 for theirs. I’m still using the same laptop four years later and it works great! I’ve never had a problem with it. Plus I saved at least $500 while still getting a quality laptop.

Textbooks

Next, textbooks can be crazy expensive! Some sell for $150-$200 especially psychology ones. If you’re taking 10 classes over the entire year costs add up quick. A great way to save money is to buy used. To find used textbooks try to find the used textbook group for your school on Facebook. It can be helpful to post what books you’re looking for and then consider multiple offers to find the best deal.

At the end of the semester, you can sell your textbooks and hopefully break even or make a profit. Another great option is Amazon, although it’s not always cheaper than the bookstore, you can find good deals on used books.

Another note on selling your textbooks: don’t sell them during buyback days at the bookstore because you won’t get very much for them. It’s a lot more profitable to sell them on Facebook.

If you’re really strapped for cash professors often leave a reserve copy of the textbook in the library that can be checked out to complete each week’s readings. While completing summer school I utilized this option for one of my classes, although it wasn’t convenient I saved $150 for a book I would only use for 2 months.

Household items

Finally, when starting school you may be moving away from home and need some extra things. Instead of going out and buying everything new or at full price take your time and wait for clearance or sales. Since I had a year to prepare for school I was able to stock up on a lot of things I would need over a long period of time. One of the stores in our area closed, and I was able to score a lot of things at liquidation prices.

I also combed thrift stores for kitchen items like a utensil holder, mandolin slicer, and glasses. Additionally, my aunt gave me some old dishes to use. Honestly, when you’re a student it’s not about having nice things, that will come later when you can afford to upgrade.

3. Start Looking For a Summer Job Early

The number one way I have gotten all my jobs is through personal connections. Start talking to people that you know now if their company hires summer students. A lot of companies reserve spots for students entering full-time school in the fall. You could possibly begin working the summer before you start school.

Try your best to find a job that doesn’t pay minimum wage. Since you are only working for about 4 months it is imperative to make as much money as possible. Unless you don’t mind working during the school year. I ended up working in an automotive factory (that my cousin worked at) making double what I did on minimum wage. It was hard work but I had solid 40-50 hour work weeks plus overtime some weeks. As a result, each summer I was able to save enough for tuition plus around $5000 extra.

Thanks to taking a gap year I was already one year ahead on tuition so the money I made in the summer was for next year’s tuition. I had a nice buffer between each year of school and less pressure to have to work during the year. With the extra saving’s I planned on buying a car (with cash) upon graduating.

4. Live Off-Campus or At Home

Living in residence is insanely expensive. Yes it’s convenient and you don’t have to worry about cooking but it’s at least an extra $8,000-10,000 a year depending on where you live and what type of room you have.

If I could have lived at home I definitely would have. Instead, I went to a school an hour and a half from home so I had to move to that city. Thankfully my mom set me up in her friend’s basement where I paid $400 a month all inclusive. All I had was a bedroom, a bathroom and a tiny kitchen. Over 8 months of school I only spent $3200 plus about $30-50 a week on groceries.

Compare that to living in Residence and you’re saving at least $5000 a year! I didn’t have a huge space, but I lived in a safe neighbourhood, I had a quiet space to study, I controlled my food costs and I commuted only  20 minutes by bus to school. Plus I was able to live with a godly Christian woman who actually cared about me.

5. Apply For Grants + Bursaries

A lot of advice tells students to apply for scholarships but I have never had any success in gaining a scholarship so I’m not going to advise that. If you do get a scholarship that’s awesome they are a great way to cover expenses like textbooks.

Instead, I’ve had more success in getting grants from the government. In Ontario, you can apply for OSAP (loan + grant) or 30% Off Tuition (grant). While I was eligible I applied for just the grant portion and received around $1600 for my first three years. In my fourth year, I had been out of school too long and was no longer eligible. Instead, I applied for a bursary through my school and got $1300. I also applied for OSAP but only used the grant portion ($1150) and paid back the loan in full as soon as possible.

The extra cash helped cover living expenses, textbooks and went into savings.

6. Live Frugally

One of the overall points I’m trying to stress here is to live within in your means. If you can’t afford school than work until you can. I know that may seem very counter-cultural especially considering the boost that education provides socio-economically.  It’s better than having debt hanging over your head causing unnecessary stress because you were impatient.

Furthermore, don’t rack up credit card debt because you have to have all the latest makeup and clothes or go out every weekend. Make a budget and stick to it.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard regarding money and the future is from Dave Ramsey: “Live like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else.”. To me, that means suffering a bit in the short term to live financially free and prosperous in the long term.

In the last four years and especially since getting married I haven’t been able to buy all the trendiest clothes, I hardly ever buy makeup, I wear the same shoes every day and I don’t go to the movies or out to eat often. Yes sometimes it’s hard, but at the same time I’m not gaining debt, rather I’m letting interest work for me and building wealth. I know in five or ten years I’ll be a lot better off and won’t be putting my income towards a debt I didn’t need to incur.

Finally, education is a luxury, not a right. I would highly urge anyone considering going into student loan debt to work as hard as they can to save up the cash to pay for each year as it comes. Maybe for you, this means working part-time while in school or taking a semester off. Just remember there is no shame in taking time to work. In the end, you are going to appreciate your degree so much more and you’ll understand that it takes work to earn things. Your future will be so much more secure and prosperous if you make sacrifices now. It’s not easy but the reward is so worth it!

In Summary Remember:

  • Work + Save as Much as Possible
  • Buy Used: Laptops, textbooks, household items
  •  Start Looking For a Summer Job Early
  • Live Off-Campus or At Home
  • Apply For Grants + Bursaries
  • Live Frugally

For all my American friends be sure to check out Rachel Cruze for great advice on college planning and paying down student debt.


Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else

Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)

In part one of this series, I talked about everything I didn’t expect during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. Now that I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy I thought I’d share a few more tidbits I’ve been learning about pregnancy and birth.

To read Part 1 click here

In part one of this series, I talked about everything I didn't expect during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.

You Don’t Need a Ton of Maternity Clothes

Prior to being pregnant, I dreamed of the day I would start buying cute maternity outfits. Then I realized a lot of my clothes would work just fine aside from jeans and a few tops.

If you think about it most longer sweaters and tank tops, shorts and stretchy dresses can still be worn while pregnant. The only major purchases I’ve made have been for jeans (these ones from Old Navy have great reviews + don’t forget to sign up for Ebates to earn 4% cash back!), leggings (also from Old Navy), and a few dresses (one bodycon, a chambray with buttons perfect for breastfeeding and a black and white polka dot dress). Plus a few tanks for layering which will also be great for postpartum and nursing.

The Second Half Goes by Way Faster!

Before 20 weeks and really before I started showing the weeks sort of dragged by very slowly. Now that I’m in the third trimester and in the 30’s for weeks time is moving faster. The baby also feels a lot bigger now and I’m much more aware of her presence than in previous weeks.

I also have midwife appointments every two weeks. Checking up on the baby this often has given me something to look forward to and made the imminence of birth more prevalent in my thoughts.

As time goes on we’re also taking more steps to prepare for the baby, like registering for gifts, building our crib, getting a stroller and setting dates for showers.

Feeling Your Baby Kick is the Most Exhilarating and Comforting Experience

The first time I felt Baby K move I was sitting in my chair working on my online school courses. It felt like nothing I have ever felt before in my stomach so I knew it was the baby making little movements. As the weeks went on her kicks became more pronounced and my husband was able to feel them as well. One time he put his head on my stomach and she kicked him hard on the ear!

It’s such an incredible experience to know your baby is alive inside of you and so powerful in their little movements. It’s also reassuring to feel them move around rather than having to wait to hear the heartbeat at each appointment.

Read Up on Breastfeeding + Birth

As a first-time mom and someone who hasn’t had a lot of experience with babies, I’m not really sure what to expect when Baby K comes. Although a few people have told me your instincts kick in once the baby comes and to not worry. At the same time, I’ve still been doing a lot of reading and asking questions to those who have kids.

One thing I’m really glad I decided to read up on is breastfeeding. I wasn’t really planning to read a book on this subject but while I was at the library a new book from the La Leche League, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was on display. I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with this topic because I really want to breastfeed for a long time. I know a lot of women can struggle with breastfeeding, so I wanted to make sure I had resources in place before beginning this journey in case I need help down the road.

I’m also signed up for a free breastfeeding class with our public health unit about a month before the baby comes. I know I can’t anticipate what problems I may run into but I can inform myself of strategies to deal with possible obstacles.

In addition to researching breastfeeding, I’ve also tried to learn about labour and birth. Although I understand the biological mechanisms related to birth the actual experience of it can be quite different. I’ve read a lot of birth stories online and watched some YouTube videos on different birth experiences from having an epidural to a cesarian section to having to spend time in the NICU. For me, it’s important to be informed about possible situations that I could encounter and to learn from others experiences. As much as I hope my birth will go smoothly I know that unforeseen situations arise and that’s okay. At the end of the day what I most want and pray for is a healthy baby.

If You Want to Have an Unmedicated Birth Prepare for One

One of the main reasons I chose midwifery care over a doctor for my pregnancy was my desire to have an unmedicated birth. I know that may seem like a lofty goal or unnecessary in the world of modern medicine but I really feel strongly it’s the right choice for me. I also have to credit my mom for inspiring me to desire a natural birth experience and to choose a midwife because she made the same choice for the birth of me and my sister.

Additionally, I’m more comfortable with this model of care since my pregnancy so far has been healthy and without complication. I also find it interesting that most births around the world are attended by midwives and having a doctor present for birth has only become common in the last couple centuries. However, each woman along with her partner has to decide what is best for their particular situation and do what they feel comfortable with. It is also important to research the difference between the midwifery model of care and the techno-medical model of care to be fully informed what one’s options are regarding care during pregnancy and birth.

One book I have found very helpful is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. As a midwife, Ina May approaches childbirth as a natural part of life that a woman’s body is fully capable of the undertaking without the use of pain medication, and unnecessary medical interventions. Instead, she outlines strategies to cope with the pain such as soaking in a tub, massage, positive affirmations, a dimly lit room, an atmosphere of relaxation and calm, moving around in labour, letting gravity work for you, eating and drinking during labour and trusting the women’s body to perform. Granted not all midwives exactly line up with her views and not all doctors use unnecessary medical interventions.

Nonetheless, as a mom to be I want to be aware of how I can best be prepared and what points I want to talk about with my midwives to ensure we are all on the same page for birth.

The following video is a Ted Talk given by Ina May that better explains her views on birth and why it is not something that needs to be feared.

Research Baby Must-Have Products and What Other Mom’s Regret Buying

Currently, I live in a very small apartment. As such I don’t want or need a ton of baby stuff. The most helpful thing I’ve done to ensure I’m not adding too many things to my registry or to buy list is watching YouTube videos and reading blogs from other first time and more experienced moms on what products have been most useful for them. I also find it super helpful to learn about products that they thought they were going to need but ended up regretting.

A few must-have products I’ve included on my registry are:

Some not as essential products include:

  • wipe warmer
  • diaper genie
  • change table
  • nursing pillow
  • expensive diaper bag
  • bottle warmer

Every baby is different and these lists aren’t universal but before spending a lot of money I like to make sure I’m buying a product that is worth my investment.

My favourite YouTube videos for baby product reviews:

People are Very Generous <3

Finally, when people find out you’re expecting, especially your first they can be very generous. I’ve had a few moms from our church give us hand me down baby clothes and extra baby products they didn’t use. As well our families have been extra generous in supplying the larger baby items we will need.

As a first-time mom, being somewhat young and not having a ton of extra income to splurge on baby things I have been so overwhelmed with people’s generosity towards our little family. Once again God has shown us that He will provide for us and we don’t have to worry. God gave us Baby K in His timing and we knew that He would help us provide for this little blessing.

I know that one day when I can help out a young family I’ll understand how much it will mean to them.


For more information on midwifery check out the following resources:

Canadian Association of Midwives

American College of Nurse-Midwives

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/GlobalMidwifery.asp

The State of the World’s Midwifery


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Baby K Gender Reveal!

We are having a GIRL!

 

Paintball Gender Reveal

We are so excited to welcome our little girl this October!

We didn’t paint this tree stump. While looking for parks to host our party we first visited this park. As we took a walk around Mike noticed a message on this tree stump. We walked over and could not believe what it said! This was before we had found out we were having a girl. Immediately we knew God was confirming our intuition and that this was the park for the party. 


Almost from the beginning of my pregnancy, I knew we were having a girl. I was 99% sure, even Michael had an inkling our baby was a girl. We even bought a pink snowsuit on clearance back in February because I was so certain. Now I cannot wait to see our babe in her soft, cuddly snowsuit this winter! <3 I’m also excited to buy tons of bows! If you know of any good Etsy shops (that ship to Canada) please leave a comment! I just adore baby’s in bows.

We also decided early on to host a gender reveal party and we knew we wanted to involve paintball in the reveal. Originally we were going to shoot blue or pink paintballs but it’s nearly impossible to find those colours. Instead, we filled various balloons with pink paint and shot at them with our guns (be sure to watch the video below to see how we did this).

19264725_10155689290625942_3378044763539415370_o
The grandpa’s with their t-shirts

My  father-in-law’s wife made up t-shirts for the grandpa’s to have as a keepsake since fathers day was the next day. I know the shirts look various colours but that is due to the colour of paintballs we used. Since the paint is water based it will wash out but the pink paint is fabric paint and permanent.

Prior to the party, we had our 20-week ultrasound at the hospital, unfortunately, their policy includes not revealing the gender during the appointment. Following that extremely disappointing day, we had to wait another week and a half to find out from our midwife that we were indeed having a girl.

We were both thrilled to finally find out our baby was a little girl. Especially because we had absolutely no boy names chosen and only a couple girl names we both liked. With that being said, we have chosen to keep our baby’s name a secret until she is born.

After we found out the gender we began to plan for the party. June 17 was the perfect day to gather with family and close friends at an outdoor local park to celebrate. I made strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (adapted from this cake recipe, just cook for 15-20 minutes), and we had hamburgers and sausage along with other snacks brought by our guests.

Another fun thing we did was have our guests wear the colour they predicted of the gender. Surprisingly we had a pretty even split between blue and pink.

Following the reveal, we played some minute to win it games, which are always a hit!

The first game we played involved solving a simple 9 piece puzzle blindfolded with assistance from a partner using limited words. The second game involved blowing up a balloon, placing it under one’s shirt, holding a ping pong ball between the legs and waddling over to a cup and dropping the ball in. This was so hilarious to watch! Finally, we played a game called bottle to bottle where two baby bottles (or 2L pop bottles filled with gum balls) are taped at the opening but a divider is placed using tape and skittles have to be shaken from one side to the other. It’s a lot harder than it looks!

Overall despite getting rained on at the beginning, we had a wonderful gender reveal for Baby K. To see how we executed our gender reveal or to see a demonstration of the games we played be sure to check out our Vlog below!

Paintbale.png


To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)

Before I found out I was expecting I could not wait to be pregnant. I used to tell my husband that “I would be so happy if I was pregnant!” because I just knew that pregnancy would be amazing like everyone says and plus you get this cute bump to show off. I had no idea how much work it is to be pregnant! Despite the downsides of pregnancy I can never take for granted the ability to carry a child and I am grateful for this privilege every day. Especially the fact that I’m able to go through this experience with my husband. This has made the journey so much more special.

As I found out pregnancy isn’t all having a wonderful glow and feeling baby kicks. There are days when you don’t want to leave the house or you just go back to bed because you’re so sick. I wasn’t prepared for this reality before becoming pregnant. I’m one of those people who have to experience something before I can form an opinion on it. Pregnancy has definitely been one of those things.

If you’re a first-time mom to be or even hope to have kids one day I hope this post will be informative and encouraging <3

Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy

1. The first trimester is awful

Basically, you enter a level of exhaustion unknown to those not pregnant. This occurs partly because your body is creating a new ORGAN also known as the placenta. It’s a lot of work to grow this structure and your constant desire to sleep will keep you alerted to this new phenomenon.

Couple exhaustion and not wanting to do anything but lie on the couch with intense nausea and vomiting. Now all women experience this symptom to a varying degree (I threw up as much as 12 times a day). Either way, it is not pleasant.

Try your best to stay hydrated and nourished. Some of my favourite things to drink and eat were cold smoothies (to soothe my throat) or popsicles, applesauce, yogurt, cold sliced oranges (I was obsessed), baked potatoes, plain bread and of course ginger ale. Later on, I also started drinking ginger peach tea in the morning and cold lemon water during the day (both help with nausea).

You may become averse to certain smells or foods (such as eggs). Some women take offence to a smell so bad they have to leave the room or they will start gagging.

Another symptom I experienced in the first trimester was feelings of sadness and being overwhelmed because it felt like nausea would never end. Sometimes I would burst into tears on the bathroom floor after puking or lying in bed because I was so tired.  At the same time, I was worried about falling behind in school and all the extra things my husband had to take on because I just couldn’t do anything other than rest.

At the same time, it’s so important to have support when you’re pregnant especially in the beginning stages. Even if someone can come over for a few hours and help clean your house or even bring a meal it can make a huge difference! One thing I really appreciated was my mom coming over. One day, she brought over food for us, cleaned up our apartment and even washed my hair. She went through the same symptoms when she was pregnant with me (and teaching school), so it was nice to have someone who understood exactly what I was going through.

2. Early midwife/doctor appointments aren’t very exciting

My very favourite appointment was the one where we could finally hear the baby’s heartbeat at around 8-10 weeks. I could listen to that sound all day! Prior to that we basically just talked with our doctor after confirming I was pregnant and then at our first midwife appointment we just made sure I was a good fit for midwifery. I was also given requisitions for blood work and our first ultrasound. Even now at 21 weeks my appointments mainly consist of talking about how I’m feeling, getting updates on any tests or ultrasounds and then listening to the heartbeat.

One thing I do appreciate about having a midwife is the appointments are scheduled for an hour and they don’t rush you even if you run over your time. In contrast to having an OB where you only get to see them for a limited time.

In the beginning, there are a lot of appointments to attend and schedule. At the same time, it’s all exciting and new and everything is for the baby which is very special.

3. Don’t expect to start showing until at least your 5th month

With your first pregnancy, all of your abdominal and uterine muscles are pretty tight since a baby has never stretched them out before. As such your stomach doesn’t grow too much in the first half of pregnancy. However, everybody is different and you may show earlier or later in your pregnancy.

I’m almost 21 weeks and still don’t have a very noticeable “bump”. When I look in the mirror I can see that I look pregnant but I’m still able to wear all my normal clothes. In fact, wearing a loose shirt or dress I don’t even appear pregnant to others. Sometimes I’m okay with this because I don’t want the attention of people looking at me or touching my stomach. At other times I wish people could see that I’m pregnant so they could understand why I’m maybe a little tired or slower or why I’m parking in the expectant mother spot.

4. You think about food all the time

I’ve studied nutrition in undergrad so I am very aware of the nutrient needs of the body especially before, during and after pregnancy while breastfeeding. Even though I have this knowledge I still find it difficult at times to keep up with eating enough. I struggle with this for a few reasons. First, I experienced morning sickness for about 6 weeks until it got more manageable so I basically had no appetite. Secondly, I’m not a very big eater, so having to eat every 2-3 hours is not something I’m used to. Thankfully pregnancy has increased my appetite when I do eat and I’ve learned what types of foods I like to eat best.

Before talking more about food, it is imperative whether one is already expecting or thinking they may conceive to be taking a prenatal supplement. In fact, Dieticians of Canada recommends that every woman of childbearing age should take one or at least 3 months before you become pregnant. When choosing a prenatal vitamin look for one that contains 400 mcg of folic acid, vitamin B12, and 16-20 mg of iron.

Now onto the food! Usually, in a typical day, I will eat

Breakfast: 1/4-1/2 C oatmeal with half a sliced apple, 1/4 C raisins, cinnamon and milk heated in the microwave for 2 minutes. Not only is this meal filling because of the fibre from the oats it helps prevent constipation which is a symptom many pregnant women face as the smooth muscles of the intestines relax.

Snack: plain yogurt with honey, granola, chia seeds and fruit, applesauce, cheese and crackers, a can of tuna with mayo on crackers or hummus and rice crackers.

Lunch: leftovers, or part of a crustless quiche made with veggies or sometimes a salad with fruit, nuts, and cheese.

Supper: meat or fish such as ribs, pork, beef or chicken with a vegetable or salad and either potato, sweet potatoes or rice. Some of my go-to suppers include: stir-fry, baked chicken thighs finished with bbq sauce and bread crumbs, pasta bake with tuna, fajitas in the crock pot or chilli with black beans or lentils (also a great source of folate).

Typically after supper, I’ll have another snack like fruit and yogurt or a PB and J sandwich.

I’m pretty much thinking about food all day. I always ensure to have my water by my side. I like juicing half a lemon and adding it to my water because it tastes like sugar-free lemonade and I tend to drink more water that way. I also find it helpful to have a container with a straw so I can quickly sip water whenever I need it.

One more thing I would add is to be aware of how much sugar you are consuming. It is very important your blood sugar stays consistent rather than fluctuating. As this can affect the baby’s growth. Eating wholesome meals filled with fibre, fruit, and vegetables will ensure you are not craving sugar throughout the day.

Be sure to check out my post on Healthy Pregnancy Snacks for more ideas!

healthy-pregnancysnacks1

5. Trust your instincts

Ever since finding out I was pregnant (even before when I suspected I was) my mom instincts and protective instincts have been very present. I’m highly aware of activities that could be dangerous for me or my spouse.

Overall though I feel a lot braver. I know I would do anything for my child, even before they are here. If someone says something about our baby or I’m not okay with something I feel a lot more freedom to speak up and not care as much what other people think. I want the best for my baby and I know that I have to trust my gut.

If you feel like something is wrong or you have a question call your midwife or doctor or go to the emergency room. You’re pregnant and your health and the baby’s health are a priority. Don’t let other people discourage you from asking for help. Or entice you to do things you absolutely don’t want to do. You know what is best for your child and no one else should have that power over you.

As I said above I am incredibly grateful to be pregnant and to be halfway through my pregnancy. I hope that any new moms find this post helpful and insightful <3

For any seasoned moms, what are some things you would add to this list?

To Read Part 2 Click Here


Sources:

Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines for Health Professionals: Folate Contributes to a Healthy Pregnancy [Health Canada, 2009]. (2017). Hc-sc.gc.ca. Retrieved 10 June 2017, from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/pubs/nutrition/folate-eng.php

Do I Need a Supplement?. (2013). Dietitians of Canada. Retrieved 10 June 2017, from https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Supplements/Do-I-Need-a-Supplement-.aspx


To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST BE SURE TO CLICK BELOW TO SHARE IT

 

Second Trimester Update (21W2D)

I’m officially feeling pretty normal (finally!). Although I do still get sick some mornings since I have stopped taking Diclectin. However, other than getting sick once or twice a week I have been feeling really good.

21 Weeks (1).png

Exciting things about the second trimester:

  • feeling the baby move! Last week (20 weeks) I was sitting in my chair at my desk working on my online classes late in the evening and I felt movement in my stomach that was not from me and like nothing I have ever felt. It felt like Baby K was doing somersaults inside of me. It felt pretty cool and I for sure knew it was the baby moving. This past weekend I felt the baby kick my hand while lying in bed. Michael also got to feel the baby move <3 We are both loving this new stage of pregnancy!
  • finding out the gender! We had our 20-week ultrasound a week and a half ago. It was quite a long one because they look at the baby’s anatomy. I enjoyed it because I just got to lay there and it felt like a stomach massage. Unfortunately, at the hospital, our midwife clinic sent us to the technician could not tell us the gender. We were both very disappointed in having to wait even longer. We are planning on throwing a gender reveal party and posting the result on our YouTube channel.

18870343_10155140343925991_293161046_o.jpg

Cravings

I haven’t had a ton of cravings. I usually crave salty over sweet foods. However, I did have a random craving for mint Oreos and I’ve really been wanting ice cream like the cones from McDonalds or DQ. Other than that I really enjoy comfort type food. Tonight I finally made chicken pot pie (this recipe is so good and pretty easy) and it was amazing. Also foods like mashed potatoes, homemade mac n’ cheese, soup, anything with gravy or PB and J or grilled cheese sandwiches when I get hungry at night.

Body Changes

In the past week, I have really started to feel pregnant. I can tell I’m growing and my bump is becoming a bit more visible depending on what I’m wearing. I like wearing fitted dresses because they’re not pants and my bump is more visible. Also, sleep has become a little uncomfortable because I’m trying to only sleep on my sides in order to not cut off circulation by sleeping on my back, although I find that position really comfortable. Thankfully I’m able to get a lot of sleep and take naps because I get tired throughout the day or after cooking.

A few people have commented that I have a pregnancy glow and my hair feels the healthiest it has ever been. I’m definitely enjoying those perks.

I also find that even though I’m drinking a lot more water than normal my mouth feels dry.

Overall I’ve been feeling great since about 16 weeks. I’m trying to savour this time because I know things are going to get a lot more uncomfortable. Although I am excited to look bigger and buy some maternity clothes.

We are also very thankful that our 20-week ultrasound showed a healthy, well-developing baby. Baby K is about 10″ long and weighs just over 10 oz, about the size of a carrot.

Second Trimester.png


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST BE SURE TO CLICK BELOW TO SHARE IT

And Baby Makes 3 Newlywed Reflections~ Month 10

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

Get ready for baby Kramer coming October 2017!

17500450_10154925644365991_1174375771_o

I realize my last post was a little bit on the sad side, looking back I realize my hormones were going crazy during that time and as a result, my perspective wasn’t the clearest. I also had a super busy week full of meetings, assignments, presentations and just trying to make it through to reading week. Thankfully I made it to reading week and spent most of the week relaxing, puking and trying to keep down food :p Overall the break was much appreciated even if I wasn’t feeling the greatest! I also realized how important it is to prioritize self-care and not procrastinate on my assignments. I’m working on taking more downtime for myself, whether that’s reading, taking a bath or going for a walk and starting early on my assignments.

How we found out:

After a very stressful week prior to reading week, I was feeling very tired and starting to feel under the weather. On Saturday I went out during the day with my mom, in town.

cc

I had an unusually big appetite, but I was also exhausted and feeling sick by the afternoon, so I went home. At home, I was really sick, went to bed crying and slept for most of the day. Michael was gone to his friend’s house, so I texted him and told him how I had been feeling. He questioned whether I could possibly be pregnant, but I brushed it off and said I’d take a test the next day to rule it out (although my period was two weeks late at the time and I had been having vivid dreams for the past week, I was in denial about being pregnant). I woke up Sunday morning and immediately took a test (a long time ago we ordered these cheap tests from Amazon, they saved us a ton of money and I ended up being able to take 4 tests to confirm). To my utter surprise and amazement, the test immediately showed two pink lines!

I went into the bedroom and collapsed on the bed and told Michael to go look. He was still half asleep though and didn’t really fully realize what I was telling him. After he looked at the test he wanted me to take another one, to make sure. Once again the test turned positive right away. At this point, we were both shocked and just overwhelmed by this new reality. I was really happy when we found out and couldn’t stop smiling the entire day. Although at first, we didn’t feel the exact same emotions, we eventually both came around are both really excited to be welcoming our baby this October!

Young Marriage: Baby Makes 3

How I’ve Been Feeling

This first trimester has been rough! At six weeks nausea hit me hard. Thankfully I was on Reading Week, I was able to just rest and not go anywhere. I have to take a moment and give a huge shoutout to my incredible husband, who took the BEST care of me. He was by my side as I puked, he did dishes, got groceries, brought me food, always ensured I had various fluids, made me smoothies and fulfilled my prescription among other things he does to take care of me. Plus he did all this while working nights. Honestly, he is my hero <3

I still feel sick right when I wake up and later in the day. Other than that it has been more manageable and I’m starting to catch up on my schoolwork. Week six was the worst and since then it has gotten gradually better. I know from my mom and grandma they were both sick for 5 months, so I’m not expecting it to completely stop anytime soon 🙁 Although I am very grateful for diclectin!

I’m currently 10 weeks, 6 days. Almost out of first trimester! Although this trimester has been rough, I am very grateful to be pregnant. I truly cherish the privilege to be able to carry a life within me <3

Be sure to keep checking in with my blog as I plan on posting pregnancy updates regularly!

Here’s fun little video I made with my husband on our pregnancy announcement

CLICK HERE TO READ: Being Married Young is Hard Newlywed Reflections~Month 9

Young Marriage (2).png

CLICK HERE TO READ: 5 Things I Would Say to a New Bride Newlywed Reflections~Month 11

Young Marriage (13)


To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

10 Cheap and Fun Date Night Ideas

Everyone loves a good date night #amiright but sometimes when life is real and adulting is hard there just isn’t extra money to do the more extravagant things in life.

 

That’s okay! I got you covered with my 10 best cheap and mostly free date night ideas

10 Cheap and Fun Date Night Ideas

  1. Skating

    Find an outdoor rink either downtown or down your street, strap on some skates and go for it. Maybe you suck at skating but what better way to be cute and hold hands like the adorable couple you are.

  2. Pinterest Craft

    Be a #goals couple and make a fun Pinterest craft or recipe together! A few of my favourites are:

  • these chocolate lava cakes, they look super impressive but I promise are super easy to make and delish!

10 Cheap and Fun Date Night Ideas!

10 Cheap and Fun Date Night Ideas!

  • Make a memory journal together! Collect old event tickets, print off Instagram pictures, record important dates, have fun and be creative! I’ve made one of these for Michael before and it was honestly a lot of fun <3


1/2/3

  • Be super adorable and have a romantic night under the stars <3

10 Cheap and Fun Date Night Ideas!

  • Or stay inside make a blanket fort, order your fav takeout and chill

10 Cheap and Fun Date Night Ideas! <3

3. Go on a Hike!

Get out and explore a new part of your town, walk down a new trail, drive to a waterfall…get outdoors and start walking, you never know where it could lead or what conversations you’ll have.

     *during the Holiday’s you can turn this into looking at Christmas lights 

4. Challenge each other on the Wii, in a card game, wrestling or messy Twister

Don’t underestimate the fun in a little friendly competition. To improve your game practice while your spouse is away (;

Sometimes just wrestling together is a great way to relieve tension, even if they are 10x stronger than you :p

5. Act like kids and draw together

Get a huge bristol board from the dollar store and draw what you hope your future looks like.

6. Visit the Humane society and pet puppies

Take a jaunt over to your local humane society and talk about which animals are your favourite or you’d like to adopt one day.

7. See a movie at a cheap theatre

Some Colleges or Universities have theatres where they play movies just after they come out of the theatre for really cheap.

8. Give each other a makeover

Let him pick out your clothes, do your makeup the whole thing, then do the same for him. Or if you’re rich set a budget, go to the mall and buy each other an outfit to wear for the rest of the night.

9. Film a Youtube video

You don’t have to post it but here are some fun ideas to try together:

10. Water fight or whip cream fight

Basically whatever you can get your hands on before them…

10 Cheap and Fun Date Night Ideas!

I hope you are inspired to have fun with your spouse and forget about the stresses of life even if just for a few hours!

What are your favourite cheap date night ideas? I’d love to hear!

Click here to read my most popular post: Just Wait

If you liked this post be sure to click below to SHARE it!
To have posts delivered to your inbox be sure to SUBSCRIBE

*affiliate links used

5 Ways to make Christmas more Meaningful

Christmas is a wonderful time of year but sometimes the commercialization of the Holiday can overwhelm the actual celebration. A few years ago I got tired of all the presents, pressure and performance associated with Christmas. I even tried convincing my family take a cruise instead of spending another year being surrounded by artificial evergreens and not enough presents. We ended up staying around for the holidays and I’m really glad we did because I met my husband, but more importantly, I reframed how I viewed the Christmas season.

I have a biblical worldview, I look at the world through what God has written in His word to us. This belief teaches that we are not just body and mind but we also possess a spirit. In order for Christmas to have a deeper meaning for me, I needed to connect it with my spirituality. That is why I chose to do a set of advent readings a few years ago. Going through this study prepared my heart to anticipate Christmas, not for the superficial but the saviour. This kickstarted a desire to find deeper meaning in this holiday. Beyond Advent, I attended several Christmas concerts where as I mentioned I met Michael.

xmas-cookies

1. Observe Advent

I used the John Piper advent study which you can find here to download

2. Attend a Church Event

  • Bethlehem Walk
  • Christmas Cantata
  • Play
  • Carol sing
  • Christmas Eve service

3. Reflect on why the season in meaningful for you

4. Establish a new tradition

  • Make a new type of Christmas cookie
  • Visit a Christmas Market
  • Attend a lighting ceremony in your community
  • Drive around with a special Christmas beverage (I’m looking at you Starbucks (; ) and look at Christmas lights

5. Give Back

  • Donate your time or money to serving others
  • Donate toys or coats to organizations collecting them
  • Invite singles, new families or those less fortunate over for dinner