July 30, 2015

I've always been drawn to music (even though I can't sing very well!!!) and when it comes to worship, I can't get enough. I've talked a lot about my love of worship and how closely that ties to my faith, so when I started working on my playlist for labor and delivery, I realized that all the songs I wanted to select were songs of praise to the Lord. I think during that time I will need to draw strength from my faith and rely in His goodness for the power to push through. I wanted to start a new study for the month of August since this will be my last month before Solomon joins our family. I wanted to find something that would help me during the task ahead of birthing him, so I decided to start with my favorite, She Reads Truth. I wasn't sure what I would choose but after seeing the Hymns Series I knew that was the right choice.

I'm really enjoying this study, and I'm only on day 3! Digging deeper in the songs that we sing to Him is so refreshing. The layout of the days are great and easy to complete. The normal bible verses to start, then the written study but then the study ends with the hymn that the day is focused around. You can listen to the song, meditate over it and just be one with the Lord. I love it. I listen to the songs several times and soak it all in, writing my prayers and reading the study. It is also wonderful to find some new songs that I wouldn't normally pick for my labor and delivery playlist, now having a strong connection to the song. 

My prayer is to find God in a deeper level in all of these songs & use that when I need it most. To truly search for Him and sing the praises to Him. My head is constantly being pulled in 50 directions right now, so finding the time to sit and worship Him, and put everything else aside has been amazing!

Have any of you completed these studies?? 
I'd love to hear what you have learned!

our reasons for a doula.

July 28, 2015

First of all, what is a doula?? Definition says....
a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.

I also like to describe a doula as "the most amazing woman ever!" because that is pretty much what ours is. I am excited to share our reasons for hiring a doula, since I have been asked that question a lot & I'm really happy with our decision!

1 // this is our first time with pregnancy
This was honestly the biggest reason we decided to find a doula. There are so many unknown questions about pregnancy and birth that a doula can help you with and make you feel more comfortable. There is a sense of safety because a doula really KNOWS what is going on. They train to help in so many areas and it can make you feel secure in the crazyness of pregnancy. 

2 // we are going the natural/unmedicated route
I know there are a lot of doulas that help with hospital medicated births but it is most common to have a doula if you are doing the opposite. A doula is trained to help you manage the pain of child birth and give you ways to complete the task faster and more effeciently. We are lucky enough to have a doula that will come to our house during the beginning stages of labor so I will have support and help if I have any questions. This also takes off a ton of pressure since she will be there to help us know when it is time to head to the birth center so we won't make that trip too early and have to leave and come back again, which is very common with first births.

3 // birting classes & postpartum care is usually provided
This was a huge perk for us since Peter travels a lot for work and we could not take part in normal birthing classes since they can take several weeks to complete. It is much easier to have the one on one sessions with our doula directly in the comfort of our own home. It also helps create that bond with the doula, so when the time comes for baby to enter the world, you will have a sense of comfort with her. Postpartum care is different for every doula it seems, it could be a couple of hours in the hospital/birthing center, or several weeks. I'm so happy that our doula includes service for 6 weeks after the birth. Like I mentioned before, this is our first time around with pregnancy so that also means it is our first time around with parenthood. The big world of baby is exciting but it can also be very scary if you don't know all the answers. From breastfeeding, to healing after birth, to just simple ways to take care of our new baby; our doula can help make that transition a lot smoother and that is a huge perk for us.

Solomon's second shower.

July 27, 2015

Over the weekend, these beautiful women above gave me and baby Solomon a wonderful shower!
I am so thankful for their love and friendship and I can't describe how thankful I am for the love they have for our little man already. He is so lucky!

It was so fun to spend time with my favorite ladies. I have been so blessed with so many groups of friends in the past few years and I always get excited when I can see them all in one room together. Work, church, new friends, old friends... they are all such a blessing to me! 

I was overwhelmed by all the wonderful gifts we received for our baby boy! It was so much fun to see all the little things that he will be able to use. I seriously sat in his room for hours and looked through everything, imagining what it will be like when he finally joins us! 

One of the most fun parts of the shower was the photo wall with all the props! My friends really know me well and I was so excited to have so many shots with my girls!!!

Niagara Falls // Eliya Family Reunion

July 24, 2015

The trip started out bright and early, last Wednesday morning, and it all started great! Thanks to the little peanut in my belly waking me up for a trip to the bathroom at 3:45, I was wide awake and had time for breakfast and getting ready so we could leave for the airport around 4:50. Once we were on the plane things hit a low.... picture this.

Oh, let me grab my camera and delete all the pictures since I just loaded them to the computer for extra space on my memory card...... turn on camera, hit the review button, "NO CARD" flashes on screen. Then realizing that I never grabbed the card from the computer after I loaded all the photos the night before.

My heart sank. I was so sad but hopeful that we could find a replacement once we landed. After two trips, one to Target and the other to Radio Shack, we learned that those cards are very out of date and they don't sale them anymore, so Amazon was our best bet. I honestly considered having my mom overnight me the memory card from our house to the hotel, but that was crazy!

Thankfully our iPhone cameras take great pictures so we were able to snap a lot of shots with our phones. Here are a few of the highlights that I want to remember in the years to come....

Our beautiful view from our room which was even prettier at night!!

Our first night when we arrived was beautiful and we enjoyed a fun dinner at Water Street Landing. It was so nice to see all the family and sit back and relax together.

The next morning my sweet hubby went to pick up this amazing doughnut that tasted like a slice of birthday cake with some half decaf coffee for me! It was delicious!!!! I may or may not have had this several mornings.....

The Eliya Family Game day is one of the most fun parts about the family reunion every five years. This year included water balloons, and some games with some lunch. It was a day of perfect weather and all the work that was put into the day was so appreciated. We all had such a great time. 

The only day of rain during our trip was on when we visited the Niagara Falls, which means we all got soaked anyways, so it really didn't matter! It was so beautiful and I'm so glad we decided to do the Goat Island Cave of the Winds Tour since I couldn't do the boat tour during my third trimester. It was so fun to still get close to the falls and not be trapped on a boat. 

It was such a great trip with the big and crazy Eliya family! I'm so glad we got to enjoy this little get away before our baby boy joins all the fun.

Pregnancy Post // month eight.

July 21, 2015

things are getting real around here.....
so excited to be getting closer to the end and meeting our baby boy!

Weeks 29 - 32

I completely failed with week 32! Peter was traveling at the beginning of the week,
and we were on vacation during the end of the week so I was very busy and very tired!

Some questions we've been asked

are you getting nervous // no, but I am definitely getting ready! I'm at the point now when I constantly think about when he is going to come and trying my best to be patient because I'm excited to see when he will arrive. I know I still have several weeks to go, so being patient is key.

how long are you taking off of work // we recently decided that my last day before maternity leave will be August 28th so I can relax and get ready for baby boy if he doesn't join us earlier than then. I will be taking 8 weeks leave and I'll decide during that time if I want to go back. I've always loved the idea of being a stay at home mom and I can't imagine not loving it, but I know there are women who think they will love it and are more than ready to go back to work. I think that is one of the best parts of maternity leave, you can decide what is best for you and your family.

last vacation with no baby littles.

July 20, 2015

I knew the vacation from over the weekend would be wonderful and I was honestly excited to have one last trip without being worried about a diaper bag and feeding/sleeping schedules. I was not a fan of needing daily naps and dealing with swollen hands and feet with a few braxton hicks contractions thrown in the mix for fun, but that is part of the deal with pregnancy and traveling. It was still an amazing trip and here are a few of my favorite littles from our time in Niagara Falls......

being able to help out with my sweet nephews over the weekend // watching Peter dance with one of the little girl cousins, and praying for a baby girl one day in our future // sleeping in and having breakfast in bed almost every day // taking long, hot showers in the amazing bathroom with a rain shower head // the super fun game day with all the family where I took all the photos since I couldn't participate in the slightly dangerous games because they are all crazy!!

packing for vacation.

July 15, 2015

One of my favorite parts of traveling is the packing... unpacking, not so much (ugh, laundry!) but, selecting the outfits and packing everything away for a trip is so fun to me. We left early this morning for a fun vacation full of family reunion amazingness and a cousin's wedding. Think, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, only better because it will have the view of the Niagara Falls, and my amazing Arabic family. Yea, awesome!! So, I thought I would share my little way of organizing and packing for a trip since I find it so much fun.

1 // set the itinerary
Once I start working on a trip I always start with the itinerary. It gets the juices flowing and you can start thinking about what you will need for the trip. Which shoes are best for the day, which are needed for night, all those important things. Once your itinerary is set you can move on to the clothes.

2 // select the clothing per event
I always try and break up the days on vacation so I can have a morning/day outfit and then a night outfit. This isn't always needed and even when you have an itinerary set up with a break in the day to change for a night event, you may not have time to change, but it is always a good idea to make sure you have enough options.

3 // pack for multiple uses
you can pack several things to use in many different ways like; shoes that can be worn multiple times, tank tops that can be worn under shirts and alone, changing up outfits with different jewelry and shoes for a night event. All of these things are easy to do and helps you pack lighter also.

4 // try on all outfits to make sure you like it
nothing is more annoying than picturing an outfit in your head that seems like a great idea and then putting it on once you are on vacation and hating it. Try everything on while you are packing/organizing to make sure you like the way you look in it.

5 // zip-lock bags are your best friend
especially if you are going on a long trip and you want to make sure you stay organized with each day. During our honeymoon we traveled to 6 different hotels in 10 days so organization was key for me. I packed each days outfit in a separate zip-lock back with the jewelry included. It also saved on a ton of space in my bags since you can press the air out of the bags. I don't do this for every trip but when I know I will be moving around a lot, it is a must.

What are your vacation packing secrets?!? Anything I must know?
I'd love to hear them!!!

the nursery, so far.

July 14, 2015

Working on the nursery has been one of the most fun things ever! Peter has said a few times, "his room is going to be the best room in the house!", ooops, he may be right. I can't help it!! Of course I started out with a plan and some ideas for the nursery and once all the pieces started to come together I realized it wasn't going to work. Below is what we started with....

The daybed is a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be so it didn't fit well on the entry wall of the room. I was trying to figure out how everything was going to make sense and with some discussions with my mom and friends, we realized that the daybed and crib needed to switch places. The sizes made more sense that way. Now the adorable room is looking like this!!

Of course I have to give a HUGE shout out to my wonderful, baby daddy, for all of his hard work! The furniture started out my thing... I did the crib almost all by myself, and the side table was all me! But, then the pieces started to get bigger, and well, I started to get a lot bigger also, and the building nights turned into Peter screwing things together while I lied back on pillows in the floor for moral support. It was fun though, and I'm so glad we got to work on everything together for our little boy!

We had a lot of help from my Mom, also. She helped with some painting (she painted the room while we were on our Babymoon, and we were so thankful!!) and staining (all the wood pieces in the room that weren't the right shade of wood, yes... I'm talking about all those knobs!), so she deserves one big hug and a huge thank you! I don't know what I'd do with out her.

All we have left is the decorating side which is what I'm most excited about!! Peter's Mom is going to help me hem the curtains and make the crib skirt! After that, will be adding in all the final touches and making the crib look complete once we have the mattress. I'm so excited to bring our little boy home to his precious room... it gives me butterflies when I think about it!

Pregnancy Post // second favorites.

July 7, 2015

The second trimester was wonderful, as most pregnant women say....
It was honestly a little weird how I felt like a completely different person when I woke up on week 10 and it only continued to get better every week. I liked sharing some of my favorite things during my First Trimester & all of those favorites are still pretty nice, but I'm thankful that I've been able to skip the OJ with my vitamins now. Water all the way!! 

1 // water
Speaking of water, I'm obsessed. I can't get enough of it. I've always been an ice cruncher so now I'm doing that all the time which made me a little nervous since I've heard that was a sign of low iron, but my iron is actually really good, so I guess the ice and water is just a normal pregnancy thing for some? I'm trying to cut down the water drinking at night so I can eliminate some trips to the bathroom while I'm sleeping but I'm thirsty all the time. I also think the steady weight gain and guzzling water has helped with not getting any stretch marks.

2 // pop-tarts
THESE tasty and somewhat healthy pop-tarts make me so happy!! I've tried a lot of the flavors but the raspberry is definitely my favorite! This brand is my go to for most breakfast foods that are fast and easy at work. They tend to be my midday sweet snack that doesn't make me feel guilty. 

3 // peanut butter cups
But.... when I don't mind feeling a little guilty, and I need something sweet, my hands always reach for the perfect mixture of PB and Chocolate. Sometimes at night when I'm feeling the craving I decide to grab a spoon of PB to settle my stomach and leave the chocolate out, but there are times when I have to give in. 

4 // oatmeal
THIS kind is my favorite and my breakfast almost every morning at work. I have a banana on the way to work and then once I get to my desk I have 1/2 a cup of coffee with my hot apple cinnamon oatmeal. It is the perfect morning combo and I love this brand. Just like the pop-tarts, there is enough sweetness to cure my sweet tooth but it isn't overly processed with fake flavors so it isn't overpowering. I know I will continue to eat this once baby boy is here since it is fast and healthy!

5 // naps
yep.... still gotta have them, especially on the weekends. 

6 // coconut oil
THIS stuff is my main obsession. I was using the Burt's Bees belly butter and I really loved it but once I ran out and my skin started to stretch more I thought it would be best to find an unrefined organic coconut oil to use on my skin. I started using a little bit each night on my belly and the smell was pretty strong but once I got used to it I couldn't stop. I now put it ALL OVER my body. Every night before bed I spread it all over my tummy, hips and even my chest, neck and face! My skin has never been this soft or looked this clear. I've also started using it on my legs after I shave and I seriously think it has cut down my shaving some how?? This is definitely a beauty product that I will never stop using! Oh, and I even use it to take off my eye makeup sometimes, it is amazing for everything!!!

7 // LOFT maternity
I have mentioned my love for LOFT Maternity before but after trying many different brands I will hands down say that LOFT is the best! THESE jeans are so comfortable that I end up wearing them all the time, even when I'm lounging around at home. Yes, I put these on instead of PJS! They are that great.... and you can score some great deals on their clothing when they have the extra 50% off deals. They only sale the maternity online which can be tricky but I was told to buy whatever size I normally wear and they would fit well, which is true. 

Well, that's the round up for the second trimester!
Now that we are in the third and final trimester I'm trying to enjoy my time and relax as much as possible... not much longer till our little man is here with us!!!! Oh boy!!

4th of July 2015.

July 6, 2015

Over the weekend we decided to have a little cookout for the 4th of July! We had a cookout last year and it was a lot of fun, so why not do it again!?! Throw some kabobs on the grill, make my favorite corn salad and enjoy time with friends and their sweet babies. Not to mention all the babies coming for us and our friends, 4 pregnant girls all together makes for some interesting conversation! It was a great night and we are so thankful for the people that are in our life. 

^^ all the bellies in order of when we are due!

and one with all the girls, even though it is blurry... still love it!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend welcoming July!
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