Reblog: Wise Words from My Friend Andrea

Hi, I’m Andrea! How do I know Kaylee, you ask? Well, Kaylee and I have been best friends for half our lives. If you ever get a chance to ask her how we met, do it. It’s quite the story! Today, I’d like to share with you about body image. However, before we dive into such a deeply personal topic, I should tell you a little about me. I enjoy crafting, hiking, anything nature-related, good conversations, board games, changing seasons, experimenting in the kitchen, and all things Christmas. Oh, and my husband is my favorite. We met in college (another great story for another time) and have been married for three years. We have an active, inquisitive 19-month-old son and are expecting a baby girl around Thanksgiving.

Enough about me. Let’s talk body image.

Remember when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) had their first child and gave the public their first look at their new baby? In the photos released, a beaming but tired William and Kate snuggled their newest addition. Kate wore a beautiful dress that tucked in at her waist and revealed her postpartum baby bump. To my surprise, media in the US centered not on the sweet little bundle of joy, but rather on Kate’s newly postpartum body. I couldn’t believe that after waiting 9-10 months to meet their baby, the public was more interested in how small Kate’s waist was, the fact that her belly still bulged little, and other features not worth noting.

While stigmas surrounding body image affect every person, childbearing women especially experience this reality in a deep and raw way. Some women I’ve known have a newfound security in their body image while pregnant or even after birth, finding pride in what their bodies can do and how many incredible changes they face to nourish and care for a child. Other women face deeper and more extreme struggles when they don’t have the perfectly round baby bump they’ve always pictured, or stretch marks tear across new areas of their bodies, or they face pain with their previously normal activities such as walking, intimacy, or even sitting. 

Pregnancy has a way of impacting every portion of our being, from physical to emotional to spiritual. From the moment conception takes place, our bodies begin a long process of growing, changing, and morphing in new ways. With my first pregnancy, I pictured glowing skin smiling through morning sickness, a perfectly round little baby bump, and minimal weight gain that would slough off with a few months of breastfeeding. Boy, was I wrong. I was instead met with an overall feeling of puffiness from my face to my toes almost immediately after conceiving. My fatigue was overwhelming. I didn’t just feel tired. I looked tired. Acne popped up. When my bump began to show (much earlier than anticipated, I should add), I was met with more insecurity. I’ve always had a rough relationship with my stomach. Attracting more attention to an area I’ve always wanted to downplay brought up even more feelings of insecurity, especially considering the many unwelcome hands touching it (another topic altogether). Yes, I was absolutely thankful to be pregnant, but I just didn’t look or feel the way I had pictured. 

Once I was in the midst of the second half of my pregnancy, my weight gain – while in the healthy range on doctor’s office charts – felt like too much. My jeans were tight and my maternity shirts that had fit me at 18 weeks were creeping too high on my stomach while my bust pushed them too low on my chest. Everything was changing. By 30 weeks, my stomach had reached its limit for how far it could stretch. I tried creams, but my genetics won out. Stretch marks began to span across my growing belly. When I found the first one, I felt panic rise in my chest. “What?! This early?! How many more will I get before my baby arrives?” I’m glad I didn’t know the answer then. I needed time to accept and appreciate my changing body. 

Eventually, I couldn’t see my toes. I could hardly do a patchwork job of shaving my legs. I was too uncomfortable to do much of anything. Basic hygiene took loads of effort. I didn’t feel very human anymore. I used to be excited for this stage of pregnancy when I was obviously pregnant and feeling every movement of my little son…but the discomfort nearly outweighed the excitement. Then I faced guilt for feeling this way. Much of my pregnancy was not what I had pictured.

Then, the day came. The day. I gave birth to my miracle son, my sweet little boy. I had pictured this moment in my mind’s eye countless times. I’d heard women say everything in their world melted away the moment they saw their baby, and nothing else mattered. It’s a bit of a dramatized statement, but it holds some truth. Looking at my son and recognizing that I was his most crucial caregiver brought new perspective to my life. My dislikes about the current state of my body didn’t matter so much anymore. I had more to think about than the size of my waist or how many stretch marks I had acquired. 

Regardless of a shift in perspective, I still had the same body to sleep in, eat in, and see naked in the bathroom mirror. I had the same body to move in, breathe in, and use to care for my new baby. I had to come to terms with what it was. I remember lying in the bathtub at the hospital the first chance I had to bathe after birth. I was exhausted and thankful that I had completed the birthing process. Then, I looked at my stomach…and I couldn’t believe the words that came to my mind. “My stomach is floating.” That once-full belly with a little pregnancy fat and a little pregnancy stretch was floating. My stomach muscles were too tired and stretched to hold it. I felt another wave of panic. “Will my stomach always be like this?! How will I ever run again? How will I ever find another dress that makes me feel beautiful?” But thankfully, I was too tired to dwell on these things for long. 

In the weeks following birth, I was still too tired to do much fretting about what my body looked like. I was caring for a new life 24/7 and adjusting to a new level of responsibility and purpose for me. Eventually, as I emerged from the fog of caring for a newborn, my insecurities began to eat at me again. It took longer than I had imagined for my stomach muscles to tighten again. My extra weight wouldn’t budge much until I had stopped nursing my son. Yet, this round of dealing with insecurities looked different than it had throughout my pregnancy. This time, I had a newfound empowerment. Yes, I was stretched out, tired, scarred, and a few pounds heavier than I wanted to be…but I had carried a life. I wore the battle scars of nourishing another human from the inside out. I plumbed the depths of my heart and mind for strength I didn’t know I could ever muster during the most uncomfortable moments of pregnancy, in that birthing suite, and in the middle of the night fits of colic. And in those moments, I had the opportunity to reassess my purpose in life, and how that intense difficulty served to point me to the One who made me, sustains me, and gave me my son to care for. He gave me meaning and purpose and used even my lowest moments to teach me about himself and draw me in to his incredible grace and tenderness. 

Call me crazy, but I’ve found more confidence and strength in my postpartum body than I ever had in my pre-baby body with my flat, smooth stomach and well-exercised body. Defining my purpose and looking beyond the moment to remember it was more impactful than a few stretch marks could ever be. I’ve been scarred by childbearing…but the confidence I’ve found has meant more than any of my previous body ideals. And that confidence could only be found in seeing beyond the moment and shifting my perspective to my body’s purpose. I am so much more than my body. 

Whether you’ve ever experienced pregnancy, birth, or caring for a baby postpartum, you’re bound to at least experience some form of body image issues. Remember, your body is a vehicle to carry out your purpose in life. It’s not the prize at the end of a race. You have a chance to live every day in this vehicle that will continually morph throughout your life, with or without childbearing. And it’s worth it. Don’t let your body be what defines you. It’s about what you do with your body that matters. Who are you? What do you think? What makes you tic? How do you spend your time? What gives you purpose?

39 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

39 weeks pregnant! Baby Boy is in between the size of a pumpkin and a watermelon. Something exciting happened this week. Baby officially dropped which means we are one step closer to starting labor and meeting our baby. ❤️

Mommy and Daddy and anxiously awaiting Baby Bears arrival. I am officially on maternity leave and have loads of appointments scheduled.

Today I have an appointment with my midwife where I am hoping to get a membrane sweep and schedule an induction in case he decides to be stubborn and not come out on his own.

Later in the morning, I am also scheduled for a pregnancy massage. My midwife made a recommendation that I get a massage in hopes that it will induce labor.

This past week I have also been trying to induce labor at home in different ways, including walking up and down stairs, curb stepping, eating dates, doing figure 8’s with my hips, the miles circuit and yoga.

This weeks symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, nesting, frequent urination, Braxton Hicks, irregular contractions, pelvic and back pain, and lots of baby kicks.

I’m praying baby comes before the end of the year! ❤️

Merry Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! This is our last Christmas as a family of 3… and yes I am including Rocky in our little family. This year I was very hopeful that our Baby Bear would have a Christmas birthday but that just wasn’t meant to be. It’s okay. We know he’ll come when he is good and ready.

This year has been a little crazy, but Charles and I feel so blessed for everything God has taught us this year.

I unfortunately didn’t get to making Christmas cards this year because Christmas just kinda snuck up on me and I ran out of time.

From our family to yours, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

– The Rhames (Charles, Kaylee, Baby Bear and Rocky!

38 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

38 Weeks and ready to pop! Baby could come any time! This week baby is the size of a winter melon or a pumpkin depending on which set of measurements you go by.

Today we had a non-stress test and baby did great. He slept in the beginning and they had to use a buzzer to wake him up, but he started moving and grooving after that.

Later, we had a midwife appointment. I have gained another pound and have gained a total of 9 lbs this pregnancy so far. My blood pressure is looking good and baby is still measuring a week ahead. He is still head down, and in a good position for labor when ever he decides to get things moving.

We also talked to the midwife about my ultrasound. Since baby is measuring fine, and passing all of his tests, my midwife said they will let me go to 40 weeks and 5 days before having an induction on 1/11. I did ask to have a membrane sweep done and my midwife said at my next visit (39 weeks) I can have it done.

7 weeks vs 38 weeks

At the end of my visit my midwife did give me permission to try and induce labor naturally at home. Here are a few things she suggested I should try:

  • Curb Stepping
  • Exercising/Being Active
  • Eating Dates
  • Drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
  • Doing the Miles Circuit

This week’s symptoms include fatigue, nesting, nausea, pelvic and back pain, irregular contractions, mood swings and lots of baby kicks. I’m getting very uncomfortable and not feeling cute these days as my clothes just don’t seem to fit right, and everything just feels snug.

This mama is trying and doing what she can to stay active for labor, and allow my body to get ready for whenever labor kicks in. We are getting so excited to meet our baby boy. We are still of course hoping for a Christmas baby, but honestly we will be fine with whenever Baby Rhames decides to make his grand arrival! 💕

37 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

37 Weeks! Baby is officially considered “Early Term” and is the size of a head of romaine lettuce.

It has been an exciting week, with lots of doctor appointments as we get closer to our due date.

On Monday morning, Baby was up kicking momma from 2-5am. After that he fell asleep. I went to my non-stress test at 8am. The way the test works is within a half hour they are looking for two accelerations of baby’s heart rate (heart rate needs to go up 15 beats and stay there for 10 seconds, Ex Baseline is 140, so he needs to reach 155 at least for ten seconds twice). Unfortunately during the test, he was only able to do this once, even after using a buzzer like tool on my belly to wake him up. So my nurses ordered an ultrasound. A little while later I had an ultrasound to check on baby and make sure he was alright.

As we suspected, baby boy was doing just fine and sleeping the day away since he was up partying all night long.

Thursday, I had a full morning of appointments. First a non-stress test which baby passed with flying colors. Then a check in with my midwife. We reviewed my birth plan and everything seems to make sense and be in order. We also discussed an epidural, how it works and what I can expect. Finally, I did the Group B Strep test and asked my OB for a cervical check. I was just curious to see where I was at. We discovered that I am 1 cm dilated and my cervix is beginning to get soft.

Next, we headed to another ultrasound appointment, to determine how baby is growing. Since I have GD and had Covid later in pregnancy, my doctors suggested I have a growth scan since GD can make baby too big and Covid can make baby too small. It was so exciting to see baby on the ultrasound screen twice in one week. He had grown so much since our 20 week scan. The tech was able to confirm that we are certainly having a boy. We also found out that our little man has long thick hair! 🥰 Finally, we were told that as far as measurements he is just above average. Baby Boy is measuring at 37 weeks 6 days and at 6 lbs 15 oz so almost 7 lbs, and in the 63rd percentile. We will discuss at our next appointment if we need to schedule an induction.


At 37 weeks pregnant, this week’s symptoms include back pain, pelvic pain, lose joints and ligaments, diarrhea, fatigue, nesting, increased hunger, lots of baby movements, lots of emotional ups and downs.

3 weeks or less to go! Come on baby! We’d love to meet you in time for Christmas!!!

Maternity Photos!

So as many of you know, I’ve stayed pretty on top of documenting and taking photos of my pregnancy and bump progress. One thing I really wish I was able to do, is take some professional maternity photos. For weeks I tried budgeting for photos and we simply just didn’t have the funds. Then I tried reaching out to different family members and friends to take the photos, but it seemed like every time we tried to schedule something there was either bad weather or someone was exposed to Covid.

Thankfully at 35 weeks, my Mama took some time out of her day to take a few cute maternity pictures of us. They turned out adorable and I’m thankful for what we have! 🥰

Baby Bear, we love you so much and can’t wait to meet you! 💕

36 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

36 Weeks = 9 Months! Baby Boy is the size of a Papaya and keeps on growing!

This week’s symptoms include fatigue, increased hunger, pelvic/joint pain, back aches, stretch marks, round ligament pain, lots of baby kicks and rolls.

Our OB appointments the last few weeks have gone very well. We are passing all our NST’s and mentally preparing for labor and delivery.

This week I have been in full blown nesting mode. I have…

  • Deep cleaned my kitchen.
  • Deep cleaned my dining room.
  • Deep cleaned my living room.
  • Double checked my hospital bags.
  • Cleaned my carpets.
  • Picked up my breast pump.
  • Caught up on all the laundry.
  • Started stocking up on food and essentials for winter.

We are counting down the days until we meet our Baby Boy!

Here’s a good laugh for all of you! A quote from one of my preschoolers:

Child is rubbing my tummy and says “You’re having a baby? My mommy’s water bottle broke when she had my baby sister!”

Oh, from the mouths of babes. 🥰😂

When Will Baby Rhames Arrive?

We are officially one month away from my due date, I still can’t believe it. I’m curious when everyone thinks Baby Rhames will arrive. Before you make your guess, here are a few things to consider…

Due Date is 1/6/22

Baby is measuring a week ahead.

This is my third pregnancy, but first time making it to term.

With various health issues and complications, my doctors will likely not let me go past my due date.

I’m secretly hoping for a Christmas baby!

What’s your guess?

35 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

35 weeks with 5 weeks to go! We are almost there!!! This week baby is the size of a pineapple. 🍍

I am really starting to feel the effects of the third trimester. I never thought I would reach a point where I am sick of being pregnant, but dare I say it… it’s just so hard to do the everyday things anymore. Charles has to help me put on my shoes because I just can’t reach my feet anymore. Doing dishes, cooking and any task in the kitchen is nearly impossible with out bumping my belly on something. And if I drop something on the floor, it’s game over. Looking back I have had a relatively easy pregnancy, but I can see why they say it gets so hard at the end.

This week’s symptoms include round ligament pain, fatigue, Braxton Hicks, insomnia, pelvic pressure, stretch marks, nesting, heartburn, body aches, acne, and baby kicks

We got a few things checked off our list this week including

  • Installing the car seat base in the car.
  • Creating my padsicles.
  • Reviewing our birth plan with our midwife.

This week we also had 2 non stress tests and and prenatal appointment. Everything is looking great! My uterus is measuring at 36 cm, so about a week ahead and I’ve gained 1/2 a pound. Heart rate is good and baby is in a great position for birth as he is more on the left side and head down. He has hiccups a few times a day which is completely normal. Blood pressure is good, and we have been passing all of the non stress tests. The only concern this week is Braxton Hicks. I’ve been having about 2-3 every hour. Midwife says all is normal and my body is just getting ready.

5 more weeks to go! We can’t wait!!! 🥰

Feeling a Little Extra Thankful This Year 🍂

We are feeling a little extra thankful this year! I thank God for my family and friends, my job, my kitty, my health, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, our little bun in the oven and so much more! ❤️

This year we decided to change our Thanksgiving menu a little and have a porterhouse steak instead of turkey!

We also stuck with some classics, including crescent rolls and gravy.

Charcuterie board

Of course, my holiday staple Bruschetta

Homemade mashed potatoes

Stuffing and corn

Green bean casserole

Veggies and hummus

… and cranberry sauce.

I hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving! 🍂

Picking Out a Name for Baby Rhames… Here’s a Hint!

Friends, I am happy to say we have finally picked out a name for our son, of whom is due very soon. Picking out a name wasn’t as easy as we thought. Since I am a teacher and have been for almost 6 years now, I have come across a lot of names in my career that, let’s say have left an impression on me. Whether it was negative or positive, there are just some names that I couldn’t possibly name my son.

So far, Charles and I have shared Baby Bear’s name with only a few close family members and friends. However, I don’t plan to reveal his name on here until after he is born. I have decided however that I will give you guys a hint.

Hope you’re ready because here is your hint!

Baby’s first name starts with an M and is biblical.

I would love to hear your guesses on what you think Baby Bear’s first name is!

Reblog: My Top 10 Favorite Things About Fall!

FALL IS MY FAVORITE!

Fall is my favorite season. I love everything about fall. Anything from the colorful trees, to the doughnuts… I just love it! Fall is my happy place! Since I love fall so much, I have decided to share my top 10 favorite things about Fall.

MY TOP 10 FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT FALL 

  1. Changing Leaves – I love seeing the leaves change in the fall. Here in Michigan, it can be absolutely breath taking seeing red, orange, yellow and brown being displayed through out our beautiful state.
  2. Doughnuts – I would have to admit that doughnuts indeed are my love language. What’s funny is I am really not a bread person. I don’t like a lot of bread but I love the sweet, and fulfilling goodness of a doughnut… especially in the fall.
  3. Sweater and Hoodie Weather – I love to layer and be comfy in my clothes. I get so excited when it is just cool enough that I can throw on a hoodie, or look stylish and comfy in a sweater, leggings, boots and a beanie.
  4. Fall Scents – I get so excited to smell fall, I know sounds crazy to say. But I do. I love smelling pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, smores, vanilla and everything in between. I am one of those people who looks forward to a pumpkin spice latte every fall at Biggby. I am also one of those people who enjoys the new fall scents at Bath and Body Works.
  5. Football Games – I get so hyped for football games at my college. It just feels like fall when I am sitting in the stands, wearing my hoodie and cheering on my team.
  6. Back to School – Even though it may be stressful for some, back to school just puts me in a good mood. It just feels like a new beginning with new goals and dreams I have yet to accomplish. Plus, I love catching all the good back to school supplies deals.
  7. The Apple Orchard – I have many fond memories of going to the apple orchard as a child and as an adult. As a child I can recall picking apples, eating doughnuts, going on hay rides and milking a goat. As an adult I can still recall picking apples, eating doughnuts and even accompanying preschoolers on field trips to the apple orchard.
  8. Fall Vibes – For some reason I feel like here in Michigan, people are a lot happier in the fall than they are in the spring. It’s almost as if many of us Michiganaders enjoy the cool weather of fall right after a hot summer. Whereas we are slightly grumpy in the spring because we are still somewhat holding a grudge after the brutal winter we had just experienced.
  9. I Met My Husband in the Fall – Someday I will likely share our love story, but for now I will share how we met. My husband and I met on September 4th, in Spanish class at our local community college. I was sitting at a table by myself in the front of the class, and he came to sit by me… and the rest is history.
  10. My Wedding Anniversary – My Husband and I got married on November 12th , 2016. it was beautifully fall themed with doughtnut holes, apple cider, fall leaves, pumpkins… you name it, we had it. Fall is a very special time for us.

Thanks for reading my Top 10 Favorite Things About Fall! What are your favorite things about Fall?

Decorating the Nursery/ Organizing Baby’s Things

Here is our big nursery reveal!!!

We currently live in a one bedroom apartment, so we will be sharing a sleeping space with Baby Bear at least for the first couple of months. Hopefully we will have a bigger space where baby will have his own room and place to store his toys, but still be able to sleep in our room until he turns 1. We got our travel size bassinet/ pack n’ play off of Amazon! It is a Graco brand and so far we love it! It’s perfect if you are working with a small space.

I found these cubes off of Amazon, and decided to use them to store Baby’s clothes, hats, swaddles, burp cloths and toys.

Baby Boy has 3 swaddles and over 30 hats all ranging in different sizes. He’s a winter baby being born in Michigan, so hopefully these hats will keep his head warm.

Baby Boy has a large amount of burp cloths and cloth diapers. I was told that cloth diapers work great as burp cloths!

Baby also has an abundance of books, and mommy has a thing for sloths so of course he has some sloths.

I plan to have all size newborn and 3 month clothes washed and ready to go before baby arrives.

Books, books, and more books. This year due to covid, I had a virtual book party instead of a baby shower, and let me tell you…. Baby was blessed with more than enough books.

We have lots of blankets washed and ready! Some are quilts, some knitted and some Sherpa.

Socks, booties, slippers and shoes are all organized in here.

Diapers and wipes are easily accessible and near the bassinet which is where we plan to change baby a majority of the time.

Diaper caddy is full of diapers, Vaseline, wipes, burp cloths, corn starch and first aid kit.

Thanks for stopping by my tour of Baby Boy’s nursery!

30 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

We are 30 weeks pregnant, and Baby Boy is the size of a Cantaloupe! Can you believe it? We only have 10 weeks left until we meet our Baby Bear!

This week I started checking my blood sugar four times a day, and so far all my numbers have been in range. This week I’ve been really struggling with sleep. I know they say you don’t sleep in the third trimester, and I guess I thought they were kidding. If I’m not waking up because I have to pee I’m usually waking up because baby is kicking me, I’m hungry, can’t get comfortable, have Braxton Hicks or I’m hot.

Other symptoms I’ve been having this week include fatigue, slight feet swelling and cramps, itchy belly, the starting of stretch marks, colostrum, acne, discharge, varicose veins, frequent urination and just lots of aches and pains.

So far we have the nursery about 85% complete! Still waiting on a few things like washing the rest of baby’s clothes, getting a hamper, diaper genie, and any other essentials I can’t think of at the moment.

Our hospital bag is about 50% complete and I still need to pick up a few things including deodorant, dry shampoo, snacks, going home clothes etc.

Here is to 30 weeks and only 10 weeks to go! January 6th can’t come soon enough!!!!!

29 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

29 Weeks pregnant with 11 weeks to go! Baby is the size of a Acorn Squash!

This week’s symptoms include fatigue, crazy emotions, hunger and cravings, varicose veins, light headed-ness, increased thirst, hot flashes, round ligament pain, lightning crotch, nesting and daily baby kicks.

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are a few things we have completed in order to prepare for baby,…

  • Set up bassinet/pack n’ play
  • Start washing baby clothes
  • Finalize birth plan
  • Pack about 50% of hospital bag

This morning I had 3 doctor appointments including 1 with a nurse at maternal fetal medicine about my gestational diabetes, the second with a dietitian at maternal fetal medicine about my gestational diabetes and the third with my midwife.

At my first appointment the nurse reviewed with me what gestational diabetes is, how it affects baby and how we can manage it. At my second appointment with my dietitian we reviewed how to manage gestational diabetes through diet.

At my last appointment, I saw my midwife and baby and I are doing great. Baby’s heart rate was 140, and he was wiggling around in my tummy. My uterus is measuring right on track at 29 cm, I received the TDap vaccine, and I go back in 2 weeks for another visit.