Lela Kay Huddleston

Our niece was born on December 18th and boy is she cute! We got in quite a bit of snuggle time this weekend when we were home for Christmas and she is just perfect. Kyle and Jess (Sean's brother and his wife) are already pros with her and we are excited to join them in the parenting club soon! 

Lela Kay Huddleston, 1 week old


21 weeks

This pic is at 20 weeks, just before my office's Christmas dinner party. 

How far along: 21 weeks
Size of baby: Length of a carrot, approx 10 inches and 3/4 of a pound. 
Gender: A girl! Carson Ruby Huddleston
Maternity clothes: Most of my pants still sort of work, but I'm generally most comfortable in leggings or a dress of some sort. It's on my to-do list to try on some maternity pants this weekend.  
Weight gain: I think about 5 pounds. I feel hungry most of the time and have had a couple of low blood sugar episodes, so I'm trying to eat snacks throughout the day. 
Movement: Yes, lots of movements now. Sean felt her moving for the first time last night (Christmas) -- that was really special. Today she was moving so much it was sort of making me nauseous. 
Sleep: It's been a little restless this week, but that could be due to traveling for Christmas. 
Symptoms: Nothing too crazy right now, other than hunger. We are moving into another house this week and I notice that I get tired much easier now. Packing has been a slow process...
Best moment this week: It was fun to get some presents for Carson this Christmas -- also for Sean to feel her move. His smile was pretty adorable.


Naming our little girl

Let's just start off with the fact that naming a human is tough business! Some people have preferences before they are even pregnant, but Sean didn't really want to talk names until we knew the gender and I was ok with that. People are very opinionated about baby names and from now on I will know to just be supportive and positive, whether I personally like the name or not.

I have kept an ongoing list of possible baby names on my iPhone for quite a while (admit it...you have one, too!) and it turns out we're not using any of them. I like girly names (think Lyla, Macy, etc.) but Sean wasn't so keen on them. We do both, however, really like gender neutral names. Thus, we landed on Carson Ruby Huddleston.
Carson just clicked with us -- it's a name that is growing in popularity for girls, but often has other spellings (Karsyn, Karsen, etc.). We decided to keep it simple so she doesn't have to correct people on the spelling her whole life. The middle name is very special to me and one that Sean was happy to honor. She is named after my paternal grandmother, Ruby, and I announced that at her 80th birthday party this weekend. If you would like to see a copy of the toast I read at the party, you can click here.  

We are moving into another house next week, after which we will start preparations for miss Carson. Our 19 week ultrasound showed a healthy baby girl -- this really is such a miracle to be growing a baby! God has shown us much favor throughout this process and I hope that somehow He is glorified through this pregnancy.


Update - 18 weeks

The holiday season always seems to be busy and this year is no exception. Sean has been busy attending multiple basketball games a week in the evenings and I have starting working a bit more hands on with the Phi Mu chapter here as their adviser, which I love. We will move into a one-story rental house at the end of this month and really need to get ourselves organized for the transition. It has a fenced yard and a 4th bedroom for sewing/office, so I'm pretty pumped.

How far along: 18 weeks
Size of baby: A bell pepper - about 5 1/2 inches long (seems like a big bell pepper to me)
In my weekly development e-mail I was informed baby girl now has fallopian tubes and a uterus, which immediately reminded me of a funny Yahoo! answers posted a long time ago. Click here and read the funny responses. 
Gender: A girl! We are close to a name selection.
Maternity clothes: I for sure feel bigger than I look. I'm traveling for work this week and tried on about 10 outfits until I found one that looked ok. For now I'm getting along just fine with leggings, etc. but think I will try on some maternity pants soon.
Weight gain: 1-2 lb so far, depending on time of day. My appetite is pretty much back to normal, except I still usually eat smaller portions (really, normal sized portions I should continue post baby) and don't crave sweets like I did before pregnancy.
Movement: A little flutter here and there. Could easily be confused with digestive movements and I usually only notice them if I'm very still. 
Sleep:I know this is just the beginning, but I told Sean last night that I felt pregnant for the first time. Like stereotypes -- sore back, swollen feet, etc. Still sleeping pretty well with just one or two interruptions a night.
Symptoms: Crazy hilarious dreams. I also have a very weak gag reflex -- some of the things that have set me off recently include: the smell of varsity boys basketball team, Sean's Wendy's one night and a gross episode of Duck Dynasty. lol
Best moment this week: My parents bought a stroller and car seat for us, which is incredibly generous. Wyatt was a little unsure about it, but Sean buckled the base into our car right away. We left it in there for the weekend and I daydreamed a bit about what it will be like with a real baby in there.


Ribbons and Bows

This past Thursday we had our first sonogram and we're going to have a baby GIRL! Sean and I both had a feeling that it was a girl, although we also knew we only had a 50% chance of being right. As such, we weren't really surprised by the news, but I was very surprised at how amazing a baby only 15 weeks gestation looks! 
She was kicking and flipping around - so surreal because I can't yet feel her movements. I was thankful for our doctor's suggestion to try to find the gender out at 15 weeks because it was such a blessing to see little miss for the first time. Sean is already pretty smitten with the idea of a little girl and I'm pretty sure my mom has already started to buy some stuff for her. I perused the baby section at Target this weekend -- so. much. baby. stuff. Do they really need all of that?! So $$$, too!

How far along: 15 weeks 
Size of baby: An apple - about 4 inches long 
Gender: A girl! We are close to a name selection, too, I think.
Maternity clothes: Not yet, but some clothes are starting to feel uncomfortable. I did buy the tights I have on in the pic above from Target -- they have a wide elastic waistband that has proven quite comfy today.
Weight gain: 1 lb so far. My apetite has for sure been stronger this week.
Movement: Not yet.
Sleep: Still going to bed pretty early (cough...7:30 last night). I had some back discomfort last night, but think I was just sleeping in a weird position.
Symptoms: Still pretty tired. No crazy cravings yet -- if something sounds good and we don't have it, I can usually find a reasonable substitute.
Best moment this week: Seeing baby Huddleston for the first time. So amazing that at just 4 inches long she looks like a baby! I guess I thought she would still look a little alien-ish or something? :) 


14 Weeks

14 weeks
13 weeks

How far along: 14 weeks 
Size of baby: A lemon - about 3 1/2 inches long 
Gender: Might be able to see next week!
Maternity clothes: Not yet, but some clothes are starting to feel uncomfortable.
Weight gain: None yet - soon, I'm sure. Since I get full so fast my food portions are much smaller than normal, which is what I attribute my lack of weight gain to.
Movement: Not yet.
Sleep: Lots of it. A combination of growing a human and the time change have had be in bed before 9pm most nights. 
Symptoms: Mostly just very tired - more so now that in my early pregnancy. My apetite is starting to pick up some.
Best moment this week: Someone touched my belly yesterday for the first time, acknowledging the pregnancy. I know some people are uncomfortable with that, but I thought it was kind of cute. 


12 weeks

It's both hilarious and amazing to me that God created it such that one human being grows another inside of her! So strange if you really stop to think about it! Sean has been incredible so far during this pregnancy -- putting up with my picky eating and making sure I'm comfortable. He has such a big servant's heart -- this baby and I will put it to the test, I'm sure. :) 
How far along: 12 weeks 
Size of baby: A plum - about 2 inches long :)
Gender: The doctor said she would try to look at 15 weeks
Maternity clothes: Not yet. I did try on some maternity clothes at gap yesterday, but it sort of weirded me out. It's still sometimes hard for me to believe I really am pregnant and really will need new pants soon. Luckily I own a lot of dresses and empire waist/oversized tops.
Weight gain: None yet.
Movement: Not yet.
Sleep: Sleeping well. I see some type of body pillow in the near future. I'm sleeping lighter than usual, which is probably good b/c I sleep like a rock normally and that is one of my biggest concerns once baby arrives (that I won't wake up and/or will be very cranky with lack of sleep)
Symptoms: I get tired more easily and sometimes have little cramps. Food aversions are still present, but I think my appetite is starting to pick up some.
Best moment this week: A tiny baby bump has appeared. Others probably don't readily notice it, but it's a fun reminder for me and has helped this pregnancy to feel more 'real' to me.


Custom crib bedding for Caroline

My friends, the Fites, just welcomed a sweet baby girl into their family -- Caroline Reese. Heather asked me to help sew bedding for Caroline and I was more than happy to oblige. 

Heather picked classic colors with a girly twist -- I love the monogram above the crib! The crib skirt and outside of the bumpers are a champagne silk rosette fabric and the inside of the bumper is a cream minky fabric. 

For this one, I actually recovered an old crib bumper, which proved to be much easier and less expensive than the bumper inserts you can purchase at craft stores. As long as the fabrics you are using are thick enough, it really doesn't matter what the bumper looks like.
Heather found that fun light at the Pottery Barn Outlet.

We went with champagne ribbon for the ties (I suggest grosgrain ribbon). Her crib sheet is also from Pottery Barn.

I think someone local made the monogram for her, but they are readily available on Etsy, too. The unique mirror is Kirklands.

Here's Miss Caroline! Heather and Adam are seriously pro parents and are so comfortable taking care of her already! I feel very thankful they are walking this road to parenthood just ahead of Sean and I. 


Baby Huddleston - 175 Beats Per Minute

I'm not sure that I've ever heard a more precious sound than those 175 beats per minute heart tones. I wish I would have recorded it to listen over and over. 

We are very excited to share the news that Baby Huddleston will be here this Spring! 

Here's the quick run down:
  • I told Sean I was pregnant by giving him a pair of baby converse shoes. Appropriate since he grew up wearing them and wore them in our wedding.
  • I'm currently 11 weeks and feeling great
  • I had a couple weeks of nausea, but it was very manageable 
  • We heard the baby's heartbeat today for the first time - precious
  • Another first today: I was called mom for the first time. 
  • We might be able to find out the gender at our next appointment if baby cooperates - just before Thanksgiving.
  • I am beyond excited that one of my dearest friends and mentors, Bronwyn, will be pregnant right along with me. This will be her 6th! :) 
  • My due date is May 9th (did you know less than 5% of babies are born on their due date?)
When we left our appointment today, both Sean and I were relieved and very excited to finally share our news. I have felt very guarded up to this point and am ready to let myself experience the joy of this new life. 

As we walked out of our appointment we helped our friends Adam and Heather load up their brand new baby girl as they left the hospital. It was a great moment to realize that, Lord willing, we will be loading our own new baby in early May!

God is good! I would love your prayers to combat my anxious thoughts throughout this pregnancy.


Turner Family Silent Auction - S/M Razorback Gameday Dress

A couple of weeks ago Matt Turner passed away, leaving his sweet wife Julee and precious little girl Preslee behind. I don't know Julee personally, but some of my dear friends are her besties and I can't even imagine what she's going through. God has been and will continue to be glorified through this event - if you want to read Julee's thoughts, click here.Please keep this family in your prayers as they face some really challenging days and months ahead.

The blogging community has come together to put on a silent auction to benefit Preslee's College Fund and I would love to have a small part in this.

If you want to see a master list of blogs participating in this silent auction, please click here. 
Up for auction this week is a Razorback game day t-shirt dress! You can choose between black, gray or red -- they are a size S/M. Since they have an elastic waist, I would estimate them to fit sizes 4-10 comfortably.
When you win the auction I will contact you to see which color you want!
Here's a pic of me in my similar dress so you have an idea what it looks like. The picture above of the three dresses are the actual ones I have available at this time.
 Starting bid is $20 and bidding increments are supposed to be at least $1. When placing a bid, please leave a comment on this post and include your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you. Retail value is $45 and all proceeds will be sent to Preslee's college fund. The auction will end this Friday. Make sure you check back frequently to see if someone outbid you! Payment will be accepted via PayPal and shipping is available to U.S. residents only. Payment must be received by October 31st.

Thanks for participating!


Decorated Onesies

I really enjoy making gifts for others -- more so than making things for myself actually. I went to a baby shower a couple of weeks ago and found these super cute onesies at Target for $5. I added a little something special to each one and can't wait to see Mr. Bryant in them soon!

The mom-to-be has a dachshund, so I used a freezer paper stencil to paint on the little doggie -- the tail wraps around to the back side of the onesie.
Sucker for a monogram. For this one I found a monogram PDF file in Pinterest, printed it out, traced it on the fabric. I then cut it out and using fusible interfacing attached it to the onesie. Then I just stitched around the letters. 

Cute onesies for a little boy!


DIY Reversible Superhero Cape

Our friends, Ryan and Sarah, have a little boy, Payne, who is two. His birthday party was yesterday and keeping in tradition I tried to think of a gift I could make for him. He's just now entering into superhero fascinations, so I thought a personalized superhero cape would be fun! 

Items needed:
1. 3/4 yd solid fabric. I went with broadcloth because it comes in a lot of colors and is inexpensive. I have seen some made of a shiny fabric that looked cool, but those are generally more difficult to work with. 
2. Felt colors to coordinate with superhero emblems (red and yellow for superman, yellow and black for batman)
3. Coordinating thread
4. Velcro 

There are a few tutorials out there (just google it), but this is really pretty basic. With the fabric folded, I cut a tapered triangle, rounded at the top. Think like a bib pattern, but much longer. This is for a two year old, so it's only about 24" long and 22" wide. I traced 1/2 of a CD on the fold for the neck. 

After I cut out each side, I sewed on the superhero emblems. I made these with felt and used fusible interfacing to hold the layers together before attaching it to the cape itself. I chose to satin stitch to the cape to make it a little more sturdy. 

Then, put the two cape pieces right side together and stitch most of the way around. Before turning right sight out, clip the collar so it will lay flat. Turn right side out and push collar pieces out with pen. Finally, attach velcro pieces -- one on each side of the cape. 

I had some left over felt, so I made a little batman mask, too. I just stitched two layers of felt together and added elastic. 

I hope Super Payne's little imagination gets to work when he throws on this cape! 


Phi Mu at Arkansas

When I was in college at Mizzou, Phi Mu was a huge part of my life. I served in multiple leadership roles, including chapter president, and lived and breathed sorority life. Looking back on my collegiate experience in a sorority, I can see with a greater degree of clarity that, yes, it does have some silly aspects and that I probably worried or got worked up about things that didn't really matter --- but ultimately I can also see that the opportunities I was given as a sorority woman helped to shape me into the person I am today. I am more outgoing, a better communicator and and have eye for detail -- all skills honed at Phi Mu.

After I graduated, I needed some time away from Greek Life. Now four, almost five years later, I am excited to be involved once again with Phi Mu, this time as the chapter advisor for our recolonized chapter at the University of Arkansas.
Pretty letters our chapter consultants painted!

My prayer as I enter this role is that I will love on these college women well. That ultimately my position as advisor would honor God and that I can positively impact the lives of Phi Mu girls. College is such an impressionable time and can be full of anxiety, insecurities and challenges; I want them to know that their Phi Mu sisters can help encourage and spur one another on to bigger and better things. 

Phi Mu has committed three full time chapter consultants to live here in Fayetteville full time, likely for the first entire year, which is a huge blessing. These girls are awesome and will take care of most of the details and organizing of this new chapter.

For those of you familiar with sorority life -- Arkansas has huge chapters. Chapter total here is right around 300 and their quota for formal recruitment has been in the 150ish range, which is CRAZY! They only had 8 sororities here, for approx 1300 new women going through formal recruitment each year. The greek organizations already here at Arkansas have been so welcoming to Phi Mu as we work to recolonize our Alpha Beta chapter and I'm looking forward to this new adventure!


Baby Shower for Caroline Reese Fite

Some of our best friends here in Fayetteville, Adam and Heather, will be welcoming sweet baby Caroline into their family this October. This past weekend I helped host a couples shower at my friend Sarah's house. I was in charge of decorations for this shower and we went with a preppy color scheme of pink and green. I tried to pick decorations that were inexpensive and could be easily made by me. We can't wait to love on Caroline Reese!
I just designed these letters in publisher, printed on card stock then strung on fishing line with little ribbons in between the letters.

This is the precious mommy-to-be. I made this wreath using this tutorial. You essentially just cut fabric in strips, hand pleat them into a semi circle and pin into a styrofoam wreath. I used a cotton fabric, but the tutorial uses a chiffon type fabric for a fluffier finish.

I sewed the pennant flags out of fabric I already had in my stash (I'm trying to work down what I already own!) and the centerpieces were mason jars filled with babys breath and spray roses (inexpensive from Sams).

This is Sarah's frame -- I think she said it was from Hobby Lobby.

I made the Sweet Caroline banner by just printing a green chevron pattern on regular paper and cutting out the letters. I then hot glued them to pink tulle to hang.

Cupcakes are from Sams and I made the cupcake toppers with my Silhouette. If you make something like, this, I for sure suggest card stock and not regular paper.
Diaper cake made by Sarah -- I added the pink decorations: basket paper, fake flowers and ribbon.

I saw this prayer card idea on another blog and copied it.

This little station was a labor of love, but the mom-to-be appreciated the detail, so it was worth it. I sewed the headbands from fold over elastic I ordered on e-bay and handmade each of the bows from ribbon in my stash and a couple new prints as well. I used this tutorial for bow making. After a few, I got better and didn't have to stitch them.

Shower hostesses.
These are the gifts I made for Miss Caroline. Monogramming done with my Silhouette and heat transfer material and I just satin stitched the "C" onto the burp cloth. I do have an embroidery machine now, but haven't braved the learning process just yet.


Living Room Re-Do

The HOA where my parents live had a big sale of furniture out of a model home in the neighborhood. My mom scored us a couple of great deals, which spurred a living room redesign for us! Sean and I have pretty much decided we will be in this town home for another year. We had been putting off redesign thinking a move was coming up, but we're in the clear!

Here's sort of what the living room was like before. I made those drapes a couple of years ago and people --- you were nice about them, but let's be honest. They're not that cute. 
This big window/door lets in a lot of light, but doesn't go anywhere. It's a sliding glass door with railing immediately on the other side....weird, I know.

This couch and matching chair had been passed around my family for 16 years. It really was comfortable, but it has now has a nice new home with a young family!
And here's what $300 got us, including the new couch! I purchased the orange fabric and JoAnn and the green chevron at a local interior fabric store in Fayetteville. The blue drapes are from Target and I sewed in the big chevron panel to lengthen them. I already had two of the down pillows to recover, so I only had to buy one. I sewed the pillow covers using this tutorial for the invisible zipper. Really easy to do and looks  professional!
Here are the fabrics I chose. I was going for something a little more modern, but still comfy and welcoming.
Not the best pic, but I keep forgetting to upload the better one from my nice camera.

This is much more like my preferred style. There are a few other changes I would like to make in this room, some easier {re: cheaper} than others. I need to repaint some of the frames/knick-knacks around the room to match the new color scheme. I did replace the knobs on the side tables with cute green ones from Hobby Lobby. That slipper chair is cute, but not very comfy. I would love to replace it with a linen arm chair with nail head trim. Craigslist fairy -- this is where you come in! :)

Overall we are both happy with the results without spending a lot of cash. Next up: master bedroom. For the past 4.5 years our bed has been on the floor! Embarrassing, I know! We finally got a bed frame and I'm trying to talk Sean into building a headboard with/for me.


Book Review - The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller

Timothy Keller is such a stellar author. He cuts through the fluff many modern authors feel the need to include and draws from the ultimate Author and His Word. I really love reading books on marriage, not only because I'm in one but because it is a topic widely discussed and often distorted in our culture. This book is phenomenal -- my favorite marriage book yet. There are other books I love and are certainly complementary to this one, but The Meaning of Marriage does a great job of looking at the entirety of marriage, why God created it and how it points to the Gospel. Topics like social norms, gender roles, singleness and sex all have their own chapters. There are lots of gems in this book, some of which I will share here.
This book would be great for everyone to read, but I think is particularly insightful for those who have been married more than a couple of years. He speaks often of the difference between engagement/new marriages and those more seasoned -- if you've been married for a little longer these examples are easier to relate to, but are certainly helpful for all readers. 

The book starts by diving into cultural norms -- how marriage views and customs have changed over decades and why God's plans for marriage call us to much greater things than what our society expects. Our culture has over romanticized marriage and love, resulting in unmet expectations in a marriage relationship. He argues that the common belief to seek compatibility as the main characteristic of a spouse can be detrimental. This quote from Stanley Hauerwas, a Duke ethic professor explains: 

Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become "whole" and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person. We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary problem is...learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.

Keller addresses the problem of self centeredness by saying "To have a marriage that sings requires a Spirit-created ability to serve, to take yourself out of the center, to put the needs of others ahead of your own."

One of my favorite illustrations is the explanation of the difference between a consumer relationship and a covenant relationship. In a consumer relationship, you only stay involved as long as your personal needs are being met. If you no longer like the price you have to pay for a particular brand of detergent, you switch brands. Part of our culture has turned marriage into a consumer relationship -- if your spouse is not longer meetings your XYZ need, you leave that relationship. We see, though, God's design for marriage is a covenant relationship. In traditional wedding vows, the first set of vows is made with the Lord (the I Dos) and the secondary set with your husband/wife (the I take you to be my lawful...). There is a vertical orientation before a horizontal one.

In this book he notes that our purpose as a spouse is to help our beloved become the person God desires them to be.

"If you don't see your mate's deep flaws and weaknesses and dependencies, you're not even in the game. But if you don't get excited about the person your spouse has already grown into and will become, you aren't tapping into the power of marriage as a spiritual friendship. The goal is to see something absolutely ravishing that God is making of the beloved. You see even now flashes of glory."

I could go on, but you would probably like to read it yourself. :) The book was so good, when I finished I found myself wanting more of his wisdom. It's really amazing how God uses people to make His principles known and understood by many. My hat's off to you, Mr. Keller, and I look forward to reading more of your books.

Here is another [better written] review if you're interested. 


Kaitlyn's Lingerie Shower

Sean's cousin Kaitlyn is a couple of years younger than us and lives in Fayetteville -- Sean and I have both loved living in the same city as her and have enjoyed seeing her relationship with Jacob grow over the past year. She is set to be wed next month, so I threw her a little lingerie shower last weekend. It was really fun to have her girlfriends and family together to kick off her wedding celebrations!
I put her new monogram on a robe for her and this could be one of my favorite craft projects ever! I used my silhouette machine with flocked heat transfer and it worked like a charm! I was worried about all the tiny lines, but it turned out so cute! -- if you're having a baby girl soon, you can expect to get something with a monogram like this from me. :)
L to R: Erin (brides sister), Kaitlyn, Britta (brides BFF), me -- 3/4 of her bridesmaids. I made the "Bride to be" sash by using extra wide ribbon and heat transfer material with my Silhouette.

mmm. strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese icing. I use my silhouette to make the cupcake flags, too.

Individual veggie cups. I think the presentation of these is easy and cuter than a tray.

Mason jars with striped straws for cups.

Also used my silhouette to make this banner.

The beautiful bride to be!
Can't wait for the wedding! She and Jacob have a really special relationship and are going to be awesome as husband and wife. We are thankful for their friendship in Fayetteville!