34 Weeks

How far along? 34 weeks, 5 days. I just can't believe how fast the weeks are going by!
Baby Size: Approximately 5.5 pounds.
Total weight gain: ~28 pounds.
Maternity clothes? Yes! And I'm starting to think about what to wear post-baby too.
Stretch marks? The belly is still clear! 
Sleep: We've had a few late nights this week so I've been falling asleep really quickly. I'm still waking up about twice a night to go to the bathroom and sometimes have a hard time falling back asleep, but I do eventually.
Best moment(s) this week: Care group was really fun this week, and we're really excited to be making some good friends. We had another couple come to our care group this week too! We met them in birthing class, and they live close by :).
Miss Anything? A few weeks ago I was really missing fitting into my old clothes, but this week I've really been embracing my bump. I think I'm going to miss my belly after Baby A is born.
Movement: I've always heard that movement is harder to feel in the third trimester, but I've been feeling her motion more than ever in these last couple of weeks! That's another thing I'll miss about being pregnant.
Food cravings: I haven't had any cravings really, but we had potatoes a couple times this week. 
Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
Gender: Girl!
Labor Signs: No.
Symptoms: Burping...(gross). I hardly ever burped before I was pregnant, but now it's a frequent thing. 
Belly Button in or out? It's pretty flat.
Wedding rings on or off? On. My hands swell only on occasion so I try to leave them on unless it's really uncomfortable.
Mood: Really excited and a little anxious about being a new mommy.
Looking forward to: Matt and I are heading up to Indiana later this afternoon, and my sisters are throwing a baby shower for me tomorrow! I'm really looking forward to seeing a lot of family and friends I haven't seen in awhile!

Have a fantastic holiday weekend!

+, Lauren Aiken


{DIY} Painted Frame

Today I have a quick and simple DIY project to share! 

You know those times when you're shopping for something specific and just can't find it? Sometimes it's easier to just make it yourself! I was looking all over for a pretty white frame to complete a small gallery wall in our bedroom and just couldn't find what I was looking for. I found a frame at Walmart (about $7) with a pretty design, but it was gold, which doesn't go with our room at all.

DIY Painted Frame

Start out with a frame - old or new.
(I always get so excited to start a project that I forget to take a 'before' picture!)

Paint a coat (or two) of your color choice. I used a spongey brush and white paint that I had on hand. Spray paint would be even faster though!

Leave it like this, or choose an accent color and add it to your frame for a little interest!

Ta-da! Much better :). 
And if I get tired of it later, I can always spray paint the whole frame like my friend Jodi did in this post!

Happy Wednesday! Are you working on any little DIYs this week?
+, Lauren Aiken


1 Year {What I've Learned, Part II}

This post is a continuation from 1 Year {What I've Learned, Part I}.

What is your favorite part of marriage?
This is by far the most common question we are asked. I always have two answers, and I think Matt's answers are the same as well.

1. Sharing each day with my best friendHands down. Whether it's a good day, a boring day, or a really crappy day, I am so thankful that Matt is here to share in my joy and suffering, and that I can share life with him! I love learning new things about each other constantly, changing together, challenging each other, growing together, and just being together.

2. Being able to show the world that marriage is good. Our culture has distorted what marriage is really all about - displaying Christ's love for the church. It makes no sense to those who aren't believers, but marriage doesn't make sense apart from Jesus. The church is his bride just like I am Matt's (except Christ loves perfectly). Everything in our culture screams that marriage is a burden and something to be delayed until later. Men are often portrayed as bad leaders, and fighting poorly is the norm. 

I am so thankful that we can use our relationship to speak truth to others, to communicate that marriage is redeeming and good. Of course, we have bad moments, and in those moments we can turn from being selfish and ask God to help us serve one another with grace instead of becoming bitter or judgmental. I'm thankful for a husband that encourages me daily and is for me, not against me. Who is quick to apologize and who forgives me when I mess up. 

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 

What has God shown you more about himself in the past year?

Our Father is faithful. Throughout the past few years, God has shown me that I am not in control, even though at times I feel that I should be. This past year, specifically, I have seen God's goodness to Matt and I over and over again!

Through all of the changes - getting married, moving to Seattle, being members of different churches, making new friends, deciding to grow our family, Matt losing his job, packing up, saying goodbyes, and finally moving to Nashville - God has kept his promises to be faithful. When the questions of where next, whenwhy now, and how in the world will we get through this were on our mind, God stilled our hearts, quieted our cries, and has shown us that he is faithful. In all our attempts to rely on ourselves or even each other, the Lord has smiled and seen Jesus's death on the cross instead of turning to someone other than the good and righteous King.

Honestly, Matt and I have no idea why we are in Nashville. All I can say is I love it more than I imagined I could, and Matt knows we belong here even in the face of hardship. We are here, firmly planted on the Rock. We still have questions and still want answers, but we are desperately caught up in the arms of our Savior and thankful for the changes this year has brought. 

Remind yourself this week. Jesus is faithful! Read Acts and see that he is faithful.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14

+, Lauren Aiken


33 Weeks

How far along? 33 weeks, 5 days.
Baby Size: Around 5 pounds. It's hard to believe she was the size of a mustard seed when we found out I was pregnant!
Total weight gain: About 27 pounds.
Maternity clothes? I got a couple new things this week that will hopefully carry me the rest of the way through this pregnancy! My belly is starting to outgrow some of my earlier maternity tops though.
Stretch marks? I'm still using my Burt's Bees stuff. 
Sleep: Sleep was rough this week. I had a little cold/sinus infection for a few days, which made it hard to sleep. One night Matt and I even slept on the couch so I could prop myself up to breathe better. The past couple of days have been getting back to normal though.
Best moment(s) this week: Matt's family was in town early this week! I was sick for most of the time but was still able to hang out with them a little bit. And his mom and sister made homemade chicken noodle soup for us (which also happened to be on our anniversary) the day I felt the worst. We still had fun just being together though. Then, Matt and I went out to celebrate Friday night! 
Miss Anything? Not really.
Movement: I finally caught some movement on video! She was moving like crazy one morning, and I captured 30 seconds or so on video.
Food cravings: I don't think I've had any particular cravings this week.
Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
Gender: Girl :).
Labor Signs: No. It's going to be exciting when I can put something here!
Symptoms: I'm still a little congested, but pregnancy symptoms are good. Mostly just a growing belly and fatigue.
Belly Button in or out? Mostly flat. It seems to change a little.
Wedding rings on or off? I had to leave them off one day this week.
Mood: This week I've been reflecting on our first year of marriage and have been overwhelmed with gratefulness. 
Looking forward to: Mackenzie is going to take some maternity photos for us this weekend! 

Lastly, here are a few pics from our anniversary!

Chicken noodle soup night when I was feeling terrible. Thank you Nancy and Mackenzie!!

We took a bite of our wedding cake we froze. Just a bite. It was pretty spongey.

Then finally went out to celebrate at Urban Grub!

I was hoping to get a really good picture of us together, but that's sometimes hard when you're out..

Have a lovely weekend!
+, Lauren Aiken


1 Year {What I've Learned, Part I}

Thank you so much for your comments this week, as they have helped me to reflect on the past year! As I began answering them, I realized that had fairly lengthy responses to some of them. So today, I'll answer a few questions, and I'll be answering a couple next week as well. 

How did you know you would marry Matt after such a short time?
Matt and I dated, got engaged, planned a wedding, and got married within exactly 5 months of meeting. Yes, it is fast. And unconventional in today's world. You can read more of our story here. I knew I wanted to marry Matt within a week of our first date. I knew that was God's plan for us a couple of months later when Matt proposed.

By the end of our first date, which was basically an entire day, I knew these things:

1. Matt loves Jesus with all his heart.
2. Family is very important to him.
3. He has a heart for people, for loving and serving them.
4. I enjoyed being around him immensely.

While making the decision to marry someone is not this simple, these 4 things were an answer to many prayers and enough information that I was willing to get to know him more, even if that meant he was moving away in about a month.

This photo was taken on our first date at the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC.
Is there anything you would have done differently on your big day?
If we had been engaged for longer than three months, I would have loved to add more DIY elements. For instance, making pretty centerpieces would have been really fun! With a limited amount of time, I chose to arrange simple pillar candles on mirrors.

What was your favorite memory from your wedding day?
Can I have two?? My favorite moment of the ceremony was walking down the aisle, looking Matt in the eye, and realizing that most of our family and friends from different stages of life were in the same place at the same time, which will probably never happen again! My favorite memory of the reception was the moment the dance floor opened. We played Dance Until The World Ends by Brittany Spears because we had listened to it in the car on our first date. Matt, his roommate, and his (now) wife were all dancing to this song, while I just sat awkwardly in the front seat... Dancing the entire night was a blast!

Sunset Hills Vineyard in Purcellville, VA
How do you keep your relationship fun once you've gotten into a routine of living together?
Matt and I are best friends but have pretty different interests :). Matt could watch a movie every night, while I can hardly keep my eyes open for 30 minutes. I love to walk around and window shop, and Matt couldn't care less about wandering stores - he is on a mission when he shops! So we've had to really try to find a few things that we both enjoy together. Both of us love food. One of our favorite things is going out and trying a new restaurant, and once we find some we like, we tend to go there often! We also like going on walks together. We end up talking more if we're walking than when we're just sitting on the couch trying to think of things to talk about. For us, finding mutual interests has been integral to continuing to grow our friendship and have fun together. I'd say that taking interest in the other person's hobbies even if they are not our personal favorite thing to do has been equally important. For example, Matt certainly does not sit around and craft with me, but he will ask about what I'm working on and compliment my results. And for a month, we played a video game together for an hour every Saturday.

"Date night" is another fun thing we do together. We try to set aside one night each week to focus on each other, whether that means going out on a date or staying in and watching a movie together. Honestly, the majority of nights this first year have been spent together, apart from Matt traveling for work or the occasional couple hours we will spend with a friend. However, we decided it was important to make "date night" a routine now since a growing family will demand more divided attention down the road. So each week, we designate a date night and try to make it a little more special than the other nights of the week. I know it is something we will grow to treasure later on!

Even though we've been together most nights, we don't always want to do the same thing. We recently set up an area in our apartment where Matt can work/play games on his computer and I can craft/blog. Our desks are set up back to back so we can talk and enjoy each other while still working on our own hobbies. We spend a lot of time here on Saturdays when we aren't out doing something.

Finally, I just have to say that our days now are way more fun than the first few months of marriage! Yes, it exciting figuring out how to live together, but it is also a challenge! Everyone brings preconceived notions of how living together works, who will have certain responsibilities, how much time will be spent face to face, etc. And figuring all of that out takes some time. Once we were in more of a routine, I think we both were more relaxed and able to just enjoy each other :). Overall, as time passes, we seem to appreciate and enjoy each other more and more. It's so much fun being married to my best friend!

I'm so sorry that I didn't get to all of your questions today. I'll answer the next two questions early next week:
What is your favorite part of marriage?
What has God taught you more about himself in the past year?
+, Lauren Aiken