The Year of the Baby Christmas Tree

The first weekend in December drew upon on us, and that meant going on the hunt for our Christmas tree... something I look forward to every year.

Christmas Tree Hunting | My Darling Days

We're fortunate to have a tree farm literally 4 miles down the road from our house -- perks of living in the country!

I told Zac I wanted a "smaller" tree this year... smaller, as in skinnier.  Maybe a little Charlie Brownish, too.  Something different.  I just didn't want it to take up a lot of space in our small living room, and I didn't want to move out any furniture this year.

Last year, it took us 4 minutes to find our tree .  This year it took maybe 10 minutes?  We don't mess around.
We found a skinny one, Zac cut it down, I yelled "timber!" and we we're on our way home.

Christmas Tree Hunting |My Darling Days

Christmas Tree Hunting | My Darling Days

2016 Christmas Tree | My Darling Days

When Zac carried the tree in the living room, my jaw dropped... uhh, why was it only appearing approximately 3 feet tall?
How could this be?  We both swear it was much taller when we cut it down...

But, it was too late now.  An 8 mile round trip and $40 later...  we propped the tree up on a crate for some added, much need height & loved it anyways.

2016 Christmas Tree | My Darling Days

2016 Christmas Tree | My Darling Days

If Christmas of 2015 was the year that it took us 4 minutes to find, agree on, & cut down a tree, let the Christmas of 2016 be the year of baby tree!

2016 Christmas Tree | My Darling Days
 In hindsight, it does look pretttttty little in this pic ;)

Happy Holidays, friends... only 20 more days till Christmas! 



First Trimester Recap

If you saw our announcement, you’re aware… I’m pregnant!

While I have no intention of turning my blog into a pregnancy or mom blog, it is a scrapbook of my days.  I’ve been blessed by God to carry this child, and I want to remember every second of it; and to help those also expecting or interested, I’m sharing my journey…



First Trimester; pregnancy | My Darling Days


As I’m moving along in my second trimester, (it’s weird… time simultaneously is moving so fast yet so slow) I wanted to look back on the first few months.

Here are 10 things that surprised me about my first trimester…

1. Heightened anxiety – I am a pretty anxious person to begin with, so along with the joy & gratefulness of receiving a positive pregnancy test, I was a wreck.  Due to some complications early on, I had & still have constant wonders if this pregnancy would remain viable, even after seeing and hearing the heartbeat & multiple ultrasounds later.  It's stressful, to say the least.

2. Morning sickness – or should I say, ALL DAY sickness.  For about the first 12 weeks, being nauseous was an all day occurrence for me.  Waves of it would come & go, but the nausea was worst in the morning & at night.  It wasn’t toilet-hugging debilitating, but I had a constant feeling of ‘throw-up’ sitting at the bottom of the throat.  I usually was always able to talk myself out of actually throwing up though -- mind over matter!! haha

3. Exhaustion / tiredness  all I wanted to do was sleep.  Like, be in bed by 7:00-8:00 every night.  I am usually go go go & never sit down after I get home from work, but the couch definitely became my best friend.  Also, simple things like walking the parking lot into work, left me short of breath.

4. Bloating /indigestion (and tight pants!) – most women don’t start showing until they're into their 2nd trimester, however after eating lunch & supper, most days I had a noticeable little bump.  It was gone by morning (that’s how I knew it was just bloating) – but now it’s here to stay… at least until March, I hope. ;)

5. Hunger – for as nauseous as I felt, I was still hungry all.the.time.  I had to eat every two hours otherwise the nausea would get out of control.

6. Cravings – besides sleep, I wanted any food full of carbs.  Though I loved carbs pre-pregnancy, during those first 12 weeks, carbs were about the only thing that sounded good.  Bread, cereal, pasta, but especially baked goods… muffins, bagels, banana bread.  Bless my mom, she so very kindly dropped off lots of homemade banana bread those first few weeks.
And Zac -- he makes me breakfast almost every morning before work.
I'm also craving ice water -- the colder, the better.
  
7. Aversions – food-wise, nothing was so bad that I couldn’t stand to eat it or smell it, but every once in a while just cooking supper made me queasy.  I usually forced myself to eat whatever it was that I just cooked, but a few times I just ate cereal instead (Cheerios, Golden Grahams, & Honey Bunches of Oats are my jam!) One thing that surprised me was my lack of interest in my usual breakfast smoothies – I’ve been drinking one every day for the last 3 years and during the first 12 weeks, I just couldn’t do it.  I still really don't want them.
    Smells – perfume, lotion, air fresheners… though I think the fragrance may actually smell nice, it’s just SO overpowering it makes my stomach turn.  Even one tiny little squirt makes me nauseous.

8. Frequent urination – I used to never get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Now, I usually get up twice.  I know this is only going to get worse as the pregnancy progresses... maybe that our body’s way of prepping us for those late night feedings?

9. Sore chest – my goodness, I swear just looking at my boobs made them hurt. Haha  They were sooo tender, I didn’t even know it was possible for them to hurt that much.

10.  Secrets are hard – we weren’t comfortable sharing the news of our pregnancy with family & friends until the second trimester, and it was incredibility difficult not to be a hermit, or having to pull for any excuse as to why I couldn't have an alcoholic beverage.  I am THE worst liar on the planet.  I secretly wanted to shout from the roof tops “I’M FINALLY PREGNANT” but, I refrained. ;)

While the above list sounds not to fun, there are somethings that do help during those first 3 months...
  - Keep crackers on your night stand.
  - Voice any concerns to your doctor & try to stay off internet forums (though I am totally guilty of this).
  - Listen to your body: sleep when you’re tired & realize that you can’t do it all.  Take on less, slow down, & let the 
    housework slip.  It's not the end of the world.
  - Drink lots of water.
  - Get some fresh air –  if you can muster up the energy to get outside & take a walk, chances are you'll feel better.
  - Remember that God has a plan for you – you may not understand it, you may not like it, or it may not go the way you 
    thought, but He would never give you anything you couldn’t handle.

If you’re struggling though your first trimester, know that you’re not alone!  Life is not easy right now and it’s full of change -- I get it girl!  If you’ve been through it before, what was your experience like?  I'd love to read your comments!


P.S. Happy Thanksgiving, friends!  We all have so much to be thankful for.
If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year & need some tablescape inspiration, check out this post from last year.


Travel: Burano Island, Italy

If Venice has my heart, Burano has my soul... 

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Burano is a cheerful little archipelago in the Venetian Lagoon that’s exploding with color.  Known as the The Island of Lace, thanks to the women makers in the 16th century, it’s a quaint & picturesque town just 40 minutes off the coast of Venice, which we traveled to by boat.  Its four single islands, separated by canals & connected by footbridges, like Venice.

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Upon arriving to shore, we were greeted by the leaning bell tower of Church of San Martino, and couldn’t wait to explore the town on foot.

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

We were told that if you live on Burano and wish to paint your home, you much request permission from the government, who will advise which colors you’re allowed to paint your lot as the hued homes are not determined randomly.  It was said that the fishermen originally painted their houses to find their way home from sea – little did they know their colorful choices would make this a popular tourist attraction!

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

We found a literal row of rainbow houses...

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Wouldn't you love to spend a few days here? Getting lost in the alley ways & relishing in all this colorful goodness?  

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days


Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days


Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
A grainy iphone pic, but a favorite none-the-less

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Right before we were about to hit the sea to return to Venice, a waterspout appeared in the distance... kinda cool, but kinda freaky too!

Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days



Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days
Travel: Burano, Italy | My Darling Days

Definitely put Burano on your travel list.  It's quite darling!

Six Year Anniversary Photos

Every year, for our anniversary, we find a location.   We set-up a tripod, our camera, & use a remote to do a little DIY photo-shoot. 

Why?

Not because we enjoy doing it (it's not that fun...) and not because we like to get our picture taken (who does?)

It's because I'm a firm believer that our marriage shouldn't stop being documented, even after we've said our vows.  Every year deserves to be celebrated. 

We often let life, and jobs, and hobbies get in the way of love.  But documenting "us" -- standing next to the person I said "I do" to and promised to love no matter what, is worth celebrating.

And twenty years from now, we're all gonna say "Look at how much hair Zac had!"  ;) 

So, keeping up with tradition... our six year anniversary photos:

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days



Food for Thought.

Have you ever heard the Fable of the Porcupine?  If not, let me share it with you:

"It was the coldest winter ever and many animals died because of the cold. Some porcupines, realizing the gravity of the situation, decided to group together to share warmth. This way they were better covered and protected; however - the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. After a while they decided to distance themselves one from the other and soon after they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to accept the little wounds that were caused by these close relationships, in order to benefit from what their companions offered. It was this way that they were able to survive and thrive." -- Author unknown


I read this fable, randomly, in a Credit Management Publication that I receive bi-weekly at work.  I have no idea who the originator of this fable is, but usually I glance over the headlines in these publications, and maybe skim through them at best. However this one caught my eye, and I read through it twice.


I'm sure this fable is very old and probably well-known, though I had not heard it before.  I can't help but synchronize how well it's fits into our society today -- especially with all the devastation/"hate" we're hearing about in the media -- from the presidential election, to the civil war in Syria, right down to our own family qualms, whatever they may be...

{image via Pinterest}



How wonderful would this world be if we could each learn to live with each other's imperfections and accept the gifts they have to offer?  If we could be truly united, and not pass judgement on one another?  If we could focus on each other's strengths, instead of weaknesses?  I know, easier said than done -- but definitely food for thought.


Happy Monday friends, hope your week is off to a good start!