Announcement Photos!

We decided to use our engagement photographer whom we love and adore for our baby announcement photos. I honestly love photography (as I am a photographer myself) and love documenting life's precious moments via photos. I have a feeling when I am old and grey sitting in my rocking chair on the porch I will thank myself for having these memories to browse through and reminisce. It's always been the little things for me...

SO Ariel Perry did our engagement photos and KILLED it!! She literally is one of the nicest most genuine photographers you will ever meet with a passion for her work. She makes it so fun even my husband has a big smile on his face while getting all these photos taken (which can be rare since this is not every guy's idea of fun!). Her personality makes every session one of a kind and she is worth every penny! 

Below are a couple of photos from our pregnancy announcement session we had done and I truly recommend using/booking her for any upcoming memorable events in your life as well!


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Pregnancy from week 1 - week 16

SO I have not really talked a ton about some big news we have shared!! We are expecting our first baby girl this August! (August 11th to be exact). You are probably thinking, didn't you just get married like a few months ago...and answer would be yes we got married September 2, 2017...and found out we were expecting around the first of November. I have had PCOS about since I was in highschool and have all the symptoms in the book (except diabetes). My doctors all warned me of the possibilities we would need to go the IVF route or adopt due to this, so therefore we wanted to try as soon as we could to see if we naturally could have our very own little baby. The first month was dissapointing knowing I did indeed get my menstrual cycle and we were not pregnant, but I did have hope knowing too it was the first month of trying and these things sometimes do take time. Well October then rolled around and yet again I did get another mentsrual cycle right on time. My heart sunk again, but still had hope telling myself "you've only been trying for two months and we very well may need to try another method." I am a firm believe in the power of prayer, so each day after my morning devotional I would ask God ever so nicely if it would be His will for us to concieve a child naturally. Well...November rolled around and towards the end of the month I started noticing two things. The first was the fact that for some reason prepared chinese food at Harris Teeter was making me super nauseas. I remember walking past it thinking "oh my word get me out of here." SO, that was a big strange because I LOVE chinese food. Secondly, My gums in my mouth were literally super sensitive and tingly. I remember calling my sister (who is a dental assistant) and asking her is this was normal .."Laura are my teeth falling out?! What's going on!? Why do I feel like my gums are going crazy!?" She was super sweet and concerned and finally called me back after some thought and goes "Amanda...have you gotten your menstrual cycle yet?" I thought to myself.. and quickly responded with  "nope I sure haven't"...she then didn't hesitate and told me "I am pretty sure you could be pregnant as tingly gums are a first symptom of pregnancy." I was excited at the thought but too knew it would be a slim chance as I knew my doctors all had told me it would be unlikey for me to concieve naturally. That night after we had talked I ran to the store and snagged 3 pregnancy tests...went home and sat on the commode....waited a few monutes which seemed like an enternity...and BAM!...I was in fact pregnant. I took a picture of all my tests and sent them to all my sisters asking "Does this mean i'm pregnant!? Do these lines look clear?!" They all responded with a big YES. Inevitably I was a bit nervous to tell Corey and share this news as he and I both thought this may not be God's will for us just yet. 

That night we had friends over and I remember being super flustered but just tried to stay calm. My plan was to wake up and grab a digital test and a gender neutral onesie while picking up some chik-fil-a breakfast for the both of us. Next morning I did just that. Corey was a bit suprised at my eagerness to go grab breakfast...little did he know I had some big news Iwas about to share. I came home and handed him his chicken minis then off to the bathroom I went. The digital test was quick and right away the word "PREGNANT" appeared giving me the biggest smile. I layed the onesie on our bed with the digital test and grabbed my phone to document his reaction. He was caught off guard when I came into the living room asking him to come with me for a second to our bedroom because I needed to show him something. But he came with me, looked to the bed, and turned to me going "your lying babe this can't be...wait really!? OMG! and with the biggest smile and tears in his eyes he hugged and kissed me." It was one of the most special mornings for us both. My nerves all faded as I finally had shared the news and first thing he wanted to do was call our parents. I agreed a personal phone call was a great idea and we both didnt feel the need to do any cookie cutter surprise in sharing the news to them. His parents were elated as were mine and simply thrilled at the thought of becoming grandparents!  (Well his parents becoming grandparents as my parents already have 9 grandchildren). We also shared our news with a few of our very closest friends we see almost twice a week at least and they were all overjoyed as well for us. 

The first few weeks from finding out we were pregnant were not very notable. It was christmas time and I was getting used the fact that I was indeed pregnant. I went home for one of those weekends and my mom and I just spent some quality time together watching movies (superwoman being one of those), taking walks and just having really good conversation. I of course had stopped drinking any wine and taking my normal medicines that were not pregnancy approved which took some getting used to. Christmas fell around week 8 of being pregnant and we spent christmas in Pennsylvania with his grandparents and family for the holidays. I remember being so so sick during that week which was not fun because I adore the holidays and my birthday is the day after Christmas so all in all it was just not the best time. We did surprise both his grandparents who are all still alive and doing well with our news. Corey's sister snagged us two pairs of little baby booties which we put in little gift bags. His grandparents were shocked, elated, crying, thankful...all the emotions which made us both feel so good. This will be the very first great grandbaby for them so a lot of wonderful feelings. Christmas day was special and I mostly kept myself on the couch eating bread/pretzels/cheese..anything I could keep down. 

The most nauseating times for me were at night and still are sometimes at night. I never had the typical morning sickness of waking up and barfing but rather come 5-7 it occurred (not sure what's worse?) but knew this was to be expected as I am expecting. I would say the sickness for me was at it's peaks weeks 8-11. Week 11 I thought I would most likely die..haha. But really...I called my mom most every night that week just sobbing asking when this would end and when would I feel this special feeling of growing a human...she simply said this was just a part of it and soon would fade. Thankfully come week 12 My doctor put me on Diclegis which seemed to be a miracle drug for me. Took it morning noon and night and felt tremendously better over the course of the next weeks up until this day (week 16!). So that is the scoop on how the nausea has been. Now that I am in second trimester I am noticing it fade almost completely but still have times where I feel horrible. 

ANYWHO-- that is how the nausea has been. We actually had our first prenatal appointment around week 5 of being pregnant. I was about two weeks off thinking I was at week 7/8 when really we were only 5 weeks 6 days along. The doctor told me this happens a good amount with gals who have pcos because hormones are just out of whack and ovulation gets tricky. Therefore we had a very early appointment but the ultrasound did show a very tiny baby bean in my belly! This appointment was also a little frigtening is that we did not hear the heartbeat but were told by the doctor that is was extremely low and to be prepared for a chance of miscarriage or not a "viable" pregnancy. She told me it was early on so it could have just started beating but that it was low and she wanted to see me 2 weeks from then to check on everything and officially start prenatal care. I shrugged but kept myself together and once Corey and I got to the parking deck I broke into tears. We had been so excited and now I was going to have to go through the holidays wondering if this baby was going to make it or if we would in fact have a miscarriage. Those 2 weeks (through Christmas) I was a stressed wreck. I think I googled over a hundred articles on low heartbeats and what was really low? What the chances are of it getting stronger? ...you name it I googled it which don't recommend anyone doing! After two weeks it was time for the next appointment and I believe it was right before New Years Eve. I remember holding Corey's hand so so tight (hr probably thought I would break it) as the technician took that wand and observed our little bean who now looked like an odd shape resembling a bunny haha. She goes "do you want to hear something?" and before I said a thing Corey and I heard the most beautiful sound I have ever heard in my life. Thump-thump-thumpety-thump-thump....it was our baby's heart beating a mile a minute and I instantly started crying as did Corey. She goes "that is the sound of your baby's now very strong heartbeat working perfectly." I closed my eyes and remember just thanking my Heavenly Father. Thanking Him for getting me through those two weeks and thanking Him for allowing this baby to grow and have a beautiful strong heartbeat. That day, that moment will forever be engraved in my mind. The rest of the appointment was pretty typcial with all the blood tests and discussing our plans for this pregnancy and the testings we wanted and didn't want to do. We did decide on genetic testing as our doctor felt it was a good option for all gals to have done since its a simple blood work test and nothing invasive. So we left that second appointment with full/thankful hearts and wouldn't be back until week 11 to do the Harmony test (genetic testing). 

Come week 11 I had my genetic testing appointment which was pretty quick to say the least. The Harmony test is a simple non invasive test of just giving a sample of blood to send off to the Harmony labs. I HATE giving blood (well really I just typically get very lightheaded easily and need a snack and gingerale before and after) but the nurses at Novant made it painless and quick distracting me with other topics on my mind while the did the job. That appointment didn't involve talking to our doctor so I was in and out in no time. Our next appointment was about a week later and we had an update with the doctor who informed us all the testing came back and baby was clear from any chromosomal problems. She also wrote our little bean's gender on a slip of paper and tucked it into an envelope. We decided to have Wow Factor Cakes in Charlotte make us a gender reveal cake to cut in front of our closest family and friends. This about killed me to have these results but wait for our party two weeks from the time we got that precious envelope. I mean props on all you mamas out there that can wait an entire pregnancy not knowing gender because I was dying to know. I really prepared myself for the possibility of it being a little boy because I really was not sick but for 2 weeks and have been mostly all bump. I will say I craved sweets throughout this entire pregnancy so that was maybe one hint results would reveal a girl alongside the very high heartbeat our bean now had. 

The big day came for our party and I think the entire day Corey and I were just so excited wondering whether this precious blessing was to be a he or a she. Our cake was very simple with buttercream frosting and a delicious almond pound cake filling with chocolate ganache. I ordered a little cake topper off Etsy that said "what will it BEE" with a little bee on it (I know I know kind of cheesy but how could I resist). The cake also had yellow sugar flowers on it to go with the bee theme. That night we all gathered at Village Tavern in Charlotte with all our dear ones and had dinner and then got ready to cut open the cake. I asked everyone beforehand what their guesses were and about 90 percent were going with a baby boy. Corey then started to cut two sides and I began to pull out the piece of cake when what to our surprise was filled with PINK delicious cake. I was shocked! We were indeed having a sweet BABY GIRL!! My eyes flooded with tears and I think I had a smile that was never fleeting. Corey was so excited as well and knows a baby girl will be so much fun (I mean who says girls cant play soccer and do fun stuff with their daddy!?). My mom and aunt and mother in law got us some sweet baby girl gifts we will forever cherish and we got it all on video! That night was really such an amazing night to say the least and I now could thank God for blessing us with a healthy baby girl growing away inside me.

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Mornings

Mornings truly are my favorite time of day, as they give me energy, creativity and a sense of feeling fresh and new. Nights used to be the leader in favorite time of day especially when the sun would begin to set and the stars emerged and everyone was going out around the town just feeling young and free (ahh memories of my college years ha!). Now don't get me wrong, I still enjoy nightime and the feeling of the world calming down from a chaotic busy day...but something about waking up super early, getting cozy with my devotional and a cup of warm tea renews my soul like no other. Since becoming husband and wife, Corey and I have developed a bit of a routine and due to him working weekends I get him for a few extra hours in the mornings which I so love. A typical schedule for our family would be .....

6:30 am-- I wake up and turn on a couple lights (just the bare minimum), let the pups out, get them breakfast, enjoy some yogurt with granola and sip on tea while reading.

8 am-- Throw in laundry, hubs usually starts waking up, watch the news, continue on the tea and enjoy time with my husband (he like to make french press coffee everyyyy morning and I sometimes indulge in a cup myself).

9:30--  We make a big breakfast (eggs/pancakes/or whatever we are in the mood for), listen to music, spend time together and talk about our day ahead. 

10:30/11 am-- we both start getting ready for the day and head out the door to work/run errands/ meet people/ grocery shop/ etc..

This probably will not be our schedule for long and some days it does vary and we have to head out the door much sooner or we have plans made early morning. Those days it's usually "grab-food-on-the-go" and watch the news for 15 min and adios! I do however like to make mornings drag out as much as I possibly can to savor all the feels they offer me.

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”  --Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book

When it comes to breakfast...Corey prefers to be the head chef and create the most delicious sandwiches/waffles/pancakes/etc. ... BUT there are some mornings I take over and cook away! One of those mornings was today and I treated the hubs to pancakes and fruit and OJ. I cannot wait till we move in March and I'll FINALLY be able to share more of my kitchen tools/baking dishes/cookware/the list goes on (since half of it is in storage ). Until then I did share where I purchased some of the items in the picture below as they make our morning breakfast time very special and truly functional.

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Utensils- Target

Gold Chargers- Hobby Lobby

Woven straw circular place mats- Homegoods

Wood server- Amazon.com

Glass with plastic straw- Target

Cloth napkins- Target

Merry Christmas! 2017

Isaiah 9: 6-7

6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

7 "Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

Reflecting on this message this time of year really humbles my heart and focuses my attitude toward the real meaning of Christmas. Its not about the toys and gifts and frill and fuss ...its about that sweet baby boy in the manger who gave us all the opportunity of LIFE. I hope everyone cherishes time with family and holds close to the special memories in the making this holiday season. Have a very blessed and joyous Christmas to you from the Barans! 

My wedding gown & veil is from Divas Bridal in Greensboro, NC