Whew, what a year.

It was a pretty wild, life-altering year.

To put it mildly.

The Big News

The year began with exciting news: Derek and I were going to have a baby!

We spent the first few months sharing the news in person with family and friends. Eventually we had a gender reveal shindig so everyone could learn – at the same time – that we were having a baby girl!

It was a lot of fun telling people I was pregnant. Also, it was kind of terrifying to break the news. I was really awkward about it 90% of the time. You know, that’s how I do.

The news brought a lot of people closer. And, unfortunately, it changed some other relationships. Not everyone is always happy for you or supportive and understanding of what you’re going through.

What have I learned?

Becoming a parent is a wild ride. No matter how someone becomes a parent (through pregnancy, IVF, adoption, etc.), it’s a gigantic challenge. It’s really easy to think that the grass is greener on the other side. But that’s a convenient lie.

A lot of the challenges and struggles we face don’t get published on blogs or social media. I’m always towing the line between what I do and don’t share online. That’s why a lot of people didn’t know I was super sick. Other people even missed the fact that I was pregnant until the baby was born, haha.


During the first trimester I was really sick.

Morning sickness sounds so innocuous. It’s a beast that lasts all day and night. Thanks to feeling nauseous 24/7, I lost about 20 pounds during the first trimester.

As much as I love to lose weight, I’d rather not do it by starving to death, thankyouverymuch. It was brutal. Sometimes strangers would ask if I was OK because it looked like I was standing at death’s door. Yeah. I had a really tough time in the first trimester.

Side note: if you’re reading this and feeling nervous about your own impending pregnancy, please don’t waste your time fretting about symptoms. Every pregnancy is different. Some women don’t even experience morning sickness. And I hate them. Just kidding.

The second trimester really was the honeymoon phase of my pregnancy. Sometimes I totally forgot that I was pregnant. I definitely spent a lot of time being productive, and was so thankful to feel like myself again. (Yay!) There were a few family vacations during the second trimester and I was grateful for it.

Although we kept our family and friends in the loop, we didn’t put a whole lot online. I was shy. It was my first pregnancy, and I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. We finally made the public announcement in July, which meant I could stop cropping out the baby bump.

Derek and me in Positano, Italy in May 2017. (Photo courtesy of my mother-in-law.)

After the honeymoon phase of the second trimester faded into the third trimester, I got very tired of being pregnant. A lot of the little things kept chipping away at me and the final weeks seemed to drag on forever. I was so tired – and so tired of being pregnant.

Then, finally, we met our sweet girl in the fall!

(More on that in just a moment.)


Taking time off is so critical.

In 2017, I took a few really fun vacations.

I spent some time with friends in the mountains in January, then spent a weekend in Wrightsville with Derek in the spring.

Wrightsville Beach

My family went to Positano, Italy in May. I shared a bunch of stuff here on the blog about how I packed, what to buy, drinking craft beer on the Amalfi Coast, and how to eat like a local in Positano. It was a really special trip.

My husband and me on the boat with Positano, Italy, in the background.

There were so many beautiful moments.

And, some heart-wrenching ones…

Saying Farewell to Louie

My sweet little Louie passed away in September.

My sweet little Louie passed away in September.

Louie spent a year and a half battling cancer like a boss. In October, wrote about saying farewell. But, to be honest, it’s still really tough to talk about him being gone. I think I’m in complete denial that he’s never coming home.

My dog, Louie, was adopted from the Wake County Animal Shelter in 2007.

Louie was my shadow for 10 years. He was my pal through so many joyful and tough times. That dog taught me so much, and helped me grow up a lot.

It will take me a long time to get used to his absence. I’m still grieving this loss. It hits me really hard on days when I’m home alone and the house feels so empty.

When I feel stable enough, I’d like to foster a dog. I’m not ready yet. Although I’m definitely not emotionally ready to welcome a dog into our family, I do want my daughter to grow up with pets.

In the meantime, I’m missing my boy something fierce.

It helps to have a sweet little baby to cuddle.

Meeting Samantha

One of the greatest moments of the year was when my daughter was born.

My daughter, Samantha, when she was one day old.

Samantha was born early in the morning on a Saturday.

My husband and I moved from labor and delivery to a recovery room. About two hours after she was born, he went to the waiting room to get our parents. All four of Samantha’s grandparents walked in at the same time to meet her. It was a really beautiful moment.

Derek, Samantha, and me in the hospital one day after she was born.

Having a baby is, well, a crazy thing.

I’m still processing everything that happened during my pregnancy, labor, delivery, and first few months of motherhood. I could go into some really sordid details but this doesn’t really feel like the right time or place for that.

If you want the skinny – like, the brutally honest stuff no one tells you before you have a baby – meet me for a craft beer while Samantha’s napping. I’ll be happy to fill you in. If you’re sure you can handle it.

Samantha and me in the hospital in September 2017.

To be succinct, parenthood is a lot of what you hear about from people. The days drag on forever but the year passes too quickly. It’s the most maddening and rewarding thing you’ll ever do. And becoming a parent puts everything in perspective.

Our girl is growing so quickly. I’m so in love.

Looking at 2018

I swear, 2017 aged me by about two hundred years.

I’m still processing it all. One thing is for sure: I’m really looking forward to the “clean slate” of a new year. There’s always so much optimism at the beginning of the year.

There are a lot of fun work-related things taking shape right now, too. I hope to share more about them in the coming weeks!

How about you?

What were some of your highlights in 2017? Anything you’re looking forward to in 2018? Do tell! Use the comments. I love hearing from you.