Things to avoid when pregnant + the perks of pregnancy

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This week marked 25 weeks pregnant! Woohoo! It’s going so quickly and so slow at the same time. I cannot wait to meet this little baby boy that’s growing on the inside of me. See what he’s like, his personality as he grows, who he looks most like, and so many more things make me anxious to meet him!

In the last nearly six months of being pregnant I have compiled a list of things to avoid while pregnant. This list is not a doctor advised list, but more of a if you want a happy pregnancy list:

  1. Don’t be too worried, it won’t help anything. Just over a year ago I had an early miscarriage. Having that happen, then trying for a good number of months to get pregnant again, then being pregnant now has been a whirlwind of up and down emotions. In the early stages of this pregnancy I was worried that if I even let myself be excited about the pregnancy and growing baby that I would only be disappointed and again lose this baby to a miscarriage. In most cases when a baby is lost in pregnancy it has nothing to do with anything that the mother could have done differently. It’s not your fault if something happens. Worrying adds nothing to life except fear.
  2. EVERYONE will give their opinions about what you are doing, do what feels right. I will add to this, “as long as it is within your doctors orders”. In the last few months I have heard so many “don’t” and “dos” about pregnancy, often making me feel like I’m doing something wrong. I’ve had to come to the place where I let some of those voices become background noise and politely nod. Everything from being told I can’t drink soda at all to I must wear dresses all the time because jeans (even maternity ones) are too tight on my stomach and will hurt the baby to some people telling me to sit down all the time and not strain myself to the extreme other side telling that if I don’t work out now I won’t be strong enough to deliver the baby. The phrase that come to mind is “you do you”.
  3. Avoid people that make you feel bad. I know this is a bit extreme. But on the other hand, not at all. Being pregnant comes with so many hormones, emotions and up and down feeling already that having people around who are constantly making you feel unnecessarily bad are not essential to your life at this point in time. Try to surround yourself with people who will encourage and uplift you. You need it!

Pregnancy is an awesome thing! Your body is making a real human! Seriously…think about it, it’s insane. It’s a miracle. Now onto a short list of the perks of pregnancy:

  1. It’s OK to say you’re tired and stay home rather than feeling obligated to say yes to everything. This has been a learning experience for me. My husband continually encourages me in this and tries to accommodate (and on occasion use it as his own excuse to have an extra hour to relax…”my wife is pregnant and really tired, we’re going to stay home tonight.”). But seriously…you are growing a human, it takes a lot out of your body, don’t be afraid to allow yourself to rest.
  2. You can feel your baby move inside of you. It’s insane! There is something moving inside and it’s not just gas. It’s a crazy experience to feel a real living thing moving around inside…this I just can’t get over. Ask me again when I’m eight months and I’m sure I’ll have a different answer for you…but as for now I don’t get tired of it.

Ok….my list is a bit short. There are more perks to be added and many more side effects (gaining weight by the landslides, having literally nothing to wear, being careful with what you can and cannot eat, way too much gas, feeling fat all there time, etc).

What’s on your list of perks or any other thoughts about pregnant? I’d love to hear them!

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OH BABY! 

Recently my husband and I announced to the world that we (or better phrased “I”) are pregnant!!!

We are over the moon with excitement! Today marks 13 weeks…which seems like a long time and a very short time. I’m not sure how that works, but I think you get the picture. We can’t help but thank God for this little babe! We’re praying for a healthy/growing baby and delivery.

Baby Sokoloff coming early April!!

Ps. We also celebrated three years of marriage last week and it just feels so fitting that now we’re going to be a family of three 🙂 That and the fact that our number of animals (2 dogs and 1 cat) will no longer out-number us as humans.

Life and Time and People

“You can’t change your past, but you can change your future.”

I’ve heard variations of this quote time and time again over the years. It’s never seemed more true than it does right now. So much of life is determined by how we respond to things both good and bad. I’d be lying to say that I respond correctly in most situations….rarely do I (whether I show it or not doesn’t make my response a good one).

Sometimes life feels crazy and overwhelming. Sometimes time goes by like a jet plane and other times it seems to move as slow as a slug. These things often make little or no sense in the moment. But, it is up to you and me how we respond to what happens. We can’t change anything after it’s happened…but our response to things can mean life or death for us. Figuratively and literally.

This last week I’ve been slowly reading through the book of John in the Bible. Jesus is a pretty rad guy (and a LOT more than that too…savior, friend, etc) and gives us some prime examples of what it means to hold our tongue and not be a jerk back to people who quite honestly deserve it. The Pharisees tried getting him into traps with his words on more than a few occasions and he continually responds calmly and with eloquence that stuns them. I think that’s pretty cool, and also a pretty big challenge. Something that I most definitely need to work on. Rarely do I respond calm and cool when things don’t go my way or someone behaves rudely….I make the choice to be pushed out of shape. This needs to change. I need to be like Jesus and it’s only possible with more Jesus in my life.

p.s. If I am honest about how the last month has gone since my last post about social media/phone usage….it hasn’t been great…but today is a new day.

A Love/Hate Realtionship with Technology + A Movie: The Circle

Sometimes I love technology. Sometimes I want to throw my phone out the window. Sometimes technology seemingly controls my life. Sometimes I let it.

Recently I’ve taken note of the amount of time that spend on my phone. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, day-dreaming about cool things in America, etc. Anything and everything can immediately zap up way too much time. From 5 minutes to an hour and half. It’s a slippery slope. A few weeks ago I was off social media for 4 days. Honestly, I didn’t really miss it. One time I sat down and immediately opened Facebook without even a thought. It has become second nature and that’s just now how I want to live. Walking around with my phone glued to my hand and sucked into social media.

My husband knows me too well. Days when I’m more emotional, missing “home” (ie. American life and my beloved family), complaining about my hair or clothes, getting wanderlust for every high mountaintop and far off lake…he immediately knows the problem. I spent too much time on social media seeing all the “gram worthy” things that everyone across the globe has been doing. Days when I put my phone across the room and don’t pick it up even five seconds I’m much more content with the wonderful life I have.

Last night my husband and I watched the Netflix produced movie, The Circle. I knew nothing about the movie other than the cover…..Tom Hanks and Emma Watson….with Tom Hanks I thought it must be literally the best movie out there because he’s a boss. Watching the movie I went through so many emotions; sadness, happiness, disgust, rage, hope, disgust again, and more. As the movie ended all I wanted to do was burn both of our electronics. Getting so caught up in the politics of life and electronics is exhausting. Currently a much simpler approach is the most appealing. That being said, there is no way I would even think for a moment about giving up my smart phone that allows me to communicate via text and video and voice calls to my friends and family on the other side of the world as well as those in my life here in Uganda.

Technology being so much ease to life, but I certainly don’t want to get caught up in the all consuming fire that it also is. What’s the balance? How do I do this?

I’m going to try to live life more balanced. Currently, I’m not entirely sure what this looks like, but I’m certain it involves more living and less living through other people’s lives. More real life.

Also, these last few weeks have been CRAZY busy. Here’s a quick pic from the graduation on Sunday of the annual intern class that my husband and I lead. More details to come.

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Date Day Ideas + Best Casual Date Spots in Kampala

Date your spouse. This is something I heard long before I had a spouse (or a boyfriend for that matter). Now, nearly three years into my marriage, I couldn’t agree more with the aforementioned statement.

My husband and I basically do everything together. I would give it an average of 22 of 24 hours in every day are spent together.

We work together (literally…we share an office with just the two of us)

Live together.

Drive together.

Eat together.

And the best part is we still like each other. Don’t get me wrong, we have our fair share of squabbles and arguments. But we’ve learned to be quick to forgive (this gets challenged nearly everyday). That being said….we still like to spend our Mondays (our consistent day off) together. Having some sort of date-day fun. I’ve compiled ideas and pictures from the last three months as follows:

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KFC stop for ice cream and a quick card game on our way back from running errands.

 

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Coffee, writing and cards on our day off

#1: Eat Ice-cream/get coffee and play cards. It’s cheap and a no brainer. (our favorite Kampala/Entebbe spots are KFC (they have great ice cream balls with chocolate and cookie crumbles), Anna’s Corner, Cafe Javas and Cafe Marie)

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I LOVE him.

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Quick stop for jumping pictures for the win!

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Pretty epic.

#2: Go on an adventure drive/ride. We have a motorcycle and love to ride together…me as long as we get to stop along the way and take pictures/look at things/stretch our legs. Road trips in cars are excellent too, especially without a destination, just get in the car and drive without any plans….stop anywhere that peaks your interest as you drive by. Our favorite day trip include: the equator (about a 2 hour drive each way) to get a late breakfast and Jinja if we’re in it for the long haul (about 2 1/2 hours with no traffic…but traffic is a constant struggle on Jinja Road)

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Dressed up in our traditional Uganda wear for a LONG cultural engagement ceremony.

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Sit with your friends for added entertainment.

#3: Make “responsibilities” that you do together a date. Wedding for example; go out for late-night happy hour appetizers afterward or make it a double date and sit with your friends so you have someone to laugh with when you get bored. It makes it no longer a necessity but a fun thing for both of you! (or make fun of funny things as you see them, just between the two of you)

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He’s fine….I’m dying

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Sunshine walks.

#4: Go on a walk. Make it an adventure. Go a route you’ve never gone before. Walk to the nearest gas station and buy a treat under two dollars. See who can find the best deal!

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It took ages to get our food….so Seth started playing the piano in the empty room.

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Before the power went out we amused ourselves by watching Chinese television with this woman.

#5: Try a new restaurant together. It’s always an adventure, whether you like it or not. We recently tried a Chinese restaurant with DELICIOUS food and a whole lot of character. Go into it knowing that things may not be as they would if you went to a restaurant on your “normal” or “favorite” list. Enjoy seeing how this one is different and try something on the menu you normally wouldn’t. This one was a bit weird but we’ve already gone back with friends because the food was just too good! Good Chinese restaurants are hard to come by in Uganda. This one in Entebbe is delicious!

These are just a few ideas that my husband and I enjoy together. What do you do with your spouse/boyfriend?

It’s all in the details + Structured Top with Distressed Denim

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I am not at all a perfectionist. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

Don’t get me wrong, I like things done right, but I like when other people put effort into the tiny details. I can appreciate what they did and thank God that I didn’t have to. As someone that loves crafts and using my creative brain this sometimes doesn’t make sense. How can you enjoy embroidery if you don’t like details and don’t work hard to make your embroidery perfect? Do simple projects. Quickly finished in less than an hour or two. I’m an instant gratification kind of person….not a pour over something for hours and days. But when it comes to clothes I can definitely appreciate the little things.

Check out this top I picked up the Monday market nearest my home. Read my previous post for more details about the market. Still only 1,000/= (or $0.30). Holla at this win of a shirt.

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What I’m wearing: similar sleeveless white shirt, long sleeve version here, distressed boyfriend jeans, and similar leather oxfords

I’m not a perfectionist and also not normally one for button-ups or white shirts. But lately I’ve been digging the classic clean style. Paired with these bleach distressed jeans and leather flats really takes the edge off the “stiff” look of the white shirt.

How do you pair your white button-ups? I love the multi-purpose-ness of this shirt that can be dressed up or down for any occasion.

Wardrobe Wednesday: Market Challenge

In past posts I’ve mentioned the local Monday market near my home, just outside of Kampala, Uganda. It is packed full of clothes, shoes, fruits, vegetables, and numerous other random things. One Wednesday in a month I’ll be posting the results of that month’s Market Challenge. I love games/challenges, great deals and clothes. What could be better than a combination of all three? Below are the rules that I will be abiding by. In the future I may include guests in these posts.

Market Challenge guidelines:

  1. $3 limit (10,000 Uganda Shillings)
  2. 1 hour
  3. The best outfit possible

Disclaimer: Shoes will not be included.

Hope you enjoy the journey with me. Are there any secret hot spots for bargain deals near you? What has been your experience? Here are the results of my first ever Wardrobe Wednesday: Market Challenge.

OUTFIT #1

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  1. Striped Front-Button Maxi/Midi Dress: $0.56 USD (2,000ugx)
  2. Shoes (bought from Buckle last time I was in the States)

It could use a few alterations to make it a bit more flattering as far as the fit goes. Most likely I’ll wear it a few times then pass it along to a friend.

OUTFIT #2

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  1. Striped Faux Front-Button Midi Skirt:  $0.56 USD (2,000ugx)
  2. Long black tank (tank dress) (bought from Forever21 approximately four years ago)
  3. Shoes (same as above)

This one needs a through washing to get out a small stain on the back waistband. I really like it! I think it’s cute, on-trend and flattering.

It’s amazing what you can find for a steal when you take the time to look.

P.S. This is the first post with the camera that my husband commissioned my family to help buy me for my birthday last week. He was the photographer. It will be a journey for me to learn how to shoot and edit pictures, but I am very excited. Any tips? I can use all the help I can get!

Everything Black: A Saga

Black is slimming, so they say.

Black goes with everything.

If you can’t decide what to wear, wear black, it’s so classic.

 

For whatever reason it is….black is back. Not that black ever left, but currently (ok…it’s been about two years now) it’s in constant rotation in my closet. I feel as if I’ve made a switch from loving brighter colors and prints to loving wearing black and more muted, plain clothes. All day, everyday. It’s not that I don’t wear colors or prints at all, but only if all my black clothes are dirty. Is that bad? Maybe, maybe not. I’m not goth….but I feel good in it and it just goes well for nearly every occasion.

There are so many ways to mix and match. Here are selections from a few different occasions.

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Try adding a color pop, different textures, a hat or other great accessory to give your monotone look some depth. My current favorite add in colors are gold, white/cream and maroon. What do you do to add flair to your look?

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Love Challenge: PATIENCE

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Let’s get personal. Lately I’ve felt challenged on the level of love that show to others, so I’ve decided (been prompted by God) to do something about it. It’s nothing I haven’t done before….but it’s been a while (5 or 6 years) since I last took time and put effort into intentionally loving people. That’s TOO long, much too long. I’ve noticed myself being short with people (including my husband) and putting more blame on how others respond to me than on how I treat or respond to them.

Whether you are a christian or not, the Bible has a lot to say about how we should treat the people around us (friends and enemies alike). For the next large number of weeks I’ll be focusing on a passage out of 1 Corinthians 13 (the famous “love” chapter in the Bible) and going systematically through the section of verses focusing on what love is and is not. I’ll be posting about my successes and failures every once in a while as venture in this.

Join me! We can together better ourselves and in turn, the people around us.

As humans we respond to love. We love, love. Well some of us do. But love is about more than just love stories and butterflies and it’s not only for couples. Love is for all of us, and how we should treat each other is with love in every situation.

Week #1: Love is PATIENT

Patience is something I am often lacking in. You can ask my husband, the interns he and I lead together, my family, my friends and the checkout lady at the grocery store….this is something I NEED to grow in. Getting flustered about a simple situation of irritated when things don’t go my way shows a lack of patience, not to mention how irritated I can get about stuck in traffic that really only adds five minutes to my journey. Is it really a big deal in the long run?? Five minutes? No.

Seriously, join me this week as I try my hand (with bucket loads of help from God) at practicing patience out of love for the people around me.

Is there anything that you are working on to better yourself? What is it? How can we help each other grow?

A week in hair: some call it styles some call it a jungle up there.

RAW and REAL: eyes closed, eyes opened, glasses, one shoulder that goes up, one shoulder that goes down and the fact that my husband took one snap of each angle make these pictures come to life.

Monday Hair: Day off hair. Leftover Sunday hair with a baseball cap…pretty basic and also pretty typical that showering and hair doing doesn’t happen on most given Mondays.

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Tuesday Hair: quick shower and rush out the door with a top knot. Pretty basic work week hair that happens more often than I’d like to admit. Not sure what’s going on with my eyes….one normal eye and one squinty eye.

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Wednesday Hair: This particular Wednesday is leftover Tuesday top knot hair….immediately after seeing my hair in the side profile picture I bobby pinned it back into a top knotted half up look rather than only the tiny top knot on top….for obvious reasons. It looks terrible! My bad! Not to mention the obvious grow-out from when I tried toning my hair after back to ashy two months after getting it professionally done (which was now 6 months ago). Who knew that toner and 20volume developer would actually lighten ALL of my hair and leave a gross grow out line after the stylist had made a perfectly blended line of demarcation??

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Thursday Hair: Still half wet and naturally wavy/curlyish with a bit of some sort of salty-textured hair mist. As the day went on ti only got bigger and bigger…as usual (especially in the SUPER humid climate that I live in)

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Friday Hair: A continuation of Thursday hair….because it’s unhealthy to wash your hair everyday right??

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Saturday Hair: This was only the first half of Saturday…but my husband was running out the door earlier than I was and it was my only chance not to miss Saturday’s hair pic. I promise I showered after going on a run (yay me!)….and my hair ended up in a top knot as usual. Also featuring my granny glasses which rarely make it out of the house these days.

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Sunday Hair: Basically the only day in the week that I ever use any hair styling accessory. I’d like to think that I do my hair fairly often….but the truth is that most mornings I’m not willing to get up early enough to fit in “hair doing time”. This Sunday I put less effort than normal into my Sunday hair…but still managed to curl a few pieces before trowing it back into a messy bun as I ran out the door.

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Have any tips on how you easily/quickly style your hair in 5 minutes or less? Help a sister out!