Growing Ghoens: Week 28 Bump Date

This 28 Week bump date means we've officially entered our THIRD trimester!! Only twelve-ish more weeks until we get to meet you, little one.

This week FLEW by!! Between our normal work & exercise routine PLUS heading to appointments & getting ready to head to DC, we sure were busy..

Here was our week in pictures:

First of all, I'm happy to say that the first couple days of this week that we KICKED this nasty cold with lots of (mostly) natural remedies:

Water. Extra Vitamin C. Shakeology. Hot Tea. Honey. RAW Garlic (yes, we ate it!), Lavender + Eucalyptus essential oils + Vicks Vapor Diffuser + Antiseptic throat spray the one really BAD night we couldn't sleep.

It worked!!
Praise the Lord.

You know what we ate this week?

Breakfast foods, veggie noodles, chocolate + peanut butter shakeology & fried chicken salads!!

Oh, we're still reading through 1 Samuel also.. feeling so convicted this week over the strong word received.

The crib finally arrived!! Your dad got it situated & anchored to the wall to keep you safe. Time to DECORATE your room now.. next up, a custom sign from a local small business owner. And then hopefully some wall shelves.

You got the most PRECIOUS set of veggie onesies from mama's friend, Courtney. I can't wait to snap you into these!!

We knocked out another week of Chalene Extreme.

We upped our weights a little & are feeling stronger every day! These arms are baby holding ready, little girl!

 A few nights this week, Nate started practicing some massages to use while I'm in labor. He's such a good daddy!

Before we left town, we got a couple of doctor appointments in. Friday, I had my glucose test with our midwife. Fingers crossed that we passed! Apparently no news is good news. So I'm hoping we don't hear from them until our next appointment!

OH!! And we placed our order for the breast pump. Talk about surreal moments. Praying currently that we're able to breast feed without any major issues or complications. I want you to have the healthiest food supply, pumpkin!

Finally, we headed out to DC with the family. It was a LONG but fun-filled day of travel on Saturday. These are some of my favorite people to be around and I just adore each of them.. I know you will too!

Tuesday we get to lay Grandma & Grandpa Kollar to rest in Arlington. I'll be sure to share about that part of the trip + everything else we did next week on our week 29 bump date.

Here's a snap shot of where we are kicking off our FINAL trimester!! I'm excited to see how it compares towards the end!

Latest Progress:

Feeling HICCUPS!!
Dresser delivered for nursery & stocked full of 0-3 month hand-me-downs
Papa bear started practicing massages for labor

Weight Gain thus far:

16 pounds..
hips and ribs are spreading! Still working out 5 days a week

Currently Reading:

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
1 Samuel + First 5 daily devotional

Currently "Craving":

Fried chicken salad with ranch dressing
Honey graham crackers
Diet Dr Pepper
Veggie Noodles
Green Apples

Major moments of the week:

Doctor Appointments
Glucose Test
Traveling to DC

Upcoming TO DOs:

Find a doula
Interview pediatricians
Schedule our maternity photo shoot
Practice breathing more often
Start working on our will

Time is ticking away.. so that's all for now!!
Thanks for keeping up with us, friends.

Growing Ghoens: Week 27 Bump Date

Trimester three is so close I can almost taste it..  But for now, we're wrapping up week 27!

I probably say this every week, but I feel like I'm looking more and more pregnant by the day. Maybe that's just how it's going to be at this point. Growth EVERY week.

It's funny too how I wake up in the morning with this "little" belly, like the one you see above, then go to bed with one that seems MUCH bigger! HA!

So what did we do this week?

Well, we tried out some new meal-plan approved recipes! A veggie, pasta, turkey sausage mix + some tasty banana bread muffins (recipe HERE)!

And we got creative making a stir-fry from a leftover veggie tray we made for Leigh Ann's wedding weekend. Let's just say not much goes to waste in this house :)

OH!! And the "diaper bag" we picked out came in finally from Fawn Design.

These back packs have been out of stock for a while, so when they were added back to the website a couple weeks ago, I was sure to snag mine up QUICK. Your daddy approves of both the style & the color.. he even asked to try it on when he got home that day. I love how proud he is already!

I'll snap a few photos to share soon with y'all of the bag & maybe even give a quick review once I use it!!

I LOVE that it doesn't give off the traditional diaper tote, mom "vibe." This is totally a bag I'd carry around anytime.. I might not even wait until the baby comes in June to give it a test spin!

A little later in the week, your Rock-N-Play arrived from some sweet family friends. Your dad & I put it together & let your sisters check/sniff it out.

Hard to believe that you'll be sleeping in this next to our bed pretty soon!! I hope you like it, baby bear. I've heard great things about how helpful this is positioning babies who have reflux or are colicky.. not to mention the peace of mind from having you on your back, but slightly elevated. We'll see how it goes!

We got another great week of workouts in too!

Chalene Extreme is such an awesome program. I can modify the weights & movements as needed to keep you safe, while strengthening my body for labor!

While this was technically the second week doing the workouts, I decided to consider it a full week one because of the wedding week madness last week (we missed two days & had a few cupcakes!!)

So far we're using 5, 10, 15 & occasionally 20 pound weights.
3 of the 5 days each week are solid lifting, while the other 2 days incorporate cardio, muscular endurance & some yoga/flexibility training!

I absolutely LOVE it!!

After a long week of working & working out, I spent my Friday night nursing what seemed to be a cold that carried into Saturday. We looked up lots of natural remedies that we've been trying in addition to diffusing some safe essential oils, taking extra vitamin C & drinking lots of water. Would you believe one of the things we tried was ingested two cloves of raw garlic? It actually helped some!! I'll do whatever I have to do to get better, but mommy is trying to avoid medicine as much as possible for now! Since what I ingest, I share with you..

Saturday morning your daddy asked me on a breakfast date to one of our FAVE spots to try & cheer me up.

Although I couldn't taste much because of this cold, I still ordered my favorite: Huevos con Chorizo (mexican eggs). And your dad got his normal: the everything.

He asked me while we were sitting at the table how we would have you set up with us for breakfast when you arrive. I told him that I would either wear you to breakfast or we're prop you up beside us in your carseat. SO surreal to think & talk about. We can't wait to take you with us on our breakfast dates, little one.

You'll love the Donut Hole!

And how precious is your daddy here, by the way?!

Okay sweet pumpkin!! Mama is keeping it short today. This week is already FLYING by & I'm making lots of mental notes for our next update.

We love you to the moon.
Stay cozy in there!!

FIXATE Approved Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins

FIXATE Approved:
Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins

This recipe began as most do in our house.. with a scroll on Pinterest!

Praise tha Lawd for sweet sweet Pinterest.

Can I get a witness from my other domestic wanna-be friends out there??

I came across the original banana bread muffin recipe from Adventures of a Shrinking Princess & decided to modify it a bit to (1) what I had on hand (2) my personal taste.

Basically, I never have ALL the ingredients for a recipe & I refuse to run to the store. So I've learned how to come up with lots of substitutes with sweeteners, fats, etc!

There are a TON of different ways you could tweak this for some tasty variations, but I wanted to keep the ingredient list within my meal plan so they are guilt-free.

Here's what I tried!
And you can hop over to the original recipe to see the two things I changed this go around.


3 {ripe} Bananas
2 Eggs
3/4 C Quick Oats
2 Scoops Chocolate Shakeology
2 Tbsp Trivia
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Dash of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
*optional: 1 palmful of dark chocolate or carob chips*

This recipe was SO easy, y'all!!


1. Preheat your oven to 350.

2. Put all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor & mix until smooth. My batter was so thick that I had to stir in the middle then continue blending!

3.  I personally sprayed my muffin tins lightly with coconut oil & opted out of using liners or a silicone pan, but that's completely up to you! Either way - prep your tins or liners so there's no sticking!!

4. Divide the batter equally into 12 muffin tins. This recipe makes 12 total servings.
I'll post the Fixate container/serving equivalents below!

I chose to top each muffin with 4 chocolate chips.
I think it would have been even better baked INTO the batter, but I wanted to make sure the portions were correct!

5. Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes, or until a tooth-pick comes out clean when testing the centers. Roughly 20 minutes was the sweet spot for my muffins!

Do you see how AMAZING these turned out?!

And talk about fluffy!!
I read originally that muffins with oats instead of flour can turn out kind of sunken, but that was clearly not the case with this recipe.

I stored the muffins (all 11 of them after my IMMEDIATE taste test) in an air-tight tupperware & they lasted all week in the fridge! I'm surprised too that they made it that long :)

Just pull one out one of these puppies when you're in a pinch for time or trying to avoid succumbing to your sweet tooth & microwave for about 15 seconds before you dig in.

FIXATE Nutritional Information Per Muffin:
1/2 Purple, 1/3 Red, 1/3 Yellow, 1/2 tsp (chocolate chips)

So what might I try next time?

Well, my hubby loves vanilla.. I'd call him CRAY for not being a total chocoholic like myself, but instead I'll say we complete each other :) So next time I may opt for vanilla shakeology instead!

Also, I could totally see mixing in some PB2 powder, diced strawberries, flax or chia seeds, etc!!

What do you do if you DON'T have shakeology?

Obviously I'd recommend buying some because it has changed my LIFE.. just search "shakeology" on my blog for info. BUT, if you don't have any right on hand, opt for whatever protein mix you have at home! 

 Give this recipe a try & let me know how YOU decide to tweak it!!

To learn more about shakeology, feel free to read here (why it's worth the $), here (if it's safe to drink while pregnant) or here (what the heck it is).

You can even watch this funny video I made, if you'd like!


Leaning on His Promises & Healing after Miscarriage: Part Three, Trying Again, Celebrating Life & Trusting His Plan

A few weeks ago, I started a "mini blogging series" called
Leaning on His Promises & Healing after Miscarriage.

If you missed the first post, be sure to read it here.
If you missed the second post, be sure to read it here.

My hope in sharing this entire experience was to encourage or comfort even ONE.

And I cannot tell you how overwhelming the response was from both times I've opened up to share. I want to thank all of my readers for the sweet messages, comments & overflow of prayers.

It's been confirmation after confirmation that sharing this testimony of God's loving faithfulness was an act of obedience!

I've been a bit delayed writing this next piece about moving forward.

Even though we're doing WONDERFUL, it's been a tough couple of weeks as we approach the due date of our first baby, which would have been March 18th.

Sweet little babe, although I'd love told be holding you soon in my arms, we're so grateful you're home with Jesus.
Mommy & daddy cannot wait to meet you one day!!

So here is part three, the final part for now, of this story..
Trying Again, Celebrating Life & Trusting His Plan.

Again, this may be slightly "TMI" because of the nature of our story. So, if you're my in-laws or even some of my family, you've been warned. 


From the day we found out we lost our first baby, we knew trying again was something we wanted to do as soon as my body was "ready."

But what does ready even mean!? 
Mentally.. Emotionally.. Physically..

I know you ladies who have been through this completely know where I'm coming from here!

Healing after loss is hard for mom & dad.
But for us as women who are carrying LIFE within us, we bond so much sooner. We envision so vividly what life would be like with this child.

I'm not at all taking away from the grief or time needed for dads to heal. However, I completely understand if you're a grieving mama who feels like you're still healing "alone." Because I was there at one point.


It takes time.
Everyone is different.
Don't compare your feelings.
Continue giving it all to Jesus.
And take care of yourself.

A week after our first appointment confirming our loss, I returned to the doctor & saw another OB. He needed to confirm via ultrasound that I had passed everything naturally & wouldn't need assistance to complete the process. They checked my hormone levels via urine test & told me that my body was doing exactly what it "should" be. He, like the first OB we saw, explained our steps moving forward & trying again. Although he had a slightly different perspective on the timeline he would suggest.

If you're like me, you want to know it all & be fully informed. Here's what they both told us..

The first OB told us to wait until I had completed ONE full cycle. The second OB told us to wait at least a couple. Both were in agreement that we should be cautious during intercouse the first couple of weeks, as my body could be extremely fertile without me knowing. They also both said that allowing a cycle or two before trying again would help to ensure that my body had fully recovered & been able to create an optimal environment for new life to grow in. Apparently, trying TOO soon actually can increase your risk of miscarriage even more. Obviously, we did NOT want that.

I tried so hard to see this as a next step to another life to avoid falling further into feelings of sadness or even hopelessness. But gosh, I was ready to get out of that office.. so I tucked away that information & decided I'd revisit it later.

The next few weeks consisted of just doing my best to take care of myself, trying to figure out a rhythm with work & spending time with Jesus. As much as I didn't feel like it some days, I got back on top of my nutrition & exercise RIGHT away because I knew it would only help me snap back - from the inside out. This is some of the best advice I can pass on now! Do it anyways, gal. I promise, it's helping!

The doctors had told me that everyone is SO different I think to prepare me incase things didn't go how I might expect them to. But they did encourage me by saying that I would probably "bounce" back quickly  because I'm young & healthy.

They told me to expect a period in the next 3-4 week. I was skeptical, but really hopeful. I was completely shocked to find that my "cycle" post miscarriage didn't skip a beat. I had a normal period almost three weeks later exactly, within the first week of September.

Having a period again was sad.
But I didn't dwell on that.
I made the CHOICE to see it as the next step.
Which actually gave us something to be excited about.

Nate & I decided this was the one full cycle we needed before we were ready to start the baby making fest again.

I did some research, talked to a few gals in some private groups I had joined & decided we would follow the SMEP this time (for those of you unfamiliar, this is the "sperm meets egg plan").

Essentially, this plan combines ovulation awareness with intercourse timing. It "ensures" that the sperm & egg have every opportunity to meet during every cycle.

Please note that I am NOT a medical or fertility professional. I also cannot make any guarantees for other couples who should try this method. This is simply what we chose to do & our experience. You can read more about it HERE.

So I made some notes on my calendar.
Explained everything to Nate.
And we got back to "work."

We tried to keep things fun. But there was definitely a little pressure over both of us to, in a sense, get back something we lost. I'm grateful for a hubby who can laugh things off & keep things light-hearted. That's SO important, I believe!

Incase you're curious what I used, these are the ovulation & pregnancy tests I snagged from amazon to use both times we conceived.

Although part of me questioned if we got it right or missed a piece of our window, the other part really wondered if I was pregnant.. and was semi-confident to an extent.

I started speculating while I was on a trip to the beach with my work besties chatting business, hanging by the pool & sipping wine. But it was just speculation that I wasn't ready to dwell on.

Then, one night right after I returned home, Nate & I were sitting on the porch with a glass of cabernet. For some reason, I just couldn't bring myself to finish the glass. I could NOT shake the feeling, but I also couldn't bring myself to pee on a stick. It was a fear of knowing for sure.. of either being disappointed or dealing with the unknowns of another positive.

I didn't share this with Nate. I wasn't ready to.

This was the LAST weekend of September & I knew I was supposed to hold out to test until the following Tuesday, which was OPK +
15 according to the SMEP plan. I waited as long as I could, then started testing on anyways on Sunday morning. I tested twice a day for almost a week - every test was positive.

You might remember this post on Facebook from October 4th.

I've clung to this BEAUTY from ASHES piece of scripture from day one & God put it before me again.

He brings what was dead to LIFE.
He extends HOPE to that which was lost.
He FORGIVES those condemned.
He turns sorrow to JOY.
He creates beauty from ASHES.
He turns our mess into a MESSAGE.
He turns our pain into PURPOSE.
He allows our tests of life to be a TESTIMONY.
Rejoice, my friends  "

I decided to wait to share with Nate until his birthday, on October 5.
He started speculating the day before because he didn't see me drink my pre-workout for a couple days. Funny how we learn our spouse's routines, huh?

So to throw him off his track, I hid a birthday card under his pillow & let him wait all day for it. When he opened it up just before midnight, he saw that it was signed from me & the babe. We snuggled, praised the Lord & celebrated.

The last OB we saw in August at my "miscarriage completion appointment" had told me to call back as soon as we got our next positive test. He wanted to check my levels to see if I was going to need help with hormones (progesterone specifically). So I called right away & we scheduled two appointments that were 48 hours apart.

I went in both days for blood work & urine tests, then waited for the results. I was intensely PRAYING that my HCG levels would rise like they should during a healthy pregnancy & that my progesterone would be in a normal range.

Just before the weekend, & RIGHT in the middle of blasting praise music during my pilates, I got my results via email.

Everything looked great.

I'm pretty sure my neighbors probably heard me praising the Lord from inside my garage that afternoon!

We scheduled my 8 week appointment as our next step for an ultrasound & waited. Of course, continuing to keep our precious secret between the two of us.

The day of that appointment, November 1, my stomach was in KNOTS.
It was RIGHT around the time of gestation we had gone in before & gotten our heart-breaking news. Although this time, my symptoms were still strong & nothing alarming had happened.

I gave my urine sample & we went back into the ultrasound room.
As I laid on the table, heart POUNDING to the point I thought I was shaking the room, I just prayed silently & waited for something to pop up on the screen.

Within a few seconds, we saw our little bean.
And we heard the BEST news.

This baby had a heart beat.

Nate saw that precious little flicker before I did. I actually had to ask where the heart was!

(it was a funny "rachel moment" from friends when she had her first ultrasound for those of you who watch that show).

She snapped some photos & sat us in the hallway to wait for the OB to see us. Nate told me how he INSTANTLY felt connected when he saw the baby.
And I was still in a happy state of disbelief.

I was HOLDING photos of our healthy, living, THRIVING, growing baby.
A moment I had been waiting & praying for.

It's funny how those moments you wait for and anticipate totally catch you off guard & stop you in your tracks, huh?

After our appointment, we went for lunch & had sushi (yes, I was careful y'all with the raw fish! Let's stay on track here. Haha). We talked about our due date & when we might tell family. We both agreed that waiting until the end of our first trimester was the best option. Especially given what we went through the first time.

Well, we had great intentions.
But long story short, my parents accidentally found out that NEXT day.
Fortunately, I completely trust them to keep a secret, which they did very respectfully for the next few weeks.

Probably a week (maybe even less) after that 8 week ultrasound appointment is when my MAJOR symptoms kicked in that I had never experienced our first pregnancy. EXTREME food aversion + major nausea & vomiting were added to the list. O.M.G.

BUT, those symptoms really comforted me.

What women who have gone through miscarriage & loss don't explain enough is the panic & fear that can so easily spoil your joy in future pregnancies.

I had to get a GRIP on all of the lies the devil tried to feed me.
All of the negative emotions I was experiencing.
And CLING to what I knew was true.
DIVING into the word, reading those scriptures I had focused on before, praying that prayer of declaration I shared with y'all & truly putting this baby in the Lord's hands.

God was demanding my surrender in exchange for His perfect peace.. again.

I wrote down those scriptures in my journal & taped them to my bedside table on idea cards for those moments that fear creeped in through my dreams.

It helped.

So back to these symptoms.

The first morning I experienced PROJECTILE vomit for the first time, I walked back into our bedroom with a smile on my face. I told Nate that it was like being initiated into a club. And it was a sweet reminder that my hormone levels were high! I mean that completely.

Maintaining that attitude made it all easier to deal with.
Plus, I would have done it all over again even in those really rough moments to have a healthy, growing baby inside of me!

I cannot tell you how many crackers, cans of soup & plain baked potatoes I ate, y'all!! My healthy meal planning went OUT the window, but I did maintain my workouts. I just did my best!

I actually completed a MMA style, kick-boxing program in my first trimester! Probably not recommended.. but it was fun :)

We rounded out the first three months of #GrowingGhoens with our Thanksgiving trip to see Nate's family in North Carolina. We both agreed to stick to our original plan/timeline & keep the news to ourselves until after our 12 week appointment, which was a couple days after we were supposed to come home. So I did my best to puke in the bathroom with the shower on & hide my symptoms in a house full of family. That was a "fun" challenge that has given me some stories to share!

When we got home, we were READY to see the doctor & officially be DONE with the WEIGHT of the first trimester (well, most of it). Especially since our belated honeymoon & hopefully baby moon to Europe was only a week away.

We went to the office, saw the OB & got a quick peek in the room at our sweet little pumpkin who was waving hands + wiggling fingers. Heart still beating strong. Growth on track!!

Sweet relief..

Then, we did a series of labs for our genetic testing, chatting with the doc about our upcoming trip & went on our way.

We decided to share the news right before we left town with the rest of my family & Nate's.

These are actually the photos from the day I snuck my niece into an "I love my cousin" onesie & waited for everyone to notice what it said. Such a special memory I will always cherish!!

Then as y'all know, we announced our pregnancy publicly when we came home from our trip to Europe.

I wish I could say from there on out it's been all rainbows & roses.
But that's just not the case during pregnancy when you've miscarried before.
(I'll share more about that one day & some practical tips)

However, God's promises remain true & He's been so good to us!

This baby has been surrendered into His hands.
And we're celebrating her life + giving thanks for her being entrusted to us every single day.

I'm going to share this with her one day in a way & at a time we find appropriate, probably when we tell her about her sibling in heaven. Not to talk about the hardships leading up to her life, but to share how God gifted her to us & walked with our family every step of the way. How He knew her & her story before we ever did. How He loves her more than we ever could. How she is a precious gift. She's a chid of the King.



I cannot believe I'm a mom.
I cannot believe I'm growing my daughter inside of me.
I'm overwhelmed that God has given us this opportunity as women.
And I'm not taking it for granted.

So while you're waiting on your answer or gift from the Lord, sweet friend, my encouragement to you is to remain faithful & obedient now.

Ask Him to reveal to you the reason for this season, rather than removing you from it.

Cling to stories in the bible like Hannah's with Samuel.
Or the wandering Israelites waiting for the promised land.
There are so many..

But, find hope, be challenged by & learn from them.

I know it's hard to hear, but God's timing is the best timing.

We will never understand fully His ways & His plans.
But they are GOOD & they are TRUE.
He is our creator who loves us more than anyone else.
Find purpose, peace & rest in Him, my friend!

I'm praying for you.


Thank you for taking the time to read this series.

As always, please know you're welcome to share.
It's not just my story.
It's HIS.