Some fun photos from week 34. A week that brought some most welcome visitors- my ankle bones! For a few days following these pictures, I was able to relax and stay off my feet. And those most enthusiastically missed ankles of mine made a reappearance! But the wedding rings, they sadly disappeared as one day longer might have required a tiny chainsaw (what a cute thought, a chainsaw that tiny!). And on that note I will simply say 6 weeks and counting!    Plus this little gem that seemed to be a hit.

Instagram vs. Reality


33 weeks

Reflections on week 33 …  and life in general:

I threw a fit in the middle of taking these pictures. They weren’t turning out the way my head said they should. Being reunited with Opal after 5 weeks, a swelling baby belly, and the fact that Walker was still here on this earth, I just wanted some fun family photos Sunday afternoon. But Opal wasn’t cooperating. Walker was squinting. I was experiencing flabby arm body image issues. And the sun, the sun we’d been aching to see for weeks, threw me overboard. There was too much light. There were too many shadows. It was too bright or too dark to capture the vision voyaging through my head.

I wanted picture perfect. The picture perfect of the Internet that says these non-professional photos capture our real life in our perfectly curated home and our effortlessly styled outfits. The kind with captions that say it’s been a rough day but here’s a beautiful picture of my family in front of this awesome ivy wall we just happened upon. I wanted that picture perfect. And it just wasn’t happening. But a marital argument, that did start happening.

So into our bedroom I went. I launched (the only word to describe it these days) myself into our bed, on my left side of course, and the waterworks began to make their appearance. Some might contend the tears were only overemotional products of pregnancy hormones, but I must disagree. The door slam, yes, maybe I’ll blame that one on the hormones, but the tears, no. Those tears were tangible reactions to the reality of the weekend. A weekend that loudly proclaimed our life is not picture perfect. A weekend so intertwined with light and shadows that it left me wondering how I could feel so joyous yet so anxious about life at the same time.  Shadows: not so gentle reminders of what’s important.

On Friday around lunchtime Walker called to tell me he had been in a pretty serious accident. As I left my classroom crying, three teachers swiftly ushered me into a private room to collect myself and convince me it was okay to leave school. As I made my way upon the wreckage scene, I saw just what he meant by serious. There was his truck and the path it had clearly taken through two small trees, into a telephone pole and finally into a larger tree. Worse than I had thought, but there stood Walker alive and well and calming to my soul. In that moment, nothing else mattered.Light: an overwhelming burst or a tender glow of what really matters.

The next morning we found ourselves surrounded by friends and family, many who came long distances, to shower us with affection and gifts at our baby shower in Waco. Given by 4 of my closest friends, the shower was Pinterestly decorated and filled with so much love that all we could feel was special. But as I sat there opening generous gift after generous gift, I recognized that more important to me was their presence. It meant more than any gift card or swaddle blanket I received. For me, their generosity came in many forms, but most importantly in the realization that we were surrounded by close to 30 people who chose to dedicate a couple of hours to say ‘I love you’ by simply showing up.It’s so easy to want picture perfect. To desire a life that resembles a grid of dreamily curated Instagram pictures all shot in that golden hour of the setting sun. A life that disguises what it really means to live. Picture perfect tells us that stylish maternity clothes, impeccable nursery decor, scenic backgrounds and exotic travels actually matter. Don’t get me wrong, I love and enjoy beautiful pictures, but we so easily believe that these things are life and so easily forget that each new breath we are able to draw not only gives life but is life.

Our life may not be picture perfect, but it sure is a stunning picture of life. Full of light that lingers even into the shadows. Full of shadows that trickle into the light. A life that constantly reminds us to be thankful for light and for shadows, for without both, neither exists. We must brave the shadows to grasp the joy of the light.  Sometimes it takes a wreck and a baby shower all within 24 hours to remind us that being present in the lives of others and having them present in ours can never be taken for granted. That in all moments, nothing else matters. That reality reveals a more beautiful masterpiece than any edited photo ever could. That abundant life is ultimately revealed through the mingling of life and shadows. May we be have the courage to be witnesses of both. Baby of ours, you’ve been in our lives for 33 weeks. Thank you for being a constant source of light through any shadow that has come our way.

32 weeks

I’m a week behind with not much to say except I’m pretty sure starting Friday afternoon, this will be my summer wardrobe until you make your appearance. This is a little more realistic than those Sunday pictures anyway!  


31 weeks

Just a few things I’ve been thinking about the past week. Things I hope your dad and I live out before you. So maybe these are more reminders to myself instead of explicit advice to you, but anyway…

Give everything you have when it means being present in people’s lives. This might mean driving long distances, sitting in hospital waiting rooms, or saying yes even when you’re tired. People won’t always return the favor. And they won’t always express gratitude. Show up anyway. Every new day is a gift you’ve been given, and part of this gift means that time is not always your own. That time is a gift you can give to others. Be present.

Express gratitude. Maybe you’ll be better at writing thank you cards like your momma. Or good at saying thank you face to face like your dad. But take time to recognize your gratefulness and tell that person how much you appreciate them.

Be frugal so that you may give generously.

Commit. Said you’re going to do something? Do it. Furthermore, take the step of making commitments in the first place.

Life is about quality of close friends. Not quantity. Take it upon yourself to be the highest of quality.

It’s OK to get your feelings hurt. But when it’s time to move on, use it as a lesson in not hurting others in the same way.

Live in humble confidence and confident humility.

30 weeks

 I’m having some feelings of inadequacy. I just don’t seem to know what to say in these weekly writings to you.  People keep asking me if I talk to you. Nope, that’s your dad who has long, “secret” conversations with you. The kind where he tells me not to listen. I think about you all the time, literally, ALL the time, but the words just aren’t there. But instead of letting those feelings of inadequacy win, I’m going to tell myself it’s perfectly ok. Because I think that’s what I would tell you to do in the same situation. Not compare myself to those who write beautiful essays to their children or have the most breathtaking maternity photos. Because you and me, this week we both got good reports at the doctor. You have a ‘happy heartbeat.’ I have a full tube of Preparation H. And we both have Walker who is taking the best care of us. And in this 30th week, that’s all we need.  

29 weeks

I’m going to attempt better documentation during these last weeks of pregnancy. My goal was to write often to this girl of ours. Whoops. Pregnancy seems to have flown by, and between our crazy schedule and the end of the school year, I don’t see an end to that trend. So here’s to trying to slow down just a bit and remember these special moments. But first I’m backing up, backing up pretty far to the very first moments when the realization of new life first came to be. Because I want to remember the vulnerability, the excitement and the privilege of what those first few days held.


Hi there baby of mine,

I’m your momma. I suspect you growing inside of me and have for a few days now. Tomorrow morning, we’ll see for sure. Your dad is in Africa for two more days, so I celebrated just the two of us tonight. Well, you, me and a pizza. As much as I wish your dad was here, it’s kind of special, this time we have together. These few days where it’s our little secret. Soon your life will become a gift to so many people, but for now, the two of us are one. The only ones.

I’ll admit, you terrify me. I’m scared of the next few months in which you might take my energy and lend me nausea. I’m scared of the reality of actually delivering you into this world. But mostly, and selfishly, I’m panicked at losing control. You see I can’t control your birth date nor whether you will make it there. Your gender is not up to me. I’m unable to shield you from birth defects or the cruelty of the world. I can’t ensure that others won’t hurt you or that you won’t hurt others. You, oh baby of mine, are out of my control, out of my protection in so many ways. But I promise. I promise you this.

I can’t protect you from everything, but I can love you through anything. It’s you and me baby, today and tomorrow. Forever and always.


Two lines.

Two lives.

Changed this morning when those two little lines appeared.

Elbows on the counter and fists pushing my cheeks into my ears, my heart would not stop pounding as I leaned over and stared at that those two lines.

Last night you were a suspicion. Today you are a person.

So many thoughts rushed through my head as I began to attempt to lean into this new reality. What if I’ve already messed this up? Am I behind on vitamins and diet? Did I eat a food I shouldn’t have? I told you, you terrify me.

But as the day went on and the Internet provided me some answers and relief, fright turned into anxious excitement. I began to count the hours until your dad arrives home tomorrow. I’m ready for two to become three!

I’m still scared, but I also feel you are empowering me already. While I feel so far out of my comfort zone, in a way I already feel like I’m growing more into myself. I did everything I could to take care of you today. I ran to grab prenatal vitamins, stopped in to get a flu shot, drank water like it was my job, and reintroduced chicken back into my diet.

Tomorrow we become a family of three. Today and tomorrow, a family we’ll be.


We told your dad tonight. He reacted exactly as I imagined: theatrically excited, enthusiastically shocked, and dramatically sentimental. He was perfect.



And just like that we’ve made it to the 3rd trimester. There were days, especially in those early weeks of nausea and secrecy, I was pretty sure this time would never come. But here we are with a healthy (and chubby says the doc) baby we get to meet in twelve weeks time. What a true adventure these 28 weeks have been. Full of ups and downs, exciting discoveries and major learning curves. But whatever has come our way was always met with gratitude for a growing, healthy little lady.

It’s kind of comical to look back at all the surprises pregnancy had in store, and I’m sure there are still many to come. Who knew Walker would be responsible for keeping me alive during those first 12 weeks. Never did I think I’d be reliant on him to do things like force me to eat, pack my lunches when food was repulsive, fill up my water to take my vitamins, carry me from the couch (where I’d been since probably 4:30 p.m.) to bed around 7 p.m. I was somewhat pathetic I tell ya, and I’m forever grateful and impressed at how naturally he stepped into the father role, even as she was the size of a sesame seed. He took care of me and her in the most selfless of ways, ways in which he probably never dreamed. Love you, husband of mine.

Who would have thought I would grow to somewhat enjoy peanut butter? This is Walker’s favorite thing about my pregnancy. Or that I would find myself in crying hysterics in a bathroom stall after finding out Pappadeaux took my favorite meal off the menu. I never knew I would consider a bowel movement to be the greatest victory of my day week, sometimes even declaring a verbal shout of triumph. Or that I could develop so much saliva I would become a human fountain … to the point of having a spit cup in my car. It’s possible to feel that hungry? Or that full?

Who would have ever guessed people would be so supportive? Me! I could have told you that from day one. We’ve always been surrounded by such a caring community, both near and far, and their expression of encouragement during this time has been truly overwhelming. Our family and friends have done everything from calming my ‘um, is this supposed to be happening to my body’ paranoia, to sending care packages and letters, showering us with gifts, and being so thrilled with us. We are eternally indebted to our people, and humbly reminded of how important it is to forever pay it forward.

Now for our weekly (mostly) after church photos!


  See you in 12 weeks, Lady McWilliams!