born a girl.

A year and two days ago my ultrasound tech took a photo with my baby’s gender and placed it in an envelope for my mom.


Prior to this appointment, at a 14 week checkup to monitor the subchorionic hematoma that developed just under my placenta, the tech had mentioned that she was fairly certain it was a girl.

On my 23rd birthday, we announced publicly that the word ‘girl’ was, in fact, written on the black and white photo inside that envelope.

Since that day I have been praying. I want to be able to equip her with everything she will need to navigate this world as a girl.

In four days Kinsley will be 7 months old. She isn’t old enough to know yet, but as soon as she is, it will be my number one priority to make sure she understands that her being female is something we celebrated. I will make sure she knows that we love her no less because she was born a daughter.

I will make it a point to tell her that, even in a world where women and our opportunities and rights are interrupted and shushed by men’s hands over our mouths and around our necks every day- even under these circumstances, her voice can be as loud,  her message just as important, and her will even stronger than any man’s.

I pray that I can help her recognize when something isn’t okay, and to decide that she will take what is rightfully hers.
I pray that I can teach her to be brave, and to plant her feet on the ground firmly as she stands up to fight for what she believes in.
I pray that I can show her how to make her voice heard and to speak out against things that are unjust.

I want her to do these things like so many great others have done before her and are still doing today.

Kinsley was born a daughter, and I’m glad for it. When she grows up, I will make sure I have raised her to be one more strong woman in the crowd, marching, fighting, standing, and making a case for respect, equal pay, the right to control her body, a livable planet, the end of violence against women, health care for all, public education, the constitution, and the bill of rights.

Kinsley was born a girl, and nothing will stop her. Someday she will stand among daughters who pledge not to be silent, not to be interrupted, not to be sidelined, not to be stopped, and not to be afraid.

I hope you will teach your daughters the same.






Acceptance, Patience, Gratefulness. 

In the middle of last week I found myself browsing the ads on Craigslist and was taken by surprise when I found a house for rent that seemed to meet our needs. I messaged the owner and he sent us an application, which I filled out and sent back an hour later. I wasn’t expecting that we would be approved because I had a strange feeling about the whole thing, but the next day the man contacted me to arrange a time to go have a look at it. When we did, we found that it really was a dream come true. 

It was two stories, with a cute yard and a 2 car garage, open floor plan, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and had a huge deck that wrapped around the back with exits in the living room and master bedroom. I left with images in my head of holiday family get togethers in the big living area, weekly evening dinner prep in the kitchen and Sunday morning coffee on the deck overlooking lake Charlevoix. I was excited.

We went home and after looking at our finances closely and mapping out the specifics of everything, it started to look like not such a good idea. 

How would we make it to doctors appointments and each of our jobs and my night class if we lived so far from town and share one car? How would we afford to pay for propane heat, especially if this winter turns out to be harsher than anyone imagines? Who will help us move as the winter season begins and will it be taking on too much with everything we have going on?… Before long we realized the opportunity was lost; there was too much at risk and no safety net.

I was so sad. I still am. Every day since we looked at that beautiful house I’ve found myself thinking about what it would be like to live in a bigger space with room to grow. And the only thing I’ve been able to do to calm the yucky feeling that comes with passing up an opportunity that seems so perfect is to turn to a piece of writing I found the day we were approved to look at the house; the same piece of writing that was a sign that gave me a bad feeling that I was about to learn a lesson. 

It’s from a 365 day Devotion book I was given in the hospital with Kinsley this past summer. It focuses on embracing joy in God’s presence. The gist of that day’s page was this:

“Learn to be joyful when things don’t go as you would like. Do not begin your day determined to make everything go your way. Each day you will bump up against at least one thing that doesn’t yield to your will…if you are intent upon having your way in everything, you will be frustrated much of the time. My purpose for you is not to grant your every wish or to make your life easy. My desire is that you learn to trust Me in all circumstances.” 

At first I read this and thought to myself, okay but if you want something badly enough you will do what needs to be done to get it. I was content with that answer until we looked over the details and realized there was nothing that could be done- this opportunity was just too far out of reach at this time. So I had to look back at the piece again. 

The second reflection I made was one out of anger. I found myself thinking how unfair it is that we’ve had to endure all this and it has set us back financially. I felt angry that this is an opportunity we could have seized had we not suffered financial struggles due to Kinsley’s defects. I felt upset that it wasn’t “easy” like everyone else who gets to live in their parents house or basement or whatever with their new baby. I found myself thinking, “how easy it must be to live at mom and dads house, how much money could we save by piggybacking on our parents too. ” I was feeling jealous of others who get so much help. I wondered “how can they possibly know what it is like to have only each other day in and day out.” And I decided they must not know. I tried to imagine what it must be like not to have the stress of maintaining a home and taking care of a baby on one’s own, while constantly trying to make forward progress to what better suits family life. I was angry that almost every time I turn around another person is having a baby and receiving loads of help from mom and dad, a direct result of still living in their home, while here we are doing all this without depending on anyone but ourselves and each other for our shelter, our meals, the care of our child. Later that night I was still raging when I found a quote on Pinterest that said “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”  And then it hit me. God tapped on my shoulder and pulled me out of my pity party. 

I realized I’d been playing the comparison game, and I decided to take a third look at the devotion for that day. 

“Learn to be joyful when things don’t go as you would like.” “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” I was quickly reminded that while there is nothing wrong with looking to better your life and situation, it is still very important to be grateful for what you have. That was lesson one. 

Then I started thinking about all these young parents raising their kids in their parent’s house, and I decided maybe that’s what they have to do right now. Maybe they wish they didn’t need mom and dad’s help. Maybe they are living with their parents because it’s what they have to do for now until they have what they need to go out on their own. Truth is I don’t know, and even if it looks easier for them from the outside, it might not be. Maybe it’s 10 times harder. Maybe that’s why they live at home. Maybe we are quite fortunate. Maybe not. Either way, I decided I should not complain about having to depend on myself and my partner, because that would be taking for granted the independent lifestyle we love and everything we’ve built together. I decided I shouldn’t be envious of those who have help because I don’t know why they need it. What I know is, my situation is different and I’m quite fortunate, so I should continue to focus on my blessings and keep watering my own grass. Everybody is just doing what they have to do until they can do what they want to do. Maybe it’s not ideal, maybe it’s not what we want, but His purpose for us is not to grant our every wish or to make our lives easy. His desire is that we learn to trust Him in all circumstances. 

So I’m accepting that this is our struggle, and it’s different for a reason. The same goes for everyone else. I’m letting it all go, the sadness, the anger, and the comparison, and I’m learning to have patience and be grateful while trusting in his plan.

What you need will find you.

For some reason this morning I decided to take a little journey back in time using my Instagram feed. If you’re close to me you know how much I love taking pictures, and even if you’re not, you only have to be one of my followers to know what an Instagram whore I am. Contrary to belief, I don’t post these photos for anyone but myself.

A lot of people use Instagram to promote popular brands or mainstream labels, but for me Instagram is like a diary, a way to quickly blog something that’s just happened with a photo and caption so I can revisit that slice of my life at a later time.

Trust me, it works really well. I got a taste of just how well this morning.

I had just taken the dog outside, it was our second time out since 5 am, and I was really grumpy. I was tired. I was annoyed, ‘how does he have to poop again?!‘ I kept saying over and over again in my mind.

But we got outside, and we walked for a while, and when we got to this little field that we visit sometimes behind the association we live in, I just kept looking at all the tiny daisies and how nice they look in this field and I started feeling sort of strange.

I started feeling really grateful.

I was out there, letting this little dog drag me around through these weeds, but at least they were pretty weeds, and at least he’s a sweet, cute little guy, and at least I’m well enough to be out here in these weeds breathing this air and standing on this soft ground, looking out at these apartments I’ve come to really like the past six months.

A year ago I don’t know if I could say these things. I don’t know if I could look at all this with the positive perspective that I have now. One year ago I was a completely different person, an extremely unhappy person, pretending to have it together, and I was in a totally different, miserable place.

When we got back into the apartment I sat down and pulled up my Instagram feed just to see what exactly I was doing, to the day, a year ago. I found these two photos, among several others, that mark the early summertime period we’re in now, 365 days ago.

It’s hard for me to look at these photos.

To someone else it looks like I was reading Game of Thrones at the beach during the day, and snuggling my kitty in my comfy bed at night. But I know better than that.

I was extremely depressed. My close friends knew it and they kept telling me that I should talk to someone, I should see a doctor and get help trying to take care of it. But I didn’t want to. I wanted to be normal and okay and I wanted to be able to figure it out myself, on my own, like everything else in my life. I wanted to feel in control.

I was trying so hard, but the longer I waited to see someone the worse it got, and the more out of control things became. I never ended up seeing a doctor. Instead I wound up pregnant, which was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, even if I didn’t realize it then.

Last summer was a scary time for me. It was dark and exhausting. I was drowning but I wanted to be the one to pull myself to safety, not realizing that sometimes you can’t do it- you need help. I can look back at the photos from my Instagram feed during that time and know exactly what I was going through. I can remember exactly how I felt and the pain that I was in like it was yesterday.

But I haven’t felt like that in several months (the first few months of my pregnancy were really terrible, as bad as the summer was, because we were in such a pickle and just couldn’t grasp what was happening, but we finally did and since then everything turned around). I’m so thankful for that. It was like becoming pregnant gave me a totally different perspective on life, and gave me the strength I needed to pull my head out of the water I was drowning in.

Friends of mine have told me that they haven’t seen me this happy in a really long time, maybe since high school. I know that every day I wake up feeling okay is a good day, and I rarely have bad days anymore. I’m glad I kept going, and got to see things turn around in my life. I’m not saying everyone who feels depressed should get pregnant, but you should definitely keep going, because some way, some how what you need WILL find you. If you’re struggling, just keep going. Everything I went through was worth it.

Here’s why: It might be a strange thing to say, but I’m so grateful for that hard time I went through, because it really helps me appreciate how amazing my life is turning out to be now. I don’t feel sad every day anymore. I don’t feel like sleeping every second because I don’t know how to deal with the next several hours. I don’t hate where I’m at and what I’m doing. I’m not so distracted by how much I’m hurting that I can’t notice things like daisies in a field. I don’t feel like I have to pretend to smile, I just do it- without thinking.

Maybe that’s what I’m most grateful for. The chance to finally smile, and feel like things are exactly right.

The more I think about it, even when I’m grumpy in a field and the dog is pulling me through the mud and I’m panting and annoyed, I realize that things are still hard, there are still struggles in my life and times when things don’t go according to plan. Things are not perfect or easy by any means, and once this baby is born things will only get harder, but I’m still grateful. No matter how hard it is, I am grateful and I’m genuinely happy. And that’s how I know I’m better; that’s how I know things are exactly like they should be right now.

Everyone deserves this feeling. So if you’re in a tough place, just keep going. What you need will find you. It found me.


I think we’re ready to have a baby!

Today I am 33 weeks and 4 days pregnant, and according to my doctor given due date (July 1st) and my handy little pregnancy tracking app, we have 46 days to go.

Finally, I am finished with the nursery. If miss Kinsley June decided to come tomorrow, we would be ready for her.

I love this room, and I am so proud of all the work that went into making it look the way it does. I got almost all the furniture from second hand shops and refinished all the pieces except the crib, which we bought new. Everything was hand picked and thought out for the theme we chose and I am so happy with the way it turned out.

She is more precious than rubies, and we are so incredibly blessed.



It was two minutes to three when I clocked out. I grabbed my jacket, book, and tums from my locker and used the bathroom before leaving the building. I was expecting it to be frigid when the automatic exit doors slid open, but the rare February sun was doing a fine job, and it felt every bit of the 40 degrees it was.

I looked both ways before crossing the road separating Lowe’s and it’s parking lot, the wind lifting loose strands of hair that had fallen out of my pony tail over the course of the day. I felt overdressed crossing the dehydrated pavement that was caked with crusty salt; it didn’t feel like winter, but there I was, wearing bogs and a thick winter coat.

I opened the car door and sat down, placing my belongings in the passenger side. I moved my seat up a couple inches and adjusted the mirror. Nick and I have been sharing my car while his is being repaired in grand rapids, but today his shift ended at 3:30, and since I got out at 3:00 I was the one picking him up this time.

I plugged my aux cord into the charging port of my phone and found Ariana Grande’s album ‘Dangerous Woman.’ I clicked the first song. It had been quite a while, a few weeks at least, since I’d had the car to myself and could listen to my favorite music alone without feeling judged. Nick and I like a lot of the same music, but there are some things I wouldn’t expect him to listen to on a regular basis; Ariana’s song ‘Moonlight’ is one of them. Not 3 seconds later her voice was filling the car, and I was driving toward the apartment.

A thought occurred to me then; it came at first as a question: When did I first hear this song?

It was summer, I remembered that almost immediately. Some time around the fourth of July. Then several other thoughts populated and starting bouncing around inside my head:

I was at the beach when I first heard it
I listened to it almost every time I went there
I always went for walks to look for petoskey stones when I visited the state park, always right before leaving and always with both head phones in my ears
I was always tired
I was sad and miserable, heartbroken at best
But the beach was my happy place, and I was doing at least one thing that I loved almost on a daily basis, even if only for a couple hours.

And then I thought back to the sun that was shining in my eyes at the present moment, it won’t be long before it’s summer time all over again.

I started to imagine what I might be doing on the 4th of July this year, and then I remembered that Kinsley June will likely have just been born.

I won’t be spending time at the beach, and if I get to at all in June before her due date July 1st, I won’t be comfortable enough to really enjoy it.

At this point I was parked in front of our building and a ton of other thoughts started pouring in. ‘Moonlight’ continued to play in the background.

I kept thinking of how during last summer I’d drive to the beach with the windows down, the air filling every crevice of the car, lifting my hair and blowing it in every direction before exiting the car out any open window just to come back in the next and do it all over again. I kept picturing the waves, and the cool water splashing over my feet and up my legs with the occasional powerful burst. I imagined the sand and my hands full of beautiful petoskey stones, these tiny gems with the most intricate and unique design etched into each one; all the same, but different too.

And I was sad for a moment; sad that my life will never be exactly like that again. But then I looked into the center console and found a stray petoskey stone that hadn’t made it out of the car and into one of my three jars with the other stones I’d collected last summer, and I thought to myself, there is still time, I am still me, and my life will still be the same, but different too- in a good way.

I have so much hope for the future.



Maternity Shoot

The day before both my birthday and the gender reveal, on February 18th, I was lucky enough to have a maternity shoot with a wonderful woman named Kristin Hatfield, whose business is named Hatfield Photography. She captured some beautiful pictures of me and my baby bump in a sheer gown and wearing the sash I made for my party.

It was a beautiful winter day that felt like spring and despite the sunshine that we feared might create problems because of shadows under the bridge, everything turned out great and it was really a perfect shoot.*

I’m so excited to finally be able to share a few of these photos with everyone!

*everything went perfect except the part where I forgot I was wearing a panty liner and the public bathrooms near the bridge were closed because of the off season, so I had to take the thing off in front of a woman I’ve never met while laughing hysterically because it was awkward but such is life. Oh, good old pregnancy issues 😂

Project ‘Pregnancy’: Time Lapse

In another post I talked about ways to document pregnancy, hence the creation of this blog. I’ve decided I’m going to document my pregnancy another way as well.

What I’ve begun doing is taking a photo in the nursery every single day, and when I’m all done, I’m going to take all the photos and put them into a slide show of sorts that will play as a time lapse video of me, the growing baby, and our nursery. Here are 7 photos that belong to week 20, and the first photo belonging to week 21, so you can get a taste of what this will look like over the course of the next 20 weeks.


I haven’t decided yet if I want to  post these photos weekly, or if I’m going to make you guys wait until the end to see the full time lapse. Maybe if I get enough requests I’ll do both.