A Place to Lay Her Head {Owl Nursery Reveal}

Okay, Friends, I realize I’ve mentioned Little One’s nursery so often. I’ve hinted at how much work Nathan’s put into it, teased with a photo when our friends came to help paint and craft, and planned two previous times to write this post. But to no avail, because turns out, some projects require a lot more time and effort than you imagine when dreaming them up.

But just over a week ago, I hung the final item on the wall to then declare Baby Girl’s nursery COMPLETE! Before we see the finished product, let’s rewind to pregnancy week #20, when we first heard Baby J is a girl. Following closely on the heels of that exciting news, like most mamas-to-be, I spent time hours perusing Pinterest. Thankfully, my time proved worth it, for I found this little pin that inspired the entire room.


I decided then and there (after asking Nathan’s opinion and getting his okay, of course) that mint + coral would be our main colors, and we’d decorate with owls. Yay! I experienced instant relief because, one, I didn’t want the room dripping with pink. That’s a fine color, but it’s a little overdone, and I like to be different. Two, we desired to paint the walls a gender-neutral color, so as to avoid painting again if hypothetical baby #2 turns out to be a boy. As we learned, painting porous wood paneling requires a lot of time and ample amounts of paint, way more than you anticipate.

Like any project, there’s expectation and reality. I envisioned finding white ceramic owls like those above but instead opted for aqua ones. I thought we’d utilize gold as an accent color; instead, you’ll find splashes of grey throughout the room. We dream certain items up in our heads, but unfortunately, actually locating said item rarely happens… so your vision shifts.

In the end, Baby Girl’s nursery turned out beautiful. I wish everyone could come see the actual space, because, yeah, my lack of photography skills fails to do the room justice. Still, I can’t wait to bring Little One home for the first time and show her around :) NurseryCurtains

4owls Hairband holder


Smallceramicowl Rocker


James117OwlMobileChangingTableOwl Tree

Fabrics (Window Valences, Crib Sheet, Changing Pad Cover, and Pillows) from The Stitchouse Etsy Shop. This proved to be our big splurge. Nathan joked that Baby Girl’s already spoiled since we purchased custom-made curtains and bedding for her. Yep, he’s probably right… and we’re in trouble ;)

DIY Projects

  • Owl Canvasses – Nathan used paint, canvas, and stencils (and the help of a very-talented friend for the more-detailed owls)
  • Headband and Hair Accessory Holder – see this tutorial for detailed instructions
  • Owl Mobile – I followed these instructions, minus steps 6-8, since I opted not to stuff the owls. Instead, I simply glued the back piece on. Easy!
  • Tree Mural – Nathan, MY husband, painted that! He’s admittedly un-artsy but did a fantastic job. I’m so proud of him! :)

Help from family and friends

  • Changing Table – my Aunt Rita restores old furniture (check out her Facebook page to see more of her beautiful work). This dresser was ANCIENT, and she both rebuilt it to be functional and spruced it up with new paint and handles. I’m in love!
  • Small table – another about-to-fall-apart piece my aunt redid for us
  • Rocker – we purchased this from a friend for $30. Because the chair was brown wood with sage green cushions, I opted to have it redone. A friend refinished and painted the chair for us, while the sweetest old lady I’ve ever met reupholstered the cushions. All-in-all, we shelled out $70 for it; not bad.
  • Our friends GAVE us the crib, along with a bassinet we plan to keep in our room the first few (or several) weeks.
  • I received the framed scripture at my shower. My sweet friend didn’t know this at the time, but I used James 1:17 in my vows to Nathan, so yeah, that verse means a lot to me. It’s perfect that she chose that scripture for Baby Girl.


Pink – yay or nay?

What things have you used as inspiration to decorate your spaces?

Are you a DIYer? If so, what have you made recently?


photo 2

{MIMM #6} Making the Most of The Wait

Hi Friends!

I must apologize, because I planned to share the nursery with you all today. I was so excited, believe me! But with gloomy weather all weekend, any picture I tried to take looked TERRIBLE! Hopefully a sunny day comes around, and I can snap a few blog-worthy shots to share.

So what do you do when your plan goes south?! … How about a weekend recap?

{Linking up with Katie for Marvelous in My Monday. Visit her page to check out what’s been marvelous in the lives of other bloggers.}   

With a baby that could come any day now (Wednesday’s the official due date), we’re trying to keep ourselves busy so as not to go crazy with anticipation. Well, I’m honestly the only one at-risk for that; Nathan’s fine with the wait. In fact, after he heard a couple of my girlfriends tell of being horribly moody the day (or day before) going into labor, he got a little nervous thinking Friday night could be it (after he witnessed a pretty intense mood swing from me earlier in the evening… oops!). When nothing came of that (no, no baby yet), we got to enjoy all the plans we’d made for the weekend.

Friday Taco Night at our friend’s new house

Taco Night #1 Taco Night Bowl

A couple we’re close to  just bought a new house… with the most-gorgeous high-ceilinged living room and a gardener’s dream of a backyard. They broke it in by inviting us and 3 other families over for tacos and hanging out. Good food, a few toasts, and one of the little guys bagging my poor husband… made for a pretty memorable night :)

Saturday Morning Breakfast
photo 2
French Toast topped with sauteed bananas

Ever since we got married, Nathan and I’ve attempted to keep Saturday mornings for making and enjoying home-cooked breakfasts together. We had a pretty good streak going for a while, but then we found ourselves traveling here and there several weekends out of the year. So when expecting a baby any day forces you to stay within an hour of the hospital, what do you do? Reinstate the goal and make some pretty killer french toast… don’t you?!?

After lounging around Saturday morning, I kicked into cleaning/nesting mode. I cleaned out the fridge and other appliances, disinfected everything, and got down on hands and knees to scrub the floor and baseboards in both the kitchen and bathroom.

Having a sudden burst of energy (i.e. nesting) is oftentimes a sign of early labor. Believe me, I’m becoming an expert; ever since experiencing some weird physical signs earlier in the week, I’ve googled ‘early labor signs’ more times than I can count. Because I had that and period-like cramps in my lower abdomen (another one of those supposed signs), I thought for sure Saturday would be go-time… not so much.

Sunday Afternoon Trip to the History Museum

As big of nerds as Nathan and I are, neither of us thrive when it comes to history knowledge. Shamefully, we’d never visited the history museum here, despite it being free. When Nathan’s co-worker and his wife invited us to come along to see the Prohibition Exhibit, we actually jumped at the chance. Mainly because we haven’t spent much time with this couple and really wanted to get to know them better, but also because it’d give us another something to do to keep mama distracted. Turns out, the whole Prohibition movement and eventual demise is super-interesting.

Did you know…

Prohibition Exhibit #1The wall contains 90 bottles, which represents the number consumed by the average American in 1830. If you think people drink a lot today, not by comparison. The lit bottles represent today’s average consumption, meaning Americans consume a whole lot less today than in the 19th century when they drank it from sun up to sun down. Crazy! Prohibition played some role in lessening the reliance on alcohol.

This next graphic made me laugh, simply because my grandmother’s family comes from southeastern Kentucky. The little buckets with moons represent areas where moon-shining proved most-prevalent. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure a few of my ancestors dabbled in the making and distributing of this powerful beverage.


So it’s taken-for-granted, common knowledge today that heavy-drinking while pregnant can damage baby, right? Apparently not the case back in the 1900s. Another upside of the Prohibition Movement… showing women how detrimental drinking during pregnancy can be.

Drinking mothers
A study from the very early 1900s showed that ‘drinking mothers lost more than half their babies. Sober mothers less than one-fourth.


The  best part of our museum excursion came towards the end. I stood next to Nathan to read something, and after I finished, walked away to look at something else. Apparently he thought it was me still standing there, because he placed his hand on what he thought was my back… and the lady now standing next to him said, ‘Wrong person, honey’. Needless to say, he was SO. EMBARRASSED. Good thing he didn’t rest his hand on anything lower ;) I laughed for a solid 5 minutes. You know, the kind of laughing where, after the initial laughter, you compose yourself but continue thinking about it and so let out a few random chuckles here and there. Yeah, like that.

After filling our brains with all-things Prohibition, our stomachs needed some attention.


Salmon Salad Sandwich & Seafood Corn Chowder from the Boathouse
Salmon Salad Sandwich & Seafood Corn Chowder from the Boathouse


I’m so grateful a few people advised us to continue making (tentative) plans and having things to do up until I go into labor. This weekend, while simple, proved to be so much fun. Normal Jaclyn would’ve been apt to say ‘no’ to any invitations or plans with the due date so close. But wow, I’m learning now how even-more-insane sitting around with absolutely nothing to do would drive me at this point.


What early labor signs did you have?

Highlight of your weekend?

All-time best breakfast you’ve ever eaten?


38-Week Bump

38-Week Bumpdate

Hi Friends! Wow, Monday came back around quickly, probably because we spent the weekend at a retreat (with the other couples in our church that lead small groups), and those times always seem to fly by.

In addition to worship, teaching, and discussion time, a few highlights include: sneaking in a glorious 3-hour nap Saturday afternoon…

Eating (free!) hotel breakfast

Helping Baby Girl beef up
Helping Baby Girl beef up

Laughing hysterically during the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Dance-Off

Why yes, he is stripping in protest for being chosen to compete for the guys' side... the flannel shirt's as far as he got
Why yes, he is stripping in protest of being chosen to compete for the guys’ side… the flannel shirt’s as far as he got

& Trying a new lunch spot. On our way home, Nathan and I took advantage of driving through the city to hit up Seoul Taco. Asian-inspired tacos & burritos… yum!

Seoul Taco


As of this morning, we’re able to see our due date in the 10-day forecast, weird! As that day nears closer and closer, it’s strange to think this could be my final Bumpdate. Not to say she’ll arrive before August 20th, but you never know with babies. Here’s how our little one’s doing at 38 weeks…

Update on Baby J

Due Date: August 20th

Movement: As Baby Girl runs out of room, I notice her movements becoming more abrupt and strong than the little jabs she threw in weeks past. We might have a little gymnast on our hands, for a few times this weekend, she seemed to be flipping somersaults in there (apparently she loves 1/3-caf Americanos and gets excited for Asian tacos). I can’t imagine she actually flipped, though, because at our appointment Thursday, she laid head-down, locked and loaded (& not sunny-side up! Pray she stays that way).

Growth: While the average 38-week baby’s the size of a small watermelon, not our little Princess. Last Thursday, Doc measured her femur length and head circumference. The former’s lagging behind, closer to the size of a baby’s at 35 weeks. Fortunately, her head’s just the right size.

Honestly, I’m completely over worrying about the size concerns. While a shorter-than-average femur could indicate a serious issue, her rate-of-growth’s increased since her 20-week scan, ultrasounds are never 100% accurate, her breathing and heart rate are strong, she’s moving plenty every day, and her true due date’s been a mystery the entire pregnancy. Plus, truth be told, doctors must investigate and fully-disclose every concern as to cover their own butts. Call me old-fashion, but I yearn for the days before ultrasound and all these measures. While such advances help in certain cases, ignorance really is bliss. For the past two and a half weeks, while I’m excited as we prepare for and anticipate her arrival, completely enjoying the final month of pregnancy’s proven impossible.

Heart Rate: 150 – strong and a bit quicker than the past few weeks

Milestones: Little one’s building up her fat stores while simultaneously shedding most of the waxy vernix and soft hairs that’ve covered and protected her skin and warmed her teeny body up to this point. Since she’s dropped into place, this mama’s hoping she’s also busy planning to make her big exit soon. 


Mama J

The Bump

38-Week Bump


Exercise: Walking + Yoga (stretching my tight hips, thighs, and glutes feels incredible!)

Mom and baby ready for a walk!
Mom and baby ready for a walk!

Aversions - Nada

Cravings - The yearning for egg sandwiches has returned!

Pregnancy Symptoms

  • Bursts of energy (yay nesting!) followed by post-dinner crashes
  • Continued hip-, thigh-, and glute-soreness
  • Light cramping in the lower abdomen and even a little lower, if you know what I mean
  • Round Ligament Pain
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Peeing ALL. THE. TIME. I counted the other night – 10 times from the time I went to bed until waking up for the day… no joke!

What I’m Missing - Pumpkin beer. I got pregnant right as fall ended and the winter beers started coming out. Now that fall’s upon us again (where did summer go?!),  companies are starting to advertise the tasty fall brew. I heard beer’s helpful for milk supply, so if you’re looking to bring me a post-pregnancy gift, there’s an idea ;)

What I’m Loving

  • Nesting – I deep-cleaned this past week: ceiling fans, windows, and curtains, just to name a few
  • Putting the finishing touches on Baby Girl’s nursery
  • Being 100% packed for the hospital

What I’m looking forward to - MEETING OUR LITTLE GIRL!! While dad encourages her over and over to stay in there and keep growing, this mama’s so ready to see her sweet little face, hear her cry, and have the peace-of-mind that she’s really okay. Besides, with the nursery baby-ready and bags packed, we’re prepared for her arrival. 


Anyone else have experience with being told baby’s too small or too big?

Favorite beer?

One highlight from your weekend? 

The Reality of Being Told NOT to Exercise

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve got some fun weekend plans in your future. I’d love to be attending this guy’s 2nd birthday party…

Hankster, my adorable nephew

Unfortunately, that whole ‘traveling more than an hour away from the hospital’ rule is keeping me home-ish bound. Not to worry, we’re attending our church’s small-group leader retreat, which always proves to be not only a growing experience, but also a complete blast full of games and other shenanigans.

Speaking of games, I grew up in a very sporty family. And as you obviously can tell, write a health & fitness blog. But I’d be (hilariously) joking if I claimed to possess one athletic bone in my body (in the traditional sense of the term ‘athletic’ anyways). So while I trekked it to and from more sporting events than I care to count, I was very rarely the participant. My brother and younger sister, on the other hand, excelled and, as I like to joke, took all the athletic genes.

Both played D-1 college sports. For my brother, baseball, which he later went on to coach at a few different universities. My little sister, volleyball.

Sisters cheering on the athletic sister
Sisters cheering on the athletic sister
Sometimes you look back at photos and think, 'why did I think that haircut was cute?!'
Sometimes you look back at photos and think, ‘why did I think that haircut was cute?!’

In addition to sharing athleticism and participating in college sports, both endured serious shoulder injuries that necessitated surgery and months of rehab.

*Just for fun, try saying ‘shoulder surgery’ 5 times fast.. see what happens. It’s not easy ;)

Like many people, injury forced them to stop participating in their sport of choice (and the lifting, running, calisthenics, and more that goes along with that). Athlete or not, you can be advised to stop exercising for various reasons. A few I can think of…

  • injury
  • overtraining (or a combo of that and the resulting injury)
  • illness
  • just having a baby (or having a ‘high-risk’ pregnancy or, like me in these final weeks, measuring small)
  • hypothalmic amenorrhea

While I’ve never been ‘athletic’ like my siblings, I’ve stopped exercising for chunks of time due to those last two reasons. As some of you know, I took a 2-month exercise hiatus a couple years ago to help my body heal from years of over-exercising and undereating. And for two weeks now, I’ve been unable to exercise due to Baby Girl measuring small. In that time, I reflected back on the lessons I learned the first time I was unable to workout on the regular.

  1. It’s mentally tough… especially in the beginning. I literally felt mentally schizophrenic. On the one hand, I itched to work out, mostly due to the fear that I’d balloon up and never be ‘fit’ and strong again. At the same time, I experienced a huge relief without the pressure to plan my workouts correctly and then perform them. This time, the schizophrenia struck again. Knowing how important mom’s exercise is for baby, especially in those final weeks, made me feel like I was already not doing enough for my child who isn’t even here yet (Hello, mommy guilt). Yet simultaneously, I know little one needs my energy and fuel to grow in these final weeks.
  2. Not working out’s actually physically-exhausting. When recovering from HA (hypothalmic amenorrhea), my body couldn’t be horizontal enough. With all the physical repairs going on internally, I felt as exhausted and weak as if I’d gone through SEALFIT Kokoro, a grueling 50-hour-straight physical and mental workout/challenge (not that I’ve experienced it, but how I can only imagine one would feel like in the aftermath).
  3. Exercise (and my body) had become a huge idol in my heart. After years of denying this fact, the first period of no exercise revealed how deeply-intertwined my identity, worth, and exercise had become over the years. Being ‘fit’ and ‘healthy’, that’s how I saw myself, that’s where my worth came from, and that’s virtually all that mattered. Who would I be if, due to being 100% past my eating disorder and regaining my periods, I was out-of-shape and chubby? I never verbalized that question to anyone, but that’s the thought that, for years, kept me from diving fully (head, heart, and body) into the recovery process. I know now the complete lie that was, but even worse, in believing it for so long, I was unable to be who God truly created and called me to be.

…Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. ~1 Timothy 4:7b-8


So those were the tough lessons I learned. In the end, though, I also grew in many beautiful ways.

  1. Had time for relationships, ministry, creativity, and fun. Working out takes time. Plus, I used to meticulously plan my workouts, making sure not to overload one muscle group at the expense of another, that I was getting a balance of strength-training & HIIT, and on and on… so. time. consuming! With my newfound free-time, I spent more time with Nathan and my friends, discovered my call to coach other people struggling with disordered eating and/or HA, explored more, read more, and other fun things.
  2. Cured my exercise obsession. Yep, I used to be one of those people who stresses over making sure to work out most every day of the week. When I didn’t, I’d experience guilt, shame, and feelings of failure and laziness. After the exercise hiatus, I possessed new abilities to set (actually ‘healthy’) goals to work out 3-4 times per week. And when that didn’t happen, to be 100% okay with less exercise.
  3. Discovered new, fun forms of movement –> YOGA!
  4. Realized exercise is something I actually enjoy. For so long, my main motivations included burning calories and looking a certain way. After going without for a few months, I knew without a doubt that I worked out (CrossFit-style, lifting, etc.) because I thoroughly enjoy the challenge and pursuing goals.
  5. Learned how critical listening to my body is. Following months of ‘rest’, once I started exercising again, I placed a lot higher emphasis on paying attention to when my body needed a break. Whereas before I’d work out 6 days each week regardless of being sick, sore, and/or overly-tired, I actually planned to rest at least 2-3 days every week and, on days I scheduled a workout but didn’t feel up for it, performed an active recovery activity (walking, yoga/stretching, etc.) and/or did nothing exercise-wise.

While choosing or being told not to exercise poses a very real challenge, there’s much to be gained from the experience. Where are you really finding your worth? Why’s not being able to exercise so hard on you? This holds especially true if you struggle with over-exercising and/or hypothalmic amenorrhea (HA).

HA is super-common in the health & fitness community, often playing a role in the infertility woes of fitness-minded women. If you’re struggling in this way, consider telling yourself to back off the exercise. And feel free to reach out to me. I’ve lived it. In fact, you can read a couple in-depth tellings of my struggle with hypothalmic amenorrhea here and/or over on Ashley’s blog.

I’m honestly grateful for both times I’ve been forced to back off on the exercise. While I learned and grew so much the first go-round, I’ve used this time to explore new walking trails, get things ready for Baby Girl, and relax, like any expectant mom should in her final weeks of pregnancy.

Mom-to-be or not, I hope you take a load off this weekend… Have fun!


How do you handle not being able to take part in some of your favorite things (running, lifting, dancing, etc.)?

Do you consider yourself ‘athletic’? In what ways?

Any fun or relaxing weekend plans?

HR monitor

Pregnancy {Fitness} Myth-Busting: Keep Your Heart Rate Below 140 BPM

**Here we go… Part 3 in my Pregnancy Fitness Myth-Busting series. In case you missed it, I’ve already explored: 


A few weeks ago, a woman approached me at the gym with a surprised look that, at 35-weeks pregnant, I was still lifting weights. She said, ‘In my day, the doctor wouldn’t let me do anything. You’re lucky times have changed.’ While I don’t believe in luck, her sentiment’s so right! For anyone fortunate enough to stay active during pregnancy, the freedom (and now encouragement) to do so, for lack of a better term, rocks!

*Warning: Recycled Pics*

Hiking at 36 Weeks
Hiking at 36 Weeks
Hang-Power Snatches at 35 weeks
Hang-Power Snatches at 35 weeks

photo 4 (26)

As she said, times have changed. People, doctors and the general public alike, are waking up to the fact that exercise during pregnancy not only makes mama feel better, but that it’s actually hugely beneficial for both her and baby. Unfortunately, as we’ve discussed the past couple weeks, with anything that evolves, old myths linger and continue to be spread.

HR monitorBeing warned not to let your heart rate rise above 140 beats per minute fits into that ‘myth’ category. Fun fact: ACOG (a group of physicians who specialize in women’s health and, in so doing, determine and advocate the highest standards of care) threw out this recommendation 31 years ago. So if you’re not high-risk and your ob/gyn tells you this (without good reason), find another doctor! He or she’s obviously not keeping up with current science and recommendations.

A repeating theme reveals itself as we dissect these pregnancy myths: Recommendations for exercise during pregnancy can’t be one-size-fits-all. Just like lifting weights, when it comes to working heart rate, what challenges one person will seem ridiculously easy to another.

So my heart rate can raise higher than 140 beats per minute, but how do I know the intensity I’m working at is a safe one?

The two measures I found useful for assessing my intensity the past nine months were:

  1. The Talk Test. Can you carry on a conversation while exercising? Yes, it’s as simple as that. Ask yourself this question multiple times each exercise bout. If and when the activity you’re doing can’t be continued without pausing repeatedly to catch your breath, reduce your intensity to a level at which talking’s doable.
  2. BORG’s RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) Scale.
BORG Scale
    • The chart’s fairly self-explanatory. Essentially, you’re responsible for subjectively rating how hard you’re working.
      • Is this easy for me?
      • How much effort am I putting in?
    • When working out during pregnancy, mamas-to-be, aim to stay in the 12-14 range. Never exercise to exhaustion. Thankfully, the body communicates when it’s fatigued, allowing you to slow down, stop and/or take the day off. When exercising, you should be challenged, but not so much so that you’re working at a max effort.
    • Using an RPE scale like BORG enables you to work out at the intensity that’s challenging for you. Intensity, just like perception, is subjective and varies person-to-person. As I alluded to above, when two people train at the same intensity, one may perceive it as more challenging than the other, based on the participants’ fitness levels (which harkens back to the all-important notion that your physical condition and the types of activities you participated in prior to pregnancy impact the level at which you can exercise during). Only you know your body, so exercise at the intensity that’s ‘somewhat hard’ for you.

So ‘somewhat hard’, no max-efforts… does that mean intervals are out? This may surprise you, but no. While pregnancy isn’t the time to go balls-to-the-wall, PR, fastest-time ever, working harder for short periods actually helps prepare you and baby for labor and delivery. Your body and your baby will experience stressful periods during labour and delivery, so why not prepare for that now? And what better activities to prepare you for the inevitable contractions than strength and interval training? Working hard for 30-60 seconds, then resting, and doing that over and over again mimics and trains the body for the work-rest that is labor, prepare you both for the main event!

Another benefit (and goal) of exercising while pregnant is feeling good. At a time you’re overly-tired and sore simply because you’re growing a baby and changing physically to accommodate said growth, laying around sounds pretty enticing. But remember, movement helps alleviate many aches and pains (believe me!), while exercise generates energy (i.e., you’ll feel more energized following a workout than you would be continuing to lounge).

So when it comes to exercise, aim to feel good both during and after a workout. Challenge yourself to a good degree, remembering it’s okay to breathe harder during exercise, but not to the point that you’re completely gassed. Expectant mamas require rest simply to grow baby, so when you’re exercising on top of that, please, please prioritize ample recovery during and between workouts. Do that, and you should be good to go, without worrying about your heart rate going above some arbitrary number.


Ever used the ‘talk test’ or RPE when working out?

Do you agree that moving gives you more energy? 



  • Hoeger, W.W.K., Hoeger, S.A. (2010). Principles and labs for fitness & wellness (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage.
  • Powers, S.K., Howley, E.T. (2007). Exercise physiology: Theory and application to fitness and performance (6th ed.).  New York, NY: Mc-Graw Hill.