Then and Now

9 years ago Christopher and I were engaged and my sister, Abby, used my super fancy point & shoot digital camera to take a few photos for us around our university campus. We wore matching black tops with light-wash jeans because we were super classy like that. What can I say? There was no Pinterest back then and matching outfits were what everyone we knew did for engagement photos. 😉 I have to tell you, Christopher and I were looking at these old photos earlier this week and literally laughing out loud at how terrible our clothing choices were. Aaaanyway, this past weekend my sister, Abby, took a few photos of us around campus again to document this stage of our lives. So I thought I’d share a few favorites from both back then and now! 🙂

hu swing 2008Us on one of the swings on the front lawn in 2008

hu maternity5.jpgUs on one of the swings on the front lawn in 2017

bell tower 2008 collage.jpgUs at the Bell Tower in 2008

bell tower 2017.jpgUs at the Bell Tower in 2017

pregnant tree 2008Us with the Pregnant Tree in 2008 (rumor has it that touching the pregnant tree can cause pregnancy… hence our scared faces as newly engaged youngsters).

hu maternity6Aaaaand 9 years later, here I am actually pregnant in front of the Pregnant Tree!

playground proposalThis photo was a re-creation of our engagement. Christopher proposed to me here at this playground on February 7th, 2008. He chose the playground because it was the spot where we used to go when we were just friends to talk and literally play on the playground, ha! Then it was the place we had our big DTR (you know, “determine the relationship”) talk and decided to start dating. And then it was the place we had our first kiss. So lots of sweet memories in this place which is why he chose to propose here. 🙂

hu maternity4.jpgAnd here we are in 2017. Another sweet memory to add to the list of wonderful things that have happened at this playground. 🙂

9 years ago we were two fledgling adults who had been together since we were teenagers (I had just turned 17 and he was 18 when we started dating). We had no idea what the future would hold, but we knew that we loved each other. We’ve had so many incredible adventures in the past 9 years, but there are no words to describe how excited we are about the adventure we are going to begin when we meet our daughter this summer!

Love Rach

Our First Baby Shower

What an amazing weekend celebrating the anticipated arrival of Baby V with family and friends! A few of my favorite highlights:

with sisters

So thankful for these sweet sisters of mine who went above and beyond in planning this baby shower! It’s no exaggeration to say that they are VERY excited to meet their niece this summer!

baby shower

Sweet baby shower activities! I absolutely loved all of these!

kenzie and rach.JPG

My niece, Makenzie, loves feeling Baby V move! She had her hands on my belly most of this weekend. 🙂 And I have to say, Makenzie did such a great job helping out with the shower!

how to babysit a grandma.JPG

Another favorite moment was when my mom gifted this book to my mother-in-law. I absolutely love that my mom and mom-in-law get along as well!

with moms.JPG

My mom-in-law and my mom are both such amazing ladies! I’m so thankful to have them in my life (for more on this, see last week’s Mother’s Day post).

family baby shower.jpg

Family! The photo at the top is all my “actual” family who were present at the shower and the two photos at the bottom include ladies who are like family to me. Debbie (on the left) was like a bonus mom to me when I was in college (I wrote about her and her husband a little here). And then Ms. Mary (on the right) was like an adopted grandmother to me while we were living in China. In fact, in a small world sort of way: she lived across the city from us when we lived in Wuhan, China and now she lives just down the street from my mother-in-law so I still get to see her!

There were so many sweet gifts (several of them handmade!) and I loved showing each and every one to Christopher when we got home. Like me, he is just amazed at the sweetness and generosity of so many people. And we still have another baby shower coming up in a couple of weeks here in Memphis. We are definitely lucky to be loved on by so many wonderful people.

Love Rach

Recent Happenings

Happy Friday, friends! Just wanted to share a few recent things.

rach and mal.jpg

I started nannying Mallory when she was 9 weeks old and this week she graduated preschool. Believe me, her mom and I both cried happy tears when we realized how perfectly my due date lined up with Mallory beginning kindergarten. Speaking of tears… I totally cried during her little graduation ceremony. She is such a big girl!

snoozin oreo

Oreo doesn’t know it yet, but his world is going to be rocked this summer. We’re trying to give him a little extra loving lately. 🙂

entry way before and after

We’ve continued to work on projects around the house. Most of which aren’t that exciting to photograph. And really this one isn’t that exciting to look at either, but I’m so pleased with the change that I wanted to share. 😉 Ever since we bought this house, our entryway has looked pretty rough. No matter how much it is cleaned, it always looks dirty (even immediately after cleaning). Turns out that it was because whoever put the floor in, used the wrong kind of sealer on it. So we removed the sealer, cleaned the floor really well, used Grout Renew to fix the hideous grout, and then put down the proper sealer on it. It was a TON of work, but absolutely worth it in the end! Eventually we might replace the slate with a brick entryway because we think it would look better with the look of the house, but for now this is a major improvement! 🙂

fridge baby shower invites

Aaaaand finally, baby showers! Our very first one is this weekend and the next will be in a couple of weeks. It’s hard to believe that they are here already. We’ve been receiving gifts in the mail over the past couple of weeks and every one of them brings me to tears. We have been just amazed at the sweetness and generosity of friends and family! Also on the fridge – that “Mom-to-be” card was from my sister, Holly, in honor of Mother’s Day. Whew, there were definitely tears as I read her sweet, encouraging words. Definitely feeling the love and I’m so excited to celebrate Baby Girl with family and friends this weekend!

Love Rach

A Throwback Pasta Recipe

Friends, I have another pasta recipe for you! A little over 6 years ago I discovered this recipe for Rigatoni with Sausage and Cannellini Beans on the Food and Wine website. I tweaked it just a tiny bit and we fell in love with it. I shared it here on the blog all those years ago, but the picture isn’t great and it’s right in the middle of a long post. So I thought I’d write an updated blog post about it. 🙂

Rigatoni with Sweet Italian Sausage (1)

Rigatoni with Sweet Italian Sausage and Cannellini Beans


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup dry red wine
3 (14 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 lb rigatoni
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained


1. Heat oil over medium heat, then add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the onion and the sausage. Cook onion and sausage, breaking up the sausage with a spatula until it is cooked through.

2. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and cook until reduced by half (about 10 minutes). Stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, then add ground red pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain. Add the rigatoni to the sauce and gently add the beans.

4. Reduce heat to low and cook for 3-5 minutes, until heated through.  If it’s a little dry, add some of the pasta water until appropriately moist.  Serve with extra Parmesan and fresh basil if desired.

Rigatoni with Sweet Italian Sausage (2)

This may seem like an odd combination. Pasta, meat, tomatoes… yes, those make sense together. But adding beans? It seems odd at first. But trust me, it’s delicious! And lately, baby has had me craving spicier things so I actually doubled the ground red pepper in this recipe the last time I made it. Oh so yummy! If you guys try it, let me know what you think!

Love Rach

Mother’s Day Thoughts

I know a lot of people have mixed feelings when Mother’s Day or Father’s Day roll around every year. In fact, I wrote about my own mixed feelings a couple of years ago on Father’s Day. But this is not a post about that. This is a post about what this particular Mother’s Day was like for me as I wait in eager anticipation to meet this sweet daughter of mine.

As friend after friend wished me a “Happy Mother’s Day!” yesterday I found myself wondering what kind of mom I would be to this little girl. Which made me think of the examples of motherhood I’ve seen in my own life.

I think of the mom who carried and birthed me.  I mean, let’s be real: growing a human is hard work. That, in of itself, is something amazing. But not only that, my mom is an incredibly intelligent and fiercely strong woman. I grew up learning so much from her examples of self-sacrifice to her constant examples of what being a Christ-follower looks like. I hope that this little girl will see those same qualities in me.

I think of the mom who treated me as one of her own as soon as her son brought me home to meet her. Christopher’s mom has loved me as a daughter since long before I was legally her daughter-in-law. Not all in-law relationships are smooth or easy so I’m incredibly grateful to have such a wonderful mother-in-law. I hope that I will always be as gracious, loving, and accepting of the people that this little girl loves.

I think of the many women who have been like moms to me. Women who took me into their homes, women who mentored me, women who mothered me when my own mother was on another continent, and women who are still mothering me today. While I hope I’ll always be this little girl’s favorite, I do hope that she has many women in her life who will mother her. Women who will nurture her and speak truth into her life. She has aunts and grandmothers who adore her already so she’s already got a good start on this front. 🙂

I don’t know what kind of mom I will be to this little girl, but I’ve been blessed with so many moms in my own life who have given me some pretty awesome goals to aspire toward. I so look forward to meeting our daughter this summer and finding out exactly what kind of momma I’ll be. 🙂

29 weeksMother’s Day 2017

Love Rach

Lemon Basil Shrimp and Pasta

A deep, rich tomato-based sauce is usually my favorite topping for pasta. A bolognese sauce that simmers all day is just divine. But sometimes I want something a little lighter. Something simple and quick. And on those days, I turn to the basics. Butter, garlic, lemon, and basil. Toss in some shrimp and it’s the perfect sort of summery meal.

Lemon Basil Shrimp and Pasta

Lemon Basil Shrimp with Pasta


6 oz tagliatelle, cooked al dente
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
zest & juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper to taste
handful fresh basil, chopped


1. While pasta cooks, heat olive oil and butter in large skillet. Add the lemon zest and let it infuse the oil over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn it.

2. Add the garlic and let it begin to sizzle.  After 30 seconds-1 minute when it starts to turn golden (just before it turns brown), add lemon juice and shrimp. Turn the heat to medium and cook until shrimp is pink. Season with salt pepper to taste.

3. Drain pasta and shake off excess water.  Toss cooked pasta into skillet and allow it to pan fry for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped basil, mix well, transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

So tell me, what’s your favorite way to eat pasta? A rich, hearty sauce? Something lighter? Does it depend on your mood?

Love Rach

Beach Maternity Photos

While we were in Destin, we did a little photo session on the beach to capture this stage of pregnancy. We set up the tripod and used a 2-second delay on our little remote and we were in business. 🙂



rach 28 wks




So sweet. I just love them all! It’s hard to believe that we’re officially in the third trimester now. Baby Girl continues to thrive and look great at every appointment. Praise God! Thank you for all of you who have been praying for us throughout this pregnancy. We appreciate those prayers so much more than I can express!

Love Rach