The Nesting…

Sometime in the next 27 days we will be meeting our daughter. I kept thinking that as it got closer I would get more concerned about the ways our life is going to change once she arrives or even being fearful of delivery and recovery. But truth be told, I’m not.

I think part of it is that we have known for so long that she might be super early that we were prepared for her to come long before now. And part of it is that I have very little control over what delivery will look like. For example, I’m not currently a candidate for an epidural so I’ve known from the beginning that I may have to deliver without one. And I also have no control over whether or not she may need to come by C-Section. So since I have no idea what direction it will go, I just don’t dwell on it. And honestly, the pain will be temporary and I just want her to be safe more than anything. I mean, I survived a kidney stone without pain relief – surely I can do this. {Someone remind me of this if I’m laboring without pain relief and feel like I’m dying, haha!}

The fact that she is still in there safe and sound at 35 weeks is just such an answered prayer. Because we knew that she might be really early we made a huge effort to get things done ahead of time. Which means that my nesting urge has been nicely spread out over the past couple of months. But this week is go-week. You see, had she come BEFORE now, she would have been guaranteed a NICU stay past when we would have gone home. Meaning that we would have had time to come home and finish up any last minute things. But now she’s at a point where she might actually get to come home with us from the hospital if she were to be born today. Which means we want everything to be ready! So this means…

parenting class

We took our Expectant Parents class this past weekend. Several people saw this photo on Instagram and thought that Baby Girl had arrived. Those are definitely some pretty realistic looking babies! Earlier this month we took a Childbirth class so between the two classes (and a couple of books we’ve read) we feel pretty prepared for delivery, recovery, and life with a newborn. Or at least as prepared as anyone can feel. 😉

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I spent all day yesterday making freezer meals. Our church is awesome about bringing dinner to families for the first 4-6 weeks after a new child arrives, but I wanted to have some simple lunch options too. I may have gotten slightly carried away. 😉 Pictured you see: Taco Soup, Chili, Lasagna Soup, Enchilada Soup, Vegetable and Beef Soup, Buffalo Chicken, English Muffin PizzasJambalayaBreakfast Sandwiches, Spaghetti Sauce, Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Balls (I just realized I haven’t shared this recipe here – I need to do that!), White Chicken EnchiladasPot Roast with Veggies (this recipe, but with chicken thighs instead of roast), Beef Burritos, and Chicken Burritos. Most of the meals I made into individual sized portions for easy lunches so I’m hoping that will be a huge help during those early weeks.


Some people say that you get really motivated to start moving in the last few weeks because you are ready for the baby to come. But to be honest, I never actually stopped going to the gym throughout this pregnancy (other than the kidney stone episode when I took off a week). My doctors continued to clear me for exercise so while my workouts are less intense than they used to be, I still lift weights, do cardio, and yoga. It’s not always easy, but I know it’s good for both me and Baby and I hear it helps with delivery and recovery if I am able to stay active throughout the pregnancy. So here’s to hoping that’s true!


We’ve been making an effort to do all the things people say are much more difficult to do after kids. So this past weekend we saw a movie (Wonder Woman) and ate out at a nice restaurant. This coming weekend we’re planning to head downtown for another nice dinner out. This August we will celebrate 9 years of marriage and these years have been such a sweet phase of life for just the two of us. We are so grateful for the time we’ve had, but we are also excited about this next stage of life that is about to begin for us as a family of three. 🙂

Love Rach

I love Mashed Potatoes!

When it comes to mashed potatoes, I am normally the peel-the-potatoes kind of girl. I love russet potatoes, gold yukon potatoes, red potatoes, and sweet potatoes. I like them with skins on and I like them peeled. I like them mashed with just a couple of additional ingredients (like the classic milk, butter, salt & pepper) and I like them with lots of add-ins as well. So when we first met our current group of friends back in 2011 and we kept seeing these AMAZING mashed potatoes show up at parties, I just knew I needed the recipe.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that these incredible mashed potatoes were made from a BOX mix of flakes. But you can’t argue with delicious. And these, my friends, are delicious. You can find the original recipe right here on the Hungry Jack website: Make Ahead Party Mashed Potatoes.

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Hungry Jack’s Make Ahead Party Mashed Potatoes


1 (15.3 oz) package Hungry Jack Mashed Potato Flakes
No-stick cooking spray
6 cups water
12 tbsp ( 1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp onion salt
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, cubed and softened
2 cups milk
1 (16 oz) container sour cream


1. Heat oven to 350. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with no-stick cooking spray. Heat water, butter, garlic salt and onion salt to boiling in a 6-quart Dutch oven or saucepan. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese, milk and sour cream, stirring until cream cheese is dissolved.

2. Stir in potato flakes, mixing until all ingredients are well combined. Spread mashed potato mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with paprika and bake 1 hour or until bubbling around edges and golden brown.

These can, of course, be made with a different brand of potato flakes, but don’t get skimpy on the add-ins. There is a time and place for healthy mashed potatoes. This isn’t it. 😉

What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?
Love Rach

Sweet and Spicy

You know what we love? The combination of sweet and spicy. So today I have two delicious sweet & spicy recipes for you that are perfect for summer days!

First up, this recipe from Real Simple. I discovered this in 2011 and we have been making it regularly ever since. So yummy!

sweet and spicy chicken

Sweet and Spicy Chicken


1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2lbs chicken pieces (legs, breast, thighs, etc)


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine oil, chili powder, brown sugar, oregano, salt, and pepper.

2. Rub spice mixture into chicken. Place on roasting pan and cook 45-50 minutes or until cooked through.

NOTE: This can also be made on the grill which is our favorite way to have it!

Another favorite is homemade sweet potato fries! There are so many different ways to make them, but our favorite is to add fresh rosemary, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt. YUM!

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Spicy Sweet Potato Fries


1 large sweet potato
Olive oil spray
Fresh rosemary, chopped
Cayenne pepper
Garlic Powder


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice sweet potatoes into thin slices and lay out in a single layer on greased baking sheet. Spray fries with olive oil spray and then sprinkle with chopped rosemary, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Bake 15 minutes, then flip and bake another 15 minutes until fries are easily pierced with a fork.

Happy Friday, friends!
Love Rach

Claiming Peace

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a high risk pregnancy and there is a lot going on with it. Because of that, it would have been easy to spend a lot of time in fear over the past eight and a half months. From the moment we found out about Baby Vendetti there have been times when fear tries to creep in. But right before we found out that we were pregnant we went to a concert where we were introduced to Hannah Kerr. I loved her music so much that I went home and bought her album. And I’m so glad I did because two of her songs have been my jam throughout this pregnancy.

I stand here at Your feet,
I’m laying down the fear in me.
As Your child, claiming peace.
Oh give this heart Your victory!

Those lyrics. So powerful. When fear starts to creep in, I find myself singing these lyrics. Often with tears running down my face. Choosing to lay down fear and to claim peace instead.

Staring down the face of fear
Got to keep breathing
When the negative is all you hear
Got to keep believing
Cause in the dark there is a light
Your truth it keeps on burning bright
Brave enough to fight the fight
And shout the battle cry!
You’ll never stop me I’m a warrior!

Both of these songs have been such a blessing to me throughout this pregnancy. Wonderful reminders that God walks every step of this journey with us.

Since we found out about Baby Vendetti in November we have had 24 appointments and 17 ultrasounds. Currently on the calendar we have another 10 appointments with an ultrasound at each one until July 25th. Meaning that if she doesn’t need to come early, we’ll land at a total of  34 appointments and 27 ultrasounds. So when I say that we have an incredible team of doctors who want to see this baby and momma be safe, I’m not kidding.

However, we are still facing a lot of risk and as amazing as our medical care is, tragedy is possible. So say a prayer for us when you think of it. Prayers for a healthy delivery and prayers that we continue to be at peace throughout this time. Thank you to each of you who have prayed for us all along this journey. I know I say it all the time, but those prayers really do mean the world to us.

Love Rach

Father’s Day Thoughts

There are a lot of mixed emotions this Father’s Day as we continue to grieve the slow loss of my father-in-law as well as prepare for the joy of meeting our daughter next month. It breaks my heart that Christopher doesn’t have his dad here to advise and support him as he becomes a father himself. But I know that the lessons and principles that Christopher’s dad taught him over the years have shaped so much of the man he is today. I have no doubt that Christopher will be a great father. And part of that is due to the fact that he had such a good relationship with his own dad.

And beyond the close relationship he had with his own dad, so many of Christopher’s personality traits lend themselves to good dad material already. He is unendingly patient, kind, and gentle. He tells ridiculously corny jokes. He listens well and gives great advice. He has an unwavering faith in God and His goodness which will be such a testimony to our daughter as she grows up. He loves deeply. And he is just truly a good man.

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As I reflect on these things I realize that while he may technically not have changed any diapers yet, he has been practicing being a father for a long time. From the teenagers he has mentored to our nieces and nephews who he has loved from day one (not to mention our friends’ kids who adore him). He has had lots of practice being a positive male influence. Fathering isn’t just a biological thing. He has been a father-figure to kids who desperately needed a good man in their lives. And even with kids who have great dads, he is still the guy who will happily get in the floor to play with them when they are little, coach them through sports and homework as they get older, and listen to their hurts and joys as they share. I love that about him.

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And in a blink of the eye our daughter is going to be here.
And we are going to start a new chapter of life.
One with full-time parenting.
And he is going to be an awesome dad.
Love Rach


Probably my favorite thing lately has been how Baby Girl’s nursery has come together. It is just absolutely my favorite room in our home. We still have a few more things to work on in there before it’s finished, but we’re nearly there. It is such a sweet little space. 🙂

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Speaking of baby things… Christopher’s co-workers had a baby shower for us this week. It was so sweet of them to do all of this for us! Christopher is obviously well loved at his office! I mean, no surprise there since he is awesome and all. But still, it was sweet seeing how excited his co-workers were for him to become a dad! 🙂


Speaking of Christopher… he got an espresso maker and has been perfecting the art of his coffee making skills. Well, the art and science. It’s both for him. Figuring out the perfect grind for each different type of coffee bean, just how firmly to tamp it, and just how exactly to froth the milk are just a few of the things. I kind of love that he is such a coffee snob, though. It’s adorable.

High Valley

Speaking of things I love… we got to see High Valley in concert again! We first heard of High Valley when we saw them open at a Lonestar concert back in 2012. We fell in love with their music and became huge fans of their work. Then last year they came to Memphis again and not only did we get to hear them play at a small venue where we sat FRONT ROW, but we also got to meet them and chat a bit which was awesome! Then this year they returned to Memphis again and we got to chat with them after the concert and NO JOKE, they said they remembered us from last year because it was such a small venue. They asked us about our baby and shared with us about their own kids and it was just all awesome. I’m just choosing to believe that they don’t tell all their fans that they remember them, haha! It was an awesome night, though!

Oreo Yoga

Speaking of awesome… While I do my prenatal yoga, Oreo does his couch yoga. He cracks me up with the positions I find him in sometimes!

Happy Friday, friends!
Love Rach


Maternity Photos {33 weeks}

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Photo credits goes to my sweet friend, Lyndal! 🙂

Love Rach