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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 11) & a trip to South Africa & Herndon, VA

Welcome to my weekly life update where I share about my pregnancy & give you a peek into our life this past week. If you want to follow a lot more behind-the-scenes and real-time updates every week, be sure to follow my stories and posts on Instagram.

In case you missed last week’s update, check it out here.

11 weeks! I’m so excited to be getting close to the 2nd trimester!

This week was a week full of ups and downs. I had some really bad days and two surprisingly decent days where I actually had a few short windows where I didn’t feel nauseous. It was the most incredible feeling and, even though it was short-lived, it was just the encouragement I needed after having a really rough and discouraging week last week nausea-wise.

(By the way, it seems that most people have told me that their nausea is always worst in the mornings. For some reason, mine gets progressively worse as the day goes on. By bedtime, it’s at the severe level and often keeps me up for a few hours. I don’t have any explanation for this but it’s how it’s been in all my pregnancies so I guess it just is what it is!)


I had another doctor’s appointment this week and another ultrasound. Since Jesse and Kathrynne are in South Africa, I took Silas and Kaitlynn with me to the appointment. It was exciting for them to get to see our baby on the screen! Also, my doctor says the baby has grown quite a bit & everything is looking so healthy.


We had the NIPT test done this week. We opted to do it for a variety of reasons, even though it’s not 100% accurate. One exciting side benefit: we should be finding out what we’re having in the next two weeks!

We haven’t decided whether we’ll be telling people or not. We didn’t find out with either of the girls but chose to find out with Silas and decided that we preferred finding out to being surprised. However, with Silas, we decided to keep it a secret from everyone, including our extended family. We may or may not do that again.


A total of 4 pounds so far… which means that I have officially outgrown a lot of my clothes. I ordered a few new tunic tops from Amazon and a few new pairs of leggings. I also went through my closet and pared it down to the looser-fitting tops/bottoms I already own that I can still into comfortably.

I’m guessing I’ll be transitioning to maternity clothes sometime in the next 4-6 weeks. (If I remember right, I usually start wearing them around 17-20 week but I feel like my belly has popped faster this pregnancy!)

A Peek Into Our Week

A number of you have asked for me to post a picture of Quill (our pet hedgehog). He’s doing so well and has grown so big.

A Trip to South Africa

Jesse and Kathrynne flew to South Africa on Wednesday to visit our friends there and see how things were going with the ministry we support there.

(We usually go every year and it’s one of my favorite places ever, but for some reason, I didn’t feel a peace about going this year. It didn’t make any sense at all, but I just felt strongly that I wasn’t supposed to go… little did I know that it was going to be because I was pregnant!)

They’ve been sending me pictures of their time there and I am just so happy for them.

Jesse said that Kathrynne is having the best time and it warms my mama heart so much to see my girl halfway around the world loving on these kids and teens.

While they’ve been gone, we stayed busy back here. I got to interview Aundi Kolber for next week’s podcast episode. I can’t wait for you to listen to this episode; it is fantastic!

(Also, we looked like we were dressed for a gender reveal party or something! I didn’t even realize it until I looked at the picture we took together after she left!)

I also was so excited one morning to feel well enough to go to Kroger quickly and pick up their Friday-Saturday deals!

A Trip to Herdon, VA

And then Kaitlynn and Silas flew with me to Herdon, VA for me to speak at the 2:1 conference. (I usually only bring one child with me on speaking engagements, but since they were both on fall break and Jesse and Kathrynne were gone, they both got to come with me!)

One of the highlights of the conference was getting to meet Janet Benge, who has co-authored so many of the Christian Heroes Then and Now books. I had to get a picture for my mom.

I loved getting to do a breakout workshop about exploding your engagement on Instagram! The attendees were the best and I could have stayed for another hour or two and answered all the questions I didn’t get to answer during the session and at the end!

One of my favorite things is getting to help others also fall in love with the power of Instagram. Speaking of which, are you following me on Instagram? If not, you’re missing out as I share lots of behind-the-scenes, money-saving deals, and real-time updates there… many that I never get space to share here on the blog!

I also gave the morning keynote sharing how my parents impacted my life and the power of legacy.

What I’m…

Reading right now: The Only Plane in the Sky (Note: This has a little bit of language in it, but it is a very worthwhile read and I would highly recommend it.)

Watching right now: Have you seen the Enneagram Rhapsody? Multiple sent it to me this week and I had to laugh because there was so much truth in it. If you are an Enneagram fan, you’ll probably love it, if you haven’t seen it yet. 🙂

Listening to right now: This week, I’ve been listening to the Serene and Pearl UnShow at night when I have trouble sleeping because of nausea. I love the Trim Healthy Mama podcast and their quirky sense of humor and the way they disagree with one another and tease one another. (A lot of people are annoyed with how they talk over each other on their podcast. I happen to love it — probably because I grew up in a large family and we are always talking over each other and teasing one another mercilessly!)

Loving right now: This kimono (I have it on in the photo at the top of this post. It’s perfect to dress up an outfit, so comfortable, and is something I’ve worn multiple times in the last month!)

What are YOU reading, watching, listening to, and loving right now? I’d love to hear!

In Case You Missed It:

LEGO Replay Program: Donate Your Used LEGO Bricks!

If you have use LEGO bricks laying around the house, check out this new LEGO Replay Program — a great way to donate to kids in need!

Psst! Love LEGOS? Check out all of our latest LEGO deals!

LEGO Replay Program

This is SO cool!

The LEGO Group has announced a brand new pilot program called LEGO Replay — which allows you to easily donate your used LEGO bricks to children’s non-profits across the country!

To donate to the LEGO Replay program, simply place your used LEGO bricks in a cardboard box and go here to print out a free UPS shipping label. Once LEGO receives your donation, they’ll do all the work to get your used LEGO bricks into the hands of kids in need.

You can donate LEGO bricks of all sizes, including Duplo, big, and small bricks. And feel free to throw them all in one cardboard box together — no need to sort them!

Go here for more information.

Brigette’s $84 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6


4-lb pkg 80/20 Fresh Ground Beef, reduced – $7.72

1 16-oz pkg Deli Meat – $2.85

1 bag Pepperoni – $2.19

1 Cauliflower – $1.99

1 16-oz bag Mini Cucumbers – $1.99

1 pkg Grape Tomatoes – $1.19

1 3-lb bag Mandarins – $3.69

2 bags Fresh Broccoli Crowns – $2.30

1 bag Mini Sweet Peppers – $1.99

1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.69

2 3-lb bag Gala Apples – $3.58

2 large bags Red Grapes ($0.89/lb) – $5.12

1 pkg Romaine Hearts – $2.09

1 large jar Applesauce – $1.95

1 pkg Zucchini – $1.19

1 pkg Oyster Crackers – $0.87

1 pkg String Cheese – $1.95

1 pkg Deli Sliced Cheese – $1.19

1 2-lb bag Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $4.49

1 2-lb bag Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – $4.49

1 large canister Quick Oats – $2.39

1 64-oz carton Unsweetened Almond Milk – $1.69

1/2 gallon Whole Milk – $0.58

4 half-gallons 1% Milk – $1.00

1 32-oz carton Half and Half – $1.55

1 16-oz carton Heavy Whipping Cream – $1.55

1 24-oz carton Cottage Cheese – $1.55

1-lb box Butter Quarters – $2.45

4 dozen Eggs – $3.12

1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix – $0.29

1 pkg Flour Tortillas – $0.65

1 pkg Plain Rice Cakes – $1.45

1 loaf Sandwich Bread – $0.65

1 loaf Split Top Wheat Bread, reduced – $0.49

1 bag Mulitgrain Blue Corn Chips – $1.17

1 box Honey Nuts Oats – $1.19

1 box Honey Crunch Oats – $1.29

1 jar Almond Butter – $3.49

1 jar Spaghetti Sauce – $0.85

1 bag Marshmallows – $0.89

Grocery Total for the Week: $84.81

Weekly Menu Plan


Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:

Toast, Cereal, Oatmeal, Veggie Omelets, Boiled/Fried/Scrambled Eggs, Fruit, Cottage Cheese, Smoothies


Cheese Quesadillas, Apples, Mini Cucumbers

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches/Rice Cakes, Grapes, Mini Sweet Peppers x 2

Sliced Meat/Cheese Sandwiches, Oranges, Carrots x 2

Leftovers x 2


Taco Salad (Blue Corn Chips, Seasoned Ground Venison, Shredded Romaine, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Salsa, Plain Greek Yogurt), Grapes

Chicken Noodle Soup with Oyster Crackers, Grapes, Roasted Broccoli

Church Picnic (main dish is provided; I’m bringing Rice Krispy Treats and a big pan of Macaroni and Cheese)

Venison Roast in the Crockpot, Tossed Salad, Roasted Cauflower, Pull Apart Oat Rolls

Homemade Pepperoni Pizza, Tossed Salad

Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup over Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli

Leftovers, Tossed Salad

Guess what?!? I actually went to Kroger!

I can’t believe it,  but I actually made it to Kroger today! And I’m only 11 weeks pregnant!

For those of you who are wondering what that has to do with anything, let me explain: I usually have morning, noon, and night sickness in my first trimester and partway into my second trimester. This makes cooking, grocery shopping, or having much of anything to do with food prep entirely impossible because it just makes me too nauseous.

So that’s why you haven’t seen any Kroger shopping trips here or menu plans recently. The thought of even considering grocery shopping or menu planning was pretty much completely off limits for my stomach for weeks.

Jesse and Kathrynne are in South Africa right now and I was sad that that meant Jesse wouldn’t be able to run to the store to grab the Friday-Saturday deals.

But then, this morning, I woke up and felt uncharacteristically not queasy (I had totally forgotten what that was even like!) I decided I just might be able to brave a quick trip to the store.

And folks, I did it — and I made it out without getting sick!!!

I brought this helper along with me and couldn’t have done it without him. He helped me pick out everything and scanned most of the groceries at the self-checkout. He also decided to see how high he could stack the ice cream and it still stay in the cart while he pushed it! 😉

Here’s what we bought:

  • 5 cartons Kroger ice cream — $1.49 with Friday-Saturday deal
  • 1 bunch marked down bananas —  $0.71
  • 5 Danimals — $0.99 with Friday-Saturday deal
  • 2 boxes Kroger yogurt tubes —  marked down to $0.89 each (I put these in the freezer for the kids to use in their lunches)
  • 4 packages Jell-O cups — $0.99 each (These looked SO good to me for some reason. And then I got home and decided they didn’t look good at all. But the kids were so excited about them, so I don’t think they are going to go to waste!)
  • 1 Hershey’s pudding cups — $2 — I grabbed this not even realizing it wasn’t Jell-O. And didn’t even realize it until I got home. Clearly, I am a little rusty at the shopping thing! 🙂 We can also blame pregnancy brain considering I also left the keys in the car and the car unlocked when I went into the store. And didn’t realize it until I got back out to the car!! Oh goodness. I might need a babysitter!

Total with tax: $22.68

I can’t promise that I’ll be bringing back grocery store shopping trip posts on the regular just yet, but I am definitely celebrating that it happened today!

Jesse Answers Your Burning Questions

In this week’s podcast episode, Jesse shares answers to some of the most-asked questions he’s gotten in the last few years. We talk about why he closed his law firm, what prompted that decision, and what his life has looked like since then.

Missed previous episodes of The Crystal Paine show? You can listen to them here.

Jesse Answers Your Burning Questions

In 2014, Jesse closed down his law practice, we moved from Kansas to Tennessee, and he came home full-time.

That was over 5 years ago and it’s taken us a few years to find our rhythm. We’ve both learned and grown a lot in these last five years. It hasn’t been easy. He struggled through a period of depression. I struggled to figure out what it looked like to love him well through that.

But in the last two years, I’ve seen Jesse truly come alive, embrace who God has made him to be, and pour himself into the people and opportunities right in front of him. It has been beautiful and heartwarming to have a front row seat on his journey!

So many people have asked questions over the past five years like, “Is Jesse still an attorney? Why did he leave his law practice? What is his role in your business? What does his day-to-day look like?”

I think the fact that he would choose to come home full-time after getting his law degree and being licensed as an attorney really fascinated people… or makes people shake their heads in confusion.

Today, on the podcast, I ask him these burning questions you all have asked and he gets really honest about his journey and where he is now.

If you’re struggling with major life changes, want to find your worth outside of your work, or are just curious about some of the behind-the-scenes of our lives, I think this episode will encourage you.

Thank you, Jesse, for your willingness to be so open and vulnerable. I love you and love this crazy and adventurous and wild ride of life we’re on together!

In This Episode: 

[00:25] Welcome back! We’re turning the tables a little today and I’m interviewing Jesse!

[01:38] What’s saving our lives: Nalgene bottles and seeing our baby on an ultrasound!

[06:44] I haven’t gotten in much reading recently, but every day I take time to read The Daily Light.

[09:01] Jesse shares a brief recap of his story post-law school and starting his own law firm.

[13:45] Why did Jesse decide to close down the law firm? 

[19:04] How Jesse struggled to recognize his gifts and battled depression in those early months.

[23:07] What does Jesse’s life look like now? 

[29:10] We talk about Jesse’s involvement in church, our home, and our business.

[31:16] I close out the show by sharing why I am so grateful that Jesse is home and how his willingness to take a risk has benefited our family in such profound ways. 

Links and Resources:

How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

2019 Goals: September Update

Did you set goals for 2019? Here’s an update on how I did on my 2019 goals in September.

It’s October 7, 2019. And it’s time to check in on our goals! How are you doing on the goals you set for 2019?

I spent some time today reviewing October and reflecting on the blessings of the past month and the lessons I learned. I also looked at my goals and how I was doing in each area. (If you missed My Goals for 2019 post, read it here.)

Note: This month looks very different than my other months. I’m currently in a season of just doing the best I can do and being okay with that.

In order to keep myself accountable (and because I know some of you really enjoy these posts) I’m sharing a goals update post at the beginning of each month. I hope that this will not only motivate me to be focused and intentional this year, but I hope it might also inspire you in the goals you set for 2019.

So here’s my goals update for September 2019:

Personal Goals

1. Read 40 books I already own. (I’m using GoodReads to track my reading this year!)

Update: I only finished 1 book in September. Which is mostly due to me being pregnant, having a huge product launch (Monetize Your Blog) and 3 trips in 3 weeks. Plus, the fact that listening to audiobooks made me nauseous and most of the time I might have usually spent reading, I spent sleeping instead (thanks to my first trimester).

2. Slowly read through the New Testament using the She Reads Truth Bible reading plans.

Update: I started reading through the Psalms.

3. Listen to 2 audiobooks per month. (I use the Libby app to get these for free.)

Update: I finished zero audiobooks in September because listening to them made me sick to my stomach, for some odd reason! (Pregnancy does weird things to you!)

4. Complete all of the Organize in 5 Diary tasks to get our home more organized and set up better organizational systems. (Psst! Did you get yours? It’s just $9 right now.)

Update: Confession: I didn’t do this at all in September. (You can see two posts I did on some of my organizing projects in January and February: Cleaning Out the Cookbooks & Organizing My Purse & Bathroom.)

5. Stay offline for 4 hours per day, 5 days per week. (I share more about why I chose this goal here.)

Update: I didn’t do a great job of this in September because I spent so much time online working on the course launch. But I DID take every Sunday completely off.

6. Leave my phone in the basement every night. (I talk more about what inspired me to make this goal here.)

Update: I didn’t do this at all in September… mostly because I have a really hard time falling asleep at night right now because I have nausea the worst at night, so I often will listen to or watch something on my phone to help me try to pass the time until I feel more tired than I am sick and can fall asleep.

7. Go to bed before 10:30 p.m. 5 days per week. (I’m using this little spreadsheet I made to track most of my personal goals)

Update: I was in bed well before 10:30 p.m. almost every night in September. Falling asleep was an entirely different story (see above). But hey, at least I was in bed! 🙂

Marriage Goal

8. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.

Update: We went on an incredibly fun trip to Destin, FL! Jesse and I drove by ourselves to FL and then we met up with two other couples there. We stayed in an AirBNB and split the cost three ways. Since it was off season, it made for a very inexpensive trip and we had the BEST time!

Motherhood Goal

9. One-on-one time with each child at least 3 times per week. (I am planning to dedicate 40 minutes per child after dinner each evening at least three nights per week to hang out and spend time with each child individually.)

Update: I did a pretty good job of this in September, but often it was the kids coming and sitting next to me on the bed while I was resting.

Family Goal

10. Take the kids to at least two continents and 4 states we haven’t traveled to. (We’re hoping to travel to Europe in the summer and South America at some other point during the year.)

Update: We went to Iceland (Europe) in June and also to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. I’m not sure if we’re going to be able to cross another continent off our list this year… I’m still hoping to find a really good deal on flights/travel, but we’ll see.

Financial Goals

11. Pay cash to redo our room and renovate our bathroom (we have to pull out the shower and put in a new one because it was installed incorrectly and is leaking and ruining the floor/wall and we want to do a few renovations while we’re at it + we want to finally decorate our room — we left it really bare when we moved in and decided to wait to prioritize it in the budget).

Update: We finished the bathroom renovation at the end of July! We still need to work on our room.

12. Pay cash to paint the walls in the main floor of our home.

13. Fully fund our Emergency Fund.

Update: This is DONE! YAY!

Business Goals

14. Redo/set up a much more intentional customer acquisition experience for all three of our email newsletters.

Update: We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes working on this and made some good progress in September.

15. Finish launching the rest of our beginner Your Blogging University courses. (If you want to start a blog, be sure to check out my other site, Your Blogging Mentor.)

Update: We launched Monetize Your Blog in September, which was a HUGE accomplishment!

(Some of the bloggers from my Mastermind group got together for a one day event in July! It was such an amazing day!)

16. Launch a Blog Coaching/Accountability Group membership. (I’ll be opening this up to a very limited number of people in January of 2019. Stay tuned!)

Update: We opened this up to new members in April and I’m just loving leading this! Interested in being the first to find out when we open up to new members again? Be sure to join the waitlist!

How are YOU doing on your goals for 2019? I’d love to hear about your successes and struggles. Tell us in the comments!