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Our family is growing, and we couldn’t be more excited! We can’t wait to meet this sweet little one! Our pregnancy announcement and gender reveal!

Our family is growing, and we couldn't be more excited! We can't wait to meet this sweet little one! Our pregnancy announcement and gender reveal! #pregnancyannouncement #genderreveal #fivekids #siblings #itsagirl

You guys! We are having a baby! I have been writing this post for almost four months now, so get ready for a WHOLE lot of information on the first 16 weeks of this baby’s life!

All the photos of our family in this post were taken by my favorite photographer…Brooke Steinicke! Check out her website, Facebook page and Instagram account! And if you’re looking for an amazing family photographer she is your person! She has been taking our photos for FIVE YEARS and we adore her!

It’s a GIRL!

First let’s chat about the fact that….hello….Gabe is even more outnumbered now than he was before. I honestly didn’t think I’d be writing “it’s a girl.” Ever since we found out Mara was a girl almost two years ago, I just assumed our 5th would be a boy. I think I thought it would be the “perfect” little family, a brother for Gabe and three amazing little girls, I have been envisioning 3:2 family makeup for years now. Plus, this time around I felt really different, so I assumed it was a baby brother!

So when we found out it was a girl I was surprised, and a touch disappointed. I hate to admit that (I feel like a monster), but I want to be totally honest. Of course I loved her the moment I saw her at 6 weeks, and love her more every single day. I know I won’t be able to imagine my life without her. I know that having 3 girls ages 3 and under when she is born (YES you read that right) is going to be seriously awesome.

Our family is growing, and we couldn't be more excited! We can't wait to meet this sweet little one! Our pregnancy announcement and gender reveal! #pregnancyannouncement #genderreveal #fivekids #siblings #itsagirl

I’m made to be a mom of girls

As I reflected on the task of raising FOUR girls, something dawned on me. I am made to be a mom of girls, because I love being a woman. Not in the current “I am woman hear me roar, I am just like a man” junk that our culture is embracing. No. But in the sense that I am a woman. I am equal in value but different in role and responsibility than men. And I love it. 

I love being protected, cared for and cherished by my husband. I adore it when he opens doors for me, does the dirty jobs around the house and lovingly shepherds my heart. Enjoying the comfort of a husband who loves, protects, and defends me does not in any way diminish my worth or value as a woman. It doesn’t make me dependent or weak. It brings me great joy.

I feel so fortunate that I have had the opportunity to carry five beautiful children in my body. The experience of watching and feeling life grow inside of me has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I also am grateful that I am able to nourish my babies with my body, and I have a love for my children that is unique and special. As women we get to experience so much that men don’t, and I love every part of it.

I am excited to pass this love of femininity on to my four amazing sweet beautiful girls. I am eager to teach them to embrace who God designed them to be. Uniquely female. And I hope to be an example of this their entire lives!

Our family is growing, and we couldn't be more excited! We can't wait to meet this sweet little one! Our pregnancy announcement and gender reveal! #pregnancyannouncement #genderreveal #fivekids #siblings #itsagirl



Just like my pregnancy with Mara, literally the day my baby turned 6 weeks old I started throwing up…and it still hasn’t stopped! I usually get sick a few times in the morning, and then can keep it at bay until the evening. However it seems to be more intense at 16 weeks than it was at 10…so I’m starting to think this might just be my new normal for the next five months!

But I wanted to remind you that feeling sick and uncomfortable is a blessing. Yes, I said it. Although throwing up is never fun…it means there is a sweet baby growing inside your body. It means everything is going the way it should be. Sickness, aches & pains are all part of the beautiful journey of bringing a new life into this world, and let me just tell you {and never stop telling you}…it is so SO worth it.


The symptom that I absolutely couldn’t hide no matter how I tried was the fact that my uterus knew exactly what to do and got to growing super early. I’m talking by 11 weeks it was clear to anyone who knew me even remotely well, that I was pregnant. I usually try to hold out until at least 12 weeks before I tell people, but there was no hiding it this time.

I am not kidding either. When I told a friend I was pregnant she said that her husband actually asked her if I was pregnant that Sunday after church! If a dude can recognize it I just have to give and in let the world know! LOL!


I actually don’t feel very tired this time around, thankfully! It’s a welcome change because I have four other sweet babies to take care of.


Everything. In the first two months I wished someone had invented a pill that you could take that would give you all the nutrients you needed without having to eat or drink anything. Absolutely nothing sounded good to me! I couldn’t eat anything sweet (at all), chocolate repulsed me.

Now things have evened out a little bit and I feel a little more like myself. There are certain foods that I usually adore that I can’t eat right now. Sweet potatoes, which I usually eat every day, are dead to me this pregnancy. As always no garlic or onions will enter my house for 10 months! I also have the stereotypical aversion to meat and touching raw meat!


However, even through the severe aversion to food, I still have had some hankerings. Surprisingly I have been craving fresh fruit and vegetables the most. I can’t get enough cherries, blueberries, cantaloupe, apples, salads, carrots, celery, kale chips, etc. It’s a much welcomed change from my last pregnancy only craving bagels, cream cheese and Chinese food! LOL!

I’m also craving all things sour. Fruit juice (which I usually NEVER drink), sour gummy bears, etc. I bought my husband a bag of sour airhead bites for his birthday, which would usually be completely appalling to me. However I’m convinced I ate more of them than he did. They were everything I never knew I always needed.

Also FRIES. I have eaten more french fries in the last four months than I have in my entire life combined. When mealtime rolls around all I ever want to eat is a giant kale salad and a bowl of fries (usually cheese fries). Balance right?

Our family is growing, and we couldn't be more excited! We can't wait to meet this sweet little one! Our pregnancy announcement and gender reveal! #pregnancyannouncement #genderreveal #fivekids #siblings #itsagirl


Oh boy. I still get up and get out into the fresh air every day, but I couldn’t call what I do “working out!” I ran/walked for a while until I transitioned completely to walking (I choose not to run when I’m pregnant). As soon as I get inside I usually throw up, but just getting out and getting some fresh air is SO worth it to me!

At about the 12 week mark I did my first workout video since finding out I was pregnant. It felt amazing, like so amazing. I missed working out so much. However, I was exceedingly sore for 2 full days afterwords. But in full disclosure, I actually love the feeling of being sore! It means I had a great workout!

So after my first go at a workout video I started adding in a couple a week and eased back into it, which was great! I really believe that staying active throughout your pregnancies help make labor and delivery much easier!

My other kids

HELPFUL TIP! DO NOT tell your other children that you’re pregnant until you’re ready for the world to know you’re pregnant. Because of my history of miscarriage, I wait until I’ve made it around 12 weeks and have had two healthy ultrasounds before we tell our younger kids.

We had an ultrasound when I was 11 weeks, which is when we told Naomi. That Sunday she walked right up to my friend and said, “My mommy has a baby in her tummy!” My friend pulled me aside and was like, “WHAT?!” LOL. So yeah, 3 year olds can’t keep secrets. And I feel like it’s unfair to ask them to!


This girl was on to me before I was even pregnant. She knew we wanted another baby, and the kids were with me when I bought pregnancy tests. She kept asking me questions like, “If you’re pregnant, how long will you wait to tell me?” etc. etc.

I told one of my friends before I told Ritch this time {LOL it’s the truth. He was asleep, and she knew I was testing that AM}! We had a playdate that week and were talking about it while our kids played. Well, from across the park I saw Bethany perk up, her eyes light up and I knew she knew. I put my finger over my lips and said “shhh” and we talked about it when we got home and the other kids were down for their naps. It was actually really special to only share the secret with her for a while. She just couldn’t wait until all the kids were sleeping in the afternoon or at night to ask me a million questions about the new baby!

Our family is growing, and we couldn't be more excited! We can't wait to meet this sweet little one! Our pregnancy announcement and gender reveal! #pregnancyannouncement #genderreveal #fivekids #siblings #itsagirl

“How do moms die when they have babies?” One night we were in my bathroom getting ready for bed and Bethany came out of left field and asked me this question. I explained a few reasons why this can happen. I also explained how I got close to dying when I had her because I hemorrhaged. I explained that now my doctor knows this can happen to me and she takes precautions to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I explained to her that this is why mommy has babies in the hospital. Because if something goes wrong the doctors can help.

I asked Bethany why she asked me that question. And then it all made sense. Ritch had watched Star Wars with her and Gabe during nap time one day (I still think they are too young, LOL). And it was the episode where Padmae dies after she gives birth to Luke and Leia {Ugh. I know these things. Why?}

I was blown away that she made the connection that this woman died giving birth, and my mom is pregnant and will have to give birth, will she die?” My only concern was that it took her about 2 weeks to ask me the question. I encouraged her to ask me any questions she has right away. I told her I want to know everything that is on her heart as soon as she feels it and is ready to share. I reminded her that we have always and only ever told her the truth, and I will truthfully answer her questions as fully as I think she is ready for.

Pregnancy police. My OB gave each of the kids a magazine about the baby’s growth, and she read it all. It listed foods a mother shouldn’t eat. While we were eating dinner (which had cheese and eggs) she said, “Mom, the magazine said you’re not supposed to eat dairy it’s bad for the baby.” And then she said, “And also, you are only supposed to drink one cup of coffee a day. Today you had some before church and then got some on the way to church.” We read the article together and it said unpasteurized dairy, so I explained what that was. And then explained my coffee consumption (half decaf). LOL Oh my sweet girl.

Our family is growing, and we couldn't be more excited! We can't wait to meet this sweet little one! Our pregnancy announcement and gender reveal! #pregnancyannouncement #genderreveal #fivekids #siblings #itsagirl


Gabe is so cute. He is so excited for the baby. But in his own boy way. Today he was in the bathroom while I was bathing Mara and he said, “Mara is the cutest baby in the world. Well except for the baby in your belly.”

I have to admit I was very nervous to tell him that this baby was a girl, because he was really pulling for a baby brother. However after a brief moment of disappointment, he got super happy and started dancing and celebrating and said, “YAY! Now I always get my own room!” LOL very true Gabe!

It’s interesting that now that we are fairly certain we are done and Gabe will be our only son, how much I think about how blessed I am to have him. He’s such a sweet-hearted, yet rough and tumble little guy. I am grateful my husband gets to raise a son, and that God chose such an amazing boy to be ours.

Baby number five is on the way, and we couldn't be more excited! Our pregnancy announcement and gender reveal! #pregnancyannouncement #genderreveal #fivekids #siblings #itsagirl


We told Naomi we were pregnant at dinner the night before our ultrasound. She calls dinner lunch. She got SO excited that she exclaimed, “Can we have the baby after lunch, pleaseeee?”

We all laughed and I explained to her that we wouldn’t get to hold the baby until after Christmas and after Bethany’s birthday. I think she caught on to how cute it was, because ever since then she will ask, “Mom, can we have the baby after….{insert the next activity here}. Nap, dinner, going to the pool, etc. And she gets this cute little look on her face like she knows she’s being cute.

My thoughts

Wow. Where to begin. I feel grateful for another sweet healthy baby.

I feel scared. Even though this is not my first rodeo, I still get nervous every time I get pregnant. There are so many things that can go wrong, and I have a worst-case-scenario type of overactive imagination.

So I have to daily surrender my pregnancy to the Lord. Remembering that He is in control and I absolutely am not.

Real talk. 

Now, since I feel like this will likely be our last baby, I have to come to terms with the fact that I won’t ever have another son. I love my sweet boy so much, and I honestly feel like my only “boy” experience was a little bit robbed from me. He was born 3 weeks early the day we moved out of our condo into my husband’s parents house for four months before we moved across the country from Chicago to Utah. I can only tell you that was not a stress-free, pleasant time for us. Also, he was SO colicky and cried all the time. I seriously think I would’ve been considered legally insane in a court of law the first three months of his life because I didn’t sleep for more than two hours at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I still soaked up every second of his cute tiny little life. But it was a very tumultuous time for our family. I long to snuggle and hold and play with another baby boy, because that mommy-son bond is just different!

Even though Ritch swears he has ZERO disappointment and is over the moon excited about another baby girl (as am I, it’s going to be amazing), I do wish he got to raise another son into a strong man of God. I am grateful he has at least has one! 😉

FIVE kids?!

I always wanted a large family. I used to say I wanted to have six children, but Ritch was more interested in stopping at five. His reason, so that we can all fit in our minivan and not have to buy something bigger! LOL! But seriously, we would never let something like a car keep us from having children if we were supposed to. However, I do feel a sense of completeness this time around.

I have shed many tears in the last year, worrying that I would never feel like I was ready to stop having babies. However I just feel this peace about saying, “This will be our mic drop baby, the grand finale, the last!”

I think I’m ready to stop creating humans, and enjoy the ones I have, if that makes sense! Not that I don’t enjoy my other kids when I’m pregnant. But being sick for 5 months isn’t really conducive to me being the best mom I can be! Plus I get to homeschool all these jokers, and I think 5 is good enough for me! I would never say with certainty we won’t have another after this, but it seems more likely than not that we’ll call our family complete!

Honestly, I felt more at peace when I really thought this baby was a boy. I always imagined, since getting pregnant with Mara, that we’d have one more, it’d be a brother for Gabe, and we’d be done. Now I would never have another baby just to have a boy, because with my track record it’d likely be another sweet girl. However I am open to the idea of a 6th if that is what God wants for us. Read: we’re not going to take any permanent measures at this point to ensure we won’t have any more kids.


Since many pieces in my maternity wardrobe are 8 years old, I needed a few items for some events I will be attending this summer/fall. I discovered Ingrid and Isabel Maternity and I am in LOVE. Plus the website offers free shipping and free returns, which means zero risk to try something and see if you like it!

Off the Shoulder Maxi Dress

I LOVE this dress. I bought it for an event and I plan to wear it all the time! It’s perfect for a night out, or to wear to church on Sunday. I’ll wear it with a cute sweater or cozy cardigan in the fall/winter too! (this is the dress I’m wearing in these photos)!

Dolman Sleeve Dress

This dress is the comfiest thing EVER. It feels like butter and there’s plenty of room to grow. Plus it can be casual or dressed up with the right accessories and shoes. I will be living in this dress this pregnancy I know it!

Early Pregnancy Products

Cocoa Butter Lotion:  AS SOON as I get a positive test I run to the store and buy cocoa butter lotion. I grease up my belly every morning and every night throughout the pregnancy. So far it has worked and I’ve made it through 3 babies without any stretch marks {however there is nothing wrong with stretch marks, I think they’re beautiful}!

Prunes: Prunes and more prunes! Seriously people, although they are super crazy difficult to get down {if you’re like me and can’t stand the taste of them} they are a LIFESAVER of the best kind. And I digress…

Other than that I just make sure to have a lot of food on hand that I can eat and LOTS of seltzer water!

Baby number five is on the way, and we couldn't be more excited! Our pregnancy announcement and gender reveal! #pregnancyannouncement #genderreveal #fivekids #siblings #itsagirl

If you’re on your journey to motherhood….

I would be remiss if I didn’t start by acknowledging the fact that reading pregnancy announcements can be incredibly painful to some. I know this all too well. This is my 7th pregnancy and my 8th baby, of which only 5 are currently alive (one in utero). Between Bethany and Gabe I had two miscarriages, one of which was twins. I have three sweet babies that I never got to hold, four that I have the joy of playing will all day every day, and one that I’m eagerly anticipating meeting in February 2019.

For me, having babies has been a rollercoaster of deep {deep} sorrow and sing-it-from-the-hilltops joy. I adore being a mommy. I adore my babies {all of them}. And I adore encouraging other women who are on the journey of starting a family or in the throws of parenting.

Well that’s all she wrote (I think)! I’ll keep you guys updated throughout this pregnancy! Please let me know below if you have any questions I didn’t address in this post!

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  1. Wow this is such a detailed sweet post. I’m a girl in a family of 4 girls and 1 boy, and I have to say that my brother has never struggled to know how to act around girls. 🙂 I love Gabe’s reaction, and I also LOVE how excited and intuitive Bethany was to it.

    I really really loved what you said about being the best mama to your babes that you want to be, and I think it’s amazing how God designed each family to handle different amounts of children.

    I’m so grateful for you sweet Laura; thank you for this that you wrote too.


    As I reflected on the task of raising FOUR girls, something dawned on me. I am made to be a mom of girls, because I love being a woman. Not in the current “I am woman hear me roar, I am just like a man” junk that our culture is embracing. No. But in the sense that I am a woman. I am equal in value but different in role and responsibility than men. And I love it. ‘

    That’s such a Christ centered God glorifying way of putting it! <3

    1. I love keeping a detailed record of our lives, so that we can look back and remember later! I’m not so great at baby books (I only did one for Bethany lol) so my blog is the new “journal” of our kids’ lives lol! I love that you have the same family makeup as we do! Gabe is going to be quite the ladies man, that’s for sure! And he has an amazing daddy who will do LOTS of fun boy things with him! 🙂

  2. I love your post. You’re a great Mom to your girls (and boy!)! Sending you guys lots of love and thinking of you!

  3. Reading this really came at an optimal time for me as I sit here super sick 7 weeks into a surprise second pregnancy with a wailing, tired, but unbelievably precious 6 month baby girl by my side. I have felt discouraged, scared, and if I’m honest like I’m failing at being the best mom to my sweet girl because of being pregnant and sick. You’re story has uplifted me, given me courage and solidarity in another sister in Christ going through it too and making the most of it! Thanks for posting, it’s truly helped to give me a more positive outlook today! Congrats to the fullest to you and your precious family!

    1. Oh Kacy! First of all congrats on your sweet surprise baby! I always wished I could get pregnant while I was nursing (I might have like 8 kids by now if I could lol)! Remember the few months of sickness is totally worth it…but it still stinks! On really hard days I always say to Ritch, “Wow I feel really awful today, I’m NOT complaining because I’m so grateful, but I feel horrible.” LOL it’s ok to acknowledge how you feel and still know in your head that children are a precious gift! I remember, when I was pregnant with Mara, I didn’t feel pregnant at ALL. I prayed and prayed that I would because I was super nervous I was going to miscarry. And then at 6 weeks I started throwing up…and I had to laugh because it was definitely an answer to that prayer! 😉 You baby girl knows she is loved and there is NO shame in laying on the couch, turning on sesame street and napping together until that second trimester burst of energy comes into play! 😉

  4. Eeeeee I am SO excited for you and your family Laura!! I totally understand feeling a little sad about not having another boy – it’s totally natural to want a brother for little Gabe. BUT (on the bright side) my brother is the only boy with three sisters and he knows how to handle girls SO well now lol 😉 Can’t wait to follow along on your pregnancy journey!!

    1. LOL YES! People have said, “Oh poor Gabe!” And I don’t love that response. I always reply, “He is not poor, he is RICH in sisters!” 😉

      1. I actually think Gabe is quite lucky and smart for realizing he gets his own room moving forward! LOL

      2. LOL! Well that’s why Bethany was hoping it was a boy…because then the two little girls would share, and Gabe and his little bro would share, and SHE would get her own room. It was all about the rooms this time! hahaha!

  5. Dear Laura, thanks for sharing! Thanks for being so genuine!
    I rejoice with you for another opportunity to grow a baby! It was an amazing experience to me as well, I do hope and pray I will experience it again sooner rather than later.
    Big hug to y’all.

  6. So happy and excited for you! And thank you for sharing your thoughts: I love hearing the details 🙂

  7. I am SO excited for you guys. 🙂 I can relate to many points you’ve made, from being disappointed yet still happy to knowing you are now complete to never saying never. I can’t wait to hear about your journey and you never know, I know and have heard of women who get surprised by the gender later on in pregnancy! 🙂

    1. Thank you Vesna!! LOL I’ve had to guard myself from thinking like that! We’ve had two ultrasounds where are lady parts were very clearly visible…and now I think I’d be sad if I found out she wasn’t a she because I’ve bonded with her and love her so much! When we went in to find out, before they even go to the “area” lol, I saw her profile and said, “Oh babe that’s definitely a girl.” 😉