Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my husband Michael! Today is our 4 year wedding anniversary and I just can't believe that at this moment 4 years ago I was getting ready to put on my wedding dress and walk down the aisle. The past few years have gone by so fast and have been filled with incredible memories. In 4 short years we have both started new jobs, bought a house, and now expecting our first baby! I am incredibly blessed to have a man that absolutely adores me and would do anything to make me happy. I am grateful for finding Michael and starting this incredible journey of parenthood with him. Happy Anniversary to my handsome husband, my best friend, and the amazing soon to be father to our baby girl... I love you!

And just for a good laugh... I pinned this saying on Pinterest and immediately thought of Michael. Cause everyone who knows us can get a kick out of this... all married couples annoy each other at times and drive each other nuts. It is a good thing we love each other to endure those annoying times!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

30 Weeks

Wow, 30 weeks today. 3-0! I can't believe how fast this journey is going by. This past week has been full of a lot of emotion for me and I can feel the excitement building and the anticipation for our baby girl's arrival. I have been soaking up my free time since I know it will be short lived and dreaming about meeting our baby. Here are my pregnancy updates and a picture for this week:

How far along? 30 weeks
Total Weight Gain? 12.5 pounds
Maternity Clothes? All the time... I have finally retired at least a dozen of my pre-pregnancy tops that I just can't make work anymore. I still have plenty of options between the maxi dresses, the stretchy skirts, and lots of comfy maternity tops. 
Stretch Marks? Nope! :)
Sleep? Never enough. On Sunday I finally had the feeling of 3rd trimester exhaustion and I had only been up for about 3 hours when it hit. I love napping when I can and my bed time is inching closer to 9pm (which makes me feel so old!)
Best Moment this Week? Feeling the most movement yet from baby girl. She loves to do somersaults and push against me.
Miss Anything? When we were grilling on our patio this past weekend, I really missed a nice glass of wine. The weather was perfect and a glass of water was just not the same!
Movement? Lots of it and she is so strong! Some of her kicks can kind of freak me out but overall I love feeling her move and knowing she is growing strong.
Food Cravings? Not really craving much of anything. I do enjoy my usual sweet treats and love eating cereal (sometimes even for dinner).
Anything Making you Queasy? No, thank goodness!
Gender? Girl!
Labor Signs? Nope and thankful that is it not time for this yet :)
Belly Button In or Out? It's still in and pretty shallow.
General Mood? Pretty good. I have had a few emotional meltdowns but once I cry it out, I feel much better. Thank goodness I have an incredibly supportive husband to help me through my emotional ups and downs. 
Symptoms? I have been having more pain in my lower back and really have to be careful when I get up quickly after sitting for a long time. I also have experienced cramps in my calves and feet during the night and sometimes during the day... they are like the worst version of a charlie horse and take at least 10 minutes to go away.
Looking Forward To? This coming weekend we are working on the nursery and my Mom is visiting and painting the room. I can't wait to see our baby girl's room start to come together and envisioning her sleeping in her crib.

Another week has gone by and we are starting to count the weeks, days, and weekends that we have left before baby arrives. I love being pregnant and definitely don't want to rush this journey, but at the same time I just can't wait to see our baby girl and bring her home!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pregnancy Resources

Back in early March when I took the pregnancy test, I knew there was so much information out there that I wanted to be educated and updated on. The amount of pregnancy information available from the books to the magazines to the blogs and internet can be overwhelming to say the least. There is so much information that it is nearly impossible to learn about it all before baby girl arrives. I have also been relying on my girlfriends that have had babies before to impart their wisdom to me and remind what I do need to know and what information I can forget about. There are a few websites and blogs that I have been reading in preparation for baby in addition to the babycenter app on my iPhone and the What to Expect When You're Expecting Book. Here are just a few of my favorites that have already taught me so much from breastfeeding to postpartum care to what to expect after delivery:
  • Lucie's List: this woman has posted so much information about all the things that most people won't tell you or things that are far too honest to write about. I so appreciate her candid approach to labor and delivery, postpartum, and all the things to expect that you never knew you needed to anticipate. I love reading her blog and the articles she has written because it gives me great comfort in someone just saying it how it is and how it is going to be. She has also posted amazing lists of products all in one place for post delivery survival and breast care.
  • Sweet Baby Pate: this blog has given me some great recommendations for products that I need to pick up before baby arrives. I love hearing about products that have worked for other moms... the best consumer research in my opinion. I know that I will be referring back to her blog for various recommendations on breastfeeding supplies and baby must haves.
  • Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine: this website offers great articles on pregnancy and what to expect with a newborn. I have learned about various pregnancy stretches and exercises and  tips for things like belly itching, trouble falling asleep, and how to handle the emotional mood swings. This website also offers great reviews of baby gear and products.
  • Preparing for Baby Pinterest Board: there are so many great ideas on this board that I have pinned. One of my favorites is the tips on packing the hospital bag. This board will be visited often after baby arrives and a great place to keep all those tips, tools, and recommendations from other moms in one organized place!
I plan on revisiting this post often in the coming months to remind myself of where I found all this great info. With just about 10 weeks till our due date, I still have plenty of time to research products and tips for having a newborn. I want to be as prepared as possible, but I also know that I will be blessed with incredible support from my husband, family, and friends and we will be just fine!

Summer Salads and Side Dishes

With this summer being one of the hottest on record, it is far too sweltering to cook a full meal on the stove or even think about using the oven (unless for baking). I have been busy over the past few months trying some new recipes for summer salads and easy to make side dishes. All of these recipes turned out great and were easy to make! 

this easy quinoa salad was yummy and makes great leftovers
this delicious tomato mozzarella salad is perfect for summer nights
this corn salad with queso fresco is light, refreshing, and has a nice kick

Summer is coming to an end and it has been full of fun activities like baseball games and BBQ's and relaxing at the pool in the summer weather. These recipes are perfect for hot summer days/nights and would be great for any party or potluck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

29 Weeks

During this past week, I have started to realize just how fast this special journey is going by. I will only be pregnant for nine short months and will have my daughter for the rest of my lifetime. This special journey to bond with this precious baby in my belly is going to be over in just a few short months and I will so miss it. Every time she moves and kicks, I am filled with joy and a slight twinge of wanting to have that feeling of connection forever. I keep reminding myself that she is the safest she will ever be in my belly and this is the only time in our lives where she is with me every moment of the day. I can't wait for her to arrive but I know that my heart will miss being pregnant... I am in total love with this time in my life! Here are my pregnancy updates for this week:

How far along? 29 weeks
Total Weight Gain? 12 pounds
Maternity Clothes? Of course! Wearing lots of maternity tops and stretchy capris and skirts. I found this adorable shirt on Etsy this past weekend and think I might have to order one :)
Stretch Marks? Not yet... I am preparing myself that these may come before the end of this pregnancy :(
Sleep? It depends. If I have a lot on my mind, then it is hard to fall asleep at night. I still love napping and sleeping in as long as possible each day I can.
Best Moment this Week? Spending time with my husband and talking about all the things we are going to teach our daughter and experience with her. We can't wait to meet her!
Miss Anything? The thing I miss the most is restful sleep. It is starting to become hard to get comfortable and hard to sleep through the night with baby pushing on my bladder :(
Movement? Yes and she is getting so much stronger. She had some major kicks on Saturday that kind of startled me... I can tell she is getting bigger and stronger :)
Food Cravings? I love green grapes and kiwis and still have a bit of a sweet tooth at times.
Anything Making you Queasy? Nope!
Gender? Girl! I am in love with these darling little girl bows from another one of my favorite Etsy shops!
Labor Signs? No way!
Belly Button In or Out? It's still in and no change since last week.
General Mood? It really just depends... I love being pregnant but don't really love the tired part or having a hard time getting comfortable. I love sharing this journey with family and friends and will never get tired of the compliments about my 'pregnancy glow' :) 
Symptoms? In the past week or so I have developed some itching at night time which is very uncomfortable. I also feel my back getting sore more easily and having to stretch and rest to help soothe it. Oh, and the heartburn still comes at times and can be wicked!
Looking Forward To? The time is going by so fast and I have a feeling that the next few months are going to be filled with checking off the to-do list, enjoying special moments like baby showers and finishing the nursery, and anticipating the day baby girl decides to arrive.

Each week that I blog about this journey is a reminder of how blessed we are and how quickly the time is going by. I don't want to rush a moment of this and hope that by training myself to live more in the moment and focus on the present will allow me to enjoy our daughter even more when she is here. Only 11 weeks to go till our due date...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

DIY Family Pictures Canvas

Do you ever have those projects that you tell yourself that you will finish in a month and it ends up taking you a year? Well, this is one of those projects. Last summer, my Mom's family and Michael and I had family pictures taken and they turned out great. I knew I wanted a special way to display them and remembered that the wedding canvas I made with my Mom would be the perfect project. I bought the supplies and then procrastinated for months on finishing the project. With the baby coming in just a few short months, it was time to tackle some of my long overdue to-do list and this project needing finishing. Here are a few pictures of the finished product:

the canvas completed and adhered to the wall

the canvas is hung in our living room right above the bookshelf I refinished last year

This project is so easy to make. You start with a blank white canvas (found at Michael's) and paint a few coats of black paint on the front and edges. Then position your pictures and adhere with glue dots. Then cover the entire canvas with a few coats of mod podge and let dry for a few days. This easy technique gives your pictures a professional canvas look and allows you to position your pictures however you like. This project would make a great gift for family and friends or to commemorate an important event like a wedding or milestone anniversary.

I love seeing this canvas hanging on our family room wall and knowing that I can cross that craft project off my to-do list... feels good and looks great!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

28 Weeks

This week marks another milestone in the pregnancy as we start the third trimester. It is hard for me to imagine being only 12 weeks away from our due date when I feel like it was just yesterday that I saw the double pink line on the pregnancy test. We had a great doctor's appointment this past week and have started planning for my maternity leave and packing things in the hospital bag. My husband and I have been reminiscing about how fast this journey has gone and we are getting so excited to meet our little girl. Here are my pregnancy updates and a picture of my belly for this week:

How far along? 28 weeks
Total Weight Gain? 10.5 pounds
Maternity Clothes? I have been living in leggings and dresses as often as possible and I am in love with the maternity dresses at Old Navy... might need to order a few in the coming weeks! :)
Stretch Marks? Nope and hoping it stays that way :)
Sleep? I have been a bit more rested this past week and anytime I get to squeeze in a nap, I am a happy girl!
Best Moment this Week? Listening to baby girl's heartbeat at our doctor appointment and the doctor says everything looks great.
Miss Anything? Having energy all the time. There are moments where I could fall asleep standing up or at my desk... that's is how tired I can get.
Movement? All the time! Michael thinks he felt a foot a few nights ago when he was holding my belly. She is definitely stretching out in my belly and pushing to make more room for her to grow.
Food Cravings? My latest cravings have include fruit including green grapes, kiwis, and peaches.
Anything Making you Queasy? No and I am so thankful to not be nauseous!
Gender? Girl!
Labor Signs? Nope! We did sign up for our childbearing classes at the hospital and they start in mid-September and run for 5 weeks. I am excited to see what we learn and hopefully meet some great pregnant couples.
Belly Button In or Out? It's still in and not changing much.
General Mood? Doing good overall... loving being pregnant, getting excited for the next few months, and enjoying each day of this amazing journey. 
Symptoms? Heartburn that comes and goes and a few aches and pains in my back, but overall I am feeling great and hope it lasts!
Looking Forward To? I am getting excited for so many things... the baby's room, the baby shower, our classes at the hospital, our final ultrasound in a few weeks, and the arrival of baby girl!

I am continually reminded by how blessed we are with the amazing support of our family and friends. This baby girl has the best grandparents and they are being such a huge support for us in preparing for the baby. I look forward to so many years of memories as a family and seeing my daughter light up the world of my parents and my in-laws.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Book Club Selection - Sarah's Key

Tonight was another example of how great friends, delicious food and drinks, and discussing a good book can be the most perfect evening. Book club was great and I always enjoy seeing the ladies and discussing great books. We all loved the book Heaven is Here and had a lot of deep and inspiring discussion about this book. We also spent a good amount of time trying to decide on our next selection and finally landed on choosing Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. 

 Here is a short blurb about this book:
  • Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door to door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard—their secret hiding place—and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released. Sixty Years Later: Sarah’s story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own future. In Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosnay offers up a mesmerizing story in which a tragic past unfolds, the present is torn apart, and the future is irrevocably altered.
I just ordered this book and can't wait to start reading it. I am always excited to start a new book and hope this selection captures my attention! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

27 Weeks

We have just about 3 months to go till baby's arrival and I am in shock how fast the pregnancy has gone by. We will be in the 3rd trimester starting next week... crazy! With summer coming to an end, I am trying to soak in the last days of sleeping in, being lazy, and having free time. I know that all of that will change when baby arrives, but it will all be worth it! Here are my pregnancy updates for the week:

How far along? 27 weeks
Total Weight Gain? 8.5 pounds
Maternity Clothes? Definitely and I am still squeezing into a few pre-pregnancy tops, but I know those days are numbered!
Stretch Marks? No and I have been lathering on the lotion to help prevent them!
Sleep? So so. Could always use more and it's awfully hard to get up in morning before 7am... that darn work thing gets in the way of my beauty sleep :)
Best Moment this Week? I started reading to baby girl at nighttime before I go to bed and I love the simple joy in reading her a book and bonding with her. I can't wait till she is here and I can hold her in my arms each night!
Miss Anything? Not having to pee a million times a day...
Movement? Of course! She moves a bunch on the weekends when I am relaxing and I can feel little bumps in my belly and trying to figure out if they are her head or her butt.
Food Cravings? I am addicted to Rice Krispies cereal and any kind of cheese!
Anything Making you Queasy? Kinda... the smell of cigarette smoke is awful!
Gender? Girl!
Labor Signs? Nope!
Belly Button In or Out? It's still in and holding on for dear life... I may get lucky and not have it pop out!
General Mood? Hormonal like crazy! Poor Michael thought I was going to hurt him on Saturday and then on Sunday I was in a completely different (and much better) mood. The mood swings are pretty hard to adjust to, cause you just never know how you are going to feel.
Symptoms? When I sit too long and get up to walk around, I sometimes have twinges and pain in my back. I find that stretching is helpful and not sitting in one spot for too long helps too. Oh, and the heartburn is ridiculous... I don't go anywhere without my supply of tums!
Looking Forward To? We have our 28 week doctor appointment on Friday and looking forward to hearing baby's heartbeat. I also can't wait to work on her room and start organizing her clothes and baby gear :)

I am excited for the next few months of preparing for our little one's arrival and enjoying the last few months of this pregnancy. I can already say that I will miss the feeling of being pregnant but will be so excited to have our baby here!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nursery Furniture and Fabric Selections

Last weekend we finally decided on a set of furniture for the nursery. We had wanted to go with a dark wood and have been searching for a set that matched and coordinated together in the room. After much searching, we final landed on this collection from Target. I love the style of the crib and can't wait to see our little girl grow up using this furniture in her room. The grandparents of our little girl are being so generous and purchasing the nursery furniture for us. We are so blessed and grateful for their generosity and excited to put together her room!

this convertible crib will be great for baby girl transitioning from baby to toddler to little girl
the shelves on this changing table will be perfect for filling cute little baskets with baby supplies
many mornings and nights will be spent in this rocker with our baby girl

We also choose the most darling paint color for the room and adorable fabric for the crib bedding and curtains. The walls will be a pale sunny yellow that will coordinate beautifully with the dark furniture and the fabric selections. Here are a few pictures of the fabric that we will be using to make the curtains, crib skirt, and a beautiful quilt that my Mom will be making:

I am completely in love with these fabrics and can't wait to see them sewn into beautiful curtains and crib bedding for our little girl. These fabrics are so girly and sweet but also not too babyish and will work in her room as she grows into a toddler.

I have been browsing Etsy and Pinterest for nursery decor and accessory ideas and will be posting a few of my purchases and creations in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Book Recap - Heaven is Here

I just spent the last few hours of my relaxing Sunday morning finishing this month's book club selection Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson.

This book was truly inspiring and such a sweet story of love and commitment. I am amazed at the strength of Stephanie and her struggle to survive the unthinkable. The love and commitment of her husband, her four adorable children, and her family are truly touching. As I read this book, I was reminded that our lives are so much more that the physical attributes we have and the true self is the soul within all of us. Stephanie's journey is an amazing story of strength, resilience, and true faith in God. One of my favorite lines in this book was "the amazing thing is the more I make the choice to see and feel joy, the more joy there is to see and to feel." This quote has inspired me to focus on seeing the joy in life and never take this beautiful life for granted.

Stephanie has a beautiful blog that she uses to share her life and journey with the world. I look forward to reading about her life and the joys she will experience along the way. She is one amazing and inspiring woman!

I love finishing a great book and can't wait to choose another book club selection on Thursday when I get together with the girls. I will post our next selection later this week. Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rustic Plum Tart

With all of the great produce from last Saturday's bountiful basket, I needed to get creative in the kitchen today to use up the last of the fruit. I had about 6 plums left from the basket and decided to make this rustic plum tart recipe that I found on Martha Stewart's website. I have never baked with plums before, so tonight was a first try!

This recipe was easy to make (since I cheated and used pre-made pie crust) and super delicious! I love the idea of challenging myself in kitchen to use produce that I don't usually buy. The bountiful basket is a great way to try new fruits and veggies and at a great price. This recipe went perfectly with vanilla bean ice cream and was so yummy!

Gratitude Journal

For many years I have watched Oprah and listened to her talk about writing in a gratitude journal. It has always been one of those things I said I wanted to do and never got around to doing. This morning I have been watching an episode of Life Class on Oprah's Network and again, the topic of gratitude was discussed. Oprah shared that 16 years ago when she began her gratitude journal that it was the single greatest thing that anyone could do to change their life. The gratitude journal is a way to write down your blessings and focus on the good in life and can help shape us into more grateful and loving human beings. The process is simple, write down at least 5 things each night that you are grateful for ranging from small things like being thankful for fresh water today or big things like being blessed with a healthy child. The goal is to wake up each morning thinking of things today that you will be grateful for when you journal them in the evening. It allows you to have a positive focus throughout your day and live in a space of gratefulness and love.

One of Oprah's favorite authors, Sarah Ban Breathnach has written several books on the topic of gratitude and has shared many lessons throughout the years on how to live a more loving, fulfilled, and thankful life. If you are looking for a great book to read, she has many to choose from and her message is powerful and inspiring in your journey to gratitude.

Tonight is the night that I will begin my gratitude journal and I look forward to this practice of opening my heart and placing the focus of my day on the blessings in my life. I have an adorable little journal that I have been holding onto for months that is just waiting for my writing to fill it up. I look forward to creating the peaceful ritual each night of writing down what I am grateful for. I hope you will start your own gratitude journal and begin to see how it changes your life.