Monday, October 24, 2011

20 Weeks ~ Halfway!

Pregnancy Update
How far along?: 20 weeks - halfway there!
Total Weight Gain: 5+
Maternity clothes? Some. Bellaband with two pairs of jeans, and some of my snugger shirts have hit the "post baby box." Getting dresses is starting to get harder, because certain things make my bump look cute, or nonexistent, and others make it look just chub. :-P
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep: The last two nights have been fabulous, thanks to my new side-sleeper pillow from IKEA (that we got for FREE!). It's a dream. Still miss my back sleeping sometimes though.
Best moment this week: definitely the ultrasound! We still smile thinking about it.
Movement: Every now and then. There were two big bumps this morning that I was sad Daniel missed, because I think he may have been able to feel them.
Cravings: Just food in general. Goodness, when I am hungry. I. Am. Hungry.
Gender Predictions: this week... boy.
Labor Signs: no
Belly Button in or out? still way in there.
What I miss: nothing
What I am looking forward to: I am really enjoying every minute of this pregnancy now! It's exciting to look forward to all that's to come.
Weekly Wisdom: don't wait as long as I did to get the right sleeping support. :)Your neck and back will thank you.
Milestones: Ultrasound

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pregnancy Cravings

So you read how gummies/chewies are my favorite "craving" right now, yes?? Well, can I tell you a little secret?

For all your 90s babies out there who relished the world of Sour War Heads something even better has hit the market!

Remember them?? O, we loved them. I remember having "sour contests" until our mouths were raw.

This is the only truly sour candy that I really do like. Sour stuff is just not my thing. But War Heads... they're different.

So, the other day I was in Target (don't go into Target much, since it's in the opposite direction that I usually travel) and LOOK WHAT I FOUND:

O, be still my pregnant tummy. It took all my will power to wait until I got to the car to tear it open and try some.

They didn't disappoint, either. Much more sour than gummy worms, with the classic War Head flavors we all love - they were delish. Plus, how cute are they?

Watermelon was the best. I may just have to run back out to Target and stock up for the next 4 months. ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

IT'S A . . .


We'll be waiting until Birth Day to find out Baby's gender.

Going to the ultrasound was such a blast! I have been bouncing with excitement all week, anticipating this day!

And, O, my, it did not disappoint! 
I could not keep the ridiculously huge grin off my face during the entire ultrasound, and every time the technician showed us a different organ, or a different body part I *felt* like I was glowing! :)
Daniel loved it, too. He's going to be a great daddy.

We got a few seconds of 3D ultrasound, which showed more of our little ones shape and size. 

O, Be still my heart! 

The little foot popped out, too.

These shots have always been my favorite for some reason. I love seeing those alien-like eye sockets and the little chin!

We are so very thankful for a happy, healthy Baby and Mama. Everything looked just as it should, and Baby's weight and measurements are right on track for my March 11th due date.
(And so are mine, for the record. My midwife said that my bump is a "perfect little softball" and she's very pleased with my progress.:))

God's goodness is so evident to me when I look at these pictures of our baby. To think this little thing that is now almost a pound, with fingers and toes, and 4 chambers in his/her beating heart was once the size of a poppy seed! and even smaller...

"I praise you, LORD, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful.
I know that full well!" - Psalm 139:14

Sunday, October 16, 2011

19 Weeks!

Pregnancy Update
How far along?: 19 weeks - kind of crazy to think we're just about halfway there!
Total Weight Gain: about 5 pounds. Didn't want to weigh myself after the Cheesecake Factory Chocolate Raspberry Truffle cheesecake I ate last night. ;)
Maternity clothes? Found a white long sleeved tee at a consignment sale for $1.50, and I'm wearing it today. I now have two pairs of jeans I have to wear my bellaband with - progress!
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep: it's OK. Sleeping on my side makes my back and neck ache... We're going to get some better pillows soon.
Best moment this week: The last two weeks I have felt flutters that I thought could perhaps be Baby. This week I was lying in bed and felt a little bump from inside. I put my hand over where the movement was and it was rock hard - then, it slowly got softer. I felt Baby! It's was and is incredible.
Movement: Little bit now and then!
Cravings: sour gummy stuff :)
Gender Predictions: O, I just have no idea. I'm not even going to try to predict anymore.
Labor Signs: no
Belly Button in or out? In.
What I miss: nothing
What I am looking forward to: ULTRASOUND ON WEDNESDAY!!!!
Weekly Wisdom:
Milestones: First movement felt!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I am not a baker.

Honest. Ask any of my family members, and they'll agree. I still try, though, and along the way there are a few things I've learned... like: softened butter is not melted, vanilla brings out chocolate's flavor, you will not die if you eat cookie dough, mixing wet and dry separately is important, and...

sometimes if you halve (or double) a baking recipe the results are not the same. I've found this especially true with cookies and breads.

For families of 10 this is not a problem. 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies get eaten quickly. But, for families of 2 (or even 4) making a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies yields more than can be moderately consumed and a reasonable amount of time.

So, what to do, what to do?

Well, here's what I did recently, and I'm so happy with the prospect of it!

Place clumps of cookie dough on a baking sheet like you would to bake, only put them in the freezer until firm, instead.

Place in freezer-safe container in groups of 1 dozen.

Stack and Freeze! Next time friends come over, or you just have to have a cookie, pull out as many as needed, let thaw, and bake.

p.s. (I've also discovered you're much less likely to eat raw frozen cookie dough, than baked, frozen cookies.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Renaissance Fest 2011

Last year we enjoyed a day at the Renaissance Festival in Huntersville, NC, just north of Charlotte. We headed out with some friends this year, and had just as much fun! 

We laughed heartily at the Carolina hicks decked out in Medeval garb, parroting English accents, and walking proud as peacocks. Evidently, this is the highlight of the year for many!

Posting read: Duck does not like to be touched.
Well would you like to be if you were dressed in a silly skirt and puff hat?

This was the first and only picture we got in the hat shop before one of our friends noticed the "no pictures, please" sign. Oops.

Daniel and Same chilling on the hammock swings. Seriously, these were SO comfortable!
 Our first show of the day was the sword swallowing man. This was Daniel's favorite, he says. I don't really know why... after attempting to watch this first demonstration I buried my face in Daniel's shoulder. I felt like I was going to gag for a least an hour afterwards. Believe me - this guy was legit. Daniel took the pictures, because I couldn't watch.

Here he is preparing to do "something special" with a drill and 8 inch long bit
 I literally screamed out loud when he did this:
"Something special" meant putting it up his nose.

He had a boy from the audience pull a sword from his throat to help the doubters in the audience who thought it was all fake.

His final act he torched the handle of a sword, and three posts and juggled while swallowing a sword. :-s

This year the Tomato Justice Booth was just as fun. Daniel even got picked on for being "ginger," and a nerd in his grandfather's golfing shorts. :-P



Incredible layered candles. We watched the candlemaker begin cutting one and were fascinated!

 These were exquisite, though!

A man on stilts dressed like a tree

Daniel's Ashlee and Drew's Ashley

Daniel and I with Sir Maximillian, Daniel's favorite knight.
One side effect of spending a day at the Renaissance Festival while pregnant was that I saw the inside of more porta potties than I'd ever cared to. Our friend Sam even joked, "We'll have to remember not to come back with any more pregnant women." :-P 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Menu Planning

At first it was fun, now it seems simply necessary. Honestly though, I find it a lot of work, and it makes me think of how small my recipe index must be. 

I've decided to be diligent about meal planning though, through the end of the year, and see how well things go.

I try to only make two big grocery trips a month. I've found that most fresh stuff, if stored properly, can keep that long. The first trip is always bigger, and I nearly always cringe at the final total. The second one is sort of a refresher - certain things, like milk and bananas, just don't keep all month.

I like going to the store less because I am certain I spend less. Let's be honest, how many times do you go in for milk, eggs and baking soda and come out with ten things besides the initial three? Shopping twice a month is also a time saver. An hour or two tops twice a month - from start to finish - instead of several trips during the week is definitely a time-saver. I do the once-a-week shopping for the family I work for, and know that I spend more time and money on their grocery bill than I do on my own.

So, to go along with this schedule I've spent some time planning meals for the rest of October. 

One tip that helped Theme for the Day:

Mondays: Pasta (spaghetti, alfredo, stirfry, macaroni, etc)
Tuesdays: Huge Salad (cobb, buffalo chicken, Greek, etc)
Wednesdays: Soup (trying to utilize my crock pot on Wednesdays and Sundays. Fall is the perfect time for that)
Thursday: pizza (Pizza and Seinfeld on Thursday night is a Wells tradition Daniel grew up with)
Friday: Mexican (Like Daniel says, "It's basically all the same, just mushed together differently. ;))
Saturday: Sandwiches (grilled cheese, paninis, cold sandwiches... it's Saturday, we usually work hard then crash, or chill all day anyway)
Sunday: Soup again (hot meal after church? O, yeah. :))

The theme for the day helps to save on buying tons of specialized items. We'll be having pasta once a week, so I'll know to stock up. Having a Mexican night means avocados and tomatoes galore!

Another tip: Next month, I'll be repeat almost all of these recipes, or themes, so that the work and time I spent this month will last twice as long. I may change out a theme - Mexican might turn into Indian, or pizza to breakfast-for-dinner. But, having the same recipes over again (but still nearly a month apart) will make it o, so much easier on me, without making us sick of a certain food. (Pregnant women get sick of food fast, fyi).

On the menu I have the meal for that night, with the recipe book, or online site (Pinterest) where I can find the recipe in parenthesis. In brackets below that is a simple list of ingredients. If it calls for salt, I don't list it. That's a staple I always have. If it calls for canned tomatoes, something I don't usually keep on hand, I list the amount. Otherwise, if it's something like 1 cup diced onion, I just write "onion."

Then, I go and make my grocery list. This month I've used a handy all-in-one grocery check list I found at Certain items that I prefer to buy at a certain store I marked in red pen, and items on the menu that I knew I could not buy until a day or two before (fresh cilantro) I underlined in red on the menu.

Overall, I'm super excited! I think this will help us have regular, healthful meals within budget, while still trying new recipes (like Mediterranean pasta), and enjoying all-time favorites (enchiladas).

Do you like menu planning? What are some tips that have helped you along the way?

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Because the Gospel is bigger than anything we can ever do...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pregnancy Hormones Awry

... or maybe they're perfectly normal. But, boy, O, boy, do they get me!

So, today, for example, Zoe and I had a lovely walk. We went a different way than we usually do, and she and I both loved the change of scenery. We got back home, and I began working on cleaning and clearing the patio off. Said puppy has thought it a great game to dig up the dirt beneath the fence, and I'm just now getting around to filling the holes and covering it with brick. Minor detail. Really, the day was going splendidly, and I was in a fantastic mood.

Instead of leaving Zoe in the house (unsupervised) I got out a long rope, tied it securely to her leash and to a spot in the yard and then hooked her up. The rope was at least 15 feet long. She had plenty of room to roam and sniff and enjoy herself. All the while I could work on the patio, see her, and know she wasn't chewing apart the house. Perfect, right?

Well, next thing I know there's Zoe sniffing around the neighbor's patio, no rope, no leash, no collar. The buckle on her collar had broken free, and completely aware of her independence she trotted along to her heart's content.

Mischievous puppy. No tags. No leash. In the apartment complex.


I could go for paragraphs and explain in detail the next 35 minutes of my day, but suffice it to say: I was mad. (stronger language comes to mind, but I'll be modest).

I tried the bribing and the threatening. I tried throwing her a toy, and asking her to fetch. I tried chasing her, I tried ignoring her. At one point I even - get this - threw my hands up in the air and ran like a maniac, screaming at the top of my lungs like Tarzan in the direction of the house.

I stopped, out of breath (Baby's pumping 25 quarts of blood a day, I really admire women who run their whole pregnancies - this woman can't. :)), and turned around to see Zoe trotting defiantly in the opposite direction.


I followed her down to the end of our street where she joyfully rolled in a pile of trash near the dumpster.


I called her and she looked at me, and just kept rolling.

I felt totally deflated. My day was ruined. I burst into tears right then and there and sobbed my eyes out as I trudged through the grass back home.

I called Daniel (still sobbing) and told him that Zoe was the worst dog in the world, and that we were going to give her back to the shelter and that I never wanted to see her again. I said I didn't care if she got lost or kidnapped or hit by a car. In fact, it would be perfect if she could get hit by a car, because then people wouldn't have to know how much I hated her.

I went on and on about how dogs are supposed to be fun and bring us happiness, and how fleas, and picking up a thousand pieces of paper that got torn to shreds, and finding undergarments with holes in them was not fun. And it was definitely not fun to chase a stupid, ridiculous dog around the back yard for 35 minutes!!!

O, I was mad.

Daniel was the sweetest thing ever. He said he was on his way home, not to think about the dog, and we could snuggle when he got home.

So, I went to head back into the house and who should I find sitting by the door happily as if nothing ever happened?

O, I wanted to dislocate her scrawny little tail. But it wasn't worth the effort. I was too worn out, too frustrated.

We went into the house. I collapsed on my couch and Zoe collapsed on hers and I just looked at her and cried, and cried and cried. And she wagged her tail and blinked her eyes and looked as content as a well-fed baby.


This pregnant woman will be very happy to not chase any more dogs through any more back yards. Ever.

Next time, I'm just going to let her go.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sourdough French Toast

Have I ever mentioned how much I love breakfast? Well I do. In fact, I could eat breakfast three times a day. Maybe it's because breakfast foods are warm and sweet, cozy almost? Whether it's a bowl of cinnamon life, or a stack of steamy-hot, maple-syrupy pancakes I simply take delight in that first meal of the day. Always have. Always will.

But who has time to make elaborate breakfast dishes every morning? Not me. So, breakfast for dinner becomes a perfect compromise. Many Sunday evenings we'll whip together a batch of pancakes, and always enjoy them. But this week when the craving for breakfast for dinner came, I knew pancakes weren't going to cut it.

The loaf of fresh sourdough I had just bought beckoned from the cupboard and I knew french toast was just begging to be made.

So, here's what we came up with. Me, and that sourdough loaf.

Ingredients: (
- 8 large pieces sourdough bread
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk (about 80 degrees)
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt

(so honestly, I totally just eyeballed those last 7 ingredients. They make the "coating" for your toast, so if you're serving more or less than the recipe makes you can easily adjust accordingly. My never ending "eye balled" recipes are probably why I make the world's worst baker, but can get away with cooking occasionally. ;))

1. Preheat over 300F, and "toast" bread on baking sheet for about 8 minutes each side. Bread should be dry and hard, but not burnt. Let cool 5 minutes, reduce oven to 200F, or "warm."

2. Whisk together last 7 ingredients in large bowl. Transfer to baking pan if bread will not fit in bowl.

3. Dip each slice of bread in wet mixture about 20 seconds each side. Bread should be saturated, but not too soggy. 

4. Place wet bread of greased and heated skillet for about 4 minutes each side. Transfer to baking sheet and place in warm oven til all slices are complete.

5. Top with your favorite syrup, fruit or sugar and enjoy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

17 Weeks

Pregnancy Update
How far along?: 17 weeks.
Total Weight Gain: < 5 pounds - some of my jeans are getting hard to buckle! At my last appointment the nurse said, "O, good. You've managed to gain a little weight." Lol. Were we ever really worried about it??
Maternity clothes? Planning to do some shopping later this month! I'm hoping for a display-able bump for Halloween so I can paint it orange and put a spooky face on it. ;)
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep: eh... it's alright. Not as bad as it will be, I know, so I won't complain yet.
Best moment this week: Had another midwife appointment, and got to hear Baby's heartbeat again. Baby was wildly active, and made the midwife and I laugh out loud. About every three seconds the steady ba-boom-ba-boom of his/her heart would be interrupted by a THUMP! Someone thinks it's fun to do back hand springs off of mommy's uterus. :-D So thankful for a healthy baby!
Movement: still not yet, but I lay very still and feel for it every morning and night. :)
Cravings: Strawberries are still my go-to.
Gender Predictions: Still thinking boy... but, I have fallen in love with a new little girls name, and have found myself hoping for a girl, just so I can use it sooner rather than later! :-P
Labor Signs: no
Belly Button in or out? In. And here's to hoping it'll pop!
What I miss: nothing
What I am looking forward to: I feel like I am at this turning point in the pregnancy just waiting for so many things! It's such an exciting period. I'm looking forward to my belly growing, buying maternity clothes, having our first ultrasound, registering, and reaching the half-way mark! God is good.
Weekly Wisdom: Exercise!
Milestones: See above