Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baby Shower #1: St. Louis

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we were lucky enough to have a lovely baby shower thrown for us in St. Louis.  It made our whole trip home super exciting because we not only got to celebrate the holiday, we got to celebrate our little babe!  My mom's friend Suzanne was our hostess (the woman who also hosted our St. Louis wedding shower a couple years ago).  She chooses to host these things for a reason: she's good at it!

This time around, it was held at her country club in the back corner of one of the dining rooms.  I think we had about 15 people total - mostly my mom's friends, but then also my sister, two of my high school girlfriends (Sarah and Ali) who were in town and their moms, and Jonathan.  (It wasn't entirely clear whether Jonathan was supposed to be there or not, but since he really wanted to I kind of made him, he came.)

After some chitchat and mimosas, we sat down to what I'd call a "ladies luncheon."  Fresh fruit, rolls, mini egg frittatas, mini hashbrown cakes, and bacon (I guess that's not really a ladies lunch food, but whatev).  For dessert, we had an adorable cake made by the hostess, who happens to be a master baker.  It was as delicious as it was cute.

Following lunch, as expected, we played shower games!  We had also played quite a few at my wedding shower, so I was anticipating this portion of our afternoon.

First up we had a "pin the sperm on the egg" game.  Yeah.  Seriously.

Here's Sarah and then me:


(Also, please note, my mom is just about incapable of taking a non-blurry picture.  I think I'll need to give her some lessons next time I see her because we have basically no good pictures from the shower because of this little problem.)

Next was a relay race that involved balloon "babies" and walking with coins between our legs to drop them in a bucket.  Here's my sister enjoying her extra bump.
Then there was a somewhat disgusting baby food feeding and eating game.  I thought the baby food tasted good (applesauce) but I was just so stuffed from lunch, I couldn't down a whole jar of it.  Then the other team member had to drink from a bottle.  Jonathan and I didn't win.

And after all these games, it was time to open presents.  I sort of felt the same way when we got married, but it's just so humbling to have a room full of people buy stuff for you for no reason other than they want to celebrate the happy time in your life.  We got some awesome stuff!  We got big stuff (like our carseat & extra base, a portable crib, an electronic swing, and a 4-in-1 convertible high chair/booster seat), play stuff (like an activity mat, some books, and some toys), baby-carrying devices (our Moby wrap and Ergo), and practical stuff (bath towels and washclothes, a baby bathtub, and a sleep sack).

Luckily we had our car so we could transport everything back to Memphis!

All in all - it was wonderful - and we felt so loved!  Here are a few more pics (blurry, for the most part).

Ali, me, and Sarah:
What would be cute pics of my sister and me, and Jonathan and me (if they weren't blurry):

One of the adorable flower arrangements (taken in my mom's kitchen, not at the actual shower):
And finally, since we were in a majorly Christmas-decorated country club, a potential Christmas card pic for my mom to send (albeit, not the final one - I wouldn't share that on the blog before Christmas!).
A wonderful day!  Thanks to all who attended!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Almost-Week in St. Louis

It seems rare for an adult to get to spend an extended amount of time in his/her hometown if (s)he lives in a different city.  This has definitely been the case for me since moving to Memphis.  So when we looked at our schedules and realized we could leave for "Thanksgiving break" on Tuesday night, I jumped at the idea.  I'm not sure I've spent that much time "home" since I graduated college.

So overall, it was nice to be there for so long.  Because we weren't rushed for time, we did a ton of lounging around.  (Actually, so much so that on Friday, Jonathan and I decided to go shopping just so we could get out of the house.)  But lounging is good!  Sometimes it's hard to lounge at our own house on the weekend because there's always so much stuff that should/could get done.

And I couldn't describe the week without mentioning the eating.  Oh. My. Goodness.  We ate a lot.  For one thing, since we hosted Thanksgiving dessert at our house, there were tons of sweet treats sitting around.  Pies, cake, cookies, frozen custard, chocolates, you name it.  I think I ate more sweets in these five days than I have in my whole pregnancy.  But aside from those, there was just a lot of food in my mom's house.  She made a couple casseroles, macaroni and cheese, tuna salad, leftover Thanksgiving stuff - and it was all delicious, so we kept eating it the whole time we were there.  Phew.  I need some major detox this week.

Otherwise, here are some highlights from the week:

1) Seeing 2 movies: The Descendants and The Muppet Movie.  Both were awesome and I highly recommend!  The Descendants has "Oscar" written all over it; and the Muppets will hopefully be the beginning of another successful series about our puppet friends.

2) The baby shower on Saturday, of course!  I'll blog about that tomorrow.

3) Dinner one night with Sarah and Ryan.  We went to a quaint little Italian place and enjoyed delicious food and lovely conversation.

4) St. Louis Smoothie!  My fave!

5) My mom taking care of Hank pretty much exclusively.  She would take him on her 6+ mile walks every morning and constantly play with him and keep him entertained.  He's still pooped from the week! But I'm hoping this is a good representation of her grandparenting skills - ie, she let's mom & dad have a break!

6) Thanksgiving itself, which I already wrote about on Friday, but still.  It was great!

7) What seemed like a real breakthrough with Hank's barking on Thanksgiving night.  We knew he would freak out when all those people came over, but we handled it a little differently.  Instead of just telling him "you're ok" while petting him, I kept him sort of locked between my legs when they first arrived and kept telling him "no" when he would start his growl/bark.  By the end of the night, when we were all playing games, he was sitting with the whole group, not barking, and letting other people pet him.

8) Warm weather!  It was shocking and lovely!

Overall, it was great to be there and I think my mom loved it, too!  I hope everyone enjoyed their whole Thanksgiving week and/or weekend.  Back to the grind, I guess...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fetal Friday: 26 Weeks

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!  My day began with the Macy's parade (which was LAME - did anyone else watch?  where were the balloons??  it was Broadway singer after Broadway singer), followed by the dog show.  And then we had dinner at one of my mom's neighbor's houses (our family and a few other families) and then everyone came back to my mom's house for dessert and games!  It was a fun group and an overall fun night!

Best part of being pregnant on Thanksgiving?  Maternity leggings.

How Big Is Baby?
The size of a cucumber: 15 inches, 2.2 lbs.

Symptoms
Nothing new - still a large amount of un-awesomeness with the tailbone.

Weight Gain
None this week - total gain: 15 pounds.  (Please note - these weigh ins take place on Thursday mornings, so this is pre-Thanksgiving binge - I'm guessing next week might be a 2-pounder...)

Exercise
1 yoga; 2 "official" walks (as in, "I'm going to take an exercise walk right now"); and a couple times walking the dog for short snippets of time.  It sounds really lame, but honestly, my tailbone hurts so much when I walk and I have to walk so slowly that the walk becomes more about building mental stamina (ie, "I can do this - I can work through the pain") than cardiovascular health.  The fastest I could go on the treadmill the other day was 3.2.  Literally.

Food Aversions / Cravings
Thanksgiving food!  Mmm!  And cookies - my mom has a lot of cookies at her house.

What I'm Looking Forward To
Our first shower this Saturday!

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
Decisions: if I eat one more helping of sweet potatoes, will my stomach be uncomfortably full, or just normal full?

General Mentality
Great, for the most part - the holiday has been lovely and I've just been relaxing and enjoying it.  I had a small breakdown the other day because my back cramped up so much I couldn't walk and I just couldn't envision three more months like this.  I think I'm going to call the acupuncturist on Monday and see what she says.

Belly
Sorry guys - we left our camera at home. :(

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankfulness

For which I'm thankful:

-my husband, dog, and our quaint little life
-the baby!
-my family
-my friends
-the health and safety of all the above

-employment
-a place to live; clothes to wear; food to eat; cars to drive
-my education
-a peaceful home country with a democracy

-ketchup
-good books
-suburban grocery stores
-vacations
-frozen yogurt
-sunny days
-NPR

Let's all give thanks for the big (and small) things that bless our lives everyday.  I hope you have a Thanksgiving full of family, friends, food, and football.  Gobble, gobble.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Hank Dog Bark

When I was very early pregnant (and consumed by worry of miscarriage and birth defects), my doctor told me something insightful: "you always worry about your kids, the worry just changes as they get older." 

Similarly, I was talking with a co-worker who has a 1 year old and he affirmed the same thing.  He said you worry about the developmental stuff first: "shouldn't he be reaching out to objects already;" "shouldn't he be making sounds already;" "should he be doing better with tummy time?"  And then, as the child accomplishes each worry-inducing task, you move on to the next worry.  "Should he be crawling more;" "should he be pulling himself up;" "when is he going to walk?"  And it just keeps going.  And when you're up at night worrying that your kid is way behind on his walking, the worry from months ago that he wasn't reaching out and grasping objects is almost removed from your memory because it's so distant.

Well, the old nickname of a dog as a "practice baby" I think has sort of illustrated the same cycle of worry that we'll have as parents.

First we worried about Hank not liking/being scared of Jonathan.  Then they became pals.  Then Hank started to like me and Jonathan equally (or about equally - he and I are pretty tight).

Next we had a huge potty dilemma.  Hank was going in the house a lot (which caused a lot of stress).  Then we could get him to go outside, but we had to be in the yard with him.  Then we had to be on the deck with him.  Then he would go outside, but only on our prompting (he wouldn't stand at the door to tell us he had to go).  But now, he potties like a normal dog (outside, alerting us when he needs to go, and tinkling on command if necessary [ie, it's raining and we don't want him getting drenched]).

And these things?  While they took some time (and stress!), eventually they've become such a natural, normal part of our day that it's funny to look back and think how Hank hated Jonathan for a few weeks.  Or how annoying it was to have to keep a constant eye on him at night in case he started to pee in the house.

Well, presently, we have an issue with barking.  And it's quite the issue...

Basically, whenever Hank encounters a "stranger" (and I'm using the term lightly - I should say, any time he encounters someone other than us), he barks his head off.  Not just a couple light barks.  Not some heavy barking that eventually lets up.  No.  It's intense, growl-ish barking that can often last the entire length of time we're around the other person.

We think it's partially a fear response (because usually his big bushy tail is between his legs while he barks).  And we think it's partially a protective thing of us (because when we were last at the vet, for example, they had to take him back and do a minor procedure, and the techs said he was sweet as could be [once we were gone]).  We also don't think he would ever bite someone (thus far he hasn't, and it just doesn't really seem like his m.o.).

But, regardless of not biting, it's incredibly annoying!  Any time we have someone to our house, we have to explain that the dog will freak out and it's best to just ignore him & let him decide if he wants to warm up to you.  It's also annoying in instances at the vet or the groomer or anywhere a stranger needs to interact with the dog because I'm sure they think he's an out-of-control animal (and often have to muzzle him).

The Catch 22 of it, though, is that there are instances when it's not annoying.  When I'm walking him at night and a questionable person is also walking on the street?  Not annoying.  When we have repairmen to our house?  Not annoying (because, you know, they could be "scoping the joint" thinking about coming back).  If someone were to break into our house?  I'd rather have the barking dog than the golden retriever who'd go up and start licking the burglar, you know?

(There are times, too, when it's outright hysterical.  I was walking him one day and we encountered a man, probably in his 30s, who was a dead ringer for Cam on Modern Family [but seemed 100x nerdier].  He saw the dog and sort of crouched down, clapped his hands and was like, "come here, boy" clearly assuming Hank would just run to him to be petted.  Only "come here, boy" got about as far as "come here, b-" before Hank yanked forward on his lease, took a firm stance, and started ferociously growl-barking at the guy.  The man then stood up looking sort of emotional wounded from the experience and walked away.)

So what we need is some kind of command like "friend" that we can say in those instances when we're actually around friends.  Because of the fear aspect, though (the tail between the legs), we don't know how to get him to listen to a command when he's all fired up with fear.

Has anyone had any experience with this?  What can you do with a barker?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Paint Party!

As alluded to in yesterday's post, I had a super fun Sunday night!  We went painting!  (As in easel and smock and beret painting - not painting a room in the house.)

We originally heard about these paint places from our friend Brooke.  Apparently there's one in Cooper Young she's been to a few times where you go, pay a set fee (which includes all your materials), and you then choose what you want to paint from a wall of options.  That place is more paint-by-numbers guided, I think (as in, you get a sheet handed to you with step-by-step instructions).

Well, we then heard about this woman, Lisa, who does "paint parties" most Thursdays and Sundays of the month.  With her parties, there's only one painting per class that everyone does.  And she paints along with the class, offering a step-by-step tutorial.  There is a set price that includes all materials (the canvas, paint, paintbrushes, aprons, etc.).  And she advertises it as a fun get-together for groups, and encourages people to bring snacks and wine.

So Sunday night, a group of girlfriends and I attended one of these parties!  None of us (except for one, who was an art major in college show off) had any experience or skill painting pictures.  But I have to say - it was such a fun experience!  I have no idea how (because seriously, most of us claimed beforehand to have no skill), but all of our paintings turned out really well.  Like, surprisingly well!  I'm still a little shocked to look at my painting and know I created it.

Even if the final products hadn't turned out so well, though, I think this still would've been great.  We all brought food and wine to share, and we were all at one long table, so we got to chat throughout the whole thing.  One surprising aspect to me was how relaxing I found the actual painting.  I don't think it would be relaxing if I just sat down in front of a canvas and tried to think of my own idea, mind you.  But with the guided environment, it was low-stress.  And the teacher was definitely encouraging to those who had some more natural talent, basically emphasizing that she was just showing one way to do it, and you could do absolutely anything you wanted on the canvas.

I highly, highly recommend this!  In fact, I'm anxious to go back soon (although some of the parties in December are holiday-themed and a little kitschy, so I might have to wait for the new year).

Here's my masterpiece (Birds On A Fence, if you will):

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lazy Weekend

Man, there's something about cloudy/rainy days that make it nearly impossible to accomplish anything.  Case in point: I stayed in my "lounge clothes" until about 2 yesterday.  We decided early on we weren't going to church, and our productivity went steadily down from there.  I was excited, though, because there was a 2-hour Food Network Thanksgiving show where people called in and asked questions to the FN chefs.  I'd been complaining the network wasn't airing any of its classic T'giving shows (Lets Talk Turkey, Dear Food Network Thanksgiving), so this sort of fulfilled that desire for me.

The rest of our weekend was pretty low key as well.  We stayed in Friday.  Took Hank to the groomer on Saturday (and I've got to say, he's now super snuggly and soft, and smells good and his hair isn't so shaggy).  I went to prenatal yoga.  Then Saturday night we went to dinner with friends and went to see TWILIGHT!

Overall, I'd say the movie fulfilled for me what I was hoping it would.  I wasn't expecting a Best Picture with a bunch of Best Actor/Best Adapted Screenplay moments - and so, I'd say my expectations were met.  My favorite aspect of the books was the love story - plain and simple.  (And of course, I see the flaws all the feminists point out - but whatev - for myself as a reader, I'm happy to read about unrealistic and obsessive teenage love.  If I had a daughter, it might be different.  But I don't.)  So anyway, this movie focused a ton on the love story, which was fun for me.  The guys complained at the end of the film that "nothing happened."  And I guess if you went into it expecting something as action-packed as the previous one (#3), you'd be disappointed.  But Book Four focused a lot on their wedding and their honeymoon, so the movie felt authentic to the book in that way.

Go see it if you're into the whole movie franchise.  If not - DON'T GO.  Ha.  This isn't a "must-see" for everyone on the planet.

Anyway, as I said, Sunday was pretty lazy.  I ventured to Old Navy where I bought some fake Ugg boots for $15 (to wear to yoga in the winter) and some baby onesies!  And then Sunday night was an incredibly fun night I'll blog about tomorrow!

I hope you guys had good weekends, too.  I'm pumped about the short work week and the fact that our boss is in Hawaii, ie, no one is going to do anything all week.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fetal Friday: 25 Weeks

Um, whoa.  Am I almost in my third trimester?  The exact weeks of the trimesters sort of confuse me, but it seems I would only have a maximum of two more weeks in the second, right?  (40/3 = 13.3)  That's weird.  the third trimester seems really pregnant to me - like, more pregnant than I feel, ha.

One of my big struggles this week (and looking forward to 15 more weeks) was/is going to be exercise.  I didn't really do much of anything this week except one yoga class and two walks with the dog.  It gets dark so early now that I feel little motivation to take Hank for a walk when I get home from work.  But at the same time, I feel a little guilty getting on the treadmill because I know he would really like a walk. 

And then there's my back.  Ugh.  It's definitely clear that the more exercise I do, the more it hurts.  (Ie, this week, it feels 300x better than it did the past two.)  But I want to be exercising!  I want to keep my weight gain appropriate and I want my body to be as physically prepared for labor as possible.  So I think I need to be willing to work through some of the back pain so I can reap the benefits of exercise.

I'd like to make a "goal" for how much I want to do each week (that I'll monitor in my weekly blog updates).  But I don't know what the goal should be!  My initial thought was 2 yoga classes and 3 (minimum 30 minute) walks per week.  But that's 5 days of exercise - is it too much?  Should I instead say 1 yoga class and 3 walks?  Or is yoga more important?  2 yoga classes and 2 walks?

Maybe we'll see how this week goes - with the ultimate goal of 2 yoga classes and 3 walks (but with importance placed on the walks).  Also, it's Thanksgiving week, so while it will be really easy to walk in St. Louis, there will be no yoga there (ie, I need to do that this weekend and early next week).

Ok - exercise tangent over - on to 25 weeks.

How Big Is Baby?
Baby is still the size of an, albeit bigger, eggplant this week: 9 inches; 2 pounds.

Symptoms
Nothing new (except for some stomach aches that might or might not be related to the babe).

Weight Gain
1 pound this week - total gain: 15 pounds

Exercise
As I said, 1 yoga, 2 walks.

Food Aversions / Cravings
Nothing new.  Still loving the French onion soup and butternut squash.

Last Doctor's Appointment
Not this week.

What I'm Looking Forward To
-Having an exercise plan in place.
-Eating my baby's weight at the Thanksgiving table.

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
We're trying to decide where to put the freaking huge/nice desk that's in our office.  Current thoughts: none.  There's nowhere else it will fit in our house (including storage locations like the attic and laundry room).  We don't want to sell it.  If we move it out of the house (to either a storage facility or Jonathan's office), we'll need to pay movers.  It's sort of a problem right now...

General Mentality
Feeling good.  Maybe a little more emotional than normal?  I also have this worry that "pregnancy brain" is making me forget to do a lot of things - so those "things" (if they even exist) are causing me a little anxiety.  Weird, I know.  Also weird is that I have a lot of anxiety about germs and getting sick as it gets colder and "the sickness" becomes more prevalent.  Stay away germs!  Wash your hands a lot, friends!

Belly
Here we are from the front:

And from the side (the baggy shirt doesn't make this a great pic, but whatev):

Have wonderful weekends!  I'm insane with excitement looking forward to seeing the new Twilight movie!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Easy-Peesy Apple Danish

I've been in the baking mood lately.  But, as is always the case, I've resisted the itch because Jonathan and I certainly don't need a whole cake/pie/2 dozen cookies/cupcakes/etc. sitting around the house because we always have intentions of sharing, and then just eat everything ourselves

Then, last week, I was reading the daily Hungry Girl update and saw a recipe for an apple cinnamon danish.  Do you guys know of Hungry Girl (ie, Lisa Lillian)?  I have completely mixed feelings on her...  The premise is that she seeks out low calorie/lowfat food "swaps" for common recipes and ingredients.  So, she'll make a Hungry Girl version of stuff like fettuccine alfredo, Big Macs, pizza, sweet & sour chicken, etc.  And then she also advertises new products that are low fat/cal (stuff like protein bars, reduced fat cheese products, low cal chips, low cal pasta substitutes, etc.).  My mixed feelings are: 1) I like the idea of it - that one doesn't have to get super crazy if one is having a craving for something like macaroni and cheese; but 2) I dislike that she often uses "fake" food to achieve her recipes - stuff like artificial sweeteners and chemical dairy products (Laughing Cow, fat free half & half, non-dairy creamer, etc.); and 3) that she'll often choose low calorie over nutrient-dense (so she'd choose white Light Wonderbread over a slice of whole grain bread).

But that being said, I still read her blog everyday, ha.  And while I haven't made a ton of her recipes, the ones I have made (generally the ones without fake food or chemicals) have been pretty good.  So when I saw this apple danish and saw that it used real food for the most part, I was on board.  Also - each slice only has 160 calories - faaaaaar less than one of those delicious, fatty danishes from the grocery store.

I made it last weekend on Saturday morning - and I have to say - it was pretty darn good!  Also - it was eaaaaasy to make.  I think this would be one of those great things to make if you were having overnight company (or if it's just a random Saturday and you & your significant other want a sweet treat breakfast).

Cinnamon Apple-Cranberry Danish

I followed her recipe pretty much to a T.  I was worried the fat free cream cheese would be gross, but you can't really taste it - it just adds a creaminess to the filling.  Also, that Pillsbury dough is durable!  I was worried because I stretched mine pretty thin, but it's so sturdy, it didn't matter.  One place I ventured away from the recipe was with the "frosting" (just powdered sugar and water) - I made more than she suggests, because the amount she suggests is minuscule.

Here's my finished product:
I recommend giving this a try - it's fun and doesn't taste low in calories.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Anniversary Celebrations

It's fun to celebrate anniversaries since it's about both of us and only us.  So not only do we each get presents, but we only buy them for us (ie, not for the 20 [$$$] members of our family like at Christmas), so it's not that stressful.  (And let's be honest, an anniversary is a great excuse to eat a nice meal and have dessert.  Mmm.)

A few months ago we found out The Pixies would be playing in Memphis on our actual anniversary.  Jonathan checked in with me about my thoughts, and while I have to admit it wasn't my number-one, must-do, can't-live-without-this idea of an anniversary night, he was really pumped about the show, so I said "what the heck - let's do it."

Knowing we had the show on Monday night, we decided to have our anniversary celebration on Saturday night.  First we exchanged presents!  The theme for a 2nd anniversary is cotton.  We decided beforehand we didn't need to try to get each other cotton items that would be lifelong keepsakes.  So I got Jonathan a cotton/cashmere blend sweater, a collared buttondown, and some socks.  He got me a tunic (which is maternity, but I think can be worn when not pregnant) and matching leggings that I picked out.  We were both happy!

Then we went to our unknown-to-me dinner location.  Jonathan had told me it was a "new" restaurant.  I didn't know if this meant new to us, or a new restaurant to the city.  I had looked at some menus online of both of the above, pretty sure I knew where we were going.  Then he pulled into River Oaks - a new to us restaurant I totally forgot about!  The fun/sweet aspect of the whole thing was that the chef/restaurateur of the place is the same one from the place we went on our first date (Encore).  Aww.

I've got to say, even though we tremendously overate (I mean, seriously overate, such that I didn't feel very well when we got home), this place is awesome!  The menu is fantastic and everything we had including the 3 appetizers we got who said that? was really, really delicious!  Highly recommend.  We followed the restaurant with a trip to YoLo to try the new "YoLo Bakes" bakery aspect of the place.  We each got cupcakes that were yuuuum.  So overall, Saturday was lovely.

Then Monday, on our actual anniversary, we both got special presents delivered to work.  Mine:

And Jonathan's:

The timing worked out well for us with the concert at the Orpheum because it's Downtown Dining Week in Memphis.  For this week only, participating restaurants are offering 3 course dinners for $20.11.  We decided to try Bleu, the new restaurant in the Westin on Beale.  Our general takeaway from Bleu was so-so.  The menu looks awesome.  And the stuff we ordered should've been awesome, but it wasn't executed very well.  I got a fish in parchment and while the flavor was great, the fish was raw in parts and had to be sent back.  Jonathan got this fab-looking pork chop with a poached egg on top...and the pork chop was raw right next to the bone.  Both of our desserts should've been delicious (mine was apple pie - hard to mess up, and his was s'mores in a cast iron skillet), but they just weren't very good.  Not sure how I feel about going back to try more of the awesome-looking menu...

Anyway, after that, we were off to the Orpheum for the Pixies!  We saw lots of friends we chatted with before the show, and when we weren't chatting, we were enjoying the people watching (which included a total random crowd of preppies/hipsters/punks/purple-haired people/oddly pierced people/etc.).

The show itself was fun.  Not being the world's biggest Pixies fan, I have a more objective take on the whole thing (while Jonathan said he thought it was "alright; pretty good").  Their music is fun and loud and rockin, so that made a fun atmosphere.  What was not so fun was my tailbone pain (which caused me to sit down for a lot of it), and the two times during the show I was convinced I was going to puke.  The first time, I was sitting down and felt this intense nausea come on and thought "holy crap, I got food poisoning from the raw fish!"  I raced out of the theatre, and once I hit the cold, empty lobby, I realized I didn't have food poisoning, I was just having some pregnancy naus from the intensely hot/crowded/smoke machine-y theatre.  I got a bottle of water, cooled off for a little bit, and headed back in.  The second time I felt the nausea was at the very end of the show (the second encore) when the lead singer was doing this cutesy goodnight thing to all the other members of the band.  It was taking foooooreveeeeer (especially considering how I felt), so I gave Jonathan "the look" and we were out of there.

It was sort of lame to have to sit for a good portion of the show, but it was still fun.  And it was ok that it was on our anniversary - maybe even good - because we essentially had two celebrations!  Yay for two years of marriage!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RIP Keurig

This past weekend, we said goodbye to an almost-member of our family...our Keurig coffee maker.

We - well, Jonathan - has had this guy since 2007.  And it has probably been the most-used appliance in our kitchen (because back in the day [when I was still taking in the coff]), we were both having about 2 cups a day).

For the most part, this coffee maker has been great.  I seriously cannot recommend enough the single-cup brewing system.  You always have a delicious, fresh cup with no end-of-the-pot sledge.  It's also handy for instant hot water whenever you need it.

We didn't really have any problems with ours until about a year ago when it started telling us more often that we needed to "de-scale" the system (ie, run vinegar through it to remove the hard water buildup).  Also note that we'd never de-scaled in the first 3 years we had it, even though they recommend doing it once a month.  So part of our Keurig's untimely death could be our own fault.  But recently, we would de-scale and then it would tell us 2 days later we needed to do it again.  It started to mess up every time it made a cup (ie, only a little bit of liquid would come out and then you'd have to run it again and double the amount would come out).  Then, this past Saturday, water started pouring out the back of the machine while brewing.  That was when we decided Old Trusty had brewed his last cup.

RIP Keurig - you've been good to us - you've pepped us up in the mornings and helped us attend late night concerts.  We'll miss you.

Although, for full disclosure, we have purchased your brother (the new upgraded model) and expect to receive him in the mail tomorrow.  It doesn't mean we loved you any less.

Monday, November 14, 2011

2 Years

Today, 11-14-11, is our anniversary!  Two years ago, we walked down the aisle and became Mr. & Mrs.
It's a little weird because today doesn't really feel like it's about our actual, physical wedding.  It did feel like that at our one-year anniversary, I thought.  At our one-year, I was reminiscing about the big day and replaying everything in my mind.  But today seems more about our marriage and the commitment of our vows, and less about the party of a wedding we had (because it was a party!).

I'm thankful we've been together almost 5 years and that we united before God, our family, and friends two years ago.  I'm thankful we've been given the gift of creation and that our family will forever change in February. 

This anniversary feels more about looking ahead than looking behind, and I couldn't be more excited for what's in store!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fetal Friday: 24 Weeks

Let's all shed a small tear that I didn't get pregnant in mid-February, because then our kid would've had a shot at the COOLEST BIRTHDAY EVER, today, 11-11-11.

Ok, tears gone.  End of February or early March will also be an awesome time for a birthday.

Anyway, 24 weeks pregnant.  In honor of the week, I've written a Haiku...

Oh, sweet Pregnancy,
Mostly, You've been good to me,
Now you tease and taunt.

How Big Is Baby?
Baby is the size of an eggplant and about 1.7 pounds.  Perhaps more interesting, my uterus is apparently the size of a soccer ball.  A soccer ball, people - that's big!

Symptoms
My artfully written Haiku alludes to my weekly symptoms.  As I said last week, I've had a good pregnancy for the most part (aside from some symptoms here and there).  Well, remember last week when I said I "hurt my back?"  Yeah, I don't think I hurt it after all, I just think I've entered into the back pain stage of pregnancy.  I hate to be a whiny baby, but I'm in some pain.  It's pretty much exclusively located in my tailbone/butt area and displays itself as shooting/stabbing pains if I move, sit, or stand in a weird or just any way.  I don't want to take Tylenol (I know I'm allowed, but I don't want to), and I don't want to tone down my activity level.  I tried a heating pad the other night and that felt awesome then Hank ate the heating pad.  Yoga doesn't make it feel better (in fact, sitting on the floor is really difficult), but I still plan to do it because stretching has to be good for it, right?  I'm also d-o-n-e wearing heels, which greatly increases the pain.  We'll see...I'm thinking about things like prenatal massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic help, but I haven't really looked into any of these.

Weight Gain
Two pounds this week - total gain, 14 pounds.  (I wonder if I'll be in a pattern of gaining two one week, and none the next?)

Maternity Clothes
This category is gone next week.  Yes - all maternity.  I've been wondering, though...  So usually, if you talk to a woman at the end of her pregnancy, she'll say she's ready to burn her maternity clothes because she's so sick of them.  Well, I'm wondering if I will feel the same way.  I really like all the new stuff I've got.  It's hard to think I'll be sick of them in 4 measly months (especially considering I've had some stuff in my wardrobe for years).  I guess we'll see on this one, too...

Food Aversions / Cravings
I mentioned in my weekend recap, but I was madly craving roasted butternut squash and French onion soup, so I made them.  I figured I could make the soup at home a lot healthier than if I got some from a restaurant.  Both were delish!  Fun fact: when my mom was pregnant with me, all she craved was zucchini - like, zucchini every day.  I wonder if we're just a family of squash cravers?

Last Dr's Appointment
We had one Tuesday and it went great!  We did an ultrasound to get the 4th view of the heart (which looked great!), and to get a sweet side pic of baby.  Then I had my appointment and we had our normal chitchat about how things are going.  We talked about the back pain (which is quite common), and talked about a tiny spotting incident I had after yoga on Saturday (which, again, was nothing for concern).  I asked about umbilical cord blood banking (and pretty much decided after she mentioned the $2000-$4000 price tag) that we wouldn't do that.

Baby Moving
Yes - all the time.  It feels like there's a little acrobat in there!  This category will be gone next week, as well.

What I'm Looking Forward To
-Hmm...back pain relief?  (Wishful thinking.)
-Getting the office more and more cleaned up and ready for its nursery transformation.

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
We're moving ahead with the naming process, I'd say.  I also ordered some fabric samples for potential nursery bedding.  I'm hoping this weekend we can do even more cleaning of the office.

General Mentality
It's great!  What a huge relief to know the little heart is looking good.  Now I just want to concentrate on keeping myself healthy, eating well, and active.  (And I have to say, as much as my back hurts, feeling these sweet baby kicks all day make it totally bearable.)

Belly
Here we are from the front:

And the side:

Someone else was excited to be in the picture to show you what a big boy he is!  Also, Daylight Savings might have killed our outdoor picture series unless we get home early from work or start taking them at a different time of day.  TBD.

Have a good weekend!  We're celebrating our anniversary on Saturday night (actual anniversary is Monday).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh My Hair...

Tonight I'm getting my hair cut and I couldn't be more excited!  I think it might be the pregnancy hormones, but I definitely need to schedule less time in between my next cut.  It's looking shaggy.

I sort of feel like I'm at a crossroads with my hair right now.  I've made the decision to grow it out, all the while saying "I want to be able to wear it in a ponytail."  Well, as of right now, I can wear it in a pony, and while it's a short one, it's not so much so that it looks silly.  So I could stop here with the growing out.

The pro to having it this length is that I can wash it the night before and wear it down the next day and it looks good.  This is one of the only pros I can find, though, because I think it's generally sort of an awkward length.

The other thought is to keep growing it out (maybe to shoulder length?).  I think this length would look better, but the main negative to that (since, you know, opposites) would be that I'm not sure I could wash it the night before and have it look good the next day.  This has become so important to me; I can't imagine if I had to take a shower every morning before work, that seems like so much effort in the morning.  The night shower is perfect.

So I really don't know what to do!  Do I keep the length it is now (even though the style isn't as awesome as it could be) so I can continue with my night showers?  Or do I grow it longer, knowing it will look better, but completely changing my current routine?

(I know baby will throw a huge wrench in the plans.  Part of the reason I want to be able to put it in a pony is in anticipation of a lot less time spent getting myself ready.)

I think I might see if my new hairdresser (since my beloved old hairdresser moved to St. Louis) has any ideas about other ways to cut it when it's this length.  Maybe if we could snazz it up a little, I'd like it more at the current length...

Anyone have any awesome insight?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Eating While Pregnant

When I found out I was pregnant, one aspect of the whole thing that excited me (granted, very low down the list because, you know, holy crap, I was having a baby!) was the eating.  I breathed a small sigh of relief because finally I could just cool out on watching what I ate.  It should be noted I was eating a super restricted diet trying to get pregnant (no caffeine, no alcohol, no refined sugar, no dairy, and limited whole grains), but even with those things aside, I've devoted a good portion of time in the past 6 years to healthy eating.  And while a lot of that dedication was related to living a healthy lifestyle, I'd be lying if I said some of it wasn't related to my weight (either trying to lose weight or maintaining weight loss after I'd achieved it).  So this 9 month period of pregnancy seemed like a good chance to let loose a little.

Now I wasn't planning to get all crazy with my eating, of course - I had (and still have) full intentions of only gaining the recommended 25-35 pounds for a woman with an average pre-pregnancy BMI.  But I was looking forward to not being so strict: allowing some treats, eating whatever I wanted at restaurants (not picking the healthiest option), eating fried food occasionally, stuff like that.  And importantly, not counting calories!

But here I am, 24 weeks in, and what I've learned is that one's weight actually matters during pregnancy.  Gaining the 25-35 pounds comes pretty naturally (that is, they say when all is said and done, with the weight of the baby & placenta, the increased amount of blood in the body, increased breast size, etc., you're looking at about 25 pounds).  So much for my french fries and cupcakes plan!  Additionally, an increased amount of weight gain means an increase in the baby's size, which can affect one's ability to have a vaginal birth.

And so what am I doing while pregnant?  Counting my freaking calories.  Lame.  Granted, I'm eating quite a few more per day than I would be if I weren't with child, but I still feel the need to do it, because in the back of my mind, this little voice says, "eat another bite of cake, you're pregnant, it doesn't matter."  And when that little voice overrides reason, if I don't watch out, I'll have consumed the caloric intake of an elephant by the end of the day.

So I count my calories.  And even though I have cravings sometimes, the act of having a craving isn't all that different than the act of having a craving pre-preg.  I mean, when given the option of having a dark chocolate Hershey's Kiss for dessert or a slice of pie, what does one usually want?  When ordering a side at a restaurant, which would one rather have, french fries or a side salad?  But for me, for the most part in these instances, reason beats out the craving.  And honestly, it's been the same in pregnancy.  Even though I want some things more than others, I don't really give in to those wants all that often.

I know so many women struggle with their weight during pregnancy.  It's the strange dichotomy of "in theory, I could eat more now (and unhealthier) because it's the only time in my life when I'm supposed to gain weight" vs. "I don't want to gain too much weight and not be able to lose it once the baby comes."  And I think it's a thing for women in our country, since so much emphasis is put on a woman's weight and how she looks.

So I've found it's been a strange mix of emotions I wasn't expecting.  Honestly, I was planning to go a little bigger with my eating than I have been, and not to worry about weight gain as much as I have.  But at the end of the day, I'm doing it mostly for baby.  Baby deserves to get nutrient-dense food, and baby doesn't need to be 10+ pounds because I couldn't back off the cookies.  I'm doing it for me too, though.  Whenever I overeat, my brain sort of freaks out and makes me look at myself in the mirror and think, "you look fat, not pregnant" (even though I probably look the same as I did the day before).  Eating healthy helps keep me mentally balanced.

I think it might be a struggle around the holidays (especially considering my office and how abundantly people bring snacks in to share).  But it will be ok.  I just have to remember the little babe - it's about him/her more than me right now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Treadmill Saga Concludes!

I've mentioned our treadmill saga in little snippets here and there on the blog.

The short version?  Our treadmill has been broken since June; there have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to fix it.

The long version...

We had an old-ish treadmill (6+ years) that got a ton of use from Jonathan and me.  Back in the day when I was training to run 10 miles, I was doing it exclusively on the treadmill.  Often, on days when I would run, say 6 miles, Jonathan would get on after me a run a couple himself.  A lot of use.

So with this heavy mileage, the treadmill was wearing out.  Little things have broken here & there over the years, but the warranty always covered the parts and labor, and someone would come out to fix it.  Last December (2010), our original warranty ran out.  We decided to renew for another year just in case something went wrong. <------- awesome decision

In June, the tv screen on the console broke, which had become a somewhat common occurrence (it maybe happened two times in 2010).  That doesn't seem like a huge deal, but because the info about your run (ie, how fast you're going, how long you've been on, what the incline is, etc.) is projected on the screen, when it was broken, you had no idea how fast you were going or anything.

From June until now, it's been a comedy or errors trying to get it fixed.  The repairman who fixes it has probably been to our house 7-10 times.  He would come out to look at it just to figure out what parts we needed.  Then he'd have to order them and come back in the week or so after they arrived to fix it.  A couple times he came back to fix it, only to realize they sent the wrong parts or that he needed a different part.  This chain of unsuccessful repair went on for 4 months.  (Note, the whole time I've been pregnant, the treadmill has been broken.  You can imagine how annoying that was in the first trimester when it was blazing hot outside and if I wanted to get on a treadmill, I had to go to the Rhodes gym.)

In October, he came out to fix it and realized he needed another part.  When we called to place the order for it, the NordicTrack people informed us they no longer make that specific part.  Hmm.  What are we supposed to do, then?

And this is where the story gets awesome.

In a completely unpredicted move, the warranty people said since they were unable to fix our machine (which is under the warranty we extended last December), they'd give us an $1800 credit towards a new treadmill!  And when we looked online at our options, all these awesome treadmills were on SALE (like, a thousand dollars off sale).  So we picked out this sweet machine that cost just less than $1800!

The only catch?  The 1800 would only go towards the treadmill itself; delivery and set up would be paid out of pocket.  And delivery and set up?  About $350.  Lame.  Especially lame because it was a deal we didn't feel like we could pass up, but also weren't really planning for a random $350 charge in our budget.

But there was one way to avoid the charge...

Having the treadmill delivered to the front door.  Period.  This was included.  So if you then dealt with it yourself (ie, moved it inside and set it up), you would incur no charge.  And so, in a completely unexpected (to me) move, Jonathan decided this is what we'd do.  He would get it moved inside and he would set it up.  (He's not one of those men who does all his own home and car repairs, so that's why this was an unexpected move.)

Well, this past Thursday, Jonathan had two friends come over to help move the old treadmill to the curb and bring the 500 pound new machine in.  And then this past Saturday, Jonathan spent the afternoon setting up the new one!  And with no complications!

So after five months, tons of annoyance, unending calls with the warranty company, and time taken off work to meet the repairman, we now have a brand spanking new, FREE treadmill!

This makes me almost as happy as the French onion soup I ate.  I love when stuff just 100% works out in your favor.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daylight Savings Weekend

Man - I love the day when we "fall back" with our clocks!  That extra hour felt awesome!  All day it seemed like I had so much time.  I'm not very pumped about it getting dark at 5pm, but what can you do?

So our weekend wasn't super eventful, but it was still nice.  Some highlights:

1) A dinner party at our friends K.C. & Katheryn's house.  It was a fun night of good conversion, delicious food, and general fun times.

2) Cooking dinner on Saturday night and watching the Alabama/LSU game.  We were both cheering for LSU (sorry Bama fans), so we thought the outcome was great!  I also indulged two of my pregnancy cravings by roasting butternut squash and making French onion soup (I know - not exactly pickles and chocolate).

3) Some more organizing of the office (future nursery).

4) A very awesome activity conducted by Jonathan on Saturday - I'll blog about the whole thing tomorrow!

5) Other standard weekend activities: errands, laundry, church, cleaning of the house, etc.

I hope everyone enjoyed their extra hour yesterday.  I wonder how long our schedules will be slightly skewed to the old time...?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fetal Friday: 23 Weeks

First things first, I just want to clarify for a second: I'm having an awesome pregnancy.  My side effects and "symptoms" have been minimal.  So even though I mention new symptoms each week in these blog posts, I'm not constantly plagued by anything, really (aside from the GI issues).  I get heartburn most nights right before bed, but it lasts for about half an hour (until I fall asleep).  I'll get night sweats/nighttime leg cramps maybe 2 nights a week, but again, I notice it once (in a completely non-debilitating way) and then it's gone the next time I wake up.  I wake up most days with a snotty or bloody nose - but it's gone after 20 minutes.

Overall, I spend the majority of my day feeling normal.  I wanted to clarify because I think some of these blog posts might make the symptoms seem a little more present than they actually are.  I also want to take a second to say how awesome it is to be 23 weeks pregnant.  It's really the perfect time, in my opinion, because things are moving right along with your pregnancy, but you're not anywhere near "crunch time" in terms of planning stuff or preparing for baby.  No baby name yet?  No problem!  Nothing ordered for the nursery?  Doesn't matter!  Haven't taken a child birth or infant care class yet?  Whatev - do it next month!  So yeah - I think I can ride this lovely procrastination for at least a few more weeks!

OK - moving on - 23 weeks pregnant!

How Big Is Baby?
One pound!  I think it said the size of a large mango (although one of the sites said there will be no more fruit comparisons since we're over a pound now that site sucks).

Symptoms
Thank goodness I haven't had a headache all week, which was lovely.  I did, though, hurt my back.  I think it's a combination of 100 different things - sitting in the car for 9 hours this weekend, standing for hours at the reunion, sleeping in a weird way on Sunday night, the dog yanking me around when we go on walks, and of course, the general shift of my center of gravity due to a growing belly - but I was in a really bad place on Tuesday night (like, laying on the floor moaning).  I've been resting it, though, and feel much better.

Weight Gain
None this week - still at 12 pounds.

Maternity Clothes
Oh yeah - I'm all maternity all the time now.  They're all so comfy, I love it!

Food Aversions / Cravings
No, none, but I'm going to do a blog post next week solely devoted to eating while pregnant.

Last Dr's Appointment
I have one this coming Tuesday.  Can't wait to see the little babe on an ultrasound again!  (And hopefully get the great side view we couldn't get last time.)

Baby Moving
Yes - all the time.  It's weird, too, because the feeling is moving higher and higher as my uterus grows.  Initially I only felt the kicks in my lower abdomen, now I'm feeling them up by my belly button and above!

What I'm Looking Forward To
The ultrasound next week. 

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
See my general note at the top of the post.  But actually, Jonathan performed the awesome task last weekend of boxing up all his cds in our office/library (which will be baby's room).  The room has two walls that are built in book shelves.  We plan to keep the books in there even after it's the nursery (mainly because we have so many books we need the storage), but we're trying to clear out a main portion of one of the shelving units for baby stuff.  The cds took up about 5 shelves.  This weekend I'm hoping to move everything else off of the "baby shelf."

General Mentality
Feeling good.  Not too stressed or emotional.  I'm also praying for a healthy heart on Tuesday (the reason we're doing an ultrasound again is because we couldn't get the 4th picture of the heart last time).

And here's our belly shot.  From the front:

And from the side:

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Loves

I've had a couple mini-blog topics circulating my head lately where I tell you about cool new stuff I've encountered.  But nothing was really worthy of its own post.  Well, genius that I am, I decided I could do one big post with all the stuff in it I've been wanting to tell you about.

So, these are some of my new loves...

1)  This awesome guy:

Maybe it's crazy, but I haven't had a public library card since I was in college when I kept a book months past due and never went back because my college budget couldn't afford the late fine.  But I figured since I'm at the library all the time now for Facing History, I should have a card!  I haven't yet checked anything out - but I definitely will soon.  I perused the books on tape before my trip to St. Louis, but went in the audio room on a whim, and sort of froze when there were hundreds of options and ended up unable to make a decision.  Next time.  I think this will be a great resource for all the random pregnancy books and movies we don't want to buy.

2) This yogurt...

...is the best I've ever had.  Literally.  They've just started selling it at our Whole Foods.  It's an Atlanta-based company and it's slowly branching out to other cities (starting in the South).  Everything about the yogurt is awesome: great flavors (my favorites are Ginger Peach, Tropical Sweet Heat [mango, pineapple, and habanero flavored], and Port Wine Cherry); wonderful texture; and good nutritional stats.  It's a little pricey, but I highly recommend (Jonathan and I have been buying  ~10 per week because we're both obsessed).

3) A new necklace!  (Please ignore the creepy face in the picture - after about 5 attempts to take a better one, I got frustrated.)

I got this at the high-end consignment shop that was part of the maternity re-sale store I went to in St. Louis.  "High-end" as in, there was a Chanel section, a Prada section, St. John, etc., but the jewelry was reasonably priced.  And I just love this necklace!  I like that it's gold and silver and that there are 2 different lengths.  I've already worn it three times!

4) This bread

I had it last time I was visiting my mom in St. Louis and had to buy some to bring back to Memphis.  This past weekend, I replenished our supply (they sell it in handy 2 packs at Sam's Club).  It's absolutely delicious!  It's not sold in Memphis, but in other cities, it's definitely at Sam's Club and Trader Joes (and probably other places).  Yum!  I've been having buttered toast as an after-work snack!

5) And perhaps most exciting, I'm now the proud owner of...

...a Clarisonic Mia!!  Have you guys heard about these Clarisonic cleaners?  They are "skin cleansing systems" that offer tons of benefits to your skin care routine.  They clean 6x better than using soap & hands alone.  They also boast to reduce the size of your pores, open your skin to better receive creams and serums, and reduce the appearance of fine lines.  I haven't tried this myself, but a lot of people have tested the "6x better cleaning" thing by washing their face as normal, and then when they're done and rinsed, using the Clarisonic to see if anything's left, and they find all this remaining makeup residue.

Anyway - just a little consumerism to brighten your Wednesday!  Check this stuff out if you have a chance!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sweet November!

It seems like I say this every month now, but I really can't believe it's already November.  Nov-em-ber!  Time is just flying by.  In four months, we will have a child.  A child who didn't even exist last November (or even in the beginning of 2011).  It's pretty crazy.

I also love today's date: 11/1/11 - but who doesn't?

November in Memphis is usually lovely.  The leaves change colors, the temperatures begin to cool off, we celebrate our anniversary, and there's Thankgiving (one of my fave holidays).  In addition, this year we'll have our first baby shower at the end of November.  What a great month! 

I've said it 1000 times, but Fall in my favorite holiday, so in honor of the end of the season, I'd like to soak up as much of it as I can this month before winter and the Christmas season.  Here are some things I'd like to accomplish this month.

-do lots of stuff outside before the cold
-eat more caramel apples dipped in nuts
-eat more pumpkin-flavored things
-watch lots of Lets Talk Turkey-themed shows on Food Network
-read about new Thanksgiving recipes for the year
-rake our yard (HA!  j/k - that's the last thing I want to do!)
-enjoy Fall produce while it's still yummy
-drink hot cocoa

What a great time of year!  Are you guys hoping to savor Fall while it's still here, or are you itching for the holiday season?  Any awesome Fall activities I'm missing (aside from drinking pumpkin ale [sad face])?