Wednesday, June 30, 2010

God Bless Texas!

Here we come!!!

Happy early Fourth of July to my blog readers! Here's to friends, family, fireworks, and festive food!

Dear Baby...

Well...we've made it to 27 weeks. That means, I'm entering my third trimester, the end and final stages before it's time for you to leave the ute and enter the world! A world that is more than ready to meet you! The weather out here has been just perfect this past week and summer is in full swing: the windows are open, Wimbledon is on, and the kitchen is sparkly clean (and I think I just ate half a pan of rice krispie treats).

When the weather gets like this, it seems your dad and I are on the go nonstop. This is probably the reason it seems like we never quite sit still to you. My closet is almost done upstairs, which means I can start moving you into your new room! Last weekend, we painted and cleaned dry wall dust from every crack and crevice in that room. It was a lot of work, but will be so nice to have it done. Now, we just need to get a move on this crib of yours...1) because you need a place to sleep; 2) because it's the focal point of your room and I can't move forward with decorating until it's done. I will be sure to keep you up-to-date on your room's progress as we make some ;)

I think because your dad and I are so busy lately, you haven't wanted to miss any of the have been moving more than ever. It's one of the things I will always remember about my first pregnancy. You always move the most when I lay in bed at night. Monday night, you were putting on quite a are my human popcorn machine! Beau had his hand on my tummy and could feel your pops through the blankets! Then this morning, I woke up to find myself sleeping on my stomach...something I'm really not supposed to be doing. After turning over, you instantly started kicking, as if to say, 'whoa, Mom, what were you trying to do to me?!' So, needless to say, I apologize for squashing you!

Tomorrow, we go on another adventure. We are flying to Texas to see some of your daddy's college friends. Here's hoping the elevation on the plane and hot temperatures in TX don't bother your mommy! I wonder if your kicks will be even bigger in Texas?!?

So, baby, I need to start packing. Happy Fourth of July to you! Maybe you'll hear some big fireworks this weekend!

Love you,

Your momma

27 Weeks!

How far along? 27 Weeks

Maternity Clothes? I just went up a size in my favorite maternity shorts. For all you expectant mothers out there, Liz Claiborne Maternity at Target is the best!

Stretch Marks? No

Sleep? Sleeping with the windows open this week has been heavenly. Because of my pelvic pain, I’ve been sleeping with a pillow between my legs. It’s seemed to help.

This morning, I woke up on my stomach. I think I slept like that most of the early morning hours. From now on, Beau is on orders to make me roll over if that happens again!

Best Moment This Week? The weather has been perfect! This is perfect in my mind: upper 70s, sunny, cool at night. Perfect for neighborhood walks and s’mores.

Least Favorite Moment This Week? My pelvic pain has put a slight damper on my mood and ‘feel great’ attitude. It hurts to lift much more than a gallon of milk and we’ve had to cut our walks short. I certainly don’t feel as unstoppable as before, but I’m beginning to accept that pregnancy does make a woman feel different than normal.

Gender? BOY!

What I Look Forward To? Organizing my new closet upstairs and making way for Baby J’s clothes! It’s been so fun washing his cute little stuff.

Milestones? Entering the 3rd trimester! That’s exciting and scary to think about! We need to get a move on this crib!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Freezy Pop Kind of Day...

Make lemonade. It's a phrase I've been consistently humming to myself the last three days. It's summertime, the rain is finally out of the forecast for the time being, and I have the blessing of being able to be home for the next month and a half. There is plenty to be thankful for and plenty to be happy about. The last couple of days, it seems that life is indeed throwing a bunch of lemons my way; however, they don't have a lot of juice and I keep having to fish out the seeds.

This weekend, I finally started feeling pregnant. The last three days, I have officially felt as though there is a five-pound weight sitting on my pelvis...that five pound weight being a very active little boy. Not only are my ligaments stretching and pulling every which way, but there is a dull, annoying ache every time I find myself on one foot. Now I know many of you are wondering how often it is that I need to stand on one foot, but you'd be surprised. Going up and down the stairs, putting on a pair of shorts, and getting in and out of the car is, let's just say, a little slower than I'd prefer. Carrying any weight (like a laundry basket up the stairs) is a double whammy, aka, not fun.

So, Saturday, I did what every 21st century, computer-owning junkie has been known to do...I decided to 'google' my symptoms in order to find a diagnosis that might make me feel better (or worse). The rest of the weekend, I indeed thought the worst, and words like 'complications,' 'bed-rest,' and 'abnormal' clouded my mind. In addition to my painful pelvis, we woke up Sunday morning with water in our basement, spent two hours of our Sunday at the laundromat washing wet towels and blankets, and spent double that working on statistical methods for my Ed. Research class. Let's just say, by the end of the weekend, I was ready for a fresh start to a new week.

Today is a freezy pop kind of day. The weather is perfect, upper 70s, just cool enough to open windows and let the summer breeze blow new life into this house. I woke up early, finished three assignments for class, hung clothes on the line, baked a cake, and visited the chiropractor. He, and my doctor, assured me that my symptoms are quite normal for this stage in my pregnancy, that I should stop reading the sketchy online sources during the weekend, and that I should try and take it a bit more easy. So, with a belly secured tight with my new pelvis support band, I'm sucking down freezy pops, drinking in the fresh air, and relaxing today.

Turns out, I'm not the only one relaxing...Beau finally got around to setting up his birthday present, an oversized hammock, fit for two (and maybe a third, if they're tiny). If this picture doesn't scream summer, I don't know what does!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy where I am...

"The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in this moment. It's something like the habit of a dear friend, Susan, who - whenever she sees a beautiful place - exclaims in near panic, "It's so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!" and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try to convince her that she is already here. There's a reason they call God a presence - because He is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to be..."

-Eat Pray Love

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the acclaimed, Eat Pray Love, is an exceptional writer. As I read her book with a slightly clearer mind this summer, I am learning a lot from her craft. Especially, her keen insight and deep reflection on the world around her. It's what her book is all about. A memoir of her year-long inspiration ride to three countries: Italy, India, and Indonesia. After a draining divorce and deep depression, she sought to redefine herself by spending a year abroad. She's already convinced me that my bucket-list trip to Italy is a good choice, and I praise her courage and devotion to well-being. I'm about halfway through and will save my final review until then...

So tonight, for the Happiness Project, I'm focusing on the present. Small, simple indulgences that made my night a happy one. All too often, I get wrapped up in my thoughts and lose sight of what's really good in the present. Because, really, when you think about it, "what I should have done," and "what I want to do," are pretty irrelevant.

This Happiness Project is about food! Last night, I decided to slow down when it came to cooking dinner. Because I'm often too wrapped up in the past or the future, dinner is often hurried, stressed over, or neglected. I love to cook; however, realize that once this baby's here and I'm back to work, dinner is going to need to be simplified a bit. I won't always have the time to devote to the planning, preparing, chopping, boiling, steaming, sauteing, garnishing, and enjoying that goes into a great dinner. So last night, I was going to slow down, take my time, and enjoy one of my favorite meals...

47. A table set for two. Placemats, candles, and matching silverware.

48. My summer drink of choice. Club Soda and Olive Garden's Italian Soda Syrup. A bartender let me sample several flavors one night while we were waiting for a table. Since then, I've had fun experimenting with their different flavors and concoctions. My favorite? A little cherry and a little vanilla, mixed with club soda, and topped with half and half. It tastes like a cherry cream soda!

49. Tomato & Feta Crostini...grilled tomatoes, fresh oregano, feta cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper, atop slices of grilled baguette. Easy and a perfect flavor for a summer appetizer.

50. Cooking my one of my favorite meals...Honey Mustard Chicken and Summer Style Green Beans (recipe follows). Everything was fresh, chopped to perfection, and cooked with precision. We ate slow and I made sure to savor every bite!

51. A clean kitchen afterwards! Tip of the day...try and do as much food prep and clean up as possible before makes the 'after' clean-up more bearable, especially with a food coma!

Honey Mustard Chicken

4 chicken breasts, flattened and seasoned with Lawry's
six slices of bacon, fried or baked beforehand (I did this the day before)
6 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced (baby bellas are the best!)
1 1/2 cups Colby-Mont. Jack cheese
1 tbsp. minced onion
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup mayo

1. Preheat ovento 350 degrees. On the stovetop, sautee mushrooms in butter and olive oil over medium heat. After tender and cooked through, drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, combine mustard, honey, corn syrup, mayo, and minced onion in a medium bowl. Cover and refridgerate until using.
3. Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the chicken in the skillet and sautee until browned, about 3-5 minutes on both sides. Remove from skillet and place the breasts in a 9x13 baking dish.
4. Build your chicken! Spread half of the honey mustard over the cooked breasts, and layer with mushrooms, bacon, and cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken juices run clear. Garnish with the reserved honey mustard.

Summer Style Green Beans

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into two inch pieces
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 cups cherry tomato halves

1. Boil beans in salted water until soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in sugar, garlic, pepper, and basil. Add tomatoes, and cook stirring gently until soft. Stir in the green beans and heat through.

Enjoy the PRESENT!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

26 Week Update

How far along? 26 Weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss? I added up my weight gain thus far, 15 pounds!

Maternity Clothes? I’m starting to love maternity clothes; the elastic waistbands rock!

Stretch Marks? No

Sleep? I’ve had some really random sleep patterns lately. The other night, both Beau and I were up off and on all night. Check that, the three of us were up off and on. Every time I woke up, my little guy was kicking away!

I've also been having crazy dreams lately. So crazy, I can't share them on this blog!

Best Moment This Week? Kansas City was a blast. Oh, and my first box of freezy pops for summer. I can’t believe it took me this long…

Least Favorite Moment This Week? Spending long hours on my MA paper. This means, I've been sitting in my recliner for long periods of time which is making my back hurt. I am convinced it is how Little J is laying...I only feel the pain when I'm sitting. I think he's pushing on my ribs and lower back.

Gender? BOY!

What I Look Forward To? Heading to Texas to see some good friends over the 4th. Getting my closet painted. Organizing Baby J’s closet. Starting this crib. Decorating the nursery.

Milestones? Beau is now able to feel Baby J pretty much on command. Sometimes, the minute he puts his hand on my tummy, the movement stops; other times, he feels a big one!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Is it weird...

Is it weird that I sometimes get sad thinking about not being pregnant? I can't wait to meet and hold my baby boy for the first time, but a part of me loves carrying him with me 24/7 . Being pregnant is like having a companion with you at every moment of your life. Like when I'm sitting at a faculty meeting, stressed, frustrated, bored, or whatever, I simply touch my tummy and am reminded that there are far greater things important in my life. Or when I'm sitting at church, singing to a hymn, it's such a cool thing to know there is a little life inside, listening to my often, off-key voice, figuring out his fingers and toes, and just being there. He's always there. As I drift off to sleep at night, he's usually punching or kicking my sides. As Beau and I go on our nightly walks in the neighborhood, he's right there with us. When I'm at the computer lab, trying to motivate myself to finish this MA paper, he's there too, motivating and encouraging me to just.keep.going. I like having him here; it gives me far greater purpose in life and it's quite impossible to feel loneliness.

Is it weird that I'm also not quite ready to give up this baby bump? I'm kind of fascinated with it. Not in one of those weird, I-wear-midriff-shirts-in-public or constantly-rub-my-belly-and-distract-those-around-me fascinations, but more so, for all the joys that come with a growing belly. Knowing I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want and no one can say anything otherwise. Knowing that everday, the crease between my chest and belly get more defined and pregnant-like. I'm looking forward to balancing a bowl of cereal on it. Knowing that for the first time in my life, I had to buy a Large bikini top. Now that's a change I've wanted for ten years!

Dressing has also been more fun than I was anticipating. My favorite is Liz Claiborne's Maternity Line at Target; however, I'm also finding that I can get by with regular clothes: empire waists, skirts with elastic waists, and airy summer dresses. Do I have days where I feel fat? Absolutely. But my body seems to be changing daily and most of the time, I'm embracing the change! Ask me in August, when I'm teaching in a non-air-conditioned building, and I might be ready to give up the bump!

Is it weird that I like doing laundry? The baby's laundry that is. Last week, I bought my first gallon of Dreft and decided to wash one load of Little J's new clothes. One load turned into an obsession and before I knew it, his dresser is beginning to fill up! The little white onesies are my favorite. They are so small and so soft, and now they smell so baby-like.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Babymoon...

I always loved the anticipation that surrounded the days leading up to a vacation. My family wasn’t big on lavish, see-the-world vacations; in fact, we stuck to the same few destinations while I was growing up: Twins games at the Dome, the Mall of America, and the Minnesota Zoo. As a little one, however, it was all the same to me. It was a chance to pack my very own suitcase, complete with lots of ‘necessities’ that would never make it out of the bag. A chance to plan a number of ‘time fillers’ for the car ride, and fight over who got to sit where in the mini-van, so I knew ahead of time exactly where to place my favorite pillow. The adventures of the car ride didn’t compare to the exhilarating feeling of entering our hotel. Our first look at the indoor pool. Our first jump on the bed. Shaking with excited shivers as we curled up under the cold covers and dreamed about the fun that was in store for the days ahead. I have so many memories of Minnesota trips with my family; trips I hope to recreate with our littles someday…

This weekend, I felt some of that same anticipation as Beau and I set off on a little getaway to a destination we had yet to explore…the city of barbecue, jazz, and fountains that is Kansas City. It was time for a weekend away for the two of us, to reconnect after a busy semester and start to summer; a time for important ‘Beau and Ashley’ time before we add one more to the mix.

KC was more than both of us were expecting. It was just what we needed. It had all the charm of the Midwest, yet gave us the big city flair we love. There was enough to do, yet we had time for afternoon naps, great talks, and long, purposely drawn out dinners. Food was a big part of this trip and it turns out, Kansas City is a great place to eat! This pregnant woman took full advantage of all the different choices (and talked my husband out of barbecue for every single meal).

Most of all, I appreciated all the time I had to spend with my husband, minus the distractions of everyday life that cloud our minds at home. Beau turned off his work email, I left my laptop behind, and we focused on each other. It’s amazing what a few days away will do for a couple. We held hands, flirted with each other, and acted a lot like we did the first summer we started this adventure.

Beau and I are great at car rides. With a mixture of Jay-Z, gummy worms, a mind-numbing edition of the name game, and our infamous pictures-whilst-driving, we can make five hours of driving seem like two. Sometimes, I find myself having so much fun that I don’t want the trip to end. Last summer, we got stuck in rush hour traffic for two hours outside of Chicago…we had peanut shell throwing contests out the sunroof. This weekend, we stopped and had a picnic at a pretty little rest stop on the Iowa/Missou border.

Thursday night, we went to a Kansas City Royals game at beautiful Kauffman Stadium. Let’s just say it is a little different than Wrigley. Kauffman’s outfield is lined with gorgeous fountains that turn colors as the sun goes down. Wrigley’s outfield is packed with sweaty, drunken bleacher bums. Kauffman has a vast array of food options: a Mexican Cantina, a barbecue joint, and a homemade limeade stand. Wrigley has three options: a hot dog with ketchup, a hot dog with mustard, and an Old Style. Kauffman has a carousel, a jumbo-tron, fireworks, and Sluggerrrr, a lively crowned mascot. Wrigley has an organ, some ivy, and Ron Santo. Kauffman had the beauty; Wrigley has the charm. I loved both stadiums for different things. Since we could never afford lower level, infield seats at Wrigley, we decided to splurge and sit ten rows up on the third base line. The crowd was fun, the Royals beat the Astros 4-2 in the ninth, and Warren Buffett through the first pitch!

There's a reason they call this place the City of Fountains...turns out, KC loves them!

It's husband wore a Chicago Cubs t-shirt to a KC Royals game. I think that's against code or something.
I love this picture. In the 9th inning, the entire section is paying more attention to the mascot than the game!

The Oracle of Omaha himself...Mr. Warren Buffett

Celebrating a Royals' win in the ninth! We could almost pass as devoted fans!

If there is one word I could use to describe Kansas City, I think it would be ‘quaint.’ Everything about this town speaks splendor and style. We stayed at the Country Club Plaza, full of great shopping, little cafes, and pretty architecture. We strolled the streets, checked out the shops, and carefully deliberated on the best places to eat…

Buca de Beppo’s - a quaint little Italian place that takes up an entire city block…underground. Served family style, the place screams little Italy, with thousands of random pictures (like calico cats in front of the Roman Coliseum), an entrance that forces you to walk through the kitchen, and a ‘pope room,’ complete with a statue of the pope on a lazy susan, so he can stare you down while you slurp your spaghetti noodles and house a bottle of wine.

…An afternoon stop at the Gelato Café was a very important part of our afternoon. The gelato was supposedly the best in the Midwest; therefore, I took my selection seriously. After sampling several flavors, I settled on mint chip and coconut. We sat at a small little table, watched the World Cup, and for a minute, pretended I was in Italy.

If only Cedar Falls would spend millions of dollars on such a place as the Power and Lights District! The restaurants, bars, and shops all meet in the center of town to make up an outdoor venue with cushy chairs, free concerts, and one of the neatest nightlife experiences.
Perhaps my favorite part of the trip was sneaking out to the balcony at our hotel, which overlooked the city’s skyline. We laid on our backs on a couple of beach chairs, listened to the cars, and dreamed about trips to Disney World with our littles.

A trip to Kansas City would not be complete without BARBECUE! Beau’s goal was to find the dumpiest, dive of a place in the worst part of town to try what is referred to as the Barbecue Capital of the World. We drove through 18th and Vine, the Jazz District of KC, and landed at Arthur Bryant’s, a barbecue joint that Playboy Magazine referred to as ‘The Best Food in the World.’ I was only a little scared as I approached the front counter to order my meal. The wait-staff was incredibly crabby, but the pulled pork and potato salad were delicious. The best part of the meal is when I asked for a couple of carry-out boxes. A scary woman proceeded to follow me back to the table, line a couple of thick sheets of paper on the table and use what I like to call the ‘dump, roll, and tape method’ to secure our bbq for the ride home.

Yesterday, we decided to see what our leftovers looked like. Let’s just say it tasted good…

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To the men in my life...

Today is Father’s Day, a day to acknowledge and honor all the special dads in this world, known for riling up their kids at the worst times and driving their women a bit crazy in the process.

To my father-in-law, Ray. He’s always reminded me of a movie star, with a little bit of John Wayne’s toughness, Clint Eastwood’s edge, and Paul Newman’s charm. He may be a man of few words to most, but to me, he’s nothing but an under-stuffed teddy bear dressed in denim. He’s a craftsman, and I’m continually impressed with the passion and dedication he has for the things that he loves: his wife, his kids, and his CNC machine. He is incredibly smart, able to put together his own CNC machine with the help of a guy from Ireland, put together a circular lathe in order to build a wood sink for his house, and carve one of our wedding pictures into a piece of PVC pipe. I’m a little bit in awe of him and still attempting to really figure out who he is. After six years, I’m still discovering new things about him (such as his theatre past), and hope to only unpeel more of his onion layers as I watch him as a grandpa.

Then there is my dad. He’s been a huge presence in my life for almost 26 years and I am continually grateful for what he has taught me. He’s the hardest working man I know, making it possible for Mom to stay home with us while growing up, yet, he was always there when we needed him. He’d work long Saturdays and late nights after full days of work, but still made the time to coach little league baseball, take my brothers golfing, and get up early on Sundays to help us deliver our paper route. He was the ‘cool’ dad in the neighborhood, always the one to initiate the game of baseball in the backyard, hit golf balls over the highway (that I chased of course), and take us on bike rides and Sunday drives to Clarksville to get crunch cones. His childlike curiosity (as my husband puts it), and appreciation for the simple things are unique and contagious. He is strong, yet sensitive, generous, and spirited. He is serious about certain things, yet outright silly about other things. He is the essence of a hero in my book and will be a hero to my son, without a doubt.

Then there is my one-and-only, my husband, a soon-to-be father himself. He is definitely his own unique soul, yet, he exhibits qualities of his dad and my dad. His sense of humor and wit are one-of-a-kind; I don’t know of anyone who can keep up with him. He’s quick on his feet, confident, and incredibly loving, from his accessible hugs, to the sweet way he is with his special Grandma J. Most of all, he is the one who keeps me going, who supports me, motivates me, and often helps redirect me to what’s important when I sometimes get distracted. He will be an incredible dad; it’s one of the main reasons I can’t wait for this little guy to enter the world! I know I will continue to learn from him when it comes to raising our son and am so thankful that I get to embark on this journey with him.

From the minute I told him I was pregnant in a cold car in January, I knew he was made to be a father. From the way he held my hand in the ultrasound room as we saw our son for the first time, to the pride he has put into the baby furniture, or the way his eyes light up when he feels our little man kick, he is showing me a whole new kind of love…a love I can’t wait to experience more of.

So, thank you, Beau, for allowing me the life I have always dreamed of. Thank you for always being there for me and for the journey we are about to set foot on. What a love you’ve given me.

At church today, as our pastor was reflecting on the imeaning of Father’s Day, he said the first image of our Heavenly Father that our children receive is through the example of their earthly father. When put that way, he said, it is a sobering, even scary responsibility. So today, I am thankful for not only my father figures, but all the father-like role models in this world. To the grandpas who do a great job stepping in for absent fathers; for the single mothers who play the role as mom, and as dad on a daily basis; for the coaches, teachers, pastors, and mentors who provide direction for those who lack it…you are amazing to me. As I think about the exciting responsibility of raising a son, a future husband and father himself, I only pray he follows the examples of the great men in his life, the dads and grandpas that will teach him to love, to work, and to appreciate the life he has. He’s got a lot of good in him already.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Getting ready for YOU...

Well, little one, you should be honored to know that although you aren't even here yet, you have seemed to encapsulate a large portion of my mind, my time, and my summer break. A big chunk of my world these days is centered around readying our world, our lives, and our home, for you. It's all quite fun, like yesterday when I took all the tags off of your beginning wardrobe, bought my first gallon of Dreft, and washed and folded a couple loads of your onesies and sleepers. I spent way more time than normal cutting little strings off of your clothes and folding them until they were just perfect...this of course will be highly unrealistic once you arrive and are puking or drooling on onesie after onesie. But, I enjoyed this little intimate moment and I was thankful to have the time to do it. Other duties of business, like figuring out my maternity leave, my first year as a tenure track teacher, and getting through this MA paper before you arrive are far more complicated than deciding how to organize your dresser drawers. The more I can get accomplished before another school year rolls around, the better. So, since you are actively a part of all the busyness of my days, I wanted to let you in on a few of the goals I have for summer...It's good to start setting goals early you know...

1. Get this nursery, aka 'baby world' ready. Your daddy is working awfully hard on your furniture, as well as a closet for my clothes. I want bedding washed, books organized, and light bulbs in the lamps. I want diapers stacked and lullabies on cue. This may be wishful thinking, but right now, I have time to think about the little details of your room, the things we will love about being in it. Lately, every night, I've been taking a few minutes to escape to the upstairs bedroom, turn on the lamp, and read from the many sweet books you've already received. It's such a nice escape and I want your room to be this way too.

2. I would like to get a little more crafty than I am right now and make you something special. Your dad and Grandpa Ray are designing and building your baby furniture, creating a timeless, priceless set of furniture that will be so special for our family. Me, on the other hand, doesn't have much talent when it comes to the arts and crafts. My goal for this summer is to find something special that I can make and give to you.

3. Nesting!!! Now here's something I am good at! I'm a closet-nester throughout the year, but the more organizing I can do and trips to Good Will I can make now, the less I will have to do when I'm home with you. So, every corner, every nook and cranny in this house will be turned upside down before October...

4. You will have a baby book! You will have a baby book! This means, I may have to spend sleepless nights going through and editing the countless pictures I have taken since receiving my new camera in February. Yesterday, I uploaded 1200 pictures into my Shutterfly account. 1200! So many of them document all the little details of this journey of carrying you and I want to somehow incorporate them into a manageable keepsake that we can someday look at together.

5. Pack a bag. I just read a story in a magazine about a woman who delivered her baby a month early. Because she had tunnel vision and was only prepared to deliver on her due date, she of course, had nothing planned, prepared, or packed. Although I have no idea what to put in the bag we bring to the hospital, I intend to find out this summer. It may sound a little weird, but I'm kind of envisioning our days in the hospital as a little vacation away from reality...with that said, I've never been one to pack lightly!

Stay tuned to see how I do little one. Keep kicking! I love you!

-Your momma

25 Week Update

How far along? 25 Weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss?

Maternity Clothes? I spent some serious cash at Target the other day, but picked up lots of maternity essentials to get me through summer. It’s amazing how much more you can get for your money at Target compared to my old flame, Express…

Stretch Marks? No

Sleep? Sleep has been weird. I continue to get enough; however, find myself wide awake at odd times during the night. My dreams are getting a little crazy too.

Best Moment This Week? Monday…this little guy kicked all day. He was distracting me from reading my Educational Research textbook…as I was lying on the couch, I could actually see my stomach jerk up and down. It was crazy!

Least Favorite Moment This Week? My back has started to hurt. I finally caved and went to the chiropractor, who would now like to see me through the rest of my pregnancy. It’s amazing how much stretching and expanding is going in on there.

Gender? BOY!

What I Look Forward To? Lots this week. Beau and I take off tomorrow for a long weekend in Kansas City. Because I didn’t think sitting in the Bleachers at Wrigley sounded near as fun pregnant, we are going to take advantage of the baby bump and see another stadium. I’m looking forward to our ‘Babymoon’

Now that I have the baby’s room painted (and am loving the color I might add), I’ve started getting serious about this nursery thing. Tonight, I even washed a load of baby clothes, folded it, and organized it into Baby J’s dresser. Let’s just say Baby J has more clothes storage than his mommy and daddy…Beau built some massive dresser drawers!

Milestones? Baby J is moving so much, probably because he is growing lots! Right now, he should be around a pound and a half, and approximately 9 inches long. Air sacs are also filling in the baby's lungs, getting him ready for his first breath of fresh air. This is a huge milestone!

Each month in my 'What to Expect,' book, the authors outline possible symptoms of pregnant women at the particular phase they are in. Right now, I'm pleased to say I am experiencing every single symptom in the book, from more 'definite defined fetal activity,' to 'achiness in the lower abdomen,' 'hearty appetite,' 'varicose veins,' and 'backache.' Also...the leg cramps during the night have been crazy. A few times, they had me do a quick jolt out of bed and a little dance in the dark bedroom as Beau turned over and wondered what kind of sleep walk I was in the middle of.

So, thank you, pregnancy bible, for making me feel normal in this dire time of un-normalcy...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Unmotivated on a Monday...

Today, for about the fourth day in a row, it is dreary outside. It's cloudy, it's too humid, and it's rained off and on for days. During periods of mopey weather, it's easy to start falling into the mopes right along with it. In addition to the weather blahs, my back hurts, my upstairs is covered in a layer of drywall dust, and my Educational Research textbook is like reading a foreign language. So, I felt it was a good time to add to my Happiness Project. I'm on number 42. My goal? Maybe a thousand...

If you are new to my blog, here is what inspired my Happiness Project.

"Still, I will say that the same thing which has helped generations of Sicilians hold their dignity has helped has helped me begin to recover mine - namely, the idea that the appreciation of pleasure can be an anchor of one's humanity"

-Eat Pray Love

42. Since we can't grill with weather like this, I decided to brighten up the kitchen by cooking a little Thai tonight. I bought Beau a wok for Christmas a few years ago and let's just say, we have a ways to go when it comes to being ready to run the grill at HuHot. What we have figured out with our wok is that it is usually quick, tasty, and a great way to use up random produce that's been sitting in our fridge too long. peppers, onions, sugar snap peas, garlic, and oranges in a soy, sherry vinegar sauce.

43. My husband. He's a worker and a provider...there isn't much he can't do and he sees the world that way. Last weekend, he was building baby furniture, tonight, he's upstairs sanding drywall in my new closet. Tomorrow, he'll be sweet talking old ladies to buy insurance from him. Tomorrow night, he'll be at a networking group meeting that he initiated. I'm continually impressed with him and so thankful he is mine...

This is Beau, pre-drywall dust...

44. Speaking of my husband, he surprised me with two gift certificates for pedicures for our anniversary because he 'heard' that pregnant women have a hard time painting, let alone, seeing, their toes. So, on Friday I went and got a pedicures to kick-start a weekend of work. That hour of escape, of picking out the perfect red and sitting back in a massage chair is awesome. Every hard working woman needs a pedicure every now and then...

I can't believe I'm showing a picture of my toes. The pedicure was nice, but it turns out, I need more than a paint color to make these crooked toes glamorous.

45. One of the great things about rainy nights is the excuse to get out the blankets, put on the sweatpants, and transform the basement into a movie theatre. With peanuts, popcorn, and Starbursts in hand, Beau and I finally watched Avatar. It's a three hour investment, but the scenery, the action, and the brainpower behind it all is well worth the experience. Not to mention the 'blue people sounds' Beau and I practiced for a period of time after finishing the movie. We still haven't decided whether the blue people are hot or not though...

46. One more shout-out to food this week. Thinly sliced cucumbers, drenched in vinegar and dillweed, atop grilled burgers with all the fixings. It brought a grilled burger to a whole new level this weekend. So great, that Baby J had burgers for two meals in two days! Beau was so proud!


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