Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dearest Express...

“I will never be the mom who stops shopping for herself after she has kids.”

This was a line I often used on my own mom as we shopped together, pre-pregnancy. As I spoke these words through the walls of the dressing room at Express, I never dreamed I would think differently. Shopping has been a hobby (some would say an obsession) of mine since junior high. I love clothes. I watch TV to analyze the latest trends and wardrobe decisions of the rich and famous. I shop to relieve stress, to reward myself, and to counteract boredom. I spend weeks looking forward to a shopping adventure at Jordan Creek and have now embraced the beauty of the online shopping world.

 Express has always been my shopping haven (heaven?). I usually have a difficult time finding things I don’t like, which makes shopping there a blessing (in my eyes), and an absolute curse (in my husband’s). Whether I’m looking for something new to wear to work, to a wedding, or to lounge around the house, it’s almost a sure fire bet that I can hit the jackpot at Express.

I hadn’t really stopped to think about how much I’ve changed since becoming pregnant, well, besides the bodily changes of weight gain, swollen feet, and the never-ending back ache. Yesterday, however, I had a reality check. On my way out the door yesterday morning, I grabbed a couple of bills and noticed an Express coupon that was sent to me for my birthday. Although my birthday was just a few weeks ago, I remember receiving the $20 gift card mid-summer. A year ago, a coupon of this nature would have lasted approximately a week before it started burning a hole in my purse pocket. Receiving a coupon to Express was like Christmas to me, a chance to justify my reason to hit the mall.
This morning, however, I grabbed the card noticing it expired August 31, aka, today. I absolutely couldn’t stand the thought of it going to waste, although I didn’t know if I would have the time or the energy to head to the mall after a full day of school in an excessively hot building.

After school, I had to literally force myself to pull in the mall parking lot as I drove by on my way home. I picked up a hair product I was almost out of, a birthday card, and some new, more maternity-esque underwear. As I walked by my once favorite store front, I again, forced myself to go in. I felt like I had walked into a foreign country. I didn’t know the store staff (shudder), the styles had changed (shudder), and nothing looked close to fitting my belly. I instantly felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, only instead of the knee-high black pleather boots, my swollen feet bulged from my $10 Target flats. I felt completely out of place.

I quickly found a cardigan on sale that I could wear now and after Baby J arrives. I brought it to the register and thumbed through my purse to retrieve my debit card. Before I knew it, the contents of my billfold spilled out across the desk, revealing my Babies R’ Us Rewards Card, a Baby Gap coupon, and a coupon for a complimentary sample of Enfamil Baby Formula.

This is when it dawned on me. I have officially entered a new world. One where women no longer enjoy trying clothes on in a dressing room, spending hours picking out the perfect outfit, or wasting hours in a clothing store. I have traded in my stilettos for a comfortable pair of flats. I have officially entered motherhood.

When I trade in the flats for a pair of lime green crocs…well then I’m really in trouble.

After my experience at Express, I happily browsed the sale racks in the baby section of Von Maur.

I think a relocation is in my cards.

A whole new level of nesting...

Tonight, Beau and I are sitting at the kitchen table, each hiding behind our laptop screens for one reason...

...we have no where else to go.

I guess you could say my nesting tendencies lately took an all new turn this week.
Our living room is empty, and the kitchen and bedroom now hold piles of photo albums, picture frames, and decor.  Last week, I got the wild brain idea that I could not lay a baby on carpet that had never been professionally cleaned.  A little much, I admit, but until it happened, I would never feel 100 percent satisfied that the living room was nest-ready.  My wonderfully loving and helpful husband moved all the furniture while I was at work, vacuumed vents and corners that hadn't seen the light of day since we moved in, and got us a discounted rate on a carpet cleaning, thanks to a fellow networking partner of his.  So on Friday, after a long week of work, I walked in to this...

A fresh room of lush, baby-ready carpet.  I was ecstatic!   Did I care that I spent most of Friday night and all of Saturday morning reorganizing all of our living room belongings?  Are you kidding!?!?

I cleaned windows, reorganized drawers and shelves, de-furred most of the furniture, and Windex'ed' picture frames and television screens.  And when everything was spic and span, I decorated for the season of color.


And as I decorated, I spent a little extra time on the details.  I found a special place for every leaf, every pumpkin scented candle, and every burnt orange 'pretty' that brought visions of brisk October walks, steamy hot cocoa, and cozy hooded sweatshirts.  These decorations not only represent one of my favorite times of year, but would be the decorations that would welcome a new person into our lives, our home, and our hearts.  Just like my tube of Lip Smackers Strawberry Gloss will always take me back to Friday night football games at beautiful A-B Trojan Field during high school, my pumpkin spice candle, 'leaves' scented wallflower, and cider-scented garland will be the scents that remind me of this special time in our lives.  It's getting so close and it was so much fun preparing for the 'party' that awaits!

Although I had a lot of fun decorating on Saturday, Beau had other things to say.  He followed me around, especially as a I strung garland on top of our cabinets, often mumbling things like, 'you are making me nervous,' or 'this is a bad idea.'  I laughed at his paranoia and put him to work.  

(Sorry, Mom.  I'm sure this picture makes you nervous!)

Friday, August 27, 2010

My favorite meal...

The purpose of this post is to pay homage to one of my all-time favorite meals.  It's a meal that is not only delicious and fairly easy to make, but it's a sort of history piece for us as a couple.  All summer, our suppers revolve around the grill.  Burgers and hot dogs, grilled chicken and cedar plank salmon, and of course, big, fat, juicy steaks.  There's (almost) nothing better than a good old fashioned, all-American supper....

That is, if we're forgetting pasta alla vodka.

Here's an excerpt from an essay I wrote about my journey learning, and loving, to cook:

I guess you could say my journey learning to cook is as if reading an open book. I never liked cooking while I was growing up; in fact, my mother worried that she failed to pass on her homemaker genes to me. I was perfectly fine getting by on Hot Pockets, Pizza Rolls, and pudding cups, and preferred going out to eat instead of staying in, cooking, and accumulating a counter-full of dishes in the process.

It wasn’t until “The Sopranos” came into my life that Carmela Soprano, my New Jersey, mobster-wife and my boyfriend (later turned husband), turned me on to great Italian food. What started as a couple episodes of the HBO legend here and there, accompanied with a plate of Barilla noodles and red sauce, evolved to all-night marathons of mouth-watering bruschetta, fresh linguine primavera, savory chicken piccata, and hours of nail-biting, cursing, and bonding behind the television set. The smell of fresh garlic simmering in a pan of olive oil, the taste of crushed tomatoes and fresh basil, and the flash of dimly lit candles illuminated our run-down college apartment and swept us off to another world of wealth, romance, and passion. Cooking became our escape, our refuge, and our idea of a perfect date.

Years later, I am still cooking; however, my palette has now reached realms far beyond Italian cuisine. I see it as an art; a way to create and a way to show love to others. Although I now experiment often with Greek, Asian, and Mexican-inspired dishes, there is still a comfort that comes along with cooking a great Italian meal, paired with a glass of vino. I’m 98% German by birth, but hold the heart and palette of an Italian.

Last Tuesday, after a long day at work, Beau and I shared some bonding time behind our cutting boards and paring knives.  We minced garlic extra small, boiled penne until it was perfectly al dente, and shared frequent spoonfuls of the sauce just to make sure it was seasoned right. 

Thanks to my sister-in-law, Gina, I replaced my usual glass (or two) of wine with Archer Farm's Italian Soda.

It was a lovely meal, a lovely night, and a lovely week of leftovers!

And now, for the recipe....

-3 tbsp. butter
-4 large garlic cloves, minced
-4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
-1 28 oz. can Italian Chopped Tomatoes
-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
-1/4 cup vodka
-1 lb. penne
-1/2 cup Parmesan

-In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the prosciutto and cook for another two minutes.  Add the tomatoes and red pepper, simmer and stir frequently for 5 minutes.  Stir in cream and cook, stirring for an additional 2 minutes.  Add vodka and cook 2 minutes.  Season with salt. 

-Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain.

-Add the pasta to the sauce and toss until well-coated. 

-Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese...

P.S.  This makes great leftovers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dear You...

Dear Baby J...

Hi baby boy.  In t-minus five weeks (give or take), you will exit my womb and enter our lives.  And as every day goes by, I'm more and more ready for that to happen.  I can't quite imagine how all of this is going to play out, the pre-labor and eventually labor, the hospital, the delivery, and the first few days of parenthood.  It catches me off guard every now and then and I get a little out of breath thinking about it.  It's hard to put into words, that's for sure. 

For awhile, early in this pregnancy, I was perfectly content with you growing and staying safe and sound inside of me.  In fact, I didn't really like to think about the certainty that laid before me...the fact that eventually, you had to come out.  All of the blockbuster movies and TLC episodes of 'A Baby Story,' were no longer funny or sweet, but rather, a little horrific to watch.  I was much more content choosing to think about cute maternity dresses and baby sleepers over epidural needles and stirrups.  

Every now and then, I become strong woman.  I feel hints of feminism bursting from my veins, proud that I get to take part in the process of birthing a child, embracing my womanhood and baby-bearing hips.  I listen to Salt n' Pepa's 'Push It,' and feel prepared and ready to work it in the delivery room.  

Which of the following two scenarios do you think cloud my thoughts more?!?!

Lately, I just feel content.  Content knowing that I have millions of women on my side.  Women like my Great Grandma Hoodjer, who gave birth to not one, but two sets of twins, or my Great Grandma Miller, who basically gave birth to half the town of Allison (I think she had around 11 kids).  I think about all the women who had their babies at home, with nothing but a blanket, a shot of whiskey, and a stick to bite on.  No hospital beds, no drugs, and no giant whirlpool (I'm excited for this part).  

When I think about all of them, I feel like a big wimp.  A big wimp that can by all means deliver a baby.

So, as you get closer and closer to D-Day, know that I am mentally preparing to be strong woman.  I may cringe when Beau attempts to get a sliver out of my foot, but childbirth...no problem ;)

Respectfully and lovingly yours,

Strong Woman

35 Weeks!

How far along? 35 Weeks

Total Weight Gain? 23 pounds

Maternity Clothes? The other morning, I came to the stark conclusion that I am indeed still growing. I tried to put on a black and white dress I wore to school last spring and let’s just say, it fit a little differently than I remember… I’m glad I looked in the mirror before heading out the door!

Stretch Marks? No...still crossing my fingers!

Sleep? No complaints. Now that school has started, I’m exhausted at night!  I'm typically in bed at 9:30 and up at 5:30. 

Symptoms? Pregnancy, especially the 3rd trimester, is physically and mentally exhausting! It’s a roller coaster ride. Last week, I felt great; this week, I’m more than ready to have this kid. I officially want my body back! I’m getting to the point where I can’t really find a comfortable position, whether I’m sitting, standing, or walking.  I can't wait to sleep on my stomach again and eat tacos without suffering through hours of heartburn afterwards.  I can't, however, imagine a life without a little foot pushing up against my skin...I'm sure I will miss that!

Let’s not forget a new and growing symptom…my swollen feet!

Cravings? Pasta ala Vodka, Soprano cookbook style.

Best Moment This Week? The head way I made on Baby J’s room this last weekend.

What I Look Forward To? Saying hello to our baby and kissing his little face!

Weekly Wisdom? Never again will you get so much attention. Savor the door openings, sweet smiles, questions, and polite gestures…everyone is nice to pregnant women and when that baby comes, the attention paid to you will be gone!

Milestones? Next week I hit the weekly appointments! The countdown is on…

Check out my hump...my hump, my hump, my hump

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Home for Baby J...

Well, as promised, the baby furniture!  It's done, it's beautiful, and it fits in Baby J's little room perfectly.  If you know me well, this was a slight fear of mine.  Beau repeatedly attempted to reassure me; however, as every new piece of furniture was carefully placed in the room, I grew more and more wary of it all fitting.  Once again, I learned to trust and listen to my hubby and his dad.  They're pretty smart...

...and pretty damn talented. 

If it wasn't for the fact that I have been carrying this child for nine months, battling with pelvic pain, heartburn, allergies, weight gain, exhaustion, abnormal sleeping positions, and now, 'kankles,' I'd feel more guilty.  I pulled my share in the creation of our kitchen, traveling with Beau to Hampton to spend hours upon hours sanding every inch of our hickory cabinetry; however, when it came time to build a set of baby furniture, I had the easy part.  My part involved clipping and snipping random pictures of cribs and changing tables, asking Beau to reinvent a combination of three to five different pictures in order to created what I envisioned as the perfect product.  What started with a couple Pottery Barn catalogs, some sticky note diagrams, and a lot of imagination, turned into a set of furniture that will serve as history pieces in our family for generations. 

Thank you, husband, for your patience, your hard work, and your desire to build something really special for our baby.  Thank you for creating Excel files to help me 'visualize,' for following me to Peek a Boo Baby to survey their cribs, and for wanting everything just right.  Baby J will look so sweet sleeping in his new bed.

Thank you, Grandpa Ray, for helping us both bring our vision to life.  Thank you for the hours you spent configuring and reconfiguring, for your constant, we-can-do-thats and no-problems, and for not killing my bedskirt during 'surgery.'  Thank you for building me a dresser big enough for lots of shopping trips and a tornado shelter that will keep us safe in any storm. 

Assembly Day:  August 15, 2010...approximately seven weeks from D-Day!

Again... a little nervous...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Sunday, while the boys sat shaded in the humidity and drafted the perfect team for the upcoming football season, I worked on my nest. 

I deep cleaned my kitchen, wiping out the microwave and vacuuming the cracks of our walnut floor.  I baked brownies simply for the smell that perforated through the kitchen.  I almost replaced my coconut, lime, and tropical scented wallflowers with my favorite fall scents, but forced myself to wait until at least September. 

It's begun.  Even if I wasn't pregnant, I'd be nesting.  It's that time of year again.  As the dog days of summer draw to a close, I transition to the next season with a new welcome mat.  Closets get cleaned, floors get waxed, and pillows get washed.  The grilling cookbooks are replaced with the comfort food ones, and soon, mums, pumpkins, and tri-colored leaves will replace shriveled petunias and wilted impatients.  

But this year, as I slowly begin to crave a mug of spicy cider and a stack of blueberry pancakes, my nesting is a little different.  

Today, I tied a bumper on a crib, rearranged a growing collection of books until they were perfect, and positioned a changing table pad.  I rearranged dresser drawers to make room for more itty bitty clothes, and found the perfect place for a family of stuffed animals.  Although the nursery isn't quite finished, I'd say it's ready for a sweet, sleeping baby.  

Since I found out we were having a baby boy, I've been planning, dreaming, and scheming plans for his nursery.  While Beau was trying to bring to life the vision of baby furniture I had floating through my sometimes scattered pregnant brain, I was scouring the internet for theme, inspiration, and budget-friendly decor. 

I decided to create a summer surf shack theme.  A fresh breath of escape during any month of the year.  I love baby blue, but wanted to take it up a notch.  I found the perfect bedding, full of bright blues, reds, navys, and greens.  Thanks to Pottery Barn Kids, I scored a matching rug, valance, and wall hangings. 

Sunday night, after a long day of awkward bending, standing, sitting, and lifting, I dimmed the lights, turned on the stereo, and rocked in Baby J's recliner, a hand-me-down treasure from Beau's Grandma J.  This is it, I thought.  For the first time in my pregnancy, I felt ready to bring a baby home.  I lit a few candles and read my monstrous tummy a few books.  It was a peaceful and sweet moment between mommy and baby...

And now, just a few previews of the nursery.  I still have a few ideas up my sleeve, but will see how much time I have and how swollen my feet stay over the next month!

Stay tuned for pictures of the furniture!  There is a separate post for that!     

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Baby's got a new set of wheels...

That's right, Baby J.  Not only do you have the best furniture in the house, your very own towel set, and a recliner in your room, but you now have the nicest set of wheels in the family.  Your dad and I drove to Cedar Rapids yesterday to pick up your new ride and I must say, it sure is a beaut.

It rides, glides, and clicks.  Its ride is smoother than the skin on your bum, and it has a suspension system that will allow you to nap even on the wildest of rides.  It turns like a dream, and its sunroof, cushion support, and auto-pilot will make you feel like a million bucks.  

It's the Chicco Travel System, baby.  Get ready to ride in style...  

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Friday!

I made it through my first week of classes...it's going to be a great year!  I teach 9th and 10th grade this year and have some great groups of students.  They're fun, like to be challenged, and pick things up for me when I drop them :).  They'll take care of this pregnant lady!

When Friday rolls around, though, I'm always thankful for it.  I've been more tired than I ever thought possible this last week and am looking forward to a weekend of more nesting and even more relaxing.  Tomorrow, Beau and I are taking a quick road trip to pick up Baby J's new set of wheels, and I hope to get some work done in the nursery. 

So...as I welcome another weekend, I reflect on all the little pieces of happiness that were strewn across my week.  As school starts and life gets busier, it's a matter of looking at the little things...

62.  The TV show, Friday Night Lights.  If you don't watch it, you should.  Best. Show.  EVAH.

63.  Rain showers while the sun shines.  Little kids refusing to let a little rain spoil their summer night play.

64.  Baby Gap Clothes.  Sleepers with footies, crocheted booties, tiny sockies, and soft onesies...

65.  Kate Mcrae.  The bravest, sweetest, most adorable little girl I know.  A girl who taught me about life, about faith, and about hope. 

"Patience with others is love, patience with yourself is hope, patience with God is faith."

66.  The Little Caesar's Guy.  You know, the ones who stand outside the pizza shop on University Ave., holding signs and using killer dance moves to lure customers in for the $5 Large Deal.  I don't know how many times I've missed a green light at an intersection because I can't take my eyes off the dance dude!  If I've ever in a bad mood, I'm absolutely, positively guaranteed a laugh on University and Progress Ave.  

67.  Pretty Woman.  The fairy-tale lovin' little girl comes out in me everytime!  If I happen to run across it flipping through channels on a busy afternoon, I can kiss productivity goodbye!

68.  Sam's Club.  Beau and I are fanatics!  We are actually considering building some additional pantry shelves to begin storing food in case of a nuclear missile attack. 

69.  A fresh, late summertime meal.  Tomatoes from Beau's secretary's garden, the best corn on the cob, and grilled hot dogs.

70.  The sounds of an ice cream truck in our neighborhood!  One night, Beau and I spent an entire walk attempting to find the direction of the music!  I've never actually seen a legitimate ice cream truck, only in the movies, and I was determined to finally witness one at the ripe age of 26.  I pictured little kids, shrieking and running towards the truck, waving their dollar bills, envisioning orange push-ups, fudsicles, and drumsticks.  Although I didn't get a chance to see the ice cream truck, I have a feeling the vision in my mind is far greater than the real thing! 

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend! 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Belly Pictures...

I wanted to give a quick shout-out to Darcy from At Play Photography here in Cedar Falls!  She took some 'belly shots' for us last week and posted a sneak peek on her blog to tease us a little!  More to come soon!   

34 Weeks!!!

How far along? 34 Weeks

Maternity Clothes? Today was the first ‘official’ day of school. I wore my white Gap Maternity city shorts, and my new favorite Gap Maternity black ruffle top. The only thing that didn’t fit were my shoes! They were so tight by the time I got home, I had indents on the sides of my feet.

Sleep? The night before school started was restless, but since then, I’ve been so exhausted, I could go to sleep after school and wake up the next morning.

Symptoms? I finally have the bladder of a pregnant woman and it’s a long walk to the bathrooms from my classroom! Let’s just say I’ll probably be a little lenient on tardies for awhile!

The movement has been really crazy this week…I constantly feel that foot of his in my ribs and my entire stomach will flip flop. I feel it the most when I sit in a chair…Baby J is running out of room!

Cravings? Laffy Taffy… Saturday afternoon, completely out of the blue, I had to run to Hy-Vee for some taffy. I came home with three different kinds, tried out three different kinds, and was left with nothing but a stomach ache!

Best Moment This Week? The CRIB IS FINISHED! On Sunday, Beau’s parents delivered it. Contrary to a few initial fears, the crib fits in the baby’s room perfectly. I’ve started unpacking all the decorative treasures I’ve been storing for the past several weeks, but refuse to share pictures until it’s complete! Right now, the room is serving as my escape mechanism…it’s so peaceful in there!

Least Favorite Moment This Week? My swollen feet. It took two days of school for my feet to look as if they were in an MMA fight. I haven’t even attempted to take my wedding ring off…

What I Look Forward To? This weekend I hope to get some wall hangings up and the bedding all washed.

Weekly Wisdom? You like to talk, Mrs. Jorgensen. Drink water and sit down every now and then.

Milestones? Baby kicked away all day during the first day of school. My students loved seeing Baby J’s growth spurt!

Dear YOU...

Baby J...

Happy 34 weeks, little man!  Last night I had a panic attack thinking about that number in my head.  It is getting unbelievably close to your D-Day, and we are overwhelmingly excited.  Pretty soon, when people ask when I'm due, I can reply that I'm due 'any day.'  Will you be a September baby?  Will you practice punctuality and come on time?  Or will you drag this process out as long as possible and arrive somewhere in the middle of October?  My guess right now is that you will be late; however, as much as you continue to squirm, you might be ready to exit that small space sooner than later.  My single request is that you do not decide to exit during the middle of class, resulting in a huge pool of water at my feet.  I'm sure this embarrassing water-breaking scene only exists in my dreams and in movies, but you've surprised me enough throughout this pregnancy, I'm readying and preparing for just about anything!

This week, things have been a little different around the Jorgensen household.  School has started, which means early mornings, quick lunches, a sore throat from talking A LOT, swollen feet, and one exhausted momma!   I can't believe how tired I was Monday night.  I was foggy headed, could hardly put words together in an email, and would have been satisfied crawling into bed at 5:00!  It was torturous, but has been progressively better each day since.

Today was the first day with students.  It was so great to see them!  They already love you!  They flocked over to see your growth spurt, gave me lots of hugs, quizzed me on names, and demanded I bring you in to see them as soon as you are born!  One of my favorite memories was the roaring applause you received during the welcome back reception!  It was almost as if you knew what was going on.  You squirmed, rolled, and tumbled more today than you have throughout my entire pregnancy!  Turns out, you are pretty good at this whole school thing!

Other milestones to record for this 34th week?  Well, your crib is finished and it looks awesome!  Your mom has diligently packed her lunch every day this week.  Oh, and you mingled with the President Ben Allen and his wife, Pat, last night!  It was my first invitation to the President's House and with you in tow, you were a welcome conversation piece with the Allen's!  Beau said that we should have asked them to take a picture with the belly for your scrapbook...
As we close the page of another summer, I anxiously anticipate this next season!  I get so excited sometimes that I can hardly breathe!  Thanks for joining me on this ride in a hot school building, for listening to my boring syllabus talk during school today, and entertaining me with your constant belly flops and somersaults.  You keep me on my (now swollen) toes, that's for sure.   

Love you, Baby J! 

Your Mom ;)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Twenty-Something Momma...

Last Friday, Friday the 13th to be exact, I turned 26. 

No longer closer to twenty than thirty...

No longer under a quarter of a century...

No longer a UNI student, an Express fiend, or a Diet Mountain Dew addict. 

No... at 26 years old, I go by a few new labels...

I am now a 26 year old mom-to-be, with a little baby boy that rumbles, tumbles, and rolls in my tummy constantly throughout the day, making sure he already stays the center of my mind, my attention, and my focus (especially during back-to-school professional development days).

I am a 26 year old mom-to-be who prefers celebrating with a quiet walk in a pretty park over a crazy night out on the town.  

I am a 26 year old mom-to-be who considers the perfect birthday party one that involves an ice cream cake, corn on the cob, and families gathered around a finished baby crib (it is done!  pictures to come...) 

I am a 26 year old mom-to-be, content with all-you-can-eat crab legs and a big glass of root beer over a girl scout martini or shot of 'birthday cake.'  

I am a 26 year old mom-to-be who actually considered purchasing a nursing bra with my birthday money...

Yes, times they are a changing...

Even though I think I've cried on every birthday since turning 16, I still love them.  I have no idea why tears are shed, but sometimes growing up does make me a little sad.  It's like every year that passes, I feel myself getting farther and farther from the innocence of childhood.  A time when life is simple and quiet, and birthdays mark a little extra magic in an already fairytale existence.  

This year...I feel a little closer to childhood.  

Six weeks closer.

Monday, August 16, 2010


For as long as I have known him, Beau has always wanted a dog.  He is a dog lover.  He thinks he can make any dog, no matter what the size, a lap dog, and the bigger and rougher the dog is, the more Beau likes him.  I, on the other hand, have never felt the appeal of owning a dog.  This might be because we never had pets growing up.  I was actually quite scared of dogs for a good portion of my life.  Frankly, I can do without the slobber, the constant jumping (and humping), and the smell of dog breath and even worse, damp dog hair.  Beau and I compromised in the pet department by rescuing a cat, and it's been fun watching my husband attempt to teach her numerous dog behaviors.  She eats just about anything you give her, plays fetch, and sits on Beau's lap whenever welcomed.  If she could only go on neighborhood walks... 

Yesterday, for a little under an hour, Beau's dreams turned into reality.  A collarless, fawn colored, panting pug showed up in our backyard.  She was tired, hungry, and friendly, and immediately took a liking to us.  We had no idea where she came from, but decided while she was here, we might as well pretend a little.  Beau got her a bowl of water, I fed her some fried bacon, and we borrowed a leash from our neighbors "in order to scout out potential owners," aka, "take our new puppy on a walk."  

I called the Humane Society to see if anyone had called about a missing pug.  When the lady from Animal Control asked if we wanted her to pick "Pugley" up, Beau quickly declined her offer.  He was not ready to give up his new found friend. 

After about a half hour into dog ownership, Beau decided to take his loyal companion on one last walk.  Shortly thereafter, I watched my husband return, longingly dragging his empty leash behind him like Linus's blue blanket in the Charlie Brown classics.  Beau said the young man was very happy to see his pug again. 

"She's so friendly, I was worried someone would find her and never give her up," the owner said as Beau handed in his claim. 

And as he walked away, empty leash in hand, he whispered to himself...

"You're lucky my wife is eight months pregnant."

So thank you, kind owner, for rescuing your precious pug and rescuing me from a kennel, a pooper scooper, and an endless supply of bacon flavored bones.

I do admit, she was a cute little snort of a thing :)

I guess it's true what they say about dogs resembling their owners ;)...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This is a first...

Dear Baby...

Well, this is a first.  It's currently 3:48 am and I am on the couch, wide awake, unable to sleep.  I'm pretty sure my joints and muscles are asleep, but my mind is awake.  I yawn as I type; however, I've tried laying in bed three times in the last two hours with no sleep success.  I've watched an episode of True Blood, drank a glass of milk (almost drove to Hy-Vee to get some Oreos for dunking), and made a to-do list, but my insomnia is proving relentless.  It turns out, you are up too, tossing and turning as much as I am.  So, I type.  I reflect.  I duck tail from thought to thought, hoping my restless mind will soon give in...

I've always been a girl who needs her sleep.  To be honest, I'm a little nervous about joining the N.P.I.C., or New Parent Insomniac Club.  I'm known to get quite crabby and a little whiny when I'm running on little sleep.  So advice number one before joining this family?  Go easy on your mom.  Get all your late night energy out of your system before you enter this world.  Deal???

Tonight was a good night.  Tonight, your dad and I (and you in tow), strolled up and down Main Street, laid in fields, and shared an ice cream cone, all while being photographed like a couple of celebrities who decided to escape their so-called private sphere for a simple date night on the town.  Now usually anything that involves 'pictures' and 'your father' in the same sentence speaks anything but fun; however, tonight was.  It might have something to do with the fact that I bribed him with Toads if he decided to cooperate.  I think it has more to do with the reason we were there together.  We were there, celebrating a new chapter of our lives.  Our sweaty heads have been pressed together during other important stages of our relationship...as a newly engaged couple, a soon-to-be married couple, a couple of honeymooners, and now, a couple of expectant parents.  It was special to be able to set apart some time to really soak it all in. 

Well, baby, this is it.  My last few days of summer vacation.  Soon, I will be battling long days on my feet, a hot classroom, and hyperactive 16 year olds.  But before all that, I want you to know how much I've enjoyed this summer preparing for you. 

...those moments in my kiddie pool, laughing to myself as I watched my bare belly move up and down, up and down, up and down...
...the hours I have spent planning the details of your nursery
...the nights I've sat and rocked in your chair, fiddled with the perfect lamplight, and dreamed about a sleeping baby in my arms.
...the little clothes I've washed, folded, refolded, and hung or placed in your closet and dresser
...the doctor's appointments, especially the ultrasounds
...the late nights up with Beau, talking about who you will look like, who you will act like, and how we plan to conquer parenthood!
...all the "Beau!  Come here!" shrieks as you made an indent in my tummy or kicked a field goal towards my ribs! 

This weekend will be a great one.  As I near the next quarter-century of my life, I look forward to all that is to come.  Life is going to change, that's for sure, but I have a feeling 26 is going to be a pretty great year...

Enjoying Eight...

How far along? 33 Weeks

Total Weight Gain? 20 pounds

Maternity Clothes? We had maternity pictures taken tonight and I had an absolute terrible time finding the right clothes to wear. I think I tried on the same two dresses ten different times. I blame it on the pregnant brain…

Stretch Marks? No

Sleep? I’m writing this at 4:41 am and have been up since 2:30. Enough said?!?!?!

Symptoms? Other than the relentless insomnia tonight, I’ve had a great week. I’m very thankful…

Best Moment This Week? Belly pictures were a lot of fun! Even amidst the 105 heat index, sweat rolling down my belly, and lifeless hair, it was a perfect night. As Darcy snapped away, I couldn’t stop thinking about this special stage in our life. There’s something about standing forehead to forehead in an alleyway in Downtown Cedar Falls, smiling as our eyes grow crossed, that makes me think about all the special moments we’ve shared together. I’m not sure how the pictures will turn out, but the image of this night will be etched in my mind forever.

Least Favorite Moment This Week? Let’s just say I’ve never been one to handle no sleep with grace.

What I Look Forward To? This weekend! Celebrating 26 years of birth with my husband, family, and friends. Good food! Maybe an ice cream cake (hint hint family)… And…drum roll…our CRIB! DONE! Delivered on Sunday!

Weekly Wisdom? Approximately seven weeks left. Soak. It. In.

Milestones? I finally identified Baby J’s hiccups! Poor baby…I can’t believe how fast they are!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I can feel it.  Summer is slipping away.  As I hazily turned the calendar over to welcome August the other day, the days in this month seem to fly by more than other months.  August is always like this.  As the school year seems to creep closer and closer to July each year, I find myself desperately trying to hang on and savor every day left before I'm once again trapped into a routine of 5:45 alarms, quick showers, and uncomfortable shoes.  

But...we live in Iowa and when one season wilts away, we are assured that another is waiting to take its place.  And the season that follows summer is quite possibly my favorite.  As damp swimsuits, wilted flowers, and an overworked lawn mower make room for cozy sweatshirts, crisp nights, and football games, I get excited for all that is fall.  Lately, I've been dreaming of pumpkin pie scented candles, day excursions to the river, apple crisp, gooey chocolate chip cookies, and pot roast.      

And comfort food isn't the only reason I might be a little more anxious for the fall months to roll around...

That's not to say, however, that I'm not going to miss this...

Yesterday, we discovered that Beau's birthday present is ideal for two.  With zero humidity, a great breeze, and a shortened afternoon at the office, we lazily rocked, talked, and felt baby move in the hammock.  We drifted into a sort of summer-induced coma, where the leaves on the trees became a hallucinogen and the breeze swept us away to another place.  

I hope you have enjoyed your birthday present, babe.  I know I have :)

Enjoying the view...

Dear Baby...

As I sit here at the kitchen table, attempting to recline more and more as to dislodge the foot that currently presses into my right rib, I am reminded of life.  More specifically, the 'life' that is currently occupying a large part of my thoughts, as well as my torso.  Last night, after a somewhat 'questionable' walk with my hubby (we'll get to that in a minute), I was sitting in the recliner staring at my sun-kissed belly and it hit me.  

"Beau, can you believe we are going to be parents?"

As much as you have been on my mind the past 32 weeks, from doctor's appointments, to symptoms, to nursery planning, onesies, travel systems, day care, and breastfeeding, every now and then I stop all the baby planning and it hits me like a ton of bricks.  The thought that the last eight months of my life are going to lead to a little person that is going to join our family forever.  The 36 weeks (and counting) are nothing but a preshow, a preview for the main event.  I think at times I fall guilty of getting so excited over the preview, that I miss the anticipation of the feature.  I don't know...maybe it all molds into one.  Either way, last night, I had one of those awe-inspiring, life-altering, light bulb in the eye moments...that in two months, we are going to have a baby. 

Today I had my 32 week appointment.  My last appointment where scheduling is a breeze and perhaps my last appointment with perfect blood pressure (as this girl goes back to reality in a week).  Our stats were good.  We had both grown in the last two weeks...you by an inch (according to my belly), and me by three pounds.  You are still right where you need to be, head down, rump up, and the doctor smiled as she patted your bum.  Although she commented that I have a very nice, "bronzed belly," she did assure me that my time in the sun meant more water.  "If you aren't drinking enough water," she mildly scolded, "you may experience cramping and mild preterm labor symptoms."  

Funny, I thought, as I assured her I was staying hydrated.  After an afternoon in the sun yesterday, Beau and I went for our usual neighborhood walk.  About halfway through, I started what I like to call my 'waddle-shuffle' down the street.  As my waddling grew more and more noticeable, so did the cramps and Braxton Hicks contractions.  After a rather painful stretch home, soon, I was on the couch researching what exactly contractions feel like and making mental lists of what we need at the hospital.  Your first pregnancy is definitely unique in the fact that you have no idea what labor feels like.  Every cramp or new ache leaves me wondering...  some women have told me that when you are in labor, you know; others have said it's different with every pregnancy.  

Lesson learned...drink more water.  Submerging the baby bump into a kiddie pool of water does not exactly equal 'hydration.'  

Not much else to report for Week 32!  Stay rump up, little man!  I love feeling your feet! 


How far along? 32 Weeks

Total weight gain?  17 pounds

Maternity Clothes? Yes…but I’m approaching my last week of summer ‘comfy’ clothes. Seven weeks of work clothes here I come!

Stretch Marks? No

Sleep? Sleep is getting more and more uncomfortable. Lately, I’m down to one side. I can’t sleep on my back or stomach, and when I sleep on my left side, I get a pinched nerve in my arm. This morning, I woke up feeling as though I went on a three-day bender.

Meanwhile, Beau has developed a snoring issue. I’m not sure whether he’s always snored and I’ve slept through it, or he’s picked it up as a pregnancy symptom of his own. Either way, I’ve been very tempted to plug his nose in the middle of the night several times.

Symptoms? HEARTBURN! Haven’t been able to find any relief mechanisms either. Sometimes Tums work, sometimes milk, but most of the time, I barrel through until bedtime. I’ve never had heartburn until pregnancy, and I’ll be more than ready to see it go after this baby’s here!

After telling my mom about my heartburn issues, she mentioned it to a friend of hers. Her reply was, “What has she been doing? Eating tacos for dinner?” Funny she should mention that, as last week I ate tacos for about four meals in a row. My goal was to kill the leftovers, not create a black hole in my chest! Sorry to say I haven’t had tacos for three days and the heartburn has yet to give up!

Best Moment This Week? I booked belly shots for next week. I contemplated whether I wanted to do this or not, but thanks to one of Beau’s high school friends, I was referred to a talented photographer from the Jesup area (thanks Jen!). I’m hoping for good weather and a good ‘belly’ day!

Least Favorite Moment This Week? Tuesday was probably my most uncomfortable day since being pregnant. After an unfortunate night’s sleep, it seemed like every muscle and joint in my body was out of place. My back hurt, my neck hurt, and my heartburn was outrageous!

Gender? BOY!

What I Look Forward To? Celebrating my last birthday without someone to help me blow out the candles. I’m not sure what we’ll do, but I think it might involve a buffet of never-ending crab legs!

Weekly Wisdom? Chiropractor?

Milestones? Baby J is busy training for his first marathon, aka, delivery. He’s been flexing his muscles quite often, otherwise known as Braxton Hicks contractions. He’s also sucking, breathing, and swallowing…all very important skills to master before he’s ready to come out!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Little Boy

I love books.  My mom, however, loves books more than I do.  We grew up surrounded by books.  A vast collection of Golden Books, The Berenstain Bears, and our favorites, The Monster at the End of this Book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and Dr. Suess's, There's a Wocket in my Pocket.  When I grew older, I owned and read every single edition of The Babysitter's Club, and would spend many a nights curled up on the far end of the living room couch, crying my eyes out to another sad ending of a Lurlene McDaniel book.  Lori Wick's, A Place Called Home, will forever be a favorite of mine, and I now love introducing new books to my students at school.  

I hope to instill this same love of books to my kids.  And with the collection of books I have already accumulated for Little J, I have a feeling it won't be a problem.  

This past weekend at my baby shower, my mom added a couple more books to his collection.  A classic, Where the Wild Things Are, and, Little Boy, a book by Alison McGhee.  It wasn't until Sunday morning that I sat down to read this little treasure that I realized what a great gift this was.  Before I knew it, I was sitting in my chair, with tears rolling down my cheeks, so thankful for this little boy in my life.  The sweet little illustrations of a shaggy haired boy in rain boots, the simple words, and the way the author captured the innocence of childhood are so sweet. 

I can't wait to chase a dirty-footed little boy, fill his little sippy cup, and count animal crackers on the couch.  I can't wait to turn a cardboard box into a vast pirate ship, or a house for a toad, or a tower to knock down.  I can't wait for wagon rides, untied shoes, and starship pajamas.  I can't wait for all that is this little boy...

Thanks, Mom, for a sweet book I could read over and over again.  And for all you mommas with little boys out there, this is a must-have. 

Little boy, so much depends on...
your yellow cup,
a serenade to wake you up,
sun that slants the rug,
the wings on that astonishing bug,
and your big cardboard box. 

Monday, August 2, 2010


Yesterday, I was showered.  My sister-in-law, Gina, threw Baby J and I a shower full of surprises and perfect little indulgences.  Being a former gift shop owner, Gina is a woman of many talents when it comes to colors, staging, parties, and planning.  This party did not disappoint!  

The brunch was held at Beau's mom and dad's house.  Beau's dad used to be a manager with Farm Bureau.  During this time, Mary became an important figure within the agency...she planned and hosted several agency events, usually consisting of 50-75 people, a sparkling house, and a completely homemade meal, from appetizers all the way to desserts.  Although Ray no longer works for Farm Bureau, Mary misses her 'people' and her role as hostess.  Any chance Mary has to entertain at her home, she takes full advantage of it!  

The party was complete with lots of family friends, yummy food, and wishes for sweet Baby J. 

Check out the cheesecake!  A soft, melt-in-your mouth crust, refreshing lemon cream cheese filling, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.  Good thing everyone helped eat it, otherwise, I would have added on a few extra pounds of 'baby' weight!

I was blessed beyond words with lots of adorable lute for Baby J!  From a number of cute onesies, to a baby grooming kit, to a boppy, vibrating chair, and motorized cradle swing, we definitely feel a little more prepared to entertain (and dress) this little one. 

Speaking of little ones, I had lots of little ones to help tear through the baby blue wrapping paper.  Lily and Eli, two of Baby J's third cousins, entertained us, and it was fun to meet Cora, a sweet little two-year-old.  At one point, as Cora was enthralled with my baby bump, I told her there was a baby in there.  Not thinking much past this declaration, I was surprised when Cora proceeded to lift up my skirt to see exactly where this baby was hiding!  I have a lot to learn when it comes to conversing with toddlers! 

Charly was perhaps the biggest party animal of the day!  Her eyes got big and her little arms starting moving like crazy when she was within reach of the load of pretty packages, but when little Eli was within arm's length of Charly's grasp, the giggles and smiles were going like crazy!

This is the afghan Grandma Henrichs surprised me with.  It is exactly what I had pictured; well, without the utter grief the thick boucle yarn caused my poor grandma!  I love the color of blue and can't wait to wrap Little J up in it this winter!

These two furry friends will keep Baby J nice and warm after bathtime.  I love the Critter Pals from Pottery Barn!  Grandma Kelly gave us the elephant and Aunt Kelli the hippo! 

The Jorgensen girls (Janet, Kelly, and Jill) really came through on the Cubs paraphernalia.  Good thing they went with a Soriano t-shirt instead of Theriot!

Last night, I drove home with the Kia packed full.  I was exhausted and I hardly had the motivation to unpack the car, let alone the numerous gift bags.  I set them on the kitchen floor, warmed up some supper, and was sound asleep by 10:00.  This morning, though, was the most fun.  I took my time carefully going through each package, reading cards, tearing off tags, and daydreaming about a little boy dressed in blue.  I spent way too long folding and refolding, tying and retying, and finding the perfect places for the new stuff.  Before I knew it, it was mid-morning and the entire house was filled with the smell of Dreft.  It's definitely a smell this girl can get used to!
(Baby J and I with the Hoodjer and Henrichs women...my grandmas, mom, sister-in-law, and niece.)

(Gina, Mary, and I...thanks for a fabulous party!)


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