Sunday, September 25, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 33

It is so hard for me to grasp that our baby will be here in 7 weeks. It seems like time has flown by in one sense...and yet, it feels like I've been pregnant for FOREVER.

This week:

I encountered sharper pains of Braxton Hicks contractions.

I watched my feet (and hands too) start swelling again.

Pregnancy insomnia greeted me warmly...although, I have NOT returned the greeting so well.

I bought pregnancy skinny jeans. I felt silly buying jeans at 8 months pregnant, but it is AMAZING what a pair of skinny jeans will do for a girl. I felt normal. :) 

Week 33 is one week I don't want to forget either. It marked the week I realized that for all my calculated planning for preparing for this baby, some things are out of my control.

Ben's Mom threw us a baby shower. We were so overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family who came to celebrate our little one's arrival.

The weeks are ticking by so quickly....which already have me wishing the next 18 years will crawl by. He isn't even here yet, but we are anxious to cherish every moment with our child.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How I Chose Our Photographer

Anyone who knows me knows I love photography. My favorite photographers are Jessica Claire and Jasmine Star. I've been following them for years and I love their work. When we found out we were expecting, I went right to work to find the perfect photographer.

My criteria for a photographer is simple:

I want to hear their heart. Basically, I want to spend hours on their blog, because I truly believe that any photographer that is willing to blog their work, is willing to show how they've grown and expanded. (which is why I love Jessica and Jasmine)

I want to know who inspires them in the photography business. Following Jessica and Jasmine has given me a pretty good idea of those well-known photographers. The celebrities in the photography business. That said,  I want to who my photographer admires. Who he or she blog-stalks.

They can't be expensive. Okay, to be honest, this is Ben's stipulation, but it definitely makes the pool of photographers THAT MUCH SMALLER when you combine this with my picky-ness.

So with all that in mind, it seems impossible, right? In fact, Ben and I have joked that I should just go into to photography to element my exhaustive search! But, wouldn't you know that my habit of Facebook-stalking my friends paid off when I found my photographer?

My college-friend Melissa got married several months ago and as I was creeping through her pictures...(admit it, we ALL DO IT!)...I fell in love with her photographer, Katie Rivers. Okay, so maybe it was more of Katie's work that I fell in love with, but you get the point. What absolutely sealed the deal for me? Katie LOVES JESSICA CLAIRE. Katie was affordable. AND Katie has an awesome blog.

I was barely 4 months pregnant contacting a photographer for maternity and newborn pictures. Call me crazy...but I know a good thing when I see it. Luckily for me, I DID contact Katie right away, because over the summer, she announced doing weddings exclusively. (Which means that future family photos will start the search ALL over again!)

In just a week, I will meet Katie for the first time when we do our maternity session. I am so excited! Katie has graciously allowed me to send her multiple photographer shots that I've loved, so it has been nice to know how approachable she is.

This is only the beginning, and I cannot wait!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Autumn Headband

It all started when I saw this awesome Autumn-inspired garland. My idea expanded when my sister sent me a headband tutorial.

Then it all evolved into this:

All my supplies. I used the cheap-o 34 cent felt at Joanne's. This fabric glue stuff called Tac. And a pattern Ben drew for me. :)

On layer 3, waiting for the fabric glue to dry. It really took no time at all and it was dry enough for the next leaf.

The finished product. A layered leaf headband!
The finished product:
One angle

Another angle
So easy, fun, fast and cheap...AND it gets you in the perfect mood for fall weather and pumpkin spice lattes!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 31 & 32

Week 31 slipped by without much incident. I have been doing a lot of research on breastfeeding, returning to work and more. It is a lot to process through; but I know that I will feel better prepared and less overwhelmed in the coming weeks if I process through everything now.

The one highlight of Week 31 was: Receiving a text from Ben telling me he just purchased clothing for Madden. 

Week 32 started off with talking to my best friend. We haven't seen each other in so long; and it is weird for me to be very pregnant without her here. The entire conversation was the perfect start to my week. Especially, since Braxton Hicks contractions have begun in full swing. Listening to Ben talk to Madden. He has been doing this along, but as we get closer, his conversations start with "Hi Son, it's your Dad." and end with "Love you." These are the moments I want to remember for ever.

The past two weeks have made me so thankful. Here is an update on my pregnancy thankfulness:

Social Media: Twitter and Facebook have become incredible and highly valuable resources for me as I prepare for this baby.

My best friend Stephanie. During our conversation, she told me she felt a special connection/attachment to my baby. I loved hearing that.

Milk. It is the best thing EVER. I have seriously gone through 2 gallons in the last 2.5 weeks. This is an incredible feat; but more than that I CAN'T GET ENOUGH.

Nesting has arrived full force. It is nice to have some energy and FEEL like cleaning everything I encounter. 

The countdown to this baby's arrival is now to SINGLE DIGITS. That is so crazy to both Ben and I...But we are SO ready.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What I've Been Up To

You all know how much I love lists. I ADORE LISTS. So, let's get started on what I've been doing lately.

1. Aside from waiting for these weeks to fly by....I have become steadily addicted to Twitter. I don't tweet as much as I follow and re-tweet and tweet random things...oh, and feel free to follow me.

2. I made a cake. Using this recipe. I put some berries over it and drizzled a little powder-sugar glaze. It was DELICIOUS!

3. We wrapped up watching Bachelor Pad and Big Brother. I definitely need to blog our quirky reasons behind why we watch what.

4. I've become addicted sister's BLOG.

5. It's overwhelming that I'm down to single-digit-weeks. The reality of this - WE ARE HAVING A BABY - is beginning to hit Ben and I. But we are so excited. SO excited.

6. Talking to good friends. So refreshing. So wonderful.

That's me. Are you up to anything fun? Or, what would you like me to blog about?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering: 9/11/2001

I have spent time on Facebook today reading people's stories. Their little statuses detailing where they were when the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the plane crash in PA occurred. Maybe it is my "friends", but almost everyone was in high school or middle school at the time. Which is so strange to me; that 10 years ago, we - I - were in high school. High school: where our entire lives are before us and all the dreams we dreamed seem possible.

Did 9/11 change that? I'm sure more ways than one.

I have spent today reflecting on how thankful I am for the men and women who serve in our military, our police officers, the bravery of our local fire departments, our first responders.

I have also spent a good bit of time thinking about the children who won't remember, like my baby. The children whose lives were dramatically changed because their parents got up to go to work and never came home. During all the coverage of that horrific day, I remember one story of a little girl who kept begging her mom for something on their way to daycare in New York City. The mom was late for the World Trade Center. But the child kept begging, the mother gave in...and that singular act of giving in to her child saved her life.

And, like everyone else today, I have been thinking about where I was on September 11, 2001...I was 17 years old. My sister and I babysat for a local women's Bible study. We had been doing that for years; once a week for 4 hours. We were homeschooled, so we had the flexibility to babysit in the mornings. That morning, on September 11th, about 45 minutes to an hour into the morning, the mothers traipsed back in. Without a word to my sister or I, they grabbed their kids and went home. I remember looking at my sister as we wondered the same thing: what was going on? Finally, the church secretary came and told us. It didn't seem real, of course. But it was so very real.

There is no denying or ignoring the tragedy of 9/11. I hope that 10 years later, we haven't forgotten the courage, the hope and spirit of overcoming that our Nation embraced in the midst of a horrific event. So much has changed since that fateful Tuesday, but hopefully, those characteristics of courage and hope have not been forgotten.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Ben and I spent Labor Day weekend in Destin, FL. We wanted a pre-baby trip to take place before I got too big and before the baby got here too...(okay, okay, I'm already HUGE, but you hopefully understand what I'm saying!)

The night before we left, I told Ben that I had been watching the weather on which told me that a little thing called a HURRICANE was heading toward Destin, FL the same weekend as us. Ben's reply: "Honey, there is a ONE PERCENT chance that it will actually rain while we are at the beach." 

Well, it actually turned out to be ONE HUNDRED PERCENT rain THE ENTIRE TIME WE WERE THERE.

Aside of the rain, here are some highlights of the weekend:


Another Broken Egg Cafe: We had breakfast on the first day here. The food was good and plentiful, but we did get our card declined...only because the waitress ran our debit card 9 times! We thankfully caught the mistake, but it was still a little disturbing and definitely overshadowed our experience. 

Acme Oyster House: They serve a specialty called "char-grilled oysters"; apparently Ben had them 5 years prior and has been dreaming of them ever since. Honestly, they were so good. But so unique too.

Fudpuckers: You definitely go there more for the experience, than the food. They have a TON of baby alligators that you can feed and hold. I passed on that experience; instead, Ben and I spent our conversation discussing all the signatures and messages of past patrons. The classic ones were "Lucy loves Joe" or "Erica and Jon 4ever"....which led to the great question: how awkward would it be if Lucy and Joe or Erica and Jon are no longer together, but they go BACK with their new significant others and those new significant others see their little message???

Hammerheads/Poppy Seafood Factory: We spent our last night dining at this place. We sat outdoors, under a pavilion listening to the live music and watching the rain fall. The food was good; Ben kept calling the food "REAL seafood".

And the rain kept pouring...Of course, I continued to ask Ben about that ONE PERCENT chance. 

Instead of going to the beach, we did the following:

- We got pedicures. Both Ben and I. Honestly, pedicures are one of my favorite things EVER. And, it is so much fun to get a pedicure WITH Ben.

- We spent a considerable amount of time at Barnes and Nobles. I bought a book.

- We slept. A lot. It was blissful.

We did venture to the beach - the few times it wasn't raining - to watch the waves. It was incredible to see how forceful and strong the waves were.

In the end, perhaps it wasn't the most ideal vacation. It rained. And rained. And rained. But, we did have a lot of fun. We enjoyed the slower pace and the forced-ability to rest and relax. Overall, it was wonderful.

PS - Am I the only one to recently hear the term "baby-moon"? I found it hysterical and I have been looking for opportunities to use it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Blog and the 1st Day of School

My friend Michael recently moved to Taiwan. Honestly, just typing that makes me want to go on a long rambling paragraph about how a TON of my friends have moved out of state OR out of the country. But that is for another day...

Anyway, my friend Michael has been one of my most cherished friends for 6 years (Can you believe it, Michael???). We became friends on Move-In Day of college. And we've stayed friends through exams, papers, our mutual struggle to commit to ONE friend group until our senior year, changes in families, getting grown-up jobs, life changes and now this - Michael moves to Taiwan.

This week, Michael asked me to remember him on his first day of class as a teacher. He said he was nervous about getting distracted. That only made me laugh as I consider him one of the most focused and deliberate people I know.

While I am not sure how the rest of the day, I do know that Michael incorporated my recent blog post on Milo and Miko in his class as a visual aid for how to do a blog for an assignment in his class.

I am not just thrilled.  I AM ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED. My BLOG was used on the first day of school...AND MY DOGS WERE MADE FAMOUS TOO!!!!!

Thank you, Michael. You made my day.

(Readers, definitely add Michael's blog to your daily read. I love a good international blog post, especially one from a good friend too!)