Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year Resolution Time

It's New Year resolution time! Do you have any resolutions in mind for 2015?

Since I am ending 2014 and starting 2015 pregnant, my resolutions will be very different this year.




New Year Resolutions for 2015

1. Read the Bible more; maybe even start a routine study at some point during the year.

2. Get more active again (after getting settled in with my new routine as a mother).

I have a lot of expectations for myself in the coming year, so I kept the New Year resolution list short and sweet. I'm starting a completely new journey this year, of not only becoming a mother, but becoming a stay at home mother. My last day at work is January 9th (unless baby decides to come sooner). I am going to have a big adjustment period coming up, and I hope to get started on these New Year resolutions after that!

If you have made New Year resolutions, please share them in the comments below! I truly believe that sharing your goals with others helps increase the odds of you being successful. That's what helped me lose 40 pounds before being pregnant, and I know it's an easy factor that can help you with your goals too!

P.S. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post on the Nursery Tour and Name Reveal that I have been promising! And have yourself a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Full Term at 37 Weeks

As of yesterday, I have reached week 37 in my pregnancy, otherwise known as "full term".

Right now, those two words are my favorite two words in the entire world. I am so thankful to have made it "full term" with my baby girl! This is something I have been praying for ever since I found out that I was pregnant. I am feeling incredibly blessed.




Now that I'm full term, it is definitely time to start crossing off those few last-minute things on my to-do list as for preparing for her arrival.

Need to do's:
#1 - Pack the hospital bags
#2 - Assemble the bassinet
#3 - Research breathing techniques for labor and delivery

Nice to do's:
#1 - Clean the car out (top to bottom)
#2 - Add one or two more freezer meals to the deep freezer for postpartum
#3 - Add photos to the frames on the wall in the nursery

I am really hoping that I get another round of nesting in before our baby girl arrives! As of the past few days, naps are no longer an option; they are a requirement. I have been incredibly tired which has made it even harder for me to get the motivation I need to finish my "need to do's". However, with a couple days off around the New Year, I'm hoping to get my "need to do's" done by the end of the week.

Speaking of the New Year, I use to love making New Year Resolutions each year. They would always give me the jump start that I needed for my goals. This year will be a little different. I am going to really have to think about if I'll be making resolutions, or if I'll just spend that time taking a nap, instead. Just kidding, kind of.

Are you planning on making any New Year Resolutions?

P.S. Today is my husband's 27th birthday! Make sure you wish him a Happy Birthday if you know him (or even if you don't know him, you can wish him a "Happy Birthday" in the comments below! I'll make sure he see's them).

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

My husband and I had a really great Christmas together! We knew that this was going to be our last Christmas, just the two of us; yet at the same time, our baby girl was with us, so I think that made it even more special.




I am really thankful that I felt so good during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. As usual, we visited 6 places over two days time. 

On Christmas Eve, we spent some time at my grandma's on my mom's side. We did an exchange and had a great dinner with the family! After that, my husband and I went to the Christmas Eve service at Church. It's a candle light service, and it is always very special. After the service, my husband and I made our final stop of the evening at his mom's house. We did an exchange and then played games with the family.

When Nick and I got home on Christmas Eve, we exchanged our own gifts to one another. One of the gifts he got me this year was a foot spa. I have already tested it out since opening it and let me tell you, it is amazing! A few weeks ago, when my feet and ankles were a little swollen, he made up a small tub of hot water and epsom salts for me to soak my feet in. He remembered how happy that made me, and so he got the idea to get me the foot spa. The jets and foot massagers make this pregnant lady even happier, now. It was a really great gift!




Nick also got our baby girl a gift. He bought her a pack of onesies that have different sayings on them. One of the onesies says "pretty lil lady". It's just perfect because he calls me his "lady" and I know that he is planning on calling her his "little lady". It was so cute; I can't wait to dress her up in these onesies from her daddy!

On Christmas morning, my husband and I took it easy. Despite all of the stops we planned to make that day, it was very relaxing. We made sure to take our time! Our first stop was at my mom's house, where we exchanged gifts and had some breakfast. Our second stop was at Nick's dad's where we also exchanged gifts. Our third stop was at my dad's house where we had brunch and exchanged gifts with the family. Our final stop was at Nick's grandma's where we played games, visited and snacked.




It was a great Christmas, and I'm so glad that I was feeling well enough to make it through all the stops, and visit with everyone! Next year will be very different, and while I love our routine now, I can't wait to see what we'll be in for next Christmas when it's the three of us!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Third Trimester: Weeks 32 - 35

I'm currently in my 36th week of pregnancy and I am feeling very pregnant. My little girl doesn't feel so little anymore, especially in the middle of the night when she seems to be pressing outward with such force. Let's just say, I'm surprised my belly button is still an "innie".

Just as I've done before, below is an overview of the past 4 weeks of my pregnancy:

Week 32:
Noticed a big dip in energy this week! Starting to feel more tired but still feeling good overall! We had our 3rd and final shower this past weekend and we bought the final piece to the nursery; the glider rocking chair! It's now time to finish up thank you cards and put the gifts away. I noticed I was really thirsty this week. Drinking at least 130 ounces of water each day and still doesn't seem like it's enough!




Week 33:
Received very short notice that my OBGYN practice is closing on January 1st. I found a new, highly recommended OBGYN within a day or two. The first appointment with my new doctor will be December 31st. This was particularly scary at first but I'm feeling like this is what was meant to be all along. Staying positive about it all! Feeling good and getting a lot of help from my husband this week. It's not as easy to get up from the couch, to go shopping, etc. He's a great help! Feeling extremely blessed to have him in my life.




Week 34:
Starting to feel like the first trimester again. Dizzy, nauseous and TIRED! Loving how big she is in my belly. Her kicks and movements are so pronounced. We are starting to be able to feel a knee or an elbow, hands, etc. One night my stomach looked like a wave pool. My husband was there to see it! Very special!


Week 35

Week 35:
This week I had some great days and some really hard days! We had our sonogram and found out that she is head down and 5 lbs. 12 oz. She is in the 50th percentile for weight. I'm a proud momma, already! During the sonogram, she had one hand covering her face and she was sucking on the other one. It was so cute to watch her little mouth and hands moving around! We got an unexpected stress test done, and everything was good! On a different note, naps are becoming a necessity these days; they make a world of a difference for me. Also, I went shopping with my mom and grandma over the weekend. I bought her "coming home" outfit. This was also very special!




My next weekly recap should be taking place on my 40th week of pregnancy. Here's to hoping I last that long!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Freezer Meal: Sausage and Potato Soup with Kale

If you haven't noticed by now, I have loved every recipe that I've tried from Skinny Taste, and this one was no different!

As usual, I had to make my own little changes to the recipe. I do this mostly because I like to take short cuts any chance I get when making meals. I also have a hard time measuring things when I make meals because I like to just throw it all together, but none of us are perfect, are we?

Yesterday afternoon, I began searching for a new soup recipe to try with a clear broth, lots of veggies and good flavor. When I found this recipe from Skinny Taste, my husband and I immediately went grocery shopping so we could make it. This soup was absolutely what I needed. All that was missing was a slice of french baguette for dipping. (Noted for next time!)

We had a cup of soup each for dinner and froze the rest for us to enjoy after our baby comes. I think I'll be thanking myself later for this smart move!




Sausage and Potato Soup with Kale

Ingredients:

1 lb. pork sausage
1 bundle kale (or 8 cups)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 oz. baby carrots, chopped (or 2 medium carrots)
4 tbsp. minced garlic (or 4 cloves)
8 cups fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
5 small red potatoes, diced
dash of pepper




Directions:

In a large soup pot, cook sausage until browned, remove from pot, let cool. Crumble or slice.

Add oil, onions and carrots to pot. Cook on medium heat until onions are translucent. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute more.

Add broth, potatoes, water and pepper. Bring to boil for 5 minutes. Add cooked sausage and kale. Bring to a simmer, let cook until kale is wilted and potatoes are soft. About 10 minutes.




This soup tasted similar to a recipe I make as a copy cat for Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. The only thing it's really missing is a little bit of crumbled bacon and 1/3 cup of half and half.




Feel free to add those ingredients if you want it to taste similar to Zuppa Toscana! I'm sure it would be just as delicious.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thinking About Packing My Hospital Bag

So, it has come to that time in my pregnancy when I need to start packing my hospital bag.

I have been slowly purchasing items for my hospital bag, however, all of the items still remain in the shopping bags, next to the actual bag that I have decided to call my "hospital bag".

I don't know what it is about packing this hospital bag, but I feel as if as soon as I do, she is going to come. Or, maybe quite the opposite, and time will go by really slow. Either way, I am really excited about packing the bag, I just still need to actually pack it.

In a sense, I guess you could say I'm kind of packed for the hospital. If it the time came now, we would just need to throw a bunch of shopping bags into my hospital bag and run out the door (dramatic movie style, of course.)

Not only is it time to pack my hospital bag, but it's time to pack a bag for baby girl, as well. I bought her "coming home" outfit while out shopping with my mom and grandma yesterday. This really made my heart happy!




My mom also bought our baby girl a light pink sherpa hooded pram for her to be bundled in when we're ready to take her home!


Source

Those are two definite items that will be packed in her bag, as soon as I'm ready to pack, that is.

Before I get "started", is there anything out of the norm that you can think of suggesting for me to pack in my hospital bag or the baby bag?

Friday, December 19, 2014

35 Week Sonogram

Yesterday, I had my 35 week sonogram and appointment. Before the appointment, my husband and I joked that our little girl would probably hide from the sono tech and we wouldn't get a good look at her. Well, I guess you could say that we already know our sweet little daughter, all too well...




This is the best picture we got. She was covering her sweet little face with her hands, and she was sucking her thumb! It was the cutest thing ever. My heart was literally filled to the brim while watching her. I just can't even explain how much I love her already!

She is currently in the 50th percentile for weight at 5 lbs. 12 oz. This makes me happy and also gives me a sense of validation of how uncomfortable I've been feeling lately. Carrying around a little bowling ball in your stomach all day is bound to make anyone a little sore and tired, right? (Secret is, she's worth it.)

Because of some other symptoms I've been having lately, I had to go through an unexpected stress test at the appointment yesterday. Everything went well, which was a relief.

To be quite honest, this little baby girl is absolutely perfect. She has passed every test and she has reached every milestone throughout this pregnancy; much to my surprise. I think that I expected less because my body is so imperfect that I couldn't believe that it would be capable of making such a perfect baby. Then, it hit me. This isn't all me. She is doing so well and she is with me, only by the grace of God.

This appointment has only made me more thankful, and more excited, as I anticipate her arrival.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Big News

I have some life-changing news to share with you, as promised. I was waiting to share this news with you until it seemed more real to me, however; I have come to realize that this decision probably won't seem real until it actually happens so, here it goes.

My husband and I have decided that I am going to be staying home with our precious baby girl once she arrives!

This was, hands down, the hardest, easiest decision I've had to make.

I have been working in my career as a Paralegal for a Child Welfare Agency since 2008. Even though my job can be stressful at times, I absolutely love what I do, and I have been incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to touch the lives of children and families in my community through this position for so long (and at such a young age). I believe this will be the best job I will ever have, and that's only a part of what made this a hard decision.

After weeks of finally coming to this decision, I couldn't even possibly lay out all the reasons why this was a hard decision to make for me. However, to sum it up, losing the pay, losing my current identity, and leaving a job that has been so good to me are a few of the biggies.

When it comes down to it though, this really was the easiest decision I've had to make at the same time. Whenever my husband and I realized that we could "financially afford" for me to stay home with our baby girl, the decision was made.

Now, when I say that we can "financially afford" this decision, I say that loosely. Sacrifices will need to be made, and some debt will be incurred. This is what is best for my daughter, and I know that this is going to be great for me, too! Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely. That's what matters most.




So, I put in a month's notice at work. My last day in the office will be January 9th!

I am scared, nervous, excited, and feeling incredibly blessed all at the same time. I'm so happy to be starting my new journey of being a stay at home mother, and I hope you'll continue to follow me along the way!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cancer Free

I have the most amazing news to share with you! My mom is cancer free as of December 14, 2014! She had her PET scan on December 12th and it came out clean! Praise God, our prayers have been answered!

This has been a stressful couple of months, to say the least. Thankfully, I put my trust in the Lord and I have a great support system in place, so things didn't get too bad for me. I am just so relieved to go into Christmas, the New Year, and the delivery of my baby girl knowing that my mom is okay, and everything will be alright. One less thing for this momma to worry about in the final weeks of pregnancy. God is good. Amen!




Speaking of my mom, if you missed my post from yesterday about the meal I made this past weekend, you're going to want to check it out! It's a recipe from my mom, and it's comfort food to the max!

Do you have any good news to share?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Freezer Meal: Surprise

In my family, the meal commonly known as "shepard's pie" is called "surprise". This is what I grew up with, and this is what my husband and I call this meal, today.

I think that my mom called this meal "surprise" because it was always surprise as to what would be inside. You could really make any variation of this you want by using different meat, vegetables, cheese, etc. For the most part though, my mom would use ground beef, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, mashed potatoes and American cheese. The surprise that I made this weekend, was a little bit different.




Surprise

Ingredients:
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen mixed vegetables
16-20 oz. fresh ground turkey
2-3 fresh green onions (chopped)
Mashed potatoes (made with 2-3 idaho potatoes)
6 slices American cheese




(I doubled the ingredients to make two batches of "surprise" this weekend! One for us to enjoy now, and one for us to enjoy postpartum.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Make mashed potatoes to your liking, set aside. Brown ground turkey and drain the grease, add chopped green onions, season with salt and pepper.

Start layering: ground turkey on the bottom, followed by vegetables, then add cream of mushroom soup, top it off with mashed potatoes.

Bake for 15 minutes. Add American cheese, bake for an additional 10 minutes.








This meal was so comforting because it tasted so much like the "surprise" my mom use to make for me when I was growing up. I am definitely looking forward to enjoying this meal again, postpartum!



For more meals that you can freeze for postpartum (or any reason, really) you can click the links below!

Sausage and Spinach Pasta Bake
Turkey Meatloaf
Homemade No-Rise Pizza Dough

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy As Ever at 35 Weeks

I'm 35 weeks pregnant this week, and I'm happy as ever!

We finally get another sonogram on Thursday this week! We were getting them so often in the beginning that we kind of got use to it. We haven't had a sonogram since September now and we are definitely ready to see her again! The only thing that has held me over this long is the fact that I get to feel her move and groove all day and night. It's the most amazing experience ever!

Is it weird that I fear I will miss her when she's out of the womb? I absolutely love having her be with me all the time. I will definitely have to get use to the idea of sharing her once she's out. For now, I'm going to soak up all this one on one time we have together!

As for news that doesn't pertain to baby...
I am excited to announce that we are officially done Christmas shopping and just about all of our presents are wrapped and under the tree! This may be a new record for us. 10 days until Christmas! We are ready!

As for food ramblings...
I made a big fruit salad because baby has been craving it! I made so much that I will get to enjoy a big bowl for snacks each day this week! I already ate my portion for this morning and baby girl was literally jumping for joy. She sure does love her fruit!




This weekend, I made Baked Sweet Potato Chips. If you missed my post on that, you can find it by clicking here.




I also made another Freezer Meal for postpartum. I'll post the recipe for that meal, tomorrow. Trust me, you aren't going to want to miss it. I'm literally drooling right now just thinking about it. It's a recipe from my mom, therefore, it's comfort food to the max. Nothing is more comforting than the familiar taste of a recipe that momma use to make. We enjoyed a taste last night, and saved some for postpartum. My future self is already really thankful; I can feel it.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

I like to eat chips and I like to eat vegetables. I had a lot of sweet potatoes on hand, so I decided to give "Baked Sweet Potato Chips" a try this weekend! And, boy, am I glad that I did!




This recipe is SIMPLE, all it really takes is a little bit of patience as you wait for your chips to bake.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients:

3 medium sweet potatoes
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250-275. 

Peel the skin from the baked potatoes, and slice evenly into chips. 

In a medium size bowl, toss the chips with olive oil until coated well. 

Sprinkle chips with salt, toss until well coated.

Spread the chips onto a baking pan (we used two pans) and bake at 250-275 for 2 hours.

*Make sure you flip the chips halfway through baking.
**Try to be more patient than I was when you try this recipe. I ended up with some "chips" and some "fries" with my first batch because they needed to bake for longer, but I had to run.
***Trust me, these are worth waiting for! So, so good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Random Things for Wendesday

A few random things for Wednesday.

1. Last night, my belly was rolling like a wave pool. Little girl was dancing up a storm. I'm so happy my husband was around to witness this wave pool action. It was a pinch of creepy with a dash of cute!




2. When you're 34 weeks pregnant, don't skip grocery shopping for the week because you are too tired. That just leads to you being tired and hungry all week long.

3. Veggie Sticks/Chips aren't vegetables, no matter how much you wish they were. Go grocery shopping for the real thing.

4. Ever since before we were married, my husband and I have grocery shopped together, weekly (on Sundays). There have only been a handful of times in the past 6+ years that my husband or I have grocery shopped without one another. It just doesn't feel right! However, I think I am going to have to let him go without me every now and then, from here on out.

5. I made a big decision this week and it's kind of official. I'm just waiting now for when I'm ready to actually share the news. It's BIG!

Do you like to grocery shop alone?
How often do you grocery shop?
What's some big news you want to share?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Luau Christmas Party

My husband and I had a lot of fun this weekend! We went to the annual Christmas party for my husband's work crew on Saturday. This year, the Christmas party was luau themed! There was a great food, a large chinese auction and a photo booth!




We won the lottery basket from the chinese auction, which was a big surprise because we almost never win those kind of things! I'm thinking our baby brought us extra luck this year.

Before the Christmas party, we went shopping for Christmas gifts. I am so happy to say that we are done shopping for 19 of the 20 people on our Christmas list this year! On Sunday, we got all but two of the gifts wrapped from wrapping paper leftover from last year. Things like that make me happy!




Something else that makes me happy is framing our first "picture" of our baby girl in her nursery! When I was Christmas shopping, I couldn't help but buy this adorable frame. The photo is from our 12 week sonogram. I smile every time I look at it!

We have many precious memories over these past 8 months. My heart is so full with love, hope and happiness right now. I am definitely cherishing these final weeks with her still in my belly, where I can feel her every move. It's just so amazing, and I couldn't be happier to be her mom!

Readers: When do you like to get your Christmas shopping done? Is anyone else almost done with shopping for this Christmas season?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Feeling of Security

I have had a crazy couple of days but thankfully, things seem to be calming down now!

On Wednesday night, I opened a letter from my current OBGYN practice, informing me that they were closing the entire practice on January 1st. I had a million thoughts running through my head when I found out the news. None of them, all too positive.

Being 8 months pregnant, I have formed a relationship with the doctors and midwife at the practice that I am seen at now. I was feeling really great about my impending labor and delivery, and in one quick moment, all that security went away.

I reached out to friends and family and received a lot of great recommendations for other OBGYN's in our area that I could switch to. After a couple calls, I was able to get in with one of the top recommended doctors, and I couldn't be happier with my switch! My husband made a good point that maybe this is what was suppose to happen all along. I haven't even met this doctor yet, and I already feel as if all of my security that I had built up over the past 8 months is back. Knowing that you're in the hands of a highly recommended doctor really does help!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Freezer Meals: Pizza Dough and Turkey Meatloaf

The past few days, I have added two more types of meals to my freezer stash for postpartum.

Turkey Meatloaf and Easy No-Rise Pizza Dough

I have previously shared with you my recipe for turkey meatloaf. The original recipe makes two mini meatloaf's, perfect for my husband and I to share for dinner.




On Sunday, I doubled the recipe, making a total of four mini turkey meatloaf's. We ate one for dinner and the other three went to the freezer for postpartum enjoyment.




The pizza dough recipe that I made while I was off from work yesterday has also been shared in the past. I quadrupled this recipe. It's just so simple; I absolutely love it!






Since I have doubled and quadrupled these recipes, I now have 8 homemade frozen meals in our deep freezer, ready for us to enjoy postpartum. This is definitely one of my ways of nesting, and it makes me so happy to know we'll have some frozen homemade meals to turn to after the baby comes!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Decorated for Christmas

We're all decorated for Christmas!



Decorating for Christmas was extra special this year because we have been thinking about this time of year ever since I found out I was pregnant back in May. We have known that this is the last Holiday before our baby girl is to be born, and we are so excited that it's already time to decorate for it!




We keep the decorating pretty simple in our house.

Something that makes me smile is knowing that next year there will be three stockings hanging on our fireplace mantle!




We have a tradition of waiting to put the Christmas tree up until the day after Thanksgiving.
When do you typically decorate for Christmas?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Freezer Meal: Sausage and Spinach Pasta Bake

THIS meal from Skinny Taste. I am speechless.

I mean, c'mon! This is so unbelievably good. I am drooling, literally drooling, just thinking back to when I made this meal last week. (Blame it on the pregnancy hormones.)




I need to be honest. I did not completely follow the recipe. I made the (smartest) decision (of my life) to make a double batch of this recipe right off the bat. One to have for dinner, and one to freeze for postpartum (more on my full list of freezer meals for postpartum soon).

Since I was making a double batch, I found it was easier to just use the ingredients below. 

Please remember, this recipe below makes a double batch
Half the ingredients if you only want a single batch.

Sausage and Spinach Pasta Bake
adapted from Skinny Taste

Serves 16 (1 1/3 cup portions)




Ingredients:
2 boxes penne pasta
2 jars Bertolli marinara sauce
2 packages Al Fresco chicken sausage
1 container grated parmesan and romano cheese 
24 ounces of part skim ricotta cheese
16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
20 ounces fresh chopped spinach
4 tbsp minced garlic




Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 9- x13-inch baking dish with olive oil spray. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, the grated parmesan and romano and half of the mozzarella cheese.

In a two large deep skillets, brown equal amounts of the sausage, breaking up into small bits until cooked through. Add equal amounts of minced garlic to each skillet. Add spinach and cook with lid until spinach is wilted. Add the marinara sauce; cook on low about 2-3 minutes.

When the pasta water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to instructions for al dente, but undercook them by 4 minutes less; drain and return to pot.



Put half of the cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half of the meat sauce. Spoon the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella.




Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and the edges are lightly browned.



Freeze the other portion for later, if desired.




 Freezer meal #1 is frozen, ready for us to bake and eat postpartum! (Let's hope I can wait that long to dig in!)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our Third Baby Shower

My third and final baby shower was last Saturday. We were so blessed to have each one of our mothers host a baby shower for us! My mom's shower was first, then my mother-in-law's, and finally, my step mother's baby shower! I can't believe they are all over, already. They were each special in their own way! Below are a few pictures from my third baby shower.


My husband and I.


My sister's and I.


My sister and my step mom.

My grandma and I.

The cake.



Chicken salad croissants with macaroni salad for lunch.

My mom and my nana.


My dad and I. 



We are so thankful for everyone who came to our baby showers! Each shower got us closer and closer to being ready for the arrival of our baby girl! She is so loved by us all!