Friday, December 27, 2013

{Baby} 34 Weeks!

Time is flying by! We are just a few weeks shy of our due date and I think it's finally hitting us that we are going to be parents in a very short amount of time. Yay! This is not my favorite picture of me or baby, but we were a little rushed the other night so we didn't have time to get lighting and such "perfect" for the photo. But, I think that is the perfect description of our lives right now, BUSY BUSY as we try to get everything ready for our little girl to come into the world, all while doing our family room remodel. Life never slows down!

But, we are so blessed. Michael took an evening or so to paint the nursery (something which I was unable to do due to fumes and not climbing on a ladder), which was a HUGE help to me and being able to nest. I can take care of all the last little details, like framing and hanging pictures, steam cleaning our rocking chair, cleaning the last of the baby stuff, washing the baby clothes, putting up curtains, etc. I love how the nursery is turning out. Each time I walk past it, I just take a moment to pause and look in, imagining what it is really going to be like with a little girl in there. I think it's going to be a perfect little wonderland for her and a space she can call her own and grow into. How enriched our lives are and will increase to be when she makes her entrance into our everyday!

All that being said, I am SO much more tired than I was before in the pregnancy and I have some uncomfortableness to add into the mix. It's a bit hard for me to tell myself to stop when I'm in the middle of something and rest (because I'm just a "push through it and get it done" kind of gal), but I am forced to stop periodically because I tire so easily. So, I spend a good bit of time lying on my side on the bed or couch throughout the day. And that gives me time to practice my "surge breathing" from our Hypnobirthing class. It really is amazing how relaxing it is to just focus on breathing in the middle of the Braxton-Hicks. Proof that Hypnobirthing is a method that works. My only hope is that everything will develop in a way, related to labor, that I will be able to utilize what I (and Michael) have learned from the class.

Our doctor continues to hear a very healthy little heartbeat each appointment and just smiles each time she hears it. I really love Dr. Hebert. She is amazing as a doctor and so brilliant, but even better is seeing her love and excitement for us and our baby. You can tell that she LOVES what she does and enjoys every moment of it. She leaned over my belly the other day and talked to baby girl, saying, "Way to go baby girl, you made it to the milestone of 34 weeks! Now, just stay in there for at least 3 more weeks and we'll all be happy!" I love that we have a doctor who has such a great bedside manner. And, she assured us that even with her high caseload, no matter when we have the baby it is almost completely certain that she will be the one to deliver. How awesome is that? But, if she just happens to not be the doctor to deliver, the entire IMC OB-Gyn practice is so incredibly unified and helpful, that we are in great hands otherwise. She told us, "that's the kind of practice a doctor wants to be in, and that you want to be a patient where all the doctors help each other out in a time of need."

And, as we've been asked a gazillion (slight overstatement?) times, we are still undecided on a name for baby girl. We have a list of favorites going, that we rotate around every so many days, but we are sure that we will not give her a name until we meet her. I have a feeling of what the name will end up being, but that being said, we may look at her and say, "Nope, she's definitely not a (name)...she looks more like a (name)!" Either way, whatever we end up naming her will be beautiful and perfect for her!

The baby showers are going to start next weekend (January 4) and I can't wait to see all the cute stuff that we will receive from people. So many have already been so generous, so I almost can't imagine how much more we can be blessed, but I know how kind everyone is. No matter what we get, or don't get, we can't wait for our daughter to be here! All in all, we know that what she just really needs is us to be there. All the extra stuff is just stuff when it comes down to what really matters. It reminds me of a great quote that I absolutely loved from one of the episodes of Call the Midwife. One mother was worrying about having everything ready for her coming baby, and she was talking about her worries with an older male friend on the show. He basically said, "all that matters is proximity". I loved that perspective. Children won't remember or care about all the "things" you bought for them, but what determines a good relationship and what is most precious is being there in the best way possible for them. Being able to talk to each other about important things, being a parent (not just a friend), and simply loving them. If a child knows they can trust you and they feel secure, I feel like you can't go wrong.

Anyway, I'm getting mushy here! Not too uncommon for my almost full-term prego self. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I will have to do a post very soon about our Christmas and how we spent it together. It was a nice and relaxing time :)

Friday, December 06, 2013

{Baby} 31 Weeks!

Well, everyone, we're definitely into the 3rd trimester by now! Now it really feels like time is flying. My belly is getting bigger and bigger each day and feels pretty tight as if my skin is thinking it can't stretch anymore, but I know it still has lots to grow. I still have a belly button, albeit a very small one. I'm pretty sure it won't be too long before that decides to flatten out, then possibly pop. That will be the sign that this baby girl is ready to come out and meet her parents!

We are getting excited for her arrival, all the while gearing up for Christmas and working on finishing our big family room remodel. We still have lots to do before she gets here, and this mommy is starting to feel the pressure a bit. I've started cleaning all the baby stuff we've been so generously given by friends and family members, and I'm hoping to start really putting the nursery together in the next week or so! I just hope she decides to not come too early or anything, because I still have so much to prepare for her entrance into the world and our lives.

Baby girl is growing perfectly well, as she has throughout this entire pregnancy and I'm still right on track with my weight gain (such a blessing). I passed the glucose screening with flying colors, so no gestational diabetes for me! Thank goodness, because I had to take it the morning after Halloween, which meant I only allowed myself 2 tiny candy bars to munch on, so as not to skew the test results. It seemed to have worked and I made it through sipping that really sweet and syrupy drink. Not so much yucky, just REALLY sweet. Glad that's over!

Michael and I registered at Target for the baby registry the other day and I went to Babies R Us to register for a few items we couldn't get at Target. One being the car seat and stroller I really wanted. The highest rated, safest, and "best" car seat of the year is the Graco SnugRide 35 and Target didn't carry them in store, so I wanted to make sure to get that on a registry somewhere. And the fact that Babies R Us had an amazing car seat/stroller combo (the stroller folds with one little lift of 1 hand in 1 second, how awesome is that?), I knew I needed to register for it there. Can't believe that we're so close to actually being able to use all this wonderful stuff we've been given, and I'm sure will be given at our baby showers. People are really so kind and generous!

We've started going to OB-GYN appointments every 2 weeks, instead of 4 now, and are fully fledged into our birthing class, along with getting recommendations from our OB for great pediatricians. Baby girl is a mover and talking with our doctor the other day, I told her that I haven't had to do any kick counts because of how much this baby moves! Dr. Hebert said she was the same with both her pregnancies and that there is no such thing as too much movement from the baby in the womb, so just another sign that our little girl is super healthy! By the way, she really loves to wiggle and seems to get the hiccups at night, which is funny as I try to go to sleep. This tiny repetitive thump feeling is cute, but sometimes I just have to tell her, "I love you, but seriously? Could you please stop hiccuping so I can go to sleep?" I think she is going to have a mind of her own, and will probably give me a run for my money. Love it.

Lastly, I am so much more tired now and have to sit down after standing or doing anything "strenuous" (which is not strenuous at all) for a little while. Sleep is becoming interesting and I find that I'm just HOT and uncomfortable throughout the night. Poor Michael, he's so patient with me and lets me put pillows all around, encroaching on his bed space. He's a good man and so kind and sweet to me, helping me pick things up or reach them. Or, the other night, he helped my get my socks on my feet because I just didn't want to try and bend over to do it. That is true love right there, as he loves to pamper me and makes sure I take it easy. I love him more and more each day and am so glad he is my husband and the father of my child (and future children)!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Michael Buble in Concert

 Commencing picture overload. And I apologize for the grainy quality of some, it's hard to get the exposure just right in a dark arena with my little point-and-shoot camera. But none of that matters when we get down to the awesomeness that was this concert. 

I have wanted to see Michael Buble in concert for many years now and I finally had that dream come true last week at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake. He was fantastic. I mean, I knew he was going to be amazing, because I've heard wonderful things about his concerts from friends who've attended them in the past, but I was really quite blown away with how great of a show he put on. His opening act, Naturally 7, was amazing. I was left almost completely speechless just watching and listening to them. You must check them out as what they do is nothing short of awe inspiring. 

I think what I loved the most about the concert was watching Michael Buble move around the stage. He danced the entire night and had on these slippery shiny shoes, which he used to slide around while dancing. Mark of a true entertainer that one, he engaged all the senses during his performance. Of course, his voice was impeccable and he ended the concert by singing completely acapella, with no amplification or earpieces in. And his filled up that arena pretty well. I was impressed!

 The man's got soul. Another fun story, he bashed on Justin Bieber (fellow Canadian) for about 5 minutes during the concert. It was hilarious. And thank goodness someone with real talent recognizes how silly that little excuse for a singer/Hollywood star is. Ugh, Justin Bieber. He's just a punk that needs to be taught some manners. But I digress.

 I almost forgot to add that this was baby girl's first concert to attend. And she sure moved around a good bit here and there throughout the event. I can't think of a better concert to start her off with on what I'm sure will be a long history of good music that she loves.

This video isn't that great of quality, but I just had to add it to show you a little bit of his dancing from that night. It was seriously so much fun watching that man move and have fun on the stage! What a great concert and one more I can knock off my concert bucket list.

Louisiana in October

Say "hello" to the first new and exciting thing (or rather, puppy) that I got to meet/experience on my trip to Louisiana last month. This is Shrimp, my brother Michael and his wife Natalie's adorable dachshund puppy. He and I became best buds while I was there. We snuggled everywhere, he gave me puppy kisses and was just SO MUCH FUN to play with. What a good little pup!

 I got to visit my grandparents in Lake Charles on my way up to Alexandria. We had lunch at Ryan's, the classic buffet to go to with them. My grandpa Eddie and grandma Mary were so sweet and kind and I was glad to be able to spend some special (albeit short-lived) time with them. It'd been too long since seeing them and as they are getting older, who knows how many more times I'll be able to see them. My grandma squealed with joy when she saw me and my baby belly. It was such a cute moment!

And the reason I took the trip in the first place...

My best friend's wedding! Heather Gross (now Anderson) has been my best friend since 8th grade. That girl got me through teenage years and was maid of honor at my wedding 4 1/2 years ago here in Utah. It only made sense that I go to her wedding. I just love her! She was absolutely gorgeous and it was a beautiful wedding and ceremony. How lucky I feel that I was able to stay with her for a couple days and have some special one-on-one time before she tied the knot.

Her husband, Jay, is such a fun and kind-hearted man. Being around him for those few days, I could tell he was a perfect fit for Heather (and I'm not just saying that). He did the cutest thing for their wedding video that was showed during their ceremony...all I'll say is "country boy voice and impression". It was hilarious and adorable. I'm so glad that Heather has found someone down to earth who knows how to laugh and have fun and does all that with her!

These following pictures are from my Sunday lunchtime visit to my dad's grave. They were taken before the heavens decided to open up and pour down torrential rain upon me! I had to run under shelter of a tree, wait that out for a few minutes, then book it to the car until the rainstorm died down. Yeah, I miss those types of rainstorms. Wish we'd get those in Utah, but, alas, it's the desert.

 This is the headstone for my father's parents, who died a VERY LONG time before I was born.

Cue the last few pictures from the trip, which consisted of car pictures. I was loving the clouds and actually enjoyed driving in the rain. There is something so nostalgic and soothing about it. 

 This was as I was on my way back to Denham Springs, to spend the last night with Michael and Natalie. Anybody who has driven this stretch of road from Lafayette to Baton Rouge, knows the forever long bridge you have to drive on. It seriously feels like it will never end and I just wanted to document that!

It was such a fun trip and I am so glad I was able to take it, as baby girl and I are very healthy and there were no problems with the flights (except for some serious motion sickness on my way into Atlanta that first day). But, all is well, and it was wonderful to spend so much sibling time with my brother. We don't get to do that often enough, so I loved every minute of it. Can't wait until we get to see him and Natalie again (hopefully sometime soon)!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

{Baby} 27 Weeks

Well, sorry that it's been a month since I last did a baby girl update! Life got a bit crazy there with our family room remodel and my trip to Louisiana, so I guess time just flew by and before I knew it, we were almost finished with the second trimester!

I almost can't believe we are this far along and how much I've grown in the past few weeks. Seriously, my belly has officially started to creep over my line of sight to my toes and before long, I believe I will have to make Michael paint them! That being said, everyone still tells me how tiny I am, but I can't help but think how much bigger I will feel or look after 3 more months of growth. It's all for good and worth it, so I'm totally not complaining!

I've started to reach the uncomfortable stage, sleeping with a pillow under my belly and between my knees at night, just so I can try to reduce the hip pain that I'm now experiencing. I really do miss sleeping on my back, but even now I can feel how weird it is if I lie on it for just a couple minutes. Everything kind of shifts, and I can definitely tell that side sleeping is best! That being said, I had a wonderful night of sleep the night I came back from my trip to Louisiana. I think it's because I was SO tired from flying late into the night and from the trip itself, that my body was just grateful to be in a familiar place and bed. I didn't wake up once during a 9 hour stretch! It was like heaven itself!

My Louisiana trip was fun and I had about 20 people rub my belly at my home ward alone. And get this, only 1 person asked permission. So funny. But, I really don't mind the belly rubs (without asking permission) as long as they are from people I know. Now, if it was some random stranger in the grocery store, I'm pretty sure that would freak me out a bit.

Along with the growth stage, I'm grunting anytime I have to bend over or reach anything, so I've just started to let others do that for me. And the belly is beginning to get big enough that it hits things without me thinking it will (like, random strangers on the airplane when I get up to go to the bathroom) and just gets in the way of daily tasks. I tried to tie my gym shoes the other day and couldn't do it without putting my feet up on another chair next to the one I was sitting in! Michael giggled and made a facebook post about that one. He thinks all this is so cute and just smiles when it takes me longer to roll over in bed, or maneuver around things. And he's super helpful, lending a hand or reaching things that I can't. He's a good one, that hubby of mine.

Baby girl is growing perfectly like she should and her heartbeat continues to sound strong and steady. I have noticed her constant movements throughout the day now and I'm amazed how much she really is moving in there! It's fun to start seeing my belly bounce around at times. I can only imagine how much more I will be able to feel her the bigger she grows. Our Ob-Gyn says that everything is going smoothly and we have no worries. What a blessing. We started to discuss our birth plan with her at the most recent appointment and she was incredibly supportive of everything we want. But, we also understand that being flexible is the most important thing. Whatever we can do to get this baby girl here alive and healthy, we will do, no doubt about it. We both feel that it's just best to be educated about what you want (and what can happen) and then you can make the best decisions when the time comes!

Next post will most likely be the first of the 3rd trimester, and then it will be no time before she is here and we get to hold her in our arms! There are 3 major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years) between now and that moment. We have lots of things still left to do, but know that it is going to all come together wonderfully. Thanks to everyone for your support and love. We really feel it and appreciate it!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

{Baby} 23 Weeks

How time has flown since we found out that we were having a little girl! We're almost a month further along and things are going smoothly. Even though I say time has flown, I still feel like I can't wait to meet her. Michael and I were talking yesterday that this whole "being pregnant" thing is fun, but some days we really just want it to hurry up so we can meet her and snuggle her. Course, I'm grateful for the whole 9 months to prep for everything, because we both know things will get pretty crazy and be very different once she graces us with her presence.

At our 22 week appointment with Dr. Hebert, baby girl kicked the wand a few times when she was trying to listen to the heartbeat. We all laughed and Dr. Hebert just smiled and said, sounds like your little girl is telling me, "Stop listening to my heartbeat!" It was adorable, and even though Michael wasn't able to actually see the kicks quite like I did, he said he definitely heard them! Baby girl is so active and moves around a lot throughout the day and night. Makes me think we're going to have a very energetic little princess on our hands!

We registered for a Hypnobirthing class, which I'm pretty excited about. It has some principles that are very close to what I do and study as a music therapist, so I think I'm going to connect well this method. Michael left it all up to me to choose as he basically said since I'll be the one birthing the baby, he wants me to find something that will work for me. He'll just be there at all the classes (and in the birthing suite) for whatever support I need. What a good man I married!

Michael has started rubbing my belly a lot more, trying to see if he can feel her, and he usually kisses it to say goodbye in the mornings. Pretty adorable if you ask me. The newest body change I've started to notice is hips and lower back soreness. I've had to really be careful how I sit throughout the day, making sure my posture is good or else my lower back starts to hurt after a little while. Yay for the "less than fun" changes. But, it's all worth it!

Michael and I just repainted the crib his sister gave us and also repainted a little wooden bookcase we found on our neighbor's curb the other day. I'm still on the search for crib bedding that I love and that isn't too expensive. Anybody have good suggestions for a great place to find some? I've searched Target and a few places on the internet, but everything that's cheaper seems to be really trendy and covered in polka dots or chevron. I'm going for a more traditional feel in her nursery. Anyway, not too big of a deal, but fill me in if you have any great ideas that I may not know about!

As usual, things are wonderful and we are blessed each and every day :)

Spiced Pumpkin Scones

 I've been making these scones since last fall, when I first discovered them on this blog, while looking for something fall-themed to bake. I had some extra pumpkin left over from a few other things and I really wanted something different. I am such a big scone fan, because of the bread and cake-like consistency, I knew I had to make them ASAP. Well, needless to say, the recipe has stuck with me and I brought it back out this year when the weather started to cool down!

 They have easily become a favorite and I figured it was time to blog about "my" version. It was Michael's idea this time to put some toffee bits on top of a few of them (you can see the one in the left of the pictures). The toffee bits were pretty good, but I prefer my scones with just the simple spice glaze. But, to each their own!

You should make these today. They are a bit labor intensive, but don't be afraid. Every time I've made them, they come out perfectly. And you can't beat those fall spices mixed with pumpkin. Brings the season right into your home!
Spiced Pumpkin Scones
(adapted from Inspired Taste)

For Scones
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla

For Spiced Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tbs. pumpkin puree
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit then line a large baking sheet or two small baking sheets with parchment paper (you can also spray with non-stick cooking spray if you do not have parchment paper).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the spices together.
  3. Then, cut the cold butter into small cubes. Add butter to flour mixture then use a pastry cutter to “cut” the butter into the flour mixture – this should take about 5 minutes by hand. By the end, the mixture should look like coarse cornmeal or crumbs. (You could also use a food processor for this – if using, add flour mixture to bowl of a food processor then add the cold butter cubes. Pulse three to four times until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal or crumbs).
  4. Now, in another medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, heavy cream, vanilla extract and egg until blended. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour and butter mixture with a spoon just until a soft dough forms.
  5. Transfer the dough to a floured surface then knead it three to four times until it comes together. Then, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 10 inch by 7 inch rectangle. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the rectangle in half lengthwise then cut into 4 even pieces crosswise, making eight rectangles. Now, cut each rectangle into two triangles.
  6. Transfer scones to the prepared baking sheets then bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While scones are cooling, make the glaze. Combine sifted powdered sugar, pumpkin puree, spices, and then add heavy cream. Stir and check consistency. Glaze should be thin enough that it will slowly drizzle back into the bowl when picked up with a spoon. 
  8. Drizzle onto top of scones or dip scones into glaze. Wait about 15 minutes until the glaze has set then enjoy!
Yields 16 scones

Thursday, September 19, 2013

{Baby} 20 Weeks!!!

We made it! We are now halfway through the pregnancy! I almost can't believe it. And of course, the biggest news from our 20-week ultrasound is that the baby is a GIRL!!! I can't even begin to tell you how happy we are. We've felt for over a month now that our little one was going to be a girl, so I guess you can say that we weren't surprised!

The most important thing though, is that the ultrasound revealed many little details about her and the fact that she is perfectly healthy. She moved around a lot and the tech had to push the wand up and down on my tummy a few times to get her to cooperate so that some particular angles and pictures could be taken. We watched our little sweetheart kick her feet around, then pull them back up underneath her bum. Guess she takes after me in that way, I love sitting with my legs under my bum (maybe she'll have my flexibility). Also, our little girl was ADORABLE as she sat there swallowing in the amniotic fluid. We got to watch her little tongue move around as she did that and that was seriously my favorite part of the entire appointment, watching this little being do something so human and real. Not to mention swallowing all that fluid is great for her lung development! Her little heart was pumping perfectly and normally, with no problems at all and she measures right where she should be. So, our due date is still right on schedule with January 31st!

Michael is gearing up to be overcome with lots of pink and estrogen. But he was so sweet during and after the appointment, talking about how she's "going to be a princess". It's so true. That little girl is going to be so blessed to have Michael for a father, he is such a kind and patient man and will spoil her rotten! We have a friend who has a little girl that we've been really close to since she was a baby and she and Michael are seriously best buds (she's about 2 years old now). I mean it, this little girl is adorable and we just love her because she is so sweet and petite. Michael has always said from the beginning, "If we have a little girl, will it be as cute as Jaycee?" And when we left the office the other day, he asked me that question again, but this time he said..."she won't be as cute, she'll be cuter because she's ours!" 

If you can't tell, we are so in love already and are incredibly excited to start preparing the nursery with everything this little princess is going to need/want. We have a few names we've been talking about over time, but we're not decided on anything yet. We really feel like we'll need to meet her first before a solid decision is made. But we are already so excited to meet her and now we've just got the second half of the pregnancy to go!

I must confess, I bought her a little outfit a couple weeks back on the 70% off rack at Kohl's. It was too cute to pass up, and because I felt strongly like we were having a girl, I figured the price was right. And if it turned out that we weren't having a girl, I'd just give it to someone who was having a girl, or stash it in the back of the closet for later :) Now, I'm so happy that our little girl will be able to wear this cute summery outfit I bought especially for her before we even knew she was a "she". 

We are truly blessed and grateful for how well everything has been going in the pregnancy and for all the support and love we have and are continuing to receive from family and friends!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

{Baby} 19 Weeks

It's almost the halfway point! And I can barely believe it. Next week is the big week, the week where we have our 20-week ultrasound that not only tells us what the gender of the baby will be, but tells us all sorts of other things about him/her. It's the big scan to make sure that our little one is developing properly and healthily. 

We are gearing up for the big news, and I'm especially excited to finally be able to start decorating and putting the nursery together with all things pink or blue. I've been seeing baby sales all over the stores lately and I've had to really hold back from purchasing anything (clothes are the big temptation) because I need to wait to know the gender until I can give in!

I've been feeling much better and have had so much more energy just in last week alone. I actually have started to feel "normal" again, apart from the fact that my belly is growing because the baby is starting to really grow too! And speaking of growth, I'm now on the lookout for some cute maternity clothes. I already scored a few pieces at ROSS a while back and they have come in handy, especially the maternity skinny jeans I bought. Who knew, I would finally join the skinny jean trend and it would be when I am pregnant! 

The weather is finally starting to cool down, so I'm now just trying to stretch my summer clothes until it really gets cool and I can get some warmer maternity clothes. It's not quite sweater weather yet, so I'm holding out until it really gets that way. Have I mentioned this is my favorite time of year? And with how hot this summer was, I am so grateful for some cooler weather, as it helps me sleep better at night and gives me a bit more energy to do some things around (and outside of) the house!

The newest baby development is that I've been able to feel the wee one moving about in my tummy. What an amazing feeling that is. Right now it's more like pressure and I can feel almost a shift when he/she moves around, but I can definitely tell that it's the baby and not gas. Last night, while lying in bed I had this feeling of pressure on the right side of my stomach, almost like the baby was stretching out towards the front of my body. I touched it (it felt hard, like baby was pushing back) and then he/she moved further back and to the other side of my stomach. It made me smile!

Michael and I have been talking to the baby fairly frequently and I wonder that now he/she can hear, what the baby thinks when I'm teaching voice lessons. I'm sure that he/she will be very used to my singing voice by the time our introduction is made outside the womb. My hope is that all this music and singing will start our little one off on the right foot when it comes to a love (and talent) for music! It's never too early to start, right?!?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fall Wreath with Felt Rosettes

Well, last week I instagrammed a similar picture of this awesome fall wreath I made for our front door. I got my inspiration from this post and was actually a little nervous, because I've never made felt rosettes before and was a bit worried they'd turn out more complicated than anticipated. But, nope. They are super easy and so pretty with very little effort. For a tutorial, just click on the link from a couple sentences back; she does a great job at showing/explaining the particulars!

Anyway, did I mention how cheap it was for me to make this? I spent about $12 total on the materials for the wreath. Course, some of this was due to Labor Day sales at Joann Fabrics and also to some coupons I had for the store. So, if I didn't catch those good deals, I'd say it may have cost me $20, with the most expensive parts being the berries. But I think I may have gone overboard on those for some people's needs (but I wanted a lot of berry/bead presence in my wreath). Either way, this was much cheaper than if I went out and purchased a similar type wreath pre-made from the store. I've priced them out and they're always around $40!!!

I think it turned out so beautifully and I can be proud that I made it with my own two hands! It looks wonderful on our front door and really helps to bring the fall season to our home. I'm planning on sprucing up our Christmas wreath similarly and making another for maybe Valentine's Day. We'll see, now that I've got the wreath-making bug!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

About a month back my cucumber plant exploded and decided to give me WAY more cucumbers than I could or would want to eat fresh throughout the week. Thank goodness I only planted one. I started thinking of what I could do with all this produce, and after giving some away to people I know, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at pickles. I remember as a child when my aunt would bring by some freshly pickled cucumbers each summer and they were amazing!

Now, I still do not have all the equipment for canning and have a few fears about the process (should have paid better attention when my dad canned a bazillion different things each summer), so I looked into refrigerator "canning". This method is a cinch. Basically, all you do is combine the ingredients in the jars and leave them there for a few days to do their thing and then you're done. Sounds like my kind of life. 

You'll love these refrigerator dill pickles. Slightly sweet, with a nice tang from the vinegar and dill combo. And so much better than store bought (no added preservatives or dyes). You just can't get any fresher than this!

Refrigerator Dill Pickles
(recipe adapted from Annie's Eats)

1 bunch fresh dill
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3-4 medium-large cucumbers
3 cups water
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tbs. kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

  1. Add 1 minced or pressed clove of garlic and a few springs of dill to the bottom of each jar (don’t stress over exact amounts, you can add more if you like).
  2. Cut the cucumbers into spears or whatever shape you like. 
  3. Add the spears to the jars, packing in as many as you can without having to force them in.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar.  Heat over low heat, stirring well, just until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Cool the mixture. 
  5. Once mixture has cooled, pour into each jar over the cucumber spears so they are completely covered. Top with an additional few sprigs of dill, if desired.  
  6. Screw on or close the lids of the jars.  Repeat with remaining cucumbers, making additional brine as needed. 
  7. Refrigerate for two (agonizing) days. Enjoy! Continue to store in the refrigerator.
Yield: about 3-4 16 oz. jars or 2 IKEA KORKEN 34 oz. jars

Friday, August 23, 2013

{Baby} 17 weeks

It's taken me a bit longer to do this next belly post due to a couple of busy weeks with the Browns (friends from high school) visiting Utah and us, our trip to Denver, and recovering from that trip. My belly hasn't changed too much since the last post, but all of a sudden in the last couple of days, I can tell that things are really going to start growing pretty soon!

I've been feeling stronger and better, although I was incredibly exhausted from our trip to Denver and all the driving that went with that (8 hours one-way). Thank goodness for my Zofran to help with car sickness and for a husband who understood when I just needed to rest and find something else to eat that wasn't what we packed in our cooler. I guess you could say that's where the hot chocolate and Coke cravings came in. Those are always my comfort foods during long car rides when I don't feel so well. Maybe it's the caffeine?!?

Lately, I've been having a few funny and weird dreams. Usually, I don't remember my dreams (or even recall if I have them), but I had a pretty vivid one the other night. I had to tell Michael about it, because of the sheer unrealistic qualities it possessed. The basic premise was me and Michael at the doctor's office a few weeks after having twins (I'm only pregnant with one child). Anyway, all the doctors and even Michael were "oo-ing" and "ah-ing" over one of our twins, while I was stuck trying to worry about and take care of the twin that came out less than perfect. And by less than perfect, I mean the baby had two heads! Hahaha, makes me laugh just thinking about it. Anyway, I spent the dream trying to get everyone's attention because of this deformed baby in my arms, because this baby was the one that needed medical help and attention, not the picture perfect sibling. I was a little stressed about it all in the dream and woke up thinking, "Whoa...that was crazy". Good thing something like that happening is VERY unlikely, impossible even!

Haven't felt the baby move yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time (seeing as I'm new to this whole pregnancy thing). Will all these updates comes emotional highs and lows. I find myself breaking into tears whenever I get stressed about something. Not too often, mind you, although I've always been a crier and tender heart....but it surprises me at times and I usually end up thinking, "Why am I crying over this?"

As usual, we feel very blessed and are looking forward to finding the gender out soon. I think things will fly from then on. Crazy to think we are almost halfway!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Denver Zoo

 This past weekend, Michael and I took a trip to Denver for his cousin's wedding. We decided since we hadn't gotten out of Utah in a while, that we would use the opportunity to make it a mini-vacay and spend a long weekend there. We stayed in a nice hotel that gave us warm chocolate chip walnut cookies, swam in the pool, and spent some quality time with the Randall (Michael's mother's) side of the family. 

On Saturday, we decided to spend the afternoon at the Denver Zoo before heading to a family barbecue that evening. Most of the pictures we took are from the zoo, because I'm afraid that's when we actually remembered to take out the camera. And besides, nobody really wants to see pictures of us just bumming around in the hotel room at other times, so enjoy these photos of our zoo adventure!

 Michael told me to stop in front of the entry sign to the zoo because he needed to document "Baby's First Trip to the Zoo". That man is pretty cute and thinks of everything!

 We watched the sea lion show when we first arrived, which was incredibly cute. They clapped, imitated different species' swim patterns (the human version was hilarious...lots of splashing), and the fat guy in the bottom picture bounced around on his tummy. It was a hot day and all I wanted to do was jump in the water with those animals and swim with them!

 You can tell we're not even close to being the height of a polar bear when it's on its hind legs!

 We loved the giraffes.

 And this camel's humps were not standing upright. Not sure why, but let's just say that our dirty minds made some funny jokes about that fact.... ;)

 We saw the elephants, and this one I affectionately named Dumbo. Can't help it every time I see one.

 We almost missed the rhinoceros, but caught it just at the last minute, while it was eating a late lunch. I'm still in so much awe at that animal. It's the closest thing we have to a modern version of the dinosaur.

 Hungry, hungry hippo!

 I know it's blurry, but this orangutan was inside his pin for dinner and while we were sitting by the glass decided to come all the way across from the back wall, to look right at me and Michael! Everybody in the building became really excited and crowded around to take pictures. Mr. Orangutan would just look at all of us with the sweetest eyes. Pretty cool for it to come that close!

 I told Michael that we HAD to see the penguins since we missed their show a few hours before. We found them at the end of the day (finally) and couldn't help but hope that they would start dancing like in Happy Feet!

 Leopards just hanging out.

The coolest part of the Zoo day was us finding out that a new baby snow leopard was born just 3 months earlier. The lady who volunteered at the zoo told us that this was incredibly rare for a cub to be born in captivity, especially since the species is endangered. What a miracle for this to occur and for us to watch the adorable little Misha (cub's name) play and pounce around with her mother. There were moments where you could just tell the mom was thinking, "calm down little one...don't pounce on and eat my tail!" It's funny the similarities between parents, no matter what species they may be!