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