Sunday, December 23, 2012


Caitlyn is 5 months old tomorrow!  They say this is the time where she really starts responding to routines.  What a coincidence, so does her Mommy who will be 35 years old on Wednesday.  :)  Of course we haven't had time to plan one out yet.  So here is a stab at our late morning sleeper who likes to try to stau up until 10:00 p.m. every night.

6:30 A.M.  Mommy get up, shower, breakfast.
Put Away Dishes and Laundry

8:00 A.M.  Mommy go to work

9:30 A.M. Wake up with Daddy
Diaper Change
Get Dressed
Take Vitamin D

10:00 A.M.  Playtime with Daddy

12:00 P.M.  Lunchtime with Mommy
Walk if weather is nice
Or Face to Face Play
Nurse to Nap

1:00 P.M.  Playtime with Nanny

3:30 P.M.  Wear baby down for nap

5:00 P.M.  Playtime with Mommy

5:30 P.M.  Make & Eat Dinenr

6:30 P.M.  Pajamas, Turn Lights Down, Brush Teeth, Brush Hair
Story Time
Nurse to Sleep

7:00 P.M.  Evening Chores

8:00 P.M.  Mommy and Daddy Time

Meal Planning

Meal planning is definitely harder with a kid.  Not only is there less time to plan and prepare, but the grocery shopping trip every single weekend is a dreadful imposition on precious family time.  I'm trying to create a swift and simple routine.  Less variety.  More convenience.  And really, really, need to get costs down.

Eggs, Bacon, Toast
Yogurt & Granola


Cliff Bars
Apples & Peanut Butter
Pears and Cheese
Chocolate and Almonds

TJ's Salmon Burgers
TJ's Chow Mein
TJ's Eggplant Parmesan
TJ's Enchiladas
TJ's Marinated Meats


This will be the recurring list of staple items to have on hand.  The once a month we will also do a big freezer meal cookoff with the Zenovichs to have a variety of nutritious convenience meals on hand.  We also have the produce deliveries coming every other week for a constant stream of side dishes.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Nest

As soon as I reached full term the thought entered my head that my house was, in my mind at least, a disaster zone.  I absolutely could not stand the idea of going into labor and coming home to a messy house.  So this weekend commenced operation "Prepare the Nest" and it was a huge success.  Katie and Zach even came over and devoted an entire Saturday to helping us put things in order and the house looks amazing.  I feel so much more at peace now and a giant step forward toward feeling ready for the birth.  In addition to general cleaning, we managed to accomplish the following:

Cleaned all the floors
Addressed and Sent Thank you Cards
Washed and dried all the diapers for first time use
Cars cleaned out, Washed & Vacuumed
Car Seats Installed
Finishing touches applied to new patio furnishings
Pulled small bookcase into nursery and rearranged and organized books
Acquired new drains for the kitchen sink
Completed all the laundry in the house
Clean sheets on the beds
Opened and sorted weeks/months of mail & paper work
Finished all the shredding
Final items from the office conversion put in storage
Exercise bike moved back into the spare bedroom
Bassinet moved into the master bedroom
Purchased new summer bathrobe for nursing
Returned a nursing tank to Target that didn't fit
Picked up Baby Shower Gift for a friend
Got 5 inch lifts for the spare bed to increase storage space and access

And in between all of that we still managed to eat some awesome meals, spend some quality time on the porch with the dogs, and have one of the best Sunday Afternoon naps I can remember in a long time.  My heart has been ready for Caitlyn for a while, but now my mind and body are too.  Now I just have some "housekeeping" things to try to accomplish at work over the next couple of days which will help prepare THEM for Caitlyn's arrival.  And then we'll just have to see now that things are in ready mode if I can keep everything in order until she decides to join us.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Full Term

On Thursday I hit the 37 week mark.  It is such a relief!  37 weeks is considered Full Term when the lungs are fully developed and she can survive well outside the womb without needing extra medical attention.  Certainly if she had been born a little earlier it would not likely have been life threatening.  But 37 to 42 weeks is the low risk window that I had to make it into in order to give birth at the birth center.  And we MADE IT!!!!

It was a bumpy ride the last few weeks as Caitlyn fully dropped quite early and my cervix was definitely starting to ripen.  I also have what is apparently an extremely active uterus.  I've been having braxton hicks contractions daily for nearly a month now and a few times they have gotten carried away.    BH contractions by themselves are not an indication of labor but they do prepare your body for labor and if they start to become more rhythmic and close together they can lead into labor.  I learned at the advice of my caregivers that the best way to control these if they feel like they are headed in that direction is to take a warm bath along with having a few ounces of wine.  I had to resort to this a couple of times and happily it worked like a charm.

It's so nice to be able to relax now and not worry about what is going on with the contractions or where they are headed.  Yesterday was my 37 week check up and I had contractions for several hours leading up to the appointment.  I started to think how amusing it would be if I went to my appointment and it turned out I was actually in labor.  Eventually my amusement turned into, "Holy $#!}," there is a remote chance this could actually happen today.  So I started to get some nervous excitement and little waves of anxiety that I could feel physically manifesting in my body.  I told my midwife about it at the appointment and she asked if I was scared about the labor and I said No!  The anxiety was not about the labor, it was the realization that OMG, I could actually have a daughter by the end of the day!  Anyway, lest you worry, blood pressure and everything was fine.

But it is starting to hit home that any day now this thing is really going to happen.  I spend lots of time these days thinking about it.  I imagine that moment right after birth when she is laid on my chest for the first time, and bringing her home, and nursing her, and introducing her to the dogs, trying to figure out how to eat and sleep and bath while still meeting her needs.  Of course it's all highly romanticized in my head but who has time to spend worrying about labor when there are so many more important things to focus on.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Good Checkup

34 Week checkup today was excellent and very calming for my new mommy nerves.  The last week has been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions dealing with the fear that Caitlyn is going to come too early and we won't get to have the beautiful natural birth we imagined for her in the comfort of the Birth Center.  The waives of hormone surges that come with all these rapid changes in my body are interesting and new too for both me and Don.  Not something I'm used to dealing with.  "Needy" is a new sensation for me.  And it all gets directed at Don.  Figuring out how to communicate and work through that is interesting.  We're on a learning curve.

But the check up today confirmed that everything is healthy and on track.  No signs or indication at this point that things are getting going.  So I can relax and just focus on keeping things comfortable for Caitlyn so she can enjoy her stay in Casa de Utero at least a few more weeks.  She has dropped so low now, even more than before.  My doula says Caitlyn knows what she likes and has made herself so comfortable; she stays in that one spot and isn't going anywhere.  That's my little offspring, getting her house in order so she can be prepared and relaxed before the journey.  Like mother like daughter.

My instructions for the final six weeks are to get plenty of rest, eat lots of protein, minimize sugar and carbs, and drink water like a fish.  I can continue with light to moderate activity but no running any marathons.  OK, I can do that.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

34 Weeks

Tomorrow is the 34 week milestone.  Caitlyn is growing so fast now and I feel like my body is changing by the minute.  Everything feels so immanent now that I keep getting momentary episodes of panic that she is going to arrive early on us.  I finally understand the full meaning of the word "anxious" in a way I never have before.  It's the craziest feeling of total anxiety about it happening too soon and absolutely not being able to wait at the same time. Sheer terror and total excitement.  Huge quantities of both and equal parts of both.  I just have to continue to remind myself that she's going to come however she comes and whatever the circumstances I will just make sure that I do everything I can to make her entry into this world a good one.  In the meantime I'm focusing on getting ready for her arrival and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

In that fashion the nursery is almost complete and for this I am so excited!  The crib arrives today and Katie is finishing up hemming the bedskirt and then all will be complete.  I also ordered a few final essentials that didn't get picked up from our registry today such as the diaper bag and missing pieces of our breast pump.  That is a huge relief towards feeling prepared.

Other things that still need to be done:

- Pack the hospital bag
- Reorganized some cupboards in the kitchen to make room for bottles and such
- Select a Pediatrician
- Lots and lots and lots of thank you cards
- Sort and store larger size baby clothes
- Launder all the new baby clothes and bedding

I'm sure there's more, but progress is happening and it feels good.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fun in the sun

This weekend we had the most gorgeous weather we have had yet this year and we took full advantage with lots of outdoor time for us.
We started off Saturday Morning with a work party at our Church's Community Garden.  Katy and Zach came along which made it all the more enjoyable.  Our project primarily consisted of filling five raised beds full of dirt.
We brought the dogs along with us and as soon as we started digging Seumas jumped right in.  The little guy dug for two hours straight and only stopped when we made him take a break to drink some water.  He had the time of his life!
Don and Zach and Katy and Zach did most of the shoveling.  Caitlyn and I raked the dirt to level it out once it went into the boxes.

 On Saturday we decided to head out to Padden for some fresh air.  We did a little off leash hiking in the shaded hills.  Then set up for a lazy afternoon BBQ in the park.

Seumas got to play soccer with Don, Brandon, Noal and Zach.  This is definitely his most favorite game.  See how happy and tired he is?

Don got a new sun hat which he is very excited about.

Full of good food and zapped by the sun, we were all ready for a good nap afterwards.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nursery Update

Don and I awoke Saturday morning (after sleeping in) to find ourselves staring down a whole entire day with no agenda.  That, I have to say, is the best way to start a weekend.  So after brainstorming a few ideas for the day, we decided to take on a project in the nursery.  I attended a friend's daughter's first birthday a few weeks ago and she took me into the nursery and gave me an awesome tip.  She had shelves installed up high around the perimeter of the room and she kept all the toys in small 12" x 12" storage bins on the shelves.  Then she would take one box down at a time for her daughter to play with until she got bored of it.  It was a great system because for one thing, you only ever have one small box of toys making a mess around the house at any given moment.  Plus, every time you pulled a different box down, it was like Christmas for her daughter, discovering new toys all over again.  And even beyond that, the practicality of the idea was perfect for us.  Since we have decided to use the office nook in our Master Suite for the nursery instead of the spare bedroom , the lack of an actual closet in the room and the unusual arrangement of space with the extra wide doorways makes for limited storage options.  So this was a great solution all the way around.  We picked out our shelves and then I discovered the most perfect turquoise storage bins ever that totally went with the theme of the room and matched EXACTLY the beautiful handmade blocks that the Buell family made for Caitlyn with her name on them.  The storage bins cost about as much as the shelves themselves, but after Don frowned at the price tag and asked me the question "how badly do you want them?" I knew my answer right away was REAL BAD.  So we set aside financial responsibility and indulged and I'm so,so  happy with how it turned out that I don't regret the decision one bit.

So it's really starting to look like a real nursery now that's almost ready for Caitlyn's arrival.  We have a  nice glider that I picked up second hand off of craigslist that will go in the back corner by the window and the dresser which we've been using as extra seating in the living room for now.  We still need to pick up a crib mattress and I would like to replace the window valances with something brown and teal and get some blackout blinds.  I have two showers coming up in the next month, one in Seattle and one at Church.  I'm sure those storage bins will fill up fast.

Oh, and Caitlyn, in case you are ever building your own nursery (a long, long, long ways down the road) and find yourself wondering what music daddy listened to while he put your crib and shelves together, the answer is 80's Hair Metal.  I hope you will be proud of this some day.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

29 Weeks

Third trimester is off with a bang.  Last Saturday morning I was doing some chores when it felt like I strained a muscle in my lower abdominals.  My first thought was ouch, that can't be good.  My second thought was, crap, I have a lot I wanted to get done today.  So I took a few cautious steps and determined I could keep going and of course spent a good portion of the rest of the day doing projects around the house.  The next morning I noticed that Caitlyn had dropped and was riding a lot lower in my belly.  Like most muscle strains it felt a lot worse after two days, so Monday I decided to check in with my doula and my midwives.  After asking a few questions, particularly considering that I didn't have any other signs of early labor, they all expressed that they were not concerned but that if I wanted to come in they could do a quick check to be extra safe.  So I headed over in the afternoon and got some affirmation that cervix was still nice and closed, blood pressure was excellent, and baby's heart rate was great.  I was advised to take it easy for a few days and that a warm bath or heating pad on a low setting might be soothing.  After a few days of minimizing activity I'm feeling much better and can't wait to get back to water aerobics so I can sleep better.  Hips have been stiffening up at nights and leg cramps are becoming more regular.  Ahhh, the joys of pregnancy.  Unfortunately when I arrived at the pool for my first night back tonight someone had thrown up in the pool and the class was canceled.  Bummer! 

In other news, our good friends Katy and Zach arrived on Monday for their relocation to Bellingham!  Not only are they good people and great friends, but they are Caitlyn's godparents also and we are so happy to have them in our lives again.  They have been staying with us while they get on their feet and look for a place.  It has been a lot of fun reconnecting and catching up and we are taking delight in the possibilities and opportunities before them in this newest adventure.  Cordy and Seumas could not be more excited to have house guests.  Seumas actually has someone to play with!  This morning after Don, Katy and I had already gotten up and started into our daily routine, I caught both Cordy and Seumas sitting outside of the door of the guest bedroom just staring at it and waiting for Zach to wake up too.  He is definitely the life of the party as far as the dogs are concerned.  Won't the pups be so sad when they get their own place.  At least they will be frequent visitors!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let the Third Trimester Begin

Tomorrow officially begins the Third Trimester.  This week at work I was entering 90 day approvals into the system and realizing they expire after our due date!

Caitlyn is growing, growing, growing.  My belly just keeps sticking out further and further.  My abs are still hanging in there so it's quite the amusing little sideways camel hump that rides a lot higher than I would have expected.  I keep wondering when things will start to drop or spread out around the middle and I really just can't even begin to imagine where the rest of this baby is going to go.  I already seem so big in my mind. 

My weight gain started off pretty slow but somewhere along the way I developed a sweet tooth and let's just say things have accelerated a tad.  I'm up to about 155 pounds now which means I've gained about 18 pounds since the start of the pregnancy and if I gain another pound a week from here on out I'll end up with a total gain of 30 pounds which is right about what I was aiming for so I'm pretty happy with that.  Caitlyn's growth continues to measure well and on track so she is clearly getting what she needs.  But I've been thinking I want to try to start keeping a food diary for the last trimester to keep better track and make sure I'm getting enough variety of all the nutrients I want to try to cram into her while she's still my little utero-captive.

Caitlyn's activity level has increased quite a bit too with lots of movement.  Hiccups are still regular, as well as distinct movements and jabs.  I also get quite a firm rolling sensation here and there where I imagine she is turning over and trying to get into a more comfortable position.  I can feel solid parts of her pushing up against the surface of my belly but still can't distinguish which parts are which.  I spend a lot of time in the evenings rubbing my belly like a little Buddha so she can get used to my touch and maybe it will be more soothing and familiar when I rub her back when she gets fussy.  She does NOT like it when I lean forward in my desk at work and wiggles around.  The girl likes her space. 

My hormones must be elevating too.  Lately I've been feeling extra affectionate and extra sensitive emotionally, both positively and negatively.

Last weekend I went home for a quick trip to Eugene which included my first Baby Shower with my family and closest childhood family friends.  It is so humbling to be on the receiving end of so much love and joy and support for this wonderful little life.  And it's absolutely remarkable to think that all of these people in my life who have loved me since I was a child, are standing by to invest that same precious love in my daughter.  Yes, Caitlyn is going to be very blessed.

I started to process more recently that I'm actually going to be a mother.  It's easier to grasp that you are going to have a baby than to realize that you are going to be a mother.   It came to me when I opened up one of my baby shower invitations which had a baby bird and a momma bird on it and I realized, 'Wait, I'm the Momma Bird!"  I'm glad I still have 12 more weeks to go though.  This Momma Bird still has some more nesting to do.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Progress So Far

13 Weeks

19 Weeks

25 Weeks

Sunday, April 1, 2012

24 Weeks

I think I must be in the honeymoon phase of the pregnancy. I feel Caitlyn's kicks and turns and hiccups a lot lately which I love. Just this week I started noticing my belly actually moving with little jabs here and there. Don got to see it too. I find this so amusing and marvelous! And at the same time, I would like to thank my daughter for being a sweet little angel lately and sleeping through the night with me. Quality sleep is something I have learned to cherish and savor as I know these days are numbered.

I am also love, love, loving deep water aerobics. It took me a while to build the routine of making it to an evening class, but with a little practice, I've managed to make it a priority and am now consistently going about 3 times a week. It feels so good to be in the water and weightless. I get good cardio but without all the stress on my joints and a nice full range of motion. Some of the moves are really out of the ordinary too, like swinging your legs back and forth like a bell (think full conversion from back float to a front float but your head stays in one place), I just can't help but wonder what Caitlyn thinks is going on in there and it makes me smile.

Quality time with Don is also a huge focus for me right now. We've been cooking a lot of good meals together lately. The other night we came home from church and read to Caitlyn for about an hour and half. We've been going through the TV series Justified, and running errands together. Whatever it is, I'm deeply indulging in those moments of being able to be present and attentive to each other without a world of distractions. We have a lot to learn about being parents, but as husband and wife, I couldn't ask for anything more.

Oh, and the NESTING!!!! I was born to nest. Much progress has been made in the Early household. I made the transition to the new office a week or two ago (it's a bit of a blur now). I'm really happy with the new arrangement. It feels more like a real office for one (rather than a nook in my bedroom), so going to work actually feels like "going to work." I have a commute now, if only to the other end of the house.

With the transition to the new office we cleared out the nursery space and that's ready to assemble. We had considered painting but a small disagreement with the landlord took that off the table. Don and I are both OK with this. The finished product would have been cool, but it was starting to sound like a lot of work. As far as the nursery goes, I've already acquired a dresser, changing table, and very nice glider. We recently registered for a crib and mattress also on our Amazon Baby Registry and hoping someone may gift that to us sooner than later so that we can finish setting up the nursery (hint, hint). I'm really happy with being able to use the office nook in our master suite as the nursery area. Location wise it is perfect. However, the way the room is set up with double doors, large windows, an angled wall, and no closet, it will be interesting to see how everything fits in there. Particularly since I have a specific place I want the crib to go where we can see it from our bed.

Additional household projects have come together as well. This weekend we acquired some new shelving for our bathroom and picked up some new towels as our current supply was getting a little ragged. Plus we got some new towel hooks to go on the back of the door -- a muh more convenient location to the shower. I love the new arrangement! I think I already mentioned a few weeks ago that we acquired some new bookshelves also which have gone in the spare bedroom. Other projects I hope to accomplish today are picking up and installing some new mail slot organizers (as part of our never ending quest to keep on top of paperwork and keep the mail from piling up on the kitchen island like it always tends to do), and to finish going through the boxes of office supplies that we have yet to transition to the new office. We may also take a load of books today to the used book store after church to cash those in.

My biggest nesting project lately though has been in the category of meal planning! I finally found the perfect solution for organizing all of my online recipes and simplifying meal planning - Pinterest!!!! It is the best tool for how my mind works. I have been pinning all my favorite recipes in different categories (i.e., soups, salads, chicken recipes, etc). I also have a board for "This Week's Meal Plan." So now I can easily glance through my online recipe collection in a consolidated cookbook fashion and repin the recipes to my weekly meal plan that I want to try that week. Then it's as easy as printing out the recipes, making my grocery list, and done in 15 minutes! People keep telling me I won't have time or energy to cook when the baby comes; but I'm hanging on to the dream (delusional or not) that if I just have a really good plan, I can still make it happen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

TJ's Game Day Chip Dip

1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Turkey Chili with Beans
1 Pkg Cream Cheese
Corn chips for dipping

Heat black beans and turkey chili together on stove top over medium high heat. Warm cream cheese in microwave until soft, then add to chili mixture and cook until thoroughly mixed. Can also be made in the crockpot.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

21 Weeks

One thing is for certain, the ultrasound really turned this whole parenthood thing up a notch! Finding out the gender, seeing the images of our beautiful girl, everything is so much more real and intense now. The bond is already growing so strong and I am totally falling in love with my little girl. Not 24 hours after the ultrasound, Don and I had already settled on her name and were ready to start calling her Caitlyn Iona Early. I love her name and the personality that she is already developing. I can't wait to meet her and be her Mom.

I slept until 4:30 this morning. That's pretty darn good! Back pain and hip pain started to kick in as I entered the half of the pregnancy which keeps me up at night. I'm trying lots of different things -- yoga, water aerobics, pillows, heating pads, reclining. Not sure if it's just the luck of the draw or not but the last few nights have been pretty good nights. I picked up a wedge pillow at Along Comes a Baby which is a little pillow that goes under your belly to provide some relief. It's nice because it is small and not so cumbersome. With the other pillows and body pillows, just trying to reposition them to get comfortable multiple times throughout the night wakes me up by itself. I'm sure it will become more difficult as the pregnancy progresses but I'm relishing any quality sleep I get at this point.

Working out has been harder than I want it to. It's tough when you lack the energy and the weather sucks. I finally started water aerobics which feels great. It's just tough because it's in the evenings and there are so many things that are competing for my time. But it's so important. I need to be in good shape for labor which is going to be the most physically demanding thing I've ever been through. So I'm really trying to step up my game with more water aerobics and prenatal yoga. I am so done with winter too and can't wait for the weather to turn so I can get outside occasionally and stretch my legs in the fresh air.

I find myself absolutely relishing my time with Don even more so lately. Part of it is knowing that once the baby comes, it won't be just the two of us anymore and to grab the time while we can. I am just so happy and so blessed. He has been such a wonderful husband all these years and I know he will be such a wonderful Dad. We've been watching a little TV, cooking good meals together, and even just doing errands, it doesn't matter. The thing I have been loving the most lately lately is reading to each other. We just started Lamb together by Christopher Moore. This book was meant to be read out loud. It is so entertaining, and so funny, and with a subversive dose of substance underneath it all.

This weekend the cable company is coming out to install hookups at the other end of the house so that I can switch offices. Then we will get to finally start on the nursery! So far I have a dresser, changing table, and glider, and a few cute little items to go in the dresser. I don't think we'll be painting or anything like that but I can't wait to get things in the room and have a place for Caitlyn all ready to receive her. I really worked the Craigslist sales and have a few more things to list once we finish consolidating the offices. I'm hoping I can come together with enough money for a good jogging stroller and a crib and then I will have accomplished all my Craigslist goals.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's a Girl!

Baby Early has a pronoun now. She's a Girl! The ultrasound was amazing. First of all, she was moving all over the place and completely active the whole time, even doing an entire back flip toward the end. This despite the fact that I had actually NOT dosed myself up on sugar like I had thought I might. It was all her own doing. It turns out that active babies are actually not as easy to ultrasound. I think it takes longer to pin down all the right positions and capture the images they are trying to capture to get all the desired measurements when they are moving around so much. If it takes that much time to chase her around in the womb, I can't imagine how we are going to have our hands full when this little one learns to walk.

So in all we were in the office over an hour and I'm pretty sure the ultrasound itself lasted about 40-45 minutes. I've heard many people say that within minutes of starting the ultrasound their technician declared boy or girl. We were kept in suspense for what I imagine was more than 30 minutes as we hunted for this angle or that, measuring femurs and heartbeats, capturing feet (there were two), and seeing hands open and close. Oh my goodness, even just a bony silhouette and she is so beautiful! For a while she kept her legs crossed like a dainty little girl and I started to get worried we wouldn't get conclusive results. But eventually everything lined up and we got a clear shot. No signs of anything between the legs and the three distinct lines that they look for coming through quite clear. The tech declared "girl" with the disclaimer that these things aren't always 100% accurate. But the evidence was quite plain and convincing to me.

It started to sink in as Don and I held hands for the remaining 10 minutes of the exam and tears began to form. When the exam ended, the tech left the room for a few minutes to make us a CD and then I really let the tears go as Don and I bonded over the news that we were bringing a daughter into the world. It was one of the highlights of my life. Having trouble at the moment thinking of anything that tops it. We were forced to come back to the present for a bit then as I developed a nose bleed and had to attend to that.

As we left the lab, we decided to go to one of our newly discovered favorite restaurants in Bellingham to celebrate - Magdelena's Creperie. The first phone call was to my Mom and of course I was still crying when I told her the news. She asked if I was hoping for a girl. I told her that I wasn't aware of having any preference but when I got the news I was soooo happy. I didn't know if that meant that deep down I really did have a preference after all, or if it was just that the whole thing had become so much more real and would have had the same experience if the results had been different. Don concurred that he felt the exact same way.

The cashew shaped thing right and center is the babies bottom (butt towards the camera). You can see the femur bone in the lower leg. The upper leg is fading off into the darkness. In between the legs you can see it looks pretty vacant. Looking closely, the three little white parallel lines are what they look for to identify the girl parts.

She was opening and closing her hands right before this frame was snapped.

Is there anything cuter than baby feet?!

Big Day

To quote the infamous Disney Commercial. Last night I found myself, "too excited to sleep!" So between the wee hours of 3 to 5 I decided to get up and do what else but make a giant pot of slow simmering bean and ham soup! (Can now check that off my list of things to do today!) Don was a little grumpy being awoken by all the sounds of the chopping vegetables but I lulled him back to sleep quickly with the sound of the running dishwasher. To pass the time while the soup simmered, I also watched a touching documentary on Netflix about the puppeteer who plays Elmo on Sesame Street. What a neat life story.

So today of course is the morning of the big ultra sound. In one hour we will be at the lab and seeing Baby Early for the second time. I can't wait to see how things are developing but of course we are mostly excited to find out the gender. Not that we care whether it's a boy or a girl, but knowing one way or another we can really start to imagine this little person and what our family is going to be like. Just having a pronoun to refer to Baby Early will be huge! We'll also be able to narrow down names.

I decided to use a vacation day at work today to be able to enjoy and savor the day. Don has most of the day off too with an appointment in the later afternoon, so we got to sleep in and have a relaxing start to the morning. I'm only a little concerned that Baby Early might be shy and try to hide the goods. I've heard that happens occasionally and would be soooo disappointing to come out of our appointment today and still not know. So I've decided based on my own completely sound (I'm sure) medical assumption that I made up myself, that I'm going to swallow a teaspoon of sugar about 30 minutes before my appointment to make sure he/she is alert and active and moving around -- hopefully giving us lots of vantage points. That's right, I'm going to intentionally sugar rush my baby.

In addition to the ultrasound, today also marks 20 weeks, the halfway point of our pregnancy. Last night I had the first experience of feeling the baby kick in a very distinct and pinpointed way in a specific spot (a few times repeatedly). This is different than the general quickening fluttering I have been feeling up until this point. And it was distinct enough and strong enough that Don was able to feel it too. Pretty cool!

Time to get ready to go. . . . :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Morning Reflections of a Pregnant Woman

Yikes. The lower back pain has really started flaring up the last couple of nights. I know I'm carrying a lot of extra weight in front and probably overcompensating with my lower back. But I don't feel much discomfort during the day. It's the not being able to lie on my back at night that really aggravates it. Laying on my side all night with hips and spine out of alignment really kills me by midnight. I will probably have to break down soon and by the savior body pillow all my pregnant friends have been telling about. For now I'm still trying to see what I can do to self mitigate that doesn't cost a ton of money. If I get up and spend an hour or two in the recliner at night that helps straighten everything back out a bit. But not so great for quality sleep. I also picked up a maternity bathing suit at the consignment store and plan to start water aerobics this week. And a friend is mailing me a prenatal yoga DVD that I'm hoping will really help loosen things up. Let's see, only five more months of this to go right?

In more exciting news, the count down is on to our 20 week ultrasound coming up on March 1st. I really can't say I have a gender preference at this point. I can get excited about either or but at this point, we just can't wait to find out. Should be a pretty exciting week.

Don has had a busy work week this week and three appointments today so I get the house to myself. So much cleaning and organizing to do. We got way behind this week on household chores. Our second fridge also broke which was storing all of our meat. I was able to save it in time and get all the essential items transferred over to our main freezer but things are crammed and I have a major fridge cleanout on my hands to deal with today.

My craigslisting is going extremely well. Turns out it's really easy to sell things on craigslist when you are home ALL THE TIME. I'm surprised by how many day time sales I've made just by working from home and being available for spur of the moment purchases. So far we've been able to pick up a couple of bookcases, a very nice microsuede glider and ottoman for the nursery, and a new kindle, and I'm still $50 ahead at this point. I still have about $100 worth of merchandise listed at this point and once we finally consolidate our offices I'll probably have another $150 to list. On my wishlist to obtain still are a quality jogging stroller and a crib. So I'm thinking we're in just about the right spot to accomplish everything I was trying to do.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I just find myself lately so genuinely happy. I'm feeling good and healthy. I have almost no stress or anxiety. I've been getting quality sleep. I feel so at peace, blessed and excited. I find myself laying there in quiet moments and just thinking to myself, "Wow, I'm so happy." I have lots projects on my mind but still so much time to execute them that it's more exciting then overwhelming. I know life will get busy, demanding, difficult. But that really doesn't seem very threatening when I'm so happy. Is this part of the second trimester bliss? Nature's way of balancing out Postpartum depression with Prepartum euphoria. I don't think so. I think it's just the peace that comes with the realization that I have been so deeply blessed in life and love and there is very little in this world that can shake that.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Good Trimester

17 weeks today. The second trimester is glorious. I feel better and things taste better. This is very important to me. Tonight we had a glorious dinner of coconut rice with beef stir fry. So delicious! I told the baby he/she better like Thai food because we are eating this!

I am definitely showing these days. I have a single pair of maternity pants right now which are sweats that I am pretty much wearing every day now since I work from home. Still trying to get by with my regular jeans and a bodyband for going out but that's quickly going to come to an end. Anyday now I'm suppose to be able to start to feel the baby move and I am so excited for this. As of yet though, still no signs that I can recognize. I sometimes even lie there really still at night and focus and try to see if I can detect anything. Nothing. I guess it will happen when it happens.

The countdown has begun to the 20 week mark which is the halfway point and also the time we will finally get to find out if we are having a boy or a girl. We set our appointment for March 1st. I'm so excited to actually have it on the calendar to look forward to. The first few months seemed to go so slow but now they are starting to feel like they are whizzing by.

The serious nesting began a couple of weeks ago. We've decided our grand plan is to convert my current office in our master bedroom suite to the nursery and consolidate our offices into one where Don's office is now. We started with a giant clean out of the shed to make room for some extra storage and free up closet space that we will need once the baby is born. Don's office still has a lot of cleaning and organizing to go but we've already determined that DG is finally getting it's own storage unit so we can unload all of those file boxes that we have been carrying around with us taking up valuable real estate in our lives for the past 6 years. We've also taken a few trips to the dump and the goodwill drop off. It feels so good to organize, consolidate, purge, and only store seasonal items that we plan to actually use or keepsakes that have actual significance and importance to us. Everything else is gone, gone, gone.

Anything I can identify as a large ticket item I've been posting on craigslist and we are hoping to make enough money from the sales to cover the costs of our projects. So far I've made $115. We're also planning on taking some books to the used bookstore and hopefully make a couple of bucks there too, although we are not expecting much. But at least it will free up more space. Eventually we also need to get rid of the second fridge to make room for strollers and high chairs and the like. We're thinking of replacing with a small chest freezer for meat storage, but then we also really need to replace the main fridge with a side by side fridge as is it's too small. That's a lower priority project so likely won't happen until closer to summer time. The good thing about starting early with the nesting is that I have a long time to browse craigslist and shop for the really good deals rather than having to rush out and get what's available.

In other second trimester news, according to the pregnancy websites I follow, our baby can now hear and recognize our voices. I came up with the bright idea of Don and I reading books outloud to each other at least a little bit every night so that the baby can start to bond with our voices. It is so much fun and I love it. It's all I want to do now. Goodbye television! We're starting with a couple of books by Marcus Borg called Speaking Christian and The Heart of Christianity. Reading Theology together is fun because we can read it and then discuss and I wonder how many intellectual/spiritual/intimate conversations we will get to have together just the two of us once the baby is born. Eventually though I also want to add in some fiction fantasy like The Hobbit and maybe Game of Thrones series.

HOLD THE PHONE: I think the baby's moving. When it feels like something just did a somersault in your stomach, that's the baby right? Maybe Baby Early really does like Thai food!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Everything is One

This morning, this hymn popped into my head and has been moving me in a new way. I even felt inspired to write a fourth verse. Verses 1-3 are the original hymn, verse 4 in italics is my addition. So I thought I would share:

Everything is One

Lo, the falling stars and light,
Lo, the morning then the night,
Lo, the ashes with the earth.
Lo, the rising and rebirth.
Lo, the mountain and the sky,
Lo, the worship lifted high,
God, afoot within the universe
and everything, everything is one

Ah, the water and the wine,
Ah, the sunlight on the pine.
Ah, the winter and the snow,
Ah, the heavens, with below.
Ah, the broken bread, the cup,
Ah, the worship lifted up,
God, afoot within the universe
and everything, everything is one

Oh, the healer of the pain,
Oh, the maker of the rain.
Oh, the future of the seed,
Oh, the music of the reed.
Oh, the splendor of the light,
Oh, the Spirit in the night.
God, afoot within the universe
and everything, everything is one

My, the capable and weak,
My, those who find and those who seek,
My, the the glory and the might,
My, the meager and the slight,
My, the sacred and profane,
My, the pleasure and the pain,
God, afoot within the universe,
And everything, everything is one.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Icky Trimester

I somehow was in the dark about the challenges of the first trimester. I am convinced our mothers never tell us how hard it actually is for fear they will scare us off from producing their much desired grandchildren. After finding out I was pregnant, the first week or two were a mysterious bliss. It was like carrying around a secret that I myself wasn't actually sure I believed. But I remember distinctly the day of that dreaded Google Chat Text to Camille: "Oh, Crap.... Here comes the nausea."

I still don't understand why they call it Morning Sickness. I preferred to refer to it as "All-Day-Feel-Like-Poo." The first night of Morning Sickness followed an evening of appetizers including Jessica's Famous Clam Dip and some Krispy Kale Chips. Two things I will not be able to look fondly on again for some time. Luckily for me, except for one night of dry heaving, I never threw up so I wonder if it may not have been as severe as others get. And for every few bad days, I would get a respite of a good day or two to recover.

The fatigue of course was constant. I had the bright idea early on that I was going to take brisk walks on my lunch break to help boost my energy and I quickly learned that this was having the exact opposite effect. I was very glad at that point to be working from home where I could lay down and rest for my hour lunch breaks which became necessary. I was able to keep a 40 hour work week still, but that was about all I could do and the last hour of the work day was always a struggle. The housework, cooking, and grocery shopping pretty much fell to Don and if I had a boost one evening and was able to unload the dishwasher I felt like I deserved a medal. I started to wonder and be in awe at the women I knew who were on their second or third pregnancies and working full time jobs outside the home, and tried to keep in perspective that I really did have it easy.

The most challenging thing for me though that I was not prepared for was the fact that your tastebuds completely change when you are pregnant. Forget even trying to work around the nausea, things simply didn't taste right anymore. Coffee, chocolate, and black pepper all taste like dirt. The idea of meat completely grossed me out. Vegetables were too "strong" tasting so for a while I had to switch to frozen vegetables because they have almost no flavor. Bread and crackers, which were things I almost never ate before, along with fruit were my new staples. The most challenging week came when we went to Boise for the Christmas Holidays and stayed with Angie and Mike (Don's sister and brother-in-law). I felt so bad for them because they wanted really badly to try to prepare foods that I could eat but there was just no working around my appetite. I could never tell from one minute to the next what would sound good, or more accurately, what the one thing would be that didn't sound bad. We spent a lot of money on food in the first trimester (a lot of which went bad), and learned to buy things in small quantities.

Angie asked me at one point if I was really excited about the pregnancy and if I ever had trouble believing that this was actually happening for us. I told her that honestly when we first found out that I was definitely in awe of the magic and mystery of it all, but since the full blown side effects of the first trimester had appeared, I was more than anything just focused on surviving it and looking forward to the promised land of the second trimester.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I've been thinking a blog or two about the pregnancy is in order. I think that someday I will want to look back and remember some of my experiences and also that my child might want to know some day what it was like to carry him/her before we even met. So best to get a few thoughts down before the whole thing slips by.

I suppose I should start with finding out. Don and I started "trying" about four months before we confirmed. The first thing you learn about pregnancy is that despite what every adult ever told you when you were a teenager, the odds of actually conceiving are so much narrower than you would have ever possibly imagined. A LOT of things have to line up for pregnancy to occur. I'm not complaining at all about 4 months as I know a lot of people for whom it took much longer. The timing couldn't have worked out more perfectly for us. I was really hoping to get pregnant before my 34th birthday and we found out in Mid November with 6 weeks to go that we were. Mostly that was just because I wanted to have the baby before I turned 35 and this would have given me enough of a cushion not to stress out in the final months of the countdown.

The first month or two were a bit nerve wracking in trying to discern any possible signs from my own body that would tell me I was pregnant before one of those little sticks could. Of course every "sign" of pregnancy, is similar to a sign that you are about to start your period so there is really no way of knowing. The first month I took a test 5 days early and then again 2 days early because I was so excited and wanted to know. I learned pretty quickly not to waste $14 on Quick Response tests and all you could do was wait until you skip. So we went along for the next few months and finally in the fourth month, not expecting at all that anything was going to happen, I actually lost track of my specific dates but knew generally about what week we were shooting for. Don had to go to the midwest for a work conference in mid November and on the day of his return, I thought I might waste another pregnancy test because it would be worth it when he got home to surprise him if it was good news. Even though I was thinking it was probably a little early still I went ahead and tested. I went in the bathroom fully expecting a no and had a split second of disappointment until I noticed the rather faint second line but it was there! I was so excited I kept going back in and looking at it every few minutes to make sure it was still there. Now I just had to wait several hours for Don to get home so I could share the news with him.

As luck would have it Don was flying in to Seatac with a two and a half hour layover before the leg back to Bellingham. It was so frustrating to have him just an hour away and still have to wait so long. He was going to be home about 9:30 p.m. and I couldn't wait to pick him up at the airport. Since Don proposed to me at an airport, I started to think if there was a creative way I could announce to him that we were going to be parents when I picked him up. Unfortunately, I got a very frustrated call from him a couple of hours later saying that he had missed his flight! There was a mixup with the gates and unfortunately he didn't figure it out until it was too late. No other flights were going out that night to Bellingham but he was able to find a shuttle that would get him here around midnight. It was so frustrating for him and I couldn't tell him why but obviously frustrating for me too. I decided to go to Fred Meyer to do a little grocery shopping to pass the time. I remember being so tired when I was walking around the store that I felt like I was moving in slow motion. I also remember the checker asking me how I was doing and wanting to tell him and everyone else, "I'm awesome! I just found out I'm pregnant!" But I refrained.

After I got home and put the groceries away I realized there was no way I was going to be able to stay awake so I settled into bed and set my alarm for midnight. Finally midnight rolled around and I went out to warm up the car to go pick up Don. I was so tired I literally felt like I had been drugged and might as well have just had 4 alcoholic beverages before getting behind the wheel, I'm sure that's about how safe it was. Luckily the hotel where the shuttle was being dropped off was only about a mile away and I made it safely there just before Don's arrival. He looked about like death warmed over too after a super frustrating and exhausting day of travel but I had to tell him I was too tired to drive home and needed him to take the keys which he was not thrilled about.

When we got home we both settled happily into the comfort of our own bed and started to unwind the day with a little chit chat. I asked him a little about the conference and eventually our conversation came around to the topic of our terrible habit of skipping lunches. I mentioned to him that I was motivated to start eating healthier because I needed good nutrition "in my condition." It took him a second but after a long pause, he repeated "in your condition?" To which I responded that yes I was pregnant. There was immediate celebration and comments of "well that makes the whole disastrous day worthwhile." I don't remember much of the conversation after that, but I do remember how tenderly he cuddled me that night and thinking that even after 8 years of a very wonderful marriage, this man loves me even more than he did 5 minutes ago.

Monday, January 23, 2012

New England Clam and Corn Chowder with Herbs

Don has been commenting for a while that he wanted to find a good clam chowder recipe. Finally decided to try one tonight and it is a keeper. So tasty, easy to make, and economical too. We used whole milk like the recipe called for. Next time will try 2% and see if there's any significant difference. Click here for the full recipe from Epicurious:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Baked Huevos Rancheros

I recently ordered a subscription for Food & Wine magazine to support a youth's school fundraiser. Tonight Don made this incredible dish. A play on traditional Huevos Rancheros, it substitutes tortilla chips for tortillas, and eggs are baked in the oven until lightly set. Lots of good healthy veggies in this one and delicious taste. This one's going in the regular rotation. Click on the link for the full recipe: Baked Huevos Rancheros.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Crockpot Turkey Tenderloin

Recipe recommended by my sister. Can't wait to try it!

Crockpot Turkey Tenderloin

Crockpot Glazed Turkey Tenderloin

  • 2 turkey tenderloins
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 Sweet onion diced
  • 1 15-oz can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves

1. Put sweet potatoes, carrots, and onion into crockpot.

2. Place turkey tenderloin on top, pouring chicken broth over it all and topping the turkey with the preserves.

3. Cook for either 5 hours on high, or for 1 hour on high and 7 hours on low.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

As our family grows and time and energy are going to be in higher and higher demand, I'm on the search for simple, nourishing, low maintenance dinners. It doesn't get any easier than this pulled pork recipe I just tried out today.

1 Frozen Pork Roast
1 Can Rootbeer
1 Bottle Barbecue Sauce
Hawaiian Rolls
Dill Pickles for Garnish (optional)

All you do is put the FROZEN roast in the crockpot and add one can of rootbeer. You can play with the cooking times. I cooked it on high for 4 hours and low for another 5 hours. Pork is done when you can shred it easily with a fork. Drain the rootbeer and return the pork to the crockpot. Shred with two forks. Add barbecue sauce and stir to incorporate. Heat until warmed through. Serve on Hawaiian rolls with dill pickles if desired.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Don's Balls (Meatballs that is)

I've always thought meatballs were fairly boring. Hamburger, egg, onion and crackers. Bland. Well not these!

2lbs ground Italian Sausage
2lbs ground Breakfast Sausage
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 full row of Ritz crackers
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp sage

You can adjust the seasonings to taste. These are guesses, I didn't really measure them.

Mix together, and ball up! I went with larger than a golf ball, like maybe a racket ball.

I baked them at 400F for 15 min, then flipped them and baked them for another 15 min. DE-Lish!