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. . . . :)