Thanksgiving + Black Friday Weekend

After attending a few meetings, I left work around lunchtime on Wednesday since it was so quiet in the design studio!

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I had some time to kill before an appointment later that afternoon, so I headed to The Galleria to knock out some Christmas shopping and to browse through Barnes & Noble for a bit. I picked up a few things for Andy’s gift and then put my feet up with an iced Americano with a pump of gingerbread syrup at the bookstore. An afternoon at B&N was just what I needed before the holiday weekend and I’m so glad that I made it a priority. I whizzed through this book (would highly recommend it!) and then started this one but plan to head back to the store in the next couple weeks to read more of it as we get closer to baby time!

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Upon arriving home later that evening, I did some of our Thanksgiving prep to make the morning a little smoother. I quickly whipped up a batch of homemade cranberry sauce (cranberries, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and freshly squeezed orange juice), and prepped a pomegranate so that it would be ready for the salad I was making the next day. This was my first time dealing with a pomegranate (I usually buy them pre-seeded), and let’s just say it was a labor of love. I did the whole “peel it in a bowl of water” trick but it was still very time consuming and messy to say the least!

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The next day, we successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving with his side of the family. Andy and I made turkey, ham, lemon-garlic green beans with almonds, cornbread, and a fall salad while his siblings brought a few other sides and dessert to complete the meal.

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Side note — we recently picked up one of these tools and it is seriously the best thing ever! It saves so much time and makes your life a million times easier — would highly recommend picking one up if you don’t already have one in your kitchen drawer.

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I threw together this autumn-inspired salad and really liked how it turned out! It had spinach, fresh cranberries, candied pecans, pomegranate arils, pumpkin seeds, roasted sweet potatoes, red onion, and apples. I tossed it with a homemade dressing that contained pure maple syrup, olive oil, fresh lemon + lime + orange juice, onion powder, black pepper, salt and cinnamon. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers all throughout the weekend and it’s definitely one that I plan to make again!

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Andy’s sister and brother-in-law brought pies and I swear, there’s nothing like pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a cup of coffee! It definitely hit the spot!

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After the family left, Andy and I settled in on the couch to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It was the perfect ending to Thanksgiving Day.

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The next day, we headed out for a little Black Friday shopping later in the day (mainly to avoid the crowds). We wound up purchasing this little gadget and a new Christmas tree since the one in the photo above is way too tiny for our new living room! I took a nap upon arriving home and then we spent the evening watching Home Alone 2 (we typically watch a holiday movie or two every weekend leading up to Christmas).

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On Saturday morning, my sister and I ran an errand, grabbed coffees, and walked around the indoor track while catching up. We both agreed that this is something that we should do more often since it’s way more fun to walk with someone than by yourself. :) Another nap happened when I got home that afternoon (seriously, story of my life these days), and it felt SO good!

Sunday was spent washing all of our baby’s clothing while Andy painted the dresser for the nursery. I’m hoping to get all of his clothes organized by size this week so that we can start putting his room together in anticipation of his arrival. I also finished all of the thank you cards from our baby shower and worked on a scarf that I’m knitting — it was such a relaxing day!

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving?
Did you do any Black Friday shopping?

First Round of Holiday Treats

On Saturday, morning, my small group and I met for a virtual meeting (we meet every other time in person) and I always leave feeling so refreshed! It’s been so fun doing this study with these girls and also hard to believe that this is our third year together.

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I’ve been trying to get creative with ways to stay active until my treadmill arrives, so after doing a few things around the house once my small group meeting was done, I headed to a track to walk for a bit while I listened to the latest episode of my favorite podcast. It’s so strange to feel exhausted after something like going for a s l o w walk — definitely not something that I’m used to but am reminding myself that growing a human takes a lot out of you!

Upon arriving home, I started prepping for our sister baking night — on the agenda: homemade Chex mix, Oreo truffles, and Muddy Buddies!

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I mixed up the first batch of dry ingredients before they arrived so that we could get started right away. Our family has always added Kix and Cheerios to our homemade Chex mix (and omit the bagel chips) — I think the Kix are my favorite part!

I had also prepped the Oreo truffle filling earlier that day. It was my first time making the truffles in the food processor and all I can say is that it was a total game changer. It crushed the cookies super fine and then it swirled the cream cheese in so smoothly! I rolled the truffles into little balls and then put them on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet before popping them in the fridge so they could harden. That way, all we would have to do that evening was just dip them in melted chocolate — easy peasy.

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Once my sister and her girls arrived, we got to work right away!

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As batches of the Chex mix baked, we dipped our truffles (which are seriously the BEST thing ever if you’re an Oreo fan) and whipped up a delicious batch of Muddy Buddies. We discovered the secret to good Muddy Buddies is to make more of the sauce than it calls for and it use less cereal so that each piece gets coated and kind of clumps together.

It was so fun to spend the evening making holiday treats with them and we’re already looking forward to making / decorating homemade sugar cookies in a couple of weeks! This holiday season feels like it is flying by so we are trying to do as many holiday things as we can before the season passes.

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The next day, Andy and I hit the shops to knock out a bunch of Thanksgiving-related errands. Our first stop was Starbucks for a holiday drink — I swear, each year the gingerbread latte tastes better than I remember.

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On our way to grab T-day groceries, we made a few pit stops at furniture stores since we’re still trying to find the perfect dining room table. There was a table we liked at West Elm, but we felt like the color was a little too warm for our liking. We’re super picky about furniture and I feel like we are starting to annoy ourselves with the search for a table. The one we really want is something like this but in a cooler toned wood.

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We also stopped at a Macy’s furniture gallery but quickly realized that the tables there weren’t really our style — it was still fun to pop through and look around though.

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After enough messing around with furniture shopping, it was time to get down to business. This was my plan of attack that I crafted before we left the house that morning.

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After three different grocery stores, we finally had everything we needed! We came home, ate a late lunch, and then I headed out to meet my auntie for a coffee date. Catching up with her was the perfect end to a long weekend!

Favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
What recipe does your family like to make each holiday?

Garage Sales, Parade of Homes, & A Block Party

This past weekend was filled to the brim and the weather was absolutely gorgeous -- low 70s with clear skies and cool breezes.

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This little cutie turned TWO over the weekend -- it seems like just yesterday that she came home from the hospital! 

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Since I had Friday off, my sister and I hit a bunch of the garage sales in our area and we came home with so great finds! 

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My favorite item of the day was a baby seat in brand-new condition, which is what I was hoping to find! We plan to keep this swing downstairs in the living room and then the baby seat will stay upstairs so we I have a place to put baby in the bathroom / bedroom while I'm getting ready. I also love that it's neutral colored because I'm not a huge fan of brightly-colored baby items; I prefer that they blend in with the home rather than take the center stage in a room.

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After our garage sale adventures, we ate lunch together and then they went home for naps and I headed out to the post office to mail a freelance project to a client and then hit the grocery store. 

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Is it just me or is seeing what people buy for groceries super fascinating? I feel like it helps me get new ideas whenever I'm in a food rut, which is usually quite often since I tend to eat the same foods over and over again.

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After I put away all the groceries, I headed outside to read for a bit before Andy got home from work. I just started this book and it has me hooked! 

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Once Andy arrived home from work, I made up some sub sandwiches and we ate dinner outside on our front porch together before heading out for a walk through the neighborhood. 

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The next morning, I was up bright and early to meet my small group girls for our first meeting of this next year of study! It was so good to see everyone and catch up since I hadn't seen most of them in so long (we take a break from meeting over the summer). 

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Afterwards, I swung by the library to drop off a book and pick up this one and then headed home to eat lunch before heading out for a day date with Andy.

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We were both so excited because it was the first weekend of the fall session of Parade of Homes!

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We were especially looking forward to this round of POH so that we could get ideas for light fixtures, rugs, dining room tables, and paint colors. 

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We also talked about doing some funky wallpaper in our powder bathroom on the main level -- how cool is this back-lit mirror, too?!

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Later that evening, we headed to our neighborhood block party! It was so fun to get to know our neighbors a little better as we ate and hung out on our street. Once it got dark, they set up a bonfire and we all made s'mores, which was actually my first one of the summer! We had such a great time and are really looking forward to doing life alongside these families that live around us! 

Be sure to check back tomorrow because I'll be sharing the gender of our baby on the blog! :)

Best part of your weekend?
What are your thoughts on wallpaper coming back in style?

The First Trimester (Weeks 1-13)

How far along:
13 weeks! (Note: this post was written back in July; I'm currently almost 22 weeks).

Size of Baby:
A Kiwi!

Gender:
At first I felt like it was going to be a boy, but now I feel like it's a girl. Andy's leaning more towards a boy because he keeps accidentally calling it "he." Honestly, we would be equally happy about either gender and we will find out next month! We kind of want to do some sort of gender reveal since we'll be in our new house by then, but we'll see!

Movement: 
None yet, but I'm so excited for this!

Sleep:
I've been exhausted 100% of the time. I typically take a 2 hour nap on Saturday and Sunday, and then after work I eat dinner, get in bed to read or watch tv for a bit and am asleep by 8:30 / 9pm! Sleep is on my mind 24/7.

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Symptoms:
Exhaustion is my main one, with nausea coming in as a close second. I've noticed that lots of other little symptoms have popped up as well (food aversions, heightened sense of smell, vivid dreams, etc.). I'm so thankful that I didn't experience throwing up as part of the morning sickness -- it made it way easier to keep things a secret during the 1st tri! Sour / fruity candies, sparkling water, anything citrus and simple carbs seem to help with the nausea. The nausea seems to be worse if I'm really hungry, so snacking throughout the day has been key! I typically feel sick in the mornings due to hunger, and then will feel sick again in the evenings -- sometimes I just went to bed early to distract myself from the nausea.

Bump / Body:
There's not much there yet, and if there is, it's mostly food-related because my stomach is still flat in the mornings. I'm up 3 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and I swear it's all in my chest! 

Maternity Clothes:
None yet! I've been living in these pants, these joggers, and skirts! 

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Cravings:
Orange juice - this one is out of control, I literally can't get enough! 
Sparkling water with fresh lemon or lime juice plus tons of ice
Bagels with cream cheese
Pretzels from the mall
Kettle chips with Top the Tator dip
An abnormal amount of condiments (BBQ sauce, mustard, etc.) on my food
French fries
BLTs, which is weird because I literally haven't eaten one in probably 18 years
Fudge bar popsicles

Aversions:
Eggs - the absolute worst; I can't even handle the smell if Andy makes them
Coffee
Veggies -- raw or cooked
String cheese -- I think I ate too much of this in early pregnancy

For weeks 7-11, I basically lived off of smoothies, fruit, sandwiches (grilled cheese!), cereal, popsicles, waffles, toast, bagels, chicken nuggets, and baked potatoes. SUCH a humbling experience to only be eating carbs, but it's temporary! I also had a really hard time with drinking plain water (it tasted funny to me), so I drank a lot of Gatorade and LaCroix to stay hydrated on some of the more challenging days. Once I hit ten weeks, plain water tasted normal again and I've been SO thirsty! This was so encouraging because for awhile, it was so difficult to stay hydrated in this summer heat.

Supplements:
I'm on a prenatal (and have been since August 2017), folic acid (my prenatal changed formulas and I wanted a higher dosage of folic acid so it was the same amount as my old prenatal formula), prenatal fish oil, and vitamin D. I stopped using my progesterone cream a few weeks into the pregnancy per my doctor's recommendation.

Fitness:
You guys, I have been down for the count on this one! I've missed working out so much but even going grocery shopping drains me like none other. I'm looking forward to getting some of my energy back now that I'm in the second trimester! 

Missing Most: 
This is so random, but using protein powder in my diet! After talking to my OB at my first appointment (basically just a pregnancy confirmation check and consult with the doctor) about my vegetarian diet, she suggested reintroducing white meats if I can tolerate them since I can't do whey protein powders anymore.  

Nursery:
One of the bedrooms in our new house is perfect for a nursery and we are so excited to get that all set up! We have a crib picked out, plan to add a comfy chair, and a new dresser as well! 

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Favorite Products:
I've been using this belly butter but might switch to this one once it runs out. Mamas out there, do you have any recommendations on belly butters?

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Favorite Moments:
We got to see our little peanut at 8 weeks, 2 days on 6/1! I was a little nervous for this appointment, but was so relieved when my OB excitedly pointed out the little flickering heartbeat on the screen! Baby is upside down in the photo above -- you can see it's little arms sticking out under the head and it's feet at the very top. The little blob next to it is the yolk sac, which has now been replaced with the placenta.

Can't Wait For:
Finding out the gender and moving into our new house at the end of the month so we can get settled and set up the nursery before baby arrives! :)

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Other things of note:
I had a really scary spotting incident at 10 weeks, but everything turned out to be okay. I'll share more about this in another post because it's definitely something I wish I would have known about before pregnancy and I think it's worth sharing.

If you've been or are currently pregnant, what was your first tri like?
How many kids do you have or hope to have?

Oh Baby!

I want to mention that I know pregnancy / babies can be a sensitive subject for some. I have a few close friends that have gone through years of infertility, endometriosis, and multiple miscarriages and my heart broke for them during this challenging time. I'm happy to report that they all have babies / kids now, but it definitely took a toll on them to get to that point. That being said, if pregnancy posts are triggering for you, please feel free to skip over these posts -- there will be plenty of regular life posts shuffled in amidst these. 

--

Thank you so much for the congratulations on our baby news! We've been dying to share the news and it feels so good to have it out in the open! 

We've nicknamed the baby "Little Pang" (our last name is Kaupang) for the time being and will continue to call it that until it is born -- we have some tentative names picked out, but won't be sharing them until baby is officially here! My official due date is January 9th, 2019 and we can't wait to meet this little baby right after the holidays!

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^ Pic above is of baby at 10 weeks when it was just a little peanut (1.25 inches)! It's currently 10.5 inches long now! 

While this is still a lifestyle blog and won't be turning into a baby blog or anything, I plan to do pregnancy recaps on here so that I can look back and remember this special time as we begin our new life as a family of three! :)

Finding out:
I was super tired towards the end of April -- to the point where I would go to bed shortly after arriving home from work. No energy and just overall feeling just blah; I thought I might be getting sick so I took it easy. I took a pregnancy test on 4/29 and it was negative so I didn't think anything of it since it was still so early on (my period was due 5/7). Two days later, I was eating dinner and gagged a little after I finished my meal -- I thought it was a little weird, but overall felt okay, so I went on with my evening.

The next evening, I hit the gym to go for a run and it was so challenging -- my stomach hurt, I had no energy, and it was so hard to run even at a slower pace. I ended up leaving after 15 minutes of trying to get into a groove without any luck.

The following day, I was feeling lethargic at work -- could hardly sit up in my chair, nothing sounded good to eat, and I almost went home sick. Upon arriving home, I was suddenly starving so I made myself a sandwich and as I was eating it, I kept thinking "this tastes SO good right now." When I had one bite left, I was like "oh no," and instantly ran to the bathroom and threw up.

I took a pregnancy test immediately after and it came back negative -- frustrated because I couldn't figure out why I felt so icky, I left it in the bathroom and went to lay down and call Andy to tell him I wasn't feeling well. Side note, these pregnancy tests are the best things ever because they're super cheap and come in bulk. I kept them in my bathroom cabinet, along with disposable cups since you have to dip the strip to test (TMI?).

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After awhile, I went back in the bathroom to throw away the test and it had the FAINTEST LINE EVER. You literally had to squint to see it! I called my sister to see if this was legit (she's had two babies) and she said YES, faint lines count as positives and to text her a picture! She called me back and squealed that YES, I was pregnant! I was excited, but still a little skeptical since it was so hard to see! I took a test the next morning and it was still faint, but slightly darker than the night before! 

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I took another test the following week and the results were clear as day! I know it sounds ridiculous, but I feel like there's just something about taking a bunch of tests until you finally get a strong positive. I also saw my doctor the following week since my OB clinic asks that patients come in as soon as they get a positive test. I love that my clinic does this -- after they confirmed with a pregnancy test from their lab, my doctor came in and answered any and all questions for me. This really helped put my mind at ease since our next appointment wasn't until the 8 week mark (and I swear, the weeks go by so slowly in the first tri!),

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How I told Andy:
I surprised Andy the following evening (after the first faint positive test) by telling him I got him something and then proceeded to pull out a little onesie! He was so shocked and excited! We went out to dinner that evening to celebrate our news -- it was so fun to chat about how our lives were about to change! This was such a special and happy evening that we'll always remember.

Sharing the news:
I know a lot of people wait until 12 weeks, but I immediately knew that if anything happened, I'd want the support of those closest to me. A few days after my positive test, I had dinner plans with my aunt, so I told her the news -- she knew that we were hoping to have a baby in the near future and was more than happy for us! 

I told my mom when we went to the Arboretum to celebrate her birthday / Mother's Day. I gave her a card that said "Happy Mother's Day, GRANDMA!" She looked at me confused, and I told her to read the next line that said "Little Pang arriving January 2019!" and she was so surprised! 

I also told my bestie when she MOVED BACK FROM HAWAII a week after I got the positive test. I'm just now realizing that I never blogged about this but I am SO happy that she and her husband, Christian, are living in MN now! 

As the weeks went on, I told a few close friends, but otherwise kept it a secret! 

More details:
This baby was planned, but I think we were both a little surprised by how quickly it happened! I made an OBGYN appt at the end of January since I was due for an exam but was also using the appointment as a way to test out a new doctor so that I'd have an OB to go to when I got pregnant. I ended up not really liking her and the clinic felt dirty and chaotic -- definitely not a good fit!

Fast forward to April, I went to see a new doctor to talk about pregnancy and it literally happened the week after I saw her. I ended up LOVING this doctor from the minute I met her and was so happy to have a new OB that I felt comfortable and confident about! It worked out really well because her office (as well as the hospital where I'll deliver) is super close to our new house! 

I wrote this post back in June, but since then we've had our anatomy scan, found out the gender, and I've started feeling some kicks! I'm currently 21 weeks pregnant and have been feeling great now that I'm in the second trimester. I have a first trimester recap post that will be going up soon -- along with a few other baby-related blog posts so I can get you all up to speed! 

I'm really looking forward to having a snuggly little newborn come January -- it's hard to believe that our baby will be here in just a few months! That being said, I feel like we still have SO much to do! We're going to look at cribs this week and hopefully place an order for one so we can start getting the nursery set up. 

What's your guess, boy or girl?!