A Different Kind of Christmas

Due to a couple of things that have recently popped up, our Christmas celebrations looked a bit different this year. Andy and I had good intentions of celebrating our “last Christmas” with just the two of us, but after the craziness of the last few weeks, we were both exhausted yesterday and ended up taking three hour naps. We’re hoping to celebrate together this coming weekend instead.

Andy’s dad has been having some serious health issues and we’ve also had a few other things pop up that have been a lot to deal with. We are both feeling a little worn out and it was so strange to find myself not looking forward to Christmas and instead craving the fresh start of a new year.

My new planner is on its way to our house and I’m really looking forward to re-evaluating my routines and schedule for 2019 as we adjust to our new life with baby. Lately I’ve been chatting with my friend Gina about this past year and it has been so helpful to talk it out with her since she and I are very similar in terms of our mindsets towards life / home / etc. There were so many great things about 2018 (work + baby + house) but also some habits and events that need to get ditched for the new year. I’ll write more about this later as we transition into 2019 because I have a lot to say on this topic. :)

After that talk about the new year, let’s take a look at the last few days. I took Wednesday off of work due to scheduling a whole string of appointments back to back. First up was the allergist — I wanted to meet with one to chat about why this allergic reaction was so severe and how to prevent it from ever happening again. It was SO helpful to meet with him and the answers that he provided were not at all what I was expecting. I’ll be sure to share more once my blood work comes back and things are clearer, but I’m SO glad that I took the time to meet with him!

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From the allergy appointment, I headed straight to the chiropractor for a quick adjustment before heading to my 37 week OB check. My doctor was running behind due to a birth, so I ended up waiting in an empty exam room for quite awhile. I was able to get a good chunk of this book read, which has been helpful as I start writing my birth plan this week (way late in the game, but life happens).

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I worked from home Thurs and Fri due to more chiro appointments and then on Saturday morning I headed out to a prenatal massage that my aunt had set up for me (seriously, I have the best aunt ever). It felt SO good to relax with an hour-long massage!

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On Sunday morning, I baked some of our favorite pumpkin bread, had our groceries delivered, and took a long nap before Andy and I headed out to look at Christmas lights.

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We drove through a few neighborhoods and also wandered through the arboretum for a quick visit since they were having a holiday light show.

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Andy also finished up the baby’s dresser (new paint and new knobs) and brought it up to the nursery, so I spent some time putting away all of his little clothes all organized by size. This felt SO good to get this checked off our list because now his room is basically done except for hanging his bookshelves and adding a few decor items.

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On Christmas Eve, Andy’s sister called to let us know that their dad wasn’t doing too well so we made the decision that Andy would drive up to visit for the day and I would stay home. I’ll share more on this later, but I was / am under travel restrictions per my doctor due to baby so we opted for me to stay home. Later that evening, my sister and her little family came over for a super casual Christmas Eve. Our plans have been so up in the air with so many things going on, so we literally pooled our fridges and pantries to see what we had and ended up with an awesome spread. Veggie tray, fruit, turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin bread, chips and guac, and homemade muddy buddies. We ate, hung out, and then opened gifts before they headed home to put the girls to bed for the night.

We had quite the interesting Christmas morning over here — I was having a lot of upper abdominal pain on Christmas Eve — making it hard to get comfortable while Andy and I tried watching a movie. I eventually gave up on laying on the couch and headed to bed. I woke up around 3am with the pain increasing so I called the birthing center to talk to the nurse; she wanted us to come in so she could check on the little dude to make sure everything was okay especially since I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for the past three days and noticed an increase in swelling.

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Note, this is why they tell you to pack your hospital bags a month before your due date. Mine were about 70% packed but when I say “packed” what I really mean is that everything was in a pile in the corner of our master bedroom. So, here we were at 3:30am throwing things into my Nike bag as fast as possible so that we could head to the hospital. We arrived at the hospital around 4am and were immediately taken to a triage room. They hooked me up to a machine to monitor baby’s heartbeat and then did an ultrasound to take a peek at him. Thankfully, all was well and she said the abdominal pain is just my body getting ready for him to be born but that it was good we came in to have him checked. She said I need to start taking it easier — focusing on more rest and taking some baths to relax. I feel like that’s always easier said than done, but now that work is winding down, I think it will be a little easier. We thanked her, headed out to the car, and arrived home around 5:30am.

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Christmas Day was super low-key around here after our random middle of the night hospital run. Andy gave me this devotional for Christmas and it was the perfect gift to crack open yesterday morning while sipping a hot cup of coffee. The rest of the day was spent doing a quick treadmill workout, reading, taking a long nap, and watching The Grinch on tv.

My goals for today involve getting that hospital bag 100% packed and finishing our birth plan — wish me luck! ;)

What was your favorite part about Christmas?
Do you enjoy driving around looking at Christmas lights?

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?