Friday, November 25, 2011

...Annnd I Finished a Looming Project

I love pennant banners. I don't know why, I just think they add such a cute, fun touch to a room or a party. Ever since I started looking at nursery inspiration, I knew I would want one in Eleanor's room.
*Some inspiration*
Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

I made a pennant banner this summer for my friend's shower. I loved the way it turned out and vowed I would make one for my baby's room too. Well, a couple weeks went by. A month. Two. Finally I picked out some paper for my banner. Then a couple of weeks later I cut out the pennants. Then this past week I actually assembled the banner. 

To get my pennants to stay on the rick rack, I used these teeny, tiny multi-colored brads. For some reason when I think of brads, I think of those bright gold things that teachers used in elementary school. {Anybody else?} So I got these really cute ones and, let me tell you, there were a hundred other choices!

The assembly process.

Annd, the finished product. {I will do pictures of the whole nursery soon!}
There will be a personalized painting on this wall as well.

I hope everyone has a fun time shopping today. We may venture out just to have an outing but for the most part, our Christmas shopping will be done from the comfort of our living room. As well as putting up our Christmas tree. Happy Black Friday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Well Happy Thanksgiving.
I really cannot believe that it is this time of year again. I am taking the year off from hosting dinner partly because of the lil' fact that I am 9 1/2 months pregnant and the fact that it is easier for my grandma to stay home and for the family to come to her. 

I just wanted to take a moment and express just how thankful I am for the many blessings in my life.

I am thankful for:
...My husband. I know I yammer on and on about him all the time on my blog, but really I just can never praise him enough. He is my best friend and throughout this exciting time of our lives, he has been such a calm, support and can always manage to get me to smile.

...My baby growing inside of me. We are bursting at the seams to meet her. Any day now.

...Our family. Our families are so supportive and are always there to help out. They are so excited to welcome their first grandchild/niece!

...Our home. We absolutely love our house. We don't always love the location however, we have made it our own, cozy and happy and couldn't be more excited to have a home to bring our daughter into.

...Our jobs. I am obviously off work right now, however my job let us put some extra money away for my time off and Ben's job obviously provides us the constant support to live our everyday life. We are so thankful in this time to have his job.

...Friends. We have amazing friends. We may not always get to see them all the time but we know that we have such supportive and loving friends. We have friends who are in similar seasons of life as us and some that aren't but that's okay. All of them offer different strengths to our lives.

...The troops. I don't always express how thankful I am for the military service men and women but during the holidays it really hits home because while I am home enjoying a warm and cozy meal with my family, they are overseas fighting for us. Not getting to enjoy time with their families. For this I am beyond thankful.

I know these are a few generic things to be thankful for but I tend to think that the everyday aspects of life often get overlooked. I don't like to take anything for granted and know that we are blessed beyond measure.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful, relaxing holiday and don't forget to count your blessings!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I love that tomorrow we will be feasting on this meal:

I love that Ben has a 4 day weekend.

I am loving these cozies for some postpardum days.

I love that it's time for Christmas special this year to bring our bundle of joy home to a cozy Christmas house!

Source: via Jenny on Pinterest

{I am obsessed with old fashioned ornaments. I got to pick some out from a great aunt last year and they are beautiful and I luuurved them on our tree!}

What are you loving? 
Linking to:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fall Maternity Pics

My husband's talents never cease to amaze me. *Sigh*
We took advantage of a frosty, sunny fall morning.
Here is what we came up with.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Think You Should Try These

Since having my time off work, I have been cooking and baking more and loving it! I have also been trying to put some things in the freezer for when we are too busy with the lil' punkin to want to cook dinner. I have put away some spaghetti sauce, a chicken and sausage casserole and some soup. I made a double batch of these cookies last week in hopes to put some away put apparently they were too delicious and have been disappearing rather quickly.
The recipe for these Ranger Cookies came out of my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Yes, I use it a lot.
Ranger Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup coconut
1 cup raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries or mixed dried fruit bits
{I used dried cranberries and a few white chocolate chips I had on hand as well}
1. Preheat oven to 375. Beat butter with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugars, baking powder and baking soda beating until combined, scraping sides of bowl.
2. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much flour as possible with mixer and stir in any remaining. Stir in oats, coconut, dried fruit.
3. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are light brown. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
{I ended up baking mine for about 12-13 minutes. I don't know if my spoonfuls were just too big or my oven is weird or what--so just a heads up.}

Also, last week, I realized we hadn't had pork in awhile so I took some pork chops out of the freezer from our "farm raised" pigs and put them in the frying pan, roasted some butternut squash in the oven and added it to some quinoa
I cooked the quinoa in the rice cooker with 1C of quinoa to 2C of water. That took about 20 minutes.
While the quinoa was cooking, I sauteed quite a bit of garlic and green onions in a little butter.
Once the squash was done, I let it cool a bit and cut it up into chunks.
I added the quinoa to the garlic and onion, added the squash, some salt, pepper and a touch of cumin and stirred it all together.
I love quinoa but I always forget about it. I think it has great nutritional value, is a grain with protein {which is very important for me right now} and is a nice change from plain rice. We then topped it with some green peppers and yellow onions that had been in the pan with the pork chops. Ben really liked the meal and it was definitely good when you could get most of the ingredients into one bite!

I know these are kind of random recipes to stick together but they were easy, delicious and I actually remembered to take pictures of them!

What have you been cookin' and bakin' lately? Any great quinoa recipes to share?

Friday, November 18, 2011

37 & 38 Weeks

We turned full term last week! Yay! It is really crazy to be this far along. This whole pregnancy I have thought she would arrive late, but now that we are so close to the due date, I can't get it out of my head that in reality she could come at anytime.

These past couple weeks have been really fun. We had a shower a couple of weeks ago, so we had goodies to wash, put away, and put together from that. We have been picking up odds and ends to make ourselves feel "ready," and we even packed the little girl's bag to take with us when the time comes. We are still both a little indifferent on packing our bags because it seems pretty straight forward and may even be a good activity for me when I am in early labor. We will see. Now that I have all this free time on my hands, I wouldn't be surprised if the pile for my bag started to grow.

BabyCenter tells us that she could be around 6 1/3 pounds and measures around 19 inches. Last week at our appointment, the midwife estimated about five pounds. We have an appointment tomorrow so we will again get to see what they think.

I have been getting more frequent Braxton Hicks--none painful. Overall I feel good bodywise, nothing too sore or achy. I get tired pretty quick and my heartburn is still in full force even though I think she is a little bit lower.

Eating is a little better now that I am home more and can stay on top of not getting too hungry. I can usually figure out something that sounds good. Frozen spinach always sounds good! The midwife isn't worried about my eating though or the fact that I still get sick sometimes because I am definitely gaining a healthy amount of weight.

It is so crazy how strongly I can feel her hiccups now and I love when she stretches and I can feel her on both sides of my stomach. As of last week they still think she is head down.

We finished our last birth class last night. We finished a little early since we were the only couple and each class went pretty quickly. It was nice to have the one on one time with the instructor and be able to ask whatever, whenever we wanted.

I am a little sad not to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year as I have the past two years, however, I'm pretty sure my 9 1/2 month pregnant body would be a little tired. It will be nice to just relax that day and enjoy Ben's 4 day weekend.

And a bare belly pic for ya!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My First Time at a "Mommy" Group

A few months ago a customer and I were talking about breastfeeding and she informed me of a group called La Leche League. Maybe some of you have heard of it but for those who haven't it is a support group for breastfeeding moms. I had sort of forgotten about it because the meetings were during my work hours. Well, the other day my friend who had her baby in September asked if I wanted to go with her to this week's meeting. Of course I said yes.
We didn't really know what to expect. My friend told me that her vision was a bunch of women sitting around feeding their babies--which actually turned out to be pretty accurate, however, there was some really great discussion and all of the women were really nice. Everyone was really open and honest about answers and it never felt like anyone was being judged. The topic for the week was "Ideas for the Holidays" because for a few of the moms in the room it would be the first set of holidays with their babies so it was time to brainstorm how to handle certain situations--sticking to feeding and nap schedules, too much passing around of the baby, travelling with a baby, etc.

I found it really helpful as an expecting mom because even though I haven't dealt with any issues, breastfeeding or otherwise, it was nice to hear answers to some of the questions for anything I have to look forward to. My friend brought up the point that people say breastfeeding is "hard" but we may only think that because we may get sore or this or that, but there are so many other factors that can come into play so it is really nice to have a support system or else it can be really easy to give up.

This is kind of a random post, I guess, but I had a really good experience and wanted to share in case anyone out there wants to look up their La Leche League {<--link for the international website}.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Unlikely Friends

I think friends are so important in life. I have had many friends throughout different seasons of life some who have remained and some whom I have lost touch with. I used to get really bent out of shape about losing touch with friends but I guess the way I see it is that unfortunately life gets busy and for whatever reason, it is a natural progression to lose touch with some people. I don't see it as a bad thing anymore. I do love the type of friendships that you may not talk to or see the person for quite some time but if you do, you pick right back up where you left off.

I have always had a close relationship with my mom. I can talk to her about anything, we talk multiple times a day and she is always there for me to help with anything I need. I mention this because the friendships that I am about to talk about kind of relate to a motherly relationship. They are friendships with women who are around my mother's age. Ben kind of makes fun of me for being friends with these older women {not in a mean way, I just think he finds it humorous that we always call ourselves "old" and then I kind of prove it by being friends with older women.} The reason I mention the relationship with my mom is because I think I would be more likely drawn to women this age if I didn't have a good relationship with my mother or she wasn't around.

I worked with both of these women in two separate places. We grew to chat and see each other outside of work. And I just really enjoy their company. I have always enjoyed the company of people older than myself but obviously this goes beyond a little older than myself. We have conversations about anything, we can go for walks, out for a drink, to get coffee and it never feels weird to me. The age difference is not weird to me. It just feels like I am hanging out with a pal. The other interesting thing is that it never feels like I am hanging out with my mom. Even though they are around that same age, it doesn't feel like either one of the women are my mother.

I think it is healthy and important to have a diverse group of friends. I love being able to call different friends for different reasons or think of one friend who would help me better with something than another friend. Though it is amazing and nice to have so many friends in the same season of life as me, it is also very nice to have some that aren't. They offer insight, anecdotes and company in a different way than my friends who are married with a baby or baby on the way like myself.

Do you ever find yourself in an unlikely friendship? Do you have different reasons to be thankful for each friendship? Do you feel like you have a lot of different kinds of friends or mostly all the same?

Monday, November 14, 2011

"First Day of the Rest of my Life..."

Those are the words Hub used on Friday, which was my first day off work after my last day. I always associated those words with a wedding, not necessarily "maternity leave" or an indefinite work hiatus. We have decided that I will be home for as long as it makes sense. If it starts to not make sense {financially} we can re-evaluate our options whether that be me finding a part time job, going back to a couple shifts a week at my old job, or Hub looking for a new job. Only time will tell.

Tomorrow will technically be my first day that I won't regularly go to work. The past couple weeks I have only been working three days a week. However, we decided it had come to the point in my pregnancy where I was just exhausted after work, it took me a couple days off to recover from those days at work and by that time it was time to start another week again. Standing for 7-8 hours was taking a toll on my body. I had really wanted to work until about a week before my due date but I have to listen to my body and we figure it is time to really focus on taking care of the baby and I. So, for the next few weeks that is what I am doing. I will actually have energy to get some chores done around the house, finish a couple more projects in the nursery, continue to wash baby clothes, put a few meals in the freezer, relax, take naps, go on walks, and read.

I have worked since I was about fifteen or sixteen so this hiatus before the baby comes is a little weird to me. I know once she comes, I will be a busy bee and not really think about not going to a "job" everyday but will be focusing on my new job at home. However, since she isn't here quite yet, it is a little weird to think about "just" being home everyday. I am so lucky to have such a loving and supportive husband who only wants the best for our family--whether it be regarding health, finances, stability and a parent home with our children. He makes it very clear that he will always do whatever he can to make our visions come true. I love him for that.

So, today I am feeling a little strange because I usually feel rushed on Mondays to grocery shop, do all the laundry, clean a bit, maybe go see a friend, get dinner made and even throw in a baked good here or there. However, today, I know that I have all the time in the world the rest of the week. It is nice to be able to do things at a slower pace and sit down when I need to. I am so excited to have energy this afternoon to go on a walk. The dog needs it more than as much as I do!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Mumblings

I love a rainy fall day that I get to stay home all day in my pajamas. I can do chores at my own pace, relax, watch a TV show here or there. It's really nice.
Someone else posted about this this morning but I have to chime in. Desperate Housewives is just losing me. I want to watch because it is the final season but more often than not I wander off to do something else and realize I have missed 15 minutes of the show! Would Tom and Lynette just figure things out already?!
I am definitely feeling more at peace with being ready for the baby than I was last week. All of a sudden I get overwhelmed by things but then realize that we are ready. We just need the baby.
I am coming to terms with the fact that this will be my last week of work.
I am getting a little over anxious to decorate for Christmas. I know, I know. It's still early. I think I can hold out for two more weeks!
For some reason I have been loving frozen, chopped spinach. I usually eat one package at a time but I could probably eat two.
I am so lucky to have such loving, generous and wonderful friends and family.
I need to get some new house plants to put in a planter Ben made.
I don't feel like I really have any TV shows that I am so in love with these days, but for some reason I have having a hard time with pulling the plug on the cable.
I think that our dog senses the addition to the family and she is needing some extra attention lately.
It was really cold and clear the past couple of days and I loved it.
We put our fleece sheets on our bed a few weeks ago and I LOVE them.
I watched quite a bit of football this weekend {for me}, like actually really watched it, and I enjoyed it!
There is a lot of tag removing and washing that comes with having a baby.

What are your randoms for this Monday?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

35 Weeks

I thought I would do a survey since I haven't in a long time!

How far along? 35 weeks 2 days 
Size of little miss? Babycenter says that she could be over 18 inches by now. I had my appointment with the midwife last night and she estimated the weight to be around 4 1/2 or 5 pounds. Babycenter says to pick up a honeydew melon to compare the weight.
Maternity Clothes? Pants definitely need to be maternity or stretch pants. I am wearing regular dresses and some regular shirts. 
Weight Gain? 34 pounds. The midwives are happy with this weight gain.
Stretch Marks? None yet. I have been putting on the Palmer's stretch mark lotion daily.
Gender? Precious little girl! 
Movement? She moves a lot but the movement has begun to feel differently because she is running out of room I think. It is more big movements than the little jabs I used to feel. Fine by me; it's wonderful to know she is growing in there! 
Sleep? Not so great lately. I have been sleeping sitting up and when I go to turn over, I wake up. I wake up because of heartburn. I toss and turn to get comfortable again. I have taken naps during the day the past couple of days.
Food Cravings? None lately.
What I Miss? Feeling "normal." Can't wait to be able to eat like a normal person again instead of nothing ever sounding good to eat.
Symptoms? Braxton Hicks, tired, nausea, achy back, heart burn
Best Moment of the Week? Visiting our friends' sweet new baby girls, one is almost 6 weeks old and one was 6 days old when we met her, and realizing that it won't be too long until our girl is in our arms! Also, my girlfriends are putting on a baby shower for me this weekend that I am so excited for!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Letter to my Daughter

Dear Miss Eleanor Grace,

It is becoming more and more real everyday how close you are to arriving; to us finally being able to hold you in our arms. Each big movement I feel these days is a reminder of your growth and you actually being a little human in my tummy.

There are so many things I cannot wait to teach you once you arrive. But first, I can't wait to nurture you, cuddle you, kiss your cheeks and spend time getting to know you. It is a funny thing knowing you being inside of me but I cannot even imagine how it will be to know you in my arms.

I honestly have no idea what to expect for your arrival but I do know that I love you so much already. I grow emotional just thinking about the day we get to meet you. Your dad is practically giddy every time we talk about the day you get here. Growing a human is hard work but I can only imagine how rewarding it is going to be.

Each day that passes I grow more and more absent minded because all I can think about is getting to meet you. We only have a few more weeks to go and my hope is that you stay in as long as you need to.

My hope for you is that you are happy. I want to provide you with a loving mom and dad, a warm place to lay your head, and happiness. You will always be able to count on your mom and dad; we love you so much already. I know the first days may not be the easiest but I think as long as we count on each other we will do just fine.

I also would like you to know that you will be arriving during my favorite time of year. Right before Christmas. Our house will be decorated to welcome you home and we will get to be cozy in our house as a new little family. I hope you love the holiday season just as much as I do.

I want to say hurry, but as I already mentioned, I don't want you to hurry and want you to make your appearance when you are good and ready. We cannot wait to meet you, sweet Eleanor, and will welcome you with open arms.

Mom and Dad love you.

Your Momma