Wednesday, December 28, 2011

16 weeks.

Sixteen weeks yesterday. :)

16 weeks

My belly’s getting bigger, but it’s kind of strange looking. My stomach’s getting below my belly button and still small from my ribs up, so my “bump” almost comes to a point!

I’m really excited that the baby can hear now. Makes me smile.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011


We have many family festivities for Christmas Eve & Christmas day. Brunch every Christmas Eve morning with Eugene’s family…


Took a second to get a photo together since I usually forget and realize the next day that I have a ton of photos of everyone except Eugene & me…


After brunch, we had a few hours to cook and pick up the house before we headed to church on Christmas Eve, time with my parents to open pajamas, ended with a cut-throat white elephant gift exchange with Eugene’s extended family.


We had a Christmas morning breakfast for champions: leftover {awesome} cheese fondue and toasted French bread cubes with Mt. Dew {Eugene had the Mt. Dew, not me}. I made the fondue in the Crock Pot this time around and it worked perfectly!


Can you tell I’m pregnant?! That breakfast looks both disgusting and super delicious to me, haha!

Christmas morning was really nice. Eugene read Luke 2, we exchanged some gifts, we headed to church, met up with his parents, went to his grandparents’, then had a lovely dinner and evening with my parents. Busy, busy, but filled with incredibly generous family and lots of love.


Even the pup had a happy Christmas with a new bone to devour!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas.

I had a lovely Christmas. I was really exhausted after all the places we went – Eugene’s family’s local, my family’s local, and we want to spend as much time as possible with everyone. My favorite parts of Christmas were without a doubt the Christmas Eve service and Christmas day church. I know for people with little ones, Christmas on a Sunday probably is super hectic, but for us this year, it was perfect.

I’m feeling the hormones mess with me a lot this week. I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia, missing my first baby & wishing I could hurry up and hold my second baby safe and sound, or just the usual emotions that come with major holidays. But any way, I was beyond blessed to have over two hours to be filled with encouraging and challenging words about the huge gift God’s given us & praising him with beautiful songs and hundreds of other voices around me singing to Him too. It was just what I needed. I would be so happy if that was all I did all Christmas – no gifts, no dinners, no parties, just praise.


This Christmas, for the first time, I really thought a lot about Mary’s role. Being newly pregnant myself, I just tried to imagine how Mary felt – unwed, anxious, humbled by God’s trust in her, in transition, tired from walking so many miles to the stable, scared to give birth, excited to meet her son, amazed to meet the son of God. So many feelings, it’s neat how all of that is summed up perfectly with, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19. It’s the perfect way to say it, treasuring and pondering in her heart. What an amazing experience.  Birth is amazing in itself, but the birth of a Savior is certainly something worthy of the highest celebration. I’m so thankful God gave such a gracious gift. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, friends!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Pizza dip.

For my small group Christmas party, I decided to try a new recipe that Eugene might actually like. He’s not necessarily a picky eater; he just only likes basic {unhealthy} dishes like pizza, tacos, mac ‘n cheese, mashed potatoes. I usually make fun dishes that are healthier when I go to parties because I know I won’t be alone eating it, but this time around I aimed to make my man happy. ;)

This Betty Crocker recipe was my starting point, but I jazzed it up a bit.

Basically, it begins with one block of softened cream cheese mixed with whatever herbs you want {I used Italian seasoning} and some parmesan cheese. That was my first layer in my pie plate.


Second layer was mozzarella cheese.


Third layer, pizza/marinara sauce.


Fourth diced peperoni.


Fifth layer more parm cheese.


Sixth layer more mozzarella cheese.


And, in bad blogger {but good party attender} style, I forgot to take a photo after I took it out of the oven. Here’s a centimeter of it covered in foil. The plate next to it was garlic bread I made with a basic baguette from the store, sliced, spread with butter & garlic, and baked in the oven. YUM.


It was a big hit with the males. And the “homemade” garlic bread was a fabulous partner to the dip.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cleaver’s Christmas.

We had our small group over yesterday evening for a Christmas get-together. These beautiful women have become fun friends of mine. :)


{P.S. I’m not the only one in the group expecting; my friend, Sarah, is due April 24 which is super exciting!}

We celebrated Jesus’ birthday & also Emily’s. We love some funfetti cake! {Thanks for successfully baking your first cake, Eugene!}


We had a lively discussion trying to brainstorm a new group name. We inherited “The Cleaver’s” in reference to the show Leave it to Beaver, but it kind of brings some other mental images that come with it. We came up with some crazy name ideas and just laughed and laughed all evening.


What a blessing it is to have a group of Christian friends who are all going through the same stage of life.


Monday, December 19, 2011

So how’s it going?

I get this question a lot, and usually I answer with the generic, “Really well, thanks!” But for memory’s sake, I want to write out a bit more details on this pregnancy so far…

How far along are you?

15 weeks and into the second trimester

What symptoms did you experience?

The first two months, my strongest symptom was dizziness. I struggled to stand up and walk at the very beginning, especially when I stood up after sleeping or laying down. I never threw up, but I hate to throw up, so I probably could have easily thrown up, but I wouldn’t let myself. I was nauseous, but I found that as long as I kept something in my stomach at all times I did okay. The “worst” time I experienced was always my 40 minute drive to work. Even though I was driving, I still somehow got carsick every morning…especially if it was raining. So sick! I mainly just felt like someone ran me over with a truck everyday. {Which is why I didn’t attempt to do any house projects, or anything for that matter!} Like I said a while back though, every symptom was a huge blessing to me. I was so thankful to feel sick and dizzy because it was reassurance that the baby was growing and my body was giving to meet the needs of the baby.

12 weeks side of body{This is a view of the baby from the side. Feet pressed up against me.
You can see that he or she is possibly sucking a thumb or finger.}

Do you have any cravings?

I don’t know if they’re cravings, or just the fact that when I find some food that actually sounds good and not gross to me, I want to eat it. Either way, yes, I’ve had some unusual cravings. I mentioned my first craving – a friend fish sandwich – which is still the weirdest one yet. I’ve craved nacho dip, sausage gravy and biscuits, the stereotypical pickles {no lie}, and Cheetos, and most often {unfortunately} McDonald’s double cheeseburgers. Ew. I am a total sweet junkie, but since being pregnant, I’ve had zero desire for sweets. Zero. And it’s so strange to me to see chocolate and not want to gobble it up!

12 weeks face forward{This is a slightly creepy view of the baby looking straight on
with a cute round belly and arms up by his or her head}

How has your miscarriage effected this pregnancy?

This was huge for me. My first trimester was very hard emotionally. I struggled to connect with this baby, whereas the first pregnancy I was instantly and deeply bonded. I think I just subconsciously {or consciously} protected myself with this. I struggled to not worry every minute that I was going to lose this baby too. I had some bleeding at 6 weeks {same time I had my first miscarriage}, and it was another terrible and terrifying 24 hours while we waited to get into the doctor to see if I was miscarrying again. I struggled to share the news with people out of fear that I might lose the baby and have to tell everyone. And I struggled to let myself believe that it was actually happening, that I was actually pregnant. I am keeping a journal for this baby, and so many of the entries for the first three months are all about fear. I’m doing way better now, and each day I prayed to God that I trusted Him and His will for our family. Trusting Him and letting go of my fear was a daily challenge for me {and still is}, but with each day that I give my fear to God my faith gets bigger and my bond with my baby gets stronger.

Have you seen the baby on an ultrasound?

I got an ultrasound at 6 weeks {I thought I was only 5 weeks} which is earlier than most get ultrasounds – I assume my doctor had me get this because of the previous miscarriage. At this point, the baby looked like a blob, no head or anything, but somehow God amazingly formed a beating heart for this tiny being. I also had another ultrasound at 12 weeks for the prescreening for the genetic diseases like Downs Syndrome. The baby looked like a real baby and was rolling over a ton, which was so awesome to watch. Eugene got to be there for both ultrasounds, wondrous thing. All the photos in this post are from the 12 week ultrasound.

12 weeks face down spine{The baby is face down with one arm and one leg showing. I think
this one shows the amazingness of God. All those tiny bones making
up his or her spine…despite the fact that the baby is only 3 inches. God is impressive.}

Have you made any plans/decisions about things for the baby?

Yep, a few. I get overwhelmed when I think too much about all there is to do, but so far I have a pretty good idea of how to decorate the baby’s room. I plan to go with cloth diapers {like my sister}, I pray I can breastfeed, and {if possible} have a natural birth. Eugene & I would love for me to stay at home when the baby comes {which is a big reason why we bought this house}, but we’re still working out budgets and, more importantly, we’re still praying for God to help us make this decision.

12 weeks top of the head{This is a view from the top of the head. Again, the had is close
to his or her mouth, maybe sucking a thumb or finger. :)}

Are you going to find out if it’s a boy or girl?

Sure are. And we’ll share that too.

What about a name?

We have a few ideas, but we certainly haven’t made the final decision yet. We’re struggling more with girl names than boys, so feel free to send suggestions! I really like names that are not popular. Eugene & I have decided that we’re not going to share the name with anyone until the baby arrives. I’m looking forward to surprising people on that great day!

12 weeks profie of head{My favorite. Beautiful profile of my baby’s face.}

Any other details about the pregnancy so far?

I’ve had a lot of round ligament pain {stretching to make room for the baby!} I’ve eaten like a pig…and nonstop. Big appetite here. I can still fit into a couple pairs of my jeans, but for the most part, I’m wearing pants that are a size or two larger than normal or one pair of maternity pants that my sister loaned me.

I am pretty sure that I can feel the baby move already. I realize that all the websites and books say that first time mom’s typically don’t feel the baby until closer to 19 weeks, but I’m almost 99% sure it’s the baby I feel. I felt it first last week. When I’m walking or moving around a ton, usually at work, and then I sit down and stay really still, I can feel what feels like tiny bubbles popping in my lower abdomen. I also feel something like soft fingertips tapping on me ever so lightly. And lastly, I can feel a sweeping motion {maybe the baby turning over?} It’s only for a few seconds right after I sit down from moving a lot, but I really think it’s the baby. :)

I feel like I end every post about this pregnancy with this phrase, but it’s true. It’s all I can think, having lost one baby and knowing that God has graciously given us another blessing and opportunity…

God is so good.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pretend Christmas with the family.

Guess who I saw this weekend?


My sister & her fam were in town for a long weekend for a wedding, so I spent Sunday and Monday {took the day off work!} getting some quality Cate time in while I could. It was bliss.


We pretended it was Christmas Eve & Christmas. Cate preferred standing on the wrapped presents rather than opening them. Espn did pretty well, got a bit excited during a game of fetch and nudged Cate over trying to get the ball, but other than that he was really good around her. Cate really got a kick out of feeding him ice cubes. He was a happy camper; he loves being able to run free for acres at my parents’ place.


Seriously, how precious is the photo above?


Cate liked to copy the pup every now and then. She saw him laying on the floor and decided to join right before she headed to bed.

It was a quick visit, but it was so nice to see them again!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fourteen weeks.

I’ve officially made it through my first trimester! Praise the Lord! I’m 14 weeks and one day today. :)


Now that I’m supposed to be getting more energy, I’m hoping Eugene & I can tackle some house projects soon. Our poor house has been severely neglected for three months, and it’s callin’ my name to get back to fixing it up!

So thankful for 14 healthy weeks.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Twelve weeks.

In keeping with the biweekly photos in front of the chalkboard wall, this is two weeks ago…


Tomorrow I’ll be 14 weeks. What a blessing!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Cranberry bread.

I’ve been craving cranberry orange bread for a while now. I bought extra cranberries when I stocked up for the Thanksgiving major hit side dish Sweet Potatoes with Pretzels and Cranberries. {I got SO many compliments on it again this year!} I had a little orange juice left, so I decided to improvise with a zucchini bread recipe I found in my Betty Crocker cookbook. The final product turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!


Here’s the original recipe…


I {obviously} used the cranberry bread version, but I made some changes. I didn’t have orange peel, so I substituted the 1/2 cup milk for 1/2 cup orange juice instead. I also used fresh cranberries, and used applesauce in place of half the vegetable oil to make it a bit healthier. Other than those two changes, I followed the recipe’s instructions.

Ingredients {not including baking powder, which I forgot for this photo}:


All the dry ingredients first…


Luckily, I only forgot the baking powder for the photo, not the actual recipe!


Here’s my non-official way of doing half apple sauce and half oil to make 2/3 cup – just pour ‘em both in there at once!


And my substitution of orange juice instead of milk {with a little applesauce still left in the measuring cup}…


Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients…


And I decided to try out a Bundt pan instead of two loaves pans. I thought it’d be a bit more festive. Luckily, it turned out really well! I used this helpful webpage with the pan conversions and did a little math to make sure it’d be an okay switch. I baked it the same as the recipe calls for, started with 60 minutes and tested the center with a toothpick. 




And here it is sliced with the bright red cranberries taunting you…


I took some into my church group and my work and everyone loved it. It’s not super sweet, but it’s really good!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sister session.

I headed over to my college coach’s house to snap a few pictures of his adorable {super smart} little girls. I took some photos for this lovely family back in September 2010. The girls are now 3 years old and a 17 months old, and they wanted to do a more casual photo session where the girls were just playing in their bedrooms. So not many posed shots, but hopefully they find a couple that they like.





The photo below looks posed, but really she just loved the camera. She walked into her bedroom, sat on the green ottoman and waited for me to snap away. Perfect! :)


I have another version of the picture below, but I thought Paco might appreciate the straight leg plank-form from Olivia. Made me smile.


How precious is this – two sisters reading together in the morning sunlight. {Love.}








By the time we headed outside, patience was wearing thinner {not mine, but the girls’} so we really only got one or two pictures of all four of them. I enjoyed spending the morning with them, learning about ring tailed lemurs who live in Madagascar and the phases of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. {Like I said, these girls are smart!} Oh, and Olivia speaks Spanish & English. I felt very enlightened! ;)

Paco & Jill, thanks for letting me come to your home & spend some time with your girls!


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