Week 26 – and Happy Easter!

We did our pictures today after coming home from a friend’s Easter dinner party, which was very nice. I love just getting together with friends and relaxing with some good food and great conversation.

Week 26 copy

After writing this note, my husband and I settled onto the couch for a little bit of “Heroes” via Netflix instant. And the baby started moving around, so he was able to feel her kick, which made him very happy. And it seems like maybe this week he’ll be home in the evenings more, which will be nice.

It feels crazy to be 6-months pregnant. On one hand, it feels like I’ve been pregnant forever, but on the other hand, it feels SO FAST and like the baby could just show up any day now!

25 Weeks and Counting…

I just gotta say, it’s hard to take decent photos when you’re congested and sniffly and your eyes are watering and you’re sneezing and…

Yeah, when you’ve obviously spent a lovely chunk of time outside in the gorgeous weather over the weekend, and “caught” allergy symptoms out there. Stinking pollen!

Also? I win the prize for camera remote control concealing with the belly-heart photo. haha. That was a little tricky.

Week 25 pregnancy photography

24 Weeks Pregnant

I can’t believe there’s only 16ish weeks left. Less than 4 months. Time’s a-ticking! This coming Friday I have an appointment at the hospital, and then that evening we’re having our first Bradley childbirth class with a local instructor. Still haven’t scheduled a massage though! Everything is going smoothly.

24 weeks pregnant
24 weeks pregnant

23 Weeks Pregnant

Not my favorite photos of the series, and not my favorite shirt in the world – I just had had several dark shirts in a row and wanted something brighter in the picture. haha. I feel like I’m getting huge, but I know this is only the beginning!

…and I’ve been sitting here with this window open for over half an hour, and can’t think of anything else to write. The baby stole my brain. So this is all you get. Don’t even ask how long it took me to write my “dear baby” note today!

Week 23 copy

Progress on the Baby’s Room

So we have this great room that gets TONS of sunlight during the day, and when we moved here we had planned to use it as the playroom for my in-home childcare. But then I got my job as a nanny (outside of my home) and decided not to pursue getting my childcare license, because it takes many months of “process” (made longer by furlough days and understaffed offices) and several hundreds of dollars.

I had already unpacked all of my childcare stuff though, and had even set up my play room – that’s how quickly I got “settled” here. So anyway, as time went on, we began to use the room as a sort of dumping ground (I hate rooms like that, grr) for various things we didn’t need right away… and then for the few things we bought for the baby already, and the things our friends have handed-me-down for her… but we never went in there, so we didn’t care.

babyroombefore

But now we’re roughly 17 weeks away from having another family member join us, and even though she will sleep in our room for a while, it would be nice if we had a “baby room” where I can spend some quiet time with her during the day, or where I can take her for the night and sleep with her if she is being fussy all night and my husband has a 6am flight and needs his sleep. So I started packing up my childcare things. And do you know what? I have a LOT of books and toys and stuff for 3-5 years old. Our baby girl is gonna be SET in a few years.

So anyway, today I set up 12 boxes – one for each month of the year, and I put my book boxes into them (I recently got little “cube” box/baskets from Target and separated my books by month) and my seasonal toys. Then, I started dividing up other toys – floor puzzles got spread out, different types of building sets and blocks got spread out, different “card games” got scattered… so this way when I do eventually start up childcare again, my toys will rotate a bit better and maybe I won’t forget about things as much. The two pictures on the right here show those boxes, 6 in the baby’s room and 6 in the living room, as I sorted things into them. I also started picking out a few toys and things I had never actually used and didn’t see myself using in the future for my childcare or my child, to sell them.

babyroomduring

Aaand… this is the state of the room right now. My 12 boxes are all packed up, and most of the other childcare stuff is also in boxes and moved out of the baby’s room. In the bottom right picture, those 2 shelves closest to the closet? Those, and everything on them, are going to be garage-sale-d next weekend, along with the little pile of books and things that are in the bottom left photo on the left side of the door. Some of the boxes and things still need to be moved/stored somewhere else, but for the most part, the room is looking MUCH better and is much more ready to become a nursery.

babyroomduring2

This is the hall closet – before, during, and after all the packing. This is ALL childcare stuff. Can you believe it? Like I said, our little girl is going to be set for books and toys when she’s 3-5. haha.

hallcloset2

I will post more updates as I prepare the room for our sweet baby’s arrival. We won’t be doing a TON in this room, because we already know we will be moving about 3 months after she’s born (though we don’t know where yet). So no paint on the walls, or wall shelves installed – we will probably hang some pictures and get her a dresser and a recliner/rocker for me, but I have lots more ideas for her “final” room… the one she will actually spend 3 years of her life living in. You’ll just have to wait till Octoberish to see all of that though.

22 Weeks, a little late

This weekend I went to San Francisco with girlfriends, and got back late last night, so didn’t take my 22-week pictures until today. But here they are, along with my note to Baby Girl.

22 weeks pregnant pictures photography

Does anyone have a pregnant-yoga DVD to recommend? I feel like I want to stretch and stuff, but the stretches I’m used to doing are hard/impossible to do with a big old belly! Gotta figure out a way to loosen up my muscles… extra bonus points if it’s available on Netflix Instant! Thanks in advance.

21 Weeks Pregnant and She’s a Girl!

I don’t’ need a lot of words for this one! I’m 21 weeks “along” now and our sweet baby is doing just fine. We got to see her on Thursday, and she is measuring perfectly and all of her organs are developing well and in working order.

week 20 ultrasound scan prenatal profile

She wiggled around a LOT during the anatomy scan, so it was tough to get good pictures of her, but it was so cool to watch her moving around inside of me.

week 20 ultrasound scan prenatal curled up

I cannot wait to meet our little girl… but on the other hand, she needs to hang out in her little bubble inside of me for a while longer and “cook.” We have a lot of preparations to do before she gets here!

Week 21 Pregnancy Photography

20 Weeks Pregnant, Tommy Emmanuel, and Primal Chicken Fingers!

Yesterday I hit 20 weeks in this pregnancy. A lot of people will say, “Wow, 20 weeks! You’re halfway through! But that’s only part true… while a pregnancy may last 40 weeks on average, for some reason (as I mentioned before) it’s measured from the first day of the last menstrual period, so for the first 2 weeks, you’re not actually pregnant. Then, I didn’t know I was pregnant until Week 6. So as far as “feeling pregnant” goes, this is only week 14 for me. Out of 34 weeks (based on a 40-week pregnancy, finding out at 6 weeks) that I will “feel pregnant” total.

Technicalities aside, I can see that I don’t have much longer to get ready for this baby! I’m so nervous because I haven’t found a Bradley class to take yet (recommended by my midwife, and I really want to find one to enroll in) or done much in the way of preparing the baby’s room or any of that. We don’t have a car seat or a bed or a dresser for the baby… so why is a prenatal massage on the top of my list of “things to do for the baby?” Haha!

This week we’ve started preparing our garden for the spring, and even bought a few plants (though the Lowe’s guy said they’ll have lots more to choose from in 2 weeks, so we’ll have to go back then). We’ve also talked about (though not done much about) preparing for a yard sale to get rid of some of the clutter taking up space in the house and garage. Also, since we know we’re going to move (whether into base housing or across the country) a few months after the baby is born, there are some things I can start packing already… mostly my child development materials which I’m not using now since I’m working outside of my home as a nanny, rather than doing childcare here. That doesn’t sound like much since it’s just one “category” of things, but it’s a LOT of things that I can pack up and it will free up some space for us!

Week 20 copy

So this Tommy Emmanuel concert? Holy crud… there are no words.

If you’re a fan of music or fingerpicking or guitars in general or even just a person with ears… Tommy Emmanuel will amaze and delight you. As a musician he is beyond talented, and as a performer, he is incredibly engaging and entertaining.

My dad is a huge fan of his and sent me an email a little bit ago saying that he was going to be performing near me and to QUICKLY buy tickets. Of course I jumped on it (since I’m also a huge fan) and got the last pair of “Golden Circle” tickets (first five rows) for his Tuesday performance at Orange Blossom Junction in Exeter, CA.

We didn’t really know anything about the venue, so we arrived all dressed up, possibly a bit overdressed. I didn’t mind though. It was our first big Valentine date *ever* (not counting military balls) and CERTAINLY a special occasion for us – celebrating our couplehood, our growing family, and our first Tommy concert!

Orange Blossom Junction, Exeter CA

Evidently this is the smallest venue in the WORLD where Tommy Emmanuel plays, by 300-500 seats. It was like sitting in a living room with a bunch of good friends… quite intimate. I feel VERY lucky (and we were in the 3rd row, a bit right of center).

Orange Blossom Junction Exeter, CA - Tommy Emmanuel Concert

We got a nice lady to snap a photo of us, and then we headed upstairs for dinner before the show.

The 3 of us ready to hear Tommy Emmanuel play!

The dining room was maybe a bit TOO intimate for my liking. Our table was maybe 4 inches away from the next table (on both sides). But the food was quite delicious and unique (the crab cakes with bay shrimp were delicious, and the homemade Cabernet ice cream was amazing) which made up for the squished-ness a bit. (See in the foreground of this picture? It looks like a line down the middle of the tablecloth, but those are 2 separate tables VERY close to each other, each for a separate couple who don’t know each other. Oh, well.)

Orange Blossom Junction dining room

He was a little embarrassed that I wanted to take a picture in the dining room.

Topher at Orange Blossom Junction dinner

But I didn’t mind… sometimes I’m embarrassing, and he knew that getting into this.

Me at Orange Blossom Junction dinner

After dinner, we headed downstairs to grab our seats for the concert, and snapped a quick photo with Tommy’s guitars before we put the camera in the car (no photography allowed during the show).

Us and Tommy Emmanuel's Guitars at Orange Blossom Junction

This is the song (not my video, not from this concert) that the baby started moving around during. I was grinning like an idiot while choking back tears. It was the most intensely emotional moment… Endless Road:

I also LOVED this song, which will be on his new album (I think that’s what he said). Halfway Home:

And this one, Haba na Haba (Little by Little):

So enough of that… on to the Primal Chicken Fingers. And sorry, there are no photos. I made them tonight and they were so simple, but too good not to share!

Primal Chicken Fingers:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and oil a baking dish.
  2. Flatten 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts slightly, just so they are a consistent thickness and will cook at the same rate throughout. Then slice into “fingers” (I got 4 good fingers out of each breast).
  3. Beat 1 egg with a generous splash of milk or coconut milk. Put the chicken pieces into the egg mixture.
  4. In a ziploc bag, combine 3/4 cup of Almond flour with 2-3 Tbsp coconut flour and the seasonings of your choice. I used a pre-mixed Ranch seasoning (not primal) but onion powder, garlic salt, and parsley would’ve been good if I weren’t so lazy tonight.
  5. A few pieces at a time, pick up the chicken fingers and let the extra egg wash drip back into the bowl before tossing them in the bag (seal it obviously) like “Shake ‘n’ Bake.”
  6. Arrange the coated pieces in your baking dish, then cook for about 25 minutes or until they’re cooked through.

At first I was disappointed that the outsides didn’t crisp (though I could’ve crisped them in a pan no problem) but the flavor? Out of this world. We will definitely make them again! VERY yummy.

Sweet Sweet Pup

Zora has always chewed up her toys and destroyed them if she could. Tennis balls don’t last long in this house, because she will use her front teeth to pick off all the fuzz and EAT it. If we don’t catch her in time she might even use her back teeth to chomp the ball into pieces.

When we first adopted Zora, my mother sent a box full of goodies for her “granddoggie” … innocent looking “puppy toys” which each lasted a maximum of 15-20 minutes before they were reduced to a pile of strings / scattering of rubber / mound of fluff.

We got her a “tire biter” toy which was supposed to be extremely heavy duty, but during the first (supervised) 20 minutes, she managed to shred part of it and she was up all night vomiting – evidently the “non toxic” toy was toxic to her.

When she was a puppy, we had a pillow in her crate for her to sleep on. Everything was fine until one morning when she had decided she was bored in there (despite also having a Kong toy to chew on in her crate) and chewed the entire thing to pieces… part of the zipper was missing, the inner pillow was pulled out and opened, and fluff was everywhere.

There was another day during her first months with us when she was sitting on the couch watching a movie with us, innocently chewing on her paw (she likes to do that sometimes). Except that when I stood up, a good 2 inch square chunk of my dress was missing from the hem. She hadn’t just chewed up my dress – she had EATEN part of it! Black dress + black puppy = hard to tell what is paw and what is dress.

We’ve tried several soft toys because they’re oh so cute, but they’d typically last 15 minutes unsupervised, or a few days if we only gave them to her under strong supervision (taking them away if she got too rough, but eventually she manages to look peaceful and innocent as she secretly chews seams open and pulls out stuffing).

But this duck? I think I paid $3 for it in the clearance bin at PetSmart. It’s terry cloth and adorable, and has a squeaker in it. At first we only used it as an incentive for her to come back indoors after going out for a pee break. It was her special “yay you came back in!” toy. We’d let her play with it for a minute or two upon coming in, then take it away. So aside from chewing one of the eyeballs open, no damage was done for a long time. Then something happened…

We forgot to put the toy away. But she didn’t destroy it. She would carry it around in her mouth, or sometimes RUN into another room and return with it, like she had remembered she missed her duckie and wanted to be near it… and if she started getting a little too rough with it we’d say, “Zora, be gentle.” and she would usually stop chewing and put her chin on the floor beside the duck.

Sweetest thing. This picture was taken one morning (after a recent haircut – isn’t she so cute with short fur like that? So silky!)… usually in the mornings she’ll cuddle in bed with me for a little while before I get up. If my husband goes to work before I wake up, he’ll usually take Zora out to pee, then feed her breakfast, and let her on the bed. Well this particular morning I woke up and she wasn’t in the room at all. I called to her, and she came running from the living room (probably lounging on the couch) into the bedroom, then jumped on the bed.

She looked around and jumped back down, and a second later she reappeared with the duckie toy! The duck had survived several days of being a “free toy” by this point, and she often just wanted it to be near her even if she wasn’t actively chewing it.

Sadly, a couple days later, she got a bit aggressive with it and chewed open one of the legs. I will mend it so she can still play with it… but this is the longest-lasting soft toy she’s ever had. Her ONLY other toys (besides a tennis ball for playing fetch, but never unsupervised) are Kong toys, which are almost indestructible. It has been absolutely sweet to see her be so gentle with a toy and become so “attached” to it (I don’t know if she has emotions about the toy or not, but she certainly enjoys it). I just had to share the sweetness with you all!

19 Weeks Pregnant and Happy Valentine’s Day

I guess I should’ve done something cute like dress in pink and hold a giant heart or something, but today it’s blue and just me.

This is a fun project so far and it’s really making me reflect on THIS WEEK versus letting the whole “journey” blur together – I like that.

About the banana run – It was my husband’s first “pregnancy run” to the store. I did NOT “make him” go. In fact, I told him over and over that he didn’t have to go. I took my prenatal vitamin on an empty stomach like a fool (he says, “I pity the fool!”), because I forgot to take it with dinner. I became SO nauseated and the only thing I thought might help w/that is a banana – but we didn’t have any in the house.
He is VERY sweet but I felt so bad for him running out at midnight to look for bananas.

He said that since I wasn’t TELLING him to go get something or being bitchy and it was something I “needed” versus something like “man I could go for some chicken nuggets right now”… that is why he wanted to go. He is definitely a sweet guy.

And the banana helped almost instantly. 🙂

So now it’s Valentine’s day – we were hoping to do some more yard work but it was a miserable morning – all foggy and chilly and such. So we watched some of Bones: Season 5 (my gift to him – he LOVES that show) and he has tinkered with his car a bit.

I’m making meatballs for dinner, from our grass-fed ground beef. I am very excited to use GOOD meat- can’t wait to get in the kitchen and get started! I’m also going to steam some artichokes and make some sort of sauce to go with them. Usually I do hollandaise but since hubs isn’t totally crazy for it the way I am, maybe I’ll try something new that he might like better… like a sour-cream based dip of some sort.

Anyway, without further ado, here is this week’s photo and baby note. (Pretty sure you can click on it to get the original size if you want.) I look SO much bigger than last week, but part of it is the clothes. This shirt (and another one I have just like it but in a different color) makes me look SUPER pregnant, and these pants let it “all hang out” versus the jeans I wore last week. Regardless, I probably AM actually growing too. haha. If only my hair would grow faster so I could get out of this awkward short-haircut-growing-out phase…

19 weeks pregnant photography

18 Weeks

Yesterday I “turned” 18 weeks “old” in my pregnancy – with the weird way that pregnancies are measured at least in the US (from the last menstrual period), that means my baby is 16 weeks along. I’m definitely out of the first trimester, though still have some lingering “effects”… sleepiness, exhaustion, food aversions… but not nearly as bad as before. I’m feeling peaceful about the pregnancy and I’m ready to start “glowing” at any moment. Any day now…

Inspired by donya luana on Flickr (who was inspired by this guy) and her gorgeous weekly pregnancy photos, I decided to take photos each week and write a little note to the baby. I’m not sure what I will do with them – maybe get them printed into a little book along with some photos of when the little one gets here. In any case, here’s the first one!

Week 18

Best Bread Machine Bread – Honey Wheat version

I was looking for recipes for a good sandwich bread to make in the bread machine, and came across this recipe on allrecipes. At 4.5 stars and almost 500 reviews, I decided to give it a go! Of course, after reading some of the reviews, I decided to try a honey wheat version instead, since we usually buy honey wheat bread from the store.

Homemade honey wheat bread

I’ve now made this recipe about 5 times, 1 of which I actually did the white version (still with honey though). Every time, oh yum!

So here’s how I do it:

Dissolve a little over 2 teaspoons of yeast in a cup of 110 degree water (Fahrenheit).

Add 2 generous squirts of honey, stir. Let sit for 10 minutes to get foamy and exciting.

Dump it in the bread machine’s well.

Add 3 cups of flour (either all 3 bread flour, or 2 bread flour + 1 wheat flour)

Add 1 teaspoon of salt (I just eyeball it)

Add 1/4 cup veggie oil

Set the machine to the sandwich bread/white bread setting.

4ish hours later, take the bread out and let it cool. In order to get good slices, you really need to let it cool completely before slicing it.

Homemade honey wheat bread

I love it slathered with nutella…mmm.

And what does the family think? My husband says, “I like it. It tastes like…good bread. And the pieces are big, so I can make bigger sandwiches.”

And Zora exercises extreme goodness (yes, goodness) and patience even for the tiniest morsel of bread… so I know she likes it!
(Also, please excuse her eye slime… she just woke up.)

Homemade honey wheat bread on Zora

The one thing I don’t love about the bread machine is that it makes weirdly tall loaves of bread that have a slit/hole in the bottom (because of the kneading paddle thing), although the convenience of throwing things together and leaving them alone is definitely a plus. Still, next time I might set it on the dough setting, then transfer the dough into my own bread pan and bake it in the oven. I bet it would also be great with sunflower seeds inside it. Mmm.