Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy heart and healthy baby!!

The ultrasound today was amazing.  All the scary things that a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (and ex-NICU nurse) can imagine being wrong were NOT present, and we have a truly healthy peanut.  I can tell you that seeing all four chambers of the heart and hearing the strong heartbeat again just made my day.  I can also tell you that seeing Puddin' in real life made this whole experience so much more real.  I'm massively in love...... (yeah, a little gushy, I know!)  We stuck to our original game plan and did not find out, though apparently Puddin was wide legged during the exam and had we wanted to know, it would have been very easy to find out! 

I promised some pics, so here they are..................

My favorite!!!!!!!!  Look how it is cuddling up with him/herself and the arms

It's smiling!!! (profile pic)

Hand to mouth

We are just so thrilled with how everything went today, and I'm really looking forward to getting the nursery started now!!!!  Want to talk more about baby stuff next week?  Good, put your thinking hats on re: baby names!  Also, I've got a nursery picture example for you and the going home outfit (which you all are going to just DIE over!!). 

BTW, thank you all so much for your well wishes about the ultrasound.  I really, really appreciate your friendships- it's amazing how I've come to rely on darling bloggers' comments showing up in my email boxes throughout the day! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quick, easy, and delicious dinner

B and I love this recipe from Annie's Eats blog.  My family had chili on Saturday night and they thought this was the perfect accompaniment also.  Since my mom sent us home with one of the loaves (I made 3), B and I decided to use it tonight in a great sandwich recipe.  I thought I'd share it here since we liked it so much!

Make the bread (super, duper easy, I promise)
Slice two pieces for a sandwich
Add ham, cheese, carmelized onions and a pub or honey mustard between the two slices
Grill or use a panini press to warm the sandwich and melt the cheese
Serve with a dill pickle and your favorite veggie on the side

Quick and easy AND your whole family will like it!!  Enjoy!

BIG day tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow (Wed) at 11:15 a.m. B and I will be getting our big ultrasound!!   As I have previously mentioned, we are not finding out the sex (though about 15% of me really, really wants to).  The ultrasound will be the 3D kind and we'll get a disc with all the images, so now that we have internet and TV at home (yea for AT&T!), I'll do my best to get a few of the pictures uploaded tomorrow so you can see who your future offspring will be dating :) 

BTW, I'm halfway through the 21st week and feeling wonderful right now.  I finally look pregnant (rather than just fat) and, though my stamina has diminished considerably, I am still really enjoying my workouts.  Has anyone out there used a prenatal workout video?  I've found a few on Amazon and would love recs if you have any!! 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Total Glam!

If you are staying in for New Year's Eve, wouldn't this be an awesome way to decorate your table?  I love love love the rhinestone napkin ring.  It adds such glamour to the plate.  I wonder where it's from?  It actually looks like an antique bracelet I own!  This plus a great dinner, some good bubbly, and a close group of fun friends sounds fantastic to me!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Loving the house.........

We closed on Tuesday (it's officially ours!) and spent two nights there before heading to my mom's for Christmas.  There are boxes everywhere, but B got the kitchen completely unpacked on Wednesday while I was at work.  It's wonderful to at least walk into a clean and relatively organized kitchen.  He also had a blazing fire waiting for me in the fireplace.  LOVED IT! 

We're now up at my mom's house.  I've been snowshoeing twice (on a hard trail that totally got my heart rate up) and B snowshoed once and skiied once.  I thought about skiing today (midwife approved!) but it was super icy up here, and I didn't want to chance it.  If the snow had been better, I probably would have done the 4 hour pass, but I enjoyed snowshoeing with the fam instead.  It's been a nice long weekend- Christmas Eve dinner and mass were great and Christmas day was wonderful as well.  B and I both received wonderful presents- including some useful things and pretty things for puddin'. 

Tomorrow morning we'll head back early so that I can go to the grocery store (we have nothing in the house) and B needs to get his haircut for a job interview on Monday morning.  We're praying that this job interview is a strong one- the company and job is right up his alley.  We also want to get more boxes unpacked and organized before dinner and bed.  Then it's back to work before the long New Year's weekend.  I'm hoping we can get organized enough this week so that we can perhaps start painting (or at least doing painting prep work) in the nursery over the weekend.  It's probably not the first thing I should be doing, but it's definitely what I want to do the most!  We're also hoping to figure out which service we're going to use for tv/internet on Monday and have them come install everything this week. B desperately wants services in the house before all the bowl games this coming weekend. I'd just like to be able to upload some photos here!!

I hope you all had lovely Christmases and enjoyed all the time spent with family and friends.  I also hope that Santa was good to you all!!  Have a great week!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Do normal people cry at mass?

Today at Mass they told the story of Mary and Elizabeth, in preparation of the Christmas Story.  The choir sang a gorgeous version of Ave Maria to go along with the Gospel.  Can I tell you that I got misty-eyed through the story and then actually cried during the Ave Maria???  Now, I must admit that I definitely cry more easily now that I'm pregnant (darn hormones), but the story today of Mary and Elizabeth both being blessed with holy children of God and then hearing the Ave was too much for this darn emotional pregnant woman to handle!  I was quite embarrassed as this was the first time I had attended this church (new town and all) and I was by myself as B doesn't arrive in GR until later this evening.  However, I do have to admit that the meaning of the story today (and the story to come on Christmas Eve) takes on a special meaning to me now that I am "with child" and all. 

Other things to report........
*All my Christmas wrapping is done.  Yippee!
*I've definitely popped!  Pants that I wore last week without difficulty are now two inches from even closing in the waist.  I'm in all maternity wear now.  I'll try to get a picture over Christmas and post one for you. 
*I'm in the process of baking some Christmas cookies now, and it's making me feel so festive!
*We're having this soup for dinner tonight with a salad and some bread.  I made it once in early September and can't wait to have it again tonight.  Perfect for a cold day!
*TUESDAY is almost here.  Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*B and Junebug will be here in just a few short (or long, incredibly drawn out) hours.  I can't wait to see them.

Hope you all have wonderful weeks.  I'll be back after Christmas with pictures, updates, a NEW HOUSE, and we'll ring in the New Year together! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Baking

My holiday baking is VERY limited this season with the move, but I am going to have some time this weekend to make a few things.  However, I do not have any of my cookbooks or recipe cards with me.  I know I can peruse a few of my favorite online sites to look for things, but I wondered if any of you had any tried-and-true recipes that I should try.  I have already made my peppermint bark brownies (huge hit every year) and I don't have any of my cookie cutters here for my traditional butter cookies, but any other ideas would be GREAT.  Feel free to just comment that I should email you if you don't want to post the whole thing in the comments or just link me to the recipe online!

Thanks in advance for your help.  I definitely appreciate it (and the recipients of my baking thank you as well!!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It kicked me!!

I had my first midwife apt here in Grand Rapids tonight.  I am so lucky because I really like this new practitioner as much as I liked my old one- very down to earth and friendly.  We talked through a bunch of things and everything seems to be right on track.  I am getting my blood drawn this week again but nothing to be too worried about. 

The big news is that when we were listening to the heartbeat with the doppler, Puddin' kicked me!!  It was so cool to hear it and feel it all at the same time.  It did it 4 different times.  The midwife said it was "showing off for it's mommy."  That totally made me teary-eyed (Lord, I am SUCH a sap!).  I've never heard (or thought about) the word mommy being used specifically for me before.  It honestly made my heart grow like 3 sizes in about 30 seconds. 

Also, we will NOT be getting the "big" ultrasound next week which is our 20 week mark.  The u/s tech is super picky at this office and doesn't do them until 21 weeks unless there is known fetal distress.  GRRRR......  So we get in on the 30th of December instead.  The upside to this, though, is that this office automatically does the 3D u/s as their baseline u/s, so we don't have to pay any more to get awesome pictures, AND they give us a disc with all the pics on it.  This means it will be super easy to get some pictures uploaded here for you guys to see.  (You know b/c I'm sure all of you are just sitting around with bated breath waiting to see pictures of my baby, right??)

Also, we are still looking to close on the 22nd and I still love my new job!  I'm super jealous of all you planning out your Christmas lists as B and I are not exchanging gifts (what with the house and the baby and all) and all we are asking for from our families is gift cards to Home Depot and Lowe's.  How not fun, right?  I do have to say that I have really missed perusing the JCrew website this fall and winter, but my bank acct is loving that they don't make maternity clothes :)  I hope you all are getting super excited for the holiday and are enjoying all the wrapping, baking, and card writing that comes with it. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas List Edition of Getting to Know Bloggers

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?  Wrapping paper!  My mom usually saves all the wrapping for me (not this year) because I like it so much.  When I retire, I'd love to work somewhere gift wrapping during the holiday season.  I think I like it so much because I love the ribbons!

2. Real tree or Artificial?  Both...............we'll have multiple trees in our house, one real and the rest fake.

3. When do you put up the tree?  As soon as I can after Thanksgiving.  It depends on the travel involved in that time frame.

4. When do you take the tree down?  The weekend after New Years. 
5. Do you like eggnog?

6. Favorite gift received as a child?  Samantha from American Girl.  I begged for her for a year and a half before receiving her.  I still have all my American Girl dolls and am saving them for a daughter!

7. Hardest person to buy for?  My dad!
8. Easiest person to buy for?  B- I've always got a hundred ideas running around in my head for him.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes.  It's currently just Mary, Joseph, and tiny, baby Jesus, but I hope to add to it over time.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail! I love getting and sending Christmas cards.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? ??????

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?  It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.  Love them both!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?  If I find an appropriate gift in the fall, I'll buy it.  I usually don't start thinking about it too much until right before Thanksgiving.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?  Butter cookies (yum), my mom's cinnamon rolls, and nuts and bolts (our family version of chex mix)

16. Lights on the tree?  Lots and lots of white ones

17. Favorite Christmas song?  Too many to choose from.  See my previous Christmas music post

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?  I have never spent Christmas morning in my house.  I've traveled my whole life.  I'm not sure what B and I will do once we have our own family.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Easy breezy :)
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?  An angel

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?  On Christmas

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?  Not enough time between Thanksgiving and Christmas to accomplish everything and the obnoxious lines at Target!

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color?  I would just say that I love a well decorated tree, regardless of the style, color, or theme.

24. Favorite for Christmas Dinner?  Turkey

25. What do you want to do for Christmas this year?  I just want our closing to occur and the house to be ours.  I also really want to snowshoe at mom's.

27. Favorite tradition now?  Playing Scattergories with the family after all the gifts are opened and dinner is finished on Christmas night.

28. Favorite Christmas Memory?  My Christmas dates with B.  We usually do it the weekend before Christmas and go ice skating, walk around and look at decorations, drink mulled wine, shop a bit, come home and get dressed up for a wonderful Christmas dinner together.  It's a great way to slow down and enjoy the season together.
This isn't a tag, so if you are interested in playing along, I'd love to see your responses!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


This is a live one, ladies!  Thank you all so much for your comments on my Christmas posts.  I adored finding the pictures, and you all are right- decorating our house next year is going to be SOOOOO much fun. 

Update #1:  We are not closing tomorrow.  This is a huge disappointment.  So huge that I spent 3 hours crying hysterically on Monday night.  It was a bad night.  The appropriate papers didn't come through and with my new job, they were concerned that it wasn't a permanent enough position, so they didn't want to give us the house.  In the last two days we have gotten this figured out (this is a job I'll still be at in 30 years, peeps! and thank God for all those who went above and beyond at my new job to help me with all this) and will be closing on the 22nd of December.  Not the best day or week of the year to close, but we still will be getting the house of our dreams, and we will all be together for Christmas.  That's what's important.   I'm a little (okay, a lot) stressed about the packages containing presents and the mail that are already on their way there, but we'll just figure it out.  I'm also a little overwhelmed with all the unpacking, decorating, painting, cleaning, etc, etc, etc that has to be done. 

Update #2:  News on the baby front- IT MOVED!!!  It was last week, and I was sitting on the couch, and I felt it!  I wasn't sure if it was the baby or not, but it was different than anything I've felt before.  Now I've felt the same feeling a few more times (including tonight!), and I'm pretty sure (like 85%) that it must be the baby.  What else could it be, right?  That means it's actually alive in there, and I'm not just gaining weight randomly :)  I have my first apt with my new midwife next Tuesday, so I'll get to hear the heartbeat again.  Lovey lovey lovey!!!  Right now I'm 18 1/2 weeks along and it's the size of a bell pepper. 

Update #3:  Welcome to all my new followers!  I hope you enjoy it over here.  It's going to be a sporadic month, but I promise to be more consistent in January!

Update #4:  Does anyone have a solution to incredibly itchy pregnancy skin?  I'm using a pretty thick, non-scented lotion, but I still itch constantly.  I'm not sure if it's just dry or if there is something internal related to the pregnancy.  Are any of you pregnant women or moms out there aware of this being a complication of pregnancy?  It's seriously driving me batty.  I'd love body and facial lotion suggestions to get me through the winter months!  I'll ask the midwife on Tues as well, but I know a bunch of you out there are product junkies and probably can help me out a bit!

Update #5:  GR is supposed to get 8-12 inches of snow tonight!  It's snowing right now, and it is SO pretty looking out the window.  I'm guessing that a lot of people will cancel their clinic appointments tomorrow, so it should be a light day at work.  I'm hoping the gym stays open so that I can head over after I get out!!  Do gyms close due to snowstorms?

Update #6:  I'm heading out Friday after work to go to Chicago for the weekend.  Since we won't be moving in, I want to see my puppy and my hubby and hang out with them.  I know it will make me feel a ton better.  I'm going to wrap a few presents, run a few errands, play with my dog, go to the gym and SLEEP!  It'll be so nice to be in my own bed with my hubby for two whole nights.  Yea!!!  

Gotta go, sweets, Top Chef season finale just started, and I can't miss a minute.  Team Kevin all the way!!!

Gorgeous Christmas Place Settings

When we registered last year, I wanted (and received) all white for my everyday dishes.  I feel they are so much more versatile, and, with those as a basic start, you can set a table in so many different ways.  Here are a few holiday place settings I found that use white dishes for the base and add from there.  I love them all! 

This tablecloth is fantastic!  I also love the centerpiece of flowers and berries.  Tonal centerpieces are defintitely my favorite!!

I love the pewter in this picture.  Plus I love the fluted edges of the white plates and bowls.  Simple and pretty.

Love this look for a buffet.  Simple colors, beautiful china (looks like Vietri), and the variations in height(the pitcher filled with white flowers and that gorgeous soup turreen) really add an elegant look to the more rustic farm table and the incredible mantel clock.

Simple gold and white with hemstitched linen napkins.  I love the jingle bell accent!

Love this display for a buffet brunch.  So gorgeous on the silver platter.

With this vibrant tree and tablecloth stealing the show, only white plates would work.  This is such a fun and festive look.  I love that it has different pops of colors other than the traditional red and green.  Wouldn't this be great for a fun brunch around New Years as well?

Which is your favorite?  Did you also register for all white dinnerware or do you have a color or pattern?  I'd love to see your pattern (everyday or china), so please share!!

Pictures courtesy of House Beautiful and Country Living

Monday, December 7, 2009

A few more Christmas decorating pics

I love how homey this room looks with the not quite perfect trees and their simple white lights.  I also love, love, love that there are candles everywhere!  This room would be gorgeous and cozy at night with all the candles lit and a hot pink or red cashmere throw.

So traditional, so lovely.  Perfect for a dining room.  I will definitely be on the hunt for a tartan ribbon for gift wrapping

A simple wreath with a bow will dress up any kitchen.  Since most people don't have to space for a lot of decorating in the main hub of the house (especially with all the Christmas baking that simply must be done), this is an easy addition.  It would be great if made with bay leaves as well.  We actually will have the perfect spot for something like this in our new house!  Yea!

I adore the star garland and think this could easily be made with a thick gold scrapbooking paper, a star pattern, a hole punch, and a guazy white ribbon.  I may be working on this for the next few weeks if I can find the right paper!  While blue is my favorite color, I prefer red on my Christmas trees and can totally see this with large red balls with beautifully wrapped packages underneath!

**All images from House Beautiful**

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Today I miss my husband.  And my Junebug. 

But mostly my husband.

I wish we were together, getting organized for Christmas, baking, wrapping presents, putting up a tree.  I wish there was some sense of organization in my world right now.  I wish we were listening to Christmas music and making a roast for tonights' dinner. 

I will be with him again one week from today.  I'm incredibly lucky that he is not overseas fighting and that he doesn't have a job that is 100% travel.  I think it's just been hard for these two weeks because of all the other new things that are taking place.  I cannot wait to be settled and "home". 

I realize today how lucky I am to have the word husband in my vocabulary.  I am glad I have someone who loves me, who wants to spend our lives together, and who I can miss desperately.  There are a few of you out there that I have been praying for- that you may find this person in your life.  He is my heart's content, and I know that there is an amazing man who matches you, just as he matches me. 

To B (my faithful reader), lots and lots today!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Greens

Since we're moving into our house on the 12th of December, it really doesn't leave time to unpack and decorate.  Especially since we'll be spending the actual holiday weekend at my mom's house.  While I'm bummed because I adore the decorating process and unpacking everything and reminiscing about it, I also know that the stress it would cause to try to unpack, get organized, and decorate would be too much for us for two short weeks.  We will at least try to get a wreath up, but that's probably all for the 09 season! 

Decorating with Greens is below.  All are so nice!

Isn't this color scheme just fantastic?  I adore colored doors, and I love the way the red pops even though it's just an accent color.

Something similar to this would be great in a formal dining room.  If you could find the frame at an estate sale or an antique store, you could actually do this quite cheaply.  If you had another piece of art that is normall on your wall in that same spot, you wouldn't even have to add an extra nail spot!

I love beadboard, and I love the creamy white china up against it with just the hint of green in the wreaths.  I'd changes the old books out for cookbooks and do something like this on open shelving in my kitchen or in built-ins in the living room with silver picture frams and candlesticks.

Are there any preppy bloggers out there who don't love this??  I think this (or something similar) would look great on our breezeway porch next year.  If I can find a red tote, then perhaps a red flowerpot?

I love blue in the bedroom, and while I know I will never decorate my bed with greenery (Junebug would eat it off for sure!), I love how this looks.  If I ran a B&B, this is exactly what I would have in the room!! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Christmas Pattern

When I was little, I used to ask my mom every year to walk by the Christmas Home section at Marshall Field's so that I could look at these Waechterbach Christmas dishes.  I just loved them so much!  When I was in college, one of my gifts under the tree was 4 of the large plates- I about died!  I never asked for them (and, seriously, what college kid would?) but was SO excited.  I've been collecting them ever since and now have a 8 full sets.  I'd love to have 12 total, so I'm still working on the last 4 settings.  Now that I'm an adult and have seen many of the other patterns out there, I still think mine is my favorite!!  I do have some of the fun extras like the butter dish, the spreaders and the salt and pepper shakers, plus 5 different platters.  I do not have the pitcher seen above, nor do I have the mugs.  Those are on my "watch out for" list.  I'm so excited to have a dining room now so that I can set these out during the holiday season and decorate around them!

Do any of you have Christmas dishes?  Do you have the Lenox set, the Spode set or mine??  I'd love to know if you do and why you chose that set (or if they're great grandmas that was handed down to you!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My favorite Christmas CDs

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the music.  I remember as a child starting the Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving on the big stereo in the living room and being so sad when we had to pack it away with all the Christmas decorations after Christmas was over.  I, as many of you, get so annoyed with the "Lite" stations that play Christmas music from now until the Christmas day.  It's not that I hate the idea, I just wonder why they have the same 15 songs on repeat for 6 weeks.  Seriously, there is amazing Christmas music out there and they pick the same songs over and over and over that have little to no feeling to them.  I mean, how many times can you really hear Feliz Navidad or Rockin around the Christmas Tree without wanting to vomit just a little?? 

So in honor of my love of Christmas music, I'd like to shar with you some of my favorite CDs and some of my favorite songs off of each CD.  I'd love to hear your suggestions as well, as I tend to buy at least 1 or 2 new Christmas CDs each year.  Trust me, I have quite the collection!!

B does not like Manheim, and the traditionalist in me understands that.  However, the Live cd as well as the four pack are my Christmas time staples.  Their version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel is done in Latin and amazing!!!  Traditions is all instrumental (as most of their's are) and lovely and so something you'd want to rock a new baby to.  On the live cd, there is NOTHING better than their version of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.  AMAZING.  I have actually seen them in concert and it's really a cool thing to watch. 

The BEST dinner party cd out there.  It's not only for the Christmas season (hence the title "Winter").  If you aren't familiar with Mr. Winston, he does contemporary piano music that is simple, soothing, and non-offensive for anyone.  His other cds are great too, but this one shines.

Last year in the blogosphere, a few people mentioned loving Amy Grant's Christmas cds.  I couldn't agree more.  All of them are wonderful (though I still don't have the newest)- she has such a great voice.  Emmanuel, Heirlooms, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, For Unto Us a Child is Born, Emmanuel God with Us, and Breath of Heaven are just a few favorites. 

All I Want for Christmas is You........need I say more?  I normally dislike "pop" Christmas songs (I'm such a traditionalist), but this cd is great!

My very, very favorite Christmas CD.  We even had it on record when I was little!  I now have the cd and cannot wait to share it with puddin.  S/he is going to adore it just as my brother and I do.  This was the cd that was always on in the car as we traveled to Grandmother's house for the holiday and our whole family knew all the words to every song.  I think this is the best gift to give a young family as they will treasure it for years.  I adore the whole cd so picking a few favorites is hard, but I'll recommend The Peace Carol, A Christmas Wish, and Silent Night.  I promise you will not regret this purchase!!

A great, very traditional instrumental Christmas CD.  Doesn't the cover just scream preppy ski lodge?  I love the bow around the French Horn.  A great cd to have on rotation during your Christmas cocktail or dinner party.  Kids will love their version of Rudolph!

If you only download one song off this CD, make sure it is When a Child is Born.  It's a wonderfully sweet Christmas song.  Charlotte is definitely more Operatic than pop or traditional, which some of you may not like, but I think she has a great voice, and she doesn't change the songs to make them weird (which I always appreciate when songs are sung rather than instrumental).

For all you Southerners (or Southern girl wanna-bes) out there that do not already have this, it is a MUST.  Tender Tennessee Christmas and Christmas in Dixie are my favorites. 

So, those are my favorites.  What are yours???

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Next few weeks

Hi Ladies!

I hope you all had a truly wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had a nice time with B's family.  I'm really feeling so much better- I haven't had any nausea for days now.  I have been exhausted the last few days, but whether that is due to the pregnancy, the stress of all the new things to come, or going out every night for the last 3 nights is anyone's guess.  Probably a little of each.  Today (Sunday) I am leaving B and Junie to drive to GR where I start work TOMORROW!!!!!!!!   Crazy.  I can't believe all the change is actually beginning.  I"m just praying for clarity, peace, and a good sense of direction in my new town :)  Oh, and that nothing happens with the closing!

I do have some Christmas posts scheduled for the next two weeks, but it'll be kind of sporadic around here.  B is keeping our computer at home, so I won't have my own in GR.  Instead I'll have to check all of my accounts from his cousin's.  I'll try my best to keep up with everyone, but with everything that is going on, I'll probably be pretty spotty with commenting and posting for the next few weeks.  I absolutely promise that I will be up and running full speed after Christmas, and, hopefully, the week before! 

We have our first midwife apt with the new group on the 15th of December, so I'll do my best to get on and fill you in on puddin.  By the way, he/she is the size of a turnip this week (5 1/2 inches long and 5 oz).  I haven't felt any movement or flutters yet, but hopefully it'll happen soon!!  We have our big ultrasound the week after Christmas (they do it in their practice at 21 weeks).  I am so looking forward to seeing the baby.  I know I'll just be treasuring those photos until he/she is actually here!

See you in a few!  Enjoy the start to your holiday season.  I can't wait to read all of your holiday posts and hear the latest blog land gossip!!

God Pause for Sunday

From Luther Seminary:
Saying thank you was probably one of the first things your parents ever taught you. A relative handed you a piece of candy or gave you a compliment and your parents were on top of you: "And what do you say?"

Most of us reached our pinnacle of thankfulness when we were four, which is why I will be your parent today.

When someone lets you squeeze into congested traffic, what do you say?

When you have to pay your taxes, what do you say?

When you realize that God created you, brought you into being and gives you every breath you take, what do you say?

When you walk, see, cry, laugh and love, what do you say?

When you look around the table at the loved ones gathered, what do you say?

When you realize that the God of all creation cares about you and died on a cross for you,
what do you say?

Dear God, thank you. Amen.

Peter Geisendorfer-Lindgren

Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Maple Grove, Minn.

Master of Divinity, 1983

Psalm 26 (NRSV)

1 Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you.
4 I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites;
5 I hate the company of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands in innocence, and go around your altar, O Lord,
7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all your wondrous deeds.
8 O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides.
9 Do not sweep me away with sinners, nor my life with the bloodthirsty,
10 those in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.

Today I am thankful Lord, God, powerful and holy One and the prayers that keep me close to him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderfully happy, festive, family and food-filled day today!  Many blessings wished upon you all for safe travels, fun conversations, good wine (drink a glass for me!), and a wonderful weekend!  I hope a few of you turned on my favorite parade of the year this morning!  I won't be watching as I'll be driving 4 hours in the car instead- boo!

Today I am thankful for..........B's family for hosting Thanksgiving weekend!  It'll be fun to spend time with all of them (parents, aunt&uncle, cousins, grandmother). 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today I am thankful for.......

  It's the city where I have
*made lifelong friends
*met and fell in love with my perfect husband
*ate amazing meals at favorite restaurants
*saw incredible shows (Jersey Boys and Wicked being two of my faves!)
*walked and walked and walked some more
*shopped to my hearts content
*wore winter jackets for wayyyyyy too long
*celebrated summer by attending farmer's markets and drinking at street festivals
*worked at an amazing children's hospital and became a strong, confident nurse
*adopted our precious pup
*earned a graduate degree
*experienced more than I ever dreamed possible in only 8 years

I have so enjoyed the last 8 years here, and I'm experiencing such mixed emotions about leaving.  I'm happy to start a new journey and live in our first home, sad to leave our friends and this great city, scared to leave my current job and start a new one, ready to have more space, and overwhelmed with all the many changes are happening at once.  I'm so glad I was convinced that living here right out of college would be an awesome experience- it definitely was!  I also know that coming back as a visitor will be great because I'll know all the haunts, the neighborhoods, and how easy it is to get to all my favorite shops, restaurants, and attractions. 

I'll miss you, Chi-town!
You'll always hold a huge spot in my heart!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Love this face.............

Just look at those eyes..................she's such a spoiled baby because of them!

(please ignore the drool on the back of the comes with the wrinkles!)

Today I am thankful for the library system.  I am a voracious reader, and I could NEVER afford to buy all the books I read.  I'd seriously be broke and naked!  I love that the library system here in Chitown allows me to reserve books I want to read by going online- I hope it's the same way in GR (and I hope there is a library that is close to my house)!!  BTW- I need some new books to read..........any suggestions?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today I am thankful for.............

chocolate pecan pie.  Seriously, one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth.  The crust was phenomenal, the chocolate didn't completely melt, so it was still slightly chunky, and the pecans added just the right touch.  You simply MUST make this.  I promise, it's not that hard and so worth the results. 

The BEST Chocolate Pecan Pie

I got tons of compliments on all three of the desserts, and my friend L made great pumkin cupcakes.  Friend Thanksgiving was just wonderful!  B ended up getting the whipped cream pie in the face because we're moving away!  It was too funny!!! 

Saturday, November 21, 2009


So today I spent the late morning and early afternoon in the kitchen baking up the three desserts we are taking tomorrow night to our "Friends Thanksgiving".  I really wanted to make the apple tart that I blogged about earlier this fall, but with no oven at the place we are having dinner this year, it would have to be served cold, and it's just not as good that way.  Instead I decided to make a traditional apple pie, and it turned out beautifully!!! 

The top caved in slightly during the cooling process, so you can see the slight tear in the crust, but I think it'll get eaten anyway!  I had some leftover crust that I sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and then baked, and this crust is GOOD!!!!  I absolutely cannot wait to dig in tomorrow.

The second dessert is a chocolate pecan pie.  B didn't think that anyone would even be interested in this (he just doesn't get the interest in pecan pie at all), but I figured I'd try it out and see if it's something I'll ever want to make again.  Someone will eat it, right?

The crust on this one is different.  I"m anxious to try a tiny sliver of it to see which crust I like better to know which I would use again in the future.  I was happy with how easily both of these crusts came together, so it certainly won't be a question of which is easier.  A food processor, a refrigerator, a rolling pin- simple!

The third dessert is a pumpkin pie crumble cake.  I'm sure I'd get a much better visual if I could cut into it, so I'll try to remember to get one tomorrow while I'm serving!

It has a yellow cake base, a thick pumpkin layer, and a pecan crumble top.  It certainly smelled delish during the cooking process!!

We also made mini chocolate chip pumpkin loaves for each couple/person to take home with them.  Okay, I shouldn't say we because B did all the hard work on this one, though I did tie the bows!  These are fantastic, and I know everyone will enjoy them for breakfast Monday morning!!

If any of these recipes are extremely successful, I'll post them later this week on the blog.  I don't want to post them now for fear that they won't be good and you'll all blame me for your Thanksgiving fail!!

Today I am thankful for................a fun going away party last night with all our Chicago friends. 

This dear friend and her husband hosted it, and it was wonderful to see everyone one last time before I leave.  It hasn't hit me yet that I'm moving and will not see these people regularly, but I know I'm going to have a serious breakdown in January!  Luckily I'll get to come back in Jan or Feb for the above hostess's baby shower!  She's due two months before me in March.  You can't see it here, but her belly is just darling!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Plans (and beyond)

We have a busy weekend ahead of us with a lot of loose ends to wrap up before the big move.  Here's how life plays out for us over the next few weeks

Friday:  Gym, packing clothes, supplies, hair stuff, books, everything I'll need for two weeks in MI while starting a new job, grocery store, dinner date with B

Sat:  Haircut at 9 (1st since May!!), UM/OSU game at 11, baking all afternoon for Friend Thanksgiving on Sunday,ensure packing is complete

Sunday:  Drive to Milwaukee to have lunch with my aunt and pick up a piece of furniture for our new house, drive home, make sure desserts are ready to go, Friend Thanksgiving dinner at 5 p.m. (this involves a VFW hall, 45 people, amazing food, tons of alcohol, and a pie in the face for one of the guests.  Definitely one of the bests nights of the year).

Monday:  Wake up super early and hit the road for Grand Rapids.  I have to have a drug screen and a physical for the hospital in order to start on Monday.  Could they have told me this earlier so that I could have scheduled it for the same day as the house inspection??  Apparently not.  So, another 6 hours in the car for a 45 minute apt.  Joy.  That night I'm meeting a bunch of my co-workers out for a going away dinner.  That will definitely be the redeeming point of the day!

Tues and Wed:  Work full days

Thursday: Say my official good-bye to Chi-town as I drive out of the city for the last time as a resident (this is sad now that I'm writing it!!)  Drive to Toledo to celebrate Thanksgiving with B's family where we'll stay until Sunday.  B will then drive back to the city with Junebug as I drive to GR to start in orientation on Monday.  It's going to be a crazy two weeks living apart, starting a new job, closing on the house, and trying to organize moving from afar.  However, I know it is SO worth it in the long run!!

So, that's my life in a nutshell.  There are going to be lists galore going on over at my house.........

Today I am thankful for.........the stress associated with moving because it means that a new adventure is coming our way.  And diet sierra mist because it's the most exciting drink I can currently partake in. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Top Chef!

Do any of you watch this show?  B and I love it and look forward to it every Wednesday night.  Seriously, with it on right after Glee, it's probably the best night of TV for us.  The final four were revealed last night, and we could've told you it would be these three pretty much from the beginning.  We did really like Eli (who went home last night) and think that Jen is always SO down on herself, but we certainly weren't surprised last night. 

Kevin is by far our favorite.  He's a great chef, LOVES pork (as we do in our household), cooks very down to earth yet gorgeous things, is really sweet, and wins based on his simplicity.  Everything he makes we both look at each other and say how good it looks.  We're praying he wins and that we can head to Atlanta someday to eat in his restaurant.  Plus, he's a total teddy bear!!!  Just look at that face!  Okay now take one more look and tell me he doesn't look just like this man........

Yup, he's the real life incarnation of Yukon Cornelius from the Rudolf movie!!  This totally cracks B and I up every single week!!

Michael and Brian (two of the other four finalists) are brothers, and while we wouldn't mind if Brian won (Jen just doesn't stand a chance with her defeatist attitude- she needs a little more Pollyanna in her!), we are totally rooting against Michael.  While that is rude, I know, he is just such a jerk to his brother and the other contestants, and he is SO cocky.  Two more weeks to go and we'll find out the winner!! 

Today I am thankful for.......................sweet bloggers who answer questions for me even though they're busy, a tummy that is feeling significantly better in the past few days, and the yummy fruit I bought at the store yesterday.  Oh, and all kinds of cooking shows.   YUM!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One sad puppy!

Today was Junebug's visit to the vet for her spay.  B dropped her off this a.m. while I was on the phone with the new hospital and then he also picked her up this evening when she was done.  I can't believe how sad she looks, how lethargic she is, and how sad it makes me!  While I know that it is necessary for her to be spayed, it's still hard to see her acting like this, you know??  She doesn't get to eat tonight which is a good thing because she's already dry heaved twice.  Poor, poor thing!!!!!!!!  They said she can eat tomorrow, so hopefully she will also be a little more active as well.  Right now she can barely even lift her head or her paws off the ground.  She normally plops herself on the couch right between Blair and I, and tonight she is just looking soooo pathetic and laying on the floor.  Situations like this make you realize how important dogs become in a family!!!

Today I am thankful for.................FINALLY receiving my Michigan RN License.  The process took forever, and I was very concerned about not being able to start my job on time.  However, everything worked out, and I will be starting my job on November 30th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today I am thankful for......

winning two blogger giveaways in the month of October and one in November!!!!!!  Isn't that super fun? 

I won these darling notecards from Coyne and Pinckney Stationary and MMM during one of her great giveaways.  If she isn't in your daily rotation of blogs, she should be!  She's living a wonderful life in NYC with her hubby, A, and her most adorable baby boy, J while missing her southern roots! 

Summer Wind (one of the cutest, preppiest college bloggers out there) hosted a bow tie giveaway from Fine and Dandy Shop.  Obviously I entered this one for B.  He adores bow ties- and looks fantastic in them if I do say so myself!!!  If you are searching for an upscale gift for any man in your life, this is a great shop to head to.  The packaging was masculine but still perfectly done, and the quality of the tie is a lot better than other bow ties I've looked at.  It's thicker and stiffer which when tying a bow tie really, really matters!!  I can't wait until he wears this next summer with his navy blazer.

Miss Queen Bee just hosted a giveaway for her local JL Cookbook.  I am beyond excited to receive this in the mail as I adore new cookbooks.  Finding wonderful new recipes is so exciting to me.  It's one of the reasons I love the blogworld so much (well that and all the shopping advice!).  She is such a doll, and I seriously read her posts right away each morning as I know they are going to make me laugh and brighten my day!!

I'm not normally the girl who wins stuff, so I feel very blessed lately!  Have a wonderful day ladies!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Award!! (And some really fun news)

The Complete Prep and Queen Bee Swain tagged me for this darling award last week.  Isn't that just the nicest?  I've only received one blog award before, so I definitely feel privileged!!  It's my job to now come up with 10 things about myself and share them here.  As QBS did, my 10 things are going to be themed.  Can you guess the theme prior to number 8???

1.  I've been married for 15 months and am thankful each and every day for my husband.  B is a wonderful compliment to me- all of our in real life friends say so, and I couldn't agree more.

2.  My fashion posts have dwindled considerably in the last few months.  Shopping just hasn't held it's normal appeal lately, though I was able to use my 30% coupon this weekend at Old Navy and Gap.

3.  My skin has been horrid the past two weeks.  Ummm.....hello, I'm 32, and I currenly look like I'm 16.  It starts in the middle of my forehead, hits my nose and continues down to my chin.  I seriously need some advice on this b/c it's yucky.  I haven't changed any of my normal cleansing routines and my stress level hasn't changed.

4.  I won't be planning any ski trips for this winter.  It's a true bummer in my world.  Luckily we'll have some time over Christmas to snowshoe with the pup. 

5.  I can't watch The Biggest Loser or Gray's without bawling my eyes out.  While I tend to be a little emotional in general, it's gotten much worse lately!

6. B adores pasta, though lately I'm kicking his butt at the pasta intake challenge.  Carb cravings- gotta love em!

7.  I've gained 3.5 lbs in the last few months, and it's not from a lack of working out!

8.  My stomach only likes me if I snack on something small every 2 hours.  Actually this last week has been much better, and I'm able to go at least 4 hours without food.  As a nurse, keeping up with this randomness has been VERY difficult, but to fight the constant feeling of being hungover and incredibly nauseous, it's a must. 

9.  I threw up on Thursday (for the first time since I had food poisoning two years ago), and it was so violent I got a nosebleed (yes, probably TMI).  Poor B had no idea what to do and Junie kept trying to get her head in the toilet with me.  It's sweet that she was trying to be protective, but annoying because her head is about as big as mine.  Luckily B took care of her as I continued to wretch.

10.  If you haven't guessed by now, I'm pregnant!  It's been an interesting ride so far, but I'm so excited and happy about this new addition to our family that I truly can't complain too much.  Puddin' is due to meet you all May 8th, 2010!!  I'm currently 15 weeks and it's the size of an apple (about 4 inches long crown to rump and weighs about 2 1/2 oz).  I've gotten to hear the heartbeat via doppler at both my midwife apts, and it's an amazing thing!!

I'm going to need a lot of blogger help registering for and buying the right things to start out this little ones life, so there will be tons of questions asked here in the next few months.  Hopefully you all won't be bored with baby news, maternity clothing, and weird posts about food cravings!  I think with the new job and the new house, I'll have other fun things to blog about, so just yell at me if you all think I'm going way too baby crazy over here!!  You can't imagine how hard it's been to keep this a secret for so long, but I wanted to make sure we were solidly through the first trimester before sharing with people!

Today I am thankful for.......Puddin' the newest member of our (teeny) family.  I am dying to meet this little one and pray for it's health and happiness each and every day!

Friday, November 13, 2009

VV Sale!!

Need to check off a present or two for Christmas for that wonderful, oh-so-deserving man in your life? RueLaLa is featuring Vineyard Vines today!! It's men's only from what I understand, and hopefully it'll be discounted well!! I'll be heading over there. Will you???

Today I am thankful for.......

This lovely quote I came across on Erin's blog.  It truly spoke to me this morning.

Doesn't this deserve to be printed in color and framed on the refridgerator or in the entryway?  That's my plan!  It's definitely a quote everyone should see every single day to remind us of God's faithfulness, kindness, and generosity.  It's also a reminder that we should bestow those same traits to others in order since we are beneficial enough to receive them from Him. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  Fun news coming next week over here!  Stop by for details!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today I am thankful for......

RUFFLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Who doesn't love em?  (Really, do any of you just despise this trend?)  J Crack has done a wonderful, wonderful job of portraying them elegantly and simply to us, and now so many other retailers are jumping on board with this.  Here are a few things I've seen at various price points......

Dress from Old Navy ($29.50).  Looks cute with a black turtleneck and black tights or leggings.  Would be darling for the holdiay season!!

This top would look perfect under a long boyfriend sweater with leggings and boots, or for work with a cardigan and a pencil skirt.  (It also comes in a cute maternity version for those who are preggers!)

Silk ruffle top from Gap ($59.50)

Fun party dress from BR.

Ruffle cardigan from BR

Another dress from BR- fun for NYE if you already have plans!!

I have a Friends and Family coupon for all of the above stores (it also includes Piperlime and Athleta) for 30% off from now until Sunday.  If you don't have the email and want me to send it to you, email me at and I'll get it to you to enjoy!!