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???