Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baby Shower #2

As promised, here are some photos and details from my baby shower this past Saturday! The shower was hosted by my wonderful friend, Kara. We had the shower at my house, so she came over the night before and set everything up overnight and all the next morning. I didn't have to do a thing...it was wonderful! I wanted to help out in some way though, so I baked some cookies and cupcakes to add to the smorgasbord of goodies.
Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
Deck of Cards Cookies

The theme of the shower was Alice in Wonderland - a Mad Tea Party. I baked cupcakes that said "Eat Me" and cookies shaped like a deck of cards to fit the theme. Kara decked out the house with balloons and flowers, and made spinach dip, crab dip, several types of bruschetta, and some fancy veggie rolls. We also had a delicious chocolate mousse cake. There were mimosas for the non-pregnant girls, and some tasty punch for me.
Unlike my first baby shower that was attended by several baby girls, this shower had baby boys in attendance! There were two handsome little guys at the shower, and another one still in the oven. I can't wait until my little girl gets to meet all of her new friends! My shower was well attended by family members and several of my best friends. I felt so loved, and it was so wonderful to celebrate with everyone.
The Gentlemen-In-Waiting:
Parker
SeanBaby X
My little girl was very spoiled (already!) with all the wonderful gifts we received. Many of our guests brought books for the baby, so she already has a great library started. I can't wait to start reading them to her! She has pretty much everything she needs now. I just need to do a load of baby laundry so I can start putting away all of her wonderful gifts. I feel like it's a project I should tackle once I'm on maternity leave, but I'm very anxious to get started on it now. There are just a handful of things we need for her now. We are all definitely feeling very ready to meet her!!!

OMG, fat face!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

33 Weeks

I am now 33 weeks pregnant. This has been an exciting weekend for Baby and I. Yesterday was my second baby shower, and I felt so loved by all my family and friends that came to celebrate with us. I'll post photos from the shower in a later post.
Baby is now the size of a honeydew melon (or a pineapple, but a honeydew seems a lot more comfortable to push out, so we'll keep that image in mind!). She's probably somewhere around 17", and weighs roughly 4.25 - 5lbs. She may grow as much as an inch this week. I'm guessing we'll have a pretty long baby! Her brain is continuing to develop rapidly. She's putting on more baby fat all the time, so she'll have that cute chubby baby look when she's born.
I am starting to feel the increase in body temperature, finally. I was hoping that it would have kicked in during the winter to keep me warm through the cold season, but it seems to have waited until the weather warmed up. Now that it's warm outside anyway, I'm a good 10 degrees warmer than everyone else, it seems. Thankfully I'll be done with this before the real summer weather kicks in! My rib pain and back pain are continuing, but I just bought a maternity support band that I'm looking forward to trying out. Hopefully that will alleviate some of the stress on my back!
33 Weeks

Overall everything is going great. Baby's room is pretty much stocked now, minus a few things that are mysteriously checked off the registry, but I did not receive yesterday. Hopefully they'll show up before Baby does! :) We have almost all of the essential items for her now. It's really starting to feel real! According to one of my weekly emails, she could come at any time now, but let's hope she waits until at least 37 weeks! My 33 week doctor appointment is coming up on Wednesday. Time is flying now!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Belly Pics

I got the rest of my maternity pics from my friend Tessa! Please go check out her website - she does awesome work! You can see it at www.grinandshareitphoto.com.

Here are a few of my favorite shots:
Which are your favorites? Which ones do you think I should have printed for my pregnancy journal?

32 Weeks

We are now 32 weeks pregnant! This week is probably the peak of Little Girl's movement. She's going to start getting so crowded in there now that she won't be able to move much. I still feel her moving often, but her moves are definitely more subtle than they used to be. She is now developing a sensitivity to temperature. Her eyes are blue for now, but we'll have to wait and see if they decide to change color later. At this point, all babies grow at a different pace, but she's probably about the size of a jicama - around 3.75 lbs and 17" long. I'm supposed to be gaining about a pound a week now, and half of that weight is all baby.I can definitely feel that little butt poking out from my belly now. Sometimes it feels like she's leaning out so far that she's going to pop right out from my belly button! She used to always sit with her butt on the left of my belly, but now she's constantly shifting from side to side. I usually feel her thumps up under my ribs (I only feel her IN the ribs every once in a while) and occasionally I feel her way down low. When she gets the hiccups, I can feel the vibration through my whole belly, but especially down low. Weird!
I am definitely feeling the pregnancy waddle now. Even when I try not to, I still feel like I'm waddling. Supposedly this is due to the hormone relaxin that my body is producing to help my pelvic ligaments relax and flex to make delivery easier. I feel like I am peeing constantly now. I didn't think it was possible to pee more than I usually do (I drink a LOT of water), but I think it's doubled now. I always feel the STRONGEST urge to pee, and then I get nothing but a little trickle. Oh joy. I think she's definitely starting to settle in low and put pressure on my bladder! I'm having a harder and harder time sitting and standing now, and bending over is almost a joke. I'm getting good practice for labor with all my grunts and groans just from doing normal daily activities! The sciatic nerve pain is coming more frequently now, but it's not enough to be a huge problem - just shocking at times.

32 Weeks

Tomorrow is Mom's Day Off - I can hardly wait!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday random thoughts.

Happy Friday, everyone! I will soon be kicking off a 3-day weekend, and I can hardly wait! On Monday I'm going to take a girls' spa day. This mama is desperately in need of some relaxation! I will be getting a Mom-To-Be Massage, and the timing couldn't be better. I've been so achy and sore lately, I definitely need a massage!

Last night I had a dream that I REALLY needed to pack my hospital bag. It wasn't just a thought, it was a nagging urge to DO IT NOW. The thing I was most concerned about in my dream was that I haven't gone out to buy a comfortable nightie to wear in the hospital. I want to wear it and break it in for a while before I go into labor so that it will smell like home and will be comforting to me. So, I guess that's something I need to take care of soon - maybe this weekend! I just need something cheap and comfortable, so it shouldn't be too hard to find something. The rest of my dream involved me being in labor, but it was just early labor, so I went for a bike ride. Interesting idea...not one I plan on using!

I've also been thinking a lot about motherhood again. You may remember a few months ago when I blogged about my concerns about things to come. It's not really a concern, just my mind wondering. It seems like pregnancy is so much more exciting than motherhood. People don't get all ooey gooey and excited when they hear that someone is a mom - that seems like a common thing. But people DO get all silly when they hear that you are pregnant. Why is it that people are so much more excited about a pregnant woman than they are about a mom? Will I suddenly become boring and unappealing once my baby is on the outside? All my friends that are new moms tell me that being a mom is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to them, so I am holding onto that. At this point, pregnancy is the most amazing thing to ever happen to me, so I am hoping that being a mom will surpass that and be even more amazing.

And finally, my breast pump came in the mail yesterday! I feel so fortunate to have received this for free - fully covered by my healthcare coverage.
I got the Medela Pump In Style Advanced with the Metro Bag. This thing is fancy! The idea of actually using it still kind of freaks me out, but I am so happy to have it. This would have been a major expense for us, so I am thrilled to have it.

Just one more week til my big baby shower - I can hardly wait! I'm getting antsy to finish up the nursery, but I am making myself wait until after the shower. So much fun stuff! :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

31 Week Doctor Visit

Time for a quick update! My doctor appointment yesterday was very quick and easy. Everything is looking good! My total weight gain so far is 22 pounds. (I feel like my face is starting to get a bit fatter now, but I think most of the weight is in my belly!) My blood pressure was 108/60 (I think...I never pay attention. I just know it was good!) My belly is measuring perfectly, and Baby Girl is head down. I was correct in my assumption that I am feeling her butt off to the side of my belly button. She flips sides quite often. I am now down to bi-weekly doctor visits. Time is really going to start going fast now!

And, finally....only 21 more working days until maternity leave!!!!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I decided to make some cupcakes. The green and white grocery store cupcakes just were NOT looking appealing to me, and I figured I could make something a bit more authentic. I browsed through my bookmarked recipes and found one that really stood out.

The recipe I found was from The Cupcakery. Her recipe was for Chocolate Guinness Stout Cupcakes With Chocolate Ganache and Bailey's Buttercream Swirl. Her recipe looked pretty good as it was, so I only made minor changes. I figured that we already had the beginnings of a good Irish Car Bomb with the Guinness and the Bailey's, so why not take it all the way? I decided to add the third ingredient.

Here is the original recipe, with my changes in green!

Chocolate Guinness Stout Cupcake
(I halved this part of the recipe, and still came out with 27 cupcakes.)

2 cups Guinness Extra Stout
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 pkg. Hershey's mini-morsel semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Line baking cups with paper liners and set aside.
2. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil.
3. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
(Once the cocoa powder is added, your mixture should look steamy like this.)
4. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend.
5. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend.
6. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine.
7. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed.
8. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Gently fold in mini-morsel semi-sweet chocolate chips.
(Mixture will appear robust and lumpy.)
9. Divide batter among paper liners and bake 17 - 22 minutes. Cupcakes are done when tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack.
10. VERY IMPORTANT: Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!


Chocolate Ganache
(I also halved this portion of the recipe, and still had some ganache left over.)

12 ounce pakage Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk chocolate)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used Jameson's Irish Whiskey instead of cream.)

1. Combine both ingredients in a double boiler.
2. Continue to mix thoroughly over boiling water until ingredients are smooth and chocolate is completely melted.
3. Layer this ganache on completely cooled cupcakes and allow to harden.


Bailey's Buttercream Swirl
(I doubled this part of the recipe.)

4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 (2 1/2 Tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream)

1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and salt for about 30 seconds.
2. Add half of the powdered sugar and the milk to the butter and beat again until combined. Scrape down the bowl.
3. Add the remainder of the powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Beat until combined. Scrape down the bowl again.
4. Add Bailey's Irish Cream and beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy.
5. It is preferable to use the frosting on the same day you make it, but it can keep in the refrigerator for 3 days if tightly wrapped. Make sure and stir the buttercream well before using to get the air bubbles out of the frosting and then pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.


I just took the recipe from my Google Reader, so I didn't have her pictures to use as reference. Mine came out decorated a little different, and I love it that way! :) I had some green fondant on hand, so I rolled it out and used some mini cookie cutters to cut out the shapes.

Just For Fun - Belly Growth


Just for fun, here's a month-by-month comparison of my belly growth, starting with the day I got my BFP. The difference seems more noticeable when you look at it a month at a time instead of weekly!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

31 Weeks

I am now 31 weeks pregnant. Only a month and a half until this baby is full-term. Time is flying!
Baby has had the hiccups a lot lately. It's such an odd feeling. I hate having the hiccups, so I always feel bad for her, especially when they go on for a LONG time! I love feeling all of her movements. I feel like we are bonding as she kicks my hand when I rest it on my belly. I love to feel all of her movements and follow them with my hands. It's a little connection that she and I share between just the two of us. Right now she is somewhere around 17" long and close to 4 pounds. This girl is growing fast! Her immune system is getting her prepared for life outside the womb. Breastfeeding will help her immune system along even more once she's born. These next few weeks are crucial for her lung development.
The Braxton-Hicks contractions have been increasing this past week. I was getting them about 2-3 times a week, but now they are coming more like 2-3 times a day. They haven't been painful at all, but they are definitely uncomfortable and a little shocking sometimes! I'm starting to feel like I've been pregnant for a LONG time now, and I am getting very anxious to meet this little one! I'm still enjoying it, but I can see now why women start getting impatient in the last month or two. I want her to keep cooking in there for at least another 6 weeks or so, but I am definitely looking forward to being done with this part!
31 Weeks

Apparently leakage is something that is supposed to be starting up soon. So far that still seems surreal to me - I can't believe that I'm actually going to be making milk! I still have this feeling that I will be the one woman that doesn't produce for some reason. I suppose that considering all the other changes the milk factories have gone through, there is good reason to believe that they will kick into gear soon. It's going to be weird, for sure! Thankfully my friends have supplied me with nursing pads, so I should be covered if the leakage starts early. :) Back pain is also coming more frequently now, as well as the pain in my ribs as they expand. I'm noticing that I'm a little shorter of breath, but it's not too bad just yet. The hardest thing for me seems to be grocery shopping. I'm not sure what it is, but something about being on my feet for a couple of hours combined with lifting things into my cart really does a number on me. I get cramped and achy and tired, and I have to squat down on the floor now and then and lean on the cart for support. I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to do full grocery trips by the time I'm in my last month of pregnancy!

Even though the complaints are increasing now, I am still thoroughly enjoying this pregnancy and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Next week the girls and I are going to the spa for a relaxing day off. I can hardly wait - Mama needs a day of R&R! :) My next doctor visit is on Tuesday - I will update then!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Update on Fun Things Countdown!

As you can see, MANY things have been crossed off my list since I last posted it! Life has been moving fast, and it has been so much fun. I have also added a few new things to the list. So far most of them are in March, but I'm sure that April will fly by once I start my maternity leave. I have so many things to do around the house to prepare for the birth of my little girl!

* 31-Week doctor appointment
* Breastfeeding class
* Baby Shower #2
* Clash Of The Titans comes out in theaters
* Baby Care class
* Baby Safe class (CPR, etc.)
* Maternity leave begins!!!!!!

To do once I am on maternity leave:
* Finish organizing the nursery
* Put together all my childbirth notes to take the hospital with us
* Pack my hospital bag
* Prepare and freeze several meals for after baby comes
* Sew a shopping cart cover, loveys, and whatever other baby items I have time to make

*****************************************************

I guess I haven't been very good about updates from our childbirth classes. We just completed class 4 of 6. Mike and I are both learning a lot. While 3 hours is a big chunk out of a Sunday afternoon, I really do feel like it is very helpful for us both. We are getting used to the other couples in our class, and while I can't really imagine hanging out with them outside of class, I think we are all getting more comfortable with each other. The class brings out a lot of emotions, and we are all sharing some pretty personal, intimate feelings. (Especially me...I cry all the time. I have a feeling I will be bawling when I see my little girl for the first time!!!)

Over the past few weeks we have learned several methods of dealing with labor pains. To simulate a contraction, we hold ice cubes in our hands and learn how to deal with the discomfort. (The ice cubes in the palm aren't really a problem for me anymore, so I've started holding them against my wrist for a more intense pain.) I know that it is nothing like a real contraction will be, but it's a good way to cause yourself pain without actually hurting yourself! First we just focused on the pain and discovered just how difficult it is to cope when you do that. After that, we started focusing on our breathing, and looking beyond the pain. Some of the practice was done in silence, other times with guided visualizations. I've discovered that I do much better in silence than I do with listening to someone speak. That way I can just let myself go and lead myself into another place. It's also helpful for me to have Mike gently massage my back and legs while I focus on my breath and go to my "special place". Having that sensation is another distraction for me to focus on. We are still working on finding positions that are likely to work for us while I am in labor. We are planning to get a birth ball (an exercise ball) for me to sit on, which allows me to be in the squat position but takes the weight off of my legs. I have also found that leaning on the counter is very helpful. Of course, I am taking note of all the positions since I have no idea what will actually feel good when I am in the middle of actual labor!

Aside from pain management techniques, we have been doing a lot of emotional discovery, finding out what we are afraid of in birth, and how we can get beyond that. The more fears I can deal with now, the easier it will be for me when the time comes. I've realized that I really don't have fears any more. I have concerns, naturally, but I have already worked through them and figured out how I will handle them if those situations arise. Even though I don't want a c-section and I really don't think I will need one, I am including it in my birth plan. That way, if for some serious medical reason I need to have one, it won't completely throw me off and I will be able to deal with it in the best way possible.

Overall, I think this class is helping Mike and I to connect and to discover what our strengths and weaknesses are. I think that the two of us are going to make a great team to bring our daughter into the world!

My First Baby Shower!

Saturday was my first baby shower. It was hosted by my good friend Rachel, and was attended by several of my closest friends. I met a lot of these girls on theknot.com several years ago while we were planning our weddings. Over the years we have stayed close, and have developed what I hope will be life-long friendships. In the past year many of us have gotten pregnant and had babies. I am so excited that my daughter already has some built-in friends waiting for her as soon as she's born!

I felt so loved and honored at my shower to have so many friends there to celebrate with me. The theme of the shower was "Love Grows", and Rachel had her house decked out with flowers. She even bought me an orchid with baby-size flowers. She knows how much I love orchids, and wanted to get me a new plant to symbolize my new baby on the way. It is so pretty! She also had several potted ranunculus flowers, and I am planning to plant a couple of them in my garden at home.

As always, the food was delicious! My friend Dani made her famous Monkey Bread for me, at my request. That stuff is SOOOO good - I always eat too much of it! She shared the recipe on her blog, so I will definitely be making this one day soon!
(Photo by Danielle of Dinner With Danielle)

Rachel also made her Egg Cups. (We were discussing that these need a fancier name to match just HOW delicious they are - "Egg Cups" just doesn't do them justice!) These little things are so yummy, you can't eat just one! Dani also posted this recipe on her blog. Another keeper!
(Photo by Danielle of Dinner With Danielle)

The grand finale was a beautiful tower of red velvet cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting, made by my friend Melissa of Le Petite Kupkak. These cupcakes were absolutely delicious! I brought one home for Mike, and he was asking for more. I love red and I love cupcakes, so you can't go wrong with red velvet! And of course, everyone knows how much I love vanilla beans. :)
(Photo by Tessa of Grin and Share It Photography)

My friend Tessa at Grin and Share It Photography took some beautiful photos of my shower. Here are a few of them!

Thanks again to all of my wonderful friends. Words can't express how grateful I am for all your love and support, and for all the wonderful gifts for my little girl!

(All photos below by Tessa of Grin and Share It Photography)
Hooray for Boobies! (Thanks, Clara - I love it!)
Some of my daughter's future BFFs! It's amazing to think that at Ethan's baby shower, there were no other babies there. At my baby's shower, there were 5 babies there!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I've been featured!

What a big day this is for me - I've been featured! Heather over at Mommy Loves Giveaways is doing a new segment on her blog where she features different bloggers. Today is my day! You can check out the post here.

I love reading Mommy Loves Giveaways - go stop by and send her some comment love!

30 Weeks

I am now 30 weeks pregnant - I've made it into the final 10! (Or 12...depending on when baby decides to make her grand entrance!) This has been an exciting weekend. Yesterday I had my first baby shower! I'll give more details in a minute. For now, let's catch up on what's going on with my little Thumpalina.
She is now close to 16 inches long, and weighs about 3 pounds - about the size of a cabbage. Wait a minute...wasn't she just 2 pounds 2 weeks ago? She must be putting on that adorable baby chubbiness fast now! The fine hair called lanugo that she has been covered with is coming out now, so she won't look like a little monkey when she's born. Her eyes are continuing to develop, and so is her brain.
I feel her moving a lot now, although it's a different movement than it used to be. I used to feel pretty good kicks for about an hour at a time 2-3 times a day. Now I feel her at random times all day long, but I don't get the kicks so much any more; it's more of that rolling and sliding across my belly type of feeling. Thankfully the rib kicks aren't coming too often yet. We went to see "Alice in Wonderland" last night (Awesome!) and again, the loud volume got her really active again. She kicked me pretty good through the whole movie!
30 Weeks

As for Mom, I'm still feeling pretty good. Some of those 3rd trimester side effects are kicking in now, but it's not too bad. The thing I'm having most issues with is back pain. It usually comes when I'm sitting for long periods of time (my office chairs are now starting to cause pain too, boo!). It used to be just hard-backed chairs and the car seat, but now any type of sitting will cause it. I've even woken up in the night with back pain a couple of times now. Yuck! I'm finding myself getting tired earlier every night now, but it's still nothing like the 1st trimester exhaustion. Over all though, I'm still feeling good, and still loving being pregnant. I can't wait to meet this little girl, but I'm in no way feeling like I'm just DONE with pregnancy already. I'm still enjoying every minute of it!

I will post again soon about the baby shower - some of my friends took some wonderful photos for me, so I'll wait til I can share some of them with you! And today is Childbirth Class #4. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rib Jabs and Hockey

Last night Mike discovered that the Colorado Avalanche (my hometown hockey team!) were playing the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center up in Anaheim last night. We decided to head up there for the game, and I'm glad we did! It was about an hour drive, but totally worth it. Mike decided that he wants to start attending more hockey games (we used to watch the Gulls play all the time until the team went away), so he was cheering for the Ducks. I, of course, had to stick with my home team, so I was cheering for the Avs. And, guess who won? ;) Go Avalanche!

Baby Girl was definitely aware of what was going on at the game. It's been a long time since I've felt her SO active. Every time the music or loudspeaker would get loud (which was a lot) she would start kicking and punching like crazy. This was the first time I've really noticed her be affected by outside noise. It was pretty fun! A new development with her movements is that I can now feel her kicking (or punching) my ribs. Until the past few days I've always felt movement down closer to my belly button. Those rib jabs really get me! They don't hurt, but it's always a shock when she makes contact. It was really fun feeling her interact with her surroundings though. We'll definitely be taking her back to hockey games once she's an outside baby and gets a little older! :)