Thursday, December 31, 2015

happy new year!!!

wishing you a very happy new year filled with love, health, happiness and success!!!

love, 
erin, jarad, wilfred & baby berk

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

family time...

lately we have been doing long walks on the beach on the weekends.  they usually end up being about 5 miles and i sleep really well that night (as does wilfred).  i love being outside and enjoying our last few weekends by the beach.  and wilfred is in heaven!  love this family time together while we taken in the last few months of just being a couple.



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

26 weeks!!!

i said it last week and i will say it once more, but being 7 months pregnant during the holidays is taking its toll on me.  the parties, dinners, shopping, cooking, cleaning and entertaining (on top of thinking about our move) has just been TOO much!  as fun as christmas was, i am so happy it is over!  we will be spending a few days in vegas next week with family friends, possibly staying for new years eve, but that should be fun and relaxing.  we do this every year, and i enjoy some post holiday sales shopping, gambling and of course eating!  we will bring wilfred and my parents will also be there!

my acid reflux is back and i have been experiencing it most days.  per my doctors suggestion, i went out and got myself zantac, which has been working wonders for me!  lately i have been getting it even when i haven't eaten or especially when laying flat on my back.  i have also noticed that i can no longer sit comfortably in a sofa.  when i sit, there is a gap between the back of the sofa and my lower back, causing me to slump, which causes back pain.  sometimes putting a pillow behind my back can help, but i find i am better off in a straight back chair or if we are watching TV then laying down is better for me.  and i have been dealing with insomnia the last couple of weeks.  i know i have a lot on my mind, but i am having a hard time staying asleep, not to mention i get up anywhere from 3-7 times a night to pee.  i hear that around this time in pregnancy insomnia is common, it is your body's way of preparing you for your sleepless nights with a newborn.  i also got good news that i passed my glucose test with flying colors and am also not anemic (something else they test for when they do the glucose blood work). 

i feel like this post is full of complaints, but as i get further along my pregnancy symptoms are becoming more pronounced.  none of them are unbearable or painful, just inconvenient and uncomfortable.  and i am still learning how to manage them and some of them i can take a more proactive approach so i don't run into them at all.  but complaining aside, i am so excited and overjoyed that our baby girl is healthy and growing and we are almost exactly 3 months away from meeting her and instantly falling in love (although we already are).  i find myself day dreaming about what she will look like and what features she will take from us all.  and what kind of personality will she have?  who will she take after and will her and wilfred be best buds (i sure hope so!!!).  we got some super sweet christmas gifts for her and i cannot wait to take pictures of her in the clothes people got her and send it to them.


weight gain this week = 1.5 pounds
total weight gain = 10.5 pounds

weekly growth milestones...

~baby is stealing my antibodies to build her immune system in preparation for the outside world
~baby is practicing taking breaths (of amniotic fluid)
~baby's eyelashes are formed
~baby's brain is going through a growth spurt and over 50% of baby's energy will be used for this purpose
~most of baby's bodily systems and functions are intact and most of the remaining development will revolve around putting on height and weight
~baby is over 14-15 inches tall and weighs more than 2 pounds

baby is the size of a head of lettuce!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

looking back...

i made a private board on pinterest that i labeled "2015 dream board".  i went back to look at the images i pinned and wanted to see what my goals were and where i am now.  a lot of my goals revolved around...

~having a family
~getting in good shape (physically, mentally and spiritually) and clean eating
~becoming a home owner
~finding a work/life balance and being happy at work
~traveling

i was surprised to see that many of my goals have come true or are in the works!  i am a firm believer that if you ask the universe for something or put that energy out there, things will start to happen to make your dreams come true.  so let me run through each of the goals i listed and where i am at...

~having a family:  well after 2 long years of trying with 2 miscarriages, my lifelong dream of having my own family is coming true!  the funny part is that it happened when i least expected it and when i took all of my energy off trying to conceive.  we are now 7 months pregnant and about to enter our 3rd trimester of pregnancy.  our healthy baby girl is due at the end of march and we are so excited! 

~getting in good shape: i started working out with jarad and changing up my work out routine.  over the course of about 4-5 months my body transformed.  i lost about 12 pounds and gained a lot of muscle.  at my best i was bench pressing 95 pounds and ran a 10k marathon.  pairing this with eating clean (think a lot of protein and veggies, minimal carbs) and i was feeling on top of the world.  now that i am pregnant, i am unable to do some of the exercises i once was able to do, but i continue to stay active and i know this has helped me to have an easy pregnancy.

~becoming a home owner: at some point during summer, jarad and i came to the realization that living in southern california will never satisfy our goals as a family.  we really want to own some land, spread out and live a simple and less stressful lifestyle.  unfortunately those things don't go hand and hand living in los angles, so we starting talking about where we could relocate that would be ideal for our family.  jarad being from new england would love to go back east, but being the west coast girl that i am, i don't think i could deal with snow.  we both love the outdoors and i want to stay on the west coast, so we decided that we would be happy living in the pacific north west and decided on washington state!  then as we started talking it over we got excited about this and then started telling family and friends.  although this has been the hardest decision to make, it was received with support and excitement.  then came the job hunt, house hunt and we will be moving in january 2016.  while we have not found the perfect home for us yet, we are excited that we can afford a large house with lots of land without breaking the bank.  so when we move up there, it will be my job to house hunt and learn all there is to know about washington.  i wish we could take everyone with us, but i know this will be what is best for our family.  it will also be a major lifestyle change.  i hope that our friends and family will fall in love with it too and visit often or even decide that they too chose to get out of the LA craziness. 

~work/life balance: i have struggled with this during most of my career at my current job, but the last few years, i have started to figure it out.  i no longer take work home with me or allow it to consume me emotionally.  of course i have days of frustration, but i have to let it roll off my shoulders.  my dream job has always been to be a "mom."  and now that is happening!  another key factor when deciding about our move was finding a place we could live comfortably and within our means and me being able to stay at home with the kids.  i am leaving my job in the new year and my replacement is trained and ready to take over.  and i feel nothing but love towards my coworkers and am thrilled for my new job title!

~traveling:  we went to mexico this year, in fact to where we honeymooned and i am so happy that my sister and brother in law joined us!  of course we did the normal traveling back east to boston, new hampshire and vermont.  we also went to sedona and loved it!  our traveling situation is about to change real soon with a baby, but that is okay, i wouldn't change it for the world.  we will always find time to explore and go on new adventures. 

i would say that my dream board was fulfilled for 2015 and now it is time to start making a new one for 2016!  my goal was to create a life that i didn't need a vacation from, and although i didn't know how or what that meant, i think our move is part of making that goal come true.  i hope 2016 has lots of good stuff in store for us.  i know this move will be filled with growing pains and separation anxiety (it already has), but i hope that it will also bring us all a new perspective, reconnect us with nature and bring us all back to the simple stuff in life (family, friends, love, nature, good food and adventures)


Friday, December 25, 2015

merry christmas!

wishing all my friends and family a very merry christmas, filled with love, laughs and gratitude.  we had a great day doing our traditional christmas breakfast and present opening with the family and then a quiet dinner at home with my parents.  jarad made an incredible roast, and i made scalloped potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie.  we finished up the night with our favorite holiday movie "just friends."  it was a perfect day and now i am ready to put my feet up and do nothing for the next 24 hours!


Monday, December 21, 2015

25 weeks!!!

some people say it is good that i won't be pregnant during the summer months, so i won't be uncomfortable with the heat.   but i am finding it hard to be pregnant during the holidays with all the parties and good food!  the other night i ate 7 potato pancakes at a hanukkah party!!!  i joke that our baby will be a potato pancake!  i am doing my best to eat well and not over indulge, but my appetite has increased tremendously.  trying to make sure my office and home are filled with healthy snacks like almonds, apples, oranges, cheese and yogurt.  the good news is my indigestion has calmed down a bit this week! 

the stress of the holidays is also starting to kick in.  last weekend was filled with several parties (one of which we hosted), which means lots of cooking and of course last minute gift shopping.  as our last guest left around 6pm on sunday, i realized how tired i was.  i made jarad take me to in n out, cause i didn't want to cook and was craving a burger, and then was in bed by 7:30pm!  i am really looking forward to the time off between christmas and new years so we can relax, hang out with family and friends and prepare for our move.

this week i had my monthly prenatal check up and everything is looking great!  my tummy is measuring 26 cm, which is right on track.  i learned at my last visit that anything + or - 3 of your week of pregnancy is considered normal.  and the baby's heart beat was right around 150 beats per minute, and the doctor told me i can take zantac for my indigestion.    before i could start to feel her move and kick i was always anxious to make sure she was still in there, so i was always excited for an ultrasound.  but these days, her movement is a constant reminder of the life growing inside me and i am confident that she is growing appropriately and healthy!  she is active (still mostly at night) but i feel her throughout the day, i have read that their activity level can start to decrease around this time because she is getting bigger which means less room for her to move around in.

as i write this post, i am getting ready to do my glucose test.  i woke up this morning and was instructed to eat breakfast at 7:30am.  i was told to eat a piece of dry toast with eggs.  since i don't like eggs by themselves, i did a hollowed out half of bagel with three pieces of turkey.  then an hour later, you have 5 minutest to chug this sugary drink and then an hour later you have your blood work done.  i am a little nervous about this test, and also nervous to drink this fruit punch, which i hear is awful.  to my surprise, it isn't that bad.  it tastes like an overly sweet, slightly thicker, flat fruit punch.  i also had the option to chose between orange and grape. but if you do fail it, then they retest you again, over a longer period of time (fingers crossed today goes well!)  i am also excited that yesterday, we hit double digit numbers for our due date!  if she comes on time, then as of today we are 98 days away from meeting our baby girl!

weight gain this week = 1 pound
total weight gain = 9 pounds

growth milestones this week...

~baby's primitive memory is starting to develop
~baby's spine has 1,000 ligaments, 150 joints and 33 vertebrae
~blood vessels are developing in the lungs and nostrils are starting to open
~baby's skin is more opaque in color
~the cerebral cortex part of the brain (emotions, reasoning, planning and problem solving) is hte most prominent part of the brain at this point
~baby's hair is thickening and probably has a color by now
~with baby's new sense of balance, she may start to rotate towards the position she will be at birth (head down, feet up)
~she should weigh close to 2 pounds at this point

baby is the size of a head of cauliflower!

Monday, December 14, 2015

24 weeks!!!

at this point i am definitely looking and feeling pregnant!  i still get a lot of comments from people who think i look "small," but it sure doesn't feel that way anymore.  my new wardrobe consists of leggings or yoga pants, a maternity tank top with a warm sweater cover up on top, and of course boots for winter!  i no longer care what i look like as long as i am warm and comfortable.

i had my first experience of heartburn the day after thanksgiving and since then it has been a regular occurrence.  i am finding that certain things trigger it, like spicy foods, big meals and the position that i sleep.  i am still trying to learn how to manage it better, and things like tums and apple cider vinegar can be helpful.  my mom also suggested i eat celery, which she learned from a family friend.  so i have also been eating a lot of celery, it helps soothe and calm my throat and stomach while eating it, but does not have a lasting effect for me.  jarad has read that mustard is also effective with acid reflux, but i have yet to try this one.  the thought of a tablespoon of mustard isn't so appetizing.  but even though it is annoying, nothing i have experienced this far is painful or too uncomfortable, i am lucky to continue to have an easy pregnancy!!!

we are still also moving forward with our washington plans, which is exciting and scary and emotional!  but we now have our move date and i am beginning to look for doctors and hospitals in our new city so i can continue my prenatal care without disruption.  i love my doctor here, so i hope i can find a new one that is as wonderful as she is.  i am also starting to think about the warm clothes i will need up there!  and build on wilfred's sweater collection as well.

unfortunately jarad has been sick for the last two weeks, we thought we was getting better, but then he relapsed.  finally he got on antibiotics and is feeling much better.  because of this, i took advantage of staying in bed late in the mornings and not going to the gym, since he couldn't go.  but now, i am back at it and continuing my workouts while i can! i still enjoy walking the most, it is low impact and wilfred also gets his exercise this way too.

i was hoping that my massive weight gain from last week would not be accurate, but unfortunately to my surprise it has not fluctuated.  i know the upcoming weeks are a big growth spurt for the baby and she is continuing to pack on the pounds.  my appetite has increased and i am trying to make sure the extra calories i am eating are healthy ones packed with lots of protein and nutrients for the baby.  i notice that the baby moves a lot after i eat or drink and she is constantly active.  i had a new first, it was 3am and she started kicking so hard that it woke me up and it lasted for a 1/2 hour.  it is as if she is having a dance party in my tummy. 

weight gain this week = 0 pounds
total weight gain = 8 pounds

growth milestones for the week...

~baby's hair is starting to change color to what it will be at birth
~baby's weight will double in the next 4 weeks
~lungs are developing and preparing to take their first breaths
~baby weighs about 1.5 pounds
~baby has more regular sleep patterns, and regular movements will rock the baby to sleep, that is why they are more active when you are inactive
~baby may already have a preference for being left or right handed
~uterus is the size of a soccer ball

baby is the size of a cantelope!

Monday, December 7, 2015

23 weeks pregnant!!!

thank god this week my hormones have evened out a bit, but watch out, that could change at any given moment.  unfortunately jarad and i have both caught a cold, although he has it worse than i do.  but let me tell you, it sucks to be pregnant and sick or hurt.  you can not take ANYTHING!  i also slept weird this week and tweaked my neck, i was unable to even put topical creams on for relief.  i ended up using those pillows that are filled with rice and beans that you heat up in the microwave, it helped a little.  but sure did miss advil and sudafed this week!  aside from that, i have also experienced some mild heart burn this week and round ligament pain.  again, nothing too bad, but i am definately feeling and looking bigger!

i am not huge, but this week i started to notice that my belly is in the way when i go to tie my shoe or bend down.  i can only imagine this will get worse, haha!  the baby has been very active and i feel her more and more throughout the day.  her most active time is at my bedtime, and it is fun to watch my tummy twitch and move.  i haven't had any food cravings or aversions during my pregnancy, but often times i will see a food and get it stuck in my head.  i will obsess about  it until i have it, then it goes away and a i find another food item to dream about.  so while grocery shopping this weekend, one of those items was honey nut cheerios and ingredients to make taco salad (random - i know!).  another one that has been big for me and is still on my weekly shopping list is english muffins.  there is something about those "nooks and crannies" that taste so good toasted with butter!  i was shocked when i weighed myself this week, the scale showed i gained 5 pounds!  but i have been super bloated this week on top of a cold and not working out regularly.  although my eating habits have not changed at all, i am noticing that a big meal will make feel super full for a very long time and give me indigestion as my uterus continues to grow upwards and push on my stomach.  so this week i will be focusing on eating smaller more frequent meals, trying some remedies for heart burn (apple cider vinegar and celery) and getting back on track with work outs (at least walking).  i truly think my weight will even out a bit in the upcoming week, but i also know this is a huge growing spurt for the baby as she is gaining weight and fat.  but whoa, slow down there, at this rate and with the holidays coming up i will have to pace myself!

weight gain this week = 5 pounds
total weight gain =  8 pounds

we are also starting to think about and plan 2 baby showers in the month of january.  my best and oldest friend is hosting one for my family and my parents will be throwing us a combo baby shower/going away party.  i must admit this has been a bit overwhelming for me to think about, dealing with all the emotions of the move, so it all feels bitter sweet.   but we have been receiving gifts for little baby berk and i also got caught up on all my thank you cards this week!


growth milestones...

~eyelashes are fairly well developed and hair is growing on baby's head
~baby's movements are becoming more restricted as there is less room in the uterus as she grows bigger
~vital organs are quite mature, but lungs are not yet fully formed
~baby may have facial expressions such as frowning & squinting and is becoming more aware of outside world through noises and lights and can become startled
~uterus reaches about 1.5 - 2 inches above belly button
~baby is forming nipples
~baby should weigh in at a little over 1 pound
~if the baby were born early, it would have a 50/50 chance of survival
~the next 5 weeks the baby will go through a big growth spurt
~the part of the brain that is responsible for memory, intellect and motor skills is preparing to conduct communication between cells
~REM (rapid eye movements) are occurring in baby's sleep

baby is the size of a grapefruit!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

persimmon pudding cobbler...

my favorite holiday dessert is my grandmother's apple pudding pie, and my mom has taken over making it.  it is apples, white bread, butter, cinnamon and sugar with a homemade crust on top.  this may sound strange, but the best part of a pie to me is the filling, i don't like crust.  i had some persimmons that needed to be eaten and some leftover white bread from turkey day sandwiches, so i decided to see if i could recreate the apple pudding pie with persimmons and make it crust less.  the finished product was exactly what i wanted and super delicious.  i made a small version of it (enough for 2) to see how it would come out, but you can defiantly make a larger one (i think the proportion would be 2 persimmons to one piece of white bread).

ingredients:

4 persimmons (peeled and cut into one inch chunks)
2 pieces white bread (cubed into one inch pieces)
1 T sugar
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
2 T butter
1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice (you can also use water)

how to:

in a bowl combine persimmons, bread, sugar and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.  then place into a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  put dabs of butter on top and then drizzle apple cider over everything.  bake at 350 degrees until bubble and persimmon is tender (about 45 minutes).  you can also make this into a cobber by adding the topping before baking or a crust on top (like my grandmothers apple pudding pie).  this time i am eating it by itself or maybe with a sprinkling of granola on top.  this is a new favorite fall treat!  my favorite part is how the bread soaks up all the juices and becomes like a bread pudding...YUM!!!


Monday, November 30, 2015

corn and jalapeno dip...

we visited with some friends over the weekend for a get together/game night and of course i can't come empty handed.  jarad suggested making a hot appetizer dip in the crock pot.  i did a little research and we decided to go with a corn and jalapeno dip, it was really good served with tortilla chips, and the hosts served some mini chicken tacos and taquitos and it was also great on top of those!  i found several recipes online, and this was a combination of all of them...

ingredients:

3 cans of corn (water drained)
3 jalapenos (seeded and minced)
1/4 white onion(chopped)
1/4 cup parmesain cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
8 oz cream cheese (cubed into one inch pieces)
1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
salt & pepper to taste
chives to garnish

how to:

throw all ingredients in the crock pot and combine, cook on low for 2 hours.  serve warm with chips.  to make this even more decadent we added in cooked bacon at the last minute and sprinkled some on top!  this recipe would also be good with some fire roasted green chilies,  rotel tomatoes, shredded chicken or even some cooked chorizo. 

unfortunately i took this picture at the end of the night.  i put the leftovers in a ziplock bag and into the freezer to cook up for another party!


Sunday, November 29, 2015

22 weeks!!!

22 weeks is the start of my 6 month of pregnancy!  wow, sometimes i still have to pinch myself.  this is also the last month of my 2nd trimester.  here is a chart, so you can see the progression...


this was also thanksgiving week, my favorite holiday!  and doctors orders were to "eat for two,"  so i did just that (with minimal guilt)!  i was fortunate enough to have 3 days off this week for the holiday, so it made for a nice long 5 day weekend to be spent eating, resting and visiting with family and friends.

this week i think my belly has gotten bigger and baby berk is getting more and more active.  she is developing more regular sleep patterns, and should be sleeping about 12-14 hours a day, so that leaves a lot of time for me to feel kicks and movement.  even my mom felt her move after thanksgiving dinner!  it is a feeling like no other and i love the constant reminder that she is always with me.  i haven't had any pregnancy symptoms to complain about this week, however i did experience heart burn/indigestion for the first time the day after thanksgiving.  i have never had it before, so i was unsure what i was feeling, but some tums helped to make me feel better.

i have been so lucky to be getting some hand me downs from my cousin and sister in law this week.  i saw my cousin at thanksgiving dinner and she gave me a baby wrap carrier and some books.  my sister in law sent me a big box of clothes that no longer fit my 3 month old niece.  baby's out grow clothes so quickly, i am happy to take them off their hands!  here is jarad trying out the baby wrap with wilfred.


growth milestones for the week...

~baby weighs about 1 pound
~baby movements are deliberate and with the purpose of preparing its motor skills and coordination
~hair color is white as the pigment has not developed yet
~baby's brain is about to start a period of rapid growth and development
~my uterus should be about an inch above my belly button now
~baby is packing on fat, but skin still remains wrinkled and reddish in color (the wrinkles are because she is producing skin faster than she can fill it with fat.  the reddish appearance is due to the deposition of pigment as the skin loses its translucency)

weight gain this week = 0 pound
total weight gain = 3 pounds

baby is as big as a papaya!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

21 weeks!!!

i think this week is a real turning point for me!  i believe my belly finally POPPED and i am feeling some pregnancy side effects.  we returned from a great weekend in washington where we looked at homes, jarad had a great interview and we did some serious exploring.  i came back tired and really emotional that the move is getting closer and the thought of being away from my family, especially as we start our own.  but aside from that i am experiencing some lower achy back pain, increased appetite and round ligament pain as my stomach grows!

we had a check up at the doctor this week and everything is looking normal.  i had gained some weight, my belly is measuring 21 cm (they say anything plus or minus 3 cm of your pregnancy week is considered normal, so i am right on track), the baby's heartbeat was 155, and the doctor said my uterus is sitting just above my belly button.  they also gave me instructions and the drink for the glucose test which i will do in the next few weeks.

last week jarad was able to see my stomach twitch when the baby moved or kicked, but was still unable to feel her.  but the highlight of this week is that he finally felt her kick and move!  it was a special moment for him to feel her and now we can experience all of her kicks, punches and dancing together.  she has also been very active this week.  i still feel her most often at bedtime, but also in the morning when waking up.  this week i would feel her throughout the day every now and again while working at my desk.  when i feel her move it's a nice reminder to slow down and stop and enjoy these moments.  wilfed has also been acting very strange this week.  at night he will be in his bed, but be very alert and watching me.  i feel like he is protecting me from afar.   but the sweetest moment was one night he crawled into bed in the middle of the night, went under the covers and cuddled into my side and rested his head on my belly (this was a first!).  i also taught him a new trick to kiss my belly when i say "wilfred, give baby kiss kiss."

the below picture was taken on tuesday and i feel like since the beginning of the week, my belly has popped and i am bigger!


today my mom and i went to buy buy baby where we really educated ourselves on strollers.  we ended up picking the city select jogger and britax car seat.  the reason i chose this one and it was harder to chose a stroller than it was to pick out my car, is because this stroller can convert into a double stroller easily.  so you can have an infant and a new born or two infants in this stroller.  this is ideal for us since we plan on trying for #2 shortly after.  here is me today (saturday) and i think and feel bigger than a few days ago!

baby is the size of a pomegranate

this has been an off week with traveling, but i am getting back into my work out routine and trying to eat well.  i am waking up in the middle of the night hungry, and i think this is the start of the weight creeping on.  in addition to keeping up with my appetite, an unusual thing i have noticed is that i am starting to get freckles on my belly (which i never had before).  also you can start to see a lot of blue veins in my cleavage and also on the sides of my stomach...attractive right!?!?  however, i still don't have the dark line down my belly that some woman can get as early as 9-10 weeks pregnant. 

weight gain this week = 2 pounds
total weight gain = 3 pounds

weekly milestones...

~eyebrows and eyelashes have grown in
~senses are continuing to develop
~bone marrow is making blood cells by now, a job previously done by the liver and spleen
~baby's intestines are absorbing small amounts of sugar that are ingested from the amniotic fluid
~baby can blink

Thursday, November 12, 2015

20 weeks!!!

we have reached the half way point!  the first half has been an easy one for me and i hope it is an indication of what the 2nd half and labor will be like.  the first trimester i struggled with being tired and hungry all the time, but luckily i had no sickness.  so far the second trimester has been a more emotional one for me as i become more and more attached to the little being in my tummy and as we prepare to tackle new adventures in a new home state!  yikes!  lately the stress of moving soon and jarad's job has been a bit overwhelming, but we are taking it one day at a time.  we will be heading up to washington at the end of this week for a long weekend to house hunt and for a job interview for jarad.  never in my life have i felt more scared, excited, nervous, hopeful, sad and joyful all at once.  2016 will bring a lot of changes for us and the biggest one will be the addition to our family!

i gotta think my belly is ready to POP any week now!  the other night at dinner, jarad looked at me and said "wow, your belly is bigger than it was this morning!"  of course after i eat, it looks bigger, but my mom had the same reaction the other day as well telling me "i think your belly literally just popped."  so i know i am showing more and getting bigger by the day.  i have completely given up on my pre-pregnancy clothes and am sticking to yoga pants, maternity tops, maternity dresses and sweatshirts, whatever feels soft and comfy!

i am able to feel lots of movement.  i feel it most when laying down at night, but also in the morning.  i will feel it occasionally during the day, but that is much more unpredictable for me.  and i also notice it after i eat or drink something cold.  i keep having jarad put his hand on my belly, but he hasn't been able to feel anything yet.  hopefully in the next week or so as she gets bigger!  it is the neatest feeling.

with the weather changing and traveling,  i am getting very paranoid about staying healthy!  when you are pregnant, your immune system is compromised and you can't take any medication to get you better.  my doctor gave me a list of medications i can and can't take.  it is taped on my bathroom cabinet and i have it on my phone so i can have it handy. 


weight gain this week = 0
total weight gain = 1 pound

growth milestones this week...

~baby has developed some red blood cells already , and the white blood cells are being made
~taste buds are developing
~digestive system is advanced enough for water and sugar to be absorbed from amniotic fluids and pass it to the large bowel
~eyes are still shut
~at 20 weeks the baby is no longer measured from  crown to rump, but the legs are included in the measurement now from crown to heel
~baby is developing a more regular sleep pattern.  baby often becomes more active as it's mom's bedtime
~baby girls uterus is completely developed at this point
~most energy will go towards the baby gaining weight
~placenta has reached its maximum thickness and is supplying all the nutrients and oxygen and also disposing of the wastes

baby is the size of a banana!

Monday, November 9, 2015

persimmons...

fall is the time of year when persimmons start to make their appearance.  my parents always have a bunch at the house, and they other night at dinner they sent me home with some.  they are a beautiful orange color and the size and shape of a tomato.  they originated in east asia and are best eaten when they are firm.  they also have some good nutritional properties to them:

~good source of fiber
~good source of vitamin A, beta carotene and vitamin C
~good source of B-complex vitamins such as folic acid (great for pregnancy!)
~good amounts of minerals such as potassium and manganese


you can eat the skin, but i prefer to peel it off and slice like you would a tomato and eat raw.  i was looking at other recipes for persimmons and i came across some interesting ideas...

~persimmon caprese salad (eat with burrata, goat cheese or buffalo mozzarella)
~ persimmon salsa (add onion, cilantro, jalapeno - think mango or pineapple salsa)
~persimmon jam
~persimmon pudding (seems to be popular way to eat them)
~add to salad
~make a fruit tart with them

Sunday, November 8, 2015

19 weeks!!!

lately i have just been in love with being pregnant.  i think this is a common feeling in the 2nd trimester, but i am overcome with a sense of gratitude and being loved.  i am sure it helps that i am feeling well and not huge yet, but each day i get more and more excited to meet our baby girl.  the pregnancy really feels real at this point and jarad is so supportive, loving and caring.  it's a special feeling to have him involved in the pregnancy and always being so concerned with the well being of me and the baby.  he always makes sure i am feeling well, eating good and not overdoing or over committing myself.  and as for wilfred, he is protecting his mama as well.  he finally has started to cuddle me and my baby bump and gets protective of me with strangers.  my boys are taking great care of me!

this week i have been trying to incorporate more calcium and protein into my diet as the baby is starting to put on weight and bones are hardening.  i've been drinking a lot of milk lately, which is a  good way to take my prenatal vitamins in the morning.  i was taking them at night, and when i read the bottle it says not to, i actually think taking them at bedtime may affect my sleep.  i've been sleeping really well, which i think is also from the cooler weather!  i am continuing to feel baby kicks and movement, which is an amazing feeling!  i was questioning myself at first, but now there is no doubt that baby berk is dancing in there.  i only feel it when laying down, usually at bedtime or early morning and occasionally when i am at my desk at work, but i read that the baby is only awake about 6 hours out of the day.  it is a sensation like no other, it feels like popcorn popping in your tummy, makes you smile every time!  unfortunately jarad hasn't been able to feel it yet, i have him put his hand on my tummy and he either can't feel it or she stops moving.

weight gain this week = 0
total weight gain = 1 pound

growth milestones this week...

~baby is developing a protective coating on skin called "vernix caseosa."
~nerve cells are developing in brain that work on the senses (taste, hearing, taste, sight and smell)
~there is the presence of fat layers under the skin now and clearly defined facial features
~our baby girl already has 1/2 of the eggs she will be born with (our future grandkids!)
~toenails and scalp hair are growing

baby is the size of a mango!

Monday, November 2, 2015

18 weeks!!!

this week is an exciting one for me, mostly because i have my anatomy scan this week, which consists of a long and detailed ultrasound where the doctor takes a close look to see that our baby is growing and developing appropriately.  it is also followed up by blood work which will be my 2nd trimester genetic testing and the last of it!  we opted to find out early the gender of the baby, but if we didn't it would be at this appointment that we would find out.  my appointment went great!  they confirmed the baby is growing right on track and has all ten fingers and toes, and everything looks perfectly healthy and normal.


this week is  just more of the same symptoms...i can't really complain, i have had it easy so far.  a little round ligament pain, occasional dizziness and i have officially gained my first pound.  the most exciting part as i finish my 18th week is i think i finally started to feel baby kicks!!!  it is only when laying down, you question yourself at first, but from what i have read, i am pretty sure that is what i am feeling.  it feels like a thump to me, but it can also be described as "flutters" or "quickening."  i really haven't had any cravings this week, but chocolate milk and fruit pie does sound good!  my sister in law sent us this adorable package with a few onsies and some cute accessories!  all of the onsies she picked our are perfect, they are so "us."  it was a fun gift to come home to!

weight gain this week = 1 pound
total weight gain = 1 pound


growth milestones for the week...

~baby can yawn, hiccup, suck and swallow
~baby's immune system is developing
~buds for permanent teeth are forming behind the "baby teeth" that are already developed
~big week for the nervous system and brain development!  motor neurons have grown into place so that baby can consciously direct movements.
~nerves are being covered in a fatty substance called "myelin"
~baby's ears are now on the side of the head and the limbs are proportionate to the rest of the body
~unique finger and toe prints are formed

baby is the size of a sweet potato

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

trick or treat?

we were at a party last weekend, and the host had an unusual treat on the counter.  it was a bowl of dry roasted peanuts mixed in with candy corns.  i've never seen this before, but she told me it is a very popular mid-west fall treat.  i looked it up online, and sure enough there are many versions of it that include all kinds of goodies such as pretzels, broken pieces of oreos, reeses pieces and popcorn.  so i thought it would be a fun party mix to package in mason jars and pass out this weekend to friends and family.  i was told the "proper way" to eat this snack mix is 3 peanuts to one candy corn and the combination tastes very similar to a baby ruth candy bar!  i decided to add in m&m's to my mix for some chocolate, but i don't think you can go wrong any which way you go...

ingredients:

1 part peanuts
1 part candy corn
1/2 part m&m's

how to:

mix all ingredients up in a bowl and serve or package in mason jars as gifts!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

make your own soda...

i am pretty sure that seltzer or soda water is a staple for any pregnant lady, but jarad also enjoys it as a substitute for soda.  it is just carbonated water, which satisfies the craving for a bubbly drink without the sugar of a soda and without the artificial sweetener and chemicals of a diet drink.  my mom has been really into these flavored gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars, and i have a good collection of them going at home now, but you can use the balsamic vinegars in your bubbly water for an interesting home made "soda."

just fill your glass with ice and soda water and a splash of your favorite vinegar flavor.  i have a few to try including lemongrass mint (a white balsamic), honey ginger and blackberry ginger (the one i tried today and loved!).  they make a great "mocktail" for this pregnant lady and you could always add in some vodka or your favorite alcohol for a refreshing cocktail.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ham and cheese impossible breakfast bake...

i never ate ham growing up and it is something that i don't buy or eat  normally, but i think this may be a pregnancy craving for me?  i bought the most delicious ham, cheese and caramelized onion flatbread pizza from trader joes and i saw this recipe on a "americas test kitchen" the other night and i had to make it for breakfast over the weekend.  so here it is, i had to go off memory and i made a few adjustments, but here it is...

ingredients:

2 T parmesain cheese
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced cooked ham
4 scallions chopped
4 eggs
2 T cream
1/2 cup bisquick mix
salt and pepper to taste

how to:

in a greased pie pan take the 2 T of parmesain cheese and coat pan evenly, this forms a "crust."  mix the cheese, ham and scallions in a bowl and then place into pie pan.


mix the eggs, cream,  bisquick (and salt and pepper to taste) until combined and pour mixture over the cheese and ham. 


bake at 375 for approximately 25-30 minutes or until set and golden brown.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

re-purposing...

i buy these big jars of sea salt and peppercorns from bed bath and beyond and i saved the bottles when i am done with them.  i wasn't sure what to do with them, but i knew i had to add them to my craft box for something cool.  it came to me the other day, i should use them to hold/display bathroom items like qtips or cotton balls.  so i soaked them and scrubbed the label off with some help of goo be gone and them ran them through the dishwasher.  i filled them and think they will look cute in a bathroom.  they could also easily store bobby pins, bath salts, hair ties or act as a sweet little vase, i'm glad i didn't throw them out.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

shortbread...

recently my mom has discovered how easy and versatile shortbread can be.  she makes delicious versions of it with candied ginger or even rosemary.  you probably have all the ingredients already and the dough will freeze well or if you bake them up, the shortbread will last about 3 weeks if properly stored in an air tight container.

i always make friends a sweet treat on their birthday and yesterday we went to a couples joint birthday party at a couple of local breweries.  i thought this would be a good chance to try out a shortbread recipe.  this is adapted from martha stewarts recipe, and you can add all kinds of things to make it your own, for this one i am using dark chocolate covered espresso beans!

ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped chocolate covered espresso beans

how to:

in a large bowl beat sugar, vanilla and butter together with a hand mixer until light in color and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  then add in flour, salt and espresso beans and mix until the dough comes together.  in a buttered cake or pie pan press dough until evenly distributed and poke with fork.  bake at 325 degrees for approximately 50 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  allow to cool and cut into wedges.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

17 weeks!!!

this week is a bit more exciting, i had a check up with my doctor on thursday.  she measured my stomach which is 17 cm and listened to the baby's heartbeat (151 beats per minute).  she was happy with the way my pregnancy is progressing and i will see her again in another month.  she said the couple of pounds i lost during my first trimester have returned and this week i am back to my original pre-pregnancy weight.  she wasn't concerned at all as the baby seems to be growing appropriately.

baby is the size of an onion!

also as i approach the end of my 17th week of pregnancy, i am starting to experience "round ligament pain."  i did some research on webmd.com and here is some info on it:

what is it?

"round ligament pain" is a sharp pain or jabbing feeling often felt in the lower belly or groin area on one or both sides. it is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy and is considered a normal part of pregnancy. it is most often felt during the second trimester"

what causes it?

"several thick ligaments surround and support your womb (uterus) as it grows during pregnancy. one of them is called the round ligament.

the round ligament connects the front part of the womb to your groin, the area where your legs attach to your pelvis. the round ligament normally tightens and relaxes slowly.

as your baby and womb grow, the round ligament stretches. that makes it more likely to become strained.

sudden movements can cause the ligament to tighten quickly, like a rubber band snapping. this causes a sudden and quick jabbing feeling."

symptoms of round ligament pain?

"round ligament pain can be concerning and uncomfortable. but it is considered normal as your body changes during pregnancy.

the symptoms of round ligament pain include a sharp, sudden spasm in the belly. it usually affects the right side, but it may happen on both sides. the pain only lasts a few seconds."

growth milestones this week:

~baby is practicing breathing by gulping amniotic fluid into its lungs, which helps the lungs to develop so they will function at birth
~baby may be sucking its thumb
~sweat glands are developing
~baby is becoming more sensitive to the outside world and can detect light and sound
~cartilage is now turning into bone
~baby is putting some meat on those bones and is putting on some fat
~baby can start to distinguish flavors through taste buds
~baby's brain is communicating constantly with the nervous system
~uterus is size of a small melon!

while waiting to see the doctor i came across an interesting article about the top twelve grandparent names.  my in laws have decided to be called "mimi & papa" and my dad jokes about the baby calling them "mammy & pappy", but this list had some cute ideas...

grandma:
~grams
~gran
~gigi
~nana
~mimi
~mimzy
~mami
~maymay
~masey
~mia
~babs

grandpa:
~papa
~pops
~gramps
~grampy
~pappy
~paddy
~pop pop
~popo
~peppy
~bubba/bub
~buster
~buddy/bud

Friday, October 23, 2015

cold asain noodle salad...

girls wine night is a feast of delicious food, gossip and of course wine (or bubbly water for me).  this week i decided to bring a cold asain noodle salad.  i could make it the night before and it is easy and good for a light meal on a warm night...

ingredients:

1 pound linguini pasta
1 package of broccoli slaw from trader joes
1/2 onion finely sliced
5 scallions chopped
1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
1 T sesame oil
1 package of "just chicken" from trader joes (or feel free to cook up your own chicken)

dressing ingredients:

1/2 peanut butter
2 T sesame oil
1/4 cup trader joes soyaki marinade
3 T rice wine vinegar
1 T sriracha chili paste

how to:

cook pasta and saute veggies.  i cook the pasta until al dente and then rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process.  once cooked and cooled combine  pasta and veggies and use 1 T sesame oil to make sure pasta does not stick.  allow to finish cooling off to the side while you make the dressing.  in a blender combine all dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.  this dressing is something i adjust until it tastes the way i like it.  you can add soy sauce for more salt or water to adjust the consistency.  once the dressing is done, i use about 1/3 - 1/2 of it to dress the pasta and then allow it to finish cooling in the fridge.  when you get ready to serve, you will top the pasta with extra dressing, toasted almonds and scallions and chicken breast.  i forgot to take a pic of the dish at wine night, but here it is on day 2 for a great lunch...


Thursday, October 22, 2015

wilfred at girls wine night...

tuesday night was "wine night" (more like bubbly water night for me).   it's always fun to catch up with good company over good food and wine (or bubby water).  even wilfred enjoys hanging out with the girls...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

baby registry!

so last weekend, i went with my mom and my sister to buy buy baby to get a jump start on my baby registry!  it was fun but also overwhelming.  prior to going my mom and i did a lot of research on big ticket baby items and were left feeling really confused!  my best resource was asking my sister in law and good friend (both first time moms to 2 month old babies) what they suggested and their favs.  so i thought i would share the email from my sister in law that gave me so much good info and a great starting place for our registry...

"Hey love!
So I literally just went through everything in Ariannas room to see what was a MUST and what wasn't!
You will definitely want:
-Rock and play
-Avent soothie pacifiers (these are the ones the hospital gives you, but you'll want some in each area of the house...Arianna hasn't taken to any other kind of pacifier BUT these ones).
-gripe water (I know that Arianna is just a gassy baby, but anytime the baby has the hiccups, or an upset tummy you can have this on deck!)
-two different kinds of bottles, even through you're trying to breastfeed. Whether you pump, or if you switch to formula it will be best to have two kinds of bottles on hand, you can return them if you don't use them! I started out with tommy tippee bottles, and now I swear by dr. Brown (because of how gassy she is!) so maybe register one set of each.
-figure out what kind of wipes/diapers you like. I hate huggies because of the articles I read about little bits of glass found in the wipes and they fall apart so easily...you don't want that with a bombed out diaper!!! Haha I know you mentioned honest diapers so I would just stick to those!! Make sure you have a variety of sizes, Arianna is already in size 2!!!!
-lots of onesies!!! I wouldn't go too crazy with zippers or buttons because it's not the easiest to change, especially at night time!
-we love our britax b-safe car seat! the only thing that sucks is its a pretty heavy car seat as is, then with Arianna who is a little pork chop in it, makes it really heavy to carry. So maybe explore different seats that you like the style and keep an eye on the weight of the seat...make sure it's practical for you!
-I use the pack and play for the changing table downstairs...in the new house you would probably like the same thing so you don't have to run all the way to her bedroom for diapers or anything!
-lots of muslin swaddle blankets. Even if you don't swaddle her, they're great blankets!! Not too hot, breathable material.
-boppy for sure!
-baby carrier!!! I have the "happy" wrap like you saw when you were here. I love that for around the house. But I just bought a "Tula" that I'm obsessed with! I never thought I'd be into baby carrying, but this is how I food shop, shop for anything, and just get things done when she wont let me put her down.
-stroller. They're are SO many kinds of strollers it's unbelievable! Pick what works best for you! All I can say just like I was saying about the car seat...watch for the weight of the stroller. Some of them can be super heavy and that's not practical! I can't say enough good things about the stroller I picked "city select baby jogger" !! It's easy to fold, it's not TOO heavy, it comes with a big storage compartment on the bottom, it's good for streets AND jogging. The best part is it comes with two seats. So when you guys have a second, you don't have to buy a new stroller to fit both kids!! Chrissy's stroller was a gracco click connect and although she loved it, she had to buy a different one once she had Maci! She has the bob doubler stroller now, which is awesome but it was way too big for me!! I would bump into everything with that and it's kinda overkill to have that big of stroller until you do have two kids.
-bumbo seat! Anthony used it all the time, Maci is just now starting to use it. It goes everywhere!!!
-activity mat for tummy time
-I forgot to register for a high chair, but wish I did!
-sound machine!!! White noise is a beautiful thing at night haha. It drowns out any small grunts or noises she will make, and they love the noise! Win win for everyone :)

Things I don't think I needed:

-a bassinet! Arianna sleeps in the rock and play that you bought her, and that's it!! They grow out of bassinets so quickly too.
-I thought baby laundry detergent was a bust! It didn't smell great and it didn't get any formula stains out of her clothes so I stopped using it. I use it on small loads of her bedding just to get rid of it...But that's up to you!
-infant/baby tub. As much as they're adorable and may work for some people...nothing was as good as the kitchen sink!! I have a small pink tub for when she gets a little older and doesn't fit in the sink. But infant tubs don't fill with a lot of water and so she would get cold, and start screaming. But in the kitchen sink she is submerged in water and LOVES her baths!!
-momma roo. She hates it, but every baby is different!"

my friend kate had some similar suggestions, her favs were:

-ergo baby carrier
-chicco bravo trio travel system (car seat and stroller)
-"swaddle me" swaddle blankets
-"joovy boob" bottles
-k'tan baby carrier
-baby swing
-pack and play
-rocker bassinet
-madela brand breast feeding products
-petunia pickle bottom diaper bag
-fisher price 4 in 1 seat bath tub

i ended up registering at buy buy baby because they have the great 20% coupons in the mail and you can also use the bed bath and beyond ones there as well!  i did one of my wedding registries at bed bath and beyond and they have such a great return policy that i am hoping buy buy baby will be just as good (being a sister company).  i did find that there were a few products that i was interested in that they did not carry, but i was able to find at target.  i don't think i will register at target, but another option is also amazon!  either way, after 4 long hours of looking at baby stuff, we left exhausted but had a great time doing it! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

16 weeks!!!

i can hardly believe i am over a third of the way cooked and in a few short weeks i will be to the half way point!!!  there were so many times when we were trying to get pregnant that i never thought i would see myself here, i feel so happy and grateful that we have a healthy baby girl on the way!  again this is another uneventful week with no appointments and i am feeling great!  jarad is gone for a long weekend, which means my mom and sister and i will work on the baby registry at buy buy baby, woohoo!!!  and look at this adorable sweater that a dear family friend knitted...i can't wait for our baby girl to wear this!


this week, i can really feel and see my stomach growing!  it is still itchy and tingly and definitely bigger!  maternity clothes are my new best friend, especially the dresses (super comfy).  i am still waiting for my belly to POP, but i know i must be getting close.  vivid dreams are a symptom of pregnancy, and boy am i having some unusual ones, as well as a lot of talking in my sleep.  other than that, i have noticed my energy level after 9pm is non-existent. which after a long day at work, a long commute, exercising and making dinner (some nights) isn't so bad?!?!  i normally go to bed on the early side, but i always stay awake to watch my favorite cooking show at 9pm, these days i am asleep before the 30 minute episode is finished.  the most common question i get is if i am craving anything funny?  my answer is still "not really."  this week i am really craving pasta, this is probably after seeing my sister's blog post on her homemade pasta, YUM!  i heard that in the next few weeks i should start to feel baby kick!  but in the meantime i may feel "flutters" or "quickening" which is movement from the baby.  at my last ultrasound i learned that i have an anterior placenta which means that the placenta is in front, almost acting as if the baby were kicking a pillow, which could mean it might take longer for me to feel the kicks?  we will see, but i am so excited for that moment and to be able to share it with jarad and family. and this may be the start of my weight gain, i think this week i have gained my first pound (which still puts me 1 pound under my pre-pregnancy weight)...i think i better get used to this.

growth milestones this week...

~baby now weighs more than surrounding placenta and positioned halfway between pubic bone and navel
~baby is beginning to store fat which is important for metabolism and heat production
~baby can hear my voice because of the tiny bones forming in the ears
~taste buds are forming
~heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood a day
~baby's flexible thumbs are able to grasp

baby is the size of an avocado!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

pregnancy ramble of the day...

while walking wilfred today i had all these thoughts racing through my head and i had to get them out.  as i am enjoying the "cool" weather i am reflecting back on the last two years of our journey to conceive and feeling extremely grateful for my pregnant belly.

for those of you who know us, know that we didn't have it easy when we started trying to get pregnant.  unfortunately the first year was a waste due to the fact that i had a terrible doctor who thought putting me on hormones might help, and she mis-prescribed them only for them to act as a contraceptive.  this did not become apparent to us until i started going to acupuncture and my acupuncturist asked for a list of any medications i was on.  thank goodness she was knowledgeable enough to quickly realize this red flag and get me off of them immediately, as well as switch doctors!

i had so many tests done and all of which came back as "normal."  so this puts you in a very mysterious category of "unexplained infertility."  in my mind i always saw myself getting pregnant the old fashioned way, but i continued to explore natural and organic ways to improve my fertility. in this time i realized that i was not alone in this struggle.  i would see and hear stories on social media from other women about their experiences with IVF, IUI's, and adoption.   and because of their willingness to share, we were able to form a community of support for one another.  it is a club no one chooses to be in, but it brought me closer to friends and reconnected me with old ones.  you become a cheerleader for them, you cry together, you ask them questions and become a resource of information for others. 

often times you are so caught up in the moment with frustration and fear that you can hardly imagine being on the other side of it all.  but when you do, there becomes feelings of guilt for those that can no longer relate to you. 

for my friends that are still writing their fertility story, i want you to know, i will always understand the feelings of loneliness,  emptiness, anxiety and sadness.  i know how hard it is to feel emotions that are not typical of ourselves, like anger and resentment and jealousy.  and i experienced 2 miscarriages and am no stranger to the feelings of loss and anger.  i will always be your cheerleader there to support you through this and hold tight to hope, faith and positive thinking.  miracles happen everyday. 

when we open up to people about our experiences the usual reaction is "i know", "i understand", "don't worry, everything will be okay."  but these responses diminish our feelings and i truly believe that no one understands what it feels like unless you have lived it.  you develop the most intense love/hate relationship with your own body, feeling betrayed month after month after month. 

on the flip side of it, i know everyone wants to put their 2 cents in about parenthood and how to raise a child.  it's a learning and growing experience i am excited to share with my husband.  my sister in law is coming upon the end of her maternity leave, and i can only imagine the mixed feelings she is going through right now, but honestly i am not in her shoes and i don't know how it feels.  so the best answer i could give her was "i know this will be a transition period for all of you, i am always here if you need to chat or vent." 

my long winded point is that if you have always dreamed of having your own family, it does not matter how you get to that point, whether it be fertility treatments or adoption or something else.  don't forget your story of how you got there and be willing to share with others who are in the same position as you, your support means more than you know!  and sometimes listening to feelings without judgement and advice is the best thing you can provide for others. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

pumpkin muffins...

i am one of those people that get excited for fall for the weather, boots and sweaters and of course all things pumpkin!  with the heat wave we are having it is hard to enjoy the fall flavors with summer like temps.  this weekend we are having some gloomy weather and it is not 90 degrees, so i thought this is my chance to bake!

i got my favorite pumpkin muffin mix at trader joes and made it my own!

ingredients:

1 box of trader joes pumpkin muffin and bread mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 mashed bananas

how to:

i follow the box instructions for the mix, however i cut the fat in half by substituting apple sauce.  of course this is optional, you can certainly follow the instructions on box and use the full 1/2 cup of vegetable oil it calls for.  but i think you will find the apple sauce and bananas keep the batter light and moist, you probably won't even know the difference.  mix all ingredients either by hand or with a hand mixer.  this can either be baked in a loaf pan or cupcake tin.  bake at 350 for approximately 20-24 minutes, makes 16 muffins.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

beat the heat...

all i can say is i am over the hot weather.  it is the middle of october and we are experiencing 95+ degree weather by the beach.  we only have one AC room in the house, so i look forward to coming to work so i can be in my nice cool office.  it is definitely cooler outside than it is inside our house, so last night we hung out at the park to cool off.  wilfred LOVES to run around in the grass, jarad got to fly his helicopter and i got to relax and watch my boys play. 


Monday, October 12, 2015

15 weeks!!!

looking back at all my weekly belly pics, i feel like some weeks it looks bigger and other weeks it looks smaller.  i try to take the pics in the morning before i eat, because if i were to take one after a big meal, you would definitely be seeing a "food baby"  haha!  but i am still waiting for my belly to pop.  but i can tell it is definitely growing and stretching, because my stomach itches and gets a tingly feeling.  i have been using burts bees belly cream nightly, so i hope that will help with stretch marks.  i found this interesting chart that gives a quick look into each month of pregnancy, i am currently in the 4th month.


this is kind of an uneventful week, no doctors appointments and i am feeling good!  my job is calming down a bit, so that is helpful. i still haven't gained any weight this week.  but trust me i am eating well! 

i am trying to be good about my food choices, and be prepared with healthy snack options.  i find that i need to eat more often and my blood sugars can drop suddenly.  some of my favs have been fruit, string cheese, trail mix, dried fruit and i am excited to bring back one of my fav recipes today that i know will be perfect for me, my energy bites (check out old blog post).  i can keep them in the freezer and eat them on the go or even keep them at my office.  i am also starting to try to eat more protein.  i feel like during my first trimester the foods that sounded best to me were high in carbs, so i am trying to eat a more balanced diet and get a lot of good fats and proteins in there.

growth milestones this week:

~limbs and joints can all move
~legs out measure arm length
~bones have enough calcium to show up on x-ray
~baby can hold head erect
~can also make faces with the slightly developed facial muscles, will practice squinting, frowning and opening and closing mouth, rub it's eyes, yawn and maybe even blink.
~baby's hairline is forming and hair is starting to grow on head, as well as eyelashes and eyebrows

baby is the size of a navel orange!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

strawberry and cream cake...

even though i am too tired to make dinner during the week, i am never too tired to make a dessert for a good party!  and this party was the celebration of LOVE between two dear friends of ours!  they had a courthouse wedding with family and will have a destination wedding to follow in 2016! so naturally i wanted to bring an extra special dessert.  so here is my strawberry and cream cake!

ingredients:

2 boxes white cake mix (all all the ingredients needed to make them)
2 t almond extract
1 large container whipping cream
1.5 T vanilla extract
3 T sugar
1 cup raspberry jam
2 pounds strawberries

how to:

make the boxed cake according to instructions, but in addition to the ingredients it calls for add 1 t almond extract per box.  bake in 9 inch cake round.  allow to cool completely before assembling cake.   in a large bowl combine whipping cream, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with hand mixer until you have whipped cream with firm peaks.  wash and slice strawberries.

using either a serrated knife or unflavored dental floss cut each cake round in half.  place cake round on platter and start assembly.  start with a thin layer of jam followed by whipped cream and strawberries and continue until last layer.



in total you should have three layers of jam, whipped cream and strawberries.  once all layers are completed coat the sides and top of cake with a thick layer of whipped cream and arrange strawberries on top in a pretty pattern.  serve and enjoy!


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

pesto chicken bake...

cooking dinner at night is something i don't have the energy to do during the weeknights anymore.  jarad was sweet enough to try a new recipe for me last week that looked really good and easy, and it was really tasty!

ingredients:

1 chicken breast per person
1 T pesto per chicken breast
cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup mozzerela per chicken breast

how to:

place defrosted chicken breasts on baking sheet or oven safe dish, and cover with pesto sauce.  then cut cherry tomatoes in half and sprinkle over chicken and top with cheese.  bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is bubbly.


serve with spaghetti with either marinara or pesto sauce, raviolis, or roasted potatoes.


Monday, October 5, 2015

14 weeks!!!

welcome to the second trimester and all i can say is "holy hormones!"  definitely feeling extra emotional these days.  luckily still feeling well, but not experiencing the energy people talk about in the second trimester.  i believe it is because i am so busy at work that by the end of the day and with a long commute i am ready to be at home and relax.  also the days are getting shorter and that always throws off my internal clock.  it is pretty much dark when i get home, so i get confused if i want to eat or sleep.  wilfred seems to know somethings up.  he is starting to cuddle me (which he never does - only jarad) and the other day i had someone new in my office and he did not like him getting anywhere near my desk.  i think he is in guard dog mode.  i think its kinda cute. i've also "graduated" from going to my weekly acupuncture sessions. 

i am still exercising and going to the gym, but it is getting harder and harder.  the best exercise for me right now is walking, and i know wilfred enjoys it too, so a win for win for all of us.  i still have not experienced a weight gain, and am in fact still down 1.5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.  but you would never guess that from my growing belly.  they say in the next couple of weeks your belly just pops out of nowhere overnight, i am excited for this moment so i can get out of the chubby, bloated, awkward phase and start to actually look pregnant! i have not had any unusual cravings, but in general mexican food is sounding really good and i am enjoying cookies and cream ice cream (i was never a big ice cream fan).  i find that i will see or hear about a food and then i will crave it until i get it.

baby is the size of a lemon!

here are some 14 week growth milestones...

~baby's bones are hardening
~hair is growing on head and eyebrows and if the baby will have dark hair the follicles will start to generate pigment
~kidneys are making urine and liver and spleen are doing their jobs too
~baby is moving a lot and may even be sucking their thumb
~lungs will continue to develop and baby is practicing breathing with the amniotic fluid on a regular basis
~baby can make faces and reflexes are becoming stronger

it will be a few weeks until our next round of doctors appointments, but we reached the marker this week where you can do an early gender ultrasound, so we went ahead and did it!  it was an awesome experience to get another peek on baby berk and a sweet moment for my parents to get to participate as well.  baby is right on track developmentally and the heartbeat was 163 beats per minute.  it was strange because the baby was upside down, so we didn't really get a good look at baby, but we did leave with some exciting news...