Quote of the Week

"A new baby is like the beginning of all things-wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities."

~ Eda J. Le Shan

Week 34

{sneak peek from our maternity photo shoot}

Baby Size: large cantaloupe (I'm getting more and more confused by this fruit-size guide...I've been following the fruit guide on my "What to Expect" phone app, but I swear a cantaloupe is smaller than a pineapple (week 33)!  Hmm...
Maternity Clothes: maternity tops, shorts, dresses, some regular maxi dresses mixed in
Food Cravings: Haagen Daz salted caramel ice cream bars, banana milkshakes (but pretty sure I would crave these kinds of sweets normally...)
Food Aversions: pho
Symptoms: sore hands/knuckles and bottoms of feet, sore hips after sleeping on my side
Sleep: Sleeping upright feels better these days, I usually wake up about once, sometimes twice a night
Movement: Feeling rolling, moving, poking, I love feeling her move!
Belly Button: popped out 
Gender: GIRL!!!
Best Moment of the Week: our maternity photo shoot
What I'm Looking Forward To: family in town for our upcoming baby shower
What I Miss: high impact sports, sushi, a cold glass of white wine 
Wedding Rings: Took my rings off over the weekend, but jammed them back on for our maternity shoot, now I'm pretty sure they're not coming off until afterward.
Currently Reading: I checked out On Becoming Babywise, but have yet to really crack it open

image via mikefiectner

Happy Weekend

Happy weekend!  It's going to be another hot one here in Seattle.  We've been blessed with glorious sunny weather for pretty much the entire month of July, it's been excellent!  You won't find this pregnant girl complaining too much about the heat, I'd rather have sun than downpour any day, and luckily I've been fortunate enough to feel cool and mostly comfortable in spite of the climbing temps.

Tomorrow marks 1-month from our due date!!  I can hardly believe it, our last few months and weeks of pregnancy have flown by.  The nursery is pretty much ready (sans a little cleaning to organize some clutter), we're over halfway through our 6-week childbirth class series, and today we toured the hospital where I'll be delivering.  Aside from adding a few odds and ends to our hospital bag, I'd say we're ready to go.  CRAZY!?!  

Also - tomorrow is our big family baby shower.  My sisters, cousin and her family, aunt and uncle all flew up from Southern California to celebrate with us, and join in the baby festivities.  It should be a good time soaking up the summer sun with family and close friends.  

Have yourself a sweet weekend - stay cool!


Birth Announcements

As a teacher, I am blessed with the luxury of summer break, which truly is a pregnant girl 5-weeks out from her due date's dream come true!  Ample time to do...whatever!  My most recent endeavor has been researching and perusing birth announcements for our little babe.  With the plethora of options available, I'm finding myself quite smitten with the selection of birth announcements over at Tiny Prints.  Aren't these adorable?
I am currently torn in picking a favorite...in addition to the all the other darling announcements to choose from on their site! I love all the details; curly fonts, pinks accents, and all!  Now all we need is a baby girl to fill in the guest of honor spot - and send out one of these to our nearest and dearest!  
Sooo excited!!

Which one is your fave?


These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: Pregnancy Edition

Meet the Snoogle, the body pillow of body pillows, this little pillow has become my best friend while pregnant.  Many of you might know that it's recommended that pregnant women stop sleeping on their back at 20 weeks, if not before, because of the additional weight on your spine and primary arteries.  And, since at that point, you can't sleep on your stomach, the option that remains is side sleeping. Now, I've always been a side sleeper, but sleeping on my side while pregnant is a different story.  In addition to backaches, I have often woken up with achy hit joints. Also, despite my best intentions to sleep on my side throughout the night, unless you surround yourself with a border of pillows, it's difficult to ensure that you stay on your side for the duration of a sleep.  

This is where the Snoogle comes in.  I admit, I was very skeptical, even despite rave reviews from friends.  Most because, I've never slept with a body pillow before, nor ever saw the need.  The snoogle is curved to be shaped like a "C" so it wraps underneath your head, and between your legs, and can tuck right underneath your growing bump.  When curled around you, it's quite secure and comfortable!  In my opinion, the best part of this pillow is that it curves, essentially hugging your body to provide consistent back support. You can lean  against it without any fear of rolling onto your back.  It's AMAZING!
My husband even likes it (much to my surprise).  Though it's not exactly romance-inducing being wrapped in a giant pillow all night long, he's borrowed it for a weekend nap or two, and proclaimed it's greatness, commenting that "it's like being spooned all night long."  

Insider tip: I originally purchased just the Snoogle pillow (sans cover), but realized that like an ordinary pillow, there's definitely potential for it to easily get dirty (eye make-up, etc.).  I ended up buying a cover separately.  If you're considering purchasing, I'd recommend buying the  pillow + cover together to save yourself some money.  


Week 33

Baby Size: pineapple
Maternity Clothes: maternity tops/shorts/jeans, maxi dresses
Food Cravings: Caffeine free coke, dessert and sweet things
Food Aversions: pho, chicken
Symptoms: back pain, and I think (?) I had my first Braxton Hicks contraction this week
Sleep: my back usually hurts by morning, so I'm up and at 'em around 6:00 AM most days. Usually waking up 1-3 times, depending on the night
Movement: Feeling strong movements, elbows and limbs, can see her moving across my belly
Belly Button: popped out 
Gender: GIRL!!!
Best Moment of the Week: cleaning/organizing our baby's room (we added a bookshelf to house all her books and picture frames), started our childbirth class, and attended a friend's baby's 1-year birthday party.
What I'm Looking Forward To: maternity photo shoot this week, and family visiting for our upcoming baby shower
What I Miss: running, spinning class, and other high impact sports. An example of my lack of mobility these days; I got locked out of our house this week, and was tempted to climb through an open window when I realized that might be a tad harder with a big belly.  I called my husband to propose this idea, to which he sped home, obviously he did not agree this was a suitable idea...
Wedding Rings on
Currently Reading: just checked out On Becoming Babywise from the library

Pie on the Grill

Have you ever eaten pie grilled on the BBQ?
Next question - did you even know that you could grill a pie on the BBQ?

An acquaintance of mine posted on facebook yesterday, "Delicious apple pie straight from the BBQ, yum!" or something to that accord.  I read that and thought...WHAT?!?!  Consider my mind blown!  So, naturally, I did some research and yes indeed, it's possible!  I found a few recipes vouching for variations of "grilled pie," using the BBQ to bake instead of a conventional oven, as well as some helpful how-to of some grilling tips to ensure the dessert turns out as it should. I'm so interested in this technique, and wonder if grilled pie tastes different from baked?  Somehow I think the smoky barbecuey flavor might really jazz up a fruity pie.  Personally, I'd love to try apple or peach.

What do you think?  Have you ever tried this before?  If so, please share your insider information!


What's in a Name?

Let me tell you, it is no easy task to name another person.  Knowing that the name you bestow upon your child will forever be interwoven into their identity for their entire life.  It's a challenge to select a name as a couple, one both you and your partner like equally, meanwhile, taking care to ensure that the chosen name isn't too trendy, too popular, too ordinary, too boring, or too unusual.  All the while knowing that this name will forever be a part of your lives.  It's a big decision, for sure!  My husband and I decided early on that we'd keep our baby's name a secret.  We agreed upon two first names, including our current name, at about 4 months into my pregnancy.  We have since narrowed that down to one name, though we're still torn and debating back and forth about a middle name.

I can't say it's been easy to guard such a large secret.  Our families are very eager to know the name, especially our moms.  My mother in law must've asked us 5 times while we were back in Michigan for a wedding, "Is it a traditional name or a modern name?  How many letter is it?" to which my husband playfully and consistently replied, "Twelve" just to tease.  One of my sisters begged us to disclose just the first letter of her name, "What does it start with? I promise I won't tell!" My friends too have urged me for hints of any kind.  And of course, we've denied all their requests, and kept our lips tightly sealed.  Perhaps I've been scared into secrecy by stories of unsavory and unsolicited comments made to friends of mine who chose to share their potential baby names early on.  It's surprising really, why some people feel it's appropriate to share their personal distaste for a certain name with an expecting couple.  

Why did we decide to keep our baby's name a secret, you ask?  Well, honestly, I've always loved the moment of discovery in finding out that a long-awaited baby has been born; their height, weight, time of birth, and delight in learning his or her name.  Since we already made the decision to learn her gender, and shared that news, we wanted to be able to keep one sweet surprise to ourselves and then once she arrives, be able to enjoy that magical moment of celebrating her birth and sharing her name with our loved ones the minute she's born.  

I can't wait!

P.S. A hilarious clip, Friends' Ross & Rachel picking baby names!


Cooking Class

Last night my mom and I attended a private cooking class with a group of her friends.  It was a warm summer night, and we dined alfresco on fried baby artichokes with lemon aioli, buttermilk and fresh herb marinated chicken, romesco sauce, and grilled summer squash salad with dill + feta.  The meal was delicious, except between chatting and prep, we didn't eat until 9:00, which was quite a late dinner hour for this pregnant gal!  We pretty much devoured our plates in minutes, and I'm certain I could've eaten another meal once I got home.

I've been fortunate to take quite a few cooking classes; from Persian cuisine to paella, Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, even croissant making.  What are your favorite cooking classes to take?  Do you prefer hands-on cooking class or just watching and listening?


Sonoma Bachelorette Recap

Fourth of July weekend was an epic girls getaway to gorgeous Sonoma, California.  My best friend Jody is getting married in September, and 10 of us girls from across the country congregated in wine country to celebrate our beautiful bride.  We arrived on the fourth of July for dinner at Girl and the Fig, toured Sonoma's finest wineries all day Friday, laid by the pool soaking up the California sunshine on Saturday, and headed home after brunch on Sunday.  With a few bachelorette activities thrown in here and there, of course!  Here are some snapshots from our girlfriends getaway!

Week 32

{32 weeks at Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma, California}

Baby Size: honeydew
Maternity Clothes: maternity tops/shorts, regular dresses & maxi dresses
Food Cravings: sugary sweets (doughnuts - specifically Top Pot apple fritters, sugar cookies, ice cream, Caffeine free coke)
Food Aversions: pho, chicken
Symptoms: back aches, especially first thing in the AM
Sleep: getting a bit more uncomfortable by morning, waking up 1-2 times per night
Movement: Feeling lots of movement, movements are getting more intense, you can see limbs moving around through my stomach!  
Belly Button: popped out 
Gender: GIRL!!!
Best Moment of the Week: Sonoma Bachelorette Weekend with my girlfriends
What I'm Looking Forward To: our upcoming baby shower, finishing the baby's room
What I Miss: running/high impact sports
Wedding Rings: on
Currently Reading: Happiest Baby on the Block

Heartfelt Thanks

"... what we have enjoyed, we can never lose ... all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." ~Helen Keller

Dear blog friends,
Thank you for all the sweet, heartfelt comments about my cat.  
I'm sure to all the people out there who aren't pet people, I must seem like a ninny grieving over the sudden loss of my beloved cat, but I can't spend my time worrying about these people.  I have truly taken comfort in the heartfelt condolences and kind words shared with me on this blog, your sympathy has been much appreciated.  Thank you also to my friends who called or texted me this week.  During our pre-marriage classes, I learned that "Words of Affirmation" is definitely my love language, thus, these small expressions of kindness through words are the gestures that mean the most to me.  I even showed my husband the roll of blog comments Jenga's post received, to which he also felt touched.  

We miss her deeply, it's been most hard to drive up to our home and see the empty windowsill where she once sat, ready to leap up upon our arrival. Or crawl into bed, and wait for the click-click of her little clawed feet dashing through the hall, heading toward us to jump onto the foot of the bed. 

I've been spending the last few days pulling some hilarious photos and videos of her off my iphone, which has been comforting, seeing her spry and lively in her glory.  
Here's a few personal favorites to leave you with for the day...
{She always did love to sit up like a human, supporting herself by resting on her large tummy}
{I love this one...she sought out the heating pad the second I left the couch, we called her the "heater whore," a nickname I say with the deepest affection.}

Saying Goodbye

It breaks my heart to tell you that conditions did not improve, and we sent our sweet, beautiful cat and friend Jenga up to heaven today.  This was something we thought might happen, but the idea versus the reality of the situation weighs heavy on my heart.  It was a difficult decision, but after several weeks of steroids, multiple vet check-ups, and a regiment of 5 pills a day with no improvement, loss of appetite, and worsening of her condition, we recognized her suffering and pain was only growing, as well as the significant decline in her quality of life.  Needless to say, it's been an emotional day.

I know many out there are not cat people.  Cats often get the bad rap, labeled reclusive, anti-social, and standoffish, but these characteristics Jenga was not.  She was always frisky, vocal, and affectionate until her final few weeks; evidenced by her meowing conversations with me the minute I'd walk in the front door, her high-volume motorboat purr, and unwavering enthusiasm to leap onto our laps every evening where she'd recline, stretch out lazily, and fall asleep.  We'll miss so many things; her playful tendency to swat at doorstops and fascination with the metallic "boing" that followed, her ability to spear and devour a stray fly in 10 seconds flat, and the pacing-in-the-window-while-crooning routine she'd display for neighborhood orange tabby we affectionately named "boyfriend."  The list goes on...

Jenga was a part of our family, and her absence is devastating, especially since we thought she'd be there to greet us when we bring our baby home from the hospital.  The hardest part to reconcile is understanding why this happened to her, she was such a young, lively cat until a month ago, and only 5 years old at that.

A request to you pet owners and lovers out there, cuddle your pet a little tighter tonight.  You never know how much longer you'll have with them.  I picture her in heaven, lounging contentedly in a window sill somewhere, happily meowing at the passing squirrels and birds.
We love you Jeng, and miss you so much already.
Rest in peace. xoxo.
{one of my favorite pictures of hers, sleeping with both paws curled up underneath her chin}

Red, White, and Blue Sweets

In the spirit of 4th of July - and the interest in satisfying sweet, sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice cravings - I've been digging up some links to delicious red, white, and blue holiday desserts from around the web.
Here's what I got...

+ firecracker dipped pretzel rods

+ 4th of July layered flag cake (complete with flag built into the layers)

+ "mini" banana splits

+ stained glass jello stars

+ ideal for kids: rice Krispy treat sparklers

+ red, white, blue, and brownie fruit kebabs

+ cherry and blueberry pies in a jar


Week 31

Well, you can tell summer vacation has set in, as I'm a week behind in pregnancy postings. Week 30 managed to escape us for a picture, but we remembered to snap a picture toward the tail end of Week 31. 

Baby Size: head of lettuce
Maternity Clothes: maternity tops/shorts, regular dresses & maxi dresses
Food Cravings: fruit, lemonade (the craving is back)
Food Aversions: pho
Symptoms: achy lower back when I wake up in the morning or sit for too long
Sleep: waking up 1-2 times per night
Movement: Feeling and SEEING movement a lot. More rolling and turning, I can feel pressure as she pushes up against the outside of my stomach.  Baby Girl also has had hiccups a few times, I can feel her steady "hiccup" on repeat every few seconds during these times.
Belly Button: popped out
Gender: GIRL!!!
Best Moment of the Week: After a weekend of HOT weather, (hot being 95 degrees, which in Seattle - a city of minimal air conditioning, is pretty warm) I was persuaded into going swimming off my parents' dock.  I think she enjoyed the cool down, I could feel her kicking while I was floating in the water!  Also, hoping to purchase a glider this week to complete the furniture for her room!
What I'm Looking Forward To: Fourth of July girls weekend in Sonoma
What I Miss: running/high impact sports
Wedding Rings on

Currently Reading: Happiest Baby on the Block