Guest Posts on Motherhood

With our due date come and gone, and in anticipation of our baby's arrival, I'll be taking a little hiatus from blogging.  Have no fear, in the mean time, I've enlisted some of my favorite bloggers - who also happen to be moms themselves for some featured guest posts while we're enjoying our (hopefully soon) first few days of motherhood.   

"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."
~ Author Unknown


Due Date

Alright baby...well, we've established you're not coming early.   But there is still hope for an on time delivery if you're in the mood to make your debut today... Yes friends, today is our due date!!!  Not sure if it will simultaneously be our girl's birthday, but there's still a chance if she gets moving pretty soon. :)

Waiting for a baby is a bit of a surreal feeling.  I keep catching myself staring at the calendars on my phone and computer wondering, "I wonder if it'll be today, tomorrow, the 30th, the 2nd..."  Please send us positive thoughts and prayers as we navigate these last few days of pregnancy!


Week 39

{sunset at Golden Gardens, 39 weeks}
Baby Size: watermelon
Maternity Clothes: pretty much wearing all maternity tops, I am definitely over pants and shorts, wearing a regiment of cotton skirts and tanks on repeat
Food Cravings: nothing in particular
Food Aversions: pho
Symptoms: sore hands/feet,  achy hips at night
Sleep: Sleeping through the night hasn't happened for a few weeks now, I spent most nights flipping from side to side until my hips ache and I retreat to the couch for the remainder of the night
Movement: Feeling rolling and pressure
Belly Button: popped out 
Gender: GIRL!!!
Best Moment of the Week: hitting full-term!
What I'm Looking Forward To: Meeting our baby!
What I Miss: running, regular exercise, continuous sleep
Wedding Rings: on - don't think they're moving!
Currently Reading: kind of given up on baby book reading, ready for the real thing :)

Week 38

Baby Size: watermelon
Maternity Clothes: maxi skirts, dresses, too hot for pants these days 
Food Cravings: most everything sounds good
Food Aversions: pho
Symptoms: swollen hands (that wedding rings isn't budging!), achy hips at night
Sleep: Sleeping has become increasingly interrupted and difficult, but that's really my only complaint
Movement: Feeling limbs and pressure
Belly Button: popped out 
Gender: GIRL!!!
Best Moment of the Week: nesting?  hanging the final artwork in the baby's room, finishing washing all the clothes, diapers, etc.
What I'm Looking Forward To: Meeting our baby!
What I Miss: running, regular exercise
Wedding Rings: on - don't think they're moving!

Currently Reading: kind of given up on baby book reading, now listening to Tell the Wolves I'm Home on audiobook in the car

Good Things

1. We've finished almost ALL of our projects before baby!  This included: painting the exterior of our house, trim, and front door, hung up all the nursery artwork, checked those last few items off our baby registry, tackled breast pump set-up, among other things...

2. Discovering the HBO series, The Newsroom.  Might just be my new favorite show, even if you're not a "newsy" person, this show is pretty good!  Thank you HBO for your clerical error that resulted in 3 months of this premium channel for us!

3. Making homemade yellow plum jam with my mom.  Yellow plum jam reminds me of summers spent  in Southern Oregon growing up, picking plums from my grandparents tree.  We had ourselves a Saturday night in, boiling, sugaring, and canning, and I've been enjoying the fruits of our labor for breakfast every day since.

4. Finding a bridesmaid dress that fits!  Have I told you, I'm slated to be my best friend's matron of honor 11 days after our due date.  Yeah, cutting it close, much?  Anyway...I finally found a dress that fits pre and (I'm hoping) post baby bump, that matches with the other bridesmaids.  Hooray!

5. I'm enjoying the slow change of seasons to autumn.  Admittedly, it is a strange feeling to not be preparing for school this year, since my August is usually marked with back to school organization (and jitters), but I'm enjoying the transition a new season.  My husband and I ate dinner on the deck the other night and noticed a hint of chill in the air - as if fall was declaring its impending presence.  Plus, with fall comes all of my favorite things; pumpkin-flavored everything, new fashions (and baby clothes) in all the stores, crunchy, color-changing leaves.  It's just around the corner!

6. My husband is the sweetest.  He spend Sunday night preparing snack bags for me for the week.  These include cut up apples, almonds, veggies, etc. basically munchies for me during the day, but pre-packed in ziploc baggies, ready to go in case we need to rush to the hospital (since they recommended we bring small snacks for during labor).  I should really be the one doing this since I'm not working, but he was determined to contribute :)

7. This amazing weather.  This might be the most beautiful summer Seattle has seen in years; sunshine, blue skies, warm but not scorching temps, it has been downright blissful!

8. Nesting.  I guess my nesting instinct has kicked in - or so my husband claims. In the past few weeks, I've planted our window boxes out front, did a deep clean of the refrigerator, reorganized parts of the basement, and been a vacuum bandit.  I will say, I am enjoying the pristine cleanliness of our house at present. :)

9. Knowing there's only 5 more days until the due date!

10. The growing excitement to meet our baby girl!  What will she look like?  How much will she weigh?  It's a crazy feeling waiting for a baby, but we couldn't be more ready or excited :)


Dinner Last Night: Chicken and Broccolini Mac and Cheese

{this isn't my photo, but the dish looked very similar}

I can't believe how long it has been since I did a dinner last night post.  Can you tell we've been throwing together easy dinners or eating out for the past...uh...few months?  

Call it nesting, or what have you, but I saw this recipe in my most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living and decided it was an easy fix for a Monday night meal.  Chicken and Broccolini Mac and Cheese, fulfilling the ever-present mac and cheese craving, while throwing in a little veggies and protein.  Voila!

Chicken-and-Broccolini Mac and Cheese
Active Time: 30 minutes. Total Time: 55 minutes.  Serves 4-6.

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
2 cups whole milk (I used 1%)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves, cut in half horizontally
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
12 oz. wide egg noodles (I used rigatoni)
12 oz. broccolini or broccoli florets
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2-1/2 cups)
1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush a 3-quart broilerproof baking dish with oil.  Bring milk to a simmer in a pot.  Add chicken; simmer until cooked, 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  Remove pot from heat; whisk in mustard and cream cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

2. Shred chicken.  Cook noodles in a pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes.  Add broccolini; cook until noodles and broccolini are al dente, 2 minutes.  Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.  Drain noodles and broccolini; toss with chicken, sauce, pasta water, and cheddar.  Transfer to baking dish.  Toss breadcrumbs with oil; sprinkle over casserole.  Cover with parchment-lined foil; bake 20 minutes.  Uncover casserole; increase heat to broil.  Cook until top is golden brown in places and breadcrumbs are crisp, about 4-5 minutes.

Weeknight Baking: Giant Cinnamon Rolls

What do you do on a Friday afternoon when you're not working and have nothing to do but wait for a baby?  Once again...bake!  Not sure why I decided that turning on a 375 degree oven was the best idea on an 85 degree day, but looking back, I'm certainly glad I did. 

Ever since I bought Joy the Baker's cookbook, I've been eyeing her giant cinnamon roll recipe.  My reluctance to attempt these rolls earlier was out of sheer laziness.  The recipe calls for the use of a KitchenAid mixer to help properly formulate the dough, and with mine was buried on a shelf somewhere in our basement, it seemed not worth the time and energy to dig it out and haul upstairs.  But after spending too many a summer day lounging around uncomfortably, watching more TV than I'd care to admit, perusing every blog under the sun, and still having time to spare, it seemed fitting that it was indeed time to break out the mixer and go for it!

The recipe was pretty straightforward, and easy enough to follow, albeit time consuming.  I prepped the dough before an outing to Target, so it as ready and risen once I returned which seemed to cut down on the wait time.  The filling is simply scrumptious, and I was intentionally a little heavy handed with the cinnamon, which proved to be a good decision.  Ultimately I ended up scrapping the icing - I've never been a huge fan of icing on cinnamon rolls, preferred the clincher be the ooey gooey cinnamony-ness inside the roll. 

Not to toot my own horn but these cinnamon rolls were damn good.  I must give credit to the creator herself, kudos once again on an easy-to-follow, well written cookbook.  I might just have to pull a Julie & Julia copycat and make my way through this cookbook as Joy's recipes are unanimously delicious and I've always been able to follow with great success.  Hooray!  

Bottom line: breakfast in my house has been AMAZING the past few days!!


How Many Bridesmaids?

Have you been a bridesmaid before?  I've had the honor and privilege of standing up in three weddings and I'm on deck for three more in the next year.  But this story takes the concept of bridesmaids to the next level!

A 26-year old dance teacher in England recently got married, and standing up beside her were...80 BRIDESMAIDS!!  80?!?!  WHAT?!  Granted, she's a dance teacher and many of the bridesmaids were her students, but dang!  Do you think they even all know each others names?  This makes 27 Dresses look like nothing!

How many bridesmaids did you have?

Weeknight Baking: Lemon Zucchini Muffins

 What do you do when you're not working and waiting for a baby?   BAKE!  I baked these lemon zucchini muffins this week, just for kicks, and they turned out pretty great!  The recipe calls for lemon yogurt, but I substituted with Trader Joe's peach-mango Greek yogurt, since I had it on hand.  While the muffins might've been a tad less lemony than they should've been, they were still delicious!


Week 37

{please excuse the semi-blurry iphone photo}

I guess we missed week 35 and 36, whoops! Getting a little behind on taking weekly photos...

Baby Size: watermelon
Maternity Clothes: maternity tops/shorts, regular skirts, dresses & maxi dresses
Food Cravings: nothing in particular
Food Aversions: pho
Symptoms: sore hands/feet,  achy hips at night from switching sides during sleep
Sleep: Not great, but considering this is my only real complaint, I'm considering myself lucky.  Sleeping upright feels better these days, I usually wake up 2-3 times per night, and have been sleeping on the couch quite a bit because I can sleep upright easier which has been more comfortable
Movement: Pressure, moving limbs, she's getting ready!
Belly Button: popped out 
Gender: GIRL!!!
Best Moment of the Week: romantic dinner date with my husband, and hitting 37 weeks, I'm now officially full-term!
What I'm Looking Forward To: Meeting our baby!
What I Miss: running, regular exercise, and I had a moment this week where I almost caved and devoured an entire wedge of soft French cheese
Wedding Rings: on - don't think they're moving at this point
Currently Reading: On Becoming Babywise

Maternity Photos

Mid-July, my husband and I headed to Golden Gardens Park for a maternity photo shoot with Mike Fiechtner.  It was a beautiful warm summer afternoon, and we navigated the various landscapes of this Seattle staple; trekking through sand, grass, and trees with our own private paparazzi behind us, capturing this special time in our lives.  Here's a few of my favorites...

It's August

I can hardly believe it's August already.  August 1st usually marks the time when I (and most teachers) feel the bittersweet light of summer fading into the rear-view mirror, as the path towards a new school year unfolds.  This year is surreal for me, recognizing that this inevitable change I usually feel come August is coming, but knowing that I won't be a part of it, and instead there's a whole new kind of nervous anticipation that has nothing to do with school.  August marks the beginning of our baby countdown... Yes, yes, I know we're still a few weeks out, but now that we've arrived in the month of her due date, the reality of holding her, snuggling her, and kissing her is much more tangible.

We had our 36 week doctors appointment this week and Baby Girl is doing good; head down, and wiggling her butt around like nobody's business to remind me she's getting ready.  We are growing more eager by the day with excitement and anticipation to meet her.
26 days to go...

image via cupofjo