Tuesday, October 11, 2016

37 Week Bump Update!

I am officially in the home stretch of baby-growing, and it is crazy to think that baby Pray could be making his grand entrance within the next couple of weeks. Things have been slowing down at work as I'm handing off projects, and I am enjoying being able to relax a little bit more while waiting for the sweet babe's arrival.

Here's a quick 37 week bump update!

How far along are you?
37 weeks - only 3ish weeks to go!

Size of baby?
According to my What to Expect app, the baby is 19-22 inches long and weighs 6.5lbs.

At my last appointment my doctor said that we have a very "solid" baby on our hands. Honestly, this did not surprise me all that much since I was 8lbs 10oz and John was 9lb at birth... so "solid" was something I had expected!

My dad came to Texas this past weekend, and he and John worked non-stop on the nursery. I keep joking and saying that the baby will love it; but let's be real, I LOVE it!

And trust me, you cannot fully appreciate the progress of this nursery without knowing where it started... dark gray walls and ceiling, stickers on the wall - it was no bueno! We still need another coat of paint, but hopefully we can get it done and the furniture moved in this weekend.

Looking forward to?
The arrival of the baby! It seems so soon, but also like time is moving so slowly at the same time!

I'm also looking forward to this weekend - I'm thinking a movie on Friday, a trip to Austin on Saturday, with a little bit of IKEA thrown in to finish up the nursery!

Honestly, nothing out of the 37-week-it-is-almost-time-for-a-baby ordinary! Swelling around my feet and ankles at the end of the day, but nothing too much other than that.

Oh man... it will be heaven when I can sleep on my back again!!

I had a super terrible week of sleep a couple of weeks ago, and I kept waking up with sore hips. Not only that, but I was a total insomniac from about 4-5AM. John suggested I adjust my sleep number (to something firmer with more support), and ta da... it helped wonderfully!

I am still so looking forward to sleeping on my back, but thankfully my current sleep situation isn't too bad right now.

Oh yes, but the baby is certainly running out of room!

Changes since last update?
I'm not totally sure what happened (well, actually I could guess... my belly has grown!), but throughout this past week just about everyone I meet asks me when I am due. Every time I go to the store the cashier asks and I can usually count on a few people throughout the store asking too.

I don't really mind people taking an interest (so long as they are hands off!) since the baby-growing is certainly a favorite topic of mine as of late! :)

Missing most?
I could totally go for a venti pumpkin spice frapp from Starbucks - give me all the caffeine, please! But since a venti just isn't in the cards, I will have to settle for a tall.

Left to do?
Now that the nursery is almost complete, the majority of the things left to do are pretty easy (install the car seat, pack my hospital bag, a final load of baby laundry, decorate the nursery, etc.)!

I have been pretty productive over the past week... finished my preregistration at the hospital, did a load of baby swaddle laundry, assembled and registered all of our baby gear, purchased a good amount of nursing attire, and took inventory of what we have left that we need to buy for the babe's arrival!

For more baby Pray:

Monday, October 3, 2016

pesto chicken ravioli [a freezer meal!]

One of the things on my pre-baby bucket list is to build a decent stash of freezer meals. I absolutely love to bake, but when it comes to cooking, I'm not a fan... and throw a new baby into the mix and you've got yourself a recipe for Chick-fil-a five nights a week! And as much as a I love Chick-fil-A, I think I would be well served from a little bit more variety in my diet... which is the exact reason why these frozen dinners are key! 

This pesto chicken ravioli is so simple to put together and tastes delicious. It makes a ton of food, so you can certainly count on some tasty leftovers for lunches. To save time (and cut costs on ingredients!) I generally make three of these meals at a time... One meal to eat that night and two to freeze.

With a second set of hands, I was able to make all three of the meals in about an hour... not too bad if you ask me!!

What you need (for one):
- 2lb cheese-filled ravioli, fresh or frozen
- 1lb of cooked chicken breast, shredded
- 1/2 cup of chicken broth
- 2 cups of zucchini, sliced
- 1/2 cup of red bell peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup of scallions, chopped
- 1/2 cup of basil pesto sauce
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp of pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to:
1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, stirring thoroughly.
2. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
3. Pour the ravioli mixture into the baking dish and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
4. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

How to freeze:
1. Combine all ingredients into a disposable baking pan.
2. Wrap the baking dish in airtight foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper... and freeze!
3. When you're ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator, and as directed above.

For more freezer meal tips, you can check out my post here!

Any freezer meals that you recommend?! 
I'm looking for more and would love some recommendations!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

35 Week Bump Update

Well friends, we are on the home stretch... 35 weeks down, and only 5ish to go!

I feel like quite a lot has changed recently, so here's a quick bump update!

How far along are you?
35 weeks!

Size of baby?
According to my What to Expect app the baby is 19-22 inches long and weighs 5.5lbs!

Tons... lots of rolling around - he's running out of space in there! Now that he is quite a bit larger, I can often feel his position within my belly and my whole stomach will shift and move at the same time whenever he moves around... it's crazy to watch!!

Looking forward to?
Seeing everything put together in baby Pray's room! 

Our sweet family friend, Marsha, recently made custom fitted sheets for baby Pray and I couldn't be more in love with them.  Truly, I looked at sheet sets at Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Serena and Lily, and many other places, but couldn't find any that I really loved - so this was such a special treat, and I can't wait to see everything put together!

Oh man, I am feeling quite puffy lately. My feet, ankles, hands, and even my face all feel a bit swollen. I swear, if I wear socks for more than 2 minutes I have a water line from the rim of the socks! I was even wearing a shower cap a few days ago and had a mark from the elastic rim around my face - ahh!! 

I recently read that even an easy pregnancy is a marathon... and I couldn't agree more! But hey, I fully recognize that if this is my biggest problem, then I'm doing quite alright. :)

I have been sleeping decently enough, but I have been waking up several times a night to either use the restroom or to flip sides that I'm sleeping on since my hips get sore halfway through the night. Overall, I can't complain too much.

Best moment since last update?
I would have to say our hospital tour! 

The tour made everything feel much more real which is quite exciting. They went over where we will be staying, where to go for check in, and all of the other details we need to know... so here's to hoping we remember it all! :)

Missing most?
Sleeping on my back! And I'm not going to lie, I'm looking forward to wearing normal clothes again. I realize it may be awhile since I'm fitting into my non-maternity clothes, but even just fitting in my shoes will do (dang swelling!!).

Left to do?
Lots! But thankfully, I have knocked out a good portion of my to-do list!

There is a lot to coordinate when preparing for a baby, and I would like to think I am a very organized person, but man, the list of things to keep track of is long - so checking these items off of my list was a good feeling. FMLA paperwork, short-term disability claims, adding the babe to insurance, interviewing pediatricians, hospital registration, putting gym membership on hold... and on and on!

Scout and Lily?
These two little monkeys don't know what is happening, but they are certainly loving all of the baby gear around the house!

I was recently downstairs and hadn't heard the dogs for awhile, and when I called them to come here, Scout came running down the stairs with a Wubba Nub in her mouth and Lily followed shortly behind with a stuffed rattle in her mouth. Not only that, but Scout has figured out how to open the door to the bedroom where we are keeping all of baby Pray's things, so we have had to tie the door shut to keep them out!! Oy vey... 

Any dog owners have suggestions on how to prevent this? I've heard someone recommend washing the baby toys in Listerine??

For more baby Pray:

Monday, September 26, 2016

San Francisco!

Last weekend John and I took a quick trip to San Francisco to have one final adventure before baby Pray's arrival. We weren't there long, but it was wonderful to spend a weekend together in a city we had not explored before - not to mention we were all about the cooler weather!

Here's a quick recap of our weekend in the Golden City.


We arrived in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon and immediately went downtown for lunch. John enjoyed an celebratory beer and I, not wanting to be out done, ordered the most delicious cookie dough milk shake... yes, please!

Our lunch overlooked Union Square and it was a fun way to take in a bit of the city while taking a second to relax after our flight.

Since we didn't have much time in the city, we decided that we would try to hit the majority of the tourist locations... our first stop: the Painted Ladies!

I'd like to think that I've had an active-ish pregnancy, but whoo, let me tell you, the hilly streets really were quite the workout for my calves!! I was huffing and puffing making my way up to Lombard Street, and although the views were beautiful at the top, the walk back down hill didn't feel nearly long enough. ;)

The bottom of Lombard Street!

Hilly streets and beautiful views.

To help maximize our agenda, we decided to do a hop-on-hop-off bus tour... which was such a great decision for us. I know me, and I know my husband, and neither of us would have enjoyed trying to navigate the traffic and parking around the city.

We were able to enjoy the sunshine, listen to the narrated tour, and take in the views!

Our fabulous (read: sarcasm) view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

This was our view while driving on the Golden Gate Bridge... we couldn't see anything and we would have been slightly frustrated if we didn't find the whole thing a tad bit funny! Truly, while approaching the bridge there was a point where we couldn't even see that we were on it, ha!

34 weeks pregnant and the San Francisco Bay!

After our "viewing" of the Golden Gate Bridge, we took a little stop to walk around Fisherman's Wharf.

From there we had dinner at the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero at Hog Island Oyster Company. The food was delish and the atmosphere was perfect!

Our view from dinner!

The weather while we were visiting was absolutely beautiful - mid 60s! And not only that, but many of the trees had already started changing colors for fall... so I couldn't help but want to capture a bump photo to celebrate the changing season.

Sunday morning John headed to Muir Woods for an early morning trail run.

Muir Woods is a National Monument with ridiculously tall redwood trees... some of which are over 250 feet tall!

The weather was a bit too cold for walking, but perfect for running... so basically, it was John's dream weather!

Muir beach!

Ramen for dinner! And can I just say that it was a straight-up miracle that I did not spill anything on my shirt?! Being pregnant is a funny thing... I am no more messy than I was before, but now that I'm pregnant, anything that drops gets caught on my belly! 

Needless to say, I feel like a total slob half of the time, and thought it was an act of God that I left dinner with a clean shirt!

And a little dessert at Milk and Wood to round out our evening. We need to get one of these places in Texas stat - ice cream popsicles with chocolate drizzlings and toppings... so delicious!

It was a fun weekend exploring a new city together... and although we had a wonderful time, I think we both left ready to come home and finish the final preparations for baby Pray!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Top 10 Maternity Favorites

I feel very thankful that I have had a very easy pregnancy. Since I've felt pretty normal the majority of the time I don't really have a maternity "survival list," but I certainly do have a list of my favorite things. With only 5 weeks left to go, here is a list of my favorite maternity clothes, food swaps, and pregnancy accessories!


ONE | Snoogle

If you're pregnant, just go ahead and buy a Snoogle now. For real, I waited way too long to buy this pregnancy pillow and should have bought it much earlier. I am a back sleeper and sleeping on my side is very uncomfortable, but the Snoogle helps provide a little bit of back support and helps keep me from rolling over on my back in the middle of the night.

The only problem? This thing is huge and is basically another person in the bed. Praise 
God for a king size bed, ha!

TWO | Seraphine Knot Dresses

Pregnancy does not get any more flattering than the Seraphine knot dresses. They can be dressed up for work or dressed down for around town.

They are a bit pricey ($95), but the fit is unbeatable and they also make great nursing dresses (so you can keep wearing them after baby!). And hey, if they are good enough for Kate Middleton, they are good enough for me! ;) So if you're pregnant, treat yourself to one or two of these dresses (which come in short sleeve, 3/4 length, and long sleeve).

THREE | Italian Soda

Since drinking alcohol (and caffeine, for the most part) is a no-go during pregnancy, I've started drinking Italian soda as a special evening treat. 

To make it a bit more fancy (who doesn't love fancy?!) I will pour the soda in a wine or champagne glass. These are great to enjoy while watching a movie or sitting outside with John - a very worthy beverage alternative, if you ask me!

FOUR | Designer Maternity Jeans

You get what you pay for when it comes to maternity jeans (I don't think this is necessarily true for tops), so invest in a few nice pairs right away. You won't regret it... I feel so much better about sporting a big 'ole pregnant belly when I am wearing properly fitting clothes!

I'm all about a good deal, but I think the reality with maternity clothes is that they are not all made equal. I don't want to knock on Target, but their maternity jeans just did not work for me... or, at least, after trying on some AG and 7 For All Mankind maternity jeans I quickly learned how unflattering all other maternity jeans were.

FIVE | Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy

I absolutely love this Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy cream and use it several times daily. Currently I don't have any stretch marks (and if I did, that would totally be fine and this little babe would be worth every one), and I don't know if this cream has anything to do with it, but hey, I plan to keep using it regardless because it makes my belly feel uh-mazing!

The cream is the perfect consistency (absorbs very will into my skin - not greasy at all) and can be used starting in the second trimester.

SIX | Cello Parmesan Whisps

I love sweets, but I also loveee salty snacks too. I can totally sit down with a bag of potato chips and do some serious damage. To avoid doing too much damage, I have swapped potato chips for these Cello Parmesan Whips - a very, very worthy swap! I originally found these while at Costco with my mom, but have since bought more online.

Let me tell you... there is only one ingredient: Parmesan cheese. There are 9 grams of protein per serving (and only 100 calories) - which isn't too bad for a salty snack, if you ask me!

SEVEN | Birkenstocks

Before becoming pregnant, I never understood the whole "tired feet" thing. I could walk for miles and miles wearing Tory Burch or Jack Rogers sandals (which have zero support) and not have any issues. However, mid-way through the second trimester my feet started to get sore half way through the day if I was walking around too long without something supportive.

These Birkenstocks have been a saving grace! Since they are sandals they are easy to slip on and off, but they still provide awesome support to keep my feet comfortable throughout the day.

EIGHT | Liz Lange Day Dresses

These Liz Lange for Target maternity dresses are inexpensive, always on sale, and ridiculously comfortable - you can't beat them for running around all day! Not only are they extremely comfortable, but they are the only pieces of maternity clothes that would fit my bump when I was in between normal and maternity clothes. 

These dresses come in sleeveless, 3/4 length, and long sleeve. I have several of these and have spent the majority of my pregnancy in them!

NINE | Elli Quark

I found out about Elli Quark from Tone it Up, and they are absolutely delicious. They are perfect for curbing any cravings for something sweet and taste way better than Greek yogurt (and I much prefer the texture!). 

Let's be real, the red velvet doesn't replace a slice of cake, but if you're motivated to eat healthy (which I am 25% of the time, ha!), then it is a great alternative (not to mention the 14 grams of protein and only 80 calories!)!

TEN | Balance Ball

There is not much that makes my back feel more comfortable than sitting on a balance ball. Whether I'm working at my computer, watching television, blogging... whatever, I feel so much better sitting on a balance ball. And, as an added bonus, it will be great to bring to the hospital as a birthing ball!

Any pregnancy favorites that I'm missing out on?! If so, please share!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Apple Crisp with Caramel Sauce

John loves to be out and about on the weekends, but with college football in full swing, it means that he is hanging around the house more and that I finally have more time for weekend baking!

I was planning on baking some sort of pumpkin dessert (because hello, September!), but when I saw this apple crisp recipe, I just knew I had to change plans! I was certainly not disappointed... and the home made caramel sauce just brings this whole dessert over the top - delish!

What you need for the apple filling:
- 4 Granny Smith apples
- 3 tbs of melted butter
- 2 tbs of flour
- 1 tbs of fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbs of milk
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- dash of salt

How to make:
1. Peel and thinly slice the apples.
2. Stir together the melted butter and flour.
3. Add the lemon juice, milk and vanilla to the butter mixture.
4. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
5. Toss the apples in the filling sauce.
6. Pour the apple mixture into a greased 8x8 baking dish.

What you need for the crisp topping:
- 1/3 cup of cold butter
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- a dash of salt

How to make:
1. Cut the cold butter into small pieces.
2. Using a fork combine all ingredients until crumbs are formed.
3. Evenly sprinkle the topping on the apple mixture.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Although I originally baked this apple crisp intending for it to be a dessert, I certainly think that it could also pass for a special-treat breakfast (sans ice cream). After all, there are apples in it - and we all know that apples = healthy! ;)

What you need for the caramel sauce:
- 3/4 cup of butter
- 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
- 2 tbs of water
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 1 tbs of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of evaporated milk

How to make:
1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, water and salt in a sauce pan, and stir over medium heat until the butter melts.
2. Once the butter melts, bring the sauce to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and evaporated milk (add a tad more evaporated milk if you like your caramel sauce thinner).

Serve the apple crisp warm with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle the caramel sauce on top... oh my goodness - so delicious! Keep the caramel sauce in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. After being refrigerated, simply reheat the sauce in the microwave and stir before serving. 

Let me tell you, this sauce will not go to waste. You can serve the extra with slices of apples, drizzled on ice cream, stirred in your coffee... or what the heck, just eat it with a spoon!! It's that tasty. :)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pre-baby Bucket List

I am 34 weeks pregnant today, and as the time for baby's arrival gets closer and closer, it seems like my to do list is getting longer and longer. I'm not quite sure how it is happening, but for every item I check off my list, 3 more things seem to get added!

Here's a list of my top 10 pre-baby bucket list items.

1. Meal preparations
Cooking is already something that I don't really enjoy, so I know that once the babe arrives, this will move even lower on my list of things that I feel like doing. 

So to avoid eating out every day, I want to have a nice stash of freezer meals. I've made freezer meals many times before, and would so much rather have a single full day of cooking that will last me a month than try to figure out what to make and cook for dinner every night.

2. Practice using my DSLR
I've been getting more and more comfortable with using my "big girl" camera in manual mode, but I have lots of practicing to do. I plan to leave my camera out on the counter for the rest of my pregnancy and use it 10 minutes each day to get more familiar with using it... gotta get those cute photos once the baby arrives!! :)

3. Nurse thank you treats
There are all sorts of nurse thank you gifts on Pinterest, and I really love the idea of them! John, on the other hand, thinks they aren't necessary (since after all, we are paying them via our hospital bills) but I still love the idea! 

Any thoughts on what I could do besides a little treat? Since baby Pray will be born close to Halloween, I'd like to avoid candy, if possible.

4. Finish the nursery
This is kind of an obvious one, but I am very much looking forward to the nursery being complete! My dad has graciously offered to come to Texas for the weekend to help us finish it up, and we couldn't be more excited and thankful to have his help. And, even more, we are so looking forward to seeing him! 

5. Finish reading all of my half-started baby books
I swear, I have 4 or 5 baby books half-started... and I would like to finish at least one or two of them!

6. Make Christmas cookies
Christmas is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday, and baking holiday treats is something that I look forward to every single year. I still hope to bake a fresh dozen or two of cookies once the baby arrives, but I want to be prepared with some frozen options just in case. 

And let's be real... it's never to early for Christmas preparations. :)

7. Highlights
There are few things that make me feel better than a fresh set of highlights... and boy oh boy I am due! So a fresh set of highlights is pretty high on my pre-baby list.

8. Assemble and register product warranties on all baby gear
Baby Pray has all sorts of new awesome gear, and now John and I just have to figure out how to use it all! Although the babe won't be using a lot of the things he has until he is a bit older, I still want to set everything up and make sure that we register the products and enroll for the warranties.

9. Create a baby memory box
I want to make a pre-baby memory box for the babe before he arrives. Letters from family, photos, trinkets - whatever, really! So much can change so quickly, and I think it would be very meaningful to capture how much everyone loves him already. We will give him the box to open when he gets older.

This idea came from Mix and Match Mama and is so special - read about it here!

10. Relax!
It's so easy to think about all of the things I would like to get done before baby... lay fresh sod in our back yard, clean my baseboards, replace all of our air filters throughout the house, etc., but ultimately, what John and I both need to do is just spend our final weeks relaxing, waiting, and enjoying our last days together as a family of two!

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