Saturday, July 30, 2016

Still Pregnant

I'm currently living the expression: we plan and God laughs. I know labor and delivery never go exactly as expected but I was at least hoping I could sort of take the reigns on this one but no such luck.

For those of you wondering, yep, I'm still pregnant.

I was scheduled to be induced twice this week since I have such fast labors because we thought it was the best way to ensure I don't deliver at home. Or in the car. Or at Target. However, I was bumped both days because it's not a medical reason. So while I'm bummed I'm not holding my baby right now, I'm trying to have a good attitude because God already knows her birthday. And also, me and Emmie are healthy so there's that. Not even a little high blood pressure. And I'm actually not due until Sunday so how much can I really complain?

So now we're just waiting. And waiting.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Thirty-Nine

You see that smile? That is the smile from a lady that knows she is about to have a baby very, very soon. Look, I know the end is not fun for anyone. Everything hurts, I'm tired, irritated, and intolerant of stupid behavior. But I am also very aware of how quickly this will be over. I know I won't be pregnant forever, even when it feels like it. 

We have been fortunate enough to get scheduled for an induction this week. It is elective because my health and Emmie's health is great. However, with my history of fast labors, we decided to get induced so we can avoid a side-of-the-road birth. Unless she comes before then, of course. We shall see.

Weeks along: 39
Cravings: sweets, I suppose, but nothing really sounds good at all at this point
Other symptoms: weak & nauseous 
Labor signs: lots of pressure and BH contractions, still.
What I look forward to most this week: seeing Emmie Jo's sweet face for the first time.
What I'm most nervous about: how bad my boobs are going to hurt.




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Belly Manners



People can be so weird. Can we all agree on that?

Last night Darren and I went on a much needed date night - we went out to dinner, shopping at the mall (my man desperately needed some new jeans), and then ice cream. While getting in line to purchase his new pants, a man (probably near 40 and with his wife and young child) took one glimpse at me and said, "WHOA! Is that thing gonna pop out right now?!?!"

Har. Har. Har.

"Well, I sure hope so!" I said. I could see his wife out of the corner of my eye scold him under her breath. The biggest reason for the scold? You just don't know. I could be due in two months and you just made me feel like an even bigger whale. Thanks for that. Even though I am due any day, I also don't need a reminder that I am massive. I can feel how large I am from the inside out, thankyouverymuch.

Then while waiting in line for ice cream, another man playing with a child on his shoulders turns to us and says, "Just wait. You'll be experiencing this before you know it!"

Again. Har. Har.

"We already have two at home," we say with a smile. (Look, dude, we are not parenting experts but we very well know I'm not going to give birth to rambunctious 5 year old.)

"Oh but you guys are so young!"

{eye roll}

"Thank you!" is all we say because this just proves my point: you don't know. You don't how old we are. You don't what we do for a living or how long we've been married. You, sir, just don't know. And you don't need to. I just want to get my Butterfinger ice cream and go watch Luther on Netflix with my husband.

I've been pretty laid back this pregnancy as far as unwelcome comments and conversation in regards to the child growing inside my uterus goes. I actually haven't received that many off-the-wall comments, to be honest. But maybe the reason for that is because I spend a lot of time with other moms - at parks, pools, the zoo. Even while shopping on a week day in the morning you will run into more moms than not. And moms are smart. Moms know you just don't.

You don't comment on the size of a pregnant person's belly and if you do you better tell her how small she looks. My neighbor told me I look 27 weeks pregnant. She was probably lying. I know that. I still wanted to hug her. I don't care if said pregnant person looks like she was supposed to deliver triplets two weeks ago, her belly is small, mmkay?

You don't ask her if she's pregnant. If you don't know, don't ask. She could have just had a baby and was left with a 6 month bump. She could just be chubby. Leave her alone. If you don't know if she's pregnant, you probably don't know her so it's probably not much of your business anyway. My advice is just to leave it alone because you don't want to be wrong on this one.

Don't touch it. I haven't had a stranger touch my belly since I was pregnant with Isaiah. But, good Lawd! Why does anyone think this is okay? If someone does this to you, just tell them you aren't pregnant and watch them squirm.

Just don't. Some people love talking about pregnancy. I do sometimes. But with people I know. But chances are (especially toward the end of pregnancy) we are so burnt out on talking about when we're due, "when's that baby coming?", "how far a long are you?", "any day now!", and literally pretty worn out from all the weight we've gained that we really don't want to small talk about it every where we go. Literally every single place we go.

Smile. Nod, Say, hello. By all means be kind and decent and have good manners. But you don't need to discuss a stranger's current 9 month body type. You just don't. We're tired. We're massive. And yes, we want to have this baby ASAP. Unfortunately, we're over discussing the details of our OB/GYN visits.

(Please note: I know this post is grouchy and sarcastic. Welcome to 9 months pregnant.)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thirty-Eight

I'm so ready to have this baby.

And here's my pregnancy with Emmie in a nutshell (first picture I was 12 weeks and the last one at 38 weeks and all the weeks in between minus a few):


Weeks along: 38
How I'm feeling: mostly good, but, you know, over it
Currently reading: Chasing God by Angie Smith
Clothes: sweats and maxi dresses
Isaiah & Maci: I've been telling them I could have Emmie any day and if I say it's time when we're out and about, they need to be really good listeners. I also told them, "mommy might have some owies when that happens but I will be okay." I'm hoping I won't be with them when it happens but I don't want them to freak out if I'm loud and in a lot of pain. Especially since I go from zero to hero very quickly.
Signs of labor: tons of pressure and BH contractions. Emmie keeps dropping so my hips hurt. She is feeling so much stronger every day so I'm ready for her to come out. :)

Appointment Update:
BP: 98/61
Baby Heartrate: 130's
Belly Measurement: I forgot to ask
Weight Gain: 39 lbs.
3 cm dilated/75% effaced

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

37 Week Check Up

Here are the stats from today's appointment:

Blood pressure: 111/73
Weight gain: 38 lbs.
Belly measurement: 34 weeks (baby dropped)
3 cm dilated, 50% effaced
Baby's heartrate: 134 bpm

These are the exact stats I had days before I delivered Maci. I'm also having the same symptoms - pressure, BH contractions, and a lot of mucus (tmi, I know). I feel like she's really close and I'm really excited.

We also have a few projects that ideally I'd like to be completed before she comes (window sill replacement, broken oven, etc.) But I'm remembering that life goes on after you have a baby. We will be exhausted and delirious but we will be ok. And hey, we can survive without an oven for a while. I use my crock pot the most, anyway. ;)

Come on, Emmie! Mommy's ready.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Thirty-Seven

Well, holy cow.

You know that wall that you hit at the end of pregnancy? The one that makes it incredibly difficult to get out of the bed? The one that makes your hips hurt so bad it feels like your legs might fall off? The one that feels like someone hit you in the back with a baseball bat? The one that makes you nauseous and gives you hot flashes?

Yeah, that wall. I totally hit it this week. And now I'm so ready to have a baby. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cowboy Caviar


One of my husband's favorite things to munch on is chips and salsa. Okay, mine too. But there is something so refreshing about cowboy caviar and I always feel way less guilty eating it. Because vegetables.

Here's a super easy recipe for your next get together or late night snack:

1 diced red pepper
1 diced green pepper
1 diced red onion
1-2 diced tomatoes
1 can drained sweet corn
1 can drained and rinsed black beans
1 can drained and rinsed white beans (or black eyed peas)
1 bunch cilantro leaves (optional)
2 diced avocados  (optional - it won't keep as long if you add these)

Mix together in a bowl.

Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Whisk together and then add to caviar mixture. Serve with tortillas chips & enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

26 Meals, 2 hours, $190


Our hospital bags are packed. All the baby items are washed and ready. The car seat has been installed. And now, meals have been made. We can have a baby now - you are welcome to come anytime, Emmie. ;)

$190 worth of groceries.

26 meals.

For this round, I made 26 meals for about $190. (Averaging less than $7.50 per meal.) Each time I complete a round of meals I typically make 24-26 meals and it will last our family about 6-8 weeks. We don't necessarily eat a freezer meal every single night - I can cook other things without my crock pot, believe it or not - so spending between $150-200 on dinners every couple of months is very worth it for us.

If you're interested in the process I go through each time I bulk cook, check out this post. Here's how this round went:

Menu |

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches
Zuppa Tuscana
White Chicken Enchiladas
Simple Spaghetti & Meatballs
Sweet 'n Sour Meatballs
Philly Cheese Steaks
Zesty Herb Chicken
Teriyaki Chicken
Chicken Pad Thai & Egg Rolls
Dirty Rice
Brown Sugar Salmon
Chicken Alfredo Tortellini with Garlic Bread
Chicken & Veggie Sesame Noodles

(I made two of each)

Grocery List |

Meat:
2 2 lb. chuck roasts (or one 4-5 lb. roast cut in half)
2 2 lb. beef roasts (or one 4-5 lb. roast cut in half)
4 3 lb. bags of frozen chicken breasts
6 small bags of prepared meatballs (24 count)
2 lbs. ground beef
1 bag salmon
2 cooked rotisserie chicken
2 lbs. ground Italian sausage

Dairy:
16 oz. sour cream
2 small cartons of whipping cream

Canned/Jars:
1 16 oz. jar of pepperoncini peppers
2 cans French onion soup
2 cans cream of chicken
2 cans diced green chilis
4 jars marinara sauce
2 bottles grape jelly
2 BBQ sauce
2 cans pineapple chunks (no sugar added)
2 bottles of teriyaki sauce
1 bottle rice vinegar
1 bottle fish oil
4 jars Alfredo sauce
1 bottle soy sauce
1 16 oz. carton of chicken broth

Produce:
2 green bell peppers
2 zucchinis
2 large carrots
1 bunch green onions
6 red potatoes
1 small bag spinach
2 lemons

Seasoning:
2 ranch dip packets
2 zesty herb seasoning packets
2 black peppercorn packets
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Pepper
Cumin
Oregano
Garlic Powder

Dried goods:
2 packages of tortillas
3 packages of spaghetti noodles
2 packages of hoagies
4 cups brown rice (from bulk section)
2 packages rice noodles
1 small bag brown sugar
2 lbs. cheese tortellini (from bulk section)
2 loaves garlic bread
2 packages of pub buns

Freezer:
2 bags frozen stir fry veggie mix
2 packages of egg rolls

Other:
1 box gallon Ziploc bags
4 slow cooker bags

When you get home, 1 package of spaghetti, all the tortellini, the ground beef, and ground sausage all need to be cooked. Cook 2 cups of rice and store the rest in the pantry. The rotisserie chickens need to be de-boned. Freeze all packages of tortillas, buns, bread, and egg rolls. Spaghetti and rice noodles are to be stored in the pantry. Label all Ziploc bags. Then just work through each meal at a time.

Recipes |

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

2 lb. chuck roast
1 can French onion soup
1 packet ranch seasoning
1/2 jar of pepperoncini peppers
8 hours on low. Serve on pub buns with provolone cheese.

Zuppa Tuscana

16 oz. chicken broth
1 package Italian sausage (cooked)
3 handfuls spinach (could also use kale or swiss chard)
3 potatoes cubed
1 tsp garlic powder 
2 tsp oregano
 Pepper to taste
8 hours on low. Add 1 cup whipping cream the last 30 minutes.

White Chicken Enchiladas
1/2 bag of chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken
1 can diced chilis
8 oz. sour cream
1 tsp cumin
8 hours on low. Shred and roll in tortillas and top with extra sauce. Top with cheese and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Simple Spaghetti & Meatballs
2 jars marinara
1 bag meatballs
7-8 hours on low. Serve over spaghetti.

Sweet 'n Sour Meatballs
2 bags meatballs
1 bottle grape jelly
1 bottle BBQ sauce
4-6 hours on low.

Philly Cheese Steaks

2 lb. beef roast
1 packet peppercorn seasoning
1 sliced green bell pepper
Add one cup of water upon cooking. 8 hours on low. Shred, Serve on hoagies with cheese.

Zesty Herb Chicken

1/2 bag of chicken breasts
1 packet zesty herb seasoning
Add one cup of water. Thaw and grill.

Teriyaki Chicken

1/2 bag chicken breasts
1 can pineapple chunks (drain most of the juice)
1 bottle teriyaki
Add 1 cup of water upon cooking. 7-8 hours on low. Serve on rice.

Chicken Pad Thai & Egg Rolls
Bag 1:
2 chicken breasts sliced thinly
1 large carrot sliced thinly
1 zucchini sliced thinly (season with garlic powder, salt, & pepper)
(make two)

Bag 2: {the sauce}
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
(this is doubled from my original recipe...I like extra sauce)

Store rice noodles in pantry. To prepare: soak rice noodles in hot water. Thaw sauce and chicken and veggies. In a small pot, warm sauce. In a large wok or skillet, add 3 Tbsp. olive oil and sauté chicken and veggies until cooked through. Scramble an egg. Drain and add noodles. Toss. Add sauce. Toss. Add a squeeze of lime and top with chopped peanuts. Serve with egg rolls prepared according to package instructions.

Dirty Rice

1 cup rice cooked
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1 tbsp. montreal steak seasoning
Drizzle with Olive Oil
Thaw and warm in a skillet.

Brown Sugar Salmon
3 Tbsp. Brown sugar
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. Garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste (I use about 1 tsp. of each)

Chicken Alfredo Tortellini with Garlic Bread

1 lb. cooked tortellini
2 jars of Alfredo sauce
1/2 of the chicken from a rotisserie chicken
Warm in a skillet.. Serve with prepared garlic bread.

Chicken & Veggie Sesame Noodles

1/2 package of cooked spaghetti noodles
1 bag frozen stir-fry veggies
1/2 of the chicken from a rotisserie chicken
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Warm in a skillet.

Remember to make two of each meal & enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

When Anxiety Sets In



I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back now I can tell I had some definite struggles with post-partum anxiety after I had Isaiah. This anxiety bled into my pregnancy with Maci. I remember worrying about whether I'd love her enough and I also remember being afraid of Darren dying. It was so weird. I feel like this is something not a lot of people talk about. Everyone talks about the joys of pregnancy and then cautions you about post-partum depression and the baby blues. But not many people talk about anxiety. The thing is, post-partum anxiety is also very real and it doesn't look how you'd expect because a lot of the time, it's internalized.

It took some soul searching and many meetings with Jesus for me to come out of the cloud of anxiety. First it took me a while to name it and then to replace my worry with trust in God. The more I cultivated my walk with God, the more I understood His sovereignty. This allowed my post-partum recovery to go much more smoothly with Maci and also helped my parenting and now this pregnancy. 

I have been way less anxious this entire pregnancy. But as I near the end, I still get different flashes of anxiety. While reading, "You and Me Forever" by Francis and Lisa Chan, this sentence jumped out at me:

"If you worry about what would happen to your children if you were gone, you don't understand the providence of God."



As a control freak, I happen to know how easy it is to worry. Since so much of pregnancy and child birth is beyond my control, I can replay a million different scenarios of how things are going to go when I go into labor with Emmie. Will she be okay? Will I be okay? Will Isaiah and Maci be okay? Dear Lord, if things move quickly, please don't let my kids witness it and be freaked out.

I understand the providence of God. I know that worry will get me nowhere. I know He is a God that provides. But the control freak in me struggles to actually grasp the providence of God. Logically, I got it. In practice, I struggle. Why? Because I want to know all the things all the time.

The more I talk and listen to God and read the Bible, the more I am filled with peace and the more I am able to grasp His providence. If my Bible stays closed, I do a lot more talking at God and not a lot of listening. This is how my anxiety and worry and doubt builds.

Ultimately, the health of myself and my family is not up to me. The outcome of each day is not really in my control. When I start to feel out of control and anxiety starts to creep in, these are my go-to verses (I have them tabbed and highlighted for easy access):

Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him... Romans 8:28

Why, you do not even know what will have tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14

Do not be anxious about anything; but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

How amazing is it to serve a God who loves us? A God who knows we worry and that we want to be in control. A God who paves the road to our future and makes our paths straight. A God who knows us fully and calms the restlessness in our hearts and minds. A God that reminds us to come to Him with our worries and anxiety so He can handle it. Because prayer triumphs panic every time.

36 Week Check-Up

Today I had my 36 week check-up. Let's just say, things are happening and I'm praying Emmie hangs on a little longer because I've got some meals to make!

In the last 2 days I've had 3 or 4 real contractions and I'm definitely starting to feel more pressure in my pelvis. At my appointment, she checked for strep B and also let me know I am 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced (baby girl is very low).

I saw the nurse practitioner today and when she asked if I had any concerns, I asked her what I should do if I go into labor at home and can't make it to the hospital. (For those that don't remember my labor with Isaiah was about 4 hours and Maci's was only 2. So if we continue down that pattern, I may have very little time to get the kids taken care of and to the hospital.) Her response: to push slow and hard to prevent tearing and when Emmie's out get her dry with clean towels and get her right on my skin to start nursing. She also said to make sure I massage my lower abdomen to help prevent hemorrhaging and then tie off the chord with a shoe string. She also suggested getting in the tub if I can because it will be easier to clean up.

I felt almost crazy asking this question but I'm very thankful for doctors and nurses that take me seriously and understand that a home delivery is very much a possibility. Still praying we make it to the hospital though!

Other stats:
Baby Heartbeat: 164 bpm
Belly: 36 weeks
Blood Pressure: 114/69
Weight gain: 37 lbs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Take Maternity Pictures! [Even If You Feel Ugly]



During my first pregnancy with Isaiah, I realized rather quickly how much I don't like being pregnant. Along with the not-so-pleasant symptoms of pregnancy, I quickly realized how self-conscious and [let's be honest] ugly I feel during pregnancy. Every single one. Even if I'm in a good mood or have a new outfit on. I don't feel like myself when I'm pregnant. No matter how healthy I am or how much I exercise, I gain weight all over my body. All. Over. Even though I've been able to lose every pound before, watching the scale rise and rise does a number on my self-esteem. (This might sound crazy but it does! And I have a feeling I'm not alone in this.)

I might take pictures every week to keep track of my belly's growth but I have never wanted to do a professional photo shoot. I mean, why in the world would I spend money to commemorate my body in this state of bloat? I distinctly remember crying when I looked at pictures of myself pregnant with Isaiah at sunset in Coronado. This can't be me, I remember thinking. Pregnancy just isn't my thing. I feel more like myself the first few weeks of post-partum than the entire 9 months. I'm dead serious.

So knowing this is going to be my last pregnancy, I really wanted to approach it with a good attitude. And I have, for the most part. But alas, I still feel pretty ugly. And fat. And huge. And swollen. And self-conscious. [We do hard things, don't we?]

I was talking with a friend who takes pictures on the side about snapping a few newborn pictures after Emmie arrives and the conversation went something like this:
Let's do some maternity ones too.

No, that sounds awful.

Really? I think you should do it. You will treasure them more than you think.

No, I hate being pregnant.

Everyone does, but I promise you'll love them.

Okay, just make sure you hide my back fat.

So we went for it. We went to a local beach and she told me what to do, how to look, how to smile, relax my forehead, fix my bra, tilt that way or this way. I'll admit, I still look at these and think, That's not me. Partly because my entire body type changes when I'm pregnant, but mostly because I look at them and see a beautiful mama that has allowed her body to transform so she can carry her children. It's true, I will treasure these forever.


If you're on the fence about getting pictures taken while pregnant. I encourage you to get them done. I also encourage you to be 100% honest with your photographer. Tell them what facial expressions bother you, what parts of your body you'd like to hide (me: fat arms and arm pits), and let them know they should feel comfortable fixing your bra straps or hiding your back fat with your dress.

Pregnancy is hard and it is NOT glamourous. But it is an incredible phase of life whether you are on your first or last pregnancy. And after all, it is just a phase. My memory of this time will fade. Before I know it, I won't even remember what it's like to wonder who Emmie is. Before I know it my body will begin to retain it's normal shape and I will start to feel like myself again. When that happens, I will be able to look back at these and remember: my body did that.













Thank you so much, Trisha! You made me feel beautiful and created something I will cherish forever.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

36 Weeks | LAST Month

Well, that's weird. I can't believe I'm in my last month of pregnancy. Ever. I still feel about 33-34 weeks pregnant because my brain just can't keep up with the weeks passing by. Strangers are starting to drive me bonkers too. Every single place I go, "How much longer do you have?" A few weeks. "You must almost be done!" Yes, I'm aware of how huge I am. "How are you feeling?" I mean, really? Do you care? You're ringing up my groceries.

I know people mean well and lots of people love a pregnant person but this is the attention part I can't stand about being pregnant. I feel so self-conscious and irritated. People are trying to be nice and I don't mind a good chat about the "beauty/reality" of pregnancy, but when it's all the time with people I don't know, it can be tiresome and this mama don't have time for that. ;)


Even though I have felt really (mostly) good this last half of pregnancy, the last two mornings I have woken up really tired and really swollen. I get hot flashes from things like sitting in church and getting in the car. And my back is starting to hurt more. However, I'm still sleeping great and the kids have been sleeping in until like 8 every morning and that definitely feels like one of God's many graces as we close out this pregnancy. Of course, summer helps. I may be sweaty and smelly but I am so thankful for the sunshine that has allowed us to do so many fun things and wear out my kids.

They are seriously the best summer babes ever. The wave pool, lake, splash pad, beach, zoos, and backyard sprinklers have been filling our days and allowing us some good sleep at night. We have also spent the last few nights bike riding in our neighborhood until bedtime because, well, no big deal or anything but Isaiah can ride his bike WITHOUT training wheels! Go, buddy! It took him 2 days to get the balance right and the third day to figure out how to stop and start without falling. I am so proud of him. He is growing up into such an awesome big kid.

And you know what? I thought preschoolers were my thing, but this whole big kid thing is totally my jam. Isaiah's noise and energy level has gone up a few notches but I love seeing his independence flourish. And let's be honest, it's so helpful. He can tie his own shoes, ride a bike on two wheels, fold and put and away his laundry, and load his dishes. He is so eager to learn, play, build, compete, and help me out. He is loving and kind and protects his sister like no other. I'm loving this phase of life.
He wants to be a scientist when he grows up. Or race bikes in the Tour de France.
And this gem. I just can't even. She is such a sister-friend. She hangs out with me and snuggles like the best of them. She is sassy and bossy and needs to be checked every day but she is going to rock at being a big sister. She's already trying to ride her bike sans training wheels and is constantly reminding me how fun it was to once be a girly little girl with a tomboy streak.