Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thirty Weeks!

...or thereabouts.

It's kinda craziness to me how quickly this pregnancy has gone compared to when I was preggo with E.  I guess that makes sense since she keeps us on our toes (toddlers do that sort of thing, ya know?).

Not too much has changed in the last weeks, other than adding in some minor heartburn, tiredness, a voracious appetite, being hot all the time, and sleeplessness.  All of that comes with pregnancy, I believe :)  I usually do feel pretty wiped out at the end of the day and I attribute that to ending the second trimester and welcoming the third.  I'm still so, so thankful that this pregnancy has been a good bit easier than with Elise.  It's been so helpful since this time around we've had a little one in tow.  We have a gracious God.

Here's da you can see, we're shaping up! ;)

In other news, Nora was breech time before last, but as of yesterday's appointment she's head down.  However, she is a mover and a shaker and is flipping around a lot.  We're just praying she will end up head down for her big debut in April.  You can join us in prayer for that, if you'd like :)

We also visited the hospital we'll deliver at and set up our 38 week appointment.  It's getting real! Wildness.

Finally, her due date is still kind of whack.  She's supposedly estimated to arrive around the 2nd of April, but she's measuring anywhere between a week "behind" and two weeks "behind" whenever we we'll see what happens...thank goodness God already has it planned out and hopefully all we have to do is just watch, pray, and be attentive to body signs warning of a forthcoming baby ;)

Thanks for joining us in this journey!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monthly Meal Planning

Confession:  I'm far from the world's greatest chef.  In fact, I don't have much of a passion for it...

But it had gotten so bad, a couple months ago I would just dread planning meals and figuring out what to make for dinner that I would wait until the very last minute, scrounge something up, and barely put together something to feed our little family (well, mainly just Jas and I).  Seriously, ya'll, it was ugly.

It definitely stressed me out and consequently stressed my poor hubby out.  So towards the end of last year I just knew I needed to do something about it.  I needed to figure out a way to be more efficient in the kitchen and in coming up with meals.

I researched meal plans, talked to my friend Steph about it (who's much better at cooking, food planning and prep in general, than I), and beefed up (haha, pun intended) my pinterest food board with high intentions of following through with a weekly meal planning strategy.

And I did.  I planned all my meals (using pinterest, cookbooks, and a list Steph sent me) every Friday for the upcoming week.  On Saturday we went shopping for all ingredients and I finished out the year happily cooking for my family.  I felt so much more confident and prepared in what I was planning and serving to the ones I love.  It. felt. good.

Then came the new year.  And I wanted to be sure I stuck to it.  I didn't want to drop the ball or fall off the "feeling prepared" wagon...ya know?  But this time I just decided to try something different.

So I decided I would meal plan for the whole month of January.  And I would like to tell you, I am in love.  So much so that I can't wait to start planning meals for the month of February, ha!  And all that coming from a girl who just months ago despised planning and figuring out dinner.

I faithfully planned all of my January meals one afternoon at the very beginning of January and have weekly just made a shopping list.  We still go on Saturday's to get all we need, but the whole process is SO MUCH LESS STRESS.  And I feel so good about planning ahead and knowing what I'm going to make.  And then I get to check it off of my nifty little monthly meal planner calendar that hangs proudly on the fridge.  Can you tell I feel so much better about it?

(Above is the meal planner print-off I use.  It can be found here.  And I guess I should make a note that I do believe in leniency and not sticking to it just to stick to it, ya know?  Having a plan helps me tremendously, but if we have a sudden change of plans, I'm ok with switching around meals, or dropping a meal here or there, and not feeling bad about it...)

So, that, in a nutshell, is how I'm taking my family's hunger into my own hands ;) Haha.

How do you do get dinner on the table?  Or are you like I was and don't plan?  Do tell!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Full-Fledged Toddler

...and we love her sooooo.

Elise is right at 16 months and I can hardly believe it.  I know every mom says that, but seriously, I just really can't comprehend how time flies by.

This girl is a legit toddler...
Unrolls toilet paper, you ask?  check.
Places miscellaneous objects on (thankfully, closed) toilet lid?  check.
Stomps her feet and squeals to get attention?  check.
One day loves banana and the next screams about it?  check.
Is the cutest girl around? check. check. check.

We love her.   It's been awhile since I've updated on her growing self, so I wanted to document a few cute things now, in random order.

Teefers - She now has six whole teeth!  Four up top and two below.  She's not the quickest teeth-grower, but man, the ones she has are cute as ever.  She can eat most everything, though tougher foods like apples and oranges need to be cut in half or small bites.

Bows - The girl knows where her bows are and if you catch her looking at them she'll say "more" over and over again until you get as many as you can in her hair.  It's quite humorous!

Baby Obsessed - E is completely smitten with her baby (or babies for that matter).  She knows how to give them "wawa," put in their paci, pat their backs, and rock them.  She even continually asks us to put her own shoes on her baby.  It's the sweetest...not to mention great prep for being a big sis soon!

Winter Wear - She's constantly asking us to put her winter coat on while we're inside.  She's too funny.

Ipad - It's kind of incredible how well she already knows the ipad.  Sometimes it amazes me.  Sometimes it makes me scared (I mean we really want to her be way more in to books, ya know?)  So we limit the ipad time.  But wow, it's impressive.

Mommy - It took her some time, but she now says "mommy" like a champ!  She says it quite often too, which warms my mama heart :)

Lil Burrito - One day I rolled her up like a burrito, or taco, in a big blanket we have and she was sold.  It's now a favorite game.

Alex and... - She still loves her favorite monkey Alex, but also needs "Mimmie" (Minnie) or  "Gigi" (her gingerbread girl) to accompany her to bed too.

Dancin' Queen - All you have to do is put some music on and this girl is in her groove (and has some for real rhythm!)

Ehh Veggies - E is still not a great veggie eater, but we manage to mix them in and she gets 'em down.

Keepin' Them In - She will only leave bows/clips in her hair if directly after they're put in she becomes distracted.

Words - Elise now has quite the vocab with some of my fav words being "rohhwull" (roll), "mnam" (yum), and "tenk ew" (thank you)

People - By all appearances to date it would seem that our girl is a "people person."  She doesn't seem to mind, and really seems to enjoy, being around other people.  We will see how this develops as she grows :)

Tenting - She really likes to do what we call "tenting" (like a forward bend, head on the ground, rumpus in the air, peeking through her legs).  It's hilarious.

(that pic of her above is so true to who she is right now...asked for her shoes to be put on over her jammies, wanted her shoes to be put on baby, she just finished giving baby "wawa," and she started tenting...too much adorable)

She's such a fun girl and brings such joy to our lives.  E, you are one well-loved lil chick :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Snowy, Snowy Day

We've had quite the snow lately.  The last few days it just hasn't stopped falling (until today, that is).  So after language the other day, we took advantage of it.

I ventured out with the big camera and got some good shots, but then we retired it back to the house so that it wouldn't get all wet from the snow.  Wish I had kept it out a little longer because we ended up making a cute little snowman friend for Elise :) I did get a pic of him on my phone, however.

She wasn't quite sure what to think about it all at first, but then she warmed up (punny :) and seemed to enjoy her time just sitting in the snow.

But first, we got some pics together...

Family pic, but E said, "huh uh, I'm checking out this white stuff..."

And then we spotted a tiny snowman on a bench nearby.  Perfect for a photo op, or so I thought.  E had other ideas (aka decapitating Mr. Snowman).

Too funny she is.

And then we made our little snowman complete with a carrot nose and chestnut eyes, mouth, and buttons...

Fun, fun afternoon...even if after building our snowman Daddy decided to unleash a fury of snowballs on E and I (and therefore baby Nora too :)  Love them.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sharpie Mug...Fail or Success?

If you're anywhere on pinterest I'm sure you may have seen the many "draw on your dish, mug, etc. and then bake it" pin.  If you haven't, there's definitely a lot of them out there.  But I have an undying love for Sharpies and wanted to give it a shot.  Upon further research of how to best go about this crafty diy, I realized that there were both positive and negative reviews (aka successes and failures).

So, I gave it my own go just to see what the outcome would be :)

I decided to design a mug for a close friend and cat-lovin' lady, thus the cat.  I just drew it up with Sharpies and decorated it with fun colors.  Then I baked it in the oven.  Word has it that 30 minutes at 350 degrees will do, but I read that it wasn't always a success (aka would wash off easily).  Others were saying try 30 minutes at 425 degrees.  Still others said you need to put it in a cold oven, let it heat up, wait the 30 minutes, and then let it cool down all in the oven.

So here's what I did:  1) placed it in a cool oven, 2) turned the heat on to 425 and let it heat up about 10 minutes (with the mug still in there obviously), 3) then left it in there to bake for 30 minutes, and finally, 4) let it cool down in the oven.

When I took it out the colors were faded, but that's supposed to happen (kind of like what happens in a kiln).  I'm not going to try it in the dishwasher, but hand-washing is fine (and you know, no scrubbing with washing)!  So when I give the gift I'm just going to give a hand-wash disclaimer.  And it's not technically food safe, but hopefully she won't lick the outside of the mug, ya know?

I want to try my hand at some more because it was way fun designing it.

And one last side note, if nothing else, she can use it as a pencil holder, or even to scoop out cat food...that's an idea, huh!?

Have you ever drawn on your dishes/mugs/etc. with Sharpie?  Success or failure?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Her First Tantrum

You ready for a wordy post?

This occurred during our trip to the states and I just want to document it as a reminder of the first time this happened and of the lessons I learned from it :)

Settle in, here goes!

My mother-in-law and I decided to take a trip to the outlets (I mean we're talking The Children's Place, Carter's...outlet stores...I was down!).  I was excited about looking for some baby things at a more reasonable price.  Anyway, all that's really background information.

We got to the outlets and E did pretty well in the stores...a little whining, but nothing major or out of the ordinary for being in her stroller.

Then we decided to head out, but first, a stop by one of the merry-go-round type rides.  Another father was debating letting his little girl ride, so I told him I'd split the price with him (it was a dollar for the ride!! CRAZY) and both girls could go together.  So we did just that.  E LOVED IT.  She was all smiles.

And the ride stopped.  I got her down.  Oh wow.  The floodgate let loose.  We're talking tears, flailing legs and arms, screaming "uppie, uppie," which in toddler language was meaning "put me down!" I mean we're talking a first class temper tantrum here folks...legitimate throwdown.

So then we walked, er, flailed, our way over to the outdoor (free) slides where I decided it would be smart to set up my expectations for her this time (ya know, since at fifteen months old she could understand them and all ;)  So we took a few rides down the slide and then I said something along the lines of "ok, E, this is your last go on the slide and then we're going home, alright?"  Down the slide she went, I picked her up and "WAAAAAAAA," there went the tears and wailing again.

I have to say as we made our way to the car passersby were looking at us, but truthfully, they reacted kindly.  One lady even said, "oh, I remember those days..." in an I-feel-sorry-for-you-but-I-don't kind of voice.  Ha.  So we got to the car and the screaming continued for some 10 minutes or so down the road.  But eventually, all was settled and calmness was restored.

I learned a lot that day.  My girl isn't perfect.  She's perfectly created by God for Jas and I to watch over, but she's a sinner.  Just like her mama and daddy.  She has her own opinions and her own will.  She's going to reacting accordingly, but it's our responsibility to set up guidelines and parameters for her so that she learns to obey the Father and us.  I also was reminded that even though I'm sure this was the first of future will-declaring moments, I have to continually pray for wisdom for Jas and I in the parenting department.  Thankfully, just as God has granted grace to us as parents, he's also granted grace to our offspring.  So glad.  And man, even when she pitches a fit, I love the mess out of her.  Unconditional love it is, little girl.

Here she is just minutes before it all broke loose.  Please note how she's riding backwards...that girl is a trendsetter, I'd say ;)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Twenty-Eight Weeks!

Say WHAT!?!?

How in the world did that happen?  Seriously.

Here is how the belly is shaping up these days...

Overall I'm still feeling pretty well.  Sleeping is starting to become more of an issue as it's harder to get comfortable and these hips 'o mine are generally aching when I wake.  But that's just how it goes.  Also, I've been in the habit of waking up around 1 am this past week to eat...because I'm SO HUNGRY. It's rather annoying to go to bed early enough knowing that I'll be waking up at 1 am, but ya know, pretzels and yogurts are my BFF's come snack-time :)

Lil Nora is moving quite a good bit and it still remains my favorite thing.  Tomorrow is the beloved glucose test (ick!)...praying all goes well with that.

And just for reflection's sake, below is a picture of yours truly at 28 weeks pregnant with Elise...

Surprisingly not as different as I thought, though I feel 10 times larger this time around...ha!

Oh and one last note, I guess I should explain the little approximation mark before the twenty-eight weeks.  Since I really don't have a good due date (somewhere between April 2nd and April 17th has been the general consensus), I am theoretically around the twenty-eighth week.  But what are due dates anyway?  Elise came six days "late" and for all we know this baby could come six days "early" (maybe late March?? might be nice!)...We will see what God has planned for this little one's life!  All the while I'll just be soaking up the moments of little tummy kicks and punches.

Maybe next we should guess Nora's due date, huh? ;)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stepping Back in Time...Part 2

After Christmas in Hickory, we headed to Durham to spend time with more people we love.

But let's jump straight into the pictures, shall we?

Yes, my sis-in-law really is that awesome...she made a little snowman out of ranch dip and it was delish.

We woke up Christmas morning and dove into presents.  Then the guys (well, most of the guys ;) made breakfast for us ladies.  Yum.

We call that one above, "Snuggles with Grandpa."

Haha...that one makes me laugh.  E and Uncle Nate (being a goof as usual :)

The best shot we got of the cousins and their babies.

And then I made my girl do a photo shoot with me.  That one is blurry but I love it nonetheless.  But she kept moving like the active toddler she is, so I tried to keep her head in place...ha!

Love that one above, even though homegirl isn't looking...

And one of my favorite things was getting to hang out with this lil studly man... (do excuse the double chin I'm sporting, however :)

And finally, one lady picture of us in our new aprons (thanks Aunt Patti!).

Just like in Hickory, we got to see some dear friends that we hadn't seen in awhile.  It was so very, very good.  Unfortunately those pictures are all scattered around the internet and instead of rounding them up I'll just tell you that we were so grateful to see so many of the ones we love in such a short period of time.

Thankful, oh so thankful, for the friends and family God has given us...they're blessings!

And with's a Christmas wrap!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Stepping Back in Time...Part 1

Let's step back in time to the end of last year...

I'm just now getting around to posting our Christmas pictures.  We surprised our families in the states (well, except for the three/four that had to know about it ahead of time for planning purposes).  While we were there I didn't post at all because I solely wanted to soak up the moments together.  Then we came back to Bratislava and had some friends visit, and again, I just wanted to enjoy quality time.

So, here we go...back to real life...and posting ;)

This is going to mostly be pictures, with some wordage, but they say pictures are worth 1,000 words, right?

(I should mention that I let family members take most of the photos while we were there...I was soaking it all up, remember?! ;)  And these are just the Hickory photos.  Durham ones to come soon!)

Not sure why her shirt is wet, but I really love that little face for some reason.

That is one seriously amazing face.  Seriously and amazingly cute.

He was great at making her laugh (though she was caught here just after a laugh, I suppose)!

Love that one above.

"Are you really taking my picture AGAIN!?" haha.

She got a really fun tunnel for Christmas and had a blast in it.

Everyone is looking at the camera...success!!

We also got to see some sweet friends while we were in Hickory which was so great.  Most of them were quick visits, but so valued.  We tried to get a photo with each of them (except for Cait and Bradley...booo).

So thankful to have had the opportunities to see family and friends.  It was a great Christmas, indeed.  Up next, our stay in Durham!
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