Monday, December 30, 2013

Baby Bump Update- 28 weeks

Oh, hey there! It's been a while since I did one of these. I'm going to love looking back on this pictures and thoughts after baby Ziggy makes its appearance, so I'm going to try to keep up with posting at least a few more times :)

Current Progress: We made it to third trimester! As of this Sunday, I'm 28 weeks pregnant. It's so exciting to be at this point!  Sunday was also our 7th wedding anniversary, so it was a pretty great day overall :)

Weight Gain & Body Changes: My last appointment at 24 weeks had me at about 15 pounds of weight gain, which is right on track for a healthy pregnancy. I feel pretty huge, and it's crazy to think there are still three more months to go! But the weight is concentrated in my belly, so that's a good thing. My body is a bit more achy and less graceful, and things like bending down have become much more challenging. Overall, I can't complain at this point!

How I'm feeling: I think the "easy" second trimester has come to an end. I'm not always comfortable, but I'm dealing with it. More aches and pains at this point, and I'm starting to feel a lot more tired and worn out. It will be a glorious feeling to be easily active again at some point. I'm also feeling so much movement from Ziggy at this point. I love that part of being pregnant!

What I'm thinking: I'm thinking about the progress we're making. We've got a dresser, rug, and wardrobe from Ikea, plus we ordered the glider from Buy Buy Baby. The only thing that is missing at this point is a crib, which we'll be ordering sometime in January. The room is painted, too. The biggest issue with Ziggy's room at this point is that there is still a bed and a bunch of our junk in the room. After the baby shower, Joe and I will really push ourselves to get the room completed, so that's one less thing to worry about.  

There was a time in this pregnancy when I was feeling pretty nervous, and even downright scared about some things (um, hello, giving birth!!). At this point, though, I'm just thinking about how amazing it is going to be to have a baby. I am not scared about giving birth anymore, and I'm overall just so excited for the adventures to come our way. Yes, I'm so aware of the challenges that lie ahead, but I'm ready to tackle them head-on!

A little Christmas cheer!
This was about 26.5 weeks

Recent milestones Getting to third trimester is a great milestone… otherwise, the last few weeks have been pretty uneventful. Oh, one fun thing did happen. Joe has been able to feel Ziggy move! I loved sharing that moment with him. 

Upcoming appointments or events: I have a regular appointment on New Year's Eve, and then it's time to start having a doctor visit every two weeks. We have an ultrasound at the end of January. January is going to be busy, too, because my shower is that month, plus we start childbirth classes at the hospital. I'm eager for that! January is going to FLY BY, and then it's only two more months to wait!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our little family of (almost) three! 

Wishing everyone a happy holiday full of love and laughter!

We have had a lovely holiday so far-- a seafood feast on Christmas Eve, 
followed by a candlelight service at our church. 
Then after a little rest, we work up this morning to enjoy some gifts and a tasty breakfast. 
Soon we'll be heading out to see Joe's family. 
His mom is a bit under the weather, 
but we'll hopefully still get to enjoy some festive time together!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Not Quite the Thanksgiving I'd Expected...

I'd pictured Thanksgiving this year to be a busy, yet joyful and delicious type of day. I was scheduled to work in the morning, and then Joe and I were hosting his family for dinner. It was going to be a crazy day, but I was ready. It was going to be fun!  But my silly pregnant body had a different plan. I ended up waking up sick at 3 am (and again at 5 am) on Thursday morning, and spent the day alternating between the couch and my bed. No work, no socializing, and no delicious turkey dinner. It was a bummer, for sure.

But that's not the point of this post. The point is that I'm still so grateful for how many blessings I have in my life. I express my thanks year round, but it's nice to write it here every once in a while. And let me start with what has topped my list for the last seven years… this guy:

I hit the husband jackpot when this guy asked me to marry him. He proved this yet again this Thanksgiving, when he cleaned up after his sick wife in the middle of the night, whipped the house into immaculate shape, and cooked the entire beautiful Thanksgiving meal. Yup, he's amazing. I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. He already hears from me on a daily basis how grateful I am for his many wonderful characteristics and contributions to our family.

This year I feel like I have more to be thankful for than I can remember in recent years. It feels like things have finally come together for Joe and I in the last year… our jobs, our home, our friends, opportunities to travel and enjoy life, and more than anything, the baby on the way. We've had some real struggles in recent years, but have always pulled through by leaning on each other and our wonderful friends and family. I know there will be more challenges in our future. Life can't always be perfect, and I think we become the people we are based on the trials we face. But I sure am going to enjoy this part of the journey, when everything feels beyond great. This year has given me SO much to be thankful for, and I am excited to see what 2014 has in store for us as well!

Even feeling crummy, I had to pull the camera out for a couple pictures documenting the occasion. This was our first time hosting Thanksgiving, and Joe and I really enjoyed planning and executing this meal!  Joe really made this come together, didn't he? It was fantastic!

Joe roasted a turkey for the first time, and it was amazing!
Dry brine recipe from

Pretty excited about that bird :)

I did help with the prep on Wednesday night,
and wasn't even feeling a hint of being sick. We made the corn pudding,
 mashed potatoes, and stuffing the night before, which made it so
easy to pull the meal together on Thursday. 

I was pretty pumped about stuffing from scratch!

I took a nap while they played dominoes.
Everyone was happy with this arrangement.

Ugh, I look like crap. But the table looks nice, right?

Let's eat!
The verdict from the healthy people at the table was that everything tasted great. 

I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving, full of family, friends, and plenty of tasty food! I'm going to keep this thankful feeling going through the holiday season… and probably right on until March, when I experience more thankfulness (and exhaustion) than I can even imagine at this point. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Teaching Baby the Art of Rock & Roll

Anyone who knows Joe and me knows that we love seeing live music. This is something that we connected over when we first met-- he played in a band, and him and his friends introduced me to all kinds of great bands that I listened to throughout college. I'll have to dig up an old picture or two one of these days-- there are some great ones of the two of us at shows back then!

This love of music has continued through our relationship. Mostly indie rock, not too obscure, but not mainstream bands for the most part. I love a bit of good pop, too, and Joe's interests run from metal to jazz (seriously, he's kind of weird!). We haven't let this pregnancy stop us from seeing some great concerts recently, and we're excited to continue to share music with little Ziggy once this baby joins us. I'm about ready to temporarily retire from seeing shows, at least ones that don't have seating, so I thought this would be a good chance to look back on the music we've seen since finding out we're becoming a family of three! Here's a flashback on the last five months...

Pitchfork Music Festival-- This is one we have to do every summer, at least for one of the three days. I had found out I was pregnant just days earlier, so I was really wanting to keep it a secret. I was worried about hanging out with our friends all day and having to fake drink, but then we hardly saw anyone we knew, and it was a lot easier! I would have tried harder to find our friends if I'd been my non-pregnant self, but not drinking at a festival would have been pretty suspicious with this group!

Pre-morning sickness, I was feeling GREAT!

Belle and Sebastian was the headliner on this night, and they were fantastic!
I'd never seen them live, and their show was really upbeat and fun.
Lollapalloza- A few weeks later was Lollapalloza, a huge festival held in Grant Park every summer. We'd bought tickets months earlier, and were pumped to see some great bands. Local Natives, The National, and the Lumineers were all really fun to see live, and ending the night with Postal Service was a HUGE highlight. They were just as good as I had hoped, 10+ years after I started listening to them. I was still feeling good at this point, and made sure to sit in the shade throughout the day, and to drink plenty of water. Totally worth it!

Postal Service was EPIC. Jenny Lewis is a girl crush of mine, for sure. 

Band of Horses-- We were pretty ambitious the day we went to Lollapalloza, because we'd also bought tickets to this after show. I've loved this band for a few years, and Joe surprised me with tickets. Good husband, for sure! So when Postal Service ended, we jumped on the train and headed to the Metro, where these guys put on a great show. We ended up sitting up on the balcony, which was a little lame, but also really necessary. I was totally fried the next day, but staying up until 2am to see this show was totally worth it. They were great live!

Minus the Bear-- This is one of Joe's favorite bands, and we saw them at the Metro about a year ago, too. That show was a little disappointing, mostly thanks to the young kid in front of us who was super obnoxious the whole time. So we couldn't miss this show in October, and they totally made up for the last time. 


Frank Turner-- Then a few weeks ago, we got to see this singer and his band. My sister introduced us to Frank Turner a few years back, and when we heard he was going to be in Chicago and that tickets were only $20, it sounded like a good show to see! The show was at the Vic, which I hadn't been to in years, and I found out when we got there that the whole balcony was theatre seating. I usually HATE sitting down at a concert, but I decided to embrace my pregnant self and just enjoy the view. 

Old 97's-- This last picture is the worst, but it was a picture of one of my favorite bands, so I couldn't leave it out! Joe and I have seen the Old 97's at least 6 other times around Chicago, most recently when they played out in Aurora the night before my birthday in June. Always a good time, even when I'm about 5 months pregnant. I decided this was my last show for a while, though, unless something good comes up that involves reserved seating. Seems fitting I'd temporarily retire after seeing one of my all time favorite bands, right?

So in the end, that's two festivals, one show at the Vic, and three at the Metro. Not too shabby, little one! We're hoping to get some of those little baby noise reduction earmuffs this summer, so baby can potentially join us for a day at Pitchfork. Could be wishful thinking from some naive first time parents, but it doesn't hurt to dream, right? 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Baby Bump Update-- 21 Weeks

Current ProgressDon't let the sign fool you-- I'm actually 21 weeks in this picture! I was technically 20 according to my original due date, but a couple days later I had an ultrasound and it was confirmed that I was a week ahead of schedule. Exciting news!  Ziggy is about 12 ounces, and as big as a pomegranate. 

Weight Gain & Body Changes: I've gained about 10 pounds, which is right on target for halfway through the pregnancy. I'm trying to continue eating healthy and staying active, but my wicked sweet tooth is hard to resist! Besides the bump growing, my body hasn't changed too much. It really seems like my belly has grown significantly in the last couple weeks, though, and I think I'm getting the undeniably pregnant look. I'm still attempting to wear some non-maternity clothing, but my wardrobe options are shrinking quickly!

How I'm feeling: Pretty good these days! Most of the time I have decent energy and feel almost "normal", though there are still constant reminders that I'm pregnant. My hips have been hurting at night, so I've been sleeping on our much softer guest bed, and bough a pregnancy pillow to see if it helps. I'm trying to soak up this second trimester, because it's going to be weird and a lot less comfortable when my belly really gets bigger!

What I'm thinkingI'm starting to realize we should start to get the baby's room in order. Everything we've bought or received for the baby fits into one small box at this point! We need to get rid of the desk in the baby's room, and eventually the bed, too. We might keep that for a while still, for guests coming in January. We have pretty much picked out the furniture we want, too, and need to start to order it. Joe's painting as I type, which is a good first step! Also, I thought we'd be nice and minimalistic with our baby registry, but even with that mindset there is SO MUCH STUFF that you kind of need. Once we finish registering, we'll focus on buying furniture first, and then start to chip away at the registry a little bit, as we wait for the baby shower in January.

A peek into the current state of our guest bedroom.
Time to start cleaning out! 
Recent milestones We passed the halfway point, and just had our anatomy scan. At this detailed ultrasound, they measured and checked up on all aspects of the developing baby, and things looked great. The heart, brain, and major organs are all developing as they should. And now that I skipped a week, I'm only two and a half weeks from the 24 week mark, which is considered the "viability date" for premature babies. Obviously, we hope and expect baby will be in there for a lot longer than 24 weeks, but either way it will be nice to get past that point. 

Upcoming appointments or eventsNothing else for a while! I'll have regular appointments at 24 and 28 weeks, and then it goes to every 2 weeks. We get another ultrasound at 32 weeks, which will be an amazing sight! In the meantime, we'll just focus on starting to prepare the baby's room, and enjoying the holidays. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

18 Week Bumpdate

From the beginning of this pregnancy, I promised myself that I wouldn't blast Facebook with baby related pictures. It annoys me when people only post about their babies... yes, it's thrilling that you have an adorable offspring, but is that really the only thing going on in your life?!  I love seeing the occasional picture of people's children, and I'm sure I'll share some baby-related things as time goes on, but I think it's easy to take it overboard. As someone who struggled to get pregnant, I am hyper aware of shoving too much baby stuff into peoples faces! So to avoid that issue on Facebook, I'll be jam packing my blog with baby-related posts, because it's my blog and I can do what I want! Anyone who wants a look can stop by to visit... and if you don't care, you don't have to come to this site. Everyone's happy then, right?

This is at 18 weeks and 3 days... getting close to halfway! I'm eager for my next appointment on Tuesday, and my big 20 week ultrasound the week after that. In the meantime, I'm trying to (mostly) eat healthy and stay active. It's weird getting bigger, as someone who has always been mindful of my weight, but I keep reminding myself why I'm growing, and then I feel better! I treated myself to a pedicure today, too, since it's already getting harder to reach my toes. I can't imagine what it's going to feel like as I continue on towards 40 weeks!

A Wedding Celebration!

I haven't posted a photo class update in the last couple weeks, because now we've moved on to learning to edit. I'm taking some new photos for our upcoming final project, but we've also been working a lot on editing pictures that we took earlier in the course. Browsing through my photos from the last few weeks, I realized some of my "class pictures" were also pictures of an important event-- my friends getting married!

Dan and Diane are a couple who love and appreciate all kinds of art, and they're friends with a ton of crafty, talented people. Luckily, they'll still hang out with people like me, too, so I can try to get some of that artsy vibe to rub off on me! They made their wedding into a two night affair, and instead of a rehearsal dinner, they had a night of performances for all their friends and family.  We had a great time enjoying all the culture, and got to catch up with so many good friends at the same time.

Last night before saying, "I do"!

There were dancers, musicians, and a comedy troupe.
Plus a fantastic collection of their friend's art was on display around the space.

There was great audience participation when this talented gentleman
taught everyone a thing or two about Latin dance. 

It's pretty evident everyone is having a great time, huh?

The next night we came back together to celebrate the actual wedding. The bride and groom chose to have a smaller private ceremony, focused on their family, and then to invite everyone to the reception that evening. We ate delicious BBQ and fantastic pie, and toasted the newlyweds with some touching speeches. And then we danced until our feet hurt! Everyone else enjoyed some tasty beverages along the way... and I had a tiny half glass of wine. Not quite the usual wedding situation for me, but I had a great time regardless!

These two are next!

You know you make me wanna shout!

A little bit softer now...

A little bit louder now!
Congratulations Diane and Dan! The wedding was a wonderful celebration of your love, and I wish you many happy and healthy years together!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Baby Bump Update-- 17 weeks

This pregnancy is getting close to being halfway over (!!!), and I wanted to make sure to document some of it on the blog. It will be really fun to look back at later, when the baby is here and this pregnancy seems like a distant memory. I know I won't be good at sticking to a regular schedule for bump updates, so just plan to see one about every 4 weeks. March 30 still feels so far away, but I have a feeling this winter is going to fly by!

Current Progress: 17 weeks! Baby Rohlena (fondly known as Ziggy) is about 5 inches long, and weighs 5 ounces or so.

Weight Gain & Body Changes: I've gained about 5-7 pounds so far, depending which scale I'm on. My doctor says I'm right on track with a healthy weight gain. My belly is starting to grow, slowly but surely. This morning I had a bit of a clothing crisis, when the first two shirts I tried on had gotten too small! I think I'll be wearing a lot of stretchy maternity shirts this winter, with open cardigans over the top. I'm almost exclusively wearing maternity pants at this point, too. I have four pairs, and am already a bit sick of rotating them. But I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more maternity clothing for a couple months, to see how I feel when I've gotten bigger and the weather's gotten colder.

How I'm feeling: The last few weeks have been pretty good. I'm a little more tired than when I'm not pregnant, but I'm making it a point to get to the gym a couple times a week, and to try to do something active most days. I'm trying to eat a lot more veggies and healthy nutrients than I did first trimester, and feeling better has led me back to the kitchen to cook more like I usually do, too.

Emotionally, I feel pretty positive. I had my last appointment at about 15 weeks, and there was a nice strong heartbeat which was music to my ears! It feels like most of the major hurdles have been passed, in terms of pregnancy loss, and anything at this point would be a very rare complication. Based on the way I feel, my growing belly, and some overall weight gain, all signs point to a healthy baby growing inside of me.

And in a more literal sense-- I have not felt the baby move yet. They say 18-22 weeks is when you'll start to feel it, usually, so I'm eager to get to that point!

Some beautiful hand knit baby clothes from my mom!
What I'm thinking: I'm starting to get curious about the gender, but we've decided to wait until the baby is born to find out! So I'm thinking a lot about if it's a boy or a girl, but not getting too excited because that determination is still a long ways away.

I'm thinking a bunch about baby gear-- what to buy, and what to register for. My mom and sister are throwing me a baby shower in January, which will be SO much fun! I think Joe and I have picked out the crib we want, and some of the storage options for the baby's room. I've also been thinking about what we can live without, since city living means a smaller space to live in.

Recent milestones:  Since this is my first blog update, there have already been so many milestones! Getting past the loss date of my last pregnancy was a great feeling, and finishing off the first trimester was also a great relief!

Adorable gifts from my sister and her husband.
The left side is for when baby is new, and the Thanksgiving outfit
will hopefully fit next year. Too stinkin cute!

Upcoming appointments or events: We'll go for the 20 week anatomy scan in mid November, and I can't wait. This is when they'll measure how the baby is growing, and give us a better idea of how Ziggy's doing. Hopefully, they'll also move my due date up by one week at that point! I realized recently my dates were different than what I told the doctor, and I think I should actually be due a week earlier. The doctor said we'd stick to March 30 at this point, but that we'll get a better picture at the ultrasound. My next regular doctors appointment is a week before the big ultrasound, and I always look forward to my next check-in with the doctor.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Welcoming fall to Chicago!

Last weekend I work up a bit early on Saturday morning, and had a lovely quiet morning ahead of me. My breakfast is usually something simple, like an english muffin or some scrambled eggs, but this calm autumn morning had me feeling inspired to make something a little bit more special. I had a can of pumpkin, and a tub of oatmeal... so on to Google I went!

This recipe came from, though I did modify it based on what I had on hand. In the process, I ended up making them a little healthier, too. Perfect! These were fantastic on that first morning, still warm from the oven and paired with some good coffee and a cozy spot on the couch. The nice thing about muffins is that you have more leftover, too. I always freeze the leftovers, and pull them out throughout the week for a special weekday breakfast treat. I'm going to be sure to make these again while we're in the midst of this ideal fall weather.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
Adapted from this recipe

Makes 18 muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1 can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup applesauce (or 3/4 cup more pumpkin)
1 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup ( ran out, but would add this full amount if I had it available)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray one or two muffin tin with cooking spray, or line with cupcake liners. The recipe will make about 16-18 muffins.

Whisk dry ingredients (from flour to baking soda) in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, applesauce, milk, eggs, and maple syrup. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until the batter is smooth. Fold the oats into the batter. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin tin, filing them to the top.

Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Set aside to cool for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Anyone have any favorite fall recipes they want to share? I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A bit distracted...

I've been a terrible blogger lately, and that might just continue for a little while. You see, I've got other thinks on my mind these days...

Be prepared, I might just have to do some bump updates in the coming weeks. You've been warned!