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!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Photography Class: {Week 3 & 4}

The last week slipped away from me (crazy stuff keeping me busy, like our condo being robbed! And celebrating a friends wedding!), so here's the last two weeks worth of photography class. Less words this time, too, because I have too much to get done today...

Week 3: Focus

These pictures were all about different planes of focus. some close up pictures with a blurred background, and others with a deep depth of field. I love using a large aperture and intentionally blurring the background of my shots, so I tried to push myself to take more deep focused landscape pictures. I went to Montrose Beach to take a lot of these, which was a fun change of setting!

Not bad, but I should have focused a bit further back for a sharper picture.

I love this one!

Portraits were part of the assignment, and Joe
was a good sport, like always :)

Using my hobby to document his hobby.

It was a really sunny day at the beach, which made it hard to do crisp and
properly exposed landscapes. Not terrible, but not great.

Jumping ahead to next week, I tried to capture some movement from the
Lake Michigan mini-waves. Wishing that was actually the ocean...

And on to week 4-- movement. 

This is a fun topic to play around with, with freezing motions and also doing intentional blurring. I mostly tried to use a fast shutter speed to capture movement stopped in time, but did play around with some blurred elements as well. This was the week our condo got broken into (thankfully, they missed my camera!), so I crammed all the pictures into the weekend, and was a bit more distracted than usual. I'm going to make sure to play around with this idea more in the future. 

Modern dance has great movement.
Indoor performance lighting is tough for
good pictures, though!

Let's salsa!

The bride-to-be (in red) and her future husband (to her left) are adorable!

We went to Millennium Park for some other great motion shots.
Lots of water around there, with the pretty fountains.
I learned from this picture that drops of moving water show up much clearer
against a dark background, like the edge of the fountain. 

This picture has no movement, but I thought it
was too pretty not to share!

Walking, biking, running.
Lots of movement, but not the most beautiful composition.
Gotta work on that!

Joe's hidden talent... juggling!
Again, he's such a good sport. Love this guy!

And now this week we're learning about lighting. I just took a morning walk to get a coffee, and took my camera along for the journey. I got some interesting shots in both direct and diffused lighting, which will be great to share in class. I'm so happy to be using my camera a lot more with this class! This is the fifth week, so we're only halfway through. Next week we start editing, too, which is what I'm most eager to learn! Get ready, mom, the family Christmas picture will be edited before you know it :)