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.