Saturday, December 24, 2011

23 Weeks Pregnant {Large Mango}

 My Large Mango and I have reached 23 weeks on Friday, December 23rd!
(Average measurements: 11.4 inches, 1 pound)

  • I mentioned in last weeks update that I may have to take off my engagement ring due to chubby sausage's still on. It's snug, but I've managed another week with it :)
  • I'm not sick, but as I've read for pregnant women, I have a chronic stuffy nose!  I breathe louder than normal and have to constantly blow my nose.
  • The time sure does fly when you're on vacation!  I've been off from work for a week already and have only one left...and I'm holding on to it with a tight, clenched fist.
  • Oh my little lucky-charm-baby...Mia has done it again!  I had to call in for jury duty all week and wouldn't you know it, I didn't have to show up at all...AGAIN...for the 2nd year in a row.  Whew!!!
  • 7 times out of 10, when Dominic looks at me he grins or giggles due to my growing belly.  He recently said, "Hun, your belly has officially grown out past your boobs!"  Ahem....that makes 2 of us ;)
  • I baked about 300 holiday treats (cookies and brownies) to deliver to friends and family.
  • Daddy and I have been talking more to Mia, since we've been reading she can hear us more now.

Baby Gaga's Pregnancy Calendar says, "FETAL DEVELOPMENT:  Your little womb hi-jacker is starting to kick their break-dance party up a notch now that his/her ears are registering sounds from the outside world!  The sound of a phone ringing, a thunder clap, or a car honking will actually jar their little ears enough to elicit a kick or violent bout of squirming.  More importantly, this means that their little ears are picking up the sounds of your voice and others around you.  So, if you've been yelling a lot it's time to reign that in and practice a little self restraint for the sake of your little eavesdropper, who is becoming more exquisitely sensitive to all of your behaviors every day.  The equation is simple: happy healthy mama = happy healthy baby.  Stress during pregnancy is quite literally BAD for your baby's developing brain.  Take the time to center and be quiet - to reflect on the growing life inside of you and the future you will share together.

HOW'S MOM DOING?:  If no one's ever warned you about the joys of the pregnancy-sleep-challenge, you're probably starting to discover them yourself.  To reduce undue cankle-age avoid sitting for long periods of time and for the hundredth time:  don't forget to stay active!  The good news: some very thoughtful people invented pillows specifically designed to give a pregnant woman a better chance of sleeping through the night.  The bad news: these magical pillows won't stop you from needing to pee three times every night.  Are you remembering to drink lots of fluids?  Plenty of water keeps your baby in clean amniotic fluid and reduces swelling in your poor ankles and feet.  The oh-so sexy pregnancy-induced swollen cankles are a result of the wight of your baby + uterus + amniotic fluid pressing on your pelvic veins, thereby slowing fluid circulation to the lower half of your body, which causes water retention.  Drinking loads of water is also good for your little swimmer as dehydration is frequently connected with premature birthing.  Yep, it's a lot of responsibility, but you can do it!  You're almost two-thirds of the way there already!  Keep up the good work mom!"

Baked Tradition

Traditions were not something I grew up with, unfortunately.  Maybe that's why I feel so strongly about having them now.  I can't wait to create all kinds of traditions with my new family.  In a world that's constantly changing, it's nice to know that there are some things you can count on year after year, like....annual camping trips, family vacations, painting Easter eggs, family game nights, holiday baking, etc.

One tradition that I started a few years ago is to bake cookies before Christmas for friends and family and then deliver them door to door.  I LOVE to bake and I'm pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.  Every year I keep the few delicious must-have recipes like chocolate chip, peanut butter, and brownies.  Then I find a few brand new recipes to test on my cookie-recipients :)

This year, I spent all day Thursday baking 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies, 2 batches of double chocolate chip & walnut cookies, and 2 batches of sugar cookies cut out like Christmas trees, ornaments and holly.  My mom spent Friday baking 2 batches of peanut butter cookies, a batch of chocolate glazed brownies and a batch of chocolate glazed brownies with walnuts.  Friday night, I put on a festive outfit and Dominic wore a fun holiday sweater, red scarf and a Santa hat before heading out to deliver the treats to 8 different homes.  That's our way of spreading some holiday cheer.
chocolate chip (recipe via Nestle Toll House) & peanut butter (recipe via Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book) cookies

Ghirardelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies (recipe via Ghirardelli)

Cutout Sugar Cookies with sprinkles (recipe via Better Homes & Gardens 2009 magazine 100 Best Cookies)  *I add fresh squeezed lemon to the powdered sugar frosting*

Chocolate Syrup Brownies (recipe via Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book)

Here are just a few of the many containers we put together.  I signed most of them from Dom, Misty, Mia, and a little paw print (Roxi, the dog).

Friday, December 16, 2011

22 Weeks Pregnant {Spaghetti Squash}

Another week has passed for my "Spaghetti Squash" and me...22 and counting!
(Average measurements: 11 inches, 15 ounces) 

  • Mommy and Daddy (still so new referring to us as parents) went to our first Christmas party "with child"...and at the same time, our last Christmas party without a child.
  • I attended another beautiful baby shower where 6 of us ladies were expecting!  I joked that if I hadn't been pregnant, I probably would have gone home after the shower and cried myself to sleep ;)
  • We had a follow-up appointment with a fancy doctor where we found out all is good and we got another sweet snapshot of our baby girl, seen here.
  • I've begun to notice that it's becoming increasingly more difficult to remove my engagement ring from my finger before I take a shower in the morning.  I read that around this week I might notice some finger swelling and that rings should be taken off soon before they're stuck!!!  Boo...I'm going to miss wearing my first and most special love diamonds :(
  • I'm finally getting over my nasty cold!  I can breathe again.
  • Today was my last day at work for a whole 2 weeks!  I'm an art teacher, which means I get the same vacations that my students get.  I can breathe again...again ;)
  • I won an iPod Nano today at my company's holiday pot-luck.  I'm usually not lucky, so I know it's Mia.
  • I was recently introduced to Coffee Bean's hot, chai-like, seasonal drink, and my newest craving, "Winter Dream."  It's all things delicious and magical, right there in a cup.  You've gotta try it. 
  • Oh, and I love my fiancé.  He's pretty much amazing and loves me more and more each day...and tells me so.  Even though I've been feeling bloated and big and awkward, he tells me I'm more beautiful now than I've ever been.  His hands are always on my belly (even when I smack them away when I'm stuffed after eating), giving kisses and rubs to Mia.  Last night, he even put his mouth up to my belly and sang the alphabet to her :)

Baby Gaga's Pregnancy Calendar says...
"FETAL DEVELOPMENT: Congratulations!  You're now housing a human who weighs nearly a pound and measures nearly a foot in length!  Your wee babe's perfect little pancreas (a super-duper organ that produces hormones and aids in digestion) is now making its own hormones for your baby's body and brain!  If you were worried, you can finally stop that: your baby's future in the circus as a world-famous tight-rope-walker is secure now that their inner ear is developed to the point that they have their own sense of balance.  Luckily for your little womb-explorer, this new balance promotes physical dexterity, which has them actively feeling out their surroundings where skin, body parts, and the resident umbilical cord are the big sensory experiences.  Your sweet babe is sort of looking like an over-sized red prune right now as more and more skin (and therefore wrinkles) are showing up each week.  Not to worry, all those wrinkles are just your baby's way of planning ahead for the time when they'll start piling on all of that irresistible baby chub."

"HOW'S MOM DOING?:  Take a moment to think about this: your uterus has now stretched to such unholy proportions that it extends up past your belly button!  The not-so-exciting part of this remarkable fact is that growth like this tends to leave stretch marks and can itch like nobody's business.  The reality is: stretch marks are scars on your skin that won't disappear or react with a topical cream.  The best prevention is retaining muscle tone by staying active on a daily basis throughout pregnancy.  If it makes you feel any better, stretch marks on the belly are extremely common.  Skin-cream lies aside, feel free to apply all the aloe-vera you need to alleviate the itching!"

"You Sneaky Mom!"

Is it bad that I can't wait to pull these pranks on my kids when they're old enough???
Jimmy Kimmel challenged his audience to play a few tricks on their kids and video tape it.  These are great.  Oh my baby Mia in my belly, you've definitely got a "sneaky mom."  Get ready! ;)

Halloween prank:  I ate all of your candy.

*The last clip is THE best*

Christmas prank:  The terrible present

*The last clip isn't really appropriate for young ears, btw*

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Kick-back Baby

We had another appointment with the Doc with the fancy equipment, following up on something he saw in our baby at our last appointment.  As predicted, the "condition" cleared up and was nothing to worry about.  I wasn't concerned, but Daddy needed the reassurance that everything was OK.  Sleep soundly now, my dear.

Mia had another fabulous photo taken of her, and AGAIN, she's sittin' pretty with her hands behind her head.  She just might take after her mother ;)

And here is the mama...also kicking back.

Friday, December 9, 2011

21 Weeks Pregnant {Banana}

Today, the little banana and I have reached our 21st week together.
(Average measurements: 10.5 inches, 12.7 ounces)

  • I attended my 1st baby shower, pregnant.  I admit that in the past, although I have enjoyed the few showers I've been to, I was a bit envious of the mother-to-be's position.  I longingly hoped to one day be in her shoes, to be "showered" with so much love and thoughtfulness and to be so close to bringing another life into the world.  Well, this was the first time that I finally didn't have to brush off those feelings and I got to fully and completely enjoy myself and be 100% happy for the guest of honor.  There were a few other pregnant women there, so we snapped a photo with Santa.
From left to right: Jenna (due Feb), Julie (due any day), Santa (festively plump), Reno (guest of honor, due Feb), ME (due April 22)

  • At the beginning of the week, I felt Mia move for the first time at work, in the morning and afternoon.
  • A friend of mine, Noelle, was nice enough to give me a trash bag full of maternity clothes that she doesn't need anymore.  She's due in 3 weeks and has decided that this baby (her 2nd) will be the last.
  • We had another doctor's appt. with my OB/GYN.  I thought it would be a more exciting visit and that all kinds of baby measurements would be taken, but she only put a Fetal Doppler Stethoscope to my belly so we could hear Mia's heartbeat, along with these "whoooosh" sounds...that was her moving.  She was moving so much, the doctor had to constantly move around the instrument to find her heartbeat again.  Little Stinker! 
  • I've gained a total of 7 the doctor says.
  • My fiancé (Dominic) FELT Mia move for the first time, after our doctor appointment.  I was laying on the sofa and I put his hand on my belly where I started to feel her move.  It was subtle, but he felt her.
  • I SAW my tummy move for the first time!!!  Two nights in a row!  I was just sitting up in bed, relaxing while reading a book, minding my own business...when suddenly I felt Mia.  I glanced down to see my belly "twitch" or move, right where I felt her.  No way!  Unfortunately, her daddy wasn't there either night to witness it.
  • I've been sick with cold-like symptoms for about 4 days now.  Ugh...sore body, low energy, twitchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, trouble breathing.
  • Since I'm finally starting to feel and completely recognize little Mia's movements throughout my days, I'm becoming more connected with her and more thoughtful of her presence.  I was starting to feel like a "bad mom" because I haven't been feeling like a mom yet, or have felt mushy gushy over the fact that I have a baby inside me.  Now that she's making her presence known, it's all the more real to me and my heart flutters whenever she does.

My phone's baby app, BabyBump, says "As your baby's digestive system develops, he will begin to swallow amniotic fluid and absorb small amounts of sugar.  However, most of your baby's nutrients are still delivered from the placenta.  Inside your uterus, while there's still room, your baby is actively moving around, kicking and flipping positions.
For many women, this period marks the most comfortable stage of their pregnancy.  Your first trimester discomforts have subsided and you've grown more accustomed to many of the changes in your body and you're finally beginning to enjoy that pregnancy "glow" you've been hearing about.  Other welcome changes by some women are thicker hair, better skin condition, and increased breast size."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Be Prepared, Dad

Ok, first of all...the cover of this book is so perfect.  This pretty much embodies all that is my fiancè!  He basically lives around "being prepared" for anything and everything.  He loves to hike and camp and I definitely consider him a "man's man"!  We even have one of those baby backpacks on our registry.  This book, Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook For New Dads, was written for him, I just know it.
He has pretty much read through this whole book already, and really liked it.  He found it to be helpful, easy to read and really informative...he actually feels more prepared.

 I flipped through a few pages and liked the manner in which it was written...straight forward with a little comedy thrown in the sugar-coating here.  This is one of my favorite pages that sums up the style of this book.

I didn't even know this is what your baby will really look like when it's born!  YIKES!  I'm glad I saw this, because when the time comes in a few months, I might have thought she needs a little more time in the oven.


  Chocolate used to be my weakness.  I got pregnant, then hated even the thought of it.  I'm past my 1st trimester nausea phase.  Chocolate and I are friends again...and are getting even friendlier now that I've read this article in the Dec/Jan 2012 issue of Fit Pregnancy magazine.

"Enjoy chocolate daily.  Regularly eating chocolate during pregnancy may buffer a fetus from stress and improve his temperament after birth.  One study found that pregnant women who ate chocolate every day gave birth to babies that laughed easily, soothed readily and responded well to novelty.  The effect may be due to pleasure-producing or stress-relieving properties in chocolate compounds in it that prevent the breakdown of pleasure-producing chemicals in the fetus's brain.  The sweet stuff also reduces the risk of preeclampsia. Dark chocolate is the healthiest and least fattening type."

 You don't have to tell me twice that eating chocolate has baby benefits!  I've already started eating one square a day of Ghirardelli's Intense Dark Twilight Delight 72% Cacao.
Mmmmmmmm :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

20 Weeks Pregnant {Small Cantaloupe}

 Baby Mia and I have reached 20 weeks, Friday...the halfway point of pregnancy!!!
{Average measurements: 6.5 inches from crown to rump, 10.6 oz}

  • I've still only gained about 5 pounds.
  • I actually WANT to wear maternity pants.  There's less pressure on my belly when I sit.
  • My baby most definitely that.  I've got a bump!
  • I'm doing well with laying on my left side when I sleep.  It's the side I prefer anyways...but I could totally use one of those body pillows to cuddle and also rest between my legs.
  • I'm still working on my baby registry.  I've got 3 different registries going and man they take up so much time.  There's thousands of items and products to browse at these baby sites.
  • I recommend using for items from stores that don't have registries of their own.  You can add whatever you want, it's super easy and convenient.  I even uploaded the sites app to my phone along with an app that scans bar codes, so now I can add stuff to my registry ANYWHERE from my phone!  I've already added a book from Barnes & Noble and a lamp from Target, using my phone.  How cool is that???
  • We've decided to make Mia's nursery a Garden Theme...more like a spring flower garden, with bright colors...NO pastel colors.  I think bright colors will make my life easier when it comes to finding more decor since I can choose from more colors.  The Garden Theme also allows us to throw in ladybug, bee, snail, bird, caterpillar, floral, and butterfly toys, prints, decor, bedding, etc.
  • I found some great, cheap curtains (on sale at Urban Outfitters) that match perfectly with the colors and theme of the Garden nursery theme.  Check them out HERE.   

  • Now for the greatest update of all (as far as I'm concerned)...I've FINALLY begun to feel Mia move!  At first, I wasn't sure if it was her.  The best way I can describe it, is that she feels just like a heartbeat, but in my uterus!  It's still so very subtle and soft, so I only notice when I lay down (usually at night for bed).  I'll feel the smallest "pulse" or "heartbeat"...and then maybe 30 seconds later, another one.  Pretty cool, huh? :)

  • My BabyBump phone app says, "This week your baby's skin will become covered with a waxy-like substance called vernix which will protect her skin from becoming scratched or chapped.  Your baby is also starting to produce meconium, the result of digestion, which will accumulate in her bowels and eventually pass during delivery or in her first diaper.
    You've officially reached the halfway point of your pregnancy!  At this stage your uterus is even with your bellybutton and you may have gained 10-13 pounds.  You'll likely have your second major ultrasound soon where your doctor will check on your baby's development."