Saturday, March 31, 2012

Baby Bargains and budgeting!

I know some people like to get all new things for their first baby. I always wondered if the princess within would kick into gear for me in that way, and drown out the reasonable voice of my money saving, eco-friendly self. Happily for the most part I have been fully embracing the latter two!

I have reached out to friends with kids who have offered to loan us swings and rockers which is such a blessing. There things can be vital for a few months but they can be a way bigger financial output than seems practical. My friend told me about a sale that was happening in Seattle by the 'multiple moms' group. Over 60 families with multiples get together and sell the gear, toys and clothes they are no longer using. I was excited, but slightly over-whelmed at the idea. It was early in the morning and pouring rain when I set out with my friend Anjie. I had a short list in my head of things that might be nice to find.

I was shocked by the quantity and quality of the things that were there, I wish I had researched more and gone in with a longer list, I know I could have got more fantastic deals.

As I have started to build a closet for our little man, I have noticed that lots of what is on offer is very baby-ish. I know that might sound weird, but it's a personal preference that baby boys dress like little people not just like babies. Baby girls have tons of clothe options, you would never just see a baby girl in onesies all the time, but it seems as though that's an option for boys. I also (personal preference) don't love onesies as outerwear. Actually, that might not just be a personal preference, I think that might be a British thing. But still, I wanted to get shirts and tops for our little guy to wear over onesies. And this sale had plenty, plus Anjie was amazing at spotting the shirts on the racks and we cleaned up in that department!

Just look at this!!

I also scored an automatic breast pump and a Bumbo. And I spent $150 less than the original cost of the breast pump.

Am I bragging? I might be just a little bit, but I am pretty pleased with myself, and super excited to find more sales for more bargains!

At the sale today I walked past what felt like endless tables of brightly coloured plastic toys. I stopped briefly but as I looked around I realised that I didn't want to buy any of them. This was not my princess speaking, she had her way with the Bobby pillow, there were tons of them at the sale, but just thinking about how much breast milk, spit up and who knows what else might be in those pillows gave me judders. I will be getting a new one of those.

But back to toys...

I think it is great to share toys and get them second hand. I know I could fill our home with toys and gadgets to entertain and amuse baby boy, but I believe that he just doesn't need much. The most content children I know have the fewest toys and they truly enjoy them and can play contentedly with what they have. I hope our boy will be like that. I guess, that's up to us and not bringing too many toys into our house. That will be a tough discipline for me to learn, with toys and with every other baby/child item! I guess its a good thing we have been successful with our budget to this point, now I guess it's just making a few adjustments and adding a few more categories. As much as I will want to treat (read "spoil") our baby boy to fun things I love and respect my husband and our decision to budget more. That should keep me on track.

My super bargain finds today were certainly me playing my part in keeping to our budget. Yay me!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Chicken and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

This recipe was a discovery based on me entering some random ingredients that I had to use up into recipefinder online. I used estimation for some of the fresh ingredients because I just wanted to use things up but it is a recipe that is great for throwing bits and pieces in and still tasting divine. I also halved the recipe below and made it in an 8x8. I was just making it for J and I so we just didn't need that much lasagna! It wasn't too rich, it was FULL of flavor and it is something I am pleased to have discovered because it is simple to make and seriously delicious.

1 (8 ounce) package lasagna noodles (I used no-bake so I skipped the first step)
3 cups heavy cream (I used a mix of half and half and 2% milk to use up what I had)
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 mushrooms, diced
1 roasted chicken, shredded
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used Cottage Cheese)
1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, and rinse with cold water.

2.In a saucepan over low heat, mix together heavy cream, cream of mushroom soup, Parmesan cheese, and butter. Simmer, stirring frequently, until well blended.

3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion in olive oil until tender, then add garlic and mushrooms. Mix in the chicken, and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with enough of the cream sauce mixture to coat. Layer with 1/3 of the lasagna noodles, 1/2 cup ricotta, 1/2 of the spinach, 1/2 the chicken mixture, and 1 cup mozzarella. Top with 1/2 the cream sauce mixture, and repeat the layers. Place the remaining noodles on top, and spread with remaining sauce.

5. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until brown and bubbly. Top with the remaining mozzarella, and continue baking until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

(original recipe source

Monday, March 26, 2012

For the love of lists

Note to self: Watching 'Birth Story' (or any other show which has real births in it) is not a good idea when you are trying to live in denial about the fact that the baby inside you has to come out in about 4 months time!

My hopes for this Spring Break week are to finish cleaning out our upstairs rooms so we can start painting and getting ready for the crib and other furniture to arrive! After my post yesterday, I feel as though I have felt more and more peace about this pregnancy. Thank you all for your prayers. I am ready to embrace the hope of this little boy inside me.

For the past few months, every time I came across a task that I didn't have time for I would say to myself, "I'll do it over Spring Break" Well, unless Spring Break has suddenly been extended, I am not going to get through a fifth of what I have put off! I suppose it's time to make a list based on priority...

I want to take some time to relax and catch up with friends too because this next quarter will be busy with a capital B. I am taking a full schedule to try and get as much done as possible before taking time off for the baby. I want to have as few credits left to take after he arrives as possible, let's be honest, my motivation to study will be all but gone once I see his precious face. I am committed to finishing this degree, and I will and to make that as easy as possible for the next quarter I just have to suck it up and hunker down to study!

Ok, this is not getting anything accomplished. Off to organise my freezer. I know, I know, livin' on the edge!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fear and Faith

Yesterday we bought our crib and dresser/change table for the nursery.

This felt like a much bigger deal than I expected. Firstly, it felt as though we were telling the world we really believe one day that a little baby will sleep in our house and need a bed. As much as my ever expanding belly is telling the world this already, it feels as though we were still trying to keep it quiet in many ways. We had been very slow to make purchases. Even though it felt like I was buying lots of clothes since we knew we were team blue, I still felt a little fraudulent, or at least presumptuous.

I still go back and forth between feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for this blessing, and fearful of having it taken away. My prayer has been for greater intimacy with Jesus whatever it costs but I am afraid that a way God will chose to draw us into intimacy with him will be to take this away. Not out of punishment, but in His divine wisdom and as part of His greater sovereign plan. My prayer continues to be that our lives would be fully for him, but recently they have of course included pleading for our baby boy to get to live a life in this world. I am not consumed by fear by any means but I am painfully aware that I do not deserve this, and I do not know what our future looks like. God's best may not be my plan.

I trust that this child is made in God's image. I trust that each day he is growing healthy and strong God's purpose for him is being fulfilled. All that to say, buying a crib brings many fears to the surface. It will be in our home, waiting for our baby to come. Once it's here, its here. It's a key player in transforming our office into a nursery and it shouts loudly, "these folks are planning to have a baby."

I am not sure when it will start to feel like I am confident to officially be planning. Perhaps 24 weeks; fetal viability. Of course, having him come that early would be far, far, far from ideal, but at least the medical staff would try to help him. Perhaps 30 weeks pregnant will be the start of the official planning. All I know is that I am praying my heart will continue to find peace in this pregnancy and that God will continue to keep our son healthy and strong.

When we began the adoption process, I found a book online called "For this child I prayed" and its all prayers based on scripture for parents to pray over their children. They are beautiful prayers. I would sit in the room we wanted to be our nursery and pray over the children we would call our own. Little did I know that we would have the blessing of praying them over our own biological child. Each night J and I take turns choosing a prayer and praying it over our son. Prayers for strong faith, good character and deep friendships to name a few. Prayers are also for us as parents and we are very aware of our need for those! We so desire to raise our boy to be a man after God's heart. This child is well covered in prayer, not just ours but those of family and friends everywhere and for that we will be eternally grateful.

Our baby boy is an answer to so many prayers, and we are thrilled that God chose this way to answer them. We hope and pray that we will get to introduce our bundle to all those who have invested their hearts in prayer for him and for us. And even if God chooses to take him home tomorrow, I am forever thankful to have been his mother for the last 5 months. I will never forget the power and miracle that prayer released. That gives me peace, and hope for the months ahead.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr Harvey Karp

I am now starting on the stack of baby books which have been sitting on my night stand. I know that some of the books have very different philosophies than others but I am hoping to better understand some of the methods I have been hearing about (positive and negative). I will try to pull out the things I like or agree with as I am reading. I hope that by the time our little boy arrives we will have some thoughts and plans about how we want to care for him, especially in the early months. Of course, even our most solid ideals are only theoretical. Once he gets here I am sure, because he will no doubt take after us, that he will have his own ideas about what he likes and dislikes and we are open to being flexible as necessary!

I would say that 'Happiest baby' makes a lot of sense to me. It is a book with strategy for the first few months of your baby's life. The philosophy being that infants need time to adjust from the comfort and security of the womb to life in the outside world. This book encourages carrying your baby more often than other philosophies would recommend but it makes sense that that is a comfort to a baby that has been carried around 24/7 for 9 months. It also promotes feeding on demand for those first few months. Basically it recognises that it is impossible to spoil an infant and that at first the most important role that parents have is to be a source of comfort and that discipline can wait until they are at least a few months old!

"As the bible says, "To everything there is a season." I believe disciplining is a very important parental task - but not with young infants. The beginning of the fourth month is the earliest time concerns about accidentally spoiling your baby becomes an issue. However, before four months you have a job that is one hundred times more important than preventing spoiling: your job is nurturing your baby's confidence in you and the world." (Karp 70)

I loved that concept. I have spent a lot of time with little children, and I know that a lot of times parents can underestimate their children's understanding. If this underestimation continues into toddler-hood children can become 'spoiled' but that doesn't happen by offering comfort to a newborn in the first weeks of life. I see that by around four months babies are more capable of soothing themselves to sleep without lots of involvement from adults, and they need to be taught those skills but only when they are old enough to learn them. This seems to line up with Karp's findings.

I have also read some other research about how more strict schedules from birth (not baby initiated) can lead to problems with attachment later in life. The Happiest Baby philosophy seems to provide opportunity to nurture and make a baby's adjustment from womb to world as un-traumatic as possible while promoting healthy attachment. I also enjoyed the chapters at the end of the book describing how to wean infants from this method when they are older.

I recognize each parent makes their own choices regarding what they believe is the best parenting philosophy for their baby. By no means are any posts about the parenting books I am reading meant to be a criticism of any choice a parent has made. This is only my/our personal opinions, but hey, it's my blog so that's what you get. Clearly, this will be our first time at this particular rodeo so we are very open to learning; from books and mostly from people who have been there before us.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fabulous Friday

Today we woke up to sun shining through the windows, I don't think I can remember the last time that happened. I woke up all alone in our big bed, well, alone except for my giant pillow because J had slept in the spare room. We hadn't had a barney or anything, but yesterday he had come down with a fever and what he thought might be another episode of flu. Thankfully when he woke up his fever had gone, and even though he was still feeling crummy he felt like he was starting to be on the mend. He didn't want to spread any lurgy at work so he stayed and worked from home.

I called up a fellow pregnant friend to see if she was free for a walk around the lake on this glorious day. She was, and we set off! It was wonderful to feel the sun on my back. And it felt so good to be out and moving. I am hoping that the spring weather really will be more conducive to more frequent exercise. I have no desire to go to the gym, but I love to walk and I especially love to walk around my neighbourhood.

After lunch, I spent a delightful hour or two basking in the sunlight pouring through my living room window reading 'The happiest baby on the block' I have a stack of parenting books I am hoping to make my way through before our little guy shows up. We haven't chosen an allegiance to any particular method yet, but I liked what I read in this one so far.

J was feeling a little brighter this afternoon and I think the sun was beginning to taunt him so we took a trip to a local consignment store to see if there were any cribs or strollers in good condition to get an idea of second hand pricing. While we were in Ballard, we decided to walk to the locks which were hustling and bustling this afternoon! It was beautiful to be close to the water and watch the boats After a while we wandered in to the park and planted ourselves on a bench, we wished we had had a blanket and a book because it was such a great afternoon to be outside!

While I was driving home, we decided to stay out a little longer and find somewhere on the water to have Happy Hour. Even though it was early, we were both hungry! I think I can blame all the walking! We ended up at Ivar's, a local fish restaurant that is on the water and has beautiful views of the city. Delicious! The food and the afternoon itself.

After eating, I was painfully uncomfortable - I am still learning that I have to eat meals in half portions and an hour or so apart to prevent the overstuffed almost nauseous feeling - and J's cold/virus or what ever it is had caught up with him so we headed home.

I think we may both be heading towards a nap very soon. In fact I think he might already be there. All in all I don't think I could have planned a more lovely way to spend the day. Of course, I wish J wasn't feeling sick at all, but i am so glad that he was feeling well enough to spend some of it in the sunshine with me! Each spontaneous day we spend together makes me aware that change is coming to Blocherville. This little guy won't be so easy to tote around when he is outside of the womb so we are embracing every second before he arrives, while we joyfully anticipate the changes to come.

I hope that where ever you are today your Friday was fabulous too!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Scrap booking up a storm

So my first day of Spring Break project, scrap-booking my bridal showers, was a phenomenal success. I completed the whole scrap book and was able to get rid of many of the bits and pieces I had kept in case I needed to use them in that project. It felt so good to cross it off my list. I think that tomorrow might be a scrap-booking kinda day too because I'm on a roll!

In less exciting news, J came home sick from work yesterday and spent the day needing to be taken care of. Poor thing is typically male when he gets a cold but I know he is really sick because he is not one to sit still ever when he is well! I am really hoping this is not another two week flu, like the one he had over Christmas, that was awful. He has had a fever which we had hoped had broken earlier, but it looks like it might be creeping up again. I just don't want to get sick, I am still terrified about getting sick and having it be harmful to the baby. Please say a prayer of healing for J and protection for me and the babe if you think of it.

Happy Spring :)

First official day of Spring break for me! Woo hoo!! No bikinis and beach parties for me...for pregnancy reasons and the fact that there is still some snow here in Seattle. Crazy.

I am typing this from my bed. Making the most of having zero tasks on my 'to do' list. Next week, my full week off I have a few things that I want to get done, but I am blissfully uncommitted for the net two days. There might be some scrap-booking on the cards. I am trying to get some things completed before the baby and that is one of them. Plus, if I am honest with myself, I am certainly not going to want to be scrap-booking pictures of Jeremy and I when we have cute little baby pictures to play with so it's now or never for these particular scrapbooks. I miss my friend Jana at times lie this. She and I loved together for a year and spent many a Saturday cranking ABBA and taking over the kitchen table with our scrap-booking stuff. It's not so easy to be motivated by myself!

I am also hoping to take a walk around the lake by our house if the weather holds out. There was snow close to us overnight, but it missed us. Now I am just waiting for the temp to climb a little before I head out.

Yesterday I went shopping with my friend Sarah - she and I will both be adding baby boys to our families in the coming months, her a couple of months before me, and we have been good/bad influences on each other in the shopping department. Women would say good, helping us get prepared for our little men, our husbands may have the opposite opinion as the piles of teeny baby shoes and cute onesies grows! ha ha! Anyway, I was having a great time until we were at the register in line to pay behind the two most annoying types of customers when all of a sudden I just had to sit down. My belly felt huge and tight and I felt kinda dizzy. I pulled it together but as soon as I got home, I dropped everything (literally, it looked like I had been taken in the rapture, my coat boots, purse, bags of shopping all pooled on the floor) and fell into bed. I just had to lay down. I elevated my feet which I think really helped and I closed my eyes. And that is where I stayed until J came home.

He snuggled with me and the boy and scolded me for pushing myself too hard and told me to stay put for a while. I guess I just need to make sure to sit every once in a while when I am on my feet for prolonged periods of time. My body is adjusting to lugging around this big belly. I am officially 21 weeks today and feeling elephant-like already. Hoping I am not going to have any more significant growth spurts in the immediate future.

Ok, a shower is calling my name pretty urgently and then I am excited for some creating...and watching the View!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jason Russell and Kony 2012

French final done. I think I did ok. I know there were some things I didn't get right because I totally blanked, but I hope that I did enough to pass with a good grade.

I have had this blog rolling around in my head for the past few days but haven't had the time to get it out until now. Over the past month, I am sure that you have heard about Kony 2012, the most recent Invisible Children campaign fronted by Jason Russell. You may even been one of the 88 million people that have watched the most recent video about the situation in Uganda, PR Congo and Sudan and the atrocities of children being kidnapped and trained to be child soldiers to fight a cause for this man, Joseph Kony.

This past weekend, after spending intensely busy weeks travelling across the country publicizing the movie and more importantly the cause, a video appeared online of Jason Russell, naked and ranting incoherently. The story came out that he had been taken into protective custody for his own safety. More and more has been made of this man's breakdown, but I am hopeful that it doesn't interfere with the message he was wanting to spread.

Whether or not you are a Christian, it is easy to see that there are forces of good and evil in the world. It is clear that Joseph Kony is an evil man, and that exposing his atrocities in order that they be stopped, and that the children affected be rescued and rehabilitated is the move of good. As believers I think that we are missing something huge if we do not open our minds to the forces of evil at work in the life of Jason Russell. I don't say this to explain away Jason's behavior. Mental illness is real, and exhaustion, fatigue, malnutrition could all also explain the state he was found in this weekend, but as a believer, aware of the forces of the evil one I can't help but think there may be much more to the situation on a spiritual level.

Jason Russell and the Invisible Children movement moved the whole world to awareness and action. Although as many other journalists pointed out to Russel during interviews this was not an unknown situation, before this most recent campaign the knowledge of Kony was not moving anyone to action. The details of the Invisible children organisation aside, the truth of the injustice and fear occurring right this moment in Africa is undeniable and unacceptable.

As believers I am challenging us to rise up in prayer for Jason Russell and his family. Prayers of protection over his mind, and his body. The enemy would love to distract our attention because evil was being threatened by the forces of good as the world began to stand up against Kony. And be prayerful about the next step you can take to aid the end of the LRA and the terror these children live every day.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring in the air might be wishful thinking

Tonight as Jeremy and I compared schedules and calendars for the weeks ahead trying to plan some different things our quiet calm was interrupted by the lashing of rain on the windows. Then the sound against the window changed. Was that hail? It couldn't be, could it? We ran to the window and saw that it was indeed pellets of white, which had completely covered our deck and the road. It was coming down in sheets, blown horizontally. While we were standing there at the window wondering aloud at the randomness of the weather a bright flash of lightening lit up the sky and a few seconds after the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard, literally shook our house.

All those little buds that were trying to peep out for spring are now covered in a layer of white. This was the view from our front door.

I'll give it until the official first day of spring before I start officially complaining.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Very Mini Baby-Moon

Taking a little revision break to make a cuppa, find some chocolate and blog before I get back to it.

I am feeling so relaxed, and a little out of school mode if I am honest. Last night Jeremy and I spent a night at a hotel about 15 miles away. We had a free night which was about to expire so we thought we would make use of it even if it meant staying fairly close to home. It is amazing how being in a different environment can make let you instantly relax. It feels as though we were gone for much longer than one night.

We arrived at the hotel in the afternoon and it happened to be bright and sunny so we headed on a walk along the trails which were close to the hotel. It felt so good to stretch our legs after that long drive! Seriously though, it felt great to have the sun on our backs and the fresh air in our lungs. Seattle has forgotten that spring is supposed to be just around the corner and it has been freezing recently, and even this morning there were some snow showers, so there has been limited opportunities to get outside! After walking we headed to a British pub for some dinner, our tummies were full of fish n chips and very contented by the end of the night! Back to the hotel, where we had a complimentary pint of Hagen Daz delivered to the room, it was fabulous to eat ice cream in bed, relaxing, without having to worry about what would happen if any dripped on the covers! ha ha

This morning we went to the little British restaurant, connected to the pub we went to last night. We both had a full English breakfast complete with baked beans, fried tomatoes, toast and marmalade, and with a side of fun conversation about potential baby names :)

Then it was time to come home. Very mini baby-moon over. Back to reality!

Back to studying and revision, but so thankful for the sweet time away with my hubby.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Beautiful discovery

A few days ago, I had a memory of buying the cutest 'Winnie the Pooh' boy outfit and tucking it away for 'some day.' It was on sale at Target years ago, even before I knew Jeremy but it was only $4.99 on sale and I just couldn't pass it up thinking that it could make a great baby shower gift in the future.

I also remember a flicker of hope in my heart that I could possibly use it for my own child one day. At the time, that idea seemed so out of the realm of possibility I tried hard to ignore it. Still, each time there was an opportunity to give the out fit away I just couldn't do it. Once Jeremy and I started trying to have a baby I had another opportunity to give the outfit away, I had a long conversation with myself about how unlikely it would be that I would ever have a baby boy who would be born in the summer time and fit into this outfit, and how I should just give it to someone who would actually be able to use it. But still, I just couldn't do it. After that I tucked away the outfit and a couple of other baby items I had accumulated in an unused closet. I wanted to pretend these items didn't hurt my feelings, or make me aware of everything I didn't have and they only way I could see to do that was to hide them away.

That was about 18 months ago, maybe longer, and I had truly forgotten about them until the other day. I don't know what triggered the memory but suddenly I set to finding them and adding them to our baby pile. It took me a little while because I couldn't remember exactly where I had put them, but after a little searching I uncovered my stash. When I pulled out the little Pooh bear outfit my heart just melted as I realised my own son will be able to wear it.

I don't know if it was a prophetic purchase, but I do know that God's timing is perfect and His plans are best.

Along with the outfit, there were some tiny socks that my friend Sarah gave me at my bridal shower. They are designed to look like little crocs, and there was also a set of Winnie the Pooh board books in a basket.

Yes, I am a Winnie the Pooh addict. My closest friends growing up, Abby and Gemma only served as enablers in this addiction as they fed their own alongside me. We were all charmed by the little bear, his friends and his words of wisdom!

I always dreamed about the nursery I would one day have in my house to bring my baby home to. Of course since my baby boy nursery ideas went into overdrive, I have been swayed my some different theme ides. I am still on the fence, but it is good to know that Winnie the Pooh will certainly have a presence there!

Last night J and I went out to dinner and to do a little baby shopping, or baby shopping browsing to be more accurate. We wanted to pick out a crib. That wasn't too scary. We found a couple that we liked and once we settle on a theme we can decide on the one that works best with that. On the way out I couldn't resist the teeniest of little sandals. Our son will wear them for about a week before he outgrows them but I don't care they were too precious to pass up, and of course they were on sale too which sealed the deal! They will go perfectly with the Pooh bear outfit...assuming I don't have a 12lb baby of course.

I can't promise that tiny baby clothes will become mundane to me anytime soon but I will try to have some restraint about how often my posts are themed around them!

But seriously, look how cute?!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I guess I don't have to return those clothes!!!

Yesterday we had our 20 week scan. All looked good and our little buggy was not shy about showing his bits. Yes, HIS bits, it's a he. We are having a boy!!!

We are so excited! I am not sure if it was mothers intuition or luck. Jeremy keeps reminding me I had a 50/50 chance of being right! I don't think he was convinced at all until the scan.

Last night we had J's family over for dinner and the big reveal! It was so much fun. I wish my parents could have been there too, but we had to do another reveal this morning via Skype! That was really special too. Baby boy was kicking away saying hi to his grandparents!

This kid is so loved already. He is so blessed.

Here is our gorgeous boy.

Over two years ago when we lost our first pregnancy I grieved a son we would never meet and each time we lost another pregnancy I felt as though I had him back for a few weeks before he would leave again. People grieve miscarriages in many different ways. Each pregnancy for us was a new loss but over time I felt as though I was losing the same baby again and again. Our son. As much as I would have loved to have a daughter, I think I always would have felt like someone was missing. I don't know if I will ever be able to have another baby. And if I could I am not sure we will choose to. So hearing that our son is growing healthy and strong inside me feels as though this piece of our family's story is complete. Our son will (please, God) be in our arms this summer. I don't have to wait any longer to meet him. My prayers for the last few years have been over this child.

I cannot wait to meet him. I have waited so long already.

Here is the family discovering the news!

Now let the shopping begin!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It is well with my soul

The last full of week of the quarter shows no sign of slowing. My French oral final is this morning, so I have been practicing over and over. I can't wait for it to be know, so I can start worrying about the final next week!

I am feeling pretty content with the way I am approaching the end of this quarter. I'm on top of my homework and final projects and not feeling overwhelmed with revision. Maybe I am finally getting the hang of this school thing?

Buggy seems to enjoy my french class, and gets very active especially at times when I really need to concentrate or speak in front of the class! I hope this means that our little one will come out speaking fluently. I suppose I can practice my skills on him/her when they are growing up, although I am not certain that would benefit their linguistic development very much. Especially considering I cannot talk about anything in future tense.

For the past couple of weeks I have been very anxiously following Amy's story. She is a fellow blogger and she and her husband have been struggling with infertility for many years. They recently heard about an adoption situation, they went to visit the baby girl and found out soon after they had been chosen to parent. They were then thrown into the craziness of home studies and preparations for parenthood! The adoption is due to be finalised in the next day or so and then they can finally bring their daughter home. Her updates have brought me to tears every time as I so strongly connect with their story. When we were on our adoption journey I tried to imagine how it would be to hold onto hope and also keep your heart from investing too much at each step, in case things didn't work out. I confess before we found out we were pregnant, I saw pregnancy as a much easier option. While of course there are elements we can control in a way that adoption does not allow for, I still feel as though I am walking a strange path of balancing hoping and holding my heart back in case something goes wrong.

As Amy has shared her heart so beautifully on her blog over the past few days, her roller-coaster has been a condensed version of what this pregnancy has been and continues to be for us.

At first we were so hopeful to see out betas rising, but our experience told us to keep our hopes low. Then after we saw a heartbeat, our hope seemed less in vain, but we told ourselves to hold off really letting us imagine our lives with a baby until we hit 13 weeks. At 13 weeks our hope rose again as everyone told us our chances of actually having a baby were so good, but the reality that we have no control over this pregnancy meant we couldn't fully embrace it. After we told everyone we were expecting, and more recently as I have felt kicks it is hard to deny that this is really happening - but it is still scary to put our hope fully in becomming parents to this baby in August. What is something goes wrong now? What is our scan reveals a heart defect or another problem which means our child will not be born healthy, or born at all? What if I go into early labor and our premature baby loses it's fight for life?

Watching Amy and her husband surrender to God's plan for their child and their family is such a comfort. I see in her story how God has been faithful. It is easy to believe for them that it will all work our for their best and God's glory. It reminded me that although our baby is in my body, we have no more control over the ending of our story. But we can trust fully in our God. It is a reminder that we cannot depend on our circumstances but we can always depend on our loving heavenly father.

Just as Amy and her husband have to take each day at a time and trust that God's plan will come to pass, so do we.

All I can do is be faithful each day to what God asks of me and live well and fully into the story He is writing. Things will not always turn out the way I think they should but I can always know that God is faithful and my mouth can always proclaim, "it is well with my soul."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Alive and Kicking

Trying to get to sleep last night was hilarious. Firstly, even though the clocks "sprung forward" on Saturday night my body was feeling decidedly jet lagged by 8.30pm. We pushed it a little but around 9pm I was getting ready for sleeping and I was really looking forward to it. However, as I got comfy in my huge pillow nest (see previous post for pics) little buggy decided it was time to party. The biggest kicks to date, and frequent enough that J got a bit tired of me grabbing his hand to feel them. I guess after a while in one sitting, one kick feels the same as the next!

The whole kicking thing is very strange, it makes my stomach churn a little when buggy does the big flips, but the kicks are just hard to ignore. And last night, bugs was not wanting to be ignored. So I gave up and sat back up to watch the end of the comedy show J was watching - poor guy has been very patient with me since my bedtime had receded to that of a 10 year old so I think he was enjoying the company.

Seems that this was not enough for the bugster, he/she wanted full attention so the show ended, we turned off lights and still kicks were socking my belly. I can still smile with each kick, it still blows my mind there is a little person growing in there. However, this is not behavior I am wanting to encourage, this mama needs her sleep! ha ha

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Reality began to hit this weekend as we recognised that we had already got halfway through the pregnancy without making any real preparations in our house for the baby!

When we moved into our house we felt like there was tons of storage and space. We moved in all of our worldly possessions without much sorting or downsizing. That was fine when it was just the two of us, but over the last two and a half years of marriage we have collected a lot more "stuff" and our storage spaces suddenly seemed smaller. Our guest room became more of a junk room and our office was full to the brim with random, unorganized paperwork and more "stuff".

Now this baby is coming along and we have to put it somewhere. Because as we all know, as small as babies are, their stuff seems to take up a lot of space and can easily take over a house. And so yesterday we began to clean out all the stuff from both rooms, consolidate it and begin to transform our office into the nursery where our baby will lay their head to sleep. The nursery creating part is what I am really looking forward to but going through our years of collected "stuff" and getting rid of a lot of it is certainly not what I would call fun but I understand it is a means to a very exciting end! Here are some 'before' pictures so you understand what I we were faced with when we started. While the clutter is reduced and organised now, I will wait to post the finished office and nursery when they are fully put together.

Also worth a mention, is the newest addition to the sleep pillow! This is what our bed looks like. At first we weren't sure that we (and by we I mean, me, J and pillow) would all fit in our bed but it wasn't as bad as we expected! ha ha

And as a super cute p.s. look at this onesie our friend Anjie got for us...perfect for a number guy like J!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Made in the image of God

Not long to go until we find out boy or girl, and I am growing ever impatient. Can you tell by how many times I have brought it up recently? I always thought I would hold off finding out until the birth and in some ways, feeling all this excited anticipation about finding out gender now, makes me see that it could be such a beautiful thing to wait and to have that surprise at the birth. This time however, we are going to be content to have our surprise at the scan. Jeremy really wants to know, and I really want to shop so it's the best decision for both of us. If we are ever in a position to make this decision again, perhaps we would chose to wait, I guess time will tell on that wondering.

As you know, I am convinced we are having a boy. Yes, we would be more than delighted with either gender but something in me is just feeling blue vibes. About 50% of mothers I talk to tell me their intuition was right and the other 50% were wrong, pretty sure that that tells us this particular intuition is not to be considered reliable. I get that but...

Yesterday I was at the mall and noticed Gymboree were having a big sale. I love this shop. It was always my go-to for gifts for gifts for friends babies because their clothes are just adorable. However, it is fairly spendy so it's a place I only consider buying things at for special occasions - unless of course there is a sale. And yesterday, with the company of my dear friend Sarah and her daughter, I could not resist. Having made sure all items, even sale ones were totally returnable, I gots to shopping! my plan was to get a few things for each gender and return the not needed stuff after our scan but in the end I was only drawn to a few ridiculously cute boy outfits. Little dinosaurs on jeans and a t-shirt with a motor cycle on plus a couple of other things and we were set. I knew J would think I had been a little silly because as he rightly pointed out we really don't know what we are growing, but it was pretty cute to see even he got a little gooey eyed when I pulled out my purchases for his approval.

If it turns out we need to return them it would be a little bit sad, but only until I get to switch them out for girl clothes!

I just want to start planning and feeling a little bit prepared. For us this scan, confirming (please God) that our baby is healthy and is a boy/girl will be an open door to making some basic purchases. I know we still have time but it is amazing that in just 5 days we will be at the halfway point already and I know from here time will fly by. It would be nice to have some indication in our home that this baby is on its way!

Some days, most of them actually I am still in disbelief that this is our life. What did I do to get so blessed? ('nothing' of course being the answer to that mostly rhetorical question) Last night at a dinner party with some friends from church, one of the ladies commented, "I have never met a miracle baby before" referring to our bundle. She had been present at the service our church held last year for those struggling with infertility and had seen us just weeping and being prayed for in one of the most raw and painful times of our life. From then until now its seems like so much has happened, but her comment reminded me that the two events are not separate. We truly believe God heard our cries and blessed us with this miracle. I know that this particular ending is not always the way God chooses to move and build families, and I do not have any answer to why that is, but it would be totally remiss for us to walk through this season without praising and thanking God for every step we are blessed to be taking. This is his miracle gift to us. Nothing we earned and nothing we were able to make happen on our own.

This is our miracle - pink or blue - made in the image of God.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

In recent weeks, I have not had much of an appetite. Which is strange, because I has been paired with the most intense hunger I have ever had. Happily though, the clouds have lifted in this particular area recently and I have been excited to step back into the kitchen and actually prepare food I feel good about putting in my body, to grow my baby! And this is where another new love enters the picture, Pinterest. I have loved browsing recipes and this one stood out in particular (originally from On Saturday when my bestie was over for dinner I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try it out. (Thanks for being a guinea pig, Linds!)

Turns out it was scrummy! Very simple, and fairly inexpensive but really tasty. Turns out that it is not as good when it's reheated as leftovers, but I would make this again for us or for us or for company. Try it for yourselves, you won't be sorry!

No pictures, sorry! But if you follow me on Pinterest you can see one there.

Lentil Shepherd's pie with sweet potato mash

1 cup lentils, green or French, rinsed
2 lbs potatoes or sweet potato (I used 3 large potatoes and 1 sweet potato)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspooon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon ketchup
5 drops Tabasco sauce - I used double this, and if I made it again I would add even more, I think it an take it.
1 cup frozen sweet corn
Salt and pepper


Place lentils in a medium pot and cover with an inch of cold water. Add a pinch of salt, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes until cooked. It is okay if they are not completely cooked, they will cook further later. Drain.
While lentils are cooking, peel and roughly chop potatoes. Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are tender.
Drain potatoes and mash. Add butter and milk and season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
Heat oil in a medium pot and add chopped onion. Sautée for a few minutes until soft. Add cumin, thyme, cooked lentils, vinegar, ketchup, tabasco sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
Add 1/2 cup of water and bring lentils to a simmer. Cook for another five minutes or so, stirring often, to let the flavors come together.


Preheat oven to 375°F. Place seasoned lentils in the bottom of a medium baking dish. Spread to cover the bottom. Top with corn kernels. Add mashed potatoes on top and spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes until heated through. Serve hot.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When the rubber meets the road...

I have mentioned before that this quarter my French class is kicking my behind. Tomorrow is my last test of the quarter before the final and I am dreading it!

Anyone have any tips about learning sentence structures for direct and in-direct pronouns?

I have a long afternoon and evening ahead as I try and make this stick. Prayers very much appreciated.

I am committed to finishing this quarter strong. But it's not going to be easy, when I just want to take a nap!

As far as pregnancy stuff goes, I am feeling so much better over all. The lack of nausea and lessened fatigue continues to be such a game-changer. I haven't had a headache in a few weeks and now with my strange butt pain vanished too I am beginning to feel a glow coming on, finally!

I am still eating so much. I know I had not gained more than a pound or two in the first trimester but I am sure when I go to the doctor for a regular check up on Thursday she will see many more additional lb's! ha ha

I am feeling this kid move ALL.THE.TIME. at the moment. I thought it would be a long time from the initial flutter to the more distinct punches or kick but clearly this child is already advanced for their age (ha ha!) because he/she is very physical already. The other night J was using the little handheld doppler we have to hear the heartbeat and he pushed down quite hard on my belly at which time little buggy responded with a very firm push back! It was so special to see J's reaction. He/she gave one more shove to daddy's hand before setting down for the night. I was unprepared for that event to happen so soon. I am not sure if that will be a one off for a while now but I am slightly nervous about what lies ahead as this little one only gets bigger and stronger!

I have certainly hit the point of no return as far as being able to wear non-maternity clothes. I think the situation is exaggerated because as a long torso-ed lady to begin with finding tops and shirts which were long enough was already a challenge, and adding in the smallest of bumps began to make them show some mid drift at this point, I imagine I would look down right obscene!

As the weather gets more spring like, and this 'glowing' season continues I hope I will be able to get out more and get the blood flowing. I have begun to feel slightly potato-like, especially as my bump is rounding me out from the front, so the sunshine streaming through the windows is a welcome sight. (Only slightly overshadowed by the snow on the rooftops and in my garden this morning. I heard a rumor the snow was a one off and the sunshine is here to stay but I'll believe it when I see it.)

Ok, off to get something to eat, and to get my study on!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Back to life...

This weekend was one I have been dreaming about for weeks. It was a 'normal' weekend. I felt 'normal'!

We had a lay-in on Saturday morning (we are starting to appreciate them more and more because we know our lazy Saturday mornings are coming to an end really soon!) Then we ran some errands at the mall, making the most of 'Free pretzel day' at Auntie Anne's pretzels. We spent the next hour or so in the (fairly empty) parking lot of my school with J helping me practice my parking.

Earlier in the day I had figured out a menu and shopping list for the week so after my driving lesson we went to the grocery store and got what we need for the week. Or at least what we would have needed before pregnancy. Having eaten quite a lot of the goodies we bought on Saturday evening, we actually made a second grocery run after church on Sunday!

Saturday night my friend Lindsey came over for dinner. I actually made dinner. As in, I had been browsing the internet, Pinterest to be exact for recipe inspiration and came across something that looked and sounded appealing to the degree I got the few ingredients I was missing and made it. It's been a while since that train of thought to action has happened! I will post the recipe on Wednesday but trust me it was delicious!

We went to church this morning and were invited for lunch by some new friends, so we spent the afternoon eating together and getting to know each other better before our second aforementioned grocery stop. Then it was home for homework and getting ready for the week ahead.

I am not sure the last time I have felt so well and so full of energy but I know it was pre-pregnancy. As I think back I also did all the laundry and some cleaning here and there too. It was a full weekend. Don't hear me say I wasn't exhausted when I fell into bed (keeping a fairly steady 9.30pm bedtime in our house) but it felt good to fall asleep feeling like the day had been full of more than feeling nauseous and exhausted. I am so hopeful that this is what the next few months of pregnancy will be like.

I know Jeremy is happy to have his wife back, let's face it he has been incredibly patient but I know that its been a lot for him to work full, busy days and then come home to take care of me and our house. And I feel good that I can once again be the wife and partner I want to be!

Not the most exciting post, but considering how I have been feeling, it sadly is one of the most exciting things that have happened in a while so it feels like it's worth a mention! ha ha

Friday, March 2, 2012

Baby lists and homework procrastination

Last week I felt a few flutters, the past few days this kid has been partying every time I sit or lay down. I LOVE it! I had no idea it could be so reassuring.

It's that time in the quarter when with just a few weeks to go my energy and motivation begins to fade. Add in the building excitement about this baby and my grades could be in real trouble.

For example, I left class yesterday with a French assignment to be prepared for class today as well as a big biology project which I wanted to hand in. I have had the bio project half way finished for 2 weeks. Ridiculous. Together these tasks should have taken about 3 hours so getting home at 11am I should have been well finished before J got home from work. Shoulda, woulda, coulda!

So when I got home, I set up a work station and was done by 2.30 right? (the extra half hour? That was for my Lunch break, what am I am machine?)

Sadly this was not how my day shaped up at all. I completed my french assignment with minimal effort and little understanding of how it connected to the other rules and grammar we have been learning. My Biology assignment was finally emailed to my professor at about 9.30pm. And if I am totally honest, I handed it in because I was so sick of thinking about it and not because I felt as though it was at the highest standard possible or totally ready and edited.

So what did I do all day? Well, turns out the 30 minute lunch break would have been way less than accurate. I spent a lot of the day fixing and eating food, trying to keep things interesting and healthy but my hunger never seems to end. I swear this kid is having a growth spurt.

Even with the kitchen duty I have many unaccounted for hours. And that my friends is because I have started to indulge myself in online window shopping for nursery furniture. Getting a nursery ready is probably one of the things I am most looking forward to about baby preparations. I realise that once we have picked a crib and bought a crib, my browsing days will be over so I am totally loving this time of being able to lose myself in dreaming multiple nursery designs. Of course we don't know gender yet so I have to cover my bases as I dream!! ha ha

After yesterdays indulgence I must have learned my lesson right? I mean, I must have been uber productive today after school.....

Well, not quite so much. Seems the online window shopping was the gateway drug to all baby planning. Today I found the childbirth classes we need to sign up for, I began some sorting in our office, which will be transformed into our nursery, I made and ate lunch (I have been finished for about 20 minutes and I am already hungry. Seriously, kid, slow your roll in there.) And now I am starting my list of 'items we need for Baby Blocher' so we can start to budget and to know how to answer when friends ask if we want to borrow swings, jumperoos, and other things!

I admit it. Making this list is something I have been wanting to do for ages! It makes this pregnancy feel real. Because it's something a mama would do. I don't even feel too guilty about it. After all, my mediocre biology project is handed in and my french homework can wait until Sunday night right? So I feel as though my weekend can start a little early with some thoroughly enjoyable list making! Now what do we need for our little one?


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