Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bumpdate: Week 20

Even though I have been pretty miserable so far, this pregnancy has gone by pretty fast! I'm 20 weeks and 4 days pregnant today.

20 Weeks

Some stats on my pregnancy so far:

Weeks Pregnant: 20
How big is the baby? At the 19 week ultrasound, baby measured 8 inches and 12 ounces. According to TheBump, our baby is the size of a banana this week. Getting big!
Weight Gained: 5 pounds. Starting to wonder when the weight gain thing is going to happen. I'm not too worried yet, especially since I lost a few pounds in the first trimester, but most places put weight gain at the 20 week mark between 7-12 pounds, or 1/3 of the total weight gain. Running the numbers, I expect to gain around a pound a week for a total weight gain of 25 pounds. This would be perfect. I'm working on not obsessing over this fact. I'll gain what I need - I'm eating what I can when I can.
Ultrasounds done: 3 and probably no more. The first one was done at 9 weeks to detect viability when I was in the hospital (see below). The second was at 13 weeks for diagnostic purposes. The third was for genetic screening and to determine the gender, which leads us to...
Boy or Girl: It's a girl! The ultrasound tech was able to get a clear view of the parts and is 99% sure that we have a little girl. We were both hoping our first would be a girl, so we're pretty excited. 
Symptoms: Heartburn, nausea (although is starting to get better) mostly caused by insanely thick mucus, nosebleeds, carpal tunnel, occasional cramping, extreme emotions - I already cry easily, but pretty much anything sets me off these days.
Cravings: Chocolate, Sweets, Fruit (especially smoothies)
Aversions: Meat of any kind, the smell of eggs, raw onions, and pretty much anything else that is not on the cravings list.
Hospital stays: 1. At 9 weeks I developed a deep vein blood clot (DVT) in my right leg. I like to now joke that since I had a DVT in my left leg in 2006, I have a matching set of blood clot legs. My body essentially hates increased estrogen and requires me to be fully medicated with blood thinners. I originally was on a low dose plan but that did not stop me from developing a clot, so I now get to pour thousands of dollars worth of medication into my body. Fun!
Blood thinners injected: 200 or so
Movement: I started feeling something happening around 18 weeks. Weird light tapping that seems to happen when I'm sitting in a slightly reclined position. Also when I feel like sleeping in.

16 Weeks
Pregnancy is starting to get a little more fun this week with a much more noticeable bump, baby "kicks," and finding out that our baby is a girl! Not gonna lie though, I'm pretty excited to be done also. Halfway there!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Our "Fantastic Mr. Fox" Themed Nursery

Choosing a nursery theme came pretty naturally to me as one of my favorite movies ever is "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Being an elementary ed student, I recently read the Roald Dahl classic and I enjoyed it, but the movie is absolutely amazing.

And what's not to love? Foxes, their forest buddies - badger, a possum, rabbits, and outlandish pranks. Orange is my favorite color and it just seemed to fit. We plan on encorporating lots of forest animals, grays, oranges, and nature-y type stuff into this baby's room. And it will be mostly gender-neutral. We find out the sex of the baby very soon, but don't plan to change our plans too much. If we end up having a second child while still living in this house, it will be nice to have things decorated for girls and boys since we could have one of each sharing this room for a while. 

The natural first stop for us was Ikea. I would have loved to go a little vintage, picking up pieces from the thrift store, but the pickings are pretty slim where we live. And Ikea has everything at low prices. We love having an excuse to go and we decided back in October that we would pick out nursery items at Ikea during our winter break. Both of us were lucky to have a substantial amount of time off this year. We spent a couple of days in Chicago, and on our way back, stopped at Ikea for some 99 cent breakfast and to oogle the adorable baby stuff. Here is what we looked at/picked out:

The Gulliver crib comes pretty highly recommended and I was really satisfied with this pick. It was only $99 and was super easy to assemble. No particle board, all solid wood. I was happy. We are on a serious budget (aka this baby is costing us an arm and a leg in medical bills - more on that later), so we also picked up a mattress while there. It is the Vyssa Vackert and in my opinion, too cushy. Oh well. Mike picked this one and we didn't really think too much into it. I'm sure the baby will survive. 

I originally planned on skipping the changing table and going with a big dresser with a changing pad on top. Then I realized we didn't have room for the 8-drawer Hemnes that everyone uses these days. I also liked the idea of open storage for diapers and accessories. We can also hang the wet bag easily from the bars on the top of the table. 

And since I went with a changing table, we still needed some drawers for storing all those adorable onesies and pajamas. I originally was going for all white furniture but when we saw this one in the showroom, Mike said we should get it. It's a little more red in person and it seems perfect for a woodsy nursery. And it is $50 cheaper than the white version. 

I was going to look at our local Goodwill for a nightstand but I saw this as we were filling up our cart with the dresser and decided to go for it. 

This is my favorite chair at Ikea. It's new this year and the perfect shade of orange. Mike was with me on getting it until he found out that it was $279. 

We ended up going for practical and not breaking the bank. A $69 Poang chair bounces and rocks and I think will work well for nursing and bedtime stories. We also got the footstool so I can prop my feet up. Since we already have a twin bed in the nursery, I will have a variety of options for nursing and I am happy about this. Once the baby is older, we plan to move the chair into the living room.

And we couldn't resist all of the forest stuffed animals. We got the foxes, a bear, an owl, a badger, some mice, and a rabbit. It was also nice that Ikea donates $1 from each stuffed animal to children's education programs.

It was really hard not to buy the entire baby section of Ikea! 

So that's what we bought! Coming soon, nursery progress.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy 2014!

Whoops! December kinda got away from me, guys. I say things like I'm back to blogging and then disappear for a month. My bad. Sorry.

Between holiday parties, finals, a stomach virus and travelling, there hasn't been much appeal to blogging lately. But I'd like to get back into the swing of things. Here is what I would like to do in 2014:

1. Get Organized
Our house is a mess all the time. Getting rid of clutter and making some trips to the dump (the environmentalist and hoarder in me cringe at the thought) are in order. With a baby on the way, it is essential that we get a system in place for cleaning that can be done quickly. I'd love to get a hub going where we can stash mail, keep track of appointments, etc.

2. Eat Healthier
This one is hard people. Being pregnant is no joke. There are more foods that I can't stand than I will tolerate. I naively thought that this sort of shenanigans was reserved for the first trimester. So so wrong. What do I like eating? Carbs, fruit, chocolate. Probably in that order. Cooking for myself is next to impossible which leaves me with eating out a lot and "making" cereal and PB and J's count as dinner. What should I be eating? Leafy greens, greek yogurt, eggs, "normal food" - the baby won't let me. And just in case I ever want to try, I get rewarded with acid reflux and a day full of miserable.

3. Be Nicer
I guess it's just my personality, but I am not good at showing myself as a caring person. Smiling, taking some breaths before I open my mouth, you know - being a decent human being - would be a good start to being kinder and gentler to the world I live in, I'd also like to be nicer to my husband. There's only so much I can blame on hormones. I'm kind of a bitch. There. I said it.

4. Finish up some house projects
I'll go into detail later, but in order of necessity: The shower, the kitchen, the curtains, the basement.

5. Have a Baby
Yup, this is a goal. This includes prepping for baby, taking a class at the hospital, trying not to get gestational diabetes (see #1) and obtaining a healthy baby. And then surviving the chaos that ensues with having a baby.

I'll be back soon with some nursery updates and maybe a bump status? Exciting things to come, I promise!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

We’re Back!

Here’s a sneak peek at this year’s Christmas card.

So… I’m breaking the several month hiatus because I think I’m ready to start writing again! The last few months have been busy to say the least. Here is a quick recap of the events of August through December:

1. Hyvee Triathlon


Mike biked and his brother ran and his cousin swam. It was a fun time and the pup got to come with us and have some fun at the grandparents’ house.

2. Back to School

This is probably my primary reason for the blogging hiatus. I started back to school full time at University of Northern Iowa. I’m giving it my all in attempts to graduate in 5.5 semesters. December 2015 can’t come soon enough.

Since we don’t live in Cedar Falls, Iowa, I have been dividing my time between our house in Dubuque and my parents’ place near the university. This semester it worked out that I could be home Friday through Monday and go to school Tuesday through Thursday. Next semester I won’t be so lucky, but I’ll touch on that later.

3. Chicken Prep

Mike worked hard on getting the chickens ready for winter and also for being lower maintenance. He created a heated watering system and a food tube that can theoretically keep them fed and watered for a week without us having to do anything. They are amazingly still laying 2-3 eggs a day so we are still checking on them daily, but it is nice to know that if we are gone for a weekend or something that they will be fine on their own for a couple of days.

4. We’re adding to our family.

I know, again, right? A dog in 2012, chickens in 2013, and now we’re actually adding a human to the mix. The baby is due at the end of May, which will be perfect for school. I plan on taking the summer off completely and in the fall, we will commute daily to Cedar Falls with my mom hopefully watching the baby while I go to school. As we’re learning, things happen and we just have to go with the flow, so obviously these are just plans.

You can probably expect this to turn into a baby blog, since that is pretty much consuming our lives at this point Smile

5. Side Projects

These include:

The kitchen that will never be finished

Michael’s quest to find thousands of Mountain Dew bottle caps to win Xbox Ones for him and everyone he knows. Digging through recycling bins, peddling candy bars for bags of caps at the redemption center, hounding relatives and friends to text us their codes, we really have no shame. It was probably worth it because he successfully won three!

Planning a nursery – the Fantastic Mr. Fox theme is full go. Expect adorable foxes everywhere along with their forest friends, way too many stuffed animals and no painting because I am way too lazy for that nonsense. We painted the room gray back in 2012 and I think that will work just fine for our gender-neutral nursery.

So that is basically what we've been up to! Stay tuned for pregnancy talk, kitchen work, and most likely adorable pictures of our furbabies.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Garden in August

This has been a banner year for me in gardening, but that doesn't really mean much since I have only really been at it for two summers. In the past, I have tried in vain to grow indoors or on a deck, and those times never went well. I can't keep anything alive inside. Ask Mike, he'll let you know that the only plants that stay alive are the ones he cares for.


Some things aren't doing so well, like the herb garden I have in a large pot. The picture you see above is from when it was planted. Everything did really well for June and July. The plants were huge! Now they look like they’re ready to die. It’s so depressing I refuse to take a photo of it. I've been using it all summer for pesto, mojitos, and caprese salad and it looks like I might not be getting anymore out of this. I refuse to water my garden, but a small planter like this probably needs more frequent waterings since it can’t hold as much moisture. I’d say there’s a lesson learned here, but my guess is that I will probably not water it next year either. I’m stubborn and lazy, a terrible combination.

Banana Peppers Aug 8 Tall Green Pepper Aug 8

Those are our banana peppers! We have three ready to pick. It’s mild salsa time, everyone! The rest of our peppers, including the much desired sweet mini peppers, are progressing at a painfully slow rate. There are a couple of pathetic little guys, like that adorable jalapeno pepper below, and a few flowers as well, so not all hope is lost yet.

Little Jalapeno Aug 8

Basil Aug 8

The basil in the garden bed is doing fantastic. We luckily still have plenty of that for more margherita pizza and pasta sauce. I <3 basil.

Beet Greens Aug 8

Beet Aug 8

I think I mentioned that I packed the beets way too close together. They are maturing now and I have gathered 4-5 so far. All of them are radish sized. I've been saving them up to roast a bunch all together for salads and just to eat by themselves. I’m a sucker for roasted beets, especially when paired with some chevre.

Carrot Aug 8

The other thing that was packed to closely together was the carrots. Not ready yet.

Eggplant Aug 8 Brussels Sprouts Aug 8

Lots of eggplant now! Since learning of my husband’s hate of eggplant (after six years of eating lots of eggplant), I get to enjoy these bad boys all by myself. Our brussels sprouts plants are starting to develop the little buds that grow into brussels sprouts. We're both getting excited about this. Mike, who is turning into a picky eater before my very eyes, still loves brussels sprouts.

Corn Aug 8 Corn Ears Aug 8

The corn seems to be doing okay. We have cobs formed in the stalks and a couple of them look ready to go. We haven’t harvested anything from them though.

Wild Cucumbers Aug 8

Cucumber Aug 8

The cucumber plants continue to produce lots of cucumbers. We are starting to get to the point where I should learn how to can them so they don't end up going back into the compost.

Squash Aug 8

I just planted this butternut squash about six weeks ago, but it looks like it might work out. There are a couple of flowers forming already, so I’m a happy girl.

Potatoes Aug 8

Potatoes. They look as if they are wilting and ready to harvest. I’m going to wait another week or so before pulling one out and seeing if they're ready. I don't want to pull them out too early since last year’s came out the size of gumballs.

Wild Tomatoes Aug 8

Cherry Tomatoes Aug 8

The tomatoes are still fantastic. A handful of cherry tomatoes are ready for picking every day and the roma tomatoes are just starting to redden. I've decided to freeze tomato sauce when I get to the point of too many tomatoes to deal with. I'll let you know how that goes when it happens.

Some other things that did not get photographed:

Beans and peas. Seriously slowing down on production, and I didn't get much to begin with! I’m pretty disappointed by this.

Lettuce and spinach. Not doing great. Pretty lackluster year for these guys.

Wild Garden Aug 8

Berry bushes and vines. They are covered with a bunch of the stuff in the photo above. I haven't seen them in a while! I've been working on clearing this area out to finish the fence, so hopefully I will be able to tell how everything is doing soon.

Pumpkins. The pumpkin plant is also buried in this prairie. I was able to look at it the other day and it didn't look very good. I’m not sure if it is just getting crowded in by the grasses or if it hasn't gotten enough water or if the soil on that hill is crap or what. It’s a mystery. Mike has been most excited about this plant, so he will be one sad kid come Halloween. I’ll have to take him to a pumpkin patch :)

That's what our plants are up to this month! How are your plants/gardens doing so far this summer?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Let’s Talk Chickens

Today was time to clean out the coop. It gets kind of messy and the husband was thinking it was getting smelly. Hot summer days will do that. Our girls are broody and messy. They frequently poop into their food bowl and they love digging around on the floor of their yard. I try and keep the water and food bowls clean by changing them out every other day. We need to come up with a better method because most people talk about changing theirs every few days to a week.

Gizmo in the Garden

I brought Gizmo with me because she’s cute and adorable and was begging me to take her outside. She loves to spend time out in the sun. She also thought it was pretty fun to watch me wrangle the chickens and scoop poop.

Clean Coop 1

Clean Coop 2

I armed myself with some rubber gloves and scooped the old pine bedding into a bucket then dumped it into the compost. I started a new compost pile for the chicken stuff. Then I filled it back up with fresh pine shavings. The chickens were really happy about this. They ran around in the coop while I clean up the yard a bit. I added more mulch and sprinkled this compost granule stuff. It’s supposed to keep everything clean and non-smelly. I think it works pretty well. They also got their first bit of grit. They have dirt and mulch to pick at in their yard, so I think they've been getting sufficient grit, but I added the real stuff (bits of granite) just to make sure they were getting it.

Chickens 18 Weeks 3

Chickens 18 Weeks 4

The girls are still on chick crumbles. I have been patiently waiting for eggs/their food to run out so I can switch them over to layer feed. We also have oyster shells on standby. We've been telling people for a while now that eggs are supposed to be coming, so it’s been a long wait. They are 18.5 weeks old now, making them right around the age at which they lay eggs. Of course I will let you all know when it happens!

Chickens 13 Weeks 1

Chickens 18 Weeks 2

Chickens 18 Weeks

These girls sure are purdy. The photos don't show it well, but they are shiny beauties with silken feathers. I can't say enough good things about having the chickens. They are so much fun to have around the garden. If only we could keep their names straight!