Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pregnancy Advice, Oh My!

I remember reading this post about what to say and what NOT to say to a woman who has had a miscarriage. I went back and read it when it happened to someone close to me. I could share a list of my own for what NOT to say after a close family member's death. I've heard it all, believe me. However, we'll save that for another day.

Today, I'm going to share what NOT to say to someone who is expecting a baby. OK, at least what not to say to me!
  • If I ask your advice, bring it on! Tell me whatever you want. I've sought out some of you and asked your advice on a variety of subjects. I know lots of really great Moms and if I ask your opinion, please tell me and be honest! But, then there is the unsolicited advice... Oh boy.
  • Now that everyone knows we're having a girl, the most common question is, "Have you chosen a name?" I honestly have started to cringe when I hear that question as I get a little nervous for the response when I share the names we're considering. If I do mention a baby name that we like to you, please don't say, "I hate that name." Another favorite: "Please don't name her that." Oh, there's always the, "You're joking, right?" Sadly, I've heard ALL of these comments already! This is different than my asking you, "What do you think about the name ____?" In that situation, I'm opening myself up to your opinion! Go ahead and tell me!
  • If you don't know it already, we are going to use cloth diapers. Do we know for sure it will work for us? No. Will we ever use disposables? Of course. Do we feel like it is something worth giving a shot? YES! Guess what? We feel REALLY GOOD about our decision! Unless I ask your opinion, please don't tell me you think we are freaks and/or are making a big mistake. This is no longer something we are contemplating. We are doing it! Again, I've been admonished more than once regarding this decision. It is hard to hear!
  • Please don't volunteer your birth horror stories. Again, if I ask you about your experience, bring it on. Tell me everything. But, some just share at will and don't seem to notice me shrinking back in horror. I was at a gathering last week where three people went on and on about their stories. It seems like when one starts the other needs to top the story. From breech births where the mother almost died, losing their baby at a couple days old, to ineffective epidurals - I was beyond overwhelmed. So, why do I keep watching Private Practice? I do not know. (Yeah, just that link is enough - that show is evil for anyone expecting, but it is like a car wreck. I can't turn away!) OK, we need something else funny now.

This is such a great time for me. It is new and I love information and I want to ask questions. Everyone warned me about the unsolicited advice, but I wasn't prepared for the amount I'd get and how some of it could be hurtful. The majority of what I hear is positive, don't get me wrong. But, you know how it is. Sometimes it is just those few comments that are the ones we remember. Please just take this as a cautionary lesson for all mamas-to-be out there.

PS: On a side note, these cartoons just kill me... Love it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Baby: Week 20

Week 20: Baby is the size of a cantaloupe!

By 20 weeks, our sweet baby girl is now practicing breathing and swallowing on a regular basis. She continues to grow and fill out, with her head becoming slightly more proportional to the rest of the body. Her skin is becoming more complex now, forming different layers. Her epidermis has four layers that contain ridges for fingertips. The layers that form in her palms and feet will provide her with her own unique fingerprint later in life.

Everything is turning up PINK these days with news our little one is a girl! One of my staff left me PINK rosebuds in my office. Marcie and I have been brainstorming lots of new ideas for her room - which is sure to incorporate PINK. Grandma Jo brought by some PINK gifts (pictured above). It is also neat that my sister is having a boy. That means Grandpa Brad gets his first grandchildren at the same time - a grandson AND a granddaughter. Super sweet.

My next door neighbor, Kim, and friend, Jessica, have generously passed on their pregnancy clothes and I am so thankful. I am just now having to transition to these items and I am so glad they have shared their things! Thanks so much, ladies! (Jess - sorry about the little shrew (field mouse) chasing you off my porch. Although, I seemed to be the only one panicking! YIKES!)

I found out today I have an anterior placenta, which may be why I'm not feeling her kick (for certain anyway). I am definitely feeling something, but I'm not sure if it is my dinner working through my belly or our little one with her punches and stretches. We had the full ultrasound today and little Baby D is proving her Daddy, Uncles and Auntie soccer players proud! She was kicking away! Go Sounders!

The best news of all? The sonographer said everything looks really good. She found no abnormalities or markers of any deficiencies - none. This doesn't mean something couldn't be discovered down the road, but so far, our baby girl appears to be very healthy. Such great news, we are so happy! We even got a sweet snapshot of her profile!

By the way, no name yet. Her Daddy and I aren't always in agreement, but we're getting there!

And, some of you have been asking... And other friends are telling me I'll regret it if I don't do it. So, here you go. Here's the bump! It has come out of nowhere lately!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pico de Gallo


Mmmm, I love anything with a little pico de gallo... It just livens up everything from a baked potato, scrambled eggs, to tacos (of course). Anna whipped up hers for taco night and I was in heaven!

1 lg yellow onion, minced
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped (more or less depending on your fancy)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 lime (juice)
cilantro, chopped (to taste)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Mix, taste. Add more jalapeno if not enough kick. Add more lime juice if too spicy. Enjoy!

Potato Tacos


My friend, Anna's former brother-in-law from Mexico used to whip these up for her family. The brother-in-law isn't around any longer, but fortunately for all of us - the recipe is. Anna came over and made this for us for dinner. Thanks, friend!!

2 lbs ground beef
4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
Corn tortillas (15 or so)
Garlic (2 cloves)
Oil (canola or your favorite)

Your favorite garnishes:
Sour cream
Lettuce (chopped)
Tomato (chopped)
Cheese (grated)
Pico de gallo
Honeymoon Summer Ale beer or your favorite margarita

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Ground beef and drain. Boil potatoes until soft. Mash potatoes. Mix potato and beef in large pot.

Heat oil in skillet. Warm tortillas and stuff with potato/beef mixture while still warm and soft.

Pierce with about three or so toothpicks.

Add taco pockets to hot oil and quickly turn until crisp (ten seconds or less).

Have great friend over to help you!

Add crisped tacos to cookie sheet lined with paper towels.

When all finished, pop cookie sheet in oven until all warm. Open your beer or mix your margarita.

Add your favorite toppings.


For dessert... OJ always recommends her famous chocolate covered strawberries. Delish!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baby: Week 19 and a little news.

Week 19: Baby is the size of a mango.

Baby's sensory development is exploding! Her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear my voice now, so I won't be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing along in the car when the mood strikes. [Thanks:]

Yes, you read that correctly. Baby D is a girl! We had our ultrasound today. It was planned that my mother-in-law Francie and Aunt Sue would be there with us, but sadly Francie had to fly out to a family member's funeral. But, she left directions, "Don't be shy, BABY!" 

The morning started off stressful. There was awful traffic with construction we weren't expecting on the way there. We were TEN minutes late and they told us we'd have to reschedule. Fortunately, they did a quick peek of gender and I'll get the full diagnostic next week. (But, the technician said so far, everything looks great!).

Maybe I told you, but off and on throughout this pregnancy I really felt the vibe this baby was a boy. I was STUNNED when she said it was a girl. Not surprisingly, I started bawling. My face was in my hands weeping and the technician said, "I hope those are happy tears!" Are you kidding? I'd be so happy either way, but after losing my Mom, I am just thrilled to be having a daughter. 

PS: I had to come home before going back to work - so I was able to sneak in this announcement a little early!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pink Sandals - Come to My House

I think these sandals would make summer all the better. Why, oh why, do they have to be $90.00 when I am a cheapskate?

Pink sandals, I'm watching you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hello Pioneer Woman!

Any of you who've read this blog any length of time know my favorite blogger - The Pioneer Woman. Ree Drummond is a city gal who met a cowboy who changed her life. She left the big city to move to his family's ranch in Oklahoma. She is a photographer and cook, among other things. She documents life on the ranch and is quite the character. I've loved following her blog and the last two Thanksgivings in a row I've made several of her holiday recipes.

How excited was I when I read Pioneer Woman was coming to Seattle for a cookbook signing. Now, some might remember I followed another cookbook author - Devin Alexander. This is not my first cookbook signing. I'm kind of a nerd that way - if you didn't notice that already!

I somehow convinced Marcie to go with me. Marcie has been on her site, but is not exactly the follower I am. But, she was a great friend and trooper and agreed to go along with me. We went up early and did a little shopping at the Country Village. Have you been there? They have really cute stores. We found a $25 ottoman to go with my freebie chair we found alongside the road several months ago. They are going to be recovered with cute fabric for the nursery. Photos surely to come once they're complete! We also went to Alderwood Mall and did a little shopping. I had frozen yogurt from Red Mango. YUM. I wish they had one of those closer. So good and good for you!

Third Place Books hosted the book signing. They did such a nice job organizing the event and corralling the hundreds of women, babies and few men lined up to meet Ree. It was such a great location. The bookstore is in the middle of a large shopping center. We picked up our free tickets early and were sectioned off in groups - we were Group E. You didn't even have to line up until it was your group. We sat and had something to drink waiting until it was our turn. I had a strawberry bubble tea and Marcie snapped this photo. I was horrified by it! So, aren't you so glad I'm going to share it with you?

This one was a little better.

We did end up in line for one hour, but it wasn't bad at all. Ree was very sweet. She signed a book for Francie and me both. When I told her it was for my mother-in-law she said, "My mother-in-law came with me!" I told her when my blog becomes famous maybe my mother-in-law will travel the country with me too. She said, "Well, I didn't give mine a chance, I just dragged her with me!"

She signed the book to "Courtney and Baby". Learning I was pregnant she rubbed my belly and then said, "Oh, I'm sorry, is that OK?" I told her it was totally OK. I said the only time it was weird was when I was first pregnant, hardly showing and someone touched my belly. Ree said she once rubbed a gal's belly in a book signing only to learn she wasn't pregnant! There was an older lady behind us who shouted, "Just so you know, I'm not pregnant!" We all laughed!

She was so gracious. She had committed to not turning anyone away. She'd stay until all books were signed. I wonder if she is still going as we speak! Thanks SO MUCH Marcie for going with me and thanks, Ree!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Google Reader - You are the Best

You can disregard this post if you already use Google Reader or a similar RSS feed. This is for the rest of you.

Do you follow a few friends' or family members' blogs? Have you stumbled across some websites you really enjoy? Do you keep them in your "favorites" or "bookmarked" items and pull them up once in a while to see if they've been updated? STOP.

Create ONE login in Google Reader and you can add all of the websites you follow. After one login, you can see your entire list of blogs. The sites in bold will be those that have updated entries. No more clicking on blogs that haven't been updated in months.

I started small, but now my list has expanded. See, Google recommends sites to you based on your subscriptions. My sites range from family and friends blogs, favorite bloggers, decorating sites, money-saving blogs, coupon and freebie sites, and so on! But, even if you just follow a couple sites- it is worth it!

Try it today! Click here to set up your Google Reader login.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Baby: Week 18

Week 18: Baby is the size of a sweet potato.

Wow, a sweet potato! Now, that is sounding bigger than the oranges and onions of late! Baby D has become amazingly mobile, passing the hours yawning, hiccuping, rolling, twisting, kicking, punching, sucking and swallowing. And, baby's finally big enough that I should be able to feel those movements soon. [Thanks:]

This last week has been tough! READ THIS POST WITH CAUTION!

See that image above? Sorry Queen Helene, but I HATE YOU! Bill tells me I shouldn't hate, but he hasn't had a nasty, itching, hurting, spreading RASH from cocoa butter. Deana had told me this horror story from her pregnancy years ago where she had gotten a terrible rash from slathering cocoa butter to prevent stretch marks. She ended up going to the hospital! I had talked to my esthetician and she said nothing really prevents stretch marks, but keeping moisturized certainly helps. She recommended using a nice cocoa butter each morning and evening. Did I think back to Deana's story? Did I give any thought to how I'm already the crazy girl with sensitive skin who breaks out in HIVES! Uh, no.

I first noticed little itchy bumps on my left hip as Bill and I were laying in bed Sunday night. With my weird skin, I didn't give it much thought. I got up Sunday morning, took a shower and spread on my cocoa butter. By Monday evening, the rash was on BOTH hips. It was awful. My doctor's and OBGYN offices didn't provide a ton of help, other than suggestions of creams. By Thursday night, I could barely roll over in bed and wanted to cry. I'd have to wake up in the middle of the night to apply anti-itch spray. From the crazy itchiness to the pain once things started to heal - it has truly been awful!

Cautiously, I will share that I believe I'm on the mend. I pray this isn't an indicator for PUPP in my third trimester. Yes, that is an informational link describing what PUPP is. Just don't Google it and click on Images. Horrific. I know I've already shared too much. My apologies.

Baby itself is doing OK. Good heartbeats each night. I still don't feel Baby D. I laid really still in the bathtub yesterday too. I read that sometimes you can see the bathwater move before you can feel baby yourself. Yeah, that didn't work. But, that's OK. Soon, soon. I'm just trying to enjoy each day. Other than the days of RASHES! Have a good week!

Friday, April 9, 2010


Photos above courtesy of Amber Sheree Photography.

I don't know what I'd do without my good friends. The support I have from my circle of friends means the world to me. My friend Marcie just did something very special for Bill and me. Marcie knows me. She knows I appreciate beautiful photography and she definitely understands how much we can't wait to meet our little one. Marcie gifted us with a sitting with her cousin and photographer just shortly after baby is born. I couldn't be more delighted. I've been perusing photographer's websites and just couldn't decide. I never got over Amanda May retiring (Amanda did our engagement photos). Well, I never thought to check out photographers in Puyallup! What a find.

Thank you so much, Marcie! Check out the work of Amber Sheree Photography! (Click on Gallery and then Newbies). She has a gift for capturing special moments in newborns in both color and black and white. I can't wait to meet Amber and see what we come up with in September! So exciting!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Potluck Chicken Casserole


This is a definite theme with me lately - I'm loving comfort food. I haven't done much cooking these last few months, but I want to make this for Bill to make up for it as he really enjoys it. Mom found this recipe years ago in a Taste of Home magazine. We altered it along the way to suit our tastes. Mom loved making this for me when I'd come home during college breaks knowing I loved it so much. My only complaint? It always felt like it took too long - I never wanted to wait for it! Mama, this one's for you.

Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Bake Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: 8

1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms (Mom omitted the mushrooms, but I like 'em)
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk (skim works fine)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
3 cups cooked long-grain rice
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 c grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup coarsely crushed cornflakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, saute mushrooms, onion and garlic in three tablespoons butter until tender. Stir in flour until thoroughly combined. Gradually add milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened and bubbly.

3. Remove from the heat; stir in mayonnaise until smooth. Add chicken, rice, peas, lemon juice, salt and pepper, 3/4 c cheese; mix well. Spoon into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Melt remaining butter; toss with cornflakes and remaining 1/4 c cheese. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

To Doppler or Not to Doppler

I was very worried the first trimester of my pregnancy. I understand the risks in those early weeks and my age only further contributed to the risks of miscarriage. When I first heard our baby's heartbeat at eleven weeks, I was overjoyed with relief. I thought about purchasing a fetal doppler in those early days, but I also worried about the quality and knew it could be tough to find the heartbeat. Sometimes, you just can't find the heartbeat and baby is just fine.

However, just two weeks ago, I gave in despite the controversy and rented a medical grade fetal doppler from For a small monthly fee, I can hear the best sound in the world each night before I go to sleep. I did it far enough along into my pregnancy that I don't have trouble finding it and the quality is good so I can hear baby's beats very easily. I like that it is a rental. If in a couple of months I find we're not using it, I can send it back and not have a machine lying around I don't need. Plus, renting means I can use a higher grade one than I'd realistically end up purchasing from Amazon or the like.

I had one person tell me I'd be "obsessed" to use one of these at home. I just ignore the negative comments. Who wouldn't want to hear this miraculous sound every night? I can't feel the baby kicking just yet. This is my way to comfortingly connect each night with our little one. I wouldn't trade this decision for anything. Thanks to Nancy for encouraging me to do it!

Baby D's Heartbeat from Courtney on Vimeo.

Baby: Week 17

Week 17: Baby is the size of an onion.

I feel like avocados are bigger than onions, but what do I know? Baby D's skeleton is hardening, changing from rubbery cartilage to bone and fat is finally accumulating around it. The umbilical cord is getting thicker and stronger and those little fingers and toes are now topped by one-of-a-kind prints. [Thanks:]

Time really flies! I went from just being able to notice changes in my belly to this week - depending on what I've been wearing, people are starting to notice my little bump! So crazy how things change so fast. I'm feeling a little better, but still not out of the woods. The biggest change I notice is I usually only have one "episode" of not feeling well per day and even that isn't as awful as it's been in the past. Anything is better than the constant severe nausea I faced in those early months!

The new crib and mattress arrived! I was SO excited! I picked up some additional nursery additions. Yesterday, Brad and Deana were going down to the SW WA Fairgrounds to get items for them to keep at home for their newly arriving grandbabies. I asked if I could come and they invited Talea too. We ended up carpooling as Marcie and Alisha (my friends and nursery decorators) came as well! We all had a GREAT time. We met up at 7 a.m. and while it seemed a little crazy to start so early - Brad and Deana knew what they were doing. We made some great finds showing up so early. Happy Easter, Baby!

Now, before you see all my loot, please note I did not spend more than $70 on everything!

Handmade quilt, lamp, diaper bag, baby bathtub... The big cardboard box behind it is the crib.

Super cute bookshelf. With a little paint - it is going to be just PERFECT! Marcie and I actually found this later in the day at a little antique shop.

The FIND of the day! This cherry dresser was only $20. It is EXACTLY what I was looking for. It will store all of Baby D's clothes and diapers and double as a changing table. After some fresh paint and new handles - it is going to be adorable.

Are you having a hard time imagining it done? Think paint something like this:

Marcie and I also want to do something like this to the drawers:

Did I mention Marcie's Mom is going to do the furniture painting? I am so excited. I love deals. Who needs Pottery Barn anyway?

Thank you to my great husband who had to make an unplanned trip to the flea market too. The dresser wouldn't fit in either of our vehicles so Bill agreed to come down and pick it up. He didn't mind at all and was really happy when he saw the dresser and the price! He kept teasing us, "It's like it's free. It's like they were paying us to take it!"

Brad and Deana scored two great strollers - one for them and Talea. They got a swing, a little train tent and some other goodies for the babies.

It was a great day - thanks, all!

Look Who's Eighty!

Grandma Jo turns eighty Monday and we celebrated Saturday night at her choice of restaurants, Fujiyama.

I struggled with what we could get her. Then, it dawned on me. She wears this necklace every day with my Mom's name on it. What if I could find her a pendant with all three of her children's names - perfect! I found just the necklace on Etsy. If you want to view other items from her shop, click here. Here's a peek at the necklace from her page (I couldn't get a great shot of Grandma's).

She couldn't quite figure it out at first.

Uh-oh. She read it. The necklace says Jimmy - Kathy - Robert. Sadly, Uncle Robert is Grandma's only living child. Needless to say, the necklace did bring tears.

From tears to babies... Velvet and Kyle arrived with their little sweetie pie.

She is so dang cute. She reminds me of a doll.

Great Grandma Jo had to get in some lovin'.

The chef started preparing dinner and the girls were enjoying the show.

After dinner, was time for the birthday celebration. They were beating the drums and singing loudly.

Needless to say, she LOVED it.

Grandma Jo and her BFF, Brenda.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!! We love you!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin

My Blog List

Who's Visiting Today?