Sunday, July 31, 2011

This week in Pregnancy

This week has been a much better week to me. To start, I only threw up once and that was only because I choked on my gigantic prenatal vitamin, again. My allergies are still an everyday issue and battle, but the awful sinus headaches have given me a bit of a break since Monday. Sleeping is still difficult, mainly because I just cant seem to get comfortable. I flip from hip to hip all night long, and my hips have been feeling the abuse. We went for a walk on Friday night and I woke up Saturday morning with an awful pain/cramp in the back of my right leg. It caused me great concern all of Saturday, but I'm pretty sure that my new pregnancy stride has something to do with it. I have been seeing the chiropractor twice a week and I'm not sure what I would do without him, Thank You Tim you are the very best. I was able to eat and enjoy food all week. Unfortunately my husband has been indulging in daddy cravings and stocked the house with junk food that I lectured him about and then ate. My baby bump has had a major growth spurt, but the number on the scale has not. At 18 weeks I have only gained 7 pounds which as of this morning dropped to 6. I'm not sure how that happened, especially since I had my share of junk food this week. Here is a side by side of weeks 14 & 18.

I think that I look like two different people in these photos. It is amazing what a difference 4 weeks can bring. My bump has clearly grown, and apparently the rest of me is shrinking. I'm not sure if my face was just bloated at 14 weeks, or if I am just loosing weight in my face. I think it's a combo of both. When I first started telling my friends that I was pregnant, I had started showing right way. All of my girlfriends that have had children said that it was just bloat and it would go down. Well the only directions that my baby bump has moved is up and out. Now my girlfriends are convinced that I am having twins due to the size of my growing bump. I was very open about the fact that I was on fertility treatment during our struggle to conceive, but I only took two cycles of treatment and then went off due to sickness. I was off the treatment for three months when we conceived naturally. I had an ultrasound at 8 weeks and there looks to be only one baby in there. Maybe the other is just hiding :)

On August 16th we will be having our 2nd ultrasound. I can't wait to see how much the baby has grow, and to find out if we are having a boy or a girl. I still constantly refer to the baby as she, but maybe that is only because most of the babies I'm around are girls. It seems like now most people think that the baby is a boy. I'm still leaning toward it being a girl. Which ever sex the baby may be, I'm thrilled either way. There will be many more babies to come. I think that we have agreed on a girls name. We are still working on a boys name. I also think that we will keep the name to ourselves until the baby is born. It amazes me how many people have such strong opinions on what you want to name your baby. I know that my name choices are a bit whimsical, comical and uncommon, but it's my baby. My friends know that they can tell me how ridiculous that they think a name like Topanga or Sparrow is and I wont be offended but that doesn't go for everyone. It is hard enough for Patrick and I to agree on the name. Once it is set in stone, I do not need anyone trying to change our mind. 

Building our Baby's Nursery

Since the moment that I found out that I was pregnant, I have been dreaming up ideas for our baby's nursery. 16 more days until we find out the baby's gender, and I am ready to get this room designed. I want to build and elegant room with a vintage style. My eye is drawn to white cribs with some sort of beautiful detail. Today we spent the day in Naperville shopping around for baby furniture. Of course the furniture that I fell in love with was the most expensive in the showroom, but aren't these sets beautiful?

The baby's room is going to be the room that I am currently sitting at my desk in typing this. This room in our house is currently a guest room/office/home of my orchids room. This room is also what Ellie believes is her private bedroom, and my moms favorite room to stay in when she visits. I'm pretty sure that my mom will be happy to give this room over to the baby, but Ellie may be a different story. 

I have been googling elegant nursery's for inspiration, and these are some of my favorites. 

We have wood floors throughout most of our house, but not currently in the bedrooms. Our garage is full of a large stack of wood that Patrick has been planning on putting into the bedrooms. This pile of hardwood has been sitting in our garage for 3 years. I think today that I have finally convinced Patrick to install the wood floors into the baby's room. I know that most people think carpet is better suited for a baby's room, and Patrick is one of those people, but I truly hate carpet. I don't care if its the cleanest carpet in the world, or brand new, I cant stand it. After much debate, I think that I have won this battle. Now I just wonder if he will install it in time for the baby's arrival :) 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grilled Chicken Summer Salad

This salad is so refreshing and so delicious, I could eat it everyday. It is so simple to make. The ingredients are very similar to my summer chicken salad. I wanted to come up with another meal that incorporated similar ingredients since they are already in the house.

1- Lettuce of your choice
2- Pecans
3- Blueberry Craisins
4- Mozzarella Cheese
5- Grilled Chicken Breast
6- Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing 

Tonight we are making Turkey Taco's. I've been thinking about them all day and I can't wait for Patrick to get home so we can start cooking. As you can tell, I've been on a streak with being able to eat and enjoy my food :) Maybe the baby was getting tired of starving. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fruity Chicken Salad

I do not do much of the cooking in our house. My husband is a fantastic cook, and I really think that he enjoys doing it on most days. My dad is also a fantastic cook, and growing up he always made me wonderful meals, even in my difficult vegetarian days. Now I eat chicken, fish and occasionally turkey, which makes things a bit easier for my husband, but he still asks me on a regular basis to expand my meat options, no thank you.  He did mention recently that it would probably be a good idea for me to pick up some skills so that I could cook for and feed our children. It is very important to me that our children have a healthy and well rounded diet full of fresh organic fruits & veggies and delicious homemade meals. Thankfully I still have some time before baby #1 is born and even more time before he/she starts eating solid foods. 

Finally in week 17 of my pregnancy I developed an appetite, and am somewhat confident that I can eat without getting sick, hopefully this will last. Last week out of the blue I started to think about a fruity chicken salad recipe that my mom has made for me a few times while visiting her. I instantly had to have it. I called my mom to go over a few things and I ran to the store at 6:30 pm to get my ingredients. I have made it twice now over the past 2 weeks and last night I took some pictures to share the recipe for you. It is a nice, light, refreshing summertime meal great for lunch or dinner time. I think it is also very appealing to children to eat and make. 

            Ingredients I used (without proper measurements) and instructions - 2 adult servings

2 Chicken Breasts, about 4 oz each - I boil the chicken breasts on the stove, well actually this part I do have Patrick do. I have come a long way, but I'm still not a fan of handling raw chicken. This process takes about 15 min. depending on the size of your chicken. Another easy option is to put the chicken breast in the crock pot in the morning and let it cook all day. 

After the chicken is fully cooked, let it cool before pulling it to shreds, unless you want to burn your hands like I did. If you are in a hurry, or starving, pop it in the fridge for 5 minuets. Once your chicken is cool, pull it apart into shreds. I cut the breast into a few sections and then pull it apart. Now toss your shredded chicken into a large bowl. 

Now that your shredded chicken is in a large bowl, the next step I like to do is to go ahead and add in your mayo, miracle whip or my preference vegenaise (we were all out so I settled for mayo). I prefer a light coating, but add as you please. I also believe that fresh lemon, or lemon juice belongs in every good meal. After I add my mayo, I add a few squirts of fresh lemon, or in today's case, a few squirts from the real lemon bottle. 

Now that your chicken is nicely coated with your mayo and lemon juice, next I like to add in some pecans and blueberry craisins. These were whole pecans that I cracked into pieces. I'd say that this was about 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup blueberry  craisins. 

And for the final touch, I added in some fresh blueberries and grapes. Again I used about 1/2 cup of grapes and 1/2 cup of blueberries. I don't think measuring is necessary for this recipe. Add as much or little as you please. 

And now you have yourself a delicious and refreshing summertime meal. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ellie-Mae & Pregnancy

In the beginning of my pregnancy Ellie-Mae was a little unsure about how she felt about the whole thing. She is a hound dog and her sense of smell is very impressive to say the least. I'm pretty sure that she knew that I was pregnant before I did. She started acting out like a toddler who just got the news that her parents were having a new baby. I was really concerned that we were going to have a difficult 9 months together.

 I had/have no doubt that she is going to be amazing with the baby. Claire, our neighbor and friends 2 year old daughter is Ellie's very best friend. They love to play together. Claire is fearless and has always gone right in for kisses and hugs. Claire goes right for Ellie's mouth sharing her outdoor toys and feeding her sticks. Ellie patrols the neighborhood and is always on guard around Claire's house. If anyone that Ellie doesn't recognize pulls in their driveway, Ellie goes crazy. Not always the reaction that we are looking for considering that all of the guests are wanted, but it's nice to know that Ellie is looking out for her. It may be different when the baby is ours and is living in the house full time and receiving a lot of our attention, but I anticipate Ellie being a wonderful big sister. 

When I was born my parents had 2 doberman who had 14 puppies. Greta, was the momma, and my protector. She stayed on guard at my bedroom door and under my crib. If you wanted to get to me, you had to get through her first. I loved her puppies and I thought that I was one of them. 

Things quickly turned around with Ellie and my pregnancy once I started to get really sick, which happened pretty fast and has not gone away. Ellie has been so loving and supportive. I have had to spend many days in bed, and Ellie is right there with me taking care of me. At night she falls asleep in my arms spooning the other side of my pregnancy pillow. She eventually makes her way down to the end of the bed, but always keeps constant contact with me. Most nights she places her paws against my feet. When Patrick goes to work in the morning, she moves into his spot in bed. We enjoy a couple of more hours of sleep and then she rolls over into my arms for a belly rub. After her belly rub, she rests her head on my baby bump. 
Ellie-Mae laying between my legs resting against my baby bump

On the days that I am sick in bed, she stays there with me and gives me constant comfort. The many times that I have had to run to the bathroom to throw up, she has run with me and been there to soothe me. When I'm feeling overwhelmed and so terribly sick that I start to cry, she licks the tears from my face and snuggles me until I start to laugh. 

On a very sick day. Don't I look pretty! Ellie was literally hugging me in bed for hours.

I feel very blessed and grateful that we have Ellie-Mae in our life. Dogs are a true blessing and it amazes me every day at how much they truly enrich our life. 

On a sad note, My friend April lost her amazing dog today. Anyone who has lost a dog knows how difficult and sad it is to lose such an important member of the family. My thoughts are with April and her family today as they say goodbye to Chance. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My baby has taken over my body

I have not sat down at my desk to blog lately because I have been busy being sick and pregnant. So basically I have been busy laying in bed doing a whole lot of nothing other than sleeping and being sick any time that I am home. Throughout my 1st trimester I felt like I was trapped at sea on a boat in the middle of nowhere with no end in sight. I was so nauseated all day/every day that all I wanted to do was throw up to get some relief. I don't think that exhaustion is a big enough word to describe how tired I was. Opening up my eyes in the morning was to much activity for me. 

The funny thing is, I thought that I was going to be one of those women who loves every minuet of being pregnant and never has 1 symptom. I was wrong. I have had every symptom and then some. 

I was counting down the days to trimester 2. I have read and been told by friends that you just magically wake up one morning and all of the terrible symptoms are gone and you are full of energy and feel amazing. Well, trimester 2 is here and that magical morning has not happened yet. The all day/everyday nausea has subsided, but has been replaced by all day/everyday heartburn and indigestion. I feel like a sword swallower in a circus act. I'm pretty sure that I could also breath fire if I wanted to. Apparently this means that the baby will have a lot of hair. I'm expecting her/him to come out looking like rapunzel. The extreme exhaustion has been replace with a tolerable tiredness, but I have now developed extreme allergies and migraines. I was never a fan of medicine before I was pregnant, but there are a couple of situations like a migraine that call for some serious medicating so I do not blow my brains out. Instead of being able to take some med's, I spent a week in bed with a bucket vomiting with my head packed in ice to numb the pain. 

There are times that I say that I am never doing this again and I plan to adopt the rest of our children. However, no matter how sick I have been, and may continue to be, I am still thrilled to be pregnant. This truly is the happiest time and I am absolutely amazed by the baby growing inside of me. I know the minuet that I hold her/him in my arms, I will be ready to do it all over again.