Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It's my 24-week bump update, or bumpdate!

You'll also notice me modeling my fab new diaper bag! Here's a closer look:

(Nifty stroller straps)

So, I decided on the OiOi Sand Dot Hobo diaper bag. It's large. There's no shortage of pockets and pouches. I ordered it through Diapers.com with a discount code and free shipping. However, the bag was supposed to come with accessories — a matching changing pad, wipes case and insulated bottle pouch. Those did not arrive with the bag. Diapers.com contacted the manufacturer for me and I've been told that the manufacturer is sending the accessories to me no questions asked, so I'm just waiting patiently for that to happen. If it doesn't, I sadly will have to send the bag back :-(

In the meantime, my initial response is that I really like the bag. The outside looks like it might be a little more difficult to clean. Rather than being a slick surface like it appeared to be in the web pictures, it looks more like a fabric with Scotchgard. I guess I'll have to let Nora take the bag for a true test drive when she gets here. Also, I better never fill that bag up or I imagine my neck and back will pay the price (I'm grateful for the messenger strap).

As for pregnancy, the second trimester is continuing to treat me wonderfully. Nora is in the middle of a growth spurt. I could eat a house and still be hungry!!! In the next two weeks I will be entering the third trimester and she will be over 2 pounds. I feel her kick all the time now — and we're even starting to see my stomach moving as she runs out of room. I'm finally starting to really show and it's nice that people are brave enough to chat me up about pregnancy. We've finally started work on the nursery, too. We've picked out a paint color and furniture.  The painter is supposed to pay us a magical visit this week, but I know how these things go (and he's already put us off once).

I'm excited for the weekend. I'm going to visit my folks for some SC spoiling' while my husband stays behind to get some work done. Also, my mom and I are going to get started on some of Nora's custom nursery accessories! Can't wait to share pictures of Nora's crib...hehehe, literally. Her crib. Get it?

Monday, July 23, 2012

My triumphal kitchen re-entry!

Ohmigosh I missed cooking and eating healthy food!!!!! I've been cooking up a storm lately trying to compensate for all the horrible fast food I ate first trimester.

For example, check this simple, go-to stir-fry of mine:

This one is simple: I add a little vegetable oil to a wok and brown some minced garlic. Then I toss in some mushrooms for a few minutes with some butter. Add soy sauce and ginger (I go light) to taste and then toss in the broccoli. Once the mushrooms and broccoli are tender, I add some chopped green onions for another minute or so. Meanwhile, in a separate pan I cook some chicken strips that I've marinated for at least a half hour in olive oil with a dash of McCormick Steak seasoning. Chop the cooked chicken into cubes and add to the mushroom-broccoli mixture. Serve over brown rice. You can modify this basic recipe to make it your own based on what you have in the house.

In addition to cooking more, I've been branching out in the culinary department. I finally committed to using my Southern Living cookbook, and I haven't regretted a recipe! If you've never tried SL's beef stroganoff, you should! It was a crowd pleaser and I was excited that it called for sherry (you know you're not a real cook until you've cooked with sherry...or am I the only one who grew up thinking that??).

I'm glad to be eating healthier, but we also decided to commit to a meal plan for another important reason. Jonathan and I have implemented and been trying to follow a budget. We decided that with Nora's pending arrival, we needed to be a family with a financial plan. We're saving so much money by meal planning and cooking rather than dining out. And most days we have leftovers that we can take to work for lunch. As a bonus, I take tremendous comfort knowing exactly what I'm feeding my family.

I've even been experimenting with some delicious mocktails (for the uninitiated, that's a cocktail minus the alcohol). Hey, you gotta make effort to keep life interesting when you're living on a budget (I call it my reward system, and I always leave room in the budget for treats!). Just recently I made a faux mint julep with a simple syrup I concocted using mint from my garden splashed into lemonade poured over crushed ice. Don't forget to garnish with more mint. It was pretty and delish — a refreshing summer beverage.

How do you keep things interesting in the kitchen? I'd love some tips!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th!

We have thankfully survived our second annual Fourth of July backyard barbecue. It was a whole lotta fun, too. Thank you to our dear friends who celebrated with us!! Our goal when we purchased our home (now 2 years ago) was to have a space we could open up to people. In the spirit of honesty I should say that wanting to clean and then let people potentially mess up my handy work has never come naturally for me, but I'm really glad I keep stepping outside my comfort zone for fellowship. Our house never feels more like a home than when it's filled with joy and laughter.

Before I photo dump, let me say a special thanks to Lezlee and Ryan for driving the farthest to visit :-) Oh, and she did pick my nursery color, too (I love having talented friends). Thanks to everyone who brought items to contribute. And, thanks to Sierra and Dane for staying late and hiking up to the high school with us to watch the community fireworks show. I should plan to be in bed all day to recuperate from the past few days, but I think I'd rather use my last official vacation day this week doing nursery tasks since the contractor is coming in two weeks to re-sheetrock that room!

Ok, here are a few of the photos I managed to snap before I got distracted by all the fun I was having!

(Kotrla kids = cuties!)

(Lezlee the sparkler girl)

(The gang watching Jonathan shoot fireworks)

(The man w/ the lighter himself. He likes to blow things up.)

Hope everyone had a fun, safe holiday wherever they were!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Halfway there!

I've made it to 20 weeks, meaning I'm halfway there!! In some ways it feels like I've been pregnant forever (maybe because I'm so excited to meet Nora), and in some ways it feels like I blinked to get to this point. I'm terrified when I think of it in terms of the latter because the next time I blink I better be prepared for her to be here.

The big, recent development is that I'm starting to feel her move on a regular basis. Her movements are getting strong enough that Jonathan actually felt her move this past weekend. We've already come to realize that she's a daddy's girl. Every time she hears his voice she goes crazy. I can sense his presence in the room or next to me in bed in the middle of the night and she'll start flipping!

Here's my 20-week, Nora bump:

In addition to slowly getting started on the nursery, I've also begun my Babies-R-Us registry. You can check that out online and start sending me/Nora presents :-)

This blog is going to be short because the Fourth of July is tomorrow and we're hosting another big party. I can't wait to share our pics from our second annual backyard barbecue!!