Category Archives: Life

9 Months Pregnant! (And Other Happenings)

You guys, I hate being inconsistent with posting here. But my life right now? Very inconsistent.

Audrey’s due date is in one month! My 8th month of pregnancy was the busiest and craziest month since probably the month before we got married (nearly three years ago). I figured I’d bring in some photos from the last month since I haven’t posted in a while.

My sister-in-law graduated high school! We are so proud of her — she’s even already finished a semester of college because she finished her high school classes early. Some of Alex’s family came into town to celebrate, and we threw a fun graduation party for her.

At 33 weeks, my OB told me that I was measuring 3 weeks ahead. There were a lot of possible reasons for this, so he decided to order an ultrasound for the baby to get measured and to check amniotic fluid levels. Baby’s measurements were normal for 33 weeks (approximate weight was 4.5 lbs, in the 44th percentile) and the fluid levels were normal. The only notable explanation for why I was measuring so big was because she was frank breech — her head was up towards my chest, and she was folded in half at the hips. So, of course, all we could see in the ultrasound was her legs. We did get a top-down shot of her head, and the ultrasound tech showed us that she does, in fact, have some hair!

As of now (almost 36 weeks) she is still breech; I am doing some stretches / exercises to encourage her to turn around. Every other day, she will flip to be more sideways than breech, but she hasn’t turned all the way yet. Doctor said they will discuss options for turning at 37 weeks if she’s still breech.

Memorial Day weekend, Alex organized and went on a bachelor trip, so I got to go to the lake house with my parents. We had pretty good weather most of the weekend.

We did have one big storm blow through … look at that wall of clouds! Yikes.

Even though the water was frigid, I decided to take my first pregnancy swim. Cold, but worth it! (My swimsuit is a tankini from Target. It’s not maternity, it’s just two sizes larger than I’d normally buy. The Target employee told me they hadn’t gotten any maternity suits in this year *eye roll* … I could go on and on about how unimpressive Target’s maternity selection is.)

Alex returned from his bachelor trip towards the end of the week after Memorial Day. Then, a couple of days later, we made a six-hour road trip to attend a friends’ wedding for a weekend. I am so happy to say that this exhausting trip will be my last one for this pregnancy — It is getting too risky to be far from home, and it is getting tiring to be packing, unpacking, and trying to get comfortable in beds that aren’t my own. The doctor even highly encouraged me to stop travelling at 36 weeks. Yes ma’am, no problem!

I am looking forward to the next month; I am going to try to really soak it up and enjoy it because I know I’ll miss being pregnant after baby arrives. There is still quite a bit left to do before she gets here… maternity photos, pack the hospital bags, finish washing and sorting her clothes (foreseeably a never-ending task), install the car seats, and many more things that my pregnant-brain can’t remember.

Every little chore exhausts me. Just walking up and down the stairs to retrieve a basket of laundry requires I sit down to recover afterwards. Regardless of how difficult and uncomfortable life is getting at this point, I am thankful to have such a great support system and I truly can’t wait to meet our baby girl in just one month!

xo,
Jan

Weekend Snapshots

This post is a little late, but better late than never! (I actually don’t really live by that philosophy… I’m too type A for that… but I’m trying.)

Paint Color

On Friday, my mom had the day off from work, so we decided to paint the nursery. I wasn’t able to get up and down the ladder, or crawl around to tape the baseboards, but I NAILED IT with the big paint roller.

This was Rain’s general demeanor the entire weekend. She’s a bit confused about all the time and effort we’ve been spending on this room … she will understand soon. Poor girl!

Here is where the color scheme is going for the nursery. My parents painted that old dresser for me, and replaced the knobs. I love how it turned out!

On Saturday, we had the whole day to get a lot of tasks done in and out of the house. I love having an open weekend day!

Our Saturdays usually start with Alex making breakfast. I love this tradition — most mornings, we are rushing around, making and eating breakfast separately and on-the-go. On the weekends, we usually have a morning where we can take our time and, as Jack Johnson would encourage us to do, “wake up slow.”

And, of course, the pup gets spoiled on Saturday mornings, too!

Saturday night, we enjoyed a ginormous bonfire at a friends’ house. Two of my friends right now have very little baby girls, so it was nice to sit and talk with them for a while. I looooove bonfire season (which is basically just the months of May and October around here).

And of course, Sunday was Mother’s Day. We celebrated with both Alex’s family and my family, and we got our mamas some sweet gifts (including wine, because HELLO). It was VERY warm outside, but perfect for the holiday spent with family.

Many people wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, and I am very appreciative! However, I’m not quick to call special events like this “firsts” while baby is in utero; instead, I considered this Mother’s Day Zero, and next year will be my true first! I can’t wait!

xo,
Jan

Weekend Snapshots

Friday was a bit of an adventure in food for me. I decided that morning that I should start taking the extra effort to pay attention to my nutrition (particularly my macros) so that it isn’t super difficult for me to bounce back when baby is here.

So I did avocado on some grainy toast with sea salt for breakfast. Avocado is always a good decision. Always.

But then, Friday was also Cinco de Mayo. I had cooked dinner all week, and I needed a night where dinner came a little easier. So I loosened my grip on that whole “macros” idea from that morning…

And Casey’s taco pizza it was! Plus, Alex found liquor-free Jose Cuervo for only $2 a bottle, so I did get to enjoy a virgin margarita. Our makeshift Cinco de Mayo dinner (plus the Blues winning Game 5 of the series) did not disappoint.

Sunday was our baby shower / Alex’s diaper party … what a day! I loved every minute of it — our friends and family went above and beyond! Here are some photos from the shower.

The weather was B-E-A-utiful, the decor was whimsical, and the company was awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better day! I am truly amazed, and so thankful for all of the love shown for Baby Audrey already. Alex and I feel so full. <3

Oh, I had to include this sweet photo of my husband and my pup snuggling this weekend, too. *heart eyes emoji*

xo,
Jan

Weekend Snapshots

We got so. much. rain. this weekend. I know the rain is a huge blessing to the earth, but gosh… I thought we might need a kayak to get out of the neighborhood safely. *quack quack*

Anyway, rain or shine, I had the great pleasure of being part of my best friend’s wedding this weekend. We’ve all been waiting very (im)patiently for this awesome couple to get hitched. Every single part of it was uniquely them: the Irish car bomb before the ceremony, the gigantic barn where all the festivities were held, the option to have pizza at dinner, the DJ playing most of the music on vinyls… it was a dream!

Fortunately, there was a break in the rain for several hours in the afternoon. I loved this: they chose not to see one another before the ceremony, but they wanted to have a special moment on opposite walls of a barn, where they clinked their glasses before sharing an Irish car bomb, and the photographer got some of the sweetest photos of them. I was already starting to tear up. :’)

Due to the rain, our pup had to lay low inside a lot. I felt like I had eyes on me at all times. o.o

My brother turned 20 this weekend, so we celebrated over his favorite food (and thing in general, I’m sure): pizza. It is actually impossible to get a good photo of him. Look, here are some more from last summer when I was trying to capture memories of our July 4th trip to the lake…

See?! I’ve accepted it. I guess if what I really want is an authentic photo of this guy and his personality, this really does the job. Happy birthday, Jared!

One last thing I want to show you. I went to WalMart just to get some groceries… but then…

This bathing suit. I couldn’t. It is 0-3 months, and looks even tinier in person than in this photo. I knew when I picked it up that it was so, so impractical; I mean, what purpose does an infant have for a cutesy bathing suit? She won’t even be able to sit up yet, and I’m going to have to keep most of her skin covered and protected from the sun…

But I knew why I had to get it… had to… it’s all about the pictures. 🙂

xo,
Jan

Springtime Babymoon

Last week was a hard week for us. I won’t get into details, but there was many-a-sleepless-night for several folks in my family, including myself. Alex and I have had this “babymoon” (our last trip with just the two of us before baby girl arrives) planned for a long time — but, by the end of the week, I was exhausted, anxious, and I could come up with ten reasons we shouldn’t go on our babymoon. The weather projected rain all weekend and low temperatures, so I was increasingly un-excited about going.

Alex spoke a lot of positivity and wisdom to our situation, and said that, if anything, all the reasons I was anxious and bummed should be the reasons we needed a weekend away. He was so right; the things I was anxious about were things that I’d only add unrest to if I were home to worry about them. Plus, it was going to be cold and rainy at home anyway, so why not spend it at the lake house?

Since it was rainy outside, we had plenty of time in the lake house to be disconnected from social media and technology, and enjoy time with each other uninterrupted. We were able to catch up on TV shows, do some reading, and we got to see our St. Louis Blues bring home a series win against the Minnesota Wild!

This was a “babymoon” without the usual pomp and frills. We went to our family’s lake house, and did things that we would normally do if we were down there (minus kayaking and swimming, because spring is yucky.) We didn’t plan or pay for an extravagant vacation; sure I would’ve loved a long vacation, but our financial priorities actually left us feeling very satisfied about the simplicity of this trip!

We were only a short trip away from one of our favorite restaurants; my belly was happy, and even the baby was very satisfied with our dinner choice.

I mean, can we just take a moment to admire this beautiful french dip sandwich? Gosh. And the bacon and chive potato salad? Heaven. I am not usually the type to order the same thing twice at a restaurant, but I’ve definitely had this dish more than once. Not ashamed.

All in all, it was great to get away for a couple of days. When we got home, it is almost like I forgot what I was freaking out about before we left. The problems that had come up the week before had been resolved on their own, without my constantly worrying over them.

I learned a lot from this little bump in the road; our worry doesn’t ever fix a problem. It just gives us more gray hair, and gives us the false illusion that we have some semblance of control over the events in our lives… good, bad, or ugly. I realized that, by being anxious, I was robbing myself of being present and kept myself from having gratitude for the many blessings upon blessings in my life.

My mom told me last week that she often looks at the day ahead of her, full of to-do’s and commitments, and frets about whether it will all get done. And somehow, it just does. (She’s a wise woman, she is. I am so thankful for her.)

Jesus even instructed in Matthew 6 that surely, since God keeps all the birds of the world fed, He will satisfy whatever it is that we need. And the truth is, we don’t always know what we need, or what’s best for us, or what will help us grow, but He does. We run around frantically trying to keep ourselves and the people around us fed, clothed, and happy. At some point its time to rest, and trust that it all will get taken care of, because somehow, it always does.

xo,
Jan

It’s a Girl! Plus a Budget-Friendly Gender Reveal

We are having a girl! Her name is Audrey Marie, and she is growing right on schedule. At our baseline ultrasound, we got to see that she was, in fact, a girl, and we watched her move around (we hadn’t seen her since I was seven weeks pregnant!). My mom and Alex’s mom both got to see her on the ultrasound screen, too. It was an exciting day!

We weren’t able to set up a way for Alex and I to be surprised about the gender because schedules just didn’t work out, so we decided to surprise our close friends on our own. One of the ways we did that was by setting up a gender reveal party on Valentine’s Day; our friends could join us for dessert and drinks at our house after their Valentine’s Day dinners to be surprised about the gender. We were on a tight budget for the party but we still had a lot of fun; here are some tips to save some money on a great party (gender reveal or otherwise).

1. Don’t cook an entire meal. Just do dessert or snacks for your guests. Don’t throw a big party with a full meal if you don’t have to. The nature of a gender reveal party, to me anyway, feels like the stakes are much lower than that of a shower or holiday/birthday celebration, so I didn’t want to invest in feeding people an entire meal. The timing of our party being on Valentine’s Day really helped because we knew people would have arrangements for dinner otherwise.

I made gender reveal cupcakes, and I had candy and drinks available for people. That was it; I didn’t make four different types of desserts or make snack trays. I kept it simple. Moreover, I found the candy for cheap because it was Valentine’s Day. I bought the box of cake mix and icing from Aldi, and simply used food coloring to color the frosting.

2. Keep decorations simple. I actually didn’t formally “decorate.” My mom had bought a blue and pink teddy bear before we knew the gender, plus she bought those blue and pink king babies for the cupcakes. The kitchen and dining room were filled with pink and blue, and it took basically zero effort on my part. Use your food, early baby gifts, and free prints off of the internet to decorate. Another inexpensive/free option is to pick up a bunch of color-appropriate paint chip cards at the hardware store and make a banner out of them.

3. Include time for some fun games. I found some fun, Valentine’s themed “Minute to Win It” games, which cost me less than $5 to set up. Also, I had people vote for the gender they believed our baby to be, which created a little bit of fun competition between the “teams.” Games like these won’t break the bank, and they will give your guests a memorable evening.

4. Be minimal in your guest list. Because of our time crunch, we only invited a group of our closest friends. Our families already knew, and there were friends that I texted with the news. Having a smaller gathering saved me on money and time, and it felt a lot more special because we could genuinely visit with everyone.

(Would you look at that? Maybe those old wives’ tales are onto something!)