Newborn Photo Faves

I have a confession: since I found out I was pregnant I’ve been planning all the fun photos I’m going to take with our new little baby (go figure). I think he might end up being the most photographed baby ever! I didn’t have a newborn session done with McKenzie (broke college kids), and it was before I’d discovered photography…it’s one of my biggest regrets. But I guess I’ve made up for it in the mean time!

Anyhow, I was going over some of my favorite newborn sessions from the past year, and thought I’d share some of my favorites. =) Which one do you like best? IMG_6195

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20 Weeks

20weeks.wordsAh, the official “normal person” half-way point in pregnancy! Yay! But alas, I am not normal. Blah. I think the insanely nice weather we’ve been having has made the itching worse…I’ve been trying to walk 2 miles/day, but I find it really exhausts me. That, and the warmer my body feels, the more my skin prickles. I’m trying to stay VERY hydrated and drink plenty of water & my favorite lemon-lime Gatorade. It’s such a crappy situation.

Because my itching as gotten worse the past few days, I have been referred to the Perinatal Clinic (high risk) at Meriter hospital for a consult, and see if they can offer any more relief. I mean, I’ve been waking up with bloody scratch marks on my legs, and I’m pretty positive we don’t have a poltergeist in the house. ;)

Also, last week I met with my hepatologist (liver specialist), and he told me the medication has lowered my levels from 44 (toxic for baby) to 25. Much improved, but still elevated (10 is normal). So that’s good. AND ON TOP OF ALL THIS, my doctor also suspects that I have “carpal tunnel syndrome of pregnancy,” because my right had has been getting numb/tingly, so I’m supposed to wear a wrist brace when I sleep. Not sure if that’s gonna fly. Anyway, on to the survey:

How far along are you? 20 weeks, 2 days. He will probably be here in 4 months! That’s crazy.

How big is the baby? According to my BabyCenter App, it’s about the size of a banana.

Weight Gain? Still 7 lbs.

Maternity clothes? Loose work-out clothes (still yoga pants & sweatshirts)…helps the itching.

Stretch marks? Tiny ones on my inner thighs. And my boobies.

Sleep: Sleep has been better, I’m just taking 2 Benadryl before bed every night.

Best moment this week? Pregnancy-wise, Baby Boy’s movements have dramatically increased the past week or 2. Oh, and someone called me “tiny” today…definitely haven’t been called tiny in awhile. Haha.

Movement? Yep! ^^

Food cravings? Last week it was French Onion Soup. Yum! And yesterday I posted the recipe for all to enjoy!

Food aversions? Nope.

Labor signs? Nope.

Gender? BOY!

Symptoms? Itchy. And now whenever I sneeze, McKenzie asks, “Did you pee, Momma?!” Hahaha. Joy.

Belly button in or out? In. With McKenzie it just went flat…it was never an “outie.”

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Happy or moody? Pretty happy.

What I miss: My hubbs. But I think we’ll get to speak every Sunday now. Yay! Something to look forward to.

What I am looking forward to: 20 week Anatomy Scan tomorrow! I’ll probably post pics ASAP. And I’m also looking forward to meeting with the Perinatal Specialist to see if there’s any itching-relief in my future. And tomorrow night I meet our doula!

Restaurant-Quality French Onion Soup in Under an Hour!

Restaurant-Quality French Onion Soup in Under an Hour!

image via thehealthyfoodie.com

Seriously, the past few weeks I have been absolutely craving French Onion Soup. I made it twice! My sister introduced me to this recipe, and with a few tweaks it’s absolute perfection. Definitely restaurant quality! And the best part is: it takes less than an hour to make. If you don’t already have some soup-style bakeware, I found these CorningWare Mugs at my local grocery store, and they work perfectly for serving. =)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sliced onions (about 3 large onions…I used 1 red, 1 white, and 1 yellow)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 32 oz. box beef stock
  • 2 cans beef broth
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup cooking sherry
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 loaf french bread
  • 1/2 lb provolone cheese slices (or cheese of your choice!)

Directions:

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in an 8 quart stock pot on medium heat, add the onions. Brown the onions, stirring occasionally (approximately 20, minutes or until the onions are tender & brown). 5 minutes before the onions are done, add the minced garlic.
  2. Add beef stock, broth, thyme, sherry, and wine.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste, and simmer (covered) for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat the oven broiler, and toast bread for approximately 3 minutes, or until toasted.
  5. Ladle soup into oven-safe serving bowls and place 1-2 slice(s) of the toasted bread on top of each. Layer each slice of bread with 2 slices of provolone. Place bowls on cookie sheet and broil in the preheated oven until cheese bubbles and browns slightly (about 6 minutes).
  6. Serve & enjoy! (But be careful, it’s very hot!)

Parent’s Day @ Ballet!

Today was “Parent’s Day” at McKenzie’s ballet class, so we got to observe. It was so cute, and she had a lot of fun. =) There’s a recital on Sunday, so that should be cute too…but that goofy girl can’t keep her tongue in her mouth, she sticks it out whenever she’s focused (a la Michael Jordan). Ha. Baby boy was dancing around the whole time too. Gosh, I love that feeling. He’s getting stronger & stronger every day!

And if you’ve noticed that I’m blogging a bit more than usual, there are a couple reasons: 1) I’m trying to keep a record for Jon, and 2) I’m going a little stir-crazy with McKenzie by myself and craving an outlet/adult interaction. Ya dig? Sorry if I’m blowing up your inbox! (But not really…)

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Alright y’all, I’m going through husband withdrawals.

Since Jon’s been gone, I’ve spoken to him for a total of probably 20 minutes and gotten 2 letters (it’s been a month and a half!). I’m going crazy! I’ve certainly been spoiled having him around the past 6 years while we were both in school. I miss him TONS. I certainly didn’t think it would be easy, but we didn’t know we were looking at 6 months of training…we thought it would be 4. And now, since Baby Boy needs to be born early, I’m thinking Jon won’t be able to be there for his birth (but we don’t know for sure)…but it seriously sucks you guys.  =(

On a happy note, in this post, I mentioned that we get to see him next month for a 48 hour leave at Fort Benning. I’m so excited! Thanks to some advice from Liz @ TheLambentLife I got some insider scoop on the Columbus area, so we’re all booked up for flights & hotel. On the downside it ended up being $1200 for airfare/hotel/car. OUCH. (And yes, I scoured the internet for the best deal.) But it’ll be totally worth it to have some time with him. McKenzie misses her daddy a ton.IMG_4079

So yesterday, I watched the documentary “The Business of Being Born” per the suggestion of another military wife, so now I’m looking into getting a Doula & considering a natural birth (aside from the induction)…maybe? My epidural with McKenzie was heavenly. I slept during labor. Anyhow, there’s a program called Operation Special Delivery, for military wives: Doulas volunteer their time to wives who don’t have support nearby, or whose husbands will likely not be there for the births. I haven’t heard back yet, but I think it would be great to have another supporter/advocate there with me.

And since I realized that I have very, very few photos of me & McKenzie, here are a couple from last spring. I’m ever the photographer! I think it’s a curse. We were at Olbrich Gardens here in Madison. It’s so beautiful there!

In other photography news, I did have a super fun newborn session on Monday…we got some beautiful photos! I think our Baby Boy might end up being one of the most photographed babies ever. ;) And man, he is really starting to amp-up his movements! Greatest feeling ever. =)

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19 Weeks

19 weeks.words

Urgh, I’m sorry all my posts have been mostly pregnancy related…but alas, it has consumed my life lately. I can’t believe I’m 19 weeks already! I promise I’ll have a blog featuring my new stroller, and some goodies I picked up in Cali on our trip soon. Here we go again:

How far along are you? 19 weeks…I’m officially half-way, since I need to deliver by 38 weeks. Only like 4 months to go! That’s crazy.

How big is the baby? According to my BabyCenter App, it’s about the size of an heirloom tomato.

Weight Gain? I’m up 7lbs. I’m pretty pleased with that, I think I was at 15 by now with McKenzie.

Maternity clothes? Yoga pants & sweatshirts are my uniform of choice.

Stretch marks? A tiny one on my inner thigh. And my boobies, which are leaking now. Oh joy.

Sleep: My itching is much worse at night, so my doc suggested Benadryl…not for the itching, but to knock me out. Worked like a charm last night! I slept like a man. =)

Best moment this week? We booked  trip to visit Jon next month! I’m so excited. It was EXPENSIVE for a 48 hour trip, but I don’t even care. Oh well.

Movement? He’s getting stronger & more consistent every day. =) I love that feeling. He’s tumbling around right now.

Food cravings? Bite Size Tostitos (my fave) covered in Sharp Cheddar. And also scallops (this recipe is easy and delicious…I use sea scallops. It’s one of the safest pregnancy seafoods).  Weird.

Food aversions? Nope.

Labor signs? Nope.

Gender? BOY!

Symptoms? Not as itchy, thank goodness. Nothing to speak of. Gotta love 2nd trimester. =)

Belly button in or out? In. With McKenzie it just went flat…it was never an “outie.”

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Happy or moody? Pretty happy. A little overwhelmed with cleaning up the house post-vacay.

What I miss: Not a whole lot, pre-pregnancy wise. Maybe my body obviously…I’m in that awkward stage where it’s not clear if I’m fat or pregnant. Haha.

What I am looking forward to: Seeing Jon next month, obviously. But we also have the 20 week anatomy ultrasound next Wednesday (May 1st), so I’m excited to see Baby Boy again.

A Great Week, In Sum

Time is going really fast lately, and I think that’s great! I miss Jon SO much and it can’t go fast enough. I’ve been staying really busy, and I have wonderful friends who take the time to come visit me & hang out. It’s pretty great. Here is the last week in sum:

Monday: In the morning I ran errands and then in the afternoon McKenzie and I had our little photo sesh with the baby shoes to announce the sex of the bebe. She’s such a good sport, it took all of 10 minutes…but then I locked us out of the building. A kindly neighbor let us in, but I need to make a *mental note to get spare keys and give them to Madison friends.* I spent the rest of the afternoon editing the photos & letting McKenzie play. BigCollageTuesday: This was McKenzie’s first day back at school from Spring Break, and THE BIG DAY to find out the sex of the baby! The appointment wasn’t until 4:30, so I cleaned house and did TONS of laundry (long overdue) to keep myself busy. While McKenzie was at school I took a long, glorious nap. I have been EXHAUSTED lately…the kind of tired that makes your eyelids feel like anvils on a thread. If you’ve been preggo, you know what I mean. When 4:30 FINALLY rolled around, we went to the appointment at Baby’s Debut here in Madison. Some people have asked McKenzie’s reaction to finding out she’s going to have a little brother…and honestly, her initial response was “EWWW! A penis!” Oh my gosh, it was hilarious. But she enjoyed seeing the baby too, and of course I love it. I would have an ultrasound every day if I could. This is my favorite pic, I think he looks so peaceful like he’s sleeping. And the technologist said everything looks great, so that’s always nice to hear. 10 fingers, 10 toes, healthy heart. At night, I wrote Jon a nice, long letter to mail off on Wednesday.wpid-KUEHL-BABY-BOY-16-WEEKS_18.JPG

Wednesday: Oh geez, I went and got my military ID at the local reserve office first thing in the morning. The photo is HORRENDOUS. I think the lady made me look like a troll on purpose. Blah. She was not friendly. And it’s so embarrassing, I’ll have to use it all the time! Urgh. I was not pleased. Anyway, I’d also had all the photos of Baby Boy printed at Walgreens, so I sent off a letter to Jon telling him the news. I’d contemplated calling the unit and asking if they could tell him, but I think a personal with photos is a little more romantical. Ya know? Then, around lunchtime my good friend Stephanie came into town for a sleepover. She’s a music teacher at an elementary school, and she brought a ukelele for McKenzie to play with. She is a rockstar with McKenzie! They sang and danced SO much, so of course McKenzie was head-over-heels! Many adorable moments ensued, including this “You Are My Sunshine” duet. *melt* We went to the mall after McKenzie was done with school. then had a lovely evening, complete with pizza & a Disney movie marathon.

Thursday: Since we’d had a sleepover, we got some delicious breakfast at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner. The food was amazing, as always. Then Stephanie had to go home, and I took McKenzie to school…after which I had another long, glorious nap. Did I mention that the weather has been GORGEOUS? I’ve been walking the dogs to school when I drop-off/pick-up McKenzie and taking the long way back home. It adds up to 2.5 miles per day (1.25 round-trip, one way). Go me, that’s more than I’ve gotten in awhile. How sad. Darn Wisco winters. =/ I’m going to make a point of walking whenever the weather’s nice.

Friday: McKenzie has ballet Friday mornings, then after I quickly stopped into the doctor’s office. I’ve been having the most horrible itching…like widespread, horrible itching. Like, so bad it wakes me up. They were concerned it was early pre-eclampsia, but my blood pressure was fine, so they did some labs to test for something else that’s a little more scary. I should hear back about that tomorrow. After the short doc visit, our long-lost neighbor came to visit with her 2-year-old. What a handsome little guy! We got to chat while the kiddos played, and even took the dogs/kiddos to a nearby playground to get some energy out. She gave me a great idea for a future blog: balancing dogs & kids. It’s pretty rough some days, especially being alone lately. I feel so guilty sometimes, like I’m a terrible dog owner. =( Sooo, more to come on that another day.

Saturday: We finally got McKenzie a big girl bed! She was definitely outgrowing her toddler one, and she LOVES it. I had been looking for one for awhile, and finally settled on this one…and I’m SO pleased. It’s solid wood, very sturdy, and it was on sale for $189 when I bought it. Compared to some “standard” white twin bed frames I was looking at it was a steal! Plus, it’s a space saver, and she loves using the ladder. But I spent the ENTIRE day putting it together by myself and rearranging her room (although I’m not satisfied with the layout yet). The bed took 2 hours, but it was extremely easy. We don’t have the mattress yet, but I ordered the special 6″ bunk-bed mattress, so she’ll still have ample railing space still to prevent any rolling accidents, as per suggestions in the reviews. I do love that it’s not too high for her (chest height), so I’m not too worried about her falling. I would’ve loved a bed like this when I was a kid! I think I might put up a tension rod & some curtains underneath to make the “fort” even cooler.

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Sunday (today): We had a lazy morning…McKenzie slept in until 9! It was amazing. Around 1, we headed over to a 1st birthday party for my BFF’s identical twin boys! It was so cute, and her decor was awesome. It’s been so fun to watch them grow up the past year! And of course, McKenzie had fun playing with all the balloons. And there was pulled pork…the same to-die-for pulled pork recipe that I’ve posted. Yummm. Then McKenzie and I went to run some errands: a quick trip to the grocery store, and a successful trip to Michael’s (craft store)… To elaborate, I have been eying these adorable Easter Baskets at Pottery Barn Kids for the past 2 months, but I absolutely could not justify spending $30-$50 on an Easter basket…no matter how cute, even if it’ll be used every year. Anyway, at Michael’s all the Easter stuff was on clearance for 70% off, and I managed to score this Easter basket for a grand total of $5.60 (originally $16.99). I was pleased! It might not be *as* cute, but I think I can trick it out a bit. Either way, it’s definitely a cute upgrade. =)basketAll-in-all it was a great week. Finding out we’re having a BOY was definitely the highlight though. I look at those little ultrasound pictures every day. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe I’m even pregnant since I’m not that big yet! Soon enough. I’m sure I’ll be eating those words in a month. Lol. Today I am officially 17 weeks, but here is my 16 week photo since I forgot to post it last week. And no, I am not angry (as some FB commenters noted)…that is my straight face. Yes, I have an angry-looking straight face. Thanks for noticing. Haha. 16weeks.words

This week, we’re looking forward to going to visit Grandpa Jeff for a week in California. There is sure to be lots of yummy food, boat-riding, and dolphin-watching! Have a great week everyone. =)

Boy or Girl?!

Tomorrow is the big day! In less than 24 hours we should know if Baby #2 is a boy or girl! I am SO excited. I’ve wanted to know since the day I took the pregnancy test. ;)

So today I took these photos of McKenzie to announce the sex, using boy or girl newborn shoes. I’m so happy with how they turned out! Especially since I will be using these photos to announce the sex to Jon via snail mail (I finally have his address, and I was overjoyed to talk to him for 10 minutes yesterday for Easter!). Plus, I loved the pregnancy announcement photos involving McKenzie, so this was fun. I love that she gets to be a part of it. Do you like ’em? My only complaint is that the newborn shoes don’t look as little in her tiny hands! ;) Any last guesses?! Personally, I’m feeling boy since I’ve have 3 boy dreams in the past week. We shall see!BigCollage

Happy Spring.

We saw our first robins the other day, so hopefully spring is around the corner. It was finally 40°-50°F the past couple days. Nina (paternal grandma), came to Madison to watch McKenzie so I could have some girl time and go shopping for Easter goodies for the basket. I managed to find some great non-candy items, as well as some yummy treats she’s been eying at the store.easterbasket2012So this morning McKenzie woke up and discovered that the Easter Bunny had filled plastic eggs and hid them all over the house…and hid her basket in the shower! Silly Bunny. She totally did the “overjoyed face,” complete with wide-eyes and palms to her cheeks. We had a great morning! Happy Spring everyone. =)easter 2012

A whole week?

Wow, I usually don’t go a whole week without posting. I guess I’ve been “busy.” My sister and niece visited last week during her spring break, and this week we reciprocated with a visit to their new house in Minnesota! Their closing/loan underwriting process was quite a hassle, so I know she’s relieved it’s over. The house is lovely, it’s a great “forever home!” I can’t wait to own a house someday, a condo is just not the same. To be able to simply let the dogs out a door will be heavenly…

Anyway, I got them this wicked-cool decorative tripod clock as a housewarming gift. At least I know Jesse likes it…men are not prone to rejoice over home decor, I suppose.

tripodclockBut we’re home now, and it’s McKenzie’s spring break. I think I’m going to enroll her in K5 for the fall here in Madison, just in case we don’t have a “post” with the Army yet. The local elementary school has a Spanish dual-immersion program I’m considering, BUT I know it’s only beneficial long-term if they complete the programs, so I’m not sure it makes sense if we’ll be moving. That said, I speak Spanish so it might be cool even if it’s for a little while.

And I haven’t heard from Jon. I guess we’re going to be pen pals the next few months. =( And I don’t know when we’ll see him again. But McKenzie and I are settling into a routine, though. I got her a Shutterfly photo book with only photos of her & her Daddy. She loved it and sat down with it right away. It was really cute, I’m so happy she likes it.

In the Bebe department, I had my first visit with my actual doctor last week, and I really like her. She was super approachable, friendly, and great with McKenzie (which is important to me because she’ll probably be coming with me a lot). And is it bad that I like her because she’s young? But I do. I don’t want my doc to be an out-of-touch old fart. No offense to them. Anywho, the baby’s heartbeat was 145 and everything looks good. And we get to find out the sex in 1 week! As in, in 1 week I will know if it’s a boy or girl. Woot! Any guesses? Come on…

And because pregnancy can make any lady feel gross & icky, here is a picture I like of myself. Yes, it is a year old. And yes, I really like this hat & scarf. Oh, and I’ve been having pretty awesome risqué dreams lately. This lady ain’t complainin’. Totally forgot about that part. ;)mewglasses