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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Baby Boy News & A Blog Makeover

Alrighty, so Baby Boy did not want to cooperate at his 20 week anatomy scan yesterday…he was head down with his face pointing toward my spine.  Although, in traditional boy fashion, he was not shy about showing off his ‘boy parts’ again. So that’s confirmed. I tried everything to get him to move, but he was pretty cozy I guess. Anyway, I have to go back to complete the scan so they get clear pictures of the heart, and proper nose/lip measurements. Dang! I really wanted a nice profile to compare to the one I have of McKenzie at her 20 week ultrasound. =) But I can’t complain! I love the see the little peanut. He was SO much bigger than he was at the 16 week ultrasound we had.

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Butt shot on the right, “boy parts” pointing toward the bottom left. Giant placenta blob on the left.

Also, I’m incredibly excited so share a little sneak peek of a blog re-design I’ve been working with my friend Kendall, at K.Marie Photo Design! I feel like I want my little slice of the internet to reflect my life, my style, and (most importantly) my writing. And of course I want to feel confident & happy about the space I present to the world as my own. So check it out, and let me know what you think! I love how it’s coming along, and I hope you do too. =)LSL_branddevelopment

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!)

Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids.

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So, while walking McKenzie to/from school 3 things happened:

1) We saw this glorious piece of work…pimp-mobile anyone? Then I’m wondering: are they passionate about cereal, or trying to make a clever implication that they like prostitutes? What’s the deal? McKenzie thought it was awesome though, she said, “Look! What a cool car! Can we get colorful wheels?”
2) Walking back from her school I got hollered at not once, but twice…no make-up & in workout clothes…obviously I’m not visibly preggo with a jacket on yet. Not gonna lie, it made my day. Haha.
AND 3) A young fellow with dreadlocks stopped his car and offered to help me walk my dogs, who were both heeling perfectly. Goodness, I’m flattered, but I cannot wait to move…we don’t even live in a bad area! Either way, I’m definitely ready for a change. And a single-family house. It’s nice to know I’ve still “got it” though. ;) Know what I’m sayin?

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

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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.

Home again, home again.

I’m still recovering from our horrific travel day home from California on Wednesday/Thursday…a snowstorm in Denver turned our 6 hour travel day (4 hours of airtime) into 18 hours. We finally got into Milwaukee at 3am. It would be horrible for anyone, but I was particularly exhausted being almost 5 months pregnant, and traveling with a 4 year old. And I am not one to invoke “pregnancy status” as an excuse for anything. McKenzie was such a trooper though, so that was definitely a plus.

As a silver lining in the whole mess, I discovered the USO. What a lifesaver! I always thought it was for active duty servicemen only…I had no clue it was for dependents too. Well, it was amazing. Free pizza, snacks, juice, water, internet, huge comfy recliners, big screen TV’s, phone chargers to borrow, and a play area for kids. The volunteers were the most awesome people ever…so kind & helpful. And after traveling 10 hours already, with 8 to go, I was on the verge of tears, and the USO was a little slice of heaven. No joke. Throughout the whole thing, McKenzie was an absolute ANGEL. No whining, crying, or tantrums. Angel status, for sure.

In California, now that was another story. She had a tantrum like 2x/day. Her sleep was all messed up from the time change, and let’s just say Jeff didn’t have a lot of food in the house…a perfect recipe for tantrums galore. Oh, you won’t escort me to the bathroom? 30 minute tantrum. Oh, did you say I need a nap? Spastic, exorcist tantrum. Moments like those, I could use a “tag” from Jon. =( I am happy to report, though, that her behavior is back to normal & she is currently spending her 2nd night in her big girl bed.

Overall, it was great to see Jeff, but I’m very happy to be home, and I won’t be traveling (voluntarily) for awhile. I had all these plans to stay busy, but I may have been overly ambitious. This itching is out of control (and much worse at night), so I haven’t been sleeping well, and then I’m exhausted during the day. I had a doctor’s appointment today and they said I could take Benadryl to knock me out. I really hate to take anything unnecessary, but I’m desperate for a good night’s sleep. Maybe I’ll pick some up tomorrow.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but it has seriously been a rough couple days. As an attempt to stay positive, here are some random things I’ve been happy about lately:

1) Baby Boy is a lot more active. Nothing super-consistent, but the movement is more frequent, for sure. It’s the coolest feeling. Something you never forget.
2) I brought my wicked-awesome stroller back from Cali, which Jeff had picked up for me off of Craigslist…and as a super-bonus, he refused to let me pay him back. Baby B’s gift. Sweet.
3) I got tons of adorable baby clothes from my favorite resale shop when we were in California…onesies for 99¢! I went a little crazy. Maybe I’ll share my spoils in a different post.
4) I got to talk to Jon for 15 minutes last Saturday. It was heaven! I miss him like woah.
5) I came home to a letter from him! He liked the pictures for the baby’s announcement of boy/girl. =)
6) We get to go visit him next month & he gets a 48 hour leave. It’s gonna be super expensive, but I really don’t care at this point.
7) At the airport in Orange County, a little old lady said to me, “That daughter of yours is going to be a knockout…and she has quite the little booty.” It was SO funny…particularly because she was little & old. But Jon might have cried if he heard someone say that…lol. Poor Daddy.
8) I’m reading a new book by my favorite author, James Rollins. Love him. When I read for pleasure, I enjoy action thriller books, and he is my fave. I love reading.
9) I loved watching McKenzie play in the surf at the beach on our trip. She had so much fun. She would play chicken with the waves, and she delighted in throwing sand into the water. Here’s a photo-dump from my phone…our last beach day, in Laguna Beach, 10 minutes from Grandpa Jeff’s house. Have a good weekend everyone, I will be relaxing at home.

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Day #1 in California

After what seemed like an eternal day of traveling, McKenzie and I are finally in California visiting Grandpa Jeff (my stepdad). She was an amazing little traveler, but she was queasy on the plane…she threw up on the 2nd flight then fell fast asleep. I’m so happy I always carry a car sickness bag with me at all times! I highly recommend it for any parents…it’s saved me from cleaning up vomit in cars or planes on more than one occasion (the joys of parenting!).

Anyway, on our first full day yesterday, we took Dexter the dog on a long walk, and McKenzie stopped to enjoy all the flowers. She loves flowers. Then we ate a delicious breakfast at The Original Pancake House, after which I napped. Later in the day we went to Strand Beach in Dana Point, 10 minutes from Jeff’s house. The vistas are beautiful & McKenzie wanted desperately to play in the sand…she did & she loved it! It was a great start to our visit, and today we’ll be boating on the ocean on Jeff’s boat. Hopefully we’ll see some dolphins, seals, & whales!

Part of me is always a little sad when we visit, with the realization that we won’t be living here anytime soon (which was our plan before the Army). It’s just so beautiful: weather, scenery, everything. I would have loved for McKenzie to grow up here.

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17 Weeks

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How far along are you? 17 weeks now! Time is still flying, I can’t believe I’m 2.5 weeks away from half-way.
How big is the baby? According to my BabyCenter App, it’s about the size of a turnip.
Weight Gain? 6 lbs. nothing new
Maternity clothes? Yoga pants & sweatshirts?
Stretch marks? A tiny one on my inner thigh. Blast.
Sleep: My itching is horrible at night, so my sleep leaves much to be desired…hopefully the meds kick in soon. =/
Best moment this week? It’s been a rough week (as mentioned in my last post). Maybe hearing Jon’s voice? We’re flying to Cali today, so that’ll be nice. A break from this dreary rain. And I guess finding out I’ll get to see Baby Boy weekly via ultrasound & we’ll meet him early? In about 20 weeks…
Movement? Here & there, nothing consistent yet.
Food cravings? Water? Apparently the Cholestasis of Pregnancy can cause loss of appetite…I think I have that aspect as well. I guess I’ve been wanting Bite Size Tostitos (my fave) covered in Sharp Cheddar. MMmmmm…
Food aversions? Not so much, just not very hungry.
Labor signs? Nope.
Gender? BOY! BOY! BOY!
Symptoms? Itchy, itchy, itchy…still not feeling/looking very pregnant. I honestly thought I’d be bigger by now, since it’s baby #2.
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? Moody…not the best week. McKenzie had a wonderful tantrum last night, and the dogs are a handful sometimes. Urgh.
What I miss: Jon, Jon, Jon…I should get to talk to him Sunday. He left a month ago tomorrow. Blah.
What I am looking forward to: Sunshine & the ocean. My step-dad (Grandpa Jeff) lives 10 minutes from this slice of heaven (and that is a camera-phone pic):Laguna Beach