Thursday, December 29, 2011

Face Lift

My blog was in need of a cheery face lift. 

It's kind of amazing what an uploaded background photo and a new color scheme can do! =)

(One of these days I'll sit down and actually created a banner/header for myself... for now, the text will just have to do).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Recap

So, after our fun-filled Christmas Eve evening, Jacob and I got a few hours of sleep and then got up to drive down to my parent's place outside of Eugene for Christmas Day festivities.  It was really nice not to have to be there until about noon when my brother was picking up my nephew from his mom's house.  It meant that we didn't have to leave the house until about 9 AM to get there in time to open presents.  I didn't get up until just before 8... I think that's the latest I've slept in on Christmas in a LONG time!

Jacob and I picked up some warm beverages and breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks and then made the 2.5 hour drive down.  Traffic was actually pretty non-existent... which REALLY surprised me!  I was expected a lot of holiday travelers.  I guess that we must have beat the rush.

We got down to my parents' place, visited for awhile and waiting for my brothers, sisters (in-law, to-be, and might-as-well-be) and nephew to get there and then we opened gifts.  We kids did a secret Santa gift exchange with the catch  being that everything had to be homemade... for the most part we did pretty good! lol

Jenn made Brittney a crocheted headband.
Scott got a wood carved "Legend of Scott" Nintendo game from Rob.

Jacob made Jenn a hanging photo mount/mobile thing

Scott printed up a Pendleton Roundup poster for Dustin

I made Rob a photo/document board for his office*

Brittney** made me these decoupaged switch plates.  I'm really excited to put the "Awake/Asleep" one in the nursery!

Dustin drew Jacob's name... he made him a sandwich. =)  I wasn't able to get a photo before Jacob ate it for lunch.  =)

Our unofficial "goal" on Christmas is to see who can make Mom cry with our gifts.  There were some doozies this year.  In addition to the traditional yearly photo calendar that we give her, Jenn and Brittney got super crafty:

Jenn's masterpiece
My nephew also got to experience the joys of homemade goodness with his Pokemon Trainer shirt c/o Jenn:

After opening presents, we played some Yahtzee, ate some Christmas goodies and then headed over to my Grandma's house for more presents, dinner and games.  My brother Scott and his fiance, Jenn, got the game HeadBanz for Christmas, so we played a little of that.  You've probably seen similar things in drinking game and/or group ice breaker format.  Someone gets a card with a word on it and that have to ask questions to figure out who/what they are.  It was pretty much hilarious:

Much later than anticipated, Jacob and I finally climbed back into the car and headed home to sleep before our last day of our mini vacation... a day of REST! Finally! lol  We had a great time with our families, but definitely appreciated a day of nothing afterward!

*Rob sent me a photo today of my gift in use... it actually looks pretty good! lol

** No, you're not reading that wrong.  Her name is Brittney, as is mine, and as is my other brother's wife (though she spells it with an "a").  It gets complicated sometimes... but we manage. =)

24 Weeks

Size of baby: According to Babyzone she's about the size of a papaya!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I need to start remembering to weigh myself at the beginning of the day, I know that my weight fluctuates about 2 lbs from beginning to end.  Right now I'm weighing in at about +21, but between the extra holiday weight and my dinner that I just consumed, I'm guessing that I'm closer to +19.  Still more than a pound from last week, but considering I consumed a LOT of crap over the Christmas weekend, I think I'm doing ok.  I'm also interested in starting to get some more exercise... anyone have any prego-friendly suggestions for me?

**Update: Weighed myself this morning (12/28) and weighed only + 18... which is in line with my expected pound a week gain.  See!  I told you!  I'm not nuts or trying to rationalize my weight. ;)

Maternity Clothes: Maternity bottoms, regular clothes tops.

Gender: It's a girl!

Movement: Still moving... more at the end of the day than the beginning.  And, when she kicks in a staff meeting at work I have a hard time not laughing at the idea that she's just as bored as I am. ;)

What I miss: Fish.  Random thought I know, but I miss eating whatever seafood I want!

Sleep: The last few nights have been really rough.  I started using a body pillow and another for back support last night.  I don't know that it helped much.  Between not sleeping well and having to get up about twice to use the bathroom I was pretty tired this morning.

Symptoms: Having a hard time with these ligament pains... I keep moving in a way that didn't used to be a problem before and now I get a sharp muscle-pull like pain.  It's getting really annoying.

Cravings:Nothing really... at least, nothing out of the ordinary.

Best Moment this week: The holiday weekend.  I love the Christmas season and enjoyed spending the time with friends and family

What I am looking forward to: Starting to think about/plan the nursery.  Jacob and I plan to start painting in a couple of weeks, and I've been doing some Craigslist shopping for a rocker/glider to buy with my Christmas money. =)

8 Weeks
24 Weeks

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve Recap

This was not technically our first Christmas in our new house.  Last year we closed and got our keys on Dec. 23rd and had a small Christmas celebration with the following evening with Jacob's folks, brother and niece and nephew, but this WAS our first full on Christmas... and we were asked to host Christmas Eve dinner for his extended family!

I LOVE hosting.  I enjoy the planning, organizing, decorating, etc. that goes along with it.  And, with the beautiful house that I am fortunate to have, hosting large parties in an option.

(Room for dinner parties/etc. was one of the requirements that I had when we were house hunting).

Several weekends ago, in preparation for the holiday, we went out to Sandy, Oregon to a Christmas tree farm to find our perfect tree (this is something that I haven't been able to do in YEARS!  I haven't had a big enough living space to have a tree in quite some time.  I was more than a little excited to finally be able to get one!)

Then it was time to hang our ornaments!  I had a BIG tote of Christmas stuff that has been sitting untouched for years, and Jacob's folks passed along his ornaments a couple of years back.  We decided to steer clear of the traditional colored "filler" ornament balls and leave our tree completely decorated in "memories".

I also set up my Christmas "village" and some lights.  The village is still pretty small... only a couple of buildings.  But, like I said, I haven't had the opportunity to really decorate for the holiday in quite some time.  And, to be able to have MY piano to put it on was an even greater gift.

As the hosts for Christmas Eve dinner, we expected about 24 guests, which meant we needed to move some furniture and arrange our "great room"/formal living room for dinner seating for two dozen.  With the big "L" shape that we have in our living/dining room we can totally do it! lol  I LOVE that!

When the majority of our guests had shown up for the potluck style event (Jacob's family does a waffle/breakfast bar for Christmas Eve dinner with everyone bringing an item) the cooking started... family style!  (Meaning:  I didn't have to cook solo for 24!  Woo!)  =)

After a filling dinner of waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage and a variety of different appetizers and desserts, it was time to clean up, relax, socialize and open some white elephant gifts... in our OTHER big room (I'm so lucky!)

The evening went off without a hitch.  Jacob and I both enjoyed spending some time with the family and playing hosts for the big event.  We were also happy for all of the yummy breakfast left-overs that we were left with!. ;)  Our guests were all gone by about 10:30, and we had some time to rest and relax before our Christmas Day festivities... which I'll cover in another post! =)

Christmas Baking Recap

This holiday season I set out to actually do some baking!  I love to bake, but rarely do anything in "bulk" and don't usually branch out from a few tried and true favorites.  THIS year though, I made the mistake of following the cooking blog Lulu the Baker and found myself drooling over some of her sweets recipes.

So, I made myself a list, headed to the grocery store and attempted to find all of the correct ingredients. =)  For someone who doesn't do a lot of seasonal baking, this was a bit of a task.  I must say though, the recipes were super easy to follow, the ingredients weren't too hard to track down, and the end products were FANTASTIC.  Our families, friends and I were all quite pleased with the results. =)

 First off, not via Lulu, but rather "in a jar" from my Secret Work Santa:  Mini Chocolate cupcakes:

Next up, c/o Lulu, Chocolate Mint Cookies!  I couldn't find mint chips to save my life, so I replaced with some crushed up Andes Candies and Candy Cane... they tasted awesome!

Then I experimented with some Peppermint Oreo Pops.  I thought there would be a lot more cussing involved as I figured out how to do these. lol  But, it actually turned out to be quite easy!

And, finally, the HIT of the weekend, Carmelitas!  Our families LOVED these and several people asked me to pass the recipe along.

I am VERY happy with the way everything turned out, and plan to save all of these new recipes for the future!  Thank you Lulu! =)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

23 Weeks

I'm a day late... sorry. =(  Been working on a lot of projects around the house recently.  More to come on that later! =)

Size of baby: According to Babyzone she's about the size of a mango!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Approximately the same as last week: 17ish lbs... depending on what I'm wearing and what time of the day it is. =)

Maternity Clothes: Maternity bottoms, regular clothes tops.

Gender: It's a girl!

Movement: Not as much movement recently... it's a little unsettling after getting SO much last week!

What I miss: Having a drink with friends at Happy Hour.  Twice this week I went to "Happy Hour" and drank a diet Coke. lol

Sleep: I've been sleeping really good the last couple of nights.  Jacob and I have been taking nightly walks through our neighborhood and I think the fresh air and movement before bed has helped.

Symptoms: Still getting round ligament pains and my legs are starting to swell throughout the day (back to normal the next day, but sometimes a little larger in the evening), so that's kinda weird. =)

Cravings: I"m kind of disappointed that I'm almost in my 3rd trimester and haven't had any weird pregnancy cravings yet! lol  I want to be able to tell my kid stories about the weird shit I wanted to eat when I was pregnant. =)

Best Moment this week: I was getting ready for work the other morning and Jacob came into the bedroom, saw me and got this huge grin on his face.  He came over, hugged me, rubbed my belly and said that I looked pregnant. lol  While I was not particularly fond of the fact that he was commenting on my size, the joy in his face was pretty great.

What I am looking forward to: I have the next five days off of work... I couldn't be happier!  Even if they are going to be full of Christmas prep related stuff!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

22 Weeks

Size of baby: Babyzone didn't send me an e-mail this week with my stats. =(  But the website says that she's about 11 inches from head to heel.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I'm going to say 16-17 lbs... I just weighed myself, but I JUST ate dinner, so, I'm figuring some of that will digest by the morning. =)

Maternity Clothes: Maternity pants and leggings... so comfortable!  I even bought a couple of cute dresses/tunics, too.

Gender: It's a girl!

Movement: A lot more than last week.  But I only really notice it when I'm "resting" (at home or sitting down somewhere--it makes work meetings a bit more interesting! lol)

What I miss: Being able to bend at the waist.

Sleep: Getting a little harder to get comfortable at night.  I definitely need my "cuddle pillow" to support my front half.

Symptoms: I'm doing ok.  Nothing much to report. =)

Cravings: Nothing out of the ordinary.  I'm eating a lot of carbs these days (which isn't REALLY unusual for me) and I feel like I need to get some more fruits and veggies into my diet.

Best Moment this week: Jacob felt her kick!  I've been feeling kind of guilty that I was experiencing everything and he wasn't.... so I was REALLY happy last night when he felt the "thumping" in my tummy. =)

What I am looking forward to: Starting work on the nursery... though I don't see that happening until after the holidays.  I'm feeling busy enough these days!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

21 Weeks

Size of baby: According to, baby’s about the length of a leek.

Total Weight Gain/Loss:About 15 lbs... I either lost a pound from last week or I'm fluctuating in pregnancy just like I did pre-prego.

Maternity Clothes: Maternity pants and leggings... so comfortable!

Gender: It's a girl!

Movement: Off and on.  Some days there's a lot, some days I don't know if I realize any at all.

What I miss: Not thinking in terms of how old my baby will be when... lol

Sleep: Pretty much the same as pre-pregnancy.

Symptoms: I'm feeling good.  Having a harder time bending at the waist though!

Cravings: Right now I really want chocolate... but that's nothing unusual.

Best Moment this week: Picked out some paint samples for the nursery... I think we decided.  I'm excited to get going on that!

What I am looking forward to: Shopping for curtain fabrics this weekend with my mom, while Jacob and his folks move furniture around so that we will have a "nursery" to start work on.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today's the Day

This is it.  Today's the day that I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone and making my most recent project public!

For several years I've been in love with my camera.  I've taken a variety of senior photos and engagement shots for friends and family.  On Thanksgiving, in fact, I took my little brother's engagement photos... and it was then, after I received so many compliments and positive feedback about them that I decided I need to give photography a try from a professional level.  So, for the past week I've spent many hours thinking about it, stressing about it, finally deciding to do it... designing the website and Facebook page for my new photography and design endeavor:  Pure and Simple:  Photography and Design.  I've designed and ordered business cards, purchased my own domain name, worked out a "business" phone number and even invested a nice, new SLR camera... now I just need to see if I can get any business!  =)

I'm a little scared, to be perfectly honest.  I thought about doing this several years ago, and even booked one appointment, but it just didn't go anywhere from there and I kind of gave up.  I have some confidence issues with my work... they always say that you are your own worst critic: it is SOO true!  Thankfully I have an awesome husband and friends/family who have been really encouraging and helpful.  So, it's with their support, that I've put my anxiety on hold and have decided to finally go for it!

I'm excited.  I LOVE photography and really enjoy the opportunity to photograph new people and places.  And, to think that I can actually turn my passion into a way to earn a few extra bucks for my growing family... even better!

In order to help move things along a bit, I have decided to start things off with a couple of specials.  You'll see these along the top of the web page:  25% off all photo sessions scheduled to take place by the end of February, and $15 in cash (or $20 photo/project credit) for every friends that any of you refer who purchases a photo session or design project.  I'm not sure how long the referral reward will go on... I guess we'll just have to see how many people take advantage of it and help me out! =)

Please, take a look around this website, contact me if you have any questions or want to book a session/project, "like" the Facebook page, and pass the links around to your friends.  My family and I would really appreciate it!

(Here's a few of my favorite photos from my photo sesh with my baby brother and his fiance, Jenn, last weekend... P.S.  Jenn has started her own wedding planning blog... I'm sure she would love some more followers/advice/ideas!)

Not the best quality on this one... but i think it's adorable. lol