“I’d do it all over again.”

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Within the first hour of Caleb’s birth, I told Jerry that Caleb would be an only child and that I would NOT be doing that again.

Even though we have always planned on having two children, and even though everyone told me that I’d eventually forget the pain, in that moment I was positive I could not go through what I had just been through for a second time.

For the first eight days of Caleb’s life, I still felt pretty much the same. Towards the end of the first week though, you could finally catch me saying, “IF we have another one;” prior to his birth, it was never an “if” but always a “when.” Early this morning though, during a 5AM feeding, on Caleb’s ninth day, I was looking at his sweet funny face and I turned to Jerry and said, “I’d do it all over again. I’d do it again for him. He’s worth it. He’s so perfect.”

The pain and exhaustion of labor and delivery was pretty indescribable for me. Even though the nurses and doctors said I had a great first delivery, and even though the nurse said I was her best and easiest patient in 17 years, it all felt so traumatic at the time. Add that into raging hormones, baby blues, incredible stress and overwhelming feelings, weight gain, and complete exhaustion, and you could probably understand why I was pretty determined we would not be doing that again. We had started to come to terms with not having a second child… that’s how serious I was when I kept saying it.

But now that things are settling down and my mind and body are starting to heal, I feel differently. I haven’t forgotten the pain. I feel like all I do all day is feed my child. My body feels like it isn’t my own and I am completely and utterly exhausted… but I’d do it all over again. My heart has never been more full. When I see my son, and I see my husband being his daddy, I feel like I could burst. This beautiful child is worth every single bad thing I went through to have him. He will always be worth it… and maybe someday he WILL have a sibling now. I could do it again. I feel like I could do anything when I see his face.

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Welcome to the world!

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On January 22, 2015 at 9:47 PM, Caleb Manuel was born!

He weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces (thrilled about this – we were expecting a very large baby) and was 20.5 inches long. Just about the perfect, average sized baby! He also had a head full of dark hair, exactly what we expected and hoped for! :) He ended up being only two days late, born at 40w+2d.

Life is pretty funny, I have to say. That very morning, I wrote a blog post about how we were still waiting for him. Just a few hours later, he was here.

I will be posting a full birth story as soon as I can. I’m hoping in the next week or so. I’d also like to get back into a regular blogging schedule at some point soon, but we are very exhausted and busy at the moment, of course! Hoping to make a regular return to the blogging world soon.

In the meantime, here are a few more pictures. Welcome to the world, Caleb! We waited a long time for you.

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And because Tuesday is my normal “bumpdate” day, here is a post-birth bumpdate in the good old bumpdate shirt!

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The best laid plans…

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You can plan and plan and plan, but that doesn’t guarantee a thing.

Especially when it comes to babies.

January 20th — our due date — came and went, with no fanfare, like any other normal day. While I understand that due dates really don’t mean much, and that most babies don’t arrive on or by them (especially first babies), we still anxiously counted down the days on our calendar until it arrived. The big day! And then nothing. Nada. Baby not budging. Sorry, Mom and Dad!

For months, we prepared his nursery, finally perfecting and completing it weeks ago, JUST in time, we thought.

I lovingly washed, folded, and sorted his clothes.

All of our baby “things” and toys and blankets and books are organized, put away, and waiting for his arrival.

My bags are packed, and most of our hospital necessities are stashed in the car, and have been since at least a week ago. The list of the last few items we will need to throw in a bag has been on my coffee table for weeks now, staring us in the face, final items waiting to be checked off.

His carseat has been inspected and installed. The inside of my car has been washed.

Meals are in the freezer. We’ve gone on small grocery shopping trips so as not to let any food spoil “in case we’re at the hospital.” We’ve done a lot things “just in case,” and have made no plans to be set in stone.

I’ve done a lot of things for the “last time” before the baby arrives, which have turned out not to be the last time at all. A night with friends. Loads of laundry. One last, frantic house cleaning before crashing on the couch with back pain. These “last things” have occurred numerous times, not really the last at all.

We are ready… but he is not.

As of yesterday’s appointment, when I was 40 weeks and 1 day, no progress had been made. I am still not dilated. His head still hasn’t dropped. He is, it would seem, NOT ready, as much as his daddy and I are. We go back on Tuesday for a 41 week appointment to include another non-stress test and an ultrasound. This will give us a size estimate as well as check his amniotic fluid levels. If all looks well, the doctor believes he will induce us on Thursday or Friday of next week. If there is any cause for concern, it will be earlier… Tuesday or Wednesday. As of right now, the doctor believes he will weigh in the high 8 pound range, but did mention that if the baby ends up being 10 pounds (HA!) or more, he will schedule a c-section.

Of course, things could change in an instant. Our beloved little boy could decide he’s ready at any moment. We certainly are.

And if not, at least we know we will finally be holding him in eight days at the most.

As a (very) soon to be mom, I have already had to learn the hard lesson of letting things go, of going with the flow, of letting things happen as they’re supposed to happen, on their own time. I’ve learned that you can make all the plans in the world, but they might not always be the right ones. And that’s okay. Caleb’s got his own plan. He knows when he’ll be here, even if we don’t, and that’s the only plan that matters.

See you soon, little man.

Bumpdate: 40 Weeks… Due Date!

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Well hello! Today I am 40 weeks and I have to say, I’m not entirely surprised that I am STILL writing a bumpdate today. Most first babies come late, so while this was expected, it is still a bit disappointing because Caleb is due TODAY! For months and months now, we have waited with anticipation for January 20th to arrive, and here it is!  Even though we knew the likelihood of him being born on this day was low, we are still very anxious and very excited. Tomorrow is my next appointment, so please cross your fingers that this baby is making some progress! I was all about getting induced ASAP (even though the doctor said they don’t do it until 41 or 42 weeks), but now I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s better to wait for the baby to come naturally… but what if he’s getting huge in there? I have a lot of questions to ask my doctor tomorrow.

So the only real news I suppose is that there’s still no news, just a whole lot of waiting and watching. Waiting for our baby, watching for the signs that he’s on his way. My birthday was Saturday and I was pretty uncomfortable and crampy the entire day. Jerry and I thought that labor was imminent at that point, but by Sunday, I was feeling better. Now, I generally don’t enjoy discomfort and pain, but my doctor told me last week that pain, at this point, is a good thing and a good sign, so it got us a bit excited and, apparently, ahead of ourselves. I’ve had a few more moments of pain where I’ve wondered whether or not I was having contractions, but they have all promptly disappeared… bummer! We are still on the lookout for any indication though, and Jerry made me walk up and down the stairs the other night. I’m pretty sure none of these old wives tales will actually do the trick, but it was worth a shot! In fact, I might go walking at the mall again tonight. My mom and I did that a few times last week, and it was clearly to no avail but it certainly didn’t do any harm!

My last day of work was last Tuesday and I am officially enjoying maternity leave. I actually have been able to relax some, which I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do. I’ve watched more TV than I care to admit, and have been rocking the sweatpants on a near daily basis. It’s been so nice to not have to put on uncomfortable dress clothes for work and worry about what the heck I could possibly cram this belly into while still looking presentable. People kept asking me when I’d go out on leave and I resisted for quite awhile. I’m glad I finally decided to take the plunge; I can tell my body really appreciates the break and I’ve had a lot less back pain. I’ve also been able to nap almost every day and get some real rest before the big arrival.

We did end up having some small “excitement” last week when I ended up back in hospital triage on Wednesday evening for a bit. Caleb’s movements had become increasingly smaller and less frequent so I ended up calling the nurses at my doctor’s office who decided to send me in for another NST. I know that towards the end, babies tend to run out of room and you can’t feel them as well, but I’ve also read that any change in baby’s movements should warrant a call to the doctor. We all decided to play it safe, and after 20 minutes or so of monitoring, the baby was declared to be “looking awesome” by the doctor and I was sent home. Phew! While we were there, all the staff had on face masks and there were signs stating that only two visitors were allowed because of the flu. We don’t know whether this means at a time or for the whole day, but we did find out that Jerry actually counts as one of the visitors, even though he’s the baby daddy! So, this means that many people will not get to meet Caleb in the hospital which is disappointing, but what can you do?

Jerry and I loaded a few of the hospital things into the car this weekend. He also put together the stroller yesterday. Now we have a stroller and rock and play in our living room, and even though this would usually set my OCD tendencies off, I am okay with it. Now we just look at all this stuff and imagine Caleb with his arms crossed inside my belly saying “nope. I don’t care. I’m STILL not coming.” In all honesty, I like looking at his stuff and just imagining him lying in them… any day now!

My dad asked me last week why I haven’t complained much during this pregnancy, which I guess is true. While I do talk about my symptoms here (or mention them when people ask), it’s for my own reference, because I want to remember everything, and it’s not meant in a complaining manner. Well, my answer was basically because I know this is all only temporary, and for good reason. I also realize that Jerry and I are very fortunate and lucky to be bringing a child into the world because there are many people who can’t. That said, I am feeling pretty good at the moment. My legs are bloated and sore and Jerry was kind enough to rub them for me yesterday. I also have one heck of a time moving and turning in bed, which honestly feels like an Olympic event, but at this point, nothing else much matters except finally getting to see our son. The bad things really aren’t all that bad when I think about the outcome… finally holding this baby we have been waiting for, thinking about, dreaming about, and loving on for months.

So happy due date to you, Caleb! I don’t know when you’ll have your birthday, but I do know we are more excited than we have ever been and that we love you more than words can say… and may this be the last bumpdate!

Waiting, waiting, celebrating…

Here we are, still awaiting the arrival of our baby boy! I had a great birthday though, which really helped to distract me a bit during this long wait. We got to celebrate two birthdays this weekend while waiting for another one…

My birthday weekend kicked off on Friday night. I went out to dinner with my best friend, Taylor, and her mother AKA Mama G., the woman who is my second mother. They treated me to dinner and a delicious molten chocolate lava cake. Afterward, we went back to Mama G.’s house where we met up with my other BFF, Katie. It had been a LONG time since us girls hung out over there since we all have our own places now and typically hang out there instead. It was just like old days, when we spent every weekend and free night over there in middle and high school. They recently had their kitchen remodeled, and Mr. G. commented that when he saw the three of us together in the kitchen again, he was expecting to see their old kitchen. We had a really nice time, catching up and playing Taboo (Katie and I crushed it, by the way). Katie also brought a delicious pie and hot chocolate. Mmmm. It’s okay to have two desserts when it’s your birthday, right?! What a GREAT night that I will always remember fondly. It’s the little things in life and I am so grateful for these amazing friends of mine.

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Saturday was the big day, my 26th birthday, which started with some relaxing at home. Jerry went out and got me McDonald’s for breakfast and also brought me home some thoughtful gifts; he picked out two cute shirts for post-pregnancy and an owl scented wax warmer. Seeing as I haven’t been able to buy any normal clothes in nine months, it was nice to receive some new clothes. We also love wax warmers in this house… we’re big fans and this one’s my third.

Earlier in the week, I had asked Jerry to make me my absolute favorite for lunch… alfredo! It was his first time ever making it, and as always, he nailed it. My husband is an amazing cook and this seriously tasted like the alfredo from one of  the best Italian restaurants in the area.

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Lunch was followed by the festive birthday-pregnancy-nap. Ahhh. Naps are my favorite these days. Later, we went to dinner with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. We went out for barbecue followed by a cookie cake at home. Lots of good eats… dang. We had a combined celebration for my birthday and Jerry’s 28th which is coming up on Saturday, a week from mine. We typically do a combined celebration anyway but had even bigger reason to this year with us not knowing if we’ll be in the hospital or not for Jerry’s birthday. My parents were kind enough to gift me with cash since there will be a lot of immediate expenses after the baby is born. My brother and sister-in-law put together a really nice basket of snacks for the hospital. Jerry is ready to dig in, but I’m holding off and packing the basket in the car when we leave!

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Even though I had a really great time celebrating, at the moment, the baby is all that’s on our mind. I’ve been on the lookout for labor signs for weeks now, and we’re all getting more and more anxious as the days go by! Tomorrow is his due date – January 20th – but I am now almost certain he won’t be here just yet. I did experience a lot of discomfort and pain this weekend, and as my doctor so kindly said, pain is a good thing at this point… but still nothin’! I’ve been on such high alert that I think I just need to accept that he will come on his own terms and in his own time. I know that due dates really don’t mean a heck of a lot, and that babies can be up to two weeks late. For now, I resolve to chill out, relax, rest, and enjoy our last days together just the two of us. The moments of quiet, peace, and relaxation will be all but gone as soon as he arrives so I’m trying to savor it, but we sure are dying to hold him in our arms! There is nothing we want more than to finally see his little face.

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^^My birthday baby bump // Jerry giving the belly kisses and telling Caleb to come out! You will never see a bare belly picture ever again on this here blog, but this moment was just too sweet!

Five on Friday (5)

Happy Friday!

ONE. Tomorrow is my 26th birthday! I’ve been wondering if I would become a mom at 25 or 26, and it looks like it will be 26! Jerry’s birthday is exactly one week after mine and he’ll be turning 28. We’re celebrating both of ours tomorrow with the family since we may or not be in the hospital for Jerry’s birthday. We’re going to dinner with my parents and brother’s family, then having a cookie cake because that’s how Jerry and I celebrate. Whatever. It’s fine. We had one for our birthday last year, and had one for our wedding rehearsal too. We’re all about the cookie cakes. I asked Jerry to make me my favorite for lunch… alfredo! Birthdays are cool and all, but it’s hard to get excited about anything when you’re waiting for a baby. I did get some free email coupons for my birthday though! I went and got a free Moe’s entree earlier this week. Burrito bowls… mmm.

Untitled^^ Last year’s birthday celebration. Mmmm. That cake was GOOD.

TWO.  I received a really sweet package in the mail this week from my blogging friend, Darlene, from Lost in Literature. She was so thoughtful and sent me this really beautiful book for Caleb, as well as an awesome bookish mug that she had made for her blog. I was so touched! I have made some really wonderful blogging friends. Thank you, Darlene – your thoughtfulness means A TON to me! I will cherish both gifts, and Caleb will love the book… the illustrations are stunning!

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THREE. My mom and I have been walking the mall this week to try and encourage Caleb to come out. While we were there last night, I couldn’t pass up this adorable frame from Kirkland’s which was on clearance for $5.97. Our budget is really tight right now since I’m out on maternity leave (since Wednesday!), but I couldn’t resist. Burlap is one of my favorite things to decorate with since my whole house is primitive and country. The library I work for also has an amazing friends group who hold annual book sales to raise money. Every January, they hold a huge one at the mall that always falls during my birthday week so we of course stopped and got a nice stash of cheap books. I go every year for my birthday!

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FOUR. I got a much needed haircut on Tuesday. I wanted to look nice in all of our hospital pictures so my mom was kind enough to treat me to a haircut. After that, we stopped and got me a fake, cheap wedding ring since my fingers bloated to small sausages a couple of weeks ago and I had to temporarily stop wearing my rings.

IMG_20150113_194852^^ New hair!

FIVE. Now that I’m out on maternity leave, I’ve been catching up on some shows on the DVR. This week, I’ve been watching some of the TLC shows… “My 600 Pound Life,” and the season premiere of “My Big Fat Fabulous Life.” I’ve really enjoyed both of them! I love weight loss shows since I’ve been through the whole weight loss thing myself, AND I’m a sucker for interesting reality TV… or any reality TV, really. Anyone else watching either of these shows?

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Waiting for Caleb: Maternity Pictures

Since we are still waiting for Caleb, “Waiting for Caleb Week” is continuing with another new post today. I think we will be waiting for Caleb for a little while longer, according to the doctor at my Tuesday appointment. Ah, well. He’ll come when he’s ready!

Anyway, below are our maternity pictures. My dad’s a photographer so I asked him to take a few shots for us. We really didn’t take many pictures because I am feeling really self-conscious about how I look right now, yet I knew I would regret it if we didn’t do any at all. Not to mention, the night we did them I was super tired and not feeling it at all. I also had a ton of cute poses picked out on Pinterest, but they were all outdoor spring/fall type pictures and with temperatures in the negatives yesterday (just to give you an idea of our weather), that was not an option for our photos.

The below photos were taken in my dad’s studio on January 3rd at 37 weeks + 4 days. There are also a couple of casual shots at the end of the post.

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^^ “Caleb” blocks and the big old belly.

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^^ “Caleb” with our wedding rings.

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And below are just a couple of quick, casual ones my dad snapped of us in Caleb’s nursery this past weekend on January 11th, at 38 weeks + 5 days.

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Bumpdate: 39 Weeks

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I am 39 weeks today! I wasn’t sure if we’d be seeing this update, but here are! It sounds like there will be at least one more too…

I had my 38 week appointment last Wednesday. I was slightly effaced but had no dilation. The doctor predicted Caleb will weigh around eight pounds and that he will NOT be coming early. I JUST got back from my 39 week appointment, and same thing… no dilation! Bummer. The doctor said “looks like this will be a tough one!” Caleb does not want to come out, the little stinker! I’m going back next Wednesday for my 40 week appointment and then he said induction would occur 1-2 weeks after my due date, and it kind of sounds like I may have to get induced. He said the baby will continue to grow so I would definitely NOT like to go to 42 weeks. Really hoping they will do it sooner rather than later, so I will definitely discuss it with him further next Wednesday. I didn’t gain any weight this week though, which the nurse said was a good sign that he may come soon, and the doctor also said it was actually a good sign that I was having stabbing back pains – haha, go figure!

In other news, last Friday I got my eyebrows waxed, and today I got my hair cut. Priorities, right?! I am SO not a girly girl, but I do want to look as decent as possible in the millions of hospital and new family photos we are bound to be taking. I have to be honest, I am feeling so fat, bloated, and gross right now. I definitely am feeling how I used to before I lost all the weight, and I am really looking forward to getting back into shape. Feeling like this reminds me exactly why I lost 118 pounds in the first place and I can’t wait to look and feel good again. I know it will be a long hard journey, but I’m okay with that.

So now  that I’m all groomed and ready (haha), there really isn’t much left for us to do but wait. We got the carseat installed and inspected at the firehouse on Wednesday, his nursery is 100% complete (I posted the tour yesterday), and we are ready to go, it just sounds like Caleb is not!

I had been hemming and hawing about when my last day of work would be before going out on maternity leave, and finally decided that it would be today. I ended up leaving early yesterday and only did a half day because of nausea and back pain, and I will just be doing four hours this evening, then I’ll officially be on leave. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of months getting things ready for my leave at work and feel that all my loose ends are tied up there for the time being. It will be hard not to stress or think about work while I’m out, but I really need to spend this time focusing on my baby, my family, and myself, so I am feeling relieved too. I’m planning on being out for about three months or so.

I’ve been feeling okay, but just incredibly tired and not sleeping well. Yesterday morning, as I mentioned, I was feeling very nauseous and I’ve been hit a few times with intense, stabbing back pains… part of the reason I decided to take my leave now instead of trying to tough it out the rest of the week. Honestly, I’m proud of myself for making it to 39 weeks at work and feel that I’ve pushed myself enough and now it’s time to rest and prepare for Caleb’s arrival!

We sure are getting antsy over here. I told Jerry yesterday that I asked Caleb if he was ready to meet the world yet and that he said, “Nah, Mama. I’m good. I heard it’s cold as f*** out there.” Yes, pretend conversations with my son who apparently has a potty mouth in the womb! But really, we’re over here just counting down the days until we can finally hold our little man. :) I am slightly disappointed that we have no progress yet except for a little effacement, but I’ll have more time to rest and prepare. Not to mention, my birthday is this Saturday!

Well, it sounds like I’ll be back for a 40 week bumpdate next week, so more news then, I hope!

Waiting for Caleb: Nursery Tour

I am officially declaring this “Waiting for Caleb Week” on the blog! He’s due in just eight days on January 20th, so HOPEFULLY this will be our last full week without our little baby! Fingers crossed and good vibes for us, please and thank you.

So I’m kicking off the week with his official nursery tour today! I’ve shown bits and pieces here and there on Instagram but it’s 100% complete now so I can finally do the full tour! I’ll have my usual bumpdate tomorrow, and then I’ll share our maternity pictures later in the week. If you’re not into babies, sorry, but this week is all about us waiting for the the baby. Normal blogging will resume shortly, but our brains are currently occupied and wondering when he will make his appearance.

The nursery is fairly small, about 10 x 10, but we chose the smaller of the spare bedrooms in our house because we thought it was the perfect size for a nursery. We’ll move Caleb into the larger spare room when he’s older and keep this as a nursery for baby number two! The room is directly across the hall from our bedroom where he will sleep in a bassinet for awhile before being moved to the crib.

When we moved in, the room had wooden floors that were a bit dinged up, and white walls that needed a new paint job. We got the room carpeted, painted the walls gray, and added a ceiling fan/light fixture since there were also no lights. After we got those initial renovations finished, we were able to start on the fun part of decorating and furnishing the room!

When we found out we were having a boy, I immediately started looking up nursery themes and sets online. Jerry gave me the go ahead to choose and decorate however I wanted. I had a few different options and bedsets on watch on eBay. I eventually settled on light gray and yellow elephants and I am so happy with my decision. I love how the colors look together and it’s not a theme I’ve seen often in nurseries. We also added a few pops of gray chevron here and there.

My parents were kind enough to furnish the majority of his nursery as a gift. They purchased the crib, dresser/changing table (both from Target), and glider chair (from Walmart)! We found the bookshelf on Craigslist that was the same exact color as his other furniture since it was also from Target, and that did it for the furniture pieces. Since this is likely the last time his nursery will ever look as nice as it does now, I asked my dad to take a few pictures since he’s a photographer. I added a few of my own photos at the bottom with some of the smaller details too. Enjoy!

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^^ This wall is when you enter the room and go left. It contains the bookshelf and crib. The pennant banner above the crib was quilted by my grandma and says “Caleb.” I love pennant banners and made a paper one at his gender and name reveal party to reveal his name, so Grandma made us a much nicer one for above his crib.

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^^ A view into the crib. The elephant quilt was purchased with his bedset, but the quilt hanging on the other side of the crib was also made by my grandma!

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^^ This is the wall opposite of his crib, when you turn right into the room. It includes the dresser/changing table and diaper genie, and that’s about it!

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^^ I love quotes and have various words hanging all over my house. I found this set on Etsy. You could purchase the files, which my parents then downloaded, printed, and framed for us. I LOVE IT! These hang above his dresser.

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^^ More little details. His diaper caddy is on top of the bookshelf and ready to go!

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^^ This was made by a coworker’s daughter as a gift and hangs next to the door and closet!

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^^ Another crib shot!

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^^ Canvas handmade by my friend! I am in love with this. It’s currently the background of my phone.

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^^ The window wall is front and center when you walk into the room. My mom made the valance! Next to the window is the glider.

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^^ The glider sits in the corner of the window wall and crib wall. The canvas tote next to it contains all of his bathing supplies.

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^^ Bookshelf closeup. Yes, he has Little Critter and Arthur dolls! The gray and yellow box on the bottom contains mementos from the baby showers and cards we received for him.

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^^ On top of the bookshelf. Diaper caddy purchased from Target. The elephant (as well as the elephant in his crib) was purchased at a Ronald McDonald fundraiser giant garage sale.

And that’s it! Not pictured is the inside of his closet which stores his huge stash of diapers and wipes, his blankets, and plastic drawers containing socks, onesies, swaddlers, and shoes. We also have some of his other things stored in there until they are ready to use, like baby carriers, video monitor, etc., and then some clothes hanging, of course.

Now we just wait for the baby to come home and fill the nursery. :)

Five on Friday (4)

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Five on Friday post, so here we are! Happy Friday!

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ONE. Even though it is SO freaking cold out, there is some consolation in that it’s hot chocolate season. I’ve been devouring the stuff like crazy and am becoming a total hot chocolate snob this year. I used to drink it with water (either a K-cup or just the cheap $2.00 boxes of Nestle or Swiss Miss pouches), but now I am all about using milk. It’s so much creamier and yummier… how did I used to drink it with water?! I was also spoiled by my friend Beth who sent me some homemade kind with mini chocolate chips… mmm. It’s almost gone, then I don’t know what I’ll use! I am not a coffee drinker though, so hot chocolate is my go to hot beverage of choice. Any recommendations?

2015-01-07 20.12.48^^ Enjoying with Jerry.

TWO. I’ve recently rediscovered my love of Paperbackswap after a hiatus of oh… maybe three or four years? Ha! I totally forgot about it. When I finish reading one of of my own books, I usually pass it on to my mom or the library, but recently I’ve been listing a few on there again and I forgot how much fun it was! It’s kind of annoying having to pack up the books and go to the post office, but I like getting credits and swapping for other books. Here are some of the ones I’ve gotten from there recently:

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THREE. As some of you know, Jerry works evening shifts while I work days, so we don’t get to have dinner together often, except for weekends. Since he works at a college, he had quite a long holiday break and it was fantastic. Not only did we get to spend a lot of quality time together before baby’s arrival, we also got to cook together a lot. I found a bunch of recipes on Pinterest we’d been meaning to try, as well as some old favorites, and I meal planned all fancy-like. My favorite new recipe we tried was this French Onion Chicken Noodle Casserole. Mmmm… it tasted like alfredo and I highly recommend it. We also tried a Dorito casserole, which we were sadly not fans of, and made a couple of our regular Crockpot favorites (beef stroganoff and chicken and dumplings). I am a HUGE fan of the Crockpot. Let me know if you have favorite recipes for it that I need to try… the easier the better!

FOUR. I’ve mentioned it before, but when I transitioned my blog from a book blog to a personal/lifestyle blog last year, I had to think long and hard about my blog design. I decided that as much as I love it, I needed to eliminate the bookish feel since I’m no longer really a book blogger. Jerry decided to work some overtime and save up the money to pay for my re-design for my Christmas gift and we finally saved up enough! Jessica over at Cobblestone Marketing will be doing my new design and will be starting it next week! The bill is paid and I have sent her all my ideas and I simply CANNOT wait to see what she comes up with. She’s the one who designed my current one and transferred me over from Blogger to self-hosted three years ago now, so I know whatever she comes up with will be just as amazing. I’m excited to work with her again. As always, I am on the hunt for other personal/lifestyle blogs to follow since I recently made the transition, so leave me some good suggestions, including your own if we aren’t blog buddies yet! :)

FIVE. Well, we are now at the “impatiently waiting” stage of pregnancy where we just want to meet our little bambino but are trying to enjoy things in the meantime before life changes forever (in the best way possible). Two of my best girlfriends came over last weekend. Jerry was home early from work so we went and got frozen yogurt then played a fierce game of Apples to Apples. My friends and I get seriously vicious over games. It was a fun night, and probably one of the last ones I’ll have with my friends before becoming a mommy. I know life changes in a million ways when you have a baby, but I truly do have some of the best friends in the world and I know they’ll stick around. That doesn’t prevent me from being a bit nervous about how much life will change, but more than anything, we all just can’t wait to meet him!

20150107_183025^^ Random picture Jerry took of Dakota and I on Wednesday. His facial expression cracks me up. Such a jerk.