Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 11 Posts of 2011

I can't believe 2012 is just around the corner.  This year has definitely been a whirlwind with our family.  It has been the best year and the worst year all at the same time.  However, we are going into 2012 with a new perspective in life, full of new goals and new changes.  Let's travel back to my top 11 posts of 2011, as voted on by you readers!  (These are the most clicked posts in ascending order.) Click the title of the post if you would like to take a look back with me!  Let's work our way down to #1, my most read post of 2011!

11.) Gender Reveal- Part Two!- This post I talked about how I made the decorations for our gender reveal party.  That was such an exciting time!!!  I love the way the decorations and boy/girl pins turned out!

10.) 16 and 17 Weeks Pregnant- Our little boy was the size of an avocado during this time!  I shared with you a few belly pictures and some of the things I have been craving lately. It's funny looking at this post because I remember thinking I was so big at the time.  Man, I had no idea what was coming!

9.) 19 Weeks Pregnant- This is the week my belly popped!!!!  I couldn't believe how it just happened all of a sudden.  It seems like it got HUGE over night!  Of course it is continuing to grow, but this was the first real growth spurt.

8.) The Measure of Your Days-  In this post, I talked about the death of my mother in law.  I miss her so much.  Just last night I had a dream that she was calling us on the phone.  I think she would have wanted me to write this post, and if you haven't already, I would love for you to read it.

7.) My Absence- This is when I first announced on the blog what had happened to my mother in law.  I really appreciated all of the sweet messages you all sent me on facebook.  Many of you also came by the funeral home, and that meant so much.

6.) 11 Weeks Pregnant- I remember this time like it was yesterday!  I was exhausted.  As you can see, I didn't even wear makeup to work.  It was all I could do to even get there.  First trimester is soooo hard!  I wasn't sick yet, but I just had no energy whatsoever.  I couldn't wait to be in the second trimester!

5.) Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.- This is the day we first found out we were pregnant! I LOVE reading this post.  It's so much fun to look back on.  I talk about the day I found out, how I told Adam, and all of the emotions we were feeling.

4.) 18 Weeks Pregnant- In this post, I start talking about my ideal birth and what I would like to happen.  I know I've never given birth, and I plan to keep an open mind, but I do have certain things that are important to me, like laboring naturally.  Some of you weighed in and gave me some advice in the comments section, and I greatly appreciate it!

3.) Gender Reveal- Part One -This is the day we found out that we were having a baby boy!!!!  I knew it all along!  This post shows how we planned a last minute gender reveal party and has some memorable pictures from that night!

2.) 14 Weeks Pregnant- I was up 4 pounds at this time, and was eating everything horrible in sight!  I was constantly hungry, and maintained a steady intake of pizza, easy mac, and ramen noodles. :)  This week also had one of my favorite belly shots.  It was when I first started to show.

And the #1 post, which received 544 page views is...............

1.) HOW TO PAINT YOUR COUNTERTOP- I can't believe how popular this post is, but I am glad our experience/mishaps/time spent was helpful to you!  This was a big project for us to tackle, and with suspicions on our side that I was pregnant, the work was left up to Adam.  (I hint in this post that I am pregnant, though I don't think any of you caught on.  Let me know if you did!) 

Thank you for looking back with me through 2011!  I have really enjoyed writing this blog.  It's fun to document things Adam and I have done together, trials we have been through, and the way the Lord has blessed us through it all.  I am definitely looking forward to 2012.  I hope that you will continue to follow us through our journey of making our house a home, stepping out in faith, and welcoming our baby boy into the world!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Wizardry of Nesting

Last night, I had my first encounter with nesting.  Nesting is like a drug.  It seriously feels like you are on crack.  No lie.  Ok that might be a lie because I have never had crack.  But I imagine nesting is the equivalent. 

I will start at the beginning.  Two nights ago, I decided that it was time to tackle the nursery.  Up until this point, the nursery has been a storage room.  It once lived a glamorous life as an office/workout room, but quickly became the catch all.  The room where the door always had to be closed.  The room that stressed my husband out.  The room I planned to tackle every weekend.  The neglected room.  The following pictures may not be suitable for all audiences.  Viewer discretion advised.

Yes.  It is shameful.  Now go wash your eyes out with soap.  Anyway, two nights ago, I decided to get all of the baby clothes organized.  We still don't have a dresser, but the whole clothes on the floor situation was not working.  So I went to Walmart (HATE that place with a passion!!!!) and I bought some storage tubs.  I started out labeling them 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, etc.  But then I got confused.  If it's 3 month clothing, does it go in the 0-3 months box or the 3-6 months box?  I'm sure there is an easy answer to that, but my pregnant brain just doesn't function quite like my non-pregnant brain.  So I changed the labels to say Newborn, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, 12 month, 18 month, and 24 month.  This way, I knew what went where.  (If it said 6-9 months on the label, I put in in the 6 month box so he would obviously get the most wear out of it.)  I'm sure this seems so "duh" to you reading this, but to me, it was a real stumper.  But I eventually got my system down. :)  Here is the progress, just getting started!

Once I finally finished organizing the clothes, I put all of the Newborn-6 months clothing tubs in his closet.  I stacked the other tubs- 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months tubs in the hallway for my sweet husband to take to the garage/attic.  Once we get a dresser, I plan to wash all of the newborn to 3 month clothing and put it in the dresser.  I'll have the 6 month clothing in the closet for when the time comes.

I am going to make some more legit labels for the tubs since those are just big sticky notes.  So I finished the baby clothes.  The room still looked about the same.  Stuff everywhere.  I decided I was tired and told myself I would use the rest of my Christmas break to make sure his room got in order. 

The next evening (last night) around 10:00 I decided to work on the room.  We had a late dinner at Red Lobster, so I wasn't ready for bed yet.  My husband was playing with one of his Christmas gifts on the Wii, so I thought I would try to work on one of the piles of junk in the nursery.  I started on one pile, finished it, moved to the next, cleaned out some books I didn't need anymore from the book shelf, bagged up some trash, bagged up some clothes I've been meaning to donate, put little knick knacks around the house that I have been meaning to disperse, etc.  Nothing big.  I put all of baby boy's things into his closet. We have an empty plastic drawer set in the closet from cleaning out the office, so I put his shoes and socks in one drawer, gifts in another, and bibs, etc. in the bottom drawer.  I was moving at a constant and fast pace.  Before I knew it, I turned around and saw this.  I honestly gasped out loud because I had not realized what had just happened. 

(These pictures were taken today, not last night obviously.)

This was supposed to be a 2-3 day project.  I finished it in 1 hour.  On accident.  It really scared me.  I seriously thought I was dreaming.  There was no way I had finished that whole room.  I went and got the broom, did some sweeping, and was still in disbelief.  If you only knew of all the things in that room and the number of times I have attempted to put things away, you would be astounded too.  Adam told me he was ready for bed, so I told him to look at my progress.  He walked in the doorway to the nursery, and his jaw dropped.  The look on his face was a combination of shock and sheer terror.  He looked at me like I was some sort of unidenified being.  "What happened????" was all he could say.  He ran to the closet to open it, thinking everything would come tumbling out.  But it didn't. All he found were baby's things put away.

Lots of baby hangers, tubs of organized clothes, baby bath tub on top of that with a pillow in it for the nursery, plastic drawers full of baby shoes, etc.  On top of plastic drawers is a cute wire basket I found and more pillows and decor for the nursery.  In between the plastic drawers and storage tubs is all the things we are going to hang on the wall in the nursery.  On the top shelf is a lap desk (I need to do something with that), and on top of that is a wooden shelf that will hang in the nursery.  To the left in the closet (not pictured) is the jogging stroller.

He couldn't believe it.  I couldn't believe it.  He ran around the house looking for things stashed somewhere.  Somehow...and I don't know how...I put most of them where they go.  And if they didn't have a place, I made one.  Crazy. 

All Adam could do was look at me and say, "What kind of wizardry have you been doing back here?"  The only answer I could come up with was "nesting." 

This was my first encounter with this so-called "nesting."  And let me tell you, it is dangerous stuff.  I am terrified to let myself see any more clutter.  You just don't know what might happen.....

21/22 Weeks Pregnant and Christmas! has been a while since I have done a pregnancy post!  Ahh!  It has been stressing me out that I haven't updated lately, but I have had a lot going on and just haven't had the time to sit down and write.  When I first turned 21 weeks pregnant, I was very sick with a sinus infection.  I ended up missing the last day of work before Christmas break.  It was seriously one of the worst sicknesses I've ever had.  I was miserable.  So, I was living in my pajamas, and my husband was lucky if I showered.  I attempted a belly picture, but there is NO WAY I'm posting that sucker.  Nope.  It would scare my own mother if she saw it.  Some things are just better left out of blog land. :) 

Christmas came and went during 21 weeks pregnant.  It was an awesome Christmas.  I really enjoyed spending time with family and cherishing time with my husband.  I LOVE it when we are both off work together.  I really enjoy his company.  We both racked up this Christmas.  I dunno why.  We got some great stuff.  Adam got me a Kindle Fire.  I cried when I opened it.  I blame the hormones.  I really don't know what happened, but if you would like to see a reinactment of it, my brother will be happy to do it for you.  He was sitting right next to me and thought I was kidding.  Nope.  I bawled.  Then I cried about every gift after that.  Sigh.

I also (well Adam and I) got a jogging stroller from my father in law!  I was not expecting that!  But I'm sooooo thankful!  What a nice gift!  I can't wait to put it together and use it!

Yay!!!  It looks like a really nice one.  I love the orange color too.  We will easily be seen when we are out and about jogging down the road!

Another somewhat baby related gift is a video camera!  My parents got us a video camera because we didn't have one.  I'm always taking 30 second video clips on my phone.  Haha.  That wasn't going to cut it anymore.  We have a regular Canon camera that takes video, but the quality is not that great, and we don't use it that much.  This one is so small and convenient!  We love it!

We got a lot of other nice things.  I feel so undeserving of them.  I am so grateful though.  These are things we would have had to budget for, but they were given to us.  I'm truly thankful! 

Did anyone else LOVE going to church on Christmas morning?  I really enjoyed that, and it made me wish every Christmas was on a Sunday.  It meant so much to get to come together and worship Jesus and celebrate his birthday with my church family.  It really made it feel like Christmas.  I loved it. 

Now I'm 22 weeks pregnant, and this is my week off before school starts back.  I have tried to be really productive around the house.  This is my last break in school before our baby boy arrives!  I really can't believe it.  I had my first encounter with nesting last night.  It was insane.  I will do a separate post on that.  It was actually kind of scary. 

On Tuesday of this week, I had my 22 week doctor's appointment.  (I go every 4 weeks.)  I just had the usual weigh in (I've gained 13 pounds so far), blood pressure (looks great), Q&A with the doctor (which consisits of nothing because I don't know what I should be asking), and then I schedule the next appointment and leave.  On Tuesday, as I was sitting waiting for the doctor, I thought it was really hot in there.  I never get hot.  It was so hot that I had to fan myself to keep my face from getting all sweaty.  It was really strange.  I talked to the doctor for like 2 minutes and then went to leave.  As I was waiting in line to see the receptionist, I got even hotter.  Then, my arms started going numb, my face started tingling, and I got to where I couldn't breathe.  Pretty soon I started seeing black fireworks everywhere.  I quickly jumped ahead and told the receptionist that I needed to go sit down and that I was about to pass out.  She came around the counter, grabbed my arm, and put me in the closest room.  As I sat down, I couldn't even see her face because of all the black fireworks.  It was crazy.  I never actually passed out, but if I hadn't sat down, I definitely would have.  Anyone else have that happen?  I have no idea what caused it!  I wasn't hungry or anything.  The receptionist got me some water, and I sat and drank it til I felt normal again.  It was definitely scary.  I really would like to know what happened.  The doctor did come to check on me, but I was already feeling better and ready to leave.  She asked if I was ok, and I said yes.  My blood pressure was normal 5 minutes before, so I have no idea what was going on.  I hope it doesn't happen again though!

Here is my belly at 22 weeks!

Yep, there he is!  Big boy!  I feel him moving CONSTANTLY now.  I mean, all the time.  This kid likes to move it move it.  I really enjoy it.  I just can't believe how active he is.  OH!  In my last blog post, 20 weeks pregnant, I said that Adam hadn't felt him yet.  Well, that same night, just a couple hours after I posted that, Adam felt him move for the first time!  It was sooo awesome!  We were sitting there, and I got Adam to put his hand on my stomach because I knew baby was moving.  After a few minutes, baby boy kicked, and Adam and I looked at each other.  He had felt it!  He said, "Was that him?"  Well it definitely wasn't me! :)  It was a really awesome moment.  I will never forget it!  I have tried to catch him moving on camera, but this kid is smart.  Whenever he hears the little chime my phone makes when it starts recording, he immediately quits moving.  Stinker.  Maybe I'll capture a good kick soon.  I have a couple movements captured, but they are not big ones.  Just little tummy blips. 

Here is what is going on with big boy this week!

At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily.

Ummmm...almost a pound?  I don't think so, Tim.  If you remember, our little boy was basically a pound by 20 weeks.  We have a chunker!  He's probably well on his way to 1 and 1/2 pounds by now.

Thank you for reading! I have a lot of posts to catch up on, so stay tuned! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Wrapping- Part 2!

So I know I just posted like an hour ago on newspaper gift wrapping, but I found another present I had not wrapped yet!  This is a bottle of super moisturizing oat lotion.  It's from a little boutique in East Brainerd called the Feathered Nest. It's really nice stuff.  I was trying to figure out how to wrap it (given my lack of wrapping paper) and decided that newspaper was just too casual for this stuff.  I remembered that I had some white tissue paper in my car leftover from wrapping gifts in the Fred's parking lot for a gift swap.  Yep.  That's how I roll.  I also had a little red ribbon that came off of a gift from one of my students.  So I'm picturing lotion wrapped in white tissue paper with a red ribbon.....with a cute gift tag.  I noticed I have an onion in my kitchen in a little brown bag, so I took advantage.  Here's how it went down!

I used white tissue paper, scissors, tape, sparkly yarn, and an onion bag.  Not pictured: brown sharpie and hole punch.

I love this yarn I had on hand.  It's so festive!

The finished product!  I cut a section of the onion bag into the shape of a gift tag, then just punch a hole and tied the sparkly string through it.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy (as my 1st graders would say)!  Merry Christmas!

Christmas Gift Wrapping

So, I have been MIA for a bit.  I have been SUPER sick with a sinus infection.  On top of not being able to breathe from this big boy inside of me, I am also completely stopped up and have an awful sinus headache.  Thankfully yesterday was the worst day of it, and I think I may be starting to get better.  I haven't even taken my belly picture for the week (I am 21 weeks 5 days today....oops.)  Hopefully I'll sneak one in after I clean up a bit.  Anyway...

Adam and I finally got around to wrapping all of the Christmas presents this afternoon.  I had some really pretty paper, but it was trampled by our child (Heidi, our Weimaraner).  So, with no wrapping paper to speak of, it was time to get creative.  I have seen some really cute wrapping ideas on Pinterest lately.  So I tried to think of what I could use that I already had on hand.....newspaper!  Yep!  Didn't turn out too bad actually.  I think I like it!

I also chose the sports section of the newspaper since I was wrapping up a sports kinda gift.....stop snooping you Hares/Burns/Babbs!

We also had a little bit of fun with Heidi while wrapping.  Maybe she didn't think it was funny...but we sure did!

If I don't make an update before (which I hope to do)...I hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas!  Remember to slow  down and cherish the time.  Reflect on our awesome God who sent his ONLY son to die for people like us.  Sinners who deserve nothing.  What a precious gift.  Merry Christmas!

PSSST.......go HERE for part 2 for more gift wrapping ideas! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

30 Minute Peanut Butter Fudge

Today after church Adam and I picked up some KFC for lunch.  Man, that place is expensive.  We don't eat there often, and I'm always reminded as to why!  We always get their chicken strips, which is probably the most expensive thing there, but we only like the strips.  Oh well.  It wasn't long after lunch until I got a dessert craving.  It's really strange having my sweet tooth back.  I kind of feel like my regular non-pregnant self again.  Before pregnancy I was ALL about the sweets.  I would barely eat any of the meal so I could save up for dessert.  During pregnancy though, I have found that I would rather have seconds of the meal and no dessert....weird.  Glad to see my sweet tooth is making a come back! :)

So, of course I hopped on the ole computer and searched the internet for easy dessert recipes.  I finally came across one that looked delicious and SUPER easy.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you....3 ingredient (4 if you count the water), 30 Minute Peanut Butter Fudge.  Oh yes.  I really thought it was too good to be true.  But it's not.  YAY!  This would be a great dessert to take somewhere for Christmas if you need to fix something up fast.  Here's what ya do!

You will need 1 and 1/2 cups of chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup of peanut butter, and 1 TBS of water.

Put all ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl.

Next, microwave ingredients on high for 30 seconds and then stir....a lot.  If it's still not smooth after this, put it back in for another 30 seconds.  Mine was basically smooth after the first 30 seconds with lots of stirring.  Remember, you don't want to over heat it!  We all remember the great white chocolate fiasco of 2011. Read about that HERE.

It should look like this when you are finished microwaving and stirring.

Spread the mixture in a small baking dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

I spread mine a little thin.  Next time I will put it in a smaller pan so it will be thicker.  The final results were AMAZING.  This fudge is so smooth and delicious.  My husband was a big fan! 

Fudge is always best with a glass of milk!
I hope you enjoy!  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

20 Weeks Pregnant!!! 12.12.11

I can't believe I am 20 weeks pregnant!  HALFWAY!!!!  Oh my goodness.  Time has really flown.  I really just can't believe it.  What I also can't believe is how big I am already!  This week we had our 20 week ultrasound where we got all of the measurements of our baby boy (yes, he's still a boy! haha).  He is weighing in at....15 oz!  That's basically a pound!  Oh my geez.  He is gonna be a big boy!  I better lay off the pizza.  I've already had it 3 times this week......oops. 

I just bought this shirt a few weeks ago, and I think it's already about time to retire it.  :(  Oh well.  Hopefully I will be back in it next year! 

The big thing this week has been my back and my hips.  They are absolutely killing me.  I know it's still early for that kind of pain, but my hips are out of alignment.  My right leg is shorter than my left because my hips are tilted.  My right hip is higher than my left.  So that imbalance is definitely starting to affect me with this extra weight.  (Extra weight of 11 pounds to be exact.)  I have had pain so bad that I cry before I go to bed, and I usually have to stay off of my feet once I am home.  I'm really wondering how I am going to do the next 20 weeks.  I took a trip to the chiropractor this week because I just couldn't handle it anymore.  I used to go to the chiropractor for my hips, but it started getting expensive, so I had to cut back.  Now, I think it will have to be a regular thing.  We'll just have to adjust with our spending. 

Our big boy has definitely been moving a lot lately.  I feel him all the time!  I'm still waiting for Adam to feel him though.  It's so crazy, when he is moving around, I'll have Adam put his hand on my stomach, and then the baby stops!  He is so bashful. :)  I wish Adam could feel him though.  I'm hoping that will happen soon!  Maybe it will be Baby Hare's Christmas present to Daddy! :)

Nursery progress has come to a halt until we find a dresser.  A dear friend of mine has given me all of her boy's clothing from newborn up to at least 12 months!  It is a ton of clothing!  I'm so blessed to have friends like her!  I still have not had a chance to go through all of it, but the things I have gone through are SO cute!  I can't wait to have a little boy to put them in!  We just need a dresser to put all of these cute things in. 

Adam and I had a little day-date today.  We love having day-dates on Saturdays.  I love a leisurely Saturday.  We took Heidi with us to pick up some lunch, went by the park, and then met his dad at his storage unit to go through a few things.  Adam and I couldn't help but notice how my belly sticks out in the seatbelt!

20 weeks 5 days.  Does this seatbelt make me look fat?  Haha.

I'm looking forward to the coming weeks.  I really hope Adam feels our little one soon!  Also, only 3 more work days til Christmas break!  I can't wait!  Merry Christmas everyone!

White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

This week I went to my friend Summer's cookie swap.  It was such a blast hanging out with the church ladies.  We had chips and dips, played a game, did some crafty things, and ate lots of cookies of course!  I attempted to make a was kind of a miss.  I wish I could be more crafty.  I try really hard!

For this cookie swap, I decided to play the pregnancy card.  Haha.  My back seriously has been killing me though, so I wanted to do something fairly easy that wasn't too time consuming or labor intensive.  I decided to make semi-homemade cookies. :)  This is a really easy recipe that your kids could help you with.  It would be a great treat to take to a school party or other Christmas function.  They are just Keebler Grasshopper cookies (chocolate with mint flavoring), dipped in white chocolate, topped with crushed candy canes.  I hope you like them!  As always...this is Pinterest inspired. :)

You will need Keebler Grasshopper cookies, white chocolate morsels, and candy canes.  The amount you need depends on you.  I was making 72 cookies, so I ended up using 2 bags of white chocolate chips, 2 packages of cookies, and 6 candy canes.

Step 1: Put your candy canes in a zip-lock bag, so that you can crush them up without making a mess.  I started with 4 because I wasn't sure how many I would need.  I needed 6.

Step 2:  Take your frustrations out on the innocent bag of candy canes.  Don't you feel better? :)

Step 3: Put about 1 cup of white chocolate chips into a bowl to be melted in the microwave.
And here is where I will tell you theory...if I did mess was right here.  I kind of knew that chocolate could be overheated, but I guess I got daring.  The bag the chocolate chips comes in says to heat 1 cup of morsels for 1 minute at a time, and then stir.  Well, I set the timer for 1 minute on the microwave, checked it, and it still wasn't close to melted.  Stir it?  Nah.  Just set it for another minute and then stir it after that.  Bad idea.

Behold, mashed "potatoes."  Yep, as much as I stirred this stuff, it was NOT gonna melt.  I definitely scorched it.  So....when the bag says 1 minute then stir...DO IT. 

Redo.  Exactly 1 cup.   No more, no less.

1 minute in the microwave, then stirred like mad to get the chunks out.  Wah-la!

Dip in white chocolate and top with crushed candy canes!  I did actually dip this one, the rest I got lazy with and kind of scooped the white chocolate with a spoon and smothered it on there.  It was less messy that way.  But the dipped one turned out the prettiest.

Lots of cookies!
 I set them out on plastic wrap to let the white chocolate harden.  I must admit, I made a few, ate a few, made a few....ate...lots.  So it took a little longer than it should have.  Haha.  In all, it took about an hour to make all of these.  
72 cookies for the tasting! :)
My husband loved them.  He has a thing for anything minty and chocolatey.  I hope you like these! 
Merry Christmas!
Images by Freepik