Saturday, December 28, 2013

Baby Shower!

Last month my wonderful mom and mother-in-law threw the most incredible baby shower for me! They went absolutely overboard on every last detail from the food to the decorations and games and I was completely spoiled. I felt so special the whole time. I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude for our friends and family that are as excited as we are to welcome our son to the world in just a few short months. I am not sure why we are so lucky but I am so thankful for each and every one of you. 

We had friends and family travel from as far north as Vermont and upstate New York to attend the shower. Christopher deserves a gold medal for joining in on the fun the entire time to take pictures and assist with gift opening. He played a great Vanna White. I might even say he had a good time!

The baby shower was held at a cute little historic train station in downtown Silver Spring. It just so happened that it took place on the same day as the Thanksgiving Parade, but that didn't stop everyone from showing up and having a great time! Our son's nursery theme is all about space, so the baby shower was based on that, and I absolutely loved all of the little touches!

My talented cousin Julia made this
adorable & delicious cake!
Cute star favor boxes with chocolates
One of my bffs Ryan contributed
 to the decor & favors!
My mom made a special recipe in a
blue variation for this favor.  When she was
 pregnant with me she craved this sugar popcorn
from the White House Cookbook.
There was an abundance of food and drinks and so much to do with all of the games and chatting with everybody that came to celebrate! It was such a great time and it was over way too fast!

Ruthie had everyone write us or the baby a message on this
pretty star stationery and then she put them all in a
scrapbook for us. When I read them the day after
the party I just cried and cried. They were all so sweet.
"Guess Baby's Stats" 
Baby Word Scramble- I thought I was good at these
but apparently not because I didn't win!
Lots of prizes for the winners of all the fun games
The food spread
Announcing a game!
Baby shower at the B & O Railroad Museum
Upstate NY fam
My amazing friends
Christopher's "Funny Oma"
More amazing friends & the hubster

Thank you so much to everyone that came! And for those that couldn't make it, please know that I felt you were there in spirit :) I love you all and our son is so excited to meet each and every one of you beautiful people.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I love Fall!

Isn't the fall weather and bright crunchy leaves the best?

A few weekends ago we met up with some friends at Larriland where we feasted on fresh apple fritters, turkey legs, and hot cider. We also enjoyed a hay ride through a haunted forest and the pumpkin fields. It was lovely.

That same weekend we enjoyed roasted marshmallows at the fire pit for Megan's 2nd Birthday.

Halloween was uneventful but we made sure to dress up anyway. We don't get any trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood so we grabbed take-out and enjoyed a horror movie on the projector.

A hike at Great Falls last weekend was enjoyable despite the crisp air.

When we're not outside we are found tackling our "to do before baby" list. Christopher installed electrical outlets in all of the bathrooms (!), which is an accomplishment for someone who has never done any electrical work before! Previously the only outlets in there were in the ugly light fixtures, so these are a welcome change. The nursery is a little over halfway painted. We are feeling pretty good about what we have accomplished so far but we will see how much more gets done... I find myself needing to put my feet up a little more often as my pregnancy progresses.

I am happy to report that my daily headaches are finally gone! They went away a few weeks ago at about week 24. I will be 27 weeks pregnant this Sunday. Now I am beginning to struggle with getting a full night's sleep. Oh well, it's all worth it!

Next up is Thanksgiving and boy am I excited for turkey and all the fixings! And of course to spend time with family :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Over halfway there

Somehow I am suddenly over 5 months pregnant (23 weeks and 5 days if you want to get specific)! Not sure how that happened.

Yesterday at my midwife appointment I asked to be shown where the top of my uterus was because I had felt punching or kicking higher than I expected to. She did as I asked and we found out that my measurements were averaging four weeks ahead of where I should be at this time. This freaked me out a bit. But I was told not to worry because baby is going through a growth spurt right now so he will likely level off by my next appointment. I am starting to think that he will come slightly early for a few reasons, one being that I felt movement at 16 weeks, which is atypical for first time mothers. When I told Christopher my suspicion he said it was "Awesome!" I asked him why and he said "because we might get to meet him sooner!" I love my husband.

We liked the pediatrician that we visited a few weeks ago very much. They have fire truck exam tables in the patient rooms! Silver Spring Pediatrics would be incredibly convenient because it is just a stone's throw from my husband's office. We were surprised to hear that the practice does ear piercings of newborn baby girls. Is this a thing? Christopher and I gave each other curious glances at this announcement. We haven't made a decision on a pediatrician yet because we have more practices to look into.

On average I still feel great! I have been walking a lot (ask me how we got lost in Wheaton Regional Park last week??) and doing an awesome Pilates DVD that Missy loaned me. I do have a few complaints that I will try to discuss briefly. The afternoon commute home on metro is my most dreaded part of the weekday. The fishy-rubber-tire smell. The jolty stop and go movement. People and their perfume! Ugh. Sometimes I feel like I am eight weeks pregnant again and about to hurl. The other day I even brought a plastic bag just in case. I have been having severe headaches for about a month and a half now because of these crazy hormones. And it is only during the week when i'm at work! At first they would usually come around 10:30-11am and last until I get home around 4:30pm, just awful. I know I can take Tylenol but I am worried about overdoing it. I tried drinking even more water, which is difficult when you're already chugging 72 ounces a day. My boss was kind enough to undo several of the lights in my office and I turned down my monitor brightness. I eat every 2-3 hours. Nothing really helps except acetamenaphen sometimes, but at least their duration has lessened.

This is actually from week 20
The nursery is in progress. We have paint samples up on the wall and have agreed on colors but haven't yet purchased the paint. We have a dresser and chest in there and the crib and mattress were delivered yesterday. I don't know why I was so surprised by the size! I expected it to be smaller even though I have seen Megan's crib a hundred times. That thing is going to feel cavernous to our teeny-tiny little baby!

I have to schedule my one hour glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes in the next few weeks and I am really not looking forward to that at all.

I leave you with this sonogram photo, which I swore I would never post, but just look at that *lil' nose!

Baby S, 19 weeks
*It is a requirement that pregnant women use the term "lil'" at every possible opportunity.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Anniversary Weekend

Our backyard on October 3, 2013
October 3rd was our fourth wedding anniversary! We celebrated by spending the weekend at the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. It is just over the Potomac River bridge from Maryland. This is our third time staying at the inn and this go around we booked a riverfront room in one of the chalets. We had planned to do a lot of hiking on the C&O Canal Trail just across the bridge but it was just plain too hot, and besides, it was probably closed because of the federal government shutdown anyway. So we spent the weekend relaxing, reading, eating, flea-marketing, and sleeping in very late!

Arriving on Friday evening just in time for dinner, we scoped out our awesome room and then made our way across the manicured grounds to the Rathskeller Pub. The pub serves the same menu as the dining room upstairs, but you don't have to dress up all fancy. It is so cozy in there with the low lighting, it really feels like a european pub. I ordered the shepherd's pie for dinner while we shared the pate appetizer, both were very good. Christopher had the jaeger schnitzel entree and then we had a raspberry torte for dessert. There was a dad and son dining next to us and I couldn't help but hear their adorable conversations the whole meal. They were so sweet, you could really tell the man loved being a dad and took his role very seriously. A conversation they had: Approximately six year old boy: "I'm just not used to beautiful…" Dad: "You'll never really get used to it son." The young boy had been staring at a women in the dining room and was infatuated with her. When they played "I Spy" he would always name that woman. At the end of their dinner the dad was trying to encourage his son to go up to her and say hello and tell her she is beautiful, but the boy was too embarrassed. I saw them head away but I don't think they spoke to her. She would have just melted because this boy was so sweet.

The Inn was much more crowded than usual, which we were mostly pleased about because when we were there last summer it was so deserted that we were worried for the inn. We didn't like the lack of parking because of the popularity though! There was construction going on at the pool but it didn't bother us because they weren't working during the weekend.

On Saturday morning we watched the sunrise over the Potomac River while we sipped our coffee and tea. Then we enjoyed breakfast at the main building's backyard patio. My goodness I love eggs benedict. Afterwards we went to check out the Harper's Ferry Flea Market. We zipped through most of the aisles without seeing much that interested us except for some boxes of infant sleepers marked $0.50! I picked out a few and we were on our way again. At some point I decided it was just getting too hot out and I needed some ice cream. We drove to main street Harper's Ferry in search of an ice cream shop my coworker had told me about. Unfortunately, the parking lots are leased by the federal government so they were all closed, leaving us nowhere to park. The streets were already crowded with tourists and it looked like a really fun place to explore. We made a mental note to come back some other time as we drove to Dairy Queen.

Dinner was spent at the Rathskeller again after Christopher announced my heels didn't dress up my leggings and tunic enough for the dining room! We "shared" the wild game slider trio and it was amazeballs you guys. Venison, lamb, and pork was my order of preference. We also ordered the onion soup and it was also splendid. Christopher had sauerkraut trio and I stole some of the delicious potatoes. I really enjoyed how they tasted like fresh potatoes rather than pure garlic or butter (though I love those as well). My entree was a crab and shrimp stuffed avocado salad but I was too full to eat more than a few bites. No dessert today but I did sample an Oktoberfest… yum.

Bavarian Inn's backyard on October 5, 2013

Clearly it was a weekend devoted to food and Sunday was no exception. Sunday Brunch in the dining room is from 11am-2pm. A smorgasbord of german fare along with fancy seafood and the traditional breakfast elements are what you'll find at the buffet. I particularly enjoyed the fried beer battered scallops! Yum. I also was very fond of the french toast, it tasted exactly like a cinnamon bun. And let me tell you how hard it was avoiding the brie and other fancy soft cheeses; really really hard. All cheese in America is pasteurized, but these were marked "imported international cheeses" so I didn't risk it. If you can only go to The Bavarian Inn for a day, Sunday is your day, and you must go for brunch.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Road Trip: Upstate New York

Okay everyone set your time machine back two months to August 9th when we road tripped to upstate New York! Chris has a lot of family that live in the state and I have always wanted to go. Ruthie (Chris's mom) and Elcio (Chris's stepdad) organized the trip and invited us along. Well on Friday I took the day off and we headed straight for Ithaca that morning!

There had been some serious rain the previous night and a lot of the area was flooded. We noticed the flooded areas as we were getting closer to the city but it didn't occur to me that it would mess up our plans for a hike at Robert H. Treman State Park. Well we headed there anyway and found that unfortunately all the trails were closed due to the flooding. What bad timing mother nature! We checked out the swimming area anyway and got some crazy photos of the falls and surrounding water that was quite the juxtaposition from the tranquil photo on their website! After that we ventured into the college town and stopped for a snack before heading to Opa (Grandpa) and Ma B's place for dinner.

Not so tranquil huh?

Aunt Tina and Uncle John as well as cousin Lucia joined too. We had a wonderful dinner there that Ma B prepared and Opa gave us a private tour of their beautiful garden. Afterwards we sat around the living room and chatted. The Aunts were discussing the ages of all of the cousins and Chris took that opportunity to make our exciting announcement "yea and we have one that's about 12 weeks." Nobody really got it at first and someone asked if we got a puppy! Then they figured it out and many congratulations were had. It was totally perfect.

Opa's backyard garden
On Saturday morning we met Opa for breakfast and great conversation. He brought us some beautiful books from his collection. One was filled with gorgeous photos of the state of New York, and the other was National Geographic. We love them and they proudly sit on our coffee table. After our bellies were full, Opa suggested a car show in Cortland or a visit to Lime Hollow Nature Center. Obviously a nature center was more our thing than a car show, so off we went! Lime Hollow is one of Opa's favorite places and I can see why. It was gorgeous. He pointed out several different species of birds and plants on our hike and Christopher clicked away on his camera the entire time. We even spotted some wild blackberries and sampled a few! Something I quite enjoyed were the random alcoves where you'd find a sculpture or two. The nature preserve houses a youth camp and these are some of their projects. 

A morning at Lime Hollow

Opa and grandson
Well the long walk had reset our appetites again and it's a good thing too because we were headed back to meet the others for lunch at Opa and Ma B's. Here is where I had my first cup of coffee in months, and it tasted better than I ever remembered! For dessert Ma B made this wonderful dish and I can't remember what it was called! It sort of looked like jello with whip cream but she called it a tart I think? I will need to ask her about that. What a great afternoon we had sitting out in the garden enjoying everyone's company! We had clearly exhausted Opa because he headed in for a nap. It occurred to us that maybe we should go rest at our hotel as well since we had dinner plans in our future!

Exhibit A (There is no exhibit B or C)
I am so mad at myself for not taking any photos at Kurt and Wendy's house. They live in an old one room school house that has been converted into a beautiful home. We drove towards Hannibel; after the gps connection goes out of range, you drive through a few cornfields and then turn left at the cemetery. They had set the table in the backyard and we dined inside of a Pinterest board. We feasted on pulled pork, salad, and the most delicious "salt potatoes" I have ever had. It was the most idyllic setting with the view of farmland in the background. Still kicking myself for not taking a picture… We loved visiting with them and hearing about what all of the kids were up to. Mica had just returned from a week at camp and Maya and Katja were talking about an upcoming trip to New York City! Gabriel and Christopher were lost in conversation the entire time discussing the merits of this or that video card (just kidding i'm not going to pretend I have any understanding of what they were talking about!). On the long drive back to our hotel I opened the moon roofs and stared up at the stars as we drove down the highway. What a beautiful night.

the night sky above Syracuse
Sunday morning we wanted to hike so we decided to venture out to Fillmore Glen State Park. It turned out to be further away than I had realized so we only had an hour to explore the beautiful trail and falls. What a great park! There was a sprawling lawn with tons of picnic tables. Nearby was a swimming area with ice cold water supplied from the falls. Not sure why it was closed that day but boy do I wish we had something like that where we live! It looked very fun. We walked along the stream path for awhile, Chris took lots of photos, checked out the falls and then it was time to head back. We wish we had planned for more time. I guess we will just have to return. 

badly photoshopped pic of us together at the falls
Next was a huge birthday celebration in honor of Opa at Briggs Hall in Homer. Ma B, Tina, and Ruthie planned a catered lunch at this historic building and what a great job they did. There was plenty of delicious food, lovely speeches, and some wonderful musical entertainment by the talented Lucia, Johannes, and their dad John. 

Birthday celebration
That evening was spent at Tina and John's home overlooking Skaneateles Lake (!). We spent the time telling stories and laughing and I daydreamed about returning some day for a longer trip. I loved upstate New York so much, what a beautiful place.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Girl's Weekend

Yesterday afternoon I returned from a relaxing trip with a good friend, I call her my "pen pal" because we are always texting and emailing but don't see each other often. We met at a work training class several years ago in Tampa. Last winter she was in the DC area and we made it a point to get together to attend a fancy food event.

Well it was high time that I trekked to her turf. On Friday I flew to Fort Meyer's Airport for our long weekend in Sanibel Island in the Gulf of Mexico. With a four hour drive behind her, Ashley picked me up at the airport and we were off... to eat lunch... because I am pregnant and usually starving. We grabbed sandwiches and spent several hours at the outlets. I had my first of three (!) mango smoothies of the weekend. At The Gap I used a gift card to score the cutest little jean jacket and two newborn onesies. Ashley got some really sweet clothes for her two boys. Loft is where we both took advantage of the prices and stocked up on some cute clothes and jewelry for ourselves.

Here I am in my natural habitat
After checking into The Seaside Inn on the island of Sanibel, the rest of our day included iced coffee and cupcakes at Dolce Tesoro, an abundant dinner at Cip's Place, and some lounging around and reading. Ashley had so kindly brought me her copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block and I finished it by the end of the weekend. 

Natural wonders of Sanibel: Parrot, seashells, blue heron, clamshell, biking trail, coconut
On Saturday morning we made use of the free bikes available at the inn and rode them to Dolce Tesoro. We were interested in iced coffees again but didn't take the owner up on the cupcakes this time. He insisted on complimentary chocolate covered graham crackers though! Delicious. After we made it back we figured we should head to the beach where we shelled and read. We weren't there for more than an hour though because we had massage appointments to get to! I had found a massage school in the area and, always up for a great deal, Ashley and I decided to book appointments for hour long massages for $55(!). Now in a complete state of relaxation, we both got pedicures while I sipped on a mango smoothie. For dinner it was the Sanibel Fish House where we ordered conch fritters. It had started raining pretty hard but we didn't let it get in our way, on a recommendation from my massage therapist we headed for The Bubble Room in Captiva for dessert. It sounded like either a strip club or gay bar to me, and the decor was completely bonkers, but it's true that the dessert is incredible. All i'm going to say is "orange crunch cake." Back at our room we spent the evening browsing the mansions of Captiva on

Sunday was a full beach day. We worked on our tans and our books. I grilled Ashley on all things pregnancy and parenting her two little boys. More shelling was done, and we found a starfish in the water! It didn't enjoy being removed from its habitat though, as it sensed a threat and separated one of its appendages in protest, so back in the ocean it went. 

After we decided we had enough sun we walked to the end of the coast to the lighthouse and then out onto the street. The sky was looking very dark at this point so we speed-walked back to our hotel, but not before stopping for much deserved coffee and a mango smoothie.

The Green Flash was super fancy, though empty, but our dinner was wonderful. We overheard other diners gossiping about how the effects of draining the Lake Okeechobee watershed into the Gulf could take up to a year to dissipate. Ashley had mentioned on the first day that the water is normally bluer and clearer, but it didn't bother me much since I didn't know any different. Sometimes you would get a whiff of something awful through the beach air though.

In protest of our weekend coming to a close we rebelled and went to a "late night" movie where we laughed through "We are the Miller's" and then made a pit stop at Walgreen's for nail polish and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. 

What a wonderful weekend! The island was so quiet and peaceful, though perhaps because it was their slow season. There are lots of nature preserves that I didn't get a chance to check out, so I plan to go back with Christopher sometime, he would like it a lot.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Second Trimester Glee!

I am finally in the second trimester! Although I didn't do much I feel as if i've accomplished something. I also feel very very fortunate. Apparently my baby is having a raucous party inside of me even though I cannot feel it, he or she is probably even sucking its thumb, that crazy kid!

Adorable baby things!!

In other news I have not felt sick for about two and a half weeks now. My energy has come back as well and therefore I don't feel as if I need a nap after lunch… or after work.

Already we've checked a lot of items off of our to do list. 

This weekend Chris disassembled the guest bed that has served as a wonderful laundry sorting surface and junk accumulator in the guest room aka future nursery. It has been shipped off to my brother's house where it will live in one of his 3 (4?) empty bedrooms. I plan to have that whole room cleared out within the next month or so (hahaha?). Is anyone in need of a writing surface? I have a perfectly acceptable white ikea desk that we no longer need. Otherwise it will go up on Craigslist.


We also made a lot of progress on retiling our basement. The original flooring is 10% asbestos tile, and science states that this is bad for your health. It has been on our list for an embarrassingly long time, I will not tell you when we started this project because you won't be my friend anymore. Having a baby in our future has given us the kick in the pants we needed to make it a priority; ahead of watching the entire series of White Collar. If you're having a hard time staying motivated with your home improvement projects, get knocked up and you won't have that problem anymore, I highly recommend it. We are approximately 92% finished with the tile installation! Theory proven.

The last few months (and even before we were expecting- because I am insane) I have been doing lots of research on daycares. I am trying to counteract this crazy wait-list phenomena that is giving me nightmares. I have found a few accredited centers that look very promising! We are scheduled to visit two on September 10th. I will be armed with Gavin de Becker recommended questions. I am not happy that I had to take the day off work, but I am determined to make it worth it so I will also be going to the post office to renew my passport.

That same evening (haha my husband doesn't yet know this!) we will also be going to a Prenatal Conference at Silver Spring Pediatrics to learn about their practice. I am very excited about this because it is very close to Chris's work, our house, they will come in to see your child on the weekends in an emergency, and last but not least, they are rated on the 2012 Top Doctor's in the Washingtonian.

You will hear from me again soon. I'm going to go back in time as I unintentionally skipped over documenting our wonderful trip to upstate New York!