Colors: Grey, yellow, white and black
Check “finish baby nursery” off of the baby to do list because it’s done!
And there it is – well half of it at least, but let’s break it down a bit more.
Since we live in a small apartment, the baby nursery is also doubling as my husband’s office. The three posters on the right were already hanging in the room, but the records are a new addition. My sister purchased them and had them as decorations at our rock-a-bye baby themed baby shower. On the opposite wall is a framed record that our shower guests signed – such a beautiful keepsake of a special event.
All we need now is our baby girl! Three weeks and counting…
Okay, so I think I’ve finally reached the nesting stage of pregnancy.
Not only do I feel myself morphing into a nit-picky cleaning machine (like, let’s not only clean out all of the food from the fridge, but let’s also take all of the drawers and shelves out of the fridge and completely scrub them down until they sparkle), but this week, I got the urgent need to make a bunch of freezer meals for us to enjoy once the baby is here. At one point my husband suggested moving our freezer meal prep day (yes, he helped with the cooking and he was AWESOME), and then at another point he suggested we split freezer day into two days and I couldn’t handle it. I NEEDED to make these meals on the specific day we’d set aside.
So that we did.
I’ve never done anything like this before. I tried doing this for cookie dough a couple of years back and made a double batch of dough and rolled and saved half in a freezer container to make at another point in time. Um, yeah, that dough was one of the things I threw out when I cleaned the freezer to make room for these meals. Awesome idea, Christina.
I do have high hopes for these freezer meals, though. Neither my husband or I want to eat takeout for every meal after the baby is born, and these recipes are some of our favorites, so I really think we’re going to gobble all of these up. I’m just hoping now that we made enough to last us more than a week post-baby.
With the two of us working together, we pounded these out in a little under three hours – including stopping to eat some of the chili for dinner If it does work, I want to try and do something similar once a month after the baby is here.
Here’s what we made -
Michael Chiarello’s Tomato Soup - This is one of my favorite recipes. It’s the only tomato soup recipe I’ve ever tried because I loved it so much. The only thing I do different from what is listed is that I generally don’t add the celery unless I’m buying celery for something else. I’m not a fan of it so I don’t like buying a whole head if I only need one stalk. Other than that I follow the directions and add salt, pepper, cream and basil at the end to my liking. I made a triple batch of this recipe, had some for dinner one night (with a grilled cheese sandwich of course) and then froze the rest.
30-Minute Turkey Chili – Again, another one of our favorite recipes. We made a double batch of this, had some for dinner, then froze the rest.
Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie – I haven’t made this in a LONG time, but it’s so easy to make ahead and freeze. To do so, I made the filling and let it cool. After that, I filled it in small aluminum dishes, covered the top with the pastry then covered in foil to freeze. I use less thyme than what the recipe calls for because it can get a little too thyme-heavy for my taste and I use puff pastry instead of a pie crust.
Crockpot Beef Stew – This is a recipe I’ve never tried before, but I wanted to find something similar to the first thing I ever made in my crockpot (which I couldn’t find the recipe for anywhere), so I did some Googling and this is what I found. If you click on the link, it gives you a bunch of other recipes, which I’ve never tried, but if this one turns out great, I may give them a whirl in the future! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup – There really wasn’t any prep done for this on freezer day besides buying the canned goods needed to make it. I labeled them and put them in my cupboard so I know not to use them since they’re set aside for when we want to make this dish.
Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies – One of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes! So yummy! My hubby was in charge of making a double batch of these and he scooped the dough and popped into freezer safe containers so we can bake as many or as few as we’d like at a time.
After I made and transferred these dishes, I labeled them and for those that needed instructions, I noted them on the container.
For the soup and chili, I transferred them to both single serving and double serving containers. That way if we’re both in the mood for the same thing on one day, we can heat up the larger of the containers or the single serving if we don’t.
I’ve got high hopes for these meals and hope that we’re able to eat and enjoy them after the little one is here. This was the one time I wish I had a HUGE freezer so I could store more, but we’ll start with these and see how we go! Like I said, if this works, I’m looking forward to doing this again!
Well, here we are…the last day of 2014. As always, it was a year of highs and lows that is ending with excitement about what the New Year will bring. Here’s a little recap of the year…
I rang in 2014 at my home with my husband, sister, brother-in-law, dad and his now wife. Over the years, I’ve found ringing in the New Year at home is really the ideal for me. When I was growing up, my dad and I would brave the cold and crowds and spend midnight on the Embarcadero in San Francisco with lots of drunk strangers and amazing fireworks. My first New Year’s Eve with my husband, we went to a friend’s party, followed by a few years of doing one of those spendy 5-course meals at a restaurant that included a champagne toast at midnight. Up until this year, my sister lived in the same city as me and we’ve swapped hosting NYE with our husbands, dad and close friends who are like family. We’d plan the decorations and food for weeks before the big day and spend the evening eating, listening to music, playing games and, of course, drinking champagne. This past summer, my sister moved north to Orange County and my husband and I have decided to spend this last evening of 2014 at home, just the two of us. This isn’t because we don’t have anywhere to go or people to spend it with, but as parenthood quickly approaches, we’re trying to spend as much time with each other as possible before our lives completely change. While I love getting dressed up and decorating the house for the New Year celebrations, I must say I’m looking forward to being warm and snuggly in my pajamas while playing games and watching Netflix with my honey
At the beginning of March, my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary the way we always do – with a cake from the folks at Cupcakes Squared who did the desserts for our wedding. Later that month, we celebrated my husbands 33rd birthday with friends at our favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant. I also posted my first blog post for this blog that month!
At the beginning of April, my husband and I travelled to Houston for my sister-in-law’s wedding. It was a gorgeous wedding and we had a great time spending time with his extended family.
May was the saddest month of the year for us, but at the same time one of the happiest – if that even makes sense. At the beginning of the month, I lost my paternal grandmother and my husband and I travelled home for her funeral. During that trip, I learned so much about my grandmother from stories family would tell and I was able to see so many parts of her life I didn’t know about through old family photographs.
A week after my grandma’s funeral, my husband and I travelled home again to run the Bay to Breakers. This was my 12th Bay to Breakers that I’ve run with my dad and the fourth with my husband. It’s such a wonderful tradition for us, and I hope continues for many, many years to come.
The following week, I took an early pregnancy test and found out that I was pregnant! Talk about a whirlwind of emotions, because two days later we got a call that my husband’s maternal grandfather, who we both adored so much, had passed away. Within a few days we were both on our way to Texas for services.
This summer I made my first ever summer bucket list, which I feel helped me get the most out of my summer and helped me make the most of every day. While I didn’t get to cross everything off my list, I did a TON this summer versus past years. I started off the summer by taking a trip to LA to see James Taylor at the Hollywood Bowl. It was such an entertaining night and I was so happy to FINALLY see good ol’ JT live in concert for the first time!
Later in June, I had the first of three pregnancy-related scares. It’s not something I’ve spoken about here, but it’s something that has had me on edge for most of my pregnancy. The first scare came at about 7 weeks, the second around 10 weeks and the third (which was the most serious of them all and even landed me in the ER for an afternoon) happened around 14 weeks. I had to have quite a few ultrasounds the first 16 weeks of my pregnancy because of these scares, but everything has checked out fine each time and my due date is now only five weeks away!
Summer ended with a lovely family wedding where I gained some amazing new family members.
This Fall my husband played in the orchestra for Bright Star – a new musical written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. While my husband got to hobnob with Mr. Martin, the highlight for me was that I got to meet Paul Simon (one of my idols) who is married to Ms. Brickell. It seriously was one of the best nights of my life that I will never forget. I’ve met famous people in the past, but meeting Paul Simon has been the only instance so far where my heart raced, my legs got shaky and I honestly felt like I was going to cry when I shook his hand.
In November, my husband and I travelled to Houston for his cousin’s wedding, had our first of two baby showers and spent our first Thanksgiving on our own in San Diego. We also spent our Thanksgiving break prepping our guest room to become a nursery for our baby girl.
In December, we celebrated our second baby shower and travelled to the Bay Area to celebrate Christmas.
This last week of 2014, has been spent preparing for the main event of 2015 – becoming first-time parents. I must say that I’m incredibly excited about becoming a mom, but at the same time incredibly scared. Even thinking about it right now, brings tears to my eyes. I simply cannot wait for the moment I get to see and hold our daughter for the first time; I know I’m going to be a blubbering idiot.
I look forward to everything the New Year will bring and hope you are doing the same. I’ll see you right here for more in 2015!
So this past month has been devoted to marking things off of our “baby to do” list. I’m such a planner and I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with all there is to do before the baby comes, so I was happy to finally check some things off of our list. One of the things we checked off was starting the nursery! We only had to paint one wall, but for some reason once we did it, it was a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders! The baby’s crib and bedding are all put together now and so is her dresser. Things are coming together and not only does it make me less stressed, but it makes me even more excited for our little girl to be here!
We’ve also signed up for a few baby classes to take before the baby gets here. Among them are a birthing class, a sleep strategy class and a baby care basics class.
One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is how crazy those first few days at home will be with our little girl. I remember when my husband and I first got married, we’d look at each other those first few weeks and talk about how crazy it was that we were actually married. I think the same exact thing will happen x1000 once we have a baby. I’ve totally read up on the things that happen during pregnancy, but haven’t done much reading about what to do once the baby gets here. Does anyone else think it’s weird that after a couple of days in the hospital, they just let you go with a human being that you’re in charge of? It’s so crazy to think about!
I’m now in that wonderful, uncomfortable stage of pregnancy. I’m not overly huge, but since I am a petite person, the 30 pounds I’ve gained (which are pretty much all in my belly) is starting to take it’s toll on my body. My back kills me every night I come home from work and the little one has started to burrow into my ribs. That’s probably the most uncomfortable part because every once in a while I’ll get a swift kick or punch to my rib cage.
Another thing pregnancy has done to me —- it’s given me carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand! Apparently this is pretty common in pregnant woman and should go away 4-6 weeks after delivery, but it has been so painful lately. I sleep with a wrist brace now though which helps a bit throughout the night.
Now that the baby has gotten bigger and her house has gotten a little cramped, I can see her moving around in there. Talk about a crazy sight! She pretty much puts on a show every night, so my husband and I just sit on the couch and watch my belly wave around.
We were so blessed to have two baby showers for our girl. Honestly, it brings tears to my eyes how loving and generous our friends and family are. We have been showered with so many heartfelt gifts and are completely blown away by how many people already love our little one as much as we do!
One of my favorite things to make is a whole roasted chicken.
This Thanksgiving, my husband and I decided to spend it alone at home, just the two of us. I generally travel to San Francisco to be with my family, or Santa Fe to be with his for the holiday, but being 7 1/2 months pregnant and with traveling being cumbersome for me these days, having a nice holiday at home was a great switch for the year. We were able to check lots of things off of our “baby to do list” and just enjoy our time together as we gear up for all of the craziness that awaits us in the new year.
If you looked at our table on Thanksgiving, though, you would have never known it was a meal being consumed by two (and a half) people. We cooked on and off throughout the day and our final menu was a small Honeybaked ham, homemade stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread, a dessert made by my husband and a whole roasted chicken.
I got really into roasting whole chickens last year and did it quite a few times. It’s nice because you not only have your meal for that evening, but what you can do with the leftovers is endless. You can make lovely sandwiches, chicken pot pie, fajitas, you name it! And whole chickens don’t cost much and are SUPER easy to make.
I love to incorporate some of my favorite flavors like lemon and rosemary, but really any herbs you like (or a combo) can be used. It doesn’t take much to make it absolutely delicious! Below is a picture of our guy ready all buttered and ready to go into the oven!
This chicken was a great alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and we had chicken to eat for days! All-in-all it was a fantastic holiday at home!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Although I wish we all didn’t need a special day to truly realize and celebrate everything we have to be thankful for, and that we did it on our own every day, I hope it was spent with those you love and that you all have a wonderful holiday season!
Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary
1 whole chicken, approximately 5 pounds
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper
1/2 yellow onion
4 whole rosemary sprigs
I’m in somewhat of a state of denial that our baby will be here in less than three months. On one hand I feel like I’m ahead of the game and have all my ducks in a row, but on the other hand there are still a bunch of HUGE things we have to do before the little one gets here.
I started thinking about decorating the nursery very early on. I got the idea for one major part of the decor at the James Taylor concert my husband and I went to at the beginning of June when I was only about 5 weeks pregnant. Being newly pregnant, I had so many emotions running around my head and listening to his gorgeous lyrics (which I’ve heard so many times before) hit me differently then they ever had before. Songs that I’ve always loved like Sweet Baby James, Shower the People and How Sweet it is, took on a whole new meaning to me now that I was expecting and already had so much love for my child. Since then the lyrics of so many songs have “gotten to me” and I decided to pick my favorite few, make prints of them and hang them in the nursery.
My family is incredibly musical and my husband is a musician, so the music theme seemed like the perfect choice. The guest room/soon-to-be-nursery already has somewhat what of a musical theme since that is currently my husband’s practice room and we have a couple of posters from The Fillmore and an old, gorgeous, black and white photo of Bob Dylan hanging that was a Christmas gift from my father quite a few years back. Those will stay, but will be joined by the prints I had made by Pink Milkshake Designs. Donna was an absolute pleasure to work with and super quick! I highly recommend working with her on any similar projects you have in mind.
Below are the individual prints in their frames and a bit more about why we chose them.
This lyric comes from Your Song by Elton John. I’m generally not a huge Elton John fan, but I do love this song and thought this lyric fit perfectly about how we already feel about our little one.
There were SO MANY amazing Beatles lyrics to choose from, but we decided on this one from the song of the same name not only for it’s simplicity but also because of the truth that rings through it.
Bob Dylan is one of my all time favorite artists. I’ve seen him in concert a few times and listen to his music at work fairly often and every time I do, I realize even more what an amazing artist and poet he really is. This song is the theme song from one of my favorite shows (Parenthood) and I love every verse, but we decided on the first verse of the song to make a print of.
So, I can’t even express in words my love for Paul Simon. His voice is absolutely angelic to me and all of his songs are just so timeless. This lyric is from the song Father and Daughter which was the song I danced to with my dad at my wedding. My husband was recently in the orchestra for Bright Star which is a musical written by Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) and Edie Brickell. During the production, both my husband and I (and by extension, my child) met Mr. Simon (who is married to Edie Brickell), so I thought this lyric was fitting in so many ways.
Again, Otis Redding is one of my favorite artists. This lyric is from That’s How Strong My Love Is and I love his version of this song as well as the Rolling Stones version. Otis Redding didn’t technically write the song, but his version is one of the most notable, so I included his name in the print.
I love this Carole King lyric from Beautiful. It’s my dream that my child wakes up every morning with a smile on her face and love in her heart.
This is by far the most contemporary lyric in the bunch, but it’s one of my favorites. My husband and I saw Brett Dennen in concert four or five years back and loved dancing and singing to this song (Blessed). It’s a great tune with beautiful lyrics and I’m so glad it “made the cut” and will be on the nursery wall.
More on the nursery to come! Over Thanksgiving, my husband and I plan to hunker down, clean out the guest room and get it ready for the baby, so more pictures to come as we finish it up!
Oh hey. Remember me, your blogger friend? How’s it going? I feel like I’m finally coming out of my pregnancy-induced state of constant sleepiness, which apparently is weird timing because I’m in my first week of my third trimester and apparently that’s when I’m supposed to start getting tired.
The picture above is a picture of my first cappuccino since I got pregnant (decaf, of course). It was heavenly.
As I mentioned in one of my past musings posts, I still still cannot concentrate long enough to read anything more than People magazine. And even, that isn’t a guarantee. I have a huge stack of magazines I haven’t read the past few months and I have no idea when I’m going to read them. I picked up a book for the first time since I first found out I was pregnant a couple of weeks back when I had to take the dreaded 3-hour glucose test for gestational diabetes. I haven’t picked up said book since.
Since I mentioned the glucose test, let’s chat about that for a sec. The first test (the one that lasts one hour) wasn’t all that bad mostly because it happened during my 24-week appointment. I drank the sugary orange stuff (with 50 grams of glucose) in no time, had my appointment, then waited another little bit down in the lab before getting my blood drawn exactly one hour after I finished the drink. At that point, I was also tested for anemia. Later that evening, I got a call from my nurse practitioner telling me that not only had my pregnancy made me anemic and I would have to begin taking iron supplements three times a day, but that I also failed my glucose test and would have to take the 3-hour test. I found the news out on Friday night and for the rest of the weekend I was in tears and beating myself up. Thinking that I had done something wrong and that I was already a bad mom. Even though I researched causes of gestational diabetes (most of which didn’t apply to me because I was at a healthy weight when I got pregnant, haven’t gained a crazy amount during pregnancy and I’ve continued to be active) I felt so guilty about every single thing. The night before the 3-hour test I had to fast beginning at 8pm and could only drink small sips of water. My blood was drawn fasting, I drank a more concentrated sugary drink (this one had 100 grams of glucose) and then had my blood drawn every hour for the next three hours. I wasn’t able to leave the lab area and couldn’t drink lots of water and by the end my veins were done being pricked. Later that week, I found out everything was normal and all my stress was undue, but boy oh boy, was that an awful week! Giving myself a mommy guilt trip and my baby isn’t even here yet!
On the same note, thank you to my wonderful circle of mommy friends who provided therapy via text and phone calls during those few days where I was feeling super down on myself. Y’all are the best!
Now it’s time for some venting….what the heck is up with baby clothes? Talk about sexism and exposing your kids to stereotypes right out of the womb! The weekend after I found out the sex of our baby, I went on a little shopping trip (you may remember the picture I posted in my last musings post of my loot.) On one side of the store you have girl clothes that include faux fur, leopard print and words like “princess,” “diva,” and “spoiled.” On the other side you have the boy clothes with the words “genius” and “hero.” Ummm….really? What’s with the labels? My daughter is a little lady and not a spoiled diva princess. And you know what? She’s going to be a genius hero if she wants to be.
I’m totally engrossed in the last season of Sons of Anarchy. I’ve been a fan of the show for the past couple of years when my husband and I started watching it on Netflix and this is my second season to watch as it happens. Last week’s episode killed me! I won’t spoil it for you, but one of my favorite characters was killed off and now I feel like all bets are off and no one is safe the rest of the season.
Speaking of Netflix, I’ve only got about a season and a half left before I finish the entire Gilmore Girls series. If you’ve read my blogs in the past, you know that I’m a HUGE Gilmore Girls fan and I’ve watched every episode about a zillion times because I catch the show on ABC Family when I can and I own all of the DVDs. I don’t know why watching the show on Netflix is different, but it is.
Another thing I’ve seen a bunch of times? The musical Wicked. I absolutely love it! I’ve always been a huge Wizard of Oz fan and saw Wicked for the first time about five years ago. Since then I’ve seen it an additional two times and just bought tickets to see it again in a couple of weeks. Oh, and yes, I’m the person in the audience who is singing along with the characters.
Woot, woot! Another month, another Stitch Fix!
Okay, so I gotta tell you, that I’m loving the fact that Stitch Fix now has maternity options! As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’m not a fan (AT ALL) of the maternity options I’ve found in any mall store, so this has been a great way to continue the Stitch Fix fun and score great, stylish maternity finds.
As always, please excuse my early morning, makeup-less photos
I loved how this top SCREAMED Fall! Can’t you picture this with leggings and some cute Fall boots???? I’m so looking forward for this summer weather we’ve been having here to head out the door for good, so that I can wear this all the time! The deep purple color is fantastic and I love the eyelet details. The top is fitted, but room for my growing belly and I think will even be great post-baby. THE DECISION: Kept.
#2 Tart Maternity Jean Maternity Surplice Knit Top
Okay, so I loved the color of this top and was hoping it’d work out. The elastic was a bit too loose and the top made me look more pregnant than I already do. I also thought it really accentuated my bust, which I TOTALLY don’t need right now (thanks, little baby). The price was also super high for a thin top ($88) and even if it was a better fit, I couldn’t ever see myself paying that much for this one top. THE DECISION: Sent back.
#3 Market and Spruce Margerie Stripe & Dot Open Cardigan
Again, I really wanted to like this, but it just didn’t work. I’ve seen so many women wearing similar cardigans and thought they looked darling, but it just didn’t work on me. As you can see, the sleeves were a bit long and the cut around the shoulders was a little stiff so it looked like it had shoulder pads (not super evident in this pic). THE DECISION: Sent back.
#4 Eight Sixty Carolyn Textured Stripe Maternity Dress
Another great garment from Eight Sixty in this fix! Loved the texture of the fabric and there is also a cute cutout detail in the back. Again, it’s fitted, but with lots of room to grow and would look great with heels or with leggings and boots. LOVE! THE DECISION: Kept.
#5 Rune Kiley Maternity Ankle Zip Legging
So these leggings aren’t actually the ones I’m wearing in two of the pics above; those are the leggings I mentioned in this post. The ones from Stitch Fix were a little thicker (which I liked), but they were a little long and with the detailing on the ankle it didn’t make sense to keep them since they couldn’t be altered or adjusted on my end to make the length look a little better. Total shame because I loved that while they were black leggings, they had that extra bit of detail that set them apart. THE DECISION: Sent back.
So, there you have it 2/5 this fix, but I absolutely LOVE the two things I kept!
Disclosure: I was not paid by Stitch Fix to write this post, but if you click on one of the links above and sign up, I do receive a referral credit to buy more cute new clothes. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing
Okay, time to chat maternity clothes.
Boy, oh boy, do they suck…well a super large majority of them do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people that I’m so lucky that I don’t have an “office job” where I have to dress business casual. If I did, I’d be broke from all the new clothes I would have to buy to fit my growing belly. Since I don’t have one of those types of jobs, I’ve been able to get away with wearing lots of my “normal” clothes – mostly these Lululemon pants (I have them in two colors) and lots of stretchy J.Crew tanks and shirts I have.
When I first got pregnant I bought a bella band which has been great because I haven’t really had to buy any bottoms aside from a few pairs of maternity leggings. I bought a few things from Pea and the Pod (most of which I wasn’t crazy about AT ALL) and some things from Gap maternity. These Gap maternity tanks have been awesome and I love them. Other than those, maternity clothes have been no fun to shop for or wear until I found Seraphine.
I honestly cannot say enough things about how great the clothes are. They’re made well, fashionable and are reasonably priced in my book based on those two things. Other stores and sites may be a little less, but are overpriced for what you get. I’m fine paying a bit more for clothes from Seraphine because I know I’ll be happy with what I buy.
My first purchase was this dress (pictured above). I have three weddings to attend this Fall (including one black tie event) and I knew I didn’t want to pay a ton to buy three different maternity dresses. This dress can be worn a ton of different ways, so even though it’s the same dress, I can wear it differently and pair it with different accessories to get different looks for each event. Since I fell in love with the dress immediately, I went back on their site and bought more! Below are a few of the other items I’ve worn and love…
I LOVE this dress! It’s available in a few different colors and sleeve lengths and is just so comfortable. The first time I put it on, even my husband comments on how beautiful it was without me even asking how he liked it! For those of you who follow the British royal family, you may notice this dress as the Duchess of Cambridge has it in two different colors/patterns and wore it in the first non-hospital photos released of the family.
Oh, these leggings! I wore them for the first time this weekend and I want like 10 more pairs of them. So comfortable! I didn’t think I’d like the over-the-bump style because it just looks silly to me in pictures, but OMG, I could live in these for the next four months (and just may)! I can’t say enough good things about them.
I’ve also bought a few other styles for the cold weather, but since we’re expected to get back into the 90s later this week here in San Diego, I haven’t been able to wear them, so I won’t comment on them just yet. I’ll be sure to post updates of new purchases here, too!