Sunday, February 27, 2011

It Isn't News to You...

...that I think this little girl... the sweetest, funniest little girl around.  It's so hard to believe that we are in the home stretch to her THIRD birthday!!

I love sharing Riley with you all, but I sadly don't get nearly as much time with her as I want.  I'm not sure if I could ever get as much time with her as I want!

But, boy, my sister sure does!  In the limited amount of time I spend with Riley, I always have hilarious stories and adorable pictures for you.  My sister's house is a 24/7 comedy hour with that child.  I've been telling her for months that she needs to start a blog full of Riley stories.  They're so stinking funny!  

Ashley has finally learned that her sister (yep, that's me) OCCASIONALLY has a good idea.  She's finally listened and launched The Crowe's Nest!

Head over and leave her some bloggy love, will you?!

Friday, February 25, 2011

23 Weeks!

23 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: Back down to 141.  Hoping this means I'm finally losing fluid, because my diet certainly hasn't changed!

Maternity clothes? Still a mixture of everything.

Stretch marks? Nope, not yet

Sleep: Starting to improve

Best moment this week: Not having as many rough days physically

Movement: Definitely a little wiggle worm.  I love it.  It is by far my favorite part of pregnancy.

Food cravings: Lots of chocolate...and cheese! But still not together.

Gender: Our sweet baby Ethan Bryant Orlando.

Labor Signs: Still none! Let's keep it that way!

Belly Button in or out? Still an innie, but it is really flat and weird.

Wedding rings on or off? On usually. The wedding band is still the only one that may or may not fit on certain days.

What I miss: I still miss feeling normal mentally.  I've cried a lot this week for no reason.

What I am looking forward to: Our next ultrasound on March 3.

Weekly Wisdom: I've been trying to work on remembering in my sad moments that "this too shall pass."

Milestones: Not really a baby milestone, but a good haircut and color (yes, I got approval and did my research, my hair was colored safely) really made me feel a whole lot better today! Thanks Brittany! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Worry and Fear versus Faith and Trust

I have something I want to share with you all today.  If you have been reading for any period of time, you know my current battles of trusting that God is putting me exactly where I am supposed to be.  These heart issues are for a reason, not being able to work during my pregnancy is happening for a reason, everything going on in my life is happening for a reason.  A lot of you can probably tell I'm really struggling with this although I know it is a part of God's plan.  But that doesn't make me feel any better.

I e-mailed one of my dearest and best friends of 10 years (holy cow Ally, it's been 10 years!) with a huge e-mail full of negativity and sadness a few days ago.  It's good to have a friend that you can share your ugly side with.  Straight up, I told her that I didn't want to hear that God has a plan.  I know he does.  I don't want to hear that this will all be worth it in June.  I'm well aware of that.  I don't want to hear it is all going to be ok.  I know that too.  I know ALL of these things already, but I don't want to hear them anymore.  They just don't make me feel better right now.  As an imperfect human, I'm all about that instant gratification and I want something that makes me feel better NOW.  They are comforting statements in the beginning, but then they begin to sound redundant and are less comforting.  So what does she do?

She responds to simply tell me to "just keep swimming" and to watch this video of a sermon she heard at her church recently.  It was so incredible and hit me exactly in the place that needed to be hit.  I know I'm not the only on that doesn't have it all together, so I wanted to share it with you too.

The video is quite long, a little under 40 minutes.  If you have the time, please take a few to find some comfort in your own worries and struggles by watching this video.  I promise that you won't be sorry.

Worry? There's an App for That. from Southland Christian Church on Vimeo.

Sometimes you have to understand that it is all right to not have it all together, and all you have to do is "just keep swimming."

Thank goodness for good friends. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

White Chili

White Chili is more popular in my house than regular chili.  I'm not exactly sure why, but we tend to make this more.  Anyway, this one is also super easy, and FREEZABLE! Woo! Freezable is a glorious word in our house these days.  I don't have any pictures for you right now, but this one can be done in your Crock Pot or just in a large pot on the stove.  I prefer the Crock Pot for this one, but either works.

You Will Need:
Vegetable Oil (just enough to coat the bottom of a skillet, about 2 or 3 Tbsp)
1 onion (I substitute with about 1 Tbsp of minced onion because we aren't huge onion fans)
Jalapeno Peppers (Use as little or as much of these as you like, spending on your desire for spice)
3 Garlic Cloves (or 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. Minced Onion)
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4-6 cans of Great Northern White Beans
  1. Begin boiling your chicken on the stove stop until cooked through (about 20-25 minutes)
  2. Once chicken is cooked through, shred or chop
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium/high heat
  4. Chop onion, peppers, and garlic and add to skillet
  5. Sprinkle in cumin, oregano and salt
  6. Cook for roughly 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (if you substitute the onion and garlic for the minced onion and minced garlic, this may be less time and you will want to stir frequently to avoid burning)
  7. Combine all ingredients with beans into your pot.
  8. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.  The longer you allow to simmer (which is why I prefer the Crock Pot) the better the spices and ingredients blend.
The best part of this recipe is that you can make adjustments for all of these ingredients on measurements.  If you like more garlic, add more garlic.  This recipe accommodates for alterations that work well for your family preferences. 

Once cooled to the touch, you can place this in a Food Saver bag and freeze.  To unthaw, simply leave in hot water.  Reheat again on the stove or Crock Pot whenever you are ready.

Let me know if you have questions!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

22 Weeks!

22 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: Still 142! Woo! No weight gain this week!

Maternity clothes? Still a mixture of everything.

Stretch marks? Nope, not yet

Sleep: Depends on the day...pretty much like everything else in my life haha

Best moment this week: WATCHING Ethan kick in my belly! It was so neat to see it from the outside!

Movement: I love feeling him move, but I still have no takers on telling that boy to leave my bladder alone!! Come on guys, help a sister out! :)

Food cravings: I'm at a point that nothing sounds good...except the occasional brownie haha.

Gender: All BOY!

Labor Signs: Still no, thank goodness! I'm hoping that all of these health issues keep it that way until full term!

Belly Button in or out? Still an innie, but it is really flat and weird.

Wedding rings on or off? On usually. The wedding band is still the only one that may or may not fit on certain days.

What I miss: I still miss feeling normal.

What I am looking forward to: Our next ultrasound on March 3.

Weekly Wisdom: I don't have much for you here this week.  I've been struggling to keep positive.

Milestones: Seeing Ethan kick!

Friday, February 18, 2011

An Unfortunate Shift for a Target Lady

After all of the rude stuff said to me in my first trimester (when we thought I was showing REALLY early, but turned out to be fluid from the heart), I've waited for the time that I was really showing to mess with people.

I always found it appalling that people that don't even know the person will go up to a pregnant woman and touch their belly, ask when they are due, etc.  Even before I was pregnant, I was highly amused that these crazy comments even occurred.  I've always practiced the rule to NEVER ask a woman about a baby in the womb unless: 1. She's a friend of mine.  2. I already know that the person is pregnant.  3.  She mentions to me that she is pregnant first.  I never ever want to offend anyone that may or may not be pregnant.  However, I must be one of the few that thinks about this.

Basically, I can't wait for this random question at 38 weeks and tell someone that I am not pregnant, that I'm just that fat.  Why does this seem so funny to me? I have no idea, but I think it is hilarious.

Jason and I opened up our registry at Target last week (only because if we opened it by a certain time, we got a $20 gift card ha) and I had my first chance.  We did our part on the computer, and handed the printout to the woman to get our "gun" to shoot a few items and get our gift card.

The lady looks at us and so sweetly asks us if we have opened a wedding or baby registry.  I looked at Jason and grinned.  Although she was perfectly within her means a normal question to do her job properly, I had been waiting to tease people about my growing belly.  Unfortunately for her, she became my first culprit.

I stuck my bump out as far as I could, rubbed it with both hands and ever so seriously responded: "It's for the wedding..."

Her eyes grew huge and she began to stumble on some words. Her face grew red and she wouldn't meet my eyes.

I busted out laughing. I couldn't keep a straight face.  She became very flustered, and proceeded to tell us about how she sees so many couples to come complete BOTH baby and wedding registries at the same time, she didn't notice my growing bump, etc.  I laughed and gently told her that I was only kidding and by no means offended.  I told her that I appreciated that she was so polite and didn't just assume pregnancy.

I'm sure she will be hopeful to never have to set up a registry again.  Or to have to see me again.

Easy Mexican Chicken Recipe!

So this one is CRAZY easy, a household favorite of ours, and best of all: FREEZER FRIENDLY!!

For this one, all you need:

2 Large chicken breasts (or 3 smaller ones, doesn't really matter)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel Tomatoes (your choice in flavor)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Tortilla Shells (shredded or torn into bite size pieces)

  1. Boil your chicken in hot water (if you aren't used to this, I usually boil mine for roughly 20 minutes, longer if I drop it in the water while it is still frozen.)
  2. While your chicken is boiling, combine the soup mixes and Rotel tomatoes.
  3. Line your 13x9 pan with the tortilla pieces.
  4. Once your chicken is done boiling, chop/shred and add to your soup mix.  Combine well.
  5. Pour mixture on top of tortilla shells.
  6. Top entire dish with shredded cheddar (use your discretion on how much, depending on what your family enjoys)
  7. Bake at 350 for roughly 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

SUPER easy and my husband loves this dish.  To freeze (I made this particular batch specifically for freezing), allow dish to cool.  Place in freezer covered for roughly 2 hours or until SOFTLY frozen.  You don't want it so frozen that it cannot come out of your 13x9 pan, so keep checking on it.

Once it is frozen enough to remove from the pan easily you can either freeze the entire dish in a FoodSaver bag, or cut into meal portions (which is what I did) and freeze each portion separately. Seal up and freeze! To unthaw, simply place in boiling hot water, microwave, or remove from bag and reheat in oven.  Your choice and preference!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Pregnancy Symptom?

Thank you all so much for your sweet and encouraging words in my last post.  This has definitely been a difficult journey. It is so much easier to endure when I have a place to go to and vent where I can also receive such encouragement!

Ok, Moms-to-be and Moms! QUESTION of the week! My growing belly is certainly expanding, and I can definitely tell a difference in my bones shifting to prepare for labor in 18 (AHHH!) weeks.  BUT...

Is your tailbone supposed to hurt?!

Haha, I seriously feel like I've fallen and broken my butt!  I can't remember falling or doing anything that would cause that type of pain, but geeze! It hurts! I feel like I need to find a "Mommy-to-be butt donut or something." Tell me, is this normal?!


Monday, February 14, 2011

An Unpopular Opinion in Stream of Consciousness

I feel awful about it.  I hate it.  I don't want this opinion.  It makes me feel guilty.  It makes me sad.  It makes me angry.  I hate it to the point that I don't want to admit it.  However, I'm going to because I need to.

I do not like being pregnant.

It's horrible, I know.  I'm so sad and disappointed.  I have always thought of pregnancy as this natural and beautiful blessing that God only allows us women to experience.  It's a blessing that so many women desire and pray for, and struggle with infertility.  And here I am, pregnant with literally minimal effort, hating it.  How selfish is that thought.  Sadly though, it's the truth.

I adore feeling Ethan move around.  I love watching him grow with every ultrasound, and I love that I'm going to be a mother in just a few short months.  This has nothing to do with NOT wanting my son, because I want him more than anything in the world.  And I'm well aware (and told often) that it will all be worth it in June.  I know this, but that doesn't make me feel better now.  Of course I would do it all over again to bring Ethan to the world, but some days it is so hard to be positive.  I know he's worth it, but telling me that doesn't make it any easier.

I'm not sure that it is even the pregnancy I hate.  It's the combination of pregnancy and surgery recovery.  My recovery is painful.  Some days I feel as if I haven't been out of surgery for more than a few minutes.  Some days my swelling returns.  My scar hurts.  The fluid around my lungs hurt.  The "rub" that the surgeons warned me of really hurts.  To top it all off, I'm pregnant.  Mixing the recovery pain with pregnancy discomforts creates a terrible combination.

There are days that I don't understand why my recovery is taking so long.  I'm then reminded that my body is attempting to readjust to a "normal" with my heart, but also adjust to providing the perfect living space for my sweet boy.  My body is so horribly confused on which to adjust to that it gets even more out of sorts and hurts worse than ever.

I'm angry.  I'm jealous.  It's not fair (yes, I'm whining) that I don't get a chance to enjoy my pregnancy.  I would welcome the pregnancy discomforts with open arms that aren't combined with my heart woes.  The days that the pain gets me down also really gets me down mentally.

It's not fair that my body put Ethan's life in danger.  Why did he have to be exposed to so many medications, anesthesia, x-rays, and surgeries?  He has been exposed to so many things that I feared exposing him to because of all the horror stories you hear.  Yet I wasn't given a choice.

Physically, I can't do what I want to prepare for Ethan's arrival.  I have to have a lot of help with what needs to be done and what I would like done.  I am so grateful for my loving husband and wonderful mother that have been extra helpful with those preparations, as well as everyone else.  However, I'm angry that I even have to have the help.  I want to feel useful, instead of lazy. 

I always thought that these last 9 months as a family of two,  Jason and I would be able to go and do a lot of fun things before becoming three.  We can't.  Of course I still enjoy his company, but so many of our plans were scratched as soon as I had my first surgery.  

Pregnancy is supposed to be MY time with Ethan.  My time that no one else gets to share, where we bond and I cherish this time that only I get to have with him.  I've been hurting so badly these past few days that I can't cherish it.  I cherish my precious baby boy more than anything, but I sadly don't cherish this sweet time that we will never get back.  I feel like I've been cheated out of this time with all of these complications and worries.

I worry about what happens after delivery.  Will all of these health issues disappear like the doctors say they will?  Is this something that my family will struggle with even after Ethan is here?  Have I had my last surgery to correct this problem yet?  I don't know, and I'm frustrated about that.  I'm afraid of it.  

And there you have it.  My confession.  The horrible, awful, embarrassing unpopular opinion that I have.

Happy Valentines Day!

To the man who will do anything to make me smile...

...on our wedding day...

...who will kiss a dolphin just because I wanted to...

...who will let me bring home a new puppy...
...who will kiss me on a beach to celebrate our first anniversary as a married couple...

...who will sit through Wicked! with me because I have a slight obsession...

...who will go days without a real bed to sleep in to never leave my side in the hospital...

...and be a Daddy to my sweet little boy Ethan.
I love you!

Jason and I don't do much for Valentine's Day.  I'm not a huge fan of the commercial aspect of it all, although we usually acknowledge it.  This year is cards only and some quiet time on the couch watching TV.  I've always felt that Valentine's Day was a high school holiday that young girls feel the need to prove that someone likes them enough to send them flowers publicly (trust me, I was one of them!)  Jason has nothing to prove to me.  He proves it every single day with sweet words, a helping hand in the laundry room, a head rub, or just a smile.  Especially after the way he has taken care of me in the hospital and at home these past two months, that boy is off the hook for the rest of his life.  All I want is to have him there as our family keeps growing.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! What are your plans?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

21 Weeks!

21 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 142 (We are at a total of about 18 pounds so far)

Maternity clothes? Still a mixture of everything.

Stretch marks? Nope

Sleep: Not too great this week. I'm having a LOT of post surgery chest pain that is making it difficult to sleep.

Best moment this week: Seeing Ethan on ultrasound again. We get to see him every 3 weeks until delivery!

Movement: Yep! I love to feel him squirm!

Food cravings: Not much of an appetite this week, but still sweets.

Gender: All BOY!

Labor Signs: Still no, thank goodness!

Belly Button in or out? Still an innie, but looking flatter.

Wedding rings on or off? On usually. The wedding band is the only one that may or may not fit on certain days.

What I miss: Feeling normal. I'm sad a lot that I'm not getting a normal pregnancy that I get to enjoy.

What I am looking forward to: Continuing to work on Ethan's room.

Weekly Wisdom: Find a blessing in everything bad. Through all of our trials this pregnancy, I find it the greatest blessing to continue to see and watch Ethan grow via ultrasound frequently.

Milestones: Making great progress on Ethan's room!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Actual Fun in the Snow

It's no secret that I hate the snow. I hate the cold, I hate the winter. If my family didn't reside in Kentucky, I would not hesitate to seek residency in a place that snow was obsolete. However, sometimes I find a silver lining in it. Yesterday was watching my sweet niece play (and attempt to eat) in the snow for a few minutes and I thought I would share her sweetness with you.

Riley loves to make snow angels!

My Mom helped Riley roll some snowballs (which later fired back on here, see video later)
The beginning of a small snowball fight.
She reminds me so much of myself in the snow. She sticks her face straight in the snow to take a bite! How cute!
It doesn't matter the weather, Riley loves JUMPING!!
After taking a big bite :)
Riley loves her "Baby Sister Rosie" and let her make snow angels too.

We only lasted outside for about 15 minutes, but Riley had a ball, and it was so fun taking pictures of her! I took a couple of videos of her playing as well. The second video is absolutely hilarious to me, catching my mom completely off guard!

Ok silver lining. Here you are. Now that you've come, make the snow go away!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cream Cheese Chicken

I'm going to start these posts with an apology. I found several recipes via blog/other internet sources. I completely failed to document which blog post or internet post I found them from. Please, if you see a recipe on here that you feel you deserve credit for, I would be happy to edit and give credit where it is due.

You will need:

1-2 pounds of chicken (I used 4 very large chicken breasts)

1 stick of butter

1 8oz. of Cream Cheese

1 package Italian Dressing Mix (low sodium package recommended-I didn't use this recommendation, and I definitely should have)

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (low sodium can recommended-I didn't use this recommendation, and I definitely should have)

Pasta (any of your choice!)

1. Melt your butter in the crockpot:
2. Add your package of Italian Dressing Mix to the melted butter.
3. Slice raw chicken breasts into strips, and add to the mixture. Allow to cook on high for at least 2 hours to allow chicken to cook.
4. Once the chicken is cooked, add Cream of Mushroom Soup and cream cheese. Mix thoroughly. Keep on high until simmering.
5. Serve over your favorite pasta!
We loved this recipe! I would definitely follow the low sodium recommendation on the soup and Italian Dressing mix. It was slightly saltier than I would have preferred, but it was definitely still very good. This amount made enough for Jason and I for the evening, leftovers for lunch the next day, and enough to freeze for Ethan's arrival.

To freeze, I put the remainder of the chicken mixture in a FoodSaver bag and flattened it (a flat FoodSaver Bag goes in my freezer the easiest). I then borrowed my Mom's FoodSaver Machine and sealed it airtight, and placed it directly in my freezer. It's ready to go whenever we want it again!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

20 Weeks!

20 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 140

Maternity clothes? A mixture of everything.  Usually maternity pants, but I busted a pair of non-maternity pants out for church this morning! Woo hoo!

Stretch marks? Nope

Sleep: Was ok to start this week, but has progressively gotten worse.  I have a lot of nausea in the middle of the night, though I'm not quite sure if it is due to pregnancy or post-surgery.

Best moment this week: Reaching the halfway mark and realizing we are so close to meeting Ethan!

Movement: Yep! I love to feel him squirm!

Food cravings: Lots of sweets. And garlic cheese bread.  But not together.

Gender: All BOY!

Labor Signs: Still no, thank goodness!

Belly Button in or out? Still an innie, but looking flatter.

Wedding rings on or off? On usually.  Since I'm not doing much but recovering from surgery, I haven't been putting them on everyday by choice.

What I miss: Not struggling to get up when I sit on the floor!  I've started contemplating how cold my feet really are and if socks are necessary haha!

What I am looking forward to: Continuing to work on Ethan's room.  It's looking so great guys, I can't wait to show you!

Weekly Wisdom: I'm really bad at this part...

Milestones: Reaching the halfway point, the arrival of Ethan's bedding, and beginning to work on his room!