A Wedding and A Baby Shower

This past weekend James and I ventured to Wisconsin for my cousin’s marvelous wedding.  Her wedding was beautiful–rain and all!  It happened to be a cloudy, semi rainy, day right on Lake Michigan but it could not have been a more perfect day for her wedding!  My cousin looked stunning and I could tell how thrilled she was at the alter; she could not stand still.  Her wedding day a dream come true.  Their vows were the cutest thing ever! I did not ask her, but I have a feeling that the other person wrote the vows that they read, it was so nice and rather comical at parts.  My cousin “will ask Dean how fantasy football is on Tuesdays” and Dean “will clean the food out of the sink.”  The wedding and reception was right on Lake Michigan at a Yacht Club.  It was truly a perfect wedding for my cousin!

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James and I at the reception.

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Myself, one of my cousins, and my sister.

James, myself, and my family stayed at my grandparents house in Wisconsin.  On Sunday my grandma asked me (out of everybody–there were 9 other people at the house) to go to the grocery store to get a vegetable tray.  We were having my cousins over for a brunch before James and I left.  So my twin and I went to the grocery store and picked up the vegetable tray.  The whole time I could not figure out why my grandma hunted me down in the house and asked me to go get the food–she passed at least four people on the way to me.  Well as it turns out my sister planned and decorated my grandmas house with PINK for my surprise baby shower! It was so nice. My sister decorated, my grandma had made the food, and one of my aunts brought the cutest cupcakes!  Everything was perfect and it was far to kind! I was floored, that thought never even crossed my mind.

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Mom and Dad to be labels!

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The worlds best tasting cupcakes!  I should know, I had a white and chocolate cupcake..

It was a co-ed baby shower since my male cousins, grandpa, uncle, dad, twin, and James were there. It was actually really fun having everybody there celebrating and catching up.  There were far too many gifts–James and I (and our baby girl) are completely spoiled!   She now has the cutest clothes, swaddling clothes, burp rags, towels, and all the books she can ever read.  At first I was not a total fan of pink clothes, but after getting so many pink clothes from my family, I am changing my mind.  The clothes are very cute in pink and our little girl will just look adorable!

Bump Watch

Week 21:

Many people at work told me that I popped this week–which I must admit, I sort of agree. Every time I look down, BAM, baby bump is there and when I sit down I find myself resting my arms on top of my bump.  All of a sudden wearing normal pants are out of the question (for real now, I can’t even pretend to fit into any of my normal pants).  Luckily I found some very comfy work maternity pants and bought three pairs in three different colors.

The only real notable thing that happened this week was that I shut the car door on myself.  I must admit, I am slightly embarrassed to share this but I am almost sure that somebody else had to have done this before.  I was getting something out of my car and I thought I had room to clear myself–all of myself, including baby bump–so I went to shut the car door. Nope. The door did not clear my bump.  Ouch, but luckily I did not shut the door too hard, so everything is ok, minus my ego.

Week 22:

Baby is the size of a spaghetti squash this week.

TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN:  +9 pounds (a few days ago–tomorrow is week 23!!)
MATERNITY CLOTHES?  Yep.  Pants are a must now. I am still sort of getting away with wearing normal shirts, but the maternity ones are much more comfortable.  Leggings are pretty wonderful as well!
SLEEP: Some days I sleep pretty well, others I am awake 90% of the night..
STRETCH MARKS?: Negative.
BEST MOMENT: Finding out that we are having a baby girl and her moving around so much.
MISS ANYTHING? Sleeping on my stomach.  I have not been sleeping very well because sleeping on my sides have never been comfortable.
MOVEMENT: She loves to move around at night–right when I am about ready to go to sleep. She also tends to move every time I stop moving for awhile.  
CRAVINGS:
 Tart apples and cottage cheese
EW, GROSS:
  Right now, nothing.
GENDER: Girl.
LABOR SIGNS:   Nope.
SYMPTOMS: Everything is stretching now and I must admit, it is not a very comfortable feeling.  I also have to remember to sit and stand up straight because if I don’t my two lower ribs get quite sore.
INNIE OR OUTIE? in-betweenie…
MOOD:  Happy, a lot more energy
EXCITED FOR: James still has not felt baby move, every time he tries, she stops moving.  I must startle her when I quickly tell him to run over and feel.
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       18 Weeks                         22 Weeks
That is one heck of a comparison for you!

Mystic Lake

A few weeks ago James and I ventured up into the mountains so he could go fishing.  I sat on the edge of the water and watched him fish; I even did a little bit of studying (a very little bit).  It was 8 miles back into the mountains but it took a good 45 minutes.  Baby was not a fan of getting bumped around–or maybe it was mom to be not enjoying the bumps that made her growing stomach move and shake.  It is a very pretty mountain lake though, so in the end it was worth it.

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Mystic Lake

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Mystic Lake

For being quite treacherous to get to there was a surprisingly large number of people wandering around.  The wind was whipping around in the lake valley because it was surrounded by massive mountain peaks so the nice 74 degree day seemed quite a bit cooler.  James had a heck of a time fishing due to the wind and sadly did not catch anything.  But I caught some pretty neat pictures of him fishing.

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Finally I was able to get his attention to look at the camera.

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The water was very pretty! It was crystal blue that faded into a deep teal color.  There was a hiking trail around the entire lake, so we walked around the lake and James stopped to fish when he thought it was a good spot.  The lake is only about 1.5 miles around–no biggie.

Bump Watch

Week 19:

Big news from week 19. I have officially felt my baby move! Last week I thought maybe I felt something, but I was not sure.  At the beginning of week 19 I felt it– I was a little creeped out at first, but baby was so active that I got used to it quite quickly.  James wanted to feel the baby but he could not, I think he was a little bummed.  I did not get sick this week either! Waaawhoo!!  My energy is starting to come back too!

Week 20:

This week I felt the baby move while my hand was on my stomach.  That was a crazy feeling and sort of alien like.. I tried to get James to feel the baby move, but of course once he tried to feel the baby it backed off and it’s movements were very soft.

Week 20 is an exciting week–I had my ultrasound! We are having a GIRL!  Our baby girl is 13 ounces, which is in the 33rd percentile on the charts. Smaller girl, but very healthy. Her heart rate was 147 bpm and she has all four limbs, 10 toes, and 10 fingers!  Everything is in proportion and my doctor is very pleased with the progress both baby girl and myself are doing.

While the ultrasound tech was going through everything with us, measuring the femur, humerus, head, abdomen, ect., she was telling James and I what we were looking at. To be honest, I still had no idea what we were looking at and I could tell James really did not know either. I could see the spine, the heart, and the long bones. Our girl has a very strong 4 chamber heart with great valves and blood flow! (That part I could see clearly!) James asked quite a few questions trying to clarify what we were looking at–me on the other hand did not really care what we were looking at; I was just marveling over the fact that I was actually growing something inside of me and whatever I was looking at looked perfect!

When she finally got the baby to unfold and sprawl out she told us we were having a girl. James looked incredibly shocked and rather pale. He was convinced that we were having a boy and never really gave it another thought that we could have a girl. Once he got over the shock he joking asked if we could still name our little girl James.  He began to get a little more excited once the reality of the situation sunk in.

We went out to lunch before we both headed back to work.  When James got to work one of his MALE coworkers had decorated James desk and chairs in pink streamers and a pink tablecloth.  Very cute.  James coworker had a little girl a few months ago–so I think they bonded over the fact that they are (or will be) dad’s to little girls.  I am happy that James coworker (and boss) both have little girls, I think it will, and has, calmed James down a little bit over the fact that we are having a girl.  Like I said, it did not matter to me what we were having, but I must admit, when we go to James boss’ house it is quite cute the way their little boy clings to James and watching the two of them interact is just adorable.  But I know that in the long run our little girl will be the best thing that ever happened to James.  Plus–he is convinced that our little girl will be an amazing quarterback and and have a great throwing arm.  That’s fine with me, I don’t need a girly girl–mainly because I am not sure how to be a girly girl myself.  One thing that both James and I did agree on is that our girl will not be a cheerleader…and she probably won’t be very talented in the theater or music realm either because James and I are greatly lacking in that area.  But Hey! there is always academics and sports! Both James and I played sports through high school and James played college football.

TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN:  +7 pounds (at the start of 21 weeks)  My doctor said these next few months I should be gaining 4 to 6 pounds a month, so we will see how I do.
MATERNITY CLOTHES?  Pants are officially off my “yes, you can still get away with these” list.  I have gotten to the point where I am only able to zip my pants up half way–Maternity pants are much more comfortable now and probably more appropriate to wear at work.
SLEEP: Sleeping has been getting more and more uncomfortable. My hips have been hurting while sleeping..I keep switching sides and don’t seem to be sleeping very much.  I wish I could sleep on my stomach like I normally do.
STRETCH MARKS?: Negative.
BEST MOMENT: Finding out that we are having a baby girl. And James facial expression when the ultrasound tech said we were having a girl.
MISS ANYTHING? Still Subway. Nothing sounds better than a great turkey sandwich with bacon, cheese, green peppers, avocado, and lettuce..YUM!
MOVEMENT: A lot of movement now!  Baby moves all the time! I read that the baby sleeps about 80% of the day, however I do not think mine sleeps at all.  
CRAVINGS:
 Carbs.  And very crisp, semi tart apples!
EW, GROSS:
  Eggs.  I am also still trying to get over the fact that my wardrobe is drastically shrinking and my pants no longer fit.
GENDER: TA-DA GIRL!
LABOR SIGNS:   Nope.
SYMPTOMS: Still just very hungry.
INNIE OR OUTIE? Innie, but seems to be heading towards an outie…
MOOD:  Happy, a lot more energy
EXCITED FOR: I can not wait until James is able to feel our baby girl kick because she is insanely active!
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Our little girl!
We have a few 4D pictures–but both James and I thought that they were pretty ugly pictures, so we are keeping those to ourselves. James thought she looked like an alien, I thought she looked like a skelator.  But this one is just adorable!
The nursery is going to be a light green and cream; James nor I are into pink, purple, or any of those other super girly colors so that was an easy choice!  We have started to think of baby names, but I have a feeling it is going to be harder than I thought–so far we have not agreed on a name we both kind of like.  Once we do pick a name we are going to keep it to ourselves until she is born.  While I appreciate all the input and thoughts on baby names (and I have gotten a lot of input from friends, residents, and coworkers), I really don’t want anybody to give us their thoughts on our final choice of name.  I figure once she is born, it will be too late to change her name, so maybe people won’t give us their thoughts on her name.  Maybe it is true, maybe it is not, but the logic makes sense to us and we are sticking to it!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

It is fall–my favorite season–for many reasons! One of which is all the great food! Pumpkin, cinnamon, crisp apples, great fall colors…the list goes on and on.  This recipe will soon become a staple in my diet. How about yours?!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice
  • 2/3 cup (120g) semi-sweet chocolate chips2

Directions:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much too soon. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, and orange juice. Pour these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. There will be a few lumps. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. This may be before or after 60-65 minutes depending on your oven, so begin checking every 5 minutes at the 55 minute mark or so.
  4. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing. The bread will stay fresh in an airtight container (it tastes better on day 2!) at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. But it won’t last that long.
  5. Make ahead tip: Baked bread can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

Additional Notes:

  1. You can use 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice instead of these spices.
  2. Try using milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, or even pecans/walnuts instead of the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

This recipe makes incredible pumpkin chocolate chip muffins too – about 20 minutes in the oven, same oven temperature.

Recipe brought to you by my all time favorite cooking blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction.