Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Teeny Peep Bumpdate- Week 35

35 weeks and looking as tired as ever lol
Date: 12/19/15
How far along: 35 weeks

Fruit-size comparison: A coconut (and I have to agree that she feels like the size of a coconut lol) 
Developmental milestones: Baby girl is about done growing; all she needs to do it so plump-up.  She should gain about another lb before birth. 
Maternity clothes: I would say mostly yes, but while I'm writing this I'm wearing non-maternity clothes.  Don't worry though, they are completely stretched to the max! 
Weight gain: +19 lbs since pre-pregnancy 
Stretch Marks: I've got plenty of kisses from heaven from carrying Dutch.  I applied lotions and such daily with that pregnancy, but to be honest I don't think I'm even going to try to prevent future stretch  marks.  I absolutely love these badges of honor and I'm so proud to wear them. 
Sleep: I'm not having any real issues here, except for the fact that I can't get enough sleep.  I'm sleeping fantastically thank goodness.  There was only one night this past week where I slept poorly and that was mostly due to a nasty cough I've developed. 
Best moment of the week: Well I have to admit that this was a pretty big week filled with best moments.  I couldn't pick just one!  1- This past week Dutch and I took some maternity pictures with Grace Hill Photography and they were simply awesome!  I have posted a sneak peak below.  She is so talented and does fabulous work.  I love her ability to capture all of the special moments in our lives :-) 2- We had an appointment with our caregiver this week and it was a great one.  I've gained 2 lbs, my bp was 100/60, and her heart rate was 127.  3- You know how I've been saying that I'm stressed about not being ready for Teeny Peep's arrival?  Well this past week I was really able to tackle that list.  I cleaned out closets, made multiple trips to Goodwill, did massive amounts of laundry, started organizing her closet, and started packing our hospital bags.  Teeny Peep has things hung up in her closet, clean sheets on her bed, fresh burp clothes, and wrapped gifts to give to her brother when she arrives.  I still have several more things to tackle on my to do list but I'm feeling a lot better about this now. 4- Besides myself, there is another girl in my smallgroup who is expecting, and we went out for dessert one night this week to celebrate and chat.  It was awesome, and probably the highlight of my week. 5- In addition to tackling my baby prep list, I also crossed off so many things on my Christmas to do list.  If you know me, and I think you do, I get such a high from being productive and crossing things off my list.  I love it!  This week I finished all Christmas shopping and wrapping, got our Christmas cards in the mail, and started baking cookies.  It feels so good to know that this upcoming week is just about celebrating and not rushing around. 
Movement: Since Teeny Peep is clearly running out of space (see obvious picture above), her movements are beginning to slow down.  I can see still see her rolling and moving, but it is less pronounced. 
Cravings: Nothing that I can think of here.  I do just like to eat in general. 
Gender: Baby girl!! 
Belly button: I love my new outtie :-)  
Wedding Ring: On 
Anything making you queasy/sick: Left-over cooking smells in the kitchen are still rubbing me the wrong way this week.  I'm starting to pick food to cook based on how it is prepared. 
What I miss: Breathing without making noise.....The sounds I make just to breath are slightly embarrassing.  Throw in a cold and it's just foul! 
What I’m looking forward to: My next visit with our caregiver we will get to see Teeny Peep via ultrasound.  We have not seen her since we were 21 weeks, so it has been a while.  We will also start going for appointments every week now.  That is mind blowing to me.  At my last appointment my caregiver and I discussed that we are in "crunch time".  This is happening?!?!!?!?!?! 
Labor signs: I can tell that my body is beginning to release a lot of the hormone relaxin (which relaxes the joints in order to shift during labor & delivery).  My hips are most definitely beginning to spread resulting in quite a bit of soreness.  I've also been having more and more contractions (nothing regular or timeable, but definitely contractions). 
Symptoms:  My body is becoming more and more uncomfortable, especially if I try to push myself.  I know you're not supposed to lay on your back when you're pregnant but I was always able to with Dutch.  Not that I did it, but it was possible to do without any problems.  I absolutely cannot lay on my back with this baby.  I begin to lose my breath and I feel all of my internal organs squish.  Heartburn is still present if I don't take my meds but nothing unbearable, and I waddle with the best of the preggos. 
Nursery: There isn't going to be a new nursery.  We plan on having Dutch and Teeny Peep share a room.  It's not that we don't have the space; we do have another bedroom, but we would like our kiddos to share a room when they are younger.  We're thinking this will be a great opportunity to continue building character with our children.  And to be honest, Dutch didn't move into his nursery until he was eight months old, and even then only for a few hours a day until he was 11 months old, so the new baby will probably stay in our room about the same amount of time and then we will do a transition of some sort.  Of course we don't know what it is like to have two children and exactly what it will be like, but this is how we think we are going to try to start. 
Emotions: I'm feeling less anxious and starting to feel more and more giddy.  I think that because I was able to get some things done around the house I am feeling more and more ready.  Now I know you can never really be ready for a baby, but you know what I mean.  I'm trying to do everything I can to help myself feel ready.  Also, the Mr. and I realized that we are 2 weeks from being full-term?!?!?!?!






Monday, December 28, 2015

Keep Your Christmas Cards: 52 Weeks of Prayer



When all the Christmas decorations are packed away it can be a little sad.  You know, the post-Christmas blues? We go from non-stop celebration to nothing and getting back to normal.  Y’all know I love Christmas, and I am one of those crazy people that can listen to Christmas music year-round; I just love it. 

As you know I didn’t put up too many Christmas decorations this year because of our Teeny Peep due really soon after Christmas, so this picture is from a previous Christmas.  However I still have all of the lovely Christmas cards y’all sent us this year on our "wall of love" in the kitchen.  One way that I keep the sweet spirit of Christmas alive throughout the year is through our Christmas cards.

I don’t throw them in the trash. 

I don’t pack them away for the next year. 

Instead I pick one card a week and pray for that family.  We pray for marriages to deepen, increased health, available and disciplined finances, safety and protection, children, blessings in the workplace, patience, compassion, giving spirits, and that they would be the Light to others during their storms throughout the year.  So friends, if you sent us a Christmas card this year, please know that we will be praying for you for at least one full week this year!  (Sidebar, please don’t think prayer is bought with a Christmas card.  This is just a way for us to focus our prayers on others.  We still pray for y’all even without a Christmas card).

If you’ve got Christmas cards laying around the house and you don’t know what to do with them, I encourage you to use them during your prayer time.  By letting your children pick the card to pray for each week, this is also a great way to help engage and encourage an active prayer life.

Have a great last week of 2015 friends!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Teeny Peep Bumpdate- Week 34

And just for kicks, I had to show you this picture in color, because I wore a RED dress to a Christmas party this week.  It was an awesome dress!  Thank you Grace Hill for letting me borrow this magical dress; I was so comfortable and even felt pretty!
Date: 12/12/15
How far along: 34 weeks
 
Fruit-size comparison: Butternut squash 
Developmental milestones: Teeny Peep is listening very carefully to life outside of the womb these days.  Her lungs are also maturing and getting ready for their big debut in the "real world" 
Maternity clothes: Ummmm yes hahaha 
Weight gain: I'm +17 since pre-preggo weight
Stretch Marks: I've got plenty of kisses from heaven from carrying Dutch.  I applied lotions and such daily with that pregnancy, but to be honest I don't think I'm even going to try to prevent future stretch  marks.  I absolutely love these badges of honor and I'm so proud to wear them.
Sleep: I love this stuff and I can't get enough; I'm a sleep addict.  I sleep like a rock!  I don't think I even completely wake up for potty breaks. 
Best moment of the week: This past week the Mr and I have gotten away to two Christmas parties and our church's Christmas pageant.  Since we don't get to go on dates anymore, these have felt like dates and we have LOVED it.  I love getting all dolled up with him to go out to celebrate the holidays. 
Movement: Baby girl is quite the mover and shaker; she likes my entire stomach to move with her.  While she moves a lot she is still very gentle.   I have so much fun watching her move around.  I am already beginning to miss his kicks. 
Cravings: Nothing 
Gender: Baby girl!! 
Belly button: I love my new outtie :-)  
Wedding Ring: On 
Anything making you queasy/sick: Being hungry or being even the slightest bit full .....there is a very fine line and if I cross it in either direction I will be very nauseous.  I've always had a very strong sense of smell, and it is still pretty heightened with this pregnancy.  Smells are still making me a little nauseous, especially lingering cooking smells. 
What I miss: Moving and chasing Dutch without being completely out of breath or breathing so hard. 
What I’m looking forward to: I'm looking forward to meeting this baby girl.....but I'm not wishing that day here any sooner.  I NEED to start getting ready for this girl! 
Labor signs: Teeny Peep is much lower, and I've received many comments about how she has dropped. I do feel her pretty low and I'm still having Braxton Hicks contractions. 
Symptoms: I'm getting very VERY large.  My depth perception is way off and I keep running my jumbo belly into things (I'm SO sorry baby girl!).  My heartburn has been chill this week and I would imagine that is due to Teeny Peep dropping some.  I am large though and I've perfected the preggo waddle.  No doubt, I've got some aches and pains, but nothing is really too uncomfortable or preventing me from doing daily life, so I'm grateful. 
Nursery: There isn't going to be a new nursery.  We plan on having Dutch and Teeny Peep share a room.  It's not that we don't have the space; we do have another bedroom, but we would like our kiddos to share a room when they are younger.  We're thinking this will be a great opportunity to continue building character with our children.  And to be honest, Dutch didn't move into his nursery until he was eight months old, and even then only for a few hours a day until he was 11 months old, so the new baby will probably stay in our room about the same amount of time and then we will do a transition of some sort.  Of course we don't know what it is like to have two children and exactly what it will be like, but this is how we think we are going to try to start. 
Emotions: Woah anxiety & lists.  Yes I have a million lists and I just don't know where to start.  The end of a pregnancy near the holidays is tough.  I want to do a million things with Dutch to ensure that our last Christmas as just 3 is memorable, but I also have sooooo much to do to get ready for Teeny Peep.  I need just one more week!

Monday, December 14, 2015

What If You Knew?

Maybe it's because I'm expecting this Christmas? Or maybe it's because I am caring for a tiny toddler this Christmas?
 
I've heard this song before, but never have the words resonated with me as much as they have this Christmas.  Can you imagine what it would have been like to be Mary?  A virgin who was pregnant out of wedlock, a huge no-no of the time, and not just with-child, but carrying the Savior of the world?! Talk about pressure!  I remember the weight of responsibility that sat on my shoulders the first time I found out I was expecting, but my kid is far from the Savior.  I can't imagine what went through her mind when angels came to deliver the news to her.  And kissing the face of God?! Rocking the Savior of the world back to sleep?!  Birthing the Great I am?! Wow!
 
Dear Lord, thank you for giving Mary the spirit of patience and grace.  Please help me to carry those characteristics as a mother, and to be intentional in my parenting to point my children back to Christ. Amen.
 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Teeny Peep Bumpdate- Week 33

33 Weeks
And just for kicks, I purposely wore the same dress to the Mr’s company Christmas party this year, as I did when I was pregnant with Dutch in 2013.  To the left I am 15 weeks pregnant with Dutch, and to the right 33 weeks with Teeny Peep.  I remember thinking that I was huge when I was 15 weeks pregnant with Dutch. Haha I had no clue what big was yet lol
Bump Comparison 2
Date: 12/5/15
How far along: 33 weeks

Fruit-size comparison:  A durian.. When I was pregnant with Dutch I had never had this fruit at 33 weeks.  And guess what?! I’ve still never had it lol
Developmental milestones: Teeny Peep’s bones are starting to harden and she has her breathing and swallowing starting to sync.  She is definitely over 4 lbs now, and has a busy week ahead of her developing her brain more.
Maternity clothes: Still mixing mostly.
Weight gain: I'm +17 since pre-preggo weight
Stretch Marks: I've got plenty of kisses from heaven from carrying Dutch.  I applied lotions and such daily with that pregnancy, but to be honest I don't think I'm even going to try to prevent future stretch  marks.  I absolutely love these badges of honor and I'm so proud to wear them.
Sleep: I love it and can’t get enough lol  I fall asleep without a problem and stay asleep except for when I need to get up for potty breaks, which is only about 3x a night.
Best moment of the week: This week I had my first appointment with my caregiver where Dutch was absent.  It was weird not having him there, but honestly it was a lot easier.  It just happened that my appointment this week was during his school day.  But since he wasn’t there it was the perfect opportunity for my caregiver and I to really connect and hash out my birth plan and go over several things.  I am really grateful for the time we had to just get things checked off.  I also got to hear Teeny Peep, which is always the highlight of my appointments.  Her heart rate was 142, and my fundal height was 33 so she is still measuring a week early.  My bp was 120/60 so everything was looking great this week.
Movement: Yep, this girl is still rolling around a lot and I am in love with her movements.  I am still mesmerized and just stare at my stomach :-) 
Cravings: Pizza, but that really is no surprise for me.
Gender: Baby girl!!
Belly button: I love my new outtie :-) 
Wedding Ring: On
Anything making you queasy/sick: Nothing except how long my to do list is growing ahhhhh!
What I miss:  Doing things without becoming too tired.  This past Saturday we did our typical shopping (Lowe’s, Costco, & HEB), but we also decided to add in Macy’s to get our family ornament.  Apparently this was just one stop too many for my body.  By the time we got to Lowe’s, which was only the second stop, I was so winded and worn out that I sat at the front of the store on a box of table saws while the boys did the shopping.  Then when we got home I passed out sitting on the couch for 2 hours.  Y’all, I never nap, like NEVER, so the fact that my body put me to sleep I knew that I tried to do too much.
What I’m looking forward to:  I’m starting to look forward to labor and delivery.  I know that’s weird, but I’m getting excited about it again.
Labor signs:  I’ve had several days of contractions this week in addition to my Braxton Hicks.  I’m hoping this girl is like her mama and just getting ready for January and not an early birthday.
Symptoms:  I’m pretty forgetful and clumsy, so I have a bazillion notes everywhere to remind me of things.  I’m still pretty hot, have heartburn, and never seem to have enough air.  I’m a master waddler these days too :-)  I’m rocking those hips for labor already!
Nursery: There isn't going to be a new nursery.  We plan on having Dutch and Teeny Peep share a room.  It's not that we don't have the space; we do have another bedroom, but we would like our kiddos to share a room when they are younger.  We're thinking this will be a great opportunity to continue building character with our children.  And to be honest, Dutch didn't move into his nursery until he was eight months old, and even then only for a few hours a day until he was 11 months old, so the new baby will probably stay in our room about the same amount of time and then we will do a transition of some sort.  Of course we don't know what it is like to have two children and exactly what it will be like, but this is how we think we are going to try to start.
Emotions: I think I’m starting to say this every week, but I am definitely feeling anxious about not being prepared for this little girl.  I’m hoping this week to make some more progress in this area.  I’m craving the feelings of being ready, if nothing else I want my house to be in order for her arrival.

Monday, December 7, 2015

They Are Not Mine: Her Verse

The children from my womb are not my own.  Yes I have carried them around in my body, and yes I stay up all hours of the night to make sure they are feeling well, changed, and fed, but they are not mine.  Just like everything else on this earth, these children are the Lord's.  They are blessings that the Lord has given me to take care of while I am on this earth.  It has always been important to the Mr and I to make sure that we are intentional in our parenting to point our children back to Jesus.  The first thing I said to Dutch when he was born was "Jesus loves you," and I truly hope that I will have the same opportunity to tell that to Teeny Peep when she is born.

Before Dutch was conceived, I had a verse of scripture that I would pray over him, because I always knew that this was the specific verse that I would have for him when he joined us on earth.  When I was preparing the nursery for him, I made sure that it was the first thing that was seen when we walked into his room.  I want my children to have confidence knowing that their mother is continually and specifically praying over them.  I want them to know that I am not just here to take care of their physical and emotional needs, but also to foster their spiritual needs.

This was the view you got as soon as you walked into the nursery before we brought Dutch home from the hospital.  On the wall is Psalm 91:4:
 He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.  His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
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I never knew if the Lord would give us more children, but if He did, I knew that I wanted my babies to share a room.  It's not that we don't have the space; we do have another bedroom, but we would like our kiddos to share a room when they are younger.  We're thinking this will be a great opportunity to continue building character with our children.  Since the Lord has blessed us with another baby and they will be sharing a room, I wanted the verse I selected for Teeny Peep to be posted right next to Dutch's verse.  It took me several months to find just the right verse for her, but after much prayer I found comfort with a verse that the Lord placed on my heart. 

Now when you walk into the nursery you are greeted with verses for both of my baby peeps on the wall.  I used the exact same paper, frame, and vinyl to make Teeny Peep’s scripture: Isaiah 40: 30-31,
Even youth grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.
DSC_0823DSC_0834DSC_0830DSC_0841
I made both of these vinyl scriptures using my Silhouette.  If you want the template for either of these, I’d be happy to send them to you.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Teeny Peep Bumpdate- Weeks 31 & 32

31 Weeks
Date: 11/21/15
How far along: 31 weeks

Fruit-size comparison: Baby girl is the size of a pineapple!  Woah she's growing fast!
Developmental milestones:  Her gorgeous little eyes are reacting to light, and actually all five of her sense are working.  She's learning in my womb already!
Maternity clothes: Still mixing my wardrobe with my regular and maternity clothes, but more and more maternity clothes are emerging.
Weight gain: I'm +14 since pre-preggo weight
Stretch Marks: I've got plenty of kisses from heaven from carrying Dutch.  I applied lotions and such daily with that pregnancy, but to be honest I don't think I'm even going to try to prevent future stretch  marks.  I absolutely love these badges of honor and I'm so proud to wear them.
Sleep:  Our entire house was sick this week, even the dogs!  We had colds and sleep has been tough.  When everyone is sick that means mama is up with everyone.  I remember when I was a kid that my mom would never get sick; she would always say that “Moms don’t have time to get sick.” I think she is probably correct about that.  She probably did get sick, but she didn’t have time to deal with herself because she was taking care of everyone else.  That is at least what happened to us this past week.  I don’t know what struck our house, but our sinuses were not happy about it.  Between getting up throughout the night for potty breaks for me, making sure Dutch was getting his medicine and not coughing himself awake, turning my hubby so that he could breath, and, oh yeah, blowing my own nose so that I could breath, I was only sleeping in about 30 minute intervals.  I know that isn’t a lot of time, but those 30 minutes were filled with hard sleep.  I have gotten some sleep and my eyes are so tired that they are burning, but we are on the mend and this has been great practice for the months ahead. 
Best moment of the week: We had a great appointment with our caregiver this week for Teeny Peep.  My bp was 110/62, fundal height was 31 inches, & Teeny Peep’s heart rate was 138 (exactly the same as Dutch’s heart rate at this exact same appointment- crazy, right?).  I did something super silly at the appointment that I did once when I was pregnant with Dutch also, and I blame preggo brain; I refuse to accept responsibility lol .  I went to the restroom to provide my urine sample, and got so distracted trying to entertain Dutch in the bathroom that I just went and forgot the collection part of the sample providing process.  So there I was standing in the bathroom, without having the need to actually go again (shocking for pregnancy), an empty cup, a super active one year old, and trying to formulate a way to tell the nurse that I forgot to give her a sample.  Ooopsies!  I had to chug some water and wait to have to go again; I’m going to try not to let that happen again.  While there, I did manage to get my pertussis vaccine and book my next appointment, which is now every 2 weeks.  We are definitely getting closer to meeting this little girl!
Movement: This past week I had some major pains with Teeny Peep's positioning and I could feel her trying to do something.  I chugged a bunch of water and spent the evening off my feet (thank goodness the Mr. was able to be home and could deal with the night-time routine).  When I went to bed I just said a prayer that everything was okay and that she had plans on staying put for a while.  When I woke up, all of the pains were gone and from her movement I could immediately tell that she had flipped head-down.  I was so happy when our caregiver confirmed my suspicions.  Now all of her movements are directed upward and her hiccups are all low.  She remains very active in her movements, but they are just all up at the top of my stomach.
Cravings:  Carbs, cheese, and rich savory foods.  It's a good thing Thanksgiving is this week!
Gender: Baby girl!!
Belly button: I love my new outtie :-) 
Wedding Ring: On
Anything making you queasy/sick: Nothing except how long my to do list is growing ahhhhh!
What I miss:  Doing anything without getting out of breath.  It's getting so much harder to chase my 1 year old with a big belly.
What I’m looking forward to: I don't want to rush the end of this pregnancy at all, but I am looking forward to feeling ready.  This of course means that I have a lot to do in order to reach the "ready" phase, but that will be a good feeling when I have done all that I can do for her arrival.
Labor signs: Baby girl has officially flipped head-down!!! I'm busy praying that she stays that way & doing everything I can to help her like that position!
Symptoms: I have to say that being sick this week at almost 8 months preggo, with babies really close together, was pretty embarrassing.....every time I had to sneeze :-/  I'm also starting to feel really large: my face is puffier and it's harder to breath with the extra weight in the front.  However, on the positive side, heartburn stopped as soon as she flipped (thank you baby girl!).  I imagine it will return as she continues to grow, but for now I'm enjoying the absence of heartburn.
Nursery: There isn't going to be a new nursery.  We plan on having Dutch and Teeny Peep share a room.  It's not that we don't have the space; we do have another bedroom, but we would like our kiddos to share a room when they are younger.  We're thinking this will be a great opportunity to continue building character with our children.  And to be honest, Dutch didn't move into his nursery until he was eight months old, and even then only for a few hours a day until he was 11 months old, so the new baby will probably stay in our room about the same amount of time and then we will do a transition of some sort.  Of course we don't know what it is like to have two children and exactly what it will be like, but this is how we think we are going to try to start.
Emotions: I think this week has been easy.  What I mean by that is that everything went well; no bumps in the road with our routine.  However it was still a tough exhausting week with everyone sick.  And sleep-deprivation tends to enhance those anxious emotions, so my anxiety is certainly growing.  Single digits in weeks until we meet our baby girl! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~32 WeeksDSC_0018

Someone was enjoying their rocking horse at my feet during this pictures lol
Date: 11/28/15
How far along: 32 weeks

Fruit-size comparison: Jimaca.  I didn't know what this was when I was pregnant with Dutch, but I have since learned (thanks to all of those Chopped marathons on the Food Network when Dutch was a newborn lol)
Developmental milestones: Baby girl is about 3.75 lbs, and is really starting to gain weight.  I should be gaining about a pound a week until the end of the pregnancy so that she gets nice and plump for her arrival.  I think she is still in the head-down position and working towards her birthday.  She has fingernails, toenails, and working on a head of hair.  I have been wondering if she will have straight hair or curly hair :-) 
Maternity clothes: I'm still mixing my pre-maternity and maternity wardrobe when I can.  I've got the Mr's company Christmas party coming up and I definitely need to get a dress for that or make sure that I can squeeze into the one that I wore when I was preggo with Dutch.
Weight gain: I don't want to weigh myself because of Thanksgiving.  I'll wair to weigh next week when food balances out again.
Stretch Marks: I've got plenty of kisses from heaven from carrying Dutch.  I applied lotions and such daily with that pregnancy, but to be honest I don't think I'm even going to try to prevent future stretch  marks.  I absolutely love these badges of honor and I'm so proud to wear them.
Sleep: There is no such thing as enough sleep these days...... which also means that there is no such thing as enough coffee.  I nurse my one cup a day all. day. long.
Best moment of the week: I can't even express how much we were not just looking forward to Thanksgiving, but really how much we just needed it.  We needed the world to just stop for a couple days so that we could connect and relax.  Thanksgiving was just so perfectly relaxing and much-needed.
Movement:  Still incredibly busy in my tummy.  She is just dancing all day and night every day. Her movements are still rather gentle, thank goodness, but she doesn't stop moving.  No complaints in that department though, as I love to feel her moving around.  I can tell that she is beginning to run out of room by how she is moving in my stomach; lots of big rolling type movements and less kicking.
Cravings: Nothing that I can think of
Gender: Baby girl!!
Belly button: I love my new outtie :-)
Wedding Ring: On
Anything making you queasy/sick: My long to do list.  We are running out of time and I feel like I keep saying, "Oh I'll get to that after ______" And that blank could be filled with after Halloween, or Thanksgiving or now Christmas.  While all of those may be big things, they don't stop her growth timeline.  I need to find some time and some help to get things done.  I don't feel like I've been procrastinating, but I do feel like the holidays have been a huge consumption of time.  I like having the holidays, I'm trying to embrace them and have fun with them with Dutch, but there is always the feeling of something big coming that I'm not ready for at all.
What I miss: Sushi!
What I’m looking forward to: I have another appointment this week to check on Teeny Peep.  I'm looking forward to hearing her :-)
Labor signs: Just the occasional Braxton Hicks contractions.   
Symptoms: I'm definitely out of breath a lot more, which makes singing faster songs during church a challenge.  Heartburn is in full force again, & I am forgetting everything and losing everything these days.  I am beginning to frustrate myself all the time because I lose everything.  I'm also a human incubator that can never get cool enough.
Nursery: There isn't going to be a new nursery.  We plan on having Dutch and Teeny Peep share a room.  It's not that we don't have the space; we do have another bedroom, but we would like our kiddos to share a room when they are younger.  We're thinking this will be a great opportunity to continue building character with our children.  And to be honest, Dutch didn't move into his nursery until he was eight months old, and even then only for a few hours a day until he was 11 months old, so the new baby will probably stay in our room about the same amount of time and then we will do a transition of some sort.  Of course we don't know what it is like to have two children and exactly what it will be like, but this is how we think we are going to try to start.
Emotions: I would say that I'm mostly on the happy end of the spectrum.  I'm not that stereotypical hormonal preggo UNLESS.....I'm hot or I lose something.  My anxiety is still present but not taking away from quality of life or anything like that; just something that I am aware of.  Thank you Jesus for lists to help me cope!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Cooking for the Masses

This year I didn’t cook Thanksgiving all by myself; everyone brought their favorite Thanksgiving dishes so our table was filled with contributions of nothing but the best & most delicious.  However, in the past I have cooked many holiday meals for big crowds and I thought I'd share how I plan and execute cooking for a crowded table.  Preparing ginormous meals for large groups really can be enjoyable, and since Thanksgiving is behind us and we’re  facing the Christmas festivities, I thought this would be a perfect time to share the tips and tricks that work for me :-)  Cooking for the MassesKnow Your Guests: Before you even start thinking about the big day, make sure that you know who is coming to your home.  What are their allergies? How many people? Will there be a bunch of children who may have more conservative palates?

Get Prepared: Clean out your fridge!  We have two fridges and I make sure that they are emptied of things that just take up space (like that jar of jam you opened last Thanksgiving and have been meaning to chuck all year, oopsies!)  Also you need to make sure that you have enough serving dishes & utensils for the big day.  I pull my dishes out and sit them on the buffet with post-it notes reminding me what I plan to put in each dish.  Also make sure that you have enough tupperware, plastic cling wrap, or aluminum foil to pack up your leftovers or to-go boxes to send food home with your guests.

Make Your Menu & Shop: When you're planning your menu for a big day, this is not the time to experiment.  Use your go-to, tried & true, time-tested classic recipes that you're familiar with.  Everyone loves tradition, and if you're familiar with the recipe, then you will have less stress.  Also when you’re selecting your meal recipes, don’t forget about breakfast for the big day because you'll need your energy (I always make these for special mornings: monkey bread, glazed ham & cheese breakfast sandwiches, PSL syrup for coffee, & pumpkin streusel bread)  and ingredients to turn your left-overs into special dishes in the following days (I always do turkey pot pie, turkey & fig pizza, and some kind of turkey tacos with bbq cranberry sauce).   Once you have your menu planned go ahead and make your grocery list.  Remember to get a few extras in case accidents happen (and they do!).  When you go shopping, do so the week before, and try not to do it the weekend before because everyone else and their brother will be at the grocery store with you.

Establish A Schedule & Stick To It!: I know this goes without saying, but I still have to say it (blame my inner teacher on this one): don’t wait until the last minute to start planning or cooking; procrastinating is super anxiety provoking & so avoidable.  Not only should you start early, but space out your tasks with a schedule and mind the schedule.  The big day should have the fewest to-do items so that you can be ready for things you forgot, but mostly so that you can enjoy the day too.  This is my typical schedule for a Thanksgiving meal:
-Monday (or 3 days out): Cook all of your baked goods & desserts, prepare (dice & measure out) all of your ingredients for other dishes & store in ziplock bags in the fridge so that when you start cooking them you can move through the recipe faster, take note of how long it will take for your turkey to thaw.
-Tuesday (or 2 days out): Start making your savory dishes
-Wednesday (or 1 day out): Finish the majority of your savory recipes, set the table, pull out all serving dishes, prepare the meat for the next day (brine, etc.)
-Thursday (the big day!): Cook breakfast, start turkey, reheat your dishes, and enjoy your time with family
Ready Your Kitchen: Once you’ve done your shopping, set your schedule, and you’re ready to start preparing food, make sure that you’re space is ready for you.  Your kitchen should be cleared of distracting clutter, the dishwasher & sink should be emptied.  It’s easier to cook in a clean kitchen when you're not hunting for things.  About 30 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking, pull your eggs & butter out so that they can arrive at room temperature. Set up a station of all the ingredients you will need for that day; just go ahead and pull everything out and sit it in a central area so that you’re not hunting through cabinets and the pantry.  Also, if you can, clean as you go so that once everything is cooked you don’t have to then take hours to clean up for the next day.

Go Time: Turn on some Christmas music or a movie to listen to as you prepare your dishes.  If you can juggle recipes you can decrease your cooking time.  What I mean but that is while one dish is resting, baking, melting, etc. work on another recipe.  Only do this if you’re comfortable juggling multiple recipes at the same time.

Make the Choice: Cooking doesn’t have to be stressful.  With some preparation it can really be manageable and ....dare I say, enjoyable?!?!?!  It is a choice to have a melt-down or to be proactive and take lots of baby steps.  You can do this! 

Grace: Give yourself some grace.  You are going to be the toughest critic sitting at the table.  No one is going to be as harsh as you, so stop beating yourself up.  You might make a mistake, it could be big or it could be minor, but no one really cares.  Don't let it ruin the festivities for you.   Laugh it off and move on; if nothing else, you have a great story for next year.
So there you have it folks.  These are my tips and tricks for preparing a big meal for a full table. 
Do you have any tips that you could add to this that would make it easier for me? 
Please send your tips my way!!!


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