Sunday, September 28, 2014

Baby Arek

It's almost been month since this little bundle joined our lives. I can't even begin to describe the love that I, that we, have for this little boy. He is just the sweetest ever. It was a bumpy journey in the beginning, but it was our journey. I'm still letting it all process in my head and hope to get his whole birth story written out, and maybe shared on here in the next week or so. It's hard to believe it's been almost a whole month since he came into our lives, and I can hardly imagine what our lives were like without him.

Right now he's nestled in his rocker next to me, dreaming away. And while I can still tell he's the same baby in the picture above, he's grown so much. We're really in for it with all the changes and growing that are to come, but we're so excited for it all.

Baby Arek, Mommy and Daddy (and everyone else) love you to the moon and back!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Labor Cake

"It's a BUNDT...T"

Well, I'm posting this up from the comfort of my home office, so clearly, this didn't work. Or I didn't eat enough. One or the other. BUT! If you are looking for an amazingly moist and gooey chocolate cake recipe - look no further. It's rich and decadent and takes a simple box cake to a whole new level.

I found the recipe here when searching "labor cake"on Pinterest. I figured, the baby is due, and I'm not in labor. Best case scenario: I learn what contractions really feel like and maybe finally get to meet my little man. Worst case scenario: I get to eat some yummy chocolate cake. It's pretty much a win:win situation, don't you think?

I don't really believe that anything you do or eat is going to kick start labor. Baby Boy is going to make his appearance when he is ready, and I am learning to be OK with that. I also don't think that a chocolate overdose is going to do a darn thing to my uterus to jump start this. But I'm starting to get a little restless at home bouncing on my exercise ball all day and baking a cake was the perfect diversion for a good part of my day. Cleaning up the dishes afterward, however, was not.

So here it is: LABOR CAKE - or Labor Day Cake - if you need a recipe to take to that potluck this weekend!

  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Butter Chocolate Cake)
  • All the ingredients the box mix requires: usually water and eggs, maybe oil or butter
  • 1 package of chocolate instant pudding mix (I guess if you wanted to get creative you could try a different flavor)
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Pour into a greased bundt pan and cook for about 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees F, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  

You can also make this as a sheet cake or in rounds, but the cook time will vary. 

If you are making a bundt, I used the same website's recipe for the glaze, sans the vanilla extract (because I forgot). If you're making a sheet cake or rounds, you can use canned frosting or another recipe. 
  • 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk because it's what we had)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a sauce pan heat all the ingredients together until smooth. Continue to stir until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat and allow to stand. It will thicken up a bit more. When it's the desired consistency, drizzle over the tops of your bundt cake for that extra chocolate rush that might just make your belly contract! 

Enjoy! And if anyone DOES go into labor from this cake, either don't tell me because I'll get frustrated, or tell me it was because you ate the whole darn thing. I had to stop at one piece because it's so rich and delicious. Baby Boy liked the sugar rush too, he was moving around all night. Just not moving out yet.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Due Date!

Today's the day! It's been marked on my calendar since January and we've been counting down ever since. Every time I really think about it and realize that this is the last week of August, and here it is, and soon there's going to be a baby here and my belly won't be his home anymore, but he'll be in his room (or our room) and be a part of this family, it totally blows my mind. 

That being said, today is really just another day on the calendar, and Baby Boy has no idea how to tell time yet. He's not showing any signs of interest in coming out and joining us in celebration any time soon.  I'm happy to let him cook til he is ready, but I'd really like to meet him. I'd also really like to avoid discussions of inductions and c-sections at the next doctor's appointment.  Last week they said he'd had a growth spurt and was starting to measure a little on the big side (typical...he gets that from my side of the family and our big babies), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll decide to make an appearance on his own before he gets too big!

So we're still waiting. Every time I get up from sitting I think, "maybe my water will break," and every time I feel my back start to ache or a pain under my belly I think, "maybe this is the first contraction." It's a trip not knowing what the heck your body is going to do and when, especially for someone who is typically really in tune with what her body is trying to say.  But, I guess that's just the first lesson in parenting and motherhood coming my way. 

As E pointed out to me last night, whether he comes tomorrow or he comes next week, it's all soon at this point. He'll be here soon. 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Avocado harvest

We have an old avocado tree in our back yard. It's been there for years and years and has almost given up on itself a few times. When we first moved in there were only a few leaves, and peeling bark, and dead branches. E trimmed it up and we've been giving it love and lots of water and we're thinking it's on the mend. The leaves grow only to one side because of the branches it lost, but if you look inside, tucked away in the big branches, you'll find the lovely green fruit.

We were out in the garden yesterday and were excited to see that they're full grown!  The funny thing we learned about this tree is that the avocados won't really ripen on their own. You have to pick them and ripen them in a brown bag.  They stay green, and their skins are thin, but they are silky and creamy and delicious. We picked 10 BIG avocados for now and there are still more to come.  So looking forward to guac and fresh avo on toast in the mornings!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Morning Routine

I wake up to a warm breeze coming in through the window. Sometimes the sound of birds chirping, sometimes the sound of the neighbors kids playing in the back yard. I roll my large belly over and check the time - later than when I wanted to get up. My body moves so much slower as I climb out of bed (really... it's a climb) and make my way to the kitchen.

I swore off coffee for the whole first trimester of this pregnancy. Not even one drop. Then only decaf for the whole second trimester. And now that we're nearing the end, I allow myself one cup. One very small cup. And most of the time I can't finish it. Talk about change. But I make it anyway, out of habit and something for breakfast before making my way to the computer. Emails, blogs, posts, facebook, I check it all and stay up to date. And on some mornings, I feel more inclined to share with the world, and some writing happens.

My body and my mind work so much slower in these final days of baby carrying. I bounce on an exercise ball instead of an office chair, hoping it will bring baby boy a little closer to meeting us. My thoughts are sluggish and I usually forget what I started doing, or typing, or...what was the point of this sentence?  My coffee gets cold by the time I go to take another sip, but trudging my body back to the kitchen to heat it up would just take too much energy, so I sip it cold, or forget about it.

These mornings are slow, and quiet, and so beautiful. They are short-lived.  It blows my mind when I think these are the last few mornings of my life that will be this quiet and this personal and this peaceful. I relish in them and soak them in, and then go lay down for a little while because while I've done nothing all morning, my body is aching again and because, well, because for right now, I can.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Single Digits

This chalk board hangs on our kitchen wall - a fun place to write memos and quotes, ideas and messages to guests. We bought it sometime around last Thanksgiving, and used it for a message about the season. We hung it up in the dining room when we had our gender reveal party and asked family to vote "he or she" with tally marks. And then we started counting down. What started with "77" has now reduced down to just one single digit count down. When we started it seemed like we still had forever to go. And now there are 9 days left.

That flew by. 

And while every day that our baby boy is not here seems to drag on like eternity and I convince myself that I might be pregnant clear until Christmas. The days keep passing and each day that we mark off on the chalk board blows my mind as we get closer and closer to holding our baby.  

Oh the anxious anticipation.  

Everyone is placing their bets. We had bets for the 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th (today! maybe he'll be here!), lots of bets for the 21st and 23rd, and for some reason I originally said the 30th (probably more realistic but it seems so far away!).  Technically he might not be here until September. Though for some reason I just can't picture him as a September baby.  He's on the cusp of Leo and Virgo. It's up to him. 

I've heard people say, "oh he'll be here in the next few days," and I completely get my hopes up.  And them I'm crushed a bit every time someone says, "you haven't dropped enough, you still have time." And for every doctors appointment that shows no big progress my heart sinks a little.  I'm  not quite at that breaking point of "GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME!" but I do want to meet him.  I feel like he wants to meet us too. His kicks seem to say "I'm still in here but not for long!" to remind me just how much I love feeling them. And each time my belly tightens I feel like he's trying to tell me that it won't be too much more time before he makes his debut. 

I'm trying to be patient. 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Life @ 38 weeks

My, oh my! 38 long weeks. 38 weeks that went by in a flash. Baby Boy is full term - and deciding to cook some more. It seems like these last few weeks have equally flown by and dragged on. I think back to the aches and pains I was having just five weeks ago and laugh. Back then I could stand up and sit down without wincing. It was hard to get shoes on, but I could do it. My feet were swollen but they weren't aching too. My hips didn't throb if I laid on my side in bed. Changing positions in my sleep was uncomfortable, but not impossible to do without waking up completely.

I know that everything I am feeling right now is short lived. There's only 12 days til our due date. Maybe he'll be here sooner, maybe a little later. We aren't too sure. We can't know ahead. That's part of the big surprise, I suppose. It's hard to not get excited and hopeful that maybe I'll be able to hold this little guy sooner rather than later, even though I know that he'll be here when he's ready. 

I'm still living for these little kicks. They aren't as strong any more in his cramped quarters, but I love those little reminders that this time is just for him and me and I like to think he's letting me know he's still in there waiting to meet us too.  

At 38 weeks daily tasks are harder and harder to finish. Dishes have to get done while I hunch over the sink resting on my elbows. But they get done. At 38 weeks it's (almost) impossible to but on tennis shoes without help. But I have help. At 38 weeks (especially in the middle of August) walking around the neighborhood (apparently) means shuffling around the neighborhood instead, and doing it only as the sun is setting because it's just too darn hot. But we still go walking. 38 weeks means we're enjoying our time together at 2 and basking in the quiet of the house for now. But it also means being really excited to become 3 and having another voice make some noise around here. 

38 weeks also means realizing just how much you are loved. We have family and friends surrounding us, calling us, checking in on us, coming over to just pass the time and visit while we're still just 2. It means appreciating everything that E does and has been doing for me these last 38+ weeks, and knowing that he's going to be the most amazing dad.  It means having your heart swell with emotions so much that you get teary watching a post-it commercial, and want to bawl every time someone calls or says something sweet and encouraging to you. It's a roller coaster, to be really cliche about it. 

But these 38 weeks have been amazing. I've grown physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and this is just the beginning. 

Baby boy, we're ready to meet you - ready when you are and so excited for all the growing and learning and adventures that are yet to come.