Wednesday, November 27, 2013

28 Weeks

OMG – this means I officially have two trimesters under my belt.  Literally.  Guess I better get cracking on preparing for the McBaby. 

How your baby's growing:

By this week, your baby weighs 2 1/4 pounds (about the size of a large eggplant) and measures 14.8 inches from the top of his head to his heels. He can blink his eyes, which now sport lashes. With his eyesight developing, he may be able to see the light that filters in through your womb. He's also developing billions of neurons in his brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world.

How mom is changing:

You're in the home stretch! The third and final trimester starts this week. If you're like most women, you'll gain about 11 pounds this trimester.

Speaking of weight… At my appointment on Monday, the scale reflected a 1.5-lb loss so I’m at a net gain of 14.5 pounds. That’s just a half-pound under what is normal (15 – 22 lbs) so my doctor said everything looked fine.

I had my glucose test on Monday and I gotta say, I didn’t mind the orange drink. It was overly sweet but that’s not something I normally complain about. My “score” was 100 (they want it to be under 140). They also tested my iron and it was 13.2 (they want it to be more than 11).

How I’m feeling: Same as last month. Some low back pain, but no heartburn or any other typical pregnancy ailments. I have noticed that my calves and feet sometimes want to cramp up during the night, but so far I’ve been able to avoid that by flexing and stretching.

Workouts: Still doing ‘em. I try to get in at least 4 good workouts every week, but 5 to 6 is better. This past weekend, I went to my PHX (Power Hour Extreme) class at the Y and it was a great class. Lots of plyometrics, but I was able to do pretty much everything without modifying. I went to a spin class on Sunday and felt good the whole time. Last night was boot camp. From this point forward, I’m going to play boot camp by ear and evaluate each week if I think I’m okay doing it.  I enjoyed last night’s workout and there was only one move where we were supposed to lay on our stomachs that I couldn’t do.  Boot camp seems to make my back hurt in the wee hours of the night and at some point, it’s not going to be worth the discomfort.

Food cravings/aversions: Nothing new here – I like carbs.

Sleep: I fall asleep so quickly that it makes me harbor some resentment against people who have ALWAYS fallen asleep so quickly. Man, I have been missing out for pretty much as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I’m still not sleeping through the night most of the time, but I rarely find that I can’t go back to sleep. Maybe once a week or every 10 days, I have a bad night where I hardly feel like I’ve even been asleep and it’s hard to fall back to sleep. Guess that habit’ll come in handy come February, huh?

Movement: Lots! And this weekend when we were at Terry and Vickie’s hanging out, the McBaby kicked or headbutted the right side of my rib cage so hard that it literally made me jump and gasp a little.

Belly button in or out: Still in, but I think she might have aspirations of being an outie before this is all said and done.

Rings on or off: On and fitting fine.

Maternity clothes: Yep! All maternity bottoms for the most part (regular workout bottoms) and most of my tops are maternity. I can wear a dress that’s non-maternity – thank goodness for fat clothes.

Recent fun or interesting things: We test-drove strollers and picked one out. I also started registries at Target and Buy Buy Baby.  And this past Monday, the McHusband and I went to an open house at a pediatrician’s office.  I was pretty sure we were going to use this office mainly because they are conveniently located, but I liked the doctors we met so that’s sort of a bonus.

New baby items: The McHusband brought a onesie back from Vegas, and I couldn’t resist a couple sleepers and one outfit from Target a few weeks back when I, uh, accidentally found myself in the baby department.


So as of right now, I think the McBaby will be not naked for approximately one week. Guess we better start stocking up in the wardrobe department. My boot camp buddies at the Y went in on a Dipes & Wipes bag. It was so sweet of them to do that for me.


Miss anything?: Sleeping on my stomach. I think I actually miss that more than wine and Woodchuck this time around.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We’re looking forward to seeing our families and spending some quality time with the kiddos.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Like Alice through the rabbithole

Except instead of Alice, we have Vanessa.


And instead of a rabbithole, we have a doggie door.


And rather than red and blue potions saying “Drink Me,” she had orange and grape Smirnoffs.  They may not have changed Vanessa’s size, but I think they might’ve altered her perception a little…

Chelle helped Vanessa get through the door.




She made it!


Well, most of her…


These are the only pictures I took at the Chicken Stew. I’d say I pulled the camera out at just the right time.

Monday, November 25, 2013

{Recipe Recap} Fudgy Brownies with a Butterfinger Crust

So it’s Monday.  Again.  But at least it’s a short week because of Thanksgiving.  I’m so ready for the break from the grind.  I’m saving a week’s vacation to use next year after the McBaby makes his debut, and I’ve been feeling those five days lately.  Or I should say the lack of spending those five days away from the office.

I made three treats and one main dish this weekend.  Our dinner last night was easy (Gotta love the crockpot!) and delicious, and I highly recommend the rest of you try this Roasted Red Pepper Chicken.  I served ours over quinoa and baked up our favorite Cajun-roasted sweet potatoes to round things out.  Yum!


But the first thing I made this weekend was a batch of Fudgy Brownies with a Butterfinger Crust.  We were having dinner with 10 of our nearest and dearest so I wanted to share a treat with them.


I thought about just using a boxed brownie mix, but making brownies from scratch really isn’t too difficult so I made the recipe as it was written.  I had planned to use more regular cocoa than the Hershey’s Special Dark that I ended up using, but I was out of the lighter stuff.


I think the McHusband was the only one who didn’t care too much for the darker chocolate.  But luckily Vickie had baked up a batch of Ghiradelli brownies so when we ended up back at their house after dinner, he was able to satisfy his sweet tooth with those. 


Vickie, I won’t hold it against you that my husband preferred your brownies to mine. Smile


I’m sending most of the rest of the brownies into the office with the McHusband and taking a few into my office, but I won’t be eating any.  I have my glucose test for gestational diabetes this afternoon so I’m low-carbing it until 3:00.  Keep your fingers crossed that I pass with flying colors.


{Brownie recipe}

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cuddly canines

The weekend is upon us!  This week actually went by pretty quickly so I can’t complain, but that doesn’t mean I’m not just as glad that it’s Friday.

The McHusband and I are kicking off the weekend by visiting a home daycare just outside our neighborhood and if we’re feeling really wild, we may even wander the aisles of Walmart after dinner.

But enough about our exciting plans.  Let’s see some canine cuteness.

Monte is such a cuddler.  Morgan sometimes tolerates him and sometimes she’s had enough and gets up and finds a new spot.  Doesn’t bother Monte, he just follows her.



If Morgan’s really tired and/or comfortable, she doesn’t mind Monte being all up in her business as much.



But Monte’s a restless sleeper so if Morgan just puts up with him for a few minutes, he’ll inevitably end up further away.


Silly puppies.

It’s hard to resist cuddling with Monte.  Just ask the McHusband.


Hope you guys have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Our weekend started with a trip to Buy Buy Baby to test drive strollers.  We were lucky to have a very knowledgeable salesman make some recommendations and answer LOTS of questions while we pushed strollers around and showed what newbies we were when trying to fold floor models and load up the infant carrier. 

Don’t worry, McBaby, by the time you’re here, I’m sure we’ll have a MUCH better idea how the contraption works.

We decided on the Bob Motion Travel System in the gray and black color combo you see in the picture.  It was really important for us that the stroller be comfortable for our taller heights and longer legs.  This one has an adjustable handle and the storage space underneath, while a little smaller, allows for our longer strides. 

The McHusband took the wheels off and declared their construction and way of attaching sound.  We practiced folding and unfolding the stroller and loading it into my trunk.  We compared its weight to another slightly smaller stroller and it’s a touch heavier, but not so much so that the difference was a a point against this one.

So…  One decision made, 629 more to go.

Monday, November 18, 2013

{Recipe Recap} Death by Chocolate BTS Poke Cake

Quite a title, huh?  But there’s a lot going on here, lots of goodies coming together to make one giant goodie, so you want to make sure the name does it justice.


The darker parts of the cake are where the Hershey’s Syrup was poured over the cake that I had poked holes in, and it settled down into the cake.  The recipe actually called for chocolate Cool Whip Frosting, which I’ve seen, but I couldn’t find this time around, not even after looking in THREE grocery stores.


On top, I used crumbled Oreos, Nestle Buncha Crunch, and Magic Shell as called for in the recipe.  Heather later said that the Crunch bites made the dessert.  I admit, I liked the change in texture they offered plus they were just plain tasty.


This dessert was easy to make, very customizable, and simply delicious.  I thoroughly enjoyed eating my model when our photoshoot was over.


I made the Oatmeal Cream Pies that Chelle requested as well as some simple yellow cupcakes with the chocolate frosting from that chocolate cookie cake from the other week.


One of Chelle and Jeremy’s friends, Jeff, turned 50 the day before the Chicken Stew so his wife asked Chelle if I’d mind making some cupcakes.  You know I can’t resist whipping up a birthday treat.  I made 12 regular-sized cupcakes and 36 minis.


So…yellow cake?


Or chocolate cake?


You can’t lose either way.

{Poke Cake slightly adapted from here}

{Chocolate Frosting}

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bad photos of good food

Friday, Friday, Friday!  This week actually went by fairly quickly, but I’m very happy to have the weekend right around the corner.  We have Chelle and Jeremy’s annual Chicken Stew tomorrow to look forward to, and I have some hardwood-mopping that I’m not looking forward to.  But I’m hosting the HOA meeting next week so I need a clean foyer and dining room.

I’m sure I could do a whole series with my not-so-great food photography, but then what pictures would I use for my Recipe Recaps?

Recently, I’ve made a Banana Bread Crumb Cake, a Tuna Pot Pie, and some Knock-You-Naked Brownies.  Luckily, these are all different enough from each other and the photos aren’t so bad that you guys can’t tell what’s what.




I would recommend all of these, especially the crumb cake.  It was very moist and you know I love me some streusel.  The tuna pot pie was good and easy enough to prepare.  I opted to cover it with an extra pie crust I happened to have in the fridge.  This recipe would work great with canned chicken, too, if you aren’t a fan of canned tuna.  The brownies were tasty but a little annoying because of the caramel sticking to the foil.  I sprayed the foil really well and everything, but it wasn’t quite enough.

I’m making more oatmeal cream pies for the Chicken Stew as well as a new chocolate treat because I have to take advantage of all my guinea pigs gathering in one place.  I’ll try to set a piece of the latter dessert aside so I can take a halfway decent photo on Sunday. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

McBaby: Boy Genius?

I read this article yesterday that essentially says women who exercise while pregnant have babies with increased brainpower.  Even as little as brisk walking for 20 minutes three times a week is apparently enough to see the effects. 

Does that mean that if I keep exercising for 60 minutes four to five days a week that the McBaby will just keep getting smarter? 

We’ll never know for sure, but it can’t hurt (me or the baby) to keep up with my regimen as long as I can.

Monday, November 11, 2013

{Recipe Recap} Triple Chocolate Cookie Cake

It was beautiful here this weekend.  The McHusband came home from his week in Vegas just in time to enjoy sunshine and temps closer to 70 than 60.  I had the windows open, and we took the dogs to the dog park to let them burn some energy and earn the baths they were getting anyway.  I hear a cold front is headed our way, but I suppose I can deal with it finally being seasonably chilly in mid-November.  Gotta love fall in NC!

I made this cookie cake for my coworker’s birthday last week.  My coworkers all loved it and one of them even went ahead and requested it for his birthday next year.  In June.


I used Nestle Dark Chocolate Chips and mini M&M’s in the dough.  There’s no doubt that this treat is chocolate through and through and on top.


The cookie cake itself was pretty tasty, but the frosting made the cake.


Lindsay has two more cookie cakes that have made my to-make list: one is a simple chocolate chip cookie cake and the other is an oatmeal raisin cookie cake. 

Now I just need a reason to whip ‘em up.


{Recipe here}

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Scenes from Halloween








I made some eyeballs out of toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls.  I just cut the shapes out and inserted glow sticks.  (I can’t take credit for the idea, my mom sent me the craft from someone online.) 

Can you see the creatures peeking out from the bushes?



I saved them for next year.  I’ll need more glow sticks, but at least the labor is done.


I love my fog machine and motion-activated head-in-a-crystal ball.


I’m sure there’ll be a jack o’lantern or three next year, something a little more McBaby-friendly.