Tuesday, February 24, 2015

33 weeks & Pregnancy Anxieties

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Tonight was one of those nights when everything seemed to be going well... until bed time. Klair had been in a great mood all day and we had a fun family home evening. We went out to eat (because after a day of cleaning I had no energy left to cook) and then we came home for a lesson on God's love the importance of saying "I love you"--which we let Klair practice on us. She kindly obliged and it was adorable and edifying in the way that only a toddler is capable of.

Yet, despite the good evening we had, for some reason Klair would not go to sleep easily like she normally does. Every five minutes or so she would start screaming for me, and only me. Sam would try to go in and help her but she would yell at him "I want my mommy!" I would go in to her room to console/calm/sing to/comfort her, and within a few minutes she was back at it again. Under normal circumstances this is tiresome. But when you're eight months pregnant and you've already used up your quota of energy for the day (because you only get so much and once it's gone, it's gone) it's downright exhausting. Add the discomfort of Braxton Hicks contractions and the ominous feeling of an oncoming sickness... let's just say I'm feeling ready for bed.

Klair's been on a mommy kick lately. And, while I appreciate the strong affection she feels for me, it's also worrisome. Of course she decides to become a mommy's girl right before the amount of of attention I'll be able to give her will be reduced dramatically! Of course. I already feel inadequate to the task of parenting lately--like I'm barely getting by. The tiredness and general discomfort of pregnancy makes me feel like I'm running on fumes, and I often feel bad that I can't do more in the day--particularly with her. Soon we're going to have a newborn! The restless nights, late-night feedings-- the thought is almost too much to process right now. I remember getting some energy back once Klair was born, but will it be enough? How will I divide my time between a physically demanding newborn and an emotionally demanding toddler? It's going to rock Klair's world, and I know I won't be able to give baby boy the same level of attention that I gave to Klair when she was born. Both thoughts leave me feeling guilty and honestly overwhelmed.

"It's normal to feel this way" I tell myself "But it's good to give kids siblings, it's healthy." And, although I can rationally tell you that I believe my own advice, it's of little consolation to how I actually feel. I definitely have enough love in my heart for both of my babies, I just hope that I can adequately convey it within the constraints placed on my time and energy.

I was feeling sick and emotionally spent last night, so I went into baby boy's nursery. I just sat in his chair and tried to imagine him in my arms, tried to picture what it will be like in roughly 7 weeks. Right on cue he started kicking/moving inside me, and I sat there awhile thinking of him, talking to him, singing to him. I used to do this more with my first pregnancy, but this time around I haven't had as much time to focus on the little guy inside me. It was nice to spend some quality time with him, so to speak. It was good for me to remember why I'm so exhausted and uncomfortable. It will all be worth it soon. It already is worth it, if I can separate myself from the present for long enough to appreciate it all.

Anyway, there is a peek into my mind right now. Luckily I have this super amazing husband who has been extremely supportive and all around awesome. Last night he found me in baby boy's room, and he insisted on knowing what was wrong. I tried really hard to conceal my feelings... but I'm about as transparent as a fish bowl. I told him my fears, and he reassured me in the way that only he knows how that everything will be okay. Ultimately I'm just extremely grateful that I have him... because heaven knows that without Sam, well, I don't even know what I would do.

The photos above were taken in our Sunday best. The headband that I'm wearing is from Olivia Wares (Sage) Boutique. They are currently having an awesome clearance sale which you can (and should) check out! 

When Klair saw that I was wearing a headband with my hair up, she decided to follow suit. She also insisted on being in the pictures with me, which I was of course more than okay with. She is such a doll, I honestly don't know how we got so lucky. Even after an exhausting night like tonight, all I have to do is look at a picture of her smiling face to feel completely twitterpated again. She has that effect on me.

Also, I have to mention that my bag is from Maeberry Vintage. It's the cutest little antique shop in the heart of downtown Salt Lake. If you find yourself in the Broadway area, you should definitely stop in. They have an amazing assortment of vintage clothing, furniture, and home decor. I also snagged an adorable vintage dress that I'll be posting in the very near future.

Silver Headband: Olivia Wares | Gray Bag: Maeberry Vintage | Black Maternity Dress: Pink Blush Maternity | Maternity Tights: H&M | Leather Watch: Skagen | Gray Booties: Madden (similar)


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Friday Night, Pizza Night

We recently started a new tradition around here that Klair enthusiastically calls "Friday night, PIZZA night!" It began when I found this recipe for homemade pizza dough on Pinterest. Pizza is one of the few foods that Klair will eat without hesitation (right up there with oatmeal, smoothies, and pasta) so I was trying to find ways to make it a little healthier... and it certainly didn't hurt that the homemade option was also cheaper. AND, as it turns out, so much tastier! Sam and I both agree now that pizza of the homemade variety is much better than anything we can buy. Plus, it's both easy and fun to make. Klair loves to help us press the dough into the pan and sprinkle the toppings on. I think the process might be more exciting for her than eating it.

With my beautiful new Kitchen Aid that I got for Christmas it's almost too easy to make. I'll include some directions in case you don't have a stand mixer though ...Or in the event that you want to take make it by hand and take a little frustration out on the dough in the form of punching... it's actually quite therapeutic :)

Once we made this pizza a few times we decided it would be a wonderful weekly tradition. Sam and I both have fond memories of movie nights with our families growing up, so we decided to incorporate this idea into our pizza night to max out the fun family time. There have been a few Fridays that we have had other plans. But, rather than skip our tradition, we've moved it to another night of the week instead. We are so converted to homemade pizza and devoted to the family night that we can't go one week without it :) 


Pizza Dough Ingredients 

15 oz (3 cups) Flour
1 tbsp Yeast
1 tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
9 fl oz Warm Water

Dough Directions  
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

By Hand:
Place flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
Add yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and water and stir until combined.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or until a smooth ball forms.

In a Stand Mixer:
Place flour into a stand mixer bowl and make a well in the center.

Add yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and water into the well and turn on low combined (about 3 minutes) using the dough hook attachment.

Turn the speed to medium and knead for 5-10 minutes or until a smooth ball forms (for me this happens fairly quickly).

Then for both methods... 
Place dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or clean cloth. Set in a warm place for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled. (I usually place mine beside the preheating oven and it rises in about 20 min...)

Turn dough out your lightly greased pan(s) and punch the dough to remove excess air, knead lightly (we like to spray the pan with olive oil spray and then sprinkle it with cornmeal... this adds an authentic pizzeria texture to the pizza and helps to keep the pizza from sticking). 

This pizza is great for one large pizza with a nice thick crust (like we prefer), or you can divide the dough into 4 to make 4 thin crust personal pizzas (or you could even divide the dough in half and do one large thin crust and freeze the other half of the dough for another time). 


Sauce, Toppings, and Crust

Spread desired pizza sauce and toppings and bake in 450 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. I bake our one large pizza for 10 minutes and it comes out exactly to our liking--just barely golden without being crispy. You can adjust the time a little depending on your preference. Also, keep in mind if you decide to make a thin crust pizza you'll want to reduce the time because it will cook quicker and could burn. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

When it comes to sauce, I love the idea of making my own... but it's not always feasible. When we buy it we prefer the "Classico" pizza sauce (it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup, yay!)... one jar is enough to last three pizzas for us because we like use the sauce sparingly. You can also take either a homemade or store bought sauce and healthify things a bit by blending in some veggies. If you have a good blender there will be no chunks and your kids won't be the wiser. 

As for toppings, we prefer a pizza with mozzarella cheese only. You can get as creative with cheeses as you want though. The pizza pictured above was last week's creation and it had mozzarella, crushed olives, italian sausage, and fresh parsley. It was awesome.

On our thick crust pizza we like to melt a little butter, add some garlic salt seasoning, and brush it on. It's like having garlic bread sticks attached to your pizza.


And there you have it! Pair this baby with a yummy side salad and you have an awesome meal.

Do you have any fun family traditions?  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Life Lately | Valentine's Weekend & 31 Weeks

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This past weekend was such a fun one. Busy... but really good. The kind of days that make you wish you could slow the hands of time and hold onto moments just a little longer.

On Friday we started the fun off by going to a little Valentine's party/play date at a neighbor's house. The plan was to frost heart-shaped sugar cookies and let the kids play, and it was such an incredibly warm and beautiful day that we were able to let them do everything outside. Klair globbed the frosting and m&ms on (no surprise there) and dumped about an entire containers worth of sprinkles onto her creation. I was worried that the sugar overload would interfere with her ability to nap, but she ran off her surplus of energy chasing the other kids. And, luckily by the time nap time rolled around, she crashed from her sugar high and had a nice long rest. I used this time to get the house cleaned and myself ready for a lovely little date night out on the town with my handsome husband.

We decided to celebrate our romantic version of Valentine's on Friday because, let's face it, it's kind of impossible to get a babysitter on the actual holiday. Sam's little brother and his wife kindly offered to come and watch Klair, and we headed out for some much-needed alone time. We visited our favorite Japanese restaurant, grabbed some delicious dessert, and contemplated a movie. Nothing looked all that appealing to us, so we opted to spend the evening driving around and just talking (going for a stroll in the park did not seem feasible to my pregnant self so late in the evening--night time is not my most energetic hour).  It was extremely pleasant and romantic. When we came home Klair was happily in bed and asleep, and my in-laws had even helped her make a cute little Valentine for us. We really are spoiled in the family babysitter department!

Klair is always a little sad when we leave, but so excited to spend time with the people she loves. I promised before I left that I would come in her room and give her a kiss once I got home, so I did (mostly so I wouldn't be lying when I told her the next morning that I had done so because he would most definitely grill me on the subject). When I went into her room she didn't fully wake up. She simply gave me a couple sleepy little "yeahs" as I informed her we were home and loved her. The next morning when she did wake up she came in our room exclaiming "mama and dada, you came back!" and then proceeded to sing the Daniel Tiger tune "Grooownups come back!" (we love that show).

Saturday morning I woke up ridiculously early to try out a new brioche bread recipe in my bread machine. My thought was to use this to make homemade french toast for a festive little Valentine's breakfast. Unfortunately my efforts were in vain and it didn't turn out. Come to think of it, I should have taken a picture and entered it into the "Pinterest fails" hall of fame. When my family woke up we settled for our usual oatmeal. Then, we headed out for an entire day of spreading Valentine's cheer.

Knowing that we would be spending the love holiday together, we decided to focus our love outward on deserving recipients that we don't see as often as we should--our grandparents (Klair's great grandparents). Two of our grandmas are currently living in assisted living facilities, so we visited with them first--spending the morning with my grandma and the afternoon with Sam's. We took them the cupcakes we made (see previous post) and some homemade Valentine cards that Klair colored and covered with Frozen stickers (a very meaningful gesture for her to show love as these stickers are her prized possessions). Without a car, Sam's grandma is pretty confined to her space so we took her to lunch. She chose Denny's, and Klair was a happy little camper with her pancakes and a doting, loving grandma.

That evening we went to Sam's other grandparents house, and Klair and her great grandma bonded tremendously over silly noises and fun little games. It was a pleasant evening so we spent it sitting in their garden. It made me realize that we need to make more time for these wonderful people in our lives. Life gets sooo busy at times, but that's no excuse. We genuinely enjoy being around them, and it's obvious that little Klair lights up their lives with her sweet and vibrant little personality. Some kids are a little more withdrawn when it comes to anyone who isn't mom or dad. Klair isn't this way. She shows her love and affection so willingly, and it's obvious how effortlessly she fills the hearts of her recipients. I wish we could share her with the world, that girl could brighten anyone's life.

On Sunday we attended church and a family dinner with my side where we saw my other grandpa and give him his Valentine's surprise. Sam was able to take Monday off for President's Day, and we enjoyed the unusually warm weather by shopping downtown, taking Klair to the park, and visiting with his parents. Sam also found the time to paint Klair's nails. He's always completely willing--even happy--to do so. He really is the best dad a girl could ask for!

All-in-all it was such a great weekend! Klair was an absolute angel, and we had such a good time surrounding ourselves with family. I'm getting to that stage in pregnancy now where I'm pretty uncomfortable, and I often wish I could speed things up a bit and just get this thing over with; however, days like these remind me to slow down and enjoy the journey. Even in the midst of discomfort my life is incredible and I realize that I shouldn't take one passing moment for granted. I need to simply enjoy this time. I need to soak up every moment with Klair,  relish the simple joy of feeling my baby kick, and spend as much quality time as possible with my husband before baby comes.

...and with that Klair is now waking up and I can hear her calling for me. I better go get that sleepy little bug and snuggle her close!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Nothing Says "I Love You" Like Red Velvet | Valentine's Cupcakes

Red velvet

About a week ago I started thinking about Valentine's Day, planning how things would play out for us. Before we had Klair, we always made a rather romantic date night of the holiday, showering each other with gifts and surprises.  In fact I remember one year Sam surprised me with the most romantic night of dining and ballroom dancing... it was basically perfect. When Klair came along, it became apparent rather quickly that the actual holiday would not longer be conducive to a date night. Because let's be honest, who is going to babysit on Valentine's Day? Everyone has plans. Even people without a significant other make an effort to go out. But, being the holiday loving folk that we are, we can't go without celebrating and have resorted to choosing another night for a nice little getaway. This year we are going out the day before for some much needed alone time.

That still leaves us with what to do on Valentine's Day. I wanted to try and make it special... and then I realized that love is more than just romantic evenings with my husband. I suddenly decided that I wanted to share some love, so to speak, with people in our lives who we love. After discussing it Sam and I decided it would be a great opportunity to visit with and surprise our grandparents--Klair's great grandparents. Life gets so busy and we aren't always the best at reaching out and keeping in touch with them all, but they definitely mean a lot to us... and this is an opportunity to let them know and bring a smile to their faces! We hope to make this a yearly tradition.
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Klair and I spent yesterday afternoon making these little beauties. She has become quite the little helper around the kitchen. She even mimics the silly little phrases I repeatedly (and until now unknowlingly) utter such as "Okay!" and "Next..." She makes me laugh!... at myself :)

Once I told her my plan she became extremely excited about the prospect of gifting her precious creations to her grandmas and papas... as long as she got to eat some too, naturally. 

For the cupcakes I used my go-to, always effective trick that I learned from a baker. If you are strapped for time but want amazing results, simply take a box of cake mix (in this case red velvet of course) and add 1 package of pudding (I chose vanilla). Then, replace half of the required water with buttermilk and you will have delicious cupcakes that no one will be able to resist.
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To make the cream cheese frosting I took from a recipe that my sister and I used on some amazing cinnamon rolls we made recently. I also added a single drop of red food coloring to the frosting to give it the festive light pink hue.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 6 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 3 Cups Confectioner's (powdered) Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt (omit if you are using salted butter and salt to taste if desired)
The combo of the red velvet and cream cheese frosting is to die for! Seriously, melt in your mouth goodness. My husband told me they were irresistible and was upset (like I actually sensed a bit of anger) that Klair and I didn't make more for him. I can't wait to watch Klair prance around, going to her different grandparents' houses delivering goodies like a cute little Valentine's elf of sorts. I'm sure it will brighten their holiday, and I know it will brighten mine.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Maternity Outfit | Diana Putnam Photography

The big day of love is approaching quickly, and I for one am pretty excited this year. I know, I know. It's an overly commercialized holiday for companies to capitalize on our sentiments by encouraging unnecessary displays of affection... and I love it. Do we need this holiday? No. If it didn't exist I'm confident that the state of my marriage wouldn't be altered. However, it's fun. I love being able to create traditions, memories, and any reason to celebrate is a good one in my book. So bah humbug to all you naysayers. I'm excited for our Valentine's weekend and the plans we've made. Skip this post if you feel you must, but here is a Valentine's inspired look for a preggo like myself. 

I actually styled this "maternity look" with non-maternity clothes from my closet. It doesn't happen very often anymore (mostly because I lack the energy) but every once in awhile I'll try out different pieces that I own and stumble upon something that works. In this case I paired a stretchy black tee, my very stretchy pencil skirt, and my awesomely stretchy maternity tights (notice the reoccurring theme?) Next I threw on a blazer and added a few accessories to complete the look--and voila-- a maternity and Valentine's friendly outfit made from pieces that I will actually wear after this pregnancy adventure has ended.  

This post would not be complete without mentioning that Miss Diana of Diana Putnam photography took these photos. I wrote a post about her awhile back which you can read here. Essentially I raved on and on about her abilities as a photographer, but I'll spare you a second review and allow the photos to speak for themselves. She is talented and so awesome to work with! The end. 

Also, this time last year I made created a bunch of printables for a Valentine's gift for my husband. Feel free to check out this post and download them for yourself (or simply use them for inspiration for your own creation).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A True Heaven Sent | Preggo Leggings GIVEAWAY

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In my last post I mentioned that I wear leggings non-stop. You may have thought I was exaggerating... I wasn't. They are definitely the most comfortable option at this point. But, even within the realm of super-stretch pants, not all leggings are created equal... and this is particularly true during pregnancy. I can get away with wearing some of the non-maternity kind, but they definitely cut into this growing belly. Not comfortable or cute. And some of the maternity leggings on the market right now aren't much better. They don't fit the bump well, either squeezing too tightly (and often leaving lines where the waistband is) or they're altogether just too big and constantly fall down (leaving one to constantly do that awkward dance where you're pulling them up and trying not to draw too much attention to yourself).

Luckily for those of us who are currently experiencing gestation and all that it entails, there is a company out there that gets it: Preggo Leggings. As their name implies, they have created a line of leggings designed specifically for preggos. They're made from an extremely soft, stretchy fabric that fits effortlessly and feels like a dream. I could live in these 24-7! The waist is my favorite part, because it comes all the way up over the belly--which translates into no uncomfortable waistband cutting into you and no lines. Yay! Plus they come in a variety of fun colors--like the "Oh Baby Blues" that I'm sporting in the photos above.

Head on over to my Instagram to enter a giveaway for a $60 gift card to Preggo Leggings. This would be such an awesome prize for yourself, or you could gift it to a pregnant friend (who is sure to be very grateful). 

If you visit their site you can also use the code "Autumn15" to receive 15% off your purchase!

Also, I can't fail to mention my cute little daughter. She and my (extremely kind) husband got up early with me for this photo shoot. We had to do it before Sam left for work, and despite the cold she was the cutest, happiest little bug. She "helped" her daddy take the photos, and then she decided that she wanted to come and pose with mommy too... bed head and all. I love the one where her little legs are crossed like mine! I can't believe how lucky I am to call her my daughter.