Saturday, March 31, 2012

5 Years.

Chad and I celebrated 5 years of marriage on Saturday, March 31st. 
I am so thankful for him and everything he does for our family and what he means to me.
I married the nicest guy in the world. I really did.
He's an incredibly hard worker, an amazing daddy and he is the reason I am able to do what I love and stay sane at the same time! Love you Chad Morgan!

March 31, 2007
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Things to Do.

Since Mom was brave enough to take my kids for the rest of her spring break, I definitely need to use this time to get some stuff checked off the big ol' To Do list. 
The nesting syndrome hits me the hardest 2 weeks before baby is born; 
I guess that's when you realize, "Oh crap I'm getting another human and don't have ____." 
Yes, that's me. 
There are things to do around the house as well as things I need to pick up from the store. 
And I'm gonna blog it alllll here because that's what I do; I like to remember. 
This isn't everything but here are some priorities:

1. Baby Equipment. There are several baby items that I don't have anymore because my first 2 kids wore them out. For instance, an infant bathtub. A high chair. An activity mat  (one of those mats for the floor that the baby lays on and looks up at the hanging toys.) Now, these are obviously not things I will buy; luckily my friends and family have most of these things on hand and I'm gonna be a borrower (well, maybe not for the highchair since I'll need that for a longer period of time, but you won't see me paying full price for one, that's for sure!) At least I won't need the highchair for a good while.

2. Baby Bottles. I've got exactly 4 bottles. My friend gave me a Target gift card a few weeks back and I bought a 4-pack of pink Tommee Tippees. I love those things. And my other favorites are the Parents Choice WalMart bottles so I can pick some of those up soon if I feel the need. I'll be nursing anyway so those aren't a huge necessity right off the bat.

3. Diapers/Wipes. My sweet friends are giving me a diapers/wipes shower next week. Much needed! I have zero diapers at this point. I also need to figure out how I'm going to organize them/keep them in the nursery. Still don't have a plan for that yet, and when I post pictures you'll see what I'm talking about. Gotta find my wipes warmer too. It's somewhere around here.

4. The (First) Great Toy Extermination of 2012 is today. That's my number one to-do item while I'm waiting on Chad to get home before we go to Atlanta. I will be purging the kids rooms and playrooms of anything not played with anymore as well as anything with missing pieces/parts or any sort of McDonalds happy meal toy. BuhBye.

5. The Sippy Cup/Bottle/Kids Plates&Bowls Drawer is out of hand. I need to organize it pronto, and get rid of all the cups with no lids, etc.

6. Set up Pack n Play and bassinet. 

7. Get batteries for the baby swing. (After finding the baby swing in the jungle known as our garage and dusting it off, cloroxing and washing the cushion.)

8. Small things needed for baby: rubbing alcohol and cotton balls for her belly button (I'm assuming that's still the method of treatment? Let me know if they've changed the rules!), baby medicines, travel diaper trash bags, bottles, sleeping wedge (I have one, just need to find it.).

9. Fix the van seats to accomodate the baby's car seat. I swear I am gonna forget her car seat if I don't do this soon and get used to the new arrangement! Right now the kids are in the captain seats. We have a middle seat too but I don't think my car will fit 3-across the middle seat, so someone is gonna have to sit in the back. I'm thinking it's gonna be Sambo because Mary Ella will be able to help put EK's paci back in, etc, when we're driving. The good thing about the van is that we can actually slide one of our captain chairs to the middle so that Mary Ella and baby can be right beside each other and I can have easy access to the third row/Sambo's seat. I need to do this soon.

10. Make a Sam's Club run and stock up on necessities. Drinks, juice boxes, easy lunches for the kids, snacks, cereal, etc.

11. Convince Chad that since I'm saving so much money by shopping at Aldi, I can afford to hire a cleaning lady. 

That last one might be a little difficult.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

37 Weeks

I am officially FULL TERM. Yay!
Feeling large and in charge, and so, so blessed.

Today was my 37 week appointment. 
Baby girl's heart rate was 155.
I am measuring a week ahead at 38 weeks.
I broke the scales.
Hence, no more belly shots. 
(They'd have to be nude anyway considering I have no clothes to wear anymore.)

Looks like we may have a big girl on our hands.
We've got experience with that, ya know.

I had the pleasure of being tested for Group B Strep, and if you know what that's like, you probably feel sorry for me right now. Good. Fortunately my strep test results do not matter since I have c-sections anyway, but for the record, I was negative with Mary Ella and positive with Sam. 
Dr. H also checked my cervix, which, as usual, shows no signs of thinning out or dilating any time soon.
Apparently my cervix doesn't know how to do either. Oh well, at least it's consistent.

The reflux has become considerably worse in the last week. I shouldn't say reflux, but just a general burning feeling in my esophagus. It seems to come and go randomly and doesn't necessarily come right after a meal or snack. I think the baby is just pushing up on my stomach a lot.
Still uncomfortable sleeping. I turn from one side to the other and back again about 4,739 times per night.
Baby is still very active, especially after I eat and when I lay down at night. So thankful for this.
It is getting frustrating not being able to wear any of my clothes (even some of my maternity clothes.)
It became so frustrating at one point that I emailed my friends in the middle of the night for prayer intervention; not that I'd be able to fit into my clothes, but just so I would not be so discouraged by that. 
And one day I even stooped so low that I surrounded myself with women that were bigger than me and not pregnant for the entire day. Of course, that means I listened to Adele and watched a Jersey Shore episode while my children napped; I didn't actually hang out with real people. But I just needed some big girl love, thankyouverymuch.

(And on a side note, NO I am not a fan of Jersey Shore, nor had I EVER watched a single episode before; I just knew there were some larger, non-preggo women on there who were perfectly happy in their own Jersey shore fake-tanned skin, and I needed to be surrounded by people who were content, because I certainly was not. I could not believe what I was seeing on TV and still cannot believe that MTV is not a paid-for channel. Because it might as well be. It's SICKENING.)

We are officially counting down the days now. 
I made the kids a paper chain and each day they can pull off one link as we get closer to April 10th.
(This was a Pinterest Christmas idea, not my own.)

My friend Sara made me this wreath for my hospital door out of COFFEE FILTERS. 
Seriously. Unbelievable.

My mom left today to take BOTH my kiddos to Florence for the rest of the week.
Because she is awesome. And brave. And maybe a little crazy in the head.
(I told her she may need an extra week off school after this week!)

Chad and I are celebrating our 5-year anniversary this Saturday and he happened to have a business trip (imagine that!) to Atlanta for the rest of the week, so I'm gonna hop along for the ride and enjoy a few days at a super luxurious, company-paid-for hotel in Buckhead. Be jealous. Happy anniversary to me. I'm hoping I see my husband at some point during those 3 days but if not I'm sure my love affair with Ikea will keep me going strong. 

Love to everyone and have a blessed rest of the week!

*Oh, and there's another post below about our spring break. 
Including Mary Ella's first encounter with the flat iron. Oh yes I did.
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Spring Break 2012

Spring Break, Baby!

Last week was the kiddos' spring break.
We enjoyed being lazy at home without having anywhere to be. Although I will say the week went a little slower for me (and that is not necessarily a good thing when you are pregnant!)
Chad was in California Sunday thru Tuesday night so I was on my own with the munchkins, but we made the best of it with a trip to the McWane Center's Pirate Party, a spaghetti dinner (2 nights in a row!), and looonnng baths at night to kill time. (The bathtub has been an easy go-to activity the last couple weeks; it's something they love and I can sit on the counter top and read while they play and splash.)

We renewed our McWane membership a couple weeks ago and I look forward to having something indoors the kids can do this summer, especially since Sam is walking now and he loves that place. If you've never been, it really is a great place for kids; wide open spaces, tons of activities to keep them entertained (and wear them out at the same time) and also a great place for moms who have tiny babies too because there are plenty of places to sit with the baby while your 'big kids' are off having fun.

Anyway, last week, in celebration of spring break, they had a pirate celebration. The staff dressed up as pirates and they had a huge inflatable pirate ship outside with a jumping area and a big slide. They'd also built a gigantic sandbox out on the sidewalk complete with buckets and shovels and buried treasure. They had tables for pirate tattoos, eye patches, jewels, and more. This was right up Mary Ella's alley of course, and we went with Wendy and her kids. They all had the best time.

This was Sam before we left the parking deck:

Spaghetti casserole is my go-to meal when Chad is away because my kids love it and there are always plenty of leftovers, so I can usually get 2 nights out of it. Sambo never complains.

And spaghetti nights = extra long bathtub nights as well.
I found these bathtub crayons at Walmart and they were a hit with the kids.

 Mary Ella spent most of the week in costume and even managed to attain a British accent.

 We went to Donut Joe's one morning for breakfast. Sam ate 12 donut holes. Twelve.
Mary Ella chose the donut with the most toppings, of course. 

One night we randomly decided after bath time that we were gonna flat iron Mary Ella's hair.
I blow-dried it straight first and then flat ironed it with my Chi. 
She was absolutely amazed. I was too! She looked like a completely different child!

For about an hour afterwards she just sat in the living room with her little hairbrush and brushed through her hair! She loved being able to run her hands through it and brush it out. It was so funny to watch.
She also informed Chad and me that she would "definitely for sure need a Rapunzel dress now" since her hair had gotten so long. Bless her. 

And when Chad returned, I managed to actually cook a decent meal, courtesy of the Publix Apron Meals website; this one was the Creole Shrimp Saute, and I'll share it here because it was super delish.
(Confession, though: I did not buy my ingredients at Publix. Well, I did buy the Scampi Sauce there, but the other ingredients came from Aldi. We have a new Aldi that just opened in our area and I am slightly obsessed with it. Even the shrimp came from there - $3.99 for 12 oz of shrimp! Can't beat that!) 

Anyway, here's the recipe:

Creole Shrimp Saute:

You will need:

1 tablespoon Italian parsley (chopped)
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into bite size pieces
1 (9-oz) pkg fresh angel hair pasta
12 oz peeled/deveined shrimp (thawed)
2 tablespoons blackening seasoning
1 cup fresh pre-diced tomatoes
3/4 cup white wine
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 cup scampi sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

*I chopped and prepped all my ingredients that morning so all I had to do was throw them in that night. Makes it so much easier!

First, cook your bacon in a sauce pot for 5-7 minutes until it's cooked through and crispy.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta in boiling water until done.

And by the way, I am not posting pictures of every step. But is there anything more appetizing than bite-size pieces of bacon frying on your stovetop? No, there is not. So this picture is just to get your mouth watering. You can handle the rest without seeing pictures. :)

Sprinkle your shrimp with the blackening seasoning and add to the bacon; cook 1 minute. Then stir in your tomatoes, wine, garlic, red pepper flakes; cook 2-3 minutes until the shrimp turn pink/opaque.
Then stir in your scampi sauce and lemon juice and heat until it's all melted and yummy.
Serve over pasta and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

This recipe is really delicious. I found it to be a little on the spicy side so I might omit the red pepper flake next time. (And if you are wondering about the Scampi Sauce, this stuff is found at the fresh seafood counter and comes in a little tub; it is actually called "Scampi Sauce" and it's Publix brand but if you can't find it elsewhere just use some butter, some cream cheese and some creole seasoning and you should be fine! I'm sure most places would have something equivalent though.)

We served it with a caesar salad and some crusty French bread.

I hope everyone else had a great spring break and I know some of you are just now getting started!
Enjoy every minute!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend at the Compound

We went to Florence for the weekend; this was my last full weekend up there before baby comes. :(
So we tried to have nonstop fun. And we did.
Friday night when we arrived, Chad dropped me off downtown with the girls - Mom, my 2 aunts, SIL Ashley and cousins Katie and Ann Marie. We ate at Ricatoni's - amen - then Chad and my brother joined Ashley and I for the 10:15pm showing of The Hunger Games. LOVED the movie! I've still only read the first book so now I need to read the last two.
On Saturday my mom, sister and aunt Amanda took the kids downtown; we ate at Trowbridges. Mary Ella sat at the counter and kept ordering and ordering whatever she wanted. As in, a milkshake one minute, a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of strawberry ice cream the next, then a grilled cheese, then "Can I have some of them chips please?" and so my bill was $34. Thank you firstborn.
Then we went over to the fountain at UNA and let the kids run around and see the lions.

We took some pictures with our phones so enjoy these...
It was such a joy to see Sam WALKING EVERYWHERE! He loved the fountain!
Kept saying "wah-wuh!!!" and "a BAAATHHH!" and tried to stick his face in several times.

Mary Ella didn't feel the need to work off her lunch like we did so she chose to ride her Dora four wheeler, or "four-liter" as she calls it. She's way too big for it now and it goes about 0.1 mph by the time her 37.5-pound self sits on it, but she acts like it's the fastest ride ever. You go girl.

I loved being with my niece all weekend! Gracie is so smiley and sweet and hardly ever fusses unless you walk by her with a bottle of milk or some baby food; she loves to eat! So fun to watch her crawl now and discover new things. She seemed to love Sambo and he had fun helping her fetch her paci and put it back in her mouth whenever she dropped it.

When we got back to the compound I whipped out the ol' DSLR camera. 
Oh, you didn't know I had a real camera? You thought I had just a camera phone? 
I don't know why you'd EVER think that. :)
Seriously, it probably had 8 layers of dust on it but I was determined to get some pictures.
March is my all time favorite time of year at the Compound. Weather is perfect. Grass is unbelievably GREEN! (Seriously! No editing here! The grass is really this green.) Everything just looks beautiful.

The clouds started rolling in mid afternoon and we knew we were in for a good rainstorm so we took the party inside. The kids played for a while then Sambo napped.

That night the whole gang joined us at my parents' house for dinner; we ate the Verde Chicken Mexican Lasagna from Pinterest - if you haven't tried it you've GOTTA make it soon. It is SO good.

My sisters and I ventured to Target, too, where we found our newest luxury wardrobe item:
You remember gauchos, right? They were in a few years back, in the cropped/capri form. 

Except 'they were in a few years back,' for me, means I will still wear them every day. Of course.
Elastic waist, wide leg, thin stretchy material - what's not to love?
Well, now they make a PANT.
Ok, ok, they are in the pajama section. So technically they are not everyday clothes.
Unless you are ME. Or one of my sisters. 
Because we don't judge based on where you're hanging in a store, Gaucho. Oh no we don't. 
My sister wore hers to church Sunday with a belted top and some wedges and you better believe she looked like something straight off the runway. 
So please go and get you some gaucho pants. They are only $14.99. Seriously.

I also found a cute robe at TJ Maxx. My grandmother bought me a Ralph Lauren robe 4 years ago that I've loved and worn the heck out of so I needed a new one. And I wanted something close to terry cloth; but do you know how hard it is to find a true terry cloth robe these days? You can't find them.
I settled on this thinner version (I wanted thick, bath towel material) and mom covered up the RL logo with an applique of my initials. Cause she's awesome like that.
So if you see me around town rockin my robe with my gaucho pants, try not be jealous.
 On Sunday after church I took some pictures with my for real camera AGAIN!
I know! Two days in a row! I'm on a roll.

These next 2 are my favorites; they found a ladybug on Sambo's arm.

 Before we left last night, we let the kids outside to roam. Again, so fun seeing Sambo walk around the Compound for the first time. He was loving the freedom and I'm so glad I caught it on camera! The kids got some golfing lessons from Poppa and a ride or two on the John Deere lawnmower too. Fun times!

This might be my favorite picture of Sam. Hilarious.

And don't worry, this handsome fella had some fun too. He and my Dad and brother fished all day Saturday and then again Sunday afternoon. I think he's pretty proud of his fish.

Can't believe I have finished this post and it's just Monday morning!
More to come on last week's 'spring break' and a recipe too.
Hope everyone has a great week!
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