Monday, October 31, 2011

we're still alive!

I haven't done a blog post for a month! I think that's a record. Also, I can't believe it's been a whole month since we found out that Baby Congdon is a little boy - and that was the last blog post I wrote!

What we've been up to:
  • We went to the Dallas Zoo! We found a deal for $1 tickets, which is just too good to pass up. It was a pretty decent zoo - they had lions, cheetahs, tigers, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes (which you could feed), zebras and so on. We had fun walking around... even though we were pretty much the only people there without kids. Not for much longer!

Big crocs


Baby giraffe :)


 White alligator - I had no idea these things existed. I was convinced it wasn't real until it started moving.

It was a hot day and I was pretty exhausted by the end!

  • Thomas's parents and youngest brother Paul came for a visit. We had a great time, but unfortunately I was in a cold-induced fog and didn't take any pictures. We went to the Texas State Fair with them, and  Thomas took lots of pictures of the bird show (because apparently birds are more interesting than people...) He did get a couple pictures of people, though.
A paparazzi picture of Paul.

Watching the bird show.

A really big bird... crowned crane, or something like that!

  • We went apartment hunting. We're going to stay in The Village (the mega apartment neighborhood where we live), because it's a great, safe location with pretty parks and walks and we love it, but we need a bigger place with baby boy on the way. We're thinking of moving  in early January while Thomas is on break from graduate school. I'll be very pregnant then, so I won't have to do a thing :) Haha.
  • I've been doing lots of cooking and even some baking. The 2nd trimester energy rush and appetite have arrived [side note: I can't believe I'm 24 weeks pregnant!]. Here are a few pictures of things I've made.
Twice-baked quinoa-stuffed butternut squash. SO. GOOD.

No-bake raspberry-lemon cheesecake. Indescribably amazing.

I also made two pumpkin pies last weekend... I've made pumpkin pie before and it didn't turn out as yummy as I wanted. But this time I looked through a few different recipes and pieced together my own recipe... and it turned out really well.

I forgot to take pictures, but here's the recipe I came up with (it makes two 9-inch pies):

2 (15oz) cans of pure mashed pumpkin
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk (or 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup agave nectar *
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

*If you don't have agave nectar, just use another 1/2 cup of sugar (agave nectar is slightly sweeter than sugar).

Mix pumpkin and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. Add in evaporated milk, cream, sugar and agave nectar and continue mixing. At this point I skip over the eggs, and put in the salt, vanilla, and spices so I can taste the mixture and add more to taste (I don't eat raw eggs). Then I put the eggs in at the end and continue mixing until smooth.
Pour the mixture into two pre-baked 9-inch pie crusts, and bake at 350*F for 40 - 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pies comes out clean.

Serve with whipped cream :)

  • We did some pumpkin carving with Craig & Emily and Andrew & Janelle. Mine and Thomas's pumpkin was defective... the skin was so hard it took Thomas half an hour just to cut a lid in the top. But everyone else made awesome pumpkins :)
Thomas trying to saw his way through our impossibly hard pumpkin.

Craig & Emily.

Andrew & Janelle.
Emily having way too much fun with her pumpkin guts :)

 Trying to figure out what to do with our lame pumpkin.

Emily's pumpkin squishing Craig's pumpkin :)

Me & the stupid defective pumpkin.

Everyone else's awesome pumpkins.

Apparently pumpkin carving wore Thomas & Andrew out.

  • I've been getting more pregnant (surprise!) and baby boy has turned into quite the acrobat inside me! It's fun to watch my belly move when he's doing his exercises :) This is me at 23 weeks.

  • Thomas has been plugging away at his graduate engineering classes and working full time as well. I've been cleaning, reorganizing, getting ready for baby and even starting to pack for our move while he's working. So we've been busy, busy, busy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

20 weeks

We are halfway there, baby boy!

How far along: 20 weeks (Oct. 4th)

Baby size: A cantaloupe!

Total weight gain/loss: +4 lbs

Sleep: OK at the moment. Not great, but not terrible either.

Movement: Yes, all the time!

Food cravings/aversions: I've been wanting lots of spicy food. And I've also developed a sweet tooth. Earlier on in pregnancy I didn't really want too many sweet things, but now I want them all. Chocolate gelato, gooey cakes, sour candy, cheesecake (I REALLY want cheesecake right now... too bad I'm stuck at home without the car...)

Pregnancy symptoms: Lots of ligament stretching going on. Some heartburn, occasionally, if I lie down soon after eating. Some back pain and aches.

What I miss: Frozen margaritas.

What I'm looking forward to: Thomas's parents and youngest brother are coming to visit next week!

Milestones: Halfway done with the pregnancy! It feels like it's going very fast, but at the same time February seems far away. Today I had my 20 week appointment, and my midwife said I was measuring closer to 24 weeks when she felt the height of my uterus. She said sometimes that happens but the growth usually evens out. If I'm still measuring ahead next month I'll probably need some more tests... maybe my due date is wrong.

Best moment of this week: Last weekend was super fun... we went to the zoo, saw friends in the evenings, and relaxed... it was a nice break from the busy weeks where Thomas and I don't get to see each other much.

Pregnancy moments with the hubby: It's just fun in general now that we know baby is a boy and Thomas can feel him moving all the time. We've been talking more about names and baby stuff and plans etc.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pregnancy: my thoughts so far

You know your life is changing when you get all excited about a Fuzzibunz cloth diaper sale on Zulily, like I did this morning (and bought 6 of them!). Even the fact that I know what Zulily is and have a membership is a sign that my life is changing. Oy.
I've always wanted to be a mother... I've loved babies and children since I was one myself. I've never been enamored about pregnancy though - I would have been quite happy if someone just dropped a newborn in my lap (kind of like the stork story we tell children). Truthfully, though, this pregnancy hasn't been so bad thus far. I've been blessed with an easy one. I hardly got any morning sickness, just felt a little queasy on and off through the first few weeks. The second trimester has been picture perfect, with the few usual aches and pains here and there. Baby boy is growing healthily and I've gained around 3 or 4 pounds so far at 20 weeks. Halfway there! The baby bump is getting more and more noticeable.
I think the best part about pregnancy so far is feeling baby boy move around inside me. I started feeling little flutters at 14.5 weeks, and they've been getting stronger ever since. These days it feels like he hardly ever stops moving, flipping, kicking and jabbing. Before I was pregnant I thought it would be really weird to have a baby moving around inside me, like a little alien or something. But now that it's happened to me, I can hardly remember why I thought it would be weird. It is kind of a funny feeling to be kicked from the inside, but it just feels right and normal and reassuring instead of weird. It's fun to wonder if that was an arm or a leg or a head or a little butt poking me. I feel like baby and I can sort of communicate now. If I hunch over when I'm sitting, he protests the lack of space and kicks and wriggles until I straighten up. If I poke my belly I usually get a reaction from him. When I lie down he gets active, and when I get up and walk around he calms down.
It's hard to imagine another whole 20 weeks of pregnancy until baby boy is born. I realize he needs to grow and mature more but I kind of wish the human gestational period was shorter. I want to meet this little fellow! I know I'm supposed to slow down and enjoy these last couple of months without a baby to take care of, but it's hard not to be a little impatient. It's also hard to comprehend how much larger my belly is going to get to accommodate baby boy - yikes.
I haven't thought too much about labor and delivery yet, except to research and choose to have a natural birth at a birthing center with Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM). It's been the best decision I've made yet this pregnancy. [If you haven't watched the documentary "The Business of Being Born" you should do so! It's online streaming on Netflix]. I did like my OB-GYN, but I felt like I never knew what was going on and I was never told what the various blood tests etc. that they did were actually for. I didn't feel comfortable to ask all the questions I wanted to ask. I also strongly dislike hospitals... I used to have panic attacks when I was little whenever I had to go into a hospital. I knew that if I went into labor and went to a hospital, my body would shut down and labor wouldn't progress properly because I would be so uncomfortable with being in a hospital. So I did some research and found a lovely birthing center (which is very close to Baylor hospital in case of emergencies) and transferred my prenatal care to the CNM's there. The center is in a big lovely old colonial-style house, infinitely more comfortable and welcoming than a hospital. The CNM's are personable and truly interested in answering all of my questions and making sure that baby and I get the best care possible.
We've signed up for Bradley method childbirth classes (which prepare you for natural childbirth without drugs) with an experienced doula, who is apparently the best in Dallas. They start on October 29th, so then I'll really have to start thinking about labor and delivery. For now I'm enjoying being blissfully ignorant, and just thinking positive thoughts like "My labor and delivery is going to be smooth and fast and the pain will be manageable and totally worth it in the end". Haha.



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