Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Cars and Old Friends

Wow, this has been an eventful week (and its only Wednesday)!

Here's what we've been up to:

Monday
We bought a car! Brandon traded in his old S10 (which I was a lot more sad about than him--I'm way too sentimental) for a 2010 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring--it is the perfect hottie dad car. It's very comfortable and roomy plus it has a bunch of fancy bells and whistles for Brandon. We can't wait to take it on our first road trip this weekend when we visit Mamma Nancy!

Brandon is quite the gourmand and made a celebratory dinner of lemon pepper salmon, bang bang shrimp and Red Lobster cheese biscuits. Mmm it was so good!

Tuesday

Last night, some of the old college crew got together for dinner. It was such a blast to see everyone--it's crazy how much things change once you graduate, get a job, etc., so it was nice to just kick back and visit like old times. I can't remember the last time I laughed that much!! 

Last night reminded me of just how blessed I am and how I love where I am right now. I couldn't ask for a better life than the one I have.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Colorado Lovin', German Food & a Baseball Game

Last weekend was another successful one! But it almost didn't happen..

If you read yesterday's bumpdate, you know that I was having a difficult time sleeping earlier last week--I don't know what my deal was, but I couldn't stay asleep for anything which led to a bunch of crying/throwing up. Wednesday night was my worst night but luckily I had someone to take care of me..
Bitsy "helping" me sleep.
I was finally able to catch a few zzz's on Thursday morning and began to feel so much better. I was worried that I'd have to cancel my weekend trip to CO--but with a little rest, I was able to make the 3 hour trek Thursday afternoon. 

It was time for the fun to begin!

Friday
  • Mom and I headed to Denver late Friday morning and did a little mother/daughter shopping and lunching.
  • Arrived at Aunt Nancy and Uncle Rolf's at around 3ish--sat around and visited with Rolf until Nancy came home from work. 
  • Headed to the Rockies game and proceeded to consume half a (9 in.) pizza, half a cup of Dippin' Dots, some popcorn, a few nachos and a large lemonade. Whew! *We had to walk quite a ways to get back to our car so I didn't feel too bad about it*
  • Relaxed and watched a couple episodes of "Family Tree" back at their house before turning in to go to bed.
    My Aunt Nancy's sweet boss let us have his seats for the game--seriously, could it get any better than this?!
    Enjoying the game!
Saturday
  • Woke up and headed to a local farmers market and German deli (where Nancy and Rolf bought the best German food I have ever tasted--more on that in a sec). 
  • Stopped by Andre's (my favorite) to pick up a few desserts.. ended up staying for lunch and the most fabulous beef tips and mashed potatoes in the world.
  • More "Family Tree" and naps. 
  • Ate dinner and visited with Jim and Ilsa, good friends of Nancy and Rolf's who have become good friends of our entire family (we had beer brats from Germany with real sauerkraut, a delicious avocado and tomato salad, Kohlrabi and leftover wedding cake). 
Saturday mornings at the farmers market are the best!
My mom bought this beautiful hibiscus plant--it smells heavenly!
The German deli in Cherry Creek.
Ooh, Andre's.. where do I even begin? It's a quaint little restaurant in the heart of Denver that serves the yummiest food you'll ever taste. Their lunch options on Saturday were chicken, pasta salad (not chicken pasta salad like we thought) & watermelon or beef tips, mashed potatoes & a salad. Mom got the chicken and the rest of us went with beef--so, so good. To top it off, we each had our own decadent dessert.
Dinner on the patio at Nancy and Rolf's--couldn't have asked for better food or company!
Sunday
  • Hit the road back to my parents house early (so we'd get back in time for church). 
  • Helped my dad with the church music.
  • Lunch at IHop with Auntie Sharon and fam (minus Turin :/)--it's always good to see those guys!
  • 3 hour drive back to KS, Brandon and Bitsy. 
Bitsy missed me..
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Monday, July 29, 2013

18 Week Bumpdate

Baby and I had quite the week--lots of ups and downs (but mostly ups).

Allow me to explain..
How far along: 18 weeks, 1 day (I'm sticking with my original due date for now.. the doctor said we'll have a better idea of how far along I am after my next ultrasound).

Total Weight Gain/Loss
: I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight!

Maternity clothes: Nope.

Stretch marks: Noooo!

Sleep: I did not sleep Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night--I don't know what my deal was but I'd fall asleep, wake up an hour later (with a terrible headache) and stay awake for a few hours which led to lots of nausea/throwing up/exhaustion. I'm doing much better now so I'm hoping it was just some freak thing that doesn't occur too often.

Best moment last week: Visiting family (details tomorrow)!

Movement: I keep getting this weird, slightly crampy sensation in my lower abdomen and I'm starting to wonder if it's Baby moving.. I first noticed it at my doctors appt. when the nurse was trying to get the babies heart rate--she had a hard time getting it because the babe kept moving and I'd feel the cramping wherever the baby ended up.

Food cravings/aversions: Sweets, which is crazy to me since I've been so turned off by sugar this entire time. I try not to indulge too much but I did allow myself some chocolate, Dippin' Dots and wedding cake during my Colorado vacation.

Gender: August 19th is the big day!

Labor signs: Nooo!

Belly button - in or out? Innie.

What I miss: Sleeping through the night, having a back that doesn't constantly ache..

What I am looking forward to: This is terrible.. but I really, really wanted a beer at the Rockies game Friday night--the smell was all around and seemed to mock my senses. I ended up getting a lemonade though and it was refreshing and delicious!

Milestones: Finally meeting our doctor!

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Funnies

Oh my gosh, I'm so exhausted..

..it's been a long couple of days/nights. But I'll get into that more on Monday.

Let's laugh!

Brilliant.
I'm guilty of this.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

"New Mama" Lasagna

Oh my gosh.. am I actually posting a recipe on my cooking blog?

Finally?!

After how long?!

Yes. Yes I am!

I made this really, really yummy lasagna the other night and I have to share the recipe--it's seriously the easiest thing ever to make! The reason I call it my "New Mama Lasagna" is because as I was preparing it, I started thinking about some simple make ahead meals that I can have premade and ready to go come January when we bring Baby home (I have a feeling that my crockpot and I are going to be BFFs); this is definitely one of those recipes! You can make this lasagna ahead of time, refrigerate it and pop it in the oven when you're ready to eat. 

Bon App├ętit!
Anngredients:
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 (32 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 24 oz. fat free cottage cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 12 lasagna noodles (I use the no-boil ones to save time)
  • 1 tsp. rosemary 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Brown ground beef in large skillet (over medium) until cooked. Drain the grease. Add spaghetti sauce to meat and stir to combine. Add rosemary and simmer on low.
  2. In large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan and cottage cheese. Mix until smooth consistency.
  3. Arrange a single layer of 4 lasagna noodles to bottom of the dish. Cover noodles with 1/3 of sauce mixture, followed by 1/3 of cheese mixture. Repeat layers twice. Add remaining noodles, meat & cheese mixtures to top and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Don't Even Know What to Title This

I don't know what it is about Wednesdays, but my brain completely shuts off.

I do not have a creative thought in my head. Ugh.

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with something new and fun--I promise.

Until then, here is a picture of Bitsy being adorable.
 
Happy Wednesday!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mediocre Tilapia, Snakes and a Birthday.

Okay, the title of this makes my weekend sound lame but it was actually really fun!

Friday
On Friday night, my sweet friend Lindsey (who is also Abby's sister-in-law) called me from Wichita to inform me that she was coming to town and that she was bringing me Chipotle.
You only have to listen for about 10 seconds to get the point.. but if you want to keep playing it, be my guest!

Omg, it was seriously the best food night of my life. I took it to bed (I'm pregnant--don't worry about it), watched Dateline and chowed down. Mmm SO good! Thank you Lindsey :D After Chipotle and Chris Hansen, I took a shower and called it a night. 

Saturday
I worked a little bit on Saturday morning and then headed to the park for my honorary nephews 2nd birthday party! The kids had a great time playing on the playground and bouncy house and the adults enjoyed sitting in the shade visiting. It was a fun party--I can't believe that "Baby" Ben is already two!!

Brandon's sister ended up having to work on Sunday and asked if we'd be able to come out and watch the kids. Umm, of course!! We decided to just make a weekend thing out of it and headed out there Saturday night so we could go to dinner. Guess where we went?!
Yep, Red Lobster! I feel like the RL always gets a bad rap but I love it (I grew up going there)! However, I wasn't at all impressed with the tilapia.. it was very bland and rubbery. Next time, I'll definitely order my usual crab legs and shrimp scampi.
Sunday
Brandon's sister, Britney, brought the kids over a little before 11 on Sunday morning. We played, ate PB&Js, napped for 3 hours (Sara), watched movies, played some more, patiently waited for Sara to wake up (we told Benny that we had a surprise for him when she woke up.. he was so excited and waited very patiently!), ate some yogurt, heard Sara finally wake up, changed Sara's diapers, notified Benny that we were going to the zoo, smelled something coming from Sara's direction, changed Sara again, walked around the zoo (we saw snakes--Benny's favorite!), ate ice cream (Benny) and then came home and watched the beginning of Ratatouille. Whew! What a busy (and fun) day!
Brandon and Benny are seriously twins--if Baby is a boy, I have a feeling I know what he's going to look like :)
I feel like I'm still recovering a little bit from all of our weekend excitement (we walked A LOT and I'm definitely feeling it) so I'm still pretty tired and sore today. This weekend, I'm heading for Colorado to visit my family and my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Rolf! Can't wait!!

How was your weekend?
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Monday, July 22, 2013

17 Week Bumpdate (Just Kidding.. I Don't Know How Far Along I Am!)

Wow, wow, wow.. what a week we had!

I'm going to skip the small talk and go straight to the bump date.
I still haven't cleaned the mirror.. the boxes that are behind me in all of these pictures are garage sale boxes.
How far along: Well.. I went to the doctor last week for an urgent sonogram (more on that in a second) and it said I was 15w4d (I thought I was 16w4d so that threw me off)--anyway, baby was very healthy and active and weighed in at over 6 oz, which means I'm actually 17 or 18 weeks along. The ultrasound tech made a comment about a possible January 1st due date (our original due date was January 5th) but the nurse we talked to was guessing Christmas day.. I have another appointment this afternoon so we'll find out more then.

Total Weight Gain/Loss
: My bathroom scale says I gained two pounds! I'll see if that's true at my appointment.

Maternity clothes: Nope.

Stretch marks: Noooo!

Sleep: I didn't sleep very well last week because of some shooting pain cramps in my lower abdomen--it was really hard to get comfortable.

Best moment last week: Seeing Baby for the first time and knowing he (or she!) is okay!! Like I said, I've been getting some painful shooting cramps and was worried that something was wrong with the little one (this is my first pregnancy so I never know what's normal and what's not). I called on Thursday, talked to a nurse who asked me to come for an ultrasound (my doctor and his staff had the day off so it was another doctor's nurse who saw me) met Brandon at the hospital and prayed. Baby was just fine--perfect, in fact! My cervix was fully closed so the nurse was saying the cramps were probably from baby growing/moving around; what a relief!

Movement: Not yet but after seeing how big and active Baby is, I figure it can't be too much longer!

Food cravings/aversions: I can't get enough artichoke hearts--yum!!

Gender: I tried to get the ultrasound tech to tell us but she wouldn't.. she said it was still too early to tell. Psh!

Labor signs: Nooo!

Belly button - in or out? Innie.

What I miss: Seeing my baby.. I wish everyday could be ultrasound day.

What I am looking forward to: Our doctors appt. later today--hopefully I'll get some more answers and find out a more accurate due date.

Milestones: Seeing our perfect little babe for the first time.
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Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Funnies

Has this week really flown by or is it just me?

We had a few unexpected things come up yesterday--I have been getting really painful shooting cramps in my low, low abdomen so I called my doctor just to be on the safe side and they told us to come in for a sonogram. Long story short, (BIG) baby is just fine and we were able to see him (or her!) for the first time. It was pretty amazing! Anyway, lots more on that on Monday.

Time to laugh!
This one reminds me of my friend, Turin.
Took me a minute but I found it.. that is one angry bunny!
Oh my gosh, I want to go hug him!

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bullied.

This is a post that I have contemplated writing for quite some time now. The nature of my blog has always been very lighthearted and fun and I have gone back and forth on whether or not to touch on a dark subject like bullying. But after doing a lot of thinking and contemplating, I've decided that it's time to share my story. 


The purpose of this post isn't to ask for your sympathy; in fact, please don't feel sorry for me. The bullying that I went through in junior high and high school is nothing compared to what so many others go through and tragically take their own lives over. The purpose of this post is to help someone. I'm not sure if there are many (if any) high school students who read my blog, but if there are, I want to stress that it does get better. It gets so much better.

My Story
If you're a regular reader here or know me in real life, you know that I am a unique person with a very distinct personality and sense of humor (I know a lot of people don't really get my humor but at least I can crack myself up, right?). I have always been that person on the inside but it took me close to 20 years to fully show it on the outside.

In elementary school, I was always really outgoing and enjoyed being the center of attention (that actually never changed--I did show choir and speech team all through high school and now I'm a television reporter). I also had a really good group of friends and got along well with my classmates so I never had a real care in the world. During my 4th grade year, I started gaining weight and became heavier than most of the kids in my class. It was never really an issue to me (I didn't see myself as being heavy) but one day during a game of tag at recess, I was tackled by a kid who got up, brushed himself off and told me "Sorry.. Piggy," as he walked off oinking and laughing. "Piggy?" I thought to myself as I picked myself up off the ground. I couldn't comprehend why we would call me that; I didn't see myself as heavy at all! I was able to brush the incident off and didn't really think about it again until a few years later.
The years rolled by and my family ended up moving to a small town at the beginning of my 7th grade year (my parents purchased an engineering company; this was the first time we'd ever moved so it was a very big deal). Truth be told, I was excited to move! This was a chance for new adventures, friends, etc., and I couldn't wait for it all to begin. 

About two weeks after moving, I got a really bad case of strep throat. I had never had strep before and it really knocked me down and I was out of school for nearly a week. I went to the doctor, got a prescription, waited a few days for it to kick in and then was healthy again.. until about a week later when I'd contract it once again. Yes folks, I got strep every other week for almost two and a half months. It. was. brutal. And I was missing a lot of school because of it. *this is beside the point, but I ended up seeing a specialist who gave me a prescription that got rid of my strep once and for all--I still to this day wish they would have just taken my tonsils out. I still get sick all the time and I swear it's because of those swollen bacteria traps at the back of my mouth* One day in gym class, I had a few of girls approach me about where I had been and why I was missing so much school.

"You're pregnant, aren't you? That's what everyone is saying."

Pregnant?? Why would she even think that? I was 12! You had to be older and married for that! 

"No, I'm not pregnant! Why would you even think that?"
"Because you're always missing school and you're super fat. You should hear what all the guys have been saying about you."

I couldn't believe it; I was speechless. I tried so hard to hold it together during class but I finally ended up losing it and running to the locker room (as I was running out, I heard people laughing and saying that I was just emotional because I was pregnant and that I was too fat to be running). It just so happened that my mom was volunteering in my brothers classroom that day so I went to the elementary side of the building (that's how small our school was--the elementary, junior and senior high schools were all in the same building) and cried. My mom was absolutely livid. She went straight over to the gym, pulled the teacher aside, told him the situation, took me to the principal's office to report it and stood by me for moral support the entire time (my mom has always been pretty great). The girl who made the comment had to meet me in the counselor's office, we "talked it out," she apologized and that was supposed to be the end of it.

It wasn't. 

Things just got worse. Two different girls started relentlessly picking on me, throwing my gym clothes into the toilet, calling me horrible names, picking on the way I looked and dressed, spreading more nasty rumors and so on. My self-confidence and self-worth were shot. I was really blessed in that I had a good group of friends and got along well with almost everyone in my class (with the few obvious exceptions) but I became very quiet and kept mostly to myself.

7th grade year finally ended (thank God) and I was ready for a change and what would hopefully be a brand new start. Over the summer, I began to quickly grow taller (and slim down), but I was growing so quickly that my spine couldn't keep up and I developed Sheuermann's Kyphosis. *I won't get into that too much right now but my spine basically became really deformed and curved to where I couldn't stand up straight and had a hump in my upper back--I eventually had to have surgery to correct it.* Guess what nickname I ended up with because of that? If you guessed "hunchback," you're right! I got that nickname from a girl on our volleyball team right as we were leaving for a game. I tried so hard to just blow it off but it cut me really deep. My best friend, Jen, caught wind of the situation and proceeded to confront the girl about it (thanks Jen) but I'd still hear people making comments and laughing about it. 

Between being called fat, ugly and a hunchback, I began to develop a terrible self-image which lead to the infamous black jacket years (8th and 9th grade). It didn't matter what time of the year it was, I was wearing a jacket and jeans. Go figure, this only lead to more comments about how poor my family must be since I was always wearing the same thing but I wasn't about to wear any less. Ooh, but the jabs at my family didn't end there. A guy in my computer class decided he needed in on it too and started making comments about my parents (whom he had never met/couldn't have picked out of a lineup), my brother, etc. He would also call me an ugly idiot, but I could handle that better than the comments about my family.
By the end of my freshman year, several of my bullies moved away or dropped out (more on that in a minute..) so things began to slowly get better but I noticed myself becoming a person I didn't know or like. I was really good at shutting things out and started to become very controlling of everything around me. I had my group of friends in high school and I just stuck with them and tried not to interact with anyone else at school when possible.

I went off to college planning for a new start but I was still really shut off, judgmental and defensive; I was an angry and bitter person and I didn't like it. My sophomore year of college is when I finally decided that something needed to change and I began taking the steps to do so. I transferred to an out-of-state college (where I didn't know a soul), started making new friends and becoming the outgoing and driven person that I am today.

High school will not define me. I will define me.
I'm so happy about where I am today; I am a caring, confident, outgoing, fun and compassionate person with a much kinder and forgiving heart. I am crazy blessed by my husband, family, friends, job, cat (you had to know that Bitsy would come up at some point in this post) and community--I'm a stronger person now than I was ten years ago and I pray that I'm somebody my kids can talk to and confide in.

What ever happened to those kids who picked on me? Well..
  • The girl who approached me about being pregnant dropped out of school our freshman year because she became pregnant (not going to say anything..).
  • The two girls who called me names, threw my clothes in the toilet, etc. both moved away and got pregnant in high school (still not going to say anything..). Actually, one of those girls did a complete 180 and really changed her life around--she is now a really sweet person who is happily married with kids and I'm happy for her. 
  • I have no idea what happened to the girl who gave me the nickname of "hunchback" but I understand she had some family problems so I pray her life has become more peaceful.
  • The last time I saw the guy who made all the comments about my family was when I had to go inside to pay at one of our hometown gas stations.. he didn't say much as he rang up my order but I was very friendly and smiled the entire time. He really hasn't changed a bit but for his own sake I hope he someday will.
If I could give advice to kids or teens being bullied now, it's this: things really do get better. High school is such a difficult time in most of our lives but once it's over, it's over. Don't let high school define you or your life; teenagers are stupid and don't think about the things they say and the consequences it could have. If you're a victim of bullying, please talk to somebody; you are not alone. Talk to a parent, friend, mentor, teacher, counselor or somebody who you trust--they can help. If you see someone being bullied, step in and be their friend--talk to them and find out what is going on. If you see bullying in action, stick up for them or find somebody who can help.

Something that I have noticed is that many schools don't offer any sort of anti-bullying campaign or awareness program; my school never had one when I was there. There are so many awesome campaigns and activities out there and I think it's a shame that some schools don't take advantage. Two programs that I have researched and recommend are The Kind Campaign (love these girls--this is a great program for one person or for an entire school) and Rachel's Challenge (this program was started by the parents of Rachel Scott, a student killed in the Columbine shootings).

My hope in writing this post is that I can help at least one person; whether directly or indirectly. I appreciate you all taking the time to read my story and hope you have a wonderful rest of the week. The Friday Funnies will be live tomorrow at 8am (CST). 

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