Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rhory: 32 weeks!

8 MONTHS - SAY WHAT?! Sometimes I feel like this pregnancy has dragged on, yet at others I feel as if it is flying by faster than I can catch up! I haven't taken my 32 week picture yet (I got behind with being out of town) but here are my 29-31 week pictures. One is semi-blurry, but I am just lucky to have them at all because my memory card decided to wipe itself on vacation and my dad and brother worked really hard to restore them (thankfully they were able to get them all back!).

At 30 weeks I had an appointment with Dr. Pohl and everything looked great! I would have started twice weekly testing last week, but since we went out of town we just pushed it back a week. I made sure to check and double check with both Dr. Pohl and Maternal-Fetal Specialists (MFM) that this would be okay, and they were all fine with it! Typically I would see Dr. Pohl on Tuesdays for my NST (non-stress test) and weekly appt and then on Friday go to MFM for my BPP (bio-physical profile, but this week was a little different due to some insurance issues. I will see Dr. Pohl for two NST's (Tuesday and Friday) and next week I will start the regular schedule. My NST looked great today and he said "well, I see we have a very happy baby here" and I would agree!

We haven't shared this publicly for any other reason than it just never really came up an appropriate time to say anything. The reason for our insurance issues is that Josh got a new job about a month ago! We are so thankful for God's timing and that this will enable us to be more financially secure before Rhory gets here. As most of you know, insurance does not usually just pick up when you start a new job, but it does immediately end when you leave your old job! Our new insurance starts August 1 (next Friday, hooray!) and until then we have just been paying for Dr. Pohl's visits out of pocket because they weren't that expensive and Josh's employer has helped with some of them. We have the option to use COBRA in the meantime, but the premium would have been more expensive then just paying for these appointments. We do have COBRA as a back up in the event that I were to go to the hospital or need to visit the specialist. Both Dr. Pohl and the specialist were okay with waiting until August 1 to start the BPP's - those appointments are OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive, but we would have gone if they had wanted to start them at 32 weeks. 

Speaking of job news, I have some of my own to share. Again, there just hasn't been a time that seemed good to say anything. As you know I spent the last school year teaching at a small private school in Loganville. I am currently getting my Master's in Elementary Education and this job was definitely where I was supposed to be! I loved the students and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, so I knew that I had found my true calling and was doing the right thing in getting my Master's. As much as I enjoyed teaching at the private school, I have always felt called to the public school system; especially to those schools in high-need areas. This spring I will be required to complete a semester of student teaching in order to complete my Master's Program. At the end of the school year I turned in my resignation to the private school and began exploring options for student teaching in the spring. I have a few options - the most exciting is that I could potentially student teach in the classroom with my third grade teacher - HOW NEAT! I am currently doing some part-time work, and will continue that until and after Rhory is born until I start student teaching. Josh and I feel very confident that these career moves are both the right thing for our family, and are trusting as God leads us through the next several months!

Gosh, that sure is a lot of excitement right there! But are you ready for more?! We have kept a pretty tight lid on this news, but I am ready to share. At my 28 week appointment Dr. Pohl went ahead and scheduled my c-section! YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT!! He asked me early on if I had a preference, and I wasn't really sure. I have heard horror stories about vaginal deliveries, and my c-section recovery was actually really awesome so I felt stuck on what to do. Josh and I prayed and I have felt a peace about having another c-section. My labor last time was 24 hours, I never progressed past 9 cm, and Sawyer's head was so large the doctor was telling me how much of a good thing it was I had a c-section. I know there are differing opinions on what is better, but this is the best decision for our family, and I am looking forward to meeting sweet Rhory, regardless of how she makes her entrance!  Okay, okay... I know you want the date.... So here it is:

September 4! It is official, ya'll - we will meet our little girl on September 4 and I couldn't be more excited/nervous! When Sawyer was born we missed out on a lot because he was whisked away, but pending everything looks good with Rhory we will have quite a different experience this go around and we want to make the most of it. Josh and I have decided that for the first several (to be determined) hours after Rhory is born, we only want our parents, siblings, and their families to come in to visit. These people are very special to us, and none of them were able to hold Sawyer while he was living here on this Earth. We know that while Rhory's birth is going to be filled with so much excitement, it is also going to be quite the emotional experience for us and our immediate families. After we are moved to the mother/baby floor we would love to have visitors to meet our sweet girl, just not all at once LOL! 

I actually have even more to share with you - gosh, this blog post has turned in to quite the excitement! We have finished the nursery and I am ready to share pictures! I don't love the lighting, but oh well. I have held on to the theme and cuteness for TOO LONG! We used a lot of the things from Sawyer's nursery which makes it that much more special. The curtains, quilt, and pillow were all made by my Mawmaw and I am so thankful for her help! They turned out great. The quilt is actually the bedding we had for Sawyer. It originally had a brown border, but she covered it with the same fabric used in the curtains and the pillow. The 3-D tree bookshelf was made by my wonderful husband (with the help of my wonderful in-laws!) I showed Josh a picture of what I wanted, but this is so much better than I could have imagined. Brett and Josh painted the walls (they were yellow before) and Brett helped us put the tape down for the chevron mini-stripes on the wall behind the crib. The three pictures were a score at an antique store and also used in Sawyer's room at our old house! I painted the letters for her name and made sure they matched everything else. Her bow holder was another idea I had from Pinterest, and I love it! Now - all we need is Rhory! Many thanks to EVERYONE who helped us finish the nursery :)

We are so close to meeting Rhory it is almost unbelievable! We appreciate those of you who have prayed with us through this pregnancy and will continue to pray for us through these few remaining weeks! 

Fun Pregnancy Information
How far along: 32 weeks!

Total weight gain: My net gain is 3 pounds. I have gained all the weight back I originally lost, and have now started actually gaining.
Maternity clothes: Yes! Wore my two-piece out on vacation, though :)

Stretch marks: A few more around my belly button. I never got an 'outie' with Sawyer, but it looks like that might be the case this time!

Sleep: Pretty much non-existent, but that is okay!

Best moment of this week/month: Our yearly family vacation, finishing the nursery, first baby shower

Miss anything: Not particularly

Movement: ALL THE TIME, my mom says she is going to come out swinging

Food cravings:DESSERT - I want it all, literally after every meal! LOL (still wanting dessert, haha)

Anything making you queasy or sick: It is hit or miss, but not anything in particular

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Girl!

Until next time,

Monday, July 21, 2014

St. Augustine 2014

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the beach, and I especially love it at 32 weeks pregnant when I can spend a good amount of time in the water! My family has been going to Crescent Beach for as long as I can remember. It is easily my favorite vacation spot; it's a familiar place with familiar people. We have a lot of other families that end up going the same time we do and we have grown closer as the years have gone by. We eat at our favorite restaurant - O'steens - and enjoy our Friday pizza from Tony's. We also go out on Thursdays to downtown and the Go Fish store for our "buddy bands" - a tradition recently started. Not much has changed other than our ages and that is okay with me!

I wanted to take advantage of the scenery and get some maternity photos - I was checking out pinterest the first few days for some "beach maternity photos" to try and come up with some poses since it would just be my mom snapping the pictures. I also had to really play in to the idea of "family pictures" because it was the way one of our good friends had planned to propose to my cousin. Originally my cousin was going to have a photographer take their pictures but at the last minute decided to save some money and she cancelled them. I racked my brain and set out to convince her to let my mom just take some pictures so she would still have some. Lucky for me, and her then-boyfriend, she took me up on the offer!

 Here are some of my favorite maternity pictures from the beach 

This isn't our first family vacation to Crescent Beach, but that didn't make it any easier. Some elements were harder. Like the fact that it was easy for us and everyone else to say "next year we will be doing this or that with Rhory", and as much as I am praying for that to happen - I have unfortunately learned that no one is promised tomorrow. It has been a struggle for me to really make "future" plans because all of the plans I had in my head for Sawyer were never fulfilled, and unfortunately they never will be fulfilled. I want to make plans and be excited for the next vacation and that we will have Rhory, but my mind has almost created a mental block from doing so. For now, we continue to push forward and I continue to work past the struggle of being excited for the future. 

Last year we released balloons in memory of Sawyer. It was really special and everyone was able to sign a balloon. I knew I wanted to do something different this year because the idea of releasing that many balloons every year made me weary - with all the environmental risks and what not. So my next idea was sparklers. I will just say the beach, plus wind, plus sparklers - TERRIBLE... We did try, but we could hardly get them lit. Ha! My aunt had a really great idea of a message in a bottle - and that was the winner! I wrote a note with Sawyer's story- and a link to the blog - for whoever finds the bottle. We also released one balloon that everyone was able to sign. Josh picked out a pirate themed balloon since we were at the beach :)

Throwing out the message in a bottle has to be the craziest thing I have ever done. I thought we would be able to go out just up to our knees and chunk the bottle but it was too choppy so Josh insisted we wade out to further and we were CHEST DEEP, in ALL of our clothes. He threw it as far as he could and we quickly hurried to get out of what I was sure was shark-feeding territory. We then made our way up to the sparklers. We started to open the package as my brother made is way up with a bottle in his hand. Yep, you guessed it-  the message in a bottle had made it's way back to shore within just 5 minutes! I was discouraged, but we made a plan to throw it out the next morning off the pier between high and low tide to be sure it was pulled out to sea for a good amount of time before being discovered! We lit the sparklers and had some fun and then headed up to the room to dry off and rest. I think the message in a bottle is something we will do every year until Rhory and our other future children are old enough to make some decisions about what they want to do in memory of their big brother Sawyer!

Here are some pictures from the balloon release, message in a bottle toss, and sparklers!

One last tradition that we have had for years is filling sand bottles after every trip. This is something my mom started with my brother and I way back when. I knew it was something I would want to do with my children and we did one last year for Sawyer. This year we did two - one for Rhory and one for Sawyer! The bottles are actually Cracker Barrel syrup bottles that we get from our stop on our drive down. Josh and I did the ones for Sawyer and Rhory, and my mom still wanted my brother and I to fill one for her.

 From buddy bands, the farmers market, and O'steen's to messages in a bottle, maternity pictures and surprise proposals - this was a great trip with great people. We miss Sawyer, and I would have loved to see him playing on the beach with his cousins - but I know he had the best view of all! 

Until next time,


Monday, July 14, 2014

Freezer to Crock Pot: Weeks 3&4

Well, I am a *little* behind on these posts but better late than never! We have made all of the first round of the meals and for the most part had a lot of success with them! Here are the last of the meals we made:

Italian Chicken
2-4 Chicken Breasts
1/2 - 1 whole bottle of Italian dressing

Prep Work:
Put chicken and dressing in a bag - simple as that! Label and put in freezer You don't even really need to pre-freeze this!

Cooking Instructions: 
Defrost the meal in the refrigerator 24 hours before cooking, or just place all ingredients in the crockpot the morning you want the meal. 

Cook on high for four hours or low for six-eight hours. If you do less chicken I recommend less time. This meal is delicious with a side of potatoes and salad :)

BBQ Pineapple Chicken
2-4 Chicken Breasts
1 can of pineapple (any way you like it), DRAIN BEFORE PUTTING IN CROCK POT.
1/2 to 1 whole bottle of BBQ sauce

 Prep Work:
Freeze all but the pineapple, or you can make it the morning of the meal! Defrost the frozen meal if you make it ahead of time.

Cooking Instructions:
Place all ingredients, frozen and unfrozen in the crock pot. Cook on high for four hours or low for six-eight hours. If you do less chicken I recommend less time. We serve over rice and it makes for the perfect taste.

Sweet & Tangy Meatballs
1 (2 lb) bag of meatballs, frozen
12 oz jar chili sauce
16-18 oz jar of grape jelly

Prep Work:
Mix chili sauce and jelly in a bowl until well mixed. Put meatballs and mixture in a freezer bag and label with meal and date.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw in the fridge the night before, not necessarily for 24 hours.Put in crock pot and cook on high for 1- 2 hours, or low for 3-4 hours. We also ate this over rice and it was so good!

Chicken Tacos
1 bag frozen chicken breast
2 cans Rotel
1 envelope of taco seasoning
2 pkgs taco shells

Prep Work:
Yet another meal that is so simple so you don't really have to freeze it, but I did. Place all ingredients minus the taco shells in a bag and freeze! Thaw overnight. 

Place ingredients from freezer bag in crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. This was so good we ate it as tacos one night and then taco salad. It also smelled wonderful, so that means it is wonderful right?! Ha! We served normal taco toppings - shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, lettuce... so make sure you have these on hand.  

I made a few repeat meals these weeks, but I am not re-posting them. You can find them in my other freezer to crock pot posts :) All of the meals in this post were so simple and made several times already! They are actually simple enough that they don't have to be frozen before hand, but that does make it easier if you have limited time in the morning to place it in the crockpot.

My friend and I are going to do another round of freezer meals before Rhory comes. I can't guarantee I will be able to keep up with meal reviews, but I will try :) This saved us a good amount off of our grocery bills so we liked that part the best!