Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Betting and a Bonus (Pregnancy Confessions: Volume Eight)

If you know my husband, you will not be surprised to learn that he's set up a gambling opportunity surrounding our daughter's birth.

You can guess her birth date and time, weight (lbs and oz) and length.

Half the winnings go to you, half go to her college fund. So basically, if you don't make a guess, you're saying you don't want my kid to go to college - that's pretty messed up.


If you don't want to put in the $5, feel free to make your guesses here - just for fun. You won't win anything, except for my admiration (especially if you predict that she's going to come before her due date - mama's not trying to be pregnant all summer, ya' heard?).

OK, that's all.

No wait, I lied. I promised a Pregnancy Confession. So here it is:
30 weeks, before my shower in Virginia
My gift to you, for being a loyal reader: a little pregnancy secret I got from Trinity.


They help combat fat face in pregnancy photos. Especially during showers, when people take 10 million photos of you saying "aww!" at tiny baby socks or laughing at a card about how you're never sleeping again.

Shh, don't tell!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pregnancy Confessions: Volume Seven

As most of you already know, I don't love being pregnant. The first trimester (literally, from the day I hit 5 weeks) I was vomiting and nauseous and felt like I had a 3 month hangover. The second trimester, admittedly, was "not that bad", once we got to the part of finding out what we were having, picking a name, decorating a nursery and feeling baby kicks. The third trimester is pretty much shit. Not as much shit as the first, but it's not a vast improvement either. I'm uncomfortable pretty much all of the time, I can't sleep through the night, 7.5 weeks seems like an eternity and not enough time all at once.

But I'll confess, there are some things I'm going to miss about being pregnant. A few things I would even say I really love (gasp!) about it. Here are some of my favorite pregnancy perks

  • Feeling her kick. So long as it's not pressing her tiny feet against my ribs, or the hiccups for the fourth time that day, I love feeling her move. They're not even really kicks, because most of the time they're pretty gentle movements - she's a delicate little thing. I try to remember to do kick counts since she's not the most active baby, and I think it's awesome to sit in a meeting with my hands resting on my belly while my baby communicates with me in morse code. I think it's adorable to feel her stretch.
  • Eating whatever I want, whenever I want. With the way I eat, I'm shocked that my weight gain has been quelled at 15 lbs so far. I had a mini cadbury cream egg at 9am on my way to work. I started to take a log of everything I ate in one day, and I was literally too embarrassed to ever post the blog. Ben has even had a few moments of really indulging me, whether driving to Bull McCabe's to get me fried fish or driving all the way to North Raleigh to try to find a Long John Silver.
  • Classic Coca-Cola. I switched to diet soda years ago but aspartame can be absorbed through the placenta so I've avoided artificial sweeteners throughout the pregnancy. Oh my gosh y'all, when was the last time you had a real coke? I don't think I can go back to diet. Real coke is like heaven. Don't worry, I never have more than one a day (recommended daily max for pregnancy is 200mg of caffeine; a can of coke has 45mg) and I don't have it every day, but man-oh-man. They are awesome.
  • Not sucking in my stomach, ever. For the first few weeks I did, especially when I felt like I was starting to show (I wasn't) and wasn't ready to tell people. However, from the time we announced the pregnancy, I have not once tried to hold in my belly. Even when I put on a bikini on our mountain vacay a few months ago. Doesn't matter how much I eat, I just let it hang and everyone thinks it's cute (or at least says they do). This probably means my abs have disappeared, but let's be honest, they weren't that great to start with.
  • An excuse to do only what I feel like doing. Don't get me wrong, I don't abuse my pregnancy perks. I save these times for when I really need them. But when I'm just too exhausted to get off the couch and fold the laundry, or when I wake up at 10 and decide that Benji & I need more sleep so we skip church, I don't feel guilty about it. And when I want to leave a party (whether it's 11pm or 2am), I decide that it's time to go and we go home. And y'all? I haven't vacuumed since before Christmas! God bless my sweet husband and our God-send of a cleaning lady.
I'm sure there are more benefits that I'm going to miss, but sometimes, when you're flushed and slightly feverish from a TDaP vaccine and the baby is pressing her tiny bony feet into your ribs in an attempt to collapse your lungs, you just can't think of any more pregnancy perks. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

32 Weeks!

  1. How far along?: 32 weeks 2 days - Dr. Campbell informed us on Tuesday that I'm 80% done!
  2. How big is baby?: According to What to Expect, she is the size of a honeydew - how cute! She is about 19 inches long and weighs about 4.5 lbs. Putting on that weight fast, cuz she knows her mama wants chubby cheeks to kiss on.
    I think she is a bigger honeydew than that...
    Judging by the fact that I feel feet in my ribs,
    While feeling arms flailing down in my hoohah.
  3. Weight gain?: 15 lbs - looks like I've gotten into the pound-a-week routine.
  4. Stretch marks?: Still none!
  5. Maternity clothes?: Still mixing them in with my regular clothes. Today, for example, I have nothing on that's "maternity" ... but it was SO HARD to buckle my sandals. Expect to see a lot of flip flops, y'all.
  6. Sleep?: I actually overslept for the first time in I-don't-know-long this morning. I woke up around 7 like I normally do but I guess I managed to fall back asleep and either shut off the alarm or didn't turn it on, because Ben woke me up at 8:08 asking what time I was planning to get up for work. Oops! Guess my body was more exhausted than I thought, from all the interrupted sleep over the past few weeks.
  7. Best moment last week?: I love our biweekly check-ups, just to know that she's doing ok (and so am I). Best moment, though, was probably getting her dresser in, making up the crib, doing a bunch of stuff in the room so it actually looks like a nursery now!
    The sweetest crib ever (I'm partial, of course)
  8. Food cravings?: Still fried fish (hoping to indulge that today when we have lunch with Whitney!). I woke up a few mornings ago thinking about a fountain cherry coke but haven't indulged that one yet.
  9. Symptoms?: The rib pain / pressure has continued, and now extends to my mid / upper back. Sometimes it feels like I can't breathe! 
  10. Exercise?: Yoga-ing once a week. There's two girls in the class who were in the last session with me, both due June 2, so I'm no longer the furthest along.
  11. Movement?: She had the hiccups four times yesterday. FOUR! WTF, kid? Her movement in general has become less frequent, which makes it hard for me to do my kick counts. But her heart rate was in the 150s on Tuesday so I'm not too worried about her.
  12. Belly button?: This is just a sad state of affairs. I'm not sure how much longer it can hold itself in.
  13. What I miss?: Being able to bend over to buckle my shoes. 
  14. Labor signs?: She is head-down! I know she can still flip, but since she's been head-down since 17 weeks, I'm not too worried about a breach baby.
  15. What I'm looking forward to?: Our co-ed shower this weekend! Hosted by our sisters and Ben's mom. Should be such a fun time to hang out with some friends we haven't seen in awhile. Praying the rain stays away and the weather could warm up just a tad!
Don't worry, I put a shirt on over top of this.
If you look closely, you can see a red mark on my arm.
That's from the TDAP vaccine I got on Tuesday - ouch!
This kid is lucky I love her so much.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Letters to London: Volume Three

My Sweet L,

From the moment a second line appeared on that stick, my heart has ached for you. My mind has been completely consumed with you. I've spent, to date, 196 days waiting for the one when we get to meet you.  Daydreaming about the possibilities of the wondrous things you're going to become and accomplish. Obsessing over the color of your nursery and which bottles you'll like best and what your wedding dress will look like...

...Worrying sick about all the things that could go wrong before you even enter this earth.

I have been so blessed to share this journey with my dear friend Sarah, who is due with a little boy just a few days before my due date. I remember expressing one of the many, many fears that overcame me in those early weeks of pregnancy and she repeated what her mom had told her...

"Welcome to motherhood"

It's true. You're not even here yet and I know in my heart of hearts that I will never. stop. worrying. It has gotten easier, but I haven't stopped worrying and I won't. Becoming a mother is accompanied by fear like I have never known. Fear that I might lose this precious life inside me before I've ever had a chance to know her.

My friend Sarah also gave me some wonderful advice as we journeyed through our first trimester together, especially these rough first few weeks.

"Whenever I start to worry, I stop everything I'm doing and pray"

Oh London! The sweet gift of prayer that you've brought back into your mother's life. I could never express my gratitude for what you have done for my relationship with Our Heavenly Father. I have prayed and prayed over you! And the thing I have learned above all else in this journey is that the creation of life is nothing short of a miracle.


When Dr. Campbell called me at work on Tuesday October 10 and told me my test results were positive, I literally had to stop and think about what test he could be referring to. Then I heard some of the sweetest and most terrifying words of my life "You're Pregnant" and my mind began to race. It may be another ectopic pregnancy, he said, your levels are very low... blood work, ultrasound, numbers and medical jargon flooding my head. But God had other plans for you! Each blood test came back better than the last, and then it was time for our first ultrasound, which didn't show a heartbeat. I held my breath for a week (A WEEK!) until our next ultrasound, and I couldn't even look at the screen until I heard Dr. Campbell point out a tiny blinking circle as your heartbeat. A heartbeat?! It has a heartbeat?! The sigh of relief was momentary, as we knew we weren't out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.

On November 20 (my 27th birthday), my heart sunk when I saw substantial bleeding. I prayed and prayed, begging God for a miracle for the two days until we were able to see the doctor, and asked your dad to pray one last time in the waiting room. Then we saw your healthy tiny body on an ultrasound, and you even waved at us! If that isn't the true meaning of tears of joy, I don't know what is. 

We made it through our 12 week nuchal scan, 18 week level two scan, and even a fetal echocardiogram with flying colors. And here we are, just 8 weeks (give or take a few) from the day we get to meet you with absolutely no medical reason to worry. What a miracle, indeed!

You Are A Miracle. 

Please don't ever forget that, my darling girl. There are so many things that had to happen exactly in His perfect plan for you to come to be. I may not ever understand the journey the Lord took us on to get here, but I don't mind, because it has led us to YOU! And Praise God, you're already perfect. Yes you, who will someday have braces and glasses and maybe be pigeon toed or have a broken wrist.

You're perfect. 

He has made you the perfect child for me and your daddy, and I cannot wait until you get here.

Love, Mama

Friday, April 20, 2012

Letters to London: Volume Two

London Claire,
Growing up as a young lady in The South is a great blessing, but one that carries a heavy burden. Although your mama did not have this privilege (Virginia may be below the Mason-Dixon line, but no one ever accused people from NoVa as being "southern"), I have learned a thing or two about what it means to be from The South in the nearly-ten-years I've spent living here (4 in Tennessee, 6 in North Carolina). And despite your daddy's best intentions, you will be a southern lady. There are more than a few things you will learn about growing up in God's country, but these are some of my favorites.

Mind Your Manners
You should always always say please, thank you, ma'am and sir. I am 27 years old and I still say "yes ma'am" to people who very well may be younger than I am. "Please" and "Thank You" are not magic words that get you what you want - they are common courtesy and can never be over-used. While I'm thinking about it, don't underestimate the value of a good apology or adding the qualifier "so much". A genuine "Thank You So Much!" can mean a lot to the person hearing it if it means a lot to the person saying it. I also want to say here that your mama never attended cotillion (although I did have a brief etiquette class the year I did Girl Scouts), but my parents taught us table manners and your daddy and I will do the same for you. You eat what is put in front of you, or you go to bed hungry. You speak when spoken to and do not interrupt if other people (including your parents) are talking. You get no dessert if you have not finished your dinner. These might sound harsh, but that's the way I grew up and I turned out just fine. We'll do our part and make sure you never go hungry (and if I know your father, he'll do your part to make sure you never miss out on dessert).

Act - and Dress - Your Age
Little girls deserve to have fun and be little girls. I don't care if your idea of fun is making daisy chains with your girlfriends under a big tree (your mama and your Aunt Sissy did that all the time!), or if it's playing in the mud with a big tonka truck - you get to be you. But you don't get to start wearing eyeliner at age nine, and you don't get to throw a temper tantrum at that age either. I experienced first-hand how quickly little girls grow up nowadays and I do not want that for you, sweet baby. I led a bit of a sheltered childhood, which I now see as a blessing, that included only listening to Christian music or oldies, not eating fast food or drinking soda, and wearing overalls until I was a teenager (you might not be able to avoid this one - your GrandPadge loves to buy his girls some Osh Kosh B'Gosh Overalls - you already have a pair waiting in your closet!). There are so many precious memories I have from my childhood, especially growing up with lot of kids around at all times, and it was largely because I was allowed to just be a kid. A well-behaved kid, all the same, but I was a little girl and was not expected (or allowed) to be a big girl too soon.

Thank You Notes
As I said earlier, don't underestimate the value of a good apology OR a genuine Thank You. If someone invites you over for dinner, you write them a thank you note. If someone has you as an overnight guest, you get them a hostess gift AND write them a thank you note. And if, some day, you're blessed with a child of your own and your sweet mama and Aunt Kiki host you a baby shower with friends and family you've known for years, and that baby gets spoiled with the cutest clothes you've ever seen, you BETTER write them all thank you notes, or your mama will kick your butt. There is something to be said for monogrammed cards - don't worry, you already have some. And while I may have missed a thank-you-note-opportunity now and again, I really do try to make this a priority. Your Aunt Kiki does a great job of it, as does your cousin April. Their mamas taught them well. Who doesn't love getting a note in the mail, especially on beautiful stationary?!

The Bigger the Bow, The Better the Mama
Your closet is currently full of about 15 wicker baskets, one of which is especially dedicated to hair bows and head bands. Everyone who knows me knows that these are a necessity. While I have tried and tried to resist buying you tons of clothes and accessories (all our sweet friends & family have done plenty of that - especially your Gigi!), I did breakdown and  buy two gorgeous handmade bows and a hat with a huge flower. You might look back at your baby pictures and think that you look ridiculous with bows and flowers as big as your head, but trust me, it's because I love you. And you might as well learn to love it now, because they're not going anywhere. I've yet to determine if I'm going to let you cheer or not (that's another blog for another day), but if I do - and if you want to - the bows are only getting bigger, little one.

London, I think the most important thing to remember about being a good southern girl is that it's never too late to become one. It's a way of life that you can choose to adopt anytime you want, but you're so blessed to grow up this way. Southern girls love monograms, college football, tervis tumblers and casseroles. We love shopping, manicured nails, a cold beer on a patio and a handsome man in a collared shirt. Sometimes being a southern girl is being able to hold your whiskey and sometimes it's a well-made guest bed. It's acceptance, it's being gracious, it's a few "bless her heart"s and it's being a daddy's girl. This might sound like a lot of pressure, but trust me when I tell you, it's a lot more pressure for me to raise you right. I promise to do my best but I hope that someday, when you realize that maybe I made some mistakes or wish I had done a few things differently, you'll know that everything I did was because I love you and I want you to be proud of the woman you're going to become ... even if that means moving to New York someday.

Your Mama

Thursday, April 19, 2012

31 weeks

  1. How far along?: 31 weeks 2 days - and exactly 2 months from our due date. What the WHAT?
  2. How big is baby?: According to What to Expect, she is still the size of a head of lettuce - boring! She is about 19 inches long now and should weigh 3lbs 9oz. Very quickly approaching the 4 lb mark, how awesome is that?
  3. Weight gain?: I haven't stepped on the scale at home since my last dr appt, so we'll say I'm still at 13 lbs. Updates next week (we have an appt on Tuesday)
  4. Stretch marks?: Still none! Please oh please let me be out of the danger zone.
  5. Maternity clothes?: Currently wearing a new-to-me Boden dress from Sloan. It's amazing I still have so many things she passed along that I haven't even worn yet. 
  6. Sleep?: Meh, getting better I guess. I almost always wake up before my alarm - often times very early in the morning for no reason at all. But it could be worse!
  7. Best moment last week?: THE DRESSER CAME IN! Ben is going to pick it up this weekend, I'm SO beyond excited. And my wonderful baby shower in Virginia hosted by my mom & her best friend. It was so sweet and L got tons more cute clothes. I got a huge box of "necessities" in the mail from one of my old sales reps - what a blessing! This isn't really a "best moment" but we did start baby classes this week, which is weird. Weird and scary.
  8. Food cravings?: Nothing really specific! I'm actually not wanted to make decisions about food these days - weird, right?
  9. Symptoms?: My nipples are huge. Seriously huge. The biggest things I've ever seen. Sorry. Also, so much rib pain / discomfort. Dear London, please please PLEASE stop pressing your feet into my ribs. Please?
  10. Exercise?: Started back in yoga last night, and man! I missed it. I neeeeeeed the yoga back in my life. Hoping this class will lead me right up to when she decides to make her appearance (it ends the first week of June I think. Yes, I am open to having her come a little bit early - any time in June is fine with me!)
  11. Movement?: Still getting the hiccups a ton. And the rib pressure. But I feel like her head is still low and that it's feet / butt in my ribs, not her arms or head. Not sure when they start checking her position ...
  12. Belly button?: Still in!
  13. What I miss?: Just relaxing on the couch was uncomfortable last night. And shaving my legs this morning was a real struggle. I miss having a normal person's body that doesn't have an alien inside of it. But I do love that little alien.
  14. Labor signs?: None yet.
  15. What I'm looking forward to?: Bringing the dresser home this weekend and filling it with all of her goodness!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Letters to London: Volume One

I wrote this post yesterday, but then this happened last night and (inspired by my friend Kelsey), I had to share:
Now then, back to the original post...

I have seen lots of people write letters to their unborn children (Page over at It's Marvelous being one of my favorites), and I've really wanted to do it but was waiting for the right time to start. 30 weeks seems like a good landmark to me ... it'll force me to really put my thoughts down and capture the feelings of these last few months before she's here. But, given the pregnant brain / chaos at work / chaos of preparing for her arrival, it's likely going to be stream of consciousness and may not be anything you want to read. That's ok, at least I have it.

Also, secret's out, her name is London. I haven't announced that yet, have I?

London Claire Eckerson

What better place to start these letters than the story of her name. To be honest, I'm not sure there are three words I enjoy writing more. But let me start from the beginning.

Before we even thought about trying to have a baby, I had a long list of names I loved (most girls do, don't let them tell you otherwise). You probably will too, and that's totally normal. It will change as you get older or as certain things become inspirations to you, and that's normal too. As a couple, your dad and I had very little commentary about names we liked, so I was nervous that our tastes would be totally different (they were!) and we'd never agree on something.

We didn't discuss names with the first pregnancy - honestly, we didn't discuss much of anything, everything happened so quickly. But with you, sometime in the first trimester, I got the urge to start talking about it. Your dad kept saying no, it wasn't time, we couldn't get ahead of ourselves, let's find out the gender first, etc. Finally, after what felt like ages (but really was only about 6 weeks after we found out I was pregnant with you), your dad gave me the sweetest birthday gift - we could spend the day talking about what to name you. So we went to a sports bar around the corner, he ordered a pitcher of beer (and a water for me, of course) and we went through the list, narrowing down to about 25 options. Still overwhelming, but it was progress!

We agreed that we wouldn't talk about it again until our gender ultrasound, which was scheduled for the middle of January. We took the day off work, had our appointment first thing in the morning, and planned to spend the rest of the day doing all the things we hadn't let ourselves do - go shopping for you, buy you clothes, pick your name. Those things were physical manifestations of the fact that we were about to have a child, and we could finally let ourselves accept and get excited about that! As soon as I found out I was having a daughter (an emotional moment, as you saw in the video!), I was ready to give you a name, an identity. You weren't just a baby anymore - you were our baby, our girl. You needed a name.

We spent the next few hours running through our list and before I knew it, we had it narrowed down to about five choices - London being one of them and your dad's favorite. We weighed the pros and cons, and your dad brought up the point that we would be taking you to London just a few weeks after you were born, and if there were ever a time to use the name it was now. It wasn't just a perfect name, it was perfect for YOU! He was right, your name would be London. I never imagined having a daughter named London but from that moment on, it seemed to make perfect sense, and we both couldn't stop saying it.

Your middle name was my decision - your dad seems to think that middle names don't matter (he forgets that you will be raised in the south, where middle names are pretty much just an extension of your first name). As we drove around the next morning (shopping for you, of course), I kept saying aloud the various combinations we were considering, but London Claire just fit. It's feminine - just soft enough - it's classy and it's unique all at the same time ... all things we knew you'd be! So within 24 hours of when we found out we were expecting a sweet baby girl, it was decided - London Claire Eckerson would be your name, and we both couldn't have been more thrilled about it.

London has a few different meanings, but the one we found that day (and the one that's our favorite) is Wild. Combine it with Claire, meaning Clear - Wild & Clear. Let your name be a constant reminder of who you were destined to be. Others may not know where you're going, but you always will. Sometimes you'll march to the beat of your own drum, but you'll always know exactly who you are. Your personality may be wild, but you'll always have a true sense of clarity about the things that matter most - Your God and Your Family. You're going to be incredible - you already are, honestly, and you're not even here yet.

I cannot wait to meet you London,
Your Mom

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recipe: Cucumber Tomato Salad

I've been craving things that are cold and refreshing lately. Pudding, frozen coffee drinks (decaf, of course... ok,  you got me, half-caf...), etc. Needless to say I've been dying to make this cucumber tomato salad since I saw it on Pinterest. So good, so healthy - it really hit the spot. I imagine I'll be making a lot of it this summer. Oh, who am I kidding - I'm not going to be making a lot of anything this summer. Other than breast milk (hopefully!). But you, dear friends, can make it for me and bring it over in exchange for some baby cuddles. You're welcome for that.

Oh, and the biggest shock? This is a Paula Deen recipe! A Paula Deen recipe with NO BUTTER! What is the world coming to?


  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
    (you could do this little trick if you want to be fancy)
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
    (Paula recommends Vidalia but I had a white onion in the fridge and it worked just fine)
  • 1 tbsp (or more, to taste) dried parsley
    (Paula recommends 2 tbsp fresh parsley, but there are only certain herbs I'm willing to spend money on to keep fresh in the house, only to throw it away a week later because I didn't use it, and parsley is just not one of them)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Mix everything (EVERYTHING) together in a large bowl
    Use a glass bowl if you have it, because this salad is pretty and colorful!
  2. Let sit in the fridge for 10 minutes or more

Hooray! Bring it to your next cookout or pair it with some grilled chicken breasts for dinner. This serving size makes quite a bit for two people, so you can probably serve it for several meals (and, in my opinion, it's great as "leftovers")

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How the heck are we at 30 weeks already?

  1. How far along?: 30 weeks 1 day! Oh my gosh, I am 3/4ths of the way through my pregnancy, that is JUST PLAIN NUTS.
    Taken this morning...
    Don't worry, I put a shirt on over that tank
    Let's be honest, no one wants to see that
  2. How big is baby?: According to What to Expect, she is now the size of a head of lettuce - let's just hope her head isn't the size of a head of lettuce ... ouch! She is about 18 inches long and should weigh 3lbs 2oz. Her heart rate was in the 140s yesterday at our appointment, which is great (it's normal to slow down as they grow - she used to be in the 160s), and my belly is measuring at 31 weeks which is perfect!
    This old man looks nice.
    Maybe I'll let him hold the baby when she's born...
    IF he washes his hands and brings me a casserole ;)
  3. Weight gain?: 13 lbs. Praise Jesus! I was so worried at how fast I was gaining (after not gaining for so long) but somehow I've only gained a pound since my last appointment four weeks ago. Grace said to me yesterday, "I honestly don't know how you can eat as much candy as you do and only gain one pound!" - she's right. I eat so many sweets, it's disgusting! But delightful (especially all this Easter candy - big thanks to my mom and mother-in-law!)
  4. Stretch marks?: Still none, let's hope it stays that way. After searching drug stores and Ulta, I ended up back at Bath & Body Works for their body butter. It smells good and feels good, and it appears to be working so far, so why mess with a good thing?
  5. Maternity clothes?: Still running through my new-to-me wardrobe passed down from Sloan, which is a Godsend because nothing else in my closet fits me. Easter Sunday was such a struggle! I ended up in an elastic-waist white skirt from Old Navy (that I've had for years) and a long cardigan that, I later found out, stuck out below my belly. Cute, real cute.
  6. Sleep?: Dr. Segal confirmed that the coughing is most likely reflux, so he said I can take a Pepcid before bed (in addition to the one in the morning) and it should help. I tried it last night and I slept better than I have in awhile, so here's hoping that's the trick!
  7. Best moment last week?: I love our doctor's appointments, and I'm actually kind-of excited that we now get to start going every two weeks. Hearing her sweet heartbeat and being told that we're both right on track is so reassuring. Non-baby related, church on Easter was really nice!
  8. Food cravings?: Fried fish - what? So weird. I'm blaming this on the brain development she's experiencing this week. 
  9. Symptoms?: My hips / butt / thighs get so sore if I sit for too long, especially if I'm crossing my legs, that I kind-of have the pregnant girl waddle when I first stand up. I'm sure that's adorable (that was sarcasm, it's not). Heartburn is still kicking my ass but they say that means she'll have a head of hair so that's a perk. 
  10. Exercise?: Week two of doing virtually nothing (although getting to and from work from the parking deck is exercise in my book!) because we were in between yoga sessions for one week, and tonight we have a meeting with a pediatrician. But I'll resume next week and can't wait to meet the new girls in my class!
  11. Gender?: 
  12. Movement?: Her movement appears to be less frequent and less strong than it used to be. When I feel her, it's often a "one-off" type wiggle or kick, and a lot of times it's been so far toward my back or so low that it can't even be felt from the outside. I feel bad because Ben hasn't really gotten to feel her in awhile, but I hope that means she still has lots of room! Also, the hiccups. At least once a day, she gets them, down in my hooha. Really kid? In an important meeting? I guess there's nothing I can do for her (or me!).
  13. Belly button?: Another week and it's still in. I'd consider this another blessing!
  14. What I miss?: Sushi - with my fish cravings this week, I'd prefer to be eating something raw and healthy than the fried greasy goodness I consumed Monday, but I'll suffer through ;)
  15. Labor signs?: Other than the fact that I'm pretty confident her head is down, none. We want her to keep cooking until June!
  16. What I'm looking forward to?: My shower this weekend - nothing beats getting spoiled by your mama, especially when pregnant!
    Just for fun: 10 weeks, 20 weeks, 30 weeks
    For the record...
    I can still wear the jeans I'm wearing in the 10 and 20 week pics

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Recipe: Banana Pudding

As much as I love traveling up to Virginia and spending Easter at my Grandfather's house, it was admittedly very nice to stay in town this year - especially since we got to attend our new church's Easter service! Did I mention yet that Ben & I recently became members of FUMC-Cary? Because WE DID, and it is such a welcome relief to finally end the great Eckerson Church Search, and to do it before our little one arrives.

Anyway, we were spoiled with two Easter meals this year; one at Ben's parents in the early afternoon, and one with friends in Raleigh. I decided an appropriate impromptu contribution would be banana pudding, mostly because I've been craving pudding lately and banana pudding seemed appropriate for spring time. I found the skeleton of the recipe on Pinterest but now I can't find the reference page, so I'm sorry for not giving credit. Lucky for y'all, the recipe is simple enough that I could remember it - and I had almost all the ingredients already in my kitchen!


  • 5 bananas, sliced
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tub fat-free cool whip (you know, to counteract the condensed milk)
  • 1 box nilla wafers
  • 2 boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3.5 cups milk


  1. Pour cold milk into large mixing bowl
  2. Add pudding mix to bowl, beat or whisk until mixed thoroughly
  3. Combine pudding with condensed milk and cool whip, try not to eat this deliciousness by the spoonful
  4. In a large class bowl, layer nilla wafers, bananas, pudding mixture, and repeat until pudding is gone - I did a layer laying down, then did an extra layer standing up around the edge of the bowl for a pretty effect
  5. Top with a pretty design of cookies and bananas if you're fancy like I am
  6. Chill until ready to be eaten (but it can be eaten right away!)

 So easy and delicious! It's such a nice spring / summer treat and it only gets better as it sits in your fridge. Personally, I hate artificial banana flavored foods, so I use vanilla pudding instead of banana pudding and it's still enough flavor from the fruit itself, but you could definitely use whichever you prefer.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

29 week update

  1. How far along?: 29 weeks 1 day
  2. How big is baby?: According to What to Expect, she is now the size of a butternut squash. She is approximately 17 inches long (head to feet), same as last week BUT weighs about 3.1 lbs. We've passed the 3lb mark, and to that I say Get It Girl! (L, not me)
  3. Weight gain?: Next appt is Tuesday, so we'll find out then. Cross your fingers I'm still under 20lbs please!
  4. Stretch marks?: Still none, Praise the Lord. I bought new cocoa butter lotion from the drug store this weekend (finally ran out of my amazing-smelling body butter that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas) and after I put it on, I hate it. So that's going back to the store - any suggestions for what I can replace it with? I didn't see the Burt's Bees stuff which everyone raves about...
  5. Maternity clothes?: Enjoying all my new-to-me clothes from Sloan, many of which are belly-friendly (see below - linen dress from Boden!)
  6. Sleep?: Oh my gosh, y'all, this coughing. I can't. It's been going on for over a month and it's only getting worse. I keep the Chloraseptic Spray by my bed (dr says it's safe!) but that's not enough, so hopefully they'll have some remedies for me on Tuesday (which, I should mention, is my 30 week appointment. 30 WEEKS! that is so long. I have been pregnant for 7.5 months WTF?!)
  7. Best moment last week?: Since I just posted on Sunday, not much has changed or happened. I spent two hours on Monday night setting things up in her closet (and already ran out of hangers) which was so fun and made me feel like I was actually accomplishing something for her room.
  8. Food cravings?: Anything and everything.
  9. Symptoms?: Not sure if this is a symptom, but girlfriend has gotten the hiccups several times recently. This was cute the first couple times, when I could see my tummy rhythmically bouncing (it also made me feel so bad for her), but now her head must be very, ahem, low because the hiccups are quite uncomfortable. I guess the good news about that is that I'm not worried about her being breech? 
  10. Exercise?: I signed up for another 8 week session of pre-natal yoga, starting next Wednesday. My good friend who's due the week before me is still running and I am so impressed by that, because I can barely make it up the stairs. But, I can kill it on some 90 second wall sits.
  11. Gender?: I'm sorry, did you miss the closet full of dresses and rompers? We are in so much trouble if she suddenly grew a penis in the past 2 months.
  12. Movement?: Again, movements are still pretty gentle. Either she's tiny or just has plenty of room still because I'm so big. Either way, the movements are rarely annoying or painful, and she often moves at the exact moment I start to worry about her which is so sweet.
  13. Belly button?: Still in. Cross your fingers for me, y'all. It's not looking good.
  14. What I miss?: Sleeping through the night. Might as well kiss that one goodbye.
  15. Labor signs?: None.
  16. What I'm looking forward to?: I have a shower at home next weekend that should be really fun! Not looking forward to the four hour drive by myself, especially since the last three times I've driven through Richmond by myself, it's been POURING rain.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Monday Quickie

Get your minds out of the gutter! Just a quick post in case anyone out there needs a Monday pick-me-up. Saw this on a friend's blog and couldn't help but share! Here's the NIV version, but I like this one better; it reads:

"Be Strong. Take Courage. Don't Be Intimidated. Don't give [the opposition] a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down, He won't leave you." Deuteronomy 31:6
Nothing is to big for Him, y'all. Amen?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I almost missed it: 28 weeks

  1. How far along?: 28 weeks 5 days
  2. How big is baby?: According to What to Expect, she is now the size of a small cabbage. She is approximately 17 inches long (head to feet) and weighs about 2.9 lbs.
  3. Weight gain?: I broke down and stepped on the scale in our bathroom yesterday. Of course, I don't know how it matches up with the one at the doctor so I really have no idea how many pounds I've gained ... 15? 16? 20?! We'll find out next week.
  4. Stretch marks?: Still none, Praise the Lord. I asked Ben to check me for stretch marks this weekend, and he asked what exactly he was looking for, so I'd say that's a good sign.
  5. Maternity clothes?: Nothing new purchased in the way of maternity, but a dear friend had me and another friend over last night to raid the clothes she was purging - so I have new-to-me clothes!
  6. Sleep?: I go back and forth on this. I feel bad to complain about sleep because at least I'm not uncomfortable, but the coughing and heartburn is making it hard to fall asleep most nights (and I know it's making it hard on Ben, too). Then I wake up around 4-5 am to pee many mornings. The nice thing about my sleep lately is that it's been so nice we've been able to sleep with the windows open!
  7. Best moment last week?: Oh my gosh, y'all, we found a freakin dresser. The most wonderful, most perfect dresser in the entire world. OK, whatever, I don't care if it's perfect, I loooooove it. And I was so relieved when we found it, I was literally brought to tears. AND Ben finished re-doing her closet. What a productive week it was!
  8. Food cravings?: Anything and everything.
  9. Symptoms?: It's getting difficult to put my shoes on. Expect to see me wearing my rainbows quite a lot over the next 2.5 months!
  10. Exercise?: I signed up for another 8 week session of pre-natal yoga, starting next Wednesday.
  11. Gender?: Can I just take this one out?
  12. Movement?: I've started being able to feel her stretch, which is really adorable to me, especially in the morning. Lots of rolling / gentle movements, which aren't uncomfortable. A few friends and coworkers have been able to feel her move lately, it's so fun to share that with someone else!
  13. Belly button?: Still in. Cross your fingers for me, y'all.
  14. What I miss?: Being able to eat anything without heartburn. Ugh!
  15. Labor signs?: None. Cross your fingers on this one, too! We want this little one inside until June.
  16. What I'm looking forward to?: Hanging her clothes in her "new" closet!!
    Don't hate on the barbie arm