Wednesday, February 29, 2012

new project

Inspired by Nikki, I opted to start a new little blog project. Ever since finding out we're expecting (and real talk, since before we knew we were pregnant) I have browsed the blogosphere for nursery inspiration. Many of the sites I came across were cluttered with sponsors and advertisements and nothing was very clear to me. And thus, this cradle rocks was born (mad props to Nikki's husband, Jim, for coming up with the blog title!).

I'm hoping to expand the blog over the coming weeks and months for expectant mamas and baby enthusiasts everywhere, so if you have any ideas for color schemes, themes, or want your own nursery featured, send me an email at either youngnotpowerless{at}gmail.com or thiscradlerocks{at}gmail.com. I'll still be posting my personal blogs here, so don't go anywhere!

Monday, February 27, 2012

busy weekend

Pardon my absence this weekend--Jon miraculously had Saturday AND Sunday off work, so we spent every possible minute (for the most part) together, soaking in the glory of being reunited for two consecutive days.

On Saturday morning we made breakfast and met with our financial adviser again. After that we went to the mall to use a Banana Republic coupon (50% off baby!) and a Macy's gift card Jon had. We never did get to Macy's but Jon finally got a pair of Chinos--something he's been longing after for literally 4 months. He's just an odd size (31 waist) and has a really hard time finding pants that aren't 30 or 32. With our coupon, his BR pants were a mere $30 and therefore we couldn't pass them up. We ran out of time at BR and never made it to Macy's before we had to rush off to a store in Highland Square to pick up my sister's birthday present. Despite saying they opened at 11am on their website AND voicemail, said store was not open and we finally gave up around 11:35. We had a place to be after all--the hospital we'll be delivering at. We went on a tour of their maternity floor and both left in a state of disbelief--next time we come to this place, we will be leaving with a tiny human. Following the tour we headed back to the store to get my sister's present (they were finally open!) and had a quick lunch at Mary Coyle's. From there we rushed home to pick up a few things and then headed over to Heather and Paul's where I had "girl time" with Heather, Natalie, and Cristina and Jon ran off with Paul and J.O. for "man time." At 5:15 we left together for Jon's parent's house where we had dinner, then to Paul's parent's house to visit his mom who is recovering from a vicious dog attack, and then to a laser tag place to celebrate Nikki's birthday. Saturday was an exhausting day but well worth every second.

On Sunday morning we slept in a little before heading to the grocery store to buy supplies for dinner. We went to a later church service than usual because a couple in our small group was dedicating their sweet babe, Mary Jane, at it. Following church we headed straight to my parent's house for lunch. While there, we also helped set up a pack-n-play my mom got at as a huge steal to ensure all the pieces were included. We left my parent's around 5 and headed home where I made dinner--spicy thai beef noodle soup. Jon and I love this soup. We discovered it when I was on Weight Watcher's. We've varied it slightly--in the past we've used all beef broth, 1/2 beef & 1/2 chicken broth (currently our favorite version), and last night we tried 1/2 beef & 1/2 vegetable broth (not nearly as delish). I also added bok choy to last night's version. After dinner I wasn't feeling so great so I headed off to bed early and passed out fast.

It was easily the busiest weekend we've had in recent memory, but we were blessed that neither of us had copious amounts of homework to do. I have a video of Lillian from this weekend that I will try to get up soon because she's adorable and I will likely share more about our maternity tour in a later post.

Sadly I've come down with something, seemingly the flu. I'm feverish, achy and hazy and hoping this will pass quickly.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

the day i offered my firstborn for chicken salsa

So now that I'm nearing the halfway mark of this pregnancy (holy guacamole!) cravings are starting to hit in full force. And naturally, the main things I'm craving can only be found in Chicago.

I'm looking at you, Marcello's pizza/free flatbread crackers with herb butter, Treasure Island chicken salsa, and Joy Yee's spicy Korean vegetable dumplings.

I actually contacted Treasure Island pre-pregnancy to see if they could ship me a tub. Oh, I guess I should explain. Chicken salsa is the most disgusting-looking dip you'll lay eyes on. It looks like cat puke. But it tastes like heaven. Jon and I have been brainstorming for weeks how they make it. We're pretty sure it's a combo between shredded, slow-cooked chicken in Mexican seasoning, cream cheese, and salsa. It's addictive. For a while there it looked like Treasure Island would ship me some, but then my contact went cold and I haven't been able to re-establish a relationship since.

With regard to the other cravings, I know Lou Malnati's and a few other Chicago pizzerias have a setup where you can order a frozen pizza by mail and cook it at home, but Marcello's (our absolute favorite Chicago pizzeria/Italian restaurant) does not. Enter brilliant business venture that someone could make trillions off of. Companies set up hubs in major cities and take special requests from foodies and pregnant people everywhere and overnight you whatever your little heart desires (on dry ice, if necessary). The sky's the limit. Chicken salsa? Done. Marcello's pizza? Yours. Korean vegetable dumplings? Not sure how that will taste, but okay.

I was discussing my craving dilemma with Nikki and she offered up this website. Despite knowing the inevitable answer I'd get in the pit of my soul, I sent them a message.


I got a prompt saying I'd hear back within a day. Well, not even 20 minutes later I got a response from Debbie:


To be honest, I don't care if I profit off of this brilliant business plan. I'm a no risks kind of gal. In my entrepreneurship class our whole assignment was to come up with a business and write a venture plan. I literally emailed my professor and said, "I don't know what to do because I would never ever offer up my own credit/life savings to open a business and I don't have any desire to be a business owner." 

The moral of the story is you could buy my share of this venture idea/creative genius with a tub of chicken salsa. I just want my food. Before I'm seriously tempted to actually offer my firstborn.

Monday, February 20, 2012

baby's kicks

Happy President's Day!

I'm particularly excited about today because I don't have classes tonight. That gives me time to catch up on the homework I was unable to finish yesterday. Also, I was able to go to lunch with my friend, Nikki, to celebrate her birthday today which was a fun treat.

So onto the title of this post. Last night the babe was doing barrel rolls like crazy between 9 and 10 pm. Same thing this morning. Then I thought I may have felt the first distinguishable kick but I wasn't sure.

Around 3:00 I felt what was undeniably a kick. It was much stronger than the flick I felt this morning, but still too light to be felt from the outside. The 5 or so minutes surrounding the afternoon kick, the babe was very active. It's such a unique/amazing feeling and it is such a relief to know the baby's developing seemingly well. Hopefully Jon will be able to feel the baby's movements soon. He's eagerly thrown his hands onto my belly when I've said 'the babe is moving' but has yet to be confident he's felt something (there was one instance I'm pretty sure he felt it since he asked 'is that it!?' the second it was happening, but he's since written it off to being my pulse). In the meantime, I'm going to selfishly enjoy these little moments that only I can feel while I can :) What can I say? I'm smug.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

date day

Jon had off work yesterday so we devoted the day to a belated Valentine's celebration. It began with homemade butter waffles topped with a frozen fruit syrup that I made on the stove:
Mine
Jon's first 2 waffles
Jon's 3rd waffle
After breakfast we cleaned the house and met with a financial adviser. After the meeting, we headed to Sonic to partake in some deliciousness:
Blue coconut slush + pineapple for her, lemonberry cream slush for him
After Sonic we ran a few errands, ate lunch, took a delightful afternoon nap, then waited for the Time Warner guy to come fix our internet. After the internet was fixed we made ourselves dinner: bacon wrapped sirloin, buttered noodles, and asparagus from Aldi:

I'd been looking forward to that dinner literally all week. Naturally, a few bites in and the bean wasn't having any of it. The majority of my steak is currently in the fridge and I hope to attempt again in a few minutes. After dinner we headed to Target to buy a digital television antenna because we cancelled our cable. $70/month for television that we simply spent too much valuable time in front of was unjustifiable in our minds. I'm happy to report our one-time purchase of $25 for a quality antenna has resulted in fabulous clarity of the few channels we normally watched on our overpriced cable anyway. Once this was installed and tested I got a terrible headache that hasn't really gone away despite Jon going on a late-night Walgreen's Tylenol (the only OB-approved painkiller on my "okay to take" sheet) run. Despite the pregnancy-related bumps in date day, I'd say it was the best Valentine's Day we've ever celebrated together.

Friday, February 17, 2012

sixteen


We have a last-minute doctor's appointment this afternoon thanks to what appears to be another infection. I love how responsive my OB is when something unexpected like this comes up--they get me in right away to be seen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

on god's provision

Due to a series of miscommunications/misunderstandings with work, I went from believing my maternity leave would be covered via short-term disability (60% of my salary for my 6 weeks of leave) to discovering there is no coverage at all.


Ensue panic attack. Would I just not take a full 6 weeks? Should I try to get a 2nd job this summer when school ends? Try to babysit on the weekends? I was at a loss.


Since Jon is working towards his Bachelor's degree right now, his schedule does not afford him the luxury of anything other than a minimum-wage job. Furthermore, because of his schedule, the max he could work per week is probably 30 hours, but that would be totally pushing it. As a result, I currently [while Jon is in school] carry much of our financial load and the thought of us being without 3 of my paychecks while on maternity leave was more than daunting. We began crunching numbers and praying. I reached out to a few girlfriends for added prayer and advice. Heather mentioned to me how her maternity leave was unpaid as well (and she and Paul had a similar financial situation as Jon and I at the time) and "it was tough but we never went without a meal or running water." That girl is wise beyond her years.

Well, it didn't even take a few days from finding out maternity leave was unpaid to seeing God's provisions pour into our family. We did a preliminary filing of our taxes using H&R Block's online software. We're still waiting on a form from Jon's community college for Spring 2011 and one from the bank we have a mutual fund invested in, but they are otherwise filed.

And guess what.

Our tax refund this year--thanks to some lovely tax credits relating to Jon and I both being full-time students in 2011--covers my lost salary for my entire maternity leave... and then some. Then, even better news. Thanks to our general home-body nature, I had racked up quite a few vacation hours at work. Enough so to take a full 2 weeks of paid vacation during my maternity leave and still have a few days leftover to use in the event something unexpected happens once the baby arrives/maternity leave is over. To say I feel relieved, blessed, and beyond humbled by God's faithfulness would be an understatement. I wish my first reaction hadn't been to figure out how I can earn more money in the meantime, but rather to turn to God for guidance. This was a huge lesson for me about how I need to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the question that changed everything

Three years ago today, Jon proposed. It's amazing to look back at the evolution of our relationship to see where we are today--our last Valentine's Day as a twosome.

We never make a big deal of the holiday itself, but since we won't have alone time this time next year I'm particularly sentimental. We're cooking a fancy dinner/dessert together on Saturday since we're both off of work. I decided to surprise him with chocolate covered grapes and strawberries. He decided to surprise me with a red velvet and a mint chocolate cupcake. Can you tell we're total foodies/I'm totally pregnant?

Sidenote: Malley's has hands down the best hot fudge ever created. If you have an opportunity to buy a jar, just do it.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

quick baby update

We had our monthly check-up with our doctor on Friday afternoon. It was a very brief appointment--mostly to check in and see how my morning sickness was doing and to listen to the babe's heartbeat. I was able to report back that I was able to eat full meals for the first time in months and I gained a couple of pounds! I'm pretty sure this is the only time in my life I've been excited to gain weight. My blood pressure was exactly where it needed to be which was another good thing.

When the doctor began searching for the heartbeat with the Doppler, she found it after about 30 seconds. However, the babe must have realized this and promptly moved so she lost the heartbeat. She continued her search for another minute or so until she was able to locate the bean. Even when she found the heartbeat she could tell the baby was still moving around because it would get fainter and then louder and fluctuate in volume. She remarked that we have a very active baby--no surprise there given the parents. The heartbeat was 160 beats per minute and was "perfect." Overall, it was a great visit and at our appointment next month we'll actually be seeing the baby for our 20-week anatomical scan. We can't wait to see pictures of our little peanut!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

valentine's flowers

Today Jon and I braved this February snowstorm to close one (of 2) savings accounts and get groceries. We're big fans of Aldi because their prices are amazing and the quality of the food has definitely gotten better in recent years. We figured out when our local Aldi gets produce shipments (Fridays) so grocery shopping on the weekend affords us the best selection of fresh fruit and vegetables.

While shopping today we noticed they had a ton of roses for $3.99/half dozen. We normally don't do anything special for Valentine's Day, but since this is our last one just the two of us I've found myself very sentimental about it. We decided we're going to cook a fancy dinner/dessert together and just have a night in. Unfortunately for us, Tuesday nights I have class and Jon works. However, Jon miraculously has next Saturday off so we're going to celebrate then.

Back to the roses. I'm a sucker for flowers--not because of the status symbol attached to being given them as a gift but because of their smell. They make spring seem promisingly close as I long for reprieve from frigid snowy days. Jon encouraged me to pick out a bouquet because I normally wouldn't spend any money on fresh flowers. We chose this one:


Incidentally, a certain baby thought we bought them just for her:

If you look hard enough you can see our snowstorm outside the window
I was beyond pleased with our find. They bring a little bit of life to our dining room, plus I love smelling them.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

sh sh shaking

Ya'll. It's finally back.


Not sure what you're looking at? Educate yoself. I was ecstatic when I saw a friend post a picture of his own on Facebook last night. Today I called the Independence McMansion to inquire if they had the goods. They did. I made an 11 a.m. trip. Baby Flip was ecstatic at the time, what with its major sweet tooth like its daddy.   I proceeded to drink 2/3 of it until Baby Flip decided the shamrock shake was not nearly as appetizing as it thought. That's when I realized I'm probably shamrocked out for the season. It was good while it lasted, friend. See you next year!

P.S. I'm starting to feel weird referring to the babe as an 'it'. Any suggestions on gender neutral alternatives?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

quickening

As of today (14 weeks and 4 days) I'm about 60% sure I'm feeling baby's movements.

It's still very early so I could definitely be wrong. I was sitting at my desk this morning with a space heater fan blowing on my legs on the floor. I noticed this weird vibration feeling on my lower abdomen and thought, "that's weird, the fan must be making my shirt vibrate." You know how if you hold a piece of stiffer fabric up to a fan the edges almost flutter? That's what I was picturing the sensation as.

I felt it intermittently throughout the day while sitting at my desk and just thought it was so strange that for literally weeks I've had the fan in the same spot and not experienced such a sensation. Around lunch time I looked down and realized I was wearing a very thick sweater. A not-so-easy-to-vibrate-by-a-measly-fan sweater. That coupled with the connection that many women describe baby's first movements as "butterflies fluttering in your belly" and the fact that I had written it off to a fan-induced fluttering shirt sensation made me pay some closer attention as the day progressed.

Some of my hesitations about thinking this is the baby's movement include:
1. It's still very early in the pregnancy. The first time women feel their baby move ranges from 13-26 weeks. At just over 14 weeks, this would be pretty surprising to me.
2. The sensation is very rapid. It almost feels like a very, VERY light drum roll in my tummy. Too rapid to be kicks (I would think).
3. It's very faint and very intermittent. Each flutter lasts maybe 5-6 seconds, if that.

Supposedly the sensation gets stronger/more regular with time. If this sensation keeps up over the coming days I'll probably up my confidence level. Suffice to say, if baby is indeed active enough this early for me to feel its movements it's safe to say this child is going to be a busy body like its mama (and we were hoping for a relaxed little bean like its dad!).

Monday, February 6, 2012

three cheers for five years

On this date five years ago, Jon asked me to be his girlfriend. Officially. Everyone knew we were basically exclusive by Christmas of 2006 (Jon told me he loved me for the first time that Christmas Eve), but I had made this little pact with God back in the summer of 2006 that I wouldn't have a boyfriend for at least six months while I worked on myself and my relationship with Him. Naturally, I met Jon not long after that little deal. I made it clear to Jon from the beginning--February 6 would be the expiration date of my 6-month no dating ban and he was not to ask me to be his girlfriend until then. He complied willingly.

Anyway, the morning of February 6 Jon called me bright and early (we're talking 6 a.m. early) to tell me I needed to go on my front porch. In a tired daze I angrily asked why it had to be done this second. "Just do it, please?" Sitting on our front porch on that below-freezing morning was a white rose with a note attached to it. It said something along the lines of, "I love you so much. I hope you have a wonderful day!" At the time I had a thing for white roses--I think I had read in a book (or probably saw in some rom com) a quote along the lines of 'white roses are so gentle and don't force you to love them like a red rose does.' I was such a cliche high schooler.
One of the earliest pictures of us together (taken on my cell phone, hence the low quality).
I spent my day at the community college for my post-secondary enrollment option wondering when the actual question would come (because I knew it would happen that day). I daydreamed about how he was going to ask. Would he show up at the college? Would he write a lovely message on my car windows? The sky was the limit. When I had finished all my classes and returned to my car (with no grand gestures written) I was a little bummed and confused. When I got home, I walked in the front door and noticed that each step leading upstairs had a white rose with a note attached to it gently placed. Knowing Jon had to be there, I quickly grabbed each rose and ran to the top of the stairs. He came out of my little living room up there and exasperatedly asked, "did you read each note as you came up the stairs!?" "Oh, uh... no." He gathered the bouquet from me and rifled through the cards, handing me them one at a time. In more or less words, each note had one word on it that ultimately asked me if I would do him the honor of being his girlfriend. He had the final rose, a red rose, which said 'girlfriend?' on the note and he gave that to me at the end.
Another earlier picture. Jon had moved to AZ at this point and when I visited we made a trip to the San Diego Zoo. Look at how long Jon's hair was!!
Being the comedy-is-my-defense-mechanism girl I am, I proceeded to reply something along the lines of "nah, I don't think so........ JUST KIDDING!"

Oh the look on his face. I was such a jerk. But then I kissed him and he hugged me and everything was okay. I then proceeded to inform him that it would be a tall order for him to come up with a wedding proposal that topped that one day. Suffice to say, he handled that task pretty well.

Happy [dating] anniversary, love! I'm so glad you chose to love me and ask me to be yours!
Visiting Jon in Arizona. By this point he had a Britney episode and had shaved his long hair off.

Friday, February 3, 2012

fourteen

Belly is basically unchanged from last week. I'm hoping that's not a bad sign! 


I am happy to announce the arrival of the 2nd trimester. Second tri, your presence has been much desired for about 2 months. Please, make yourself comfortable now that I am!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

gender poll

Jon and I knew well before we got pregnant that we would like to be surprised by the gender of each of our children. Rather, Jon would like to be surprised and I'm more or less along for the ride because he knows I wouldn't be able to keep a secret like that.

Since we decided we want to wait til Baby Flip makes his or her debut to find out if the babe is a little girl or boy, I added a poll to the right sidebar on my blog. Feel free to chime in with what you think we're having as I continue to share our pregnancy journey.

And in case you're wondering whether we have a preference, we somewhat do. I'm team girl and Jon is team boy. A lot of it has to do with him growing up with only a brother/me growing up with only a sister--neither of us know what to do with a baby of the opposite gender! Ironically enough, I'm thinking we're having a boy and Jon thinks we're having a girl. Obviously we will be thrilled no matter the outcome. As a result of not knowing, we've decided to go with the color orange (and accents of teal) for our nursery. An added perk of not knowing is gender neutral items (which are much more difficult to come by than I realized) will easily be used across what will hopefully be several of our future children. If any of you stumble across cute pins on Pinterest or other web-related inspiration for our nursery, feel free to send them my way! We're leaning towards an eclectic bicycle/elephant themed nursery with the occasional owl. I know, it makes no sense.

And when the time comes for us to post our 20-week ultrasound, I don't want any of you medical professionals/ultrasound technicians chiming in with our baby's gender please! :)