Wednesday, December 30, 2009

22 weeks

Past the halfway point! In about a week we get the big ultrasound and will hopefully find out if we're having a baby girl or boy. Not too much has changed in the last few weeks. The kicks are much stronger, more frequent, and I am bigger. All of a sudden everyone can tell I'm pregnant... and they all want to rub my belly. A few times when a STRANGER has put their hand on my stomach, I have done it right back to them. That usually gets the point across quickly.

The baby is most active right after I wake up, after I eat, after I drink, and at night when I rest. Basically it is kicking or squirming all the time. You can feel movements from the outside, but every time Jerad puts his hand on my stomach the baby stops moving. Probably because his hands are bigger and warm. My hands are always like ice so it makes the baby kick more if I put my hand where it is:) I get regular kicks to the bladder which is less than awesome.

I started waking up to pee again during the night. Oh the joys right? My back isn't so happy about this growing belly of mine. I have to do some yoga stretches every night or it really aches. I've been trying to do lots of squats to prepare those muscles too. Squats are a lot harder when all your weight is sitting on your stomach! I've been doing really well on my diet and exercising and still trying to get better at lifting weights. I try to do 10 minutes of arm exercises at night. I listen to my Hypnobabies Positive Pregnancy Affirmations while I exercise, so get to kill 2 birds with one stone there.

Last night I had a migraine that was so painful I threw up 4 times. But, I didn't pass out or loose my vision which are migraine induced symptoms I used to suffer from.

Before it sounds like I'm complaining too much, for the most part I feel really great. I have ten days off from work which has been amazing. I survived Yosemite (pics to come soon), the only difference this year was I had to take a little nap in the afternoon. This week has been great because I've been able to rest when I feel like I need to. If only they gave us a nap break at work, I'd be perfect:) Its been fun playing the housewife and having dinner ready for Jerad when he comes home, the laundry done, and all those things I could be more on top of if I didn't work as much. One day maybe....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

I hope you're relaxing and have some fun plans for the day. Me? I'm at work. Annnnd it is super slow because all of our customers are closed today. Since I got here an hour and 45 minutes ago, the phone has rang ONCE. And it was Jerad....

I shouldn't complain though. We are working today but have the entire next week off. So, 10 days off all together. I was pretty stressed about being at work when there is so much to do to get ready for Christmas, and camping, and all those other little last minute things. Oh hello laundry! But it's alright because I have a great husband and wonderful mother-in-law who are going to be at our house today working on those last minute baking and packing things that I can't do. Jerad is cleaning and packing the car, then they are making our breakfast potatoes for camping, fresh squeezed OJ and cinnamon roll dough for tomorrow morning and dinner for tonight. I'm pretty lucky. All I need to do when I get home is pack our clothes, wrap a few more presents, and write out thank you cards.

Tonight we are going to a Christmas Eve service and Jerad's dad is going to be singing a few songs. After that Jerad's parents and brother are all coming back to our house for a taco dinner and opening presents. I'm excited. I love it when people open presents. I've been trying to get Jerad to open his for about 2 weeks now, ever since I put it under the tree. He won't go for it. Killjoy:) I'm also so happy it worked out that we get to spend time with both of our families before we leave for Yosemite. I wasn't sure if it would work out since we're going on Christmas this year.

Joey is going to come camping with us now which will be fun. He hasn't been to Yosemite for a long time and him and Addy are little buddies so it will just be one big family trip!It will be nice to have another guy there to help with the manly things like starting fires and chopping wood and doing dishes in frozen water too. Okay, that last one may have been a fantasy on my part:)

Now we just have to figure out the logistics of getting 4 people, 3 large dogs, a ton of firewood and food and all our camping stuff to fit into one vehicle. Hmmm. Also the minute detail that we don't have enough food since we added a person... Addy eats like an ant so maybe we'll be fine in the food department actually. Oh well, I'm at work so I don't have to deal with it right?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gingerbread Extravaganza

Somehow I never posted these pictures! This is one of our new favorite traditions. My sister's inlaws host what I've started referring to as a "Gingerbread Extravaganza." (see last year here).

It consists of lots of candy:

Lots of gingerbread:

Lots of goofballs:

Lots of fun:

and results in lots of cute houses!

This year Jerad and I baked our own gingerbread:

And made a barn!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Diet and Exercise

Before getting pregnant I ate very healthy. LOTS of fresh vegetables and fruits that were mostly organic, a variety of fish, organic meat and dairy if I ate either one... no fruit juice, no refined sugars, very very little white flour, no artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives or other additives... you get the picture.

After getting pregnant I have been trying to follow the Bradley Diet (or Brewer Diet):

Every day of the week you and your baby should have:
  1. One quart (4 glasses) or more of milk. Any kind will do: whole milk, low fat, skim, buttermilk, or cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc....

  2. Two eggs, (hard boiled, in french toast, or added to other foods).

  3. One or two servings of fish or seafood, liver, chicken, lean beef, lamb, pork, beans or any kind of cheese.

  4. One or two good servings of fresh green leafy vegetables: mustard, collard, turnip greens, spinach, lettuce, or cabbage.

  5. Two or three slices of whole wheat bread, cornmeal, cornbread, or tortillas.

  6. A piece of citrus fruit or glass of juice of lemon, lime, orange, tomato, or grapefruit.

  7. Three pats of butter.

  8. Other fruits and vegetables.

Also include in your diet:
  1. A serving of whole grain cereal such as oatmeal or granola.

  2. A yellow or orange-colored fruit or vegetable five times a week.

  3. Liver once a week. (if you like it)

  4. Whole baked potato three times a week.

  5. Plenty of fluids, water, juice etc.

  6. Salt food to taste for a safe increase in blood volume.

You may substitute proteins if you wish, being sure your proteins are complete, and that you get approximately 100 grams per day, If you substitute, also be sure all the elements necessary for a well balanced diet are available every day.

You can read more about it here.

Um... do you know how hard it is for someone who doesn't really eat meat to consume 100 grams of protein a DAY? Also... I don't normally drink milk or eat butter.

I have a real issue cooking meat so Jerad has taken over the cooking. I still don't really eat a lot of meat and try to do things like make complete proteins out of beans and rice. Paige gave me the great idea of making a salami breakfast sandwich. I take a whole wheat english muffin, put salami and swiss cheese on it, toast it in the over for 3 minutes, and wha la! 25 grams of protein right off the bat. Salami is also my weakness as far as lunch meats go so it was the PERFECT solution.

I have started drinking a little more milk, but mostly substitute yogurt or cottage cheese. I also drink about 10-12 8oz glasses of water a day, and one or two cups of red raspberry leaf tea.

The hardest part of following this diet is not going overboard on calories. I fully realize that I'm not "eating for two," and only need to consume about 300 more cals. a day than I did before I was pregnant. Do you know how much 300 calories is? About an apple and 2 slices of cheese. Ya, not much. Not drinking wine regularly gave me some "free" calories to play with, and instead of ranch dressing we've been making a mixture of a few table spoons of milk and goat cheese (yes I absolutely still eat soft cheeses) with dill.

As of this morning when I weighed myself (20.5 weeks) I have gained 12.4 pounds since conceiving so I guess I'm doing alright so far. I also take this prenatal vitamin:
Which is actually 6 pills a day. You can click the nutrition facts to enlarge:

I decided on this particular vitamin because all of the ingredients are food based instead of synthetic. So, they are absorbed by the body much easier. There are no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives. Also, as much as I hate taking 6 horse pills a day, I think it is much more beneficial to spread out the vitamins throughout the day instead of just getting it all in one dose. It also contains ingredients you won't find in many other prenatals: red raspberry leaf extract, alfalfa, chamomile extract, and ginger root juice.

Besides being very careful about my diet, I am also trying to work on my exercising. I had a gym membership that ended in October so since then working out hasn't been as easy. I've been walking everywhere that I can. To the bank, to the store, if I'm meeting someone downtown, on my lunch breaks. I've been walking 1-2 miles about 5 times a week. I also do yoga which really helps my aching back. I would love love love to join a prenatal yoga or pilates class, but none of the schedules work for me and I always think I'd rather spend the money on something else. Like prenatal massages:) I wish.

I've started doing squats and lunges, but what I really need to do is weights. My arm strength is just GONE after quitting the gym. Its probably good I don't have a baby right now... I might not be able to pick it up! jk.

It is really hard to work full time AND still find time to do everything. I'm glad I work, I like having the $$ to do the things we want and it keeps me busy but seriously, there are only so many hours in a day. It takes up 12 hours of the day just getting ready, getting to work, staying for my shift, then getting home. Then no matter what there is making and cleaning up dinner, cleaning, 45 minutes of hypnobabies, the dogs, talking to Jerad... its hard to find time for exercising, still having a social life, and having time to relax before bed. The weekends somehow manage to be even more hectic than work days. I am so lucky to have Jerad, he is such a help! I guess we can always sleep when we're dead right?

I think I need to start using my home organization binder again. It really streamlined our chores and having a schedule made things a lot easier. Also since I've been so forgetful it would help remind me of important things. I think I'll make that my goal for this weekend!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

At least we had beans....

The last few weeks I haven't been completely 'on the ball' shall we say. I forget things. Like a lot. One of them is going to the grocery store on a regular basis. Jerad has pretty much taken over the cooking, but not so much the shopping. Tonight we went to make dinner and discovered that basically all we had was an onion, various beans, cheese, flour and corn meal. Neither one of us wanted to make a store run so we decided to make due.

Vegetarian chili and corn bread! I started on the chili and Jerad started on the cornbread.... and discovered we were out of milk. So, he got to go to the market after all.

The good news is, dinner was delicious.

Its beginning to look a lot like....

Christmas! Our tree is up and decorated, our Christmas signs are hung, Christmas cookies made and given out, and lights are shining. I can't believe its only 11 days away. I got an early start this year, bought my mom's Christmas present on Mother's day, bought my dad's about a month after.... then I sort of just stopped. I think I'm mostly caught up now, I just need to get Jerad's present and I'm done with shopping.

My sister and her husband wanted us to find them presents out of stuff we already had this year. I was excited about the idea, but having a really hard time coming up with gifts. Then I thought of the.most.perfect.thing. I think its better than anything we could have bought them, I'm soo excited! Jerad's family does a gift exchange which makes it super easy. I drew one of Jerad's brother in laws and already sent the present with his mom who was visiting for Thanksgiving.

Figuring out this year's Christmas schedule has been hard. My sister and her husband are going to be out of town this year. Normally Jerad and I leave the day after Christmas for our annual Yosemite trip, but because of Jerad's days off this year, we have to leave ON Christmas. We'll come back Monday. In light of all the drama with his sister this year, plus our time limitations, I think we are leaning towards just doing Christmas with my family this time and maybe Christmas Eve with his parents instead of trying to spread ourselves too thin. His extended family does a dinner/gift exchange about a week before Christmas so we'll get to see them as well. They found out I bake pies a few years ago, so we are in charge of pies. Now that I have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, making the dough will be a million times easier!

Since our house is so "Christmas-y," we're going to do Christmas Day there. It will work out perfectly because we can pack the car the night before, then everyone show up in the morning for breakfast and presents, and after wards just load the dogs and Addy in the car and go! Well, assuming that Jerad, I, Addy, 3 large dogs, all of our stuff and firewood for 4 days can somehow fit in our small SUV.

I'm really excited about Yosemite. I know I won't be the most comfortable, and probably not up to long icy hikes, but its our special thing and I'm sure we won't be snow camping this time next year:) Actually, maybe we can take the baby and stay in the Lodge. That would be a fun change! Usually we go with a few friends but this year we're just taking my littlest sister Addy and the dogs. It will be her first time as well as Wyatt's.

I keep checking the weather report hoping for snow, so far there is snow on the ground but its not that deep. Which reminds me... we don't have snow chains for the new Kia. I should probably get on that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Decorations

Christmas at the Brown Hutchinson house 2009

(this is a piece of copper coated mistletoe Noah and Lucinda gave us for our wedding. we kiss every time we walk under it. presh)

Jerad got sick before finishing the outside lights, but this is what we have so far:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas bling

If you want to die happier... and fatter

Here is the Nanaimo Bar recipe we used for the cookie exchange:

Nanaimo Bars
Adapted from The City of Nanaimo
Printable Recipe
Makes ~50 bars

Bottom Layer
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
½ c. Heath toffee bits (optional)

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, nuts, and toffee if using. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.

Middle Layer
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. half-and-half
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder or powdered vanilla pudding mix
2 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Top Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer. Chill in refrigerator for several hours before cutting and serving. Cut into small pieces, they’re rich!

Weekends make the rest worth it.

We had a great weekend. Which was a good thing because the week was pretty crappy. Jerad stayed home sick Monday-Wednesday which is pretty rare for him because he usually just goes to work no matter what.

It was hard on all of us. He gets so bored being stuck on the couch so he gets antsy and grumpy. It was raining so all the dogs were cooped up inside, and I get so tired after working 10 hr shifts then had to come home, take care of everyone, feed and play with the dogs,then vacuum and mop up since the floors get dirty so fast having all the pets stuck in the living room.

Jerad kept downing goldenseal echinacea, collodial silver, B vitamins, and D3. I made lots of fresh ginger tea to help with the sore throat. He was only sick for 3 days and most of his coworkers have been getting sick for longer so I think his "treatment plan" was pretty effective.

The contractor was at our house every day mudding and floating the shower walls. Friday they started the tile, it looks amazing! I can't wait to see if they finished while I was at work today:)

Tuesday I went to a super fun cookie exchange party at my friend Kari's house. Her house is like a winter wonderland, it puts mine to shame. I made nainamo bars (technically Jerad did) and they were so scrumpteous I gave them all away before I was tempted to abandon my pregnancy weight gain goals.

Friday I walked down town and met my mom for lunch to celebrate her birthday. We ate at Panolivo and then went and saw A Christmas Carol in 3D. It was amazing. After that we went to a few baby stores so she could get an idea of the kind of things I liked. Its finally starting to feel real, like, there's going to be a baby living at our house in a few months. Craaaaazy.

Saturday Jerad and I got up early and walked downtown and had brunch together. In the rain. I've been trying to walk at least 2 miles a day.... the weather isn't making it easy on me! After brunch we checked out a few Antique stores while we waited for the rain to calm down. We spent the rest of the day doing some last minute Christmas shopping. Saturday night we went to our annual 13th St. block party. It was at our next door neighbor's house this year so we didn't have to go far. It was pouring rain, I felt so bad for all the people that were trying to enjoy Vine Street! After spending a few hours there, we went over to my parents house and watched "It's a Wonderful Life." One of my all time favorite movies. We didn't get home until almost midnight.

I have been sleeping SO MUCH BETTER now that I've started listening to my Hypnobabies tracks every night. Sometimes Jerad listens to them too, he likes the sound of the speakers voice:) I think I'm going to order the "Peaceful Sleep for All" CD.

Sunday we spent from 9am-5:30pm balancing check registers and bank statements, setting up our Dave Ramsey budget for next year, and deep cleaning the house. I was having one of those OCD days where I couldn't rest until every piece of laundry was washed and put away, and the furniture was dusted from top to bottom, and the floors and baseboards were all washed. The good news is we started off the week with a squeaky clean casa!

We had dinner at my parents. I was yawning and falling asleep at about 8pm (yeay pregnancy!) but Jerad and my dad talked about solar and compressed gas cars and who knows what else until almost 10pm. Boys. I also learned that my mom had really wanted to have a homebirth with me, but since they lived so far from the hospital no midwives would attend. So, she had a midwife attended hospital birth instead! I heart having hippie parents.

The only downer of the weekend was that my mom was planning on taking us on a 7 day cruise the end of January as a Christmas present (awesome I know), but none of the Cruise Lines she was looking at let pregnant women on board after 23 weeks. I'll be closer to 27. So.... major bummer. I think Jerad might have cried. He offered to go with my parents without me. Cause he's caring like that:)

The tentative plan is to try to go the next year. Hopefully that works out!

Today was a long/busy/drama day at work. I am more than ready to go home. Tonight Jerad is going to go workout with Beth and Tyson and I think I'm going to go home, make some pizza dough, see what veggies we have to throw on it, and take a nap while it bakes. Sounds kiiinda like heaven:)

If we can make it through this week, we have an awesome weekend planned. Saturday we are hanging out with the McDermotts and Hamiltons and going to a live nativity then having a potluck dinner, and Sunday we are going to the 2nd annual gingerbread making party at my sister's inlaw's house. Last year was a blast!

Only a few more days to get through.... I can do this, I can do this....

Friday, December 11, 2009

I love Beth

This is the fairy tale that should have been read to us when we were little:

Once upon a time in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle. The frog hopped into the princess' lap and said: "Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper, young prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in your castle with my mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so."

That night, as the princess dined sumptuously on lightly sautéed frog legs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled and thought to herself: I don't fucking think so.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

3rd Midwife Appointment

19 weeks

Stats from the appointment:
I am 19.3 weeks along and measuring 21 weeks. We both think the baby is just high and I'm not really further along. Although that would be nice
The baby's heartbeat was about 140 bpm and strong.
I've gained 11.2 pounds.
I'm a little anemic but not enough to worry about too much so the midwife advised me to try to correct it with diet before thinking about supplements.

Everything is going great! I feel awesome (except more tired and spacey for sure), can feel the baby kick/move constantly and sometimes Jerad can feel it too. We have the anatomy scan ultrasound on Jan 7th and hopefully will find out girl/boy then.

In the beginning we both really wanted to do a homebirth. For the last 2 years we've both done so much research and just decided that it was the better fit and safer choice. There are basically 2 midwifes in our area that will attend home births. One moved, and the other is on vacation around my due date. So... that option was out. I've been seeing the nurse midwives at Creating Harmony in SLO as the next "best" option and planning on delivering at French because they have lower intervention rates than our other hospitals and a nicer birth center than doesn't
feel as "medical."

Lately I've been having second thoughts about Creating Harmony. A homebirth is something that was really important to me and something that we had talked about a lot. Even though this is my first (viable) pregnancy, I have no fears or reservations about labor, or the ability of my body to birth a child. I loved the idea of having my appointments at home and not being just one of the many people the provider saw that day. Hospitals are so sterile feeling (yet full of germs) and everything about them makes me nervous. Deciding to birth at French was not a decision that we arrived at easily. After my second appointment I felt that although I was seeing midwives, the office still felt so OB-ish. They still offered tests and screenings that Jerad and I don't feel are necessary and had to turn down. Maybe I should just switch to an OB that is closer to home so I don't have to travel as far to appointments, and would cost less money?

We decided to bring up our concerns at our 3rd appointment, and if we weren't happy with the responses, to find another option. I am so glad I spoke up, I feel sooo much better now!

Their practice only performs about 1-2 episiotomies per year. Instead they bring a crock pot with warm washcloths to the hospital to encourage stretching and do perineal massage with olive oil to prevent tears. Most patients don't require any stitching.
They don't artificially rupture membranes.
They only augment labor with pitocin in extreme circumstances.
They don't induce you if you go over 40 weeks (which almost ALL of the OB's in our area don't let you go past 41), and once you get to 42 weeks they do a non stress test and as long as baby is fine and there is enough amniotic fluid, they will let you continue pregnancy until you naturally
go into labor.
Their c-section rate is 7-9% and only that high because the OB sees high
risk patients. In case you didn't know, our national average is 32% (the World Health Organization recommends 5-10% and says anything over 15% is completely excessive) and SLO county is at almost 40%.
There are no restrictions on movement during labor or delivery and they encourage different positions for pushing.
They also encourage eating and drinking during labor.
There are no time limits on labor or pushing as long as the baby isn't under stress.

That's just the ones I remember. Basically the midwife we talked to had research based answers that were completely in line with what we want for every concern that was brought up. I have a better attitude now to say the least. Our next appointment (besides the Jan 7th ultra) is January 14th. I'll be 24.5 weeks.

In other news, we also started our Hypnobabies classes, decided on a pediatrician (Dr. Bravo in SLO), and I think we found a Doula. She is about my age, married, lives in Paso, and loves crafting. So we have a lot in common! Besides that, she is also a photographer! So, she offers maternity pics, labor and birth pics, and newborn photos. This is awesome because we had wanted a birth photographer and would have probably gotten maternity and post natal shots as well. I feel like everything is coming together.

In another month or so we'll start on the nursery, I am VERY excited about that!!! Jerad wants to surprise me, so he asked me to get together some pictures of things I like and he'll put it all together and do an "unveiling." The themes we are thinking about are a Johnny Cash/Western theme for a boy (then we could hang all Jerad's guitars on the wall and keep the stand-up bass in there), or a sparrow/bird theme with distressed furniture, mostly in teal. Either way Jerad wants to build custom paneling and put up crown molding which will look amazing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Half way done!

Wow. It is hard to think that in a few days, I will officially be halfway through this pregnancy. Only 20 more weeks to go? I can't believe how fast it has flown by. In just 7 weeks I'll be in the third trimester. Yikes. Overall, this pregnancy gig has been a piece of cake. Besides the occasional bout of nausea, I feel grrrrrrrrreat!

Over the last week or so I've began to think that the baby is zapping all of my brain power. A few days ago I was in the back of the house and Jerad was in the kitchen looking for corn chips. He asked me if I knew where they were and I told him something to the effect of "where they go." AKA the food cupboard. He kept saying that he couldn't find them and I was getting more and more annoyed because he can never find ANYTHING. Um.... turns out I had put them away in the fridge. oops.

The next night I was looking for my favorite candle that gets moved room to room. Except I couldn't remember what a "candle" was called, so I asked where the "thing that you catch on fire and smells good" was. Niiiice.

My hygiene is improving because I keep forgetting that I've washed it and reapplying shampoo 3 times, I keep accidentally putting soap on my tooth brush, and I forget I've put on deodorant so I do it again. I am def squeaky clean lately.

Yesterday afternoon while at work I had to run out to my car to grab something. It was raining so I grabbed it, then made a mad dash back to the door. Its one of those doors where you have to enter a combo to get in, like this:

Now... I have to enter this combo every day. Multiple times. My fingers usually just do it without me even thinking about it. Not so much yesterday. I entered the combo, and it beeped at me because it was wrong. Huh. I did it again. Still wrong. I started trying all sorts of other things I thought it "might be." After about 11 attempts, while standing in the rain, I gave up and had to walk all the way around the building.

I've started having to get up to go to the bathroom again in the middle of the night. Sometimes twice. usually it takes me awhile to fall asleep. It seems like the second I do fall asleep, the 6am alarm is going off and its time for me to get up and get ready for work. Oh well, in another 20 weeks I'll be woken up all throughout the night so I might as well get used to it right?

One of my favorite things so far about being pregnant (besides the fact that we'll have a baby in a few short months of course), is my parents. My mom is SO excited. As is my dad. As soon as we told them my dad went out and picked a bunch of pomegranates, broccoli, and parsley to send us home with because its "good for the baby." I think my mom is looking forward to finding out the sex even more than we are if that's possible. They bought and delivered maternity clothes which was such a blessing because I can't fit into any of my old pants. My dad has called me a few times just because, which is something he didn't do before. He had a hernia surgery a few days ago and I went by to bring him some fresh squeezed carrot juice and see how he was feeling. My mom couldn't wait to tell me that they told all the nurses at the surgery center that they were going to be grandparents soon. Its soo adorable to see them so excited, I can't wait until we actually have the baby!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Then, and now

Man, you guys are relentless about belly pics. If I don't document them, I can pretend I wasn't getting so big!

For a point of reference, here I was at 7 weeks:

Then at 17:

I guess when you start out small once your uterus gets to the size of a cantaloupe there is nowhere for it to go but out. And that was just 17 weeks, I'm almost 19 now and already bigger.

All in all I feel fantastic and currently *love* being pregnant. The first trimester has come and gone and it was cake. I never had any morning sickness, just the occasional bout of nausea. I was a bit fatigued, but since I work 10 hour shifts I haven't had time for extra rest. During the weekends I would take a short cat nap if I could. I had to pee it seemed like every hour, and woke up a few times during the night. That wasn't too convenient on our 2 week cross country trip when we were camping and going to the bathroom entailed taking a literal hike. Or in Yosemite camping when I'd have to get out of bed in the freezing cold, get dressed and put on shoes, then walk all the way to the bathrooms and back. Jerad was a good sport about waking up and walking with me. Thank goodness the frequent toilet trips are over:) The hardest part of the first trimester was my non existent sex drive. I was NOT expecting that one.

The second trimester has brought less nausea, less bathroom trips, and more excitement. I have tons of energy, however I get worn out much faster than I used to. I've had a few craving for things like Carls Jr. (sick!), fried foods, white bread, ice cream, AMERICAN CHEESE... all things I would never eat or even think about. Loosing weight over the last 2 years has taught me to discipline myself enough to not give into unhealthy cravings, so I just brush them off and have a small healthy snack most of the time. There may have been one pancake run. At 11pm.

I've been following a special pregnancy diet, which I'll write more about later.

I've had a few pretty bad headaches, but before being pregnant I would get migraines so bad that I'd get nose bleeds, loose vision, and literally pass out. After trying all sorts of natural treatments, medications, chiropractors, hormone creams, I FINALLY got relief after being put on the anti seizure med Topamax about 2 years ago. Although they say it won't cause any adverse effects until possible the last trimester, I stopped taking it as soon as I found out I was pregnant at 6 weeks. I was worried my migraines would start up again and didn't know what to do. I don't know if its luck, pregnancy hormones, or what but I have only had a few bad headaches since being med free and no blackouts/nosebleeds/vision loss. I hope it keeps up!

The only "bad" thing so far has been the crazy round ligament pain. Which is bearable, but certainly not pleasant. The other thing I'm having a hard time with is people thinking being pregnant equals being disabled. I shouldn't have to carry things, wash dishes, or walk across the parking lot. Jerad tells me to just enjoy it, but for the most part it drives me crazy that people treat me like I'm incapable of doing anything. If I took everyone's advice, I would be "eating for two" (um, one of the "two" only weighs 6 ounces and certainly doesn't need its own 1500-2000 calories), and getting no excercise because I certainly shouldn't have to lift a finger:)

I felt the baby move the first time at almost 16 weeks. Jerad felt it for the first time on Thanksgiving, so around 18 weeks. Everyone kept telling me "just wait until you feel the baby move, it's the most exciting thing!" Honestly, I'm not in love with the feeling. I feel like something is crawling around inside of me. Maybe it will be different when its bigger and stronger?

My parents are over the moon about becoming grandparents soon. My dad is not usually a mushy person, but as soon as he found out told me and Jerad all about how wonderful it is to be a parent and how babies are the best blessings. My mom is already stressing about what she wants to be called (she doesn't feel old enough to be called "grandma" since she's not even 50), and already ran out and bought me a bunch of maternity clothes. This will be the first grandchild on my side of the family. About 2 years ago my mom bought a stroller, car seat, and playpen "just in case" and my dad has frequently reminded Jerad that all of his friends already have grand kids.

So that's about it for now. Sorry this isn't the most coherent post. my brain isn't functioning at 100% lately. Last night I couldn't remember the word for candle so I referred to it as "that thing you catch on fire and smells good." After that I proceeded to attempt to plug my memory stick into the USB port on my laptop REPEATEDLY and couldn't understand why it wouldnt fit. I'm hoping the baby is just leaching off my brain and will be extra smart. Or something.

Dog in Box

That is all.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend

We had a great Thanksgiving this year. We spent it with my family here in Paso. Jerad and I made cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and marinated mushrooms. This is the first Thanksgiving in over 10 years that I haven't made pies. It felt weird:)

All day I was so excited about dinner, but when it came time to eat I was full after about 6 bites. What about increased appetite during pregnancy? Oh well, we brought home leftovers. Our friends Tina and Tom stayed with us for the weekend so we hung out with them at night. The highlight of the day was Jerad feeling the baby kick for the first time. Normally as soon as he puts his hand on my stomach to feel the kicking... it just stops. He was pretty excited:)

Friday Jerad had to work a few hours, but he got paid double time and a half so it was way worth it. I brought him breakfast and huge out with him the last two hours. We went shopping and FINALLY got a new couch. We sold ours a week ago and have been kickin it on a twin mattress on the floor until we found the perfect couch. We also got a new coffee table and side tables. I LOVE them. They're wooden, and distressed, and way more baby friendly that the glass tables we had before. Our last purchase was a new TV. The one we had was a 27" big boxy thing that I bought sophomore year of highschool for my boyfriend. It was time for an upgrade for sure. We ended up with a 42" Phillips LCD. I'm still getting used to it, it seems HUGE. Of course, Jerad thinks its too small and we should have gone bigger.

Saturday Tina and Tom made us breakfast which was amazing. Later in the day my friend Liz stopped by to visit. I haven't seen her in over a year so it was really nice catching up. Jerad tried to replace the can lights in our hall, but our 1950's wiring was all messed up so he wasn't able to finish. I started working on the inside Christmas decorations. In the afternoon Tina and Tom left. In the evening I decorated the Christmas tree while Jerad hung the 24 Christmas painted signs, plaques, and wreathes we put in the living room each year.

Sunday Jerad climbed up in the attic to figure out what was wrong with our wiring. it was kind of fun because he gave me a walkie talkie and would buzz me with which breakers to turn on/off or what to bring him up the ladder. Eventually it got straightened out and we now have new can lights in the living room and hallway. Its nice having lights that aren't always flickering on and off! Later we finished the indoor decorations, and Jerad got most of our Christmas lights put up. He's done them the same way the last 2 years and switched it up this year. In the evening my parents and uncle Jeff stopped by and visited awhile. My mom brought me some maternity clothes she bought which was an AMAZING gift because I only have a few things that fit me now.

It was a busy but fun and productive weekend. Next week we start work on our back shower. After a year and a half its finally going to be finished! I am really really excited about that. I'll post pictures of the decorations and new furniture soon.

Back to work tomorrow:(

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Other News...

I forgot to mention an important detail.

About 2 weeks into our wedding planning, we discovered something interesting.

That was about 5 days before we were scheduled to leave on a two week cross country trip. So, we were SUPER excited, but barely had time to process:)

At the time, we had been planning on the same surprise wedding, only during our annual winter trip instead. We decided to move it up a few months and have an Oct wedding instead which had been our second choice:)

Even though we were ecstatic, I was also nervous. We decided to wait until Thanksgiving to tell our families and most of our friends just in case something went wrong. It turns out we were slightly impatient and didn't make it quiiiite to then:)

I have much much more to write about the pregnancy so far, but here's a few stats in the meantime:

17.5 weeks along.
Gained 6.5 lbs.
Due May 2nd.
Still contemplating a homebirth, but seeing midwives in SLO.
Had one ultrasound at 11 weeks which was crazy awesome.
Find out the sex in about 2 weeks.
We've picked out names that I'll be sharing later:)
Haven't had any morning sickness and overall feel great.
Jerad is going to be an adorable dad.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Ceremony

The Wedding of Stephanie Brown and Jerad Hutchinson

Sunday, October 25th, 2009, at 2:00pm
Yosemite Valley, Yosemite, California
Officiated by Taylor Odenwald

Taylor begins:

Welcome and thank you for joining us as we celebrate Steph and Jerad’s commitment to one another.

They are delighted that you have come to share in their joy during this special day.

By your presence, you celebrate with them the love they have discovered in each other, and you support their decision to commit themselves to a lifelong relationship.

As much as today is a celebration of their marriage, it is also a celebration of their love, which is built upon the last four years they have spent together and all the experiences encompassed by that time.

They have invited you to this beautiful place, to Yosemite National Park, and show you a glimpse of an important piece of their love. To share with you these mountains, these forests, these waterfalls because during their years together, they have come here many times, on days like today, together. So humbled and awed by the purity of their surroundings that Yosemite has become a shelter, a respite, and a very special place to them.

They wanted to show you the beauty of these fields and these cliffs because this is where their hearts have made their home.

They have invited you here because their love is connected to this place. Their time spent here has always been a time of peace, of connectedness, and of a deepening respect for the divine, for nature, and for each other.

They ask that you open your hearts and minds to the timelessness of this place and to the love we are here to share through this ceremony.

Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. By making this commitment today, Steph and Jerad’s relationship will become stronger, better, and deeper. Today, they demonstrate their devotion to each other by dedicating themselves to a life together. And they show their respect for each other by setting forth to honor the vows they have created. Today, their lives, which began on separate paths, will be joined as one.

As French writer Marcel Proust said, “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

You are the people who make the souls of Steph and Jerad blossom. We want to acknowledge and thank all of you for your support and participation today.

“Friends,” a famous writer once wrote, represent “a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” Each of you has been invited to participate in this commitment ceremony because you have, in some way, brought about a new world in Steph or Jerad.

Steph and Jerad, today you are surrounded by your closest friends as they gather to witness your commitment and share in the joy of this happy occasion.

Life is a story. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And, like a story, it is best experienced with the people you love. Everyone in this circle is here because they’re a part of Steph and Jerad’s story. Some of you are participating by holding things, some of you will be adding your voices to the ceremony, and some more will be participating by laughing and crying along with us.

Nevertheless, everyone’s active participation in this wedding begins now. Jerad and Steph will be wearing rings as a sign of their commitment to one another, and as the ceremony proceeds, they invite you to take part in the warming of these rings. Each guest is asked to hold them for a few moments, warm them with your love and make a silent wish or prayer for this couple and their future together. When these rings come back they will contain, in their precious metal, that which is more precious, that which is priceless; your love and hope and pledge of support for their marriage.

[The rings will make their way around to each of our guests as the ceremony proceeds.]

So, now that we all understand our roles here today, we will begin the ceremony.

First, Tina, will make a blessing:

Tina’s Blessing:

May your marriage bring you all the
exquisite excitements a marriage should bring,
and may life grant you also patience, tolerance,
and understanding.
May you always need one another - not so much
to fill your emptiness as to help you know your fullness.
A mountain needs a valley to be complete;
the valley does not make the mountain less but more;
and the valley is more a valley
because it has a mountain towering over it.
So let it be with you and you.

May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you succeed in all important ways with one another,
and not fail in the little graces.
May you look for things to praise, often say,
"I love you!" and take no notice of small faults.
If you have quarrels that push you apart,
may both of you hope to have good sense
enough to take the first step back.

May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness
of one another's presence - no more physical than spiritual,
warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near
when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one
another happy.
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another!

Taylor Continues:

Albert Einstein said: “Strange is our situation here upon Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. However, there is one thing that we do know, that we are here for the sake of others. Above all, for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy.”

And now Tyson will do a reading of The Key to Love:

“The key to love is understanding …
The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word,
but those unspoken gestures,
the little things that say so much by themselves.

The key to love is forgiveness ….
to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes,
without forgetting, but with remembering
what you learn from them.

The key to love is sharing …
Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together;
both conquering problems, forever searching for ways
to intensify your happiness.

The key to love is giving …
without thought of return,
but with the hope of just a simple smile,
and by giving in but never giving up.

The key to love is respect …

realizing that you are two separate people,

with different ideas;
that you don’t belong to each other,
that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.

The key to love is inside us all …
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients
that will take you to its threshold;
it is the continual learning process

that demands a lot of work …

but the rewards are more than worth the effort …
and that is the key to love.”

Taylor Continues:

Marriage. It ranks right up there with birth and death as one of the three biggies in life. But it’s the only one that we’ll celebrate with a conscious awareness. Very few of you remember your arrival, and even fewer of you will attend your own funeral. Pick a society, any society: Jewish farmers 100 years ago in Poland, English émigrés to Canada, San Franciscan hipsters ... What’s the one thing they all have in common? Marriage. It’s like a cultural handrail. It links us to the past, and guides us to the future.

Marriage is the union of disparate elements: male and female, proton and electron. What we’re talking about here is the very tension that binds the universe. When we look at marriage, we’re looking at creation itself.

And now Beth will read Union by Robert Fulghum:

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.

Taylor Continues:

Now we will hear the reading of the marriage certificate.


On this the twenty-fifth day of October in the year
Two thousand nine
In the town of Yosemite Valley, California

Stephanie Renee Brown &
Jerad Louis Hutchinson

Took each other by the hand and joyfully declared themselves married, promising to be loving and equal partners as long as they both shall live.

As confirmation and celebration of this commitment we set our hands.

(S & J Sign certificate)

And we, as members of their loving community, set our hands in witness and pledge to celebrate and support this union.

(Guests Sign certificate)

Taylor Continues:

This is the point in the ceremony when the officiant usually talks about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, having no beginning and no end. But we all know that these rings do have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metal is liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees. Hot metal is poured into a mold, cooled, and then painstakingly polished. Something beautiful is made from raw elements. Love is like that. It's hot, dirty work. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It's the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all.

Each of you has enhanced the beauty of Jerad and Steph's rings with your love and hopes for their future. Steph and Jerad, when you look down at your rings, remember that you are literally surrounded by all of the love and well-wishes that were given to you today. In addition, love is not only given; it has to be received and accepted to be truly beautiful.

Now, take hands. And all of you who love each other, please take each others' hands as well. To reach out to someone and be acknowledged and loved is a human need. Taking the hand of one who loves you is a powerful symbol of that unspoken bond.

Your hands are also the part of you that you use the most. As you go about your daily work and play, your ring is a tangible reminder of the promises you’ve made to each other. It will always be with you, visible, worn openly and with pride.

With that in mind, may I have the rings?
Taylor (to J): Jerad, please repeat after me:
As a symbol of my commitment to you and our family, I offer you this ring.
As a symbol of my commitment to you and our family, I offer you this ring.
Taylor (to S): I accept your gift with joy and gratitude.
I accept your gift with joy and gratitude.

Taylor (to S): In return, I offer you this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you and our family.
: In return, I offer you this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you and our family.

Taylor (to J): I accept your gift with joy and gratitude.
I accept your gift with joy and gratitude.

Taylor Continues:

Steph, please hold Jerad’s hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future, a family, as you laugh and cry, as you share your innermost secrets and dreams. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief engulfs your heart. These are the hands that when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch. These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes; eyes that filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you.

Now Jerad, please hold Steph’s
hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend, smooth, young and carefree, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as she promises to passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will massage tension from your neck and back in the evenings when you complain that your body is falling apart. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. These are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick, or console you when you are grieving. These are the hands that when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch. These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to chase down your dreams.

Together as a team, everything you wish for can be realized.

God, bless these hands that you see before you this day. May they always be held by one another. Give them the strength to hold on during the storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment. Keep them tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their wondrous love. Help these hands to continue building a relationship founded in your grace, rich in caring, and devoted in reaching for your perfection. May Steph and Jerad see their four hands as healers, protectors, shelter and guides. We ask this in your name. Amen.

Steph and Jerad have elected today to begin a new tradition, a custom which now becomes uniquely their own.

Stephanie, I give to you this flower. Because this beautiful flower grew from a tiny seed, it symbolizes the way my love for you has grown. From the first faint tingling of its inception, it has become stronger and larger until today it blossoms for all to see. [He gives her the flower]. Each year on our wedding anniversary, I will give you another flower. In so doing, I will remember this day and renew the vows we’ve made. I am confident that each year my flower will be symbolic of ever deeper and more beautiful feelings of love.

Jerad, I give to you this vase of water. [He takes it and holds it.] Because water is the one element without which we would surely perish, it symbolizes the importance of your love in my life. Water, like love, can take many forms. Sometimes it is steam, sometimes ice. But no matter what happens to it, even if, for a time it seems to disappear, it always returns. Each year on our anniversary, I will refill this vase, offering it to you as a symbol of my ever renewing feelings of love. [She puts the flower in the vase and they both hold the vase together.]

Without water, the flower would die.

Without the flower, the vase of water would not be beautiful.

My gift is enhanced by yours, just as my life is enhanced by yours.

My gift is lovely because of yours, just as my life is better because of you. [We hand the rose and vase to Taylor.]

Taylor Continues:

On each anniversary, as you re-enact the giving and receiving of the flower and the water, may you remember with joy this day when you pledge your love and lives to each other. May this be only the first of many cherished traditions in a home filled with happiness.

Remember that a relationship is a progression; your love will have seasons like Nature itself. There is an old Chinese proverb that says: “The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, “ and now your journey has begun, and a new chapter has started in your story.

Dom will now read a Native American Blessing:

Dom: I would now like to end this celebration with this very special blessing used in Apache wedding ceremonies:

May the sun bring you new happiness by day;
May the moon softly restore you by night;
May the rain wash away your worries
And the breeze blow new strength into your being,
And all the days of your life
May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty.

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.

Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives -- remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.


Steph and Jerad, in the presence of your closest friends who have joined you to share this moment of joy in your lives, you have declared your deep love and affection for each other. You have stated your wish to always be open to a deeper, richer friendship and partnership. Your have formed your own union, based on respect and honor. Therefore, it is my joyful responsibility to officially acknowledge your union as "Husband and Wife". You may now seal your marriage with a kiss.