Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Finish This - Week 60


This week's prompt for Finish this with Nicole -  

Something that has impressed me this week...
This is really a something and a someone... John told me he wants to go to the upcoming Mens Conference at church. Guys, this is BIG! I pray daily for my husband and his walk with God. He didn't grow up in a Christian home and he really doesn't know what a traditional marriage, household looks like or how he as a husband should be head of household. I'm not bashing my hubby here, because really he does very well! As a Christian I do my very best to exhibit a faithful Christian lifestyle and walk with Christ and use every opportunity I can to teach him about a Christian household (not that I'm perfect or my background is perfect) but sometimes it's hard to find the balance between guiding him and showing him verses becoming belittling about the way he was raised and therefore sees his roles now.
If you would, please be in prayer that God works in his heart at the Conference!
Someone who has impressed me this week... 
 Well if it wouldn't be horribly redundant I would list the first one again because I'm that excited about it...
I'd also like to mention that it's been kind of a slow week since I haven't been out of the house since church on Sunday. I'm not generally a big fan of cold/ice, but especially not when I'm pregnant and there is a risk of falling & hurting myself. I'm seriously lacking in all things human exposure this week!

Not this week, but within the last week... on Saturday we toured a birthing center in Argyle (a nearby town) and I was so impressed by the midwife, the birth center and their approach to birth! We have talked at length, prayed and prayed and even though I can't imagine how hard it will be to leave my current care and not have Kathy as my midwife we are going to change care to this birth center.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Interviewing Potential Doulas

 Pregnancy tests from Cora... we had to be *sure*! 

When we were pregnant with Cora we interviewed one Doula who we hired to help us with the birth. Just from reading her website and the variety of her own personal birth experiences I knew that she was right for us as soon as I saw that we clicked personally at our first interview (she also came highly recommended by a friend from high school! I didn't just randomly find her online).

This time around we realized we weren't going to be able to work with her (this was seriously a really hard decision that had a lot of emotions involved!), she is now a Midwife and, rightfully so, her fee as a Doula rose to reflect her knowledge and education. It just wasn't in the budget since we were paying everything upfront and not using insurance this time. :(

We had come full circle back around to needing to hire a new Doula. The first time around, I literally printed out a generic online questionnaire. Some things we'd talk about more than others and went off on some great tangents that really let me get to know her, her style and her personality. If you're a first time parent or even if you're interviewing a doula for a subsequent birth there are a lot of great questions out there already, a quick Google search will help you!

This time around while those generic questions are certainly important, I had some really specific questions about their work and style of helping laboring moms that I wanted to ask. These were things that I wouldn't have known about myself if I hadn't gone through labor and delivery once before. I wanted to share the questions and reasons behind them and hopefully it can help someone out there!

□ Name:

□ Why did you become a Doula? Tell me about your birth experiences and birth philosophy.
(I don't think a woman necessarily has to have given birth or have a similar birth experience to what you're planning to be a great Doula, but her experiences will shape how she views birth.)
□ What certifications do you hold? How and where were you trained? Are you a member of any doula associations?
(Do some google searches, some certifications/associations require yearly renewals. The different certification and associations have different birth philosophies. I don't put much weight on this question but it's good to know)
□ How long have you been a doula? How many births have you attended as the primary Doula?
(I think 30-40 is a golden number for a doula with experience, but if you're doula shopping on a budget fewer births attended generally mean less expensive)
□ What additional training have you done since you became a certified doula?

□ What techniques will you use to help me through labor? What do you bring in your Doula Bag?

□ Do you use Essential Oils and Aromatherapy to assist in Labor? Favorite Oils?
(Essential Oils were really helpful in my last labor. I use them now but am not familiar with them enough to feel confident that I would have an oil on hand that would be useful for particular issues in labor or how to use the oil properly for my symptoms)
□ What is your favorite relief measure to use for a laboring mom? (Rebozo, Ball, massage, EO's, positioning...?)

□ What types of births have you attended? Any unique or difficult situations have you dealt with?

□ How will we communicate before the birth?

□ Are you available to answer questions before you go on-call for my birth outside of our prenatal appointments? If so, what form of communication do you prefer?

□ How do I get in touch when labor begins?

□ At how many weeks do you go on-call for my birth and how long after my due date do you stay on call? If I were to go into pre-term labor before that point would you be willing to join me?
(Some doulas don't go on call more than 2 weeks before your due date, you could be out of luck if you go into labor before that! Same rule can apply to going more than 2 weeks past your due date, some care providers will let you go past 42 weeks!)
□ When and where will you join me? Do you have a rule of thumb about how frequent/duration my contractions should be before you join me or would it be when I feel I need the support?

□ How do you want to be notified when I'm in labor? A heads up text/call when I think I'm in the early stages or would you rather just get the "I need you" call?

□ What if you are unavailable when I go into labor? Do you have backups? Can I meet them?

□ What is your policy if something unexpected arises, such as a really long labor or you have a personal emergency? 

□ Do you have any clients with due dates close to mine? How many births do you schedule per month?

□ Do you have any other commitments or black-out dates near my due date? What happens if I go into labor on one of those days?

□ What are some of your favorite ways to involve my husband in the labor and birth process?
(It is a myth that a doula replaces your partner! A doula should complement and help your partner support you!)
□ How do you work with the Midwives and assistants during birth? How do you view your role, as compared with theirs?

□ How long will you stay with me after labor? Do you offer nursing/lactation support during this time?

□ Have you worked with my Midwife or Birth Center before? What was the experience like?

□ What happens if I need a transfer or a c-section? Have you attended c-sections as a Doula?

□ Do you provide any postpartum services? If so, when do you start and how long do you stay on?

□ What is your fee and refund policy? What does it cover?
(What if they don't make it to your birth?)
□ May I review your contract?

Have you ever hired a Doula?
Any must ask questions you have for interviewing a Doula?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Coralie - 15 months old

**Today is the last day to enter our Just Between Friends Fort Worth giveaway!
You can tweet or share via Instagram for extra entries!**

Now that Cora is over a year old I probably won't be near as consistent with doing updates but so much has changed since her 13 month update that I couldn't not do one this month! Our little girl is growing up so fast!

Weight/Height - At her 15 month well visit she came in at 23 pounds and 5 ounces (78th percentile). This is about the weight she was at her last well visit but the doctor said she wasn't worried since Cora is walking now and is much more active. She's 30 1/2 inches tall (49th %) and her head circumference is 47 cm (84th %).

Unhappy at the doctors office
Health - We have all been sick off and on since the very end of December. It's getting really old! This is by far the most sick she has been ever. It started with a runny nose that I'm pretty sure was allergies but then turned into a full blown cold. I called the doctor right around new years to check dosage on over the counter meds (since you can't really do much for a cold since it's a virus) and were doing all the natural remedies I know, but I'm now thinking we should have just taken her in and tried a round of antibiotics. She was doing so well for about half a week where the nose wasn't running anymore, no more goopy icky eyes and I would go an entire day or so without hearing her cough but after cutting a couple of teeth flaring up the runny nose again she's also got a nasty cough. So... after seeing the Pediatrician turns out that yes she's got the cough and runny nose but she also has an ear infection. So sure enough she's on antibiotics now and I'm really remembering how much I hate antibiotics.

Nicknames - "Pumpkin", "Cor-Cor", "Cora Bear", "Cora Bora", "Cora-lizzy" short for Cora Elizabeth.

While we were both sick.
Teething - Just the other day she started cutting teeth again! (I would just like to interject that she seriously did not appreciate me just sticking my finger into her mouth as she sleeps to confirm the tooth count). 3 teeth on top (front two and the one to the immediate left of her front tooth) and the 4 front bottom teeth.

Clothing - She's wearing 18 month clothes. I think there may be a few 12 months that haven't gotten pulled out of the rotation yet, but they're big 12 month clothes if so! She also has a few 24 month onsies and such in her clothing rotation. My baby is growing up too fast!!

Diapers - We bumped her up to size 4 disposable diapers, I don't know why I put that off so long, they fit her much better! We also learned that she can't wear the cheapie diapers from our local grocery store, she broke out in an epically bad rash (while being sick too, poor baby) that lasted more than 2 weeks. We just got it cleared up! I'm really missing cloth diapers and plan to start using them again asap! We're fighting diaper rash almost constantly in some degree or another, this is something we never had a problem with in cloth diapers and I'm sure it has something to do with the materials/chemicals associated with disposable diapers.

Christmas goodies - headphones, dolly & socks!
Eating - Nursing - She mostly just nurses in the morning now. She will ask to nurse during the day, but that's usually because she can't find where she's put down her sippy cup (or I may have stuck it in the refrigerator and she's thirsty), so I usually offer something else before nursing her. When she's sick or teething I try to be more patient with frequent nursing during the day, but even that hasn't been too frequent of late (thank goodness!!). I'm super ready to wean! We've gotten her to where she doesn't (usually) need to nurse to go to sleep, I'll offer nursing if she asks, which she doesn't always, then John takes her to bed. It has been so nice that he has taken on the bedtime routine! I'm really anxious to finish weaning her, not only because this momma needs a break before I start nursing baby #2 but also, she doesn't nurse for nutrition anymore. It's all a comfort/habit for her so she doesn't do a good job latching (no matter how many times I take her off, put her back on). My poor body is sore from normal pregnancy stuff, her bad nursing habits aren't helping that matter. I hope that we're finished nursing for good by March!

Beverages - This kid can drink huge amounts of whatever we give her! The last two months she has really gotten her first introduction to apple juice (the only juice we've tried so far) to combat several rounds of constipation. She loves her drinks, and is especially anxious to drink when she gets to out of a special big girl cup. So we've got quite the collection of childrens to go cups with straws etc from restaurants and sonic. So far there haven't really been any mess incidents with her obsession with cups and straws so for now that works well!

Solids - This past month in particular she's been finicky about eating a type of food on a consistent basis. Some of it is her beginning to form opinions and express choices but I know part of it is also that she's been sick. She loves cheese! We usually have processed cheeses around for sandwiches and these are her favorites! I've started trying to offer her more nutritious cheese options (string cheese, real cheese from the deli etc) but she really prefers the junk out of the plastic package. She loves eating chicken noodle soup and ramen noodles (she obviously doesn't get the latter very often, just a bite or two of Mommy's). Beyond cheese and crackers, I can't think of any particular food developments since her 13 month update. She will still eat meat, but is very iffy about it. Last night was an epic melt down over whether or not I would put cut up hot dog in her mouth.

ZZzzzzZZZ Sleeping - Sleep has been going much better. She is sleeping through the night more consistently (hopefully this is a development with age and is permanent?!?) and usually sleeps a solid 12 hours. It is nice that she's flexible, I can handle routine and appreciate it but also am very grateful that she adjusts as we need her to. If we have a later night out and she doesn't get to bed until 9 or 9:30, it's no big deal. I just know that the next morning she will sleep until 9 or 9:30 and I can't have anything planned early morning. The same goes for earlier bed times and later bed times - if I give her 12 hours to sleep she's good to go!

The one area of sleep we've still got work to do in is her in her own bed. We had a set back with some plumbing issues at our house so we're at my Dad's again (should be fixed this week!). In bed with us is really the only option here. I'm working to remind myself that this is a season and this too shall pass. I know one day I'll look at my little girl and wish she wanted to crawl in bed with us.

One thing that is new & I want to always remember is how attached to her Daddy she is! She likes to lay where she can reach out and touch one of us to reassure her that we are there. If we move, she reaches and doesn't find one of us she will sit up and look for us and move to where we are in the bed. She did this with me for months but has really started doing it to John more. John isn't a cuddler when he is sleeping, he likes his space, so he'll run from her in his sleep. He'll move from sleeping at the head of the bed to being "backwards" with his head at the foot of the bed. Then after she finds him, relocates to riiiiggghhht next to him or on top of him they'll sleep a while. This little dance of him moving, her following goes on all night. I've been struggling with pregnancy insomnia so I've been awake to watch quite a bit of these maneuvers at night. I never want to forget how adorable they are sleeping side by side.

Right after she went down the slide on her own!

Our Little Socialite - This month in particular Cora has really developed in her play skills! She independently plays well in the morning and will occasionally ask to have a book read to her or a toy played with (she asks by bringing it to you & setting it in your lap). When we take her to the park she loves climbing up and down the stairs, walking all over the place (she is still very proud of her walking skills!). She's starting to try to run but usually topples over. Last night at the park playground she took the initiative to go down the big slide by herself! She was about to go head first but backed up, got on her tummy and went down feet first! I was "upstairs" with her, fortunately John was handy "downstairs" to catch her. She slid down several times after this, she's very proud of this discovery!

Likes-She loves her Doll that was a Christmas gift. This has by far become her favorite toy. It's beautiful that without any prompting or showing from us, she knows how to nurture and care for her "Dolly". She's going to be a great big sister! Her Dolly is also the only toy we can say "Where's Dolly?" and she will seek it out.

Dislikes -Getting dressed... or undressed for that matter. Blowing her nose (which is still a work in progress) or me wiping her face. Wearing socks or shoes, they are taken off the moment I put her in the carseat!

New - She has started regularly calling me "momma" which is nice because although she could say it, she usually just referred to me as "dada" too. :) She loves taking things out and putting things in the trash, we're all ready for this phase to be over! We've found cell phones, remote controls, food, all manner of things that shouldn't be in the trash there thanks to Miss Cora! She started walking without prompting from one of us back in mid December. I wish I could remember exactly when but it was very close to her 14 month mark. She was in Sunday School and as we picked her up I noticed that there was a little boy about her age walking around her classroom. Seeing another child her age and size be able to walk was the trigger! That afternoon she started walking on her own!
In December right before Christmas we had to put our Boxer, Clyde, down. She had learned to say "Dog" and the week he passed away she started saying "Cwyde" in the mornings as he'd wander out of his bed and ask to be put outside. She loved her "Cwyde" very much. I never want to forget all their cuddles and how good he was with her!

Fun things we did since 13 month update - 
~Early Thanksgiving celebration with John's grandparents in Austin
~Seeing Josh off at the airport for his two years of service in Okinawa, Japan
~Thanksgiving with my Dad's family
~Meeting Santa Clause
~Helping move her Grandma and Chipaw
~Joining Mommy & Daddy at the Doctor to see the new baby!
~Christmas & announcing the pregnancy to family with her fancy new Big Sister shirt! 
~Uncle Jacob & Aunt Stephanie's Wedding!
~A visit from her Great Grandparents
~ Mommy's Birthday (that we all spent laying in bed sick...)

On the 20th we went to the Midwife for another check up on baby 2.0 and Cora went along too (John was there to help corral her). She was being fidgety and a little noisy the whole visit up until my Midwife had the heartbeat on the Doppler. Cora was so quiet and interested in listening to her baby brother or sisters heart beat. It was the sweetest thing! She just sat in Johns arms with her mouth open slightly looking very interested in what was going on! 

Goings on with Mommy & Daddy - Working on the house, being sick for a couple of weeks in a row, recovering from the holidays. Mommy has been struggling with normal first trimester stuff plus a bought with the blues so we're looking forward to getting past all of that and to a fun and exciting end of winter & spring!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Life Lately

We've got a lot going on in life in general and pregnancy wise but nothing really deserves a post of it's own, so I'll try to hit all the important notes in one random posting.

Doing // Watching Cora climb from her little trampoline onto the coffee table and grin at me. She thinks the coffee table is just a part of her play things!

Reading // I'm not actually reading anything right now but on my "to-read soon" list is Boundries by Cloud and Townsend and Birthing from Within by England CNM MA and Horowitz Ph.D. I was able to get Birthing From Within for free on my Kindle which is nice since I already bought the book, loaned it out and am now doubting I'll ever see it again.

Watching // I'm not watching per say, but I have Fox News on in the background, but it's muted because we're listening to Praise Baby: Born to Worship in an attempt to help Cora's grumpy mood.

Feeling // Good! I'm kind of enjoying this whole second trimester of pregnancy concept! With Cora I was still quite sick, but I'm averaging only being sick to my stomach once a week right now and that is awesome in my book! I also finally broke down and we had a week of doctor visits last week after Cora and I have been battling illnesses one right after another since the end of December. I'm on some new antibiotics (there isn't much they can do for me since I'm breastfeeding and pregnant...), I honestly kind of doubt the antibiotics are doing much because of course, after breaking down and making the appointment I started feeling better before even seeing the doc. What I'm not feeling great about... in one week between prescriptions for Cora and I plus our doctor visits, after our insurance we spent $275 in medical costs! Ridiculous!! And that isn't even with me filling my new inhaler prescription because if we want to talk about ridiculous medical costs, I'll tell you what it costs to fill a rescue inhaler.

Thinking About // Last weekend, specifically Valentines Day. John and I usually don't do much of anything on this "holiday". We generally celebrate by making something more complicated than our regular dinners at home together. I love being in the kitchen with my hubby. Now that we have Cora I wonder if I should actually put some thought/effort into the holiday. Not a lot, I will admit I just don't think I have that in me. I remember what it was like that all my friends would get flowers or candies and cards from their parents on V-day when we were kids but because it wasn't a big deal to my parents either, I never got anything. Sometimes it's just sad seeing everyone else get something and you know you won't, ya know?

Looking Forward to // We are finally going to get together with a couple of friends for dinner, they've been wanting to see us since before Christmas but between holidays, weddings, and illnesses life has just gotten in the way! // This weekend we're touring a birthing center in the area, not sure if we'll use them, but looking forward to seeing our options (see Praying about for info...) // Next week is our 20 week sonogram! I can't believe we're almost half way though this pregnancy!! // If weather cooperates this weekend, we're planning to plant a couple of trees! I love working in the yard (when it isn't smouldering hot outside...) and planting things that I know we will enjoy for years to come!

Praying // We have a couple of things we're praying about pretty fervently. The most pressing because of timing issues is where we will give birth to this baby girl.

I really don't want to birth in the hospital again (as long as I'm considered low risk) and fortunately my Midwife has privileges to birth at one of the two local Birth Centers. Well, that Birth Center has a bunch of births for July and of course their patients take priority in getting to birth there so if there are 2 laboring moms when I go into labor I would have to go to the hospital. I get it. I understand why they would take priority over me. We have to decide whether or not I can emotionally handle not knowing for sure if I'd be sent to the hospital or not during a time that can already be so stressful and emotional at the end of a pregnancy. Our other option would be to change care entirely and find a new Midwife that is associated with the other local Birth Center.
(While pregnant with Cora there was some drama in our Midwife practice about whether or not I'd deliver at one hospital or another in town and if it wasn't at the planned hospital my Midwife wouldn't be able to deliver Cora. It was stressful and a source of anxiety for me... not happy to be facing a similar situation again.)

The other thing we're praying about, well right now I'd rather it stayed "unspoken" here on the Blog and in Social Media, but it has to do with school and what I want my career (rather than a series of jobs) to be. It's certainly a path I never saw my life going down before the past couple of years. It's something I've been praying and thinking about for almost two years now and I really think it's something I'm going to pursue but it wouldn't be until after this baby comes so still plenty of time to pray and consider my options. 

Loving // I'm loving searching for name art options for this baby girl! Right now we're planning to not announce the name until birth, but we'll see if we stick to that. We do think that we have a name though! First name has been picked for a while, but middle name isn't set in stone yet. You'd better believe that once I start a name art project though - that name is sticking, I'm not re-doing name art!
This is about the only project I've got for this baby since the girls will share rooms, so I'm really looking forward to getting started on it.  I'm thinking about doing stitching on pretty fabric with an Embroidery Hoop - the only things I'm finding on Pinterest is where you can have them done for you on Etsy, which is nice but I want to do it myself so I'll restrain from posting some of the cute ideas since I'd feel bad about not actually buying from anyone's shop.

What are you up to currently?// I'm doing what I can nesting wise. We brought the new baby's crib in out of storage and put it together in Cora's room, also borrowed my brothers Chest of Drawers/Armour that he had sitting in storage to start washing and putting away the new baby's clothes!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Finish This #59 Thankfulness


This week's prompt for Finish this with Nicole - I am thankful for _______ because...
I am thankful for so much in my life. I'm Thankful for my Salvation. Especially now that I am a mother, I cannot even imagine the amazing sacrifice that sending your son to die for sinners would be and I'm more grateful for it than ever! 

I'm thankful for my family! My husband works so hard to provide everything for us! Which ties directly into me being thankful that I'm able to stay home with my daughter Cora and our second daughter coming this summer.  

I'm thankful for our house. I have to work at reminding myself about this, it's not a pinterest perfect house by any stretch of the imagination but it is the house that allows us many financial freedoms like me staying home, the (likely) ability to build our dream house before I'm 30, paying off student loans and so much more. I'm also thankful that this house comes with land, the land we'll one day build on and the land that allows us to have space for Cora and her future siblings to run and play without many worries of living in bigger towns/neighborhoods and the space to grow our own food!

I'm thankful for warm weather (when we get it...), I'm really ready for spring! 

What are you Thankful for today?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesdays: Our Love Story

Today I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for Show and Tell Tuesdays. She hosts this link up with different prompts every other Tuesday throughout this year!

Today's prompt, Tell us about how you met your mate, got engaged, etc.
John and I don't really have a fun we met story. We met through a couple of friends at a game night they were hosting. He was really shy and didn't say much that evening and I rambled on and on like I usually do when I'm nervous or attempting to flirt (key word, attempting). I thought he was cute and nice but figured he wasn't interested so I was letting it go but figured it couldn't hurt to friend him on Facebook about a week later. Sure enough, he actually did think I was cute and we started chatting! About a week after that we had our first date and the rest is history!
What's kind of interesting about our relationship is that it's very surprising we hadn't met before that game night! In later discussions with each other we realized that we were standing around each other with some friends in a group talking on several different occasions as we camped out or waited in line for Texas Tech football games. I specifically remember a particular conversation in which I was talking to ??? (can't remember who) but overheard right next to me a conversation between some people I had met previously about why their friend was up there in a business suit. Well the random friend was interning with Texas Tech Athletics and was working that game, he'd just stopped by to say hi to his friends standing in line at the gate and this random guy in a suit is my husband today! We must have attended several baseball games and sat in the same row or right near each other, we slept just tents away from each other many a cold (stupid) night waiting to get in for a couple of big football games his Senior year at Tech. It's just crazy, but God clearly had a plan for us and meeting each other then just wasn't in it!

As for our Engagement, (the full long drawn out story can be found here) I was at school and John called me asking me to come take care of him because he was "sick", I ran to his house between classes but being an exhausted college student I fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up from my unplanned nap (and realized I'd missed my class!) I found a note from him but he was gone. 

The message started with a drawing of a ring and gave me clues about where and when I should be that evening. He ask me to meet him at "our park" at 11 that night (we both had to work, practicality has to come into play ya know). I was pretty sure what was going to happen, I really hoped that I wasn't wrong because I was going to look like a fool if I was! I got all dressed up in a floor length white formal dress that I had worn before our first kind of date when we hung out and watched Spiderman after I had attended a formal banquet earlier that evening. 

I met John on a bridge at the park (by the way, he dressed up too! He was spiffy in his suit!) we walked around the park while John told me all the things that made him sure I was the one he wants to spend the rest of his life with. As we rounded a corner coming back to the bridge we started at we saw some ducks at the edge of the water. We ran and chased the ducks, when I would do this on our usual walks to the park John would pretend to not know me.. but this time he followed and told me that what he loves most about me is that I'm myself with him. 

Just then, right after my duck chasing incident he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him as he slipped a ring on my finger. I of course, said "Yes!". I didn't cry (which surprised both of us), but I was very calm and quite certain of my decision to spend the rest of my life with this man! He stood up and gave me an engagement present! 

The ring he gave me as an engagement ring is the ring his father gave his mother (he also propsed on the same day his Dad proposed to his Mom). My engagement present was another ring! It is the ring his great-grandfather gave his great-grandmother as an engagement ring when they moved to America from Germany and Poland. 

We ended the night laying on a blanket in the park watching the stars!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Our 4th Anniversary

Two Thursdays ago was our 4th wedding anniversary! I can't believe how quickly time has flown by!
Now that we have a kiddo, we try to get away for a little bit to celebrate our anniversary and have some adult time.

Last year for our third anniversary my Dad kept Cora overnight for my first night away from my baby (she was 3 months old). We kept it low key, we got a hotel in the Frisco area to just get out of the house and relax, went to Ikea because that's where I wanted to go shopping :) and dinner at Maggiano's.

Our third anniversary was really a similar excursion to our second, except that we stayed in a normal hotel, not a suite on the top floor of a giant hotel we could never afford to stay in. Oh and in that fancy hotel suite we brought On The Boarder (rather than ordering expensive room service). 

This year was a splurge in the eating out department (similar to our 1st anniversary), but we couldn't get away overnight like we had the last 3 years.  John made us dinner reservations in Fort Worth at Texas de Brazil. We ate there two years before for a friend's birthday celebration (she had just gotten through a divorce and we all wanted to do something special for her, we don't normally do such fancy birthday dinners!) but an expensive steak dinner wasn't in the budget and we were both dieting so we only enjoyed the all you can eat soup and salad bar. We've both been wanting to go back and have the whole experience ourselves and this was the perfect opportunity!

Dinner was delicious! I was really excited about their Lobster Bisque Soup, it's their signature soup and it is amazing!! I only had one bowl of it because I wanted to leave plenty of room for the meat portion of the meal but I could have seriously made an entire meal out of the soup!

Sorry the picture is so dark, it's really dark everywhere in the restaurant. This was my plate from the salad bar - Sushi (california roll), shrimp, fresh mozzarella balls, grilled provolone cheese, au gratin potatoes, and the amazing Lobster Bisque Soup!

On the Salad bar there is much more than your usual salad selections, tons of meats (pepperoni, salami etc) to go with salads, sushi, a large assortment of cheeses. There are also several warm side dishes like potatoes au gratin (delicious!), beans, rice, etc. 

The Brazilian steak house experience did not disappoint when it came to the "meat" part of dinner. Everything was delicious! As we were realizing we were full and weren't really interested in several of the meat selections that were making their way around frequently but wanted to try two meats that hadn't come our way yet our server was really accommodating and we quickly got to mark those off our list to try!

As far as traditions go, we really bungled this year. We started a tradition our first anniversary of ordering a small cake from a local bakery to celebrate (because we ate the top to our wedding cake less than a month after our wedding) and using the overpriced wedding knife set with our names and wedding date engraved to cut the cake.  We continued that with our 2nd anniversary and I honestly can't for the life of me remember if we did or not for last year but I really think we did (is it sad that I can remember in detail pumping milk for Cora, storing the milk, what we had for breakfast at the hotel but I can't remember if we had our traditional cake... mommy brain at it's finest!) This year I so completely forgot about getting a cake that the first time I thought of it was as I wrote this post and saw pictures of the pretty cakes in past years from previous posts. We also didn't exchange gifts. On the way to dinner John mentioned what the traditional gift material is for 4th anniversaries (Fruit/Flowers) and I had this moment of Oh Crap! when I thought he had gotten me a gift. Nope, it slipped his mind too until the day of.

We really enjoyed our night out and experiencing this unique dining together. 
I can't say we'll be back to eat there any time soon, while it's fun - it is pricey compared to our normal eating out adventures (even more so than our usual "fancy" eating out...). It was a great experience though and I'm sure we'll do it again one day! I do think it's a better deal for your money than say going to a super fancy traditional steak house because I certainly ate far more than I would have with a traditionally served meal. 

The best of like 5 pictures, John kept saying "I don't know where to look!" I was like, at the phone! Where else would you look?!?

Next year for our 5 year anniversary we are planning to take a cruise! This will be both of our first cruise and we're really excited! Well, John is more excited than I am, I'm being the practical one that realizes we will have a 7 or 8 month old and a 2 1/2 year old to arrange child care for while we're gone for several days. John knowing my worry-wart tendencies is insisting that we book next month so that I can't back out or delay booking until it just doesn't happen... that and to save money by booking so far in advance. 

What's your favorite splurge place to eat out? 

Cruise recommendations? 

Advice for leaving two small children in care for 4 or 5 days? 

Mommies - don't forget to check out my post about Just Between Friends Fort Worth & enter for a chance to win a JBF Fort Worth gift certificate & grab the coupon to get in FREE!
Not sure if consignment sales are for you? Check out how much money we saved buying baby stuff for Cora here!

Today I'm linking up with Amanda and Crystal for Texas Tuesday!
Hall Around Texas

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Finish This! #57 Favorite Things

This week's prompt for Finish this with Nicole - My favorite...

Before I begin, I'm sure there is some tacky saying about how middle of the road I am about things. I seriously lack in all things favorites. I haven't had a favorite color since childhood; I really like purple, orange, pink, gold. Which of those is my favorite? No idea. Several of these will follow suit. The way I see it, there are too many good things in this world to have just one favorite! 

I think this is one of those things I just haven't ever been interested in since A) I'm cheap and B) I don't really follow pop culture. I'm 99% certain that the last magazine I owned was a All You and I had it for coupons. I have honestly enjoyed reading through magazines when I've had them around, I'm just not interested in paying for them. We did have a short lived subscription to Good Housekeeping and I've gotten some really fun ideas and recipes from them, but not enough to justify the price in my mind. 

I can only pick one? Cheese balls are fun! I like that you can have so many different flavors from one simple concept. I also really like shrimp, so just about anything shrimp I'm quite pleased with. Ohhhh... if we count it as an appetizer, I love all things Tex-Mex! Chips and queso, or salsa, or guacamole or how about all three, please! I also really love certain spinach and artichoke dips, particularly with pita bread! There is a restaurant in McKinney that John's friend owns and I will get cravings for their spinach and artichoke dip and we will drive the hour just so I can eat there to have that appetizer!

Board Game...
Hmm... this is hard because I honestly don't have a favorite. We didn't really play board games growing up (my brothers still hate it when I suggest pulling out a board game) so I don't have much exposure to them. John and I own a few, his family are all big game players so I'm sure our collection will expand as our children grow up. Right now we have Apples to Apples (I really think this is more of a card game, but I really enjoy it!), Monopoly (because, duh), Risk (I don't think I've ever played it though), and Battle of the Sexes (haven't played that one either). 

Oh goodness, this is again where my cheap factor comes into play! I really enjoy body sprays, I feel like they're more my style than perfume and definitely more at my spending point. Vanilla anything is really an all time favorite scent! 

Wait, people like chores? I guess a chore of sorts would be gardening and working in the yard. I do occasionally enjoy that. Not so much when it's blazing hot outside, but early spring and fall I do enjoy my time outdoors doing things. Last years vegetable garden was a lot of fun and we plan to do that again this year. As far as more traditional chores, I actually didn't hate doing cloth diaper laundry. A little weird, I know. Something about washing and caring for the diapers that I knew were saving us loads of money just didn't feel like near as much of a chore. (I've known several other moms who say this, so don't worry, I haven't lost my mind!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An Early Valentines Surprise!

Yesterday I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed that the private Ultrasound office that did the gender scan for Cora is running a special for Valentines Day. I texted a screenshot of the ad to John and turns out he was just as impatient to see our baby as I was! 

He not only said that as my Valentines gift we could go and find out the gender of this baby but that he'd also schedule the appointment for as soon as possible!! I was so surprised this was his gift to me because we pretty much don't celebrate Valentines Day! About the only thing we ever do is enjoy cooking a favorite meal together or share a small box of chocolates. So yay for an excuse to splurge on a Sonogram!!

To make the gift even better, when he called to schedule it they had an opening the same afternoon and he could get out of the office in time to make it!

I'm not normally one to be giddy with excitement, but I was literally bouncing up and down while I got Cora and myself ready to head out the door to meet Daddy for the appointment! 

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Cora loaded up & ready to find out if she's getting a brother or a sister!
She has started hamming it up and smiling for the camera when she notices it is out.
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Cora and Daddy playing with blocks waiting for our appointment! 
This baby was much more cooperative for a gender check than Cora was! Cora had her legs crossed and the umbilical cord stacked in her lap. She also kept covering her face with her hands.
This baby wasn't shy about showing us the goods! 

It's a girl!
She was however a little camera shy and didn't much want to show her face.
 We're 16 weeks 2 days for these pictures so baby girl doesn't have any fat yet.
We knew that we wanted to announce the gender right away and we weren't up to having another big party like we did for Cora so after a quick stop at the party store, we had what we needed for a quick and easy gender annoucement!

I am so excited that Cora is going to have a sister! Especially one so close in age! I really believe that siblings are a gift to our children, that they will have close family that will last far longer than John and I will be here with them. My brothers are dear friends and mean so much to me! I'm so grateful to my parents for the gift they gave us in each other! 

I'm also really excited that these girls will have each other as sisters. I've got great girlfriends who are like sisters but I've never had the opportunity to have a true sister and I know it'll be a lot of fun seeing them grow up together!