Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Awesome Recipe Alert!!!

Okay so maybe I'm just super hungry (and currently smelling this amazingness cooking on my stove!) but I just love this recipe SO much I can't even stand not sharing it!! It's SO good, creates minimal dirty dishes and is nice and healthy (and can even be paleo if that's your fancy)! I discovered this recipe during my 2015 New Years resolution to cook one new recipe per week for the entire year. I have increased the number of meals in our regular rotation significantly, and this one is DEFINITELY on our list of regulars now!

Here's the link!! Skinny Orange Chicken

Photo courtesy of!!

So a few of my personal notes on this recipe...

- I DO still cook the chicken in coconut oil (I think this really enhances the flavor significantly!) BUT rather than the coconut aminos I prefer just regular old soy sauce. (Probably because I am a sodium junkie, unfortunately...but I love soy sauce! Sue me!)

- I would also recommend at LEAST doubling the amount of sauce you make... because I guarantee you that no matter how much you make it will not be enough! I can never get enough (also you want to have enough for leftovers). I think tonight I quadrupled the amount of sauce partially by accident but I'm pumped for the extra!!

- Allot a minimum of 15-20 minutes for the sauce to reduce. I promise you - it WILL eventually get nice and thick (which is what you want). Thin sauce will still taste okay but it just won't be the same!

- I throw the chicken into the pan with the sauce rather than pouring over. I just like to make sure the chicken is nice and coated, then I'll spoon a little extra on top once served.

- We like to make this with plain steamed broccoli (raw broccoli steamed over boiling water - no oil no butter!) and white or brown rice. Ryan makes rice in a glass bowl in the microwave which is AWESOME and impossible to burn. (For just the 2 of us, he does 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of water for 5 minutes on high 15 minutes on medium.) This is probably a little bit more rice than 2 people need +leftovers but I would rather not run out!

Happy cooking and Happy New Years!

Weeks 23, 24, 25 and 26

Week 23

Major events: Got a Christmas tree, 2 Christmas parties, giant playdate with some mamas and their babies at our house, and our ACTUAL last ultrasound (they weren't able to get everything they needed at our 20 week ultrasound so we got to go back again for another look at 23 weeks!)
Size of baby: A large mango
Sleep: Waking up to pee so. many. times.
Cravings: None
Aversions: None
Movement: Yes! He is definitely becoming much more active (finally)!
Belly button in or out? In
Weight gain: 15 lbs.
Missing: Nothing really right now I suppose...
Best part of this week: Spending time with so many of my close mama friends, and getting to see our baby one last time! (Also, Ryan was supposed to be out of town all week, but ended up having to stay in town and work from home instead - so we got to be together even more than normal this week!)
Hardest part of this week: 
Looking forward to: A one-night getaway next week to San Antonio! I love the Riverwalk at Christmas!
Emotions: Happy for some cooler weather this week! Also, I just LOVE being pregnant during Advent

Week 24

Major events: San Antonio for a night away with my hubby! Christmas party with close friends and another Christmas party with church friends
Size of baby: An ear of corn
Sleep: The same. Nothing new or crazy.
Cravings: None
Aversions: None
Movement: Lots of movement... he is getting SO strong! Ryan has been able to feel some BIG kicks!
Belly button in or out? In, but getting strange looking...
Weight gain: 15 lbs.
Missing: Nothing?
Best part of this week: Having a semi-normal routine with more free time has been so nice...I even treated myself to a spontaneous pedicure one day while running errands (and Heidi was at MDO)! It has also been SO great getting to spend time with people I care so much about this week- our "Friends Christmas Party" and alone time with Ryan in San Antonio.
Hardest part of this week: Running got hard this week. When pregnant with Heidi, the downwards pressure resulted in feeling the urge to pee constantly during runs and some intense round ligament pain in my stomach. This time it's different. It's intense pain/cramping in front side of my lower abdomen. I would compare it to menstrual cramps but it's less achy feeling and much more painful. So painful that I can't really run at all - pregnant or not! More on this later...but I am definitely having a hard time with this right now! Hopefully it's not a permanent thing.
Looking forward to: Meeting with a birth photographer in 2 days!!
Emotions: LOVING that it's finally the Christmas season! If only we could get some weather to match that...although it's not looking promising... 

Major events: Met with a birth photographer! (She was already my favorite based on her style - but I enjoyed meeting with her and getting to know her! We will definitely be going with her... fingers crossed for a non-April-2nd baby... she has a wedding booked that day!!) Also went to a young adult Christmas get-together through a new church we have been checking out, took Heidi to look at Christmas lights and got to have lunch with 2 good high school friends, their wives and their babies! 
Size of baby: Rutabaga
Sleep: Same ole same ole.
Cravings: Nothing specific
Aversions: None
Movement:  Yes! I think he is finally getting closer to my belly button haha. He is definitely still VERY low and very much sideways in there though...Not sure when he's gonna run out of room and turn!
Belly button in or out? In
Weight gain: 15 lbs.
Missing: Beer and wine!! Since this weather has been SO disgustingly warm lately, a nice cold beer or glass of chilled white wine sounds sooo good. (I will confess that I have been allowing myself to split a beer with Ryan or have the tiniest splash of wine.)
Best part of this week: Attempted a 2 more runs this week - one of which was in the morning - and felt much better! Guess I will have to start getting off my butt and out of the house early now if I want to get it done! 
Hardest part of this week: Really struggling with the thought of not seeing my family at Christmas this year!
Looking forward to: Picking a name! I basically gave Ryan a short list of MY favorites and told him to add to it or veto but he has YET to get back to me (I am ready to start talking about and commit to names the instant I find out gender). I told him he has a deadline of January... hurry up dude! This baby isn't going to pop out and name itself!! (Ryan did tell me this week that he will tell me his thoughts on a name "sometime" between now and New Years...yay!)
Emotions: Sad this week. Feeling weird and like I just want to run away. Coming to terms with some of the painful feelings that this season seems to sometimes stir up. Also super annoyed that the weather is still so warm (80 and humid - ugh!) Have I mentioned that I don't really have any warm weather maternity clothes?! By the time May rolled around with Heidi, I was pretty much past the point of ANYTHING fitting me (even maternity stuff) and also past the point of caring. I pretty much just wore a loose skirt with a tank top every day... but it's been hard lately! I just want to wear cute tight-fitting sweaters with leggings and boots and scarves and not sweat my ASS off (I have always been a naturally hot and sweaty person as it is) but this weather is making that very difficult...

Major events: Christmas!
Size of baby: Length of a green onion
Sleep: Sleep this week has been totally hit or miss. I had 2 nights of 7+ hours STRAIGHT with NO waking up (it's a miracle!!!) followed by 2 nights of constant waking up. One night I even thought about writing down every single thing that was preventing me from sleeping at that exact moment - because there were SO many things! (Just a few of the many issues preventing me from sleeping/going back to sleep... crazy dreams, starving, have to pee, can only lay on left side comfortably - right side hurts and back and stomach is way too uncomfortable, baby is kicking a TON and is having lots of hiccup episodes keeping me awake, dogs are making a bunch of noise... the list goes on.) Heidi was very active and had lots of hiccups too, but I just don't remember her ever actually keeping me up at night like this. I have also officially reached the point where stomach sleeping (or even half-stomach sleeping) is no longer an option and rolling over and getting out of bed is becoming somewhat of a task, even though I know it gets worse...
Aversions: None
Movement: YES! He has been moving like crazy and this week was the week of the hiccups! At one point Ryan was able to not only feel each hiccup (strong jabs!) but SEE my belly twitching with each one. (He literally has hiccups as I am writing this post.)
Belly button in or out? In
Weight gain: 18 lbs.
Missing: Champagne and mimosas!!
Best part of this week: Heidi feeling the baby kick, also (kind of) picking a name... Although we haven't committed completely to spelling or a middle name yet so we will be keeping this a secret for a little while longer... but I am excited to share soon!!
Hardest part of this week: This week I have noticed that physical movements are become much more uncomfortable... and by that I mean movements that require some "squishing". Putting on my shoes is starting to feel gross as is anything that I have to bend over to get. I have also been struggling with the running situation a lot this week - it's been so hard! (But I finally had a GREAT 6 mile run!)
Looking forward to: Now that the holidays are almost over, I am excited to finally shift my focus on preparing (physically) for baby boy! 
Emotions: Lots of emotions this week... ups and downs...many of them pertaining to the holiday season.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Season Pain

Is this season a time of joy or a time of pain for you? This Christmas will probably be the hardest one of my life to date. Often, if feels like more than I can physically and emotionally bear. It's too much for me. I have spent the last month begging Ryan to just let us leave. To spend Christmas away from here so that I don't have to face it. (And to be honest, there is still a part of me holding out that maybe tomorrow we will just pack up and peace out of Houston.) If this time of year brings you anything BUT joy (and a little "healthy" amount of stress) and you just feel like telling someone about it, I would love to chat with you and hear all about it.
This prayer from church this past Sunday helped me a lot. Helped me to not feel quite so alone. And even though I still want nothing more than to least there is hope in Jesus Christ.
"Sometimes we miss the Christmas season. There’s a lot of joy, a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation for the good good things. One thing that we tend to forget, in the Old Testament between Genesis and Exodus, there were 400 years that passed and for that time God’s people were in slavery. Between the Old and New Testament, another 400 years and God’s people were basically in slavery in Rome in their own land. During those times when they thought of anticipating the coming of the Messiah, it was for freedom. It was that the suffering would end. So often at Christmas we know this can be a lonely and sad time for many people. We know some of those people personally. For many of us, it’s a time that brings great joy and we should celebrate that. It’s amazing and we are blessed to feel that way. For others, the coming of the Messiah means that there’s hope. There’s hope that it won’t always be that way. There’s hope that this broken world we’re in might change…
…Maybe you’re in that time of joy and everything is as it should be and hallelujah. Hallelujah! But maybe you or somebody you know might not be feeling that way this Christmas and maybe we can pray for them. Maybe we can sing these words for them that they would anticipate the coming of the Messiah because it would be a time for hope. A time that assures them that it won’t always be this way…
Father we are grateful, so grateful for the promise of your coming and your coming again. This world is broken, this world has so many problems but you are good and you have promised your salvation. You’ve promised deliverance from all the things that are broken in this world. So Father we love you. We are excited to celebrate your coming. We pray for those who aren’t feeling the excitement and the love this season. We pray that you would show it to them in an amazing way."
Thank you for this prayer Chad.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Advent Pregnancy Thoughts

How incredible is it that God has allowed us to play a tiny role in creation? The ability that He has given to women to grow, carry and birth another human life into this world astounds me and I do feel so privileged (dare I say "blessed"?) that he has assigned this role to me. I love every moment when my babies are still inside of me - going everywhere I go, doing everything I do. Feeling another life constantly moving inside of you is beyond words. It's so comforting and truly a physical reminder of God's presence within yourself. What an amazing thing it is to be pregnant?! I could do this forever (although I won't...maybe.)

Being pregnant during Advent always allows me to go deeper. What was it like for Mary when Jesus started getting stronger and stronger in her womb - when she started to see his kicks and jabs from the outside? Did she ever call Joseph over to place his hand on her belly to feel Him flipping around inside of her? It's something my mind can hardly even wrap itself around - conceived to the purity of a virgin by the Holy Spirit and carried in the womb for 9 months. Born inside a stable. The anticipation must have been unbearable. What will he look like? Will he cry? What will be his first word? Where will he take his first steps? What will he have to do to bear the weight of the worlds sins and save us all from eternal death? We SO anticipate the celebration of Christ's arrival into this world, from womb to hay and loving arms each year. Because without this story there would be no hope for us. No promise of eternal life. This story is everything. I pray that you have time to slow down this year (and every year) to reflect on what this season is about and lose focus on the World's definition of it.

To those other mamas who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new tiny lives - I think of you often! And to all of my friends who are struggling with infertility I am praying for YOU. Know that you are not alone. Even though many of you suffer silently and no one is even aware of the pain in your heart... You are not alone. God IS with you. Even when it feels like He's not.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Weeks 20, 21 and 22

Week 20

Major events: Potty training!! (More on this later... after 3 days of hardcore work we aren't quite there yet but getting close for sure!) Road trip to San Antonio (without daddy) to spend a few days with a friend and her 2 little ones!
Size of baby: Length of a banana
Sleep: Never great but fine. I think I have "gotten used to" (as much as anyone can) not sleeping for longer than 4 hour stretches or so.
Cravings: Nope!
Aversions: Still salmon and other fish (especially the smell)
Movement: Yes. Baby is still so low!
Belly button in or out? In
Weight gain: 12 lbs.
Missing: Nothing.
Best part of this week: Spending so much quality time with my good friend! (Also, Heidi made it an hour and a half in the car with no accidents, then asked to potty. I pulled off at a gas station and she went in her potty!)
Hardest part of this week: Potty training is hard work - but you have to put in the time if you want to see results. It's definitely not something you can lazily half-heartedly do if you want to be successful. 
Looking forward to: Thanksgiving AND Christmas!
Emotions: Happy!

Week 21

Major events: BUCKLE UP. These few weeks were nuts! Came back in town from SA (Thursday); Heidi had an allergic reaction to a cashew the evening we got back home; The following morning (Friday) I had my 21 week dr appt.; that afternoon we left for Shiner, Texas for the night; RAN A HALF MARATHON the next morning (Saturday); Back to Houston that afternoon; The next day (Sunday) my Mom came into town for the week that; my birthday (Wednesday) - last year of being in my 20s...yikes! Then my sister and her hubby coming into town that evening! Whew!!
Size of baby: Length of a carrot
Sleep: The same.
Cravings: None
Aversions: Salmon/fish
Movement: Yes! Although baby is still waaaay below my belly button.
Belly button in or out? In
Weight gain: 12 lbs.
Missing: Nothing!
Best part of this week: Running my second fastest half marathon!
Hardest part of this week: Being so crazy; also Heidi's allergic reaction... it was not SUPER severe but it's still hard coming to terms with the possibility of Heidi being an "allergy kid" for the rest of her life. 
Looking forward to: Turkey trot 2K15!!
Emotions: Ready to slow down...!

Major events: Thanksgiving
Size of baby: Spaghetti squash
Sleep: Mediocre...haven't had much time to sleep so that has made sleep even harder to come by!
Cravings: None
Aversions: Salmon/fish
Movement: Yes, lots of kicks and squirms although at this point he seems much less consistent than Heidi was
Belly button in or out? In!
Weight gain: 12 lbs.
Missing: Nothing comes to mind
Best part of this week: Had a fabulous day going out to lunch and running errands with my sister! Also, sharing baby kicks with family is always the best. 
Hardest part of this week: Not having much time to slow down, get sleep and relax!
Looking forward to: CHRISTMAS SEASON!!! Getting our house back in order after being gone for 6 days followed by having company for 11 days which will be followed immediately by decorating for Christmas!!!!
Emotions: Stressed! Ready to relax and enjoy the Advent and Christmas season!