House news!

Amidst all the baby baby baby, the rest if our life rolls on. And yesterday we bought a new couch!

We’ve been planning this for a while as a Christmas present to ourselves, and when Macy’s sent out an ad for black Friday deals, it was clear that we should pull the trigger.

I went with my mom and brother and we tested out a few and settled on one that we all loved. Kyle said he trusted me to find one that he’d love. (His only requirement: it must have cushions.)

If this Macy’s furniture purchase is anything like the last one, we should see our new couch sometime in the next 4 months. They claim there is a good chance it will be here by Christmas, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Once it does arrive, though, we’ll put the old one up on Craigslist to recoup some money. We got a pretty good deal, but considering the list of things that need to happen before Baby Boy arrives, we should try to be as frugal as possible!

Oh… and don’t worry. We didn’t forget about Baby Boy yesterday. After couch shopping, we headed to Target and I bought some cuuuuuute baby clothes for 40% off. I only bought 2 little outfits, but I think I’m done shopping until after baby showers. It was sure fun to pick out a few things I liked. 🙂

Today Kyle felt the baby kick for the first time!!!!

It was a little underwhelming for him, because it doesn’t feel like a major event from the outside when a 10.5 inch fetus kicks you. He thought there would be more to it.

He was happy, sure. But for me it was a big moment. Finally I get to share the craziness with someone else! I felt like such a hog, keeping it to myself. Believe me, I’ve been trying to share. And I finally did it!

What a great feeling. And it couldn’t have come on a better day. I was feeling pretty blue after the appearance of my first stretch marks in an unexpected spot. Baby Boy must have known I needed the pick-me-up. What a sweetheart!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I am more thankful than I’ve ever been before.

I’m thankful for my husband most of all. His humor, his love, his support, and his care get me through even the toughest days.

I’m grateful that the toughest days are few and far between. My pregnancy has been pretty easy, we both enjoy continued employment, we have a roof over our heads, and we never go hungry.

I’m grateful for family and friends who support us. I feel the love from all around… all the time.

I’m thankful for our abilities, for baby kicks, for our health, and for our future.

And wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I’m thankful for Baby Boy. He came when we asked for him. Nothing could be more wonderful than that.

Monthly Budget Overhaul

Hi, my name is Carolyn, and I have a problem.

My problem is that I really like puzzles. And that planning makes me feel calm. This makes budgeting way too much fun for me.

Every month I spend far too long puzzling away at my budget, trying to make things fit. And I try to forecast how things are going to look financially for us way too far into the future.

FOR EXAMPLE! I have 2015 all mapped out all the way through December, including conservatively forecasted income changes, new bills, payoffs, etc.

Having a plan makes me calm. And that feeling feels so good, that I re-check my forecast (“reassemble the puzzle”, if you will) for the upcoming year every single month as I pay the upcoming month’s bills. Just to get my “calm fix”.

This is obviously overkill. Plan it once. Trust the plan.

But I’m a junkie. I keep coming back to play with my puzzle for hours, every single month.

I think I need an intervention. Someone needs to take my spreadsheet away from me for a while.

Unnecessary emotions

My unnecessary emotional reactions took a break for a few months. But now they’re back. And this time around they are making the first round of emotional reactions look like nothin’. Being pregnant is so fun!

Before they were occasional and brief. I would usually just tear up for a second.

Now… oh man. Any little thing could trigger a full on sob fest that lasts so long my eyes swell shut.

The other day I woke up from a dream about a disappointing subway sandwich real-life sobbing because I had been so hungry and upset in the dream.

Hallmark is playing Christmas movies 24/7 (literally), and I’m addicted. They all have happy endings and children. I keep tissues next to my favorite chair in the living room.

Insurance commercials about protecting your family cause complete meltdowns (I’m such a cliche!).

Unnecessary emotional breakdowns are not an infrequent occurrence anymore. I am constantly at risk. Good thing it actually feels good to have that release. And good thing I’m not (usually) actually upset. So it is all harmless and amusing!

Let’s do stuff!

We know the sex of Baby now, obviously. So I’m (again, obviously) now dying to do stuff. Time is just flying by, and I am getting very excited, and nothing has been done to prepare. Literally not one thing has been checked off our list.

Luckily, Kyle has a review at work coming up, and after that happens, we should be able to pull the trigger on a few things. Like the basement and a new car. Those are the two biggest, most stressful things we have on our to-do-before-baby list, and I would love to get at least one of them knocked off.

I think we’ll start with the car. 🙂

The scope of the basement work is still TBD. It depends on lots of things. But no matter what, something has to happen, and a bare minimum must be met. Hopefully we’ll be able to do a little more than the bare minimum, but in keeping with our new line of thinking regarding “need” vs. “want”, I can certainly live with the bare minimum if that’s all we can manage.

I also plan to buy paint for the kitchen and Baby Boy’s nursery in the next few weeks. That is almost more exciting than the thought of a new car.


A favorite moment from Saturday’s gender reveal party. Captured by my lovely sister-in-law.

We’re still riding the high today. Thinking about Baby Boy all the time and wondering what he’ll be like. We love him to pieces already!

The confusion

As I mentioned earlier, I have been sifting through a lot of emotions since the gender reveal party yesterday. Please allow me to elaborate, as my feelings are starting to make more sense to me.

At first I thought my confusion had to do with what the sex of Baby is. I thought that somehow I had wanted a girl without really knowing it, and then when I found out he was a boy I was disappointed. And thinking that that was how I felt made me feel terribly disappointed in myself.

But you know what? That’s not it. I really didn’t have a preference, subconscious or otherwise. The confusion actually comes from the fact that, for me, Baby has turned from an abstract experience into an actual person through finding out the sex. And I would have felt the same feelings even if Baby had turned out to be a girl.

Up until yesterday pregnancy was just pregnancy. I knew a baby was going to come out of the experience, but I didn’t know anything about our baby. And without a springboard to jump off of, I didn’t imagine what being a parent to our baby would be like. I only imagined the general hurdles we’d encounter as parents – like sleeplessness, finances, picky eating, etc… because that’s all I could imagine.

Now I know something about our baby. I know he is a boy. And just that tiny piece of information makes me suddenly feel like I know him.

His kicks now mean something different. And I can imagine what his face might look like when he cries his way through another sleepless night. A mental forecast of his first day of school now has an imaginary outfit and a cartoon themed backpack in it. I can even imagine watching him figure out the world and talking to us about his revelations as if he is discovering something brand new that no one else knows about, and reassuring him that he isn’t alone in those experiences.

It isn’t that Baby is a boy that confused me and kept my joy from sinking in right away. It is that Baby is a human to me now instead of just an idea. And knowing him is an overwhelming mental shift that couldn’t happen in an instant. I’m not just a pregnant lady anymore… I feel like a mom now. 

What a complex thing to feel! It was a shock to the system that I couldn’t understand right away. The shock was blocking me from genuinely proclaiming that I was excited to all the people at the party. I was too confused to unearth the joy that (I now know) was there. I tried to say the right things, but I couldn’t believe that I didn’t feel them.

But I did feel them. They were just buried under a much louder feeling.

I’ve got nearly 28 years of feelings under my belt, and this one – feeling like a mom – is brand new. No wonder I didn’t know how to label it right away. No wonder I thought it meant something else. No wonder nothing but shock and confusion could manifest itself.

I’m so relieved that I uncovered so quickly that what was confusing me wasn’t about boy vs. girl. Wishing Baby was something other than what he is would have been an ugly kind of confusion. What this feeling turned out to be is actually even more mind-boggling, but it is a kind of life-long confusion that actually feels kind of beautiful. 

Baby is a boy. He is mine. He is ours. I’m still utterly confused – but not because of what he is. No… it is because of who he is. Or, more accurately, who he will be, and who I’ll be with him in my life.

How wonderfully unpredictable that sounds. This kind of confusion I can live with. 🙂 This kind of confusion can’t block my joy and excitement.

So many feelings!

Since finding out (finally!) that we’re having a boy, feelings have been swirling madly. At first it was shock. Then it was confusion. Then it was exhaustion (it is actually still exhaustion). It was all very overwhelming.

Turns out having a gender reveal in front of a bunch of people, while fun, doesn’t leave a lot of time for reflection. So today I needed to spend some time discovering what my actual feelings are. I needed to settle into this new world where Baby isn’t an “it” anymore.

I put on a blue dress and a blue scarf, went and got a pedicure with my sister-in-law which ended in blue toenails, and bought some very stereotypical “boy books”. I also browsed some clothing websites and fell in love with a bunch of baby boy clothes (which I resisted buying).

And now I feel less confused. The shock is still there, but it is mixed with a big dose of joy. We’re having a boy! It rhymes with joy for a reason, I’m sure!

Here I am at 20 weeks! Had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound on Thursday and all of baby’s parts are there from head to toe! What is between the legs will be revealed this afternoon. We’re so anxious to find out!


Ok I’ve calmed back down. I still wish I knew, and I’m constantly obsessing over what the envelope says. To the point where I had trouble sleeping last night. But I’m calmer.

And today I am halfway through my pregnancy! So let’s focus on how joyful that is. 🙂

There was something about the ultrasound yesterday that made me feel so much more connected to the baby. I literally got to see every part (except between the legs! Dangit!). Brain, kidneys, feet, heart, eyes, bladder, nose, stomach, hands, umbilical cord… everything!

I have a complete, perfect, albeit tiny, human being inside of me. And seeing it in all of its completeness makes it really feel like mine.

20 weeks. Halfway. I like it.

Today we had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound. You know… the one where you find out the gender.

Except I don’t know the gender because we’re doing a stupid party where we’ll find out with our family and friends.

Ok the party isn’t stupid. It was my idea. But it feels stupid right now because the envelope that contains the information is at the party store and I know nothing!

I could know RIGHT NOW. But instead I know NOTHING.

I hate surprises. I like knowing things.

My feelings on this matter are not new. I should have known that I’d go insane not knowing.

I have been waiting 20 weeks already. Why did I think 2 more days was no big deal? TORTURE!

Oh. Also. Here is a picture of our baby. It is cute and perfect and has all its parts. Enjoy. 🙂


My belly button is starting to change.

The wrinkles in my belly button are gone and it is much shallower than normal. It is on its way to popping.

This is my first real body image issue associated with my pregnancy. I am NOT excited about my belly button popping out, even if it is only temporary and will supposedly go back to normal after birth.

Stay in there, little guy. Go no further!

Heartburn’s comeback

Sung to the tune of “Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel:

Hello heartburn, my old friend.
It’s not nice to see you again.
You left and now here you come creeping,
Burn my throat and leave me weeping,
And my esophagus may never be the same,
So much pain
Within my chest of fire.


“They” say that when you’re pregnant, your hair and fingernails are supposed to grow a lot faster.

I have noticed that this rumor is particularly true regarding my nails. They’re also stronger than normal. I have pretty fingers!

My toenails are also growing faster, much to my dismay. I can’t bend down comfortably for long enough to cut them myself anymore (being pregnant is so fun!). So I offered Kyle two options: 1) cut my toenails for me. 2) Send me off to regular pedicures so they can do it for me.

He picked option 2, and I’ll be going for a pedicure this coming weekend with my sister-in-law. Happy pregnant lady right here!

But my hair. Seriously. This was the one I was interested in. And yesterday, I decided to figure out if the rumor was true. Now, my hair is not fuller or thicker, and the advertised break from shedding unfortunately doesn’t apply to me. But how fast is my hair really growing?

Good thing I had my hair cut about a month ago so that it hit right above my ears! It is a perfect measuring stick! Kyle and I calculated that my hair has grown almost an inch in just 1 month!!! The interwebs tell me that the average person’s hair grows only ½ an inch per month. So assuming I am normally “average”… my hair is really kicking butt right now.

Which is great, because I have decided that it is time to grow my short hair back out to somewhere between chin and shoulder length. Actually… Kyle decided that. But same thing, really.

Crockpot Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

My Mexican food craving lives on… I simply had to make tortilla soup, and since most recipes are “chicken tortilla soup” (yuck!), I decided to make up my own vegetarian recipe!

It turned out better than I could ever have expected, and the friends we had over even went back for seconds. I felt like a rockstar.

The recipe is jotted down below, since it was good enough that I want to remember it for next time AND I want my friends and family to have a chance to try it too! You’ll notice, though, that I don’t really measure very well (this is why I’m so bad at baking). All measurements listed below are fabricated and approximate. I highly recommend that if you try my recipe, you should do what “feels right” too!

My only failure? Not getting a better picture!



  • 4 cups vegetable broth (equivalent of 1 carton)
  • 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can of unseasoned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans in chili sauce
  • 1 small can of chopped green chiles (mild)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), chopped
  • 1 ½ cups frozen roasted corn kernels (you can find these at Trader Joe’s)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Chipotle chili powder to taste (I used about a teaspoon)
  • Taco seasoning to taste (I think I used somewhere around 2 tablespoons…maybe more)
  • Cumin to taste (probably about a teaspoon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Diced green onion
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Diced avocado
  • Crushed tortilla chips


Dump everything into the crockpot at the same time. Cook it either on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours. Serve it up with your choice of toppings.

Makes about 8 servings (leftovers!)


I feel like a butt-kicking winner this weekend. Why? I’ll tell you why.

1. I grocery shopped yesterday.
2. I did dishes today.
3. I washed EVERYTHING on the bed (mattress protector, sheets, comforter, and all of the pillows). Kyle assisted because he is awesome.
4. Mom and I met up and tested out rockers. I determined what I prefer and now I feel better about baby progress.
5. I bought party supplies for the gender reveal party.
6. I emailed the fancy party store about the balloons for the reveal-box.
7. My new maternity tops arrived. And they’re even cuter in person.
8. I ate carrots and celery. This is important to note because I also at 4 cookies (with frosting… shame on me!). I feel like this is not what they mean when they say “eat a balanced diet”. But I didn’t ONLY eat cookies. So I think it counts as balanced in pregnant lady land.

Also worth noting- I’m so tired I could die.

Here I am at 19 weeks! As I write this, the baby is kicking me. It is like he/she knows I’m talking about him/her. 🙂 almost halfway and a week away from finding out the sex!

Baby Kicks

Our little poppyseed is definitely a mover. The kicks last week started out as little flutters that I had to really focus to notice. Now they’re forceful and frequent and catch me off guard even when I’m not paying attention.

So cute, right?

I mean… yeah. It is definitely exciting. I shed a tear the first time it happened, which I feel a little proud of because it seems like the right motherly reaction. And at the right moments, I still get a little misty. Especially as the thumps get stronger.

But I don’t always love getting kicked in the stomach, even if the kicker is only 6 inches long and can’t hurt me no matter how hard it winds up. Sometimes getting kicked sucks. Like when I’m trying to work.

This week has been really crazy at work. Busy season is in full swing, and I have been working my long hours to get things done on time. Baby kicks in the middle of a detailed task can really break your concentration.

So cute…right?

BUT! But but but! When I’m laying down and relaxing with nothing to do, baby kicks are the best. Last night I went to bed at 7:30 and just laid there until 9 with my hand on my belly feeling the kicks from inside AND outside.

(Side note: I may have gone to bed at 7:30 because I ran out of iron supplements and I’m feeling very fatigued. But at least I had something to do while I had no energy to move. I really should go to the store today.)

Kyle hasn’t felt baby kicks yet. But considering that yesterday evening was the first time that I realized they would be strong enough to feel from the outside, I guess that isn’t such a crime. We simply haven’t been in the same place at the right time! And there is lots of time for him to catch a thump or two.

I’m hoping my mom will get to feel tomorrow when we meet up to test out rocking chairs.

Fat guy in a little coat

You know you’ve become too pregnant for your winter jacket when you say to someone, “have you ever seen Tommy Boy?” and they look at you and immediately respond by singing “fat guy in a little coat”.

My suspicions have been confirmed. I can’t wear any of my coats anymore.

Life’s greatest mystery

A deep, important question struck me last night. So far my husband, my sister-in-law, and my brother-in-law have not been able to shed any light.

Why aren’t there more treats that have both caramel AND marshmallow?

Husband’s answer: You’re crazy. Just go get some more scotch mallows. You’ll be fine.

Brother-in-law’s answer: Because that’s gross.

Sister-in-law’s answer: Would you like some cookies? I have two different kinds!

My sister-in-law’s answer came the closest to solving the mystery, for sure. But I still don’t feel satisfied. I mean… we have scotch mallows (yum!) and we have Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream (double yum!). But I can think of nothing else that combines caramel and marshmallow. And that is a real, true shame.

UPDATE: Snickers Rocky Road candy bars exist! And they provide me with another source of caramel and marshmallow! Pregnant ladies rejoice!

You CAN have it all

Update: Kyle now has two pairs of jeans with only the expected number of holes (you know… for your legs and stuff). And I have 4 new maternity tops on the way.

Irresponsible? Yes.

Happy family? Yes.

You CAN have it all!

But seriously… I had to buy another bin to put away non-maternity clothes yesterday. Because even my “these are kind of roomy” non-maternity clothes are now embarrassing. And after I did that, I realized that I was operating on somewhere around 10% of the wardrobe I normally have. And bumping (pun intended) that up a little bit wasn’t actually as insane as I thought. (Still insane… just not as insane as I thought)

Things that are hard

  1. Putting on socks.
  2. Putting on shoes.
  3. Getting tupperware out of the lower cabinet in our kitchen.
  4. Rolling over in bed.
  5. Staying in one position for any extended period of time.
  6. Walking and talking at the same time. (can you say winded?!)
  7. Getting up from anything resembling horizontal. (This includes my favorite chair in the living room. Kyle has to help me up most of the time from that chair now, and yesterday he said, “what happens when I can’t do this for you anymore?” I think he meant that I’m getting really fat and heavy. Potential solution: get a forklift.)

We’ve only just hit 4 months, people. “Things that are hard” are soon going to become “things that are impossible”. I think they will simultaneously become “things that are hilarious to watch Carolyn attempt”.

4 months

4 months down and 5 to go. Time is really flying, especially now that I feel pretty good most of the time.

And of course the feeling of time flying by is making the planner inside me very antsy. All I want to do is… everything. Right now.

I would especially love to get started on the nursery. But we’re missing some key parts that must be in place before we can start that. Namely, the sex of the baby, money, and a spruced up basement to relocate the room’s current contents into.

I kind of feel like I’m losing my mind. I always feel so much calmer when I know things are organized and ready. I would welcome that calmness right about now.

But since I can’t take care of the big picture stuff, I find myself wanting to do some retail therapy and buy some more maternity clothes. But that’s just silly. Especially since Kyle really needs new jeans to replace his full-of-holes jeans, and that should take priority since my BRAND NEW maternity clothes are obviously still fine.

Here I am at 18 weeks! The photo is flipped because I’m taking it in a hotel mirror since I’m traveling this week for a conference. Please enjoy the lovely hotel lighting. 🙂 this week I felt the first “flutters” of movement… but not many repeats. I can’t wait to feel it more often (and stronger!).