Daughter, Wife, Mother... this is what I do

Sunday, March 27, 2011


As of today-ish, I am officially considered "full term." Or, rather, Elle is. Everything is fully developed and ready for some real world breathing, crying, eating, and cuddling. While I've been aware this entire time that she could "come at anytime," I think that it's more tangible now that I've got the crampy, achy, contracting uterus to go along with that thought. I've gone to sleep every night this weekend thinking, "Could tonight be the night?" I need to just get over it and get some sleep while I can, I suppose. Especially considering I could have up to FIVE MORE WEEKS OF THIS CRAZY WAITING GAME!!!

That being said, I really do feel great. Other than the more painful Braxton Hicks every now and then, I feel fairly normal. Praise Jesus for that. He's been really good to take care of this sweet baby and I. I think Tyler's really appreciative too. We both kind of thought I'd be a huge mess as a pregnant woman. [1st/better part of 2nd trimester fatigue and morning sickness aside...]

So, now we wait... and while we wait I'm going to eat this delicious dish for breakfast. I've been getting bored of my breakfast choices lately (either cold cereal or hot oatmeal with chopped up strawberries.) I've tried this once before and it was phenomenal, so I'm whipping this up tonight so that I can have a quick, delicious and different breakfast ready to go while I spend time with God tomorrow morning before work.

Pumpkin Pie Vegan Overnight Oats


  • 1/3-1/2 cup oats
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8th tsp nutmeg, 1/8th tsp ginger)
  • 3/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • Walnuts (topping)
  • 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup (topping)
  • Raisins (topping)

Directions: Mix the oats, chia seeds, and spices in a small bowl. Now add the Almond milk and maple syrup and whisk until mixed. Add in the pumpkin and whisk again until fully incorporated. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. Top with raisins, walnuts, and maple syrup and enjoy your creamy pumpkin pie oats!

Taken from ohsheglows.com. No, Tyler and I aren't vegan, but some of her recipes are FANTASTIC!!! Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Happy 37 weeks, Elle!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Excuse me, but...

...I just need to take a minute to toot my own horn. Maybe it's because I didn't find sleep last night until sometime after 12:40am due to all the lists I was making in my head of things that need to be accomplished before Elle arrives. Therefore, I need to talk about how thrifty of a mama-to-be I am. [Listen to Halim's sermon on how our approval is found only in the redeeming love of Jesus here. Maybe I need to listen again...]

Either way, I just have to say that I love a good deal. Especially when it's a good deal that's going to end up saving me money in the long run. Stay with me here. Cloth diapering definitely saves a LOT of money. [See? The benefits are endless...] However, it's a pretty hefty investment upfront if you're buying everything yourself. Fortunately, with Elle being our first, friends and family were really generous in buying some cloth diapering essentials for us to get us started. But with babies dirtying up to 12 diapers a day (yikes.) you really need to shoot for 24ish cloth diapers to have a good base if you're going for solely cloth diapering. All-In-One cloth diapers run about $17-20 a piece. You do the math. Remember? I said "hefty investment."

HOWEVER, and here's where the "tooting" comes in, (no pun intended) as baby showers finished up and I realized how many more diapers we needed... I began thinking that used cloth diapers wouldn't be such a bad idea. I mean, reasonably used cloth diapers. Ones that have been taken care of with appropriate detergents, have minimal staining, and are a brand that I've researched in the "durability" department. I was a little skeptical when I first started searching... but so far I've purchased 16 quality, hardly used cloth diapers for just at $120. Now, do the math. **Super tip, I hear that newborns are just too tiny for the One-Size (just think tons of snaps and closures to adjust to your growing bambino). There are LOTS of barely used XS and S diapers on craigslist from mamas whose babies were either just too big or grew out of them quickly that are desperate for some space in their changing table. I would shoot for buying these on craigslist, for sure.

Also, in the thrifty-mom-horn-tooting category, I found my dream jogging stroller on craigslist, barely used, for half the price. (Good jogging strollers are VERY expensive. And we're talking the kind of expensive that doesn't really make you feel like you're saving money on disposable jogging strollers down the road.) And since they're built to really last through years of trail running, buying one that has only been walked with for a year is completely worth it. Also, my co-mama-to-be friend, Lindsey can list out a number of situations that make a jogging stroller way better than a normal one. Ask her about that one.

The reason for making such an investment (half of what I could have invested, mind you...) is that my sweet 1/2 marathon running partner and I are going to tackle #2 together, with babies in tow. :) That's right. She's having a sweet baby in September and we will be hitting the trails as soon as she's up and running again. Bring it on, Town Lake. We'll have our BOBs with our sweet babies safely strapped in and a strong motivation to shed the baby weight (and lots of conversations about poop and spit up and the best cleaning detergent, I'm sure. Because that's all SAHM's talk about, right? I'm totally kidding, mamas.)

Ok. This is the end of the first baby post that's officially made me feel like a mom: Bragging about bargain hunting. Oh, Lord, here we go...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

College Girl Meal with an Adult Twist...

Confession: This is one of my favorite meals of all time. It's not exclusive to my days as an up-till-3-am college student who doesn't cook, although it was a weekly staple then. But, I LOVE tomato soup and grilled cheese. For me, it's also not exclusive to wintery days, though, I admit that's when its the yummiest.

Before today, I had yet to try my hand at homemade tomato basil soup. But I came across a recipe for it that I wanted to try. Hands down, the best tomato basil soup I've ever had. It's fresh and delicious with a kick of spice that is perfect with a fresh-mozzarella grilled cheese. I kind of consider myself a connoisseur in this area... trust me on this. I also got two large thumbs up from my husband, who does NOT love tomato soup as much as I do. So maybe he's the one you should trust. **Adapted from annies-eats.net.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, halved with seeds scooped out
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1½ tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. butter
2 cups chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can tomato puree or sauce
2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock


Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Combine the tomato halves, ¼ cup of olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss well to combine. Spread the tomato halves out on a large baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes for 45 minutes.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly soften, about 7-10 minutes. Add in the canned tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth. (I don't have an immersion blender, so I used my standing blender. It was a little more work and I dirtied a few more dishes, but it worked just the same. Just make sure you have proper ventilation of the soup so it doesn't explode, and don't spill it! It's hot!)


I also think this would be DIVINE with cream to make more of a bisque, but I decided to go with the low-fat version for tonight. We'll save the creamy experimentation for the colder months. :)

In case you were wondering, the current count-down is 27 days until this little Bee is supposed to make her debut. Don't worry, every strange feeling, foreign cramp or pressure sends me into a "get your watch out and make sure you have everything packed" frenzy. I'm currently worried that my house won't be spotless when we come home from the hospital. I guess my somewhat lax house keeping has to up the ante over the next 27 days. Bring it on, little one! We're ready to meet you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Day in the Life...

...of a not-yet mama and teacher-on-spring-break.

Here's what I did today:

1. Wake up on my own time. Not to an alarm clock. (Or the sweet noises of an infant.)
2. Make a large bowl of oatmeal and a small cup of coffee.
3. Slowly enjoy said breakfast, all while reading a book I've been meaning to finish.
4. Stay in pajamas and finish that book on the couch.
5. Once finished with the book, give myself an at-home manicure.
6. Watch a couple of episodes of The Office. (What else am I supposed to do while my nails are drying?!)
7. Clean the kitchen.
8. Finally get dressed.
9. Get out to enjoy the beautiful day and make a run to Babies R Us for a few essentials for the little Bee.
10. Take my time shopping and pick out this cute little number. Elle's ready for swimsuit season:
12. Stroll around Sprouts and pick out a few delicious veggies for dinner.
11. Go to Chic-Fil-A for an ice cream cone because it was the perfect day for one and I didn't have any reason not to.
12. Come home and check the mail only to find the newest Real Simple issue lovingly tucked into my mailbox.
13. Read Real Simple cover to cover.
14. Decided that my day was too wonderful not to commemorate with a blogpost.

After all, these are my very last days of cherishing things like this: Quiet, slow, easy, calm. But it's so sweet looking forward to what my new life will be like. Cherishing things like this: Crazy, new, filled with firsts, baby snuggles, problem solving. :) Moms... feel free to add any things that my life may be filled with that I've left out. Teachers, I hope your Spring Breaks have been as slow and restful as mine has so far.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

35 Days...

That's the number of days (give or take a few) that we have until we meet the Little Bee.

To which I respond... WHAT?!

Tyler and I are so so very excited to meet this little one. But, oh my word, 35 days? It's leaving me feeling a bit like a deer caught in head lights. And the thought that realistically, she could come any day is stressing me out! It almost makes scheduling an elective C-section sound like a really good idea (although, that's not what i want to do). Thankfully, I can rest in the fact that I really can't be prepared for the life change that's about to happen. And that God knows the exact minute that she'll enter into this world, and He's completely trust-worthy. So there's that...

As for physically, I feel great! I hear that I can thank my long torso for this. I'm still measuring pretty small compared to other preggos, but I've been assured that this isn't reflective of the little one's size. Currently, I think she's still head down with her little bottom up near my rib cage and her legs curled up on the other side. Occasionally she'll do some yoga stretches and make my stomach look really strange. This thoroughly freaks the baby-daddy out. So I really love it when she does that :). But seriously, Tyler has been really great. He does things like buckle my shoes when he hears me grunting and panting to try to get them on correctly. Ha! Love that man.

Last weekend, some sweet, sweet friends threw me a few showers. I had a shower at school and a shower with friends and family in Austin. They were fabulous. Both of them! It's always a wonderful, (and slightly overwhelming) thing to be surrounded by the people you love most. (Overwhelming, because I want to sit down and chat with them all, but it's not always possible.) Elle's got almost everything she needs to be happy, healthy and cute when she makes her little debut. I'm so thankful for everyone that came!!

In other news, the nursery-nook is complete! I'll do my best to get some good, quality pictures up this week. I really love how it turned out. All Elle's sweet things have filled up our home and created a warmth that wasn't there before. And those are just her things! I'm excited about what adding a baby will do :)

I have a few posts that I need to do, so be looking for them this spring break:
-Crafts: A Crib/Changing Table Mobile
-Cooking: The Best Homemade Pizza. Seriously.
-Decorating: Elle's Nursery Nook
-Teaching: New Students...

I'll leave you with a belly picture...

Slowly but surely taking over the world,
Lauren and the Belly.