Friday, September 30, 2011

Nursery Pictures!

This week our new crib and dresser came in for Riggs room!  I was so excited, and determined to get the new stuff set up as soon as possible.  It was definitely a team effort!  Being pretty pregnant with a heart condition, I'm really not supposed to be lifting very much, so I was pretty useless as far as helping to carry any of the furniture to the car or in the house.  Luckily, my sister was available to help me get the stuff from JCPenney, and my dad let us borrow his truck for the day.  We went and picked it up then ran a few more errands.  Neither Kelsey or I could really do much about getting the furniture out of the truck, so that would have to wait until Steve got off work.

Steve got off work late and was pretty tired, but he hung in there and unpacked the boxes outside (great idea on his part - otherwise there would have been Styrofoam everywhere in our house) and carried everything inside for me.  What a sweetheart!  Since then I have been working hard and have finally gotten his room as well set up as I really can until he gets here - there are some big items in his room which won't really have a home until then,  like the BOB stroller and both his car seats.  He also gets to share a room with his daddy's weight set, so that stuff is in his room, but I think that considering the space we had to work with, it turned out pretty well!  I can't wait to move into our own house to make him a real nursery, but for now this will have to do :)

It seems like he has so much stuff already, but I am so happy with everything we have got for him.  The reason we already have so much is because I have been lucky with watching craigslist and sales on amazon and such - that is how we were able to get the exact car seats we wanted for him for so much less, and also things like his little travel swing, rug, ect.  Steve loves the rug and said he always loved those when he was a kid.  I have to admit, I did too!  We had one at church in our Sunday School class that I used to play with so much!  I know it will be a while before he will really be "playing" with it, but it adds color to his room, which was much needed since we don't want to deal with painting or putting much up on the walls.

This is the view from the door looking into his room.  For those who haven't been 
to our house, this bedroom is pretty small, has two closets, and two doors, so there
isn't much wall space.  You can see the two car seats, BOB stroller and Steve's 
weights in this picture.  It will look a lot less cluttered in that corner once the cars 
seats are actually in the car lol.  Steve only works out in the winter when he is
laid off, so he let's me put stuff on the bench for now, but it will all have to be free 
and clear once/if he gets laid off so he can keep in shape during the winter.  

I love how his crib turned out!  I decided not to get one of the "lifetime" cribs (the 
ones that turn into toddler/double beds) because they were so much bigger and 
we will have other kids that will need a crib.  Plus I love how classic this one looks!  
I got his bedding on super clearance from Land of Nod, it's organic cotton and I 
love how gender neutral it is.  I have two bins for extra storage under the crib.  

Here is his adorable little dresser!  I had to search far and wide for the exact piece 
I was looking for, and when I found it, it was discontinued and over 50% off, perfect!  
We will use this for a changing table too, so all his diapers are in the top drawers, 
with onesies and pants in the other two drawers. We got a small shelf to go 
above it, but I'm waiting for Steve to put that up. 

This is what you see when you look to the right after walking through the door.  
His swing is super light and folds almost completely flat.  I usually have it folded 
up but put it out for the picture. 

This is the rest of the storage area for little Riggs.  The closet is pretty small, but we 
hung all his clothes that we could in there, and there are bins for storage of other 
hand me downs in bigger sizes and such in there.  The metal storage rack is really 
nice because it keeps things out in the open that we will need easy access to but 
that aren't necessarily everyday items.  We really like open storage, so we can just 
see what we need, grab it and go, and I don't think it looks too disorganized.  Now 
that everything is mostly put together, it's going to be even harder to wait patiently 
for December!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

wordless wednesday

Okay there's some words, but not many...

this cracked me up...too bad I'm not doing much bicycle commuting right now.

Monday, September 26, 2011

artificial food

fresh food - homegrown broccoli plant
minimally processed food - homemade whole wheat bread 
ultra-processed food
Below is an article I found while perusing the web today, which I felt merited sharing on my blog. I have copied this from the website, Fooducate.

New Food Definitions
In “The Big Issue is Ultra-processing. There is No Such Thing as a Healthy Ultra-Processed Product,” Dr. Carlos Monteiro makes a distinction among three types of food:
The first type is fresh food, such as the cauliflower at the farmer’s market.  Fresh food is generally rich in nutrients and low in calories, and we can accurately call this type of food “natural.”
The second type is minimally processed food, such as a cake’s basic ingredients—salt, sugar, and flour.  We can’t call these foods “natural,” because they have undergone a certain amount of processing to meet our demands.  On the other hand, the processing is not harmful because it doesn’t change the basic nature of these foods.
Whether a salt is processed mechanically with trace elements removed and iodine added or by hand with trace elements intact, it remains salt—a product we use to enhance the flavor of other foods.
More importantly, minimally processed foods, whether unrefined (whole wheat flour) or refined (white flour) do not threaten our health when eaten in appropriate, moderate, and reasonable amounts for our individual bodies.  This last condition is important.  Each of us has different tolerances and react differently to foods.  However, generally speaking, eating any food in excess is likely to be harmful to health, no matter what it is.
The third type is ultra-processed food. Monteiro describes these as “ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat ‘fast’ dishes, snacks and drink.” He says that they are made from “cheap or degraded ingredients,” and are low in nutrients, high in calories, and full of fat, sugar, and/or salt.
Ultra-processed foods, then, are artificial foods, created through chemical additives and the additional processing of fresh and minimally processed foods.  Manufacturers of these foods have distorted healthful ingredients to the point that they no longer have healthy benefits.
In fact, Monteiro counters any health claims made by manufacturers for ultra-processed food: “Manipulation of the formulation to reduce any of their ingredients, or to add synthetic nutrients, does not change their basic nature.”
These are the processed foods that are bad for us individually and globally, healthwise and socially. Monteiro says that they contribute to obesity and thus health problems, undermine traditional food systems, and undercut regional and national food identities.

This whole issue of food is something that has been very important to Steve and I, and only seems more important now that we have a baby on the way.  We want to limit the amount of ultra-processed or artificial foods, that we eat.  This is something that, undeniably, takes a lot of time and discipline to do.  But every time I make something from minimally processed foods rather than just grabbing the ultra-processed version on the shelf I feel a sense of accomplishment and pleasure from taking the time to be a good steward of the body I've been given.  
This weekend one of those things I decided to make rather than buy was polenta.  It turned out wonderful, and I was once again shocked at how easy it was to "make" this dish rather than buy it.  Things like polenta and pizza crust used to be items I viewed as minimally processed themselves, because they seemed to me just one ingredient in the entire meal I was making.  The more I learn the more I strive to get the foods I'm eating down to the least ingredients and minimal processing possible.
There are some ultra-processed foods I know I will never be able to cut out of my diet, cereal being the one that is foremost in my mind (I'm sure there are many others, I just can't think of them right now).  But I do try to be very diligent in reading the ingredients, and I try to buy things with the least artificial ingredients possible.  Things I really tend to look for are artificial sweeteners and food colorings.  I would much rather eat sugar than high fructose corn syrup or aspartame.  I don't want to condemn the eating habits or choices of others, just to make a marked effort for myself and my family to eat things that are better for our bodies.  So that is what is on my mind today, hope you are all having a wonderful Monday afternoon!  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

26 weeks

Today I am 26 weeks pregnant.  I can't believe it!  It seems like literally just yesterday Steve and I were talking about deciding to stop using birth control and "try" and get pregnant!  That was the beginning of March, and I found out I was pregnant by April 20, so this whole year has sort of been a pregnancy whirlwind!  It has been 157 days since I found out I was pregnant, and the exciting thing is now I only have 97 days left until my due date!  Where has the time gone?!

As I said earlier in the week, little Riggs is about 2 lbs, and according to my pregnancy app, he should be about 14 inches long.  So exciting!  It is not surprising to me that he is getting so much bigger so fast, because I feel him moving around and kicking like crazy almost all the time.  Many times when I don't feel big movements, I just have to watch my belly and I see little movements nearly all the time.  I love to feel him move, and I think that is what I will miss most about being pregnant.  Last night I could not sleep very well at all, and was up since 3am, but I just laid in bed with a smile on my face for the next two hours because he was moving all around.  It's amazing how much I can love someone I know so little about and haven't even met yet!

Other than the issues I've been having with my heart, I have had barely any pregnancy related symptoms, which I am so thankful for!  No swelling, no heartburn, no itchy or weird skin problems.  If it weren't for my fatigue, palpitations and breathing issues from the heart thing, I think I would feel amazing!

Baby, fetus at 26 weeks - BabyCenter
Here's a pictures of my little guy's progress this week, I can't believe how
much he's grown and how much my body has changed to accommodate him!

As of today, Riggs has completed two-thirds of his stay in my uterus!  This is such an exciting thought, and I can't wait for December to be here so he can come out big and healthy to meet us!

as you can see he's growing fast!

heart update

I had another appointment with the cardiologist yesterday.  They ran another echo cardiogram on me, which went pretty well except that by the end I felt like I was going to pass out from holding my breath so many times.    Afterwards I had an appointment with my doctor, in which he looked over the results of the echo cardiogram to see if my heart function had worsened or stayed the same.  Luckily for me it had not worsened, and he even said I had more normal heart beats in a row so hooray for me!  This means that I do not have to take any medication as of now to help increase my heart function.  I did have a few symptoms which were noteworthy to my cardiologist, so despite the good echo cardiogram, I was set up with a ACT heart monitor which I have to wear for the next 30 days.

here I am all hooked up:  four stickers, one transmitter and
the wonderful cell phone...
This consists of four electrodes attached at random places on my chest and upper abdomen, which are attached at the other end to a transmitting device that I have to wear at all times.  Add in the annoying cell phone which must be within 10 ft of me at all times and has to be charged every 6-10 hours, and you can start to see the picture I'm dealing with.  The fancy name for the device is  LifeStar Act Ambulatory Cardiac Telemetry, this website can tell you more about it if you're nosy :).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unexpected Ultrasound

Today I went in to Midwives so that they could do a quick check on something, and I ended up getting to go get another ultrasound at Advanced Sonograms of Alaska.  Riggs was measuring "big", about 3-5 weeks bigger than I "should" be, so they wanted to check if it was him or amniotic fluid.  I was pretty annoyed about the measuring big part, because whether it was him or extra amniotic fluid, it meant I would be forced to take the gestational diabetes test, which I really did not want to take.

Luckily, the ultrasound went great, he's not measuring big at all, he's still measuring exactly on track for his due date.  And there is no extra amniotic fluid!  He's just feet down, so he's pushing my uterus up further than it would be if he were head down, yay!  I had a feeling he was feet down, since I had been feeling a giant protrusion up above my belly button pretty frequently and had been feeling most of his kicks down low.  So now I need to focus on exercises and stretches that will flip him over and make him go back into head down position.  It was so fun to see him unexpectedly, he is so, so cute! And he has hair already, we could see it sticking off the back of his head like a little mullet lol.  Too bad the ultrasound guy didn't get a picture of that.

Oh and according to ultrasound guy, Riggs weighs in at 1lb 15oz, nearly two pounds!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More fall excursions

To finish my roundup of this weekends fun fall excursions, I have some pictures from a "hike" Steve and I took out at Eklutna Lake on Sunday.  I say hike, but really mean meandering walk up the hillside with Steve and Beau, and plenty of breaks to catch my breath in between.  It must be the combination of my heart issues and normal pregnancy breathing issues, but man do I get winded easily now!  It's very frustrating too because my body could just keep going forever, but lungs do not comply.  But we had a great trip despite the hoards of people who also decided to get out at Eklutna Lake.  This is one of the reasons we opted not to walk along the Lakeside Trail, but tried a new on instead:

Edlu Bena Loop Trail
Distance: 2 miles loop
Rating: easy to moderate

This trail was an old road bed that has recently been cleared and goes for one and one half miles. It begins at the trailhead parking lot and splits off at the start of the Twin Peaks trail. The Edlu Bena trail goes through a forest of mixed birch and spruce. In the first section of the trail, a viewpoint opens up with views of the west end of Eklutna Lake. The trail ends at the Lakeside Trail. From this point, it is one half mile to return to the trailhead and campground, for a loop total of two miles.

This was a very nice trail, especially since there were no other people on that trail the entire time, except right at the end.  If you plan on heading out to Eklutna Lake any time and are sick of the Lakeside Trail, I would highly recommend this trail.  It goes on far past the "loop" portion described in the paragraph above.  Instead of heading back down to the Lakeside Trail, you can continue going up into the woods, while still enjoying peek-a-boo views of the lake, which is what we chose to do.  We probably went two miles out, then turned around and headed back the same way we came.  We were out there for about two and half hours, then headed back to Anchorage for evening church.  It was a great day!

Beau enjoying the beautiful fall weather at the lookout; this is before
we headed up further into the woods

Steve checking out the ridge across the lake...

My view as I was hiking along, I definitely can't see my feet anymore lol

Pizza Crust

I love pizza.  But the more I crave it, the more I shop for it, and then I read the labels, and realize there does not need to be over 20 ingredients in a cheese pizza!  All of the artificial ingredients they load the freezer pizza's with just so that they can be shelf stable and reheat right after freezing are not things I need to be growing my baby on.  Even "natural" or "organic" pizzas have their fair share.  So Sunday I decided on a whim to make my own pizza crust, and it turned out so well I thought I'd share.

Ingredients - preheat oven to 450.  
Add oil, water and yeast to mixing bowl (I proof my yeast first in a separate bowl with  just the water and sugar)
Add 1 1/2 cups flour and stir to mix ingredients for 30 seconds
This is about what it should look like after 30 seconds.  Then mix on high speed for 3 minutes.
This is what it should look like after mixing for three minutes
Then using a wooden spoon, add as much of the remaining flour as you can work in.
Then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and work the rest of the flour in.  I add oil  (about a tsp) to
finish the kneading process so the dough doesn't get overworked and dry.
Knead for about eight minutes total.

Mold into ball and let the dough rest, covered, for about ten minutes.
Roll out to preferred size and place on pizza pan (or stone)
Add ingredients...I used marinara sauce from Costco, local peas and broccoli (from
my adventure at Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm), and
lots of mozzarella cheese.  
Bake at 450 for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how brown you like your cheese.

Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm Fall Festival

It is amazing how beautiful fall is each year.  I always remember that I love fall, but I don't think I ever really do it justice in my memories.  Colors seem more vivid and beautifully contrast against the crisp blue skies.  My favorite color contrast of fall is how the trunks of the trees seem to darken and appear almost black, a stark contrast for the orange and yellow leaves.

The mountains seem to stand out more and maybe appear taller and more real, I can't take them for granted like I seem to do during the summer. The air is clean and snappy, and although this is probably all in my imagination, breathing it in seems to feel better - it always brings a smile to my face.

I love being layered in cozy clothes - cardigans, sweaters and warm fuzzy Uggs.  I think it is during the fall season that I really enjoy the sunshine the most, it is not too hot, yet I can still feel its warmth on my face.

Fall is also the beginning of the holiday season, which is, by far, my most favorite time of year.  I love seeing all of the fall decorations up around town - hay bales, pumpkins, and fall themed 'Welcome' signs.  Time passes quickly, soon it will be Halloween, then Thanksgiving and from then on it's just pure joy and excitement for me. I always put up my Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving (or as soon as possible if we go to Homer).

With little Riggs coming this year, it just seems to make this time even more exciting and special.  My usual countdown to Christmas is also a countdown to when my boy will be born!  How much more exciting can it get?

Kelsey, the boys, and I headed out to Palmer last Saturday for the Fall Festival at Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm, the largest U-pick farm in Alaska.  It was an amazing experience!  We got to grab a wagon and some bags and headed out into the fields to pick the veggies that we wanted to take home with us.  The boys loved it, and I admit there is something so circular and cozy about bending over in the field, working hard to harvest the veggies I would later be eating at home with Steve.  What a great learning experience for the boys about sustainability and the importance of knowing where your food comes from.

Kelsey and I thought it would probably be even nicer to go on less crowded day, but we still had a blast.  The beautiful weather was the icing on the cake, and we all went home happy with the fruits of our labor.

Noah with all the u-pickers behind him in the fields
Kesley and her (youngest) boy
harvesting some peas
Farmer Corbin
Farmer Noah
Shelling the peas at home
In other news, I've been crocheting away at projects for Riggs, here is one that's nearly finished
and one last funny one...hey at least they admit it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Exciting things coming up!

Today I ordered stamps for our Christmas cards!  I love getting things done well ahead of time and having everything organized and ready to go.  I prefer to send out my Christmas cards right after Thanksgiving, and I debated trying to wait and do Christmas/New Year cards to try and squeeze in a picture of our little one.  But I ultimately decided to do a Christmas card separately and I will be (hopefully) using the maternity pictures we get taken.  I just booked the appointment for those too.

I decided to do them when I was about 32 weeks, which I think will be plenty big enough.  I get to do three different outfit changes and will now be on the lookout for what to wear.  I think we will do most of them outside, so I will need to wear something somewhat warm.  I think I want to go for basic black/white for both Steve and I, because too much color in pictures annoys me.  Especially since it will be winter-ish.  I'm thinking at least some of the shots will be in some nice grey or black yoga this picture, which I like (copyright noted in pictures):

I might want to do a dress pose too, what do you think?

I might throw a pair of dark wash jeans into the mix, like this:

Neither Steve or I want any with just him and my belly, kissing it or hugging it or staring at it creepily for example, like this:

 It just weirds me out.  As do the rosary beads....

or this:

So back to what I DO like...not many when it comes to both Steve and I.  Thankfully that is what Mitch is for, brilliant genius that he is, but I still want to think of what I do and don't like.

I like this type:

or something like this:

So anyway, those are my ideas thus far.  Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011



Adjective: Irritable and bad-tempered; grumpy; complaining.

That pretty much describes me perfectly today.  that's all...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Viability Day Riggs!

Fetal viability is described as... "The point at which a fetus becomes potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid..."

Yay Riggs!  I think the survival rate for birth at this time is still pretty low, like 50%, but it's considered the earliest that the hospital will try to save his little life if he were born now.  Every day his chances of survival will go up, so everyday is a great day from now on!  I am so thankful I haven't had any health issues during this pregnancy that have threatened his little life, and pray that it continues to be that way!  We want a healthy full term baby over here! :)

My heart seems to be doing about the same, or maybe better, I can't really tell.  But I'll found out after my next echocardiogram on the 23rd.

Here is a picture of me and Riggs at 24 weeks, he is growing fast and loves to kick, roll and rattle around in my uterus.

We love him so much already and with all the other babies getting born, I have to admit I'm a little (okay a LOT) impatient for December.  Plus it will be snowy and Christmas and family will be here's just going to be the best holiday season ever!

And now for some interesting tidbits about 24 week old Riggs:

"Your baby weighs just under a pound-and-a-half...and by the end of the week he will weigh in at a whopping 2 lbs and 14 inches long." 

"Sounds that are heard daily by your baby include the beating of your heart, the sound of your voice resonating as you speak, the sound of air filling your lungs and being exhaled, and the growling noises made by your stomach and intestines." - Riggs also gets to hear a lot of music.  I "make" him listen to classical every day, and I play guitar and sing to him every day.  I think the guitar must be pretty interesting for him, as it sits right against my belly.  I assume he can feel the vibrations from the guitar - I hope he likes it!  Steve plays him electric guitar on Sundays when he's home (I want him to be used to all the loud stuff we do so it's not startling to him once he's actually here).

"Between now and the baby's expected date of delivery his feel will almost double in size, from 1.8 inches to 3.3 inches."

*excerpts in quotations taken from The Pregnacy Journal:  A day-to-day Guide to a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy. 2005.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

new babies!

It all started Tuesday.  I woke up late and was laying in bed feeling sort of glum.  I think I am slowly starting to get impatient for December to come around.  I texted my sister Kelsey, writing, "I want someone to have their baby so I can hold a newborn!"  We texted back and forth about the two babies our church was waiting on to be born, one due on the 8th of September and one due on the 24th.

Imagine my surprise when both are born by 1pm the next day!  That's right, both babies were born on the same morning, at the same hospital!  One was born while I was visiting the other!  Crazy!  I am so happy for both families, especially since they had fast labors and healthy babies.  It was so nice to hold them both and chat with their moms about their birth experiences.  I can't wait for Riggs to be here!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I almost forgot...

My mom and dad gifted us and Riggs with a new crib and dresser, and I just got it ordered on Sunday.  I can't wait for it to come, it's going to look so great with all his stuff!

This is the crib, without all the girly stuff, of course; I'll post a picture when it gets here.

This is his dresser, I LOVE it.  Can't wait to get all his little clothes set up in it.  And we are going to put the changing pad on top.

This is the bedding we are going to order for him.  I can't wait for everything to get here!  He already has some colorful homemade quilts and afgans and I know there will be a few more coming (from me and other crafty people who love him), so I wanted a bedding set that would match anything.


I hope that everyone had a great holiday weekend!  Steve and I spent ours (well, at least Sunday and Monday, those were the only days Steve had off) in Seward together to celebrate our third wedding anniversary.  I can't believe it has already been three years since we said "I do"!  Time flies when you are having fun I guess.

Our trip was exactly what we needed.  It was our first time spending two consecutive days together since Memorial Day weekend!  We drove down Sunday afternoon in the pouring rain and checked into the Seward Windsong Lodge, which was charming, cozy and just what we needed for the night.

We went to dinner at Resurrection Roadhouse, the restaurant connected to the Lodge, and then borrowed a movie from the front desk to watch in our room.  We were both asleep by 9:30, it was so cozy and relaxing!

We got up early the next morning and went to the restaurant for breakfast.  It was delicious!  After checking out of the Lodge, we drove into Seward and spent a few hours at The Alaska SeaLife Center.

It was great to be there again, and Steve really enjoyed it.  The SeaLife Center is home to countless great memories for me.  I spent many weekends there when I was a girl scout working on my Gold Award, which we received by developing a Rehabilitation Station Education Program for kids at the center.  We got to spend the night there quite a few times, and it was such an amazing experience for me.  We also were the recipients of the Coastal American Partnership Award in 2001, and received a plaque and a handwritten and signed letter from the President commending us for our work.

Anyway, getting back to our weekend getaway, we then left to Center and headed over to the Harbor to catch our tour boat, and went on a four and a half hour tour of Resurrection Bay with Kenai Fjords Tours.  It was very, very wet, but amazing!   We saw five different humpback whales, including one that breeched, or jumped completely out of the water.  Unfortunately I was only quick enough to get pictures of two of the animals, but I will have the memory of what we saw forever.  I have seen quite a few whales in my life, but it never fails to amaze me.  They are such beautiful, awe inspiring, creatures that demand attention and respect.    Overall it was a fantastic trip, although it was tricky trying to get my raincoat zipped up.  I think from this point on it will never happen again as Riggs gets even bigger.  It was definitely a two person job! lol.  

Here are some pictures from our trip.     

Some nice big prawn...seeing them live just reinforces to me why I don't eat shrimp...


Leaving Seward

did I mention it was rainy?

 The Harness Family

Fox Island

Humpback Whale, extremely close to our boat

 there were Lord of the Rings style waterfalls everywhere
On the way back, it got even rainier and mistier,
until everything looked like it was in black and white.  
It took our breath away it was so beautiful.