Monday, July 20, 2009

Pregnancy Update - 21 Weeks

Towards the end of my 21st week, we left for North Carolina for the second weekend in a row. Except this time, we were staying for a whole week for 2nd week of Carolina Bible Camp (CBC). We stopped in Brevard, NC on the way so we could visit with Michael's Grandmother Cline. Little did we know, Michael's mom had planned a little surprise shower for Baby Payne with the family before we had to head on to Mocksville and CBC.

This is Grandmommie Cline - Michael's mom's mom.
I don't remember exactly what this onesie says, but it's football themed, which is right on target for me and Michael!
It took us awhile to figure out exactly what animal that tummy time blanket is...I think we finally decided on some sort of dragon. Check out the cute bibs in the background. They say things like "Boys Are Just Better" and "I Love Dirt." The second one scares me a little. :) I've said more than once that this little boy will be God's way of teaching me patience and I'm sure many, many other lessons!

Pregnancy Update (Finally!) - 20 Weeks

Today I am 26 weeks pregnant. Wow. I haven't posted an update since Week 19. Man, I'm behind...and incredibly busy. We've traveled a lot since Week 19 (not much different than pre-Week 19 really, though). My sister, LeeAnn, had baby Salem Zannah Taylor on the day I turned 20 weeks - June 8th. Unfortunately, that was on a Monday so I had to wait 5 whole days before we could drive to North Carolina and I could meet her that weekend.

I seriously love this little girl! She's so adorable and beautiful (I'm only slightly biased).
We had fun taking pictures of her. Salem is five days old in these pix. She looks like she's smiling in the picture below, but really she was just working on a special gift for us!
Isn't she beautiful?
And so tiny...she weighed 6lbs 13oz at birth and was 19 inches long. She may be low on the weight percentile, but she's got the length under control! Check out mine or LeeAnn's Facebook page for plenty more sweet pictures of Miss Salem.
My 20 week and pregnant.
At 20 weeks, I was still feeling great. That extra 2nd trimester energy started to kick in (which has been wonderful). Nothing interesting to report on the food side. No real cravings or aversions to food. I really don't feel like I'm eating that much more than normal, but I guess it depends on the day. At this point, I was still only feeling Baby Payne moving around definite kicks and nothing Michael could feel on the outside yet. At our last appointment, Dr. George said it would still be a few more weeks for that, but that Michael might be able to feel him as early as 23 weeks. He was hoping for a little earlier than that, but it didn't happen!

Our 4th Anniversary

Exactly one week after my birthday on May 28th is our anniversary on June 4th. I love this day - it makes me happy and somewhat nostalgic to think back on the day we got married. I turned 21 the week before we got young. Yet I wouldn't have it any other way. Like every other couple, we've been through our share of ups and downs (some more extreme than others), but I cherish our marriage and still love every day being married to my best friend and my love.

(In case you don't know Michael, the above is my dad, not Michael!)
So on our anniversary this year, we visited The Melting Pot for the first time (yes, I had a coupon!). It was amazing. My favorite part was definitely the cheese and the dessert though. The meat was great, but I could totally make a meal just out of the cheese and chocolate fondues. Yum...makes me hungry just thinking about it!
It was nice because our anniversary fell on a Thursday this year so the restaurant wasn't overly crowded. I'm pretty sure we spent about 2 1/2 hours there actually. It was very relaxing to be able to take my time to eat (and I'm pretty sure it allowed me to eat more!) and enjoy some down time with Michael.

Ah, dessert. A mixture of dark chocolate and white chocolate...amazing.
Check out that yummy dessert plate! They even put an "anniversary" candle in the cheesecake for us.

Happy Anniversary Michael! I love you forever. I thank God for all that we've been through the last 4 years and all that is to come. I know there will be hard times, but it just makes those wonderful times even sweeter when we can look back and appreciate what God has brought us through.

My 25th Birthday

My 25th birthday was on May 28th (I know, that was like 7 weeks ago...I'm more than a little behind) so Michael and I went to our favorite place for dinner - Carrabba's. We always order the same thing (The Chicken Trio in case you are's not on the menu) and it's always amazing. Thankfully, the weather was beautiful because I wanted to be outside and we were able to sit in Carrabba's newly opened outdoor seating. It was a wonderful, relaxing evening.

Michael completely surprised me with my birthday present. Evidently, I underestimate him because he had this picked out and bought before my birthday and I had no clue what he was getting me! I didn't even know he'd bought me anything! For some of you, this may seem odd, but in my family, presents aren't always the highest priority and you very rarely actually get them on your birthday. Which means if I do actually get something on my b-day, it's a really big deal!
For example, I just got my b-day present from my parents a few weeks ago. Mom didn't know what I wanted, so she didn't buy anything. When we were home for camp, I told her I really need garage organization things so they bought me a large cabinet to match the one they bought me for Christmas. Again, some of you think, "Seriously? That's a birthday present?" But for me, I was thrilled! I now have 3 matching cabinets so I can re-organize the garage before baby comes. We need a little more space on the sides right now so we can get all that baby gear in and out without banging up the cars. Yes, I love organization.
Anyway, back to Michael's present for me. I'd mentioned a few times after we found out I was pregnant that I'd need a "diaper bag camera" - i.e. a small pocket camera that can stay in the diaper bag so I don't miss any precious moments of Baby Payne's life. I absolutely love my current camera - it has 12x optical zoom and takes amazing pictures, but it's too bulky to carry around everyone. Michael actually picked up on my comments and viola! I have a brand new pink camera complete with adorable camera case. I love this camera. It's so handy and I can take it anywhere. What a wonderful husband I have...
The day after my birthday, we went to a Sounds game with my work. Our friends, Rick and Amanda and their new baby, Anna, came along too. The weather was great and the Sounds won. And because it was sponsored by Delta Dental, the tickets and dinner were free - can't beat that!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffin Recipe

In honor of blueberry season and cheap blueberries at the grocery store right now, I thought I'd try to find a good, health blueberry muffin recipe this weekend. I succeeded! I found this recipe and modified it a bit for my own tastes. I’m putting my modifications in parentheses so you can see what I did differently that worked.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Makes 8 to 10 good size muffins. This recipe is easily doubled.

1/2 cup 1% milk (I used skim and added a little extra at the end to make the batter not so thick)
1 cup oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used white all-purpose b/c I didn’t have this, you could also probably just use all whole wheat flour and it work fine)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (plus a dash more b/c I really like cinnamon)
1 tablespoon flax seeds
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (plus two more spoonfuls at the end for additional moisture – batter was a little thick)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup frozen blueberries (I used fresh – I think the frozen is just so they stir in the batter easier)
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped nuts (I used ½ cup pecans, but walnuts would be awesome too)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare muffin tins with muffin cup liners. (Unless your oven just heats up really slowly, you may not want to do this first).
2. Prepare the "flax eggs" by first grinding the flax seeds (I used a coffee grinder). Add the water to the ground flax seeds and blend together until it starts to thicken up a bit.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the "flax eggs", milk, applesauce, vanilla and sugar. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently fold together. Gently stir in the blueberries and nuts. Spoon into muffin tins (you can fill the cups instead of just ¾ full like normal, they don’t rise much) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Suggested modifications: Make these muffins with your favorite dried chopped fruit instead of the blueberries, and use 3/4 cup or 1 cup of milk instead.

The writer of this recipe said she prefers her muffins drier which is why I added the additional applesauce and milk at the end. Mine were not dry and really I could probably have added even more applesauce/milk to make them even more moist.

Enjoy! With blueberries in season, I will be making a double batch of these again soon and then sticking them in the freezer for a quick and easy breakfast. Yum!

My Target Steal

In case you didn't already know, I am a coupon clipper. I rarely buy things that are not on sale and/or I don't have a coupon for. I try to limit my blog posts about this (I know not everyone gets as excited about Triple Coupon Days as myself), but this one I had to share.

Last Friday, I got 15 items for a total of $3.53 at Target (a savings of $30.24 or 89.5%).

Items #1-5: Target had a special where you could get a $5 gift card with purchase of 5 packs of Keebler cookies (I had coupons for 4 of those).

Items #6-9: Kellogg's cereal was sale for $1.88 (I bought 4 and had coupons for all 4).

Items #10-11: Morningstar Farms veggie burgers were $3.34 each (I stacked a Target coupon and 2 manufacturer coupons).

Items #12-14: Kleenex - two boxes were on clearance for $1.08, one was $1.57 (I stacked a Target coupon and a manufacturer coupon).

Item #15: Cascade Rinse Aid - normally $3.14 (I had a coupon to get it free).

My bill would have been $33.77 before tax. I then had $15.24 in coupons, received a $5 Target gift card, and a $10 Kellogg's rebate for a total of $3.53 out of pocket. Woo-hoo!

Freebies 4 Mom is a blog I follow and she asked us to post what we did for our $10 Kellogg's rebate (you had to buy 10 Kellogg's items to qualify). If you just take my 10 Kellogg's items (includes Keebler and Morningstar Farms), I got those 10 items for a total of $0.42 out of pocket after my gift card and rebate.

I know some of are coupon clippers like me. Let me know if you've gotten a really great deal on something lately. Though others might tease us, I will celebrate with you!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Name Game

We are getting far enough along in the pregnancy (23 weeks!) that since we've known Baby Payne's gender for 4 weeks now, people are wanting to know what his name is. Unfortunately, we are not that couple that knows what their kids' names will be before they are even conceived. Michael and I had tossed around a few ideas, but nothing really seriously and most of those ideas were girl names. So we started from square one with a pen and a baby name book.

I wanted to be sure we explored all our options, so I wrote out the alphabet and crossed off each letter as we read through all the names for that letter. At first brush, we wrote down 47 possible names that peaked our interest and 20 names we definitely won't be using (see previous post for a little name humor). Now it's time to do a second run through of those 47 names and cross off the easy "what-were-we-thinking-when-we-wrote-that-one-down??" names. And then the rest will just be a process of elimination.

So for all of you that are curious about whether or not we will tell people Baby Boy Payne's name pre-birth...we aren't sure. We will decide that once we decide what his name will be! I'm kind of glad that we have been able to get to know him a little better before assigning him a name though. I think that seeing him on ultrasound and feeling him kicking allows us to better choose a name that suits him.

We'll let you know when the magnanimous decision has been made!

Top 10 Names We Won't Be Naming Baby Boy Payne

These are much funnier when read in conjunction with our last name. And yes, they are all real names from our baby name book.

10. Wayne (or Shane, Rain, Cain, Blaine, Dane...)
9. Fontayne
8. Peter (too much like a certain Disney movie)
7. Wang
6. Brain
5. Dick
4. Sharp
3. Moe
2. Major
1. Winston (Not b/c of our last name, but b/c my niece's name is Salem. If you don't get it, you
must not be from North Carolina)