Saturday, September 29, 2012


You know how I said my weekly pictures would get better? I lied ;) Looking at this now I'm realizing that if I was facing the other direction, my face would be glowing instead of my bum. Oh well, next time!

According to my calculations (and my handy iphone app), I'm 19 weeks 2 days along! But when we went to the doctor on Wednesday, she told us the baby is measuring in at 20 weeks today! I've decided to go with somewhere in the middle and say I'm almost halfway. Crazy! :)

The best part about this week?! We were lucky enough to find out baby Wall is a BOY!

And he wasn't the least bit shy about it! The ultrasound tech asked us before hand if we wanted to find out the sex of the baby ...YES! And the first thing, litterally!, the very first thing we saw of our baby boy was this...

Way to make your daddy proud, son! So there's no denying it, we're having a boy :) I know all girls secretly want a little girl and all boys secretly want a little boy, but I kept telling myself that I want at least one of each eventually so it doesn't matter what order they come in! I still thought maybe I'd be a little disappointed if it wasn't a girl, but I couldn't hold back the tears and smiles when that little penis came on the screen :) It may not be worth bragging rights to him when he's older, but I'm going to have myself a momma's boy :)

We went through the rest of the body with the ultrasound tech, hands, feet (all ten fingers and all ten toes!), heart, spine, bladder, brain... Baby boy is healthy and a mover! When she would hold it still we could watch him lay there and repeatedly kick the placenta over and over again! He was constantly rolling around so it was hard for her to get a good profile shot, but it was so neat to see him in there! It made it so much more real and exciting and lifted such a huge weight off my shoulders! (I was prepared for the midnight feedings and poopy diapers, but all this worrying...?! He's not even here yet and he's constantly on my mind and heart.) 

Crazy to think I'm almost halfway there! 20 more weeks and I get to hold my baby... 
Smells still aren't my friend (Especially the chicken I cooked yesterday! Stephen said was delicious but the smell wouldn't let my tummy try it! Booo!) 
I can pretty much eat just about anything without upsetting my tummy (Only if it smells good enough to let me get near it!), but I'm not eating enough. I still don't actually get hungry. I have to remind myself to eat. I've gained only 3 pounds this pregnancy and I didn't lose much or any in the first trimester from being sick, so the doctor encouraged me to eat, eat, eat!
I still don't have a full energy battery, which will be interesting with starting work this week. The smallest things still make me tired and even after a nap I can sleep for ten hours, easy!
The baby is growing and about the size of a mango (6 inches, 8 ounces). And my tummy is finally starting to show it! Still, it depends on what I'm wearing, and even in some tighter fitting clothes someone still might mistake me for chubby instead of pregnant. But! I know that my bump is baby and am constantly rubbing it and loving it :)
I've been doing my best to stay fit, trying all the stretches that supposedly help with labor and getting back into shape after baby. Stephen and I go on plenty of walks (even if it is to Safeway for a maplebar), and I follow him to the gym every time he goes to play volleyball. 
I bought my first baby boy clothes yesterday! :) I had to go to Target for something else and just couldn't resist! My mom has been buying things slowly on the side since we found out we were pregnant (And maybe  even a few before we found out! ...Mom!) But this was my first baby boy purchase!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

welcome to my kitchen

First thing's first. Before you try this and fall in love with your clean and organized refrigerator like I have, I must admit that this is no revelation of mine. Let's be real, folks. I saw this on Pinterest. 

In preparation for baby and going back to work (I got a job at Gap!), I've been trying something new... In my kitchen! I would love to be that mom with the monthly meal plans that only has to go to the store twice a month, but let's be realistic... I get my work schedule for only two weeks at a time and being pregnant, I have no idea what I'm going to want to eat for dinner a month from now (Let alone tonight!). So! I'm trying a different approach. And so far it's been easy (Sooo easy!) and cheap! Though I live right across from the street from the store, I've only been going for maple bars and small items my pregnancy brain keeps forgetting.

First, figure out what it is you actually eat, or wish you were eating. I make a lot of turkey sandwiches for Stephen's lunches and dinner is usually Mexican or Italian. We eat a lot of fruit, smoothies, snacks, veggies...anything fresh! Now, make your shopping list around that. Not around specific recipes like I used to shop, but around the types of food you eat. As your digging through your fridge and cabinets looking for ideas, clean them out! Throw out anything expired (Obviously!), toss out old leftovers, and anything you never should have bought in the first place.

Pick a day. The first day I happened to try this was a Wednesday, but I'm switching shopping/preparation day over to Sunday because I know I won't be working and will have plenty of time after church to get it all ready for the next week or so.

Go shopping! Because we eat a lot of produce, I've been going to a local market to get it all. For the most part, it's cheaper than Safeway (Though if you haven't already, download the Safeway app! It's been saving me a few bucks!) and most of it's local, meaning it's fresher and most likely going to last longer than store bought produce. The market, however, doesn't have my breads and pasta that I love so much, so I'm still making Safeway runs.

Now, prepare! What you cook up or chop up will vary according to what it is you like to eat, so I'll just give you a run down of my Sunday preparation...
- I clean and chop all my vegetables and store everything in tupperware (It may not be a fact, but I think it lasts longer than in bags. Plus it makes my refrigerator look clean and organized and that makes me happy!). Cucumber, carrots, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes (One tupperware sliced for sandwiches and another chopped for salads!), and onions. For the cucumber, carrots, and mushrooms, I add a little bit of water to the container, it helps keep them fresh and chilled.
- I clean and chop my fruit, also storing them in tupperware (As with vegetables, a water/vinegar mix is best for washing. An yes, I had to buy a few more tupperware to make this work, but if you buy the cheap stuff it's totally worth it! Everything is much more organized!). It's not just Stephen and I that live in this apartment, we share it with fruit flies, too. So in my fridge is a bowl of fruit that would normally be displayed on the counter, all pretty and yummy like. In this bowl you'll find bananas, peaches, and apples. The banana peels turn brown a lot faster in the fridge, but it doesn't effect the actual banana at all (Something I learned in the sorority!). Biting into a nice cold apple beats a warm-ish one anyway! I wash my grapes and cut them into snack size clumps so their lunch ready, and I slice a little over half my strawberries for pancakes, yogurt, granola, cereal... (Add a little bit of sugar to sliced fruits like this. Not enough to make them unhealthy, but enough to keep 'em juicy and sweet! They'll last a lot longer!)
- I slice about a quarter of my cheese block (The big 'ol, what?, 5 pounder from Costco?) and grate another quarter. (Sandwich and salad ready!)
- I hard boil about a dozen eggs, leaving another dozen for breakfast and baking.
- I cook a cup or more of rice (Long grain brown rice. I love white rice, but brown is so much healthier!) and last week I made some crock pot chicken (4 hours on high in the crockpot with a little bit of salsa and spices...yum!) and sauteed some shrimp (The meat I cook varies each week, though chicken is usually a staple, I'd get sick of shrimp if it was on the menu every week, so I switch it up with ground beef, pork, tuna... Anything that can be eaten alone or added to sandwiches and salads).
- And I make granola (Stephen's recipe that I'll put at the end of the blog). It's a cheaper option than buying cereal all the time (Though I will never part from my cheerios), goes great with milk or yogurt, and when you buy the ingredients at Costco, it's something you can keep making again and again without going to the store!

A few staples I keep in the fridge that don't need preparation... Tortillas, avocado, plain yogurt (It can double for sour cream, too!), string cheese, spinach, turkey, pepperoni (We make a lot of pizza!), jelly, applesauce, condiments (Though I try to buy them as healthy as I can and use them as little as possible!), pickles, milk, and lemons (Squeezing one of those on a salad is a lot healthier and just as yummy as dumping on ranch dressing!).

A few staples I keep outside the fridge... Noodles (Usually a macaroni noodle and an angel hair noodle), rice, pinto beans, canned olives, canned black beans (Though I always drain and rinse them to get rid of the sodium filled goo they're in), canned tuna (Stored in water. Add some mayo, sliced pickles, and some spices and it goes great on any sandwich or salad!), bread, tortilla chips, trail mix (I make my own with nuts, chocolate, and dried fruit. Super cheap when you buy in bulk!), peanut butter, granola bars, ritz crackers, and of course, all the usual spices and baking goods (Including honey in bulk! Who knew it could be used for so much?!).

And lastly, revel in the easiness of preparing food for the next week or two! Seriously! It now takes just as much time to make Stephen a super yummy, healthy, veggie-full turkey sandwich as it does to make him a pb&j! Don't have a lot of time to make dinner? Throw all your veggies in a bowl, add some chopped almonds, microwave that chicken and a dinner salad is on the table in minutes! Rice with some sauteed shrimp and a side salad? Don't mind if I do! My new favorite Cuban dish my sister-in-law showed me?! Piece of cake! (I'll post the recipe at the end of the blog!) Clean up is a sinch during the week, saving you so much time! It's a lot easier to snack healthy, too! Nothing has to be washed or cut so you don't have the excuse not to eat it!

There are meals you can make that keep on going, too! About once a month I'll make pulled pork (My sister's amazing crockpot recipe that I'll post at the bottom of the blog!), rice and veggies (Sauteed zucchini with garlic and favorite!) for dinner. The next night I'll make bean burritos with cheese and loads of fresh toppings (1lb of pinto beans in the crockpot for 8 hours on low with water and garlic powder). And instead of storing all the leftovers in the fridge to hopefully get eaten before they go bad, I'll make burritos to freeze! Beans, rice, pork and cheese! Wrap 'em up individually, store them in the freezer and hand one to Stephen as he runs out the door. EASY!

So far this system has been working great...for me. Maybe it won't for you! But my vote is that it's worth a shot. One day of cooking and cleaning for weeks of healthy easy eating...?! (Though don't get me wrong... My cookie jar is currently full of peanut butter apple cookies. Oh. And there's another bag in the freezer.)

Stephen's Granola (Aka, our cereal in the morning, the perfect addition to our yogurt and fruit, and a topping for our constant smoothies)
5 cups oats
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
About 1/3 cup of each topping you want (We use almonds and craisins)

Mix ingredients. Bake in a 9x13 pan at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring in between. Let cool/dry and then store in an air tight container. (5 cups lasts us about one week)

Stephanie's Yummiest, Healthiest Cuban Dish
This one doesn't come with a recipe card, I have no exact measurements to give you. But it's kind of like creating a salad, it depends on how many people you're cooking for and what your favorite toppings are.
1-2 cups rice
1-2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
(Any other veggies you like! All diced! Carrots, broccoli...?!)

Lemon juice
Olive oil
Minced garlic
(Any other favorite spices of yours! Basil, oregano...?!)
(I usually use a two to one method with the lemon juice and olive oil, since I prefer the lemon taste and the oil can be pretty strong)

Cook rice according to directions on package. Cook/warm beans on stove. Wash and chop the vegetables. Combine all ingredients in individual serving bowls (Yes, serve the rice and beans warm with the cold crisp veggies! It's a great combination!) Drizzle dressing on top!

Ashley's Famous Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork
3 1/2 lbs country style pork ribs (I've used many different kinds of pork for this recipe. As long as it's boneless, you should be fine!)
1/2 tsp salt and pepper, each
1/2 cup Coke (Yes, the stuff you drink)
2/3 cup BBQ sauce

Spray crockpot with cooking spray (We own a 'Misto', so our cooking spray is just olive oil! Lots healthier than Pam or some other brand! Highly recommend it!). Add ribs and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add Coke, cover, and cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Drain liquid and add BBQ sauce and cook last hour.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Though our days still reach 80 degrees, we're getting the earliest hint of fall in our Seattle mornings. Those perfect mornings with the sun shining and the clean, crisp, cool air that makes you want to put on a pair of boots, sip on a warm coffee, and ride with the windows down. Well it was one of those mornings. And we did just that.

In church today our pastor was talking about how to live faithfully, referring to Jeremiah 29:4-7. He told us to "learn to live in the place God has you now". Don't live your life waiting to move, waiting for the baby to get here, waiting to be out of medical school... Don't live your life thinking 'I'll start living as soon as...' Start living now! "Wherever you are, be all there!" It was an exciting yet convicting message for me. I spent the last year wanting a baby, wanting to start a family with Stephen. I felt like I was really truly called to be a mom, and the sooner I could start my calling the better, right?! I was super impatient with God and His timing. And now that I'm pregnant, I find myself just waiting for February. I got what I wanted and I still want more. I should be living my life now. Enjoying this pregnancy. Enjoying this time with Stephen. Enjoying my last opportunity to work. This is where I am in my life. I need to be here!
The message also justified my desire to fill every corner and every wall in our house with stuff! Yes, it may just be stuff, but it's our stuff and it makes our little temporary apartment feel like home. We may only be here for nine months, but we're here! This is where we are in our lives and I'm determined to make it happy and full! You know what I mean by full? Like when your heart feels full in a room with all your family and friends and most likely cake. Where you look at the one you love and are filled to the brim with excitement and tears and joy and wonder...full.
So we are here. In Seattle, in our little apartment, in medical school, pregnant and working. And I have every intention to be all here!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Alright. Please disregard everything I ever said about looking pregnant. I lied. Baby went back into hibernation and unless I'm wearing a form fitting dress with a belt under my boobs and just ate a hamburger, you really can't tell. Do I wish I look pregnant? Yes. But I think it's a sign I'm a little too early when I'm making Stephen take tummy pictures in public and people are giving me weird looks. And I've seen the pictures. I would have looked at me weird, too. I don't look pregnant. Though I certainly feel it. I keep waiting for that second trimester amaziness you hear all about to kick in... I have more energy, sure, but I still get tired so easily and so often. Cramps at least once a day. And aren't I supposed to be eating for two?! After breakfast I basically forget to eat the rest of day. I never feel hungry. And some things the baby just doesn't want anything to do with. Aka, the smell of pulled pork wafting out of my kitchen. Another thing that hasn't changed is the number of times I visit the bathroom in a day. And night. I need to invest in some nightlights so I no longer run into the bathroom door head first. Yeah. That happened. Where is this glowing skin I keep hearing about, too? 

All symptoms aside, Stephen and I are still pretty excited about this baby :) Slowly but surely we are narrowing down our list of baby names and have started a pile in the guestroom of baby stuff (car seat, changing pad, baby tub... Mostly all thanks to my sister). In two weeks I have a doctor's appointment with an anatomy ultra sound scheduled and we'll most likely find out the sex of the baby! Boy? Girl? I should start taking bets...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

study break

As a study break on Saturday, Stephen and I ventured out of the house just before sunset to Queen Anne. On Google's top ten things to do in Seattle was to see the Seattle skyline from this park (To be honest, I can't remember the name of it and am too lazy to Google it. How sad is that.) It was gorgeous! A little windy, but what a pretty view?! Can't imagine how expensive the rent is at the apartments across the street!

Next, after an emergency bathroom break at Trader Joe's (thanks baby!), we headed to a different park! I don't know the name of this one, either. Don't judge. But we made it in perfect time to watch the sunset against the mountains! What a crazy place we live in... Staring at a busy downtown skyline one minute, and water and mountains the next.
 Trying to look pregnant :)

It was a fun evening filled with awkward people everywhere! ;) I was thankful for the time alone with Stephen and I'm sure he was equally thankful for the study break!

On Sunday we enjoyed our morning at church! We've been twice now to Bethany Community Church just a few miles away and have really liked it! This Sunday we got to hear the head pastor speak and he gave a really good message! He was super energetic and talkative, but it helped me stay away and pay attention! :) We originally talked about trying out quite a few churches, but we might have gotten lucky with our first one!


This is a crazy adventure we're on, and I'm lucky enough to have two amazing friends going through it with me! Well, they're going through it with their husbands, but they create a pretty good support system for me :) Especially because they both have med school babies! And come February, I'm going to need all the help and advice I can get!
Last week we had an opportunity to attend a medical school spouse event. Honestly, if I didn't know Amanda and Whitney, I wouldn't have gone. But the three of us thought it sounded fun and agreed to go with each other. It. Was. Not. Fun. Most awkward event possibly ever! We thought there would be quite a few people there, for starters. There's 220 students in the class, more than 15 of them have got be married! We also thought that maybe there'd be a presentation or speaker or even a "welcome". No. The plate of crackers and first year student's girlfriends were all that was there. After a painful 10 minutes of small talk we bailed. Also awkward. In a small room with 15 people, getting up from the table and walking right out the door is incredibly obvious. Oops! ;)
Instead of medical school spouse night, we went to a yogurt shop and girl talked for much longer than the boys thought we'd be gone! I love getting to know these girls more and am so happy we get to share this experience with each other. How lucky am I?! :)

I hope you know...

I was sad to see my parents go, but happy to have Stephen all to myself again. But, he's no longer all mine. School has started and I have to share him with his teachers and books and classmates... And even though this isn't the first time I've sent him off to school, it doesn't make it any easier.
Medical school is robbing me of my husband. It's hard not to get jealous and envious, not to get mad at Stephen for being gone all day and being busy all night when he gets home... It's just hard. But it's not just hard for me. It's hard for Stephen, too. And I think sometimes I lose sight of that. That really, it's harder for him than it ever will be for me. Add books and studying and actually attending medical school and learning something into the mix... 
I know he feels guilty leaving me every morning, and for leaving the dishes in the sink for me to clean, and for leaving me in the living room with a trash tv show to entertain me while he ventures into his study room... And I know he's worried about making time for the baby when it's born... I know how good of husband and dad he wants to be... No, how good of husband and dad he already is. I hope you know that, Stephen. I hope you know that you couldn't be doing a better job if you tried. That even though I get a little lonely, I know I am loved, and loved deeply, by the most incredible man. I hope you know that I don't regret signing on to this adventure. That I'm excited for this year and all that it holds. That one day we'll look back at these endless days and laugh. I hope you know how proud I am of you. So proud... For excelling in your first year of medical school and making it with a huge, loving, and eager heart to your second year. For being brave enough to start this adventure in the first place! For having the dedication, determination, guts, attitude, smarts, talent, willpower, perseverance, confidence... For having all the qualities to get you through school, and all the qualities I love about you. I hope you know that. That I love you. 
This crazy busy schedule of ours is going to take some time to get used to. But we will. Medical school aint got nothin' on us, right?! ;) Though I'm certain it will try its hardest to pull us apart and make us fight, I have you, and you have me. Always. And I don't need anything else. 
Forever and a day, with all my heart...

mom & dad

One week, $180, and one pissed off pregnant lady later... We have our computer back! 

What seems like seems like ages ago, before our computer crashed, my parents came to town! They took a 12 hour detour on their way to the beach to bring us the rest of our stuff! Furniture, books, clothes, bikes... (Unpacking and moving in I'm realized that we have a lot of stuff). More than I wanted to unload the back of the pickup truck, I wanted to see them! It'd only been a few weeks, but with so much happening in Oregon and the craziness of moving in, it seemed like a lot longer. We were lucky enough to have them around for 4 days before Stephen had to start school. And because we now have two bedrooms, they got to stay with us! I kept telling Stephen how 'adult like' I felt having my parents visit us in our town and stay in our house and eat our food... It was kinda weird to be the ones hosting them for a change!

The night before my parents got in, Stephen and I enjoyed a prompt-to date night! We drove to Greenlake just a few miles from our house and walked around the walking path as the sun was setting. It has been nice since we got here but we know it'll come to a close soon enough so we wanted to get outside and enjoy the sunshine while we still can! (Seattle is just taunting us with this sun and 80 degree weather! Yes! 80 degree weather!) We walked along the shops and restaurants, enjoyed some frozen yogurt, and headed home for a night on the floor playing card games :)

And the next morning (though Stephen and I spent all evening thinking they'd surprise us and show up early!) my parents arrived! After unloading the truck and loading up our apartment, we walked through the University to the waterfront to meet cousin Spenser and his fiance (can you believe it?!) Hannah who were in town for a wedding! I'm so glad we finally got to meet her and see Spenser! Living a lot closer now, I hope we'll get to see them more!
 Oh, ps, she fits in perfectly ;)

On Sunday the four of us ventured onto the bus and down to the Farmer's Market. Famous Pike Place was as busy as ever, with all the usual yummy fruit, beautiful flowers, and crazy people. From there we walked to REI's flagship store, which was maybe my dad's favorite part of the trip. A kid in a candy store ;) And due to the crazy messed up bus system that I will never be using by myself, we walked through the University, home. Where we crashed.

Monday brought more sunshine (Seriously, Seattle! Major tease!) so we hopped on the bikes and explored our neighborhood! There are some beautiful, beautiful homes behind our apartments that sit right on the water... impressive. I tried to convince my parents to buy one, but I think they'll stick with the beach house. And considering we're only living here until July, it's probably a good idea.
My parents just recently bought paddle boards (Because why wouldn't you just buy paddle boards?!) and had yet to test them out! So we headed back to Greenlake and blew 'em up! Yes, they're inflatable! And actually feel like a solid board when you're on them, it's crazy! And fun! The boys had a hard time staying dry, but mom and I didn't seem to have a problem ;) What a work out, though! I was practically squatting the whole time trying to keep my balance! Since, my parents have used them a few more times and say it gets easier, especially on calmer water!

Monday night we had a few friends over for dinner as a last night of freedom treat for the boys. Tacos, babies, and playing Ticket to Ride... Not a bad way to end summer if you ask me!

On Tuesday, my parents and I headed to IKEA as Stephen headed off to his first day of school. And thanks to IKEA, we have a "big girl bedroom set" as I kept calling it. Last year, in Anchorage, we ended up with two crappy nightstands and broken dresser and a bed. So to add to the 'adult like' feeling I already had, we got a headboard, two matching nightstands that I love, a rug, and a working dresser! (That will soon become a changing table!) Our room is now somewhere I actually like to be, so pretty and cozy :)

And just like that, they were gone! My parents left on Wednesday morning after Stephen left for school, leaving me all alone! ...With a huge to-do list of things I still needed to get done before I started work. ...Which I'm still working on...

We're both so thankful that my parents made the trip up to see us! We loved having them here and hated to see them go! We're very, very grateful for all they've done for us and are so lucky to be so loved by them! Our door is always open to you two and we can't wait to see you again! We love you mom and dad!