Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Feeling Fluttering in My Belly - Month 4

15 weeks

Your growing baby now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). She's busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop. Her legs are growing longer than her arms now, and she can move all of her joints and limbs. Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she's likely to move away from the beam. (

Last Friday I noticed a bit of twitching and fluttering in my stomach on my drive down to Roscoe. Then came Saturday night and the same thing. I thought, could this be gas??? This Friday I was sitting down with Karl on the couch and I felt more twitching and fluttering in my stomach. I made him put his hand on my stomach and he felt it a little too. Super exciting. We both thought that it could possibly be gas again, but not once has my gas ever felt like that. And I read in all four of my baby books that some women with slender tummies do feel a sense of fluttering and twitching in their stomach earlier on - and yes, that is the baby!!!!

Then my mind went all kinds of crazy on me. All of a sudden I pictured my parents in the exact same place 32 years ago when I was in my mom's belly. Were they doing the same thing? What thoughts were going through their minds? Did they feel like we did at that exact moment? Then Karl and I started talking about how excited we are - still nervous - but excited more so than anything. This is getting fun! He's going to be such a good, loving dad!!

The FREE stroller I scored!
I scored big time yesterday too. I went on my usual 40 minute walk through the fancy neighborhoods of Shakopee and noticed a lot of people were cleaning out their houses and garages. There on the driveway of a fancy, big house was a nice stroller with the sign "free" on it. I looked around wondering if this could be true. It was a stroller for twins but looked so nice. I couldn't imagine myself just taking it so I rang the doorbell and a nice grandma answered. I asked about the stroller and she said that she's tried to donate it but nobody will come pick it up and her grand kids have outgrown it, so she just wanted to see if anyone would take it off her hands. I sure did!!! Score! So I wheeled it home and it was easy to drive. I figure if I won't be using it, my parents or Karl's parents can when more grand kids start coming.

Yesterday Karl and I also met his parents and their neighbors at Schell's Brewery in New Ulm. Not the ideal place for a prego lady, but it was still a lot of fun. As my mother-in-law was talking to me, I started to feel real funny so I reached for my water and chugged it down. I started to feel super light headed and hot. So I walked away from her and sat down. My legs felt incredibly heavy and tired and the room started to close around me. I began sweating. I peeled off my down coat, and then sweater. I tried to flag down Karl but he was too busy chatting. Sweat started dripping down my chest and forehead. Then Karl looked at me and I waved him over. I felt awful. He had me walk outside where the cool air hit me and I felt tons better but instantly I was freezing down to my bones. What on earth was that???? Karl swears it's a panic attack, but I think it's more like dehydration or something. I don't know. Dang. Then I was in church this morning and the same thing started to happen. I looked at the cross and was like..."NO! Not in church." And I was okay.

I met with my trainer this morning and he has a great program put together for me. I'm excited about it. And I felt great after. During, though, he had me do some serious deep breathing and then the same thing happened. The room started closing in and the black cloud of whatever took over my head and I said, "I think I'm going to faint." So he had me stop and I was fine. What the?

Right now I feel pretty exhausted and have been drinking a ton of water, hoping that will help. Anyone else have this happen? I know I haven't been drinking as much water because I'm sick of going to the bathroom 4-6 times during the night. But I guess that's no excuse!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Feeling Good - Month 4

week 15

Sooooooo....I totally forgot to set my alarm last night after playing volleyball, then coming home and catching up on Amazing Race and Castle. Oops. I flew out of bed the minute Karl's alarm went off - an hour later than mine usually goes off. Any other week, and I wouldn't have been able to move as fast as I did. But I'm baaack. I'm feeling really good, though very tired. I'm going to try hitting up the gym this week too. I have an appointment with my trainer on Sunday. He says he has a good article on exercise and pregnancy for me to read.

Me at 15 weeks! Baby K is the size of an apple.
Friday I took off work but still got up at 6:00 a.m. so I could write most of the morning, which felt so great. I decided last minute to take the day off. I have some major revising to do that I've been putting off since I've been feeling so up and down. Then I got in my car and drove 4.5 hours to surprise my dad. He was meeting some friends for dinner with my mom, and I wanted to give him a big 60th b-day hug. I've been missing my parents a lot and my dad has been asking Karl if my belly is getting big. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show him in person. I arrived as they were getting ready to sit. His face was priceless. Worth the drive. Everyone wanted to see my belly - unfortunately there's not much to show. I showed them and they were like..."where is it??" Still no big bump, and I'm okay with that. But after Karl took this picture of me, he said, "Oh yeah, you're definitely getting big." Thanks sweetie.

The weekend was a fun time to spend some alone time with my parents and talk about baby K and the future. My mom and I went shopping just to browse and check out all the baby stuff out there. Oh boy, did we have fun. It's so funny because I was so giddy about our wedding and my mom was just kind of all calm and chill. But now with the baby, she's the super giddy one and is all smiles and is picking out clothes and toys and ohhing and ahhing. It's so fun. We bought some "yellow" and "green" outfits that were totally adorable and had a real nice time. I can't wait to do that again!!! I now have some major researching to do on cribs, strollers, car seats and such. There are so many things out there.

And as of now Karl and I have planned not to find out what we're having. It'll make labor better, right? Ha!

New Cravings
  • V8
  • oranges

Crazy dreams
  • Dreamt I had a boy - but he was autistic.
  • Dreamt I was lost in a castle and burnt some random man's face off with a pot of soup.
  • I've been dreaming of a lot of random men I have never met in my life. Most have dark hair, side burns and facial hair. All are screaming at me for some reason or another.
  • Dreamt my grandpa asked my dad to put him down with a shot of poison and I had to watch (I woke up crying on that one).
  • Dreamt a John Deere tractor took out my Mazda 6 and my cousin Rob jumped in and kept driving it into a tree over and over...
  • Dreamt I stabbed my brother Mark in the crotch with a knife and then Karl and I were shot by machine guns.

I feel like I have this crazy new level of intuition. Like I know things are going to happen before they happen. It's weird. Maybe it's all in my head, but so far the feeling I get inside hasn't let me down.

That's all I have for now but more to come.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Doing too Much - Lesson Learned: Month 4

week 14

Welcome to the second trimester! This week's big developments: Your baby can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck his thumb. Thanks to brain impulses, his facial muscles are getting a workout as his tiny features form one expression after another. His kidneys are producing urine, which he releases into the amniotic fluid around him -- a process he'll keep up until birth. He can grasp, too, and if you're having an ultrasound now, you may even catch him sucking his thumb. In other news: Your baby's stretching out. From head to bottom, he measures 3 1/2 inches -- about the size of a lemon -- and he weighs 1 1/2 ounces.

I'm throwing myself a party here....whoop whoop! Made it to second trimester!!! Hollaaaa!

It all started on Sunday. I decided since I spent most of Saturday relaxing (felt super guilty), minus the couple hours of playing disc golf with my cousin Rob and climbing all these crazy hills, I would go nutso with cleaning on Sunday. We're talking vacuuming three levels of house and stairs and scrubbing floors and four bathrooms, donating things we really don't need anymore and marching up and down the stairs. Then I remember that only a few work pants still fit me and it's time to check out maternity stores at the Mall of America before it's too late.

Motherhood Maternity
Has some super cute stuff, but was I ticked there were only a few talls in their jeans. Yes, they were around $30, which I thought was great, but the only talls were in large or extra smalls. I tried the larges on and was swimming. Maybe eventually I'll fill them out, but I'm hoping most of the weight goes to the belly.... I became frustrated, plus, nobody wanted to help me and I had no idea what I was doing, so I left.

Next stop New York and Company
My friend Wendy suggested checking out their comfy pants because they come in longs. I knew this since my whole wardrobe is from NY&Co, but I haven't seen any pants without buttons for awhile there - or maybe I just wasn't looking. I mean, I LOVE NY&Co but vowed I'd stay away since they don't sell maternity clothes and I'm mad that I can't pay my bills online (they don't like my password). But I walked in and scored big time.There in the tall section were three stretchy work pants that will last me at least a couple more months! YEAH!!! And they were 45% off. They are called the Hudson pant...they look all fancy but buttons, no zippers...just comfort!!! Check em out!

Next stop Gap
In the way back of Baby Gap is a maternity section. There were definitely some cute stuff and I found some jeans in long! I tried on the shirts first which all looked weird on me because I don't really have a belly yet. But I will be back once that time comes. The jeans were awesome and I bought them. BUT, they were $70 and I'm worried I could grow out of them IF I gain more weight in my thighs and butt, which is probably a given the way I've been eating (yes, I ate an entire Chipotle burrito). Karl's reaction to seeing the pants in the bag was priceless. "What the heck is that stretchy band??? Whoa!"

Next stop Old Navy
I was disappointed by the single wall of maternity clothes. There were no long pants, but there were some long sleeve shirts on sale that I bought three of. I was happy with my purchase.

By the end, I was wiped out and so hungry that I ate an entire foot long sub sandwich. Oops! Monday came and I woke up at 5:00 a.m. so I could have breakfast with my brother Mike, my lovely husband Karl and our favorite pastor, Vern. I don't remember the last time I woke up that early, but I actually felt pretty awake and it felt really great to catch up and have that time together. All our schedules are nuts, so it was just really nice. Have I mentioned how much I miss Vern?

Off to work I went and soon I was flying home to cook dinner so I could make it to the big annual association meeting for our town home. Shocking enough I cooked up some deer meat and it actually tasted really good. Shhhhh.

I'm a member at large and had to be at the association meeting (no getting out of this meeting this time). I get to the meeting, where my brother said he was pretty sure only a few people would show....but I'm thinking, we're raising our monthly dues to $40+ a month, I think there will be more than a few people. I won. Over 30 people showed. Still not enough for quorum, which makes me think we have a few too many renters in our little community. What a stressful meeting that was, and LONG. In the end I decided to resign! I felt weird doing it, like I'm stripping pieces of my identity away, but I really do need to pick the things that are most important to me right now. Time is so valuable and this body isn't as it used to be. And life is about to enter a whole new level of crazy. My head started pounding during the meeting and I realized I was going to play an hour of volleyball next, so I better suck it up.

Quarter to nine at night and I'm racing off to Eden Prairie next to play volleyball. At this point headache is out of control, my eyes are closing and basically I want to curl up on the court and fall asleep. No go. I play for an hour. We win two of the three games. Yeah!!! And I actually hit a ball really hard...really felt my stomach stretch on that one. I roll in to home close to 11 and dive into bed. Karl is still studying but I'm glad he's awake so I can kiss him to pieces.

Tuesday morning comes and I purposely sleep in an extra 45 minutes because I know it's going to be rough. Sorry work, but trust want me awake. And boy, is my body and baby mad at me. I'm so not feeling good. But I survive and head off to Bible study after work. It's refreshing. There are new faces I want to get to know, but I'm too exhausted to ask questions and keep thinking about bed. Wednesday comes and I'm still incredibly wiped out, that I find myself nodding off at work and on the couch when I get home. But at the same time I'm getting super stressed about daycare and figuring out what we want to do. In my head I think things are going to work out, but from what I hear, I need to get my butt moving. I just don't know what to do.

Finally Thursday comes and I'm able to go on a nice long walk after work and decide to take today off (Friday) so I can get some writing done. I love writing. I need writing. So back to revising my book I go and chasing after my dream. It's what I want, but now I have this new mindset that maybe my time and plan is different than God's plan for me. I need to let the control go, but at the same time keep dreaming and trying. I can't give up. It's still going to happen (I feel it in my bones), but it might just take longer to get there. I know I don't have these feelings inside of me for kicks and giggles. They are there to push me and I need to listen to them. So writing here I come!!

More good stuff to come next post!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hearing the Heartbeat - Month 4

13 weeks

Fingerprints have formed on your baby's tiny fingertips, her veins and organs are clearly visible through her still-thin skin, and her body is starting to catch up with her head -- which makes up just a third of her body size now. If you're having a girl, she now has more than 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Your baby is almost 3 inches long (the size of a medium shrimp) and weighs nearly an ounce. As you start your second trimester, most of your baby's critical development will be completed and your odds of miscarriage drop considerably. (info found on

We have now entered the beginning of month four!!! And once I hit week 14 (tomorrow), I will have made it to the beloved second trimester. Yeah!!! This is where I hear some, if not all, of the energy comes back and when I'll start to feel baby K kick...and things become a little more real. I can feel my energy sneaking in from time to time already. I can get out of bed in the morning with my cat-like speed like I used to (no more zombie walking to the bathroom and back and no more peanuts at 4:00 a.m.) I was able to create a website for my uncle on my free time, so that tells me I'm slowly coming back. I still need to get to my book writing, but at least I'm able to send out three AOL articles a week.

Tuesday we had the wonderful opportunity of hearing our baby's heartbeat. WOW. First, we decided on St. Francis hospital in Shakopee to deliver. We met with Dr. Druckman who delivered all two of my friend Jill's babies and the one baby she was a surrogate for. She had nothing but great things to say about him and she is right. We connected with Dr. D instantly and I especially liked him because he told me I was in wonderful shape. Yeah!  And he's funny. I guess I'm hungry for compliments now since I'm not used to growing out of my pants so fast.

I found out my blood pressure is great (90/60) and that I have gained 5 lbs total in my first 13 weeks. Phew. For some reason I thought it'd be a lot more. We had a few questions, especially about heart health since so many people in my family have issues. But he said because I am so healthy and I take such good care of myself, we have little to worry about. But he also suggested going to Methodist in St. Louis Park around 20 weeks to get a more serious heart test done. He also gave me the clearance to go back to running and doing stair stepper and whatever balls-out activity I did before I became pregnant. I swear this being healthy stuff is so so so important!!! This made me soooo happy. I miss my hard workouts because that is where my happy drug comes from!!! It's just finding the motivation to get to the gym that's been hard. Hoping that changes second trimester, but at the same time I do like having more time in the evenings to cook and get other things done. Working out sure eats up time.

Dr. D moved the little recorder around on my belly and before we knew it the room was filled with baby K's little heart pumping. I'm so mad we didn't record it, but maybe there will be a next time where we can do that. What a crazy, awesome sound. Still blows my mind that this little human is growing inside me. I'm having the hardest time wrapping my mind around it all. I know people have baby dreams, but that is one thing I haven't had. So strange. When I was planning for our wedding, I dreamt about that every single night. So why no baby dreams? Sometimes I even forget I'm pregnant and get really scared when I realize I am. Like...oh my God...this is happening! Are you ready for this Christie??? I guess I have to be now! Ha! I guess I feel like I should be planning more but we really haven't. But maybe more so around the holidays.

Doc said baby is sounding healthy!!! Next appointment is scheduled for November 9. We're still undecided if we're going to find out what we're having. We're kind of leaning towards no on this, but that seems to change every day.

Changes in body
  • Jeans are really snug around waist.
  • Sometimes I have NO control of what happens (was on a nice leisurely walk and was hit with baaad stomach pains. Without getting in too much detail, let's just say I had to call Karl to come pick me up)
  • By the time Friday comes, I am exhausted by 4:30 and really want to go to sleep. It is also very easy to fall asleep around 9 every night.

No new ones to report of. Just sticking with my healthy cravings I always have and hoping they last. I did buy a bottle of Olive Garden salad dressing so I could stop obsessing about eating there.

I've received great pieces of advice from a couple people so far:
  1. Buy all your bigger items in unisex colors (stroller, crib, changing table, car seat, etc.). If you plan on having more than one kid. This pregnancy might be a boy, but the next one could be a girl. Unless you want to buy all new stuff again. Good point.
  2. When you want baby to stop sucking on the nook, cut a piece off of it every few days, Pretty soon there will be nothing to suck and and baby/toddler won't want it anymore.

This week kicks off an insane week. Tomorrow Mike (my bro) and I are meeting up with Pastor Vern for breakfast at 6:30!!!! I sooooo miss him terribly and can't wait to see him. Then I have a full day of work. Then I have our association meeting for our town home and am scared for that since our dues are going up and I'm pretty sure nobody wants to hear that - I know we didn't. So I'll have to do what I can to keep the blood pressure down. Then I have volleyball at 9:15. It's going to be a long long day.

I have promised myself to really enjoy these next six months of relaxing as much as possible. Friends and family will always ask favors of me and I've come to terms with the fact that it's okay to say no because my life is about to become very chaotic. It already has with Karl being back in school. My household chores have doubled again since he can't get to any of his stuff. So that stinks. I just really need to decide what is important to me. I want to get as much rest and relaxation as I can right now because this is the only time I will be able to enjoy silence and sitting for a very long, long, long, long time. And for once, I'm kind of okay with it.

Today I'm hitting up the Mall of America in hopes of finding a few cute maternity outfits. I hear GAP, Old Navy and Motherhood are the places to go. I need pants for sure. I am still able to wear about five or six pairs, but every week the waist is getting tighter and more uncomfortable. We'll see what I come up with!! Pictures soon!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Asparagus Bow-Tie Pasta

Thank you Kraft!

Asparagus Bow-Tie Pasta
serves 4
(recipe found on Kraft

2 cups farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked. I used whatever was leftover in our cupboard.
1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup halved orange pepper strips
1/4 cup julienne-cut oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 cup 2% Mike Shredded Italian Three Cheese Blend

1. Cook pasta in large saucepan as direct on box, omitting salt and adding asparagus to boiling water for the last 2 minutes. Drain.

2. Cook peppers and tomatoes in large skillet on medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.

3. Add pasta mixture, broth, cream cheese and oregano to skillet; mix well. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Top with cheese; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese begins to melt.

Karl's reaction: "Oh-la-la. I like this!"

My take: I totally forgot to add meat. Karl was a good sport about it though. I think this would be great with shrimp or chicken.

Greek-Style Quesadillas

Bringing us back to Greece!

Greek-Style Quesadillas
serves 4
(recipe found in Better Homes and Garden online)

4 - 7 to 8 inch whole wheat flour tortillas
1 cup coarsely shredded purchased roasted chicken
1/2 feta cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
2 tablespoons whole flat leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
1 tablespoon whole fresh oregano leaves
1/4 bottled Greek vinaigrette salad dressing

1. Coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray. Place tortillas, sprayed sides down, on a cutting board or waxed paper. Sprinkle with chicken, feta cheese, red onion, cucumber, grape tomatoes, olives, parsely, and oregano. Drizzle with dressing. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Cook quesadillas, two at a time, over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until light brown, turning once. Remove quesadillas from skillet; place on baking sheets. Keep warm in a 300 degree F oven. Repeat.

Karl's reaction: "Not bad! These are good!"

My take: I was overly tired this day (thanks to pregnancy) so I didn't eat much, but it was very flavorful!

This is a real Greek meal in Santorini, Greece! SO GOOD!
And another...this is octopus! I promise it was good!
And our beloved gyros. Nothing compares to these....ever!

Easy Lasagna

Easy Lasagna
serves 12
(recipe given to me by an old boss at Braun Intertec)

1 lb ground beef
1 8 oz container ricotta cheese
1 8 oz container cottage cheese
handful of fresh spinach
carton of mushrooms
1 16 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 6 oz jar tomato sauce
fresh basil
9 lasagna noodles
1 lb mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese (grated)

1. Brown mean, drain off excess fat.

2. Add ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce. Set aside.

3. Cook noodles in boiling, salted water. Grate mozzarella cheese. Rinse and cut spinach, basil and slice mushrooms. Put in bowl together.

4. Place half the noodles in 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Add half the sauce. Add half the veggies. Add half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Cover last layer with Parmesan cheese.

5. Bake at 350-375 about 30-45 minutes. Until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Karl's reaction - "Seems like there needs to be more red in here. Like it's missing sauce. But it still is good!"

My take - "I didn't add the tomato sauce because the recipe doesn't call for it, so that's why I added it. Definitely needs more red sauce, but it's easy to make and tastes great!"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Good News is Out - Month 3

week 12

The most dramatic development this week: Reflexes. Your baby's fingers will soon begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench, and his mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if you prod your abdomen, your baby will squirm in response, although you won't be able to feel it. His intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his abdominal cavity about now, and his kidneys will begin excreting urine into his bladder. From crown to rump, your baby-to-be is just over two inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce. (

Ahh, we can both breathe a sigh of relief now that our awesome news is out to the world. Boy, did we find out some cool stuff once we made that announcement. For one, a million of my friends are pregnant too!!!

  • My BFF She-Dawg is due in February.
  • My awesome hair stylist (and soon to be full-time stylist when I become a famous writer some day...he, he) is due February 16.
  • My awesome friend Wendy is due in early March.
  • Two great friends I played volleyball with at UW-Whitewater are due. One in April and one in May!
  • My friend Amy is due in May.
  • One of Karl's coworkers and my new cool friend is due TWO days after me!!!
  • Am I missing someone? I feel like I am....

It's so much fun when you can share your pains, worries, concerns with someone else, especially new timers cuz it's like what the H is going on with me right now!? HA! I also love texting and emailing my friends who also just had babies because they are offering up tons of great advice.

New food cravings -
  • Honeycrisp apples. I need at least one a day. Thank you University of Minnesota for coming up with the most delicious apples ever. I really need to send them a thank you letter. I think I'm going to do that!
  • Olive Garden. I dream of the soup, salad and breadsticks. Going there tonight. Can't wait!

New things I've noticed -
  • At week 12 I figured I'd be almost over the hump in the feeling bad department, but this week was actually kind of hard. The only thing I changed in my diet was I ran out of acidophilus vitamins, so I'm wondering if that's why I'm feeling more nauseous than usual? Nothing is coating my stomach.
  • I eat...a lot and non-stop! How I'm not the size of a house yet, I do not know???
  • I love pomegranates and they are making their comeback in October already...yee-yah!!!
Typical day of eating:

Breakfast -
One or two eggs for breakfast
One or two pieces of whole wheat toast.
Flaxseed and Nutella.
Water. Lots of water

By the time I get into work, I'm starving.

Snack time begins
Greek yogurt (lots of protein).
Few minutes later I'm hungry again. (yes, I'm serious)
I have a banana
I eat a small baggie of walnuts
I get hungry again
I have string cheese

LUNCH time!
Usually leftovers from the night before. Bigger portions than normal (and I'm good until 3)

Snack time again!!!
My beloved honeycrisp apple

Some healthy recipe and larger portions

Hoping I'll be okay! I haven't been that great with walking this week. Why? Welllll because I'm in bed by 7:15. What on earth!?!?!? I couldn't even hold my head up at the dinner table the other night. So messed up.

So work was super cool about the news, which made me feel like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders!! Very happy about this. They are willing to work with me and I'm willing to work with them. Yeah! Karl's work seemed very happy for him too! Phew, that worry is over with for now.

We were just so excited to get the response we did from family and friends. You guys are making this so much fun!!!!!

Questions I'm faced with:
1. Should we find out the sex of the baby?
2. Daycare? Nanny? In-house? A center? Akkkk!!! This is going to be so so so hard!!! I can't even imagine doing this!!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Telling Friends and Family - Month 3

Sharing the Good News

This is the best part!!! Now I see why people want to share the news right away! It's so hard to keep it in. And I think for those who do, that's awesome because you have tons of people cheering for you, ready to pray and catch you if anything should happen along the way. It's so much fun to see people's reactions. Every one's is different, of course, but I can't help and smile when people share such kind words with us!!

We gave the blessing to our parents that they could share the news with their friends and family this weekend as long as nobody posted anything on Facebook. I need to get to work first. The calls and texts messages started coming in, which has been really cool. I love to hear the excitement in every one's voices. This is going to be fun!

Karl and I went to church this morning. It's been many many weeks since we've been. It's been hard for me to get up early on Sundays, but for some reason this morning I could do it. And thanks to Pastor Stephanie for sending me a text to make sure I was coming. I needed that extra push! Plus, I knew I had to tell the organist Karen! I was missing her hugs anyway. Karen was pumped and it felt good to get it out. Church always seems to add an extra step of goodness in my whole week. I feel so lucky Karl and I have a place to go that feels a little like home. Like our second family is waiting for us. Where else can someone go and get a hug as soon as they walk through the door? (Thanks John!!!) Today, I feel really good about baby...the future. We need to start showing up more!

I couldn't help but think about baby Koester's baptism and him/her singing in the children's choir and getting his/her Bible blessed. What will he or she participate in? Will he or she be one of those kids who are overly animated up front or will they stand there scared out of their mind? It's fun to think about. I am so so thankful for our church and the people there, and for the sense of community it brings every time we walk through those doors. Instant connection. Love it.

We're headed for a nature walk because it's gorgeous today. I love getting fresh air and just spending time together. Just trying to enjoy every moment and every day because there are always changes coming and there are a lot more about to hit us. Every one keeps hinting that our marriage and relationship will change once baby comes. But instead of worrying about how it'll be, or what could happen, I'm just going to enjoy today and what's going on right now.

Thanks for your excitement!!! It really means a lot.

Telling My Grandparents and Visiting Parents - Month 3

written Sunday, September 18, 2011
week 9

This week I've been feeling really great. Finally! I'm not sure if it's because I was able to see the ultrasound on Monday and actually see that there was indeed a baby growing inside me and hear from the doctor that it was natural to feel the way I've been feeling, or what? But I really do feel like myself again. Thank you God!!! I was getting pretty worried there.

Wednesday night Karl and I left work (late)...both of us had real bad days but pushed the bull aside, shoved food down, packed and hopped in our car. We didn't leave until 6:40 and I knew that meant we wouldn't get to gpa and gma's until way past their bedtime. Rats. Another day of waiting to tell them our good news. As we pulled up their long driveway, everything was dark. We crawled into bed and couldn't wait to tell them in the morning.

Grandma, me and Grandpa Powalish
Both Karl and I woke up early and realized it was freezing out. I saw on Twitter most of Minnesota tied for a record low and there was frost in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. We walked in the kitchen and got our hugs and I handed grandma an ultrasound picture.

"What is this?" She studies it.

I look at grandpa sitting at the kitchen table and he has a gleam in his eyes. "I'm pregnant." I smile.

"Really?" Grandma squeals and grandpa smiles. She squeezes me and grandpa stands up and walks over to Karl.

"Congratulations you big buck, you."

We laugh and all hug again. The moment is real special and my grandma looks at the picture again. "Oh, Christie. This is great news! Oh! The baby is in a heart! Look!" She points and she's right. The space around baby is definitely shaped as a heart, which only makes me smile bigger.

We sit down and talk more about baby and grandpa cuts in. "I'm shocked!"

I giggle.

"I thought you said you weren't ready?"

"Will I ever be ready?" I ask.
Grandma, Karl and Grandpa Powalish - lots of love there!!!
Throughout the day we talk about it more and have a real nice time. Grandpa tries bribing us to stay longer but we tell them my parents are dying to see us and we have to go home. They can't wait to hear from them on Sunday. We leave around 3:30 to see mom and dad. The trip with gpa and gma was really really special and grandpa mentioned he now has to stick around for sure to see baby born. Yeah! He turns 85 on Thursday.

We arrive to Roscoe and mom and dad are very excited to see us. We show them ultrasound pictures and give them two to hang on their refrigerator. I can tell they are excited - my dad is talking a mile a minute. My mom can't wipe the smile off her face.

So far the trip has been wonderful. Karl's golfed with my dad. I went to the Apple Orchard with my mom. We've cleaned the basement and introduced my parents to Craigslist - how their junk can become someone else's treasures. We've eaten really good. I've gone shopping with mom. This really has been such a great time and I so wish we lived closer. It's so nice to get spoiled like this.  Our baby is going to be one lucky grand baby and great-grand baby!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

For the Love of the Game - Month 3

written September 27, 2011
week 11

Why I need Volleyball in my Life

Your baby, just over 1 1/2 inches long and about the size of a fig, is now almost fully formed. Her hands will soon open and close into fists, tiny tooth buds are beginning to appear under her gums, and some of her bones are beginning to harden. She's already busy kicking and stretching, and her tiny movements are so effortless they look like water ballet. These movements will become more frequent as her body grows and becomes more developed and functional. You won't feel your baby's acrobatics for another month or two — nor will you notice the hiccupping that may be happening now that her diaphragm is forming. See what your baby looks like this week. (info found at

Me! 11 weeks with a bump!!
I haven't worked out in five weeks. Yes, five. Me. As in the gal who used to work out twice a day and run half marathons and play volleyball five days a week. The girl who has a trainer and a whole workout plan and goes ballistic if I miss being active more than two days in a row. I just couldn't do it. My body wouldn't let me. I've been confined to the couch. Okay...well, I go on 35-40 minute walks most nights.

But finally. Yes, finally... I had to play volleyball. Our fall season started in Eden Prairie last night. I was nervous knowing at the moment I'm totally not limber. But I stretched a little and before I knew it I was hitting and serving and jumping...and digging!!!! Every minute that went by I felt more and more like myself. And by the end of the match, I wanted more. I was bouncing everywhere. I haven't felt that good in a long time!!!!!!!! I felt the energy and good vibes racing through my blood.

My legs felt like Jell-O. My back was already sore. I swore I stretched my stomach muscles. But I felt so awesome. By the time I crawled into bed, I was feeling pain but I don't care. I felt like meeeeeeeeee!!! Then I woke up this morning and felt totally like me again!!! I treasure feeling this way. Ahhh. I hope it's here to stay! I love volleyball!!! It's my cure!

"God puts each morning, each new chance of life into our hands as a gift to see what we will do with it."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Telling Work: Month 3

written October 1, 2011
11 weeks

What will work say?

I'm not sure what my work is going to think when I tell them the news. My thought is they'll be happy for me. But you never know. I'm scared, which I think is normal.

The thing is there aren't many females at my place of employment who can have babies anymore.

Plus, I haven't fully accepted the fact that I am preg. It just seems so surreal to me. So it's hard for me to blurt it out. Twelve weeks is sort of the safe zone.

So with that said, I felt these past few months I needed to prove a lot to myself and to work. I wanted to be able show work that, yes, I could be faced with some major life-changing news and still get projects done. I could still remain focused. I could still manage a team. I wasn't broken or needed to be treated any differently. I didn't need to miss work or leave tons early. I could do it. Yes, the trails of overpowering perfume of some employees knocked me on my butt. The lunch smells killed my stomach at times. And little things did annoy me very easily, but I took deep breaths and kept my head buried in my computer. Yes, there were days I wanted to throw up. Yes, there were mornings I had to dive back into bed in tears. I had no idea how I'd dig past the grossness so I could walk into work for eight hours and act like nothing was wrong. But I survived!!!!! I did it!!! This too shall pass!!!

So on Monday I plan on sitting my boss down and breaking the news. My goal is to take 8-12 weeks maternity leave. 

Thankfully I have been saving just a little bit of each paycheck in an ING account ever since we got back from South Africa almost two years ago to cover my butt. I want to enjoy maternity leave comfortably. I have enough to cover me for eight solid weeks. And I think I'll still be able to continue some freelance work with AOL so I can get some cash flow. Short term really only covers 60% of two weeks because I have to burn through my vacation first. But I will say some of the BEST advice I have ever been given is.... It's not how much you make, it's how much you save. If I never saved, I would've never been able to take maternity leave. And what? I had to give up going out to dinner with Karl once a month or had to turn down a fun night out? It was worth it!!! Now I'll have time to heal and get to know baby!!! Because I have NO IDEA what I'm doing!!!

We'll see what happens!