Week 35

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Week 35 | an update

How far along: 35 weeks. Not too much longer now!

Best moment this week: Hearing at my OB checkup this week that 'You don't have a very big baby'. This was a HUGE RELIEF as T has been telling me that he thinks Baby W is going to be around 10 lbs. at birth. T thinks he is soooo tricky sometimes. It was super comforting to hear that my doctor is guessing Baby W to be about 5 lbs. currently (rough estimate, not based on an ultrasound, so this could be off some). For anyone wondering, this is about just exactly where the baby should be weight wise at this point of the ballgame. If the baby grows at the typical pace (about 1/2 lb per week) between now and my due date, we should be looking at somewhere closer to 7.5-8.5 lbs. Whew!

In other news, our nursery furniture came!! WooooHooo! We ordered it waaaaaay back in early February, so it is so wonderful to finally see it set up in Baby W's room. T busted out his newly acquired handyman skills over the weekend and helped to put the crib together, so now all we need is the rest of the decor and accessories to make it feel a little more personal.

T: 'You should take a picture of me being handy'

I spent what feels like the eternity yesterday searching endlessly for a plain white pleated crib skirt...something you'd think would be available in abundance, but as it turns out is incredibly difficult to track down. Eventually, I did find one at Bloomingdale's (on sale!!), and it should be arriving sometime next week. As for the rest of the room...it's all pretty white at this point, but will likely be getting some splashes of color in the next few weeks. Nothing too bright or 'kid-like'. I'm more into peaceful surroundings that will easily blend in with the rest of our home since the nursery door is just off our main living area, and I've never really cared for all the kid-patterned fabrics out there. Don't get me wrong, I love a great patterned fabric, but the the rocking horses, hearts, camo, princesses, trucks, etc that seem to be splashed across most nursery bedding sets these days are just not for me.

Worst moment this week: Nothing too bad this week. I was a little disappointed after I suggested to T that maybe we should take a road trip to Iowa City this coming weekend to visit a couple of our brothers and hit up some of our favorite haunts. Unfortunately, he says IC is too far for me to be traveling this close to Baby W's arrival :( I guess we'll have to wait until later this summer or fall for that road trip.

Things I miss: Warm weather and sunshine. It has been cold and rainy for the last several days. The lake was in serious need of some rain, so from that standpoint it is all good, but my doctor wants me to get at least 3 days of exercise per week, and that is very difficult when I can't walk outside.

Maternity clothes: Yes. No going back now! Sweater and leggings (Motherhood).

Sleep: Still decent, although I've been getting pretty hot at night lately.

Movement: Yes, although have noticed more periods of rest this week. Baby W is still a little night owl though, and tends to be pretty active just as I am going to bed.

Food Cravings: Fruit and sweets. Same story here. I made the most delicious strawberry shortcake over the weekend to help satisfy this craving (no, nothing fancy, just the recipe off the Bisquick box). T is now convinced we need to have it on a weekly basis. Looks like I'm not the only one in this house with a sweet tooth! Last night he thought he needed scotcheroos, but so far, I haven't caved...yet. 

Food Aversions: Nothing to report here.

Queasy or sick: Nope.

Belly button in or out: Out.

Rings on or off: Still rocking my wedding rings, but decided to take off the right hand rings until baby arrives. 

Looking forward to: Our childbirth and parenting class starts next week. I'm excited because it'll be nice to meet some other mama's to be (we don't know anyone with kids in our area), and hopefully learn a thing or two as well. The class is a little long and drawn out (4 weeks!), so we may not make it all the way through, but it'll be nice to get a sneak peak of the OB floor where Baby W will arrive (T says not to get too excited as it is in serious need of a remodel), and meet some of the OB staff face-to-face.

Week 34

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Week 34 | an update

How far along: 34 weeks. Only 6 more to go! T says this is a big milestone as Baby W would not need to have additional steroids if born this week. WooHoo! I'm hoping for at least 2 more weeks so that we wouldn't need to be transferred to Sioux Falls and spend time in the NICU if baby decided to come early.

Best moment this week: Many great moments this week. Ranking pretty high up the list was getting in some snuggle time with Baby Jake. T & I both got a chance for some quality aunt and uncle bonding, and agree it was one of the best parts of our trip back to my hometown. T says he just can't wait until our little bundle of love is here for some snuggle time with Baby W, and I've got to say I agree. This cantaloupe I'm carrying around is not making anything particularly comfortable or easy this week.

Another highlight of the weekend was celebrating my youngest brother T's 17th birthday, and my Grandma's 75th. This meant homemade strawberry pie and DQ ice cream cake which really hit the spot. Easter dinner, my mom's famous homemade buns, and ribeye steaks on the grill didn't hurt either.

Last, but not least, T & I snuck away for a few hours on Saturday for a quick road trip to Des Moines to purchase curtains and window hardware for our main living space. T helped to get the blinds hung up (which he is supremely proud of, and is probably the most time he has spent playing 'handyman' in his life), and I'm on the lookout for a seamstress in the lakes area to hem the new curtains so they are the correct length. Can't wait to see the whole look come together! 

Worst moment this week: Nothing too terrible to report here. After getting our curtain hardware out of the boxes, we realized we didn't get the finials while we were in Des Moines, which means it'll be another week or so before the look can come together.

Things I miss: Energy. 3 or 4 o'clock rolls around, and I am ready for nap time. 

Maternity clothes: Yes. Above dress (Old Navy) scarf (Francesca's).

Sleep: Good until I have to turn over...which is pretty frequently throughout the night to stay comfortable.

Movement: Still pretty active this week. Especially right when I want to go to bed around midnight. Baby W had the hiccups over the weekend which was kind of a funny sensation with a little jolt of movement during each hiccup. Luckily, this did not go on for the entire night.

Food Cravings: Fruit. Sweets were pretty high up there this week to, and I may have enjoyed more than I should have between the birthday and Easter celebrations we were part of over the weekend. Oops!

Food Aversions: Nothing to report here.

Queasy or sick: Nope.

Belly button in or out: Out.

Rings on or off: On, but fingers are pretty swollen.

Looking forward to: Our nursery furniture and dining room table are being delivered this week. Can't hardly wait! Hopefully this will help me to make a decision on the rest of the missing decor for Baby W's new room. On another note, the dining room chairs that are on backorder got pushed back another couple of weeks, so won't be here until early May. Someday it will come together...


Friday night shenanigans with the fam. Mama J surprised T with a case of Spotted Cow straight from Wisconsin. Definitely a highlight of the evening, and wish I could have enjoyed one myself!

A little birthday celebration for my youngest brother T who turned the big 17.

This little guy may have stolen the show.

All of the Nielsen men. Pretty handsome group!

Another birthday celebration for my Grandma's 75th! Also T & H's 1 year anniversary! Congrats!

Quality snuggle time with Aunt N.

Uncle T had so much fun getting in some cuddle time too.

Papa T just loves playing with Baby Jake.

The boys took to the course to get in some golfing over the weekend. T is now fully convinced he needs new irons after we stopped at Golf Galaxy in Des Moines on Saturday for him to test some out. I reminded him that with Baby W around this summer, he may not find himself on the greens as much as he did last summer, but maybe this could be a good birthday idea after he has a chance to go back and get properly fitted. 

It was such a beautiful day, that I even tagged along for the golf cart ride and some fresh air :)

Celebrating in style with a DQ ice cream cake. It's a good thing T & I have no room for one of these delicacies in our freezer. Sooo yummy!

Broccoli Apple & Almond Salad

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ahh Spring...it is so nice to finally see some hints of green and temps in the 60s-70s. T & I had a whirlwind of a busy weekend, and had sooooo much fun catching up with family, helping my youngest brother celebrate his 17th birthday, my grandma ring in her 75th, and enjoying yet another amazing Easter meal compliments of Mama J. I'll have pictures to share later as many of them are on my mom's camera, and she's notorious for taking a LOOOOOOONG time to send me pictures. Hopefully before the week is out :) Mama J, are you reading this?

In the meantime, I mixed up this delicious springtime broccoli apple & almond salad that is just to die for. I hope you enjoy it as much as T & I! It's the perfect compliment to springtime grilling, and packed with deliciousness.

Step One: Gather the ingredients. Yes, there are quite a few. 

Step Two: Use a small food processor or blender to make the vinaigrette. 
NOTE: This vinaigrette is amazing, and would be equally delicious on a lettuce salad, pasta, or maybe even used as a marinade for chicken if broccoli isn't your thing.

Step Three: Chop the broccoli and dice that apple. Combine all salad ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, and top with vinaigrette, stirring until well combined. 

Pop in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavors develop, or serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Healthy Foodie

BROCCOLI APPLE & ALMOND SALAD | Yield: 6 servings | Total Time: 45 min.


2 heads broccoli, florets only, chopped
1 large red apple, diced
1 C slivered almonds
1 C sliced green olives (you can buy these pre-sliced to save time)
1/2 C raisins
1/4 C dates, chopped (also available pre-cut, or use fresh)
1/3 C bacon crumbles (about 4 slices)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C lime juice (1-2 limes depending on size)
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)


In a small food processor, add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add broccoli, apple, almonds, green olives, raisins, chopped dates, bacon and vinaigrette and mix until thoroughly combined. Serve immediately, or leave in the fridge a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.

This salad makes an excellent compliment to spring or summertime grilling, but is also fancy enough to serve as a side for a more gourmet dinner as well.

What are your favorite springtime salads?

Week 33

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Week 33 | an update

How far along: 33 weeks. Only 7 more weeks to go! T & I are feeling pretty unprepared over here without having anything finished in our nursery, and only one box of diapers to our names. 

Best moment this week: It was 75 degrees on Saturday, and T & I got to enjoy a nice walk outside on some new trails we hadn't explored before. Also, Gma & Gpa Witt surprised us with a Pack'N'Play  (Graco Element Pack'N'Play) to use as a bassinet in our room when baby arrives. Seeing as we have no nursery furniture (hopefully next week!) or monitor yet, it is nice to know that Baby W will have a safe place close to mama and papa W to sleep.

Worst moment this week: The day after the amazing 75 degrees and sunny, we had more snow...enough to cover the lawns and make the roads icy. YUCK. Thankfully, it didn't hang around too long, and melted within about a day. On a nursery note, the quilt/pillow/bedskirt I have had my eyes on for the last month or so, I still really like, however, the matching curtains to tie the whole look together are most definitely not on sale, and cost more than any other curtains we have in the house currently. Ugh. While I don't consider myself to be quite all the way back at square one, I'm not ready to swallow the 'pick me, pick me, I'm super expensive' curtain pill just yet - especially for a bedroom. I think I'll hold off on it all until the nursery furniture arrives and we have a chance to see how it all fits in the room. Who knows...maybe I'll change my mind entirely, or maybe those matching curtains will go on sale! The color I'm looking at is very specific, so to try and find something that matches somewhere else for less would be especially difficult and not worth the headache.

Things I miss: Consistently warm weather. I am dying to get outside for some exercise, but since Saturday, the temps have not been above 35 degrees, and I am getting restless sitting inside.

Maternity clothes: Yes. Above top from Motherhood Maternity, pants from Younkers. On another maternity clothing note...I've been on the lookout for some quality nursing bras (sorry to any guys reading!), and have had ZERO luck finding anything at my maternity shopping go-tos (Target or Motherhood Maternity) that will work. If any of you out there have ANY suggestions on where I should look for non-seamless options with cups and preferably underwire (I know the whole debate about underwire possibly leading to clogged milk ducts, but I don't get the support I need from wireless, and don't want to wear seamless sports bra styles that will show with my cute summertime dresses), PLEASE please share! I'm beginning to feel a bit hopeless on this front...

Sleep: T was on call all weekend, and received many middle of the night phone calls that kept me awake for a decent amount of the weekend. Besides that, sleep has been pretty good, but I'm still feeling super tired during the afternoons, and have decided to slip in a few little catnaps on occasion to help fight the exhaustion.

Movement: Still lots of movement, but not really any consistent time frames from day-to-day.

Food Cravings: Fruit. Chocolate. Grilling. Luckily, it was nice enough out over the last week that we were able to enjoy a couple of meals off the grill. Seeing as the temps are super cold again this week, it's a good thing we got some solid grilling in while we could!

Food Aversions: Nothing this week.

Queasy or sick: Nope. Just more tired than normal.

Belly button in or out: Out.

Rings on or off: On, but my fingers are definitely more swollen than normal. 

Looking forward to: Easter weekend with the family and hopefully getting in some quality snuggle time with our nephew Jake! Also looking forward to cake and a couple of birthday celebrations for some very important people in our lives!


Week 32

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Week 32 | an update

How far along: 32 weeks

Best moment this week: Nicer weather has arrived, and T & I got to enjoy a couple of outside walks this week. Grandma and Grandpa Nielsen were up to some spoiling action over the weekend when they surprised us with some early Easter basket gifts for Baby W. We are now proud owners of a useable piece of furniture (Fisher-Price Rock N Play Sleeper) for when baby W arrives, AND a 'dad-friendly' (aka toned-down color scheme) diaper bag (Skip Hop Duo Deluxe Messenger Bag) to store all baby's necessities when we're on the go. So much fun!

Worst moment this week: Trying to clear out the dirt from our front porch and garage that blew all over this winter. I decided it's a lost cause after spending over an hour sweeping to no avail when it all just blew right back where it came from. T & I did tackle some more of the unpacked boxes in the garage and got rid of a cardboard buildup though, so feeling pretty good about that. I wish someone would have a garage sale to help with some of the furniture pieces and clothing that are too nice to just 'give' away. Hint...hint :)

Things I miss: Chicken salad sandwiches. Not being able to eat cold meat is not very much fun. Also busted out our panini maker a couple nights this week, and was sadly disappointed that I couldn't have any brie on my sandwich. 

Maternity clothes: Yes. Sadly, I think my days of indoor gym workouts are over until post-baby...my workout t-shirts are getting to be too short for the bump, and while some may appreciate a good crop top for the gym, I don't think baby bellies are the ideal look. Looks like I'll be sticking to outdoor walks with sweatshirts to keep me warm! I actually prefer to be outdoors for exercise anyways, so this isn't the worst thing to happen. Baby W sitting right on top of my bladder when I'm halfway through my walk, however, is a little more tricky to handle. Might have to adjust and go for shorter walks closer to home.

Sleep: I've been pretty tired this week...not sure if it is because I've been getting up earlier, or because baby is sucking all my energy. Likely a mix of both, or maybe it is just the nicer weather. 

Movement: Yes. Baby W has some pretty strong kicks that I need to start counting...I'm supposed to do this around the same time every day when baby is most active. The problem is, there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to when that might be, and what used to be late at night, has now been early in the morning or in the afternoon on some days. I think as long as the kicking is regular, I'm not going to work myself up about counting kicks too much.

Food Cravings: Still craving fruit. Also picked up some iced animal crackers this week that are likely not going to last too long in my pantry cupboard...

Food Aversions: I made chili over the weekend, and wasn't feeling the red kidney beans. 

Queasy or sick: Nope, just more tired than normal.

Belly button in or out: Out on top.

Rings on or off: On.

Looking forward to: Maybe a little grilling action outside perhaps?? My dad helped T to get our grill moved from the garage to our deck over the weekend, and a nice almost 70 degree day today seems as good a reason as any to make sure it's still working!

Tropical Spinach Smoothie

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What a beautiful day it has turned out to be! This week has actually started to feel like Spring, and I couldn't be more happy about it. Average temps are finally hovering above 50 degrees, the sun is shining, and the lake behind our home is officially ice-free. Woohoo! It's a good thing too...after our vacation to the sunshine state, I was reminded that I haven't seen anything green outside for an endless number of months, and I'm not sure how much longer I can take it.

On that note, our yard is a huge pile of dirt, and it's driving me completely crazy trying to keep our front porch/garage/driveway clean. Ahhh yesss...let's not forget the wind. I think my time outside today ended up being a complete waste as every sweep I made just blew the dirt right back to where it came from. T & I are in serious need of some grass to help combat this dirt issue. Unfortunately, with the wind in our neighborhood (we live on the edge of town in a newer development with approximately ZERO established trees for wind blocks), I'm kinda doubting that grass seed will be an option, and we may be stuck with sodding just so that it doesn't blow away or wash down the slope behind our house when it rains. Ah the joys of home ownership...so many little things that add up to big things. At least the interior of our home is finally starting to come together (minus Baby W's room that is completely NOT put together, and currently has no furniture or direction)... OK enough, now on to the recipe...

Step One: Gather the ingredients. 

Step Two: Add everything together in a smoothie maker or blender.

Step Three: Blend. Adjust for desired consistency. Serve and enjoy!

TROPICAL SPINACH SMOOTHIE | Yield: 1-2 servings | Total Time: 2 min.


1/2 C frozen fruit (the blend I used had pineapple, peach, mango and strawberry)
1/2 C spinach
1 banana
1/4 C orange juice

NOTE: I didn't measure these ingredients exactly when making my smoothie. You basically just want a small handful of all the solid ingredients (frozen fruit, spinach). Adjust to your desired tastes.


Combine all ingredients in a smoothie maker or blender, pulse until ice is crushed and well blended. Serve immediately.

What is your favorite smoothie recipe?

Adventures in the Sunshine State

Friday, April 4, 2014

Happy Friday! Hope your week has gone by super fast - especially if you live in NW Iowa like myself and are staring in disbelief at all the snow we received last night from old man winter. Ugh. As you know, T & I escaped to the sunshine state last week for a little getaway. (In reality, T spent about half his time attending medical conferences, but he still managed to squeeze in some time for some R & R and adventures). According to my camera roll...

Vacay started out in Orlando where the weather was all sun-shiny and beautiful. We stayed in Downtown Disney to be close to shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. As a bonus, our hotel had direct shuttle service to the Disney parks, so we conveniently got to avoid getting lost in the place where dreams come true. On our first full evening in FL, we ventured out to Epcot to explore the world (seems to be a ritual for T & I when we are in Orlando).

Once again, the garden show was in full swing, and there were many awesome live plant sculptures throughout the park.

We started in Canada, which we'd had to skip due to running out of time during previous visits, and decided there wasn't much to miss (on a side note - I've heard good things about the Canadian restaurant, so may need to try that next time). One of our favorite stops was Morocco, where we enjoyed an authentic dinner at the Marrakech Restaurant. Moroccan food is so yummy - if you visit, be sure to at least get some of the 'street food' in Morocco. Yum Yum.

Day two, we hit up the Orlando Premier Outlet for some excellent shopping, then headed out to dinner at Raglan Road (an Irish restaurant in Downtown Disney with the most amazing bread and honey dip), before continuing on to La Nouba, the Cirque du Soleil show in Downtown Disney. We had so much fun being entertained by the crazy acrobatic feats and would highly recommend the show to anyone traveling to Disney.

All ready for showtime!

Post-show, we couldn't go home without a trip to Legoland where T is fully convinced he has found all of his future Christmas gifts.

For the second leg of our trip, we drove south to Anna Maria Island. The weather, unfortunately, was not too great for most of the week, so our time spent outside and at the beach was pretty limited. We did have a chance to squeeze in a few walks on the beach, a trip to St. Armands, some pretty amazing dinners, and a culture-expanding trip to The Ringling in Sarasota.

A few of our favorite meals from Vacay. Clockwise from top left: Anna Maria Donuts - yes, that is a maple syrup and bacon topped donut...healthy.; The Waterfront - Juniperberry Amberjack; The Waterfront - Grouper Oscar; The Village Idiot - wood-fired pizza...all sooo yummy.

A visit to the Circus Museum at The Ringling.

Part of the Circus Museum at The Ringling...awesome display of how a circus used to be set up.

Found our new house! Ca' d'Zan A.K.A. winter home of American circus owner, developer, and art collector John Ringling and his wife Mable. This baby sits right on the water and is absolutely stunning. 

Enjoying a view from the terrace at Ca' d'Zan. The parties here must have been amazing. Very roaring 20s (when it was built) and 'Gatsby-esque' in the sheer attention to detail and general awesomeness. Also enjoyed, but not pictured due to restrictions on photography, was the Ringling Art Museum. T went in dragging his feet and thinking this would be a waste of time (this was his first visit to a real art museum), and came out deciding we need to visit all of the other famous art museums around the world. Who am I to say no? I guess that's what happens after you view a few Rubens in art museum filled with 31 galleries of priceless old world paintings! 

A Few Favorites from the Week:
Walks on the beach in Anna Maria
Hot tub time for T (sadly I couldn't participate as babies and hot tubs aren't a recommended mix)
Shopping trips to Premier Outlets in Orlando and Ellenton

30 Weeks!

A little beach time post-dinner. It was a little chilly and cloudy for a sunset viewing, but still fun to put our toes in the sand!

A walk on the beach.

Near sunset on the beach.

While our getaway was fun and relaxing, we decided that our next trip to FL we will wait until a little later in the spring/summer/fall to hopefully have some more consistently warmer weather. Looking forward to many sandcastles and memories with Baby W at the beach!
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