31 Week Update

This week marks 31 weeks into the pregnancy. Babe is doing great. Staying active and growing stronger each day. We have our maternity session this weekend with the wonderful Rachel Manke! And next week is the baby shower. I can’t believe how quickly it is going, and at this point, I would be OK with having a longer pregnancy! Many have informed me that I’ll feel quite differently in about six weeks. I can already tell that I will miss the belly and the movements. Cody claims that will be short-term since we’ll be adding another to the womb in no time! He talks! Let’s see how we adjust with one babe. :))


Last weekend we wrapped up the new living room project! There are still final touches to administer such as setting up the entry way with a bench and coat hooks, sealing the walls, installing the light fixtures. decorating…. so we are not done-done, but we are moved in! This is Cody’s handy work. It took over three months to get here, but he did it and I am so proud of this space because it has his touch, skill, and calculations. A big thanks to those who helped along the way. We just love the space. And there’s pleny of room for photo sessions too! I’ll have three sessions in this space before the week is over.


Light fixtures coming soon! 🙂


Pups are still getting adjusted


And once moved in, we were able to do away with the nasty, white carpet in the old living room, soon-to-be my office! We rolled up the carpet to reveal beautiful hardwood underneath, as well as years of ground in dirt and grime below the padding. Yuck!


Before: white carpet, circa 1990, stained and abused and gross—-it’s got to go!


Hardwood underneath! Fabulous, beautiful hardwood! My only regret is we didn’t yank this up before we moved in!

Anyone who is upset about this snow can blame me. I wanted snow for our outdoor maternity session photos and so glad it came! The cows and horses probably don’t feel the same….or Cody, who has to plow and shovel it, but we’ve been kind of spoiled this winter, and snow is good for the fields! And it sure is prettier than dead grass and mud.

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Dutchess | First 2014 calf

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Cybil Cow

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Sadie does love the snow, loves it more when we come out to play in it

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Legend, sporting ice from his mane and coat, this part I don’t like….always amazed at how resiliant our farm animals are

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And to close this post, a promise to my mother-in-law….my next post will contain a sampling of our wedding photos! Long overdue. Coming soon!


Boy? or Girl?

This week marks our 29th week of pregnancy, with just 11 more to go! Time is going so fast. The topic of boy or girl comes up frequently when talking to friends and strangers alike. In this day and age, it is just customary to find out the gender of your baby. Well, we’re a bit old-fashioned in this department, and the color scheme of the nursery, outfits, diaper bag and car seat are unimportant factors in persuading us otherwise.

That said, everyone has their prediction! I’ve had my belly touched and while doing so the person had a look as if they were summoning cosmic energies. Their prediction, boy. I’ve had others tell me I look like I am carrying in a way that would indicate we are having a girl. My father thinks boy based on the ultra sound image. And others make their selection based on what THEY want!

We’ve all heard various wives tales so I decided to try out a few….


Chinese Calendar: My sister-in-law believes the Chinese Calendar is a good predictor. It predicts based on the month you conceived and your age when you conceived. I entered my data into four different websites, three revealed girl, one revealed boy. There’s a 50% chance of being right….or wrong!

How Do I Carry? If you’re all in the front and low, a boy; if your high and big, a girl. Hmm… Well, I am carrying in the belly, or so I’d like to think, and it seems to be not too high or too low.  I don’t know about this one!

My Skin:  “A little girl steals your beauty.” I have (what I try to affectionately refer to as ) “baby acne”. Normally I have pretty good skin, but during pregnancy I am getting breakouts, especially on the chin. I chalk it up to hormones, but maybe it’s a girl? On the other hand, dry skin is a predictor that it’s a boy. Dry skin? Check! So boy? Of course it is winter….

Heartrate: 140 bpm or higher, a girl, lower, a boy. Heart rate has consistently been 140 or higher from weeks 13 through present. A girl?

Cravings: Sweet, girl, salty/sour, boy. Well, early on, I went through several jars of Old Milwaukee Dill Pickle Midgets and a few boxes of sour patch kids. That has subsided. I do crave sweet, but that has been a battle all my life (I blame my father) and I don’t need or love chocolate any more than I did prior to pregnancy…..but truly, I NEED chocolate! No strange cravings for me, but Cody has spent the last three weeks craving Prime Rib, is that an indicator?

Morning Sickness: If you’re queasy, its pink, if you sail through, it’s blue. I was luckier than most, only experienced sickness for about 4-5 weeks. But I did experience it, so girl? However my cousin had sickness most of her pregnancy and she just had a boy.

Mood: If you’re moody, it’s a girl, if you’re chill, it’s a boy. I’d like to think I am pretty chill. Period.

Then there is always the mother’s instinct. Some have told me they knew what they were having or could just sense it when they were pregnant. Either I don’t have that sense or it hasn’t developed yet. I have no clue!

I do know that blue or pink, they are loved and wanted and we are excited.

What’s your prediction? 

While the NFC Championship game did not go the way we wanted, this pregnancy is going great!

While the NFC Championship game did not go the way we wanted, this pregnancy is going great!

Happy New Year

Today I polished off the last of the cookies–part of the bounty of treats baked on Christmas day with my fellow Lettman Ladies–this marks the end of our holiday over-indulgence and the welcoming of a new year.

Our Christmas festivities included 8 gatherings throughout the week, company from our out-of-state family members, lots of food, reconnecting with friends, and R&R from work. 

I was once again grateful for maternity pants this holiday season and enjoyed the sentiment of family, love, friendship, and the anticipation of our first child. “Baby LoCo,” while about 14 weeks from joining us officially, was spoiled this Christmas. I was moved by the gifts to our baby and reminded of how lucky we are with our family and friends. 

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Celebrating 35 years

This past weekend, I turned 35. I treated myself with a day off from work on Friday and asked Cody to do the same so we could spend the day together and attend an ultra sound appointment. 

This was Cody’s first ultra sound. The babe had legs and arms in front of the face, so no clear shot, but more importantly, the good news is that everything looks great. This appointment marked our last “specialist appointment” to monitor my pregnancy. To date, the concerned measurements have remained consistent and everything has gone well. We will continue to be careful, but going forward it’s on my body and God to keep this baby safe and in place for the next 17 (or so) weeks. I have faith that everything will continue to be wonderful. Pregnancy has been such a blessing and even fun. I only experienced “morning sickness” (more like “all day, and even more so in the evening sickness”) for about a month and once it subsided, I was eager for the belly to come in or to feel the movements to have confirmation that I was indeed carrying a life. Well, the belly is definitely coming in now and I feel those movements frequently, both of which, I love.

Following our doctor appointment we stopped in to see my dear friend and photographer, Rachel. (You can check out her work here, and if your in the Madison or Sun Prairie area, she’s your gal: http://www.rachelmanzke.com/) We’ve been capturing weekly belly images, but on days when I am in Madison, I let the professional capture them for me. These on this post mark our 22nd week.

My birthday: Spent the day with my eldest niece. We traveled to LaCrosse, watched a few college wrestling matches to support the University of Dubuque Wrestling team which my brother coaches, enjoyed massages, a quick trip to the food cooperative, late lunch with my brother and back home to spend a quiet evening with my loving husband. Cody wrote me the nicest note as my gift and worked on the living room project that day—a perfect present. 

Two years or so ago I read a quote: “Don’t begrudge getting older, it’s a privilege denied to many.” This resonated with me and rather than cringe at my age–or the gray hairs coming in–I am grateful for the gift of 35 amazing years. And grateful that my husband, younger by four years and 4 months, is a fan of this “ol lady!” :-))

Home update: Cody is making great progress on the new living room. Many of the walls are in place and soon we can start on the flooring and ceiling. I had hoped this would be done for Christmas, but all good things take time, and hopefully we will be close to finished around the New Year. Thereafter, we can start creating the new office space, new spare bedroom, and then of course, the nursery! Just a few shifts and updates this winter and spring for the home!

Half Way

Yesterday marked 20 weeks, half way through our pregnancy. I had an appointment to check on our babe, and everything looks good, for our little one and for me.

I reminded the ultra sound tech (and anyone who came into the room) that we did not want to know the gender of the baby. She asked me not to hate her if she slipped…WHAT?!  Apparently she had in the past and accidentally told a family who did not wish to know. Fortunately for us, she did not slip yesterday. Our surprise remains just that and our family is enjoying the guessing game.

I am enjoying pregnancy. Such an amazing feeling and gift. Our baby’s movements are reminders throughout the day just how blessed we are to have created this life and for the opportunity to welcome them into this world. 

Photo credit: Rachel Manzke Photography

Home Expansion Plans

Many of our friends and family likely have heard the news or seen our updated cover images on Facebook in which we quietly revealed our announcement of expecting our first child. Here’s the full story.

Cody’s been indicating his readiness to have kids for some time now. Even before we got engaged. Once we were engaged, it was officially decided, we would start trying to increase our joy–and workload–on Bear Vale as soon as we were married.

We have personal experiences with family and friends who have tried for months and even years before successfully conceiving. So, since I didn’t think it would happen immediately, we opted to start trying prior to the wedding by a month or two. This decision by itself was awesome. We were electing to not only commit to each other for our lives, but to create and raise a child together. What an amazing blessing. More so, I knew that if we were not able to conceive on our own, that I was building a life and home with a man who would be open to fostering and/or adopting so that we could provide a loving, learning, and valuable home for a child. No matter what, we were going to become parents. It was just a matter of how, and when. And we left that up to God.

Much to my amazement, in about six weeks, a month prior to our wedding, I received the confirmation via home test that I was pregnant. It didn’t sink in–it seemed too easy. 

Cody was on the road and not due home for two days, and I didn’t want to share this life altering news with him over the phone. While he was away, I hit the baby clearance rack and found a onesie that read “Daddy’s Sidekick.” I bought it and added a small sign below the text that read, “Arriving Spring 2015.” I’d already pulled up the online pregnancy calculators and estimated our due date. When Cody got home at the end of the week, I had his “gift” wrapped and waiting for him. His response was true Cody fashion….calm and steady. He simply said, “Really? Well, great. Good!” For both of us, it took time to become reality.

We had the wedding to focus on and I didn’t want to share the news too early. They say it is best to get through the first trimester–13 weeks or so–just to be sure the pregnancy “sticks.” Our wedding marked 10 weeks and 2 days. And we had all our family surrounding us that weekend. I really wanted the opportunity to share the news with everyone, at once, face-to-face. The day after the wedding, we invited both our families over for brunch. We sat everyone down, thanked them for their love, support, and help in pulling together our lovely wedding day. Cody’s dad provided a pre-meal prayer, and when he finished, Cody proclaimed that we had one more announcement. With that, he removed his sweatshirt to reveal a shirt I purchased for him. It showcased two big thumbs pointing inward and the words, “This Man is Going to be a Daddy!” It was a fun way to share our news and we loved the opportunity to have all our family there, especially those who are not geographically close.

A few weeks later, my dear friend was out for her family photo shoot and she captured a few images of Cody and I with his revel t-shirt. This was just recently added to Facebook to share our happy news with our wider circle. Photo credit: Rachel Manzke Photography 

Last week, my company asked me to participate in a video montage of well-wishes for our members. We were to capture video of where we live/our home area (we’re a virtual company with staff from Seattle to Orlando and every where in between), say who we are, share what we are thankful for, and then wish the viewers a Happy Thanksgiving. I had not yet revealed to work my pregnancy. While a few of my close colleagues knew, I had not yet told my boss or counterparts. I thought this video was the perfect opportunity. Here it is (big thanks to my camera woman, Shae!).

(Video had to be compressed for uploading so resolution is terrible in full screen mode, apologies.)
This week marks 20 weeks, our half way point. I feel the baby moving now, the belly is coming in, and its starting to feel real, though this is just the beginning.

We are so happy and excited and tremendously blessed. God has been so good us. I am so grateful for the opportunity to create life, to do so with an amazing man, my partner and love. I am thrilled to become a mother and shape a life. And I am thankful for the family and friends who surround us and will give this child so much love and experience.

We will not be learning the gender of our baby—bring on the green and yellow, grey and beige! Our prayer is that our little one grows strong and healthy day by day, that they stay put until the time is right, that I labor and welcome this child into the world, surrounded by support and love and strength. Boy or girl, they will be the greatest addition to our worlds since we found each other.

We are starting some major remodeling projects to get ready for our little one. While most of these projects we would have conducted regardless, a babe has a way of giving you incentive… and a deadline! First up, a new living room, then on to the rest.

Thank you for sharing in our excitement.