I have to share

I wanted to entitle this "A few of my favorite things"...I think we have all heard enough of that and it is not even December yet!  However, I keep finding things (mostly food) that are too good to keep to myself. And when I find something great (or terrible!), I have to share...

Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps in Garlic Parmesan-
I am sitting here eating these as we speak (type). Yesterday, they were sampling these at Giant Eagle and I was under the impression that we were to take the entire little dessert plat of pretzels rather than stick our hand in and fish out a pretzel. A few minutes later, I heard the old man say as I walked past, "There's the woman who took the whole plate" Hahah!  Oh well, it was worth it. Regular pretzels don't do it for me, but these crispy little guys burst with flavor and one could easily down an entire bag! Right now, they are 2 for $5!

Dole Orange Peach Mango juice-
Although I order OJ when I go out to breakfast, I never drink it at home. But I am on my third carton of this nectar of the gods. It is not too sweet at all, which is what I feared. I love peach, and it is a refreshing treat I reach for instead of a piece of empty-calorie food.

Tim Horton's Candy Cane hot chocolate-
I am a huge fan of Starbucks peppermint mocha but don't enjoy paying $4 for it. Tim's has put this little 1.49 treat on the menu and it is just as good to me for a smaller pricetag!  After the first sip, I am sure I actually said "ohhhh my God" in the drive through lane.

Max & Erma's tomato mozzarella burger-
I don't mess with a good old "American" burger, but I decided to go rogue this weekend and try this new burger. I got it cooked medium well, which was perfect. It comes topped with a few fresh basil leaves, some small sliced tomatoes (which I don't even like, but I ate them on this!), and a gob of delicious mozzarella. I added a little ketchup and it was divine.

Activia peach or strawberry yogurt-
I have been eating this for several months and have to say...the commercials are true. However, you should not be afraid. It in no way makes me have to go to the bathroom all the time or have any sort of issues. It just keeps me much "healthier" than I am when I am not eating it. I notice that if I skip buying it for a week...life does not move along as it should. That's enough of my commentary on this subject...go buy yourself a few 4 packs and give it a try for a few weeks! Oh, and don't bother with the "dessert cup" version... big disappointment.

Bob Evan's chicken pot pie-
Seriously? I will never make this on my own when Bob Evans is around (sorry Jill). It is stocked with firm veggies (not mushy, not crisp), the consistency of the filling is not too creamy (a big issue I have with almost any food with a filling), and the crust is to Diiiieeeee for. Stop by and get some carryout on your way home!

I also need to add to my previous post on pumpkin foods. My friend Amber brought Baby and I a pumpkin doughnut from Dunkin Donuts. Perfection!

I am thankful for...

I always make my students write about this topic every year, and I thought it was time I do the same. Of course, I hope my answers are a little more thoughtful than "Toy Story 3" and "ice cream"...

What is more obvious than the baby? I am thankful that I had the ability to have a child, that she is healthy thus far, and that I really have had an easy pregnancy. Along these lines, I am grateful for all the kind words and acts that come along with having a baby. People are so generous and willing to help out in any way right now!  I hope they are still around after April 21st!

I am so glad for my little family. Matt has been working so hard and saving for our daughter, and is so helpful around the house. Not to mention, it is nice to enjoy the company of your partner, and I look forward to him coming home every day!  Simple things, like playing that silly golf tee game at Cracker Barrel or driving around the ritzy parts of UA to look at their lights are still fun. Though the other 3 members of the family drive us to the end of the rope almost daily, they make me laugh and smile just as often. If Sebastian was a person, he would be the guy that is always smiling. His tail is always wagging and life is always an adventure for him. Zoe fiercely protects us from the AEP man, dogs barking down the block, or anything else that she feels is out of place. And kitty's acrobatics (I need to record those and show you!) keep us laughing.

Mom and dad always have my back and support me no matter what, but now that Baby O is on the way, they have gone out of their way to make me feel like she is a princess already. Though dad and I started off in a rocky place regarding this, he has "come around" in the last few weeks and I know he will make a great Paw Paw...I have seen him at it for years! And mom has been waiting for another little girl (or boy) to come around for years, so this is her dream come true. I am thankful that my daughter will have 4 excellent grandparents to love her, teach her, encourage her, and shape her.

When I see all the statistics about unemployment, I have to pause and realize just how lucky I am to have a job. A job that I went to school for, that I love, that is rewarding, and that pays for everything we need.

And I know I have written about my friends. My wonderful girls, who are busy planning my shower and awaiting the arrival of the next "Lil' Violet". You have a lot to teach me, and a lot to offer Baby O. I can't wait for her to meet you!

With that said, it's time to kick off my favorite time of year! With the furry members of the family, it was a little terrifying to think of a 6 foot tree, bedazzled in tempting strands, balls, and other items that imitate toys. So, we are using a small treetop table this year. It is still pretty and actually holds all the ornaments I have, so it will do. I had more fun decorating the mantle because I have never had my own mantle!!  Here it is, in all its glory, out of the way of any animals!

It's a....

Healthy baby girl!  We had an amazing ultrasound, courtesy of a Coffee Toffee twisted frosty. Little Girl was VERY active, and we got awesome shots of her spine moving, her beautiful 4-chambered heart, her "perfect" skull (as the doc said), and generous spread eagle shot to confirm that she is a little girl:o)

I am so excited and it really feels more real now. Not that it didn't before, but I am just the type of person who really needs to know these things to get a complete understanding I guess.

We will go back for another ultrasound on 1/13 to make sure that my placenta has moved, because it is currently "anterior". That means it is covering the baby in the front (my belly) instead of on the top (by my ribs). It needs to scooch out of the way and definitely not go to the bottom. That also means when Little Bit (that is her new name, I think) kicks and moves, she is bumping the placenta, so it will be a while before I feel anything myself.

All in all, a fabulous appointment with a doctor I love. Matt asked good questions, too! More details on my "baby talk" tab.

How you doin'?

I know, I know. I have spent a LOT of time on my other blog lately. But shall we get an update on life in general?

Most of the day, my life revolves around my students and tasks at school. They have really come a long way since September and every day, they find a way to make me smile or make me proud.  My "friends" who wrote single, capital letters to represent a word a few months ago are now stringing together lowercase letters to make words!  Real words! Without crying (most of the time).  It is a good day when you don't have to relay a "naughty" note to a parent, send someone to the Principal's office, or have everyone put their heads down with the lights out. Today was a good day. When you are told "I love you" a few times a day and hugged around the waist and butt repeatedly, how could it be a bad day??

Things at home are typically calmer. In a way. I am in my own place, with the comforts of food, TV, and privacy. But the three rings circus awaits with our three animals. The above paragraph took me 20 minutes to type, because the kitten kept attacking my hands. When I say "attack", I am not exaggerating. I believe his intent is to render my typing hands lifeless. And in the process, I end up with microscopic slices (like paper cuts) that hurt like a bitch.  When he is not hand-attacking at the laptop, he is a pretty cuddly guy.

Sebastian has taken to sleeping in our bed routinely, which I absolutely hate. I hate it so much that I am contemplating asking Matt to give me nothing for Christmas but Sebastian in his freaking cage. Every night it is a battle: "Why can't he sleep in the bed?" "Because I can't sleep with him in the bed". He moves around, he is hot, and he takes up 1/3 of the bed. With my growing belly, I need that 1/3 and I need my sleep. It is really getting old and I am not sure how else to plead my case. He has also taken to barking (loudly) at everything outside. Also getting old. Besides those 2 things, he is goofy and lovable.

And Zoe? Zoe is my easy child who wets the bed. Literally, she has been peeing in our bed while we are in the living room at night. If we forget to close the door, it is certain that there will be a big, warm pee stain on Matt's side. Maybe she is telling him that Sebastian shouldn't sleep in the damn bed.

And life with Baby O?  Great!  I am starting to receive those unsolicited pieces of advice and it is only a matter of time before I have to tell the parents of my students. I a little worried about that part because they all know that I am not married. I am a progressive girl, but by no means does that mean that everyone will accept the fact that their child's kindergarten teacher is an unwed mother. Hell, my own father won't accept it!  When they all come in for the holiday party, it will be hard to hide at 24 weeks!  Next week, we find out the gender of the baby, and then it is game ON. I am refining the registry, picking out bedding, making my baby book with mom, and doing all those things I have been dying to do.

Yoga has taken a back seat, which I hate to say. It made me feel good, completely changed my body, and cleared my mind. However, the last time I went to get "centered", around 6 weeks, I looked like a blindfolded drunk. I was super dizzy. And, I'll admit, a little scared. I have been scared of overexerting myself and practicing hot yoga is definitely exerting.  I also need to save some cash, and that was one thing that got the ax. Dear yoga goddesses, I'll be back.
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