Our Baby Shower

Happy Monday everyone!

Things have been a little quiet here on the blog as of late—sorry about that! My only excuse is life and growing this little human. Hubs and I just got back from Michigan yesterday from a wonderful weekend celebrating Baby O’Wu! I’m writing this while I’m taking a break from unpacking all the sweet gifts we received. 

I wanted to pop in today to share some photos from our beautiful baby shower! My mom basically planned the entire event and worked with John and I to ensure it was exactly what we would want. We’re both so thankful for her and all her hard work—the space looked so great!

Me and my momma

Me and my momma

The shower was held at the same restaurant where our wedding shower was, at Kruse and Meur Roadhouse in my hometown of Lake Orion, Michigan.

So, John is the mastermind being 99.9% of the photos you’ll see on my Instagram feed. Needless to say I wanted to make sure he captured the day (and any excuse to use his camera—he’s game!). We didn’t want a ‘theme’ per se, but we went along with a color scheme. Thankfully the stars aligned and Target’s dollar section matched our ideas and had a line of Baby Shower items (more details on this below)! :) 

Macarons from Vanille

Macarons from Vanille

I initially wanted the shower to be in Chicago, but logistically it just didn’t make much sense. This is the struggle of living where none of your family lives! However, there were sweet Chicago details tied into the shower make the day extra special! We gave each guest a little box of macarons from my favorite macaron shop in the city, Vanille (flavors were vanilla and pistachio), they were such a cute way to tie in our color scheme, thank everyone for coming, and give them a little treat from our 'home'.

John's aunts who traveled from Florida to celebrate with us!

John's aunts who traveled from Florida to celebrate with us!

As for the pièce de résistance: our fabulous cake made by the beyond talented, Amy Beck of Amy Beck Cake Design. I’m so so happy she designed and created this beautiful piece of art for us, and it tasted just as amazing as it looked! Of course, I tied in some of my calligraphy work with one of my cake toppers

My mom found these adorable ‘Oh Boy’ balloons and made the tassel garland to accent our gift table, it turned out so cute! 

For games, we had baby shower bingo (a personal fave of mine!) and scratch off tickets (both from Target!). We also had a Diaper Raffle where guests could bring in a pack of diapers to enter to win a prize (a fab way to stock up on some much needed diapers!). I created the tickets myself, and found this cute little pail (also from the Target dollar section) and calligraphed the front. To no surprise, I found adorable chalkboards from the Target dollar section and personalized them for the day. Life of a calligrapher: have blank space, will calligraph. 

One of the many reasons we decided to have the shower at the same restaurant as our wedding shower is the food! Guests were able to select what they wanted from a prix fixe menu (and their food is phenomenal!). Everyone had such a great lunch and it was so great to see family and friends we rarely get to see, or haven’t seen in a long time. 

Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated with us! As I sit here in the middle of organizing his nursery and putting away all of the generous gifts, I’m overwhelmed with how much love there was this weekend. It was such a lovely shower and it feels so amazing knowing how much people love our baby boy already! From the bottom of our hearts—thank you!

Me and my sorority sister, Genna

Me and my sorority sister, Genna

9 First Trimester Must Haves

 
 

Now that I’m almost to the halfway point in my pregnancy, I decided to finally put together a list of items I literally could not have gotten through my first trimester without! 

During my first trimester, I was constantly googling things and checking out other preggo’s blogs for ideas to make some of the not-so-fun symptoms more tolerable—so in a way, here’s my two cents and hopefully I’ll help another preggo along the way :) No joke—it really does get better!

1. Ginger Chews—Thank you, Trader Joe’s! I only had a couple weeks of morning sickness, but I also had really bad cramping during the first month or so; cramps so bad I would feel nauseous. These were gold—I’ve heard of some people sucking on peppermints, but the taste of the Ginger Chews just worked better for me. I still have a handful at my desk and in my purse just in case!

2. La Croix—OK…I love my wine. I love my craft cocktails and beer. So still to this day, this whole no drinking thing is a drag for me. Enter, La Croix. I’m going through a case a week, minimum. The flavor is such a nice change from water and there’s zero calories, sugar and caffeine—a preggo dream! (Side note—you really start to realize how limited your options are for drinks when you eat out, almost everything has sugar/alcohol/caffeine in it!). 

3. Rainbow Light Prenatal One Vitamins—I started taking these puppies about two months before we started trying, and my piece of advice—take them at night. I felt so sick when I took them in the morning, I think because it’s a one-a-day prenatal they’re just so strong. But, I love only having to take one prenatal a day, there’s no way I could remember to take 2 or 3 vitamins a day. 

4. CeraVe—Chicago winters do not make being pregnant easy. I typically have a very challenging time in the winter keeping my skin moisturized and pregnancy has completely sucked any little bit of moisture out of my body. I was trying everything, but CeraVe was the only lotion that kept my skin comfortable. I have a small bottle of it on my desk to try and keep my hands moisturized. I really love that it’s a lightweight lotion, so I don’t feel sticky or greasy after I put it on, and it’s fragrance free—so it didn’t trigger any preggo smells when putting it on. 

5. Cheerios—I found if I went too long without a snack my morning sickness would come, so I was constantly snacking. Unfortunately, not many foods sounded great to me, so Cheerios were my go-to. A perfectly bland and low sugar option. I kept a baggie of Cheerios on my nightstand (a handful before bed, and a handful in the morning!), a box in my office, and a baggie in my purse. Whenever I started to feel m/s come on—I ran for my Cheerios!

6. Orange Juice—Oh my yum! This stuff tasted like liquid gold my first trimester (and still does)! Hubs was super concerned about me getting enough calcium, so we started buying the OJ+Calcium. Double whammy—fixed a craving and I was getting the right nutrients. 

7. Honey Trap Lip Balm—OK, I have tried nearly EVERYTHING to give my preggo lips a relief. Again, mix in the Chicago winter and I don’t think I’ve gone an entire day without chapped lips :( It’s tres uncomfortable (and a little embarrassing). This stuff is the ONLY lip balm that provides comfort and keeps my lips moisturized longer. I’ve tried cocoa butter, various lip balms, but this one is the best! 

8. The Expectant Father—It’s just as much the Dad’s journey, right? I bought John several books when I found out I was pregnant, and this is the first one he picked up. He said this book has been super helpful and informative to help him not only understand what I’m going through, but the changes he’s experiencing as well.

9. The Bump App—This has been a lot of fun! The app gives you weekly updates to let you know how big baby is and walks you through the growth baby is going through. It also breaks down some of the symptoms you may be experiencing. Hubs and I love sending each other screen shots of Baby O’Wu’s progress and seeing what size of fruit he/she is that week :)

Hopefully this is helpful to other preggos! I’m feeling a lot more like myself this second trimester—which is a very welcomed side effect! What were some of your first trimester must haves? 

 

 

Our Baby Story-The First Trimester

Here is it folks! A post that will likely bore those not into kids, and one that our family will probably read five times over—our Baby Story :)

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IMG_0227.jpg

John had always wanted children, and honestly when we got married I thought our lives would just be the two of us, traveling the world, sans kids. So it was a big surprise to him when I got baby fever last summer. I was having too much fun buying shower gifts for my sorority sister! I started looking at baby clothes whenever we went into a store, casually strolling by the crib section...you get the idea. We decided to 'live it up' over the summer before trying, but we were finding we were in bed early all the time and kind of being homebodies, we were starting to think more and more we were ready to be parents. We just weren't as selfish with our time anymore. So we decided to start trying and I got off birth control in September.

We were incredibly fortunate that it only took us two months to get pregnant. I had an inkling that I was pregnant around week 3 when I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I had the stomach flu, I felt really nauseous and thought I was going to get sick. I chalked it up to maybe something I ate didn’t agree with me, or it was a delayed hangover. But, then I had a dentist appointment about a week later and I felt sick again. I had been experiencing cramps all day but never got my period, and I was two days late. On a whim, I took a pregnancy test when I got home (two tests to be exact, because anyone who knows my control freak self—I want to be absolutely sure). Both were positive! The cats were in the bathroom looking at me (because every cat owner knows there’s no such thing as going to the bathroom alone) and I just thought ‘…what the #&@%?!’

I bought a stuffed bunny rabbit when we decided to start trying with the intention of giving it to John when we got pregnant. So I sanitized the tests (obvi), set them out by the bunny and they waited in the bathroom until he got home from work. When he got home, I awkwardly followed him around the apartment asking him how his day was, just waiting for him to get ready to hop in the shower. When he opened the bathroom door (Lord knows if I left that door open the cats would have attached the stuffed bunny and/or played with the tests…nasty.) he was so confused, but when he realized what was happening he was ecstatic! Elated! He gave me a big hug and kept saying ‘I’m going to be a Dad!’ all night. My heart was bursting! I’m so fortunate to have a partner who is so invested and involved in our now growing family.

The bunny I gave John to let him know we were pregnant!

The bunny I gave John to let him know we were pregnant!

The first trimester wasn’t too bad (knock on wood)! During the first month I would get bouts of nausea and I’m not sure if it was certain smells that brought it on or if the smells made it worse (the worst culprits: fast food, hand lotion, and coffee). Thankfully the worst of it happened over Christmas and New Years when I was off work. At first, I was CRAVING chicken and I totally lost my taste for sweets—which was a HUGE shock to John and I because I’m not a big meat eater and I have the biggest sweet tooth! But I’m happy my cravings were going towards lean protein :)

The cramps in the beginning of my first trimester, however, were not fun. I couldn’t tell if the pain caused some of the nausea or it was just two different symptoms I was experiencing and my body just wanted to give them to me at the same time? I got them about every two hours starting around 10am (the craziest part—my mom had the exact same symptoms when she was pregnant with me, around the same time of day!). Going through the workday with these symptoms was lots of fun... :)

Week 4-5 I was tired a LOT; going to bed at 8pm almost every night. I started forgetting things and getting baby brain around the 4.5 week mark, thankfully I’m a list maker by nature so this came in extra handy! The best part of during this time is that I felt AWESOME when I woke up! So I got my workouts in at 6am to ensure I was staying active, because by the time I left work around 5pm, I felt like I had been hit by a semi truck…I was so tired!

Week 6 Around week 6 my symptoms started to go away, a lot less morning sickness, but still very fatigued! We moved into our new apartment this week (which I would NOT recommend moving when preggo and in the middle of winter…) the hormonal mood swings, boxes galore…what a nightmare. Fact: I had a three hour cry sesh because John accidentally chipped the washing machine when trying to hang a shelf in our laundry room. :) However, minus the tears and John’s aching back from having to move all our furniture around, it was kind of nice not being able to lift anything—it will likely be the easiest move (physically) I’ll ever have!

Week 7 We had our first ultrasound at week 7. I was so nervous—I just couldn’t believe we had gotten pregnant so fast, it all just seemed too good to be true. Our baby was about the size of a grain of rice at the time so the little heartbeat was too small to hear, but we could see the sound waves. I was overcome with emotion when I saw it. Typically my husband is a weeper and I tend to not be as…emotional. So it was a surprise to both of us when he was my rock and I had tears streaming down my face watching that little heartbeat. It was so hard going back to work afterwards, I just want to show off the ultrasound photo of our little rice grain!

Week 8-9 Around this time my taste for sweets and all my normal cravings started to come back. Around our 9 week prenatal appointment, we heard the baby’s heartbeat! Not to be biased or anything…but our baby has the prettiest heartbeat <3

My mom also came to visit us this week to help us settle into our new apartment I’m so thankful she was here, it was so much fun visiting some of our favorite boutiques and buying some onesies for Baby O’Wu—I have a feeling my parents will be visiting a lot more with baby on the way!

Week 11 Hubs won a work trip to Montreal and my friend Scott and I totally took advantage of it! We didn’t find out until the night before we left that John was going to be about 2 hours outside of the city playing in the mountains (nothing like waiting till the last minute!), so Scott and I had a blast eating our way around the city! It was a great place for a preggo, so many delicious herbal teas and fresh juice! Mmm! I’ll be sharing more about our trip on the blog soon!

Our pregnancy announcement photo, taken in Old Montreal

Our pregnancy announcement photo, taken in Old Montreal

FAQs since telling people I'm pregnant...

Are you finding out what you're having?Yes! I’m a Type A planner! There is no way I could wait and not know, and I'm so excited to find out! We’ll find out sometime in April, we don’t have our ultrasound scheduled yet, but we’ll certainly announce it once we find out. We have a bedroom that's all set to go for the nursery, so I can't wait to know and start decorating!

What do you think you're having? I’m going to plead the fifth on this one. I’ve heard lots of people say my symptoms are all boy, but the really cool part is I’ve had identical symptoms my mom had when she was pregnant with me. A lot of my co-workers have said they all had the same symptoms with their pregnancies, regardless of sex—so I’m not really buying into any of the old wives’ tales. Regardless, we will be thrilled either way; I’m just so amazed at what my body is capable of doing!

How far along:  I'll be 13 weeks tomorrow!

Baby's size: Somewhere in between the size of a plum and a lemon, so about 2-3"

Food cravings:  Fruit and water! I’ve been super thirsty!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Coffee! Which is SUCH a bummer, because I love coffee, I used to be able to just smell a cup and I’d be on Cloud 9, now, nothing makes me more sick. Sometimes when hubs cooks seasoned chicken from Trader Joe’s that’s a big no-no, so there’s been some adjustments in our kitchen.

Sleep: Lord, I cant get enough. Around week 10 I was finally able to stay up past 8pm. A big change was having to get up to use the bathroom at least twice a night (TMI?...let's face it a lot of this blog post is TMI :) ). I’ve never been one to wake up in the middle of the night; when I used to hit the pillow, I was out til morning! So this has been a slightly frustrating adjustment. I’m just telling myself it’s my body getting me ready for when the baby gets here—because we’ll be waking up quite a bit for feedings!

Gender:  We’ll find out in April!

Movement: Not yet...excited for it to start though!

Best moment: There were a couple of really great ones! Seeing John's reaction, seeing the baby's heartbeat for the first time were both so beautiful. I just can’t believe we created this precious nugget!

Miss anything? Rosé…Prosecco…unpasteurized cheese. If there’s one thing my book club keeps reminding me of, it’s of the most fabulous get together we’ll be having post baby :) For now, I’ll be drinking lots of La Croix!

What’s With Baby O’Wu? So I never changed my last name when John and I got married. We both explored some ideas—do we both hyphenate our last names, do we change our last name to something entirely new? Both of us are so connected to our names and we love them so much, neither of us felt right about changing them. So, we’ve decided to give our baby both of our names. It’ll be Baby O’Rourke-Wu. For fun, we’ve always referred to our family as the O’Wus, so that’s exactly what we’ll be nicknaming Baby :)

Happy (Belated) Lunar New Year!

So one of my New Year's resolutions was to start blogging more...clearly I got a late start for the calendar year, so what better way to ring in the Lunar New Year!? For those of you who don't know, my husband is half Taiwanese; it's always a treat learning how his family celebrates these holidays and some of their traditions. Although we didn't have any red envelopes, we did do a big clean of the apartment on Saturday and cooked a fabulous brunch for some of our closest friends.

It was so much fun entertaining in our new apartment! Nothing brings us more joy than cooking for our family and friends. We had a lovely light and healthy brunch of Yogurt Granola Fruit Tarts, Avocado Crostini, a Spinach and Onion quiche (and mimosas, obvi!).

Below are the recipes we worked off of so you can create a fabulous brunch of your own, just add some champs and fabulous friends. Bon appétit!

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Yogurt Granola Fruit TartsIngredients

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup walnuts, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ground
  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • Mint leaves, fresh

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix the oats, nuts, seeds, melted butter, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon together in a bowl until thoroughly coated.
  3. Press about 1.5 tablespoons (1 oz.) of the mixture into 13 greased muffin tins. Use the back of an oiled spoon to help press the granola evenly across the tin and up the sides.
  4. Bake in the center rack of the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool in the tin before removing. Use a small knife to gently release the sides of the crust, working around each side, then very carefully remote it from the tin, turning over if needed into your hand. The crust should be crisp on the sides and hold together, but will be delicate.
  5. Fill each tart shell with 1 tablespoon of yogurt, smooth out evenly. Arrange the strawberries on top and serve immediately. Garnish with mint leaf. The crust will become a little soggy if left to sit for too long.
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Avocado CrostiniIngredients Tomato salsa:

  • 1 tablespoon mint, fresh, stemmed, finely chopped
  • 1/4 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tomato, finely duced
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Avocado spread:

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons low fat yogurt
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced

Garnish:

  • 30 pieces toasted crosini
  • 1/4 cucumber, ribboned with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together mint, juice and zest from 1/4 lemon, tomato, and white wine vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Halve the avocado, remove the stone and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the yogurt and remaining lemon juice; mash everything with a fork.
  3. Spread avocado mixture evenly between the crostini (about 1 teaspoon each). Top with 1 cucumber ribbon and 1 radish slice. Spoon tomato salsa on top.