Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Surprise Board-Game-Themed Baby Shower

My friends are the best!

For the past several months, I was just a teeeeeny bit bummed that I likely wasn't going to have a baby shower before baby arrived. Both of our families want to throw us showers, but since we didn't really have time to travel to east Tennessee or Rhode Island during the 2nd trimester and I reeeeally wasn't comfortable traveling that far during the 3rd trimester, we decided showers would have to be on hold until after baby arrived. And they'd be more like meet-n-greet-the-baby showers than getting-ready-for-baby showers. Our families are so sweet to have these parties in the works for us, but that didn't stop me from being a little sad panda about not having a traditional baby shower, where I get to show off my huge belly and we play silly baby games and we get some gifts before baby makes an appearance. I'm a diva sometimes, I know.

Well, while I was off in a corner sulking, little did I know that my friends were actually secretly planning the shower I'd always dreamed of. 

My friend Kaitlin, who's so super sneaky, apparently had this plan back in December. She's a seriously good liar, folks. Or a least a good poker-facer. 

Around the end of January, she asked me if I wanted to do a Chopped competition against her, where our husbands would be the judges. Now you all know how much I love a good Chopped competition! So of course I said yes! And I didn't even find it weird that she wanted to do it one and a half months after she originally brought it up, at a very specific time on a very specific date in March. I guess I was distracted by the prospect of another fun cooking competition. 

But then the plans got foiled by John having to work that Saturday afternoon. So instead, Kaitlin, being quick on her feet, said we should still just have a girls day together. And she mentioned that her mom had just bought her a bubble tea maker that she wanted to try out together. She knows how much I seriously love bubble tea. That trickster. So the plans stayed in place. 

March 14th, 3pm at her place. Got it. 

Little did I know...

Little did I know there'd be a crowd of my closest gal pals and my sweet husband (who was supposed to be at work!) waiting for me on the other side of Kaitlin's door that afternoon. 


And all the attention to detail, the love and thoughtfulness poured into all the handmade decorations and games and treats surprised me even more. My friends seriously are the sweetest.

Here, allow the pictures to do the talking.

I give you, a board-game-themed baby shower!

First, the gorgeous Life-themed cake...

And a little game, also Life-themed. 

We each had to start by wearing three pins, but if we said the word "baby," one of our pins got snatched up by whoever caught us saying that b-word. The player with the most pins by the end of the shower won a prize. It was cutthroat! 

Candyland decorations...

Scrabble decorations...


Rachel, who hosted the shower with Kaitlin, waited by the door for me to arrive.

The first look on my face was apparently a pretty angry one, but luckily that picture was out of focus, so it will not be shared here or ever, thank you very much.

My anger face quickly turned into a beet-red face with lots of smiles. I was genuinely surprised!

We just had to figure out if baby Schweitz is a boy or girl, aka beau or bow, so Rachel created this handy dandy chart to come to a conclusion once and for all. The outcome?

We're apparently having a GIRL! But still, in real life... no idea.

Then Rachel whipped out these diapers that she melted chocolate bars into and made us sniff them to identify the bars. It was pretty... gross.

But also fun!

We soon followed that game with PREGNANT TWISTER! I randomly picked three friends, not knowing what for, and then Rachel and Kaitlin made them put these HUGE balloons up their shirts and play a round of Twister. Poor things! But hilarious. :)

And then it was gift time! Kaitlin set up two chairs, one for me and one for John. But in order to figure out who sat where, we had to flip up these Guess Who signs. So cute! And PS - I used to love this game!

This drawing of John is spot on!

She made me look like a Disney model!

Kaitlin's mom knitted us baby blankets!

And we got our first cloth diaper! Actually, we got 3 at our shower. Awesome!

We also got some cute little baby onesies and lots of bath-time supplies. Awesome, awesome gifts!

Posing with my friend Katie, who brought the beautiful cake...

Parents-to-be + cake...

In the back of the room, shower guests could make their best guesses for baby's birth day, height, weight, and gender. They could also give name suggestions too.

Of course, none of my friends took this seriously, so we're apparently going to have 4 foot, 123 lb baby boy or girl in early May named Hermione or Bugaboo. Thanks, guys!

Balloons! Prob my favorite decoration.

And look at this little ham who decided to join us. My friends make cute babies!

The lovely shower guests, minus two who had already left...

I still can't get over it! They surprised me, for sure. They got me good. I felt so showered with love the whole afternoon. I couldn't be more lucky, honestly. To have great friends, to have this beautiful shower thrown for me, to be blessed with our little baby. For the longest time, I never thought this would be my life. But oh how wrong I was. We truly are blessed to be enjoying these special moments.

Thanks for a fantastic shower, friends! You spoil me!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Third Trimester, Let's Do This

Here we are. 

The final weeks of pregnancy and I still can't believe this is happening. Surreal doesn't even begin to describe this whole experience.

I love being pregnant.

Sure, the 3rd trimester has brought new aches and pains and discomforts. 

Sleep is meh. Lots of tossing and turning and bathroom breaks. And rolling out of bed to do it always takes quite a bit of effort. 

There's also lots of lower back pain, especially by the end of the day. Don't worry. I've mastered the pregnancy waddle to reduce the back pain. It's pretty cute. 

Oh, and I'm refluxing all the time. Tums are my best friends. 

Ready for some TMI? I just got diagnosed with a UTI. Wahhhhh. First one in my life ever. 

And baby has definitely been stealing some of my intelligence because my brain has been foggy lately. I say some weird things and have trouble with basic math and am just a bit slower in my thoughts lately. 

Plus, baby has gotten SO strong and some of the kicks and movements hurt from time to time. 

But I love every second of it. Every single second. 

My absolute fave is how wiggly baby has become. Baby's head is super low, like basically sitting on my cervix all the time, which is awesome because if baby stays that way until birth, we won't have to stress about baby being breach at all. And since baby is basically stuck head down, I just feel a big ol' baby booty shifting from one side of my belly to the other throughout the whole day. It's adorable. 

I also feel baby hiccups at least once a day. Little thing will hiccup for 5 minutes straight sometimes! Good job using those lungs, sweet baby! 

We're currently taking a 6-week Lamaze class at the hospital where we'll deliver. And I not-so-secretly love it. The teacher is giving us all the tid bits of info we'll ever need regarding birth, which will likely be so helpful, but my favorite part is when we practice massages! And by that I mean my birth partner, AKA John, practices massaging my hands, feet, back, neck, forehead, you-name-it so we can use said massages as relaxing measures during labor. So basically, I love this class because I get pampered by my husband for 2 hours every week. Yes, please! During last week's class, we also practiced a bajillion different positions for laboring, which was also fun. Slow dancing, bouncing on a birthing ball, rocking, squatting, sitting back-to-back, more massages, hip squeezes... you name it, we practiced it. 

Oh, and we've also hired a doula to help with labor because, *gulp*, I'm going to try natural labor! I'm going to have to write a whole post on that later: what our birth plan looks like, why I'm interested in trying, reactions from various folks, what a doula does, etc. I didn't realize how much work it'd be to prepare for natural labor, but it sure involves a lot, so it deserves its own post. 

Another topic that deserves a post of its own: My friends and husband kept a super-huge secret and surprised me with a board game themed baby shower last weekend! It was so lovely. And I can't believe they pulled it off because I'm so hard to surprise! I'll definitely post pics soon. 

We've started really upping our baby item collection lately. We had a whole bunch ready to go when we were waiting for adoption, like a car seat, crib, diapers, bottles, and so on, so we've mostly got all the necessities covered. But that hasn't stopped loved ones from showering us with more. We've recently gotten our pack-n-play, lots of bath time goodies, Sophie the giraffe, baby books, and cloth diapers! And everything is in neutral colors. Lots of grays and yellows and greens for us. 

Nesting has definitely set in. It's actually been quite a challenge because (yet another topic that needs it's own post) we're moving to east Tennessee when baby is around 1 month old, so we're not going to set up much of a nursery here in Memphis. So when it comes to nesting, it basically means me trying to organize all the closets in our apartment that we've basically ignored and made into super-messes over the past 2.5 years of living here. And dreaming of finally getting to set up a nursery when we get to east Tennessee. Patience, Stephanie! 

I tend to get lots of questions from folks about my cravings these days, so in case you're curious... I basically want skittles and pancakes all the time. I've been good though, and only indulge every once in a while. Like maybe 20 skittles a day. And I just let myself dream of pancakes. John says he'll take me to iHop one of these days. I hope it's soon. :)

I also have random cravings that only last a short while. Like the other day I reeeeeally wanted a Dr. Pepper. So I got one. And then I was good. And yesterday I reeeeeaallyyyyyy wanted a shamrock shake from McD's. So I went to get one. But then they told me they don't have them anymore. Because apparently 3 days after St. Patty's day is a good time to stop selling St. Patty's day related items. I was bummed. But then I realized I could basically get an equivalent shake (AKA mint-flavored shake) at Sonic. And so I did. Craving conquered. And all was well in the world again. 

As for the belly, well... the belly grows on.

And here I am now at 32 weeks:

John's basically convinced it's a girl. And I'm basically convinced it's a boy. So that's helpful. 

We had another ultrasound earlier this week. Baby had some water on the kidneys at our 23-week ultrasound, so doc wanted to check in on it again. Baby still had a little water on the left kidney at this week's ultrasound, but it was such a mild case and likely just means that baby had a full bladder and so fluid was backed up into the kidneys. The doc also noticed my amniotic fluid levels are on the low side of normal (9 cm), so I'll be back in two weeks for another ultrasound to check in. I'm about to up my water intake like crazy and hope it makes things better. 

Baby is also still measuring pretty big. The ultrasound tech said baby is around 4 lb (+ 1 lb), and is measuring about 2 weeks ahead. Wowsa! We're gonna have a little chunker on our hands. But chunky babies are adorbs, am I right? 

At this point, I can't believe we've made it this far and at the same time, I can't believe we still have over 7 weeks left to go. 7 weeks sounds like such a short amount of time, but also like an eteerrrrrnnnnnityyyyy! I just want to be cradling this little babe in my arms and not worrying about how often baby's moving, or how much water is on baby's kidneys, or how tangled baby could be getting in the umbilical cord. But we also need every bit of these last few weeks to keep prepping for baby. And I'm still loving watching my belly grow and bonding with baby while baby's still on the inside. So again, patience, Stephanie!

Anyway, if you couldn't tell, there's a ton on my mind right now. And a ton going on in our little world. All awesome stuff, though. 

Awesome, awesome stuff. :) 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Our Eureka Springs Babymoon

Let's start by saying... our babymoon was AWESOME! 

The trip began with a bit of nervousness and about 100 Hail Mary's on my part. While the state of Arkansas put out a blast to the world saying, "DO NOT TRAVEL DUE TO CRAZY SNOWY ICY WEATHER," we decided to ignore that. And so this is what we drove through...

Or I should say, this is what John drove through. My amazing husband fearlessly drove the whole way there. While the snow/ice/crazy slowed us down quite a bit and extended our travel a few hours over the 6 hour maximum I had set as a rule on our babymoon travel, it was still more than worth it.

When we arrived, our hosts, Eureka Springs Treehouses, let us check in 2 hours early. Thank goodness! Originally our plan was to explore town a bit to kill time before check in, but as you can imagine from the above picture, town was pretty much CLOSED. So, with the keys to our castle in hand, we headed a few miles down the road to our royal arrangements. On the way, we kept our eyes pealed for food options since we hadn't had lunch yet and were thinking we should grab food before we settled into the room for the night.

We were just about to pull into a Pizza Hut, which we thought would likely be the only folks crazy enough to stay open through the storm, when I spotted a lone OPEN sign across the street on another restaurant. And as luck would have it, they were on my pre-researched list of yummy Eureka Springs food to try! So we excitedly crossed the street and ate at Thai House Restaurant.

As you can see, they were super crowded and we had to wait forever for our food.


We were the only folks in the restaurant, so we had all attention on us and fast, delicious service. Yum!

Btw, I should mention now that this post is going to consist mostly of food pics and meal stories because eating is always my favorite part of traveling. Sorry in advance, but not really. 

Also, we were silly and mostly only used our iPhone cameras to get pics. I think we took a grand total of 8 pics on our really nice camera. Doy. 

Anyway, after we filled our bellies, we packed our leftovers with plans of eating them again for dinner to avoid heading back out in the snow, and headed straight to our CASTLE!

Ta da! 

You're dying to see the inside, aren't you? Well here's a little tour for ya...

The entrance is there on the left and our comfy king-sized bed is obviously on the right.

We also had this great little kitchen area...

Which lead to this super fancy sink area. And there was a small room with a toilet and luggage closet behind me.

In front of the bed, we had this lovely little sitting area, complete with fire place #1, TV #1, a faux bookshelf, and a deck with a beautiful view off the back. 

The deck...

And the view! Not a super great pic, but super lovely in person.

Let's go back inside now, shall we? 

After just a few minutes of exploring, we discovered a secret passage way behind the faux bookcase!

Which lead to our romantic jacuzzi tower!

Complete with another fireplace, another TV (not shown, above the fireplace)...

And another beautiful view of the woods and the mountains.

Also behind the secret passageway was a knight in shining armor! 

And the most luxurious shower I've ever showered in. See all the jets? 

So that's the grand tour, but if you want to see even more pics of the castle, check out this vid from the Eureka Spring Treehouses website.

After exploring our castle, we settled in for quite a while, took a jacuzzi bath, watched some HGTV (my fave!), and then decided to brave the storm just a little more with an early evening trip out to rent a movie and buy some cinnamon sticks at that still-open Pizza Hut. 

We found a Redbox only a mile from our castle and the Pizza Hut was pretty close too, so we weren't too scared to venture out. Plus, the roads were dead! So it was safe, promise.

We rented Book of Life, which was adorable, and then drifted off into dreamland. Sleep was blissful!

The sunlight beaming through our big window woke both of us rather early, such a lovely way to greet the morning! We ate some microwave oatmeal for breakfast and made our plan for the day. 

We decided to head into town to check out all the cutesy little shops and scope out the lay of the Eureka Springs land. While our time out exploring was great, especially since the snow made everything look so pretty and peaceful, as you might have guessed, most of the town was still closed down. We did end up finding a few open shops, including a hot sauce shop named Silly Chili and a shop with lots of shoes, but town was definitely mostly closed. 

For lunch, I was excited to see that another place on my list of must-eats was open: Nibbles Eatery! 

Mmmm! Cafe food at its finest! I ate a most tasty shaved beef sandwich and drank a large pot of tea. Good times.

With full tummies, we headed back to the castle.

And then spent the afternoon hanging out. This consisted of more HGTV, some reading (I'm trying to get through The Birth Partner before baby shows up!), some chatting, and a very awesome nap.

Once the princess awoke from her nap (that's me!), we headed back into town with hopes that a few more restaurants would be open for dinner. The snow had been slowly melting all day, so we figured that would work in our favor. And it did!

For dinner, we enjoyed Stone House, which was probably my favorite restaurant on the trip. They serve wine and cheese platters, which does not sound like a good spot for a pregnant lady at all, I know, but I just love me a good cheese platter. When we realized all of their pre-arranged platters had at least a few cheeses and meats I couldn't have, we mentioned it to our waitress and she said, "No prob! Let's just create your perfect cheese platter together!" And it really was perfect! This pregnant lady was easily able to avoid soft cheeses, unpasteurized cheeses, and deli meats like she was supposed to. And yet it was still so tasty. Check it out...

I'm drooling just looking at it again.

And in addition to the delicious food, the Stone House also had a Beatles playlist on the whole time we were there. That makes it the perfect restaurant in Stephanie's book.

But we didn't stop there.

Since we were only in town for 3 nights and this was already night #2, we knew we had to take advantage of the many amazing-sounding food options available while we still could. So we headed to another restaurant for dessert: La Stick Nouveau.

It was so good!

I ordered a butternut squash cheesecake with apple crumble and John got a 3-in-1 chocolate sampler dessert. Both divine!

Actually, John said it was probably the best chocolate dessert he's ever had. And that's saying something because this boy eats a LOT of chocolate!

And we had the whole place to ourselves.

While you might think a quiet, mostly closed town is kinda lame, we found it fantastic. It was so peaceful, so relaxing, and also so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of normal life. 

When we headed home, we picked up another Redbox movie, What If, a rom com starring Daniel Radcliffe AKA Harry Potter. Neither of us had heard of it before, but since we both love rom coms and we both love Harry Potter, we figured we couldn't go wrong. And we didn't. It was super cute! Plus, we watched it in our jacuzzi, which made the night even more awesome! 

The next morning, the snow had really melted, so we had high hopes that many of the shops in town would be open. We headed into town for an early breakfast and were happy to find that town was waking up! While we loved our previous day spent in a slow, quiet, mostly closed town, we were also excited to experience Eureka Springs in all its mountain-town glory.

Breakfast was at Mud Street Cafe and it was, as all our other meals, SO GOOD!

John and I splurged and got these super-decadent drinks. He went with the Almond Joy Coffee and I had a Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, both topped with the thickest, creamiest, yummiest whipped cream ever.

And then we had to find room to eat the main feast. We split the veggie hash and a giant blueberry sour cream pancake. Both superb!

Since we ventured out so early for breakfast (8am!), town wasn't quite awake yet for shop exploring, so we headed back to the castle and relaxed into the early afternoon. There was lots of reading, Johnny did some programming (he's designing an app!), and we took a long, cuddly nap. 

After being lazy for a while, we decided to make a plan for the afternoon and evening. It was, sadly, our last evening in town, so we needed to make sure we did it right! 

We started with an adventure that included...

Visiting the beautiful Thornncrown Chapel (oops, forgot the nice camera)...

Shop hopping in the historic downtown area, where we found an awesome shop called Bathe and created our own lavender-scented bath salts... 

Visiting Christ of the Ozarks...

And ended by eating dinner at another oh-so-good restaurant, Caribe...

These house-made salsas and chips were to die for!

And the vegetarian mole (it was a Lenten Friday, after all)... indescribably good!

Not even an inch of room left for dessert!

We headed back to our castle for our last evening as royalty and, of course, once we settled in, we went straight for the jacuzzi. Only this was the best jacuzzi bath of them all because we used our lavender bath salts to make it all bubbly and heavenly-smelling.

We also played a round of John's new board game: Eldritch Horror. I thought it was just meh, but he loved it, so I was happy to play a round with him. 

We soon drifted off to sleep and awoke the next morning to the beautiful sunrise peaking through our deck window.

The iPhone camera obviously does not do it justice.

We had a nice lazy morning, both taking luxuriously long showers in that extravagant shower cave, reading and programming a bit more, and fitting in a few more episodes of my fave shows on HGTV. Before we knew it, it was time to pack and go, so we bid farewell to our castle and headed into town for a few more quick adventures.

Including our couples massage at Healing Benefits, which was SO relaxing. John especially loved the chocolate lotions they used on him. And I loved all the attention my masseuse paid to my achey lower back. 

We had one last meal at a very famous local place: Local Flavor Cafe, which for some reason I took no pictures of, but I promise it was delightful! I had an eggplant sandwich with a walnut pesto. Mmmmm! 

And we just couldn't leave town without picking up a magnet, which is what we do whenever we visit a new place together. 

And that was it! 

We headed back to Memphis and, without all that crazy snow/ice stuff, we made it back in less than 6 hours. Lovely! 

So, if you couldn't tell from all the stories and pics, we had a fantastic time. And it was much needed! It was just soooo relaxing and also, we had lots of time to talk about our little bundle of joy and what life will be like once he or she joins us. While we definitely talk about that a bit while we're home in Memphis, it was nice to have this special time carved out to focus on baby, and also to focus on relaxing before baby makes things busy for a while. 

Honestly, it was the perfect get away. 

Going on a trip to celebrate our marriage, our love, and our soon-to-be new role as parents... we're blessed beyond measure. 
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