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How far along are you?  19 weeks 1 day
Generally Feeling: I’m continuing to battle headaches quite regularly, but other than that I’ve been feeling really good. I still find that I’m tired at the end of the day more easily than before I was pregnant, but nothing too extreme.
Showing? Yes! I’m convinced I’m not going to ever get a huge pregnancy belly because I’m on the taller side, but perhaps I’ll be laughing about this when I’m 35 weeks along and huge?!
Cravings? This is the first week I really feel like I’m eating totally normally. I snack often but other than that, I’m feeling so normal. It’s amazing how I used to take feeling and eating normally for granted before I got pregnant.
Weight Gain: Still 13 pounds! I insisted on taking off my heavy boots (that I wore while being weighed last time) so I think that may account for the lack of weight gain this time around and the extra weight gain last time. ;)
Fears:
We had our 19/20 week ultrasound yesterday and overall it went really well! I was quite worked up about it, but all the measurements they got were right on track, and baby is even measuring a few days ahead.

Unfortunately, we have a stubborn little one on our hands because no matter what we did, we couldn’t get that little peanut to move in the right direction. Consequently, the tech could only get a partial view of his/her face and couldn’t get a good look at the heart. We’ve been referred to a specialist to have a level 2 ultrasound done to get a better look at the heart and confirm everything is healthy and normal, and I’m a little worked up about it.

Additionally we found out our baby’s umbilical cord has only 1 artery compared to the typical 2. It’s called SUA. Since all our other markers pointed to a healthy baby, our doctor wasn’t concerned, but I will be more closely monitored for the remainder of my pregnancy with ultrasounds every month to be sure baby is growing and getting all the nutrients they need along the way. Although the appointment was generally a HUGE success, it was hard for me not to focus on the things that could go wrong and be fearful, but I feel like God is pulling us out yet again and asking us to trust Him with our baby’s life and health. Not an easy task! 
Looking Forward To: Having our level II ultrasound over and done with next week Tuesday! Prayers for a great scan and healthy results would be so very appreciated. I know we keep asking for prayers, but boy do I feel like we continually need them.
What I’ve Been Loving: This past week was the first week I’ve really felt baby’s movements, even a few times when I’ve been able to feel them with my hand on my stomach! They’re still pretty inconsistent, but it’s fun none the less. 
Sleep: Better this week! We delayed putting the heat on at our house and the cold temps at night have really helped me sleep much better.
Maternity Clothes? Nothing really new to report here. Still wearing a mix since my bump isn’t all that big.
Boy or Girl: We’re keeping it a secret! But our ultrasound tech was 95% positive on boy v. girl so it’s nice to know with certainty what we’re having. We did decide to share the names we have picked out. So, without further delay, we’ve decided our boy and girl names are…

Holden Joseph Hofmeyer and Ainsley Jane Hofmeyer

We settled on Holden only a few weeks ago because we were deciding between Holden and Bennett, but ultimately Holden won out because we loved the masculine nature of the name, the fact that it’s easy to spell and pronounce and goes well with Hofmeyer. Ainsley has been our choice for a girl’s name for almost a year. We’ve loved that it’s unique without being too different and the fact that it is a little masculine and feminine all at once. And Jane is a family name, so it was an easy decision.

Madison

Christmas Card Photo 4 (B&W)
Yesterday I turned 27. I’ll admit that for the first 10 minutes of my birthday I totally forgot how old I was. I looked into the mirror in the bathroom and thought to myself, “I think I’m really going to like 28″ only to realize a few minutes later that I was actually 27. I guess it takes the sting off getting older when you’re prematurely aging yourself!

I’ve always taken the opportunity on my birthday to look back on the previous year and reflect, and 26 certainly gave me plenty to reflect upon. It was a year that started in my favorite place on earth, Gainesville watching my beloved Gators play with my dad and Joe,which is pretty much the best start I could imagine. I was in a strange place at the start on my 26th year, having just miscarried our first baby, I was filled with questions about our family’s future. Did we want to start trying to have a baby? What would the future hold and what would the road ahead look like?

When I look back at the past year, I feel pleased with how it was lived. There were plenty of tears but also lots of sweet memories, too. And when I look back, I’m glad that we chose to look beyond the harder moments and embrace both the good and bad of the past 12 months, because we certainly had our share of joys along the way as well.

Today, I’m kicking off my first full day of being 27 by going to our 19/20 week ultrasound. This afternoon we’ll find out if our little one is a boy or a girl (!!) and we’ll get to see him/her for the first time since our 12 week ultrasound, which feels like such a long time ago.  It seems so appropriate to start the year focusing on our baby, since 27 is (God willing) going to be the year that we welcome our first little baby into our family here on earth.

I’m filled with SO many questions as I start my 27th year. Will I be a good mother? How will Joe and I adjust to being (sleep-deprived) parents? I wonder what it will look like to welcome my 28th year and how different it will look from this most recent birthday. The last few weeks have, for a variety of reasons, reaffirmed to me how uncertain the future really is and what little control we have over many of the major events that shape our lives.

If you’ve followed the news, then chances are you’ve heard that those at my company (myself included) are facing a lot of job uncertainty. There is the threat of Ebola and Isis and worries about whether or not our baby will be healthy. Every day, if I seek it out, I can find more than my share of reasons to be fearful about the future. But I’m promising myself that 27 is going to be a year of walking out in faith, trusting that God has our future in His hands, believing that His plans really are best.

Madison

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Muffins | Espresso and Cream

After a little bit of a hiatus from sharing recipes on E&C, I’m finally back with something new and ultra tasty to share. Although I have a deep and long-standing love for all things pumpkin, I feel like apples really get overlooked during the fall months because of the popularity of pumpkin. Anyone else feel that way, too? It’s really a shame since apples are one of my favorite foods, and don’t even get me started with apple pie, crisp and cobbler. The best!

While I was at Influence Conference, I got a lot of questions about Espresso and Cream and what type of blog category it falls into. If you would have asked me a year or more ago, it would have been an easy answer: it’s a food blog! But over the past year or so, I’ve been shifting this little site into something that would probably be categorized more accurately as a “lifestyle” than anything else.

Regular readers have probably noticed this shift over the months. Perhaps some of you have liked it, while others have thought it’s been a shift from the original intent and purpose of the site. Since I spend every day at work developing recipes and food content, I’ve found that being able to talk about topics broader than the narrow focus of food has been necessary for me as a person and writer. Although I love food, thinking about it all day and then blogging all about food at night leaves me drained and less passionate than I really am. Having recipes in the mix of content for E&C instead of the sole focus has been incredibly refreshing and given me more excitement for blogging

So for those of you who have been wondering, I figured I would explain a bit about what type of content you will see on E&C going forward. Recipes will never disappear from the site, but my goal these days is to provide you with higher quality recipes (which means fewer recipes!) and more variety in my posts, sharing about life, fitness, pregnancy, family and faith. Thanks for continuing to follow along on this journey and my ever-evolving blog.

Now, back to the recipe at hand. These muffins are really easy to pull together and stay incredibly moist thanks to the chopped apple in the batter. I used a Granny Smith, but feel free to use whatever apple you like baking with best or have on hand! They aren’t ultra sweet, but just sweet enough to feel a little indulgent on a weekend morning. Joe likes them with plenty of melted butter, while I prefer my muffin with a thin spread of peanut butter. But that’s just me, and I’m probably a little strange that way.

Feel free to experiment with the type of nuts used in the recipe as well. I could see walnuts being a really natural fit as well! An added bonus? I’ve found they make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack and are really great in lunches for hungry husbands (or kiddos!)

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Muffins (1) | Espresso and Cream

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Pecans
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking liners; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugars and butter 2 to 3 minutes or until fluffy and well-combined. Add in the cinnamon, eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add half the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Beat in the milk, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Stir in the chopped apple and pecans by hand until combined.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin liners. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Transfer to wire cooling rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

 

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I realize that I’ve posted quite a bit about pregnancy-related topics lately. Hang with me if pregnancy posts drive you crazy, because I have some great recipes coming to the site later this month! Since opening up about our difficult journey to baby, my inbox has been flooded with questions about doctors and medicines and acupuncture. I’m always happy to answer each question individually via e-mail, but I wanted to put it all into a single post as another resource for women traveling the same journey.

Before I launch into what we did differently this time around, I want to say that I was a bit torn about sharing this post. First, despite the fact that we’re now past 16 weeks, I have no idea what the ultimate outcome will be of this pregnancy. Second, I strongly believe that the baby I’m carrying is a miracle and a result of so many heartfelt and sincere prayers. I don’t ever want to steal away from the miraculous nature of this pregnancy in favor of condensing it down to a science. We truly have no idea what “did the trick” but believe that God worked through some of the many medical resources available to us.

1. A Daily Baby Aspirin
After our second miscarriage, one of the first things our doctor suggested was for me to start a daily baby aspirin regimen. Aspirin isn’t typically recommended for pregnant women, but in some cases it has shown to have benefits for women who have difficulty conceiving or staying pregnant. Although my blood tests came back negative for any clotting disorders (a common cause of recurrent miscarriage) my doctor said sometimes a small dose of aspirin can prevent small clotting issues that may go under the radar undetected.

2. Acupuncture (a lot of it!)
The week after our second miscarriage, I started going to weekly acupuncture treatments at a practice specializing in pregnancy and fertility at the recommendation of a family friend. Thankfully the treatments were 80% covered by insurance (!!) so it was affordable and extremely enjoyable. I went every week for two months leading up to getting pregnant and every week through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Now I’m going once every month until the end of my pregnancy, when I will resume weekly treatments.

I can honestly say that the acupuncture helped tremendously with recovery after miscarriage compared to my previous experience and helped my body get back on track right away. It also helped my stress levels and most of the time I found myself falling asleep during the treatments. Additionally, my acupuncturist prescribed me several herbal supplements that I took throughout my cycle and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

3. Lifestyle Modifications
My acupuncturist also suggested several lifestyle modifications that I followed during the first trimester, which included eating organic, grass-fed red meat to help build my blood supply and focusing on exercises that were “nourishing” rather than depleting to my body. That means lots of walking, swimming, yoga and Pilates and avoiding running, high impact cardio and other intense workouts that would deplete my body.

4. Changing My Vitamins 
Almost everything in my blood panel came back normal except for the fact that my doctor informed me I tested positive for MTHFR, a common (but rarely tested for) genetic mutation that inhibits my body from properly processing folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) and B-vitamins, which are key nutrients in pregnancy. My doctor didn’t think it was a big deal or cause for concern, but after doing more research on my own, I talked with her about prescribing me Metanx, a prescription-grade form of natural, active B-vitamins. She agreed there would be no harm to me taking them and wrote me a script. I also switched to a MTHFR-friendly prenatal that would work well for people with and without MTHFR.

If you’ve been diagnosed with MTHFR, I would highly recommend you doing a little research of your own. I started with this website, and this one, too. Or, you can always e-mail me. I’m happy to chat!

5. Added Progesterone
Although I never tested low for progesterone in my second pregnancy (we didn’t test with the first) my doctor and I decided to err on the safe side and supplement the pregnancy with progesterone during the first trimester. She prescribed twice daily progesterone suppositories that were a total pain to take, but worth the peace of mind knowing I was doing everything I could to help this baby grow strong and healthy. I stopped taking the progesterone at 12 weeks, which made me nervous, but my doctor assured me that it was perfectly safe.

I have had this post written in my “drafts” folder for a long time, but I got another e-mail this morning from a friend with questions about getting pregnant, and it gave me the push I needed to hit “publish.” If you have any questions or I can be of any other help, I’m happy to chat!

Madison

*I am not a doctor or medical professional. This is simply what worked for us, but as always, please consult your medical professionals about any lifestyle modifications and medications when trying to get pregnant. 

Game1

How far along are you?  18 weeks 2 days
Generally Feeling: Overall I’ve been feeling really good this week. The nausea is (finally) starting to subside about 95% of the time and it’s only when I wait too long to eat that I really start to feel sick. I’ve been drinking a lot more water which has been keeping the headaches at bay and my energy is really fantastic. 

At 17 weeks I started running again, which felt amazing, but a few days ago I think I pulled a groin muscle while on a run with Joe and it’s had me sidelined for the last few days. I’m bummed because running has felt amazing and a great way to use up all my energy, but I think I’m going to have to make sure I take it careful when I head back out to run.
Showing? Yes! The bump is getting bigger by the day. I’m still at the point where I’m sure strangers can’t quite tell if I’m pregnant or not. 
Cravings? I really haven’t had any strong cravings this pregnancy! Eggs and toast continue to be a favorite, and, strangely, meat and roasted veggies have sounded really good. Since some people have asked: Yes, I have been eating meat while pregnant. I’m not sure if I’ll transition back to vegetarian after pregnancy, but for now I’ve decided my body knows best, and that includes eating meat if that’s what my body is craving.
Weight Gain: Last week I was up 13 pounds. I won’t have another weigh in until next week. 
Fears: Since our ultrasound is less than a week away, I’ve been a little worked up about finding something wrong with baby. Joe and I have spent a lot of time in prayer over the general health and well-being of Baby H, and that has been helpful in keeping my mind in the right place and not giving into the fears. 
Looking Forward To: My mom is coming this weekend to decorate the nursery and paint the walls, and I’m so excited! I’ll make sure to share photos of the progress we make along the way. I’m sure we won’t get anywhere near finished, but it will be fun to see it take shape a little more. 
What I’ve Been Loving: It’s been so nice to start to feel more normal and get into a routine with this pregnancy. I’m still not 100% sure when I feel baby moving, but it’s fun to sit quietly and try to distinguish movement. I’ve still been using the doppler to hear the heartbeat as well. 
Sleep: Still not the greatest. Buying a pregnancy pillow this week! Thanks for the recommendations! 
Maternity Clothes? Still a mix of maternity and non-maternity clothing going on over here. I love that the dresses I’ve purchased haven’t been obviously “maternity” so they work well right now and will transition well into the future. 
Boy or Girl: Just a few more days! I’m almost positive that Joe and I have settled on finding out but not telling anyone. But since that’s no fun for anyone, we will be sharing our boy and girl names openly on the blog. I think we’re going to call the baby “little peanut” or something of the sort so we don’t mess up and say “he” or “she” and give away the surprise.

Since we don’t have a ton of extra space, hate clutter and have a practical mindset, we decided keeping the gender a secret until birth would not only be fun but would also be a way to make sure we purchased and received items for baby that could be used the next time around with our second or third babies, God willing! 

Madison

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