Nursery 10

Happy New Year, friends! I’m kicking off 2015 with a tour of my new favorite room in our house, Baby Hofmeyer’s nursery! It’s been so fun to put together this nursery piece by piece, and seeing it finally come together just 8 weeks shy of baby’s arrival makes the whole thing even more real. I’m finding it hard to believe that we’re really going to be a family of 3 pretty soon.

I’ve never been great at taking photos of rooms in our house. It’s a skill I have yet to really acquire, but I’m working on it. So please forgive the fact that some of these photos are less than stellar. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

Nursery 1
We decided on the paint color as the first order of business when deciding on decor. The paint color is Sherman Williams Worldly Gray. I love how the color changes throughout the day; sometimes it looks like it has a lot of brown tones and other times it looks totally gray. The color comes off warm and happy, which is hard to come by in gray paint colors. 

Pictured in the first photo is the floating ledge that a family friend made for us years ago. It was black until a few months ago when we painted it white to match the nursery decor. The fabric pennant banner is from our wedding and made from my grandmother’s childhood dresses. We decided on a mix of blue and pink/purple fabric patterns to work with a boy or girl. On top of the ledge is a print that I made myself in InDesign (you can buy something similar from Naptime Diaries Shop) along with a giraffe I found at Homegoods and a little old-fashioned clock from Pottery Barn.

Nursery 3The bookshelf pictured above is the Midcentury Modern Horizontal Bookcase from Target.  We loved that the bookshelf fit with the time period our house was built and had adjustable shelves. Since they didn’t have this bookcase in white we decided to buy it and paint it white to match the room’s decor. The books are a mix of old a new, including some books I loved as a little kid. The globe is a vintage Rand McNally globe my mom found for $3 at a thrift store. Joe really wanted a map of some sort in the room so this how we incorporated one.

Nursery 4

The crib was a gift from my parents. It’s the Babyletto Hudson Crib in grey that also converts to a toddler bed when our little one gets bigger. I debated going with white, but since we already had a lot of white in the room I wanted to ground the room a little with a piece of furniture that was a different, darker color.

Nursery 5

Nursery 7

My mom found this adorable little chair (pictured above) at a second hand store and painted it grey and gold to match the room’s decor. And the little teddy bear on the chair? It was mine as a little girl. Pippa insists on pulling the teddy bear off the chair a few times a day and dragging it around the house.

I think my favorite element of the room is the dresser below! My mom found it for $35 at a second hand store and I think it might be the deal of the year. We ended up re-finishing it and painting it white. It’s a midcentury modern style dresser that we’ll eventually put our changing pad on top of, and the lamp is from Homegoods as well. Before baby arrives we plan on filling the organizer to the right with diapers, wipes, diaper cream, pacifiers, etc. And we found it, as you might guess, at Homegoods!

Nursery 9

I think that’s it! We still have a few odds and ends to purchase before baby arrives, but I’m totally thrilled with how the room turned out. We were going for something that was gender-neutral and would work for a boy or girl (since we decorated before finding out if we were having a boy or girl) and I think the room fits the bill!

Madison

Photo on 9-11-14 at 2.40 PM

I probably could have alternately titled this post, “Thank heavens 2014 is in the books! I’m glad to see it go.” But I’ve decided that it’s best to look forward to the year ahead rather than focus on the year that is now (almost) behind us. I’ve mentioned this before but last January I felt God saying to me that 2014 was going to be the year of waiting. I had no idea what he meant by that but I’ll be the first to admit that the idea was a little unsettling to me. I, like many others, do not like to wait.

When we found out we were pregnant with our second baby (that I would later miscarry) in February, I thought that perhaps what God meant by “a year of waiting” was that I would spend most of the year pregnant and would be waiting for a child to be born. “What a joyful way to wait! This isn’t going to be so bad after all!” I thought to myself. but when we found out we miscarried at our 12 week appointment at the end of April, I realized that the year of waiting I had hoped God had planned for me wasn’t really the type of waiting He had in mind.

I picked the words DISCIPLINE and PATIENCE to guide my year. Oh, how I’m thankful that I did because without those two words in the back of my mind, I’m not sure I would have had the fortitude or strength to see what else God had planned for the remainder of 2014.

I asked myself in the weeks after our second miscarriage if I had the strength to move forward and continue to try to have a biological child of our very own. The physical and emotional pain felt like too much on my worst days and the idea of doing it all over again, risking experiencing another miscarriage, seemed like more than I could handle. I debated throwing in the towel and giving up on that dream, pursuing other methods of starting a family. I asked questions like, “If I never have a child of my own, is God still enough for me?” I wrestled and grew and heard the voice of God telling me that it was too soon to give up on that dream.

We moved along in the year to find out in June that we were expecting another baby. I’ve documented our miraculous journey on this blog and been blessed by your prayers in so many ways. I listened to doctors tell me my baby wasn’t actually a baby at all and that I should schedule a surgery to remove it. Against all medical odds, I prayed (and you prayed!) for a miracle and God showed up in the most amazing way, blessing us with a healthy baby that defied all medical explanation.

For the first 20 weeks I lived in constant fear and anxiety that our little one would be taken away from us, like our other two babies had. I prayed and avoided Google and trusted that God knew what he was doing. At 19 weeks we were told our little one had an umbilical cord issue that perhaps and issue with his/her heart. Fear gripped me again as we waited to see a specialist and find out if our little one was healthy. We praised God yet again after we found out that our precious baby was as healthy as could be and that their heart was functioning normally. Once again, God showed up even when I doubted.

In September we found out that my company, under pressure from a lagging economy, was going to lay off 800 people in our corporate headquarters. My goodness, the number and magnitude took us all by surprise. We waited for weeks upon weeks to find out about our individual job statuses, and at the beginning of December, just after Thanksgiving, I found out that my job, along with almost all of my co-worker’s jobs, was eliminated. At 30 weeks pregnant I struggled to think of worse timing to get such news, but I am once again putting my trust in God’s timing and plan for my life.

So I sit here on December 31st, thankful that 2014 is coming to a close but amazed at the ways that I can see and sense I’ve grown throughout this year. I can safely say that 2014 was, indeed, a year of waiting, and I have more questions at the end of 2014 than I did at the beginning. I’m bringing my questions, my uncertainty, my fears to the feet of our sweet Jesus, asking him to reveal himself to me in the year to come. Already I’ve felt God saying to me that 2015 would be the year I see the Lord. As with the year of waiting, I don’t entirely know what that means but I’m so ready to move into a new season.

Madison

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream

 

This year I’m entirely behind my baking game. By this point in the month on most typical years I’ve already managed to bake through my standard rotation of Christmas goodies, but this year I’ve just started baking a few days before Christmas. I’m finding this to be a very smart way to get around my lack of willpower. At least I only have a few days to indulge rather than an entire month!

My family from Idaho is coming to visit for the week starting tomorrow, so the last handful of days have been devoted to preparing the house, grocery shopping and getting ready for their arrival. Although I didn’t get all the baking done that I would have liked, I did manage to make a few of our favorite family recipes as well as a few new recipes, like these Nutella Blossoms.

Joe requested the traditional peanut butter blossoms, but when I saw that jar of Nutella in my pantry I knew it needed to be put to use. Although I can’t say these cookies are better than the original (that’s setting the bar pretty high!) they do make a fun new addition to the holiday cookie tray. So for all you other baking procrastinators out there, if you’re looking for a new cookie recipe to try I would highly suggest these little gems!

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream (1)

Nutella Blossoms
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Additional sugar for rolling cookies
  • 24 Hershey's kisses
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the Nutella and shortening until well-combined. Add in the sugar and beat 1 to 2 minutes more until fluffy and combined. Add in the egg and vanilla, beating until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until combined.
  4. Roll heaping tablespoons of the dough in between your hands to form balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and cookies are puffy. Immediately place one Hershey's kiss in the center of each cookie. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

 

photo (58)

I spent a lot of time reading (okay, obsessing and worrying) about what was normal vs. not normal during the first trimester. After two miscarriages I was extremely worried that my symptoms weren’t normal or our baby wasn’t healthy. Understandable, yes, but healthy? Absolutely not!

Since a lot of my symptoms weren’t textbook “normal” I thought perhaps some other moms-to-be could use a little reminder that what the books and websites say don’t necessarily hold true all the time. They’re simply generalizations. You can have a less than textbook pregnancy and still be carrying a very healthy baby.

Here are a few of my pieces of advice based on my experience:

What the Books and Websites Say
Morning sickness is good! It’s a sign that you’re baby is healthy and you’re hormone levels are rising appropriately.

What I Say
This was one of the greatest fears and sources of worry for me with all 3 of my pregnancies. I hated every time someone told me that morning sickness was a sign my baby was doing well, especially when I didn’t feel sick! I remember laying on the couch 11 weeks pregnant with this baby, praying to God that he would give me morning sickness so I could feel reassured that our baby was healthy.

The truth? Morning sickness didn’t hit me until around 12 weeks and eased up around 18 weeks, and even then it wasn’t very bad. I threw up only a handful of times, and looking back I should have been thankful for how good I felt through the first trimester. I wish people would quit saying that morning sickness is a good sign, because every pregnancy is so different!

What the Books and Websites Say
Cramping, lower back aches and other pains can be a sign of miscarriage in the first trimester! Be afraid!

What I Say
While that’s certainly true, that extremely bad cramps can be a sign of miscarriage early on, I think that you need to be in tune with your body and not jump to conclusions. Prior to getting pregnant I struggled frequently with cramps and stomach discomfort, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me that those same discomforts would follow me in pregnancy. Also, with my two miscarriages I never experienced severe cramps or any unusual symptoms, so it’s really hard to make broad generalizations.

What the Books and Websites Say
Bleeding/spotting during the first trimester may mean you’re going to miscarry.

What I Say
Yes, that’s certainly true, that bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage, but I wish I had known how incredibly common it is to spot during early pregnancy. It probably would have given me a bit more perspective and calmed me a bit. I have had a couple good girlfriends spot during the first trimester and they went on to deliver healthy, happy babies. I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep an eye on these type of things, but my hope is that women don’t freak out like I did!

What the Books and Websites Say
You should only gain about 5 pounds during the first trimester.

What I Say
This was something I was totally unprepared for! I gained more weight in my first trimester (around 11 pounds) than I did in my second trimester (only about 6 pounds) and wasn’t textbook at all in this regard. I worried that since I gained so much in the first trimester it would mean I was going to be off-the-charts my entire pregnancy, but your body truly does know what it is doing. Trust your body and trust that as long as you aren’t going crazy with the junk food and ice cream, your body is doing exactly what it needs to do to nourish baby.

Mommas, do you have anything else to add to this list?

Madison

Hot Cocoa (1) | Espresso and Cream
One of the things I love most about the holiday season is the predictable nature of the food and goodies that are served. There is something so comforting about going back home and having that same favorite cookie recipe your mom makes or drinking a cup of hot cocoa that tastes exactly like childhood.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of hot cocoa, and growing up it was something that I professed I didn’t care for. But last year I tried my mother-in-law’s hot cocoa for the first time and my opinion on hot chocolate changed entirely. It was the creamiest and most balanced hot chocolate I’ve ever had without being overly sweet. Plus, the mix dissolves like a dream in a cup of hot water, something I’ve found doesn’t hold true for most hot chocolate mix.

This Christmas season Joe and I made a big batch of this hot chocolate and divided it up into plastic gift bags tied with string and ribbon. It’s been fun to bring these little bags of hot cocoa along as hostess gifts throughout the gift-giving and party-hopping season. Plus, I think there is something so sweet about taking a homemade gift to friends and family during the holidays instead of yet another bottle of wine. (Maybe that’s the pregnancy talking?!)

The Best Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Drink
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
This hot cocoa recipe makes a bunch! I store mine in a glass canister and keep it next to my Keurig for hot chocolate any time the craving strikes. Combine ¾ cup of the hot cocoa mix with 10 to 12 oz hot water, adjusting the amount you use based on how sweet/rich you like your hot chocolate. I usually find ½ cup is enough, but my hubby prefers the full ¾ cup!
Ingredients
  • 32 oz. Nestle Quick powder
  • 25 oz. powdered milk
  • 6 oz. coffee mate dry creamer
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix all the above ingredients together and stir until well-combined. Store in a sealable plastic or glass container or a plastic zip-top bag. To use, combine ½ to ¾ cup hot cocoa mix to 10 to 12 oz hot water. Stir until combined.

 

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