WEEK 18.

As mentioned, we kicked off week 18 with a road trip to North Dakota! My cousin-friend, Rachel, joined me (she is from Fargo) for the adventure and I’m pretty sure we set a record of most stops made in 250 miles. We had made the decision to stop at the Albertville outlets so she could return something and I could snag some new fall clothes from the Banana Republic outlet store, but the plan caused quite the delay because we missed the exit! (Seriously, it’s tricky!) And the next exit in order to turn around was five miles further. (How dumb is that!?) We did, indeed, turn around, thinking there’s no way we’d want to stop on the way home. Just a minor blip in our trip. She made her return and I found a bunch of cute fall clothes (and will wear them until the day my belly gets so big, they just won’t fit!). Our next stop was for fuel. My tank said I had 34 miles left and the sign for Alexandria (where we planned to stop for dinner) said 34 miles. Instead of risking it, we stopped before getting to Alec. Third stop, Alexandria for food. Fourth stop, Fergus Falls for an ice cream cone. All we wanted was a small DQ cone but much to our surprise, there was no DQ! Whatsup with that, Fergus Falls!? We settled for McDonalds, but after eating half of it, determined that it wasn’t that good so we both tossed them out the window at 80mph. (normally, I never litter, so please don’t judge me!) Needless to say, we finally reached our destination after a sixΒ hour trip.

I planned this trip specifically to do photo shoots so was fully prepared to work while there. I had three sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday β€” A total of 15 children under the age of 8. It doesn’t seem like doing photo shoots would be so exhausting, but it is. (check out my recent photos here.) I was so thankful to have my fabulous mom there by my side, driving me around so I could scope out locations, parking the car, carrying props, and getting the kids’ attention! (Thanks, Mom!) In between sessions, we had time for brief shopping stops and lunch. The weekend came and went in a blink and I completely spaced doing an 18-week baby bump photo until the drive home. But the background basically sums up NoDak so it worked out perfectly… πŸ™‚

Baby Koch in NoDak | Week 18

I was so grateful that I also was able to stop and visit my dear friend, Beth, and her adorable daughter, Myla before leaving town. It was a brief visit, but even five minutes would have made me happy. I don’t get to see her enough which makes me sad!!

Beth, Myla, & I.

Other thoughts about Week 18…

Appetite:Β Everything is basically back to normal which I’m loving, however, I feel like I get SO full, so easily. And then I’m miserable. And feel huge. And can’t breath. (WHAT am I going to do when this baby gets really big!?) Last night I made homemade lasagna soup (recipe here) with a few modifications (I used quinoa noodles instead of regular lasagna noodles and nixed the meat because of lack of time.) and it was deeeee-licious! But after one bowl, I was set over the edge. I brought Lucy for a walk in hopes of that helping but it didn’t do much good. I’m not sure if it was indigestion (I don’t know these things because I usually just feel fine all the time!) or what, but it was not comfortable. It subsided after a couple hours, but it’s not something I’d want to happen on a regular basis.

Lasagna Soup

The Bump: It’s getting bigger (obviously)! Last night, in attempt to relieve my uncomfortably full belly, I laid on the floor and tried to lay on my belly momentarily. It was SO weird!! It felt like I was laying on a balloon. Sayonara, laying on stomach, for the next five months. 😦

I continue to feel little twitches and movements which I am finding very comforting, amazing, fascinating, and weird all at once! It makes me smile and gives me a such a connection to the little bundle growing in there. Is it a boy or girl?!?! I think the connection will be even greater once I know that. In less than a week we will have the ultrasound to find out!! However, we might hold out until Friday to actually know ourselves. The plans for a pink or blue filled cake is in the works and we are still trying to decide if want to to know before cutting into it (when some friends and family will find out) or finding out with everyone else at the same time. I think it might be more exciting to wait!

Daddy+Lucy:Β Cory will talk to my belly in the automatic baby voice that we all are conditioned to do when talking to a baby, so I have to tell him to talk normal! And then he tells him/her “We can’t wait to meet you and I am going to play you lots of Nickelback!” Ummm, no. We will play lots of Coldplay and Bon Iver. πŸ™‚ God help me if our child likes daddy’s music.

Lately when Lucy barks or “sings” at me, I let her have at it, and try to be close by. I read an article that said that if the baby hears a dog barking a lot before being born, they will be more used to the sound so it won’t wake/bother them once they have arrived! Anything I can do to help Lucy+Baby adjust to each other. I hope Lucy doesn’t hate me when I bring a baby home. 😦

Purchases: I’ve been scoping out some adorable things but am holding out actually purchasing any more clothes (already bought a few) since we are so close to knowing boy or girl. I did purchase a crib sheet though! It was apparently on back order until December, but I got it yesterday, so I guess not. The plan is to pick out fabric and [have my mom] make a coordinating quilt instead of wasting money on a crib set. How cute is this going to be…!?

love chevron+grey!!

I also got the rocking chair I’ve been wanting for years, baby or no baby. Isn’t it so lovely!?

lovin’ the rocking chair!

We have more adventures coming up in Week 19.. Cable, Wisconsin! That means, Baby Koch will have visited four states in a month: Minnesota, Illinois, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the gorgeous fall colors around Cable while enjoying hot apple cider and the fall weather with my family.

almost 19 weeks!

What do you have planned for the last weekend in September!?

Can you believe it’s almost October?! Wowza!

HAPPINESS.

What do you choose?

Are you happy today? It’s so easy to get caught up in the petty things in life that make us step into our grumpy pants… hello, uncooperative hair days, spilled coffee, or getting caught behind a slow driver. Or things that seem bigger, like thinking we don’t make enough money to “live life to the fullest”. But think about it.. Do you have a place you call home, a roof over your head, a loving spouse and/or family, and a car that gets you from point A to point B? How often do you take those things for granted? What if you couldn’t actually drive your car because you don’t have arms? What if you couldn’t walk to your car because you don’t have legs?

Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to meet the over-the-moon-inspiring, Allison Wetherbee. By a stroke of bad luck, she was born without arms and legs. As one of the Anytime Fitness Member Success Story winners, she was interviewed by one of my colleagues who shared something she said that I will never forget. He asked her if there was ever a time in her life that she felt sorry for herself. She said in her early 20s she went through a phase when she did until she looked around and thought about all her friends and how some of them were really unhappy. It was in that moment when she realized that if they were unhappy, then the key to happiness must not be having arms and legs! From then on, she chose to be happy. Happy because she was living, happy because she had a loving family and great friends. She said she could either choose to feel sorry for herself every day or make a life for herself. And that is exactly what she is doing. This kick-ass woman goes to the gym and works out every day (So, what’s your excuse?? I’m asking myself the same thing!). She’s lost 12 pounds. She blogs! She’s making a life for herself and choosing happiness. How’s that for inspiring! We all have the power to choose and be grateful+happy for the things we were blessed with in life and not dwell on the things we don’t have by letting them make us unhappy every day.

Here’s Allison’s story.. (Is it just me or is the part where her dog comes in and gives her kisses not the sweetest thing ever!? Seriously, dogs are freaking awesome.)

 

My happiness list today:

1. My husband who makes my world go round.

2. Snuggle-muffin (It’s slightly embarrassing that I really call her this) Lucy in the morning.

3. Watching the sunrise from the shower.

4. Feeling twitches in my lower abdomenβ€”hello Baby Koch!

5. Reading inspiring blogs + a cup Β of coffee to start my day.

7. Tonight’s dinner menu: homemade spaghetti.

8. A walk in the cool fall air with my cousin-friend, Rachel. (+Lucy)

9. Mailing my amazing dad a birthday card (Happy Birthday tomorrow, Dad!).

10. Booking 17 photo shoots between now and October 21!

What’s making you happy today??

WEEK 17.

We started off week 17 with a bang β€” a long weekend trip to Chicago for the Anytime Fitness annual conference. Celebrating 10 years of business, there was no shortage of excitement. I am thanking this baby in my belly for existing so I couldn’t partake in the alcohol consumption because if I had, I’m not sure I would have made it through the weekend β€” late nights & early mornings. No hangover = awesome! Here’s a little glimpse of the weekend:

Baby Koch in Chicago | 17 weeks

One of the things I wanted to make sure to do while in Chicago was visit the tallest building in the US β€” The Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). At the 103rd floors lives the Skydeck, a small clear, enclosed deck that jets out of the side of the building at 1,729 feet. Stepping out is nothing short of terrifying and dizzying when you can see the city of Chicago, including all it’s skyscrapers, underneath your feet. As the girl in front of me was repeating “it’s mind over matter, it’s mind over matter” as she practically crawled out for a quick photo. The $17 was worth it for the view and experience, even if I was only up there for 15 minutes.

Baby Koch on the Skydeck | Willis Tower | Chicago

A panoramic view from 1,729 feet…

Chicago Panoramic from 1,729 feet.

And no trip to Chicago is complete without a stop at the “bean”…

On Friday night there was an 80s Party on the Pier with a live concert performance by Hairball. If I could have plugged Baby Koch’s ears, I would have, because it was LOUD. Poor baby probably didn’t know what was going on!

Hairball | 80s Party on the Pier

Another must while visiting Chicago β€” PIZZA. And was it ever amazing, just as anticipated!

Giordano’s Pizza.

It truly was a fantastic+exciting+inspirational+eye-opening+exhausting weekend! Other thoughts about Week 17…

appetite: It’s coming around! I had eggs this morning for breakfast (something that made me gag just thinking about them during the first trimester). I am also loving my morning cup of coffee again (my love for it had disappeared the entire first trimester as well). I’m still not having any weird cravings (other than pepperoni pizza+chocolate milk!). Last night I thought popcorn sounded good but the craving wasn’t strong enough to make me get my exhausted butt off the couch to look in the cupboard for any. πŸ™‚

I’m finding myself hungry (growling-stomach-famished-feeling-hungry) all the time. But I still seem to get full pretty easily too.

things i’ve noticed:Β My baby bump is definitely growing. When I lay flat on my back and feel it, there is a rounded hard bulge. Sounds weird (and is kinda weird to actually type out) but it’s so cool and very exciting for me!

I’m also noticing that I am extra emotional. I tear up and have been crying at the thought of my sis moving away (a possibility if she gets a particular job). I can’t imagine life with her four hours away and it makes my heart hurt to think of not being able to grow old near each other or our kids not growing up together. 😦 I also got all choked up while watching the Member Success Story videos at the conference over the weekend, especially the parts with dogs in the video! Dogs are just the best creatures ever!! They love their owners unconditionally and don’t judge anyone. They can truly teach all of us a lesson on love and acceptance.

I’m already noticing changes in my breathing when I bend over or have to roll up the cuffs of my jeans. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when I get bigger!

I’m sleeping [like a baby] lately. Typically I would get up a couple times a night to go to the bathroom, but I haven’t been since we got our Tempurpedic bed! That thing is the bomb. I swear I don’t move all night. I’m already looking forward to crawling into it tonight. πŸ™‚

weight gained:Β About 5 pounds.

other thoughts:Β Maternity jeans are annoying. I have one pair and as cute as they are, the elastic band is super annoying! Maybe it’s because I’m not big enough yet. I’ll update you once the bump is bigger!

Two weeks from tomorrow cannot come soon enough. The ever-awaited ultrasound to find out if it’s a girl or boy! (and hoping+praying+crossing fingers to get positive reports on the growth and health of the baby over all) Β I’m dying to go shopping and finalize our cute name!!! πŸ™‚ Sorry, I won’t be sharing the name until the arrival of the bambino though. You’ll have to wait until February!

I always find it kind of funny when people find out I’m pregnant and instead of congratulating me, ask me if I’m happy about it and if it was planned. I’ll take it as a compliment because maybe they ask that because they think I am younger than what I am (big 3-0 in November, people!!) and maybe they don’t realize I am married. But it’s always nice to tell them that, why yes, I am very happy and we want to have a baby!

Coming up in week 18 β€” A weekend trip to the flatlands of North Dakota! (I’m sure it will totally beat last weekend’s trip to Chicago…) πŸ™‚

WEEK 16.

Instead of documenting my ever-growing baby bump by taking photos in the same tight tank top by the same old boring wall, I decided to keep track week-by-week based on places I bring my little baby koch. He/She has already experienced some pretty cool things, I must say, but I’ll start with where I am now β€” 16 weeks:

Baby Koch does Vino in the Valley | 16 weeks

As each day passes, I realize my belly protrudes a little bit more and is harder and harder to suck in. I’m still in the stage of feeling like I need to suck in since I mostly just look like the ice cream I’ve been eating is catching up to me. πŸ™‚

thoughts: Is this real life? I cannot believe in less than four weeks, I will be half way through this pregnancy! I’m eager to see what those four weeks do to me because apparently this baby is going through a growth spurt, growing in inches and doubling his/her weight! I have a feeling I won’t be trying to suck in my belly much longer.

how i’m feeling: Great! The nausea has fully subsided for the most part and I’m not nearly as tired as I was the first trimester. The second trimester has definitely been better, just like they said it would. I still occasionally have a day where I’m more tired than normal, but that’s to be expected. Now, to get back into that workout routine that was lost in the first trimester…

crazy things pregnancy hormones have made me do: My second/last appointment had to be rescheduled due to my doctor being called to a delivery. I was in my car, on my way to the long awaited appointment and SO excited to hear the heartbeat again. When I got the phone call from the clinic, my heart sank, and I couldn’t stop the tears. I was just so sad! I think I actually sobbed for a few minutes before pulling myself together and realized I had something to look forward to the next week instead.

Then, the other day, while tree shopping, we went inside to find someone with expertise on trees. There were two little punks working behind the counter who wouldn’t even make eye contact with us and another older man who rattled off a bunch of names of workers and why they were busy at the time. Horrible customer service. Without a second thought, I said “Oh, that’s ok, we’ll just GOOGLE it!” and walked out. Cory said he couldn’t stop cracking up when I left and was even kind of proud of me. πŸ™‚

Ummm, I now like pepperoni pizza. In fact, the last few times I’ve had pizza, I choose pepperoni, which is so weird because I used to hate pepperoni!! You know what’s really good… pepperoni pizza with a glass of chocolate milk! Is that gross?

up next: 20 week appointment+ultrasound!! This is definitely the appointment I am most excited for. Half-way point, ultrasound to see our baby including his/her fingers and toes, AND finding out if it’s a girl or boy!! It’s so amazing to me that whether it’s a boy or girl is already determined but right now it’s just a mystery to all of us.

I’m also anxiously waiting to be able to feel him/her move (“quickening”). It should be any day now within the next four weeks and is sure to be one of the most amazing feelings to date!

boy or girl?: All along, I’ve had a feeling it’s a girl. But I sorta think that is because I have always felt like I want my first baby to be a girl and I just picture myself with one. But the other night, while with some friends, I did a bunch of those silly gender tests and they all said boy. I repeated one until it was girl and then I was done. πŸ™‚ Of course, I will be happy as a clam with either a boy or girl, and hope and pray more than anything that he/she is healthy [with beautiful blue eyes like daddy]. πŸ˜‰

What else has baby koch been up to…?

12 weeks:

Baby Koch goes to Coldplay | 12 weeks

This was very important to me because I LOVE Coldplay and also because I strongly dislike Cory’s go-to music playlist (to give him a little credit, he does like Coldplay too). I tell him that now our baby is sure to have great taste in music (like mama!) because his/her first concert was Coldplay! None of this Nickelback or Shinedown crap. πŸ™‚

I missed a few weeks of documenting the bump, but don’t plan on letting it happen again.

15 weeks:

Baby Koch takes on the MN State Fair crowds | 15 weeks

I actually went to the fair twice this year! We enjoyed cheese curds, corn on the cob (a must!), cookies, pizza, fresh squeezed lemonade, a strawberry shake, and pizza (throughout the two days). We also made sure to steer clear of the swine barn! Gross. Crossing fingers I don’t get sick at all during this pregnancy!

Coming up for Baby Koch in week 17 β€” Chicago!

STOP COMPLAINING.

The other day, in the midst of a disagreement with my loving husband, he pointed out the act of complaining. Reality check,Β I was complaining (too much). And then he asked how often I hear him complain. After really thinking about it, I realized β€” he doesn’t. He has a dangerous, stressful career and sees & hears more things on a daily basis than most of us will ever see & hear in our lives. Yet, he doesn’t come home and bitch about it. When I want to go on a tangent about something now, I find myself thinking about how rarely he complains, and the thought alone slaps me back into place. (Don’t get me wrong, we all need to vent sometimes!)

This also got me thinking about how incredibly tiring constant complainers really are and how much it can bring down the mood of those who have to listen to it. Nobody wants to hear about how horrible [you think] the petty things in your life are. It’s depressing. And, we all know someone who will wear their grumpy-pants around anyone near them just because they are having a bad day… (oh no, the printer broke down and you couldn’t print your files or you got caught behind a slow driver β€” get over it!)

complain less.

So, yesterday, we were totally domestic (which is the norm as of late) and went bed shopping (hello, marshmallow-soft Tempurpedic Cloud Luxe that will be arriving at our house tomorrow!) and made a trip to a local garden center to look for trees. We’ve been talking about getting trees to line the back lot line of our yard all summer and just hadn’t made the leap to do it until yesterday. As we walked down row after row of evergreens, spruces, and arborvitae trees, with no expertise help, I caught myself complaining in my head, “Ugh, this sucks”. Almost as soon as the thought entered my mind, I looked around and saw how beautiful it was outside, and felt the warm September sun on my face, with a baby in my belly, as I walked hand-in-hand with the man who means the world to me. Suddenly I realized that this was just another adventure in our short time together on this earth. When will we ever have to buy seven two-foot tall spruce trees for our back yard again? Probably never! Those small adventures together are just anotherΒ lifelove experience. Something we should be grateful for and a reminder, for me, that…

i love my husband πŸ™‚

He’s pretty darn cute too…

Reliving his HS football portrait in our back yard. πŸ™‚

LOVE DOGS.

This is my Thursday night view…

my view.

She’s been attached to my hip a little more than usual lately. I mean, she’s always been a typical velcro dog, but it’s been taken to a whole new level. Cory and I are convinced she knows I’m pregnant β€” or at the very least, knows something is up. She chooses to sit on top of me on the small chair instead of on the open end of the couch where Cory lays, she wakes up to come downstairs with me in the morning instead of staying cuddled up under the warm covers with her daddy who is still sleeping, and she quietly rests her head on my leg when I am sitting by the table.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t smile and feel true happiness when she greets me, entire butt wagging from side to side, when I get home from work. If you don’t have a dog, you’re missing out on something amazing! Go get one!

they are so lovable!