In the spirit of the Halloween season, before we turn our calendars to November (how can that be!?), a post of Halloweenish (Halloween-y? Halloweiny?) things. Like this suuuuper scary ghost photo:

ghost dog.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Now, I know we all have a thing or two that freak us out, even if it’s embarrassing to admit. So, without further adieu, here’s my scare list:

• Does anyone else feel like your about to be the lead character in a horror movie while showering at night when you’re home alone? Anyone? No? Well, I lock the door to the bathroom and even that doesn’t stop me from thinking that while I am scrubbing the make-up off my eyes, that when I open them, there will be a creepy man standing inches outside the glass shower door … wearing all black… staring at me… with a knife… or something equally as far fetched. Gets me every time and I have to open my eyes mid way through just to make sure it’s not really happening.

Creepy old dolls and clowns. I think I saw a scene from Chucky when I was little and will forever be damaged. So creepy!

Previews for scary movies and just scary movies in general. If I am home alone (and likely when I am not), and a preview comes on TV for a scary movie, I will close my eyes and plug my ears (or quickly change the channel if the remote is within reach!). If I so much as see or hear any of it, that will be the first thing I think of when it’s dark and I am alone and my mind starts wandering. And to actually watch a scary movie (think Chucky again, Exorcist, etc)—absolutely not. It won’t even cross my mind for a split second to actually watch that crap.

Oiji Boards. Thanks to some experimenting in middle+high school, this has scarred me for life (I think I have my bff, Kim, to back me on this!). And to think it was on my Christmas Wish List and my parents actually bought it for me! Christmas/Oiji Board? Aren’t they basically opposites? I don’t know where it is now but I hope I never see it again. I have a fear that it will end up on my doorstep someday. Don’t get any ideas!  I will never buy one of those for our children, no matter how much they may beg for one.

Woodticks. Ew. Ew. Ew. They are teeny tiny, but if there is one on me [or on Lucy], I would rather wait for someone else to get rid of it before I will, especially if it’s attached. If it’s crawling, I can muster up the courage to at least flick it or grab it with about 13 paper towels, ensuring it won’t touch me. I don’t know when I became such a sissy.. when I was little, I would catch frogs and salamanders, or bait a fishing hook with a worm or minnow without getting squeamish at all. Not anymore.

The Dark. (don’t judge me.) And it’s only if I’m alone (and really only if it’s nighttime—there’s just something about the night when the world is quiet that makes you feel so alone and vulnerable, and scary things might happen). I make sure to have a light on everywhere I go in the house. Even if I’m turning off lights for the night to go up to bed. I will make sure there is a light to lead me up there, and before turning that one off, I will walk the extra 10 feet to the bedroom to turn a light on in there first. And I fall asleep with the TV on, practically on mute, for the light (unless Cory is home). I don’t know what I think will happen in the dark when I am alone.. kinda goes back to the shower thing. If I can’t see what might be in front of me, I get panicky.

• Not gonna lie, this sorta freaks me out and you will not see me taking advantage of being pregnant this Halloween by doing this:


Ok, now that you know how big of a scaredy cat I am… time to fess up, what creeps you out and gets your heart racing!?

This year for Halloween, I haven’t and won’t be participating in any big parties. Drunk, barely-dressed playboy bunnies at a crowded bar + sober, big-bellied preggo self = not my idea of a good time. However, I did dress up for work last Friday! Halloween is a big event here at the Anytime Fitness HQ. Our Marketing team dressed up as a group — Mad Men style. (how fitting, right?) I was Megan Draper… The dress I had in mind no longer fit over the baby bump so I had to improvise using other clothes in my closet. Best part about my “costume” this year — didn’t cost a penny! Check us out… (we even had fake cigarettes that blew “smoke” [aka: powder].)

The Ladies.

Also on Friday morning, the little kiddos at the daycare next door came Trick-or-Treating around our offices. They were so cute! I am already excited to dress up our little girl next Halloween. She will be such a cute age for it (7 months).

I can’t forget about Lucy either. She lucked out and got to dress up early this year as a ghost (well, maaaaaybe she didn’t consider herself a lucky dog), but I will probably get her dressed up again for a quick photo shoot later. I really want her to be a lion with a big lion mane. She’s such a ferocious animal (what, no?), it will be fitting for her. 😉

Are you dressing up for Halloween this year? What about your kids and/or dog?

Here’s a little recap of some of our past Halloweens…

halloween 2011 | black swan, hood rat, and lucy

annie+i | halloween 2011 | black+white swan

halloween 2010 or 11? | lucy the lobster

halloween 2010 | “walk of shame” & a rugby player (last minute, i-don’t-know-what-to-be costumes)

halloween 2009 | june carter+johnny cash

Happy Halloween, everyone! Don’t eat too much candy. 🙂


33 candles.

Sommmmmmebody in our household turned 33 today (hint: it’s not me or Lucy)! I remember when I used to think that 30 was so “grown up” (heck, I thought that if you were out of college, it was kinda old). Now I know—it’s not. And 33 isn’t either. We aren’t old! Life is just beginning. Happiest of Happy Birthdays to my love, my husband, my baby daddy!

It always seems like birthdays end up being just another day, but when you’re the one with the birthday, you always [secretly] hope it will feel more special (am I right?). So last night I decorated our kitchen in white streamers and baked vanilla cupcakes with homemade chocolate frosting and colorful sprinkles, complete with two #3 candles in a couple cupcakes to surprise him when he got home from work after midnight. I also wrote a giant Happy Birthday message on our chalkboard wall so he would see it when he walked in. 🙂

Tonight we are going to celebrate over dinner (sushi by request of the birthday boy) and cupcakes for dessert, he’ll open his gifts (although, his real gift comes in February!), we’ll watch+feel baby koch kick and squirm around inside me (coolest thing ever!), and the rest of our plans are yet to be determined… Perhaps an intense game or two of Jumbling Tower??

Here’s a photo recap of birthdays passed since the year I lucked out and met this handsome fellow when he was just 28 and I was 25 (weird!). 🙂

2008 | Dinner at a german restaurant

2009 | Dinner at Oceanaire

2010 | Happy Hour at Busted Nut

2011 | Dog park with Lucy

Happy Birthday, baby daddy!! Make a wish and remember…


WEEK 22.


New Baby Items:

Our friends who just had little baby Alexander gave us a gift when we went to their house to meet their sweetie… How cute is this!? So excited to add it to our little lady’s wardrobe and to see her wearing it someday!


Have you heard of Pick Your Plum? If not, check it out. Amazing deals! Like this owl hat. With shipping, it was a whopping $9.44! I have no idea when it will fit her because the size says it fits 6mo – 8 years. Something seems wrong with that range. But it’s cute for whenever the day comes that it fits. 🙂

owl hat 🙂

Now, don’t judge my husband when you see this next picture (and keep in mind what his profession is!). He came home one day, grinning ear to ear. He didn’t want to show me right away (he thought I’d be mad!) but was just too excited to wait. He bought our unborn daughter her first [pink] 22 Rifle. Seriously, she’s not going to be able to shoot it until she’s about 10. Like my mother-in-law said, “it’ll be an antique by the time she can shoot it!”. But I have to admit, it’s pretty cute and warms my heart to see Cory so excited and already buying his baby girl stuff, even if it’s a gun..

This happened.

I got this cute little Target side table for next to the rocking chair in the baby room. Cory laughed at me and said it looked like two bongos put together (he’s kinda right), but I love it, bongo-looking and all!

side table.

Have you heard of gilt.com? Again, awesome. Sign up! (Plus, it’s more than just baby/kid stuff.) I can’t wait for this adorable violet ruffle onesie to arrive. I even ordered 3-6 months instead of 0-3 this time.

lovin’ this.

My mother-in-law came back from her trip to California with an adorable cupcake hat for our little lady (so fitting for our cupcake theme we’ve been on!). I wish you could feel just how soft this is. (Check out more Blueberry Hill hats here.)

photo credit: Tiffany Parrish Photography via The Blueberry Hill facebook page.

Lucy thinks the hat is hers, but it doesn’t quite fit over her ears. 🙂

Cupcake head.

Happy Moments:

I got to meet my work friend, Emily’s, sweet baby Mason! I was caught off guard and so happy to see her and her hubby (who also works at AF HQ) walk into my office with their little man. Patrick held Mason out for me to take right away and I have to admit, it was kinda scary. He was so little! Hard to grasp the fact that I will have one of my own in my arms in a few short months. It’s easier and more natural with your own though, right?

I also got to meet our friends baby boy, Alexander. Two babies in one week! We met him when he was just four days old. I snuggled him for quite awhile — he is just perfect. Two days after meeting him, I was lucky enough to go back and see him again to do his newborn photos! He was a champ and didn’t cry for his entire session.

LOVE this.

so teeny tiny.

Cory & Baby Alex. I forgot to take a photo with him..

More Happy Moments:

Pumpkin ice cream. omg.

Walks outside. (yay, me!)

Another five photo shoots complete. I lucked out and got my husband to road trip with me to Lake City on Saturday. It was so nice to have him as company and take the long way home, stopping for dinner and enjoying each other’s company. On Sunday, I had three sessions in St. Paul. My sister joined me this time, venturing around Battle Creek Park for two sessions and Summit Ave. for the last one. A great set of sessions ended with a late lunch at Cheeky Monkey with her and my cousin, Margaret, and [my sorta-brother-in-law] Nick!

My sis even documented me in action at one of the sessions… (Thanks, Sis!)

me in photo shoot action!

Ordered this from Target. I’m hoping it will fit (not be too small) for the place I plan on putting it in our kitchen/dining room. Love the yellow!

We did it! We played Jenga Jumbling Tower. I could not find the real deal, Jenga, at Target anywhere, so had to settle for Jumbling Tower. What does that even mean? Shouldn’t it be called “Tumbling Tower”? For a bank-breaking $5.87, it’s definitely pretty chitzola. I don’t know if Jenga has some sort of copyright law, but these blocks did not fit together. There were big gaps! And the wood was rough and smelled funny. But it was still enjoyable. I kicked Cory’s butt and beat him twice. 🙂

jumbling tower?

Lessons Learned:

Lesson #1. Soup is not my friend. And I’m so bummed because I love soup, especially this time of year! I’m finally realizing that every time I eat soup, I feel like crap. Bloated, full, uncomfortable, miserable, blah. One small cup for lunch resulted in an entire afternoon of misery, following by an evening of being unproductive because I was so uncomfortable, all I could do was lay down to feel some relief. The weird part is, I felt so incredibly full, like I was about to burst at the seams, yet my stomach was growling with hunger. Not cool. New pregnancy motto: Say no to soup.

Lesson #2. Buy a newborn (up to 7 lbs.) outfit to bring our baby girl home from the hospital. I would have never thought of this as you’d assume a 0-3 month outfit would be just fine. Annie gave me the tip as they ended up bringing their peanut (under 7 lbs!) home in an outfit that could have fit two of him. So, I’m on the lookout for the most adorable newborn outfit I can find for the big day! It was amazing how big the 0-3 month outfits looked after meeting Alexander.


The things she does crack me up! Unfortunately, I’m starting to wake up a few times a night again to pee. During one of my stumbles walks to the bathroom, I accidentally stepped on her squeaky piñata toy, causing a full-on-all-air-out-squeak! The next morning, the squeaky piñata toy was next to the bed. She had woken up (obviously from how loud the squeak was) and gone to the bathroom to get it. 🙂

One thing I do before going to bed is slather cocoa butter lotion on my belly and butt and boobs and legs (No stretch marks yet! Crossing fingers it stays that way). Miss Lucy has been jumping off of the bed, out of her slumber, to have herself a little late-night snack, licking the pump of the lotion bottle. Silly girl, why do dogs love licking lotion!? So weird, not to mention, gross.

Coming up:

Doctor appointment next week. So excited to hear the heartbeat again and make sure we’re on track! Best feeling ever.

I recently read a tidbit of information that told me my baby would be doubling her weight in the next few weeks. Holy smokes! Bring it on. 🙂

Cory’s 33rd birthday! Ever since I threw him a surprise 30th birthday and gave him a MacBook, I never know what to give him. What can beat that? I know! A daughter! So, he’ll get a late birthday gift this year — in February. Speaking of birthdays, in less than a month, it’s MY 30th birthday (holy crap)! I hope Cory has started planning it…

Halloween. I have a feeling we will have a lot of little Trick-or-Treaters this year since we are in a neighborhood full of kids! I already stocked up on candy (holy crap, halloween candy is expensive!) and hope we don’t run out. Cory convinced me to open a bag so he could have “just a couple treats” one night, but since then, they have been tied tight in a bag and hidden in a cupboard so we don’t eat it all before Halloween. I’m usually the procrastinator who doesn’t buy candy until the 31st and when I go, all that’s left is the gross stuff nobody wants. One year we didn’t even have candy so when a couple kids came, I felt so bad telling them! You know how there was that one magical house that you and your friends aaaalways had to go to on Halloween because they gave a can of pop or a full size candy bar (I still remember the houses in my hometown!)? Well, Cory and I are considering becoming the house that gives an apple or 50 cents or something less stereotypical (although an apple probably wouldn’t make us very popular amongst the children). This year we’ll stick with candy.

WEEK 21.

Another week under my belt [literally] and one step closer to meeting our baby girl. Did I ever mention how, prior to pregnancy, expectant mothers who referred to what “week” they were in meant nothing to me? I used to think “just tell me how many months that is so I don’t have to do the math!” while being somewhat annoyed. It’s a whole different ball game when you’re the one who is actually pregnant. I never find myself thinking in terms of months, it’s always weeks. (But in case you are wondering, I’m just over five months along.) I suppose I’ll end up being one of those annoying moms who refers to my child’s age in months too (24 months—how ’bout TWO YEARS!). 🙂

Although I didn’t go anywhere too exciting, like Wisconsin or North Dakota, there was no shortage of highlights from the week:

• Craft night with some gal pals over hot apple cider. I had been craving apple cider since fall has officially begun so walking in to find just that was the icing on the cake! My craft project—onesies. Pretty sure a vizsla silhouette can make anything cute.. (The tie one isn’t for baby koch, fyi.)


Parenthood. The TV show. I finally closed my laptop for an hour and enjoyed some downtime on the couch to watch one of my favorite shows without multitasking. There were definitely tears shed at the end!! Pregnancy hormones, right…

• New boots! Can’t wait for these to arrive at my doorstep.

riding boots.

• Baby room decor. I found the lamp at HomeGoods and am in love with it! (baby room mood board coming soon..!)

i love lamp.

I have had this little guy in the back of my mind for awhile now so when I came across it at Target, on sale for $44, I couldn’t pass it up!

knit pouf foot rest.

• Listened to Brené Brown speak about vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame, with my sis. It amazes me how someone can easily describe/explain/put into words exactly how I’ve felt at times. I wish I was blessed with that ability, not to mention the ability to public speak. A quote she shared with us:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

• Five photo shoots with kids who are so sweet+cute+funny+entertaining, makes me even more excited to meet ours! One little guy (who I’ve been doing photos of for a few years) called me “Mrs. Ami” the entire session and held my hand when we crossed the street. I’m dying, he’s so cute!! (Sneak peeks over on my Facebook page!)

• Found what will likely be our daycare come April/May 2013!

• Three words: Nutella Hot Cocoa. Make it, stat! It’s amazing and you won’t be disappointed.

• Our good friends, John+Annie, welcomed their sweet little boy on Sunday night! So happy for them and can’t wait to meet him (you know, since he’ll probably be protecting our little lady from bullies on the playground someday). 🙂 Annie and I have been talking about getting pregnant “together” for a couple years so the fact that we basically pulled it off is pretty amazing.

My goals+thoughts for this week:

• Finish editing photos from four sessions. (I currently have 11 (eleven!) waiting to be edited and only evenings+weekends to get the job done. Yikes.)

• Hello, long overdue date night! I’ll put my computer down and enjoy an evening with my husband since he finally has some days off this week! I’ve had a desire to play Jenga lately… Is that weird? When did I get so old??

• Take time to focus on myself and get my preggo butt on the treadmill (or outside when it’s nice—Lucy would love me!) for a walk. This has been few and far between since I got pregnant. The first trimester kicked my a•• and totally threw me out of the routine I had going. I’ve been struggling ever since to get back into it and being so incredibly busy with photo shoots the last two months, I haven’t taken the time to better myself. I don’t need to go out and run a marathon to feel accomplished. Baby steps.. I’ll start with more frequent walks!

• Buy more stretchy leggings (these!). Jeans just aren’t cutting it anymore. Every time I wear them to work, I am reminded as to why I tell myself not to wear them again. (Note to self: start taking own advice!) I’m much more productive and happy when I can sit indian style in my chair.

• Weekend: four photo shoots. Add those to the current 11 and then I have a little breathing room for the next few weeks to catch up. Phew!

A new perspective of the bump for all of you… My view! (I can still see my feet — yay!)

21 week bump perspective.

Happy 21 weeks!

21 weeks.

WEEK 20. It’s a…

it’s a girl!!

Words cannot express my excitement in finding out that we will be welcoming a sweet baby girl in February! A girl!! I’d like to believe that I would be just as thrilled with news of a boy but I think my smile is a teensy bit bigger knowing it’s a girl. 😉

When the ultrasound tech was going to tell us the gender, she started by saying “Ok, what has three…”, and in that moment, I thought for sure she must be talking about the “boy parts”, until she said “…lines down there?”. Lines? I felt as though the teacher called on me in Anatomy class to answer a question I totally didn’t know the answer to. I answered back with a question, “A girl??”. And she confirmed that I was right! I threw my hands in the air and said “it’s a girl!” while grinning ear to ear. Cory didn’t look or respond with near the excitement I did, but I think he’s pretty pumped to have a daddy’s girl.

To share the happy news with our families, we ordered [white amaretto cream] cupcakes from Miss Sara’s Cakery to reveal the gender. (We also had the same kind of cupcakes to share the news of expecting and at our wedding!) To add a sneaky little twist to it, I got light turquoise frosting to throw everyone off. We brought them out on a covered tray with them purposely placed backwards so no one could read them right away and would only see the color of the frosting. Instantly, my mom yelled out “It’s a BOY!” and then Cory flipped around the tray to reveal the words. We had everyone fooled for a split second which I found very entertaining. 🙂


After showing the cupcakes to everyone. (We had 20 more than shown!)

My mom, sister, and I spent some of Saturday afternoon shopping for girly things. I can tell right now how hard it will be to resist all the adorable girl clothes! I keep wanting to buy 0-3 month size for everything because I want her to be able to wear it right away, but then people tell me how quickly they grown out of that size. 😦 I’m starting to think I should buy at least two different sizes of each thing so that it can last longer! A few of the items purchased so far… I’m in love! (and apparently am on a stripes kick)

a whole bunch of cuteness!

I can’t get enough of the onesies and one-piece pajama bodysuits. Pretty sure that’s all she will wear the first six months of life. 🙂

1. Favorite Bear Footed One-Piece — GAP

2. Printed Waffle-Knit Bodysuit — Old Navy

3. GIRL onesie — Zulily (I LOVE this!!)

4. Stripe Ruffle Bodysuit — Old Navy

5. Patterned Hooded One-Piece — Old Navy

6. Favorite Kimono Colorblock One-Piece — GAP

7. Printed Footed One-Piece — Old Navy

8. Pattered Hooded One-Piece — Old Navy

I haven’t deprived myself of a few new purchases as well…

mama goods.

1. Old Navy Maternity Coat — Not going to make it through winter and this pregnancy without a coat that fits. I scored this for about $55! I ordered both an XS and S because I have no idea which size will fit better.

2. This isn’t the actual scarf I [will] have, however it will be very similar. My mom is knitting me a chunky, grey circle scarf and I cannot WAIT to have it around my neck!

3. GAP French Terry Tunic — First actual maternity top I’ve purchased so far. I told Cory to get used to it because I’ll likely be lounging it it every day — love it with leggings+boots!

4. J.Crew Excursion Quilted Vest — Because sometimes a shirt just needs a vest thrown over top.

5. J.Crew Colorblock Boatneck Top — Love the colors of this! It’s not maternity but I’m hoping I can wear it until it just won’t fit over the baby bump anymore.

6. COACH Baby Bag — Since it doesn’t scream “baby!”, I can use this for other things as well, which is super duper. Best part about this is that I got it as a trade for doing a photo shoot for someone who works for Coach. 🙂 So excited to use it [more] when our baby girl arrives! It has tons of pockets, plus the inside is made out of a fabric that can be wiped down.


This week I’m going to a craft night get together with gal pals and we’ve decided to decorate onesies for the three pregnant mamas-to-be this time. I can’t wait! I purchased one white and one light pink long-sleeve onesie from Old Navy and plan to do a cut out vizsla silhouette in a grey+white zebra fabric on the pink one (for our baby obviously)! I also bought a cute pink printed fabric to use on the white onesie, just haven’t decided what it will be yet. Photos of the completed project next week!

Also coming up this week and weekend — photo shoots! Six total. Be sure to check my facebook page to see new photos!

Happy-half-way-through-pregnancy to me!

Baby Girl Koch at Afton Apple Orchard | 20 Weeks

WEEK 19.

This was a big-huge-fantastic-exciting-and-special week for us for many reasons. Nineteen weeks marks one week short of officially being half way through my pregnancy. Wha?? I can hardly believe it! Typically, 20 weeks is the exciting time which consists of the long-awaited 20-week ultrasound appointment. We lucked out and got to do our appointment a week early. I couldn’t WAIT to see Baby Koch again, hoping+wishing+praying to be told everything was right on track and looking good. It is. Thoughts of what-ifs consumed my mind quite often for the last few weeks, causing unnecessary anxiety and worry (story of my life), and a handful of dreams about our baby’s health.

The ultrasound tech was fantastic. She talked us through each and every thing, taking measurements and pointing out some things we’d never recognize on the screen ourselves. We saw the four chambers of the heart, the spine, brain, bladder, kidneys, little hands and feet, and one adorable little face (see a new ultrasound photo under my “Meet Baby Koch” tab). The baby had the hiccups while we were watching too, which seems so minute, but was oh-so-amazing. 🙂 This whole baby-growing thing is incredible!

So, what is our Little Baby Koch…

girl or boy!?

We knew we wanted to find out but couldn’t decide how. I thought for sure I wanted to have the doctor put it in an envelope and we’d open it over dinner together or we’d wait until we cut into a cake, revealing pink or blue to family and friends. Since we hadn’t made a solid decision, our curiosity got the best of us and we found out then and there at the clinic! For three days, Cory and I (oh, and Lucy!) get to have our little secret until Friday when we tell our family and friends. So, what will it be.. a girl or a boy!?

If it’s a boy, Cory decided he gets to buy a vintage motorcycle he can fix up for a “winter project” in the garage (what is it with men!? lol). I thought it was only fair for me to have something in my favor too, so decided that if it’s a girl, I get a Michelle watch. 🙂 Sounds fair, right?

Another milestone of Week 19: Feeling the baby kick from the outside! After I felt it with my hand, I told Cory to feel as well. When we felt it at the same time, we looked at each other, wide-eyed in amazement! Every night now, I take time to lay down and just feel him/her move. I can’t get enough of it!

I suppose I can’t do my weekly post without the baby bump photo. Early this week we were in beautiful Northern Wisconsin taking in the breathtaking fall colors that don’t even compare to anything I’ve ever seen before. We hiked to a lookout point for an incredible view of all the colorful trees… (although the instagrammed photo doesn’t quite do it justice!)

Baby Koch in Northern Wisconsin | 19 Weeks

I’ve decided the leopard-print scarf is the trademark of my pregnancy… pretty sure I’ve worn it in almost every one of my bump photos! Best impulse purchase ever.

Check back next week for the big reveal!