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26 November, 2013

What will it be?

Eric, Evie and I are going tomorrow to find out the sex of the baby!  We're going to tell our family over Thanksgiving and then reveal the news to the Internet on St. Nick's Day.

In the mean time, place your bets!

25 November, 2013

Bump Watch: Week 19

How far along? 19 weeks today, baby!

How big is baby? 

Total weight gain? 3 whole pounds.  This puts me right on the line on the low end of the weight gain range for my BMI.

Maternity clothes? You betcha.  Gap had a 60%+20% off + free shipping sale yesterday. I bought a casual dress, a workout top, and a sweater.  I also went to the Pea in the Pod outlet and got some fabulous $50 leggings for like $8, and a tshirt dress.  

I know some people take pride in buying little to no maternity clothes, but I love it.  I feel like a house by about week 10 and as much as I love the smuggled basketball look under a tshirt, I just feel prettier in well fitting maternity clothes.  

Stretch marks?  Nothing new! I just got Honest Company's new Belly Balm for the dry winter months. It smells so delicious and it's easier to use than pure cocoa butter.

Belly button?  It looks like a Creature from the Black Lagoon

Exercise  Looking forward to starting Jazzercise again after Thanksgiving. There is a center right behind Evie's preschool with a class right after her drop off.  I love Jazzercise AND there was a 10 class Groupon I bought recently.  SO EXCITED!

Sleep It's been really hit or miss.  Either I sleep 8-10 hours, or like 5.  I am either perfectly comfortable, or hungry-tired-achy-hot-cold-have-to-pee.  I was taking 15-60 minute naps each day, but I think those will start to fade as I'm not going to be as exhausted with work.

Movement  Every once in a while I get a big old jab, but nothing consistent. 

Food cravings  Cold milk and soup are the two most regularly ones (not together, ew). Occasionally ice cream, or a second dollop of sour cream.  Red grapes.  Crispy designer-red apples. Sometimes PIZZA!

Food aversions Still not wanting much pork other than bacon.  And I have to be in the right mood for beef or fried foods.  And while I don't have the strong smell sensitivity/aversion to seafood like I did with Evie, it still doesn't taste normal to me this pregnancy. 

What I miss Honestly, I really have nothing to complain about this pregnancy.  I am so thankful for it and really enjoying it this time around.  Okay, maybe I miss not getting that super uncomfortable feeling after sitting too long, like on car trips.

What I am looking forward to  The anatomy scan on Wednesday.  Like beyond giddy.  And I'm super excited for how we're going to do the gender reveal. Keep an eye out. I'll post it here and on Facebook on December 6.

Milestones  Well, Eric noticed last night that my belly sticks out further than my boobs now. So that's a milestone, right?  Speaking of boobs, had to move up to some old bras. They don't really fit well, but the new ones I bought just before I got pregnant were too snug. 

Say What?  Nothing really obscure, just a few more serious comments about me having twins.  Let's be honest though, I live in an area of super thin women, so when some one of a more shapely size is pregnant, OBVIOUSLY they're having twins. Eye roll.

Sweet moments Lots of parishioners just now finding out I'm pregnant. (Glad to know not everyone at our church stalks me on Facebook 24/7) So it's fun celebrating with them!

Had a conversation with a lady at church who has 10 kids (If you're Catholic and you know it clap your hands). Her oldest is my sister's age, and then youngest is Evie's age. She told me how she likes to picture the babies in the womb floating as if they're on a pool float or doing backstroke, and their kicks are really a flip turn to do another lap. Haha!

Make room for baby Nothing really new. Been stalking the internet for a few new/used cloth diapers, but that's it. I have a small wish list of things but we'll probably wait until Spring for some garage sales and consignment shopping.

Oh, and THIS: Had some cramps this week. Not period or labor type cramps, but like growing pain type cramps all along my sides, back and belly.  I wasn't drinking enough water, and I was also on my feet a lot. I was thankful for my co-workers who reminded me to take breaks, drink water, and to put my feet up

Compared to Evie:   A lot less weight gain, like 12-13 pounds LESS...though I feel like the bump is a little more pronounced.  Maybe it's related to less weight gain, or maybe it's that I'm more proactive with ice, epsom baths, or stretching, but I don't have nearly the chronic back or hip pain.  I've also only had 1 bad and 2 small leg cramps compared to severe ones almost every night.  Magnesium oil + bananas are really doing the trick!

Read Evie's 19 Week Update Here (yes, I am wearing legging as pants in this update)

19 November, 2013

A Trip to Babyland General Hospital

If you didn't know there is a special hospital in the middle of nowhere Georgia where the Cabbage Patch dolls are born.  At this hospital there is a little self-guided tour of the history of CPKs and a museum of some vintage dolls over the years.

But the real reason you go out there is to witness the birth of a hand made, soft faced doll.  If you've never been, there is a giant room full of adoptable babies.  Some of them are in cribs waiting for their mommy or daddy to adopt them. Others are still in cabbage leaves also waiting for a home.

In the center of this room is a tree. The magical birthing tree.  It's under this tree that the cabbage babies are born.  With a full audience and a nurse in scrubs, the group cheers PUSH and other such nonsense.

Since we were invited to go as part of our friend Zoe's fourth birthday, all the girl and their mommas stood patiently under the birthing tree to see what baby cabbage would be born that day.  It was a boy!  And Miss Zoe got to name him.  She chose Henry James after her soon to be born baby brother.

We had a great time celebrating Zoe's big day!  Cupcakes, golfish, and apple juice - oh my! Evie was in heaven.
After snack Evie and I walked around looking for her "special baby".  Eric and I had talked about treating Evie to a CPK for her birthday, but my parents offered to do it for her Christmas gift so we took them up on that.  
While I was trying to find the perfect baby with blue eyes and a tuff of light brown hair, Evie picked out her very own "special baby" out of the crib.  She pointed to a bald one with blue eyes and said, "Mommy, dat's Evie's spe-ial baby"

What's a mom to do, right?  So we went through the adoption process to take home Evie's bald baby.

We made our way to the cashier where I thought they'd just hand us the baby's birth certificate with a pre-assigned name, like the store bought CPK kids come with.

But no. We had to name this baby.  oy.  I can't name my own kids, now I have 13 minutes before the hospital closes to name my daughter's special baby.

The pressure.

Alyshia helped me peek in all the boxed babies in the gift shop. We started reading the prenamed baby's certificates.  We found one named Holly Jane.  I like the name Holly but could never name a daughter that (Holly Buergler? yeah, no) so this was a great candidate.  In a split second Alyshia yelled HOLLY JOY as Evie, the baby and I walked in to the adoption room.  "It's got a Catholic flair now" (This is why I love her).

So Evie and I went in to the special adoption room where she named her baby and pledged to take care of her.

As silly as this place is, it was SUCH a fun day hanging out with some of my favorite ladies and their little girls.
And more than anything I loved spending one-on-one time with Evie picking out her special baby, Holly Joy.

16 November, 2013

Bump Watch: Week 17

How far along? 17 weeks 6 days (photo from exactly 17 weeks)

How big is baby? 5 inches and 5 ounces, accounting to Baby Center.  About the size of an onion

Total weight gain? 2 pounds, at this point with Evie I'd gained 14.

Maternity clothes? Why, yes.  I've had it with the Belly Band non-sense. I'm so jealous of women that it works for.  For me, it rolls, bunches, gets tangled, falls down, slides up, what have you. I'd rather spend the money on a few pairs of maternity pants than deal with that.  Especially since I show really early and carry so low.  I'd rather be comfortable than save the money.

Stretch marks?  Nothing new this pregnancy!

Belly button? Oh my, it's saggy like something fierce. It looks so weird I can't even describe it.

Exercise:  No. I have been SUPER bad about this. I think it's why I've been having RLS at night. Though even with extra hours at my desk job, and a nap, I'm still managing 5000-8000 steps a day.

Sleep: I had some horrible nights leading up to the retreat, and then a few really good nights and good naps. I slept maybe 7 hours total while on the retreat, and I've been napping/sleeping extra to make up for it.  Friday was the first day (so a full week) that I felt human again, and not like a walking zombie.

Movement: Little pushes or jabs here and there but nothing strong or consistent. Since baby is going from cartilage to bones this week I think we'll start feeling him/her more.

Food cravings: milk. I wonder if this has anything to do with bone development?

Food aversions: plain meat, like an Italian sausage sandwich, or just having a meatball without sauce for a snack with my dad (sorry dad!). If it tastes or feels meaty, no way.

What I miss: Feeling pretty content with the pregnancy these few weeks. I could do without the sacrum pain, but that's my own fault for not getting to the chiropractor regularly.

What I am looking forward to:  Okay, so Rebecca just had her baby. And two of my co-workers who had summer babies stopped by the office this week.  Seeing/holding little babies: I WANT TO HOLD MY BABY!

Milestones:  I had my first leg cramp of the pregnancy, as if right on time with the pregnancy time line of symptoms.  Talked to my physical therapist about it. He gave me some stretches and told me to double up on my banana intake and not to forget my topical magnesium oil (which I've been bad about the last two weeks).

Say What? 
Co-worker: "So I just heard you were pregnant. (Points to my belly)  I thought you'd just let yourself go."
Not nearly the strangers making comments on the bump as this time/point with Evie. Maybe it's the scarves and cardigans hiding it, or maybe it's the exhausted and stressed face I wear from September-November that has scared people away ;)

Sweet moments: Last night I was sitting in the recliner at my parents and Evie came to snuggle with me.  It was so sweet to think "both my babies are on my lap"

Make room for baby: My mom and I are going to knock out painting Evie's new room the week after Thanksgiving.  I have started taping it off, so we're a step in the right direction. I looked for a new crib sheet for new baby at the Pottery Barn outlet, but I'm not seeing any of the prints or patterns that work in the Caterpillar room.  I can always go with white from buybuybaby.  

I also made a small registry at buybuybaby and on Kelly's Closet.  We have a few things we borrowed from folks that we've since returned and would like to own ourselves.  We've also narrowed down the types of cloth diapers that we really like, so I'm selling some we don't in favor of a few new ones for the new baby.  If you're interested in some Fuzzibunz or Sloomb fitteds, please email me!

Oh, and THIS:  Cutting the caffeine has really helped my anxiety and blood pressure, and has helped me sleep.

Every day that I haven't developed early on-set pre-eclampsia I praise God. I have been terrified of getting it again this pregnancy, but early.  Self-care is the only thing I know to do.

The retreat pushed me to my physical limit. 3 hours of sleep the first night and 4 the second. Friday night I had a leg cramp during the night. And Saturday night my sacrum hurt so bad I was on and off ice packs 3 times trying to get the swelling down.  The pain was so bad it was shooting down my thighs and triggered a migraine. I went to the physical therapist and chiropractor the day after and they were basically like, um, not sure how you were walking.

Compared to Evie: Not as much weight gain, not as achy and sore everywhere.   Read week 18 here

13 November, 2013

A Maternity Session: Meet the Phillips

Over the course of the year I've had small families, cousins, new borns, and 3 month olds. I had an engagement shoot scheduled. The only thing missing to practice on was a pregnant mama. Before I had a client ask me to do it, I wanted to practice. Baby bellies can be tricky, but oh-so-lovely.  I called Rebecca and asked if I could use her family for a practice shoot. 

I'm so glad she said yes!

We did the shoot on a Saturday morning in downtown Norcross, Georgia.  I've learned the importance of open shade and had recently scoped out the treelined area as a good starting point.  It was also an in between meeting place for us.  To our surprise was this great red wall and the brick wall just across the street.

The other photo Rebecca desperately wanted was a silhouette shot, but not a super black/white one, but one with enough some shadowing.  I had a ton of fun reading about how to set up the shot, and then how to follow up in Lightroom to really make it pop. Rebecca had no hesitation in popping in every shop in the town to talk to folks about using their doorway.

The Phillips are always fun to be around, but Rebecca has an eye for design and photography so she knew a good bit of what she wanted, as well as cheerfully let me try some shots. Some of which worked, and others just, well, didn't.


  • I used the Canon 35mm 1.4L professional portrait lens.  I rented from aperturent. I wish I had a money tree to buy that lens.
  • We had pretty decent lighting and worked early enough in the morning.


  • The family was super laid back and cooperative especially for a 4 and 2 year old.
  • The only thing Rebecca and I laugh about is Zoe's "cheese" face.  It's such an unfortunately stage of 2-4 year olds, but at least we've all had a kid go through it. My own daughter did it this last weekend at our family shoot. Ha!


  • I'm feeling more comfortable with out-of-the-box shots and taking some risky ones just to experiment
  • I felt confident with the lighting for the first time in a while
  • I still take super crooked pictures
  • I am still cropping off a hair line, toe, finger, etc because I'm not careful to check the entirety of the frame before shooting.

Update:  Baby Henry arrived on Sunday morning!  I can't wait to meet him.  Congratulations Rebecca, Zach, Zoe and Evan.

12 November, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I'm learning the trend.  When you have kids holidays don't last a day, they last a week, or two.

I'm totally fine when it comes to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, heck, even Fourth of July (bring on the watermelon!)

But Halloween.  I can't handle this holiday in the first place, but stretch it out over the month.  Kill me now.

I did find a moment of joy between all of my Halloween-Grinchness.  Evie loved it, and that's all that matters, right?

Evie's Aunt Leeann was generous to make her a Halloween costume again this year.  Eric and I chose for Evie to dress up as "Monkey George" since we figured this is probably the last year we'll get to pick her costume.

Evie was a rock star.  She had fun at her school party, which included a glow-stick dance party and a costume parade for parents.  She even did great with the Halloween song sing-a-long their preschool did after the parade. 

After school we drove home with the intention of Evie taking a nap.  However, she was SO EXCITED to see Aunt Leeann and Luke that she jumped in her crib for an hour before I read the traffic report and decided it best to drive downtown before it got worse.

We met up with the Man in the Yellow Hat, and cousin Luke the football for a cookout and trick-or-treating.

 We had a nice night just hanging out with the Buergler family before Eric took Evie out to a few houses to trick or treat.
She had a great time!  I wish I had better captured her saying "tick-a-teet" -- too cute!

But that's not all!

A few days before Halloween my Mom's family had our monthly family dinner, Halloween style.  Everyone had to bring a Pinteresty appetizer/dessert to share, and of course, come in costume.  In true Sander family fashion, the food crafts / party theme did not disappoint.

And the finale -- Eric and I's costume:
50s housewife & the milkman

Eric and I finished the Halloween party night with a basement party hosted by a mom in Evie's playgroup.  It was a rocking good time.  Ask Eric how many games of beer pong he won.  Guess who drove home?

08 November, 2013

07 November, 2013

Seven Quick Takes {3}

I am writing this on Thursday to link up on Friday. I'm so behind on blogging I'm actually ahead. Or something like that.

Tomorrow we embark on our largest Confirmation retreat to date.  We have 209 candidates on retreat out of a class of 219. Not a bad ratio AT ALL.  We have 35 group leaders, a full band, 3 staff members, a nurse, and some clergy going with us.  I'm so overwhelmed, but I'm actually caught up on preparations (this NEVER HAPPENS) that I'm actually at peace....except....

Satan has been attacking.  Usually, it's that I binge eat or engage in other indulgent behaviors that result in me being super grumpy and moody.  Today I am feeling super down because our little baby Albert was due a month from today, which means in the original plan I shouldn't have been going on the retreat this year.  It's giving me feelings of doubt as to why I need to be there this weekend, but Satan is also making me fearful that something AWFUL is going to happen in the next few days.

On a more uplifting note, we find out the sex of this baby in a few short weeks. Some friends who are due around me in April are already finding out, but I scheduled our appointment out a few weeks because I needed something fun to get me through the stressful weeks of work.

Evie turns two tomorrow!  I cannot even believe it.  And I'm not going to say any more because, well, I'll start bawling.  Eric took the day off because of the retreat, but also so we can have a family morning together to celebrate her big day!

I had some birthday money left over from my in-laws and just didn't know what to do with it (whoa is me, right?) with Christmas right around the corner, so I decided to order our 2012 photo book and our New York trip photo book.  I made them in Blurb/Lightroom months ago but didn't have the money to actually print them.  It happened to be the last day of the 25% off sale, so I have enough money leftover to upgrade to Lightroom 5 (when I finally get around to it!) too.   The books came yesterday and I couldn't be more thrilled.  They're professional coffee table book quality.  It feels so fancy to see them in print!  I feel super spoiled!

We have so many fun things to blog. I can't wait for this retreat weekend to be over so I can share about Halloween, Evie's 2nd birthday update, my 17 week bumpdate, 2 photo shoots, as well as other fun fall happenings.  Seriously, I have missed blogging and reading blogs. Y'all are like another family :)