Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tickled Pink

And the cake says....

Yes, Casey and I are so excited to announce: We are having a daughter! And I absolutely can't believe it... I thought for SURE it was a boy. Evidently "motherly intuition" doesn't count for much when it comes to guessing the contents of my uterus! Either way, though, we couldn't lose.

We threw a "Haunted Halloween Sex Party," since it was the day before Halloween. It was a funny combination of sentiments: on the one hand, all of our spooky decorations were out, but sitting right in the center was this adorable yellow ducky cake!

I loved the cake. I thought it turned out great, and it was yummy to boot. And, I have to admit, I came pretty close to peeking. When they dropped off the cake, the lady from the bakery also asked if we wanted our ultrasound picture back. Casey was still at work, and by the time I mumbled "yes," I had pretty much decided that I was going to sneak a peak. Thankfully, she had re-sealed the envelope with duct tape. Had that not been the case, I would have looked for sure!!

It was incredibly nerve-wracking to have to wait to cut the cake to find out! It was an enormous test of my patience and restraint to have to wait for all of our guests to arrive before we cut it. When it actually came time to cut the cake, I almost couldn't stand the suspense! It felt like it took Casey forever to slice that first piece!!

All in all, though, I am so glad we chose to do it this way, with our family and friends around! It was so neat and special to have them there to experience that with us.

I am amazed, though, by how much knowing the gender changes the baby from my perspective. Yesterday, it was this abstract little person - even though it was a very, VERY real person whom I loved desperately - and this morning she is a concrete little thing with a whole, amazing life of possibilities ahead of her. Some possibilities have fallen by the wayside, and others have emerged. It's incredible! The baby as a little person has been very real to me from the beginning, but to know that it's a girl - to know that we can eliminate one half of the baby-names book, and one half of the store when we shop - makes it so much more real! I had no idea that I would feel that way, I was truly taken by surprise by how much it almost overwhelmed me to know that we aren't just expecting a baby... we're having a DAUGHTER!!! That was as big a moment as finding out we were pregnant to begin with!

Baby Girl: we are so excited that you are joining our family, and we can't wait to meet you!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snow, 20 weeks and more snow

On Wednesday, October 28, it started out like this:

By afternoon, it looked more like this:

By the time we went to bed, it looked like this, and it was still snowing:

When we woke up, roughly 24 hours after it started, this is what we saw on our deck. And it was (and is) still snowing!

I can't believe how much snow we've gotten! I haven't measured it, but I would guess it's somewhere in the range of 14-18 inches. It's kind of amazing! Needless to say, I had the day off again today, while Casey had to go to work again. I wish he could be home with me, but he is adamant that he has work that has to get done. Saaaad!

In other news, we are officially past the halfway point of our pregnancy! I can't believe it; it has gone so fast! I hope that the next 20 weeks go a little slower... I absolutely love being pregnant! Although I am so excited for all the amazing milestones we have in the coming weeks, and even though I am sure that I won't be as eager for things to slow down by the time week 38 gets here, it is just incredible to me that we are already halfway through this.

Baby also learned a new trick earlier this week: kicking Mommy in the bladder! I must admit, I'm not as fond of this particular milestone as I was when the baby first started to move. I can only imagine what it will be like as Baby gets bigger! But, I am still trying to enjoy each and every little development, because I know that it all goes so fast, and, no matter how thrilled I am with our wonderful next steps, I'll still miss it once it's gone.

Lastly, I had a rather vivid dream last night that the baby was a girl... Daddy and I are SO curious to see how this plays out!!

Some pics from Week 20:Hey, two days before Halloween, what do you expect?

It seems SO much bigger to me! I see the pics and think, that can't be right!

I'm literally twice the size I used to be! Grow, Baby, grow!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

PJ's and Cocoa

Why am I sitting under a blanket in my pajamas at 7:30 on a Wednesday morning?

Maybe it has a little something to do with this...

Or this...

But most especially, this...

Yes, it is a snow day! The best days of the year!!! Unfortunately, Casey doesn't get to stay home and enjoy it with me. At least we have the Highlander this year, so when I watch him go I don't worry about him having a safe car to drive in.

I am so excited to have this time off. We were just talking about all that we still have to do in preparation for our "sex party" on Friday, so this gives me a wonderful opportunity to do some cleaning, baking and other stuff that I wouldn't have been able to get done. Hooray!

Monday, October 26, 2009

May I have the envelope please....

We had our gender ultrasound appointment today! No, we do not yet know if we're expecting a little boy or girl. But, we did get to look at baby for a solid hour today, which was pretty amazing!

At the radiologist's office - 19 weeks and 5 days

The appointment itself was awesome. I was instructed to come with a full bladder, and not to use the bathroom after an hour and a half prior to the appointment - which turned out to be completely impossible! I drank a Pedialyte in the hopes that it would help Baby to be moving around (and by "a Pedialyte," I mean the gigantic, 32 oz kind!). It was strawberry, which was absolutely disgusting, but it was worth it, because we were able to see everything we needed to see!

Casey and I had already decided that, although we (desperately!) want to know the gender, we would not find out today. We are having a "sex party" on Friday, and sending the results of the ultrasound to a baker who will then create a cake for us with pink or blue on the inside. When we cut into it, then we will finally find out, along with all of our friends. I thought it was a pretty cool idea.

But today, knowing that someone has the results - including us, in a now-unsealed envelope even though we haven't looked - waiting for Friday seems like an eternity!

Getting bigger everyday...

The best news, though, is that everything is measuring exactly as it is supposed to. I am thrilled to say that Baby is perfectly average in every way, which is exactly the way we want our baby to be at this point in its life! The ultrasound tech pushed and prodded and twisted so that he could see every little piece of Baby, from counting fingers to more obscure things like Baby's femur. I had three favorites of the day: 1) seeing Baby's heart beat, 2) getting to see our baby's profile, which has changed immensely since the last ultrasound, and 3) Baby's tongue! That was such an incredible sight!

Casey and I are both so excited for Friday, we can't wait to find out if we're having a boy or a girl!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

For the Record...

Strassner Family Crystal Ball

We made an appointment to have our "gender ultrasound" next Monday, which means we will finally know the sex of the baby soon! I couldn't be more excited!

Before that comes to pass, though, I thought I would take a minute to make a few predictions...

Mommy predicts a boy! For reasons unknown, I have been convinced that this baby is a boy literally from day one. I will be so surprised if we have a different outcome! In my head it's a boy, and I keep thinking of names for little boys.

Beyond that, though, everyone I have talked to says its a boy! Not that they have any more idea than the rest of us, but honestly, not one single person seems to think we're having a girl. That should mean something, right? Our friend's 5 year old son - using his X-ray vision, of course - declared that we were having a little boy the day we announced our pregnancy. The lady in the maternity store said that everyone having a baby in February are all having girls, so (naturally) everyone giving birth in March is having boys. I don't know what makes me think this, especially since there really is no way to tell, but I'm convinced that we are expecting a bouncing bundle wrapped in blue!

Casey is Switzerland; he is so neutral on the gender issue, he won't even commit to a prediction. He says he has no preference either way as long as Baby is happy and healthy, and I actually believe him. We are both so excited to know one way or the other!

Just for fun, we did a few old wives' tales last night, and the results were mixed. Most of them came back indicating that we're having a boy, but the "wedding ring over belly" test (obviously the most reliable one!) swung in a circle, meaning that we're expecting a little girl.

Either way, we'll know soon enough. Baby boy or girl... we love you!!

Monday, October 19, 2009


My wonderful husband was out of town when the baby started moving, which was such a huge disappointment to me - not that he would have been able to feel anything had he been here...

Since he got back, though, I have been determined to let him feel Baby! It is absolutely an amazing experience, and one I desperately wish that I could share with him. So every night before we go to bed, we spend some time with his hand on my belly, just waiting for Baby to reveal him or herself.

So far, we've been feeling a bit like maybe Baby doesn't really like Daddy that much! Baby will be moving around like crazy, and as soon as Casey puts his hand on my belly... nothin'. It is so disappointing! I am trying very hard to focus on and enjoy what is happening right now, and not get caught up in how excited I am for the things to come, but I can't wait for Casey to share in this!

Casey is such a good daddy. It is incredible to me to watch the way he takes care of me, and how much he loves our baby, even when he can't truly experience Baby yet. He reads to us, and we spend time every day talking to Baby. Friday morning, he was kissing my belly goodbye as I left for work! He decided that I could go, but Baby had to stay. It's absolutely adorable!

It is amazing to me how love has such infinite capacities. I would not have believed it was possible to love Casey more than I already did; and yet, through this process, seeing him take care of me and knowing what a truly wonderful, awesome father he is going to be (and already is in so many ways), my love and admiration for him has definitely grown. I got very lucky when I fell in love with him!!

At any rate, I think we finally had a breakthrough last night... not only was Baby moving around at just the right time, but Casey was finally able to feel the baby too!! It was awesome, even though I don't think Casey really knew what he was feeling. It's certainly a lot easier for me than it is for him... but we were both extremely excited just the same!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My little nudger

I have been feeling the most peculiar sensation for the past two days... I can't fully describe it, but it is absolutely amazing. I'm pretty sure it's the baby moving around.

Yesterday, I was sitting on the couch grading papers and watching a football game (which we were losing, but oh well). Out of the blue, I felt a little... something going on in my lower abdomen. To me, it felt like a little bubble bursting inside. I stopped, and put my hand on my belly, but it didn't happen again.

For about 3 minutes, that is... and then I felt a whole series of these little flutters!

It happened again last night while I was laying in bed. This morning, I got on a couple of different websites to see if what I was feeling might fit the description of Baby's movement, and I was very pleased. People have described it as popcorn popping, or the flutter of fingernails on your arm, but obviously on the inside. Both of these aptly fit what I'm feeling.

It has been happening this morning on and off for the past 30 minutes, and at this point, I'm convinced it is our little baby - who is apparently very active!

I am so thrilled!!!!! Go, Baby, go!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Our Special Day!

It has officially been a week since our wedding (which also makes it Casey's birthday!), and I have had so much to process and look back on.

Leading up to the wedding, our biggest fear was probably the weather. Last year, when we were in Vail after our... ahem... first wedding, the weather was gorgeous. It was about 65 degrees, and, although it was cloudy, it was also absolutely beautiful.
Vail, 2008

This year, we watched the forecast with a sinking feeling in our stomachs. It was perfect on Wednesday - 75 degrees and clear - but when the weather lady predicted a "huge, unseasonal drop" in temperatures for Thursday, I got a little nervous.

It turned out that our rehearsal dinner - which of course, we had planned to hold outside - was a little chilly. Okay, it was really chilly. Like, grab your hat and gloves, because it's cold! Fortunately, our friends and family are troopers, and they helped us to tough it out.

Then it was on to Vail on Friday, where the weather was actually pretty nice, despite the fact that it had snowed Wednesday night. We had a wonderful dinner at Billy's Island Grill, where we were joined by all of the out of town family and our awesome friends, not to mention, the food was absolutely delicious!

Cheers! It's okay, mine is just fruit juice...
Casey, Andrew and Jessica
Casey's uncle Ritchie

By the time we woke up Saturday morning, I was feeling fairly safe about the forecast, which, although it was not as warm as it had been in 2008, was warm enough to allow us the outdoor wedding we had been dreaming of. It was an amazing day. A bit of a comedy of errors, but I have been preparing myself for the fact that it was never going to go perfectly. And it didn't, but uncharacteristically, I was pretty okay with that.

We started with breakfast, which we had planned to hold in the hotel. Unfortunately, the breakfast that Casey and I attended last year on October 4th wasn't open yet - the consierge said they only do that in the winter, and evidently their definition of when winter begins has changed. So instead, we all trekked out to Denny's, and it was actually really fun!

Then, the boys and girls split to their respective hotel rooms to get dressed. When we went to the spa a few weeks ago, they told me that a thinly sliced cucumber on the face removes impurities, so the girls went on the hunt for a cucumber. To our complete astonishment, we didn't have to look far: our "personal consierge" delivered one to us!

Somehow, I was still feeling relaxed as we drove to Donovan Pavilion about an hour before the ceremony. I wasn't nervous, I was just trying to relax and take it all in. Putting the dress on was awesome, it was a great feeling to stand there in my wedding dress!

Getting in the dress

My handsome hubby

Everything was kind of blur when the music cued to signal the beginning of the ceremony. Because I am a perfectionist, I was counting in my head and watching from the sidelines to make sure the timing would be okay. Then, the music changed, and I had to send our adorable ring bearer down the aisle. Finally, it was time for me to send off the flower girl, and then... I took my dad's arm and it was like magic to walk out those doors.

By far, my favorite moment of the day was seeing Casey's eyes tear up when he saw me. He almost cried, so of course I almost cried. I don't remember seeing anyone else as I walked down the aisle; I literally only had eyes for him. I think I may have smiled at my mom - I meant to anyway, I'm not sure if I actually did.

The ceremony was perfect. It was officiated by a former teacher of mine, whom I absolutely adore, and she did a phenomenal job. I knew she would make it perfect, but in the moment, it honestly couldn't have been any better. Having her there was... amazing! It was absolutely the best ceremony we could have imagined. And so different from the one we did a year ago! When I wrote the ceremony, I kept the vows the same, so that our vows would always be the same. But it was incredibly neat to be able to actually stand in front of our family and friends, with Gloria leading us, and profess our love for one another. Wow...

We're totally Joe Cool. Didn't cry at all...

Casey saying a few words to me Awwwwww!!! Putting on Casey's ring (again....) What a difference a year makes! 2008....

Taking pictures was a huge adventure. Our photographer is awesome, and I can't wait to see what she captured. But some of the poses and positions she put us in were seriously crazy! In my wedding gown and 4 inch heels, I was hiking through the underbrush and walking on rocks in the middle of the river! I trust her, and I am sure it will be worth it when we see the photos, but in the moment it was totally nuts!!

The reception was a blur. Even though I wasn't drinking, I don't remember much of it even a week later. It was both stressful and wonderful, probably in equal parts. The good things I remember were walking around and talking to all of our friends and family, who we are extremely blessed to have in our lives. We have always know we have wonderful, supportive friends, but on this day, they all seemed to go above and beyond. That part of the reception was AWESOME!

One of my favorite parts of the night was after Casey and I returned to the hotel. We decided to take a walk through the deserted streets around the Arrabelle (by streets, I really mean the quaint little village area surrounding the hotel. No cars allowed on the cobblestones that are totally part of the whole ambiance of the place. Not at ALL like "streets" we might think of!). It was a beautiful night, and it was so amazing to have that time together to decompress after all of the excitement. When we finally got into our hotel room, I discovered one more surprise: my mom had decorated the whole thing with customized "Mr. & Mrs." everything: pillowcases, pillows, mugs, picture frames; and she had put baskets of food in our suite for us to enjoy.

We changed out of our wedding wear - which, somehow wasn't as sad as I had expected it to be! - and settled in to watch the video of the wedding, eat a bit of food and some wedding cake.

It was an absolutely awesome, perfect day full of so many blessings! We are grateful to everyone who came to celebrate with us, because you made our day even more special!!!!

I changed my font at