Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

I can certainly tell you how we'll be spending our Christmas weekend...spending time with our own little Christmas miracle!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Elyse Love ~ Unconditional & Perfect

Elyse Ann Layman

Born December 13, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

6 lbs 4 oz, 19 1/2 inches long

Of course there will be more photos and a birth story to follow, and trust me our daughter decided to make an entrance in dramatic fashion,...if I can only pull myself away for long enough to type. She's perfect in every way & we're loving our life as a family of 3...God is so so so so Good!

Friday, December 9, 2011

From our family to yours...

Merry Christmas!



Since I really have no idea when my last post will be before Elyse's arrival, I wanted to share our Christmas cards this year with all my blogging friends. We included a "save the date" on the back of the card for Elyse's arrival and I just love how they turned out! Tiny Prints did an amazing job again this year!

Merry Christmas friends! May the next few weeks be full of joy, love, peace, and hope as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We'll be not-so-patiently awaiting Elyse's arrival, and have decided that there could be no better Christmas present than the precious miracle of our first child. (of course I'd definitely take her several days before Christmas!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Elyse Love ~ 38 Weeks


Total Weight Gain/Loss: As of our dr's appointment yesterday, I am at +37. Water retention has set in and I think it's definitely contributing to some of my weight gain. Frustrating for that total number, but I also keep reminding myself that it's not "true" weight gain but simply a fact of the late stages of pregnancy.

Gender: Our baby girl...Elyse Ann! Oh how excited we are to meet you!

Movement: She's still a moving little girl! I keep reminding her that she would have much more room to do her gymnastics & dance moves if she would come out and join her momma & daddy in the real world.

Sleep: As I reach the end of this pregnancy I am so grateful that good, quality sleep has been fairly easy to come by! A quick visit to the bathroom each night and I'm back to bed for the rest of the night...guess that probably won't be happening much longer!

What I miss: Putting on my own shoes and socks and tying my own shoes! ha! I've resorted to having Hubby help me with this and it's super annoying! I also can't wear most of my knee-high/riding boots because of the swelling in my legs...oh the joys of late-stage pregnancy!

Cravings: The yummy holiday treats have started to roll in and I've definitely taking advantage of those! But I wouldn't really call it a craving...more like just a desire to eat whatever I want at this point!

Symptoms: Definitely just a pregnant momma waiting on the arrival of her baby girl...I haven't really had any "labor" symptoms except for Braxton Hicks so I'm not sure when she's going to decide to arrive!

Maternity Clothes: This weeks' photo is all non-maternity except for a camisole underneath. I've made do with a lot of the clothes I already had in my closet and I'm making some of the flowing, loose-fitting summery dresses work with leggings and cardigans. I'm not about to go buy any more maternity clothes at this stage in the game!

Best Moment this week: I guess it would be our dr's appointment yesterday. Elyse was hiding from our nurse and so finding her heartbeat was a little more difficult than normal...but once we tracked her down it was good & strong! The dr's appointment was also a little frustrating because I haven't made any progress since last week. Ughhh....come on baby girl, come out and play with us!

Baby To-Do List: We're as ready as we'll ever be. The bags are mostly packed except for our toiletries, our Christmas shopping is virtually done and we have big plans to do most of the wrapping tonight. Now it's just time to wait for her arrival...and who knows when that will be!

And another belly bump photo...I keep hoping that each week will be the last appearance of my big belly! Maybe this week will be the last one...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Simple Prayer from a Stranger

Today was like any other day. Hubby & I got out of bed, came to work, had lunch with my mom, and came back to work this afternoon. About 2:30 that all changed.

A man came into our office with his mother who is an existing client to ask some questions and make some changes. One thing led to another and I went up front to introduce myself and it was of course very obvious that I am expecting a child any day. This man is a long time Baptist preacher at a nearby country church and started discussing his congregation and even invited us all to his church.

I graciously told him that Hubby & I attend church regularly and we made small talk for a brief moment before began to leave. However, God had other plans for Him today. Before he walked out the door he looked at me and said "Well I'm just an old-time Baptist preacher, but can I say a quick prayer for you & your baby before I leave?" I was dumb-founded.

Myself, a coworker, and this gentle man's mother circled up and joined hands right in the front of our insurance agency while we listened to this Baptist preacher pray an absolutely beautiful prayer over the delivery & arrival of our baby girl. Tears were definitely filling my eyes and I think the only thing keeping me from completely breaking down was just the awe I was in regarding what was happening.

Our baby girl could arrive any day, at any moment; but God chose this day to send a stranger into my life to bless my soul & put my heart at ease. God is going to bring this baby girl into our lives when it's her time to shine...and it's just not her time quite yet.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekend Rewind @ 38 Weeks

When we originally found out that we were expecting a baby in December, for Hubby & I there became an unwritten, unspoken rule that we would seriously limit any weekend obligations for the month of December and even for the month of November.

No major plans were made and for the most part we tried to keep our schedules pretty clear. In my mind we did this for several reasons...a lack of knowledge in how I would be feeling, the possibility of an early delivery, and maybe most practically--the desire to watch our spending with a new baby on the way. While there have been a few times where I miss having those crazy weekends, the ability to veg out and relax for an entire weekend has certainly been enjoyable.

Hubby & I had absolutely NO must do items this weekend which meant I've spent most of it in comfy clothes doing the few things I needed to do from the couch. (let's be honest, it's also my vain attempt to help my ankle bones find the service again! ha!)

Friday evening we attended a Friends & Family event at the new Famous Dave's location that is opening in our area. One of the business partners is a client of ours and so Hubby & I joined my parents for a business appearance, that was really nothing more than an absolutely free meal of BBQ! We had a huge meal and I honestly probably ate WAY too much...but it was all so yummy! We also made a couple of other quick stops to take care of some additional Christmas shopping and we also stopped at Target for a few things for Elyse.

I've decided that quick stops for Elyse are going to be part of our weekly routine...similar to those stops at Lowe's & Home Depot we had 4 1/2 years ago with a new house to furnish! Except this time it's a little human being we have to furnish! ha!

Yesterday was ridiculously laid back for me. I had spent Friday night sleeping on the couch for comfort & I honestly didn't hardly move until early afternoon. I had been ordered to take it easy from Hubby & my momma so I didn't want to disobey! I wasn't completely unproductive as I got our Christmas cards all ready to be mailed...definitely one of my goals to complete before Elyse arrives.

We headed out last night for a nice dinner at one of favorite places...5 Spice China Grill. It's basically a local version of PF Chang's but in my opinion it's SO much better. They seriously have the BEST lobster & cream cheese wontons I've ever eaten! We also made a quick pass by one of the crazy Christmas light displays in town, stopped for a bit of froyo, and then came home for a movie on the couch. We had rented Crazy, Stupid, Love and it was ok...I fell asleep for about 30 minutes in the middle so I honestly can't give it an honest review, but Hubby enjoyed it.

Today has been another laid-back day on the couch. We headed to church, grabbed some lunch and I came home for a brief nap. We have our last official Financial Peace small group tonight and then it will be time for another week.

I honestly can't believe that anytime I could be away from the blog world for awhile because Elyse has arrived...don't worry I'll be posting a photo and birth announcement as soon as I can after she makes her appearance!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Yummy Yummy Cookie Goodness

Earlier this week I hosted my 4th annual Christmas Cookie Exchange for all the lovely ladies in my life! I was hoping that Elyse would hold off so we could all gather together. Thankfully, and maybe for the last time in her life, she listened and we were able to eat some yummy soups & delicious cookies all while having a great time with friends!

I invited close to 15 fabulous ladies from my various circle's of friends, but unfortunately with crazy December schedules only about 5 were able to attend. At first I was honestly a little bummed, but our small intimate group made it a wonderful evening anyway. We were able to all sit around the same table, share in the same conversation, and eat way too many cookies since there were only 6 varieties to choose from!

Last year I had 12 of my friends come and that was almost TOO many cookies to be able to try them all! I know that may be hard to believe but after stuffing our bellies with yummy soup & appetizers, there's only so much room for the sweet treats. However, I just love filling my house with fun conversation and love that comes when all my girlfriend's get together so I wouldn't trade a big crowd for anything.

The recipe I chose this year was of course from Pinterest and could certainly be considered a Pinterest Success! Red Velvet Gooey Butter delicious!


8oz. (1 brick) Cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 c. Butter, softened (1 stick)

1 egg

1 t. Vanilla

1 (18-ounce) box red velvet cake mix

Powdered sugar, for rolling/dusting


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth.

3. Beat in egg, then the vanilla.

4. Beat in the cake mix.

5. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up.

6. Roll batter into tablespoon-sized balls and then roll them in powdered sugar.

7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes.

The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

This pregnant momma honestly wasn't too disappointed with the small crowd, since a small crowd also means a quick & easy cleanup! Next year hopefully the turnout will be a little more successful, but if not I know that me & my girlfriends will make the best of it!

The group this year...without my momma who's standing behind the camera!

Myself, Jennifer, Bethany, Jacinda, & Andrea

Thanks for coming girls, it was a fabulous evening!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Elyse Love ~ 37 Weeks


Total Weight Gain/Loss: As of our dr's appointment yesterday, I am at +35...which is officially on the high end of average. It seems that my weight gain has practically disappeared and the only weight I'm gaining is going straight to Elyse! However, the water retention has definitely begun...I figure I've made it this far, so I should consider that a success.

Gender: Our baby girl...Elyse Ann! Oh how excited we are to meet you!

Movement: Lots & lots of rolling...and honestly there are times when I mistake her movement for a nice long Braxton Hicks contraction! It's quite amazing to lay in bed or on the couch and watch my belly roll from one side to another.

Sleep: Thankfully sleep is still coming very easily. I wake up feeling rested and ready to go. I'm trying to enjoy my sleep as much as I can since I know these sleep-filled nights will be gone very soon!

What I miss: The countdown is on at this point, and anything that I miss I know is only temporary. I'm looking forward to having turkey sandwiches, caesar salad, putting on my own shoes & socks, painting my own toenails (thanks mom!), and lots of other things...but holding Elyse in my arms instead of my belly will be oh so worth it!

Cravings: 1st pregnancy = Craving free for this momma! I've also pretty much decided that I've made it this far...I'll eat what I want! ha! My appetite isn't crazy out of control so I just eat small servings of yummy holiday goodies & seem to be pretty satisfied!

Symptoms: Hmmm...water retention is the big one this week. I feel like my face has gotten a wee-bit puffy and my cankles are officially here to stay. Sure, they might unswell just a bit, but for the most part I wake up with cankles and go to bed with cankles. Thank goodness for leggings & Ugg boots!

Maternity Clothes: Honestly everything I have on in this week's photo is non-maternity. I'm pretty proud of that fact & so glad that the various fashion styles right now have enough "flexibility" to be worn at all stages of pregnancy. Non-maternity pants were pushed to the back of the closet and the bottom of the drawer weeks ago...but leggings & tunics are still able to be worn in some cases!

Best Moment this week: Our dr's appointment yesterday was pretty wonderful. I breath an internal sigh of relief every time I hear that heartbeat going crazy! While I hadn't made any huge progress, I'm still moving forward which is encouraging. My mom is predicting Dec. 10...anyone else have predictions?

Baby To-Do List: I've got a small list of items I need to pick up for the hospital but for the most part I'm just SO ready for her arrival. I've started gathering things for our hospital stay in the nursery so that when the time comes we can throw everything in a bag and head out.

The first official December belly bump...I guess we'll for sure be having a December baby! We've been planning on a Christmas darling all this time...might as well make it official!