Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Shouldless Days of '17: November

I made last Sunday a shouldless day. I wasn't sure if I was going to fit one into November as it's been a busy month, but I am glad I was able to sneak one in! Here is how I spent it!

As usual, I was up before Phil. I had oatmeal with raisin and bananas and pumpkin spice tea for breakfast.

It was laundry day so I went through the diapers I bought on sale during Thanksgiving week and figured out which ones I needed to prep. Some cloth diapers require that you wash them 6-8 times so I figured out which ones I needed to add to our laundry. We aren't going to use cloth diapers until the baby fits into one size diapers (around 10 pounds) but I wanted to get the prep work done well ahead of when the baby arrives.

We had plans to decorate our tree that day so I made a special brunch, as is our tradition. I made this easy egg bake with pork sausage from our meat share. While it baked, I read and kitty kept my lap warm.

Then it was time to eat! I forgot to take a picture before we dug in (we were both really hungry and ended up eating 5 pieces between the 2 of us!!).

We lounged around after brunch and got a kick out watching our little sun-seeker catch some rays.

Then it was time to decorate the tree! We decorated a fake, pre-lit tree. We pretty much always had fake trees when we were growing up so it's what I am used to.

It didn't take long for Oscar to start poking around. She did pretty well with the tree last year so hopefully she does well this year, too. We just keep the ornaments off the lower branches.

After that, Phil headed to the gym and I laid down to read and nap. I'm still feeling really exhausted and need naps on the weekends. Oscar warmed my feet and kept me company and we both eventually fell asleep.

Phil likes to keep our house pretty cool (63 degrees!) so I pretty much always have a heated blanket on my lap. Oscar is a big fan, too.

She continued to poke around the tree but so far she hasn't broken any ornaments. She just can't resist something shiny that she can bat around with her paws.

For dinner, we enjoyed Thanksgiving weekend leftovers while watching 60 minutes.

It was quite the lazy day but it was just what I needed after several busy days. It was nice to have Phil around for a shouldless day as he's usually at his mom's on my shouldless days! And Oscar really seemed to love having us around all day, too.

I am going to enjoy these shouldless days while I can as I know they won't be possible once baby Segner arrives!

Have you had any relaxing days recently?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

My favorite holiday of the year has come and gone! Here's how I spent my 4-day weekend!

On Thursday we gathered at my brother's to celebrate Thanksgiving. My parents and both my brothers and their families were there. So it was a 'smallish' group (13 total - when my whole family is together there's 19 of us!).

My nephews Matthew (9) and Kolin (10)
We waited until after the Vikings/Lions game to eat (the Vikings won but they made it a nail-biter, as they are wont to do). We had quite the spread! My mom made some GF stuffing for me. Stuffing is probably my favorite Thanksgiving dish so I appreciate that she always makes me own little crockpot of stuffing. I brought the vegetable tray and dips and this brussel sprout salad (which is so good!).

After dinner we lazed around. My dad made a blanket out of newspapers because he was a bit chilly. What can I say - he's a quirky guy. He claims that he felt warmer covered in newspapers. My dad and I are both always cold but I opted for a blanket!

On Thursday night I came down with a flare in my knee. I've never had a flare in that joint before. It was very painful and made it difficult to sleep on Thursday night. So I was very glad that my mom had planned to come over on Friday afternoon to help me prep for the dinner I hosted for my family that evening. I was hobbling around since I couldn't put my full weight on my left leg, so I was very happy to have her help! I had made and froze a meat lasagna the previous weekend so she helped me make the veggie lasagna. Both turned out great!

Our house is really small - about 1300 square feet, so it was a little bit crowded with 12 guests, but we made it work!

The kids table!
My knee felt much better by Saturday morning so it was a short-lived flare. Since I was feeling better I spent the day turning 18 pounds of roasted tomatillos, which I harvested from my garden this summer, into salsa verde! It was kind of a putzy job since I had to chop a lot of onions and cilantro and I had to roast the garlic and jalapenos. But it was fun to spend some time in the kitchen.

With my mom's encouragement, I used the pressure cooker to can the salsa instead of using the hot water bath method. I have an Instant Pot and am not intimidated by that at all, but I was intimidated by the stove-top pressure cooker! After reading the instructions it didn't seem so bad. The Instant Pot had introduced me to how pressure cooking worked, so it was less intimidating. And I knew my mom was only a phone call away if I needed help!

The first batch of process jars
By 3:30 pm I was done and had canned 12 1.5 pint jars of salsa. We are looking forward to enjoying these over the winter and will share some with my family at Christmas. I was really proud of myself for figuring out how to use the pressure cooker. I know my mom's mom, Grandma Val, would be so proud of me for carrying on the canning tradition. My mom grew up canning with her mom, and then I canned with my mom. Hopefully baby Segner will pick up this tradition and carry it on when he or she is an adult!

I was pretty wiped out after being on my feet for so long so I laid down on the couch and Oscar promptly jumped up for some snuggles. I think she knows something is going on in my belly as she kind of avoid sitting on my belly. When she does sit on my belly, the baby will kick!

I had leftovers for dinner and watched another Hallmark Holiday movie. Phil came home (he had spent the day at his mom's) when there was about 20 minutes left and figured out the plot line in about 5 minutes .  ;)  I know that Hallmark movies are predictable and cheesy but I just love them.

We settled in and watched Allied on Amazon Prime which was really good! It's set during WWII and is about a Canadian intelligence officer that begins to suspect that his wife is a German spy.

My loves
I'll talk about how I spent my Sunday in another post as it was a "shouldless day" for me. How was your weekend?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


'Tis the season to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. This should be a daily exercise for us, but I'm glad that a holiday comes around once a year that reminds us to reflect on the many blessings in our life. I usually do a 10-day series of Thanksgiving posts but this year I decided to do one post instead! Here are some of the many things I am thankful for.

1. This Guy

Phil keeps me on my toes and prevents me from taking things too seriously. We celebrated 6 months of marriage this past weekend, which kind of blows my mind! Our first year of marriage is going to fly by!

2. Our Growing Baby

My baby bump at 24 weeks
While I don't love being pregnant due to how hard it makes it to manage my RA (I had to go off my most effective $1,000/week injection), I feel so grateful that we were able to conceive so easily and quickly and that the baby's development has been healthy and normal.

3. Our Sweet Kitty

Yes, she prefers Phil by a landslide, but it makes me appreciate the moments when she will cuddle with me even more. I never thought I'd be a cat lady but Phil has certainly made me one. I can't imagine our house without our furry little friend!

4. My Supportive Family

My beautiful nieces and nephews!

My siblings and their spouses

My dear mom, who is looking at my dad with such adoration and love

My dad during his very funny and sweet speech at our wedding. Phil is a lot like him - they have a strong sense of humor, hate attention, and have the softest hearts.
I don't know what I'd do without the love and support of my family!

5. The Amazing Wedding We Pulled Off

Our wedding was all I had dreamed of and more. I'm especially proud of the fact that I DIY'd so much of it - with the help of family and friends. Of course the most amazing part was marrying this guy!

This is one of my favorite photos from the day. You can see how happy I am wrapped in the arms of Phil!

6. The Travel Adventures We've Had

From hiking in Southern California...

to skipping rocks on the beaches of San Diego...

to hiking in Maui...

to hiking in Northern Minnesota...

to hiking in Western North Carolina!

We packed a lot of adventures into the past year! I guess you can tell how much we love hiking since we tend to hike on every trip we take!

7. Friends

URL  turned IRL friends

College friends

I'm lucky to have so many wonderful, supportive friends who have been there for me through good and bad!

8. A Warm House and a Fridge Full of Food

Through my involvement on my company's United Way Campaign committee, I've become even more aware of how many people are struggling in my community - 25% of the people in the broader Twins Cities area live in poverty. That is such a sad statistic. I thought about how very fortunate I am when I was loading up my grocery cart with food for Thanksgiving weekend. We have a warm house and never have to worry about how we will pay the heating or electricity bills.

What are you thankful for? To all my American readers, have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Currently: November

Happy Thanksgiving week (to my American readers)! This is one of my favorite holidays of the year so I am super excited for all the yummy food on Thursday! Here's what's currently going on in my life!

Reading: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnston. One of my reading goals for 2017 was to read 6 books that I already own. I've had this book for a couple of years and am finally getting around to reading it! It was recently recommended on the podcast, "What Should I Read Next." I think I am going to like it!

Loving:  feeling the baby move! Since I have an anterior placenta, I felt movement later than most moms do. But I finally started to feel movement a couple of weeks ago. Phil hasn't been able to feel kicks yet but hopefully he can in the next couple of weeks.

Feeling: really tired and kind of cranky at times to be honest... I never got that second wind of energy during my 2nd trimester like many other moms due to my RA. I don't like feeling cranky but when I feel so tired it's kind of an easy emotion for me to feel.

Thinking: about my trip to St. Louis to visit Nora. It's going to a fun, low key girl weekend. She'll be post-chemo and I have my usual pregnancy/RA exhaustion so we will both need a quite, low key weekend together. But this trip is all about spending time with her. I know we'll do some fun things, like go to the movie "Wonder" (super excited for this as I loved the book and have heard good things about the movie), check out some book stores and eat Mexican food (a cuisine we both LOVE, but I'm mostly excited to be able to chat with her face-to-face.

Anticipating: holiday traditions. This weekend I will make a special brunch on Sunday and we'll decorate our tree. In a couple of weeks, I'll have my college friends and their kids over and we'll decorate cookies. Later in the month, Phil and I will have our own little Christmas celebration. We'll celebrate Christmas with Phil's mom which will include Phil driving us around to look at Christmas lights!

Watching:  Hallmark Christmas movies. I know they are super cheesy but I love them. We don't have cable so I don't have access to the Hallmark channel anymore but my sweet friend Erin sent me a DVD with a bunch of Hallmark Christmas movies so I am getting my fill on them thanks to her!

Grateful: for my excellent boss and work environment. Last week my boss was in town and he sat down with me and told me he was concerned about how I am doing since I have had so many flares and seem particularly tired. He gave me the name/number of a person in HR that he suggested I reach out to for information about going on short term disability before the baby arrives if I feel it is necessary. I really want to work until 36 or 38 weeks but it's nice to know that I have his support if I need to stop working early. He also said I can work from home as much as I need to. I'm super lucky to have this kind of support as I know it is very rare, especially in my field (asset management) which is known for discriminating mothers and expecting moms.

Working: on finding furniture for our nursery. We are not going to buy a crib before the baby comes as we are hoping to find a house before the baby transitions from the bassinet in our room to a crib. We are trying to avoid having to take apart and re-assemble a crib when we move. If the baby needs to transition to a crib-like structure before we find a house, we will probably just use a pack n' play. But I do want to buy a glider and a combination dresser/changing table. The glider could take 10+ weeks to arrive so I want to order it soon as my due date is about 15 weeks away!

Listening:  to the "It's a Real Mother" series on the podcast, "The Longest Shortest Time." It's a series about workplace discrimination against mothers. It's really eye-opening and sad to listen to how our culture and companies treat mothers.

Wishing: for some warmer weather. Winter arrived early this year. We don't have snow on the ground (although we've had 3 snowfalls) but it's been so cold! I hope we get some warmer temps before winter settles in for good! 

What are you reading, anticipating and loving these days?

Friday, November 17, 2017


Hello, Friday! This week flew by for me. Here's a TGIF-style recap of my week!

The high of my week was getting our listing photos back. I'm really happy with how they turned out. It feels so good to have the photos taken care of so we don't have to deal with having them taken once we have a baby!

The low of my week was my painful flare and steroid injection. I'm so over these weekly flares. They just wipe me out and make it so hard to do basic tasks like cooking and cleaning.

The book I am reading is It's Okay to Laugh by Nora McInerny Purmort. This is a re-read for me. I don't often re-read books, but it's our December book club book so I wanted the book to be fresh in my mind so I could contribute to the discussion.

Recipes I made were this instant pot chicken enchilada soup. Our verdict was that it was 'just ok.' It just didn't have as much flavor as we like. Last night I made baked chicken parmesan (but skipped the melted cheese on top as we didn't have mozzarella on hand) on top of GF pasta with puttanesca sauce. It was really good!

The best money I spent was on these warming mittens. They are supposed to help with arthritis. Who knows if they will help my RA but I figure it's worth a shot!

My plans this weekend include going out to dinner tonight with some girls from book club and then attending a live taping of the podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking. We are reading the book by the host of the podcast (Nora McInerny Purmort) for our December meeting so it will be fun to see her live before our book club meeting! On Saturday, my SIL and I are going to shop for the family we are sponsoring for Christmas. Starting last year, instead of giving our parents a Christmas gift, we use the money we would have spent to sponsor a family in need. I don't have any specific plans for Sunday besides grocery shopping/preparing for Thanksgiving. I'm hosting my family for a lasagna dinner the day after Thanksgiving. I'm making 2 lasagnas - one veggie and one meat. I am planning to make one of the lasagnas on Sunday. It will be nice to get one of the lasagnas made/froze ahead of time!

What was the high of your week? Did you make any recipes this week (either new-to-you or tried and true)?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

NYC Trip Recap

Happy Thursday! This week has been a bit of a blur! I got back from my NYC trip on Monday evening and the rest of the week has flown by as we had to prepare for listing photos which were taken on Wednesday. To be clear - we are not listing our house now. We decided to get the listing photos out of the way before we start to accumulate lots of baby stuff. Now we'll be able to list the house as soon as we find a house to buy. Add in a painful RA flare that required a steroid injection (my 8th of this pregnancy!!) and it has been a hectic week...

But let's talk about something more fun - my trip to NYC! I planned this trip back in April as I had some American Airline miles that were expiring. I had enough miles to pay for the flights so it made this trip inexpensive.

The reason for the trip was to visit my friend Alli and meet their new baby! Alli and her husband moved to an adorable neighborhood in Queens called "Sunnyside Gardens." I had never been to Queens before but was completely charmed by their neighborhood. It's full of brick row houses and mature trees. It has a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline and you are just a quick subway ride away from midtown.

I arrived on Thursday evening and checked into my airbnb. I opted to stay in an airbnb instead of with Alli and her husband as I knew they'd be adjusting to life with a newborn. Plus it's kind of nice to have your own space to return to at the end of each day! I highly recommend the place I stayed in. It was only $110/night so it's very economical. The unit is a small studio but had plenty of room for 2 people. Sunnyside is an easy 20 minute subway ride into Manhattan so it's a very economical way to visit NYC!

I went over to Alli's on Friday morning and soaked up time with Alli and her adorable son Aaron! I got lots of opportunities to cuddle their sweet baby! Holding him made me even more excited for the arrival of our little one!

Is there anything better than holding a sleeping baby?

Aaron and his momma, Alli. Aaron loves to give side eye!  ;)
On Friday we went out for a yummy lunch and then spent the rest of the day at their house. It was very cold outside for NYC - in the 30s! I was more than happy to chill with Alli and the baby. Alli made dinner + homemade GF chocolate chip cookies! Can you say supermom??

On Saturday I went into Manhattan for the day. I started off by meeting up with a friend that I met when I worked in Colorado the summer after my sophomore year of college. I hadn't seen her since 2009 so we had a lot of catch up on! I enjoyed a decaf latte.

After gabbing for 2 hours, I took a subway down to the Soho area and had lunch at Senza Gluten which is a 100% gluten free Italian restaurant. It was amazing to be able to order anything off the menu! My pasta was delicious!

After lunch I stopped by Laduree to pick up some macarons to share with Alli's husband, Chris, who is also a Celiac. (Alli is allergic to tree nuts so can't have macarons.)

Then I meandered down to the 9/11 Memorial. I was hoping to go to the museum but the line was obnoxiously long. The memorial was beautifully done. They have 2 different pools that are surrounded by the names of the victims of 9/11. The memorial indicates where the victim was or what fire department or police department they were a member of.

There is also a "survivor tree." Here is an explanation of the tree:

"In October 2001, the tree was discovered at Ground Zero severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present. Today, the tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth."

After that I headed back to Sunnyside. We went out to dinner that night at a restaurant in their neighborhood. I had a delicious burger on a GF bun! GF buns usually suck but this one was so good!

Sunday was another low key day. We got brunch in the morning, checked out an art fair, and then headed back to Alli's to soak up more time with baby Aaron.

It's exhausting being this cute!
 I got him to smile and managed to capture the moment on my phone!

Aaron is just the sweetest baby. He only cries when he's hungry or needs his diaper changed. I hope our baby is as good-natured as baby Aaron! But fussy or easy going, we'll love him or her no matter what!

Alli made one last meal - a delicious pasta dish with sausage, peppers and onions.  It was so good!

On Monday morning, I took my time getting ready. I was feeling especially exhausted that morning - I should have known it was a sign that a flare was coming as I tend to get extra tired before having a flare.  And sure enough - I came down with a flare during the night on Monday. Womp womp!

My trip to NYC was the perfect getaway for me. It was great to spend so much time with Alli and her husband and to get so many baby snuggles from sweet Aaron!