Beautiful Gardens

Uncategorized

When it comes to plants, I don’t exactly have a knack for planting a variety of things or a garden that’s full of beautiful plants (I’m hoping that will come with age). We are so very lucky that Dan’s mom, Nancy, and sister, Megan are great with plants and can make anything grow. Megan is also now a “Simmons” – she married into the very popular Simmons Farm enterprise in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. If you’ve never been there, please check it out! And if you have, you probably have as much appreciation for what this family does on a daily basis to grow and produce all of the beautiful and delicious fruits, vegetables and flowers that they have year round. It’s amazing!

When we started talking a few months ago about giving the front yard a face lift Megan offered to put some hanging baskets together for us and bring us some perennials that would work with the partial shade we have in the front and full sun we’ve got going on in the back of the house. I had no idea the transformation that was about to take place. Dan’s parents came out Tuesday evening to help plant and Megan (with the help of Simmons Farm) brought an entire truckload of flowers and ground plants, plus enormous hanging baskets that are absolutely beautiful and full of such bright and pretty summer flowers and vines. They’re already starting to take off, but I can’t wait to see them in a month when the vines have really started to grow in.

I only took a few pictures as of today of the front of the house and the flower bed. I’ll have to take a few of the back garden when we’re watering tonight. Honestly though, these pictures do not do the beauty of these plants justice. Just to walk out on the porch and see all the vibrant colors, and the grass which Dan has been working so feverously on has finally taken off and filled in – it just looks wonderful – like someone really lives here ๐Ÿ™‚

Just wanted to share with all of you our new landscape. It makes you very much appreciate the little things in life and the beauty of the outdoors.

IMG_4882

IMG_4883

IMG_4884

IMG_4885

Hope you’re all having a great week!
xo – The Sterns

22 Weeks!

Uncategorized

Wow – 22 weeks, it’s still hard to believe we’re that far along already! But, this growing belly is a sure sign that we’re right on track. This week was another crazy one with lots of things going on. Dan was away for the weekend for a conference in St. Louis so me and the boys held down the fort. There was lots of cleaning (that has been my MO lately) and packing up of the winter gear (yah!).

The invitations for the July shower were ordered and some other specifics are starting to fall into play. I really can’t believe we’re planning for this already. Seems like just a blink ago it was February and we were saying – “we’ve got a long way to go before we think about that!” and now it’s right around the corner.

We had the opportunity to have some maternity photos taken this past week by our good friend, Stephanie Tintera. She does some photography on the side, but her work is amazing (she should do this full time!). We have been struggling with the weather we’ve been having the past week, and had to postpone a few times, but we decided to take a chance last week and just go for it. It poured down rain until about 5:30, but by 6 the sun had broken through and it make for a beautiful evening. Here are two pictures from the session that she sent over:

Maternity 1

maternity 2

We’ll be sure to post the rest once we get them – these were so great I’m sure we’ll have a hard time picking a favorite when we see them all!

How far along: 22 weeks
Total weight gain/measurements: 16.5lbs; 41 in (belly – holy moly – that’s in one week!)
Maternity clothes: yes, please! More like gym shorts as much as possible!
Stretch marks: itty bitty ones
Sleep: sleep has been good
Best moment of this week: getting invitations ordered for the shower & scheduling our next ultrasound
Have you told family & friends: Yes!
Miss Anything? I would really love a Blue Moon
Food cravings: Rita’s Italian Ice; apples; JIF whipped ๐Ÿ™‚
Anything that makes you queasy or sick: n/a
Have you started to show yet: Yes!
Gender prediction: No more predictions – BOY, BOY, BOY!
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? In, but I don’t think that will be too much longer
Wedding rings on or off? Wedding ring is still on, but unfortunately I can’t get my engagement ring back on my finger
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Painting the nursery (hopefully happening this week!) & Dan being back home ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_4891_sm
the boys wanted their picture taken too

IMG_4887_sm

Whoa – Where did the time go?

Uncategorized

First of all, let me start by saying: I’m so sorry for slacking! I literally turned around and nearly a month is gone since our last belly post and Week 18 is still on the chalkboard (for the last evening, I promise!). I honestly don’t know where this weeks have gone. There’s been so much going on, both at work and home, I haven’t had a moment to think about writing and the guilt as sunken in.

Ok, so we’re at week 22! Week 20 was celebrated by dipping my toes in the Atlantic Ocean in Atlantic City, NJ while I was there for a conference. The weather was crappy all week long, but it cleared up enough that I could get out Thursday afternoon for a few minutes.

AC Boardwalk

AC Beach

I also found these cute All Stars at the outlets while I was there. I couldn’t wait to get home and show Dan.

All Stars

Last weekend we celebrated Mother’s Day at Dan’s parents. The weekend weather was a bit finicky, but Sunday ended up being really nice. I came down to find a slew of presents on the table from my boys (Dan, Murray & Theo ๐Ÿ™‚ ) It was such a beautiful day and such an amazing reminder of what is right around the corner for us. We can’t wait to celebrate next year with our little boy!

Mother's Day

Here’s my updates for week 21:

How far along: 21 weeks
Total weight gain/measurements: 15lbs; waist is 39 3/4 inches (I’m starting to measure cause he is growing!)
Maternity clothes: yes!
Stretch marks: slightly on either side of my belly
Sleep: so-so
Best moment of this week: getting over the 20 week mark!
Have you told family & friends: Yes!
Miss Anything?
Food cravings: Cereal & fruit
Anything that makes you queasy or sick: n/a
Have you started to show yet: Yes!
Gender prediction: No more predictions – we know it’s a BOY ๐Ÿ™‚
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? Still in
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: The next ultrasound to see how much he’s grown & our babymoon over Memorial Day to OC, MD!

Belly pic – celebrated half way point by taking a trip to AC! (not, really for that reason – but a good reason to celebrate!)
AC belly pic

Congrats to the Run SSA Program

Uncategorized

This year Dan had the opportunity to create an after-school program for boys in grades 1-5 at the Junior School, with the help of Nick Hammon. These guys have done an amazing job with these handful of boys who have joined the running program. Getting together once a week after school to do team building activities and run – they’ve done everything from group runs to sprints to jogs around Frick Park.

The Pittsburgh Marathon was this past weekend so a few of the Junior School boys, their parents, Dan and Nick registered to do the 5K on Saturday morning. It was a little chilly start to the day – but everyone did great and finished!

I was merely there to cheer on (and hold keys while they ran) – but I was happy to be out in support of such a great cause!
Pittsburgh Marathon 2

So proud of these guys and all they’re doing as elementary school faculty for Shady Side Academy – they are such great role models for these boys!
Pittsburgh Marathon 1

Pittsburgh Marathon 3

Way to go ‘Run SSA’ participants!

New Additions to Our Home

Uncategorized

The weekend was very busy. We purchased a shed for our backyard, and thank goodness we had Dad to help put it together. That was a full day and a half of work, but the guys did a great job!

shed

In other news, I came home to a few delivery boxes this week – the crib & mattress arrived! Talk about things getting so real.

crib
They’re still sitting in the den, until we can get the nursery painted.

Mom & Dad have been picking up some clothes since we finally know what we’re looking for, and I have to say, Baby Stern is going to have a bigger closet than mom – which I think I just have to come to terms that from this point forward, this will be the new norm. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m okay with it!

baby closet

baby boy clothes

We’ve also been picking up stuffed animals in different places where we’ve visited to add to little boy’s collection and we’ve already had a few people give him some animals too – such a lucky boy!

So I’m having such a guilty conscious as I write this, but I realize looking at the posts since I’ve started the blog that I never introduced my FIRST babies – these boys are our life and we couldn’t imagine a day without them. For those of you who haven’t met them, here’s our boxer babies – Murray is 4 and Theo is 1.

murray
Murray Millstein

theo
Theodore Brady

You’ll be seeing much more of these two boys as posts go on. They have been so great so far with me and as baby stuff comes into the house, they have to fully investigate, but they know that the stuff is not for them. We’ll see how things go as baby’s room starts to come together. My bets on baby Stern losing a toy to Ted’s chewing habits. Good thing we’re starting the collection early!

It’s all BLUE!

Uncategorized

Oh, what a week(end) we’ve had! We had an amazing anatomy ultrasound on Saturday and at first thought we may not be able to tell for sure who was in there because the cord was in the way. But, with a few giggles to get baby moving, we saw HIM – It’s a BOY! Once we saw him for the first time, the technician said “Oh, now he’s showing off!” It was amazing. I was crying and Dan was trying not to leap out of his seat while having a death grip on my hand.

This is the longest ultrasound we’ve had, or will have. They measured every inch of him, every bone, every organ – kidneys, bladder, stomach, brain; they counted all his fingers and toes and he even pushed his little foot out onto the screen for us to see. This picture doesn’t do the moment justice. For the millisecond that it was on the screen you could see every one of his toes so clearly. Here’s a shot of him & his foot:

baby boy ultrasound

footprint

Here was our announcement photo that day:
it's a boy
We have this beautiful yellow bush in the backyard that just started blooming. It brings so much color back there, hence using it for the backdrop.

So much excitement for us and our families – everyone was over the moon for this little boy that is nearly half way here. With the passing of Saturday brought Easter Sunday and a day with the family. We had a great weekend with moms side of the family and baby boy got some Easter gifts too.

All of us together:
Easter

Dad said “these are so he knows what he’s hunting for!”
easter from grandparents
Just love that he’s so excited to have a little hunting partner in a few years.

What an amazing start to week 18! We are looking forward to the upcoming weeks where we’ll get started in the nursery and watching baby grow by leaps and bounds!

How far along: 18 weeks
Total weight gain/measurements: 12 lbs
Maternity clothes: yup & some new tshirts that can cover the belly
Sleep: Sleeping great!
Best moment of this week: Finding out we’re having a BOY! And seeing how big he’s getting!
Have you told family & friends: Yes!
Miss Anything?
Food cravings: Nothing particular, just very hungry
Anything that makes you queasy or sick: n/a
Have you started to show yet: Yes!
Gender prediction: No predictions needed anymore
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Starting on the nursery and painting

18 weeks

Month 5, Here We Come!

Uncategorized

Can you even believe it? We’ve entered month 5 (week 17)! We (Dan and I) cannot. It’s unbelievable how time is flying. I remember thinking in January “it will be forever before March is here” and here we are half way though April, Easter around the corner, and 2 weeks away from being at the halfway point. It is both overwhelmingly exciting and scary at the same time.

We finally had some beautiful spring weather this past weekend and we were itching to get outside and do some things in the yard. We spent some times in the garden show that was happening on campus and also at Lowes getting some mulch and soil to brighten up this sad front yard of ours. Dan did a great job picking out flowers and digging up the front yard to get rid of this “rock” soil that we ended up with out there. Plus, we finally laid out our Grant Street stones and made a nice little edging around our first ever flower garden ๐Ÿ™‚

16 v5

These purple flowers are so vibrant and really bring the color we were looking for – and all that credit goes to Dan. Nancy and Megan (MIL & SIL) gave us the idea to use these tree stumps that we had on the back patio and use them as focal points in the bed – and it worked perfectly! We’ve got some other flowers/shrubs to add to the area, but for now, we’re enjoying the life it’s bringing to the front of the house.

Doctor’s appointment on Monday went really well, and really quick. Basically just a belly check. Heart rate was between 158-160 and the doctor confirmed our suspicions – the baby’s growing! LOTS! Which is very common for this time and the next few weeks. We’ve got a short work week this week to welcome Easter weekend and we’re really looking forward to spending some time with both our families. Oh, and how could we forget! We get to see Baby Stern on Saturday at our gender ultrasound!! Will baby be a boy or girl? That was our weekend question to everyone we saw – there was an overwhelming response of BOY vs. GIRL (although there were a few girl votes). Guess we will know come Saturday – and we absolutely can’t wait. Dan said it best last night “I wish our appointment was earlier this week, or we could make Saturday come quicker.” Can you tell we’re excited? And we can’t wait to tell everyone what we find out. Here’s week 17’s chalk art and message

17 weeks

How far along: 17 weeks
Total weight gain/measurements: 11 lbs
Maternity clothes: With the warm weather this past weekend, I’ve pulled out the maxi skirt, which are so much more comfortable than pants!
Stretch marks: They’re starting to appear slightly on my sides by my hip bones
Sleep: Sleeping great!
Best moment of this week: Hearing baby’s heartbeat & 4 days until we know if Baby Stern is a boy or girl!
Have you told family & friends: Yes!
Miss Anything?
Food cravings: Yogurt, Rita’s Italian Ice, and Cheese
Anything that makes you queasy or sick: n/a
Have you started to show yet: Yes!
Gender prediction: No prediction from me – but friends/family seem to be swaying 80/20 BOY
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Seeing baby on Saturday, how much growth has happened, and what the gender is! Also, spending this weekend with our families to celebrate Easter!

Chalk Art – 16 weeks (Part II)

Uncategorized

The chalkboard has finally made it’s appearance and I was quick to get it on the wall. Here’s some shots from week 16’s little notes:

16 v6

And the first belly picture with the weekly post…
16 v2_GRAYSCALE

I’m so excited to keep using this to track Baby Stern’s progress for the week(s) and be able to share development and growth milestones. I feel like this little peanut is growing by leaps and bounds. I did a side by side comparison of week 15 belly to week 16 belly and it’s quite evident that we’re growing (both of us!).
15 vs 16

And here’s a front view from week 16 (the beginning of week 16, too!).
16 v3

Here’s to growing bumps and progressing weeks – on to week 17!

16 Weeks & Counting!

Uncategorized

I can’t believe that today marks Week 16 for Baby Stern. Time is flying by! I am reminded every day when I wake up, and this belly seems to be growing by the day, of this amazing gift from God that we are preparing to receive. It’s just amazing to me how in a little over 5 months we’ll be holding our little one – the excitement is just overwhelming!

I finally broke down and ordered a chalk board, but ended up finding this cute little chalkboard decal that goes on the wall. It should be arriving early next week and we can finally get down to chalk crafting and fun facts ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s a belly pic that gives you a perspective of what I’m looking down at all day. Well, not all day, but I do like to look at it pretty often.

IMG_4596

How far along: 16 weeks
Total weight gain/measurements: 9.5 lbs
Maternity clothes: I did make a visit to Motherhood Maternity when we stopped at the outlets next week and bought a really cute maxi skirt outfit and some black work pants, which were much needed
Stretch marks: None, yet
Sleep: Not so great this week. Have been extremely hot in the middle of the night and also up multiple times to go to the bathroom.
Best moment of this week: Counting down the days until our gender reveal (just 2 weeks!)
Have you told family & friends: Yes!
Miss Anything? Being in wine country last weekend really made me want a glass of wine – the holidays will be nice this year
Movement: not yet
Food cravings: Pickles – yes, it’s an actual craving! Avocados, Bananas, and French fries
Anything that makes you queasy or sick: not really this week
Have you started to show yet: Yes!
Gender prediction: Still no real feeling one way or the other
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Ordering nursery furniture and getting the room painted!

Here’s a few other little things that we’ve purchased for the baby while we were away.
IMG_4607
IMG_4609
It’s turning into quite a collection in this closet. Wait till be know if we’re having a boy or a girl! We’re gonna be in trouble. ๐Ÿ™‚

Spring Expedition

Uncategorized

We decided last week, spur of the moment, that we needed to get away. We had a bit of the “winter blues” which I think we’re all suffering from. We packed up the car and headed to MD/VA for some antique exploring, or “pickin” as we’d call it. I definitely wouldn’t call us the next “Mike & Frank” but we found some places I’m sure they’d love to explore. We had a great weekend, walked a ton, so I was extra exhausted by the end of the day but the bed was so comfortable and it was so quite there, especially with no puppies stirring early in the morning, that we felt very rested after the get-a-way.

I wanted to show some of the cool places we ventured into on our expedition:
IMG_4579
This is Lucketts General Store – what a cool place. You could spend hours and hours in there between their antiques, refurbished furniture, house decorations, stained glass, and more. Here’s some views of these outside little rooms that were filled to the gills with cool stuff too:
IMG_4535
And we stumbled upon this pile of rocks, literally. Look at the cool sign that was with them explaining their history!
IMG_4539
We’ve been talking about sprucing up our front yard and what to do with it. We have this awful patch of grass along the porch that just will not grow for anything so we wanted to do some mulching and edging around there. We thought, why not use these for that project and bring a piece of Pittsburgh history to our home? (more about these later…)

On Saturday we went to Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve to do some hiking. It was raining a good bit, and rather cold, but we didn’t let that slow us down.
IMG_4545
We were getting a little soaked here ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_4544
Pretty cool view down into one part of the Preserve from where we were standing

IMG_4552
Looks a little more like fall here, but such a pretty picture I had to share it.

From there we ventured off into the town of Aldie and then back into Middleburg, VA where we were staying. For those of you who don’t know about Middleburg, it’s a small quaint town with a ton of history from the colonial area. There are quite a few B&B’s throughout the town, but we stayed at the Red Fox Inn – the oldest operating B&B in the US (Est. 1728). Great place with a lot of old charm and excellent food.
IMG_4563

IMG_4569

You’re also in the middle of horse country (and wine country – if you can partake!), so there’s little pieces of equestrian life sprinkled throughout the town.
IMG_4558

We had a great weekend exploring the back hills of Virginia and meeting lots of friendly people. However, we couldn’t get those paving stones out of our minds and what we could do with those gems. So in the midst of a torrential downpour, we stopped on our way back through Lucketts and loaded them up in the car. Totally worth the muddy shoes and hands! And now they await one of the next projects on our list – the front yard rehab. Which, if spring ever decides to arrive we’ll be able to tackle that enormous project.

Sorry for the picture heavy post, but we had such a great time and explored some awesome places – I wanted to share that with everyone (and of course document for the future). Here’s a picture of me from Saturday and you can really see my belly bulging through my jacket ๐Ÿ™‚
IMG_4551

Oh, I almost forgot! Dan found a snack which he was so excited about. I on the other hand about lost my lunch at the sight of these – bacon topped doughnuts. You can see from the expression on his face he enjoyed every last bite (also saying that if you nuke them for a few seconds they’re all the more delicious!)
IMG_4553

Happy Thursday!