Monthly Archives: June 2010

hypnobabies: first impression.

on monday we received our hypnobabies home study course in the mail. we spent a good chunk of last night reading class #1 out loud to each other and listening to the first track, “special place”. this track will be alternated with the second track, “easy, comfortable childbirth” for the remainder of this first week. everyday for the entirety of the course we are also supposed to listen to the “joyful pregnancy affirmations” track. this track contains 150 one sentence positive affirmations for childbirth. these include sentiments such as i am confident about my pregnancy and my baby’s birth and i trust in my ability to birth my baby.

my first impression of the course is that it seems very comprehensive. class #1 took us about an hour to read through and each complimentary CD track is approximately 35 minutes long. after listening to the first track last night, i am very excited to try out the second track before bed tonight! i found the woman’s voice to be quite soothing and the overall experience to be extremely calming. i can honestly say that those 35 minutes were the most relaxed i have been this entire pregnancy. “special place” has you first concentrate on your breathing and relax every part of your body from head to toe. you then create a special place for yourself in your mind. the first place i thought of surprised me, but once i chose, i knew it was the perfect place for me to retreat. i immediately thought of the small cluster of trees in the front yard of my parents’ old house. i was there with my childhood dog, max. this is a place i haven’t been in 13 years, but it worked.

honesty time. i was skeptical of the hypnobabies program before trying it. it seemed a little bit hokey to me, but i saw (thanks, youtube!) and read so many positive first-hand accounts. our midwife also highly recommended it. she said some of her patients had used it to fantastic results. i really trust our midwife, as she is not overly “crunchy” or militant in any way. any decent, multi-week childbirth course in our area would have cost as much (about $150), so we took the plunge. my first experience last night has left me confident that our money will not be wasted. i look forward to the next 5 weeks of the course! i also love that it comes with a separate maintenance course to keep you learning and practicing the techniques until the baby arrives. i’m not yet sure if i’ll use the CD meant for the actual event, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

i fully believe that attitude makes all the difference in almost any situation. this course helps to create and maintain a positive, confident attitude about birthing. it evens goes so far as to give you alternate words for commonly used terms. contractions become pressure waves. labor becomes birthing day and so on. it also gives the mother-to-be tips for avoiding negativity from family, friends, and strangers while pregnant.

to summarize, i think this course will be useful and i’m glad we chose to study from the comfort of our apartment instead of having to schlep to a weekly course. we are, however, supplementing with a one-day condensed course at our hospital on july 17th.

i hope any mamas-to-be considering hypnobabies find this post helpful!

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darling lark.

i am pleased as punch to announce the official opening of my new etsy shop, darling lark! for those of you who expressed interest in ordering a custom initial illustration, you may now visit the shop to do so! there are only a few items listed at the moment, but i will be adding more over the next few days.

thank you so much for all of your support, advice and interest! it means the world to me.


THANK YOU so much to everyone who commented on my last post! due to all of your positive feedback, i have decided to go forward with opening an etsy shop. i am so excited about this venture, and your comments were instrumental in giving me the courage needed to proceed. once again, THANK YOU. i hope to have the shop up and running sometime tomorrow. now all i need is a shop name. any suggestions, dear readers?

this small venture is especially exciting given the fact that i put in my two weeks notice today at work. this is a decision travis and i made a while ago, but haven’t yet talked about for obvious reasons. i am very happy with my choice to be a stay at home mom and a freelancer. it’s a bit scary, but i know it will be for the best.

starting tomorrow, i will be happy to begin accepting orders through my etsy shop. i will post a link here as soon as it’s functional. check back for that sometime tomorrow! in the meantime, feel free to email me at with any questions or inquiries. orders will be filled in the order they are accepted. i want to get as many done as i can before sylvie arrives! like any other job, i will take a short “maternity leave” after her birth. i can draw pretty much anything you could dream up, so be creative! i would be happy to fill custom orders. i will also have a selection of previously completed drawings (like the one above) available to get the ball rolling.

i’m so excited!!! thank you so much for all of the feedback and order inquiries. i have the best readers! YOU ROCK!

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to etsy or not to etsy?

i finished sylvie’s drawing this afternoon! i’m pretty happy with how it turned out. it’s really nice to have someone to draw things for.

(click for a larger image.)

and some detail shots:

so, i’m thinking about starting up a small etsy shop to sell some of my illustrations. my eventual goal is to be able to contribute to our household finances through freelance work alone. for a sampling of some of my other work, click HERE. my question for you, dear readers, is this: would you patronize my shop? please leave a comment with your honest answer. i’d love to hear what you have to say, especially if you have an etsy shop of your own! all advice is welcome. thanks!!

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we’re finished!

after a smooth start and a rough middle, the crib is finished!

and the proud papa, who only teared up a little, standing by his handiwork:

things are really coming together. it’s a amazing how a simple thing can make me feel so much more prepared to welcome this new life.

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p.s. aren’t all of her little animal friends adorable? obviously, they are in the crib only for picture purposes. we will move them to a safer place once she arrives!

what we’re up to tonight.

this is what travis is working on:

that’s right! he is putting sylvie’s beautiful crib together as i type this. i can’t wait to see it when he finishes!

this is what i am working on:

since i am now too cumbersome to help with the construction of her crib, i’ve decided to work on a drawing for her.

i really can’t imagine a better saturday night!

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gallstone gourmet #4.

it’s been a while since the last gallstone gourmet installment. my apologies for this. we’ve both been very busy and relying on a rotation of the same simple staples night after night.  this evening we put away the pasta in favor of something a bit fresher and more colorful.  we made an egg white frittata with charred red peppers, zucchini ribbons, scallions, and part-skim mozzarella.  to accompany the frittata we made crostini with low-fat ricotta and sea salt.

the secret to a healthy, yet still hearty frittata is to use a few whole eggs in addition to all of the whites.  for this one i used a dozen eggs–3 whole eggs and 9 whites.  the yokes add body, flavor, and a lot of nutrients in exchange for a little bit of fat.  we had zucchini, scallions, red pepper and mozzarella on hand, but you can substitute any vegetables and cheese you like!


3 whole eggs+9 whites
1 red pepper, julienned
1 medium-sized zucchini, shaved in ribbons with a vegetable peeler
4-6 scallions (both the whites and the greens), chopped
1/3 cup of shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees. place an oven-safe skillet (such as cast iron) over medium heat and heat the olive oil.
2. put the red pepper strips in the pan and season with salt and pepper. cook, stirring occasionally, until the edges are slightly charred black. while the peppers cook, lightly whisk all of the eggs together with some salt and pepper.
3. spread the peppers into an even layer and top with the zucchini ribbons. lightly season again. let the layers cook for moment until the zucchini softens. if you slice them thinly it shouldn’t take longer than 1-2 minutes. sprinkle the green onions on top.
4. pour the eggs over the top of the vegetables. quickly top with the mozzarella. lightly stir in the cheese, without disturbing the vegetable layers. cook on the stove until the bottom and sides of the eggs have set. transfer to the oven and cook until the eggs puff, pull away from the sides of the skillet, and brown lightly on top. this should take about 13-15 minutes. you can run the skillet under the broiler for a minute if you like the top even more brown.
5. cut into pieces and serve immediately.


1/2 of a baguette, sliced at an angle
olive oil
part-skim ricotta
coarse sea salt

1. preheat your grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
2. brush both sides of the baguette slices with a small amount of olive oil. i used about a teaspoon total for 6 slices.
3. grill the bread on both sides until browned and crunchy, about 3-4 minutes per side.
4. top with a smear of ricotta and sprinkle with sea salt. (you can rub the bread with a garlic clove, before topping with the cheese, for a little added flavor.) serve immediately.

frittata and crostini volcano!!!

ok. enough with the tasty treats. can we please talk about how amazing this toy is?

it’s the first years 3-in-1 kickin’ coaster. we bought it in blue, but i couldn’t find a decent picture of it. it is both a vibrating infant seat and a baby exerciser of sorts. when she’s brand spankin’ new, pink, and wrinkly, we can set the seat to stationary and just let her chill and vibrate. as she gets older, we can unlock the seat and let her go to town! here’s how it works: when she kicks the platform at the bottom the seat glides up and down and lights and/or music play. it will help teach her cause and effect and build up her leg muscles. how cool is that? once travis and i saw this bad boy in the store, we put our original choice back on the shelf and scooped one up! i can’t wait to see sylvie’s reaction the first time she makes her seat move and the lights come on. i can just imagine her wide eyes and gummy grin now. i don’t want to wait 10 more weeks to meet her! why must this final trimester crawl by so slowly?

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big belly and the time bandits.

as promised, here are some 30 week bump pictures. i even dressed up today! you will rarely find me in a dress unless there’s a special occasion going on or it’s scorching hot outside. in today’s case, it was the latter. south central indiana is a swelteringly humid 98 degrees with a heat index of almost 110. the only article of clothing i wear less than dresses is shorts. I HATE SHORTS and pants were not an option today. plus, i’m enjoying this pre-pregnancy dress while it still (sort of) fits.

as i said yesterday, this bump of mine is getting BIG.  our little girl is still head down, facing my back.  her feet are lodged in my ribs, which is only uncomfortable when i sleep, sit, bend over or breathe deeply.  no biggie.  she’s healthy.  i’m healthy.  travis and auggie doggie are healthy.  all is well here.

tomorrow travis and i are going to babies r us to take advantage of the wonderful combination that is coupons+gift cards.  we also have a gift card to target that needs our attention.  we’re planning to buy some of the smaller essential items that we didn’t get for our shower, such as a changing pad and cover and a few fitted crib sheets.  exciting!

it’s really beginning to feel like crunch time around here. i couldn’t sleep last night just thinking about everything we have left to do before sylvie’s arrival. she could be here, full term and perfectly healthy, in as little as 7 weeks. 7 WEEKS. say what?! the second trimester flew by and we’re already well into the third. what happened to all that time? riddle me that, time bandit(s)! side note: the best/worst movie ever.

speaking of time, it is now dinner time. ME WANT FOOD. happy wednesday! xoxo.

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30 weeks.

how far along?: 30 weeks!

total weight gain: as of my appointment last thursday it was 10 pounds

stretch marks?: there are none so far on my belly or thighs!

sleep: it’s been inconsistent. some nights i’ll get 4 or 5 straight hours before my bladder wakes me up. other nights i feel as if i make a trip to the bathroom every hour or so! the calf cramps don’t help things either!

best moment this week: we picked out a TON of books the fill the nursery bookshelves! more on that later.

movement: i feel her throughout the day here and there. night time is a horse of a different color! she moves ALL. NIGHT. LONG. she also gets the hiccups at least once a day, sometimes more.

food cravings: nothing overwhelming

gender: she’s still a girl, i hope. our last ultrasound was at 19 weeks and i’m not sure if we have another. i really hope there are no surprises on delivery day!

labor signs: none. thank goodness.

bellybutton in or out?: it’s still in most of the time, but very s t r e t c h e d out. every once in a while, when i move a certain way, it pops out! this has caused it to become a bit irritated and sore.

what i miss: i miss bending over without getting stabbing pains in my ribs. i also miss wearing shoes with laces and french fries (stupid gallbladder).

what i am looking forward to: i can’t wait to get her nursery done! other than that, travis and i are expecting visits from both sets of sylvie’s grandparents in the coming month. i am also look forward to our childbirth classes. we are doing a condensed one-day class at our local hospital as well the hypnobabies home study course. call me crazy, but i’m still very much looking forward to labor and delivery! we can’t wait to meet our girl!

weekly wisdom: S L O W D O W N. i am a very get-up-and-go sort of person. this has not been easy for me to learn. no matter how much i wanted to get done today, i had to take it easy. i worked, on my feet all day, the last 4 days in a row. i’m still learning how to take the time to relax and do nothing.

milestones: we are 3/4 of the way there! we are also planning to get her crib put together later this week.

now that that’s out of the way, i can tell you about all of the wonderful books we picked out for sylvie today! i think we managed to get a good mix of classics and some new favorites.


animalia by graeme base

love you forever by robert munsch

the mixed-up chameleon by eric carle

brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? by bill martin jr. and eric carle

good dog, carl by alexandra day

goodnight moon and the runaway bunny by margaret wise brown

harold and the purple crayon by crockett johnson

the story of ferdinand by munro leaf

olivia by ian falconer

chicka chicka boom boom by bill martin jr. and john archambault

in the night kitchen by maurice sendak

the poky little puppy by janette sebring lowrey

a good day by kevin henkes

how do dinosaurs love their dogs? by jane yolen and mark teague

my first winnie-the-pooh library, collection of five classic pooh baby board books inspired by a.a. milne

we also purchased all of the books i mentioned in yesterday’s post as well as a small classic piglet stuffed animal. i would say our shopping trip was a success! i can’t wait to read to our sylvie.

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thank you so much for all of your votes! make sure to check back tomorrow for a 30 week bump picture. this belly of mine’s getting bigger!

summer reading.

first of all i would like to wish my parents a very big HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!

now onto the post! tomorrow travis and i are planning a small shopping spree to buy some books for sylvie! if you’ve been reading us for a while, you probably remember that i work in a bookstore. if you’re stopping by for the first time, then HELLO! my name is sara, and i work in a bookstore. it’s nice to meet you.

anyway, the one of the upsides of my job is spending my shifts looking at books. today i worked in the children’s department all day, and i set some books aside for our girl. i thought i would share today’s picks with you!

first up is i’m the biggest thing in the ocean by kevin sherry.

this book made me laugh out loud the first time i read it. it’s about a giant squid who spends the bulk of the story comparing his size to other marine life. “i’m bigger than these turtles!” and so on. this goes on until a blue whale sneaks up and eats him whole. he looks around at all of the other creatures in the whale’s gullet and proudly exclaims, “I’M THE BIGGEST THING IN THIS WHALE!” the end. hilarious.

the second book is star wars spaceships.

this book is amazing! it is a baby board book about all of the spaceships featured in the original star wars trilogy. enough said. there is also a star wars heroes book at our store, but i refuse to buy it for two reasons. 1. it features anakin and qui gon jinn from the crappy prequels. 2. the yoda featured in the book is, in fact, the cgi yoda from the prequels and not the original puppet yoda. call me a nerd, but these things matter!

the third and fourth books are charley harper’s ABCs and 123s.

charley harper is one of my all-time favorite illustrators. these books are beautiful and educational classics. they should be a part of every young child’s library as far as i’m concerned. if you have a young child or are expecting, i highly recommend seeking these out!

the fifth and final book i put on hold is touch the art: make van gogh’s bed by julie appel and amy guglielmo.

this book is a no-brainer for us given our backgrounds as fine artists. it exposes children to classic works of art and encourages them to explore the works through different touch and feel textures. there are a few other books in this series including catch picasso’s rooster and feed matisse’s fish, but make van gogh’s bed is by far my favorite. the textures are the most interesting as are the art works featured. this book is also a larger format board book so it’s fantastic for little hands.

i’m sure travis and i will find many more titles of interest tomorrow. if you couldn’t tell, cultivating a love of the written word is one of our top priorities as parents. we both feel it is so important for so many reasons. travis started reading to sylvie in utero as soon as her ears began developing. we plan to read to her every night before bed and throughout every day. no excuses. no exceptions.

if you were wondering, these are the books i’m reading at the moment:


travis is currently reading this book, which i bought him for father’s day:

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