Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Sauce

I posted this photo on Facebook last week and had many requests for the recipe…

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so here ya go!! This dish was so delicious! One of my new favorites! I rarely ever follow a recipe to the letter, but this one I did because I did not think it needed any changes! It was very yummy and next I would double the sauce because it was barely enough for a pound of pasta. I found it on Pinterest, but here is the site for the original recipe: http://www.gabbiskitchen.com/chicken-with-sun-dried-tomato-basil-sauce.html

Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Sauce

6 boneless, skinless chicken tenders, thawed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped (in package, NOT oil packed)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 16 ounce package spaghetti, uncooked

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken & grind fresh pepper on each side. Cover & cook until done, about 5 minutes on each side. (When done, chicken will have NO pink on the inside.)  Remove from heat and set aside, keeping covered.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, & shallots, cooking 1-2 minutes, just until soft.  Add sun dried tomatoes; stir. With a whisk in hand,  add flour & stir.  Slowly pour in chicken broth, whisking constantly to remove any lumps.  Add cream, still whisking.  Whisk that sucker to death! (just kidding).  Continue whisking for 3-4 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.  Take off heat and let sit; it will continue to thicken, feel free to stir every so often as you cook the spaghetti:

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  It is done when it is soft, but still has a bite; al dente please.

Add fresh basil to sun dried tomato sauce and give it a good stir.

Place spaghetti noodles on serving plates, placing chicken directly on top of noodles.  Spoon as much sauce as you would like over chicken & noodles; enjoy!

Alexis, 5 Months

Hi there baby girl! You are starting to develop your own personality and it is so sweet. You have such a calm, sweet, gentle personality. Mommy is absolutely your favorite person. If you want me, you will not take your eyes off me for a second until you have me, which is mostly to eat or sleep. Daddy is still your number one playmate though. He gets so many huge smiles out of you. You always watch him. When he comes home from work you stop what you are doing to turn to see him, even if you are nursing, which is huge cause you love nursing!! You are sleeping in your own bed now! The week we decided to try you out in your own room was a little rough for mommy. Daddy was in Texas at the C3 leadership conference with the church and you and mommy were both getting sick. But you really did a great job sleeping in your own bed in your own room. SInce you turn from your belly to your back so easily, you were doing it at night and waking yourself up all night (literally 10+ times a night). But after a week or two you figured out you did not like that so you stopped. You have slept 100% through the night a few times, but normally you wake up for a brief moment and cry for your pacifier. You are getting better at finding your paci and bringing it to your mouth, but sometimes you still need help in the middle of the night. You always nurse to sleep, if I don’t, then you don’t normally sleep as well. Every morning we wake you up by rubbing your back and talking softly to you. Mommy and daddy are not really morning people, so we wake you slowly in case you are just like us (and from the looks of it, you are! hehe).

You have discovered your feet!! You are adorable. When we change your diaper, or really any time you are on your back, you grab your feet and play with them and rock around. When you are on your belly you have your own way of crawling. You inch-worm forward and backwards, It isn’t always purposeful, but there is definitely more movement now. You love dancing with mommy and daddy. You think we are pretty entertaining. You also love going to church and watching the worship team. You enjoy the lights and sounds.

You got your first shots, two, one in each leg. Mommy was really nervous, but you did such a great job. You are very tough! You barely cried with the first one, maybe a good 10 seconds, then you stopped and watched the nurse with a death stare, I had to keep from laughing. Then the second one you cried for about 20 seconds and was golden after that. I was so proud. We have become regulars at the pediatrician’s office because you have had 2 serious colds and 3 different types of rashes (all within 10 days of each other, all while you were sick with one cold). The doctor said it was all a viral infection, you are much better now!

You have learned to hold your own bottle now! Daddy showed mommy just recently. The bottle looked so big in your tiny little hands! You are so precious. Mommy and daddy kiss you about 1,000 times a day. You have the most perfect little head and squishy little cheeks for kissing, its so hard not too!! You are starting to laugh. You reserve it for very special times, you don’t go laughing at everything just yet. It is really the most precious sound I think I have ever heard! You have learned that the Cheetah is your favorite animal. Ok, well it is daddy’s favorite and on your wall of mommy and baby animals it is the only animal that he will show you. He has conditioned you to love them, and he couldn’t be prouder. It really cracks me up. I, however, show you all the animals. I am really going to laugh one day when the Cheetah really is your favorite.

You really are a magnificent little baby. You are so happy and content. You only cry when you are really hungry or tired, even then you aren’t that bad. You definitely have a preference for who holds you, or what you want. You will through your body back if you are bored so you can see something else, it is very dramatic, but very funny. I love all that is changing about you, but it makes me very sad, you are growing up and I can do nothing to stop it!

We love you more than you know,

Mommy

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Alexis, 4 months

My sweet baby girl,

You are now four months old, you keep growing and changing and dad and I don’t like it one bit!! Ok, honestly we love it, but we just aren’t ready for it, you are changing and growing up so wonderfully and we do love it! As I sit down to write this you are playing in your exersaucer like such a big girl! You love playing in it, you figured out very quickly how to turn yourself around to all the different toys. You also love playing with mommy and daddy, you watch our faces and get this biggest smile I have ever seen. It is not just a smile with your mouth, you smile so big, your eyes light up, your hands cover your mouth, and your whole body crunches in… it really is the cutest thing ever! You also love standing! You rarely ever want to just sit and do nothing, you are way to fidgety for that! You never stop moving, not even in your sleep really. You are sleeping pretty well these days, but you are still in the bassinet in mommy and daddy’s room. I am sure you are ready for your big baby bed, but the truth be told, mommy isn’t. You sleep great, but you sometimes cry out, without waking, and often you find the paci or your fingers, but sometimes mommy (and daddy when mommy has work) has to help you find your paci. I actually think if you were in your own bed in your own room you would probably sleep better, but what if you don’t, then mommy has to get out of bed to check on you. I will get stronger and let you move to your own bed this month though.

You are taking a little while these days to warm up to people. You normally do not mind if anyone else holds you, but you sure do give them a very concerned look and you study them so much, it is very cute. You are learning that so many people love you and I am sure soon you will learn to ham it up for them also. However, mommy and daddy are still your absolute favorite! You love being held by us and snuggling with us. You lay your sweet head on our shoulders and just love on us. You also love being held with your cheek pressed up to our cheeks. When you bashfully smile you crunch your little body in and turn towards however is holding you. When you are excited you smile really big and then stick your hand in your mouth, yes your whole hand, well you try at least, you mostly get just a few fingers or parts of your fist in. You actually put your hands in your mouth constantly; your fingers, knuckles, thumb, fist, etc… whatever you can get in your mouth you are happy with, you don’t discriminate against any part of your hand, or even someone else’s hands! You are typically very calm and sweet. The only times you fuss are when you are really tired or hungry. When you are tired mommy holds you close with a paci and rocks and/or bounces you for a few minutes and you pass right out (ok most of the time, sometimes you want to nurse to sleep more).

You eat wonderfully!! You LOVE nursing and it is one of mommy’s favorite things we do. I really enjoy knowing you are happy, content, being taking care of and you know when you nurse. Sometimes you take a little break and stop and stare and smile at mommy, you melt my little heart! One of daddy’s favorite times with you is when he plays, sings, makes up silly songs, and flies you around. Normally he is doing this while mommy speed races to get stuff done around the house!! You love time with your daddy… he is your favorite playmate for sure. You also love waking  up to him!! You always get the biggest smiles when he comes around. Sometimes he has to take you and play just to make you happy, and he has to do this away from mommy because you smell me/my milk and cry for it.

You can roll over from your belly to your back now! You don’t really preform well at night, but your prime time is normally after your breakfast (after 11:30am or so). You also inch your way around when we put you on your belly. You are very determined and quite successful!

Lexi-belle, you really are the highlight of our life and we could not imagine our lives with out you in it. We love you more than we can explain or even control, God has truly blessed us with you, and not just mommy and daddy, but all your family and friends.

Love you more than you know,

Mommy

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Alexis at 3 months

Dear sweet Alexis,

You are now three months old and are changing everyday! You smile at us with your whole body. When you are happy you smile and shyly turn your head into our chest. You sleep wonderfully through the night, with a bedtime of approximately 2 am and you wake up around 10 to eat then back to sleep until 2pm. You already have a college kid’s schedule, but we are working on changing that a bit!

You love playing with certain toys now. You love seeing all your toys on your activity gym and while you sit in your bumbo, you are such a big girl! Speaking of being a big girl, you try to sit up with all your might. You pull your head and legs up and scrunch those abs, you don’t have the strength just yet, but you try nonetheless. You haven’t quite figured out how to make your hands work for you. You know you want to grab or touch something, but you can’t make your hands do just that. Everything goes in your mouth, typical! You found your thumb one day by accident and enjoyed sucking on it for a few minutes, but you typically enjoy your pacifier (we call it a ‘paci’, and lately ‘wubby’ bc you prefer your “wubbanub” giraffe paci). You also love gnawing and sucking on your fists or four fingers, whichever you can get in your mouth the best. I believe you may be teething soon with all the gnawing on your hands and our fingers.

You had your first Christmas, it was wonderful and special! You took your first plane ride and loved it! You are so curious (ok to be honest its just being nosey), just like your momma! You love watching people and the tv, you just need to see and know what’s going on around you. Yes, you read that right, you watch tv, not much but you will turn your head all the way back to see it, or the computer, iPad, iPhones etc… LOL.

You have started grabbing mommy’s hair, which only hurts when I put you done or need to nurse, and it is so hard to get you to let go!! You also grab daddy’s hairs- but you grab his chest and arm hairs… he lets you even though it hurts!

You are happy all the time. You do need a few minutes to wake up in the mornings. We normally get you up and softly talk to you, hold you close, and then change/bathe you and get you ready for the day. You are very hungry after this, so you nurse and mostly fall back to sleep for maybe an hour. Then you are awake for an hour or so and go back down for a long nap (3+ hours). You will nap in your bed, but you prefer mommy’s arms the most, so often we just snuggle on the couch together. These moments are really my favorites with you!

Daddy and I can’t kiss you enough!! Your sweet squishy cheeks are soooo kissable and lovable, you really are the most adorable, sweet, cuddly, happy, good baby!!! We love you soooo very much!

Love,

Mommy

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Christmas 2012: Alexis’ First

This year for Christmas I began celebrating at MOPs when our church’s First Lady Donna Chambers spoke to us with a new vision of the Christmas Story. She focused on specific characters. The one that hit the closest to my heart this year was Mary. I have a deeper understanding now that I am a mom. Gods master plan was a teenager and a baby. There was no other love to protect His master plan than the love of a mom! God have Mary the ability to raise the messiah, she had fears and doubts I’m sure, but God trusted her. If God trusted Mary with the messiah, then we can be trusted with our own children! That was so comforting to me, I have been equipped and chosen to be Alexis’ mom! How amazing is that! One if the best gifts I could have received!

Christmas Baby
Christmas Baby
Meeting Santa
Meeting Santa

We continued celebrating with a Christmas Eve service at Shore Fellowship Church. It was so overwhelming to see how wonderful our God is and how blessed we truly are to be loved so much by our God that he gave His son for you and I, He sent him as a tiny baby! I had a proud momma moment, Alexis played baby Jesus in the Christmas video. She was so angelic and precious, she played her part well 😉 (I’m not biased or anything lol).

Playing baby Jesus
Playing baby Jesus

We celebrated in the traditional Giordano way at Uncle Johnny’s and Titi Melissa’s; tons of food, presents, laughs, and love! On Christmas morning Joe and I swapped stockings (we had already gotten gifts a month prior thanks to Black Friday!). We sat by the “fire” (thank goodness for iPad apps and appletv mirroring). Then off to Joe’s parents we went! We had had a lighter Italian dinner (lasagna, minestrone soup, and salad) then swapped gifts, read the Christmas story from The Bible, and had some good quality time with Joe parents, sister, and nephew.

Alexis opening gifts
Alexis opening gifts
Giordano Cousins
Giordano Cousins
Alexis opening gifts
Alexis opening gifts
Loving her new baby dolls
Loving her new baby dolls
Christmas gifts
Christmas gifts
Christmas Morning
Christmas Morning

Then it was home to finish packing for our trip to Idaho! I was a little anxious because I always am over prepared, but with an infant I’m not sure there is such a thing, but I was going to try nonetheless! The next day we started our journey from Philly to Seattle then to Boise! Alexis was PERFECT on the airplanes, read about that here.

We were greeted in Boise by my mom, her boyfriend Darren, and his daughter Alaina. Of course right away my mom grabbed her sweet grand-baby, I know she misses her tons between visits. The next day mom made French toast, we opened lots of gifts, and had lots if laughs. Then Joe, Alexis, and I went to my brothers to see his family and introduce them all to Alexis. Lauren was confused at first because they had spoke about ‘Lexi-Belle’ so much she named her baby doll that, so when we showed her the real ‘Lexi-Belle’ she went to her room to get her own ‘Lexi-Belle’. She was so precious, I miss my niece terribly and wish we were more apart of their lives, but living on opposite ends of the country don’t make that too easy. I just have to cherish the time I do get. Then it was back to my mom’s for all my favorite holiday foods cooked by my mom! We had honey-baked ham and turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, corn, mashed potatoes, and Texas Roadhouse rolls with cinnamon butter. YUMMMM, I’m getting hungry thinking about it all again!!

Nana and Alaina playing with Alexis
Nana and Alaina playing with Alexis
Christmas dinner
Christmas dinner

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My sweet nieces
My sweet nieces
My brother and I with our nieces
My brother and I with our nieces

The next day we all packed up and drove the hour and a half up to moms new cabin in the mountains. It was gorgeous!! It felt so cozy and homey!! We were without cable and Internet, but quality time was way more important than that! We went skiing a the nearby Tamarac lodge, hot springs swimming in Gold Fork, and had so many laughs and talks hanging out and relaxing at the cabin!

Our family at the Cabin
Our family at the Cabin
Nana & Papa-Dar going skiing
Nana & Papa-Dar going skiing
The Cabin
The Cabin
Skiing
Skiing
Three Generations
Three Generations

We had such an amazingly blessed Christmas time. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday!! BLESSED AND HAPPY!!

Our favorite gift
Our favorite gift

Alexis’ 1st Flight

At 2 months (a little over a week shy of 3 months) we packed Alexis up and took her to her Nana’s in Idaho for Christmas! We left the day after Christmas and returned two days after the new year. We really had really great flights! I’m not sure if it was because I’m a master preparer, our baby is sooo good, or God was just showing us favor (probably only the last two lol). I did what any over-thinker, over-preparer, slightly controlling (I’m not willing to admit I’m overly controlling lol) would do and researched what others had done to keep their little ones happy on flights and talked with my best friend who has traveled to and from Texas from Jersey several times and also a trip to Italy with her cute little man since he was about 1-2 months old and is now 15 months.

Essential items were: the ergo carrier (made bobby nursing pillow (I don’t have the travel bobby, I just tied a ribbon around both ends for a handle and it worked wonderfully!) , nursing cover, and a pacifier! Without those items, things wouldn’t have gone so smooth I’m sure. I had packed 3 extra outfits, socks, bows (yes I packed extra bows in case, no I’m not crazy lol) and a set of pajamas, my electric pump, burp rags, our baby crack (Little Einsteins take along music player, every baby LOVES IT!), tons of diapers, the travel wipe warmer (yes it’s pain but worth it not to have her scream from the cold ones, spoiled much? Hehe), extra clothes for Joe and I, and plenty of snacks (my husband eats more than I can keep up with!). I pack so much because I have a fear of being stranded at the airport (it’s happened more than once) or the airlines losing our luggage (also more than once that has happened).

So, how did we keep our little angel so happy? Mostly, NURSING! I made sure she was dry often, and then I nursed every take-off and landing (2 flights to Idaho and 2 back). Since Alexis falls asleep nursing most of the time she slept immediately after. If she feel asleep while we were still ascending or descending I just gently woke her (ticking her back or head,stroking her cheek, etc…) to keep nursing. The hard sucks plus swallowing made sure to help her little ears. There was once she did not nurse taking off, but she sucked her paci so there weren’t any problems.

Before Alexis' 1st flight
Before Alexis’ 1st flight

We had a 5+ hours flight first from Philly to Seattle, so I nursed halfway through as well. Alexis loved the low rumble of the plane for sleeping, and she was so interested in all the different people while she was awake. Joe and I had to be patient and supportive with each other, which was perfect. We also just tried to laugh off crazy things and stayed on the ‘same team’!

Alexis' 1st flight
Alexis’ 1st flight
Checking out the plane
Checking out the plane
Pro at flying
Pro at flying
Sleeping like babies
Sleeping like babies

We did have a hiccup or two, but handled it well. Alexis had a wonderful ‘up the back’ blowout on the plane, so a mini wipe bath and new change of clothes of necessary on the tiny changing table in the tiny bathroom. I was definitely thanking God for a tiny baby, that would have been fun with a much bigger or much older baby (I feel for you moms, I’ll be there soon, but thankful for now).

Overall, we had a great flight and everything was wonderful! It was extra nice on the flight back to have a full row to ourselves, Alexis enjoyed laying in her own space for a while. All the fears I had of traveling with a newborn have been debunked! The next time we travel will be slightly more difficult I’m sure, but for now, it was a breeze!

Vegetarian Protein

For the past few years my husband and I have been 90% vegetarians. Basically, we do not cook or eat meat at home and typically choose vegetarian options (ok him more than me)! When I tell most people this I normally get the response “then what do you eat?”. Well, I have to be a little more creative cooking at home since I also do not really like cheese (let me clarify: I HATE white cheese and will NOT eat it, yes I am prejudice against white cheese and I am not afraid to admit it!). So cooking without cheese and meat and still trying to make sure we get all the nutrients that we need is a little tricky and I have to get creative sometimes. I normally have to incorporate lots of veggies and starches with fish or some of our favorite ‘meats’, Morning Star soy-protien meats. I love cooking with all fresh ingredients to keep it healthier. My husband being a fitness specialist and ‘health enthusiast’ (I promised not to call him a health nut any more lol) encourages us to eat as health as possible. I came across this new recipe that is vegetarian and so delicious!! It was Pasta with Chickpea Garlic Sauce (click the link for the recipe). You blend the chickpeas with chicken broth, which sounds gross at first to be if I am being honest, but it was GREAT! It was packed with protein and had great flavors! This is being added as a staple for our household! Easy, quick, healthy, and cheap! Hope you enjoy!

Alexis at 2 months

Dear sweet Alexis…

Today you were two months old. The last two months have been incredibly exciting. This last month my favorite moments has been watching you smile. You first began to smile at daddy and I wanted to see it for myself so bad, a few days later you smiled at me. It stopped my heart and made me cry. You have the sweetest little smile and your whole face lights up. You are continuing to grow, you’re probably around 9 pounds or so and around 22 inches long now. You’ve progressed into newborn clothing and I love getting to dress you. It’s like having my own little baby doll! You seem to be okay more in your car rides these days. You still don’t enjoy when we go under 45 miles an hour or stop at stoplights, but you handle it better now.

It seems to be you can sleep through anything. You sleep during the day through mommy doing dishes and TV and vacuuming and all kinds of good loud stuff. You even can sleep during church worship, which is very loud. You are even sleeping mostly through the night in your bassinet now. You typically start getting sleepy around midnight and you finally dose off around 2 am. You sleep till around 9 am and nurse, but then you go right back to sleep till around noon or 1pm. I love watching you sleep. Your naps are still mostly taken in mommy’s arms or while we are out and about in your carseat.

You take your paci better now, but you have found your hands! You are always trying so hard to get that thumb in your mouth, but until then you are sucking your fist and knuckles. You can grab mommy and daddy’s fingers and guide them to your mouth also. Sometimes you even suck the roof of your mouth with your tongue, which is something mommy did too.

You are mommy’s little buddy while she run errands and shops. Shopping is not as productive because you do not like being in the stroller if it stops moving. You always love movement, whether it is being held in our arms, swinging in the swing, walking in the stroller, etc. We love showing you off to everyone. Mommy always tries to match all your stuff (your outfits, bows, and blankets). Your ‘signature’ outfit consists of animal prints and lots of baby pink! Everyone always comments on how beautiful you are, even strangers (mommy cannot go into a store, even Wawa, without someone stopping her to see you and comment!); I have to say I agree with them. You really are such a beautiful baby!

Some things we do with you or say to you are:

  • Daddy and I crack up at you all the time. The million crazy different faces you make are so entertaining!
  • When you have a big poopy, we say “Jesus take the wheel”. That came from your first few nights as home you almost did not know how to handle such craziness coming out of such a tiny baby!! LOL
  • Mommy sings “Nana’s song” a lot: “I love you, yes I do, I love my girlie, I do , I do , I do” and we follow that with tons of kisses!
  • Daddy sings to you all the time and you LOVE it. He has this special hold that can mostly calm you down from anything.
  • When you are hungry and daddy is holding you, you try to latch on to his biceps. It is pretty funny.
  • You love standing up with our support and you have great control of your head and neck.

You are such a wonderful little girl and each day is a new experience to learn something new about you and I love it! It is hard to believe that 2 months have already come, it feels like yesterday we had you; but it also feels like you have always been a part of our lives and we cannot even imagine life without you. You are loved by so many and you are truly a blessing to us all.

Happy two months my sweet baby girl.

Love,

Mommy

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really need to catch up…

So I have written about 5 to 10 blogs lately, the reason you haven’t seen one… cause they are all in my head, which I guess does not count. However, I aim to make them count and actually write them (that’s my plan!). Since my last few entries we have welcomed our sweet little Alexis into our lives! WOW, what an amazing time this has been (and my #1, but not only, excuse, I am kind of a procrastinator too…). I plan on finishing the last two blogs about my pregnancy, I do not want to forget that special time in my life. I also want to write my labor and delivery story for all as it was one of the best experiences I have ever had! And of course the ever so popular, but oh so sweet monthly baby posts. My plan is to write a letter to Alexis each month to include all things about her, what she likes/dislikes, does all day and night, all those wonderful, funny, yucky(not every moment is peachy and rosy), and special moments that we do not want to forget. My intent is to one day turn it all into a book for her and I (and of course daddy and all her family and friends) to read and remember each stage of life! She is the most amazing baby and I do not want to ever forget even just one memory (oh gosh, Aerospace’s song ‘I dont want to close my eyes’ just played in my head LOL)! So in between the nursing, sleeping (holding her as she sleeps), diaper changes, outings, and basic wonderful life, I will do my best to write more, promise (it is more a promise to myself, but maybe everyone else can keep me to it). Stay tuned… 

gDiapers giveaway!

So I am knee deep (ok lets me honest, I’m much deeper than that) with getting ready for my sweet Alexis to arrive!! I have lots of organizing and planning underway. One of those is finishing up all the necessities we will need to be equipped with for Alexis, one major thing that we still want is our cloth diapers: gDiapers. Not only are they super cute, and marked ever so appropriate with a g (for ‘Giordano’ I’m sure 😉 hehe), but they are wonderful and versatile! They are doing a giveaway and I sure would love to win!!! It would offset our baby needs cost by a bit!! gDiapers in partnership with  GuavaKids and See Kai Run wanted to know: “What is your biggest expectation about having a new baby that you hope IS true?” Well, for me I hope it is that I will instantly fall in love and have a love greater than anything I have ever known! I have not met a mom yet that doesn’t love her baby and would do anything for them!! My mom always told me how much she loved us and that it was like no love that she had ever experienced. She even had said she worried if she would have enough love for me, her second, as she did for my older brother, but as soon as she held me she instantly had enough and then some. I began to understand that you never run out of room in your heart, you heart just gets bigger and bigger!! I cannot wait until my sweet baby girl is here, but for now… I must get back to my ‘nesting’ and preparing!!