Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jackson's First Baby Pictures - Our 3D/4D Ultrasound Experience!!

Let me just start out saying that the 4D Ultrasound experience I had was not at all what I was expecting! I figured we'd go in for 15 or minutes or so, snap some cute face photos of the baby, and watch it for a bit on the video monitor. I'm excited to admit that the whole experience was about 10X more glamorous and exciting that I ever though it would be!
I originally DID want to get an Ultrasound, but I talked myself out of it after reading some pretty grey reviews online... and also the price. I was anticipating the former experience. What we got was totally different. The owners of the "shop" were so sweet and kind, and you could really tell they loved babies! We spent about 50 minutes flipping between the 2D and 4D ultrasounds to basically watch a live video of what baby Jackson was up too! It was amazing! Cindy was super sweet and took extra time and effort to work with my active baby boy (and my huge anterior placenta which was right in the way of the imaging!). We left with amazing photos and video!
Some highlights about Jackson...

  • With an easy flip, he can change from pointing east to west in about 3 seconds. 
  • He had about 5 hiccups! Takes after his daddy with that one! 
  • Loves loves loves playing with his toes! I'm pretty sure he was holding onto one foot the whole time. 
I think the most amazing part of the whole "watching" process was seeing his little head thump up and down during the 2D ultrasound. With each of my heartbeats, his little head was pushed up just a tiny bit, so it looked like he was head bobbing to the rhythm of my heart! Cindy said he just happened to be resting on a major blood supply (either the placenta, or my own) that was causing the movement. No wonder little babies like to hear mom's heartbeat once their born! I used to think that was "cheesy", but after seeing that happen...just WOW! 

Hearbeat! 130 bpm! Thumpa Thumpa Thumpa!

Sweet little black and white face with his hands in front of his chin. 

Just look at that sweet face! He didn't open his eyes at all, but he did make some pretty fun squirmy faces!

aaaaaand....here is the squirmy face! 

...but then he settles down and looks like this again. Almost a little smile?! :) 

Cindy said he's "nuzzling" here. I hope he's a snuggly thing!

Then back to total cuteness!

Yup he is sucking on something here! Couldn't tell exactly what, but its either the hand or foot or something floating around in there :P

And here is a 40 second video to top it all off!!! I swear he must have been sleeping during this part, because this was the quietest he was for the whole ultrasound. 

The whole experience was just amazing, and I have my wonderful and generous parents to thank for treating me to this wonderful event!! I'm so happy I did it! 


Saturday, November 16, 2013

27 Week Update (Third Trimester!) and Some Awesome Project Photos


Thanks for visiting! Not a whole lot of interesting news has popped up since my last post on here, which is a good thing right? No news is good news!

Sunday (11/17/13)  marks the first day of my third trimester! Jackson is doing super well. We both check out great at our monthly appointments. In a few short weeks (once we hit 32 weeks) we'll have appointments twice a month, and then weekly at 36 weeks. WOW! That, combined with all the classes I've taken, it sorta feels like I live there a little ;). So far, I've taken a 4 part breast feeding education class, a water birth class, a 2 part Labor, Delivery and Postpartum Care class, and a Fearless Birth group meeting. Yay! I feel rather educated, and ready as I can be to birth this baby and maybe even take care of him properly, too!

Jackson spends most of his days sleeping and kicking my bladder repeatedly. Besides the constant trips to the bathroom, its been fun! I feel great, and my energy level has pretty much stayed the same. I do get tired a little earlier in the day, and every now and then I actually take a nap (like on the weekends :P). Hopefully I can maintain some of this energy once Jackson joins us for real...

I still work out about 4-5 times a week (I've had to modify quite a bit) - I think that helps a lot!

I've kept busy on several sewing projects! Keeps me distracted, and it passes the time well. I've been able to use the sewing machine mom bought me a couple years, and its just been great!

Crochet baby blanket!

Refinished baby swing cover and padding. 

Large minky baby blanket - super soft. 

Still in progress! Puff quilt crib blanket! 

Still a work in progress - putting on the borders. 
These items are definitely not perfect, but they are full of love and hopefully little Jackie will be able to tell that!

Next Tuesday, mom is treating me to a 4D Ultrasound, so hopefully we can get some great face shots of Jackson up on the blog. Can't wait!

Until next time!

Dana Alley


Thursday, September 26, 2013

He'll Wear a Bow Tie, Because "Bow Ties are Cool" - It's a BOY!


Seth and I are pleased to announce we are adding a little gentleman to the family! Baby Alley is now - Jackson Carter Alley - the new love of our lives!

I'm sincerely overjoyed by this news! If you've talked to me at all about the baby, you know how much I wished and hoped and prayed for a little boy! From cheering like a lunatic at sporting events to getting him ready for his first date, I've always felt like a little boy would complete our little family, and I already feel like it has. Plus, little boys just love their moms :)

Jackson Alley says "bow ties are cool!"
(That's a Doctor Who quote, for my less nerdy friends and family)
The lovely Dawn Vieux of LeVieux Femme (Facebook / Smug Mug) took these amazing gender reveal portraits for us! I highly recommend Dawn for any of your family portrait needs within the Kansas City Metro area!

With Seth being the science dude, I thought this was appropriate! 

(You knew I HAD to do something Doctor Who related!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Marketing Paw-Spectives: By Bandt, Office Dog - Week 1

My close friends get a sneak peak of Bandits new weekly marketing column that will be posted to the Integrity Marketing Solutions Facebook page! Thoughts? 

(Click image for a larger version!)

Woof! Welcome to my new weekly column – Marketing Paw-Spectives: Insider tips and hints to get your marketing working for you.

One of my jobs as Office Dog is to sit quietly in the office and nap; however; I help pass the time by gnawing on my delicious organic bone my owner gets me. A good quality bone will last me about three weeks. After that, it starts getting a little stale. The same concept applies to your eNewsletter email message. You need to change your message out at least once a month to keep your audiences interested. I LOVE it when my owner gets me a new bone, and your readers will enjoy a fresh message just the same! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bandit at Work - Exactly what DOES Bandit do all day?

Let's start from the beginning shall we?

Taken the first couple of
night we had him. He always
laid by the front door!
November, 2010, we were blessed with our dear Mini Aussie, Bandit! My parents found him out roaming around the property they lived in Jackson Co, MO, half starved and a bit crazy! We posted signs and ads hoping to find his owners (though we secretly hoped no one would come forward), and left his/our information with all the local vets and shelters. We took him to the vet to see if he was microchipped....nope!

So, I began the process of convincing my husband to let us keep him. Our current dog (Nugget) was getting older. Seth put him on a two week trial period (we also wanted to give his previous owners, if any, the time to contact us). It was pretty shaky at first! We had to run him down after he escaped from our apartment TWICE! He would take off running as soon as you opened the door. One time, I set the trash outside the door, and shut it. 2 minutes later, Bandit was GONE! Seth (the best hubby in the whole wide world) took off and tracked him down a few units away, 3 floors down. Dang.

Nugget was a good teacher!
Once he finally settled in to our apartment, the sweetness began to shine through. He got a good bath, and I brushed him a ton. He finally started to enjoy the affection! He quit hightailing it every time the door opened, and he even *gasp* sat on the couch with us.

Someone got neutered! 
One night, we were discussing the possibility of keeping the sweet thing, and we threw around some ideas for names. We tossed around names like Albus, Axel, Diesel, and Bandit. As soon as I said 'What about Bandit?' he rushed in from the living room and jumped on the bed, looking all happy. To say the least, Bandit picked his own name. We knew it was a keeper, and so was he!

Starting to get sweet! 

All those shy days are completely behind him! He's the most loyal and affectionate dog you will ever meet. He loves people! He loves his life. He loves the dog treats at the coffee shop (Shout out to Kansas Coffe Company, Olathe KS!) and the 'awws' and smiles he gets on a daily basis. He loves the stolen kisses and the little toddlers that giggle when he wiggles up to them. He truly is a joy and sparkle in so many peoples lives!

Summer 2013

Most of all, he loves his JOB. 

We love car rides!

About 10 months ago, Bandit began having some 'abandonment' issues. I often would be gone from home 10+ hours a day. Bandit would usually have to stay in the kennel for majority of that. Seth and I are both away from home for long periods of time. We both work 25+ minutes from work, so it was not easy for us to let him out or pick up between jobs and other tasks. His main issues included pottying in the house (even though we would take him out asap after getting home) *gasp*, and just "getting into things" in general. One time, he even knocked over the trash. This was NOT Bandit, and I knew we were doing something wrong.

Celebrating "Adoption Day"
 November 2012

I started looking around for kennels and dog sitters. The type of program I wanted costs about $35 a day (about the cost of an in-home day care!). A little much for our "pet budget". I knew I didn't want him to go to a regular vet kennel (about $10 a day) where he basically sat in a cage or small run all day. I wasn't sure that even would fix his behavior problems.

First few weeks on the job!

Thank goodness for Facebook! 

I wrote a post one day, asking what people did for doggie day car, just to see what friends were doing. I
was oh-so-lucky, because my boss noticed the post also. The same day, she wrote me a personal email asking if I thought Bandit would be a good candidate to come to work with me and sit quietly all day. Of course, I knew it would be perfect. Work was about the only place I wasn't taking Bandit at the time!

We gave it a trial run, and he was perfect. I got him a doggie bed, and he stayed loosely tied to the desk next to my work station. He loved it, and so did all the employees! It really lighted the mood in the office.

Bandit usually works really hard!

Bandit takes his job very seriously.

Bandit created, himself, the job title of Dog Survelience Duty. Bandit keeps a mental note of all employees and trespassers who enter the office. He also handles all Integrity Marketing client security concerns that relate to their own office pets. Ruby, from a client in Florida, has been his only contact so far. Bandit also monitors what people are having for lunch.

On active security duty,
starting down the hall...
Bandit used to think it was his job to run to the front office everytime the door opens, but has since been tethered to a desk my office again, because apparently a dog running at you, scares a few people. ;)

A lot of his job includes lots of naps...
Bandit enjoys his lunch time walks (we had to invest in doggie poop bags), as well as his morning trips to the coffee shop across the street. Every now and then, he crosses paths with another local office dog, and they discuss the importance of their jobs.

He loves a good pet, neck scratch, butt scratch, whatever scratch. His
ideal request is to lick EVERYONE in the face for about 5 minutes each, but he understands this is a bit unreasonable.

...and being silly...
Bandit is truly just a pleasure to have around. Bringing him to the office has COMPLETELY fixed his behavior issues he was having at home. He gets more social attention and love and has even dropped a couple pounds since now he lives a less sedentary lifestyle. He also gets the chance to attend Me. Vs. Me fitness classes in Olathe, as well as go to
the barn and pretend to chase the horses from time to time!

...and lots of this.
Life, with Bandit at work, is truly great, and a big shout out to my fellow employee's and my great boss for inviting him to stay!

Bandit - Summer 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Best Banana Bread You Will Ever Taste (Brown Sugar Banana Bread)

Well, it's Christmas the first Sunday of the NFL season. Sitting on the couch all day with my husband watching the Red Zone is absolutely thrilling..too thrilling...so I decided to break it up with a little bit of banana bread. That, and the fact that I was tired of the tiny swarm of fruit flies that took residence in my kitchen, due to the state of my non-edible bananas (yup...nearly black). Good as any reason to bake out some bread right?!

I did a little bit of Pinteresting, and found this worthy looking recipe at Cookies and Cups. Yum.

This recipe is not only delicious...its flawless. Its the perfect combination of rich deliciousness, with yummy saltiness. My husband loved it...that should tell you everything you need to know about this delicacy

I did a few revisions, mainly because I didn't have the exact ingredients, or I thought something would sound better. 
  • I used dark brown sugar, rather than light. I LOVE dark brown sugar, and I use it whenever a recipe calls for brown sugar. Everything always turns out delightful, so hopefully I'm not committing a huge baking no-no by doing that. 
  • I substituted 2% milk in the glaze, rather than the heavy cream. I try not to use heavy cream in anything...its delicious...but fatty. The glaze turned out rather tasty w/o it. 
  • I also used sour cream, rather than the Greek yogurt, mainly because I like how store bought cake mixes turn out when I add sour cream to them. 

What You'll Need

2 cups all purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
1/4 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
2 eggs
6 Tbsp salted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream (I used 2% milk)
1 Tbsp honey
2 1/2 Tbsp butter


Dial up your oven to 350 degrees. (My oven runs hot, so I did 325)
Lube up your 9x5 loaf pan with Pam Spray, or olive oil (my choice). 
Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, mix together mashed banana, sour cream, eggs, melted butter and vanilla.
Mix wet and dry ingredients until "just combined."
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. <--A quick note...I have a really bad habit of using a metal knife in place of a toothpick. I don't know why...but its a bad idea because your knife will never come out clean until your cake is baked into a brick...use a toothpick...my friends.
Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run knife around the edges of pan to release any parts that might be sticking and then remove from pan, transferring to a wire rack to cool.


In small sauce pan, combine all ingredients, heat over medium until mixture reaches a full boil. Boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
Let mixture cool for 5-10 minutes and then pour over banana bread. Glaze will set up and then cut into slices.

Original Recipe from Cookies & Cups.

Monday, August 26, 2013

15 Week Photo

Finally! I hope to have a collage of photos documenting the changes every couple-to-few weeks. (I mean is there really a big difference in wk 15 and wk 16? No..probably not, but if there is, I'll let ya know :) 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

15 Week Baby Bump Photo Time!


Well we've reached the 15 week point!

You know what that means?? BABY BUMP!
I'm finally confident that this gut sticking out might actually be caused by a growing baby and expanding uterus, rather than gas and whatever I had for breakfast/lunch/dinner for the day. So we took some pictures! 

I hired my excellent and FREE photographer (my talented husband) to snap some of these lovely photos in our oh-so-cozy-and-urban apartment complex. Enjoy! 

P.S: I'm wearing blue simply because its my favorite color, and most of my wardrobe is blue/teal/turquoise. We know we're having a baby...but we don't know the gender yet! :D 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

First Listen to Baby Alley's Heartbeat! (and other updates!)

Watch the video to hear babies heartbeat! (00:40s).
I finally have a small (I mean LARGE!) update in the baby part of things! I've been anxiously waiting for my 14 week (Ahhh!) appointment at The New Birth center. My last one was barely 10 wks, and we were not able to hear the heartbeat on the Doppler (however, we did get to see it on the ultrasound!). So I have been counting down the days until the next routine checkup.
Low and behold... We heard it! YAAAY!! I've been waiting for this moment forever. I've been truly blessed with minimal morning/day sickness and not much decrease in energy (excluding weeks 7-9)... So it's very reassuring to hear a scientific reminder that there is indeed a baby growing in there!
I still can't feel any kicks though (we did HEAR a kick!). I guess that comes around week 16-20. Hopefully sooner than later!
My midwife for today's appointment was Whitney, and she was oh so sweet. There are several midwives at the birth center so all the patients get to swap around and meet them all to begin with. The midwives rotate through who's "on call"  for deliveries, so you really don't know who you will get when you go into labor. This way, you are familiar and pretty comfortable with all of them.
Still no exact results on my blood type. 3 tests later I'm still "borderline O-" so they've just decided to treat me as such. Which means I'll get the RhoGAM shot at 28 weeks and then right before labor. It keeps me from building up antibodies to th Rh+ blood type (assuming my baby has a positive blood type).
In two weeks I go for my QuadTest (which is basic genetic screening). In four weeks we go in for our 18 week checkup, and in 5-6 weeks we do the anatomy scan to check if everything is built right and also to learn the gender! I'll be honest... I'm really hoping for a boy!!
Stay tuned! :D

P.S: CONGRATULATIONS to my sister in law, and her husband! They just found out they are having a little boy! Elizabeth is due a month before me, and it's been such a joy to be preggers together!
Love, Dana

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The New Beginnings of a Family Blog


I'm glad you stopped by to visit! Over the past several weeks, I've felt the urge to create a personal family blog. Facebook seems to become less personal each and every day. Important updates and new get lost in the feed, and then there is the worry that a huge chuck of my 200 sum friends really don't care about what I have to post. Who can blame them? Not everyone cares about my pets, vacations, horses, food, and baby information like I do!

But a lot of people DO, so this blog is for them!

Last June (2013) Seth and I discovered we were expecting our first baby! As predicted, this brings a whole new element to our life, and I want to write about it a ton!

Why the name Furry Heartbeats? Well, we have a lot of hair around here, with a long haired dog, cat, and horse. My pets are very important to me, so I wanted part of the title to reflect them. When I think living life to the fullest...I think of heartbeats. A beating heart keeps us physically alive. The gentle thud thud thud reminds me that we are fragile, and each second is a gift from God that should never be wasted.

If you wish to read about my various baby updates, family trips and adventures, adorable pets and gorgeous horses, then check back often! I'll have each post sharing to Facebook, so you can get updates that way. OR, you can subscribe via email and get a notification whenever I have a new post.

See you around!

Easy Easy Easy Peanut Butter Granola

 Its time, my friends, for you to glorify your yogurt. To take a bland and oddly textured food stuff and turn into something with flare and pizzazz by adding in a scrumptious CRUNCH.

That's right - granola, a yogurts best friend. Or in my case, Greek Yogurt - the only kind I seem to be able to stand anymore. I guess I just ate too much Yoplait in college...

I've been told by my midwife to really "beef up" (no pun intended) the protein in my diet. I can only stomach so much meat at a time before things start to go south. Turkey smells horrible, and I'm pretty sure everyone else at home is tired of all the chicken I've been cooking...Bandit included.

So I've taken a sabbatical from my non-dairy diet and have ventured into the easy protein found in many dairy foods (Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, etc), all followed shortly by a handy dandy Lactaid pill. Thank the Lord for those.

Anyways..enough typing. Here is the super-duper so-easy-the-cat-could-make it recipe for peanut butter granola.

Ready? It's a duesy...

2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. oats (I used about 1 1/2 c. of oats)

I stopped measuring anything in the kitchen about a year ago (unless I'm baking, of course. Mom always told me to measure when baking). So if you prefer to use a couple "blobs" of peanut butter (who can measure that stuff anyways?) and a couple real long squeezed of honey (also, unmeasurable) - feel free! 

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of delectable granola.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray (or rub down with olive oil, which worked perfect for me) and set aside. Combine peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until peanut butter melts (approximately 30 seconds). Stir.

Stir cinnamon and vanilla into peanut butter and honey mixture. Add oats and stir until oats are completely covered in peanut butter mixture. Spread out oat mixture (real good!) onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 7 -8 minutes until granola is slightly browned. Let cool until granola is crunchy.

Bon App├ętit!