29 September, 2011

On change, babies, life, and death

I have a lot rolling around in my exhausted, pregnant brain.  Nothing is long enough or coherent enough to necessitate it's own post, but I want to get it out of my head.

...today was my last day working "full time" or really, my two part-time jobs.  I am now just working at the church.  My plan is to take from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day as my maternity leave.

...for the first time in my life I really feel content with my work, family, who I am, what I do/do not, and where I am headed.  I feel ready to handle what's brought my way, and not be stressed.

...Eric and I sat and made a two page to-do/goals shared Google Doc (yes, we're those people - but surprise! it's actually not color coded) of things for me to get done in my new found spare time both for the baby and because we know it won't get done when the baby comes. Things like cleaning out my shoes, tights, belts, purses, etc

...I have been reading a lot about stay-at-home Mom time management. Knowing my procrastinating personality type, and my hatred of taking showers, I decided to read up on all sorts of techniques to keep house, keep myself, keep a baby, and keep sane....without too much day time TV. I want to schedule work outs, get back to meal planning, and start exploring some creative outlets all while being even more diligent about our budget.

...we're finally debt free (and I'm only working part-time now), but we haven't sat down to re-do our budget, plan our investing, or how we are going to save for a house.  It's been nice to enjoy a month without really thinking about money, but we can't let it get away. We're done with paying for the past, and now it's time to plan for the future.

...I am looking forward to all these changes and goals AND a baby.  I feel like I am in a good place in my life, finally content in my vocation and work situation, and ready to embrace changes without feeling overwhelmed.

...FYI:  I switched back to Tide, Downy, Clorox Cleaners, etc from all-natural/home made ones.  The name brand ones cost an arm and a leg compared to making our own...but they work SO. MUCH. BETTER.  I cut my cleaning frequency in half because the cleaners keep things clean longer and my towels don't smell like mildew.  The environment hates me right now.  Sadly, I don't feel that guilty.  I will try natural products again when we have an apartment/house that is better ventilated and we can line dry things outside in the sun.

...every day my heart bursts with excitement for meeting our baby girl. Every day I grow even more in love with her.  I didn't know I could love someone I've never met so much.

...my love for Eric grows each day, too.  I appreciate him even more, and just cannot wait to be parents together.  I hear that the day your first born is born is a day that changes your marriage for the better just as much, if not more, than your wedding day.  I am ready for this "change" and cannot even imagine the amount of joy and love that is yet to come.

...at the same time I am so preoccupied with love for a new life, my father's brother is slowly passing away.  We received the news this week that his persistant cough is not just a cough but in fact lung cancer.  When they did the biopsy this week the doctors discovered the cancer has spread through his whole body and doubt any treatments will work.

...I am so sad to see him suffer, and to have my Dad lose a sibling at such a young age.  But there is a peace that came over me today when my Dad told me that my uncle went to Confession today for the first time in 20-30 years and has begun making amends with family.  It's such a gift from God that he's been granted this time to prepare his soul.  Not everyone gets that opportunity.

...I am incredibly blessed / spoiled / lucky and I take it for granted. I am working towards a life of sincere gratitude for the opportunities, gifts, situations, people, etc in my life.

What's on your mind these days???


26 September, 2011

It's *still* a girl {Pregnancy Update Weeks 31 & 32}




How far along? Thirty-two weeks! Just under two months left. Time seems to be going so fast and so slow at the same time.


How big is baby? She measured 4lbs and 9oz today.  About 3 days ahead of "schedule".  We had the ultrasound tech double check...It's still a girl! Whew!


Total weight gain: My at home weight gain shows 40ish lbs. I think I've only gained 3-4 pounds this month and it's all in my belly. I'm not sure if the midwife was joking or not, but she said something about 12 pounds of water weight trapped in my legs! It's funny but it's not. 


Maternity Clothes? As promised I haven't bought anything since my last post.  I am really hoping we don't have a cold Fall because I don't want to buy new clothes or shoes.


Stretch Marks? They have consumed my abdomen, hips, and inner thighs.  I'd complain, but it's all areas I cover up anyway. I am thankful that I haven't had any on my arms or back, I would be even more self conscious that I already am about those areas.  I am also surprised to not have new ones on my breasts, just the souvenir ones from puberty. 


Exercise: I wouldn't call anything in the last two weeks as intentional exercise, but I have been very active.  Hardly any down time just sitting.  It's been a great balance because I sleep better at night, and it keeps all my hip and back joints from locking up, which is exactly what the doctor ordered.


Sleep: Most nights I go to bed around 11 and get up at least once, sometimes two or three times to pee.  I am up anywhere between 6:30 and 8:30 depending on the day.  I have my head pillow, candy cane shaped boddy pillow (which we call J-lo), and some nights a bigger pillow for me to hug. By hugging the big pillow it helps keep my hands and arms from falling asleep.  The carpel tunnel has been getting even stronger and more frequent. 


Movement: I'd say we have a real ninja on our hands, but ninjas are more stealthy than baby girl.  She is more like a break dancing ninja turtle. Go ninja, go ninja, go! She moves to remind me to eat.  I just imagine her saying, "Hey mom, I'm hungry" *POW*  Her favorite meal is dinner and anything sweet.  Both seem to make her extremely active.  And of course bedtime...She's kept me up for hours at night with startling moves.  I had a few upper cuts to my right rib this week. Yowzers!


Food cravings: Still on a fruit kick, mostly melons, grapes and apples.  And I love every variety of gluten free Chex cereal!!! I am back to having a few food aversions - anything with a bone, cooked spinach, and seafood.


What I miss: Not having carpel tunnel. Sleeping on my stomach (I almost did a belly flop on the bed the other day. D'oh!).  REAL SHOES! Running. Biking.


What I am looking forward to: Meeting our precious daughter. Holding her. Watching Eric hold her.  Giving her a name. Getting to know her. Being a little family. Snuggles. Baby kisses.


Milestones:
  • I can hardly reach my feet to shave or put on complicated sandals. 
  • Lots of strangers asking about her
  • I fell asleep at work. My boss woke me up because I was SNORING!
  • Friends and family can see her moving from across the room
  • We're getting a little closer to choosing a name.  We each have a front runner. One has two distinct nicknames.  The other name doesn't really have any nicknames, but is sweeter sounding to me (which is why it's my favorite!). 
Say What?
"Connor, do you want to feel the baby in my belly?"
He pokes my belly questioningly with one finger and says,
"Eew, She's mushy"


"I just can't wait to meet her"
to which my sister replied,
"Yeah, but she's gotta keep cooking. Otherwise she'll have a gooey middle"


One night while I was putting cocoa butter on my belly, Eric said, "I have a new nickname for her, 'Butterball'!"  
"Okay....?"
"Yeah, because she's due around Thanksgiving, like a turkey. And you are always buttering her up"

:::crickets::::
Love you sweetie ;-)


Sweet moments:
Conversation with a Publix cashier with special needs:
"You're having a baby? You're so lucky!"
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah, my mom said I can't have a baby until I get married. And that'll be a loooong time. I don't even have a boyfriend yet.....and I'm 26!"

Eric woke up before me one morning and he could tell I was still sleeping.  He saw that baby girl was moving around in my belly, so he put his hands on my stomach and had a little conversation with her.  He told me this over breakfast later that day.  My heart just melted.  (I hope they weren't plotting against me!)


Make room for baby:  I snuck a few baby things in the wash, namely the decorated onesies, two hats, two socks, a swaddler and a receiving blanket. All things we'll take to the hospital or need right away.  I sent this picture to Eric with a note that said, "LOVE!"


We received tons of goodies the last two weekends at our showers, including the crib bedding, stroller (that was the big surprise box), diaper bag, a few cloth diapers, and lots of clothes, shoes and other little things.


I am waiting to see what other gifts receive before I take tags off and wash things. And if she's measuring big, I probably won't keep too many of the 5-8 pound newborn clothes around. Just the "Mommy's little turkey" outfits for Thanksgiving. 


Oh, and THIS:
Um, what's up with all the ear wax?! I mean, seriously. Not a pregnancy symptom I've ever heard of, unless it's the fish oil or magnesium supplements I've been taking?!?!


Time to lay off the salty foods.  My water retention is getting a little high, which is causing my blood pressure to spike. If we want to follow through with our birth plan it's time for high protein, fruits, veggies, and nice long walks :)  Diane, the midwife, said "Keep your eye on the prize!!!"





25 September, 2011

Fiesta! - My Girlie Baby Shower

I am blessed to work with a wonderful group of women at our parish.  Two of us are paid employees the rest of the them are generous volunteers.  We have had varying degrees of duties at the church, or availability as volunteers, but our friendship has remained strong for five or six years now.  One of the joys  of our sisterhood has been throwing wedding and baby showers for each other.

Yesterday the girls threw me a baby shower. Like my family, we have fun coming up with a theme for the shower, my favorite being the "tailgate" theme we did for Natalie when she was pregnant with Anthony.  For my shower, the girls threw a mexican fiesta, complete with virgin strawberry daiquiris and a delicious spread of wheat-free foods: nachos, tacos, guacamole, pineapple & strawberry salad.





 For dessert they served these little devils....cannolis...which they insisted were "dessert tacos" haha.  They were not wheat free, but when no one was looking I had half of one.  MMmmm :)




On to the party games!  We filled in the nursery rhymes.  Tricky Tricky.  My mom is a librarian and she didn't even get them all.


And then we put our creative writing skills to use - good thing many of us in the room were bloggers and or youth ministers and good and making up stories :)  We were given a list of baby related words and random words and we had to work them into a story.  Think third grade spelling homework assignment, "Use all your spelling words in a story"


The stories were pretty funny...most of them included mishaps of Eric taking care of the baby.  Poor Eric.

And the afternoon came to a close with lots of treats for Baby Ninjalina.  The benefit of a girlie shower for a girl is all the PINK and GLITTERY gifts.  Eric and I registered for all gender neutral & practical stuff, so these gifts took me pleasantly by surprise.  Hair bows, dollies, zebra print shoes, flowers, and piiiink!  Of course, some practical gifts were thrown in, like our diaper bag (yay!), bottles, jammies, teethers, and nursing gear.












It wouldn't be fair to include a series of my "awkward party / excited face" without including all the guests' "yay, more pink stuff!!" face ;-)







The guests were sent home with a personal size daiquiri mix and a recipe card to make your own at home.  Brilliant party favor!


Many, many thanks to these girls for the wonderful shower! I had a great time and I love knowing how well outfitted baby girl is thanks to your generosity!

PS:  Special thanks to my sister for being the party photographer :)

Love,

23 September, 2011

A Very Hungry Caterpillar - Our Baby Shower!

My family might get a little carried away with theme parties, as evident with my Mom's 50th birthday Decades party (please ignore the horrible photos) and David & Pagie's Monkey Baby Shower.   It was no surprise that our baby shower would be equally decadent.  And it did not disappoint.

In addition to my mom and sister's creative touch, my friend Rosemary joined in the planning and hosting.  My sister-in-law, Paige, and my brother's girlfriend, Bridget also gave a helping hand. Thank you, ladies!

Rosemary's sister is a graphic designer.  She made the invitations, banner and other signage for the party.  She used the diaper bag we registered for as her inspiration.  Creative huh? 
{via}
PS: You can click on any of the photos and collages to make them larger...

(Yes, we had the Notre Dame game on during the shower. Duh. And we won. Finally)

Given the invitations, I had no idea what the theme of our shower might be. I was half secretly hoping in would be Hungry Caterpillar because it matches the nursery, but I was also half secretly hoping it wouldn't be so we could use the theme for baby girl's 1st birthday.  Either way, Eric and I were excited to walk in the door on Saturday afternoon to see what the girls came up with.

We walked in the front door to find the Welcome Table with a giant copy of A Very Hungry Caterpillar for the guests to sign as a guest book.  There were also marshmallow pops decorated to be the Caterpillar.  The guests could wrap them up in a bag as their party favor.


The creativity and delicious did not end there.  The snack table boasted treats from every page of A Very Hungry Caterpillar.  My family made every treat the caterpillar ate through...


All the fruit.


All the cookies, candies, pies, cakes, cupcakes, salamis, cheeses.

Look closely at the little tags my mom made! She included a picture of the snack and the line from the story book.  My dad even helped by scanning in the pages of the book for her! 

Because the shower was co-ed, and the football game was going on, the girls decided to skip the awkward awesome party games in favor of a few creative stations around the house.  This allowed all the kids to participate as well.


The station on the porch had little sheets of paper for the guests to write advice to us and hang the little strips of paper on the clothes line as to not "leave us out to dry" haha.


The other station on the porch included several packages of white onsies in all sizes and a cup full of fabric markers.  The guests were invited to decorate outfits for Baby Ninja.  Everyone was so creative! Of course my Georgia Southern alumni siblings had to make her a Miss GSU one :)


Inside was a station to taste & guess the baby food flavors.  It was fun to see the kids faces, but also listen to the experienced adults argue over their suspicions. 


Not pictured was the delicious spread of (wheat free!) finger foods, dips, and treats that my parents, siblings, and aunties made.  Everyone ate until their heart's content. And then some!  My cousin found me at Mass on Sunday night and was like "I feel like the hungry caterpillar... I'm still stuffed!"

Then it was shower time!  Oh my, the loot!  It was so fun! It was great to share the time with Eric looking through all the baby gear.  So many fun and thoughtful gifts.  Many of the kids brought a copy of their favorite book or their favorite toy. Some of the parents gave goody bags of their favorite parenting secret weapons.  We got several of the basics off the registry as well as our first two cloth diapers!  Of course, they became a topic of conversation among the 80s moms who had previously desperately begging us to NOT cloth diaper.  Once they saw these "new fangled ones" they were impressed!  But I digress...


Baby girl is well outfitted in Notre Dame, Braves, Ninja and Pirate clothes.  She also got several Thanksgiving outfits since she's due 4 days before.

I can't write about the shower with out sharing two gems from the party.  First, the nail artist who did my pre-shower pedicure did a brillant caterpillar on my big toe.


And second, the shirt that Sean wore to the party


He asked if it was inappropriate given that it was a family event, but I said I was flattered and he could wear it :)  Amazing.

Eric and I received a very generous mystery gift that was bulky, wrapped in The Wallstreet Journal and given by a guest not at the party!  Anyone want to guess what we got?


Thank you to our fabulous party hostesses! The party was wonderful and we appreciate all the thoughtful details!  And a special thanks to Rosemary for all the photos :)


We are so blessed!!



PS: We're linking up with Growing up Gardner for {Kid}ding around Friday

20 September, 2011

{Weekend Recap} - Journey, Make Room for Baby, Family Fun


Wow.  I feel like I've been away from blogging forever.  Not just blogging, but Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Pinterest...the Internets in general.  I thought after 10 days of being focused on real-life I'd miss these things but I didn't (that much).  I felt it ironic and timely that my friend Ashley would post about the same feelings towards finding Internet balance that I was having this week.

Because we were so busy LIVING our lives, I hardly captures anything on film my digital camera.  Sorry!


What exciting adventures have we been on???

Sunday night Eric helped kicked off the year for our parish youth group.  My Sunday night schedule is now free (hooray part-time!) so I could take pictures of the party.  This is one of my favorites of all the adult volunteers, affectionately known as "The Core Team"



Last Monday we went to the Braves game to celebrate our friend Sarah's birthday. Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Tuesday night Eric and I had a date to go grocery shopping, which also turned into a dinner date at a Mexican restaurant. Hooray, corn chips!

Wednesday was some much needed girl time at book club, where we discussed Tina Fey's Bossypants Most of us really enjoyed it, especially those of us who have watched 30 Rock religiously, or those who used to watch her on SNL. My favorite chapter was "Dear Internet" - she mimics the candor/sarcasm with which I wish I was allowed to reply to emails. Amen.  Did you read it? What'd you think?

By Thursday we were ready for a little R&R, but no rest for the weary - our apartment was is a disaster and it was is desperately time to "clean all the things".  I put away all the Summer decorations and brought out the Fall ones.  It's wasn't a super thorough cleaning, but it's probably one of the last deep cleanings we'll have before baby comes.

And then Friday came, and with it brought my brother, David and his wife, Paige and their little nugget, Zachary from Savannah.  I took a half day off from work so I could get my last pre-baby hair cut and visit with them before we went to see Journey and Foreigner in concert.  Yes, my parents bought the 4 of us and our plus ones tickets for Easter.

We had a mighty fine tailgate complete with beer pong (for those who could partake).  Can you pick out which ones my siblings are?

The concert was so good! We knew almost all the songs and had fun people watching.  Eric and I left about 30 minutes early.  I was exhausted and we had an early morning.


PS: It was like 60 degrees and overcast. What the heck, Georgia?!

And then Saturday came!!!  My mom sent Paige and I out for pedicures - Thanks, Mom!  Paige insisted that I get a caterpillar on my big toe to match the baby's room.  Random, but I did.  Didn't the nail artist do a fabulous job?

I quickly rushed to meet Eric for our last week of Bradley classes where we played "coaches" vs "moms" in birth Jeopardy.  Seriously, I haven't laughed like that in forever.  The boys won! Can you believe it?  It must have been the extra points Eric earned for demonstrating with the doll three breast feeding positions....  (And now he's probably going to kill me for posting that tidbit on the Internet).

After class wrapped up we grabbed smoothies from Whole Foods (mmm) and headed to my parents for our first baby shower!!!  Details will be in their own post, but incase you haven't seen the photos on Facebook...we had a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed shower.  Hence why Paige insisted on the caterpillar on my toe!

Here's a little teaser of the shower:


Sunday morning we sorted through all our new baby loot, assembled the crib and washed all the crib bedding all before teaching Confirmation class, going to Mass and Eric staying for youth group. I visited my friend Jenny, who is about to pop with her own baby!!!

Yesterday I had lunch with a girl friend that I hadn't seen since high school graduation over *ahem* ten years ago. So fun!

Last night I literally sat on the couch and did nothing. NOTHING!  Eric worked on his homemade kegerator.

We randomly decided to get serious about choosing a name for our baby.  We narrowed our list of 50 "likes" to 30 "let's discuss furthers" though we did settle on two in particular that we're going to try out for a while this week.  One is old school with a trendy nickname and the other is a top contender except Eric's cousins just used it (how soon is too soon to recycle family names?)!!!  Aren't these hints more annoying than helping you guess what we'll name her?

So here we sit late on Tuesday night.  I took a walk (I am admittedly jealous of Rebecca and Alyshia having had their babies and are now training for the Savannah half!) and a nap after work and ate cereal for dinner.  Eric worked late and is diligently working on his kegerator again. Whew.

How's your week been?  I've missed you :)