Gettin’ It Done

8

My Nesting Frenzy continues, and I’m amazed at what I was able to accomplish today.  Amazed… and exhausted.  But on the flip side, I probably won’t have any trouble sleeping tonight, and I got a lot done.  So I feel pretty good, despite the fact that my body wants to sink into the living room couch and never get up.  :)

But I can’t yet…  With each falling leaf, we’re one moment closer to the arrival of baby Brady.  So it’s crunch time!  (But the best possible type of ‘crunch time’ there is…)!

Nate helped to put together the baby swing, baby bouncer / sleeper, crib mobile, and three nursery wall hangings, on top of vacuuming and helping me tidy the upstairs.  I didn’t even have to ask him, which earned him some major bonus points!

So now, the spare bedroom is much more organized and will empty out even more once we use up the diaper storage and move out the swing and bouncer (which will soon find a home in our bedroom and living room).  Trust me, this is WAY cleaner than it was before (no more looking like a tornado ran through it), so I’m very happy with how this looks for now.

It’s just a spare room, so the door can stay closed for the most part anyway.  :)

I basically finished cleaning the bedroom too!  Granted, the room isn’t finished yet.  I still haven’t purchased curtains or wall-hangings, and the bedspread desperately needs to be replaced.  (Hmmm, we’ve only been here how many years now??).  But the floor is now visible, and – once I get rid of the last bit of trash / donation piles – the room will be clean.

No more endless piles of clutter and unorganized baby things!

It’s definitely baby-ready, so Brady will have a clean space to sleep his first few months. (As for finishing the room, that will be tackled much later in the future, as it’s never been at the top of our priority list).  :)  Nate and I just both hate clutter, so it makes us oh-so-happy to have a tidy room again!

Oh, goodness, completing this project is just such a huge weight off of my shoulders!  I really dreaded the thought of putting Brady’s sleeper into a messy room…

The nursery, on the other hand, is finished in terms of being ready for Brady to sleep in.  YAY!  But the last of the decorations are still coming in the mail, so I haven’t completely finished with the décor yet.  SOON though, and I can’t wait to show you all pics!!

I also went for a walk today with the hubby, which was really nice.  I haven’t been very committed to working out (or even walking), due to how busy life has been.  But I know that walking is healthy for me and baby, so I promised myself that I’d be much more committed to it.  (Hey, finishing strong must count for something)!

Granted, I walk a whole lot slower these days.  We started out at a pretty good pace, but then I could feel myself cramping up a bit.  So we had to slow way down…  An older couple walking nearby smiled at us and then whispered to each other.  I then realized that I look very pregnant at this point, and Nate was sweetly holding my hand.  They must have been commenting on the adorable pregnant couple going for a slow, afternoon stroll.

Either that or they were commenting on the crazy, preggo lady.  ;)  (I can’t help but take a mustache pic every time I walk by these tall, marshland plants).  I’m so mature like that!

Hmmm, let’s see… What else did I do with my day?

I taught a piano lesson later in the afternoon…  And then I spent just over 3 hours prepping for the next two days of piano teaching. (These days, prep takes a little bit longer, because three of my transfer students are especially gifted in playing by ear.  So in other words, they can hear a song on the radio and then – in time – play it on the piano without the music.  This was never my gift – as I was classically trained – but I do my best to learn the songs they’re trying to learn… and then we work on it together.  So I’m challenging myself to learn these pieces before their lessons… which means extra time at the piano, in addition to normal prep).  :)  It’s a lot of work, but – at the same time – it’s stretching me as a musician, which is an awesome experience that I’m totally embracing!

I also put together a musical version of Dominoes and Twister.  I like to play games that reinforce musical building blocks, especially with the younger kids who tend to get a little bit antsy.

Oh, yeah, and I made 90 meatballs…  I prepped them, baked them, cooled them, and then placed them into food-storage bags with spaghetti sauce.  Afterward, I popped them into the freezer so that Nate and I can enjoy Meatball Subs or Spaghetti and Meatballs in December (after Brady is born).  This was Freezer Meal # 1, and I plan to continue with several more so that I’m well-stocked.

No cooking for me once baby arrives!  :)  If all goes according to plan, Nate can just take meals out of the freezer, follow directions, and we’ll have a homemade meal to enjoy for dinner!

So that’s what I accomplished today!  I am woman, hear me roar!  (Or, well, at least hear me meow…  Kind of too tired to roar very much right now).

Wow, am I going to sleep good tonight!!!!!  :)

How was YOUR day??

 

 

Everything is Awesome

21

Going forward, my doctor’s appointments are now going to be on a weekly basis, since I’ve reached week 36.  What, what!?!  Four weeks left (or possibly even less) until the newest member of our family arrives!

Up to this point, the appointments been very noninvasive…  The visits have consisted merely of my stepping on the scale (always the scariest moment of the appointment, as I hold my breath and hope for a healthy weight-gain), getting my blood-pressure taken, listening to baby’s heartbeat, and then chatting with the doctor a bit.  And as far as the chatting with the doctor goes, even that has been pretty minimal.  This pregnancy has just been so easy and uncomplicated that I rarely have questions and concerns.

At the end of the day, any discomfort I have is normal, and I’m aware of that.  So I’m not concerned about the symptoms I do experience, although – like any pregnant woman – I will be more than happy when they are no longer a part of my daily routine.  ;)  At this point in the game, I am very ready to snuggle my baby boy and to say goodbye to daily backaches!

Even labor hasn’t freaked me out very much, and one doctor commented on how calm I seemed about everything.  I don’t know, I guess that I just realize it’s going to happen and freaking out about it isn’t going to help anything.

I know, this is so not like me!  It’s amazing how being pregnant has really calmed me when it comes to worrying about the future.  (Ahem, except for breastfeeding.  That kind of still freaks me out, if I’m going to be completely honest.  Ha, ha).  But anyway, I’ve viewed labor as a marathon or an extreme mountain climb.  It will be difficult and painful, but I plan to pace myself and to focus on just getting through one contraction at a time.  And in the end, it will all be worth it!  :)

However, it’s funny how one’s confidence can be shattered so very quickly, isn’t it?  ;)   For today’s appointment, as always, I was worried about stepping on the scale… And, as always, I hadn’t gained as much as I thought  I had. (I only gained 1 extra pound over the past two weeks, and both the nurse and doctor said that I was right on track for weight gain).  It’s seriously amazing how triumphant I felt in that moment!

Then the doctor measured my belly to predict Brady’s weight…

Well, remember how I said he seemed to be growing like a weed?  Apparently that was no exaggeration…  Today, when the doctor measured my stomach, she said that I’m measuring large.  Which means that I could be having a big baby…  She assured me that it doesn’t 100% mean that I’ll have a big baby, but measuring big could point to that.  So I may need to go for another ultrasound to check things out more accurately, just to be safe.  (She started to talk about baby’s shoulders getting stuck on the way out, and I kind of tuned her out around that point…).  ;)

I definitely was not expecting that kind of report, only because people keep telling me that my belly isn’t all that huge.  I mean, sure, I’ve popped exploded.  But still, I’m not that big…  Or am I??

Well, time shall tell, I suppose.  Time shall tell!  (I’m hoping that maybe Brady just hasn’t dropped in my stomach yet, so that’s why my belly is measuring larger than it should at this point).  :)

Anyway, I did what any pregnant woman would do after being told that she may be pushing out a football player…  I went to Panera for a chocolate chip cookie!  Actually, I went to Panera for a lemonade (as my thirst has been insatiable lately, and I’d already drunk all of my water), and Nate commented on how good the bakery items looked.  So I suggested that we split one…

Because who am I to deny my husband something that he really wants?  ;)

Then we went to Burlington Coat Factory, where Nate bought me a wedding ring.  (Explanation:  My fingers are just swollen enough that my wedding ring was cutting off circulation to my ring finger.  It took a ton of pulling, Windex, and olive oil to get the ring off in the first place; and I was worried about the ring cutting into my finger if I kept it on.  So – sadly – it’s off for the next month or so, just until my fingers go back to normal).  Anyway, my wedding ring is just a symbol of the love and commitment that I have for Nate…  But that being said, my hand just felt so lost without a ring on my left hand ring finger!

SO Nate bought me a stretchy, gold ring that I can wear for now!  :)  (It was only $4.99; but it’s super cute, and I love it)!

Nate teased me that he’s going to have to propose again…  Ha, ha.

Maybe I don’t know how big baby Brady will end up being, and the doctor’s filling me in on some complications that could happen shook up my calm demeanor just a little bit… But I do know that Brady still seems healthy and strong!  And on top of that, I got a delicious chocolate chip cookie AND a new ring today.

That’s enough to keep me happy and focused on positive thoughts!  Because at the end of the day, it really is about taking it one day – and one step –  and one prayer – at a time!!  :)

 

To Class We Will Go!

5

I was completely off when it came to my apprehensions regarding the Maternity Ward Tour at the hospital and the Prepared Parenting Class that would be held nearby. I was absolutely terrified of the tour, convinced that we’d hear a woman in labor screaming and that Nate and I would leave slightly traumatized (I have friends who experienced that less-than-calming noise while they were in the ward, and they had been freaked out by it).   The Prepared Parenting Class, on the other hand, promised to be a couple of hours where we would learn all about our newborn (including how to change his diaper) in addition to meeting other pregnant couples.  It sounded great!

So I was a bundle of excited energy when Nate and I walked through the dark parking lot towards the building where our class would be held.  We took our seats, settled in for a couple of minutes, and then tried to chat with the 6 other couples in the room. This is when it became very apparent that meeting new friends was not going to happen in this particular class.  (Hey, we have two left to take, so there’s always hope).  ;)  When I’d ask a girl when she was due, she’d look at me with a half-smile, reply, and then turn back to her husband to obviously ward off further discussion. After this happened a couple of times, I also decided to just stick to chatting with my own hubby.

There was one girl who was more than happy to talk to anyone in the class, but she was trying to find out if it was okay to drink vodka while breast-feeding… among other things that everyone in the room found to be slightly scandalous.  So, you know, at the risk of sounding judgmental, I didn’t feel that she would necessarily be someone that I’d want to chat with outside of class to compare preggo notes.

Anyway, the class itself started, and the teacher apparently thought that spending time on things such as diaper changing would be a waste of time. Instead, she focused on all the scary and gross things that we should be prepared for.  Honestly, I already knew everything from books I’ve read. (Oh, yeah, I’m totally on book #3 right now)!!  :)  But hearing them spoken, one after another, kind of left me feeling a little bit overwhelmed and grumpy…

I mean, it doesn’t matter how excited you are to have a baby. The thought of everything that’s going to happen to you during recovery, in addition to all the things that could possibly go wrong with baby, in addition to just how much ‘fun’ learning to breastfeed is going to be?  Well, let’s just say that all of that preparing you need to do doesn’t make you suddenly want to jump with joy, if you know what I mean.  And while I normally don’t worry about it and have the mindset of taking it one day at a time, the class just kind of throws it all in your face during the course of 120 minutes.

So soon enough, I was just as grumpy as the rest of the girls in the room. (Which leads me to believe that maybe they came to the class more prepared for what the class was going to be, so that’s why they were less-than-smiley from the very beginning).

Nate, on the other hand, was not-quite-so-up-to-date on all of the facts; so after a particularly interesting discussion about constipation after labor, he decided that it was time to add some comedic relief.  During a discussion about fevers, he made a joke about rectal thermometers getting lost, which the guys in the room (and the teacher) thought was hilarious!  Then when the teacher had the guys grab a doll from the corner of the room to bring back to their wives for bathing practice, he came back with a doll that was obviously of different ethnic background than us.  Judging by his chuckling, he apparently thought that it was the funniest, most clever thing ever.

The guys in the room thought that it was hilarious too… and scandalous, since I had obviously just popped out an African baby. I, and the rest of the girls in the room, just glared at the guys, sending a message of, “Hmmm, we’re learning to bathe dolls here!  This is serious!  Stop goofing around!!”

So I bathed that doll with all the love I could muster.  You know, to prove that I loved it, no matter what his skin color… and even if his daddy was laughing at him.

Yeahhhh, just one of those preggo moments… 

Anyway, I went home quite grumpy that night, but woke up feeling much better! (I guess the moral of the story is that even if I haven’t been all that grumpy during this pregnancy, it doesn’t take all that much to take me there).  Ha, ha.

The Maternity Ward Tour, on the other hand? I was so very impressed by how courteous and kind all of the nurses were and how up-to-date they were with making sure newborn babies had plenty of skin-to-skin contact after delivery.  The things that I had been hoping to include in my recovery (including letting the baby stay with us in the room instead of being whisked off to the nursery) are automatically done as routine practice!  Everything was very professional, clean, relaxed, and mommy-friendly (including a shower and a poster of poses to try during delivery).

(I felt that maybe it was slightly wrong to pose near one of the beds and smile, since there is going to be so much pain going on once I officially need to lie in one. ;)  But then I focused on the fact that on this bed – or one just like it – I’m going to meet my baby for the first time!  So smiling just seemed like the right thing to do)!  :)

The recovery rooms were nice too. Very simple, obviously, but very clean!  There are pull-out recliners for the husband, a shower, a sink, and a little table with chairs.

When we left the maternity ward, I just felt really good and at peace.  More happy and excited than nervous!

So I may have gotten it wrong as to which ‘field trip’ would be the best… Now I’m wondering how the Breastfeeding Class and Birth Class will go in a few weeks.  Ha, ha.  ;)  Maybe I’ll just make sure that I’m armed with plenty of chocolate to munch on during the lecture!  You can never go wrong with that!  :)

D Day and Nesting Frenzies

17

Now that my due date is five weeks away,  I can officially say that I’m one month away from D Day, which is what I’m calling my Due Date these days!   Well, not really.  But it sounds kind of cool, so maybe I should start…  Anyway, since some months do have five weeks, my due date is officially one month away, so – no matter what I call it – I don’t have too much longer to wait.

Oh, and for the record, it’s no longer accurate to claim that I have popped.  I think that ‘exploded’ might be more like it…  People are asking me how I grew so fast in just a matter of a week or two.  I tell them that I have no idea, because I just woke up like this.  But it’s all good, because that just means that Brady is healthy and growing like a weed.  (Although if he wants to remain an adorable, smallish, healthy weed, I won’t complain either).  ;)

Of course, if those of you who guessed that I’ll go into labor early are accurate, I might even have less than a month left!  (My mom’s current prediction is that I’ll go into labor as early as November 17th)!  I’m not sure if her guess is based on the fact that she was a week early for all three of her kids, or if she just can’t wait any longer than that to meet her first grandchild.  ;)  But whatever the reason, she was right when she guessed my baby’s gender, so I’m definitely not ruling out the fact that she could be accurate in her predictions this time around too.

Excuse me as I experience a moment of elation blended with a healthy dose of panic. 

Actually, to be completely honest, the closer I get to D Day (yep, the name is sticking), the more ready I feel.  Our house, still-boxed-up-baby-supplies, and scheduled baby classes might not be ready…  But me?  I’m waiting at the finish line in eager anticipation.

Thankfully, the excitement – and slight panic over the fact that we really do have some things to accomplish still – has begun to evolve into a sudden burst of energy. Granted, the energizer bunny, I am not…  But these days, I have found a renewed sense of motivation and energy to tackle projects that need to be finished.  Honestly, I don’t think that the Nesting Stage is really a thing, because it’s not that pregnant women wake up with a sudden desire to clean.  It’s that they suddenly realize that they have weeks left before they bring home a precious bundle of joy… and they don’t want to bring that precious bundle home to a messy house.  So rather than it being a nesting stage, it’s more like a nesting frenzy brought on by the stark reality that there is no room for cute, adorable baby things until the house is tidied and organized.

Just the other night, my husband Nate looked around the bedroom (which becomes messier with each passing day, because somehow the clutter from the rooms I clean tends to end up in not-so-organized piles in our room) and commented, “We need to clean this up soon, or else we’re going to lose Brady in here by accident.”

I forced a laugh like he had said a funny joke. But seriously, it’s true.  The cleaner the baby room and study becomes, the more of a disaster zone our bedroom becomes (which is not okay, because baby Brady will be sleeping in our bedroom for the first couple of months).  It’s just that usually once I’ve carried things into the bedroom (with the intention of organizing it afterward), I’m just too exhausted to continue cleaning.  So it kind of just sits there, waiting to be joined by the next pile.  ;)  And there are still boxes that need to be opened, baby things that need to be put together, and a hospital bag to be packed.

So while it’s getting there, we still have a decent amount left to do.

BUT Nesting Frenzies?  Well, they’re totally a real thing… and they’re kind of amazing! I woke up the next morning with a renewed sense of purpose and before I even took the time to eat breakfast, shower, or get dressed, I had made a decent-sized dent in the clutter and filled up two trash bags for donations to Salvation Army. (At this point, if I really don’t need an item or there is no obvious place to store it, it’s leaving).  I’ll bet one or two more hours is all it will take to get the room clean (especially since Nate will be helping), and then it will ready for a baby bouncer, sleeper… and a baby!  :)

Take that, messy room!  This preggo girl is ready to kick butt, and the To-Do list doesn’t stand a chance!!  :)

Random Photo Friday

7

#1.  Seven mini pumpkins and a sharpie were all it took to give my side porch a bit of autumn cheer.  I might not be Martha Stewart, but I sure do enjoy an easy craft here and there!  :)


 

#2.  The only thing I crave more than red meat these days is pizza…  Soooo, hamburg pizza is pretty much a slice of heaven on earth.


 

#3.   The baby outfits have been washed and sorted; and yesterday I finished washing baby sheets, blankets, and towels.  Everything feels so soft and now smells so delightfully fresh.


 

#4.  Although I very occasionally indulge in decaf coffee, I’ve avoided Starbucks coffee (even decaf) due to the higher caffeine content.  But I had promised myself that I could have a decaf pumpkin latte as at least one splurge…  :)  I indulged the other day, and it was AMAZING!  After drinking watered-down coffee for so long, coffee from the ‘Bucks tasted especially delicious!

Now I’m good until Brady arrives!


 

#5. This peeping tom follows me around the house like a shadow these days.  He was just a little shy when the piano tuner came, so he watched from a safe distance.


 

#6.  While making dinner the other night, I was greeted by the prettiest rainbow stretching out over the foliage behind our house.  I instantly forgot about peeling and chopping and raced outside to take some pictures!  :)


 

#7.  Thank you SO much for all of the encouragement and kind words that you left yesterday.  Honestly, it means a LOT!  Being a mom will be such a new experience, but I plan to do my absolute best and to love the little guy to the moon and back.  :)

Ooh, and if you haven’t yet guessed my due date, make your guess!  Ha, ha.


 

#8.  Have a wonderful weekend!  We’ll ‘talk’ again soon!

The Home Stretch!

18

I’m happy to report that I finished reading my second baby book.  It was a very good book, but I think that the sudden I’ve-got-this confidence was more due to pressure that I’d placed on myself than the information I’d gleaned.  Somehow reading a minimum of three books just seems like a prerequisite for becoming a mother (so I have one more to go).  Anything less than that would be like trying to bake cupcakes with only half of the recipe.

Gosh, I could go for a cupcake… 

But in all seriousness, I’m slightly clueless when it comes to babies, as I haven’t been around them much in my lifetime.  So I’m pretty sure that the doctor will ask me if I’ve read at least three books before he agrees to let me take my baby Brady home (even if it will be quite apparent just how loving that home will be). Being asked to read three books at least happened in my dreams.  So, you know, one can never be too prepared!  After all, dreams do come true sometimes…

Oh, and the nursery is almost finished, which will be another huge accomplishment!  It makes me happy just to go into the room, so most of the baby book was read in that room.  It’s just so cozy, and fresh… and clean compared to the rest of the house.  ;)  Sometimes I like to sit on the rocking chair and forget that my bedroom looks as though a tornado ran through it.

Pics coming soon, by the way!  (Of the nursery, I mean…not of my tornado-stricken bedroom). 

However, that being said, the kitchen pantry has been completely cleaned out and tidied, the finished basement was scrubbed and organized, and one can now walk into the walk-in closet.  So even if I have enough cleaning left to keep Mary Poppins busy, should she welcome me with a visit, I have made quite a bit of progress.  At this point in the game, I set myself a time-limit (usually one – two hours) and whatever doesn’t get done in that time frame will just be waiting for me tomorrow… or next year.  ;)

AND I nearly have all of the baby supplies that I need.  (It really is amazing as to how many things a little baby needs in the course of his first few months).  :)  Nate and I have done a pretty good job, I think, of breaking down the list into ‘must buy now’ items and ‘this can wait a few months’ items, thanks to the advice of close friends who have multiple children… and therefore, lots of experience.

Anyway, I’m not quite sure how it happened, but there are only six weeks left until my due date.  What, what!?! 

I’m definitely starting to feel very pregnant these days, mainly because of how tired I feel.  Like right now, I’m resting on my couch after a long (but very good) day of teaching piano lessons, and I can hardly think straight.  In fact, considering how long it took me to write just the three sentences of this paragraph, I’m fairly certain that it would be more accurate to state that I’m not thinking straight.  Who knew that growing a baby could make one’s brain so fuzzy.

me

Wait, what were we talking about again?

Oh, yeah!  CUPCAKES!  :)


 

Okay, who’s up for a fun little challenge?  :)  My due date is November 26th (the day before Thanksgiving)…  I keep thinking that I’ll go a little late (although – honestly -my nightly Braxton Hicks contractions are getting much stronger)…  But my mom was a week early for me, my brother, AND my sister.  And the doctors haven’t yet made any predictions.  Any guesses as to when Brady will be born? 

Pick a date, leave it in the comments, and we’ll see who picked the closest date to Brady’s birthday!!  :)

Peace in the Storm

14

I know, these are scary times…

With each new case of Ebola reported in the news, panic becomes more imminent.  People are frightened.  And these days, the virus is hitting close to home…  As of tonight, one person is in isolation at Boston hospital with Ebola-like symptoms, while five passengers were removed from a plane at Logan Airport due to flu-like symptoms as well.  Boston is not all that far from where I live… from where my family works.

And, yes, it’s scary.

The world we live in is scary, and Ebola alone isn’t to blame.  When I was a little girl, I’d watch the evening news with my Pepere almost every Thursday night, and the worst things reported were mischievous teenagers toilet-papering church grounds or politicians who didn’t keep their word.  These days, kids don’t watch the evening news… and to be honest, most days, neither do I.  It’s too depressing and overwhelming.  There’s sickness, and financial insecurities, and hatred that can’t be rationalized.

It makes a person wonder what happened and how much worse can it possibly get.

To be honest, when Nate and I first started to talk about starting a family, we almost decided not to.  We wondered how fair it was to bring a child into this world.  And with the scary reports of Ebola and terrorist strikes hitting the news, I found myself falling back into that same pattern of thinking.  Is it fair to bring an innocent baby into such chaos?

And I came to the conclusion, that the answer is ‘yes’.

I remember how terrified I was as a college student in Florida after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Whenever I’d open my Times magazine, there would be an article on surviving an anthrax attack.  There were pictures on how to best barricade your house and how to stockpile food and water.  The navy base near the college campus became a hub of activity.  And many college students left for home… or the military.

It seemed like the end… but it wasn’t.  People came together.  Churches filled back up.  Flags flew proud, and Americans rekindled their sense of patriotism.  Within time, the fear subsided; but it took a lot of prayer, a lot of faith, and a whole lot of really good people.


 

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.”  Psalm 91:1-3  


Can you imagine how much worse this world would be without good people?  Without people who risk and sacrifice their own lives for the well-being of others?  Without people who give to those in need and who -daily – ‘fight’ evil by bending to their knee and asking God for protection, provision, and peace?

I honestly don’t want to imagine it… Because despite how much bad we hear about on a daily basis, there is so much more good.  We just don’t hear about the good as often; because panic, fear, and devastation sells.  And granted, we need to be made aware of evil in this world, so that we’re prepared to help fight it.  But sometimes, it’s nice to be reminded that there’s a whole lot of happiness too.

My pastor’s wife once taught a Bible study during which she encouraged the moms and mom-to-be’s by telling us that our children (and future children) are like arrows that we shoot into the world.  It is our responsibility to raise our sons and daughters to be the difference that we want to see and that we know is desperately needed.  And while we try to be the difference and the positive change today, our children are the change for the future. 

Because there is always love.  There is always beauty.  And even amidst the fear that sometimes seems to prevail during this day and age, there is always hope.


 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  -British politician Edmund Burke (1729-1797)


 

Now I prefer to see the glass half-full, and I truly believe that we’ll be okay.  Where my trust in government and hard-working health-care workers ends, my faith in God more than makes up the difference.  And since that faith is unshaken no matter the outcome of any epidemic or financial crisis, I can face today with confidence and the realization that I am being held in very loving, capable hands.  I face both life and death with Him on my side, so – when I focus on my Creator instead of the problem – there is absolutely nothing to fear.

It will be okay.  It is okay.

It’s when we give into the fear that we’ve already let evil win.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather just live it today… and every day.  :)  I’d rather spend my time making a positive difference and focusing on the good around me.  Life is beautiful, and it’s meant to be lived victoriously.

And I plan to raise my baby boy with that same hope!!

It doesn’t mean that the problems go away…  But when I focus on God instead of those scary problems, I find myself on solid ground.  And I am much better equipped to live a joyful life that can be a much-needed beacon of light in a world that so often seems to be going dark.

We’re Preggo and We Know It

7

Being pregnant at the same time as my friend Liz has been an amazing experience.  In many ways, I truly embraced my pregnancy the moment she told me that she too was expecting a baby.  The whole experience just suddenly felt a lot less overwhelming, when I realized that I now had a preggo buddy to share the ups and downs of pregnancy with.  There’s just something priceless about having a friend to call, when you’ve just had a hilarious or difficult pregnancy moment.

“Wait, what?  Someone just stuck their finger into your belly button, while they were feeling your stomach?  No way??  Well, guess what just happened to me…” 

I’m not even kidding.  It really helps to have that someone to swap stories with on an almost daily basis.  AND it helps to realize that you’re not the only one who’s living off of apple cider donuts, pizza, and bacon … while doing your absolute best to get back on track with the veggie consumption and exercise!  (Because let’s face it, the women you read about in magazines are all drinking kale smoothies and sporting special, tummy-support belts so that they can run well into their third trimester.  It’s kind of nice to have someone in your corner to encourage you to do better, all the while understanding how difficult the daily struggle really is).

Liz is exactly 8 weeks behind me and expecting her second child, while I’m – obviously – expecting my first.

She’s having a girl…

…and I’m having a boy.

And sometimes I let my imagination take flight; and I dream of birthday parties, sliding at the nearby golf course in the winter, hay rides in the fall, movie nights, and crafts for little hands.

A whole new generation of friends will begin in the next few months!

But thankfully Liz has been living in the moment and suggested that we do a maternity photo-shoot together to capture the memory of us being pregnant at the same time.  :)

The chosen day turned out to be absolutely perfect with sunny skies and an autumn breeze.

Really, I can’t wait for all of the fun things that the future holds.  But for now, I’m also absolutely loving this very moment.  Being pregnant and sharing that experience with my best friend?

These times are pretty good too!!  :)

 

 

Family

4

I love my family!  And although I’m pretty biased, it warms my heart, when people tell me that my parents are the nicest people that they’ve ever met… Or that my sister is beautiful, inside and out…  Or that my brother brightened their day, when they needed a smile.  Or even when Nate tells me that he respects my mom and dad so much, and that he hopes we’ll be half as good parents as they are.

My folks are just all-around good people.  And I hope that I never, ever take that for granted.

Especially now, as Nate and I are embarking on this new adventure together and preparing ourselves to raise a baby boy, I realize just how much of a blessing it is to have that support system.  For me, being pregnant has been an exciting time.  But that doesn’t mean that I’ve been exempt from the overwhelming sense of responsibility that comes with it.  And if I were to face this new journey alone, well, I just can’t imagine…

I can’t imagine life without these peeps.  (And even if my brother lives a state away, these days, he’s also just a text or a phonecall away.  So even if he’s not included in this picture, he’s most definitely there in heart).  :)

I don’t know if I’d be able to say who I’m closest to.  I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl, and I constantly call him for financial or big-decision advice.  But I talk to my mom almost every day on the phone, and she’s the one I call when I need support and encouragement.  Of course, my brother and I have always had a close relationship too.  I’m not sure if he’s more protective of me… or if I’m more protective of him.  (We worked together for years at Friendly’s, where he scooped icecream and I was a waitress.  Then he was a freshman at the same college as me during my Senior year.  We were together so much that people often thought we were dating, not realizing that we were siblings.  Matthew didn’t like that too much, since he was single at the time).  ;)

And then there’s my sister Sarah.  She and I are best friends.  Actually, my mom used to always tell us that we’d be best friends someday, and there was a time that we didn’t believe her.  ;)  There was a time that she was the chunky, little sister who always wanted me to slow down so that she could keep up.  There was a time when we shared a room, and she’d beg me – long into the night – to tell her stories.  Or sometimes, she’d wiggle her way into my bed and start to pinch me, telling me that she was a doctor giving me a shot.

I think she honestly just wanted an excuse to pinch me, but – to this day – she won’t admit that.  Ha, ha.

But despite those ‘trying’ times, we had a lot of fun times too.  ;)  Sometimes, we’d sit at the end of our beds, loop belts across our feet, and then pretend that we were settlers driving covered wagons.  A few times, we even snuck out of bed at night with the plan to ‘set up camp’ around our nightlight, imagining that it was a campfire.  (We never lasted more than an hour before we stiffly crawled back into bed).

And then there was the time that my brother and I tied her to the large tree in front of the house, leaving her dangling there when the neighbors drove by.  Oh, wait, that was only fun for me and him.  ;)

Sigh, is there anything better than adventures with siblings?

Sarah and I loved picking out new Easter outfits together, especially when my mom splurged and bought us each a new purse.  We loved baking together, especially around the holidays.  And nothing made us more excited than popcorn, orange soda, and Friday movie nights.

Hmmm, funny how some things don’t change.  ;)

And throughout the years, she and I have become best friends, just like my mom said we would.  It took awhile…  In fact, we weren’t all that close, when I was in college.  But then something happened.  We started to spend more time together, and suddenly we were spending every single weekend together… on purpose.

Yeah, my family is pretty amazing.  Sometimes we fight…  Sometimes we disagree…  And sometimes we even need our space.  But at the end of the day, we love each other and would do absolutely anything for each other.  (We’d even take part in a photo-shoot during which the camera rapidly takes pictures, and we’re supposed to do something funny in the course of those ten seconds.  Most of us just kind of freaked out and started to laugh… or wave our hands and legs in the air.  Nate, meanwhile, thought the best thing to do would be to turn around, while the rest of us made fools of ourselves).  ;)

Don’t worry, I caught him at the last moment and forced him to face the camera!

Yep, those pics are us in a nutshell, for sure!  :)

Happy 27th birthday to my ‘little’ sister!!  Our family couldn’t be complete without your smile, your laugh, your calm demeanor when things get a little crazy, and your fun personality.  Thank you for your friendship and for always being there.  I can’t wait until our next adventure!!!  And I hope that this year is THE best year yet!  Happy, happy birthday!!!  Love you!

 

Preggo Journal – Week 32 Recap

7

How far along:     This recaps Week 32, but – as of today – I am officially 33 weeks… Which means only 7 weeks to go!  Which means that my due date is less than two months away.  Which means that I have a lot to get done in the very near future!  Ha, ha.  Time to get busy!

(Unless growing a baby counts as being busy, in which case, I have been busy; and I am going to take a nap now).  ;)

 How Big is Baby:  Baby Brady is now the size of a squash.

Squash

Maternity clothesI am embracing my maternity clothes in all their comfort!  I think I own about two weeks worth of outfits, and it has totally been enough.  I just change up scarves, pants, and accessories to make different looks.

(And I totally write down what outfits I wear to which events, so that I wear different clothes for church, piano teaching, and such.  ;)  That way, I’m not always wearing the same thing around the same people.  Yeahhhh, I’m such a nerd when it comes to lists. Ha, ha.  But it’s totally working)!!  :)

AND, oh happy day, I found a pair of black flats at Payless for $15, and they are so unbelievably comfortable!!

 Best moment of this week:   I wore a more fitting shirt on one of my piano-teaching days, so one of my youngest students apparently noticed my preggo belly for the first time.  He stared at my belly for a moment before announcing, “Wait a minute!  Are you going to have a baby?”

I replied, “Yes, I am!  I’m expecting a little boy.”  :)

He sighed in relief, smiled, and said, “I was going to say, you weren’t that fat last week!”

I know this probably sounds like an awkward moment, but it was actually hysterical!  (His mom, meanwhile, freaked out a little bit).  But I thought it was super cute, and I just started laughing!!  This boy used to be really shy around me, but he has come such a long way!  Once he found out that I’m expecting a little boy, he’d play a song specifically for baby Brady… and then pat my belly gently.  Again, I know it might sound awkward, but it was just really cute.  :)

Awkward moment this week:  I actually survived another week without one.  Score!!

MovementBaby Brady is moving LOTS these days, and he also gets the hiccups quite a bit.  Thankfully, he’s a gentle kicker at this point, so it doesn’t hurt at all.  It’s just kind of funny sometimes to see my belly bouncing around.  :)

 Food cravings:   Sweets!  (For the record, the worst time in the world to crave sweets is just before Halloween.  I refuse to walk down the candy aisle for fear that I won’t be able to resist). I did, however, splurge and get a hot chocolate the other day with the hubby.  It was just so chilly out, and I’m pretty certain that Brady wanted some.  ;)

I’m also still craving carbs in general (especially bread) and cheese.  So pizza is still at the top of my all-time favorite foods right now… followed by red meat and seafood (which I obviously have to eat in moderation).

Anything making you queasy or sick:     I’m over all food aversions except for ground turkey.  Even just thinking about the smell makes me feel sick.

Symptoms:  First let’s be positive and talk about everything that I don’t have, because I had been so sure that I’d be struggling with these by this point.  But I still have very healthy blood-pressure.  I still don’t have swollen fingers or cankles.  And other than when I’m really tired, I don’t even waddle.  I’m pretty excited about this, I’m not going to lie!  :)

As for symptoms that I do have, backaches have returned in full force, and sometimes it’s hard to sleep, because there is such a deep ache in my upper back.  Thanks to the anemia (low iron), my heart will randomly start to race sometimes, and then I’ll feel out of breath and weak… so I’m forced to sit down for awhile (sometimes up to 30 minutes) to get my heart rate and breathing back under control.  And I’m pretty tired all of the time.

But I’m in my third trimester, so – really – I can’t complain at all.  I’m doing pretty great!

Exercise – I have to be honest, I’ve failed at this…  Between busy or exhausted mornings, I haven’t been as dedicated to walking as I would have liked.  Let’s see if I can turn that around this week and for the remaining 7!

 Have you started to show yetIt officially looks as though I’m smuggling a watermelon.  :)  The old wives tale must be true, because I’m the perfect example of how it’s ‘supposed’ to look if you’re carrying a boy.  Low and all in the front, like a basketball.

Labor signsOccasionally, I’ll feel sharp pains at the top of my stomach.  They don’t last long, aren’t consistent, and there’s no tightness with them… So I don’t think they’re even Braxton Hicks contractions yet.  But my tummy is definitely preparing itself for the BIG ones, which will be here before I know it.  (For now, whenever I feel those cramps or pains start, I usually just listen to my body and relax for awhile, and they go away).

Happy or moody most of the time:    Happy, happy, happy!  Thank goodness, I avoided crazy preggo hormones for the most part of this pregnancy.  I could probably count on one hand the really bad, emotional days I had.  I remind Nate often of how fortunate he is that he didn’t have to comfort a sobbing or angry wife very much these past months.  Ha, ha!

Now that’s not to say that I don’t have my moments.  Trust me, I have them!!  But as far as days-on-end of sobbing or throwing things, I – so far – have avoided it.  ;)  And I’m quite happy about that (happy, happy, happy!), because I had thought that I’d be a mess once I became pregnant.  Now if only I could have avoided pregnancy brain too.  ;)  Ha, ha!  That I have all the time, these days.

Final thought:  I REALLY need to get things done!  :)  The nursery is just about complete… (So stay tuned for pics of that during the next couple of weeks).  I’ve washed all the baby clothes and now just need to wash the baby blankets, sheets, and towels.  I finished the Baby Shower thank-you cards yesterday…  So really, I just need to get a lot of stuff organized and also pick up a few more baby things that we still need.

It’s getting there!!  Woo hoo!!!!