Friday, August 30, 2013

Fall Fever

I am so ready for Fall! What isn't to love? Football, good food and cute decorations!
(I would say Fall clothes, they are awfully cute, but we don't get enough cool weather to justify a "fall wardrobe")

This fall we are also welcoming our first Wee One and I'm so excited! I've always said that I need to have a Fall baby so we could do these adorable Pintrest-y things with the baby.

I'm not much into Halloween Decorating per-say. We grew up wearing costumes & trick-or-treating but we always did animal costumes, or Biblical costumes, Prince/Princess type themes, never the scary stuff. My fall decor style is much the same, nice fall decorations in general, come October 31, I might add a jack-o-lanturn or two but that's about it.

Is it too early to start decorating for fall??
I know if I wait too long, I will be far too pregnant to care, but I'm really antsy to bust out the orange boxes in the storage shed!

If I manage a Fall Craft for this year, I think it may only be an adorable Tassel Garland in fall colors. 
I love this tutorial by Wifessionals on how to do one in yarn (so it's more durable for storage etc.). If I get really crazy, I may make one in Red & Black for Tech Football games! (Wreck 'Em Tech!)
Wifessionals: DIY Yarn Tassel Garland

 Do you have any fun fall crafts planned?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Prenatal Chiropractic Care

Yesterday I walked into my office smiling like a fool! 

I have always had back problems, but for one reason or another I hadn't ever gone to a chiropractor. I could usually stretch and exercise and clear up the pain. Pregnancy has really limited that for me so I finally had to resort to getting help.

I told the Bestie's mom that I felt like I was preaching the 'gospel' of chiropractic care after my appointment yesterday.

As my pregnancy has progressed back pain has become "normal" for me. It's part of what got me into such a pickle with our ER visit - I didn't recognize that I had a kidney infection because I assumed my back pain was just normal. Did you know that back pain in pregnancy is not normal?!?

Benefits of Prenatal Chiropractic Care

A few weeks ago my Midwife suggested seeing a chiropractor when I had some trouble sitting up from laying on the exam table (another problem I had dismissed as "normal"). Then when we met with Susan, our Doula she couldn't sing enough praises of seeing a chiropractor for prenatal care. I was still pretty skeptical, then a friend who has had three children recommended it so I finally agreed to look into it. 

A little about my back pain - I had the common pregnancy ailments of aches and pains that come with your body changing to accommodate the belly's growth. Unfortunately, I also had this "catch" in my lower back from before I was pregnant that was just made worse with my changing body. I couldn't go from a laying position directly to sitting, or sitting with my legs extended to standing without horrible pain. More than once in the last few months I have bawled my eyes out as John attempts to help me out of bed because I had "pinched" something in my back in that "catch".

Kara, my chiropractor practices in our OB/Gyn & midwife office. She specializes in Prenatal care and holds special certifications and training to care for pregnant women and women in postpartum recovery. She was so sweet to explain everything she was doing to me and point out things as we went through the exam. She totally put me at ease! 

Turns out the "catch" in my back is a misalignment from my pelvis. I would have never figured that out, but as she adjusted it I could feel what normal felt like again. The feeling of things moving back where the belong was amazing! We still have some work to do, but at the end of the adjustment I was able to sit up straight without assistance or that darn "catch" causing problems for the first time in I can't even remember how long!

She was able to adjust and correct problems I didn't even realize I had. I'm breathing better (but hadn't realized I wasn't breathing well), my posture is substantially better (to the point that others have commented on it!), the range of motion I have in my neck hasn't been there in years and we think we may have found the source of my chronic headaches from pre-pregnancy. 

I'm 32 weeks pregnant and this is quite probably the best I have felt the entire pregnancy!
I had really wondered if I could make it to term because I was just so very uncomfortable already.  I'm sure there will still be discomfort but one adjustment has done so much for my quality of life, it's amazing! 

My pregnancy advice for you? See a Chiropractor, from day 1! I won't go through another pregnancy without one!

UPDATE - a great article about my chiropractor and her practice can be found here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dear Baby Girl {31 Weeks}

Dear Baby Girl,

I love how your personality is already showing through even though we haven't met you yet. I think you're going to be shy, like I was when I was little. You can be moving & rocking in my belly but the moment someone else (except Daddy of course) comes up to feel your movements you stop and get very still.

We're less than 9 weeks away from meeting you! Mommy & Daddy are both so excited, but we're also a little nervous! Your bedroom is coming along, but we're hoping to have a few more pretties on the wall for you before your arrival.

All our Love!
Mommy & Daddy

Date: 8/26/13

Due Date: 10/22/13

How far along?: 32 w. 1 d.

Weight Gain: 2 pounds since the last doctors visit, 3 pounds overall for the pregnancy.

My baby is the size of a: Head of Lettuce/Honeydew Melon

Maternity Clothes: Yes! And needing to add a few more pieces to my collection - I'm currently shopping for items for maternity pictures & baby showers!!

Stretch Marks: Yes - though they seem less red & angry. I'm hopeful they'll fade nicely after baby girl's arrival.

Belly Button In or Out: Out!

Wedding Ring on or off: On & somewhat loose, it just depends on the day.

Symptoms:Back aches, some insomnia, heart burn/indigestion.

Cravings:  I'm still enjoying Key Lime pie, but I wouldn't say I'm particularly craving anything this week.

Aversions:None really!

Sleep:Could be better, but it has certainly been worse!

I am loving: Feeling her move & being able to recognize her sleep patterns throughout the day.

I miss: Usual summer activities, bending over easily, getting up off the couch without assistance.

I am looking forward to: Baby showers!

I'm freaking out about: Labor, not so much the actual process, I feel like I'm very informed and ready for that - more like the fact that I don't know when it will start. John and I both are starting to feel antsy and both of us have a feeling she will come early. It's kind of nerve wracking to think it's less than 2 months until she will be here!

Worst moment this week: We had a little scare last week. Apparently I have a residual kidney infection from one of my many previous infections throughout this pregnancy. I had no clue, I thought my backache was just normal pregnancy stuff. Unfortunately when I got my booster shot to protect baby girl against Pertussis it was more than my immune system could handle with the existing infection and it caused a high, unrelenting fever. A few days of bed-rest and what I'm sure will be a pricey hospital visit things are starting to look up!

It's a...:GIRL!

Exercise: Some walking - I really need to do more!

Goals for the upcoming week: Last week we only accomplished some of our goals - we got the Pack & Play set up in the livingroom where it will belong & the Bassinet to the bedroom. I had read that it was important for the animals in the house to have these changes before the baby comes, but I hadn't realized how important. When we set up the Pack & Play, Pepper walked around like a beaten pup for the remainder of the evening. It was heartbreaking!

This week I need to - **Finish hospital paperwork! **Get finalized guest list for showers to Hostesses, **Actually mail the written thank-yous!, **Continue packing hospital bags **Clean/Organize.

Nursery: We have finished the name art for the most part! It needs some touch-up paint (in a color I don't have of course...) and putting hardware on the back to hang it on the wall.
I also need to start work on hanging the peg board for above her changing table. It isn't hard - just have to find the time!

Bump watch:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Count Down to Baby {30 Weeks}

Date: 8/12/13

Due Date: 10/22/13 roughly... I'm trying to really stay attached to the estimated concept of a due date.

How far along?: 30 weeks, 1 day.

Weight Gain: 5 pounds since my last dr visit, 1 pound over all for the pregnancy.

My baby is the size of a: Head of lettuce! She is about as long as she will get, from here on out she is just packing on the baby fat & finalizing development.

Maternity Clothes: Yes! Today I'm wearing the shirt that was my very first maternity shirt. It seems so crazy that when I got the shirt, it was still loose and flowing. I'm probably a week out from not being able to button it up at all!

Stretch Marks:Yes, My 6 have expanded to become more like 8. Fortunately, since they're on the bottom side of my now very round belly, I don't really see them unless I'm looking in a mirror!

Belly Button In or Out: Out in varying degrees based on Baby Girls location.

Wedding Ring on or off: On & loose

Symptoms: A couple of braxton hicks contractions - one last week that included some back pain/back labor that was pretty miserable. Insomnia, indigestion, iritability, sleeplessness (because I have to pee about 6 times a night), and back pain. My father was sweet enough to mention yesterday that my feet & ankles have also started retaining water - Woo Hoo for Edema!

Cravings:  Key lime pie! Chex Mix!

Aversions:Eggs & milk. Though Eggs have made me sick since pretty much day one of this pregnancy, I really wanted them the other day so I whipped up an omelet for lunch - then spent the next hour working to keep the omelet down.

Sleep: Eh. I am trying not to complain about it. Especially since this is only the beginning of my sleeplessness... Between leg cramps (yes, I'm drinking a ton of water) and having to pee all the time, I'm not really sleeping more than an hour stretch at a time. Poor John's sleep is suffering from all this restlessness too. I'm not sure there is a solution, but if so - I need to find it fast, I can't seem to haul myself out of bed to make it to work before 9:30 each day... which of course leads to later evenings in the office making up for my morning nap.

Mobile for above glider/Home Depot Run for Project above changing table/Jealous cat!
I am loving: Putting together the nursery! This weekend, John and I made a mobile to go over the glider for Baby Girls enjoyment during nursing & feedings and her name art for the wall above her crib!

I miss: The beach - it will take a catastrophe for us not to find some sandy something to call a beach to rest my hiney on next summer! Oh I miss it!!

I am looking forward to: Meeting our Doula this week! Baby Showers! (& Fall weather!)

I'm freaking out about: Delivery! Where/When my water will break.  The possibility of her coming early & not being able to work though the 10/15 deadline and payperiod (aka doing my job...).

Best moment this week: I really enjoyed our first week of birthing classes!

Worst moment this week:Nothing in particular comes to mind. My emotions are pretty raw, so work stuff is bothering me more than normal.

Emotions: Pretty good! I'm not overly moody or emotional, but I have trouble hiding it when something bothers me. 

Milestones: We're 10 weeks away from meeting our little girl! She has defined sleep patterns now, and here of late she has started getting a little too active at night for me to sleep - so we have learned that playing music for her calms her & puts her to sleep :)

Movement: Tons! I love laying in bed & watching my belly move in the mirror. I can see a lot more of the movement when I can see my belly from more than just the top angle.

It's a...:Girl!

Exercise: Walking (in the 100 degree heat) to the corner convenience store for chocolate & back to the office counts - right?

Diet:It could be better... For the first time I'm really, consistently hungry. ("I'm hungry" were my first word to John this morning) I've got to make an extra effort to have better snack food around to accommodate the cravings.

Goals for the upcoming week:
  • Finish her name art & hang on the wall
  • Pack hospital bags
  • Finish hospital paperwork
  • Move the pack & play and the bassinet to where they will go to start letting the dogs get adjusted. 
  • Send out the last of the thank you notes from gifts etc, so I'm caught up going into showers

Nursery: It's coming along! Looking more & more like a nursery rather than just the room where we dump all the baby stuff.

Bump watch: 

On another note: Moms who Blog - what considerations did you make when deciding what to share about your child on your blog? With Facebook, I can control & monitor who has access so much more than I can in the blog world. To share the name? Not share the name? Share photos? How many? How do you keep enough privacy to maintain some barriers/safety?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tea Cup Exchange

When my friend Lauren emailed telling me about this exchange I was so excited!!

Who doesn't love beautiful teacups?!?

I received this gorgeous tea cup from the sweetest lady, Heather!
I love it!!

She was also kind enough to send along some extra goodies!

Thank you so much Heather!
(I didn't even make it inside from the mailbox without busting open the vanilla waffers & having one! We're going to blame it on the pregnancy!)

And a huge thanks to Stephanie for hosting this great exchange!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reevaluating the Necessities

With Baby Girl on the way it has become painfully obvious with just a glance at our finances that me being a stay-at-home mom just isn't an option.  I have worked so hard to convince myself that I will be fine in returning to work - and I think I would have been had it not been for some unfortunate turn of events at work that have left me, well Less than Satisfied with my job.

We've been wanting for me to go back to school for some time now. I've found the Graduate program I'd like to attend and part of the degree plan is online - Score for flexibility! Now I really have the push I need to get my rear back in the classroom... but it all circles back to finances. 

When we look at our budget we see several things:
School - well unfortunately that means more loans but won't really "cost" anything right now.
 Child Care - If I'm not working, or not working as much this cost would obviously decrease, but there is no denying that this is an expense we would have starting in November/December that we didn't have in our current budget.
Daily Bills - No matter how I look at this category, I can't figure out what we're going to cut. We've chosen to live such a "bare minimum" lifestyle as it is to get out of debt. There just isn't much more we can cut out...

... or is there?  We've lived with a little bit of "koosh" in our lives for a little bit too long.
Yes we budget our money to death, but when I'm out and decide I just have to have a soda before I get home spending that extra $3 out of budget doesn't make us or break us financially. I've gotten spoiled.

Psalm 37:5
When I think about going back to that world, a world that isn't far behind us - a world where, an extra time of eating out will totally ruin the budget for the month. A world where I have to make clothes stretch past the time that my friends would, and hand-me-downs are a way of life because there just isn't any wiggle room in the budget for new things. It's hard. It's hard to imagine going back. Especially since we don't really have any friends living a frugal lifestyle on a tight budget (or not as tight as what we're about to be doing...).

Re-evaluating what we consider to be the necessities seems to be the current solution to the problem.  Cutting something that we've become so accustomed to, but isn't a basic need of life. Should we cut Satellite? or Internet? - I can go to the library for Internet, but could I with an infant in tow? For long enough to do school work since I would be in classes again?  TV, surely we don't need that - but I seem to have forgotten what life is like without it.

When is there ever enough money?  Do you ever have enough? My parents always said that if you waited until you "had enough money" to have kids, you never would. I agree. I didn't think there was room for our Little Girl in our budget, until I had to find space for her.

Spending more time with my child (even if I can't swing being an exclusive stay-at-home Mom), getting my Masters degree - those are the things that are important to us right now. Those are the things that matter in the long-run and we sacrifice for what matters, right? Even though we know it will be hard.

If you think about it - please say a quick prayer.  God has been so diligent in providing for us, we know He will again.  We got into this house when it seemed we were out of all other options and avenues of finding a home. We were able to afford more than we ever thought we could when it came to getting a new car before Baby Girl arrives {though these things may seem trivial, they were major stressors at the time!}. For the time being we're doing our best to keep all of our options open and available and wait for God to show us which path to take.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My take on Breastfeeding

This is World Breastfeeding Week & though I have not personally breastfed or had my own child, I felt it was important to talk about why I am so passionate about breastfeeding.

I never knew that I would become such an advocate for natural labor and delivery or for breastfeeding.  I have always felt led to do everything in my power to provide this for my family, even long before I was considering having children. 

I watched my Mom struggle with the effect that medical interventions had on her deliveries and post-postpartum recovery with my brothers.  Looking back, I question how many of her interventions were truly necessary, but at the time were forced on her as a "medical necessity".
One Smart Cookie: AP Our Way: Breastfeeding
After watching those struggles, it has always been important to me to do my very best to strive for the most natural birth possible, including breastfeeding. Should medical necessity arise and I need interventions? Then, Hey - that's a perk of living in our times, but I will do everything I can to have my children the way God planned for our bodies to.

The same goes for breast feeding.  Since childhood, breastfeeding was considered a natural part of the birth process. I remember playing "house" with my brothers, I had my little doll and I would pretend to breast feed her, holding her in the sling we created by tying a knot in a blanket mimicking the breast feeding sling my Mom used. 

Looking back, I find it surprising that I was so accustomed to the idea of breast feeding because it was something my Mother struggled with.  Due to complications with those lovely medical interventions - she never got the chance to breastfeed me. Her second child, Robert has Cystic Fibrosis and - well that's a story for another day, but breastfeeding didn't work for him. Come her third child, she was determined to breast feed and she had to fight tooth and nail to overcome the obstacles placed in front of her. Obstacles beyond that of what any new mother faces trying to establish a milk supply and handle everything that comes with having a newborn in the house (plus 2 other kiddos). She had to fight the doctor and at times those who loved her but doubted her ability to feed my brother; citing that it isn't "necessary" that "this is why there is formula" - there was no issue with her supply and Jacob and Joshua (child #4) certainly were not exhibiting Failure to Thrive.

Something I have learned very quickly about the world of pregnancy and parenting is that everyone has an opinion (including me).  The differences are, how do you express your opinion & is it shoved unnecessarily in someones face?
So when I'm ask how I plan to feed my child (because yes, apparently that is considered an appropriate topic of conversation and acquaintances and practical strangers love to ask these things) and I express my preference for breastfeeding I feel like I'm being judged.  Immediately after the judgmental look I get the inevitable "why?" or "well don't be surprised if it doesn't work for you".  Usually I shluf it off and move on; but if you've caught me on a day that my hormones make biting my tounge a little harder - I'll tell you...

In my experience, in the experience of medical professionals and every ounce of research I can get my hands on - BREAST IS BEST.

In our family, Jacob and Joshua are leaps and bounds healthier than the rest of us. We can directly attribute it to the fact that they were breastfed. Mother was able to feed Jacob this way for longer, and he is healthier than Joshua. Even as a child, I could tell a marked difference between their health and mine.

The difference between me and the busy bees that ask me inappropriate questions is - I recognize that breastfeeding isn't always an option. I get it. I'm not so far off to the right on this that I can't comprehend that sometimes it is just not practical or possible to breastfeed.

breastfeeding: the easiest, cheapest option with effortless weight loss. Yeah, it's a no brainer
Do I worry about how it is going to work with me needing to return to work quickly after the baby? 
Certainly. But it won't keep me from trying. I just really fail to get why everyone sees such harm in a good plan. Go for plan A - if I can't have the unmedicated, intervention free birth and labor I'm planning for or just because I am not successful at breastfeeding  --  then okay it's time for Plan B. Just because my Plan A didn't work for you, or you didn't even want Plan A doesn't make it a bad plan or an unrealistic plan.

Reasons I plan to Breastfeed:
  • It is undoubtedly, the best option for providing nutrition to my child.
  • It is shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer
  • Bonding between Mommy & Baby, special connection
  • Natural immunities
  • Significantly cheaper than formula (costs lie in pump, special bras etc.)
  • I'm not upset in the least by the boost it will give my metabolism in loosing the baby weight ;)
So my message for World Breastfeeding Week - a word from a non-mother - mind your own business! Not everyone is going to do everything the way you did it. What worked for you may not work for them (and that goes both ways!). If you chose to exclusively formula feed - I don't judge you, so please don't judge me because I choose to use my body to feed my child. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pre Baby: Things I say Now...

This post has been a labor of love over a great deal of time. Finally time to dust it off out of the drafts folder now that our life is going to change forever. 

The things I say now, knowing full well that they may change later...

For my greatest treasures!
  •  no cokes in our house, this one is more John's expectation than mine because, well I love cokes
  • Fast food will not be a staple in my childs diet, nor will it be considered a reward - we are not dogs, I will not reward good behavior with food.
  • kick the dogs out of bed with us before the baby comes
  • breast feed exclusively until 6 months minimum.
  • I'm not going to become a Mommy Blogger, limiting my child centered posts to once a week
  • Not letting every little thing my child does make it to a facebook status! OR, giving myself a "pat on the back" for being a mom - duh any mom with half a brain does that stuff! It's my job.
  • My child won't become a facebook child - I will limit the number of posts that my child's picture is in & I will do my best to not over-expose the child on social media.
  • An all natural delivery.
  • I'm not going to let the kiddos stuff take over my house - just because I have a kid doesn't mean my house has to be for the child. By that same token, I won't force my child to live in an adult enviornment, meaning I get that kids make messes, and aren't prefectly mannered little adults - I can work with that and embrace it! 
  • I know kiddos will misbehave in public and we will all experience a toddler meltdown in aisle 3 at some point, but restaurants are one place I can control this! If my child won't sit still & behave - I will take the child to the car.
  • Technology/TV/Computers... Electronics in general will not be my babysitter on a frequent occasion. They will be used with time limits and it will be a privilege, not a right.
  • We won't co-sleep. That's what I bought a crib for. My bed is for Mommy & Daddy.

I'd like to think that I've made a pretty reasonable list of "things I say now" but, as every new mom has discovered, things change after the little one comes! (I don't even have the child here yet and my last 4 out of 5 posts have been about the baby, parenting and the pregnancy... pretty sure I won't make it on the "not being a Mommy blogger" front).

I have also recently discovered just how much stuff a child requires and am having to re-evaluate my rant on having an "Adult House". I still don't want toys everywhere, but I'm having to accept (not sure why this hadn't been realized before now) that Baby Girl is a member of our household too. I have things in our living room, she will too. It's unreasonable to expect all of her stuff to fit into one tiny bedroom.

What are some things that you said pre-baby in your life? 
How did your perspective change after additions to your family?