Monday, December 18, 2017

Countdown to Baby: Only 2 more weeks!

My mother-in-law came over and helped me paint the dresser and night stand in the nursery, so that's a great check off my list! I had almost given up on getting it done, because I figured it wasn't very important, but I'm so happy and thrilled that we did it, both pieces of furniture look so much more fresh and cheery now! We also went shopping to get new handles. Matt installed them, and it's made them look like new pieces of furniture! Now I just need to get in there and decide where best to keep everything and get it all organized in the drawers. 

My mom and I are continuing to work on the curtains, which are becoming a bigger project than expected. I thought I already had black-out backing, but it was "thermal" not black-out, so we had to go buy black-out liner for the curtains. We worked on them some today but they're still not quite finished. Hopefully tomorrow we'll get them all done! As for the crib skirt, I think I might just skip it. The striped material I have for the curtains doesn't look right behind the slats, and now that the mattress is in, it doesn't look so bare and desperate for a skirt. Maybe I'll wait until I have a baby girl and make her a ruffly, girly one! 

As I'm typing this, the used diapers are soaking in their bleach bath. I'm so scared the colors will all come out ruined, but I'm following the instructions, so fingers crossed it works properly! I hope it was worth collecting so many used diapers... I really didn't want to spend $200-$300 getting the size stash I thought I'd need, used was so much cheaper. 

I doubled some pumpkin bread that turned out SO much better than the zucchini bread. I should just always make pumpkin bread instead. But I'm still slacking a bit on actual dinners. Although I did find a quick, easy one that we've been enjoying the past couple of weeks: Korean Beef! I throw some rice in the rice cooker, steam some broccoli, and by the time I finish browning up the Korean-seasoned beef, dinner is ready. (It's on the menu for tonight!)

This weekend we celebrated our first wedding anniversary! Matt took me to a fancy French restaurant, it was so romantic and relaxing, and he gave me a beautiful necklace. It was a lovely weekend, with lots of time to relax. And that's my excuse for this post appearing so late on this Monday!

Continue doubling meals
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains


Friday, December 8, 2017

Countdown to Baby: Only 3 weeks left!

We had our "birth class" appointment with our midwife yesterday, just going over generally how everything's going to go, how to handle the different stages of labor, and they even had a model pelvis and a baby doll to demonstrate! It was a good appointment, Baby is measuring a week ahead again, and she said he was pretty far down. But still hasn't officially "dropped." He's keeping up the enthusiastic squirming, kicking and punching!

I tried to double some zucchini bread, and it was a massive failure. I baked and baked and baked it, until the outside was nearly burned, and the inside was still gooey. I think my zucchini was too juicy. I've been eating toasted slices and it's tolerable, but I'm afraid it's going to go bad before I can finish it, and it's too unappealing to freeze and eat later. Besides that, I made some more freezer waffles, but I've definitely got to amp up the meal doubling these last few weeks. I still have space in the freezer!

Finally buckled down and did the research about the cloth diapers. Unfortunately, I have to buy a different detergent than we've been using for our clothes. And I have to buy some bleach to properly disinfect the diapers that I bought used. And after I buy those two things this Sunday, I hope I'll finally get the diaper prep off my list! It's not vitally important that I get it done before Baby gets here, because we'll be using disposables for a little while at first, but the more I can get done before he gets here, the better.

The crib mattress arrived today! Its impending arrival finally motivated me to start organizing a bit earlier this week, so the nursery is a little more tidy and I pre-washed some sheets and receiving blankets, but I still have lots of organizing/decorating that I probably won't finish until after the dresser and end table are painted. I wasn't sure I was going to try to paint the dresser before Baby's arrival either, but we found an end table finally, and it could really use a new coat of paint too, so that's on the to-do list.

My mom spent the morning working on sewing the curtains with me, we got them cut out, and she did all the sewing because I couldn't get my machine to cooperate. It's old and probably needs a tune-up. So while she sewed the side seams and tabs, I gave up on my machine and just ironed what she had already finished. We had lots of fun, and it went pretty quickly! All that's left now is for me to find the black-out panels that I left at their house somewhere, and then we can sew the tabs, curtains and black-out panels together, hem and be all finished with the curtains! I'm rethinking the crib skirt because of how much more complete the crib looks with the mattress in it finally, so I'll keep thinking about that.

I am also excited to share a few of the maternity photos my sister took!

To do's left:
Continue doubling meals
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains and crib skirt
Paint dresser and end table

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Countdown to Baby: 4 weeks to Due Date!

Monday was a nice errand day, picked up some supplies for the birth and bought some fabric stiffener for the snowflakes I've been crocheting. Later in the afternoon/evening Matt and I made hot chocolate and did some Christmas decorating. All the ornaments on the tree (except the snowflakes that I'm making) and stockings hung, wreath on the door. The decorating is continuing in a very slow trickle, but I'm marking it as a check on my list!

Midwife appointments are now weekly! I can't believe that (assuming he arrives on time) we'll only have 3 more appointments before delivery! Everything is still going along normally, he's still in the perfect position and growing just like he should be. After palpating, my midwife estimated he's about 6-6.5 lbs right now, and therefore will probably be around 8 lbs at birth. 

He's pretty active in the early evening, and his movements are definitely visible from the outside! It's a little freaky to see my whole belly squirming and wiggling. I keep accidentally startling him with loud noises, it's so cute when he jumps but I also feel bad. I wonder what it's like to be just hanging out and suddenly hear a loud noise from the world outside that he can't see. 

We finally bought a crib mattress! It actually wasn't the one that I thought we had settled on. I just happened to come across a list of healthy crib mattress recommendations, and figured I'd look over it just for kicks... there was exactly one that I hadn't already looked into, and when I checked it out, it was 65% off for Cyber week, and looked even more awesome than the one we'd been thinking about, for half the price! So I ordered it.

Also, our registry fulfillment order arrived, so I've got everything now, which means it's time to finally buckle down and organize and decorate the nursery. There's nothing else to wait for, and I really should get it done before he gets here! Even though he'll be sleeping in the co-sleeper in our room for a while, it will definitely be easier to just get it done.

Prepping the cloth diapers is a separate item from organizing the nursery on the to-do list because it's so daunting to me... I have to make sure I use a safe detergent, correct water temperature, and get them thoroughly clean, since most of them we bought used, without accidentally messing up their absorbency. Hopefully it'll be easier than I'm anticipating, but I admit I have been procrastinating terribly. 

I'm afraid the curtain and crib skirt project will end up being an "after he arrives" item, as it's definitely lower on the priority list. But I might get around to it if I can convince myself to do it instead of crocheting some time! I'm just having too much fun with these snowflakes!

To do's left:
Continue doubling meals
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains and crib skirt 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Countdown to Baby: 5 weeks to Due Date!

On Saturday we finished our Christmas shopping, and got everything wrapped except for a few gifts that haven't arrived yet... so that's an item off the to-do list!

Sunday we got our Christmas tree! Usually that's a weekend-after-Thanksgiving event, but we decided to go ahead and get it done before, since we could. Our Christmas tree farm was even open just for the weekend! But unfortunately, their hours on the website were wrong. When we got there, their last few customers of the day were just leaving, and they let us slip in and pick out our tree quickly. Thankfully, we found one with a lovely shape almost immediately. Probably the quickest Christmas tree shopping ever! We got the lights put on, but other than that it's not decorated yet, so that will be our after-Thanksgiving event most likely.

Monday I had appointments like crazy, but one was my pre-natal massage, and I felt great all day. Tuesday and Wednesday were primarily Thanksgiving prep and the usual household chores around the house, but we also finished ordering the last few items we need from Amazon before Baby's arrival. And I had an appointment with my midwife which confirmed that Baby is still growing just like he should be.

Baby's new thing is pushing his feet out and then moving them around, which is insanely ticklish to me! It's so weird to be tickled from the inside with no warning. He also gets the hiccups usually at least once a day, sometimes more like 3-4 times a day, which gets pretty distracting for me. 

Thanksgiving we had a very fun day with Matt's family, we got started in the morning, visiting and getting last-minute preparations, and then ate the Thanksgiving meal around lunch time, napped a bit in the afternoon, and then celebrated my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's birthdays, his birthday was actually Thanksgiving day, and hers 3 days later. It was so fun just relaxing, and getting to see our nephew on his first Thanksgiving!

Then Friday morning we got up early and drove up to VA for Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family. While at my aunt's house, I got the opportunity to figure out some of my great-grandmother's crochet patterns for snowflakes and a cute little bell! My mom and I had already been making some new ones, but she hasn't found her collection in her Christmas stuff yet, so we weren't able to closely inspect any of Great-grandma's ornaments until now! I've been enjoying crocheting because it's something I can do when I just need to sit on the sofa, but I still get to feel productive. So after a second lovely Thanksgiving meal, we walked around the farm, and finished scattering my granddad's ashes. This was our first Thanksgiving without him, and it was pretty strange. 

Friday evening Matt and I headed over to Williamsburg. We spend one night in our favorite Williamsburg hotel, and spent some time at Williamsburg Saturday morning and afternoon. We went to a neat reenactment of Christmas Eve with Martha Custis, 2 weeks before her wedding to Colonel Washington. The weather was great, we walked around quite a bit, and I handled it pretty well which was nice since sometimes I have a hard time with walking due to Braxton Hicks. We went through the George Wythe house which we hadn't done before, and they had a scientist and Mr. Wythe doing reenacting inside, which was neat. Mr. Wythe at one point said to me, "Madam, you are behaving as if you are being kicked." Which, of course, I was! Later, upon observing more reactions to kicks, he commented, "You appear to be growing a gymnast." I was very amused. It was fun to go to Williamsburg again. Next time we go we'll have our little guy with us on the outside! 

To do's are:
Decorate Christmas tree
Buy crib mattress
Continue doubling meals
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains and crib skirt 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Countdown to Baby: 6 weeks to go!

We had a busy, but fun weekend with a visit to Gates County to spread my granddad's ashes (he passed away back in February) and visit with relatives, stopped at a friend's party on our way home, and then lunch and Murder on the Orient Express in theaters with my family after church on Sunday (read my sister's review here!) I was a little worried going into a long day of driving (we spent about 5 hours in the car on Saturday) that I would be uncomfortable, but it went great! I've been feeling somewhat like this pregnancy has made me an invalid lately, so it was nice to make it through like a normal, non-pregnant person. Besides a few extra bathroom stops, anyway!

On Monday, Sarah and Mom met us at a nearby park to take maternity photos! It was a little colder than I was expecting, it seems like we've skipped fall and went straight to winter! But there were still some nice fall leaves, and I think Sarah got a lot of great shots! Can't wait to share a few once they're edited and ready. Here's a few photos Mom took during the shoot:

Matt: "Our faces aren't in this one?? So I can make this face?"

The posing of the hands for this shot was much more difficult than it should have been.

The things a good photographer will do to get the right angle!

Checking out pose ideas on my Pinterest board.

Tuesday I took it easy after all the busyness. But I did double the lasagna we had for dinner, so another frozen meal in the freezer! We're running low on freezer space now.

We got almost all our Christmas shopping done, and I'm really starting to think we might actually finish before Thanksgiving! They just won't all arrive before Thanksgiving, but we can finish wrapping the ones that are still on the way after Thanksgiving. 

We still need to buy the crib mattress and finish out the necessary purchases left on our registry, and I still need to wash my cloth diapers, organize the nursery, and if I have time, sew the curtains and crib skirt!

So, my to-do's now include:
Buy crib mattress
Order last items from registry
Continue doubling meals
Buy all Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving!
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Organize nursery
Sew curtains and crib skirt

Monday, November 13, 2017

Countdown to Baby: 7 weeks to go!

This week went by a little faster! Maybe I don't have time to get in the sewing projects before Baby's arrival.

We didn't get to see the actual crib mattress, but we did get to see the adult size mattresses, and check out the firmness of the foam (made from natural latex) and see what the cotton cover looked like, etc. Also, the price in store was much lower than the price displayed on the website, so I think we're going to go for it!

I had a lovely chiropractic/prenatal massage appointment this week, which has definitely helped me sleep better! It was a fun day, Matt went with me and we packed a picnic lunch that we ate after my appointment at a nearby park. The weather was the perfect fall weather (which we haven't gotten much of yet) and it was so nice to walk in the park after lunch... but we were rudely interrupted much sooner than I would have liked by more Braxton Hicks. I can't wait to be able to walk as much as I want without triggering BH. Soon we'll be taking walks with Baby! 

Along with continuing our Christmas shopping, Matt and I put together our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes this week. Two years ago, that was our second date activity! It's been the start of a fun tradition I hope we'll be continuing with our kids. We're slowly continuing to collect and wrap family Christmas gifts, but with only two weeks to Thanksgiving, I think we're going to have to amp things up a bit to finish by then!

I doubled Shepherd's Pie this week, but didn't have enough mashed potatoes to top both, so the one for the freezer will need mashed potatoes added when we're ready to eat it in January. That isn't too big a deal, since the hardest part of Shepherd's Pie in my opinion is the chopping and cooking of the filling, which always takes longer and makes me more tired than I anticipate! I think I'll double it from now on, just because the extra work is hardly noticeable, and then we can have easy Shepherd's Pie!

Baby's kicking has been a little less uncomfortable this week (I had no idea before getting pregnant that having another human hanging out in your abdomen and using your internal organs as punching bags could be quite so painful!), I think because he's getting a little more cramped, and doesn't have as much space to "wind up." I'm definitely enjoying the gentler thumps and squirms. 

Only 49 days to his due date! Which means only 45 days until Christmas! Yikes! Maybe time isn't slowing down after all. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Countdown to Baby: 8 weeks left!

Only my second post in the baby countdown, and it's late! I need to schedule blogging time apparently. 

This week, I doubled a new recipe that I had never made before, which could have turned out badly, but thankfully we both really liked the recipe, so one more meal in the freezer for January! Here's the recipe: Chicken Broccoli Casserole (I actually put real rice in it, we didn't have any cauliflower on hand. And we added the cheese, since we're not on Whole30 right now.)

Tomorrow we're going to a local store where we can take a look in person at one of the crib mattresses we're considering, so if we love it, we might come home with the mattress, which would be a big check mark!

This past week, my MIL and I found some material that is going to be great for curtains and a crib skirt for the nursery, so I'm adding sewing projects to my to-do list... which might not be the wisest idea, but it seems like I have plenty of time right now. Time seems to be slowing down! 

Matt and I are doing pretty well with our goal of getting all our Christmas presents purchased by Thanksgiving. We've also been wrapping as we purchase, so we've got a pretty good stash of wrapped presents ready for Christmas! It's been fun getting into the Christmas spirit, listening to Christmas music and wrapping gifts already. 

Thanks to a gift from a friend who couldn't make it to the shower, I think our diaper collection is now complete! So now I just need to figure out the best way to wash them so I don't negatively affect the absorbency.

So, my to-do's now include:
Decide on crib mattress
Continue doubling meals
Buy all Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving!
Research and prep all cloth diapers
Sew curtains and crib skirt
Order last items from registry


Friday, October 27, 2017

Countdown to Baby: 9 weeks left!

31 weeks today! My mom, sister and dear friend threw me the sweetest baby shower, almost 2 weeks ago already! Time is flying! Here are a few photos, most courtesy of my MIL. 

The gifts are in/around the bassinet Mom used for me as a baby!

My brother baked a delicious coconut cake for the party!

Me and my mom!

My sister made this adorable diaper cake! It's so cute, and the little dog pilot makes me smile every time I look at him! 
It was such a lovely, fun shower! It was so nice to see some friends that I hadn't seen since my wedding, and we felt very blessed by everyone's kind generosity. I couldn't imagine a more wonderful celebration of our little guy!

Thanks to all the gifts, the nursery is pretty close to all set up! I've been organizing and arranging, and writing thank-you notes. The one big thing we still haven't decided on is a crib mattress... and after all the research I've done on this topic, I feel like I should do a whole post on toxic ingredients, and how I narrowed my decision down to two mattresses. We haven't made a final decision yet, though! 

Besides getting the nursery organized, I've been experiencing some other nesting urges too. I've started doubling some meals and freezing for after his arrival, so that when I'm exhausted and don't want to cook, I can count on there being an easy option besides ordering take-out! 

I had a check up with my midwife today, and she said his growth is great, and he's head down, in the perfect position for his birth. He's very active, and it's funny to see the little lumps and bumps he makes poking his feet out and stretching. I guessed correctly what position he was in based on the activity I've been feeling! I can't believe in 9 weeks we'll get to meet our son! 

Upcoming To Do's:
Decide on crib mattress
Continue freezing meals
Buy all Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving!
Finish collecting a stock of cloth diapers and research the best way to wash them

We're getting really excited and eager for his arrival! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hello August! Part 2 (yearly updates on the same day?!?)

Exactly one year ago, I posted this update! My goodness, how things have changed! 

My last post was about getting engaged... and we did end up getting married by Christmas! December 17 was our wedding date, and the whirlwind wedding planning went pretty well, in the less-than-3-months we had to plan. The most stressful part for me ended up being a rather last-minute change of reception location, due to some management issues, and concerns about lighting/sound. And I almost walked down the aisle without my bouquet, but thankfully I remembered it after only a couple steps - as I nervously plucked at my dress with the hand that was not in my dad's arm, I realized I should have something else to occupy that hand! 

Here's just a few photos: 

Our rings on my bouquet

My lovely mother and me getting ready!

Me and my sister and maid-of-honor!

Pre-wedding photos! (We did a first-look)

The Stone Chapel in Wake Forest

Thrilled to have my dad perform the ceremony!

My mom and dear friend Mrs. Basden headed up the reception!

Centerpiece created by my mom!

I had fun baking the cheesecakes ahead of time and freezing!

First dance


Daddy and me father/daughter dance.
Matt planned our honeymoon secretly, and it was amazing! We stayed one night in a fancy hotel suite, and had a delicious dinner at the hotel restaurant, and then finished the drive to Biltmore the next day! I had never been to Biltmore before, and seeing it all decorated and festive for Christmas was thrilling. We stayed several nights at the lovely hotel on the estate, and enjoyed lots of fabulous food, topped off by a 3-course dinner our last evening. He also got us special tickets to see Biltmore by candlelight (which was so beautiful!), a roof-top tour (which was fascinating and had great views!) and a carriage ride (which was so much fun, and gave us an incredible view of the estate!) and it was all so memorable! He planned the perfect honeymoon. We had almost a whole week to ourselves, and then got home in time for Christmas with our families. (We have lots of photos, but it would be too hard to pick favorites, and there's plenty of photos in this post already!)

Our first few months of married life flew by, marriage has been so much more fun than I ever could have imagined! One hard decision though, was to quit teaching. I loved my students, but we really didn't need my income, and I was struggling to keep up with cooking, cleaning and general homemaking the way I desired. My new (much more flexible) additional job, is handling some basic customer support for my husband's business, Transcript Maker, paying the contractors when invoices come in, and mailing some marketing materials (we offer discounts for homeschool groups! ;) ), all things that I enjoy, and can do whenever I find some free time in my schedule. 

A few days before my last studio recital with my students, we were excited to find out that we were expecting our first baby! Due December 29, I'm now almost 19 weeks along (which means almost halfway there already!) and just starting to regularly feel tiny little kicks and punches. Our 18-week ultrasound revealed that I was correct in believing our baby to be a boy!

The adorable booties were crocheted by my great-grandmother! Mom gave them to me after the ultrasound. They just happened to already have blue ribbons!

So, with our baby boy on the way, and no students to teach, my goals are to stay on top of the usual house work, while working on our registry and getting the nursery ready, plus all the other things that come along with preparing for baby!

And so, with that in mind, I should probably get off my laptop and get to work!