Jan 28, 2012

celebrations

This has been a week full of busy-ness. We've been at school early, at work late, and collapsing into bed. In the midst of all the busy, all the distraction, all the stuff, it's been on my heart and in my mind to slow down a bit and enjoy. Celebrate.

In small group a few weeks ago, I was talking about my teensy bit of anxiety about giving birth and hoping I could do it all without induction and an epidural, blah, blah, blah, and my wonderfully wise leader completely blew me away. Yes, she said, all this is important, but this is a fleeting moment in a woman's life that needs to be celebrated with some serious gratitude. What a gift it is to bring a child into the world.

I doubt she realized the effect her words had on me. I'm doing this all wrong--more celebrating, more enjoying, more thanking God for this beautiful gift, and A LOT less worrying about things that won't matter in the grand scheme. This is such a short season of my life.

Celebrating means that I stop and take notice when my husband wraps his arms around me and tells me I am beautiful, I am a good mother, that he loves me. That I remember his words and celebrate him while we're both working away later in the day. It means that when I hit my swollen foot against the corner of a wall, yelp in pain, and receive hugs and a concerned "you okay, mom?" from my sweet two-year-old, I stop and celebrate her caring and sympathy (cause we all know plenty of adults with none of that). It means that I stop and allow my heart to melt when Cara runs into a wall and hits her head and begs for her daddy because "daddy is big and strong!"

My brother is leaving this week to serve his country, and we celebrated him today at his yellow ribbon ceremony. I'm so thankful for his sacrifice and selflessness, especially since he's leaving behind an adorable girlfriend who obviously cares about him a lot. He's awesome in so many ways, and I seriously can't brag about him enough.






Do your job, and come home safely, Uncle Josh. We love you.

Jan 20, 2012

insta-dump

Tonight, we mentioned that we might go by Dollar Tree after dinner to pick out a new puzzle.  Mommy and Daddy forgot, but Cara most definitely did not.  "We go get puzzles.  We go Dollar Tree!!"  She's already smarter than we are...

playing with the new puzzles (the cheapest, most engrossing toy ever)

showing us how happy she is about her rainbow drawing

princess snuggles

Cara "playing" with the cat.  Clearly, the cat loves it.

a little training for when baby brother comes...

although, it does appear we have a little more work to do...

Daddy lets her do anything she wants

during a conversation about my name. it's not "mom" or "Jessica." it's "MOMMY."

sick baby.  croup is no joke.

linking up here!

Jan 17, 2012

33 weeks

(I actually had to count back from my due date to double check that I am indeed 33 weeks along.  You would think I would keep up with something that like...)

Tank and Scarf: Old Navy
Cardigan: Target
Shoes: TOMS

TOMS are a pregnant chick's best friend.  Soft, stretchy, oh-so-comfy.  But seriously, these pants have got to go.  By the end of the day, I was trying to suck in as I buttoned them.  Have you ever tried to suck in while 33 weeks pregnant?  It's an impossible feat.

I had a very encouraging doctor visit yesterday.  I almost always dread going to the doctor, more and more as I get further along, and I'm not really sure why.  Everyone at my doctors' office is really nice; I have no good reason to get all worked up other than that I am just grumpy.  Anyway, I saw one of my favorite doctors and we talked a good bit about the possibility of induction.  He was very encouraging and assured me that (unofficially) he guesses 90% of babies come on their own by 41.5 weeks, which is as late as he is comfortable letting most women go.  I felt like he was very honest about the business side of the practice too, even acknowledging that part of his job is to keep women happy as well as healthy, so when a woman is 39 or 40 weeks pregnant and feeling miserable, induction is usually on the table (which is probably where I was at my 41 week appointment last time).  He also said that lately, he finds himself having more and more conversations with women who want to be induced even earlier, and he said he's always on the side of the baby, as in, babies need to be full term for obvious reasons.  It seemed like we were on the same page, the one where I go into labor naturally, and it's always nice to hear a doctor say that based on my stats (baby's heart rate, my blood pressure, weight gain, etc.), this is looking like a very healthy pregnancy.  A little encouragement to begin the home stretch!

Jan 16, 2012

bootcamp

{quilting bootcamp, that is}










Of course, it wasn't just quilt drill instructor for Grandmama.  There was also a little of this:



Cara's quilt is next.



Jan 13, 2012

getting ready {part 2}

I have been in the biggest funk this week. We forgot to tell Cara not to lick everything in sight at Monkey Joes last weekend, so she ended up at the doctor on Tuesday with THE CROUP, and of course, this all happens the week that I start a new semester with new students. Daddy ended up playing nurse, but really, he isn’t so good at working from home, so it’s one of those weeks where everyone needs each other in different places. And I had lunch duty.

In the midst of all of this physical exhaustion, I remembered that I am going to have to give birth to a human in just under two months, give or take. I took a few long, hot baths to think this over, and I realized that I am not looking forward to that experience even a little. Not at all. I want to be geared up for labor, but honestly, I would rather the doctors drug me up when I walk in and wake me up when there’s a baby to hold.

When I was nearing the last trimester of my pregnancy with Cara, I decided that I wanted to give the unmedicated birth a good try. I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself that might lead to disappointment if things didn’t work out that way, but I wanted to do whatever would lead to the quickest recovery, and based on what I read, a birth with as few medical interventions as possible seemed like the way to go.

Then I never went into labor, so I was faced with induction 8 days after my due date. Pitocin is the worst thing ever. After about three hours of mild contractions, my doctor broke my water and upped the meds, and life began to suck. Pitocin contractions are incredibly intense and painful (not that I believe natural contractions aren’t intense, but from what I have heard, Pitocin makes things that much worse), and after much crying, I ended up with Nubain. Again, Nubain is the worst thing ever. It didn’t take away any pain, but it messed with my head to that point that I draw a blank on about four hours of labor. PJ doesn’t seem to want to give up a lot of details about that time, but he will say that it was obvious that I was still in lots and lots of pain.

I ended up getting an epidural, and as the anesthesiologist was pulling the needle or whatever out of my back, he said something (I still can’t remember exactly what) that lead me to believe that things didn’t go perfectly back there. They didn’t leave the epidural in my back, but fortunately, Cara was born about 30 minutes later. I stayed numb just long enough for a few stitches, and I remember regaining feeling in my legs pretty quickly.

I wouldn’t say that I had a particularly bad experience; everyone at the hospital was incredibly kind and compassionate, especially my nurse. However, because my OB practice doesn’t guarantee a certain doctor at delivery, my doctor that day had no idea that I wanted to try for an unmedicated birth. I spoke with a different doctor at one of my appointments about this, and I assumed something was written in my chart about it, but you know how that goes. I didn’t make a big deal about it, but I should have been a little more vocal about what I wanted.

I can’t help but think that had I avoided the Pitocin, I might have also avoided the epidural. I’m sure the epidural helped calm me during labor and it definitely took away the pain, but the problem with my epidural was that I ended up with a two-week spinal headache, which is just as bad or worse than any migraine I’ve ever had.

Headache on top of recovering from labor on top of learning to breastfeed on top of brand-new-baby on top of no more sleep. Yikes.

This is one of the last things I want to experience again. I feel confident that I could do this without pain meds if I can manage to go into labor on my own, but I am not at all confident that I will go into labor on my own. I am afraid of the Pitocin, but I am afraid of the epidural, so I guess what I am really afraid of is induction.

I’m sure my attitude about the whole thing is my biggest obstacle right now. I wish I had more natural confidence about labor, but I have promised this little one that I won’t demand to be drugged as soon as I walk into the hospital. I pulled out my Ina May Gaskin book to reread some encouraging birth stories and remember that my body will do what it’s supposed to do, that God designed women’s bodies to grow and birth and nourish babies. I also got a prenatal yoga DVD to help me learn to focus, listen to my body, and gain some strength. So far, so good. I can do this...again.

Jan 8, 2012

some important things happened

1)  We took Cara to Monkey Joes, AKA land of inflatable fun.  She showed no fear of slides or germs.




Yes, she now has a pink Cinderella t-shirt just like her purple Belle t-shirt.  So what.

2)  I made the baby boy a blanket.  He really needs it right now.


3)  I ordered the fabric for new baby boy and toddler girl quilts!  I am crossing my fingers that it will be here by Friday because my mom is coming up so that we can get started on all this nesting I've been putting off.

4)  We *might* have decided on a name for the baby boy.  Or we just added another name to the list of names we like.  So far, this one's at the top.  I'm set on it.  But not enough to write it out here.  Yet.

Jan 7, 2012

getting ready {part 1}

I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 weeks left to be pregnant.  That's 8 to 10 weeks until we have another baby to love, feed, rock, snuggle, marvel over, and at some point, put down into a place to sleep (hopefully).  Unfortunately, we have done NOTHING to get this magical sleeping place ready.  In fact, we have done NOTHING in the way of preparing for this baby in general.  He has two t-shirts, a stuffed toy car, a hand-knit sweater, and a Matchbox car.  (Notice that I did not list "name" as something he currently has...) 

For some reason, I have felt extremely laid back about this whole new baby thing.  Several of my wonderfully generous friends have offered to let us borrow most of the baby gear essentials, but obviously, little dude will need a few things all his own.  I can't stomache the thought of him wrapped up in frilly, pink, flowery blankets, but I also know that I can easily make him some snuggly blankets, burp cloths, bibs, onesies, and pants.  Of course, that all takes some time.  Maybe I should get started.

The other thing that I would really like to start on is a nursery make over.  Initially, PJ was not a fan of the shared room.  He worries about interrupting Cara's sleep and routine, and honestly, I worry about that too.  She is an awesome sleeper, naps and nights, and Lord knows, we do not want to mess up a good thing (and the little dude will probably sleep in our room for a while).  But I absolutely cannot bring our baby boy home without a space of his own.  He needs to be welcomed by some boy cuteness in the same way that Cara was welcomed by girl cuteness.  It's only fair, after all.

I'm thinking that our dining room will double as a playroom for a little while to make room for a new crib and dresser/changing table.  Our plan is that *maybe* in the near future we will add a garage/laundry room/playroom on the side of our house.  In theory, this sounds like a perfect solution.  We will have a place to put all the stuff that is currently in our office/sewing room/photography equipment storage/guest room, and then the kiddos will each have a room.  In theory.  I know us, though.  We moved out of a one bedroom apartment into a three bedroom house and filled up the house with all of our stuff almost immediately.  Regardless, we still need a place for both babies NOW (or in 8 to 10 weeks). 

Here's where I am thankful for Pinterest.  I half-heartedly pinned a few things I liked to my "nursery inspiration" board, but I took a more serious look at it today, and here are a few ideas I have for this shared nursery.

First, some encouragement:

Source: houzz.com via Jessica on Pinterest

Look! It's a toddler girl and baby boy room! Other people do this too! I feel better.

My mom is an amazingly talented sewer (sewist? sewing expert?). She inspired me to starting sewing, teaches me new things, and helps me when I get stuck. We are planning to make coordinating quilts for the babes, and we did a little shopping when I visited for Christmas.  We didn't buy any fabric yet, just shopping for inspiration really, but I did find these two charm packs that are looking pretty dang cute:










Source:

I'm kind of in love with this quilt.

Source: etsy.com via Jessica on Pinterest

But I also love the simplicity of this pattern.  Realistically, this is more what I will be capable of doing.  I have only made one quilt, and it was pretty basic, and my friend Laura held my hand through the entire process.

Speaking of ways to use fabric, I would also like to make something like this to hang over each bed:



And something like this for the wall over each bed:

Source: etsy.com via Jessica on Pinterest

Any suggestions for making the shared nursery thing easier?  Cute decorating ideas?

Jan 3, 2012

31 weeks


 Cara really loves her new purple Belle t-shirt.  I always swore I would not be that mom with kids dressed in "character" shirts, but I'm eating my thoughts.  Cara loves those princesses so much, and when I saw this t-shirt on clearance at Target, I couldn't not get it for her.  I also like how she repurposed her headband as a necklace.  She's a creative one, this girl.

As for me, I'm just round.  It's finally started to get pretty chilly around these parts, just in time for me to wear the pretty scarf my mama got me for Christmas!

Yes, "round" is an accurate description.

31 weeks is bringing with it an awesome waddle and more swelling in my calves and ankles.  But, all things considered, I'm feeling okay.  I must be, because I managed to straighten my hair, something I hadn't done in probably a month. 

As the belly has become more and more difficult to ignore, Cara has become more and more snuggly.  She will actually tell me that she needs some snuggles, and seriously, my heart absolutely melts.  I wonder if she senses that a change is coming or if it's just a natural toddler phase or if I'm just sitting on the couch more often these days.  I'm definitely not complaining.  There's nothing better than a two-year-old voluntarily curled up in your lap (or beside your lap, depending on how much room you have). 

Jan 2, 2012

vegetarian shepards pie

I have been doing a lot of reading lately on becoming vegan...and I have decided that this is probably not for me. :-) However, I have absorbed a lot of the advice and guidance on nutrition, balance, health, and variety, and I really want to start cooking vegetarian meals more often.  What pregnant chick doesn't need a few more vegetables in her life?  This one came to me the other day and it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.  Perfect combination of veggies and comfort.  (I'm sure I'm not the first to whip this up; there are tons of shepards pie recipes on the internetz.  This is just how I did it.)

Side note:  I try to use mostly organic ingredients.  The fewer pesticides and genetic modifications, the better.


To serve 4 and 1/2 people, you will need:
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced (or not peeled if that's how you like your mashed potatoes)
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and diced (I used 4 because the child LOVES carrots)
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 package of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
a cup or so of frozen green peas
a few good tablespoons soy sauce (reduced sodium if you can)
2 to 3 spoonfuls of plain yogurt
salt and pepper
cajun seasoning (or paprika or some other type of spice that suits your fancy)
shredded cheddar

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put the potatoes in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Let them boil until they are pretty soft (10 to 15 minutes or so).
  2. Heat a little olive oil over medium heat (I used my cast iron skillet to add a little iron boost since my levels were low at my last doctor's appointment) and add the onions, carrots, and garlic.  Stir and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Add mushrooms.  Stir and cook for another minute or two.
  4. Add peas.  Oh yeah, stir and cook for another minute or two. 
  5. Add the soy sauce.  You could measure this out, but I just went around my pan once.  Let the veggies cook with the soy sauce for a few more minutes, until the mushrooms start to look softened.  The carrots will keep a tiny bit of their crunch.  Pour the veggies mixture into a casserole dish.
  6. Hopefully, your potatoes are ready to be mashed now!  At this point, you could add pretty much whatever you usually use in your mashed potatoes.  We had some plain yogurt in the fridge, but sour cream would be delicious, as would some good old butter and milk.  Don't forget to add some salt and pepper too!
  7. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the veggies.  Sprinkle a little cajun seasoning/paprika/whatever on top and add a thin layer of shredded cheese.  (I went very light on the cheese.)
  8. Bake for 15 minutes and then devour.
The toddler ate it, so it must have been good.  She doesn't hesitate to tell me when dinner is "disgusting."  Score one for mom!

Jan 1, 2012

good bye 2011 {welcome 2012}

A brief look back before I say good bye to 2011:

January
This time last year, I resolved to spend more time on my home and less time on my job...not sure if I can count that resolution met or not.  I think it will be ongoing for the rest of my life!  I also realized that that I wasn't tired anymore and I was finally back in my prepregnancy size (just in time, right? :-)  I'm glad I wrote that post because maybe it will give me some hope and patience after baby #2 makes his appearance.  Cara's totally awesome personality kept us on our toes and never bored, and it has only gotten more and more awesome!

February
I ranted a good bit in February: about Valentines, about shoes...maybe it was some pent-up angst related to turning 28.  At least I attempted to have a good attitude about that one.

March
In March, I shared some of my favorite cooking tips, did some spring-y sewing for the wild toddler, and worried about nothing.  As it turns out, I was really worrying about nothing.  I stressed and debated pushing the "publish" button for that post more than I have for any other post; I think it made me feel more vulnerable than I usually do on the ole blog.

April
I finally convinced my hubby to make me a button for the blog!  And I'm probably going to need an updated version in the near future...Cara continued to entertain us with her brilliance and her sass.  I spent a wonderful week at home for spring break, and I think it made me wish I could stay at home with my girl.  I have since acknowledged to myself that we made a really good decision for childcare, and Cara has really thrived there.  Even if I decided to stay at home with baby #2, I would feel like I was doing Cara a huge disservice by taking her out of her school  because she loves it and she will be more than ready for 4K because of her wonderful teachers. (and there I go, off on a tangent...)

May
In May, I gave my hair the chop, formed my very own bridal party with my child, and shared one more reason why I love my hubby.

June
We went to Florida for a family vacation (woo hoo!), celebrated six years of marriage, and I obsessed way too much about Cara growing up.  Seriously, way.too.much.  Is that a requirement of motherhood, to worry and worry and worry about things that work themselves out anyway?

July
July was a big month.  Baby Cara turned two (Eeekkk!  How did that happen??), I wrote a post nobody read and tried my hand at sewing a little more clothing for me (I still sigh when I see that dress in my closet because I barely had time to wear it before I outgrew it).  I must have been feeling a little irritable and cranky, but August explained all of that because...

August
we realized that Baby #2 is on the way!  We finally got to see new baby in an ultrasound, and I reflected on what my experience of motherhood has been like so far.

September
We dabbled in potty training, Cara was adorable, and I realized that I was growing at warp speed.  Baby brain started to take over at this point, I think.

October
Fall is awesomeMy child is hilarious.  And we found out the gender of Baby #2!

November
I wrote what might be my favorite series of posts, and my hubby got me an iPhone! (to which I am now permanently attached.  It's ridiculous.)  I wondered about how tech-savvy a toddler should really be, but I have decided that it's a losing battle.  Technology is too ubiquitous to keep from her forever.  Better to learn to deal and use it to our advantage, I think. :-)

December
I grew and grew (or Baby #2 grew and grew), reflected on how wonderful Christmas can be with a child, and attempted to get Cara's hair cut.

All in all, 2011 was a very good year, and I am so thankful for everyone who read along.  I love writing this blog and having an outlet for my thoughts as well as a way to burn everyday moments in my memory, but it becomes so much more meaningful knowing that a few other people are interested too. 

Here's to a happy, healthy, simplified (my resolution this year) 2012!
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