Thursday, May 31, 2012

This Pregnancy Brought to You by the Letter "P"

No Sugar Added Strawberry, Tangerine & Raspberry

As in Popsicle.  OMG.

So it's a bajillion degrees here, as it is in many places, and I have rediscovered a food I gave up on long ago - popsicles.

I always equated eating popsicles with touching chalk.  I'm weird enough that it's not just chalk on a chalkboard that makes me cringe, it's just touching chalk that's enough to do me in.  Popsicles were the same way on my teeth - ick.  Give me a bowl of ice cream over that any day.

But I was so wrong!  They are the best!!  Especially when you are huge and sweaty from the inside out and just want something fruity. And I discovered these fruit bars that are really tasty and don't get that slimy stickiness that some others do.  They are only 25 calories!  I can eat six in one sitting and not feel guilty! Even the ones that aren't the 'no sugar added' aren't even that bad for you.  I would rather eat one of these than ice cream now - so not like me! 

This is what will get baby and I through the next 8 weeks.  And this is how you can tell I've gone totally crazy - writing an ode to popsicles.

Trip to Hilton Head

A few weekends ago, we were able to take a long weekend trip to Hilton Head.  The trip served mostly as a birthday present to Tony, but also worked as an anniversary trip and a babymoon.  We're all about efficiency.

It was a bit cool and cloudy/rainy most days, so we didn't really get in much beach time, but we were able to sight see, eat good food, and spend some quality time together.  We also made sure to appreciate the relative quiet and small amount of luggage, since we knew this would be the last trip with just the two of us for a while...

The water was freezing!

While we didn't hang out on the beach, we were able to walk during morning/evening, which was very nice.

We stayed at the Sonesta Resort that's right along the beach on the island.  Tony was looking for hotel deals and put in a (seemingly) ridiculous low offer on Priceline for $70/night for a beachfront resort (you can't choose the actual hotel, just the characteristics and the general location).  We never thought it would be accepted, since the going rate on most other sites was more like $150.  Sure enough, they accepted it, so we got to stay at a nice place for very cheap, considering it was beachfront.  Sure, we had a nice view of the parking lot, but that didn't matter.

Interestingly enough, we had actually stayed here before.  Back in college, we both worked at Holiday Inn, so we were able to frequently use friends and family discounts on our vacations - this resort used to be a Crown Plaza, which was one of the places we could use our discount.  So technically, this is the second time we've stayed here for a ridiculously low rate.

We saw two manatees!  This one had seen better days...

Apparently they like drinking fresh water.

The only good thing about rainy beach days?  Rainbows.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Beautiful, Healthy Monster Baby

On Wednesday we got to go to the perinatal specialists again for a checkup, just to be sure baby is growing along as expected and no other complications had arisen beyond her clubfoot.

Happily, she got an A!  Looking healthy all around!  Her foot is still clubbed, of course, but the doctor reassured us this is a mild case compared to many she has seen.  Baby's heart, cord, fluid, measurements, etc. are all looking perfect - something so relieving to hear (again!).  

I also made some calls to the orthopedic doctor's office, and we can't do any preliminary meetings or anything - we need to wait until she's born and get a doctor's order to see them.  Kind of a bummer, since I was hoping to meet the doctor and get a little more information before she's born (while I still have a little sanity!), but I understand their time is extremely valuable.  There's not much they could tell us anyway, since we will just have to see what the foot looks like when she's born to make any sort of timing/treatment predictions.

No one wants to have to see a specialist during pregnancy, but you can't beat the extra-long ultrasounds you get when there!  It will never get old to watch her squirm around in there - and how fascinating is it that you can see organs and heart chambers and all that fun stuff??

We also learned that baby is head down already, which means the hard spot I keep feeling sticking out of the top of my belly is definitely her tiny little butt!  Consistent with what my regular OB has been saying, her measurements have her about 2 weeks ahead.  She already weighs 4.5 pounds!!  That's definitely above average and I'm trying not to worry that I will be birthing a monster baby.  All this is great... but also terrifying!  I have a class to finish!  I have panicking to do!  I need this girl to stay in there through the end of July!!  

Here are some pictures of her at one day short of 31 weeks.  I decided she looks kinda like either a ghost or a possum in the pictures, but in real life she looked totally cute with a little nose and chubby cheeks.

Her face straight on - chin to the left, forehead to the right

Check out all of my other Clubfoot Files posts here!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Four Years Down

Today Tony and I celebrate 4 years of marriage!! While that sorta sounds like a long time, it really feels like it's been so much longer than that (in a good way - promise!).

Our wedding was one of the happiest days of my life - it was beautiful, intimate, and so much fun!!  My cheeks hurt for days from the permagrin I was sporting.  I think I've said this before - but there are only a few pictures out of the 1000 some that were taken where I'm not smiling a genuine smile - which is saying something for me, as someone who is really bad about smiling naturally for pictures!

Here are some pictures for the fun of it.

[And recaps from past years, if you're into that sorta thing!]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

At Least a Stranger Hasn't Touched My Belly Yet...

I'm not one to get offended by things people say to me regarding my giant belly, but sometimes they are just funny...  and I have to think - really? you thought that was a good thing to say to a stranger?? :)

Young girl at store:  "Wow, you're really big!"  (thanks....)  "A girl who works here is about as far along as you and is barely showing, but she was like really skinny before, so..." (thanks...)

Young guy at store:  "You're about to pop!"  (well, actually I've got a few months left...)  "So, can you like, feel it moving around in there?  Is that weird or what?" (haha actually, yes, it kind of is when you think about it!)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Simple Pleasures

It's been too long!!  Simple Pleasures is back! (I know you were distressed it was gone...)

Some afternoon playtime in the front yard with our favorite twinsies - who weren't too happy to take this picture!  The boys were actually more obliging than they were!

Friday, May 18, 2012

2011 Yearbook (Finally!)

For the past four years, I have made a "year in review" type photobook.  Usually this happens, ya know, like in January.  This year?  May.  But that's ok.  I still remembered what happened. :)

In past years, I have used Picaboo, but they're pretty expensive for what you get (my books were usually about half the size of a piece of paper, 30 pages, and around $30+...).  I've also used Snapfish and Shutterfly for other books (vacations, etc).  This year I used MyPublisher and was totally thrilled with the result.  I will definitely be using them again.

I waited for a good coupon to come out and got lucky with the timing - they were doing a mother's day one where you could get an 8 1/2 x11 sized book, 70 pages, photo cover - for a flat rate of $30. With shipping, my total was $41.  Again, a great deal compared to other sites I have used and the quality didn't suffer in the least.  (no, this is not an ad for them - I was just really happy with my book and thought I would pass it along!).  

I was really excited to have 70 pages to work with, because that meant I could do some full-page pics without feeling like I was wasting valuable space.  And none came out blurry, which I was really happy with!

Basically I love doing these books because I get to use pictures that don't normally get much of a life beyond the blog or Facebook.  I'm not big on printing photos and we don't really have many frames, so all those photos that are taking up space on my hard drive get a chance to see the light of day.  I seriously do sit down and look at these books from time to time.  They make me happy.  I think even Tony likes them, if you can believe it...

Wanna take a look?

Nice and thick

I didn't include a picture, but I made a timeline on the first page - listing each month and the highlights from each.  I think this will be great for ten years from now when I can't remember what was happening in the pictures.

There's certainly a trend here - our year was comprised of me photographing other peoples' babies :) 

Usually I end with a New Years picture or something to lead into the next year -- I think this one does the trick well. :) 

Want to see old books (I think this one is my best made one so far, for the record)?


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nursery in Transition

Thanks to the amazing help from some wonderful friends and family, we have the bare bones of a nursery.  I'm so happy with it so far, and I can't wait to add the decorative details that will make it bright and colorful! Despite the sunshine today, I still can't get a good picture of the color - it looks too dark in most of these pictures.  But you get the idea...

I'll put a list of where I got everything at the end, in case you're interested...

The room is a mix of purchased stuff, work with what you've got stuff, and a lot of compromise.  The room isn't huge (12x12) and all of the walls but one are obscured by either doors or windows, so this was the arrangement that ultimately worked.  I also wanted to be sure there was lots of floor space to play on, since our living room isn't as conducive to play time as I would like, so I plan on using this room for more than sleep.

I was dead-set on getting a used dresser, repainting it in a fun color, and being proud of my DIY-ness.  But seriously, from the first weeks of my pregnancy, there has not been a dresser to be found in a 30 mile radius.  Not on craigslist, not at the thrift stores, nowhere.  And before I was pregnant, I swear I saw them everywhere!  I scoured the internet and stores for weeks, but ultimately gave up and went the Ikea route.  I'm actually really happy with it, since the drawers are very deep and it is functionally large without taking up the whole room.

I'm in love with the crib.  It was the first thing I picked out and I knew exactly what I wanted.  (the pink sheet is temporary)

The chair is not my favorite part of the room looks-wise, but it's super comfy.  We searched forever for an affordable glider that was modern and matched the look I was going for, but to no avail.  This was the best we could find.  The thing is a bit large, but the arm rests are just right and the back is tall enough to support your neck.  Once baby gets here I will let you know how it holds up for feedings.

My biggest regret is that it is brown - in my gray nursery.  We got the chair at Babies R Us (mostly because I could actually try it out in store - something that's not an option with online versions) and because this was the color they had at their warehouse, we were able to save on $100 shipping costs and were able to use a 20% off coupon since it was not going to be a "custom" color.  I'm willing to compromise on color for almost $200 in savings.  Plus, it will probably hide spit up better than the whiter one I wanted.

I know some people debate the need for a glider, but I really wanted one.  We don't have many seating options in our house, and again I want to use the nursery for play time, reading time, feedings, etc - so I wanted a nice place to sit.

Gratuitous picture of Roxy.  She knows this is where all the squeaky toys and stuffed animals and tiny clothes are hidden - and she just can't wait to carry them around in her mouth (to my dismay...).

This corner is tbd. 

The curtains are another compromise.  I dreamed of Etsy handmade curtains, or even crafting some myself (despite my inability to sew), but after looking at costs for fabric, these just made more sense.  They are also blackout ones, which helps in this room, the brightest in our house.

Tony got this little chair at the consignment sale where he scored all these clothes.  I love it!

So, obviously there is much more to be done in here.  Here's a sample of what I've got planned to take this room up a notch:

So many more projects to come (ie: blog fodder!).

Here's what's in there so far with prices (since that kinda thing is always fascinating to me when I read about others' rooms):

  • Paint:  Glidden's Misty Moonstone color in Behr Paint/Primer in one Zero VOC Low odor - $24/gallon (x2)
  • Crib: Babyletto Mercer in white - a generous gift from my parents - on sale for $350
  • Glider:  Newco Taylor swivel glider - a generous gift from Tony's parents - originally $429 but we used a 20% off coupon
  • Dresser:  Ikea Hemnes 3 Drawer - on sale for $179
  • Curtains: Eclipse Bailey Thermaback - $15.99 (x3)
  • Rocking chair:  Consignment sale - $12
  • Toy tub:  Target beverage tub - $12
  • Changing pad, crib mattress - donated by my mom (barely used when she babysat my niece when she was a baby)
  • Tiny table - donated by Tony's parents - a garage sale find for $5!

So, not as thrifty as I would ideally have liked, but sometimes the thrift stores don't cooperate.  I plan to DIY most of the decor, so stay tuned (I know you are on pins and needles...)   ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Free Labor ;)

Last August, our good friends Mikey and Kacy invited us to join their community small group.  They had been in a small group for the past two years through their church, so we knew a little about it, but it was a little tiny bit scary to join one ourselves (we're antisocial and awkward!).  But we knew M&K wouldn't lead us astray, so we braved it and joined.  

The group consisted of 10 people - including three other couples who we either didn't know at all or barely knew.  We meet every Monday night and talk and the group stays together for two years.  While that first step was a little daunting, we are so glad that we joined this group.  

Not only do we get so much out of it spiritually, we have made many new friends and solidified older friendships.  All of these people are in the same life stage as we are, more or less (they all have multiple young kids - we are just starting!), and we are able to learn and grow from having them all in our lives.  I have lots of mamas I can ask questions of, which is very reassuring!

As just a small taste of the power of these new-found friendships - on Friday, all four girls (Kacy, Kim, Janna, and Katie) surprised me by showing up at our house ready to get our nursery in gear!   I had been whining to Kacy about how unmotivated I was, so she planned this surprise to help us get it done quickly - the room was painted completely and furniture was assembled - all before lunch!  It was so thoughtful of them and a wonderfully welcome surprise!

But it wasn't just as simple as these girls showing up to paint - they all have kids and tons of responsibilities, one is pregnant herself and one just had a baby - so they had to coordinate naps and breakfast and snacks and toys all so this could work.  In total, there were 8 kids three and under to wrangle!  To say I am extremely grateful doesn't even come close!  

I chose to be extremely helpful by taking pictures of them working :)

It was a whole new place in just hours! 

This is probably the best representation of the true color:

I felt so bad - I hardly did anything to help in the room at all!  I did help babysit, which was a job in itself (and excellent training for my future!) but I felt super guilty that there was a crew of people fixing up this room without my help!

They did an excellent job and even cleaned up.  Kacy and Kim put together our dresser (which is from Ikea, so you know that took forever!) and they probably all had to put up with cranky kids for the rest of the day, considering usual routines and schedules got a little off.  I am so honored to have these kind and selfless women as my friends.

On Saturday, Tony's parents came over and did a few touch ups, like painting trim, hanging curtain rods, and cleaning the nasty dog-nosed windows.  We got the furniture moved in and arranged, and now the room is just ready for the decor part!  

If it will stop raining anytime soon, I will get a good picture, but right now it's just too dark. 

I am so extremely grateful to have so many wonderful people in our lives.  Our baby girl is loved already by so many, and I hope to be able to repay the favor to all of them soon.
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