Monday, September 24, 2012

35 Week Update - "The Baby Files"

How far along? 35 weeks. That means only 35 days left. YIKES!!

Maternity clothes?Yes, my mom says I am "all belly". I sure feel like it! Check out the photo to follow ...

The belly progress:

See? All belly!

Sleep: I have pregnancy-induced insomnia. I want to sleep, but it takes me forever to get there. I sometimes take a "power nap" to try and compensate, otherwise I'm not going to (cheerfully) make it through the afternoon.

Cravings: I think the only craving I have had this pregnancy is for Hi-C Orange from McDonald's, although i was seriously wanting hash brown casserole from Cracker Barrell this past week.

Best moment this month: We discovered that the baby responds to Nora's voice!! That was TOTALLY cool. :)

Movement: LOTS! What an active kid! Also, this time around I am not as swollen so I can play "guess-the-body-part-that's-sticking-out". :) It's AWESOME!

Gender: More people are starting to guess "boy" this month, but only because this pregnancy is so vastly different than my last one. They say all your kids are different, but I think this one is a night and day difference from Nora! Let's list the differences, shall we?:
1.) This baby's heartbeat is averaging 15-20 beats slower than Nora's was.
2.) I have gained 30-40 pounds less so far, which I attribute to thyroid hormone-replacement, AND ...
3.) ... WAYYYYYY LESS swelling. I was so swollen last time they didn't think my epidural would take because of the fluid in my spine. I was, to put it succinctly, a water-balloon.
4.) No crazy, all-over, inexplicable body rash.
5.) This time I had actual morning sickness in the first (and occasionally in the third!) trimester.
6.) Carrying much lower and further out this time around. So much so that it's affecting my hips, and the baby uses my left hip for leverage to move around when I'm sitting.
7.) No bleeding, thanks be to God.
8.) No major cravings, but much hungrier.

Labor Signs: I had two mild contractions one night last week, and another this past weekend. Also I got told three times in two days that I looked like I've dropped. I don't think the baby has done that just yet because I still can't breathe but I have had some occasional serious bladder pressure recently.

What I miss: I am starting to get itchy to work out and get myself back into shape. Also I miss just PLAYING with Nora. I can't sit comfortably on the floor anymore, and I miss playing and running with her in the dirt, on the playground, etc. Lately I have been just too tired and nauseated to do much of anything. After this baby comes and I heal from my c-section, we are going to play in the snow or something!!

Weekly Wisdom: I'm losing my mind. My husband told me the other day that he scheduled his two weeks off from work. My (serious) response?: "What for?" WHAT FOR??!! Yes, I actually said that.

What Stereotype I Embody: SERIOUSLY-CAN'T-STOP-CRYING. It's gotten worse. More than once this past month I have wondered: "What is WRONG with me??!!" I'm just so tired and emotional all the time. In fact, I will take this opportunity to ask for some prayers because I think my mental state is fragile right now.

What I Bought This Week: I bought a few things to finish up the nursery, and we also got a "rock-n-play", which a lot of recent new moms that I know have been swearing by. I washed the bottles and organized the "baby cabinet". I also got some more burp cloths and a potential new diaper/wipes organizer. Really, we just have to pick names now ... easier said than done!

What I Checked off my To-Do List: Nursery is done! I also made a list of everything left that should be done pre-baby. I packed my hospital bag and made a list of everything that I will need to grab last-minute.

Today's doctor appointment went well. The baby's heart rate was 165 - high for once! I see the doctor again in two weeks for my group B strep test, and to check me to see if I'm - gulp- dilated! I will then see the doctor weekly until delivery.

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Decor and an Organized Art Area

I have had my Halloween/Fall stuff out for at least a week already. Yes, it's a little early!! For some reason I have been in the mindset that everything that must be done between now and when the baby comes must be done "right now". I guess this is nesting. For me it's hard to tell - with Nora I basically nested the entire time I was pregnant, but with this child I think I can tell a significant difference lately.

Take, for example, Nora's art table. The girl has so much art stuff and wants to color so often that I set up her art table in a central household location. It was looking a little (A LOT!) messy, so I got some dollar baskets from Target and hung them on the wall to make use of vertical space:

The baskets have been wonderful on the wall, and Nora loves the little magnetic dry-erase board that I stole from another part of the house and put next to them. With the exception of one completely dried out dry-erase marker, this system has been working great so far!

The same day that I did this, I decided it was time to get out the fall stuff. I didn't put out a whole lot, but I did make some new pumpkin decor based off of this pin I saw on Pinterest. The pumpkins were on sale at Michael's, and painting them was a breeze. I used them to set up a simple but cute mantel:

The thing I like best about this is that I can take it down easily, and put up a few other simple things for Thanksgiving. And, no - your eyes aren't deceiving you! - the last pumpkin is blank. My idea for that one was to put a big "TBD" on it, but the pumpkins cost enough that I decided against it. ;)

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Baby's Nursery

Well, after long last, here it is! Photos of the new nursery!

With this nursery I wanted it to be a little more calm. Nora's nursery had a lot of bold, primary colors. At first I wanted the same thing for this room as well because I wanted a Dr. Seuss theme (and just TRY to do "Dr. Seuss" without bold colors!!) But then I saw this bedding and knew that bold colors were just not going to be in the cards for this room. I loved the colors of this so-called "gender neutral" bedding a LOT (even though I think it's somewhat boyish, and my husband has been relentlessly teasing me about doing a "gender neutral room" where the primary color theme is taupe, orange, green, and let's not forget pale BLUE.) Anyway, I used the bedding for my inspiration, threw in Dr. Seuss where he fit in, and my vision went on from there to create what you are about to see! :)

I hesitate to really label this room "done" because there are a few more things I would like to do to it (and I probably will at some point.) But this is what it looks like "bare bones" - before we know the gender or name of this child, and certainly before we know what kind of a personality we are blessed with. :) Enjoy!

This is what you see walking into the room. The first thing you should notice is that there is a lot of mismatched wood! :) That's because of two reasons: 1.) I wanted specific, functional "kid" furniture as opposed to "baby" furniture. Kids just grow up too fast to spend a lot of money on baby stuff. And 2.) this is the second-born child! We worked with what we already had, and what we had is this. :)

The paint color was definitely NOT what I thought it would be, but I think it suits this room nicely. It's a really calming neutral color (Valspar's "Winter Oak"). It looks purple in some light, brown in other light, but when all is said and done . . . it's taupe. :)

This is directly to the right of the door, next to the world's smallest closet. :) Here you see a not-so-attractive baby swing that I got for 25 bucks at a resale event when my other one crapped out on us. I would love a different one, but I just can't see me spending the money on another one when this one actually works and we may not use it for long anyway. This part of the room will likely have something up in that empty upper corner very soon - so stay tuned for that. :)

This corner also houses a beautiful book sling from One Step Ahead. I wasn't sure if I would make book slings for this room or not until I saw this. I wanted something I could move around very easily, and this fit the bill. Eventually the swing will be gone from this corner and I would like a little shag rug and some DIY pillows in the corner next to this for a comfy little reading nook. Buuuuuut, not only is the swing in the way, but a newborn really doesn't need a reading nook so for now I haven't done that. (Plus, I haven't found the right rug. :) )

In this corner is also one of two framed puzzles that Nora and I put together. I had bought these intending that they would be played with, but the puzzles are REALLY hard to assemble (and this coming from someone who puts together puzzles a LOT!) So I saw a post online over at Newlywoodwards where she used framed puzzles as decor at a baby shower, and I decided that this was a great idea for my baby's room as well.

Nora LOVED helping me to put these puzzles together and apply Modge-Podge to them. It was one of the first things she got to do for her baby brother or sister. :)

This is the view of the crib, and another framed puzzle. The crib is from Babies-R-Us and is another lifetime-type crib that converts to a toddler bed and full bed as the child gets older. These cribs aren't always the best-looking kid of cribs (I was actually desperately seeking out a differently-styled crib this time around) but they are as practical as they come, so it's hard to imagine us buying anything else.

Here's a close-up of the bedding and the mobile. When I ordered the bedding I had the option of NOT ordering the crib bumper, and I took it! With all the SIDS issues surrounding crib bumpers, I was terrified to let Nora sleep in her crib with a bumper on it. This time around I found a wedge-type bumper online, and I am going to try this one out instead! It looks good, I think - when it came in the mail it was a darker shade of blue, and I bleached it about 5 or 6 times to get it the right color. :) Anyway, it also seems safer to me, and that's what is important.

Also in the crib is a Cat In The Hat toy that Nora used to play with, and a little Horton lovey that I found on clearance at Target. They look great together in the crib. :)

Here's a shot of the other framed puzzle. It took me forever to hang this one up! They are heavier than you would think and I wanted to make sure it was ATTACHED to the wall. It is!

This is a "toy bookcase" from Target that matches the one we bought for Nora this past year. It has been awesome in her room for corralling and organizing her toys, so there is now another one in baby's room! Right now there are not a whole lot of toys to wrangle, so this bookcase is currently housing some toys, but mostly swaddlers, boppy covers, sheets, receiving blankets, and the like.

This art is from the same set of cards that are hanging on Nora's wall. I love the way they look, and I love what they say! Bonus. :)

I think I picked up the bins that are on the shelves at Garden Ridge. I LOVE them - they are so handy and sturdy. Someday I may put labels on them or designs, but I like being able to change out what's in them for now. You can also see the skinny "hamper" that is actually for stuffed animals on the side of the bookcase.

This photo shows the 2 Thirty-One bins that are currently being used for toy/boppy storage. I am sure those bins will hold different things over the years! You can also see the undressed window. I don't have any curtains in my house because I hate laundering them, but I do have an idea for a window decoration in this room that probably won't make an appearance soon, but maybe someday. ;)

Here you see the rocking chair that belonged to my grandma. I mentioned in Nora's nursery post that I never used this rocker because it was "creaky and uncomfortable". This time around I am determined to use it - so I set out on the hunt for a rocking chair pad. I found one I loved at Carousel Designs that completely matched the decor, but I was NOT about to pay the $89 price tag!! Luckily Carousel Designs sells their fabric, so I purchased some so that I could sew my own pad.

I found this outdoor pad on clearance at Garden Ridge, and I picked it up, thinking I would cut the ties and use it for a nap mat for one of the kids I sit for. I noticed not long after I bought it that it just happened to fit the rocking chair pretty well, so I covered it in quilt batting and sewed a cover with ties for it. It works great so far! Very comfortable and I like the fabric from Carousel Designs a LOT. Also the pad is really secure and doesn't go anywhere when my three year old climbs up in the chair. :) I also sewed the above-pictured nursing stool cover out of the blue accent fabric - it was pretty easy to make and took no time at all. All in all, I made my own rocking chair pad AND a stool cover for less than half of the price they were asking at Carousel Designs for just the pad, so I call that a WIN! :)

I had a different kind of art on the wall up here, but I hated it. So I just used some scrap fabric and embroidery hoops to create this art. I like it WAY better - and I plan on personalizing it a bit more when the baby arrives. The fabric is special too because there is not only fabric from this room, but some from Nora's room and some from a taggie I made for cousin Benny, who will be very close in age to our second-born. There is also some scrap fabric from various things that I have made for other friend's children as well. :)

Here is the changing area. The dresser is actually part of the bedroom set that belongs to Cory and I. It's the longest dresser! I have tried every which way I can think of to fit it in our Master bedroom, but no-go. So here it has been since we moved in and here it will likely stay! It's a great dresser, and I am kind of jealous that my kid gets to use it and not me! :)

These shelves were inspired by a pin I saw on Pinterest, and Cory built, sanded, primed, and painted them not too long ago. I think they turned out GREAT! They are currently holding some old Dr. Seuss books of Cory's and some art I printed off of the internet. I also hung some small bins from the shelves using Command Hooks, and I am using them for diaper rash cream, binkies, etc. I had to use leather straps instead of the original ribbon on the bins to keep them from moving around too much, but so far I have used them to hold some things for my babysitting kids (who get their diapers changed in here) and they work very well.

In this photo you see a special picture frame that says "Me and My Big Sister" on it. You also see the Diaper Depot - a handy little changing table organizer that I used with Nora. I recently found an on-the-wall changing area organizer that would work really well in this room, so I may get that one and use it instead - but for now, this is what it looks like.

And that's the nursery! I have at least three other significant things I would like to do in this room, some of which I have mentioned, but for now I am sitting back and taking it easy for much of the rest of this pregnancy - HA! Like I could ever get a moment to do that. :) Hope you all enjoyed the photos.

Until next time . . .

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Nora's Nursery - A Look Back

I didn't have this blog when I was pregnant with Nora, so I thought it might be fun to do a little post on her what her nursery looked like. Especially since I still have yet to take photos of the new one . . . :)

Nora's nursery theme was complicated! (It was also prior to Pinterest - what a help that would have been!) I wanted red, green, and yellow to be the colors (since we didn't find out her gender either) and I wanted to do a "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (TVHC) theme, mixed with lots of alphabet-related items. Back then there was virtually no TVHC nurseries anywhere, so it was a pretty unique idea. (Of course last year Pottery Barn Kids came out with TVHC crib bedding. Of course they did.)

My pregnancy with Nora was marked by one specific thing: SWELLING. I swelled a LOT. When I woke up each morning I could not move my fingers for about 15 minutes at a time (made it interesting to go to the bathroom each time I woke up!) My ankles were non-existent. So I was not going to be creating a whole lot of sewing projects for "the baby's" nursery - it's tough to sew with sausages for fingers! The nursery ended up being simple, but personal, and I was pretty proud of it! :)

I ended up finding Nora's crib bedding at Target. I loved it from the minute I saw it and never even considered anything else! Those of you out there who have decided not to find out your baby's gender know that there is not a whole lot of gender-neutral bedding out there unless you want to go boutique. I did not. I am a practical lady and I knew one thing even then - kids are messy! I wasn't about to drop hundreds of dollars on bedding that was going to get ruined. This set was a great price, and went well with the room.

The crib is a convertible crib that goes from crib, to toddler bed, to daybed, to full bed. I think it's from Babies-R-Us, and we eventually bought all the pieces from the set except the nightstand (including the toddler rail and full bed rails - glad we did that because this set has retired and you can't get them anymore!)

This part of her room hasn't looked like this since this picture was taken. :) I ended up hanging the quilt from her bedding up on the wall, but soon after I took this photo we bought Nora the large dresser from her furniture set and it has been in this spot ever since. That toy bin stayed on the other side of her room for a long time but when we got a playroom I moved it downstairs.

This was Nora's changing area. The dresser from her set had an optional "lip" for the top of it so you could use it as a changing table and then take that part off when she got older and just use the dresser. That part has been off for over a year now and the dresser now houses her pet fish (who, by the way, is still alive!) The book rack is from Pottery Barn Kids and has been wonderful. It stores a lot of her books still to this day - specifically ones I don't want her ripping up before she is old enough to read them!

This corner now looks totally different as well. Instead of a reading nook, it's now used for toy storage. A lot of the books are in Nora's book sling that I made for her awhile ago, and the rocker is out in our living room. I wish she still had a reading nook, but she mostly "reads" in the living room while I am doing dishes or cleaning up after lunch. Plus she has a lot more toys now, so it just makes sense to have toy storage here. I also added some wall art about a year ago.

The rocker I ended up hardly using for Nora. I didn't have a pad for it, and it was uncomfortable and creaky. Plus, I ended up breastfeeding a lot in bed or on the couch anyway. It means a lot to me because it belonged to my grandma, so it's making a reappearance in the new baby's room, complete with a new homemade pad that I made. The quilt is from Cory's grandma, and Nora still uses it to this day (she calls it her "birthday blankie" for some reason.) The art above the crib is one of the only things I made for this room myself. It's still there and I plan on leaving it there until our baby arrives and gets bigger - then I will update it with photos that are more up-to-date. I really like having photos of her family in her room - it helps us when we are praying for them each night - but there are a lot of new family members that need to be up there.

So that's Nora's old nursery! It has undergone a lot of changes (I may post photos of those someday if I can get her to CLEAN her room) but has always been very functional and practical for us. The new nursery is no less practical, and looks a lot different. Hopefully I will get those photos up this week!

Until next time . . .

Friday, September 7, 2012

Nora Update - 3 Years Old!

We have a three year old. YIKES!!

Things to know about Nora at this age:
Academically she's stinking BRILLIANT. I cannot get over how smart she is, and she constantly amazes me. She has known all her letters and sounds for awhile now, and we have just started learning to read the "-at" word family and a few sight words. I was blown away the first day we worked on blending with how quickly she got it. Just today she told me that she was going to write my name ("mommy"). I asked her if she knew how to spell it, thinking that there was no way she would remember. She did! She tried to write it and did pretty well, but is really only successful while writing her own name at the moment.

She also continues to have an excellent vocabulary and imagination. Hearing such big words coming out of her little mouth makes me chuckle daily. Of course she is at the age where she will say something and it will make me laugh so hard I cry as well! The other day she pointed to a bottle of her shampoo with a monkey on it and asked me (very seriously) if I was going to wash her hair "with the monkey 'poo?" I laughed so hard at that one! She's also incredibly polite and empathetic for her age, which is wonderful. Along with her manners, I have been trying to work with her on how she should treat people with respect, and most of the time she does an excellent job at that (however, she DID recently tell her teacher to "stop bothering her". Yikes!)

Some of her favorite things to do right now are to play outside on her swing set, in the sandbox, or out front in the dirt pile that will soon be our new porch. Inside she enjoys playing with her Thomas trains and practicing being a big sister on her baby dolls. She has recently starting playing pretend a LOT. She likes to drag out all her sleep stuff so that she can pretend to sleep, and has discovered dress-up clothes. She also has a tent downstairs and a sheet "tent" upstairs that she uses to pretend to go camping in, or to play house in.

She LOVES. HER. FRIENDS. She's as independent and stubborn as they come, but the girl loves to play with other kids. She tends to be pretty bossy so if I am around I have to constantly remind her to listen to her friends and do what they want to do as well. She has just started preschool two days per week and as soon as I drop her off I can see her going to find friends and toys immediately. And she is soooo excited when friends come over to her house to play. Anyone that plays with her at her house for a good solid hour is often referred to by her as her "best friend". She also prays for them all when we say prayers at night

She is going be be a big sister in a little over 50 days here, and I think I have prepared her about as much as I possibly can for it. We have been reading books about babies, talking a LOT about what she can expect when the baby gets here, getting the nursery ready together, and (her personal favorite) watching videos and looking at photos of Nora when she was a baby. She also holds her new cousin like a PRO! :) She likes to play-act with her dolls by making them cry REALLY loud, feeding them, packing them up to go places, and putting them to sleep. She's about as prepared as she's going to get!

Her three year old check-up is not until October for some strange reason, so I couldn't tell you her physical stats at the moment. However, I can tell you that she's as tall as any average four year old, and looks too much like a little girl (instead of a toddler) for my liking! She has been potty trained for about 15 months now, but just recently started going potty entirely by herself. Her fine motor skills are great. I think sometimes she may be a little behind on her gross-motor skills when she has trouble trying to ride a bike or a tricycle . . . until she picks up a baseball bat and whacks a ball she just threw into the air! Watching her swim also is really neat - since she's been around water her whole life, she's pretty good at that too.

Little Nora has just been continuously growing into a fantastic fun, stubborn, lovable, funny, independent, happy little person, and her dad and I are so proud of her!! We love you girly, thanks for being such a great kid!

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

What do you do for a rainy Labor Day weekend when your husband works a lot of overtime and you are about 8 weeks from your due date? Knock out some final things on the baby to-do list of course!

Our to-do list for the weekend looked something like this:
1.) Finish gluing, sanding, and painting shelves for baby's room
2.) Sew a rocking chair cover
3.) Do something with my hideous-looking nursing stool
4.) Clean and set up the cradle in our room
5.) Fix dryer
6.) Paint mudroom wall
7.) Go to Babies-R-Us for (hopefully) the last time before baby comes
8.) Finish nursery art
9.) Start DIY Christmas gifts

I am happy to say that all of that got done . . . well, almost! I did not even start the rocking chair cover, even though I intended to three different times. It might have gotten done Monday morning but Nora had a rough night and I was thinking she might be getting sick, so I took care of her instead. I also started and nearly finished one Christmas gift. Yes, it's September - but baby is coming in eight weeks folks! I have a mental to-do list of things I want to complete before baby, so when he or she gets here I can focus on him or her, my healing, and the new metamorphosis my family will undergo. If I want to make anything for Christmas, it has to be done soon.

It's hard to believe that last year at this time we were taking Nora on her first trip to the zoo (and I notice in those pictures we were wearing jackets!) Now we are about to be a family of four. I can't believe how fast it's coming up!

AND - I promise photos will be coming of the nursery in the next few weeks. :) In case you didn't see it, here's my original "design board":

It's turned out a little different than my original design, but it's coming along NICELY. :)

Until next time . . .