Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas has come and gone which means it's now time to pack up the decorations and pray that this short week goes just as quickly as 2010!  Robin and I had some very great Christmases with my family and with his.  We received many gifts that were both useful and meaningful and thankfully most of the gifts we gave were welcomed and needed as well.  I suppose I should not focus on what we received as that isn't the real reason for Christmas but I'm not feeling as though I should go into deeper meanings and will just stick with the superficial ones.  Hopefully that is good with you, reader!

We left Kansas City after work on Tuesday of last week.  We took our time getting home and spent a lot of the drive talking.  I almost always enjoy car trips with Robin because he has finally gotten the hint that now and then he needs to be awake and interactive rather than fall victim to what we kindly refer to as "carcolepsy."  It's a nasty case of "I can't stay awake in the car" syndrome and Robin's got it bad.  But this trip was an exception and we had some good conversation on the 3.5 hour drive home. 

We had plans to see a movie on Wednesday but my parents live in a small town that is about 20 minutes from the nearest theatre.  That theatre wasn't showing the movie we wanted to see and another wasn't showing it until 3:00 p.m.  Unfortunately we had dinner plans that night so we chose to stay home.  Robin worked a half day from his computer and phone while I did a whole lot of nothing except watch tv, read magazines, etc.  We ate lunch at the local cafe, Goldies, which used to be an ice cream joint only but now serves pretty darned good food.  We were even served by Goldie who had to give Robin a hard time about being such a picky eater.  I'm glad we went!  That night the four of us (Mom, Dad, Robin and I) went to Altoona (local city) to have dinner.  It was an interesting time.  Robin was of course absorbed in football.  Dad was his usual clumsy self and spilled an entire beer, barely missing Mom's lap.  Mom and I attempted conversation...until the food came!  What can I say?  My family knows how to eat!

Thursday Mom, Robin, and I went to Pella to meet my Grandma Mac and Uncle Rod for lunch.  First, Pella is this completely Dutch city about 20-30 minutes from our house.  It's really unique...and we love to make fun of it!  It's so weird!  It has some amazing attractions though...okay, make that a bakery and a restaurant but I do like the little town.  Anywho, we couldn't go to my Grandma's for Christmas so we chose to do lunch.  We had Chinese which was wonderful and exchanged gifts there.  My Uncle brought us a dish set for the baby.  We're pretty excited to have thsoe for her!  After lunch, we walked the streets and visited many of the local shops.  Our first stop was Smokey Row, my favorite coffee shop of all time.  While standing in line, my Grandma slipped me a folded up Kleenex and said to "unwrap it carefully."  As I unwrapped it, I found a ring but not just any ring.  It was my Great Grandma's ruby ring.  I think I was in shock!  I still can't believe it!  I'm going to get it sized for my fingers so that I can wear it but I'm so happy to have it.  Shopping was a lot of fun as Grandma said she hadn't gotten to do that for a long time and we found some unique items you can't get just anywhere.  I have to admit I love little towns like this that have shops that aren't chains.  If you're ever in the area, check this little town out or make a special trip to Tulip Time.  It's a good one for locals and for one timers.  My favorite places to stop are Jaarsma Bakery (better than the one just a few doors down, if you ask me), Smokey Row, and a fantastic little kitchen store that I can't quite recall but it's right on the main square.

We woke up on Friday morning to snow and lots of it!  Dad was already outside with the snow blower then graduated to a bigger piece of machinery to help the neighbors.  One thing you can never say about my Dad is that he's not willing to help his friends.  He spent the first half of the day on snow duty, even catching my Grandpa out attempting to scoop snow.  Remember, my Grandpa just had both knees replaced a few months back.  Naughty, naughty!  Meanwhile, Mom, Robin, and I stayed cozy inside and watched some movies from home rather than our traditional trek to the theatre.  We were a little worried about the weather and none of us felt that adventurous!  I made some hot cocoa and we snacked on Mom's goodies most of the day.  That evening we had Christmas at my Grandma and Grandpa's house which was a lot of fun too.  Grandma made quite a spread of food this year and we took some leftovers home.  Grandma gave me a really beautiful blue scarf and a robe that'll fit my ever growing belly, plus can stick around after the baby is born.  The dogs even got toys which they had to fight over, of course!

I hate snow but it's hard when it's this pretty!
Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa Wicker's house, 12/24/10.

Finally, Christmas morning arrived and I awoke to Robin and my Mom singing a few lines of Christmas carols in the kitchen.  They are two peas in a pod!  We ate a great breakfast of our traditional pepperoni bread and eggs, mimosas for the non-preggers, OJ for me.  Then it was time for presents.  Everyone received amazing gifts this year and there were even tears, as we knew there might be.  My Dad was the big winner in the giving department.  He and my sister worked together to get Mom airfare from Des Moines to Taos, NM in February.  That's where Sarah and Ben, her fiancee, live now so we don't see them as often as we'd like.  Mom cried and hugged Dad and I'm pretty sure there was a smooch in there too.  I cried because she was crying...and Robin lied and said there was something in his eyes.  LOL!  I gave Robin the router he wanted and Mom and I both gave him tool bags, a commical mistake on our parts.  Robin hit it out of the ballpark by giving me several bags of loose leaf teas (mostly decaf, of course), a travel tea cup that can even go in the microwave when I'm at work, chocolate, and a book.  Mom and Dad gave me a couple really great gifts too like a tea pot to heat water up at home, maternity pajamas which I sorely needed,
It's slipping my mind what my Dad received though I know we got Mom and Dad a Shark Steam mop and Cranium so they can play with friends.  I would say we had a very successful giving and receiving year!

Mom was SO excited to get airfare to see Sarah in New Mexico!

I got a super cool cup that has a built in tea diffuser.  Hubby done good!
Robin and I had to leave around noon so that we could go back home, clean, and prepare for his family Christmas at our house on Sunday.  Robin even took time to grout and clean up the new tile in the spare full bath upstairs.  I got all of the cooking done, just in the nick of time, and all of the family was able to come.  We haven't gotten to see Robin's Mom, sister, or neice in a while as they live in Arizona but hopefully they got their gifts and enjoyed them.  I'm just hoping they can come up when the baby is born!  Back to the Simms - Sol family Christmas.  We had lots of food and all of it was good!  The kids each got a gift from one of the families and we even did a gift exchange with the adults this year.  Next year, Robin will need to be smarter with the rules!  We took family photos which I must say is quite a fiasco with so many family members.  I'm crossing my fingers we get another good one as we did have a great one last year.  It'll be hard to beat that one!  The kids ran around like wild ones in the basement and the adults had time to talk...while yelling at kids.  Ahhh...the sounds of Christmas in our home!  Everyone left by 9 p.m. at which point Robin took my picture for Week 26 and I went directly upstairs and collapsed.  I could barely move by the time I crawled under the covers.

The Simms-Sol Christmas.  It would not be complete without feeling cross eyed (LOL)!

Week 26, after the Simms-Sol Christmas, 12/26/2010
Which brings me to today and the fact that I'm back at work.  The office is quiet with only a few of us here and my boss has come in only a few times just to ask a question now and then.  I have nothing on my "to do" list so I'm sitting here writting this and sipping on some peppermint hot tea, thinking about how blessed we are to have such great families.  Our Christmas card holder has overflowed with all of our friends' cards and we're also thankful that we have so many to share our time with.  I hope that all of you had a very Merry Christmas, no matter how you spent it or what you gave or received.  My favorite parts, in recap, were these:

1)  Spending Wednesday cooped up with Robin because we almost never just stay home these days.
2)  Lunch with Grandma Mac and Uncle Rod Thursday followed by shopping with Grandma, Mom, and Robin.  I wish we could do that more often!
3)  Receiving my Great Grandma's ring.  I am a traditional kind of girl and I love having heirlooms that my little girl will receive someday.
4)  Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa!
5)  Christmas morning with Mom and Dad.  Specifically, Mom's excitement at getting the airfare to go see Sarah!
6)  Sarah's texts to say she loved the watch I got her.  I was so worried she'd hate it!
7)  Christmas with Robin's family at our home.  It's work but well worth it!

Next update...New Year's!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

'Tis the Season!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I finally eased into the holiday spirit and now that we're just a week away, I am feeling 100% festive!  I have caught myself staring at our beautiful Christmas tree more than a dozen times and when I go to bed, I shut the lights off and just look at how it sparkles.  We have our lights on a timer so don't worry, Earth savers!  It's only on for a few hours every night.  I have also been known to stand at one of our front windows (we have a lot of windows) and look at the neighbor's lights or our lights.  I am proud to say I love our light display.  We like the simplicity of white lights so we hang a line of white "ice cycle" lights along the top of the first story and for a little flair, we have red and white lights around the two "mini Christmas trees" that line our walkway.  The red really sets off our red front door, if I do say so myself.

Honestly, it isn't any of these things that really gets me excited about Christmas.  I grew up in a house with a Mom who is a Christmas fanatic.  Not the weird, Clark W. Griswold, kind.  No, my Mom just perked up around Christmas.  She has always told/called/emailed us 6 months out; "Only 6 more months to CHRISTMAS!"  Mom has always had a way with traditions, things I hope that we can do for our kids and add a few of our own to the mix.

The first tradition begins on Thanksgiving.  Christmas movies are reserved for Christmas in our family.  That means you don't watch the movies until Thanksgiving is over, or that night sometimes.  When Christmas day has come and gone, you put them away with the rest of the decorations and look forward to them next year.  My favorite Christmas movie, "A Muppet's Christmas Carol," was often the first one to make it to the VCR on Thanksgiving, probably because it's my sister's favorite too.  I have most of the movie memorized but I truly love it.  This makes sense.  I never missed the Muppet's on Saturday mornings, either.

A few traditions are strung in there before Christmas in no particular order.  My Mom is one of the best cooks around (if you ask me).  She bakes and creates all kinds of Christmas goodies.  You can almost always stop in and find something sweet or delicious to have with your coffee, or hot tea like me.  Some of the regulars are fudge (now peanut butter fudge for my's his favorite!), peanut clusters (my personal favorite), chocolate peanut clusters, caramels (sometimes), butter spritz cookies, kiss cookies (my other favorite), and any number of other creation she chose.  I'm telling you, this lady knows how to make some good stuff!  There's also the decorations to think about.  Our Christmas tree is fake, always has been, always will be.  Honestly, I prefer it that way.  No mess and reusable from year to year.  But it's not the tree that's special at Mom and Dad's.  It's the ornaments.  Mom still uses our ornaments we made as kids or one of a huge long line of ornaments that my Grandma gets her every year, a tradition that started when my parents were married.  There are also our first ornaments.  Mine is a bulb that's gold with a scene on it and Sarah's is a pair of porcelain booties.  This year, Mom made the mistake of saying her decorations were "out dated."  I think she's gone a little nuts.  I love the feel of our house during Christmas!

Then comes the days leading up to Christmas.  For our family, Christmas begins on Christmas Eve.  Mom would take the day off from work and take Sarah and me to a movie.  She said it was the only way she could keep us entertained and out of her hair.  What she thinks we didn't know is that she loves the movies and she really would have taken us anyway.  Excuses, excuses!  At the movie, we'd get popcorn and a snack, find our seat, and the few hours we were there seemed to fly by.  Some of the most memorable movies we saw on Christmas Eve were "Fantasia", "A Muppet's Christmas Carol", and "The Lord of the Rings 1".  Now, sometimes we don't plan ahead very well.  For example, Fantasia was a 3 way pick but turned out to be REALLY long, and fairly boring.  We were little and it was all music.  Then there was the year of "The Lord of the Rings 1."  We didn't plan ahead and we let Sarah choose.  Nothing else rang a bell, including this movie.  Some 3 hours later, Mom and I were not so awake and Sarah was SO excited.  She LOVED it!  Not my thing or Mom's but Sarah sure had a good time!  We still joke about the year we saw "that Lord of the Rings movie."

Christmas Eve night, we go to my Grandma and Grandpa Wicker's for their Christmas with us.  My Dad is an only child and I think I've mentioned before I have a very small family.  When we were little, our Aunt Hazel would join us or sometimes Joyce Kholer, a family friend.  Sometimes boyfriends would come along and now there's my husband and Sarah's fiancee, when they can make it up.  Grandma cooks a great dinner and now that we're older, there is always wine.  I never knew Grandma liked wine but she sure does!  Grandma's tree is a sight to see.  It is one of my favorites!  It too is fake but that's not the deal.  She uses white lights and mostly white decorations.  The decorations she collects are these ornaments shaped like shells and made to look like various angels.  They are so beautiful!  I love to look at them as each one is a little different from the year before.  A comical part of Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's is that she never (ever) remembers which stocking is whose and sometimes, you'll open a gift inside it that is actually meant for someone else.  While she seems frustrated, to me, it just adds to the fun!

After we are finished there, we usually go home and Mom used to give us new pajamas to wear that night.  She said it was so that her Christmas morning pictures wouldn't look horrible with us in our worn PJs or me in my basketball shorts and a t-shirt.  Our pictures still looked pretty crappy, if you ask me.  Who looks GOOD that early in the morning?  Still, this is yet another tradition that was a lot of fun for us.  We all love our cozy PJs!  Then Mom would read us "Twas the Night Before Christmas," we'd put out cookies and milk, and then off to bed we went with the tree still lit up all night.  These days, we don't do the PJs or the story and we usually skip the cookies and milk.  My parents don't drink milk; they both hate it!  Why waste?  Instead, I usually go back to Grandma Wicker's and take her to midnight service at Church.  I do love midnight service.  The church she goes to has dark wood, red carpet, and red poinsettia's all over.  They keep the lights low and there are good songs and usually a short but good sermon.

Finally, it's Christmas morning!  We wake up and there were always a TON of presents under our tree.  Let me back track, we wake up and it's barely light outside, sometimes it's still dark.  Finally Mom put a stop to this.  "You can only come wake us up when it's past such and such time."  No worries.  Sarah and I just cuddled together after waking each other up and as soon as that clock hit the correct time, we were up and in my parent's room!  These days, the roles are reversed.  My MOM wakes US up!  My parents have always been amazing with Christmas gifts.  Big or small, there were always a lot of presents, plenty more than we probably needed.  As I got older, Mom told me her secret.  Put aside money year round into a savings account, then use it only for Christmas, unless there's an emergency.  If it's a harder year, put less in but still get good, worthwhile gifts.  If it's a better year, go all out!  No matter what kind of year they had financially, our Christmas mornings were always AMAZING! 

We also have a traditional breakfast that morning; pepperoni bread.  I know what you're thinking.  "Pepperoni...for breakfast....on Christmas???"  I say to you, don't knock it until you've tried it!  One year, Mom got this recipe and ever since, it's been our request!  Simply put, you take frozen bread dough, thaw, roll it out, put an egg/spice mixture on it, put cheese and pepperonis on it, roll it up, form into a loaf, and let it rise.  Then bake while opening gifts.  Voila!  Best Christmas breakfast ever!

After gifts are opened and we've messed with them a bit, it's time to get ready to go to Grandma Mac's house.  My Grandma Mac used to live on a farm outside of Eddyville, Iowa.  Now she lives in Oskaloosa.  Both places are about 45 minutes away.  The farm was fun because it's Christmas and you get to have a real, down on the farm, Christmas experience.  Either way, walking in the door, the first smell that hits you is baking pies!  Grandma makes her own pies, from scratch, dough and all.  With the extra dough, she makes these small cinnamon and sugar bites which are so good, I crave them (like right now).  We always have something different for dinner but it's always excellent and each family contributes something.  After dinner, the men watch football and talk farming or hunting.  The women sit around the table chatting like women do.  Uncle Warren, however, falls asleep on the couch and snores.  Now my cousin, RJ, has also begun this tradition.  It's quite comical to see!  We open gifts at Grandma's too and the most traditional thing there is that we all get a scratcher ticket for the lottery.  Sometimes we win but most of the time we lose.  Still, it's fun!

We trek back home later in the evening, stuffed to the brim with lunch, coffee, and pie and usually find something to watch on tv while messing with our gifts.  After Christmas day, it's time for things to get back to normal in our home.  The tree gets put away (sometimes sooner than later, sometimes later than sooner) and the movies go with it.  We go to bed early, tired from excitement and the food coma.

On December 26th, the countdown for next year begins!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baby Bonanza Begins!

I still can't believe December is here and that Christmas is just a few weeks away.  Our house is all decorated and feels cozy most of the time (assuming the heat is turned to a "human" temp).  We got snow and a lot of wind last night but thankfully we didn't get a lot and no ice.  We had Robin's company Christmas party on Friday and walked away with one tipsy husband, one Keurig coffee maker, and lots of candy!  The season is definitely here!

The last few weeks have been fairly uneventful but the last week alone brought the best of things to tell you about.  Baby Kimber Payton Elo was born on Tuesday evening and that marks the first of the babies to come in each of the next 6 months!  Kimber's mommy, Nikki, is one of my sorority sisters so a few of us drove up to visit on Thursday night.  Though Mommy and Daddy seemed elated, both were pretty worn out and I hope we didn't stay too long for them.  Kimber is adorable and I think she looks like her Daddy, though her Grandma thinks she looks like Nikki.  Funny how everyone perceives babies looks differently.  I have to admit that all of my friends having babies has been really great practice for me as I've noticed they've stopped instantly screaming when I hold them.  My Mommy confidence is growing!

DZ Girls!  Courtney, Danay, Nikki, Kimber, Kristin, and Me

Up to this point, I've been fairly "bah-humbug" about Christmas.  I have had a lot of trouble feeling the spirit and no matter what I tried, very little seemed to help.  Slowly I feel the fun of the season, though I think I'm a lot more excited about Christmases from here on out when our baby will be here too.  My mom has always said Christmas is nothing until you've experienced it with kids and that is something we can't wait to see firsthand.  We finally took our picture for our Christmas card and I have to say, it turned out decent but only took all of 10 minutes.  We were pretty no-fuss over it this year and I'm lucky that it happened at all.  I think Robin felt it unnecessary but I really love receiving the cards so I feel I should return that favor.

Christmas 2010 - In front of our fireplace
Today I got up and purchased Robin's Christmas presents.  I'm not a good present buyer at all, for anyone, so I just hope that he likes what he got and doesn't automatically know what it is.  I wouldn't be surprised though.  He likes to guess what he's getting which in turn pisses me off to no end.  I'm much more of a PLEASE surprise me type of person.  Robin spent most of the day working on new shower and tub hardware in our spare bathroom so that we could raise the height of the shower head and re tile.  I spent most of my day curled up on the couch with a blanket, drinking hot cider, and watching movies or reading.  Gosh it was such a rough day...  You can probably see just how hot I looked all day in this fantastic picture of me at 24 weeks.

My day of laziness equated to looking super hot for my 24 week pic!
This leads me to a thought.  I will never understand why everyone, well almost everyone, feels it necessary to remind new or soon to be parents how "horrible" their lives will be when the kids arrive.  Some of the most irritating statements I hear repeatedly:
"Sleep in while you can.  That won't happen when you have kids."
"You won't have lazy Sundays anymore."
"Spend time with your husband while you can.  You'll be busy with kids later."
"Do this or that before the kids come because you won't have time."
The list goes on and I just do not get it.  If life is so horrible with kids, why on Earth do you think so many of us do it?  And if the only advice you have for us newbies is heed for how bad it will get, don't you think that makes your opinion of family life look pretty bleak?  I respect parents and that they surely know more than me but for once, could you please tell me something useful or good rather than following up your negative advice with, "But it's all worth it"?

Anywho, my pregnancy is going great.  I have stayed right on track with my weight gain and though it's hard to resist the treats that have come around for the holidays, I'd say I'm still doing better than I thought I would.  I have some aches and pains now, namely in my feet, lower back, and an issue with my sciatic nerve and left leg.  The two are not friends right now!  Baby Sol spends a lot of time rolling around and kicking me, mostly after I've eaten.  Give it 30 minutes to an hour and she is super excited to show Mommy how much she loved whatever I ate!  Earlier this week the girls in the office saw her kicking for the first time on the outside.  I really think that has been my favorite development.  It's just really cool to see.  Robin can feel her just fine now and sometimes he just lays his hand on my belly to feel her.  Overall, things are going great.  I can't complain!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


(Written earlier this week!)

It doesn't seem possible that Thanksgiving is already here or that I'm already 21 weeks along!  Where has the time gone?

Last weekend we tailgated at the Northwest vs. Pitt State game held annually at Arrowhead Stadium.  We arrived literally second car in line at the gates so as you can imagine, it was a long day for this pregnant lady!  The weather was very chilly and windy but eventually the sun came out and it provided some much needed warmth.  This year I went prepared.  I brought hot water and tea bags, my heaviest snuggling blanket, and wore 4 or 5 layers of clothing.  I was still cold but overall fairly comfortable in my oversized lawn chair.  I have to admit tailgating while pregnant or at this stage of my life was not what it used to be.  I didn't miss the beverages at all nor did I even want one.  Watching Robin get crazy as usual was okay but this year I stayed in one spot the whole time and when 3:00 rolled around, I was done and it was time to go.  In years past, we'd stay the entire game and then go to a bar afterwards to enjoy eachother's company.  I have a feeling our days of tailgating to this degree is coming to an end, at least for me.

Did I mention some crazy decided to hit my car while we were all tailgating on the other side?  Ah yes, such a fun event to happen at 10:15 a.m.  Nice start to our day but thankfully they didn't contest the issue and we're well on our way to having it fixed.  All I have to do now is take it to the shop, order the parts, and take it back when it's time to get everything fixed.  Mostly this is just an inconvenience.

On Saturday we met Kevin and Leah for double date night, preggo style (as Leah and I called it).  We saw "Due Date" which I have to admit was really pretty boring for me.  It was one of those movies that shows everything funny in the previews and is mostly just annoying.  I think Kevin and Robin enjoyed it though so I don't think it was a complete loss.  We followed up with dinner at Jack Stack BBQ which was fabulous as usual.  Our waiter was quite possibly the most annoying human I've ever come across.  Let's just say I could see why he's a waiter and not a rocket scientist!  Finally we went to Starbucks, got some hot drinks, and lounged on the deck.  The Plaza is a really great place to people watch and the weather was fairly nice.  That was probably my favorite part because we just sat and talked for an hour or so and enjoyed the sights and sounds of late fall.

Sunday was a big day for us!  Robin and I are officially God parents of Miss Rowen Annette.  She was super adorable in a white onesie, white tights, white bow, and light pink tu-tu.  I got a few toothless grins out of her during the service as well.  I have to admit I never thought I'd be a God parent.  I'm not extremely religious though I do have faith and I'm not baptised myself.  I actually find that I believe a lot of things from a variety of religions.  But I feel very blessed and honored to be chosen and I take it very seriously.  In a lot of ways, I feel like I'm going to responsible for helping her grow up to be a good little girl and eventually a woman.  It's strange; I didn't think it would feel quite such a big deal!

Robin, Me, Rowen, Kellen, Phil and Marsha after Rowen's Baptism!
 And that brings us to this week and my pregnancy.  I've noticed my belly has begun to really bulge in the last couple of weeks.  So have others.  It seems adults lose their filters altogether when it comes to pregnancy.  For example, a woman who knew I was pregnant saw me preparing my lunch the other day and said, "Wow!  You really LOOK pregnant now!  Before you just looked chunky!"  I could have smacked her but I refrained and ignored her.  When trying to pretend that you're still semi-good looking to your husband and the public while pregnant, comments like these are really tough to take.  I do struggle now thinking I'm too big or too round but in terms of the doctor, I'm doing fine.  Robin doesn't seem to mind.  He still looks at me the same and nothing has changed between us.  I'm so thankful to have such a sweet, kind man in my life!
21 Weeks (My face says it all..."I feel HUGE!")

I also developed something of a side effect this week that I didn't foresee.  In fact, I'm a bit of an enigma to my doctor too.  I won't go into detail but what I will say is that the diagnosis is my immune system isn't loving something or other I either ate or came into contact with so I get to feel its wrath on my skin.  The doctor said it was really pretty bad so I'm on 3 meds, one topical and two oral, to get it under control.  I think the hardest part of this is that I can't eat bananas, peanut butter, or strawberries for a while because all of them have high alergen content.  BUT, the baby is doing fine so thankfully this whole issue isn't bothering her a bit!

Yesterday we returned the dresser I posted about previously too.  After reordering parts that broke or didn't fit right, we finally gave up.  It is a horrible dresser!  Do NOT buy it!  We found one at Nebraska Furniture Mart which is slightly more expensive but is more sturdy.  We'll save up and get it sometime in the future.  Same goes for our rocker.  We went bright and early on Black Friday because it was 50% off only to find the store had ONE to sell.  ONE?  Please tell me how you put something on your ad and then you only have ONE to sell for the entire day?  Woosah!  On the bright side, it's still on sale today and tomorrow so we may end up stopping by tomorrow to pick one up.  It's just not quite the spectacular deal.

Finally, Thanksgiving is coming up in just two days and we're heading up to Iowa to spend part of the week with my family and then Sunday with Robin's back here in KC.  I am very thankful that we get the opportunity to see both my family and his during the holidays.  I do wish my sister was able to be with us and that Robin's mom, sister, and niece could come home too.  Juggling two families is not always very easy though our situation seems to be a little more so.  This year I am in charge of something (scary, I know!) which is making my Grandma's pies.  She is flying to Washington to be with her sister so it's my job to ensure we have our traditional desserts.  I'm actually excited because this is something I know I can handle.  I may not be much of a cook, but I sure can bake some stuff!  I'm also excited to see my Grandpa.  It sounds like he is doing very well recovering with both of his new knees.  He had a second railing installed on his stairway so he can now go up and down by himself.  The last time I talked to him he said he was getting a stationary bike to ride at home so that the knees wouldn't get stiff.  I am SO happy that the minor stroke didn't stop him a bit!

So to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving!  And just to annoy my husband, "Gobble, Gobble..."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Registering for babies... COMPLETELY overwhelming! 

Let's start with last week(end).  Friday I had a checkup with my midwife who went through the sonogram with us and did her usual checks on me.  She showed us with her tape measure how small the baby really is and I have to admit, those sonograms sure are misleading!  Baby Sol's femurs are no bigger than the tip of my pinky to the first nuckle!  Her head is barely as big around as a ping pong ball!  When I look at this growing belly I'm sporting, I think she must really be a big girl but then I realize that her mommy wasn't small to begin with and that she's just getting ready to go through her growth spurts.

Saturday we started at a consignment sale of baby and children's clothes.  Everything was a dollar!  We got 23 items for $23 and while I walked out feeling that was a great job, I then remembered this baby could go through most of that in just a few days!  How overwhelming!  After that, we went to Phil and Marsha's to take pictures of their family.  Kellen is 2 years old and Rowen was just born in September.  It was really fun spending the afternoon with them as we got to experience a little bit of life with two small kids.  First off, Kellen was my buddy most of the afternoon.  We sat and ate "pish" or his Goldfish crackers and "ships" or chips.  He shared too!  He is talking quite a bit now and it's really funny to hear how he is pronouncing his words.  It's also amazing to see the mood swings that a 2 year old goes through in a matter of minutes.  It's exhausting!  Second, I got to snuggle with Rowen a bit.  I don't know if it's normal or not but she was super calm and not very fussy as we sat and got to know eachother.  She even started to nod off at one point which was pretty reassuring that I might actually be able to help a baby get to sleep. 

Our first set of baby clothes, courtesy of a GREAT sale!
 We took quite a few pictures of the family clad (unfortunately) in Nebraska gear.  After that we went to a buffet and got some lunch, then headed to BabiesRUs where Marsha walked us through the store and gave us pointers on things we do and do not need.  We took some notes as we went through the store and though I felt a bit more prepared to register, I have to tell you that registering is not a fun experience!

Kellen, Phil, Marsha, and Rowen!  Thanks, Marsha, for registering tips!

Sunday we decided, "Sure, we're adults.  We can handle this registering thing!"  Within the first section (bottles, nipples, pasifiers, etc.) I was overwhelmed.  There are SO many kinds of bottles, levels of nipples, stuff that may work, and others that won't.  By the time we finished our loop through the store, I felt as though this poor baby is going to have nothing of use!  We went back this week and registered for a few different things, changed some things online, and second guessed everything but I'm hoping we're nearing the sit and wait game of showers.  Most of the time we go through the registry I think, "These things are going to help care for my child's life!  What if I mess it up!?"  Then I realize our parents and their parents and back farther did just fine with even less.  I just need to chill out!

19 Weeks!  Don't worry, I'm not as big as I look!
 I am just finishing up my 19th week and I'm really starting to notice differences in my body.  My belly button is still an "inny" but it looks different and I can still see my hip bones but there is a defining line where my belly is bulging forward.  My back is sometimes sore now and I notice more pain in my hips and ligaments.  My midwife says I'm doing great with my weight but I should admit I haven't been to the gym in a LONG time.  I'm hoping the holidays will be some motivation because I really don't want to go too crazy with weight gain during that time.  I don't look as huge as these pictures make me look (I SWEAR) but I was too lazy to take my sweatshirt off.  Give me a pass; Sunday nights are when I rest and the weather has gotten pretty cold lately!

And our baby's flavor is...

Here's a bit I wrote after we found out the sex of the baby.  I apologize for the long wait!  We took a video of the sonogram and had hoped to attach it here but it's too large so unfortunately, I can only describe what we saw!  I'll update some more in a bit!


I chuckled while typing that title because my friend, Moira, said she was excited to find out what "flavor" our baby would be.  It is quite possibly the best way to say "sex" or "gender" in a more mild tone.  Thanks Mo!  I can't wait til you find out your baby's flavor either, though you're forcing us to wait until April!

18 Weeks!!
 Anywho, I am now 18 weeks and sporting an obvious bump.  There's no hiding this baby now!  I've started to feel little movements here and there, mostly on my sides because the baby is padded by the placenta which for me is in the front.  Apparently everyone is different there.  The first time I felt it was probably the most pronounced.  The last couple have been little flutters or twitches.  Probably the funniest time was when I waited WAY too long to go pee.  Right after, the baby nudged me fairly hard and I think it was saying, "It's about time, Mom!  Thanks for the room down here!"

The last week was pretty uneventful.  We've been trying to keep as busy as we can since we knew today was the day we were to find out the baby's flavor!  Most of you probably saw it on FB by now, but just in case....

I (tried) to post a video of the sonogram above.  Robin was so proud, he took video on his iPhone during the whole thing!  The video is 20 minutes long so I can only imagine family will want to watch the whole thing but it's really interesting if you've never seen one before.  During the sonogram, the baby was laying with her butt and feet at my belly button and her head down towards my pelvis.  She was also facing my spine so it was really hard to get pictures of her face!  The sonographer definitely tried!  She pushes and prods and pokes at the baby to no avail.  I think this is going to be one stubborn little girl!  She even kicked at the pushing when we tried to get her to move!  Something else interesting is that she was laying on her belly and had one hand up to her mouth and was sucking on it.  The video shows that in the first few minutes.  Look close; you can see her little jaws going to town!  Looks like she'll be an eater, just like her parents!  She was also laying with her left arm/hand up over her head.  The really funny part is that Robin sleeps EXACTLY like that every night, though he does sleep on his back.  She's already picking up our traits!

The sonographer didn't see any abnormalities or defects and of course that was a big relief!  She showed us the bones in her legs and arms, hands and feet, spine, skull and brain, kidneys, bladder, and lips.  I have to say it was refreshing to see her as a human and not a blob!  The last sonogram just looked like a blob so there wasn't much there to see.  Also, the sonographer confirmed that our due date of April 3rd is within 3 days of when she'll be set for the world.  I still think she'll be late; she's stubborn just like me!

Family and friends have already begun to wonder what her name is and like I said, we're keeping that a secret.  We have started calling her by name at home when it's just the two of us and especially around Atlas so he becomes more familiar with it before she arrives.  As I told Robin, it's really REAL now.  The baby looks human, has a gender, a name, and is developing her own personality!  We plan to go to BabiesRUs with Marsha this weekend so she can give us pointers on what to register for, what's good, and what's bad.  Since she has two kids 2 and under, she has a good bit of experience to help us out! 

So that's our news and we're so thrilled to share it with all of you!  I am so thankful that so many of our friends also have or are having kids about the same time as us.  We'll have many playdates and won't have to miss out on time with friends this way!  I'm also thankful that our families have been so great and supportive!  Everyone seems excited which makes this a lot of fun.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fun Weekend!

This weekend was extremely good!  My Mom and her friend, Kathy, came up around noon on Friday.  Robin and I were both off for a half day so we could spend a little extra time with our company.  The first thing we did was have a checkup for the baby.  My midwife was delivering two babies Friday so I went to her "alternate" midwife.  Everything is looking good but there were a few surprises.  First is that the heart rate was 140 this time.  Last time it was 150.  If you believe the old wive's tales, you can tell whether you're having a boy or a girl based on the heart rate.  Even the midwife said she couldn't tell because we're right in between.  The second surprise is that the baby may be bigger yet!  He/She was big during our first sonogram so they moved my due date up a week.  Now the top of my uterus is level with my belly button whereas it should be just under it.  This isn't a concerning issue but it makes me wonder if they'll move my due date up again. 

Otherwise we're doing great!  I'm still on track with my weight and I'm paying more attention to my scale at home than at their office.  At home I can weigh in the morning and in the nude.  From my college days, I know that this is how you should weigh so I'll take that number over theirs.  That makes my weight gain up to 5.5 lbs.  Not too shabby!  The best news is we'll find out the gender of the baby on November 1st!  Just one week and all of you can share in our excitement!

That evening we ate at Rudy's, our favorite Mexican restaurant, and came home to sit on the porch.  Kathy, Mom, and Robin drank wine while I enjoyed a water (ha, ha).  The weather was actually really nice though we were told it was supposed to rain all weekend.  Boy were they wrong!  Saturday was beautiful!

We spent the day in Lawrence exploring the shops along Massachusetts Street.  Last week I saw an article that Mass Street is one of the "best" downtown streets in the US.  I would definitely say it is one of the most interesting because of the kinds of people you see (all kinds) and the types of shops (all types).  The shops are mostly locally owned businesses.  Very few are chains and most all of them have things you wouldn't find most anywhere else.  Between the four of us, we got a few Christmas presents, a few things for ourselves, and lots of people watching opportunities!  The weather was beautiful, as I mentioned before, and we got there before the gameday traffic.  We decided on Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch simply because it was right in front of where we parked.  Thankfully they had a Mass Street patio so we had the opportunity to sit outside, chat, and enjoy the beautiful fall day!  Here's a link to the Mass Street website:
Click on "About DLI" and you can find a directory of the stores lining Mass Street.  It doesn't do it justice but you'll see how unique this area really is!

After leaving Lawrence, we headed to the Legends, another shopping area in KC.  I specifically wanted to go there for the Motherhood Maternity outlet store.  I am still searching for work options, mostly shirts, but got only one off the clearance rack.  Along with those I got a longer pair of jeans that were on sale.  I'm set for bottoms now, other than pajamas that I can wear this winter as well as at the hospital.  I have a feeling that may be a Christmas wish-list item.  I did have to invest in two new bras.  I won't even mention how big they are now but I will say they are MUCH larger than I've ever had in my life.  I wish they would stop but I know they'll get bigger still.  Kathy gave them the nickname, Jugs, if that tells you anything!

Successful Chocolate Meringue Pie!

We got home more than 8 hours after leaving.  It was a FULL day and we were all exhausted.  We spent more time on our deck, drinks for the non-preggers and a lemonade spritzer for me.  Leah taught me about the spritzer and she was right.  It makes it feel like you're drinking an adult beverage when you aren't!  After relaxing for a bit, Mom and I began our task of attempting to make my Gradma Mac's from scratch chocolate meringue pie.  It is my all-time favorite family recipe and I want to make sure I can master it too.  The three of us ladies wore our pajamas and set to work!  I think the pajamas made all the difference; we were successful on the first try whereas last year I tried twice and never did get it right!  For supper, we ordered Chinese delivery and gorged ourselves silly but it was a fantastic end to the day.  We had zero room for the pie so it was saved for today.

This morning I woke up to a house that smelled wonderfully of coffee.  I LOVE waking up to that smell and it really reminds me of my time with my Mom.  Kathy was the only one downstairs when I got there; Robin had gone to get a paper and Mom was taking a shower.  We chatted a bit and she even served me a cup of coffee for my caffeine quota of the day.  Kathy made all of us a breakfast casserole that was fantastic!  She even made one without cheese for Robin.  She's just so nice!  We followed the casserole with a piece of pie each.  Hey, sometimes you just have to have dessert for breakfast!

17 Weeks (Post-Walk)
I feel huge and not very cute these days.
Mom and Kathy left around 1:00.  It's always tough to see Mom go and we enjoy having Kathy here anytime she comes down.  She is certainly welcome in our home anytime!  I spent the rest of the afternoon searching for shoes (if you ever find somewhere that sells 11's or 12's in cute styles, let me know) while Robin watched football.  We washed all kinds of laundry and to end our evening, we went for a nice walk with Atlas.  I would say all in all, this was a successful weekend!

We just took my 17 week picture (at left) and as you can see, I'm worn out from the weekend not to mention my belly is getting bigger by the day!  Right now I feel really big and unattractive but that varies from day to day.  Weekends, I just don't try unless we're going somewhere so I guess that partially explains why I look the way I do in these pictures.  I promise I'm not AS huge as the picture looks!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Two week update!

Sometimes you learn the strangest things about your family at the strangest times!  Last weekend I learned a couple of things about my family through observation and discussion.

1)  I have always worried that if something happened to my Grandma, my Grandpa would be completely lost.  How would he take care of himself?  What would he eat everyday?  Would he stay at home all by himself?  My Grandparents have the old-school marriage where the wife cooks and cleans and the husband does the usual husband chores like take out the garbage, wash the cars, etc.  At times that has completely annoyed me but I do understand.  They were raised that way.  Well when you take all of this into account, I really worried about what my Grandpa would do without my Grandma. 

What I didn't understand is that my Grandma would be just as lost without my Grandpa.  Watching her in the hospital was really interesting.  She hovers over him as though he's going to break.  She knows every detail of his treatment and if he wants to adjust himself even a little bit while in the bed, she helps.  She jumps up anytime he needs a little help.  What would she do without Grandpa to talk to or to help?  My Grandma is a helper and that's why she'd be lost without him.  Thankfully Grandpa is recovering really well!  We are all hoping he'll be back home and nearly back to normal in terms of walking before Thanksgiving.

2)  My entire life I've been told, and believed, that I'm German on my Dad's side.  The back story on this is that my Grandma hosted a reunion for a certain side of our family.  She was the only one who attended but it turns out a few older family members were there, and one had been tracking our family a long way back.  It turns out 4 of our family members fled France through Germany and came to America.  Everyone thought we were German because they came from Germany but we're actually French.  Amazing!  I guess my name is even more fitting...since it's French too.  That will be an interesting story for the baby.

Between last week and this week, my clothes have decided they just do not want to fit.  I retired some of my shirts and all of my jeans.  The jeans were fine when I stood up but when I sat down, they sort of hurt around my belly.  Mom and I went to Khol's, Target, and Motherhood Maternity when I was home.  I did get a few things, jeans included, and found a few great deals.  I'm going to have to buy more things in the next month or so...or this belly's gonna be cold!  Yesterday I pulled out all of my summer things and left only those that might still fit for a while in order to layer or for these days that are summer warm once again.  Currently, my closet is BARE.  That's even more overwhelming.

Sunday of last week, Daddy (Robin) decided baby's crib should be put together.  He did a great job all by himself!  It was up and ready when I got home on Monday night.  Too bad nothing else in the room is ready!  We can't even pick paint yet!  We did attempt to get the dresser put together but realized it was a bad sign when the drawers wouldn't even go together.  One piece was too long.  We skipped that and continued on, only to find other pieces were the wrong sizes.  Thankfully this baby is not due to arrive until April!  We called the manufacturer and they're sending new parts which will arrive later this month or early next.

Grandma Jeri got baby his or her first outfit last weekend!  It's a sleeper that's a little larger so that he or she can wear it after a few months.  Our reasoning here is that if I'm cold in air conditioning, the baby will be too!  The sleeper is adorable!  You can't tell in the picture but there are barnyard animals and small barns printed on it.  The animal on the shoulder is a steer.  We think this will be adorable when the time comes for the baby to sleep tight!  First piece of baby clothing, CHECK!  Lot's more to come...definitely!

15 Weeks!  Obvious bump!
Last but not least, my body has been changing pretty significantly lately.  I'm now 15 weeks and it's usually very obvious that I'm pregnant.  Sometimes I still feel "fat" because I'm in between with clothes.  Maternity is too big, normal is too small.  I try not to think about it too much because I don't want to stress about being "fat."  I've started to have some ligament pain in my abdomen and hips.  Earlier this week, I thought the baby was standing on my left hip flexor it hurt so bad.  I also have horrible acne on my face and upper back.  Most mom's tell me that went away for them so I'm hoping they're right.  NOTHING seems to help!  On a good note, I haven't been sick in 3 weeks now!  I have had bouts of slight nausea but nothing at all like I did the first trimester.  It is so nice to have an appetite again!  The only interesting craving I've had is continual cravings for Mexican food.  Specifically, our favorite place in Kansas City, Rudy's.  Apparently this baby wants salty, not sweet!

A week from Friday I'll go back for a checkup and two weeks later we'll find out if this is a boy or a girl!  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stressful Week!

As the title implies, we had a pretty stressful week!  None of it was related to the baby but I did have some baby adventures mixed in there.  Some of you are patiently awaiting news related to this weekend so let's dive right into the back story.

My Grandpa has had knee pain for quite a while now and we started to notice he was quitting some of his favorite activities.  The first to go was hunting.  Walking in the timber and through the fields got to be too much for him so he quit going.  Then he stopped walking around town quite as much, or at least not as far.  Lately Dad has noticed it's a lot harder for him to get in and out of the boat when they go fishing.  I think there have been other indications that something's not right too.  Dad mentioned all of this to Doug who is my Dad's cousin and also my Grandpa's doctor.  Doug took a look at Grandpa's knees and after a few tests, they found that he didn't have any cartilege in there and that he was walking on bone to bone contact.  No wonder those knees were hurting!

 After some talking, Grandpa decided to have both of his knees replaced.  One of his friends had had one and he got along great.  He had his first knee replaced about two weeks ago and 5 days later, they replaced the second one.  Now, you have to understand that in the first place, Grandpa is 78 years old and to me, this seems like a lot of surgery.  But the doctors say that's the procedure so we trusted them.  All went well with both knees, he was getting along great, and they sent him home to start therapy.  He did fall once but he landed on his butt and was fine afterwards.  However, during PT this week, he couldn't stand on his right leg at all and it was very painful.  Not a good sign.  They discovered that during PT, his quadriceps muscle (the one that makes up the front part of your upper leg/thigh) was torn.  The only way to repair it?  You guessed it.  Surgery #3.

He had the third surgery on Thursday and got along fine.  On Friday, things did not go so well.  Grandma arrived at the hospital Friday morning to discover that he'd had a small stroke.  His left arm was very weak, his left lip was pulling down at the cheek, he was slurring his speech slightly, and he was a little confused.  Thankfully, he was in the hospital and with a nurse when this happened.  They recognized it immediately, gave him the drugs to stave off a larger stroke, and it appears they stopped it in record time.  I got a call Friday night about all of this and immediately decided I needed to go home.  Robin wasn't home all weekend because he was in Maryville with friends.  I think that made the situation a lot more stressful for me but I did my best to stay calm for the baby's sake.  Hopefully I did a good job.

The first time I saw Grandpa in the hospital on Saturday, he was really happy to see me which made me feel really good about making that trip.  I noticed a slight tug at his left cheek but it was barely visible and he was just barely slurring some of his words.  We stuck around for about 3 or 4 hours.  In that time, he had two or three other visitors.  Two were friends from home and fishing trips and one was his sister, my Aunt Iney.  She's a spitfire and if you need entertaining, she's the person you want around!  At least he's not sitting around bored all the time!  We visited again on Sunday for a few hours and I got to spend more time with him.  By then the slurring was gone, he was fully coherent, and no other signs were present that he'd had a stroke at all.  It really is a miracle he was in that hospital!

This morning he was supposed to be moved to skilled care for PT but unfortunately they found an infection in his knee.  Until that is taken care of he can't be moved.  I know he's disappointed.  Grandma told my Mom he was really happy to be moving to another area of the hospital.  But, it sounds like they caught things early once again and I just hope that all turns out well and he can be moved soon.  He's doing okay and is out of the 48 hour window when they say a stroke can get worse.  He seems in pretty good spirits and as though he likes his nurses.  Grandma only leaves his side in the evenings to go home to sleep and take care of a few errands.  It's really amazing to see them together.  It is really apparent they couldn't get along very well without eachother.  They make a good team!

Tomorrow or the next day I'll post about the baby stuff I did over the weekend as well.  Not a huge amount to report as I was mostly focused on Grandpa but my 14 week picture will be there along with a few other notes.  Hug your families tonight!  I certainly wish I was closer so I could hug mine more often!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

There Really IS a Baby In There!

Crib and Dresser on right.
Robin and I bought the baby's crib on Monday and it and the dresser went on sale this weekend.  My husband is a big negotiator so he got the items price matched (they "don't do that") plus we used 20% off coupons on both.  We saved almost 50%!  Rather than go with a changing table, we decided to go with a dresser and changing pad on top.  Most of our friends said that a changing table is great for babies and small toddlers but after that, they're too long.  Plus, we like the idea of a piece of furniture that will grow a bit with the baby.  Here's a picture of our set.

I had a monthly checkup on Friday.  One thing I haven't told you yet is that we didn't go with an OB/GYN.  When I took the first positive test at home, I called my doctor and found out she doesn't do prenatal care.  I've never been to an OB/GYN; I've always had a family practitioner.  I hate to say this but I was actually glad.  In the time I've been in Kansas City, I've been going to the same office but they've changed my doctor 3 times.  I loved the doctor I had previously but she left when she had a baby and wanted to be closer to her family.  The current doctor is very new and she's a big reason why it took 3 months to get a diagnosis for my colon issues.  So when the receptionist told me she didn't do prenatal care, I was a bit relieved.  I asked for her suggestions and she said the health system I was already in had a Nurse Practitioner who was also a midwife.  The word "midwife" was a little scary but the receptionist said I could go to her to have everyting confirmed and decide from there if I wanted to stick with her or she would help me find an OB/GYN.   

Jeanie is amazing!  We both really like her and she spends a lot of time with us when we have appointments.  The main difference between an OB/GYN and a Nurse Practitioner-Midwife is that she will spend a lot more time with us in the hospital than a true doctor would.  She will go through coaching with us and she won't have to run to and from other delivering moms.  She has delivered more than 5,000 babies and has been in on over 2,000 C-sections.  She has an OB/GYN backing her up everyday in case anything goes wrong and though she can't do a C-section herself, she will be there if we need one.  One question we had was if we would be delivering at home or a hospital.  Thankfully we are delivering at a hospital and it's only 5 minutes from our house.  Another question I had was if I could have an epidural if I wanted it and I can.  Honestly, I don't do pain well and I just want to have the option available if I want. 

I saw Jeanie yesterday and the first thing she did was pull out the doppler and let me hear the baby's heartbeat.  I can't explain how cool that sound is unless you've experienced it yourself.  The baby was very active and kept "running away" from the doppler.  I just had to laugh.  I love knowing I have an active little one in there (get back to me on that when he/she is kicking me in the ribs).  I still can't feel the baby but Jeanie said that it'll take me longer because the placenta is attached to the front of my uterus, meaning the baby is facing my spine for now.

One concern we've been having is the level of nausea and vomitting I've had.  I started taking Zofran more regularly thanks to a suggestion from Stacy back home.  It's a lifesaver!  I haven't been sick since Monday.  I've still had some problems gaining weight but I did gain another 2 lbs meaning I've gained 3 lbs. since my first appointment.  I'm happy that it's coming on slow but I just want to make sure I do gain enough for the baby.  Still, even with only a slight gain, I can't button a lot of my pants anymore and my bowels have moved pretty far up according to Jeanie's exam.  She thinks by the next appointment, I'll be showing!  The only bad news we got was that our next appointment is not when we will find out the gender.  It's 6 weeks from now when we'll be able to tell and that's too long between appointments so Jeanie is having me see her in 4 weeks then go back 2 weeks later to find out the gender with a sonogram.  Now it looks like it'll be about the first week of November when we find out.  It'll be a good early Thanksgiving present!

I'll leave you with my 13 week picture.  Not much has changed since my week 11 picture!  Atlas definitely knows something is up.  He loves to cuddle on my lap so I've started to put a pillow there so he can't hurt the baby.  Atlas is 70 lbs, much too large for a lap dog, but he doesn't know that!  These days he's fairly gentle with me and has started cuddling next to me rather than on me.  Sometimes when I'm sitting at the kitchen table, he lightly snuggles his nose into my belly and lays his head with his ear against me and just stares up.  I truly think dogs know when something is different and I wouldn't doubt it if he's trying to bond with the baby.  Robin and I both agree he will likely start sleeping in the baby's room or in the hallway between our rooms.  Here's a pic of him, just so we all remember who was the first baby in the house, and to celebrate his 3rd birthday which is Wednesday, September 29th!
Happy Birthday, Atlas!  Pretty smile!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My First Maternity Adventure

This morning was a really great morning.  I woke up and laid in bed for a while until a little wet nose decided it was time for me to get out of bed.  (That would be our dog, Atlas, if you haven't heard about him yet.)  It's hard to believe in a couple of years it'll be little fingers and giggles getting us up on a Sunday morning!  Robin made muffins and I used up my caffeine first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee.  It tasted SO good!

I decided to take advantage of feeling better, made a small "things we need list", and headed to Target while Robin was at the driving range with friends.  Before I describe my first maternity adventure, let me note that I should never be left alone in a Target.  I worked at Target for 2 years when I was in college and I think I wasted at least 2/3rds of every paycheck there as soon as my shift was done.  I never leave the store without spending at least twice what I originally intended.

A couple ways to wear the Bella Band.
 Back to my trip.  I grabbed the usual household items we needed and headed to the maternity section, "just to check it out."  The first thing I saw was the Bella Band.  Though I haven't gained much if any weight (I'll find out for sure on Friday, September 24th), some of my pants are a little snug.  I'm at that stage where all I feel is fat, not pregnant.  My main problem is my jeans fit fine but as soon as I eat even the smallest meal, my belly gets big and my pants get way too tight.  That's where the Bella Band comes in.  I don't have to button my pants, this baby just keeps them up for me.  I'm wearing it as I type this and so far it's working great.  The only strange thing for me is that it sits above my belly button unless I fold it over and right now that's not a sensation I'm used to feeling.  All in all, great investment.  I paid $16.99.

Next I stopped by the clothes racks.  First I found the longer maternity tanks.  After talking to Marsha the other night, I decided I'd probably need a couple of these.  She was kind enough to give me a lot of her maternity clothes that she no longer needed and there was a black tank in one of the bags.  Of course, I had to have another color.  I grabbed a white one and I'm wearing it right now too.  I love how long it is and there's room for more belly growth.  I paid $10 and though I'm sure I could find a cheaper one somewhere else, I was AT Target.  Why wait!?
Similar dress, mine's black.
Then came the danger zone, the clearance rack.  I'm not lying when I say I saw at least 6 things I would have bought on the spot but then I realized it's still way too early to be buying too many clothes.  I did find a basic, black dress that I think I can wear year round and in a lot of different ways.  The one pictured here is pretty similar in a different color.  I'm thinking I can wear a cardigan over it in the warmer fall months and in winter I could wear a sweater and leggings with it.  The best part is it can go dressy or casual.  (Do you see how I can justify ANY purchase??)  My favorite part is the price.  I paid $9.98 for the dress!

Finally, I got myself out of the clothing section and headed to my last stop on the maternity adventure, the lotions.  I was "lucky" enough to inherit the familial wide hips so I have had some stretchies there for years.  They don't really bother me, it's rare I notice them at all, but I really don't want anymore if I can avoid it.  I picked a lotion with vitamin E and a few other skin savers and called it good.  The 8 oz. bottle was $4.50 and thankfully, it doesn't smell like I just bathed in cocoa.  Let's hope the old stretchies will not invite new friends over the next couple of months!

There you have it!  This trip probably sounds fairly inexpensive...except that I then had to buy some food and snacks.  We almost never buy groceries at Target and now I remember why.  They just aren't that economical.  Even though I overspent, I think my first maternity outting was a success!  I didn't spend as much on those items as I thought I would and I got some great basics.

12 Weeks, 9/19/10

Finally, I leave you with my 12 week belly pic and Robin's first purchase for the baby.  I feel this has been the longest 12 weeks of my life and I'm really hoping the 2nd trimester will be much easier and more fun.  I have this month's check up on Friday and I think the October check up is when we'll find out if we're having a boy or a girl.  Obviously we're taking these pictures on weekends because I look slightly tired (ha, ha).  I promise I'll take some better ones when I get my energy back!


The booties will go nicely with the Bearcat onesie we plan to buy for the baby to come home from the hospital.  This kid has no chance; he or she will be a Bearcat even if he/she decides to go to another school!  Have a great week!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The good, the bad, the just plain ugly!

I'm one of those lucky new moms struggling with extreme nausea.  Before this point in my life, I hadn't vomitted much at all other than when I had a good case of the flu in the 4th grade and one horrible experience with Sprite and peach vodka (shudder) in college.  Today I thought I'd list out the things I'm craving (the good), the things I really don't want at all (the bad), and the things I cannot stand to even think about (the ugly).

The Cravings (Good)!
At this point I don't have many cravings, probably because I'm still dealing with the nausea.  One thing that I seem to want constantly is fruit. My favorites are bananas, strawberries, and grapes of all colors.  We go to the grocery store about twice a week just to ensure I have enough fruit to take to work and snack on over the weekends.  They're my go-to snack!

I also have a huge hankering for Biker Jim's Buffalo "Hot Dog."  Check out the website, specifically click on the menu, here:  Biker Jim was on Anthony Bourdain not too long ago and his food is freaking amazing!  The problem is, he's in Denver and I'm in Kansas City.  Let me explain to you the awesomeness that is Biker Jim's.  First, this is a hot dog stand.  He is opening a restaurant now too but there's nothing like a good hot dog stand.  Second, he starts with a fresh dog.  You choose what it is, they're all unique.  I had the Buffalo dog and I think Chad and Lindsey had the Venison or Reindeer dog.  Robin chose the good old Koshur hot dog.  Biker Jim (or his staff) cook it up right there in front of you on a cast iron skillet.  He also cooks up some sauteed onions but they aren't your everyday onions.  These are sauteed in Coke.  Delicious!  He opens up a fresh baked bun from a local bakery, sticks in your piping hot dog, and then comes the magic.  He squirts a line of cream cheese on top.  Amazing!  Then he puts on a good helping of onions and you choose your condiments.  Price?  Hot dog, chips, and a drink for around $6 or $7.  My stomach is now growling!

The only other craving I had was triggered by a commercial and thankfully my husband was at WalMart. I really had to have a Snicker's Ice Cream Bar.  My grandparent's have always had them in their freezer and I LOVE them!  Yum, yum!

The Aversions (Bad)!
I have no tolerance for meat right now.  It doesn't matter what kind of meat it is, I can't really stand to eat it.  I do try so that I get some protein going but it's really hard these days.  The worst is red meat, specifically roasts or hamburger.  Strangely enough, I really don't crave ice cream either.  The Snicker's bars were the exception.  I love ice cream.  It is one of my biggest challenges because I am my father's daughter in this department.  Middle of the winter and 20 below, I'm eating ice cream!  This is a big change for me.  I've only bought ice cream once since we found out we were expecting. 

Foods that have a really smooth texture don't work so well for me either.  It's not that I can't eat them but they aren't very appetizing either.  Examples would be yogurt and pudding.  Both are bummers because both are typically in my fridge and in my lunch box!  I think the texture just makes me go "BLAH!"

Other than these, no food really sounds good.  I describe myself as extremely food averted.  I eat because I know I have to, not because I really want to eat what I'm eating (other than the good category).  The saddest aversion I have is for most if not all veggies.  I can eat salad to a point but things like broccoli, carrots, etc. sound really disgusting.

The Puke List (Ugly)!
I am a food fanatic, fueled by my brother and sister-in-law who have introduced us to all kinds of amazing types of foods and restaurants in KC.  So for me to say that I cannot STAND the thought of Vietnamese food makes me a little sad.  A few weeks ago I had some...and it then took revenge!  That was the worst night I've had so far and I will not repeat it for many, many months. 

Cheeze-Its.  I made the mistake of feeling sort of yucky and thinking "crackers will help" so I ate some of these babies.  Needless to say, I relinquished the contents of the box to my husband immediately.  He took them to I don't have to see them.

Hot dogs.  Just shoot me if I have to eat another hot dog.  I'm not talking Biker Jim's amazingness.  I'm talking the kind we all had in our freezer for the summer, thrown on the grill, and eaten up American style.  Disgusting.  My gag reflex is kicking in....

Other than foods, I've also noticed a few smells.  #1 on this list is the foamy soap here at the hospital.  I used to love this smell.  Semi-antiseptic and clean, it made me feel I was killing any critters on my hands but now the smell makes me want to vomit immediately.  At least it's in a good location...the bathroom.  #2 is this reed diffuser my coworker has in her office.  Gag me now!  I'd probably like it any other time but now it just makes me think of really bad things.  #3 is flowery lotion.  Some lady put lotion on her hands when we were on the shuttle to work the other day...and I had to fight the urge to slap her.  What was she thinking???

There you have it.  The good, the bad, and the just plain ugly!  I'm sure each category will expand in the near future but it's interesting to document step by step what's fantastic and horrible about being pregnant.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Introducing Baby Sol!

If you're reading this post, no doubt you've already heard our good news.  Baby Sol is on the way!  Since both Robin and I have family and friends in far flung areas, I thought it would be fun to keep a blog of our experiences leading up to Baby Sol's arrival and what happens when we become first time parents.

I think I'll start by answering some common questions that we've been getting.  Here we go:

9/13/10 - 11 Weeks
When did you find out?  I took the first test August 2nd while Robin was at work.  I took a half day and met him at home with a bib that said "I (heart) Daddy."  We had everything confirmed at the doctor later that week.  We are ecstatic!  A couple of weeks ago we finally got to hear Baby Sol's heartbeat which was by far the coolest thing I've heard in a long time and I mimic that sound a lot.  The baby still looked like a little blob but the sonographer said he or she has a big head.  I really just wanted her to turn around and take a look at my husband.  Perhaps that would explain why the baby has a big head!  Haha!

When is the baby due?  Our first due date was April 10th but I was moved up to April 3rd because the baby is measuring larger.  I'm anticipating a late baby but I comfort myself and stick with the April 3rd due date.

When will you find out the gender?  We do want to know the gender and will find out around Halloween.

What names are you thinking?  Robin and I have had our names picked for over a year now.  Even when we weren't attempting to have kids, we were naming them!  Unfortunately for you, we aren't sharing our names with anyone though a few people have heard them because we knew they wouldn't share.  We don't want any influence on what we like or dislike so for now, we refer to the baby as Pablo.  Yes, Pablo.  If it's a girl, we'll call it Pabla, according to Robin.  He's truly nuts.

We told my parents with a scavenger hunt!
When did you start telling everyone?  I told my bosses at the beginning of week 8 because I've been so sick.  They very excited and I feel so blessed to have this job.  Last weekend we told our families the good news.  Everyone had a different reaction but they were all positive and some were even comical.  My mom screamed and hugged us both while my dad looked flabbergasted.  My Grandpa was really funny.  He said congratulations then followed up with, "Whatever you do, if it's a boy don't name it after me.  I hate my name.  And don't name it after my sister, Ines, either.  She hates her name too."  Robin's dad cried when he finally realized Robin was telling him we were expecting and his family cheered.  We told our friends this weekend at a bbq.  Most of them said they noticed I hadn't been drinking but they weren't all that surprised I didn't have a drink in front of me; I haven't been drinking much this year anyway.  Overall, the reactions have been really great!

How is your stomach issue now that you're pregnant?  The funny thing is my colitis is basically gone.  I haven't had an issue whatsoever since about the 6th week.  I am allowed to take my meds but I've been VERY sick with my pregnancy so I haven't bothered to try.  Instead, I have my face in a toilet frequently enough that I'm on some anti-nausea meds.  They mostly work but other days they just don't.  I never know how I'll feel which is really odd and annoying and instead of having "morning" sickness, mine is literally 24 hours a day.  I even wake up in the middle of the night.  My pregnancy has been nothing like both of my mom's though she craved fruit and that's something I eat constantly now.  Everyone reminds me that this will be worth it but right now, all I can think of is what tomorrow will bring. 

Was this planned?  This isn't a super common question but most people are pretty surprised that we're pregnant to begin with so I think it crosses their minds.  The truth is yes, we've been working on this since earlier this year.  We just didn't tell many people because we didn't want the pressure.

So I guess these are the most common questions I've gotten so far.  Robin has been really great and that's why I keep saying over and over on FB that he's the best.  He knows when I don't feel good that there's nothing much I can do but lay around and pray it passes.  He cleans, he cooks, he runs out to get something I need or want, and he carries the really heavy stuff.  He even lets me have hormonal moments where I bawl or scream with very little reaction.  I am so happy to have this man in my life and I really can't wait to see him as a Daddy.  He's gonna be really great!