14 and counting…

Week 14 (August 9 – 16 )

Esitmated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Still feeling pretty great, if occasionally a bit tired. Not a whole lot has changed here.

Body Changes: I’m gonna say the bump has officially made it’s appearance, though, for the most part, I just look extra chubby around the belly (but I’m tired of saying it’s all the fat’s fault and give the baby some credit).

Cravings: Sour, salty, carbs.

High Point: Hearing that beautiful galloping sound of our little baby’s heart beat when I visited the midwives. It’s very reassuring at this point, where the little flutters you feel *might* be baby…or not. And they aren’t all that consistent to begin with. I couldn’t help but breathe a huge sigh of relief when my midwife pulled out that doppler and quickly found the baby’s heart beat.

Low Point: School is just around the corner and it’s hard to imagine going back to work with all this stuff going on inside of me. Part of me is really happy I’ll be busy doing something that I enjoy, but another part of my likes the ease and comfort of being home and I’ll hate to lose that.

What I did to prepare this week: Honestly, not a whole lot…but I’ll have something to report for week 15!

Paranoid Moment: I’ve been feeling surprisingly calm, cool, and collected this week. 🙂

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at Baby Center say: This week’s big developments: Your baby can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck his thumb! Thanks to brain impulses, his facial muscles are getting a workout as his tiny features form one expression after another. His kidneys are producing urine, which he releases into the amniotic fluid around him — a process he’ll keep up until birth. He can grasp, too, and if you’re having an ultrasound now, you may even catch him sucking his thumb.

In other news: Your baby’s stretching out. From head to bottom, he measures 3 1/2 inches — about the size of a lemon — and he weighs 1 1/2 ounces. His body’s growing faster than his head, which now sits upon a more distinct neck. By the end of this week, his arms will have grown to a length that’s in proportion to the rest of his body. (His legs still have some lengthening to do.) He’s starting to develop an ultra-fine, downy covering of hair, called lanugo, all over his body. Your baby’s liver starts making bile this week — a sign that it’s doing its job right — and his spleen starts helping in the production of red blood cells. Though you can’t feel his tiny punches and kicks yet, your little pugilist’s hands and feet (which now measure about 1/2 inch long) are more flexible and active.”

 

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Baby Wants, The Official List

Babies, in theory, don’t require a lot of “stuff”, I feel. They need a place to sleep, food, some kind sort of place or article of clothing for pottying, and light entertainment. And, if you plan to co-sleep (which we are and have been doing) and breastfeed (I’d like to), then that doesn’t leave much of anything to buy besides diapers and a couple of colorful toys (if that). Yet, when you have a baby, you end up with a lot of stuff, either because people want to give you a particular item (registered for or not) or because you can’t resist the total cuteness or supposed functionality or ingeniousness of an item.

We have a TON of “leftovers” from E. People were really generous with us (in part, because I was a poor college student and DH was working his butt off at three part time jobs waiting for something to open full-time, and also in part because we have awesome, loving friends, family members, and co-workers). By the time it was all said and done we had three swings, two bouncy chairs, three pack ‘n’ plays, a crib, more toys than any small child, never mind an infant, could play with, and enough clothes (ranging from brand spanking new to “my kid stopped fitting into this yesterday”) that we didn’t have to buy E. anything until she was two and not repeat an outfit once. For realz.

So because of folks generosity and their foresight in purchasing, either for us or for themselves at some point, gender neutral items (except for the clothes and the small army of pink bunnies we have in our possession), I don’t think there are a lot of big ticket items we’ll be needing to buy for this little friend.

I say, not a lot, because there are a few items I feel we will *need*. Originally, the list was a lot longer, but I’ve since paired it down to my perceived essentials. And I’ve broken these essentials into a couple of categories: Absolute must haves or I will cry and I should really have these but the world will not come crashing down if it can’t happen…I will just have the sadz.

So, from category one:

* Breast Pump If I’m going to go back to work at some point and plan to breastfeed or provide breast milk then I need a pump. This is the one I’d like.

* A Moby Wrap This. I want this. I had a wrap that I’ve failed to find (if I come across it, I’ll nix this buy, but I really, really like the Moby wrap (and baby wearing in general – it was so perfect with E.).

* Car Seat Don’t have one, need one, will be getting one from a family friend. Yay!

And from category two:

* Arms Reach Co-Sleeper We co-slept with E. for just over a year and it was perfect for us (far less perfect when she, at three, decided she needed to be back in our bed, which we foolishly didn’t fight at first, and now this is the first week in well over a year where I am actually going to bed sans small heater curled up using my pillow). Anyway, long story short, I feel like a co-sleeper is sort of what we need. We have our space in bed, but the baby is right there. Perfect.

* Cloth Diapers I really, really want to cloth diaper. Like, hardcore. I think it’s economical, ecologically friendly, and just plain cute. However, the initial financial investment is pretty darn expensive (like $300…ick). If we can find a way to accumulate cloth diapers without driving ourselves into poverty at the same time, it’s totally on.

Julia and Henrietta

Today is Julia Child’s 100th birthday. I’ll be completely honest, I don’t know too much about her personally, at least not enough to recount it off the top of my head (and I’m too lazy to do a lot of Wikipedia research), but I’ve always liked her. I don’t know if it was her unique, enthusiastic voice, the crazy delicious food she cooked along with her guests, or the weird sense of familiarity I get every time I see her face, but I just like her.

I think a lot of it stems from my grandma. I mean, I don’t think she and Julia Child had an awful lot in common (other than both being uncommonly tall women – did you know Julia was 6′ 2″? – who played basketball in school). I mean, no offense to my grandmother, but she wasn’t exactly known as the best cook. I mean, passable (and I loved her Russian tea cakes), but certainly not a gourmet. But, as I mentioned in my Facebook status earlier today, some of my earliest television memories are of Julia Child as I sat on the brown shag carpet in my grandma’s living room, leaning up against my grandma’s shins as she moved between engagement and quiet dozing in the early afternoon. I think that’s why, whenever I think of or see Julia Child, this wonderful, warm and familiar feeling passes over me, and since my grandma passed, a little pang in my chest.

I spent a lot of time with my grandma growing up (my grandpa, too). They lived just up the road from us for a lot of my childhood and frequently babysat me. Grandma had a really strong personality, and as I got older, I could feel pretty disenchanted by her, her opinions, and her criticism. But that doesn’t discount what she contributed to me as a person and how much I loved her (a lot). And years after our little spats, a lot of it seems kind of funny (“Why didn’t you use condoms?” was a frequently asked question when I turned up pregnant with E. at 19. I had a pretty great answer that I won’t share here – save the hubs the embarrassment – that she accepted, if a bit sheepishly). In reality, she afforded me something she didn’t really give anyone else: Listening. I knew that if she had a problem, if I could calmly and rationally explain my feelings and reasoning to her, I wouldn’t hear about it again. There were few other adults in my family that I felt I could deal with in that manner.

But any negatives aside, she was a very positive force in my life. She was a smart woman. A reader. Attentive. She cared immensely about school and education and pushed me very hard to do well and was thrilled to acknowledge my hard work and achievements. It’s something her own family pushed, something she and my grandfather ingrained on their children (my dad and aunt). Being smart and well-educated is important, and I had darn well better know it and do it.

Even when she losing a very hard fought battle with cancer she wanted to know how college was going for me. During my last visit with her before she passed, I showed her my Practicum portfolio. I had brought it with me not realizing quite how bad off Grandma would be when we showed up. She could barely speak, spent most of her day in an armchair in the living room, and barely ate. She sat and watched E. play and the TV. For whatever reason, my portfolio was out in the living room and she spotted it out of the corner of her eye. With barely a whisper she asked to see my portfolio.

Now, the thing you need to know about Practicum portfolios is that they’re huge. Months of work, your own and students, along with a full unit’s worth of lesson plans, products, and explanations are compiled into one massive binder. It’s intense and not really something fun to browse unless you’re really into that kind of stuff.

She looked at every freaking page. She listened to my explanations, nodding her head, smiling, patting my hand here and there. I felt so happy that I could show this to her, to show her how hard I’ve been working, and it felt good to know, though by the time we were done she didn’t even have the energy to say it, that she was proud of me. I am immensely relieved and happy that this is part of my last visit with my grandmother, because it pretty much sums up our relationship. She and I both take education seriously. I love school, she loved that I love school – it is a huge part of who I am largely because of the emphasis she put on it.

When I think of my grandma, I feel a mix of happy and sad, as I think most people do when someone they love a great deal has died. I am happy to have had her in my life, to have known her, to have heard her stories, and gained some small part of her into my psyche as well as my DNA. But I am often, especially of late, struck with an overwhelming sadness that she is not still here. I feel a bit robbed, because we all expected her to basically go on forever, she was just that kind of person.

She missed my college graduation, E. starting preschool (and just being so damn smart, my 40 lbs. weight-loss (she was a bit of a health nut), and the purchase of our first house. And she’s missing this pregnancy, the making of her second great-grandkid. I think this time she would have worried less about the use of condoms 🙂

When I hear about Julia Child, when I read about her, the celebration of her life, I cannot help but think of my grandma. I know I said before that I could not think of what exactly the two have in common, but perhaps they have more in common than I had originally thought. There is something about the women of that generation that led to great personal strength and a wonderful about of intelligence and ingenuity. Julia pioneered the concept of the television chef, making delicious delicacies accessible to every housewife in America. My grandmother had her own pioneering to do, encouraging herself and her second generation American children to be better, even the best, among their waspy peers. At her job (an elementary school gym teacher), she pioneered the jump rope program (which I participated in as a young kid at the same elementary school), encouraging boys who thought it was a silly, all-girl activity, by showing them films of the provocative and controversial boxer, Muhammed Ali jumping rope as a part of his training.

In her own small way, she made her own changes to the world around her.

Lucky Thirteen

Week 13 (August 1-8)

Esitmated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: I’m feeling 100% better, which is great, but means my appetite is back in full force, so I have to be very careful about not overeating and gaining weight too quickly. Other than some twinges in my belly (baby movement maybe?) and sore breasts I almost feel not pregnant.

Body Changes: My mom insists I’m beginning to show, but I’m reluctant to say the extra chub on my belly is a result of a baby. That said, I’ve not really gained any weight and my belly is sticking out more, so…maybe a baby bump?

Cravings: Bread and cheese. Greek olives. Chicken and tuna salad with lots and lots of veggies. Vinegar (well, vinegar on and in things). Sour, salty, carbs. Aren’t those supposed to be signs of a boy?

High Point: There’s definitely something going on in my tummy! I am, on occasion, getting a little fluttering feeling just below my belly button. I know some of these flutters are definitely muscle spasms, so my belly is stretching out, getting ready to accommodate this new passenger, but there have been other twinges that feel pretty distinct from the muscle spasms, so I think I’m getting some movement.

Low Point: As you may recall, we had a camping trip to Vermont. Camping trip itself: awesome. Driving to Vermont? Sucky. It was a bad combination of a pregnant lady, and 4 year old who hates car trips, and another lady who gets stressed out driving places she isn’t familiar with or when she’s following her husband somewhere…or both (I’m talking about my mom). I don’t think there was any amount of preparation I could have done to make that car trip go better. I think it was sort of destined for disaster. But we got to Vermont and we got home, and in the end, we can all say we had a good time.

What I did to prepare this week: We believe we’ve secured a car seat! E.’s old car seat is just that, old. After five years it’s recommended that you trash the car seat you’ve got, and E.’s car seat will be exactly five years old when the baby is born. Friends of ours had a baby back in January, so by the time this kiddo arrives their car seat will only be a year old. They’ve offered it to us with three bases for a mere $60 (versus the $100 I was going to spend, and that would be with only one base). I’m pretty excited!

Paranoid Moment: The hubs purchased a home doppler from a friend at work a while ago. Occasionally we pull it out to try to find a heartbeat, but we haven’t had much luck. While it’s still early, I’m on the chubby side, and it’s a cheapo doppler, it’s a bit disheartening to not be able to find the heartbeat!! (Spoiler alert: This week, I heard the heartbeat at my midwives’ office – sounded great!)

What’s going on “in there”: I just realized that I accidentally posted week 13 details last week, so if you’re curious as to what’s happening in week 13, consult my last post!!

Going (to the) Green…Mountains

Way, way, way back in March I talked about our camping trip out to Vermont that I was so super excited about. Well, we’re into a mere days long countdown (versus the 20.5 weeks I mentioned in another post last March) until we leave for Vermont. Over the last month or so the trip has had to be made over a bit. For one, we decided to invite my parents along. My parents haven’t gone camping or to Vermont in years, so we thought it might be fun to have them tag along (and were able to entice with with the luxury of our pop-up camper versus having to tent it like we did when I was a kid).

For two, the hubs can’t go. 😦

We found out about this unfortunate detail just a few days ago, and with a cancellation policy of fourteen days (if you want a refund), the hubs and I agreed there wasn’t much point in canceling the trip for everyone, if my parents still wanted to go and I was willing to without him. As guilty as I feel about leaving my poor husband behind to the drudgery of work, I will mention that he has is yearly “man camp” at the beginning of every summer and will be escaping this fall during hunting season as well. Fairs fair, right? The hubs and I also came to an agreement that we’d have to plan another camping trip before the end of the summer. We’d have to stay local (as the end of my summer vacation is quickly approaching), but it’ll be worth it to have one more weekend or stretch of fine summer days to play and be together as a family.

All guilt aside, I am still really looking forward to this trip. We’re going to be on Grand Isle, which is the biggest island in Lake Champlain, just a bit north of Burlington. Prime location, in my opinion. And while we’ll only actually be there for one full day (and traveling the other two), we’re definitely planning on taking our time, checking out some sweet geography and doing some sight seeing. I hope to make a pit stop in Burlington, which is my big wish, and I’d love to check out a farm (preferably a dairy farm with free cheese samples :-D). While I’ve tried hard to see what else will be on our way between Maine to Vermont, it’s been tough, since I don’t know my New Hampshire/Vermont geography terribly well, so I think we’ll be flying by the seat of our pants a bit as we drive there and back again.

And any well organized camping trip wouldn’t be complete without my list of things “to do.” Here’s what I’ve got on my list so far:

* Get as much cleaning done as is humanly possible between now and Wednesday. This may not seem important in the grand scheme of a camping trip, but there is nothing worse than returning to a yucky house after camping for a few days.

* Laundry. We need clothes for this camping trip!

* Packing clothes. Duh.

* Start sneaking away little toys of E.’s to surprise her with in car and at the campsite. I’ve already secured her binoculars and a little frog flashlight.

* Download a couple of TV shows and/or movies on m iPad for E. to watch on the loooooong drive to Vermont.

* Research some fun car games to play on the drive. Some that we already play: Eye Spy and Simon Says.

* Pick up a new coloring book and a fun outside toy to dig out at slower paced moments (for E.)

* Make snacks. I’m thinking sugar and cinnamon toasted almonds and garlic roasted chick peas (yummy!).

* Get groceries. We decided that the two households would divide up meal responsibility. I have breakfast and some lunch, my parents have super and some lunch. I plan on brining snacks for E. and I, but will obviously share.
For breakfast, we’ve decided on simply egg, cheese and bacon breakfast sandwiches. For lunch I’m planning on making some chicken salad, especially since I can’t eat cold cuts (lysteria) at the moment. I was thinking of making regular chicken salad, but also trying to make buffalo chicken salad as well. For snacks, I’m bringing the afore mentioned almonds and chick peas, but will also pack some fruit and maybe some carrot and celery sticks.

* After grocery shopping, I’ll have to prep my chicken salads.

* Get ice and pack the cooler.

* Wash sleeping bags and blankets.

* Clean out the camper.

* Clean the camp stove.

* Get all cooking and eating utensils together.

* Pick some fun games to bring along.

* Make sure my camera’s battery is fully charged!!

All right, that was a lot of information for just one post! I will update as I can, though this week will be quite a busy one!

Nursing Nursery Woes

When E. was born, the hubs and I were living in our very first apartment. It was three rooms: a (surprisingly spacious) bathroom. A living room/kitchen that were roughly the same size as the bathroom (and it really wasn’t that spacious), and then a bedroom with a sloping ceiling that was so awkwardly placed that it was impossible to fit any more than a mattress (and, in our case, and air mattress) inside.

Needless to say, E. did not come home to a nursery. And, in hindsight, it would have been sort of useless as we ended up co-sleeping, even after we moved to a larger apartment where we had a bedroom that comfortably fit our bed (a REAL bed!) AND a crib (and still no extra room for a nursery, but again, would have been sort of useless). But still, I remember feeling a little down, even after E. arrived and it was proven we really wouldn’t have needed one, that we didn’t have a little room or even a space to prepare that would be solely hers.

So, here we are again, another baby on the way, and while we’ve certainly upgraded from our first apartment (and, frankly, any apartment we had after that), our house is…small. Which, ordinarily, doesn’t bother me in the slightest. But, we only have two bedrooms, and, to be honest, E.’s is terribly small. We have a plan on how we’ll make this new arrangement work, and the baby will have a place to sleep (with us at first), I can’t help but look at Pinterest, read on BabyCenter, and just generally wish I had a cute little room to dedicate all of to my newest edition.

That said, as I mentioned in my last post, we have an upstairs hallway that serves as a playroom at the moment (it has this really nice, long window seat in front of this gorgeous bay window that opens and doubles as a toy bin). I’ve tentatively decided that this area will become a nursery of sorts. I’m going to recover and move my rocker/glider from our basement family room to the hall, I’d like to add some kid friendly art (maybe a combination of some cute Etsy finds and framing some of E.’s artwork), and I’d like to make some space for a baby swing and a bin for some baby toys. I’m also going to make curtains for the bay window and move E.’s books from her room to the large bookshelf in the hall (and then move her bookshelf elsewhere or just get rid of it to make more space in her room).

While it’s not a cutesy room I can paint a sweet pink or blue, it’s better than nothing and it’s certainly better than the really cramped quarters we dealt with when E. first came around.

Bye Bye 1st Trimester!

Week 12 (July 23 – 31)

Esitmated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Other than minor indigestions (I still have to be careful how much I eat in one sitting or I’ll end up feeling really lousy, the typical signs of early pregnancy have flown the coop and I’m feeling pretty well shot of them.

Body Changes: I’m still not showing, just looking bloated (mostly because I am). It took until I was about 20 weeks to have a noticeable baby bump, and then it was only noticeable to a few others, not me! I’ve got a nice layer of chub going on in the tummy area, so I know I won’t show as soon as I would if I were thinner.

Cravings: Salty and carb-y things are my preference at the moment, and chicken as well. Still loving my old pregnancy standby of chicken salad with sour pickles.

High Point: My high point for the week is actually not pregnancy related, sort of. This was probably the first week where I could confidently say I felt 100%. I was up late hanging out with the hubs and our friends. I got things done. I covered my porch cushions and sewed a curtain. I made it past ten o’clock to watch the man candy male divers and swimmers on the olympics. I only took a nap once (yesterday). It’s so nice to get stuff done and to just participate in life!

Low Point: I’ve been feeling kind of down about my parenting skills of late. I know the surplus of hormones I’m experiencing during this pregnancy doesn’t always have the best effects on me. Last pregnancy, I felt borderline psychotic at times. This pregnancy I’ve found I really want to be alone a lot. Well, if this were my first baby, I guess that wouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s hard to be alone when you have a four year old to take care of and play with. It’s been a struggle to feel like participating with the family at times. It’s something I believe I need to work on and will do so.

What I did to prepare this week: I got a lot of E.’s unused toys and some other items cleared up and either stored, donated, or I chucked ’em. I was contemplating having a yard sale later this month, but I’m realizing that with a camping trip coming up next weekend (more on that later), my aunt visiting after that, and a certain someones’ fourth wedding anniversary coming up, it was just going to be too much. So, we’ll be donating those things that are still usable, but we no longer have a use for.

So, with the clearing up of toys and other miscellaneous items, I’ve cleared some space in our upstairs hallway. I’ve started to try to envision what we could do with this space. It’s definitely going to be kid dedicated and I’m trying to think of just how it will look and be used with a new baby arriving in six short months (eek!!).

Paranoid Moment: Other than the usual, “What ifs”, I’m feeling pretty great in regards to the health and development of the baby, especially now that we’re out of the “danger zone” of the first trimester. That said, I have been worrying about what it will be like to parent TWO children. While this baby was very planned and the hubs and I both felt ready for another little one, I do sometimes wonder what exactly I got myself into…

What’s going on “in there”: The folks of BabyCenter say: “Fingerprints have formed on your baby’s tiny fingertips, her veins and organs are clearly visible through her still-thin skin, and her body is starting to catch up with her head — which makes up just a third of her body size now. If you’re having a girl, she now has more than 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Your baby is almost 3 inches long (the size of a medium shrimp) and weighs nearly an ounce.”