Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas! I hope you all have gotten to spend invaluable time with friends, family, and loved ones this week and that you were able to slow down and truly enjoy the reason for the season.

We decided during the summer that Will and I would host my mom and brothers at our house for Christmas this year. They haven't been down since we moved into our house almost two years ago, so we all felt like it was their turn to make the 11-hour drive down here.

We put up our Christmas decorations the weekend before Thanksgiving since we knew the three-week sprint between Thanksgiving and Christmas would leave hardly any time for us to do it.

We splurged on a new beautiful 9-foot tree this year, since the 6-foot  hand-me-down from my mom wasn't quite cutting it. We used all the same ornaments we had, but I added a few gold and brown bulbs, the red sprigs of berries, and the burlap garland. And yes, our pathetic star looked like that the entire season. Womp womp.

 Cozy blanket from Homegoods.

Next year there will be three stockings hanging!

We moved the bookshelves from where they normally stand to by the back doors to make room for the tree.

I had put all the extra bulbs in a basket by the small tree in the dining room. One day I came home from work after we left the dogs in the house for the day to find the basket overturned and bulbs all over the room. Lucy wanted me to know that she had nothing to do with that.

While I always knew in the back of my mind that we were hosting Christmas for my family and Christmas dinner for them plus five other people, it didn't really hit me that we were *hosting* people in our house until about Sunday before my family arrived on Monday. I was still sick at that point, so Will had to do most of the getting our house ready. I was originally supposed to fly to Amarillo first thing Monday morning and then drive back down with my mom and brothers, but I didn't think I would be able to get through the car ride considering how badly my back had been hurting. Three cheers for my mom, who got the call Sunday evening that she would be driving the whole thing herself.

Will came home from work early on Christmas Eve, saying I had gotten him sick. Poor guy battled through the worst of it that day and the next, taking just enough Dayquill to get him through the big parts of opening presents and later having everyone over for lunch. Otherwise he slept a lot, as you'll see in the pictures.

Also, I got to use my new camera lense for the following pictures. I LOVE it with all my heart; Will surprised me with it for Christmas after I used it on a friend's camera this summer in Honduras and I told him I wanted it before the baby gets here.

Will's friend from high school and his fiance just moved to Texas from Florida. Since they don't have any family down here, they joined us for the festivities.


 Dawson and I enjoyed some craft time Christmas night. I had picked up some ornaments from Hobby Lobby before they came for us to decorate. He loved it!

Will slept while we painted...

We were sad to see my family pack up on the 26th, and for the first time in four months, our house is quiet again.

We have packed up all the Christmas decorations, but they're still stacked in the dining room, waiting for us to take them back out to the attic. Since both of us have been sick and we both really needed a break after a long, stressful semester, we have been taking the break really slowly and enjoying our time together and with friends. Normally we would be "we have to get this done now!" but we've been content to do a little and then watch a few episodes of Law & Order or Property Brothers while the rest waits. I am so enjoying this quiet time in our lives before we have to kick everything into high gear before the semester starts again, we find out the gender of the baby, and get started on the nursery.

What was your favorite part of the week?

16 Weeks

Whew, what a blur this week has been with family coming into to town, Christmas, friends moving to town, and getting everything back to normal after Christmas. I'll post later about our Christmas, but for now, here's a shot of Week 16 of pregnancy.

Not much new happening this week. Honestly, everything else has been so busy that I haven't had a lot of time to think about this little one except for when I feel it moving around in there. I first felt it last week around Thursday evening; I wasn't sure that it was the baby because it really felt like a muscle twitch. However, knowing the approximate location of my uterus and that so many different women explain the movement of the baby feels like different things, I just knew it was the baby. I feel it on a semi-regular basis now, mostly in the evenings. I wish it were a little bit stronger and more frequent, though I know it' s only a matter of time before this little one will be keeping me awake at night moving.

Now that all our company and renters are gone we are excited to get started in the nursery soon. I wish we would be able to find out the gender while I was still on break, but we won't find out until the week after school starts back up for the semester. It seems impossible that we're almost to that 20-week mark. That's half-way through the pregnancy!

Stats for this week:
Feeling: Tired! Does this tired feeling ever end? Everyone promised my energy would come rushing back in the second trimester, but I have yet to see it. Of course, being sick for half a week and hosting Christmas at your house is enough to do it to anyone.
Craving: homemade cheesecake, not the kind from the store
Baby is the size of an: avocado
Workouts: Made it to Crossfit three times this week; I feel much better afterwards than I did last week, probably due to my diligent foam rolling and icing after every session. I am still able to do all moves except for handstands (I was never good at them and don't feel comfortable doing them at this point) and I've been doing step-ups for box jumps since I found out about the baby. I am still doing exercises on my back because my midwife said I was fine to continue laying on my back until I noticed it would make me dizzy or cause my blood pressure to change, signs that my uterus has gotten big enough to restrict blood flow. So far I haven't felt that at all, but I'll ask again next week at my appointment. I think I'm probably about finished with the "Superman" warm up, which requires you to lay on your stomach and arch your back so that your hands are stick out in front of you and your legs lift off the floor. I starting being able to feel my uterus dig into the floor when we did that move this week. I have also noticed that I have to watch when I'm lifting the bar to my chest; my stomach definitely isn't sticking out far enough to cause a modification in form yet, but sometime brush the my stomach when I'm not paying close attention. Eventually I'll have to move to using kettle bells instead of the bar. And I won't lie; I am *kinda* looking forward to the day when my belly doesn't allow me to do burpees anymore. Can I get an amen to that?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

15 Weeks

This week was full of anticipation about Christmas Break! We had a regular school day on Monday, but the rest of the week was semester tests for the kiddos, so they had half-days. That meant we teachers got to work in our rooms and get those tests graded during the afternoon. I tried with all my might to get everything finished before I headed out on Friday, but unfortunately it just didn't happen. Looks like I'll be taking a day of break to finish everything up!

I managed to make it to Crossfit three times this week, which is an improvement on the 0-2 times a week I'd been clocking for the past month or two. I have been so tired that the thought of working out made me want to cry. While I know it's super important for both me and the baby, I'm trying to distinguish between a real tired and a "let's be lazy today" tired. However, since I haven't been going as often, my DOMS is getting way worse than it was for many months, so on one hand it's not even worth skipping so much since I care barely move the next two days. I would like to start walking the dogs again in the evening, but it's dark by 5:30 which hardly leaves any time between when I get home.

See what I meant last week about the clothes I wear dictating how pregnant I look? This is a maternity top but regular pants with the Bella Band. 
Stats for Week 15:
Feeling: so tired. Where is all that second-trimester energy everyone keeps talking about?
Craving: random things at different times; my favorite is the strawberry-ginseng smoothie from Panera, but those things are like $5!
Baby is the size of a: navel orange
Weight Gained: still at one pound up from my original -4 lbs.

On Monday we had a "My Favorite Things Dirty Santa Gift Exchange" with our small group, which ended up being slightly anti-climatic. It's funny how much you think everyone will love your favorite thing, but in reality you're about the only one who thinks it cool haha. Except Will's gift, which was a Santoku knife; everyone wanted that.

Friday night we had our gift exchange with Will's family since my sister and brother-in-law left Saturday for two weeks to spend Christmas with his family. We went to eat at BJs all dudded up in tacky Christmas sweaters. I wish I had gotten a better picture of our sweaters.

They were intentionally going for "awkward family photo," trust me

Look at the fringe on that cardigan!

All together
This week ended with our last renter for the fall leaving and a trip to the ritzy part of Houston to visit Pottery Barn Kids to order our rocker for the nursery. Originally I really liked the look of this rocker, but after visiting the store a few months ago to try them out, we really liked this one a lot more due to how comfortable it is and how it fit me a little better. Yesterday when we ordered we decided to go with the "small" version; the main different is that the arms are about 4 inches closer together than the regular model, but since I'm a little on the petite side I think it will actually be kind of nice. It's definitely the nicest piece of furniture in our entire house, but sine we plan to have three or four kids, I think it's worth the investment. Plus, I already have plans for the other furniture in the room, and all of that will be much more budget-friendly, so I'm not stressing too much.

Annnd then on the way home from Pottery Barn all the little aches and pains I had been feeling since the morning hit me like a truck, and I spent the entire rest of the day in a hot bath and in bed fighting a small fever, cough, and body aches like none other. Sounds like the flu, hey? Add that to my DOMS and I have hardly been able to move for the past 24 hours.

14 Weeks

This week finally brought some colder weather to our area, which was a nice change from all the 80-degree days we had been experiencing. I love Houston, but this Panhandle-girl really misses winter weather and snow.

I can still fit into all of my old clothes (I guess that's the good thing about losing weight right before you get pregnant!), but most of my pants are a lot more comfortable using the Bella Band I scored for 40% off at Gap Maternity last week. I find that the amount of "pregnant" I look depends largely on if I'm wearing maternity clothes or my regular clothes. In the picture above I'm wearing all maternity clothes.

Stats from this week: 
Feeling: hungry all the time
Craving: nothing in particular
Baby is the size of a: lemon
Weight Gained: still at one pound, although I would guess more just by looking at me!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

13 Weeks

Week 13 was the first week I didn't get a "good" picture of the bump. Will was out of town all week for a work trip and I was gone over the weekend with a debate tournament. By the time I got back, it was already 14 weeks. Enjoy these beauties, taken in the hotel mirror.

Let's not dwell on my hair. It was after midnight by the time we got back to the hotel.

This week I had an appointment with my midwife Anna. Everything is looking great and, after a few tries, I even got to hear the baby's heartbeat. While we were listening, the midwife said she could tell the baby was moving quite a bit. This doesn't surprise me at all because during the ultrasound the baby looking like it was having fun swimming around like a little fish.

I talked to Anna about the acne I've been struggling with quite a bit lately. I've dealt with acne since about the fourth grade and finally got it under control after two rounds of Accutane and birth control, so it was frustrating to see it cropping back up so fiercely. She recommended I try dried wheatgrass juice, red raspberry leaf tea, and nettles. I promptly went home and ordered all three (thank God for Amazon Prime!) I've been taking all three religiously since they came in, and they definitely seem to be helping.

We also made an appointment for our twenty-week ultra sound to find out the gender of Baby Walker, which might be the most exciting part of the pregnancy for me.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bump Photos, Weeks 5-12

Grow, baby, grow! Since I'm getting such a late start on posting all these pictures, I thought I'd do weeks 5-12 in one post and then try to do one post for each week after that.

Also, I was absolutely not thinking when I started taking these pictures. It's hard to see how much you're growing when you're wearing loose clothing and not framing your belly with your hands. Oh well.

I think weeks 10 and 11 were a bit more bloat than anything else.

I think a lot of moms can agree that for the first few months, while you know you're pregnant, it just doesn't feel like it because you aren't growing much (if at all) and you can't feel the baby move. Seeing this little one swimming around like Michael Phelps brought me to tears.

This picture was taken on Thanksgiving Day. I think I actually look bigger here than I feel sometimes now, even at three weeks later. It's safe to say this was part food baby, part baby baby. Oh, plus it was the first day I wore maternity pants, which definitely make me look more pregnant than when I were my normal pants with the Bella Band.

This week ended with us getting a killer deal on a stroller and pack-n-play at Buy Buy Baby. I agree that that store is really expensive, but sometimes you can score! The pack-n-play was on sale for $100, plus we used a 20% off coupon, plus we got a $25 gift certificate back, bringing the total down to $55. My mother-in-law also got one and gave us the gift card, so we used both the gift cards on our stroller. Will had picked out the stroller several weeks ago, but I was hesitant about the price. However, when we went back this week an associate showed us that it is actually a convertible stroller, which is why it's a little more pricy than some of the others. Since we are wanting several kids fairly close in age, I knew this would be a better investment in the long run. Plus, they were running a special where the second seat came free, which is a $200 value. Though we won't need it for several years, it will be a total money saver when the time comes.

Also, the first week when I found out about the baby, I was SUPER bloated. From that point, I had actually lost four pounds.  Currently, at fifteen weeks, I have gained back one (maybe two, it's hard to say) of those, though my belly is definitely expanding!

The Best Thing We Ever Made

There's a saying in blog world that when a blog goes silent, something's a-cookin':

Oh yes, it is true! Baby Walker will be here mid-June, and we couldn't be more thrilled.

Let's reminisce about those early days:

For quite a while Will and I had been telling our friends and family we planned to start trying for a baby next summer. After all, I am just in my second semester of teaching and Will is in his second year of working; we wanted to wait until we both had a little more work security and we had more of our student loans paid off.

I've always loved babies. I've always wanted to be a mother. I have always awed and cooed over babies. But early last summer, something happened. I could not. get. babies. out. of. my. mind. And it was driving me crazy. The desire to have a child and have a family was so overwhelming, I could not shake it off like I had been able to in the past. I prayed. I kind of discussed it with Will. I kept praying. He kept praying. I finally came to the conclusion that I have at so many different times in my life: God gives us desires and interests and moves our heart to suit his purposes. But this, having a baby now, was not part of OUR plan and Will and I are very excellent plan followers. After many, many late-night coversations and prayers, Will and I finally decided that we would "pull the goalie" just before we left for Honduras and let God's plan take action. After all, we reasoned, it had taken both sets of our parents many years to get pregnant with their first child, so we would likely follow suite.

Even though we thought for sure it would take at least six months to get pregnant, it was exciting to finally be trying and I promptly ordered a package of 50 pregnancy tests off Amazon so I could test as often as I wanted and not feel guilty.

There was a time or two over the next two months that I thought I might be pregnant, but I was wrong. And, since I had just gotten off birth control for the first time since high school, my cycle was a little messed up and slightly unpredictable. I used the app called Ovuline to track my cycle and I loved it! I would highly recommend it to anyone trying to get pregnant; it's super easy to use and you just fill in as much or little information daily as you want.

At the end of September my cycle was a little off again, but I had expected it so it wasn't anything new. I did take a test, though, just to be sure, and it was negative. Looking back at my notes on the app, on September 23rd I recorded "extreme fatigue" and "cranky." On September 24th, a received a negative test and recorded "Tender breasts, fatigue, and cranky." September 25th: "blah, tender breasts, fatigue." September 26th: "acne, blah." September 29th: negative test. I stopped recording for a few days, and then on Thursday, October 3rd, I took another test since I had gotten up early and thought "why not?"

At first glance, it looked negative just like all the others did. I was about to throw it away but then I thought, "No, I'll leave it out while I put in my contacts just to make sure." After putting in my contacts, I went back to throw it away but I noticed something new. There was a tiny, barely visible second line where there had never been one before. I mean, so faint you could hardly see it.

Still, though, that had never happened before. Hmmm. "It IS one of those super cheap tests, so maybe I should try it with one of the 'good' tests too," I thought.

I tested with my backup test and it was fairly inconclusive, I thought, too. The second cross line was SO faint it looked like it had been a mistake.

Up until this point, I never understood all those commercials for the pregnancy tests that boasted a "pregnant" or "not pregnant" reading. How can you not understand a pregnancy test?! I thought. But here I was, 5:15 a.m. with two different pregnancy tests and not a clue as to whether they were positive or negative.

I went so far as to Google what a positive pregnancy test could look like. After studying those pictures and reading and re-reading the instructions for both tests, I came to the conclusion that they were both, indeed, positive.

I called to Will, who was still in bed, to come here.

He came into the the bathroom where I had the test and all the instructions and the Google samples lined up on the counter. He was a little confused.

"I think, but I'm not sure, that I might be pregnant."

He was just as cautious as I was to believe it, but by this point the lines had actually developed a little more so they weren't as hard to believe.

Needless to say, he came home that night with a "pregnant" "not pregnant" test. It was positive.

And after that, we deemed me, "officially pregnant!" I was about five weeks along at that point and we had been trying for only two cycles.

We were excited to tell his family that Sunday afternoon at our family dinner. However, Will and his dad ended up going on a run for his dad's job, so there was no way the two of them could make it. We had do it that weekend, though, because if we didn't we'd have to wait another two weeks before we could get everyone together again and we knew we couldn't wait that long.

I made Boomer and Scarlett little bandanas that said "Big Bro" and "Big Sis," hollered for everyone to come outside to the back porch to see the dogs' new trick, and waited forever for them to figure out what was going on. They kept waiting for the dogs to do a trick but the dogs were just circling everyone wanted to get pet. Finally they knelt down to pet the dogs, but still didn't notice what the bandanas said. "I don't get it," someone eventually said, and I told them they had to read the bandanas. After that, I can't remember exactly who said what, but it clicked for just about everyone at the same time. Needless to say, they were excited and Will's dad felt absolutely terrible for being out.

We told my mom a few days later over the phone. I called under the pretense of talking about Christmas preparations, since they're coming down here next week, but we ended up talking for over an hour about general life. We finally made it around to talking about Christmas, and she said she needed a list of stuff we wanted. I told her I would text her a list as soon as we hung up. As we were saying good bye, she jokingly said, "I hope you weren't calling to tell me you are pregnant." I almost spilled at that point, but I recovered and told her no.

I promptly texted her a picture of a quilt I wanted her to make for Christmas and then about five other pictures all relating to baby stuff. She finally called me back a few minutes later screaming with excitement.

It did feel a little anti-climatic to have her figure it out over texts, but I figured it drew the process out a little longer than just simply saying, "I'm pregnant!" I wish we could have done it in person, but such is life. Overall, everyone is excited to meet this little one in June.

How did you tell your significant other and family members you were expecting?

Bump pictures to follow soon!
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