Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Things I can't Live Without: Baby Edition

I am not paid to endorse any of this items, I just REALLY love them and like to spread the word on good products, etc.


When it comes to holding the title "Mommy", I'm still pretty new to this entire new role. But in the last couple of weeks, I have definitely found myself in a lot of appreciation for the following:

Mamaroo - If we are honest, Ben and I originally bought the Mamaroo because it looked like a cool baby gadget to have in the house. HOWEVER, it has become the best investment! Here are some reasons why I love it:
1) Madden lays down in it. Unlike swings which can make a baby's head flop over, the Mamaroo is like a baby hammock.
2) It has different settings for swaying.
3) The little mobile is CLASSICAL PAINTINGS. (This maybe one of my favorite aspects ever!)
4) It has an iPod hook-up.
5) Madden loves it.
6) Customer service is AWESOME! (I follow them on twitter and they ALWAYS respond to me!)


Hygiea Breast Pump - After a lot of research on breast pumps, I went with the Hygiea because it had great reviews (both of ease of use and customer service). The reviews were correct - it is easy to use, and they do have great service. They are also on twitter and they RESPOND to questions/comments!

Social Media Networks - Yes, I can't live without Facebook and Twitter as a new mommy. Why? Because both have given me a lot of wonderful information on breastfeeding, infant growth spurts, etc. (yes, I do listen to my doctor, but I also love to do research on my own to be well-informed). In addition, I have a lot of friends on Facebook who are new moms like me and I love how we learn together!

HoMedics Sound Spa - My mother-in-law gave Madden this sound spa for Christmas and it is MY favorite gift! He finally goes to bed without screaming, crying or me holding him for hours. I love that it offers a combination of "white noise" and a little floating image projected on the ceiling for him to watch. He sleeps and I enjoy some time with Ben.

Baby Trend Stroller Snap 'N Go - We originally bought a different stroller that said it was car seat compatible for all car seats...when we got it, we discovered our carseat DEFINITELY didn't fit. So, some quick research by my mother-in-law (she is so handy!), tracked down this awesome stroller. It is easy to assemble, it holds car seats, it climbs over rocky terrains, it goes shopping, to church, to restaurants, and it fits in the back of the car - it is basically awesome.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011 Report

We spent our first Christmas with Madden enjoying the day. Simply enjoying every single moment.

We woke up late - a luxury we didn't take for granted...this is probably the LAST Christmas we will get to sleep in!

I watched Ben grin like a fool showing Madden the half-eaten cookies left by Santa. 

Madden fell asleep after the 1st toy was opened.

We munched on cinnamon rolls and sausage (breakfast) meatballs the entire day.

We cleaned up puke from overly-excited dogs - a result of their Christmas treats.

We watched basketball.

Ben and I exchanged gifts...this year we tied on who gave who the best gifts. Because you know this is an ANNUAL Competition.

Honestly, I've always heard Christmas is more fun when you become a parent, and IT IS SO TRUE!

His Christmas Outfit.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What's in Your Bag: Diaper Edition

 One of my favorite blogs is written by Erin a mommy to 3 kiddos. I wish she didn't live so far away so we could do playdates and coffee dates!!!

I wish I could say that I am a habitual diaper bag packer, but I can't in good conscience. When I had one baby, I was religious about it. I had everything under the sun packed, ready for all seasons. Then the second one came along and I got less careful about what was in there and threw a little of anything I could find. As the boys got a bit older, and I added a third baby to the pack, it would be amazing if I even left the house with a diaper bag at all.

So here is my slightly different tale of diaper bag contents.

When I'm going on a trip or I'll be away for a long period of time, I use my trusty Petunia Pickle Bottom bag. If you don't have one, I highly reccomend them as they can pack about as much as Mary Poppins suitcase...and a little more!

Most of the time, I carry around what I call a "mommy wristlet". It's got my wallet, and my keys and my phone all compartmentalized because I can't tell you how many times I lose those when I'm with the kids. Then in the small pocket, I carry some tissues and a couple of matchbox cars.

Simple I know, but I find that it does the trick when I'm on the run. I also always try and throw on a dangly necklace when, in case of a toddler meltdown, it can be used as a rattle toy. My kids play with my necklaces for hours.





Mostly, I use my minivan pockets as my diaper bag. In there you will find diapers of all sizes, wipes, granola bars, cookies, an extra hairthing (in case of a fashion emergency) and a thing of bubbles.







For me, keeping kids fed and entertained is my key to survival. If I can do that, I have succeeded. So there you have it. Not your typical diaper bag content, but effective none-the less. 


Erin

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Twitter, Skip Bayless and WINNING

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a tweet from Skip Bayless, a sports analyst and Tim Tebow fan on the ESPN show First Take that Ben and I both watch each morning. His tweet said: "Today's contest for prizes based on the answers for #cheerupskip after the Tebow loss."

So, I quickly tweeted: " #cheerupskip when Tebow lost, my husband went to the other men in his life #benandjerry." Then, like a maniac, sat in front of the TV to see if my tweet was read on the show.

I am one of those annoying people that DESPERATELY WANTS TO WIN GIVEAWAYS. Since we've been married, I've won 3 giveaways...ALL from people I know. I've quit trying to win on the Pioneer Woman or any other famous blogger because when my chances are 1 out of 33,000, I figure I have better things to do than be severely disappointed.

About an hour after the First Take show came and went, I checked my twitter and saw that First Take had retweeted MY tweet with the word WINNER attached to it. I got really excited. Then, I realized that in the Twitter world COMPLETE STRANGERS were retweeting my tweet and I got EVEN more excited.

I started screaming. Then laughing maniacally. Then started to do my awkward I JUST WON dance.

My dogs stared. My baby stared. My husband stared. And me? I kept dancing.

Then, I called my dad. No answer.
Then, I called my brother (to reach my dad). No answer.
Then, I called my sister who was eating lunch and couldn't talk..but did congratulate me.
Then, I made Ben call his best friend.
Then, I posted on Facebook.

When my dad called, he shared my joy (though calmer and more dad-like) and asked if I had gotten a direct message with information on how to retrieve my prize.
Then, I hung up on my dad to check. I really need to get out more.

5 minutes later, I did receive a direct message.  I really was a winner! Which only brought more dancing, screaming and laughing.

And, what did I win? Just an I (heart) @RealSkipBayless shirt and backpack. The t-shirt looks like this:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pictures

You all know that I love to craft and I love lists. Right before Madden was born, I had this grand idea to do a photo book of his first year. Since his birth, I've been snapping pictures left and right. But then, I got overwhelmed. HOW DO I ORGANIZE ALL THESE PHOTOS?

Thankfully, Jasmine Star saved the day. She posted this great blog post and it helped my creative mind get a little more organized. In one afternoon, I organized over 75% of Madden's pictures (still have some to go!)...but wowsers! I feel so much better.

Just in case you are curious, I will be using Shutterfly's photo book option to create his first year.  The Folks at Young House Love have a great calendar idea I am contemplating using. Since we have a lot of family for Madden to learn, I also think this is a GREAT idea: The Book of Names and Faces.

Has anyone else done this? How do you organize your pictures? Do  you have a fun way to display them?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What's In Your Bag: Diaper Edition

One of my favorite blogs, On To Baby, has started a new blog post series entitled: What's In Your Diaper Bag? I love this because I feel like it gives me a fresh perspective and gives me an idea of what to include in my own bag as Madden gets older.

That said, I'll share my diaper bag contents...sure, I'm still a newbie at the art of diaper bag packing, but I'm learning the essentials quickly!
From left-to-right:

Top Row:
  • Diaper Bag
  • Nursing Cover - one of the best gifts I've received!
Bottom Row:
  • burp cloth
  • extra outfit
  • bib
  • nursing pads
  • socks
  • petroleum jelly (this is a mystery to me why it is here)
  • Huggies Little Snugglers
  • Wipes (dont you LOVE the little dino cover?!) 
  • Extra Shirt for me...just in case!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blog Update

HELLO! Second blog post of the day. Wow. I am getting a ton of stuff done!

What do you think of the new blog post layout? Easy to read? Can you view it from your phone?

Comments, praises,  and criticism wanted.

And he is 7 weeks old!

I don't think a day goes by that Ben and I hold the baby up to the other and say, "CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW MUCH HE HAS GROWN?!?!"

While it is so exciting to see how Madden is changing, it is startling at how fast he is changing too.

He knows us. Not by voice alone any more, but by sight. That is beautiful.
He gives us the most beautiful, gummy smile around.
We are still changing a million diapers.
We are still dodging spit up.
 But we are thankful for both, because it means everything is working just fine.
He is officially wearing 0-3 months.
He needs an outfit change 3-4 times a day. On average. 
Speaking of clothes, he hates them. Our child is happiest in only his diaper.
I am afraid to cut his fingernails.
Ben reads to him every night.
He is like his mommy in that he loves to be held, cuddled and touched.
He listens so intently as Ben talks to him. It is adorable to watch this little one hang on every word from his daddy.
We dodged out of the church service for the 1st time because he started crying.
My cousin Leah gave him the only toy  that he loves!(at the moment)
He is noisy - he grunts, growls, coos and generally, has a lot to say!

We love being parents.

Monday, December 19, 2011

2 years: Married

In the midst of our baby/life changing induced haze, we realized our two year wedding anniversary was approaching. We wanted to do something fun. We discussed going to Chattanooga, TN or Greenville, SC. Or staying in town. We debated do we get a babysitter or not?

In the end, we vetoed it all. In light of our love for big celebrations, we went simple instead. We decided to go back to where this all started. We went back to the coffee shop where we had our first date. It was Ben's suggestion, his idea. And I loved it...he KNOWS I love all things sentimental.

2.5 years ago, we were nervous as we met each other for coffee. I rambled on and on about stupid things that he still remembers word-for-word even now. On Saturday, we pushed a stroller into that quaint coffee shop. Over coffee and cookies, we spent time reminiscing...very much in awe, that this time around, we were celebrating marriage. It was fun. 

Afterwards, we pressed "pause" on our evening as we changed diapers and fed Madden.

Then, we made our way to the restaurant where we celebrated our engagement with friends and family. We talked, and laughed, and in general, enjoyed opportunity to celebrate.

I've said it before, but I think it should be repeated. I love being married to Ben. He is such a hard working, focused and determined man. He has a big heart. He makes me laugh, hard and frequently. We may fight, but we always strive towards and arrive at reconciliation. We've faced difficulties, but we've learned to overcome them. I am looking forward to the next 60+ years with him.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Milo, Miko and Madden

Poor Miko (the white one). He still has no idea we have a baby. He thinks HE is the baby. Milo (the black one) really loves Madden. He gets upset when Madden cries.

Wait! He sees the baby! Probably only the 2nd time Miko has realized someone else is in the house. (This was also right before Milo rolled over...on Madden.)

Miko trying to be still. This is nearly impossible since he is constantly moving...hence the blurriness. Both dogs have tried to steal Madden's pacifier at some point...usually, this happens when Madden throws it.

Madden survives Milo and Miko!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our Christmas Decorating Story

The reality of our Christmas Decorating Day turned out far different than what we imagined.

We imagined a pristine day (which it was). We imagined Starbucks coffee (which we had). We imagined a cutie kiddo in his stroller as we strolled through the rows of Christmas trees at the local Christmas tree farm (we did stroll and he is a cute kid). We imagined hot chocolate while we decorated our tree (and the hot chocolate was yummy, check out the recipe!).

However, it is as this point our imaginations never imagined what happened next. It all started when Ben asked me if I thought the tree was leaning. I glanced up for a moment. "No, the tree is not leaning." I went back to what I was doing and he went back to what he was doing. 15 minutes later, "Bethany, the tree is definitely leaning." He examined it at the base and decided the bottom limbs needed a little trimming. He asked me to hold the tree. With a baby in one hand, and a tree in another, I held the tree. 20 minutes after he finished trimming, we sat the tree upright and stood back.

This did not fix the tree. I placed the baby in the mama-roo and proceeded to hold the tree upright for the next hour. By this time it is 1am in morning. I'm tired. Ben is tired. It finally looks like it is fixed. So I go to bed. About 30 minutes later, Ben comes to bed, "I took all the ornaments off the tree. It is still going to fall over."

After examining it, Ben determined that the tree is just crooked - naturally. No amount of trimming or adjusting would fix our tree. So, three days after we decorated the tree, undecorated it, tried trimming it and finally just stared at it hoping it would straighten up....we propped it up against the window, stuck some books under the tree stand and declared, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!".

Monday, December 5, 2011

We have a 5 week old

How did this happen? Where have these short weeks gone?

Madden is 5 weeks old. Let me repeat - 5 weeks old!

He is growing very plump which makes me a happy momma. He has managed to gain weight and since birth has only lost 1 ounce. He has so much personality. He is constantly smiling, or giving funny faces.

He has 1 freckle. His eyes are turning dark which I hope means he will have brown eyes to match his parents. He is not bothered by barking dogs, sounds of the TV or the vacuum cleaner. Madden loves to be held - which is fine by me because I love to hold him! He is working to lift his head by himself and seems just fine with tummy time. He hates, I repeat, HATES dirty diapers; so we are NEVER in doubt of his need of a clean diaper.

When Madden sleeps, it is like watching a mini-Ben. They sleep in the same positions. He sleeps at night in 3-4 hour increments. Which means you are likely to find me on facebook at 4am. We are adjusting to size 1 diapers and 0-3 months clothes. The newborn stage lasted a good 4.5 weeks. Madden loves bath-time something that still surprises me - I thought for sure he wouldn't like it. But I was wrong.

So far, we have braved the grocery store, 2 restaurants, a drive-in movie theater, Christmas Tree farm and church with him. I am still a fan of requiring Haz-Mat suits for visitors, but Ben vetoed that idea...which is why we are actually getting out of the house.

Madden has made our wonderful life even better.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Date Night: Post Baby

When the third Twilight Movie came out, I really wanted to watch it. Badly. But when the movie came out, I had a two week old baby.

So, Ben and I tried to arrange friends and family to come watch the little one so we could head to the movies. Sickness, holidays and more kept putting a rain-check for that plan.

Until Ben had a brilliant idea. Drive-In Movie Theater. So our first date night took place. We packed up the baby, grabbed some fast food, picked up our favorite movie candy and away we went! It was perfect. We could talk through the movie, take care of the baby AAAANNNDDD we got to watch the movie. Finally.

Throughout the movie, Ben would look at me and say, "Whose idea was this? Who suggested a drive-in movie theater?" 

I am looking forward to our next date night.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dinner Ideas: WANTED

I have no inspiration for dinner. So I'm asking for help. Basically, I've gotten EXTREMELY bored with food and cooking, so we definitely have the same things over and over again. We need to incorporate more vegetables, but when I go to the produce department of the grocery store, I feel overwhelmed and I stare blankly at all the veggies available.

Here is what we are currently consuming:

Chili
Chicken with vegetables (green beans, broccoli, potatoes - in rotation)
A pasta dish with tomato sauce and green beans or broccoli

HELP ME. Just for the record - Ben hates onions, so I cook without them. Looking forward to seeing your ideas. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This was going to be the year. The year Ben and I celebrated Thanksgiving in New York City to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade.

This was not the year for that.

Instead, it was the year for baby snuggles. For young parents eating turkey in shifts. For an infant so curious of the festivities, he refused to nap. For 3 generations gathering. Lots of laughter, lots of yummy food. It was a good day.

Was it what we thought it would be? No. Was it sweeter? Absolutely.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our 3am Morning

'Twas the day before Thanksgiving and all through the house...
...Slept a baby, a momma and two dogs...
...While the daddy scurried around the house like a mouse.

Then 3am presented its face
And chaos conviently picked up its pace.

Cried the baby for food!
Then a change in the mood...

On the sheets she found poop.
She was definitely thrown for a loop.

She flipped on the light.
Oh! What a sight!

Poop on the floor!
Don't say anymore!

She issued a plea the husband downstairs!
"come help me!"

Up he ran, no steps did he lack!
To the room he arrived and stopped in his tracks.

"Dogs!"

Soon The mess was cleaned...and the baby was fed.
All seemed calm. Til...

Voices she heard outside of the window.
A detour husband took from bed.

To see if the voices were a scam.
BAM!

Outside on the streets, stood CATS!

(this is a true story)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Working Thru Grief

It has been 5 years since my mom passed away from cancer. This year, all I've been able to reflect on is how far I've come....specifically, how I've processed through my grief. Grief is so different for everyone. What works for me, may not work for everyone else. I am not an expert at all just someone sharing what worked for me.

1. Embracing all the emotions.
Anger. Tears. Laughter. Fear. Abandonment. All these emotions have come at different times. Different moments. I've learned to accept them when they come. It helps me and removes the feeling of drowning.

2. Talking.
Talking about my mom. Talking about my feelings.

3. Counseling.
Going to see a counselor was wonderful. I felt I was given the tools to understand my grief.

4. Support Group.
I joined Students of AMF and the opportunity to meet with others who had experienced loss...specifically loss of a parent, sibling was so beneficial. So invaluable.

5. Community.
My closest friends have never been timid about talking about my mom...or my feelings. It is a true sign of friendship when a subject is not taboo.

6. Difficult Days. Difficult Moments.
I know the days that will be particularly hard. Those are almost easier to handle than the moments. The moments are unpredictable and come suddenly. Preparing for them is impossible, so I have no choice but to embrace.

7. A book.
A lady gave this book to me for my dad. He read it in a day, it took me months. Every sentence was so raw and so aptly described how I felt. The book is "A Grace Disguised".

I've learned that life goes on. And, that I will not live my life feeling handicapped by my loss. Healing does come and for me, Grace brought it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nursery Tour








Where I got what:
Quilt (my creation)
Crib (Not sure of the exact name or brand of crib)
Rug,
Owl riding Bike Art,
Owls reading,
Bedtime Owl Print
Owl with green background (gifted),
Owl painted canvas (custom piece my sister got for me),
Trio Piece (Owls on Tree, Nature Scene, "M" piece)
O is For Owl Art Piece (working to find the link for the seller)

Owl Pillow/Stuffed Animal
Owl Pillow (my creation)
Dresser (bought from a friend)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Me and Sports

Part of marrying Ben was my accepting what his die-hard love of sports. Specifically, his love for the Atlanta Falcons and the LA Lakers.

The first season I experienced with Ben was...a learning experience for me. One of tolerance. I tolerated his love of sports because I wanted to be with him. I went to the games with him. He even let me bring a book with me.

The second season I experienced with him...I tried to be a little more engaging. I left the book at home when we went to games. I wore the t-shirt. I sat in the living room while he watched the game. I bought him the Madden NFL football video game.

This season, I couldn't go to the games. I was huge and uncomfortable at 6 months pregnant and Ben and I both knew it would be a miserable experience...for both of us. But I followed the game on ESPN to gage Ben's reaction. When the games are away, I watch the games with him. Lately, though, I decided to buy in completely. I want not to just tolerate this aspect of my husband's life, but I want to embrace it. So I watch ESPN talk shows with him. I listen - truly listen- to Ben explain plays to me. I follow sport analysts on twitter. What brought about this change? I don't know. Probably more to do with the fact that I cherish spending time with Ben and this is a great way for me to show him how much I love him.

Which is a good thing, of course. But it is always made better when he quizzes me for players' names from different teams and I rattle them off. And Ben's look of surprise and pride is worth it all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We became three

Last week, Ben and I became +1. We became three. This first week, we adjusted to sleep deprivation. We discovered we would survive without help. We discovered we could do this thing called parenthood. Most of all, We stared in wonder at this tiny one...amazed that he is ours.

This week, we have remained astonished by the amount of diapers we've gone through.

The long hours we now keep at night.

We worry. We have learned to be flexible.

More than anything, we have stared in wonder at this tiny one...amazed that he is ours.

We've called the doctor out of concern.

We've sang silly songs. We've read books. We have enjoyed the reality of parenthood.

We have continually stared in wonder at this tiny one...absolutely amazed that he is ours.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Baby A Update: Pregnancy concludes

My last blog post regarding waiting for Madden was week 37. Technically, I posted that at the BEGINNING of my 38th week...I was running behind and figured it was best to post something, rather than nothing.

The last couple of weeks (last week and this week, in particular), have been a whirlwind. To be honest with you, I'm not ready to share everything quite yet. But, I can summarize:

- This pregnancy has been all about teaching this insane planner to be truly flexible.
- I have learned the importance of giving myself GRACE. Grace to know that while I am my Mother's daughter, I am not under any obligation to do it "her" way.
- At the end of the day, pregnancy presents decisions that must be made and the only ones who can make the best decisions are (for instance) Ben and I.

- Our baby is here! Ben and I are amazed that this child is a product of both of us; and we are enjoying every moment with him.
- All my specific prayer requests were answered concerning the birth and delivery of our son.
- satisfaction over how the entire event (labor and delivery) went.
- It has only been mere days since our son's birth, but I have enjoyed the impact of a deeper partnership in our marriage.
- Watching Ben as a dad. It is heart-melting.
- Infant smiles and facial expressions.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 37

We are getting near the end! I've mentioned before how surreal this entire process is...but really! In just a few short weeks, this baby who has been long-anticipated is always here!

This week, I experienced:

- Hot-flashes. SO WEIRD. I'm not accustom to getting hot in the middle of the night. Sweating - all the time.

- Still starving. It never ends.

- Celebrating Maternity pictures. Katie Rivers absolutely amazed me.

- We await the arrival of the crib, swing, and breast pump. Let's hope they get here soon! :)

- Ben brings me back to earth and talks me out of haz-mat suits in light of my fears of Madden getting the flu. (I wish I was kidding about that sentence)

- Weird aches, pains and leaks. Let's leave it at that.

- This child's sports clothes collection is growing rapidly - he already owns the following: multiple Atlanta Falcon's outfits, LA Lakers' t-shirt, Georgia Tech onesie and Ohio Buckeye onesie (my best friend is a fan).

- Wonderful pedicures. I love Ben for taking good care of me!

- Decaf Pumpkin Spice Latte. It is only my 4th cup of coffee since I've been pregnant. It was wonderful.

- The end is in sight. And a new beginning awaits.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Did anyone watch EVER watch the old classic movie "Bambi"? Remember when Thumper's mom says, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." 70 years later and Thumper's mom's words hold SO MUCH wisdom.

During my pregnancy, I've had several comments said to me that I was able to brush off. Even laughed at, even. However, there are some comments that I wonder WHAT IN THE WORLD PROVOKES PEOPLE TO SAY SUCH A THING?

I've had people tell me that I would have a 15 pound baby because my belly is enormous. I've also had people tell me that it seems like I've been pregnant for forever. Every person and stranger who walks into my office makes a comment about my belly - "Wow! You are huge!", "You are breathing heavy, are you okay?"...I've had people tell me they couldn't believe I could still be standing without that baby falling out between my legs.

These are discouraging comments.

Pregnancy has made me feel like my body is foreign to me. I've had changes take place with my body that have made me (even more) self-conscious. In addition, being 37 weeks pregnant, I am sleep-deprived. When I stand up at work, I feel my hips readjust as I walk...it's painful. My feet are swollen ALL the time...and I can't even put them up until the end of a long day of work. The last thing I need is someone to make a "funny" comment.

With all that said, I want to include some blogs of things NOT to say to a pregnant woman. I'm sure MY readers are far more thoughtful than some of the bearers of the comments I've received and the comments in these blogs. So why share this at all? Because it takes thoughtful and caring people LIKE YOU to be aware of these comments. And if you are around your preggo friends and hear these comments, be courageous and say something! Encourage your pregnant friend! Your encouraging comments will reach into the heart of your pregnant friend and could transform her day. Literally.

Pregnancy Etiquette

Things A Pregnant Woman Shouldn't Hear

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 36

If you ask me how much longer I have this week, I will tell you 3.5 weeks. It feels so close, but then so far away too. Sometimes, I even wonder if this pregnancy is real, then the baby kicks and moves around or I get up to use the restroom (for the 1000th time) and I am reminded this is real...the days just seem long right now.

For this week, we have a lot to highlight:

- Ben makes me laugh by:
  • When I have Braxton Hicks Contractions: He asks me if now is when I'm going to "birth that baby?"
  • He practices his reaction for when my water breaks. Hysterically funny. 
  • Telling me he is ready for this pregnancy deal to be over. (I think we both are!)
- After months and months of gathering various pieces of art for the nursery, the frames are here and the art is going up this weekend! 

- Praying and hoping that Madden doesn't come until my sister arrives. But, he can definitely arrive the 1st day she is here! :)

- Woke up from a dream where it was my firstborn's birthday and I forgot.

- Watching the quilt for the nursery come together. It really is looking AWESOME...and it isn't even finished yet!

- Trying not to forget to buy about 5 packets of Polaroid film for my Polaroid camera for when the baby gets here.

- Swollen feet. And hands. And face. Looking forward to the day where walking isn't uncomfortable and my fingers look normal again and my face isn't puffy.

- Cherishing these last few weeks of Ben and I. I know I've mentioned this before, but as this pregnancy comes to an end, I am reminded by how much our lives will change (for the best, of course!). Yet with the goodness about to be bestowed on us, I am not forgetting or ignoring the goodness these last 2 years of JUST Ben and I have been.

- Craving pancakes. Someone please place a pancake shop right outside my house with endless flavors of pancakes. I can't get enough.

- Determined to cherish every moment with Madden. To enjoy those messy diapers, and spit up stains and sleepless nights because life is short and we only get this time with our baby once. Planning to hold our little one a lot because life is short and we only get this with our baby once. To not hurry his progress...he will walk eventually, throw a ball, play with his friends and eat solid food...all in due time. But to enjoy each moment. All because we only get this time with our baby once.

- Praying for grace to raise our son.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How One Friend's Journey Inspired Me.

I don't think I am naturally positive. I mean, I prefer a good tragedy over a comedy, and would rather make people cry than laugh. I'm not like my dad who says he is so positive even his blood is B positive.

That isn't me.

But several months ago, I began to notice a change in a friend's facebook statuses. That change went from random statuses just like everyone else on anyone's friend's list...to statuses of thankfulness. She called it the journey towards a changed perspective. Just like a regular creeper, I found myself going to her facebook page each day just to see if she had updated her status and what she was thankful for that day. It felt awkward, I'll admit. We lost touch years ago, so I even got paranoid she would "defriend" me and THEN I WOULD MISS OUT ON HER STATUSES. (She didn't.) What intrigued me was her statuses boasted of nothing glamorous. They were refreshing normal and honest, but always thankful. Always - even down to unfolded laundry and stressful days at work which were reported IN THANKFULNESS. Eventually, the creepiness of my consistent following turned into curiosity. Could I do it? Could I write a status of thankfulness, too? It seemed both incredibly easy and overwhelming. And, should I ask my friend for permission to copy her idea?

Then, I realized I'd never do it if I didn't stop over-analyzing. So I did it. And, I didn't even ask her permission. Then, I did it again. And again.

Only to realize that a status of thankfulness is refreshing...for me. It reminds me how good and full and abundant my life is. How blessed I am. How content I am. And, how happy I am....(which suddenly makes me think I am becoming more like my dad each day.)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 35

Week 35 came with 2 doctor's appointments; where I found out I am progressing normally. This week also brought other things as well:

- I returned to my college to celebrate homecoming and visit with friends. It was so much fun; but I was acutely aware of how being with friends from college may make me FEEL like a college girl again, but at 9-months pregnant I have to keep in mind how much is too much and know when to stop.

- Sleepless nights continue...making Sunday afternoon naps wonderful.

- Hospital bag ready.

- My pre-baby to-do list continues to shrink. It is ESPECIALLY nice to have thank you notes done! woohoo!

- After the last 7 months of doing MORE than his fair share of the housework, Ben is enjoying the fruits of my nesting.

- My dad orders the "come-home-from-the-hospital-outfit". I know it is a baseball uniform which is significant since ALL my brothers wore a baseball uniform when my parents brought them home.

- For the past couple of weeks, I would think "6 1/2 weeks" left. Now, I'm just rounding down. Which means, this weekend, I've been telling EVERYONE I only have 4 more weeks. Which is true, but is probably a little ahead of myself too.

- I waited my entire pregnancy for the insensitive comments of people...and they came, right at the end. It has been extremely unbelievable the comments I have received and how they have left me feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable.

- Praying this baby comes the week my sister is here. I really want her there.

- Realizing how good life is.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 34

This week, for whatever reason, it hit me. I'm approximately 6 weeks from meeting our baby. Several people have asked if I am scared of delivery, no, I'm not. But, it definitely seems surreal that Ben and I are about to become parents. These last few weeks of just Ben and I are ones I am cherishing. As life will change (for the best, of course), I am spending a lot of time praying and hoping we don't lose the "us" factor of our family.

This week brought:

- possible candidates job-shadowing to fill in for me at my job. That seemed so weird, but also crazy because I'm SO CLOSE and I will spend these final weeks before Madden gets here training this individual.

- Gagging on my own stomach acid. Is that nasty or what to think about? But it happened and it scared Ben as much as it scared me. I've made adjustments with my sleeping arrangements to avoid that happening again. So far, so good.

- Feeling like my hips creak back into place when I moved. Oh my...it made walking a whole new experience as I waddle to get things adjusted.

- Ben watching me jump into to action (as he calls it). This nesting thing has made me feel a sense of urgency to get EVERYTHING finished. The nursery is becoming more and more organized and I am wrapping up those last minute projects that are STILL hanging over my head.

- We had our maternity pictures taken. It was so much fun and I am so eager to see how they turned out. Now,  I can officially start thinking about the newborn pictures.

- Realizing how much Madden loves music. It is so fascinating to feel him wiggle when there is music playing.

- I'm ready. I'm ready to hold our baby and looking forward to embracing the opportunity, responsibility and privilege given to Ben and I to raise our little one.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 33

It is so hard for me to grasp that our baby will be here in 7 weeks. It seems like time has flown by in one sense...and yet, it feels like I've been pregnant for FOREVER.

This week:

I encountered sharper pains of Braxton Hicks contractions.

I watched my feet (and hands too) start swelling again.

Pregnancy insomnia greeted me warmly...although, I have NOT returned the greeting so well.

I bought pregnancy skinny jeans. I felt silly buying jeans at 8 months pregnant, but it is AMAZING what a pair of skinny jeans will do for a girl. I felt normal. :) 

Week 33 is one week I don't want to forget either. It marked the week I realized that for all my calculated planning for preparing for this baby, some things are out of my control.

Ben's Mom threw us a baby shower. We were so overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family who came to celebrate our little one's arrival.

The weeks are ticking by so quickly....which already have me wishing the next 18 years will crawl by. He isn't even here yet, but we are anxious to cherish every moment with our child.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How I Chose Our Photographer

Anyone who knows me knows I love photography. My favorite photographers are Jessica Claire and Jasmine Star. I've been following them for years and I love their work. When we found out we were expecting, I went right to work to find the perfect photographer.

My criteria for a photographer is simple:

I want to hear their heart. Basically, I want to spend hours on their blog, because I truly believe that any photographer that is willing to blog their work, is willing to show how they've grown and expanded. (which is why I love Jessica and Jasmine)

I want to know who inspires them in the photography business. Following Jessica and Jasmine has given me a pretty good idea of those well-known photographers. The celebrities in the photography business. That said,  I want to who my photographer admires. Who he or she blog-stalks.

They can't be expensive. Okay, to be honest, this is Ben's stipulation, but it definitely makes the pool of photographers THAT MUCH SMALLER when you combine this with my picky-ness.

So with all that in mind, it seems impossible, right? In fact, Ben and I have joked that I should just go into to photography to element my exhaustive search! But, wouldn't you know that my habit of Facebook-stalking my friends paid off when I found my photographer?

My college-friend Melissa got married several months ago and as I was creeping through her pictures...(admit it, we ALL DO IT!)...I fell in love with her photographer, Katie Rivers. Okay, so maybe it was more of Katie's work that I fell in love with, but you get the point. What absolutely sealed the deal for me? Katie LOVES JESSICA CLAIRE. Katie was affordable. AND Katie has an awesome blog.

I was barely 4 months pregnant contacting a photographer for maternity and newborn pictures. Call me crazy...but I know a good thing when I see it. Luckily for me, I DID contact Katie right away, because over the summer, she announced doing weddings exclusively. (Which means that future family photos will start the search ALL over again!)

In just a week, I will meet Katie for the first time when we do our maternity session. I am so excited! Katie has graciously allowed me to send her multiple photographer shots that I've loved, so it has been nice to know how approachable she is.

This is only the beginning, and I cannot wait!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Autumn Headband

It all started when I saw this awesome Autumn-inspired garland. My idea expanded when my sister sent me a headband tutorial.

Then it all evolved into this:

All my supplies. I used the cheap-o 34 cent felt at Joanne's. This fabric glue stuff called Tac. And a pattern Ben drew for me. :)

On layer 3, waiting for the fabric glue to dry. It really took no time at all and it was dry enough for the next leaf.

The finished product. A layered leaf headband!
The finished product:
One angle

Another angle
So easy, fun, fast and cheap...AND it gets you in the perfect mood for fall weather and pumpkin spice lattes!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 31 & 32

Week 31 slipped by without much incident. I have been doing a lot of research on breastfeeding, returning to work and more. It is a lot to process through; but I know that I will feel better prepared and less overwhelmed in the coming weeks if I process through everything now.

The one highlight of Week 31 was: Receiving a text from Ben telling me he just purchased clothing for Madden. 

Week 32 started off with talking to my best friend. We haven't seen each other in so long; and it is weird for me to be very pregnant without her here. The entire conversation was the perfect start to my week. Especially, since Braxton Hicks contractions have begun in full swing. Listening to Ben talk to Madden. He has been doing this along, but as we get closer, his conversations start with "Hi Son, it's your Dad." and end with "Love you." These are the moments I want to remember for ever.

The past two weeks have made me so thankful. Here is an update on my pregnancy thankfulness:

Social Media: Twitter and Facebook have become incredible and highly valuable resources for me as I prepare for this baby.

My best friend Stephanie. During our conversation, she told me she felt a special connection/attachment to my baby. I loved hearing that.

Milk. It is the best thing EVER. I have seriously gone through 2 gallons in the last 2.5 weeks. This is an incredible feat; but more than that I CAN'T GET ENOUGH.

Nesting has arrived full force. It is nice to have some energy and FEEL like cleaning everything I encounter. 

The countdown to this baby's arrival is now to SINGLE DIGITS. That is so crazy to both Ben and I...But we are SO ready.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What I've Been Up To

You all know how much I love lists. I ADORE LISTS. So, let's get started on what I've been doing lately.

1. Aside from waiting for these weeks to fly by....I have become steadily addicted to Twitter. I don't tweet as much as I follow and re-tweet and tweet random things...oh, and feel free to follow me.

2. I made a cake. Using this recipe. I put some berries over it and drizzled a little powder-sugar glaze. It was DELICIOUS!

3. We wrapped up watching Bachelor Pad and Big Brother. I definitely need to blog our quirky reasons behind why we watch what.





4. I've become addicted to...my sister's BLOG.

5. It's overwhelming that I'm down to single-digit-weeks. The reality of this - WE ARE HAVING A BABY - is beginning to hit Ben and I. But we are so excited. SO excited.

6. Talking to good friends. So refreshing. So wonderful.

That's me. Are you up to anything fun? Or, what would you like me to blog about?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering: 9/11/2001

I have spent time on Facebook today reading people's stories. Their little statuses detailing where they were when the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the plane crash in PA occurred. Maybe it is my "friends", but almost everyone was in high school or middle school at the time. Which is so strange to me; that 10 years ago, we - I - were in high school. High school: where our entire lives are before us and all the dreams we dreamed seem possible.

Did 9/11 change that? I'm sure ...in more ways than one.

I have spent today reflecting on how thankful I am for the men and women who serve in our military, our police officers, the bravery of our local fire departments, our first responders.

I have also spent a good bit of time thinking about the children who won't remember, like my baby. The children whose lives were dramatically changed because their parents got up to go to work and never came home. During all the coverage of that horrific day, I remember one story of a little girl who kept begging her mom for something on their way to daycare in New York City. The mom was late for work...in the World Trade Center. But the child kept begging, the mother gave in...and that singular act of giving in to her child saved her life.

And, like everyone else today, I have been thinking about where I was on September 11, 2001...I was 17 years old. My sister and I babysat for a local women's Bible study. We had been doing that for years; once a week for 4 hours. We were homeschooled, so we had the flexibility to babysit in the mornings. That morning, on September 11th, about 45 minutes to an hour into the morning, the mothers traipsed back in. Without a word to my sister or I, they grabbed their kids and went home. I remember looking at my sister as we wondered the same thing: what was going on? Finally, the church secretary came and told us. It didn't seem real, of course. But it was so very real.

There is no denying or ignoring the tragedy of 9/11. I hope that 10 years later, we haven't forgotten the courage, the hope and spirit of overcoming that our Nation embraced in the midst of a horrific event. So much has changed since that fateful Tuesday, but hopefully, those characteristics of courage and hope have not been forgotten.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Baby-Moon

Ben and I spent Labor Day weekend in Destin, FL. We wanted a pre-baby trip to take place before I got too big and before the baby got here too...(okay, okay, I'm already HUGE, but you hopefully understand what I'm saying!)

The night before we left, I told Ben that I had been watching the weather on weather.com which told me that a little thing called a HURRICANE was heading toward Destin, FL the same weekend as us. Ben's reply: "Honey, there is a ONE PERCENT chance that it will actually rain while we are at the beach." 

Well, it actually turned out to be ONE HUNDRED PERCENT rain THE ENTIRE TIME WE WERE THERE.

Aside of the rain, here are some highlights of the weekend:

Restuarants:

Another Broken Egg Cafe: We had breakfast on the first day here. The food was good and plentiful, but we did get our card declined...only because the waitress ran our debit card 9 times! We thankfully caught the mistake, but it was still a little disturbing and definitely overshadowed our experience. 

Acme Oyster House: They serve a specialty called "char-grilled oysters"; apparently Ben had them 5 years prior and has been dreaming of them ever since. Honestly, they were so good. But so unique too.

Fudpuckers: You definitely go there more for the experience, than the food. They have a TON of baby alligators that you can feed and hold. I passed on that experience; instead, Ben and I spent our conversation discussing all the signatures and messages of past patrons. The classic ones were "Lucy loves Joe" or "Erica and Jon 4ever"....which led to the great question: how awkward would it be if Lucy and Joe or Erica and Jon are no longer together, but they go BACK with their new significant others and those new significant others see their little message???

Hammerheads/Poppy Seafood Factory: We spent our last night dining at this place. We sat outdoors, under a pavilion listening to the live music and watching the rain fall. The food was good; Ben kept calling the food "REAL seafood".

And the rain kept pouring...Of course, I continued to ask Ben about that ONE PERCENT chance. 

Instead of going to the beach, we did the following:

- We got pedicures. Both Ben and I. Honestly, pedicures are one of my favorite things EVER. And, it is so much fun to get a pedicure WITH Ben.

- We spent a considerable amount of time at Barnes and Nobles. I bought a book.

- We slept. A lot. It was blissful.

We did venture to the beach - the few times it wasn't raining - to watch the waves. It was incredible to see how forceful and strong the waves were.

In the end, perhaps it wasn't the most ideal vacation. It rained. And rained. And rained. But, we did have a lot of fun. We enjoyed the slower pace and the forced-ability to rest and relax. Overall, it was wonderful.

PS - Am I the only one to recently hear the term "baby-moon"? I found it hysterical and I have been looking for opportunities to use it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Blog and the 1st Day of School

My friend Michael recently moved to Taiwan. Honestly, just typing that makes me want to go on a long rambling paragraph about how a TON of my friends have moved out of state OR out of the country. But that is for another day...

Anyway, my friend Michael has been one of my most cherished friends for 6 years (Can you believe it, Michael???). We became friends on Move-In Day of college. And we've stayed friends through exams, papers, our mutual struggle to commit to ONE friend group until our senior year, changes in families, getting grown-up jobs, life changes and now this - Michael moves to Taiwan.

This week, Michael asked me to remember him on his first day of class as a teacher. He said he was nervous about getting distracted. That only made me laugh as I consider him one of the most focused and deliberate people I know.

While I am not sure how the rest of the day, I do know that Michael incorporated my recent blog post on Milo and Miko in his class as a visual aid for how to do a blog for an assignment in his class.

I am not just thrilled.  I AM ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED. My BLOG was used on the first day of school...AND MY DOGS WERE MADE FAMOUS TOO!!!!!

Thank you, Michael. You made my day.

(Readers, definitely add Michael's blog to your daily read. I love a good international blog post, especially one from a good friend too!)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pregnant Without My Mom

During week 9's update on Baby A, I mentioned missing my mom. And, I left it at that. But, 21 weeks later, I'm ready to pick up that topic again.

As I've progressed through this pregnancy, I've surprised myself with how much I remember my Mom's pregnancies. And yet, at the same token, how much I don't remember. My memory has served me well - helping me remember how she responded to different things...but my lack of memory has also caused much frustration. I remember her cravings (Cherry-limeades from Sonic, for instance), but I can't remember if she just didn't feel well (which makes her seem like superwoman). Thankfully, my Dad has a great memory! He said it best when he said, "I was with her for the 6 years she was pregnant." (8 kids x 9 months = 6 years). So, I've asked him a lot and learned from his memory.

I think about things that she would have made a priority. Like the baby shower hosted for me several weeks ago. She would have definitely been there. Or the fact that all the bedding for Madden's room would have been made by her. Which is probably why I decided to make Madden's blanket. A connection I didn't even make back to her, until a friend of mine asked if that intention was linked to her. After thinking about it, I realized my friend was right - it was definitely linked back to my Mom.

Interestingly enough, I have learned a lot about my unborn child by talking to Cindy, Ben's mom. Listening to her talk about her pregnancy with Ben, I have been able to compare notes to Ben and Madden. The comparisons make me smile because Madden is already like his Dad (but let's hope that he DOES NOT show up 3 weeks late like Ben).

Overall, I have realized how much healing the past 5 years has brought. Sure, I miss my mom. But, I don't feel disabled because she isn't here -I have learned the importance of enjoying life to the fullest...without Mom. I know that seems weird and harsh to say, but it is true. If I remain stuck in the "What if" scenario with my Mom, I will never live life. And, in that, I will truly become crippled by her memory, instead of appreciating my time with her. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baby A Update: Weeks 28, 29, 30

Well, today jump-starts WEEK 30! We only have (approximately) 10 weeks left, people!

The last couple of weeks have been so busy as we welcomed the THIRD (and FINAL) trimester. We spent time with family, attended a wedding, and begun the quilt for Madden's nursery.

The hunger has returned in full-force. I thought it was suppose to fall off?

This baby belly keeps getting bigger and bigger. It is truly remarkable. I keep thinking it CAN'T grow any more...right? 

I have been doing a lot of research. In particular,  newborn photo sessions. I am SUCH a planner, so I like to be very well informed and understand the trends...especially in photography.  I have particularly been enjoying the ART of Baby as Art blog. Adorable.

My blog-reading has evolved where I am reading a lot of mommy-blogs. One of my favorites has become Dear Baby Blog.

I am really looking forward to this baby getting here. NOT MUCH LONGER.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Milo and Miko

It has been a while since I have talked about our lovable duo, Milo amd Miko! Ben and I absolutely love these dogs.

They have become the best of friends...they throw their toys everywhere. They chase each other. They guard our house by peering out the window to growl at anything - the wind, a bug, neighbors.

Miko has really blossomed from that first encounter on the roof. When we first got him, Miko did not what a treat was, he was terrified of anyone outside of Ben and I...and he was malnourished. That has all changed. He is so funny and loves attention!

Milo is our old soul. While he loves to play, he is also so serious. He loves to be anywhere i am. He is smart and learns things quickly.


Oh, how we love our furry boys.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Birthday Celebration

Today is my birthday! Wahoo! I have had a great day...actually a GREAT weekend. Ben and I have had so much fun.

Friday Night:
- We had dinner with our good friends, Heather and Cameron.
- Then, we went to the movies. The guys saw "A Night in the Dark" and Heather and I saw "The Help".

Saturday:
- Ben and I spent the day lounging at home...watching the Boot Camp of American Ninja Warrior.
- Saturday night, we spent among Kings and Knights, I mean really! We did! At Medieval Times. It was definitely different from anything we had done before...but it was fun!

Sunday:
- After church, we came home, went swimming and watched Chronicles of Narnia. What a great day.

Overall, my birthday has been so fun. I have completely enjoyed extending the celebration for the entire weekend. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Being Thankful...for pregnancy

My mom LOVED being pregnant. Loved it. So when I ran into my Mom's friends last week, they all kept comparing me to her. The truth is that while I am my mother's daughter, I don't love being pregnant like my mom.

In light of that, I have been spending a lot time recently thinking about what makes me thankful while pregnant.

Here is my list:

1. Pre-natal vitamins. I love those little gummies overflowing with goodness. And, they are sooo good for my hair!

2. Feeling my baby move. Absolutely magical.

3. No morning sickness. I'm so grateful this has not been a part of my pregnancy.

4. Healthy baby. So refreshing to know this baby is healthy.

5. Swollen feet. My only "problem" but it means I'm active.

6. Ben. It is wonderful to know that my husband still finds his preggo wife attractive (even when I don't).

7. (approximate) due date. The countdown to single digits is SO VERY CLOSE.

8. I'm excited to meet this child...whose existence was created out of love. That is beautiful.

9. Embarking on the journey of parenthood...with Ben. I am so excited that sharing life with Ben means we this responsibility, joy, and more of parenthood together.

10. Grandparents. I love watching my dad touch my belly to talk to his grandson.

11. Looking forward to being a mom. I am looking forward to replacing midnight bathroom runs with midnight baby duties.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Remembering

This weekend, we celebrated my sister's marriage to the love of her life, Adam. It was a beautiful ceremony. Full of tears, laughs and a couple so in love.

During the weekend, I heard comments about how fast Lydia and Adam's relationship went (they met, dated, got engaged in a year). Then someone asked me if I could believe Ben and I have almost been married for 2 years. Jokingly, I said, "Yes!" In actuality, it really is a mixture of emotions - on one hand it does seem possible, on another hand it seems impossible. Probably because Ben and I have weathered a lot together during these two years. We've fought. We've struggled financially. We've grown. We've cried. We laughed...a lot. We've apologized. We've learned to be more compassionated - towards each other and other people too. We aren't perfect.

In watching Lydia and Adam get married this weekend, I was reminded by how much better my life is because I'm married to Ben. Im sure that Adam and Lydia quickly discover the sweetness of marriage is each other...and how much better it gets with each passing day. Literally. Regardless of what life throws at them (us).

Friday, August 12, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 27

To be honest, Week 27 was not kind to me. At all. In fact, it was the roughest week in my pregnancy yet!

Here is a rundown of my not-so-great week:


- Feeling nauseous for 3 days in a row made for a rough start for the week. I know how fortunate I am to BEGIN to feel sick at Week 27, but it still made it rough.



-  Meeting a client for the first time and being told that I didn't look pregnant, I just looked chubby. Thank you?

- Being asked out by a man twice my age. It was creepy. HELLOOOOOO! I'm not only happily married, but PREGNANT! Interestingly enough, it reminded me of the story when my Mom was asked out while pregnant with me (ironically, I think she was between 6-7 months pregnant too!).

- Almost getting in a car accident...TWICE in the same night. Neither time was my fault, but that didn't stop me from freaking out.

- Realizing how much life is changing. I'm not talking about life after pregnancy, but I am talking about changes in relationships and friendships BECAUSE I am pregnant, because I am having a child. Pioneering this stage of life is not "fun" when you feel alone. So, this has been such a difficult thing for me to grasp (hopefully, I'm not alone?!?!) and it has caused me to be very emotional.

Ouch. That was a lot of heavy topics. Let me end on a good note:

- Madden is moving MORE THAN EVER. And, I am noticing his reactions to hearing people. Some people he moves according to their voices, but others who are unfamiliar or loud, he grows very still. It makes me laugh so much! (Speaking of noises, the dogs are running around the house chasing each other right now and barking and Madden hasn't stopped moving at the sounds of their shenanigans!)

- He also consistently moves between 10am-9pm. On that schedule, there is NO DOUBT he is definitely Ben's child.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wreath Update

Do you remember this wreath?


It went through a little makeover.


What do you think? I'm too cheap to go buy another Styrofoam wreath, so I ripped up my old wreath and created another one. The beautiful thing of it all is that IT DIDN'T COST ME ANYTHING!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Baby A Update: Weeks 24,25, 26

Man, oh, man...I definitely got behind on blogging. Work is consuming a lot of time, so I need to figure out a way to balance work, Ben and blogging.

Week 24:

Baby Madden moved around SO MUCH I literally felt like I was going to be sick. It probably did not help that I kept imagining a baby swimming around and doing flips.
Google Images

Week 25:

- Madden kept up his (more) active movement; I eventually got use to it..and even though he has consistently been moving since week 15, it has continued to be an adjustment!
- This week, I also had a gentleman approach me (in a gas station!) and proclaim, "You are having a boy!" It was strange; he was a stranger and I'm not accustom to being approached like that.

Week 26:

- I spent this week at training for my job - away from Ben. Whew! I did not like that one single bit!
- I encountered my first night of 3am heartburn/acid reflux. Thank-goodness, I had Smoothie Tums. Not only do they taste better than regular Tums, they are do the job too! I am so thankful that I haven't experienced this throughout my pregnancy.
- Within 24 hours from each other, I had 2 different people tell me that they couldn't believe I was ONLY 6 months pregnant. I wasn't as offended as I (probably) should have been...I took it in stride, mostly because I realize how many times people forget to be considerate.
- We bought the fabric for the blanket/quilt I am planning to make for the nursery. I am SO excited to start this project.
- My friends so graciously hosted a baby shower for me. I was very honored by the shower and their incredible thoughtfulness as well. I am going to do a separate blog post to highlight the shower. I don't want it to get lost!!
- I honestly feel like I'm on the downhill slide. I only have (approximately) 13 weeks left! It so, SO nice to feel like the end is in sight!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 22 & 23

Week 22:

- Feet swelling. This lovely addition to my pregnancy that I really do have to take it easy. And, that is not easy for me at all! I love to do a lot - hang out, go do new things, etc. While I am still enjoying an active life, I also have become keenly aware that my body begins to scream when enough is enough.

- My sister gave me this custom-made piece of art for Madden's room.
Life of Mars
- After reading my pregnancy book, I grew fearful of constipation. (too much information?) So, I've been chewing away at homemade wheat bread and multi-grain cereal.


Week 23:

- We went shopping for clothes for Madden. One of my goals is to buy clothes for him NOW for next summer. I got this tip from my cousin Crystal who encouraged me to buy clothes ahead of time because it saves money in the end. I have definitely taken this advice seriously and I am becoming so thankful for Crystal's insight and advice. Plus, Ben and I have had a lot of fun buying 6-9 months clothes or 6-12 month clothes.

- Madden gets the hiccups. I am still cracking up feeling and watching him with his hiccups. It is hysterical to me.

- I bought Madden's diaper bag. I have been searching high and low for a fun diaper bag. I originally picked out this awesome Retro bag.
Source: Fudge Banana Swirl

But, Ben vetoed it when he saw the price. So, I continued my search and was able to get a custom-made one!
Two Little Monkeys Shop
Are you surprised I didn't go with owls? Well, I did look for an owl diaper bag, but in the end, it was the dinosaurs that just captured my attention. I also wanted something that Madden could grow into. And, for as much as I love owls, I think he could quickly out-grow owls.

- I feel like my belly is bulging. Which is why my week 22 preggo picture will never surface. I feel like a whale.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Blogs

I've been enjoying some new blogs lately. My blog choices are evolving...and I can tell it has something to do with little Madden coming our way.

This week, my friend Tori (check out her blog and Etsy shop!) sent me this awesome blog:
Meet The Dubiens
This fun Mom blogs about all the creative (not to mention inexpensive) crafts she does with her kids. She also highlights some INCREDIBLE lunches for her little ones in Fun Food Friday.

I also frequent Fudge Banana Swirl. This fun blog/website is ran by photographer Chenin Boutwell. My favorite thing about this blog is the variety - recipes, fun books, nursery designs, fun clothing, etc.
Fudge Banana Swirl

I just stumbled upon Sugar and Meringue blog. There is so much goodness on this blog, you just CAN'T read it all in one day!

I have this (not-so-secret) desire to integrate all things vintage into my home. This Mom of 3 (soon-to-be 4!) kiddos does an incredible job. She recently hosted a fun Cake Party.  Friends! I might just be stealing this fun idea. I mean, WHO DOESN'T like cake and friends together?!?!?

What have you been reading lately?

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Sneak Peek: Madden's Nursery!

An update of Madden's Nursery! 

We chose gray as the color for the nursery; I wanted a color that was modern, gender-neutral and didn't take away from the other accent colors I plan to use. This was an especially tall order for a color choice since we selected the color before we knew what we were having. The owl theme was also chosen way before we even knew we were pregnant! I've been busy collecting owl things and that has been so fun. Once I do the big display, I will list where we got everything. But, for now, you just get a sneak peek! 

Ben painting away! He is almost finished!!

The dresser, the rug, and the various things we've collected/received for Madden.

Another view of the room.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Baby A Update: Weeks 20 & 21

As a reminder: Baby A & Madden are the same person! I'm just forewarning you if I mix the two up! :)

Week 20:

- We saw Madden move! That was so crazy cool and I loved every second. He is just as active as ever...and while this may seem weird, I can feel a difference as each week passes and he grows bigger.

- I began to collect ideas for the ONE YEAR birthday party. And, halloween costume. Never mind the fact we have one and half years until we even GET TO THAT POINT. I can't help it. I'm so excited.

- I tried to talk to Ben about Christmas card ideas. He refused to discuss that with me. I suppose it appears extreme to discuss Christmas cards...in JUNE.

- Ben discussed with Madden enjoying all things Americana and Apple Pie. I always crack up to watch Ben talk to my belly. It is so precious and Madden just wiggles more and more when he hears Ben's voice.

Week 21:

- Nursery paint project is DONE. Ben did an excellent job and we can begin focusing on art, decor and more. I'll post pictures of the nursery soon.

- Round ligament pain showed up in excellent form. Catching me by surprise and causing me to feel like I was going to pass out. In the end, I really think the heat was bothering me. And, there is nothing like Gatorade to make you feel ALL better.

- Ben's Mom took me shopping for maternity clothes. It was my second trip for maternity clothes, and it signified another step away from my regular clothes (which I'm able to just BARELY squeeze in) to maternity clothes. I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed the time to go shopping with Cindy.

- We bought our first outfit for Madden. Of course, it would be just plan wrong if that purchase wasn't sports related. So, we bought 3 Falcon Onesies for Baby A. I have to admit, they are so precious.

- I emailed my photo-shoot ideas to our Maternity photographer. Granted, we aren't even doing the session until September, but I wanted to send her ideas of what I was thinking before I forgot.

- Oh, and I'm forgetful.

- Almost every conversation with Ben, I talk about how this time NEXT year, we will have a 7 month old, 8 month old, etc. That is a very surreal thought.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Owls and Caterpillars.

I recently found the following two parties. Oh-my-goodness. I've cannot even get over these two showers.

This baby shower for Jessica Claire. I adore every detail of Jessica's photography, decorating, and more....so I was drooling over this baby shower. And, I guess, you could say the theme had SOMETHING to do with it.

This fun 1st Birthday party idea. I adore any and all Eric Carle's books, so what better way to have a unique party than to create a theme around a favorite beloved book?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Advantages To Having a Boy

Where The Wild Things Are....on Steriods

Where the Wild Things Are Pinterest



Fudge Banana Swirl


And lastly, this ADORABLE photo session: http://www.ontobaby.com/2011/06/where-the-wild-things-are-cake-smash/

I'm especially in love with the cupcakes.

My mind is brimming with ideas. What's entertaining your noodle-creative brain?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just Ben and I

(It's been a while since I've just talked about Ben and I...so here is an update!)

We started this year out with one thought in mind: simplify. We wanted to simplify our life.

We were busy. Too busy. Four jobs between us, two dogs, opposite schedules, coming and going and passing each other every day of the week. And weekends were a foreign concept because we had never had full and consistent weekends together.

So we simplified. In April, our schedules merged to be more similar. Jobs dwindled down, and instead of passing each other, we actually get to spend quality time together.

The result has been...incredible. Really. We have more time to do fun things together. We aren't rushing. We get to rest and rejuvenate together. The impact on our marriage has been amazing. We don't argue as much...and I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that we aren't competing against life for each other.

In the last couple of months, we've taken a mini-trip, planted a garden, gone swimming  (a LOT), spent a lot of time with friends, laughed, gone to the movies, tried out fun restaurants...and overall, we have had great conversation.

Being married to Ben makes my life sweeter, fuller and overflowing with laughs.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad

There are a lot of great dads out there. I'm definitely not going to dispute that. However, I have been overwhelmingly blessed by my dad's influence and impact in my life.

All growing up, my dad was actively involved. He never missed a recital, play performance, swim meet, softball game, homecoming,graduation, wedding, nothing. He missed nothing.

Five-and-half years ago, dad took on the mom role when he became a single parent. My amazement of him has not ceased. By the grace of God, he has done a great job. Truly.

Sometimes, I think others think the lives of my siblings and myself are deficient without my mom. But that isn't true. Dad has picked up both hats of mom and dad and he has worn them well. I'm sure he would say it hasn't been easy. But my respect of my dad has only grown.

To my dad, for all you to see, I say thank you. Thank you for truly, truly, being an incredible father who somehow manages to stay involved in the ever-changing and ever-evolving lives of your children. All eight of them, at that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 19

This week could not have gotten here any faster!

Monday: We made cake balls. If you haven't tried them, you need to go to Bakerella and learn all about them!

Tuesday: We continued the working on the cake balls.

Wednesday: Our small group made bets on whether we were having a boy or a girl. The majority said girl, while Ben and one couple said boy. I did not participate - it was more fun watching the entire event! After our small group left, Ben watched me have a meltdown over the cake balls and then, he saved the day.

Thursday: the day we had been waiting for! We almost didn't get the ultrasound because the doctor said their doctor's office air conditioning was out....I was going to go along with the decision to wait a week, but Ben nicely objected and the doctor agreed to go ahead and give the ultrasound.

We are very excited to announce Baby A is a: BOY!
My favorite part of finding out what we were having was watching Ben throw a fist pump and say, "It's time to go buy a baseball glove!"

When we announced it to our family, we gave out our little treats we had been working so hard on:
Owl Cake Ball with a blue bowtie!
A lot of people have asked if we have a name picked out. In fact, within 30 minutes of us finding out we were having a boy, Ben asked me if I would continue to call our Baby A on the blog, or just announce the name? Well, I can't guarantee I won't continue to call him Baby A, but I might as well  announce the name: Madden Gideon.

Now, we can begin the countdown for the maternity pictures!