Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I have thoughts.

+ Taking care of a baby is hard work. You think it'll be easy - all they do is eat, poop and sleep, with the main emphasis on sleep. Right? You think the hardest part will be waking up every couple of hours during the night to feed them, and then they'll drift easily back into sleep and so will you. But before you know it, you're dealing with low milk supply and a baby with a high, narrow palate who isn't gaining weight like they should and you're going to doctor/lactation consultant/therapist appointments at least two, sometimes three times a week and on top of all that your beautiful, perfect baby doesn't actually seem to appreciate sleep and you're lucky if you manage a broken 4 total hours of your own sleep at night.

+ Despite all of the above, the deep love you have for this brand new beautiful human is like nothing you've ever known before and you would do literally anything for them, including pumping after every single nursing session in order to boost your supply when pumping is the actual worst.

+ Five weeks feels like five years.

+ Five weeks feels like five minutes.

+ It's hard not to feel a little bit (okay, a lot bit) annoyed with moms who get bent out of shape when their husbands are an hour late home from work because they're BASICALLY RAISING THE BABY ALONE, YOU KNOW. Not that that's not hard, but Isaiah got scheduled to work nights for the next two months, which means I am alone literally 22 out of 24 hours of the day. All day, and all night. We get two hours a day together when he isn't either sleeping or working, and I would give my right arm for him to ONLY be gone 8-9 hours a day.

+ I got a wild hair the other day and thought I would try on my "fat" jeans from before I was pregnant. HA. HAHAHA. If you value your self esteem at all, do NOT do that at only 5 weeks postpartum. I don't know whose hips and thighs these are, but they certainly aren't mine. Supposedly, breastfeeding will just melt those extra pounds right off your body but that hasn't been my experience so far at all. I lost 10 pounds the day Imogen was born, and another five over the next week...and not a pound has been lost since then...weeks ago. I'm breastfeeding exclusively, I don't overeat and most of my food is healthy. What gives!?

+ "They" say the hardest part of having a newborn tends to get better after 6 weeks. "They" also say 8 weeks, and "they" also say 12 weeks. I'm hoping for closer to 6.

+ If you have a kid(s) and you have your parents living close to you - even relatively close, within an hour or two - count your blessings.

+ I still laugh when we get blank stares after telling someone the baby's name. A lot of people think we made it up. We did not.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Introducing our new family member

You guys. I had a baby. I HAVE a baby.

Meet Imogen Fern!!

Two hours old.

Does the eye goop make anyone else sad?

She was born on July 2nd, eight days past her due date but perfectly on time; all 6 pounds, 15 ounces of her at 6:57 a.m. Well, according to her hospital records it was 6:57. Quick side story before getting to the main story: I vaguely remember the nurses talking about how they needed to choose whether to go by the time displayed on the monitors or the time displayed on the wall clock to determine her exact time of birth. They decided to go by the monitors because they decided it would look funny if the baby's hospital records stated a different time on paper than the time the monitors actually stopped recording her heartbeat. But, Isaiah said he looked at the monitors a bit earlier and compared them to his cell phone and the monitors were 3 minutes behind.

So, although her records state time of birth as 6:57, we're pretty sure she was actually born at 7:00am on the dot, making her birthday 7/2/17 at 7:00am. It doesn't matter in the long run but it's a funny story we'll get to tell her later.

Anyway! One other bit of housekeeping, I promised to show one more element of the nursery that was previously a secret because it revealed her name. Here's a picture of her bedroom door! The weekend before she was due, Isaiah suggested we make a banner for her bedroom with her name on it, just for fun, and this is what he/we came up with. I just love how it turned out and it's a minor miracle we found all the supplies we needed at the local craft store, which is really more like 75% household goods and tourist crap and 25% fabric and actual craft supplies.

Now the part you've all been waiting for (with bated breath, I'm sure): The birth story. I'll try to make it as short as possible, but cramming 27 long, long, long hours of labor into one concise blog post is going to be a challenge.

On June 23rd, one day before my due date, I went to the doctor for what I hoped would be my last prenatal appointment. I was my mother's first born and I was born on my exact due date, so I had somewhat high hopes that Imogen would take after me and be punctual. At my appointment, the doctor checked and informed me I was between 1 and 2 centimeters dilated. I asked if I should be a little further along than that, and she said not necessarily, that it showed my body was prepping itself for childbirth and the number itself didn't matter much (which I knew but it was nice to have the confirmation).

Needless to say, my due date came and went...and went...and went. I had another appointment a few days later, and declined both a cervical check and a membrane sweep. I also let the doctor know that as long as everything was still checking out okay and the baby was healthy, I didn't even want to talk about induction until 42 weeks (which she understood and was fine with). I already knew that Imogen was on the smaller side based on ultrasound measurements, and I really just had a gut feeling that she wasn't quite ready yet, and God knew exactly when her birthday needed to be. Obviously if careful monitoring showed a problem we would have carefully weighed our options, but my fluid levels were fine, blood pressure perfect, placenta a-okay, and she looked perfect on the ultrasounds as well.

Plus, after lots of research I knew that, statistically, most women naturally go into labor by 40 weeks and 5 days, and almost all the rest go into labor by 41 weeks and 3 days. It's actually relatively rare to make it to 42 weeks, but it also isn't an automatic induction sentence.

Well, at 41 weeks on the dot - Saturday morning the 1st of July - I woke up at 4am with what felt like really bad period cramps. In my half-asleep stupor I remembered that lots of people said their early labor pains felt the same way, and I thought maybe something was finally happening, but I went back to sleep and figured if I woke up and still had them, then I'd put more thought into it. At 6am I woke up again with the same pain, and finally at 8am I got up and decided that I'd shower and see if THAT got rid of the cramping.

Spoiler alert: Nope.

Cat pjs for life.

After I showered, the cramps had turned from a constant ache to actual, time-able pains. They were only 30 seconds long and I was totally able to talk and function through them, but they were only 3 minutes apart. In my naïveté I was hopeful that that meant I'd have a short labor, since I'd heard so many people say their contractions started 10, 15, 20 minutes apart and didn't get closer together for many hours. Since they were only 30 seconds long, though, I figured I still had a little bit of time, and after making sure my hospital bag was ready to go, we went to a late breakfast (brunch, if you wanna be fancy about it).

All through breakfast I timed my contractions, which were staying at a steady 30-45 seconds long and 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart. By the time brunch was over, I was having a harder time ignoring them (and talking to our server) so we went home. Since I planned on an unmedicated birth, I knew I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible. I really, really did not want to show up to the hospital too early for them to admit me, and I really, really did not want my labor to stall once I got there.

By late afternoon, my contractions were lasting about a minute long and were 2-3 minutes apart. I definitely couldn't talk through them anymore and it was getting pretty hard to talk or do anything in between them, too, which according to all the books means you should be fairly far along. At this point, both my mom and my mother-in-law were insisting I go to the hospital (lest I deliver a baby in the car), and even though I knew I probably wasn't in any danger of that happening, I called the hospital to see what they said anyway. The nurse seemed a little disbelieving that my contractions were actually that long and close together, but said we should go ahead and come in to the hospital so they could check and see how I was progressing.

So after a final check to make sure the cat's food and water bowls were full and the house was picked up, we headed to the hospital around 5:00pm. Let me tell you, car rides when you're in labor are absolutely excruciating and I was absolutely NOT wanting to be sent back home, because that would mean being strapped into a car seat three more times.

Long story short(er), we got to the hospital, I put on a gown, they strapped me to the monitors, agreed that yes, my contractions were as long and as close together as I had said they were on the phone, and checked to see how far along I was.

I was really, really hoping that after 9 hours of labor I would be at least four or five centimeters dilated. I even had hopes of delivering a baby before midnight. I figured there was no way I just spent the entire day pacing the house, sitting down only to eat brunch, only to make no progress.

I had made barely any progress. At my 40 week doctor's appointment I was told I was between 1 1/2 to 2 centimeters dilated. When we got to the hospital, after hours and hours of labor, I was only at 2 1/2 centimeters. Even though all my research told me that it didn't matter how far dilated I was, that your body can go from 0 to 10 in a matter of a few hours if it wants to, it was still pretty discouraging to hear that all the pain so far had been for almost nothing.

The nurse told us that since there was nobody else there, if we wanted to stay we could, even though they don't typically admit people until they're around 5 centimeters. She also said we could go home if I wanted to do that, since it would probably still be a while. I absolutely did NOT want to go back home, so we said we would stay there, I would get re-dressed, and we would walk around the hospital until something happened.

This was at about 6:00pm at this point...rather than bore you with the long, painful details of the next twelve hours, let's just say we basically wore a rut in the floor of a basement conference room at the hospital with all the circles we paced in between contractions. Finally, I couldn't handle walking around anymore (despite all my goals of staying upright until I was ready to push the baby out), and we made our way back upstairs where we discovered I was closer to 4 centimeters. Another "Are you kidding me??" moment.

To be honest, a lot of the night after I changed into that stupid hospital gown for the last time is kind of a blur. I know I spent the rest of the time laying in the hospital bed, doing my best to relax and breathe through contractions while also being in so much pain I had to yank on the rail of the bed just so I had some place to direct some energy. I also had no intention of being *that* laboring woman who makes a lot of noise, but at some point, it became completely involuntary.

Eventually, I have no idea what time, I hit transition. Let me spare you all the details - those of you who have had children will know what I mean and if you haven't and you want to know, I'm happy to share - but it is absolutely the strangest, most out of control, worst feeling I have ever felt in my entire life. I am so thankful that Isaiah and I did a lot of reading and I knew everything I was feeling and thinking was completely normal and I was not, in fact, dying - but that doesn't mean it's anything I want to repeat any time soon. I also knew that transition is the shortest phase of labor - generally between 30-90 minutes - and that gave me hope that I was almost done.

I have no idea how long I actually spent in transition. I know it wasn't an extremely long time (maybe an hour?), but it got to the point where my body was going to push this baby out no matter how hard I tried to stop it, and it is the most annoying thing in the world when a nurse is telling you "don't push!" over and over while they wait for the doctor to arrive. Through a haze I vaguely remember saying "I can't help it, I'm not doing it on purpose!" over and over like I was in trouble or something.

Finally, finally, the doctor arrived, checked me and said I was ready to push.

Thirty minutes later, the greatest blessing of our entire lives arrived kicking and crying and stretching her legs out as far as they could possibly go (explaining why I felt her knees/feet up under my ribs constantly the entire last month of being pregnant).


I can't wait until she starts smiling for real. In the meantime, she gives us plenty of teaser smiles.

Within two hours, I was up and walking myself to our recovery room, and after a mostly sleepless night full of blood pressure checks and, uh, stomach "massages", we were able to go home around noon the next day. Not a moment too soon, because hospital food is not exactly fine dining.

I can't say we've slept a whole lot better since coming home (ha), but at least I don't have to wear a hospital gown anymore and at least the food is better. 

I have a lot of other things I could say relating to unmedicated childbirth, and if that's something anybody would like to read, let me know and I'll write something up. I hesitated to talk a lot about it in this post, because I never want to make anybody feel like not getting an epidural makes me think I'm a better person (it doesn't), but I would absolutely recommend it to anybody, any day of the week. 

There are a lot of things about having a newborn I wasn't expecting and a lot I wish I had been told or warned about ahead of time, but overall, it has been the sweetest two weeks. I know I'm biased, but this little girl is pretty perfect. Life is definitely better with her in our family.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

FFR (Fully Finished Room) seeks TLBG (Tiny Little Baby Girl)

I've been procrastinating writing this post, even though the baby's room has essentially been completed and ready to go for quite a while. Mostly just because there are two small projects that I just can't seem to get my butt in gear to finish and I feel like the room isn't really DONE until *I'm* done, you know? But, the projects are nothing that can't wait until after she's born and heck, maybe they'll give me something to do while she's napping.

Our original idea was to create a very outdoorsy-forest animal-mountain themed nursery, one that was somewhat gender neutral but had a few girly touches thrown in should we find out the baby was a girl - which she is. We mostly stuck to the plan, and there are a few things I would have liked to do a little bit differently but when space and lighting are a major issue, some adjustments have to be made. Overall, though, I really love how the room turned out!

I'll leave some links at the bottom of the post (none affiliated, of course) in case you want to snag something you see in these photos. There is one other DIY element to the room that is not pictured, but I'll definitely show it off after she makes her arrival - it displays her name so it'll have to remain a secret for a little bit longer!

Also, I took these photos with my iPhone and the lighting isn't great (as mentioned already) because the room is on the back of our house, up against a cliffside, with zero sunlight during the day...and I did try and edit them a little bit...and I'm a terrible indoor photographer regardless...but you'll get the idea. It's a little bit cave-like (when the brightness isn't bumped up via the magic of Photoshop) but I'm choosing to call it "cozy" instead.

Welcome! Here we have the view if you are standing in the doorway of the nursery. Huge, right? Good thing babies are tiny. But seriously, it's small and cozy and perfect for a tiny person. A hobbit hole, if you will.

To the left of the room we have one bookshelf (from Target, years ago), that used to hold the majority of my yarn and craft items. I decided to sacrifice it to a greater cause. It didn't originally have that lift-open cabinet door on the top of it - that was a contribution from my extremely handy husband. We don't have a ton of room in the rest of the house, so we added a cover to the top two cubes of both bookshelves so we could still store a few items that aren't baby-related, but not have to actually look at them all the time. One contains some adult books (not adult themed books, ya perv) and one contains some office-type supplies. 

Same basic bookshelf story, but on the right side of the room. This one holds all her currently-owned books, a few decorative items, and a few more of our things hidden underneath the cabinet door up top. We went back and forth and back and forth between either a crocheted floor pouf (like this one) or a furry cube-shaped ottoman/pouf, and finally decided on the fur when it went on a sale too good to pass up. 

Standing in front of the crib and turning around, we have the other side of the room. This is what I like to call the feeding nook. I wasn't originally a huge fan of this style of nursery glider and I really wanted something a little bit more retro looking (a.k.a. not obviously a baby chair) but 1) none of the ones I liked would actually ship to Alaska and 2) most of them were big bucks even if they would ship. So, we settled on this one, but I ended up not hating it. Plus, it's pretty comfortable, and in a color I like. We didn't buy the matching ottoman, because I'm not a matchy-matchy person, hence the fur ottoman. 

Swinging to the right a bit more (any further right and you'd be looking back out the door to the room) and we have the changing station/dresser/closet area. We took off the closet doors and toyed with the idea of hanging curtains to hide the closet, but eventually decided that they'd just get in the way and probably end up making the room look even smaller. The dresser holds a lot of her clothes and all her cloth diapers, and the bins up top are all stuffed with clothing sizes bigger than 6 months. You can also see a basket or two of my yarn up in the top left, because I literally (and I use that word literally) have nowhere else to put them right now. The wet bag hanging on the back wall is one I ordered from an extremely nice Etsy seller based in Anchorage, and once she fits into them, it'll be used for dirty cloth diapers in between laundry days.

From the beginning I really wanted one of those metal IKEA carts, but they don't ship to Alaska. I was pretty thrilled when I randomly stumbled across essentially the exact same thing on the Target website, and almost immediately ordered one. It's currently being used to hold her swaddle blankets and zip-up swaddles, changing pad covers and crib sheets, and a few pacifiers/teething toys up top. I'm not quite sure she has enough swaddles and blankets so I might need to order a few dozen more of each.

Everyone needs a place to hang their hat coat and diaper bag, right? I painted that little "Take a Hike" piece up above, and the two vintage floral postcards were randomly sent to me by a client at my former job, along with their monthly payment. I need to stand on a chair and hang them properly - they're currently just stuck up there with tape and aren't very even. 

This art print is, I'm pretty sure, the very first thing we picked out to put in her nursery. I found it looooong before I was pregnant, showed it to Isaiah and he loved it too, so it's been bookmarked on Etsy for probably at least the last year and a half. I'm so happy we finally were able to order and hang it!

Obviously none of these items will actually be staying in the crib while she's sleeping in it, but we couldn't help sticking some of our favorite stuffed animals in there. The bunny is from Isaiah's parents, picked out by his stepdad. The watercolor/floral crib sheet is one of the things we picked to make the room look like a girl lives there.

Every forest has gnomes, right? I made this mobile and while I'd definitely do a few things differently next time, I still mostly like how it turned out. I think one of the main things I'd change is not using black and white twine to hang the gnomes and mushrooms. I think it's distracting and I still might change it out for fishing line or something, like I need another project to work on.

Speaking of gnomes and little forest animals, you can't have too many, right? The little gnome figurines were picked up on a whim at a local shop, we've had the little fox lamp for several years (but we did replace the black lampshade with that gray one), the feather trees were purchased on an after-Christmas clearance sale at a store in town, and I painted those mountains using cardboard cones I found at the craft store.

Books! And a baby book! For some reason we've gravitated toward things with bunnies for this baby, hence the Peter Rabbit baby book and the multiple books about rabbits...Peter Rabbit boxed sets, Pat the Bunny boxed set, the Runaway Bunny, an original publication of Leo the Lop that my sister found on eBay and ordered for us...the list goes on.

She has to learn her alphabet somehow...and fun fact, it took quite a bit of research on my part to figure out what the "I" stood for. Because that's a lemur, right?? Nay, not just a lemur, it is an INDRI - a large species of lemur found only in Madagascar, apparently. Let's just say I ordered this print from an Etsy seller based in iguanas in this alphabet!

Finally, some of my favorite items from the room: The wooden nightstand we found, and a Peter Rabbit toy from one of my old coworkers, and one of the cutest board books ever. That tall white thing is a nightlight/sound machine, and the more I play with it, the more I love it. The sounds on it are great, you can customize the nightlight color or program different colors to go with different sounds, and you can control it all either on the unit itself or from your phone. It's pretty spiffy.

So there you have it - now all we need is the baby!! The baby that is currently five days overdue and seriously welcome to come any time she wants...

And here's a list of items from the room (again, no affiliate links!), if they're still available. If I didn't list something and you want to know more about it, let me know. Thanks for visiting!

crib + dresser (Target)
glider chair (Babies R Us)
metal cart (Target)
cream shag rug (Amazon)
fox lamp (Target)
gray lampshade (Target)
metal coat hook (Anthropologie)
shaggy stuffed animals (Restoration Hardware)
The Quiet Book (Amazon)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I wish due dates were concrete just like our new countertops.

Happy due date to me! Well, I guess happy due date to this baby girl is more accurate, and if she wants to make it her birthday too, that would be fine.

No impending labor signs yet that I'm aware of, other than occasional Braxton Hicks which are nothing new - I've been feeling those off and on for like two months now. I haven't been checked by the doctor yet, so I don't know if/how much I've dilated. So far it hasn't mattered - babies come when they come and I trust my body will know when it's time - but if I make it to my appointment next week we'll definitely need to make sure things are moving along. I was informed last week that they "don't like" to let moms go past 41 weeks, which I think is a little silly if everyone's healthy (and wealthy and wise, as my mother would say), so I'll be asking for 42 weeks at least. I really don't think I'll still be pregnant then, so I feel like it's a bit of a moot point.

We did decide that last weekend was the perfect time to rip apart our kitchen in order to redo our countertops and backsplash and I was semi-hoping that would jump start labor, being on my feet all day every day but no dice. I've been wanting concrete countertops for ages, so for my birthday, Isaiah surprised me with all the supplies to cover up our ugly, pale yellow laminate counters with a concrete overlay.

It actually worked really well, and they're 95% finished and will be 100% finished this weekend (assuming this baby doesn't interrupt the plan). They're technically done, but we wanted to go the extra step of adding a wax layer on top of the sealant to make them extra stain and scratch-proof. I've been using them the last few days without the wax layer, though, and they've been great!

You probably saw these pictures already if you follow me on Instagram, but here's the before (ew), during, and a couple of after photos - one with the counters still empty and one with everything put back. Not bad for only a 4-day project, if I do say so myself!

Ew. Just ew.

Mid-concrete application. We used 3 thin layers of Ardex Feather Finish. Messy, yes, but fairly easy.

New wooden backsplash and finished countertops! We sealed them with Cheng's Concrete Sealer and followed a YouTube tutorial we found online (since the reviews mostly said the instructions on the bottle were outdated and didn't work properly).

So fresh, so clean clean. And a furry photobomber. And a big plastic tote I forgot to take out of the sink post-wash and pre-photo. Can't win 'em all.

Remember when I said I was hoping to make a bunch of freezer meals for under $150 for after the baby's born and neither of us want to cook? The grand total of my shopping trip, not including the cost of the ingredients I had on hand at home already or the things I'll need to go with the meals, came to $160. I was pretty proud of myself. I bought enough to make five freezer meals and a bunch of pre-portioned smoothie packs, and I figure each meal will feed us at least twice, with possibly a bit left over. Add to the cost the extra side dishes (rice, quinoa) and necessary serving vessels (tortillas, for chicken tacos) and I bet it'll all come in at right around $200 total. I still think that's pretty outrageous and anywhere but Sitka I could do all that for a lot less, but $200 for 10-15 meals around here is about as good as it gets, especially when there's any kind of meat involved. So I'm satisfied.

I do have to say, one thing I am getting tired of being asked is what we're naming the baby. For some reason, even though we have had months to get used to the question, I cannot for the life of me figure out a way to answer that doesn't come across as super awkward.  I guess part of me finds it odd that strangers legitimately expect us to tell them the name we've chosen, and part of me feels awkward telling them we're not telling them. "Uh...well...we do have one but aren't really telling anyone until she's born..." Unfortunately my bumbling response isn't usually met with a happy, understanding face. It's usually met with a blank stare and an "Oh, okay..." And then I feel like I have to have a darn good reason, like we still can't decide between a few names (not true) or we want to make sure the name fits her looks before we finalize it (also not true).

At least we're running extremely short on the amount of time we still have to feel awkward about this situation. I hope.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Still cooking, both figuratively and literally.

38 1/2 weeks.
Also, I legitimately thought this mirror was clean until I looked at the photo. Whoops.

Well. I just realized it's been a minute since I last blogged. I feel like a lot has actually happened in the last couple of weeks - is this what it feels like to actually have "blogging material" for a change!?

The most notable occurrence is that I quit my job! Technically I turned in my 6+ week notice way back in April, but last Friday was officially my last day. It was a really, really crappy final week, if I'm being honest. I wish I could say I was able to float through with lots of goodbyes and I'll miss yous on my way out the door (skipping, of course), but it just didn't really go down that way. It's funny how people suddenly realize you're actually leaving and suddenly come up with a million and one emergencies they need you to handle. And, I know - lack of planning on their part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine; I'm well acquainted with that phrase. But it's hard to actually put that into practice when you're the kind of person that, no matter how much you wish you could mentally check out early, you can't help but feel an overwhelming need to make sure everyone is set up for success before you leave.

That said, I was reminded exactly why I was leaving (other than the having-a-baby part, of course) when, an hour before I left, the CFO actually asked me if I would be willing to work "just one more day." I resisted the urge to start maniacally laughing and crying at the same time and managed to politely say sorry, but no.

After I finally left (!) I made my way over to my 38 week doctor's appointment, where I expected to be told the exact same thing I've been told at every appointment thus far: Baby's heartbeat is perfect, your measurements are perfect, your blood pressure is perfect, see you in a week. Whomp, whomp, nope. I was informed that my fundal height, which is supposed to be approximately the same number of centimeters high as you are weeks along in your pregnancy, was only 34 centimeters. He said that low amniotic fluid was a concern or, worse, restricted fetal growth (which can also be caused by low fluid). He immediately sent me for an ultrasound, just to see what might be going on, so I headed over to the hospital.

On the bright side, we got an unexpected ultrasound and we were able to see our adorable little girl's face for the first time. It wasn't 3D or anything, but it was good enough to get a photo and give me a little boost of motivation to power through these last couple weeks of pregnancy. The ultrasound tech also confirmed that she is absolutely, without a doubt, truly a she - which is nice, because now Isaiah and I can stop agonizing over a middle name to go with our backup boy's name.

Unfortunately, the ultrasound tech was not very encouraging and informed us that indeed, my amniotic fluid was lower than doctors like to see, which sparked a weekend full of furious Googling, a lot of praying, and the chugging of multiple gallons of water just so we could rule out dehydration should I need a follow up ultrasound the next week.

Thankfully, praise the Lord, when I went back to talk to the doctor on Tuesday, he told me that no, the tech was actually wrong, my fluid levels look perfectly fine and although the baby is measuring about a week on the small side, she's still within perfectly normal range and I'm still on track for a June 24th due date with not a thing to worry about. I asked why he thought I was measuring so small and he said that it was likely just a combination of her having dropped down into my pelvis (and boy do I feel that!), the way she was turned, and the fact that she's just a hair on the petite side. He said he's more of a safe than sorry person, hence the rushed ultrasound, which I actually appreciate even if it did cause some undue worry in the meantime.

He also told me that based on the ultrasound's cervical measurements, not a lot is happening down there yet. Which is fine - I'm still a week and a half away from my due date and it sounds like she needs a little more time to plump up anyway!

Having some time off before the baby does come has been really nice. My hips have been progressively hurting more and more, but there is still a lot I want to get done around the house so it's been really convenient to be able to be up and around being productive but also be able to sit down whenever I need to. I'm still exhausted by the evening one way or the other, but at least I have the majority of the morning and afternoon to do what I need to do so I can relax in the evenings without feeling guilty (whereas before I was getting home from work and basically dragging myself straight to the couch, lucky if I even managed to unload the dishwasher first). On tomorrow's to do list: Grocery shopping and prepping five or six freezer meals. I'm hopeful each meal will feed us at least twice, and I'm hoping to do it all for less than $150, which sounds outrageous to most of you I'm sure, but remember where I live - a block of Tillamook cheddar is almost $20. Alaska may be a dream destination for a lot of people but you definitely pay the price, and the Last Frontier is effing expensive.

One last thing - I made this sweet potato bread today, and it's freaking delicious. It's probably something that would taste even better in the fall/winter, but I had a potato I needed to use, and it's been rainy and in the low 50s here so it might as well be October. Add a cup or so of chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter - you won't regret it.

I guess that's the downside to being at home all the time now...I have to stare at things like sweet potato bread and use all my willpower not to just devour the whole thing in one sitting. Time to go distract myself with a deep cleaning of the bathroom...

Friday, May 26, 2017

Life Lately #9

Are you even pregnant if you don't take your selfie in the work bathroom
at the most unflattering angle possible?

Reading: Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day. It's not that I don't know how to clean. I know how to clean. I just don't know how to keep a good cleaning schedule, and before I know it, things like the bathroom floors haven't been mopped in three months and the living room rug hasn't been vacuumed in just as long. It sounds like we live in a pig sty...we don't, I just forget to clean things until they look dirty. We're really good at keeping clutter to a minimum, but actually busting out the cleaning supplies and rags is another story. I need to be better, especially since I won't be able to blame my lack of motivation on a full time job in the near future. These is my confessions!

Watching: Well, we just finished binging season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (she alive, dammit!), and I just noticed that Netflix added the new season of Sherlock, so that's probably next on the list. Other than that, I'm open to Netflix suggestions.

Listening to: The new Linkin Park and Blink 182 albums. Hello, high school/college flashbacks. I'm actually enjoying both, though - LP in particular sounds less angry on this album than in the past and I can't say I hate it, since I'm not an angsty 18 year old anymore. 

Wearing: Well, I'm down to rotating through the same five or six maternity t-shirts and just wearing them with various cardigans and button-up shirts (not buttoned, clearly) for some variation. I'd love something new at this point but I'm basically refusing to buy anything since I only have a month left, and I'd rather save my money for some new non-maternity clothes this fall. 

Eating: A LOT of berries. I still hesitate to really call anything a craving, because it's not like I'll die if I can't get ahold of some strawberries, but anything with berries or lemons just tastes amazing lately. On the same note, have you ever eaten frozen blueberries just as a snack? Holy delicious.

Loving: That this baby is moving so much that I haven't even had to bother doing kick counts. 10 movements in 2 hours? More like 10 movements in 2 minutes, all freaking day long. Her favorite thing is to punch/elbow me in the left hip while simultaneously jamming her feet up under my right rib. I'm honestly starting to wonder if she's even going to like being swaddled, because she sure likes to stretch out in there as much as possible.

Not Loving: Slightly not loving that she's moving SO much. I love having the peace of mind that she's alive and healthy, but after hours on end of almost constant movement, I just want her to take a nap because I start getting nauseated and really uncomfortable. My organs need a break sometimes!

Annoyed with: People who keep insisting on using the word "literally" when they apparently have no idea what it means. I heard someone say they "literally died" the other day when something happened to them. Really?? Did you literally, actually, physically die?? Are we speaking with a ghost right now?? That, and people who use the slang phrase "Netflix and chill" to mean they actually watched Netflix and ate junk food or whatever. That's not what it means, and now I'm just confused by how you actually spent your Friday night. If you actually watched Netflix and ate snacks, say so. If you mean it the other way, that's gross, and I don't need or want to know that much about your personal life.

Wanting: Nursing bras that actually fit properly. Why do they all fit so weird!? I ordered a set from Amazon and they sucked so bad I sent them back the very next day. Then I ordered a sports bra, two sleeping bras and two regular bras from Motherhood Maternity (which took 3 1/2 weeks to arrive, omg I hate UPS SurePost). The regular bras are just okay, we'll see how they fit when I actually need them. The sleeping bras are fine, they are what they are. The sports bra...oh my hell. I don't think they ever tried that thing on an actual person. Back it went and I'm hoping the two regular bras end up working because by the time I can test them out it'll probably be too late to send them back.

Laughing at: 

35 Humor Quotes about work #work humor #funny

Two more weeks...Lord, beer me strength.

Feeling: Very frustrated with family members who tell, don't ask. My mom was supposed to come visit us and the new baby over 4th of July weekend, and then come visit again for a whole week in August while Isaiah has to be out of town for a work training. She had previously invited my aunt, who lives in Michigan, to come visit her for a long Memorial Day weekend. Next thing I know, I'm learning that my aunt has not asked, but has informed my mother that she will be coming for two full weeks, not a long weekend. My mom has limited PTO at her job, which means her 4th of July trip to Alaska is now cancelled and she's not sure exactly when or for how long she can come in August.

Hoping: That the last month of pregnancy flies by. That this girl decides to come on time or a few days early. That when I walk out of the building on my last day of work, I don't immediately start getting frantic phone calls asking me questions because they can't figure something out. 

Anticipating: This three day weekend. I need it, and badly.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

8 months down, 1 to go.

+ I have started losing things. I thought that pregnancy brain meant you just get a little forgetful, but no. Last week I somehow lost the remote to our tv's sound bar. I was folding baby clothes on the couch, placed each item one at a time into a dresser drawer sitting in front of me on the ottoman, carried each drawer into the bedroom one at a time to put them back in the dresser, and when I sat back down on the couch, the remote was missing. I have scoured the house looking for that stupid thing, and it is nowhere to be found. Isaiah even helped me move the couch and search in between every single couch cushion, under the rug, inside every. single. item. of baby clothing I folded, and it is gone. And if we don't want to get up from the couch every time we need to adjust the volume like total peasants, I'm now forced to spend fifteen bucks on a new remote.

Then, this morning, I drove to work, parked, and went to pick up the car keys from the cup holder where I always put them and they were gone. We have a push button start in our Jeep and it won't work without the keys physically inside the car, so I re-started the car and it worked, which told me the keys were still somewhere inside the vehicle. I searched my purse, my lunch bag, underneath the seats, in the BACK of the car just in case, and nothing. It took me a solid five minutes before I finally found them wedged in between the passenger seat and the center console. And let me tell you, searching small places inside a car is suddenly one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do, thanks to my almost-9 month pregnant stomach.

You have to understand, I do not lose things. I just don't. I have a fairly photographic memory and I can almost always picture where I last set something down, but I told Isaiah I can no longer be trusted with anything smaller than our cat because it is almost guaranteed to disappear.

+ My emotions have suddenly kicked into high gear. I have been 100% fine this entire pregnancy as far as hormone-induced emotions are concerned, but I cried actual tears this last weekend because my husband made plans for us to go over to our friends' house for dinner on Monday night. I've just been so exhausted and brain dead after work every day that I absolutely could not fathom having to go spend an entire evening engaging in intelligent conversation and witty banter. And I like these people! A lot! It took me several minutes of deep breathing and a good hour of searching Pinterest for a dessert to make/take to their house before I finally calmed down.

Every little thing has started irritating me. Thankfully it hasn't really (to my recollection) bled over into my marital relationship but at work? Oh mylanta. Every day there's someone I want to punch, and it's over relatively silly things. I'm probably just dealing with short-timer's syndrome since I have two and a half weeks left, but if I get asked the same questions from the same people one more time, or if that one coworker doesn't quit making such a racket every time he walks into the break room/kitchen next to my office, or if that other coworker doesn't quit busting loudly into my office without even pausing or knocking to tell me she's taking a 15 minute break and can I please answer the reception line while she's gone, I'm going to freaking lose my mind.

Oh, and if one more person tells me how much my life is going to change once the baby gets here...look, I can handle a lot of things. I'm the kind of person that leans toward giving people the benefit of the doubt with their words and I choose not to get offended by the silly things people sometimes say. But dude...I'm 33 years old, I've been married for over 7 years, we're financially stable, we own a house, we planned this. The next person that says "Get ready for a big change!" is going to hear me say very sarcastically, "Oh...really?! Crap, had no idea. Is it too late to change my mind? Well, there's always adoption if this doesn't work out."

+ I never fully understood this meme before...

Image result for pregnancy length meme

...but now I do, and it's so true. Up until recently, it didn't feel like that long ago that I was staring in disbelief at a positive pregnancy test. Now, I swear it's been at least five years. I don't necessarily want the baby to come soon because it's better for her health if she doesn't, but...I wouldn't be terribly disappointed if she wanted to come at 39 instead of 40 weeks. I'm my mother's firstborn and I was born on my actual due date (punctuality is my middle name), so I don't really think I'm hoping for too much.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Things I Like #2

These Simple makeup remover/facial wipes are inexpensive and work really well. They're not super soaking wet, but they're not too dry, either. I don't tend to wear a ton of makeup, so I rarely actually wash my face before bed (I know, I know). Instead, I use side to remove all my eye makeup and the other side to clean off my skin.

We recently bought this faux fur ottoman (in the color "wolf") to put in the baby's room, but you definitely don't have to have a baby to appreciate them. They're on sale right now, they're nice and heavy and they're soft as all heck.

I'm normally a diehard Madewell t-shirt lover, and frankly I honestly cannot wait to be able to fit into my old t-shirts again. In the meantime, though, these Target ones are a nice substitute. They're really soft and really flowy, and I bought a size larger than I would normally wear so I can fit into them now and they'll (hopefully) also disguise my stomach for a while after I poop this baby out. For reference, I bought them in medium and I'm 8 months pregnant and they fit my belly, so that should tell you how flowy they are. Size down if you hate oversized stuff. They're also 8 bucks, so I mean...

For the life of me I can't figure out the negative reviews, because I have this Essence blush in the color Heat Wave and I absolutely love it. It looks intimidatingly bright in the pan, but if you're careful with your application, it's the perfect shade of coral/hot pink. Nice and summery, and it lasts on my skin all day, which I always appreciate whether a blush is five bucks or twenty.

If you're into brow pencils, you really can't beat this micro brow pencil from Nyx. I've purchased and repurchased (and repurchased) this pencil for a couple of years now, and I have yet to find anything I like better that even comes close to the price. It's creamy enough to glide on smoothly, but not so creamy that it rubs off on your face/fingers if you touch your eyebrows (and you can set it with a brow powder if you're that worried about it). The pencil tip is really thin and in my opinion, they're pretty comparable to the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencils everyone raves about - except those will run you $21.00 per pencil. If you decide to try the Nyx pencil, keep an eye on Ulta prices. They regularly have sales on Nyx products, buy one get one half off.

Finally, a well-deserved shoutout to a small Etsy business called Love, Amalie Maren. I ordered this set of three baby headbands recently, and they are adorable. She has a ton of colors and patterns you can choose from and you can buy them as singles or in sets of three. If you're not super into baby bows and are more into wraps/turbans, check them out. There are adult sizes, too!

Don't worry, none of these links are sponsored - I don't play like that. They're just things I like, therefore you probably need to know about them.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Things I no longer take for granted

+ Being able to bend over to put on socks/tie my shoes without essentially suffocating myself.

+ Not involuntarily grunting when getting up out of a chair/off the couch/out of bed/off the toilet/out of the car.

+ The ability to climb the stairs in our home without my heart racing like I just ran a mile.

+ Not taking a full minute to roll over in bed, attempting to get comfortable again, and then laying there for a good ten minutes trying to fall back asleep.

+ Standing up after sitting for longer than five minutes without my tailbone feeling like it's going to crack in half.

+ Being able to eat without all my food feeling like it's sitting in my chest...and then forcing its way back up my throat for a good hour afterward whenever I burp.

+ Not needing Tums on me at. all. times. always.


+ Being able to pop an Aspirin or three whenever I get a headache.

+ Sleeping more than one hour at a time.

+ Zipping up my jackets/buttoning up my shirts.

+ The ability to reach into the bottom of the washing machine for wet clothes.

On a lighter note...6 1/2 weeks to go until this kid's due date, and while I'm under no delusion that I'll miraculously be less tired, I am definitely looking forward to being able to bend all the way over and sleep on my stomach again. I also just ordered a pair of harem/jogger type pants with a stretchy waistband and, thanks to the encouragement of my husband, I now fully intend on figuring out how to wear them to work without looking like a complete slob.

God bless him.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Life Lately #8

Reading: I just downloaded a book called The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron. I read a review of this book on Callie's blog and thought it sounded right up my alley! I haven't started it just yet but if you follow me on Goodreads, you'll be able to see what I rate it when I'm finished with it.

Watching: OH MY GOODNESS did you know that there are three seasons of a show called The Great British Baking Show: Master Class on Netflix!? Apparently Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood talk about baking techniques and such?? Maybe? I haven't started it yet so I'm not entirely sure but put "British" and "Baking" in the same sentence and I am all about it.

Listening to: Nothing at the moment. I've been in kind of a music rut lately.

Wearing: An ever-dwindling supply of maternity clothes that actually fit. 8 more weeks...8 more weeks...8 more weeks...

Eating: Breaking all the rules and eating a cold turkey lunchmeat sandwich. Potential listeria never tasted better.

Loving: Iced tea and lemonade. If you have never tried the Crystal Light Pure packets, you need to. I make the lemonade ones in a big water bottle with a couple of slices of lemon for some extra tang, and let's just say I'm now getting more than enough water every day!

Not Loving: Being busy. I have various social events being forced upon me at least once a week between now and June, and I'm already getting a stress headache from having to be around people so much. Hashtag introvert problems. Add to that the fact that I'm done with my job in 6 weeks and people (not me) are panicking that I'm leaving, I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable by the day, I'm not sleeping well anymore, and I'm ready to put myself on bed rest just so I can avoid everyone and everything.


Annoyed with: People who use my office when I'm out sick for one day and don't leave it like they found it. Papers re-stacked in different places than I left them, pens randomly left all over my desk, my computer tower turned and left all askew with a USB drive still in there, a chair close to my desk pulled out and left at an awkward angle...RESPECT THE SPACE, PEOPLE. I'm a little OCD about keeping my office tidy and leaving it extra neat over the weekend so I have a nice clean area to come back to on a Monday morning, so when I'm out sick on a Monday and come back to any semblance of chaos on a Tuesday, I am not a happy camper.

Wanting: This water bottle (white, please!). It's a great brand with excellent reviews on every website I've looked at, but WHY does a water bottle have to be $45? I'm tempted to ask for it for my birthday anyway. New water bottles make me happy and I have a feeling I'm going to need something to cheer me up when I'm up and down 18 billion times a night feeding a hungry baby.

Needing: Recommendations for postpartum yoga pants. I don't want anything too tight (no leggings!) because I plan on wearing them in and home from the hospital, and I want a dark color because...well, light colors in that type of setting under those circumstances make me nervous. I also don't want them to look TOO much like pajamas. I almost pulled the trigger on these but I just can't decide if they look too much like pajamas or if they'd look fine with a hoodie and Nikes, too.

Hoping: That the trees and plants start budding and blooming around here soon! I have a bit of a botanical-themed art project planned for baby girl's room that ties in with her name, but the exact plant that I need to start growing is still dead from our extended winter, and I'm getting impatient. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

I don't want to write about...

Pregnancy/baby stuff. There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said by a million women before me, and there's nothing new to report, anyway. Plus, people are super judgy about everything under the gosh darn sun and I'm over it. 9 weeks left, and please pass me a stiff drink the Tums.

All my pet peeves. I was actually on the verge of writing a pet peeves/confessions-style post this week after seeing a few done by other people, but I just don't have the energy to write about everything annoying me right now. Also, I eat up those posts when other people write them but somehow I always come across as super bitchy (even when I'm just trying to be funny).

My job. I have exactly seven weeks until I'm out of there, and while they say you're supposed to keep your stress levels as low as possible during pregnancy, I wouldn't be surprised if that place sends me into early labor.

My husband's job. Not that I can really talk about it much anyway, considering he's a police officer, but it really ruffles my feathers that we have literally had to order a security camera for the front door of our house due to some of the drug dealing scumbags he's been dealing with lately. 

My newly rekindled non-hatred (love is too strong of a word) of meal planning. I could link a bunch of recipes I've used lately, but does anyone really get excited and turn around and make the same recipes themselves? I doubt it. I never do when other people talk about what they've been cooking. Besides, this isn't a food blog.

The books I've been reading. Most of them are pregnancy/childbirth/breastfeeding/sleep training related, and nobody cares.

So...that explains the 2+ week gap in between this and my last blog post. Maybe soon I'll think of something I do want to write about.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

So close, yet so far

Welp, here we are officially in the third trimester, and not a whole lot has changed. I feel like I've had a fairly easy pregnancy, relatively speaking, for which I will be forever grateful. Other than all-day nausea in the first trimester and some crazy heartburn/acid reflux and aching hips lately, everything has been pretty textbook so far...knock on wood.

I think my biggest struggle has still just been the weight gain, and I'm not even that far off track from where I wanted to be at this point. I'm a few pounds heavier than I'd like (who isn't) but honestly, my body's gonna do what my body's gonna do no matter how I feel about it, and I'm getting better about not looking at myself in the mirror with an instant "ughhhh" reaction. I did finally bite the bullet and order another pair of maternity jeans one size bigger than I normally would wear, and I'm so glad I did. My hips thank me every day. I can't lie, though (and neither can my hips), I have never in my life been into the "athleisure" trend (save it for the gym, please) until now. Pregnancy does weird things to your psyche, that's for sure.

We've officially decided on a name for this little girl, but plan on keeping it between us and our parents/siblings until she's born. While in Seattle, Isaiah took me out for a really nice belated anniversary dinner at Salish Lodge, overlooking Snoqualmie Falls, where we agreed to finalize our name choice. Up until last weekend, we were 95% sure we were settled on what she'll be called, but it's nice to have that final 5% of indecisiveness out of the way.

The baby's room is about finished, which is pretty comforting. I'm a huge planner and not a fan of last-minute anything, so even though we still have 12 weeks to go (give or take), I really love being able to walk into her room and not automatically have my eyes settle on twenty things that still need to be done. I have a few final projects to finish up but I'll share full room pictures at some point, I'm sure. At least by the time she starts kindergarten.

We also installed the car seat this weekend, and I'm sure all you seasoned moms are collectively rolling your eyes that we did that at only 28 weeks, but you just never know! says my boss every time I remind her I'm not due until the end of June. It's a little surreal to look in the back of our Jeep and see this little infant car seat sitting there. Some days it's SO REAL that we're having a baby, other days I feel like this has all just been a drawn out version of playing house, like when you're six years old and you think you'll get married and have a baby when you turn 18 because that's what adults do.

Now, my brain is turning to all the rest of the things I still need to do: Call our insurance company to find out how/when to add the baby to our insurance, ask about a breast pump and if/how it will be paid for, call the hospital to ask about a hospital tour and hopefully a list of things to bring/not to bring, make a list of hospital bag contents and eventually pack it, figure out which postpartum purchases I still need to make, wash all her clothes and cloth diapers before I actually need them, write out a brief birth plan (nothing crazy, just a few notes to have on hand to remind myself what I want/don't want)...I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things.

A few of my coworkers are absolutely insisting on throwing a baby shower, which is super nice, but I can't say I'm extremely close with any of them so I feel a little awkward about it. And, of course, the one coworker I am actually friends with is going to be out of town and can't come. It feels especially awkward since I'll be quitting mid-June (still a secret) and I feel terrible being like, "Thanks for all of the goodbye forever!" I also ran into two ex-coworkers at the coffee shop this last weekend who asked if I was having a baby shower and essentially invited themselves and I have no idea if that's good manners or not, inviting ex-coworkers to a baby shower being thrown by current coworkers??

My sister-in-law and mother-in-law also wanted to throw us a baby shower, but considering I/we don't really have many good friends in town or relatives other than Isaiah's immediate family, we agreed that rather than invite a bunch of acquaintances we don't really know that well, we'll just have a fun family dinner instead. My SIL is going to make a "virtual baby shower" invitation of sorts to post on Facebook, just so that friends and family who don't live here (like, all of mine) can have our registry link and what not.

I'm just not used to all this attention or people wanting to buy us stuff (I'm the girl whose birthday is forgotten by most people almost every year) and I'm feeling so weird about it all. Part of it is probably just my own hang-up, I get annoyed when people don't seem to care much about ME but now that we're having a BABY, oh, that's different!! Whatever. I know I just need to embrace it all and appreciate the fact that that's less money we have to spend ourselves, but it's just awkward.

That was a rabbit trail I did not intend on going down...I digress.

I had my 28 week doctor's appointment on Monday, and I had a sneaking suspicion I was going to hear "see you in two weeks!" at the end of the visit, and I was right. It's not that I hate the appointments themselves - love hearing that baby heartbeat! - I just find it to be a hassle. I really shouldn't complain, I literally work one block away from the clinic.

At least at my appointment I got to see one of the resident doctors for a second time. Oh, did I mention that our clinic doesn't assign patients to a single doctor? Nope, you just get to see whichever OB/family practice physician happens to be working on the day you make your appointment, and there's a rotation of 4-5 other doctors that fly in on a monthly basis to help ease the case load for the two permanent OBs. So far I have had seven visits and seen six different doctors. I definitely have my favorite two, and this week I got to see one of those two, so at least there's that. She went over my glucose screening from a month ago and said I passed with flying colors, so I celebrated that night with about a dozen Oreos. She also felt around and said this baby girl is already head down, which I know can change at any time, but it was nice to have confirmation that all the thumps and rolls I feel all day long underneath my right rib are due to a foot/feet and not hands.

I will leave you with a picture of one of my favorite baby outfits so far. I love all the florals and chambray and furry hoodies with bear ears and little leggings and onesies we've gotten, but Isaiah picked out this shirt/pants/shoe combo ($3.00 moccasins, obviously not for walking) and I love it. We did agree it needed something to make it look a little girlier, though, so we added this hat.