Friday, March 20, 2015

Moving & 6 weeks

So, we have some big news around here. We are moving back to Chicago next week. This time, it is our choice. My husband quit his job and accepted a new position with a company that will not move us. He gave his notice two weeks ago, and we move next Thursday. We made the decision in December/January and he accepted the new job then, but we kept things quiet so that he could continue to stay in his old position until the baby came and we were ready to move. It's been so weird to not talk about it here and even with real life friends. I'm terrible at lying and also terrible at not disclosing what's really on my mind, so that was an exercise for me. But now it's nice to have everything out in the open. I was itching to blog about it before I was allowed to, but then once he did give notice at work, things got kind of crazy and hectic and then I kind of forgot to post about it here.

Just a few days before Christmas, Josh had an interview in Chicago, so I flew with him for the day so that we could look at houses after his interview. We knew exactly where we wanted to live and found a house that we really love in the perfect neighborhood. Then, Josh got a few really good offers and found a position that is a great opportunity for him with a great company. We sold our house pretty painlessly, which was amazing considering we've only owned it for 10 months. Basically, all the pieces fell into place, and when the universe lays it all out for you like that, you just go. We have packers/movers again, the same company who has moved us before. They will pack us next Monday and Tuesday and then load us up on Wednesday. We will travel Thursday. Josh and the girls are driving, and Julian and I will fly. I've reserved AirBNB places on both ends to help ease the stress of the move–we'll move out of our house before the packers come, and then we'll have our AirBNB place in IL for about a week while we wait for our stuff and start to get unpacked. We've had great luck with AirBNB. It's usually about the same price as a hotel room, but you get a kitchen and multiple bedrooms, which makes a huge difference when traveling with kids. We used it when we lived in France and have also used it while moving the last time and for little trips here and there.

Even though there is a lot going on and lots of craziness of moving with a newborn baby and two other young children, etc, this is such a great thing for our family that we can't help but just be excited. We also loved living in the Chicago area, loved the progressive community and close friends we made there and are super excited to raise our kids in a place that really feels like a good fit. The stability will be awesome too. This is our 6th move in 4 years (Penny's 7th address), but I'm hoping to stay in this next house for 20 years! It is so exciting to think about getting involved in the community, putting down roots, and being able to make plans for longterm.

In other news, Julian is 6 weeks old today. He weighs 11lb, 10oz, which is great gain for him. He is a super chill, content baby, and I feel so blessed to have this sweet soul in our family.

He was baptized this week, and we were very lucky to have some family come to town to celebrate with us. We have a great church here in Omaha, so it meant a lot to us to have his baptism here before the move. He also started smiling this week, which just melts my heart. Here are a few other photos of the last few weeks.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New normal

I took a couple weeks away from the blog while Josh was home. My mom was here for 10 days for Julian's birth and then a week afterward. Josh went back to work while she was here, and then he took 2 weeks off after she left. It was so much fun to have him home for those 2 weeks. We had lots of time to bond as a family. It was also nice that he had the chance to see some of the activities that the kids and I do, attend parent-teacher conferences, and just kind of see what our days are like. He thought he was going to be overwhelmed and exhausted by being with the kids all day, but he really enjoyed the time and was sad to go back to work on Monday. We really treasured the time, and I'm so grateful that we had it.

So this is my first week solo parenting 3 kids, and so far it's going pretty well. Julian has just fit right into our family and we're carrying on, just with another body. Julian is pretty easygoing so far and just kind of along for the ride. I feed him when he wants. He sleeps when he wants, etc. I've been wearing him in a mei tai, which is more comfortable for me with his size than my ring sling. I really like the mei tai for this age, but it is a little bulkier to pack than a ring sling (similar in size to packing an Ergo, but maybe a little smaller/more compact).

We have some great friends in Omaha who have been bringing us meals, which has been so deeply appreciated. I won't have to start cooking again until this weekend, and it really is the best gift. If you're ever wondering what to do for a new mom, a meal is really and truly the best thing!

The girls seem to be adjusting fine to having a new baby in the family. They love to hold him and touch him and oooh and aaaah over him. We've been able to pretty much keep our same routine, which I think has helped to make things run more smoothly. Here's our rough schedule:

6:30-7:30 girls wake up, Josh starts them on getting dressed and breakfast before leaving for work (and makes coffee!). Meanwhile, I get up and feed Julian.
7:30-9 make sure everyone is fed, clean, etc. I've been letting the girls play in Olive's room while I take a shower. Julian is usually pretty happy in the morning, so he either sleeps or does some quiet alert at this time.
9-11:30 Penny has school during this time. The little ones and I go out and do something while Penny is at school: kids play center, music class, gym (Olive goes to the nursery and I hang out with Julian in the lounge!), library, etc. Julian sleeps in his car seat or I wear him in the mei tai.
11:30-12:30 head home for lunch. Sometimes Julian stays asleep in his car seat while I get the girls fed. Sometimes I juggle holding him and doing everything else.
12:30-3pm Read with Olive and Penny, put Olive down for a nap, spend a little time playing with Penny and then start her quiet time timer. Julian nurses through this or I just hold him. Once the house is quiet, I can sometimes get him down for a nap in his bassinet. He tends to get a nice long nap in the afternoons while the house is quiet–it would be awesome if this would continue! But even if he's awake or I'm holding him for a nap, I still get some nice relaxing down time.
3pm-5:30pm This is probably the hardest time of the day. The girls get up and have a snack. They get to watch a show as long as they have earned it (we have an incentive system for this). Then we kind of play at home and get dinner together. Julian likes to cluster-feed or be bounced/held during this time. The girls tend to get cranky and stir-crazy, so it's good if we can get out of the house and get some wiggles out. Otherwise, I try to sit down and play a board game or card game or do some kind of focused activity with them. Once the weather gets warm, this will be a perfect time to play outside.
5:30-6:30 dinner & clean up. I am usually nursing Julian through dinner.
6:30-7:30 bath/bed routine. We give Julian a bath every few nights, and then I take care of getting him dressed and then take him into the basement. He cluster feeds, so I just watch some tv or whatever while nursing him. Josh does bath, pjs, books, snack, and bedtime with the girls. They do pretty well with their bedtime routine and go to sleep pretty easily these days.
7:30-9 Josh and I get a little time to watch a show or catch up on life stuff while Julian cluster feeds, and then he is ready to settle down for the night by about 9.
9pm-7am Julian sleeps in a bassinet by my bed, and when he wakes at night, I nurse, and then he usually goes right back to sleep. And then it begins again.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Birth & Newborn Photos

Just a quick little post today to share some birth photos. Here is the video our photographer put together (it's 20 minutes, so be warned):
Julian's Birth Story

I also have a link to a little studio mini-shoot of the three kids we did when Julian was a week old:
Julian's Newborn shoot

There is nothing like beautiful professional photos. So grateful to have all these gorgeous shots of my kids!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Julian's first week

Ok, 6-pound baby (Olive 39w):

10-pound baby (Julian 40w).

You guys, WHERE was this dude hiding?! I still can't believe he was so big.

I've been cooped up with Julian for the last 6 days while my mom has been doing all of the things I normally do with/for the girls. They are totally running her ragged, and I am so grateful that she is here and willing to do this for us. It's been really good for me to rest physically and bond with Julian, but I'm definitely struggling emotionally. I feel a bit isolated and lonely. Josh is back at work while my mom is here, and then he will take off 2 weeks once she leaves this weekend. We planned it this way to spread out the help, but I miss him, I miss my time with the girls, and I miss seeing friends/doing the activities that we normally do. I'm also so tired. My milk supply is not good, which makes for long sleepless nights, and hormones paired with lack of sleep leaves me weepy and fragile. Baby blues I guess, which I never really experienced in this same way before.

We are working on the supply issues. I feel like it should be easier since I've dealt with this before and know what works or doesn't work, but it doesn't actually feel easier. It is so hard to feel like my body doesn't work right and I can't meet this simple basic need for my child. This domperidone controversy only further complicates things and makes me feel shitty since I can't find anyone in Omaha to prescribe it for me. This is one of the frustrating things about living in Omaha where options are fewer. Domperidone is a much safer and better drug than Reglan, and it is perfectly legal for US docs or midwives to prescribe it, but there is some political junk with the FDA, so nobody wants to do so. I do have some leftover, about a month's supply, and I will figure it out.

A few favorite photos from Julian's first week. I am still waiting to get our birth story photos back.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Introducing baby Julian!

He is finally here!

So, we last left off on Tuesday when I was about to head to my 40-week midwife appointment. My favorite midwife, Heather, was on duty Tuesday, and we talked at length about all my options going forward. We had a discussion about risks and benefits of different choices/scenarios going into the "postdue" period, and I loved that everything was a discussion, not a "here's what we will or will not let you do". I kind of wished Josh had been at that appointment with me because there was a lot to think about. At the end of the appointment, she checked my cervix. It was my first check this pregnancy, and I was at 5cm, 90% effaced, station 0. Once she did that check, she felt pretty confident that I would be going into labor any day. She offered to strip my membranes and said that she thought it would put me into labor that night. I decided not to do it yet because the next day was my birthday, and I thought I would feel guilty if I chose to do an intervention that might lead him to be born on my birthday. I wasn't sure he would like sharing a birthday with his mom, and if he were to share his birthday, I wanted it to be completely his choice. Funny enough, our photographer later mentioned that she was born on her mom's birthday and hated it, so that was good validation for me that I had made the right decision!

We had a bit of a stressful Wednesday with a snowstorm and some childcare kinks to work out, so I wasn't terribly surprised that things didn't get going in the middle of that. By Thursday, my mom had flown in early to help us out, and I decided I was ready for a membrane strip. Josh took the afternoon off to head down to the birth center with me, and the other midwife was on duty Thursday. I had the strip at 1pm (6cm at that point), and then we went and walked around in the area for a few hours. It was nice to have some time just the two of us. I had contractions all afternoon, many of which I couldn't walk through but still wasn't sure if it was active labor. It is really awkward to work through a contraction in Target! They felt like they were getting pretty close together and more intense, so around 6pm we went back to the birth center and called our photographer. Once I checked in there, everything pretty much shut down. Contractions slowed way down, cervical check showed no change, and we decided to just head home. I was feeling discouraged, but we went to bed at home and I slept okay.

I woke up the next morning (Friday) kind of an emotional mess. It had been a stressful couple of weeks, I was discouraged by labor that had petered out, and also just felt like something might not be quite right. My mom told me to go do something relaxing that morning, so I went for acupuncture and a massage. I felt a bit better after that but still not great, so I called my midwife to get her thoughts. Heather was on for Friday and the whole weekend, and we decided I should come in and get a non-stress test and fluid check. I had originally been planning to wait until Monday for that testing, but I needed the peace of mind. Josh and I were planning a lunch-date, so he just went with me. We ended up having to wait a little while down there, so we ordered Jimmy John's and snuggled up and watched a movie in the birth center. Testing went fine, and around 2-3pm Heather did a cervix check (still 6cm) and stripped my membranes again. She said she is more aggressive with the membrane strip than the other midwife, and it definitely felt different. She also told me she was glad I had come back to the birth center the night before even though I ended up going home–she felt strongly that I shouldn't wait long before coming in, so that was validating. I dropped Josh back at work and headed home. I was trying to decide if I should take the girls out somewhere to play–they'd been home all day, but Penny just wanted to play in the snow in the backyard. I had more contractions from 3:30-5:30. I didn't time anything, but they were similar to what I'd had the day before. By 5-5:30, they seemed to be getting closer together and stronger. Josh was planning to go to happy hour after work and be home by 6. I called him at 5:38 with an update, and he left the bar to come home. We ate some dinner and then left for the birth center at 6:15. I called our photographer but told her not to head out yet since I didn't want a repeat of the night before. She was 30 mins away, so she headed out anyway (smart girl!).

I got to the birth center around 6:45pm and was feeling a little discouraged because contractions had slowed down on the ride down there. I had maybe 4 in 20 minutes. Heather told me that if I had progressed at all, she wanted to break my water and get things going. She felt pretty confident that once my water broke, things would progress, and Josh and I were both feeling pretty ready to have the baby. Plus, it seemed like being somewhat in control of the labor was the right decision for me given how quickly I tend to progress once things really get going. I was 7cm, so she broke my water at 6:53 and immediately things got very intense. I had some very serious contractions very close together. I couldn't sit or lie down–I pretty much stood up and leaned into the bed during contractions, moving my body to try to get as comfortable as possible. Primal instincts really came out in me, just listening to my body, moving how I needed to move, and I definitely made some primitive sounds. I was working very hard for 20 minutes, and Heather started to fill the tub. Around 7:15, I started to feel like pushing was close, so I got in the tub. Again, I just felt like my body knew what to do, and I just needed to follow my instincts. As I started to push him out, I was pacing myself to avoid tearing and applying counter-pressure with my hand. I got the head out, and then I paused. I felt like I needed a break but wasn't sure if I could take a beat or if I needed to get him out. Heather reached down and gave a little check/assist, and then I got him the rest of the way out. As I was pulling him up, our photographer arrived. Julian Stewart was born at 7:18pm on Feb 6th.

He seemed big, but every jaw in the room dropped when he weighed in at 10lb 3oz. I would never have guessed he would be a 10-lb baby. Length was 20.5" and head circumference was 15". So much for all the newborn-size clothes and diapers I had stocked up on. Penny and Olive were 6lb 14oz & 6lb 13oz, so it didn't even seem like a possibility I'd have a 10-pounder. I also didn't feel like I looked that different this pregnancy, so where was he hiding? We stayed at the birth center for about 4 hours and then were home by midnight. During that time, Julian nursed a lot, I snacked on cookies, peanut butter bread, and cranberry juice, and we made lots of phone calls and texts. Our photographer stayed for a couple of hours, and then she came over at 5:30 this morning to be there to capture the girls meeting their brother for the first time. I am so excited to see the pictures she took. Stay tuned!

We are so thrilled to have sweet Julian in our family and enjoying getting to know him and adjusting to life as a family of 5.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

40 Weeks (3 days)

Weeks pregnant: 40
Baby size: small pumpkin
Total weight gain: +35 lb
Total waist gain: +12"

Physical stuff: Still physically feeling surprisingly good for being 40 weeks+. No real signs of labor. I've been doing all the walking, acupuncture, bouncing on a stability ball, etc. that you're supposed to do to try to get baby out. I had a massage and a very gentle chiropractic adjustment. I've also started acupuncture to induce labor. My first session was yesterday, and I have 2 more scheduled. I loved the acupuncture–it was super relaxing. She told me that if baby isn't ready, nothing they do will make baby ready, but that acupuncture can be helpful if baby is ready but the body needs a trigger. Given the car accident/stressful January, I feel like this could be the trick for me. So far, he seems pretty comfortable in there, but given my past experiences with birth, I don't expect to have much notice. Labor tends to come suddenly and intensely for me. And tonight is a full moon, as a few people have told me!

Emotional stuff: I'm feeling a little anxious to get baby out because of childcare arrangements. My poor mother-in-law has been here for 8 days waiting to meet her grandson and ready to help with the girls. She has been incredibly patient and hasn't put any pressure on me, but it will still be such a shame if she has to leave without meeting him. My mom will fly in on Saturday, and it will be a big bummer if I don't get to take advantage of her full week of help. I feel like I'm wasting all this time that I could have extra help with the baby and the older kids, so I'm kind of bummed/anxious about that. I'm sure that's not helping matters, so I'm really trying to relax and just let it be. It might be a good idea to reconsider the travel plans before she gets on a plane, so we will think about that. I downloaded a hypnobabies track designed to induce labor. I've listened several times, and it's really relaxing and interesting/hard to describe. My birthday is tomorrow–what a cool birthday present it would be to have a baby! Please send some positive energy my way for a healthy delivery very soon!

Baby prep/birth prep: I have a midwife appointment tonight, and I need to ask about what happens over the next week or so if baby doesn't come. Acupuncture today and tomorrow, and then can do up to 2 more days of it after that if baby doesn't come. Otherwise, all my plans involve having a baby by now! Both girls were born by this point, so I feel like this is a bit odd for third baby? But I've also just heard that boys tend to go longer, so...who knows. Patience.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

39 weeks (4 days)

Weeks pregnant: 39
Baby size: Mini watermelon
Total weight gain: +35 lb
Total waist gain: +12"

Physical stuff: Physically I am feeling pretty great. Except, I am super sore from a car accident on Monday. Yes, a car accident–WTH?! Who gets in a car accident at 9-mos pregnant? I was driving Penny to school and this lady ran through a stop sign right into me. Thankfully, we were all safely buckled in and the impact was not in the door, so we walked away fine. I did spend the better part of the day in the hospital so that baby could be monitored, which was just kind of boring but fine. Everything seems fine with baby, and the girls weren't phased at all. Olive does enjoy recounting the crash in her 2-year old jargon, which is adorable. But otherwise, I feel like baby has dropped a bit, so pressure in the cervix but otherwise I'm surprisingly comfortable.

Emotional stuff: I kept thinking that baby would come on Monday (1/26), but that was the day I had the car accident, so I guess I was having premonitions about the accident. When you're 9-mos pregnant and feel an impending event, you assume it will be the birth. Even though we were physically okay, I was completely in shock when the accident happened. I was just really freaked out, and it has taken me a few days to start to feel normal again. If baby had been ready to come this week, I'm pretty sure the stress of the accident and dealing with new car seats, repairs, rental car, etc. would have kept him in anyway. So now that that's all handled (I'm driving a minivan loaner!), I feel like I need to decompress and tell baby that it's okay to come out. I started listening to my Circle + Bloom meditations yesterday, scheduled a massage for tonight, and am just trying to relax and get in the birth zone.

Baby prep/birth prep: Midwife is predicting an 8-lb baby. I'm a little skeptical based on my size and the fact that I feel like I look exactly like I did with the other two at this point, but I would love to have a 7-8 lb baby. The girls were both just under 7lb, and I think a little bigger baby would make breastfeeding a little less stressful starting out. My new Hygeia pump arrived this week–I am so excited to have a Hygeia this time, and even better that insurance paid for it.

To do list:

  • unpack baby clothes and gear/set up
  • write out instructions for helpers who come after baby is here
  • make list of people I can call to watch the kids when I need to go to the birth center
  • freeze a couple of meals And my sweet friends have a meal train set up for me, which is so amazing and the best thing anyone can do for us with a new baby!
  • freeze lactation cookies/other snacks
  • order breast pump through insurance
  • meet with birth photographer
  • pack bag for birth center
  • postpartum supply list
Done! I also scrambled to get a new infant car seat, which arrived today. We had already installed the baby seat before the accident, so it needed to be replaced. Even though I feel like we are pretty good about installing car seats, being aware of best practice, and reading the manuals, I still made an appointment with a CPST. After the accident, I just felt like it would be good to get everything checked out. So now we wait. Any time now, little guy. We are ready for you!!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Conversations with Kiddos

I had no idea it had been since June that I'd posted one of these. Since Olive is chatting away too, she's starting to add to the conversations. I am not so great about writing these down, but here are the ones I have remembered to record. It is pretty amazing to see how Penny's brain is evolving, and so many things she says really make me see what a thinker she is. Olive is just a goofball at the moment.

E: Maybe we can go out for ice cream tonight.
P: How about if I think about it? My think is going to be yes!

P: I told her lemon water is a kind of beer that kids can drink.

P: Mom, do you have powers?
E: Yeah! Do you?
P: Yes.
E: What are your powers?
P: Love.

P: I'm gonna go into outer space and catch the moon.
E: What are you going to catch it with?
P: A rake. Well it's kind of like a rake- a snow shovel.
E: Is it big and heavy?
P: Yes. Maybe I better wait until I'm a grown up and big and strong.

E: Do you know some things that are dangerous?
P: Fireworks, scissors, candles, t-Rex teeth, sticks you use to light candles, and sharp walls.

E: How come you didn't put undies on?
P: Because I just wanted to eat breakfast without undies.

P: What are your babies' names?
O: titty baby
P: Olive says her babies are named titty and baby.

E: Is Olive eating the salt?
P: No, she's eating the cinnamon.

P: (after eating steak for dinner) Mom, I need to floss because I have cow stuck in my teeth.

(Josh teaches Penny her age in fractions each month, and then all month she'd say "I'm 3 and seven twelfths" or "I'm 3 and two thirds.")
P: How come when I tell grownups how old I am, they laugh? Kids don't laugh though. They just say, "Oh".

E: Will you be an athlete when you're a grown up?
P: No. I'm going to be a mailman.

P: I want to be a tiger for Halloween.
E: Penny, we talked about this last week. You promised me you weren't going to change your mind and said you were absolutely sure you wanted to be a ghost.
P: I changed my mind that I wasn't going to change my mind.

P: Olive, please don't pee on the steps. You're supposed to go in the potty if you have to go potty.

(We have some regional vocabulary differences in our house, Josh being from the midwest and me being from the northeast.)
J: What do you have?
P: A sucker. Actually it's called a lollipop, but I said sucker so you can understand.

E: It stinks in here.
P: I know, Mommy. That's because you're in here.

(after returning home from a week visiting Gigi/grandma)
O: Gigi misses me.

P: Do you even know what empathy means?
E: Yes, do you?
P: Thinking about someone else's feelings.
E: How do you know that?
P: Daniel Tiger.

J: Who's your favorite?
O: Daddy.
J: Who's your second favorite?
O: Daddy.
J: Who's your third favorite?
O: Daddy.
J: Who's your fourth favorite?
O: Olive.
J: Who's your fifth favorite?
O: Penny.
J: Who's your sixth favorite?
O: Daddy.
J: Who's your seventh favorite?
O: Mommy.

P: Mommy, was that the real Santa, or just someone dressed up like Santa?

E: Ok, Olive, you can have a gummy bear.
O: No, five.

E: Olive, food stays in the kitchen.
O: Frustrated, Mommy!

12/31/14 (headed to a New Years Eve party)
P: At the party, are you just gonna talk and eat and stuff?

P: Mommy, you're human, and I'm a bee.
O: Olive's the queen!

P: There's a hundred million Jesuses. Because Jesus lives in my heart, and Jesus lives in everyone's heart, so there's a hundred million Jesuses.

O: I tell you secret, Daddy... I love me.

P: How do you get glasses?
E: You have to go to the eye doctor.
P: But how do you get there if you can't see?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

38 Weeks

Weeks pregnant: 38
Baby size: Leek
Total weight gain: +35 lb
Total waist gain: +12"

Physical stuff: Still feeling really good all things considered. I've been pampering myself lately to try to relax and get my body ready for labor. I had a prenatal massage, visited my friend's spa, got my hair cut, and I have a pedicure scheduled for tomorrow. I've started to feel baby drop and am getting that telltale cervical pressure, so it does feel like things are starting to progress. I am guessing maybe this weekend or early next week?

Emotional stuff: I am starting to feel more ready for this baby to come. I've buzzed through my to-do lists in the last week or so and am now just relaxing and working on some things that don't really need to be done before baby. I am a little grumpy lately and don't have a ton of patience with my girls. They've been difficult lately–Penny is doing the super emotional 4 thing, and Olive has molars coming through and is doing that tantrum 2 thing. Plus, Josh has been working really long hours for the last few weeks, often not home for dinner and even going to the office on Saturday. It's good that he's wrapping things up for paternity leave, but it's been tough to be doing so much solo parenting at 8+ months pregnant. Thank goodness for the gym nursery! I totally use it as babysitting so I can relax and hang out by myself.

Baby prep/birth prep: Prenatal appointment yesterday was fine–nothing noteworthy. We talked about my plan for wasting no time in getting to the birth center, and I feel pretty good about it. I think we will make it there and am hoping to have a little time to labor there.

To do list:

  • unpack baby clothes and gear/set up
  • write out instructions for helpers who come after baby is here
  • make list of people I can call to watch the kids when I need to go to the birth center
  • freeze a couple of meals And my sweet friends have a meal train set up for me, which is so amazing and the best thing anyone can do for us with a new baby!
  • freeze lactation cookies/other snacks- Lactation cookies are on the afternoon agenda for today, and I stocked up on granola bars, etc at Costco last weekend.
  • get birth ball ready- I decided I don't really need this since I don't plan to labor at home at all.
  • order breast pump through insurance I ordered this on 1/11 and am really hoping it arrives soon. They said 5 days for processing and 3-5 days for shipping, but it hasn't shipped yet...
  • meet with birth photographer
  • pack bag for birth center I also packed a bag for the kids in case they need to come with us.
  • postpartum supply list

Thursday, January 15, 2015

37 Weeks

Weeks pregnant: 37
Baby size: Swiss Chard
Total weight gain: +34 lb
Total waist gain: +12"

Physical stuff: Still feeling relatively decent. I am awake for about 2 hours in the middle of the night every night, but I've been going to sleep on the early side, so I'm still feeling rested enough.

Emotional stuff: It's been a really stressful beginning of 2015. I had put off a lot of baby prep things to January, but then our lives got unexpectedly super busy and stressful at the beginning of this month, so that's been a little tough. I am trying to let myself relax and get mentally prepared to give birth, but I haven't been doing the best job really. I need to make this a priority so that I don't delay labor by not being emotionally ready. I did schedule a prenatal massage and haircut for this weekend, so maybe a little pampering will help me unwind.

Baby prep/birth prep: Beta Strep test came back negative. Baby was measuring 36.5-37 weeks this week, so pretty much on target. Honestly, I feel like nothing is happening any time soon. Baby still feels high, BH have been about the same as they've been for months. I've started taking my evening primrose and red raspberry tea, but who knows if that does anything. I really need to remember my kegels–I haven't done them nearly as consistently as I did with the other two, and I do think that makes a difference with tearing. I don't really want baby to come early, and I'm not feeling mentally ready at all, so I'm okay with another couple weeks of waiting.

To do list:
  • unpack baby clothes and gear/set up- in progress
  • write out instructions for helpers who come after baby is here
  • make list of people I can call to watch the kids when I need to go to the birth center
  • freeze a couple of meals
  • freeze lactation cookies/other snacks
  • get birth ball ready
  • order breast pump through insurance
  • meet with birth photographer
  • pack bag for birth center
  • postpartum supply list

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Frozen Winter-y Birthday

Since my girls' birthdays are 2 years, 4 days apart, it makes it really easy to have a big double birthday party. I am thinking we will make it a triple party starting next year! We might not always do it this way, but for now the girls are happy with it, and it makes sense to me. We have a lot of Frozen love around here, it's the perfect time of year for snowflakes and ice, and I found two local girls who dress up like Anna and Elsa for birthday parties, so we thought it would be super fun to do a Winter/Frozen theme. It was a super super fun party–Anna and Elsa were a huge hit and were absolutely adorable. They sang with the kids, read to them, answered their questions, etc. We had many starry-eyed little ones here.

We kept the decor very simple, just some snowflake cutouts (found on Christmas clearance!) on horizontal surfaces and hung with thread from the windows and chandelier, a birthday banner, and a sign for the door (dad's contribution!).

 Wine bar for the grown-ups and hot cocoa bar for the littles.

We had two cakes–this was only fair of course. We have a friend with a peanut allergy, so I had Penny's cake made by a peanut-free baker, and then I made Olive's cake myself (carrot!). Baking one cake was about my limit anyway.

My sweet little birthday Elsas. I loosely used this tutorial for the dresses, but I took a few liberties. All materials were upcycled from thrift store garments, and I made their skirts different colors to keep things interesting. I was especially tickled to find the cape fabric, which was a sparkly ombre scarf just screaming to become an Elsa cape. There is also some sparkle in the bodice pieces.

We had planned to do face-painting (just simple snowflakes and snowmen), but we ended up not really having time.

I also made crowns for the birthday girls (loosely modeled after the one here), and our special guests did a cute little coronation ceremony for Penny. Olive wanted nothing to do with Anna or Elsa at first, but she slowly warmed up.

By the end of the party, Olive cried when Elsa had to leave.

Overall, we had a great time, and I'm so glad we were able to take the time to celebrate with friends in such a festive and fun way!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Omaha House #2

What a crazy and wild year this has been. Moved to Europe. Moved back from Europe. Bought a house. Spent most of the year pregnant. I am sure ready for things to slow down some. Although, with the new addition to our family upcoming, I bet 2015 will be anything but slow. I thought it would be fun to finish off the year with a little house tour. We didn't do much work to this house (it was pretty perfect already!), but we did renovate the kitchen and finish the basement. I'll mostly just let the pictures speak for themselves, and I'll make notes on the "before" pictures.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen after. We did new backsplash, appliances, countertops, sink, faucet, range hood, lighting, and moved a few cabinets around. We splurged on the backsplash, but I am absolutely in love with the Fireclay tile we ended up choosing.

Kitchen "before"

I didn't get a good shot of this side of the kitchen before the renovation, but here is a mid-reno shot. The fridge was in that green corner, and then there were cabinets around it and a round countertop/bar on the left side where you see the post. The barstools were in the middle of the doorway and made the kitchen feel really cramped. Here is the after shot of this side:

Side stairs from the kitchen

Powder room off the kitchen

Main entrance

This is a sunroom off of the living room that we use as a playroom.

Basement before/mid

Basement before

Basement before
Basement after. Added a wall to separate out a family room from the laundry area, added doors, drywall, new flooring (tile that looks like wood), and paint. We decided not to put in a ceiling since it was already painted white and would have encroached on headspace.

Guest Room
Jack & Jill bathroom that connects guest room to Olive's room

Master with double walk-in closets.

Master suite

We don't have enough clothes to fill two walk-in closets, so we share one and I turned the other into a sewing room.

Penny's attic room:

The window seat was here, but we added the shelving on either side of the window.

Wishing you all a blessed and joyful 2015!