Sunday, March 27, 2011

100 days

IF this babe in my belly decides to make her debut on her due date, I have exactly 100 days to go. I just hope I don't get 100 more stretch marks in the meantime! *sigh* Carrying a baby at 34 is not the same as 27 or 29. (Tells self to drink more water) Some weeks go fast, but others like this past week d.r.a.g. by. My SIL is due any day now so that helps pass the time. She doens't know what she's having so the excitement is building every day!

I scored a beautiful glider off of Craigslist this past week so the itch to get the nursery put together is building. There is a LOT of heavy furniture that has to be moved to make the transition from office to nursery and a even more organization of stuff inside that furniture that has to happen before it can be moved. Fun times. I'm waiting to hear back about a dresser that would be perfect, but someone beat me to it. If they don't take it, I will gladly drive around the flood to get it because that's what I'd have to do. I'm still hunting for the perfect 'inspiration piece' to get me started with "decorating". I say decorating loosely because I'm only getting new curtains and a piece of artwork for the wall.

Last week we ventured to Babies R Us because...well just because! We weren't planning to buy anything. I didn't see anything I had to have this early, if at all. We're in a different place this time around. We have the basics covered and with garage sale season only a few weeks away I have no desire to pay full price for anything. It felt good to walk out of there with no regrets - without anything I wish we could get for her.

I'm feeling better now. I've gone 10 days without throwing up! I'm still taking my meds and don't have any plans to stop since every time I do, I get sick. It was the same with my first two pregnancies...why should this one be any different?I tried stopping Unisom & B6 at 36 weeks with Sam and threw up. (I'll only be 26 weeks on Tuesday.)

And only because Julia really wanted to use my get a peek at the belly this week (and the glider and my new maternity pants)

I thanked her for not getting my head in the shot. From her angle all of my chins would have shown. Instead we took a head shot together. Much better!

Monday, March 14, 2011

He is Special

We celebrate special days in our house. The kids really look forward to the privilages that go along with that day, but no matter what we manage to forget to celebrate on the exact date sometimes. It really doesn't matter - in fact when we forget I don't even tell the kids - I simply announce that "tomorrow is your special day!" and go with it. This month we were a day late for both of the kids so it all worked out.

We didn't do anything fancy today, but it was still special. Sam chose cereal for breakfast, pizza in his lunch, and waffles for dinner. Daddy even put strawberry sauce and powdered sugar on top! He's going to be talking about that meal for months! He asked to go to the library after school. I picked out a new dinosaur book for him to check out. We played outside for over an hour when we got home. Sledding, 'snowboarding', climbing the mountains of snow that surround our yard, and throwing snowballs - kinda the last hurrah before the rain comes and washes away all our snow (hopefully!)

After dinner Sam and Daddy played dinosaur and then we played two rounds of the board game "Camp" per Sam's request. We had a fun evening together as a family and for the first time those last two hours before bedtime flew by. He never asked to watch TV. He didn't ask for a treat after dinner. It was a special night! We read their devotional and their Jesus Storybook Bible in Julia's room as has become our tradition and as I finish this up he's curled up in my bed for a sleepover.

I pray that the reason behind our special days (to fill up their love tanks) was successful today - I know my heart is overflowing with love for both of them!

What do you do to give your children the individual attention they crave?

Mommy and Me Monday - Our Fall Vacation

I posted a few photographs from our trip up North back in the Fall, but not very many. Instead I was busy putting together a book with 200+ photos in it. Oh what FUN that was! I used a combination of cell phone and DSLR shots to tell the story of our four glorious days in and around Duluth. I make a living designing books for other people so it was a real treat to make one using my own photos! (the four arrow icon in the lower right will allow you to view the book full screen)

Did you make it all the way through to the end? If you did you'll know why this book is extra special to our family! I managed to get myself in a few photos thanks to PapaBear and Sam's willingness to take over camera duties every once in a while.

Today's Mommy and Me Monday selection is from our last night when we stayed in a camper cabin in one of our favorite parks - Jay Cooke. We had the park almost to ourselves - something you can't say in the summer months, but in late October? Q.U.I.E.T!

The first two nights we stayed at the Edgewater Hotel and Waterpark and stored our perishables in the mini fridge. On Wednesday when it was time to say goodbye to our suite and hello to nature, we had our hotdogs, beans, S'mores, granola, hot chocolate, and gorp all ready to go. It was chilly that night with a few raindrops, but we were snug and warm in our heated cabin after dinner!

We don't get to take very many vacations because we are tied to the park much of the time so we had high expectations for this trip - it didn't disappoint!

Head on over to Krystyn's blog for more Mommy and Me moments!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

And because I love book design and are a 10 tips on how to make your next family vacation book the best it can be!

1) take detail shots as well as wide sweeping shots. This is key to telling your story. Example in our book - the pages about the waterpark and our night in the camper cabin.

2) use the information your camera stores to look up the time you did things if you want to include those details in your book (came in handy when we were up before sunrise to watch the ship come into the harbor)

3) Even though the scene might not be 'picture perfect' take the photo anyway! When you piece your book together it's more about telling the story than only having beautiful photographs. Photos that are darker than you'd want or aren't 'picture perfect' can be put in a storyboard layout rather than a large 5x7 or 8x10 spread. (for example: the pictures of our food at Perkins)

4) You don't need captions for every picture - summarize the activity either under the photo or better yet, write on top of a photo that has a 'blank space' for writing

5) Don't forget to take pictures of isn't always about the destination, sometimes the story is in the journey to get there! (what did the kids do in the car to keep busy, did they fall asleep? Take a picture of the GPS or better yet the road map!)

6) If you are the one who usually takes the photos - change it up! Let your children take a few and don't be shy about asking a stranger to take some of your whole family! One trick I use is to walk up to a mom who's about to take a photo of her husband and kids and ask her if she'd like me to take the photo so she could be in it. Once you've returned their camera sometimes the mom will offer on her own to take one for your family or it's never been an issue if I ask her to take one of us. Be sure to tell them it's OK to snap away so you have a few to choose from!

7) Turn your camera from time to time. If you are prone to taking all vertical or all horizontal photos, you won't have as much flexibility when designing your book.

8) If you've followed the first 7 tips you should have lots to work with when it comes time to design your DIVE IN! With digital bookmaking it's easy to change things around. Just start plugging photos in and before you know it you'll have a great first draft! Mix the close up shots with the story shots, add a few words when necessary and you are well on your way to having a beautiful book your family will treasure forever!

9) Chose a photo for the cover (and if you have the option, the back cover as well), include the date either on the cover or on the title page inside. I prefer scenery shots for covers - family photos can be enlarged inside, but my preference is for a beautiful landscape or a close up of something instead of people on the cover.

10) Spell check your book and have someone else read through it as well. I missed a mistake in our book because I knew what it was suppose to say and that's what my brain saw.

It goes without saying that you want to enjoy your vacation and not have to worry about documenting every last moment. BE in the moment as much as you can! I take a bunch of photos when we first arrive to get my detail shots and then I put my DSLR down. We spent two days at the waterpark, but I only took pictures on the first day and spread them out between both days in the book. I try not to ask my kids to look at the camera any more than I 'need' to. Documentary style is much more relaxed, but when my kids get in the mood to be in front of the camera and ask me to take their picture - I rarely turn them down!

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Straw Bale Garden Plans for 2011

I'm not brave enough to start my own seeds...maybe some day...but for now my garden prep involves mapping out where and what I'm going to plant. This is my third year of straw bale gardening and I'm excited to expand it to include some foods grown specifically for BabyBear.

You can read all about our strawbale garden successes and failures by clicking on the tab under my blog header.

I'm very grateful for this blog and the things I've recorded here so I can look back at the things I've learned and not make the same mistakes twice. I started a garden notebook last year and used my blog archives to update my notes last week. I highly recommend this! It's wonderful to be able to look back at the different layouts I've used for planting, what grew well, what I shouldn't bother with, and to record plant dates and harvest dates. What a great resource to pass down to my kids some day!

Thanks to some pictures I took of the garden I'll even be able to purchase the exact same variety of watermelon and pumpkin this year and skip this type of cucumber. (tasty, but way too big!) Ideally I would write down this information in my notebook - something I'll make sure I do when I purchase this year's plants!

Are you planning a garden this year? Are you one of the brave souls who starts their seeds indoors? Do tell!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

For the Love of Sam

One thing that I've learned over the 6+ years I've been a mom is that while we never really want our babies to grow up, there is something really special about witnessing them grow into themselves. The relationship changes and I think it only gets better! Take Sam for example. He didn't talk in sentences until he was two and a half. Now we can have long conversations about life and I'm loving it! Last night he was suppose to be in bed but we were having such a great talk I didn't even consider cutting it short and sending him to bed.

He soaks up knowledge like a sponge, doesn't forget a thing, and is learning SO much in school. In January he learned to read, in February he learned to count money, and this month he's starting adding and subtracting. He enjoys school (except for the parts where he has to sit too long) and is friends with everyone.

He's excited about the baby coming and is going to be such a great big brother! He also has a name picked out for her, but that one we're keeping to ourselves. Sorry!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This is our Julia

The girl with the curls and incredible the artistic ability.

The girl with a smile that is contagious as her giggle.

The girl who grew two inches this winter but still fits in my arms.

The girl who loves to make lists and likes to help mommy around the house.

The girl who wants to share a room with her baby sister and name her Lucy.

This is our Julia.

Wordless Wednesday - Mommy's little helper

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

23 Weeks

I had an appointment this afternoon with my OB. I saw a midwife for my first two pregnancies, but with the trouble I have it ends up being an OB who is consulted so often in the first half of pregnancy that I opted to just start with a doc. Don't get me wrong, I loved my midwives, but I've learned that the nurses are the ones that get you through much of the labor part anyway so I'm OK with seeing an OB.

I have my birth plan written out already and being that it's my third time, I have a pretty good idea what I want and don't want and have no problem speaking up for myself if necessary. We will be delivering at the same hospital our first two were born at, but there is an entire new birthing area now. I've heard from my SIL who is due in five short weeks that it's really nice. I'm looking forward to touring it sometime down the road and asking some of my questions.

News for this week: I'm feeling a bit better - that strange feeling from last week is still there, but it doesn't keep me from functioning so I can't complain. Babe's heart rate is in the 140's - she's a kicker which was very evident with the doppler on my belly this afternoon. I wouldn't want it any other way! I don't feel like there is much room left - my skin is stretching more and more every day, but I love that her kicks are becoming stronger and stronger. I'm up five pounds from my last visit a month ago so my weight gain is finally tapered off. I wasn't going to survive the five pounds a week like it was there for a while! So far I've gained 20 pounds but can still wear my regular clothes. Phew! Come on Spring! I am ready for my comfy capris! I'm still craving citrus and can easily eat 2-3 oranges a day. Yum!

Our list of names is very short. Very. But at least they are all names we agree on! If you hear of a girl name that catches your attention feel free to pass it on - we're not ones to pick a name before meeting the baby so we have lots of time for suggestions!

I'm started to get antsy about setting up the nursery - or at least removing my office things so it isn't so crowded with baby stuff and office stuff. I found some things in the basement that didn't sell at our garage sale that we'll be able to use - little toys, carseat pad, nursing bras, changing pads....and then there are the things that I was never able to part with after Julia - sleep sacks, breathable crib bumper, newborn clothes, video monitor, baby sling, blankets, hats, homemade bibs, cloth diapers. I also have a collection of summer clothes she'll be able to wear next summer. There won't be many things that both Julia and the baby will wear, but it sure will be fun to reuse the ones we can!

I'm trying my best to ignore the aches and pains and focus on the miracle of life growing inside of me. We are so excited to meet this little one and see what God has in store for our new family of FIVE!

Black and White Beauty

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

22 week update

I haven't been very good about writing updates each week, but something happened yesterday that I wanted to record. After I ate breakfast I all of a sudden felt sick to my stomach. Nothing new..I've been sick since November. This was different, yet familiar...strangely familiar. I was instantly reminded of my first pregnancies because of this "new" feeling. It's hard for me to describe, but it's a feeling/smell/taste wrapped into one. It's terrible and has me back in bed so I don't throw up too many times in one day and end up needing iv's. I haven't felt like this at all with this pregnancy, but it brings me right back to the rough days of my first two pregnancies. Weird. I know.

In other 22 week news...I'm finally not having nightmares when I sleep, I crave citrus, I'm trying to cut back on my pop consumption, I am still in my regular clothes (with a couple of new XL shirts and a Bella Band), I'm down to 1 Zofran a day and one reglan a day with my b6 and half a Unisom. I started doing yoga again, but can barely get through the warm up before I have to quit. My back has been bothering me because of sitting at my desk and working so much, but stretching breaks and going to the chiropractor has helped. I sleep better on my back, have been staying up until i:30 some nights, but still usually go to bed by 7:30.

No picture this's only jammies and robe for me with as awful as I feel right now....hopefully by the weekend I'll be feeling better!

Beginner Knit Hat Pattern

I've been asked so many times if there is a pattern for the hats I make,  but I was too busy filling Christmas orders...