Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

source

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Guest Post: What You'll Need for that Adorable Baby Shower

As you know, I'm fairly excited about the prospect of possibly having baby #2. Whether you're having a little one yourself, or are planning a shower for a friend, I hope you enjoy this guest post by Rachael McAdams. Happy reading!
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Baby showers are full of absolutely adorable things for both mom and baby. Keeping track of everything however, can be tough. Here are a few lists to help stay organized.
Themes, Decorations, and Invitations
Baby shower decorations should reflect the overall theme of the event. Is mommy planning a “Noah’s Ark” room? Get pairs of small stuffed animals to put on every table. Does she like to garden? Get small potted plants and packages for seeds for each guest to take home with them as favors, such as these Peter Rabbit personalized seed packets from Esty. Find out what mom and dad are planning for their new addition and try to implement it into the shower’s theme and decorations. Consider asking other family members to join in on the planning and for shower ideas. They may be able to provide that one little bit of information that could make the shower extra special!
Once you decide on a theme and what type of decorations you would like to have, you need to order invitations. There are plenty of great options for every budget. For example, Tiny Prints has baby shower invitations to match any theme you can dream up and they usually have a coupon code running. Invitations should go out three to four weeks before the shower so everyone has time to respond and find that perfect gift. Also make sure to include if it the shower is a surprise so no one slips about the plans in front of mommy.
Food Ideas
Once the theme is picked and the invitations have gone out, it is time to plan a menu, Woman’s Day Magazine has a great list of tasty ideas! First it is important to consider any dietary restrictions mommy may be under. For example, many women need to be extra careful of their sodium intake during pregnancy, so make sure to avoid serving nothing but salty snacks. On the flip side, make sure to include food items mommy will enjoy. Does she love chocolate cake? Or a special recipe of her grandma’s? These are the things that will help make the day extra special with that touch of home.
Ultimately, a baby shower is all about having fun and celebrating a wonderful event. Make sure your plans include a fun theme and great food, and everyone will have wonderful memories.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bumpity Bump

On one of my message boards, a young, thin & fit woman, who is eight months pregnant, relayed a story where she spends hours sobbing in various dressing rooms, trying on clothes for her baby shower, because while they're "cute", they all make her look "too pregnant".

She hates her baby bump, and feels fat.

I'm gonna be honest, I never understood this. Even before I had Jena.

You're pregnant. You are carrying a baby in that belly. Celebrate it! Show it off!

I understand it even less so since having my own child.

I loved being pregnant. I loved my baby bump. My gigantic, wearing XXL maternity clothes and my belly still hung out the bottom for the last two months of my pregnancy bump. Loved it.

I loved being pregnant. Every achy-joint, food-and-water-aversion-cold-all-the-time, highly-sensitive-to-smells, can't-get-comfortable, bigger-feet minute of it.

If God grants me the chance to carry another child, I plan on living it up, pregnancy style. Maternity clothes at the first sign of a "+" on the pregnancy test. Celebrating every second, relishing every moment.

I am, and will be, keenly aware that this will be my last pregnancy. And I don't plan on wasting a second of it, trying to hide my bump, lamenting my bigger belly. No ma'am. I plan on showing off & living those 10 months gloriously.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mini Update

I feel this ambition to get my life " in order" before we get pregnant. Not like I'm not managing things now, but like I feel this need to really get things better under control. A better meal plan, better cleaning schedule, better morning routine, things like that.

Probably not a bad idea, because I know that with pregnancy will come a loss of energy (at least at some point), and a new baby will bring its own challenges to getting things done around the house, so improving upon the current can only, well, improve things, right?

So that's where I am right now. As always, thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

See what happens...

Well, we decided. And today I picked up my last refill of birth control. Granted, it's a three month supply, but still. It feels like a moment worth noting.

I'll take them all back-to-back, not taking the week off for my period. Then we'll stop the birth control and see what happens.

Eeeeeeeek!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Giving it to God

So, you know that financial goal that we're supposed to meet before we start trying? Well, we met it a bit ago.

Ta da!

So now, the big question is exactly when do we TTC? Obviously we didn't rip my Patch off that night, LOL.

I have some other medical stuff going on right now, so current thinking is we'll wait to see how that goes.

We also have a couple of family & relationship milestones coming up, so we've tossed around the idea of waiting until one of those. I guess the idea is it would make it more meaningful.

Although as I type that out it sounds stupid. How much more meaningful than attempting to create life can you get?

And the truth is that we're both nervous. Really nervous. Scared, even.

Jason won't say it, but I think he has a lot of the same fears that I do - will my PPD come back? anxiety? will our marriage weather another child?. I think he also worries about money more than I do. While I don't believe in being stupid, we're in a good position, have met several financial goals, are on the right track, and so... God will provide. I'm definitely much more of a "God will provide" mindset.

The other night I had a moment of doubt. A moment of fear, really. Can I do this? Can we do this?I mean, I'm happy. Ridiculously happy. I adore Jena. I don't ever want anyone (especially her) to think this comes from some place of thinking that she wasn't enough for me. Our family dynamic is good. Financially we are in a great place with only one child. We can give her the world. Having another might change that.

And as all these second thoughts, and fears, and doubts were running thru my mind, I also felt that familiar tug, that pull at my heart telling me our family is not yet complete.

And so, I gave it up.

I talked with God for a bit.

I believe in my heart that there is someone missing from our family. That has not changed over the course of several years. And so, in the near future we will stop our birth control. And give it to God. I asked him that if my heart is correct, and there is someone missing, that He will send us our child. And if not, then not. After all, He is ultimately in control. I told God that if He does bless us with another child, then I will trust His decision, that we can handle this, that everything will be okay, and that He will guide us thru any troubles that might come.

And if He does not see fit to grant us another child, then I will accept that as well. If it takes five years, if it never happens, I will leave it to Him. He knows best. His timing is best.

I am not saying I will not be sad, or disappointed, or confused, if we aren't blessed with another child, simply that I will dwell with peace in my heart, because I have given it to God. He is in control. Not me. Not us. Him.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

As sure as I know my name

As much as there is a huge part of me that feels like our family is not yet complete, like there is another tiny soul out there, waiting for us...

there is another part of me that is terrified to go thru my post partum illnesses again, scared that our marital issues will dredge up again with the stress of a newborn, worried that because I struggled so much with one, I'll never be able to handle two.

In my head, I know that there is no reason to think my post partum illnesses will recur, or if they do that they will be as bad or last as long. Especially since now we know in advance what we're up against. But it still scares me.

And I know there is no reason to think our relationship issues will repeat. But then a tiny voice says "but there's no reason not to think that either"

And I know that I have more experience now, a better handle on not just motherhood, but life, and that God won't give me more than I can handle. But I still worry.

But deep down, in my soul, I can feel that our family is not complete. I can't explain it. I don't know how to properly put it into words. I don't know the how's or when's, or even the why's... but I know we are meant to be a family of four. I know it as sure as I know my name.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The test was negative

I guess Jason was right. Maybe it's all the stress I've been under lately. There's been a smidgen of family stress, lots of work stress, plus I was sick recently.

Oh well. I'd rather test and know for sure than go on wondering, you know?

Thanks for checking in!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Slumber Party



Last Friday night, Jena & I had a slumber party, just the two of us. Playing games, dressing in matching PJs, eating "snacky food", watching Netflix until the wee hours of the morning, and sleeping on the couch.

I hesitated sharing this pic, because you can clearly see our mess in the living room.

But... I don't care. I don't care about the mess.

Why?

Because I highly doubt my daughter will remember the mess.

But I do not doubt that she will remember that I gave her my undivided attention for an entire night, that we played any game she wanted, watched whatever show she wanted. That we went shopping just so she could get any snack she wanted (even the forbidden potato chips - rarely seen in our house), that I obliged in wearing matching PJs, that when she argued that we can't sleep in beds during a slumber party, we have to sleep on the couch, I complied.

That for one whole night, she really was the center of my attention, the center of my world.

That slumber party she will remember. And it is so worth it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kinda nervous...

I think I'm gonna pick up a pregnancy test tonight.

No, we're not trying yet.

Yes, I'm still on birth control.

No, I'm not ready for this.

But... it started about 3 weeks ago.

First, I spotted. Right about 2 weeks before I was due to start. And I never spot. But it was literally a one-time thing, so I shrugged it off (but took note).

Then, not quite a week later, I had a sudden, unexplained night of overwhelming anxiety, like I haven't had in well over a year.

You know, since my post-partum illness(es) had resolved. Finally.

It came out of nowhere. And shook me to the core.

Not so much the anxiety. But the fact that it was happening. I thought we were done with this.

I almost got a pregnancy test the next day, and even mentioned it to Jason. But he convinced me it was just due to the stress I've had at work recently.

And then, my period. Started 3 days late (unusual for me, considering I'm on birth control), and extremely light. As in, so light I coudn't justify using a tampon the entire time. I used pads, but mostly because I was worried about it "starting" suddenly and being trapped in a junior-high-ish nightmare of blood-stained clothes at work.

Truth is, I could have done with just a pantyliner the entire 4 days I had anything.

Oh, and four days is short for me too.

And then yesterday. Jason picked me up at work to take me to lunch. The restaurant we went to has York Peppermint Patties at the checkout. I love them.

He paid while I peed, and Jason got me one, just because (awwwww... I know, right?).

I choked it down ate it, because I knew he expected me to, and he had just done this really sweet thing by getting it for me without me asking.

But the truth is it kinda made me wanna puke. Good thing it's only 2 bites.

But seriously? I love chocoloate. And the York things are one of my favs. Yet I had to force myself to eat it. Tasted disgusting ot me.

Last night? Passed out in the car on the way to the park (no worries, Jason was driving). Seriously, with all the sleep I got over the weekend, I should not have been that tired.

And then, today. I've been nauseous all day. ALL DAY. Truth is I was a bit yesterday afternoon as well. But today, it's been all day.
Except when I'm eating. Then I get respite lasting 30-60 minutes before it comes back.

Good thing I packed today, and so  have some fairly healthy options (strawberries, apple, pears, hard boiled eggs, Quaker rice cakes, Snackwell's cookies, and turkey sandwich on wheat) I always overpack so I know I won't hit up the vending machines in the afternoon.

Although now I wish I'd packed some "lighter" options. Other than the fruit my food choices are healthy, but heavy. And since I'm eating pretty much constantly... ugh.

And so... because of all of this... and because if I am I don't want to miss a day of what is most likely my last pregnancy... tonight I plan to buy a test, and pee on a stick tomorow morning.

Not gonna lie... kinda nervous....

As always, thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

And the winner is...


Kaitlin Boles!

Kaitlin, please email me at KYFIREWIFE at GMAIL dot COM at your earliest convenience so I can obtain shipping information.

Congratulations!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Maybe I should stop fretting

Ugh. My weight.

I really want to start of the next pregnancy below my pre-pregnancy weight from before. And right now, I'm not there.

The truth is my weight has fluctuated up & down the past few months, ranging from 14 lbs under my last pre-pregnancy weight, to 2 lbs over.

Right now, I am just over that previous pre-pregnancy weight.

Even if it's just 5 (or better yet 10) lbs lighter. But at that weight, and stable at that weight, you know?

Maybe I'm being silly. In my head if I'm even just 5 lbs lighter, I'm giving myself & baby that much more of a chance at starting things off healthy.

But the fact is my last pregnancy, with my pre-pregnancy weight exactly what it was this morning, was healthy. Jena was fine, perfectly healthy. I was fine.

I don't know.

Part of me says I really need to be stable at that lower weight to be healthier for both of us.

Part of me says I was healthy before, baby was healthy, and I'm making changes to live a healthier lifestyle, so stop fretting.

Also - I'm slightly upset. According to the scale, I've dropped 2 lbs, and yet this morning I had to go rummaging thru my bin o'fat clothes to find pants. Pants that have been too big for me for well over a year. This had better just be an unusually massive case of bloat (it is that time o' the month), because dropping 2 lbs should not mean bigger sizes. In my humble opinion.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I don't like the idea. But...

So, I've been thinking...

Since I will have a scheduled C-section anyway, and this will be our last child... I'm considering asking my Ob what he thinks about me having a hysterectomy simultaneously with the C-section.

The fact is I've always had bad periods (seriously bad, heavy, long, and painful periods) and have been on hormonal birth control since I was 13 years old because of it.

I don't want to be on hormonal birth control the rest of my life.

I have a family history of uterine prolapse, and already know that my pelvic floor muscles are weak from my first delivery.

And, quite frankly, I feel like having any more children would be dangerous. Who am I kidding? I think this next one is a little risky. But I'm getting older, my body's getting older, and we feel sure we will be done after the next child.

I guess what I'm saying is that even though a hysterectomy is major surgery & not to be taken lightly, I'm actually thinking it might be better for me in the long run.

And if I'm ever gonna have it done (like multiple women in my family have needed for various medical reasons), it's generally safer to combine surgical procedures into one (C-section & hysterectomy), than have two separately. And he'll already be cutting into my uterus to deliver the baby anyway. So... right now that's my train of thought.

Of course, unless we can show it's medically necessary, I'm sure insurance won't cover a hysterectomy on a woman in her mid-30s. But... I'm also thinking that with the issues I've already had, it probably (maybe?) won't be difficult to get covered. Maybe.

To be clear, I don't like the idea. I cried when I decided I think I want to do it. The idea of not having the option to have any more children makes me very sad. But... I think it's probably a good choice for long-term health, considering both my personal & family medical history.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Everything looks good

I had my yearly with my Ob/Gyn a while back. Everything looks good.

I told him we would probably be TTC before my next yearly, and he said he expected no issues.

Considering the difficulty with my L&D last time, he would recommend a scheduled C-section. He said there was no reason to risk putting my body thru that physically again, and that there was no reason to risk the emotional stress possibly causing issues like high blood pressure, etc. for both me & baby. He did mention that if we were planning to have more, he likely wouldn't recommend a C-section, as repeat C-sections are somewhat more difficult due to scar tissue. But since this would be my first C-section, and probably our last child, he thinks it's the safest way to go.

He advised me to start pre-natal vitamins a month before we stop birth control, and if we're not pregnant within a year, see him for possible infertility.

I asked him about being considered "high risk" because of my age, and he said that considering I am otherwise healthy, the concern isn't so much my health, but birth defects, etc. with the baby, none of which would affect my care during the pregnancy.

So, I guess what I'm saying is we're good to go.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

There probably isn't a "right" answer

Jena's preschool had their rates posted by the door yesterday. I glanced quickly, and figured out how much it would cost if we had a 2nd child.

Assuming they were there at the same time, it would be over 75% of my paycheck. And our daycare expenses are subsidized as a benefit to employees. It's actually pretty cheap, especially considering the quality of the facility and the caliber of the preschool.

I shouldn't be surprised. I remember when I was pregnant w/ Jena, before I qualified for the work daycare, and before we knew what our child care arrangement would be, I priced out a few day cares in the area. No matter which way we went, just for her, would cost us over 90% of my paycheck back then.


Ouch.

And that got me thinking. With the financial goals we've been moving toward, we've discussed me becoming a SAHM after #2 comes, or possibly reducing hours to part-time.

Which got me thinking even more... would I be willing to continue working another 6+ years if we didn't financially need my income, in order for baby #2 to be able to go thru this preschool?

I waver.

We have been over-the-moon impressed with the preschool program. And it is, in fact, cheaper than any other preschool we've looked at, and much cheaper than any school of this caliber.

But how many times have I thought that I could be a better mom to Jena if I didn't have to work? That's not likely to change.

I know we don't need a decision any time soon, and I still haven't even approached HR w/ the discussion of part-time benefits, and there's always the possibility that we'll face a financial setback and I'll still need to work, but still... this has been on my mind lately.

Stay working so I can send baby to a fantastic preschool? or stop working so I can stay home and devote myself to my family & home?

Honestly, I think the reason this is so difficult is because there probably isn't a "right" answer. Either choice will be good in its own right. Either choice will require a different sacrifice.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blue Screen of Death

source

That's right folks, last night on my home laptop I got the blue screen of death. My computer has been acting up for about a week or so, so thankfully I went ahead & backed up all my photos over last weekend, but I'm pretty sure we're on borrowed time.

I've heard there are ways to recover, but I've also heard they cost $$, which we don't really have right now. So if my experience with systems support at work is any indication, I might have another couple of days of incredibly slow and hindered usage before it actually dies.

As for my blog, I have some posts pre-written and scheduled to go out, and I may be able to post during breaks at work if my workload lets up. Other than that, I'll probably be MIA for a bit.

So thanks for checking in, and hopefully you'll hear from me soon!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Grandmas

I guess we're officially trying once the car is paid off.

Since Jason told his parents and all.

Coincidentally, his mom asked him if we were ever having another kid, the very same day my mom posed the same question. I think they're in cahoots.

Not knowing that he had told his parents, I answered my mom very vaguely, simply saying that the door was open (which is true).

But once I found out he told his mom, I feel this pressure to keep things as "even" as possible, so I told my mom as well.

I will say, telling people definitely gives it more of a "real" feeling.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SNOW !!!

Last week we got some unexpected snow. It was beautiful! And the temps stayed high enough that it was just snow (no ice), and once it melted it didn't re-freeze. In other words, perfect snow. Also, highly unusual 'round these parts. Loved it!

Chief

view out our back window

Buddy








Saturday, March 9, 2013

New bathroom!

Jena helped me finish out our hallway bathroom. I am so in love with the final product. It's small, but I love it! Enjoy!

Jena helping me paint the beadboard



Jena LOVES "the States", so this picture was just perfect


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all bathroom accessories, including artwork found at Target

Friday, March 8, 2013

Easter Craft: Peep Wreath

 

Now, in case you haven't noticed, I don't post a lot of crafty-goodness on my blog. Why, you ask? Because I'm not the most talented in the craft area either. True story.

But this one? Seriously easy.

#1 - buy a straw wreath

#2 - buy lots of Peeps. I chose to go with all yellow, but you can go with whatever colors you like.

#3 - buy toothpicks

#4 - buy ribbon

#5 - buy a can of spray sealant

#6 - wrap ribbon around wreath

#6 - stab wreath with toothpicks

#7 - impale Peeps on toothpicks

#8 - spray the crap out of the wreath with the sealant. I recommend spraying it completely. Letting it dry, then going at it again. Seriously, you want this thing like Fort Knox. Why? Because bugs like to eat Peeps too. Sealing it prevents the food product from decay and from buggies realizing there's yummy food hanging on your wall.

#9 - use remaining ribbon to make bows and / or hanger

and that is seriously it folks. Oh, I could fluff it out, use more words, and make it sound more complicated, but it's really not.

I didn't put amounts of supplies on there for two reasons.

- it depends on how big of a wreath you choose to get
- I totally forgot to pay attention & write down how much I got of each thing. My really-bad-you-totally-shouldn't-trust-it-memory says that you need a 6" wreath, 18 boxes of Peeps, and 12' of ribbon. But seriously, don't hold me to that.

All that being said, isn't it cute?

My non-crafty self is pretty proud.`


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craft inspired by this post

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Turn. Off. the Excitement.

OMGoodness, I'm doing it.

A growing part of me is getting really excited about the possibility of having another child.

Part of me is scared to death, but more & more another part of me is getting really excited.

And no, we're not TTC yet. And of course, there are no guarantees that we'll be able to, so...

I wish I could turn off this excitement. I really do.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I am, at best, a mediocre cook

You know, back when I was icing these cookies, I caught myself thinking "why does every mom think she has to make pretty cookies?"

Well, the truth is not every mom does. This is a goal I set for myself.

One of my favorite traditions growing up was making Christmas cookies with my mom. And maybe they wouldn't win any artistic awards, but they were cute.

The ones I make with Jena? Not so much.

I want to make Christmas cookies with my kid, and I want them to be cute. And that's the extent of my reasoning behind this goal.

But fast forward another month, to my blender mishap, and a similar thought came to mind.

Why does our society tell us that every woman is a good cook?
I started to write "should be", but that's not the case. Society teaches us that every woman is a good cook, thereby inflating the "failure" of those who are not good in the kitchen.

I know I said some of this in my earlier post, but I am re-stating it here.

I am not naturally talented in the kitchen. Not in the least.

But I manage. I can feed my family.

My husband is a far better cook than I. Far better.

And I am okay with not being a good cook.

But I am not okay with being looked down on because I am not a good cook.

Being a mom, does not suddenly endow a woman with the ability to create a delicious meal from scratch.

Walking down the aisle does not include with it the ability to create taste titillating meals on a regular basis.

Being born with a vagina does not mean that I have some innate ability to cook.

And to assume so is incredibly sexist.

I cannot think of a single person in my circle who would disagree that every one of us is born with different talents, abilities, gifts, skills.

And yet we expect women, without exception, to be good in the kitchen.

When it comes to my struggles in the kitchen I have been told I just need to work harder. I have been laughed at. I have been told that a monkey can follow a recipe. I have been mocked. I have been made fun of. I have been teased.

I have been made to feel stupid, inadequate, and lacking as a wife &  mother... as a woman... because I do not happen to possess this one particular skill.

And I am here to say that it needs to stop.

The truth is that we all have been born with different talents, different gifts. And thru our lives we develop different skills for different reasons.

And that's okay.
They are are valuable in their own right, and every person should be admired & respected for the things they can do, not mocked & ridiculed for what they can't.

And so I am here, saying loudly for all to hear, that I am, at best, a mediocre cook.

But I am an awesome wife. A fantastic mother. A woman with a bevy of other talents, skills, and abilities that serve me well.

Tonight I will feed my family a quick & easy meal. Perhaps some pre-packaged goodness. Or a crock pot dish. Or maybe my husband will cook tonight. And they will eat well. And we will be happy. Even though I can't cook.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

I really just should not be allowed in the kitchen at all

source
I am not naturally talented in the ways of the culinary arts.

I did not seek out instruction when I was younger, because I honestly believed that cooking was something that everyone could do well, that just came on as you got older.

It does not.

Not all cooks are created equal.

Not even close.

When I was pregnant with Jena, we took a babymoon to the Smoky Mountains. I distinctly remember eating breakfast at a pancake house, when I had a complete, sobbing breakdown over my pancakes. Oh yes, I'm sure hormones were involved, but more importantly it dawned on me that my child, the baby in my belly, might one day like pancakes... and I didn't know how to make them.

Not for lack of trying.

I had tried, and failed, several times to make basic pancakes.

While I didn't know how to make them, I also knew it wasn't rocket science. But I just couldn't do it.

(incidentally, Jena does like pancakes, and just last week I made my first batch of not-horrible pancakes - yay me!)
I've thrown out too many recipes to mention. Messed up too much food. Wasted too much money on ruined attempts at cooking. Set off the smoke detectors more times than I care to admit.

There's a reason most of the "cooking" done at our house comes prepackaged and ready to go. Time constraints and convenience are only part of the story.

When I say my husband is a much better cook than I am, I mean it. I'm not just trying to flatter him. I'm not just trying to get him to cook more (although really, he is better, so shouldn't he? LOL). He really is better in the kitchen than I am.

And I'm okay with that.

I can manage. I get my family fed. I have a few simple dishes that get the job done. I wouldn't mind experimenting and finding a few more in the future, if I had some spare time (my mom, since she has retired, as enjoyed having time to expend her cooking reportoire, as might I).

What does bother me, is the simple things.

That I struggle to make pancakes. That I had to have an egg separator explained to me. That we got a food processor for our wedding that has never been used because I don't know what it's for.

That this morning, I couldn't make a freakin' smoothie, made a mess all over the kitchen, and tonight will have my husband show me how to work the blender.

That bothers me.

The simple stuff.

I try not to let it get to me. Because we can't all be good at the same things. But still.

Sometimes I think I just shouldn't be allowed in the kitchen at all.
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