June 30, 2012

The Simple Things: Welcome Sweet Boy

I cannot thank you all enough for your amazing support, prayers, encouragement, and LOVE from all over this week as we welcomed our little boy into the world. He is the most wonderful gift, and we feel so incredibly blessed to be his parents! While there are a million and one things I am thankful for this week, my son is at the top of the list (and we don't have power at the house right now from a storm/I'm exhausted/posting from a friend's apartment since they have a shower and air conditioning), so I just wanted to share the one thing I'm the most blessed by this week:

Emmett Lee
Welcomed into the world June 27, 2012, 10:35 a.m.
7lbs, 11 oz 20 inches long




There are sure to be many pictures and posts about Emmett, these first few days, and how thrilled I am to be a mama, but for now I just wanted to thank you all again and share my little bird with the world.

June 23, 2012

The Simple Things: False Alarms and Root Beer Floats...

This week, we had not one, not two, but THREE false alarms that the baby was coming! On Sunday, I was having contractions for a few hours. When they got to be about 4-5 minutes apart I called the doctor on call at the hospital. After describing them, she said that I was experiencing early, or latent, labor. I would know the real contractions were here when they took my breath away or I had to huff and puff to get through them. On Monday for my doctor's appointment, my doctor let me know that I had significantly progressed and the baby was really really really low, and she made the prediction that I would not make it through the week. She said, 'You can make an appointment for next Monday, but I don't think I'm going to see you there!' We were thrilled to hear this, but it definitely made the rest of this week difficult to get through. We've been on edge that everyday could be THE day when we'd get to meet our son. So, the second two false alarms were on Thursday morning and Friday afternoon/evening. Thursday, we thought my water broke, only to head back to the doctor's and find out that it wasn't my water (awkward). Friday evening (hubby's bday!!!), we went for a long walk after dinner and I had really strong, painful contractions from about 5:30pm-12:30am. They started off similar to the ones I experienced on Sunday night, but began to get closer together (2 minutes apart, coming like clockwork) and were so strong I'd have to stop walking to catch my breath. Around 11:00pm we called the hospital and we were told to come in! Sounded like labor! :) We were excited that labor could be starting on my husband's birthday! Well, in the car on the way over, with my husband driving and mother-in-law in the backseat, my contractions started to slow down and decrease in strength. In the maternity triage center, they checked me to see how far along I was (3cm dilated!) before hooking me up to two belts that measured the baby's heartrate and my contractions. Heart rate was great, contractions were still every 2-3 minutes (though less strong than before), and after about an hour and a half of lying there with my husband holding my hand and watching my contractions chart across the screen, the nurse and doctor came back in to check me again. I was still only about 3cm dilated and the contractions weren't getting any stronger. In order to be considered 'true labor,' the contractions would have to continue to come every 3-5 minutes (or closer) AND things would need to be opening up more internally. They weren't. So they told me to go home and take some Benadryl and try to sleep. So, to say the least this week has been full of excitement, a little disappointment, but some good learning experiences as we continue to prepare for the real thing!!! Other things I'm thankful for:

-Size comparisons with food to my growing 37-week belly
Baby>Watermelon


Pizza>Baby (yes we ate that!)
-Fresh flowers that my hubby picked for me from around the yard!!!

-Time with our friends Trent and Natalie. We always have a great time with them, but this week, we shared SO much laughter that we were all crying and rolling on the floor. It feels so good to laugh that hard in the company of good friends :)
-After the 'water breaking' false alarm on Thursday, my husband and I had a decadent day to relax and take care of ourselves. We had awesome burgers at a restaurant called Red Robin, and I had a delicious root beer float. We then went to the mall and spent the afternoon doing laps in the air conditioning (trying to help things along a little bit!). While we were there, I got my hair cut at the JCPenny salon (classy!), and we both got 20 minute massages at a little Chinese massage place (sketchy! but awesome!). Mine was a foot massage. Like I said, a decadent day.
Yum!

Before

After
-We had a nice dinner of bbq chicken, fresh salad, a blackbean salad that my husband's grandmother made, and a red velvet cake that my mother-in-law and I made for my husband's 26th birthday yesterday. Since we weren't sure exactly what would be happening with the baby, we ended up using a mix for the cake, but made a homemade cream cheese frosting (sooo good!). The finished product:


-Thankful for lots of exercise this week. Since we have been hoping that this could be the week, I've gone for 1.5-2 mile walks every day, and the exercise and fresh air around the farm have been good for my soul.
-Thankful for more awesome food today (surprise, surprise haha)... pineapples were on sale at the grocery store for 2/$3 so we bought two. I cut one up this morning and ate about half of it for breakfast and froze the rest to have as a sweet treat this afternoon (oops, ate a whole pineapple in one day!). I also had one of my FAVORITE snacks for lunch which I haven't had for a while... It's super easy and perfect if you have a ripe and ready avocado. Homemade veggie calzones for dinner. Double yum. Pictures of lunch:
Wheat toast, avocado, garlic salt, crushed red pepper flakes...

Voila! Avocado toast. And a d.c. to top it off :)
Soooo, all in all, you could say that this week I'm thankful for lots of food. My amazing husband. And the fact that all of these false alarms MUST mean we're getting closer, and we'll have a better idea of what to expect when the Lord decides it is actually time for our baby to come! What are you thankful for this week??

June 18, 2012

On Being the 'Perfect' Mom, and the nursery reveal (part 2)

Do you remember those worksheets you were given by your teacher in grade school to practice handwriting? With the printed example of each letter in uppercase and lowercase, and a great amount of space for you to repeat your lines and curves until your letters began to resemble the examples? When I was little, I would painstakingly take my time to try to make sure that every single one of my letters looked just like the examples. If I strayed too far off course I would begin to erase. And erase and erase and erase. I didn't want there to be any trace of the imperfect attempts I had made. A lot of times these handwriting exercises resulted in paper so worn through from eraser marks, tears streaking the page, and a little Heather feeling so frustrated with herself. I haven't changed all that much in the last twenty years or so.

I am a perfectionist through and through. I'm not sure how much of that is just built into my character, or if it's tied to the OCD and anxiety I've had for most of my life, or if it's somehow a deeper need for proving to myself and the world that I can do something/everything right (and not having enough grace for myself). However, last week was a huge lesson-learning week for me, in that the one place I NEED to let go of this desire for perfection is in parenting. The baby is not even here yet but he's already teaching me so much :)

I like to have things my way, and I like to do them 100% to the best of my ability. I hate cutting corners, and if I know that I don't have the time or energy to do something well, I actually have an awful habit of not doing it at all until I know that I do have adequate amounts of time to give it what it deserves (a phone call to a friend, the stack of thank you cards that still need to be written, cooking a meal, working on a project, performing a piece of music, etc.). For weeks and months, I've been dreaming up fun ideas of how the baby's nursery would look and all of the fun projects I would work on to save some money and give his room a well-loved look. I've envisioned that the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I'd have everything done (in the order I want it all done!), I'd be well-prepared for his entry into the world, and I would do it all while feeling relaxed and calm. I wanted to give the nursery an owl theme, and I planned on painting a mural on canvas for the wall, I wanted to work on an applique baby quilt, and I definitely wanted to make my own mobile for over his crib. I've made dozens of to-do lists in the last month or so, and I said to myself that the baby couldn't get here until all of it was done. At least the BIG stuff. The one big thing that was left on the list was getting the crib set up, and finishing my little DIY projects for the nursery.

Well, last weekend, the crib arrived. My husband spent a few hours putting it together, with me handing him tools and pieces when I could, but mostly just taking pictures and buzzing around him watching his every move and making sure he was doing it right (like I know anything about putting cribs together). When it was finished, I looked around and realized that the nursery was ready. We had a place for the baby if he were to arrive this week. And I crumbled. I was back to the five-year-old version of myself throwing a temper tantrum and feeling that familiar panic setting in through the tightening of my chest and stomach... I wasn't doing everything right, it could be better, I wasn't ready yet, etc. I'd been feeling my body getting ready for the baby to come soon, and I knew that now that the crib was in place, all of his basic needs would be able to be met with the preparations we'd poured into so far. I realized that I wasn't going to have time to make a quilt, or paint a mural. I panicked about not being able to be a good mom, because I couldn't even get these simple projects done before he even arrives. I started thinking about being a stay-at-home mom, and how much pressure I'd been putting on myself to do everything the 'hard way' (cloth diapering, breast feeding rather than formula, making our own baby food, home-schooling?) to prove to myself that it was worth me pushing my husband to get a full-time job to support us and that I'd be a STELLAR mom just because I do everything myself and I do it well.

In the middle of my meltdown (which at that point was only tears and pouting, as I hadn't yet verbalized/processed exactly why I was sad), my husband pulled me by the hand upstairs. I felt like a child as I said, 'Where are we going?' And he said, 'You're going in time out. You have to get out of the nursery.' He plopped me down in a stool at the kitchen counter and opened the freezer. He scooped a huge bowl of chocolate ice cream for me, made me eat it, and then I talked through my (calmer) tears to he and his mom, as I started to put the pieces together about just how scared I was, and how I was afraid that I was already failing.

This week has been me coming to terms with the fact that I am NOT a failure. I love my son so much that my heart aches when I think about holding him for the first time, kissing his little cheeks, being able to sing him to sleep, hold his hand as he takes his first steps, let him know that he doesn't have to get it all right, and I love him for exactly who he is. I have already given this child more grace than I've ever given myself, but I'm coming to see that my love for him is greater than any silly craft project that I had planned on perfecting for him. He will love me and need me just the same, whether I put him in disposable diapers or finish his mural or not. I will definitely try my best, but I do not need to 'get it all right' to prove to him or anyone else that I love him. And thankfully I have an amazing husband who is going to be a phenomenal father to stand by my side even as I mess up every day.

I have come to fall in love with this nursery, our labor of love, and I LIKE that it is simpler, and quiet, and not all about Momma and all that she can do, but a place where we will be able to shower this child with love and spend the first months of his precious life learning how to be a little family together. So without further ado, here is our little bird's nursery:












June 17, 2012

The Simple Things: Nursery is ready! (Part 1)

Hi friends! Sorry I haven't blogged this week, and am a day late in posting my usual Saturday 'Simple Things' post. It's been a little bit of a hard week, which I'm hoping to write about soon, but I needed to spend the week resting as much as possible and taking care of myself. What I am SUPER thankful for this week is that the nursery is finally finished (even more so than last week, as I've been able to craft and add a few final touches), we now have everything on the essential 'baby list,' and my hospital bag is packed. At my doctor's appointment this week, we were told that things are definitely progressing, and this weekend I've slept more than I ever knew was humanly possible (maybe my body getting ready for labor?). Throughout the pregnancy I've experienced Braxton Hicks contractions almost daily, but today I've been feeling my first real contractions (they're pretty spread apart and not too intense). Once they become more regular and are about 5 minutes apart we will have to head to the hospital, but the contractions I'm having now might just be more warm-ups for the real thing. Exciting to know that it could be any day now!!!

I wanted to post pictures of the before and after, and all of the fun little details of our baby's nursery, as this is what has made me the most happy this week! During the nights when I've had trouble sleeping, I've been able to spend a few hours at a time sitting in my glider reading or praying for the little guy. It's a really peaceful place and I can't wait until he's actually here to enjoy it with us! :)

Before



Deciding where to start...

Hubby and his dad painting!

I wanted to get in on the painting action!
Starting to come together...

The crib

Here we go...

My little corner... ready to put on the finishing touches!
Posting part 2 tomorrow morning with the finished nursery and a story! Thanks for your patience, dear ones!

June 9, 2012

The Simple Things: Landmarks and Lightening Bugs

My list of what I'm thankful for this week is kind of long, but it was one of those weeks that seemed to stretch on and keep unfolding new blessings with each new day. So here goes! I'm thankful for....

-Becoming an official Virginia resident! I went to the DMV this week and registered for a new license, with my married last name and my new state. It came in the mail yesterday! Wahoo! If anyone has ever seen a VA license, you might know that they look a little weird. They have a little hologram of your face in a small oval near the bottom right hand corner. Too bad that the larger picture of my face and the hologram are both creeeeepy (they let me smile but I wasn't allowed to show my teeth!). But at least I'm a true Virginian now :)
-I started a new devotional plan this week (Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life) which is exciting. I've needed to be refreshed in this way! The readings are really simple but poignant and give me a lot to think about as I start my day.
-We received a delightful package from my friend and her sister (who has the cutest little boy) with some baby clothes and diapers. We've gotten into the practice of washing things in Dreft before I put them away in the baby's drawers. Also, when the weather is as nice out as it has been here lately, we hang the clothes out to dry on the line instead of using the drying machine. We all were so giddy to see the line strung with such tiny clothes that will soon belong to our little bird!

-On Wednesday, we had a wonderful check-up with a midwife nurse that we loved. She was extremely helpful and a great resource as we near the end of the pregnancy and get closer to delivery (one more week to go until I'm considered 'full term.' We passed the one month landmark this week til our estimated due date of July 7th!).
-I got out of the house a bit this week and sat and read/wrote for hours while the hubby was working at his Starbucks. I've so missed my coffee shop inspiration recently so that was just lovely!
-Thankful for my amazing friends and family who continue to shower me in love through this transition and as we prepare for the baby.
-I took a long walk on the farm on Friday afternoon and it literally took my breath away-- both in the fact that I'm 8 months pregnant and moving a little more slowly these days, AND in the gorgeous landscape that I still can't believe I'm settling into for this season.


-I'm caught up on sleep and my sleeping schedule is finally that of a semi-normal person (going to bed around 10pm and waking up before noon the next day haha). This may sound decadent and gross, but trust me, when you're in the third trimester you take that sleep wherever and whenever you can get it.
-Celebrating 8 months married to my best friend! My husband and I had a really fun date last night. We went to my favorite restaurant in this area called 'Fork in the Alley,' which is a brick oven restaurant downtown. We split a delicious white pizza, people-watched, laughed (a lot), and indulged in the BEST dessert ever. S'mores with peanut butter from the brick oven. Yessss. Then my husband surprised me and drove me up Mill Mountain to see the bright, huge star that Roanoke is famous for (what makes it the 'Star City'). It's a really cool look-out point where you can see all of downtown Roanoke spread out before you and lit up at night. It was really special and romantic. (Forgive the lighting in the following pictures... it was SO dark out on the patio and we only had a tiny citronella candle and the flash of the camera haha).






-Seeing TONS of lightening bugs on our anniversary date-- one of my favorite signs of the approaching summer.
-The soundtrack of my week- Robyn on repeat. I probably listened to 'Call Your Girlfriend' (and tried teaching myself the dance haha) twenty times. Also, I'm kind of obsessed with this rendition by sisters Lennon and Maisy. Sooo good.
-Finishing the nursery today!!!! (Pictures and a story to come tomorrow). 

Sorry for posting so late on this Saturday, but it's been a long day :) More to come tomorrow!

June 6, 2012

Insomnia and a post office story

There are so many funny changes a pregnant woman's body goes through over the course of the 9 month period... I have come to marvel at how much of a blessing it is that God gives you several months to prepare (physically, emotionally and mentally) for bringing a human life into the world. Here's a tiny recap of how my pregnancy has been so far:

First trimester: WHAT?!?! A baby? But I just got married! What in the world? Huh? Oh no, I'm gonna be sick. Every single day for the next three months. Like, whenever I wake up or put on an article of clothing or smell coffee or urine in the subway station or brussel sprouts. And eating vegetables? No way. All I want is macaroni and cheese. And to sleep. All the time. Wah. (I lost almost 13 pounds in the first four months of beings preggers. And literally only wanted to sleep. Double wah. Yes, I was really whiny and moody in the first trimester, if you haven't figured that out yet).

Second trimester: Oh hello beautiful day! Thank you Lord for letting me see what a miracle this is. And for taking away my morning sickness. And giving me energy to do well at my job. And letting me fall in love with my little bump. And finding out that we're not having twins (praise.the.Lord). Just one growing, squirming little boy. I think I'll eat some fruit now. Lots and lots of citrus. But no meat. And definitely no veggies still. Oh, and I think I'm going to love being a momma. Is there any way, dear Lord you could find a way for me to quit my job so I can stay home with the baby? That'd be awesome. Thanks. (Every day was filled with prayers to figure out how we'd possibly be able to provide for this child, with family so far away, the crazy cost of living in Boston, and the need for me to continue working full-time for us to afford living in MA).

Third trimester: You're moving to Virginia! Your baby is moving like cra-zy. You're going to get to be a stay-at-home momma! Now just relax. How am I supposed to relax though? There's so much to do!!! Love feeling you move little guy. Yay to being able to eat anything and everything I want again! (Even veggies! And lots of ice cream!). Hooray! I'm living on a farm. I can't fall asleep. I'm so tired but my mind is racing. Every night. Until about 2am, 3am, 4am.... yes 7:30am (that happened two nights ago. yuck). Well, that's okay. I can just nap in the afternoons for now. And watch Downton Abbey and read about natural childbirth. And do fun sewing projects. And unpack. And hope that this baby will get here soon, but not before I'm ready (haha, why am I such a control freak).


Well, today, I went in for my (now weekly!) doctor's appointment. My doctor was on vacation, so we had an awesome midwife named Melissa, who I think is the most helpful provider we have seen throughout this whole process. She was vibrant, and family-oriented, and answered all of our questions without making me feel crazy, and even had some really sound and helpful advice about natural childbirth preparation and requests for when we get to the hospital. And she gave me the beautiful news that I can take some Benadryl or Tylenol PM to help myself fall asleep at night if I need it. I've been reluctant to do so before I got her go-ahead, but I think my hubby was especially happy to hear that starting tonight we may be able to get on a normal sleeping schedule :) She also relieved our fears by letting us know that our little bird is not going to be here, like any second. She said it definitely looks like things are starting to move in that direction, but we still have a ways to go. In fact, I have to slow down and remind myself that his due date is still a ways off (exactly a month from tomorrow!). Speaking of, my mom and I were talking today and she said I should post a question on here to find out everyone's predictions for some stats about the babe! Comment with your guesses on:

Actual date/time that baby arrives
Weight
Length
Hair/eye color 

Let's see who's guesses are closest!!!

One last tiny Virginia anecdote... I went to the local post office for the first time yesterday with my mother-in-law to ship a package for my husband while he was at work. This post office is 3 miles down the road. It's located on the end of a small red building next to a small 'Homestead' home-cooking restaurant. We went in to the post office and I saw the smallest, funniest little post office I've ever seen! It is literally SO tiny and country. There is one desk, with enough room for one worker. No high tech 'ship it yourself' machines. Hand-written notices and thank you cards pinned to the bulletin board. I get introduced to the woman working behind the desk by name (she goes to church with my husband's grandma). She and my mother-in-law chit-chat about goings-on in the town and the church. Another woman comes in. My mother-in-law starts talking to her, and I think to myself, oh, I love the South. But it gets even more hilarious as I realize that they actually know each other too. She asks my mother-in-law how the goats are doing, and what ever happened to the guinea (*guinea-fowl). I couldn't stop laughing to myself, as I found this funny for two reasons. 1) I live in a place where people have goats and guinea fowl on their farms (including my family's farm!). 2) It really started to hit me that I'm really living in this place, where everyone knows each other and they're so stinkin friendly, 'ya'lls' and all :)

Okey doke, friends, the Benadryl may be kicking in, so I'm going to try to head to bed at a normal hour. Don't forget to post your baby predictions! Love,
Mama
Guinea Fowl