Sunday, October 30, 2011

Little Lo Nursery--The Transformation

One of the (few) perks of being a teacher is having a Fall Break. I was approaching this break with much anticipation for many reasons. 1. Grades were due on Wednesday which meant that I could spend the weekend not grading, but more importantly, not feeling guilty about not grading, 2. Our second midwife appointment was scheduled for Thursday, and 3. Michael's parents were going to help us transform our guest room into Lo's nursery! 

I knew that I wanted to have this nursery painted and ready to decorate before the truly cold weather came (which in Northwest Indiana could be anytime between mid-September and Thanksgiving--I have vivid memories of Trick-or-Treating in wet, flying snow as a sixth grade hippie.), so we scheduled our project almost as soon as we found out I was pregnant. 

On my first trip to Buy Buy Baby with Randy, Becky, and Finn, I found the bedding I wanted for Lo. Since I take after my father and have the innate ability to gravitate to the most expensive item in a store (Lo, I pray that you have good taste, but I'd be fine if you didn't inherit this attribute), I decided on a pattern I could see working for a boy or girl from Dwell Studio. Michael loved it too, so it was decided. (Although my taste is often expensive, I'm rather thrifty, so we're not buying the nearly $400 crib set, but instead buying a couple of the fitted sheets in the print and possible the shower curtain so that I can make it into curtains. We wouldn't use the bumper or blanket anyway, and if I need a crib skirt once the crib is here, I'll make or buy one.)

We decided to go bright (a true change in our house since nearly all the rooms in our house are varying shades of brown or tan), fresh and clean. I've always loved the split wall look that's achieved with chair rails and/or wainscoting, so that's the direction we went. The rest of this story can be told in pictures. Here you go!
Michael's mom (Mono) ready to get started!
Chalk line up, ready to paint!
Michael pouring our apple green paint! 
This may be the second time Michael's ever painted. He already loves this baby so much! :)
Now for the white!
Almost done!
Michael & his dad (Poppy) finishing up the chair rail.
The finished room!
A room for our Lo!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Yesterday we (yes, we; Michael's so involved with this pregnancy and it's such a blessing) went to our 2nd midwife appointment. I really didn't know what to expect. (In the midst of finishing grades for the 1st nine weeks, I failed to call Becky to get an idea of what would be in store for me.) I was pleasantly surprised when we were almost immediately called back. Just as before I was asked to "Wait for the scale to go to zero" before stepping on the scale (eek!) after the nurse recorded my wait, I headed to the restroom to leave my sample while Michael headed to room #3. 

Shortly after I joined Michael, the nurse came and took my blood pressure. After she finished, we waited all of thirty seconds for our wonderful midwife. (Seriously, we've seen her twice and I already love her!) She took a look at my weight and blood pressure and said that everything looked "Perfect!" I was especially happy about this because I've been terrified of gaining more than 35 pounds this pregnancy, and in the past couple of years I've had sporadically high blood pressure. Thus, hearing that everything is on track and "perfect" make my day!

The appointment only got better though. Sherry grabbed her Doppler and had me expose my ever growing belly. Within a matter of seconds she found what she was looking for...our baby's heartbeat! It was amazing and so fast and, just like my weight and blood pressure, perfect! I've heard women talk about hearing their baby's heartbeat for the first time, but nothing really prepares you for the experience. At this point in my pregnancy I don't feel  pregnant. I feel fat and sick, so sometimes I forget that there's actually this little being inside me. It's odd because I think about Lo almost all the time, but there are times that he/she just doesn't feel real. Hearing that heartbeat however, made it all real. This baby, my love for Michael, his love for me, our love for this baby, the family that we're starting, and the miracle that God has allowed us to be a part of. 

A letter to Lo

My dear, sweet, little one,

Much of my day is spent thinking about you and who you will become. I wonder what you will do with this life that God has given you, given us. Once I found out I was pregnant, I had a new understanding and appreciation for the concept of "praying without ceasing". As much as I think of you, I know that most of this "thinking" is actually praying because the truth is I don't know what I'm doing. And honestly, I don't know if I'll ever feel like your father and I know what we're doing when it comes to being parents. I assume that there will be a lot of faking it. 

My mom used to tell me that even before your Uncle Randy, Aunt Courtney and I were born she would pray for our future spouses. At the time I thought she was a little nuts (I was 16 or 17--you'll think I'm crazy when you're that age too), now I pray for whoever you marry. (You'll be happy I did one day. I'm grateful everyday for your grandmother's prayers because I truly believed they helped bring your father and me together.) 

I pray that one day you'll know Christ and trust Him. It would be an honor if you came to that decision because you see the relationships your father and I have with Christ, but I will be the first to admit that sometimes faith is hard and just like a marriage, it can take work. There will be times that you don't understand God. You'll feel abandoned and boxed in. Following Christ doesn't always feel good, but in the end it's one of the only decisions you can look back on and be proud of and feel comforted by. I pray that you won't get caught up in the religion of Christianity, but instead that you'll love Jesus and love others the way he told us to. 

Well, hello, Week 10!

Yesterday marked the beginning of Week 10 of this exciting first pregnancy, and I couldn't be more thrilled. There's something about being in the double digits that is so reassuring and triumphant! Most of my concerns of miscarriage have vanished, and I am more and more excited and confident to meet our Lo.

Symptoms are still less than fun, but they're more bearable. I'm still getting/feeling sick most nights. Yesterday I came home, made a grilled cheese sandwich, ate it and thought, "Wow! That was wonderful! Certainly I should have another." So I did. While I felt gross afterward, at least I had something in my stomach for the rest of the night because after 5 p.m. the thought of food made me want know. In fact, I made Michael the shepherd's pie that was in the fridge (my contribution to our food co-op this week), but didn't touch it. (Fortunately, it made a delightful lunch today!)

10 Weeks is also a big deal because we are half way to finding out what our Lo is! When people ask us, "What do you want?" our standard answer is, "Healthy." And that's 100% true. I'd be lying if I didn't say that when I've imagined our family there was always a boy leading the pack, but I've spent much of the past two months fantasizing about a boy OR a girl. So much so that, once we find out the gender, I know a little part of me will be sad either way (the only way to avoid this would be to have a set of boy-girl twins--not happening). If we have a boy, I'll box up those dreams I have for a little girl and put them away until our next child is on the way. The same will be true if a lady is set to make her arrival in May. Either way, we can't wait to know who this Lo is and make him/her an even bigger part of our lives!

Finally, belly shots will be coming soon. My father so sensitively announced last Saturday, "You're showing!" to which I wanted to cry. (Mostly because I feel fat and because I'm trying to keep Lo on the DL for a few more weeks.) He's somewhat correct. If you know I'm pregnant, I'm showing. If you don't know, I've been eating way too many donuts! :)

8 Weeks down...

Yesterday Little One (here by known as Lo) and I began our ninth week together! It's still somewhat unbelievable that s/he will be with us in 31 short weeks, but Lo obviously takes after Mommy and Daddy because s/he is definitely making its presence known! While I've actually felt better for the past couple of weeks (Remember week six? I had TERRIBLE "morning" sickness all day long!), I still don't feel like my old self. (Something that my closest mommy friends say to get used to.) I pretty much eat all the time so I don't get sick. This is hard for me since I have spent most of my adult trying to NOT eat all the time. Thank God for baby carrots and Goldfish crackers!

Even though I haven't felt that great, I'm happy to know that Lo is getting everything s/he needs. Upon completion of week eight, Lo is now the size of a grape, has all of the necessary parts for life outside of mom (in minature form, of course), and has started to move around. Nine weeks ago, s/he didn't even exist! The miracle of babies never ceases to amaze me.

Michael and I have been talking a lot about what we think Lo will be. There are days that I'm convinced our little one is a boy, and then I wake up feeling like she's a girl. The next eight weeks or so until we find out is going to be slightly torturous. We don't care what you are, Lo, but we'd love to find out as soon as possible. We've got to figure a name out for you, baby!

Week 6

Even before I was pregnant friends told me that I would be DEAD tired for my first trimester, but "almost like a light switch" I'd have energy on the first day of Week 13. However, no one warned me that "morning sickness" would start almost as predictably on the first day of my sixth week. Fortunately, Michael has been wonderful. I can't imagine how odd it is for husbands in the beginning of the pregnancy. Before the first ultrasound, before the first heartbeat, the only proof that they have a baby exists is a hormonal, nauseous, exhausted wife.

I'm not really complaining about this nausea, I mean, it's by no means pleasant, but some people have offered that it is a wonderful indication that our baby is thriving. That's what I'm going with.  On the advice of my chiropractor, I started taking ginger root capsules with my meals. While this magic root did not bring complete relief, it definitely helped take the edge off of my morning sickness. Spending most of the weekend (including my birthday) on the couch was also some of the best medicine ever!  Here's hoping Week 7 is kinder to me.


When Michael and I began talking about when we would try to start our family, my initial goal was to have a March baby. Ideally, we would have a St. Paddy's Day baby (being predominately Irish on my mother's side, I thought it would be sweet and make my late Aunt Georgia incredibly happy!). The timing would allow me to begin maternity leave right around Spring Break...perfect! Until I realized that we would be on a family vacation during the "perfect" time for conception...awkward. No matter, an April baby would be ideal, I decided. Except, timing didn't work out in July either. When my monthly reminder that I was not pregnant appeared in early August, I remembered words of wisdom from my sweet (yet annoyingly-almost-always-right) friend, Sarah. "Once you want a baby, you'll be overjoyed whenever it happens." Again...she was (annoyingly) right.

The interesting thing is that as soon as I found out I was pregnant and due around May 8, all I've been able to talk about is how "perfect the timing is"! I'm not sure why I'm surprised by this. Over and over in my life, God has proven that His timing is always perfect. I reminded myself of this at the height of my frustration of starting our family. I remember I said to Michael, "I know God knows who are children are. I just need to relax and be patient because I'm going to love them whenever they get here."

New timing has come into play recently. My corporation is talking about RIFfing (Reduction In Force), i.e. FIRING, even more of us next year than they did this year. All of this along with the fact that teachers are easily the most unappreciated, undervalued, and underpaid professionals in this country has me once again looking to God for timing. I'm to the point that I don't really believe teaching is what I'm supposed to do anymore, but I don't know where I'm supposed to go. I believe our child is coming at the perfect time in our lives, and I'm praying that God will open doors (or windows, or heck, maybe even a large air duct) so that I can once again love my job and take care of my baby.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Family...the friends you choose.

I've spent much of my adult life throwing around the cliche "Friends are the family you choose." To say that I've been blessed with wonderful friends is an understatement. (I was the girl who was heartbroken to whittle my bridal party down to seven bridesmaids and two usherettes; close friends got the ax and I hated it.) While my friends are wonderful and I consider so many of them family, recently I've been reminded that just as friends are the family you choose, family can be the friends you choose. 

Recently we've been spending a lot of time with my siblings. You already know that Becky was one of my best friends in high school, so when she married my brother it was rather perfect. Even better is that Michael and Randy have grown to really like each other. Becky and I often talk about how similar the guys are, and I couldn't be happier about it; both of them are wonderful men. 

When we're lucky enough to have Courtney home, the six of us (Courtney, Randy, Becky, Finn, Michael and I) get together for dinner, drinks and laughter. If you had told me ten years ago (hell, if you had told me two years ago) that my siblings would be some of my favorite people and best friends in the world, I probably wouldn't have believed you. I'm grateful everyday though, that somewhere in between childhood and adulthood I grew to not just love my brother and sister, but grew to like them.