Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jackson's Nursery

Jackson's nursery is finally finished!  Well before I became pregnant, I would find myself scouring the internet for ideas and inspiration for our future baby's nursery.  However, we didn't officially start decorating until we found out that we were having a boy (let's just hope that our ultrasound tech was right)!  John and I have had so much fun putting Jackson's room together over the past several months!  Here are some pictures and details about the furniture and accessories...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Free Udder Cover Promo!

I had been contemplating buying something like this, but hadn't yet because I don't know how much "public" breastfeeding I'll be doing.  Well, lo and behold, I received a random e-mail this morning with a promo code for a FREE Udder Cover!  Who doesn't like a freebie!!  There are a bunch of cute patterns to choose from and you can even add a breastfeeding bracelet (to keep track of which side you nurse from) and 4 washable breast pads for just $5!  Needless, to say it has been an exciting morning!

Here are the details:
  1. Go to the Udder Cover website.
  2. Select the product/s that you like.
  3. Enter promo code "Family2011".  (The promotion code will give you $32 off your total order, no matter what you put in your cart.  You just have to pay shipping!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

36 Weeks Pregnant

Baby's Size and Development:  about 6 pounds and 18.5 inches long

Weight Gain:  27 pounds

Sleep:  I've been sleeping better, although I've been waking up much earlier than normal, despite my constant fatigue.  I've always been a night owl, and would usually sleep until well after 10am on the weekends.  Over the past month, I've been starting my weekend days around 7am.  Crazy, I know!!  As soon as I wake up, my mind is racing with things I need to do to prep for baby- running errands, doing laundry, organizing things around the house or in the nursery, etc- and I can't turn it off...  This "nesting" thing is no joke!

Best Moment This Week:  I found out at my doctor appointment today that I have dropped, Jackson is head down, and I'm already 2cm dilated!  I realize that this doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be here early, but my doctor made it sound like it will be sooner, rather than later...  Ahhhh!

Worst Moment This Week:  I'm trying really hard not to worry about this, but my appointment also brought some concerning news...  Baby Jackson is measuring a little on the small side- who would have thought with such larger than average parents!  As a result, my doc ordered a growth ultrasound (which I'll have on Wednesday).  She said that it's probably just because his head has already dropped so low...  She didn't seem too concerned because everything else looked good and his heart beat was strong.  Regardless, it's going to be a long couple of days!

Appetite/Cravings:  Nothing in particular.  This is probably because I've been having some bouts of nausea, reminiscent of my first trimester.  Also, my stomach has become even more squished, so I feel pretty uncomfortable after I eat.

Milestones:  Finishing the nursery- pictures to come!!

Pregnancy Thoughts:  My mind is constantly racing with pregnancy thoughts!  Let's see...
We went to a breastfeeding and baby care basics class last weekend.  I had no idea how much was involved with breastfeeding!  It's literally a full time job (and a painful one at that).  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it goes well for Jackson and I!
My contractions have been happening more and more frequently.  Each time I tell Jackson, "I'm ready, if you are!  Bring it on!"  Apparently, he's not quite ready yet.
Only 12 more days of work!!  (Unless I go into labor sooner, of course...)

Monday, February 21, 2011

DIY Nursery Mobile

After searching high and low for just the right mobile to hang above the changing table, I decided to make my own.  I found several really cute hand-made mobiles on Etsy, but none were quite what I was looking for and they cost a pretty penny.  I headed to my local JoAnn Fabrics, with a few ideas from the mobiles I liked, to search for supplies and more inspiration.  After a little digging, I found the perfect chocolate brown ribbon with white edging.  I had a much harder time finding just the right items to embellish the ribbon...  I debated between fabric cut outs, wooden sports shapes, and various other bells and whistles, but just wasn't sold...  That was until I came across a bag of wooden stars in various sizes.  The Star Mobile was born!  All it took was a little elbow grease and about $30 in supplies.

  • inner ring of a 9" embroidery hoop: ($1.79)
  • ribbon: I used 3 spools of Offray Sidesaddle Brown and White Ribbon (5/8" X 9').  ($3.49/spool)
  • paint: I used Apple Barrel acrylic paint in White, English Navy, and Regency Blue.  ($2.49/bottle)  I also used the left-over Stem Green paint from the decorative name letters)
  • paint brush
  • assorted wooden stars:  I bought 2 bags of the Craftwood Assorted Wood Stars, which came with 5 different sized stars (varying from 1 1/8" to 3 3/8" wide).  ($3.99)
  • hot glue gun
  • threaded eyelet and anchor: ($.50)
  • key ring
1. paint embroidery hoop and stars (Make sure to allow plenty of time for this step because you can only paint one side at a time and I found that two coats were necessary to obtain the color I wanted.  When leaving them to dry, find a surface that the stars won't stick to...  I learned the hard way that newspaper is not a good choice!)

2. measure and cut ribbon (I used three 64" pieces)
3. quickly run lighter along the cut edges of the ribbon to seal and protect them from unraveling
4. measure 6 equal spaces around the embroidery hoop to place the ribbon (TIP:  if you use a 9" hoop, like I did, your hash marks will be every 4 3/4")
5. thread one piece of ribbon through the key ring
6. line up the ribbon so that 20" hangs below each side the hoop
7. adhere the ribbon to opposite sides of the hoop with hot glue (make sure the ribbon is not twisted); repeat this step with each piece of ribbon

8. apply a thin line of hot glue down the center of a star and adhere to the ribbon in desired pattern (I alternated 5 smaller stars with 3 larger stars)

9. hang (I threaded a piece of yarn through the eyelet and the key ring so that the mobile would hang lower)

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    35 Weeks Pregnant

    Baby's Size and Development:  about 5.25 pounds and 18 inches long

    Weight Gain:  My weight has continued to increase by about a pound a week...  They say that at this point it's mostly the baby gaining fat and water retention.  I've definitely noticed this in my face (cute, I know), feet, and fingers (my wedding ring hardly fits anymore).  I've gained a total of 26 pounds.

    Sleep:  I still have not been sleeping well and I don't expect that this will change anytime soon...  I continue to have a hard time getting comfortable and have to get up several times throughout the night to pee.  Luckily, I've been able to fall back to sleep more quickly lately.  Maybe it's the 'relax' tea I've been drinking before bed.

    Best Moment This Week:  Not going into labor.  I had some pretty consistent contractions (about every 5-10 minutes for almost 2 hours) late Monday night.  Although my doctor said to call if I ever had more than 4 contractions in an hour before week 37, we decided to turn the lights off and try to get some sleep...  Probably not the smartest idea, but they ended up slowing down enough that I was able to fall asleep.  The next morning, John and I both admitted that we had been totally freaked out the night before and in complete denial that I could actually be going into labor.  Thank goodness it was just a false alarm!

    Worst Moment This Week:  Annoying comments from random people.  Here are two examples just from today.  I was feeling a little chipper as I was walking into work and said good morning to an older lady I was passing.  How did she respond?  By saying, "Does baby like caffeine?"  (I was holding my travel mug in one hand).  First of all, how do you know what's in my mug?  Second, excuse me, but are you a doctor?  I abstained from coffee for my entire first trimester, but after my doctor assured me that 1-2 cups of coffee a day is perfectly fine, I have started drinking it again (it is my ONE guilty pleasure)!  Plus, I can't tell you how necessary it has become as the amount of sleep I'm getting has greatly diminished.  So, the answer to your question lady, is YES baby and mama do like caffeine, so shove it!
    Later this afternoon a male co-worker told me that, based on my profile, he thinks that I'm going to have a 12 pound baby.  Wow!  Thank you for making me feel even huger than I already do!  Needless to say, it was a long day...

    Appetite/Cravings:  I continue to have a very strong appetite!  Since baby is getting bigger, though, I get really uncomfortable after eating large meals (ie: Valentine's Day).  As a result, I tend to graze throughout the day.  I had two specific cravings this week- Vic's popcorn and 100 Grand candy bars (I've been allowing myself one fun sized bar a day).  Yum!

    Milestones:  We had our shower a couple of weeks ago and received so many nice things for Jackson.  As a result, we were able to make some major progress in the nursery.  The crib now has a mattress pad and sheet on it.  Valences are hung.  Video baby monitor is installed.  Beautiful lamps adorn the dresser and changing table.  His dresser is FILLED with adorable little outfits.  The changing table now has a pad and is stocked with diapers, wipes, and ointments.  I often find myself sitting in the rocking chair in his room, imagining what life is going to be like once he's here.  KG also scratches at the door at least once a day so he can check things out (he definitely knows something is up)!

    Pregnancy Thoughts:  Despite all of my current physical complaints, I feel extremely fortunate to be pregnant.  As many of you know, becoming pregnant was a long and stressful road for us.  I am so thankful that our fertility treatments worked and that I have been able to experience the wonder of growing a little human inside of me.  I really can't believe how fast the past 35 weeks have gone!

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    4 Course Valentine's Day Menu

    Have I mentioned that I have the greatest husband ever?  Well, last night he surprised me with a romantic 4-course dinner.  I arrived home from work to delectable aromas coming from the kitchen, candles lit around the house, one of our favorite bands playing (the xx), and red tulips (my favorite) sitting on the dining room table.  Needless to say, I was impressed (and feeling a little guilty for my lack of effort this year).  We had already celebrated Valentine's Day on Saturday and had promised not to get each other anything since we have so many baby related expenses right now.  All I had for him was a measly little card...

    John is am amazing cook and can whip up a delicious dinner, sans recipe, with whatever ingredients we have in our refrigerator and cabinets.  I, on the other hand, am challenged in this arena.  I do like to cook (at least occasionally), but I must follow a recipe and, even then, I often manage to mess something up along the way.  This makes me appreciate John's natural cooking talents even more.  I would never even think to attempt what he made last night...  Here's what was on the menu:

    Drago's Grilled Oyster's:  John had these when he was in New Orleans on a business trip and raved about them.  They were amazing!!  He said his weren't nearly as good as the restaurant's, but I find that hard to believe...

    Caramelized Fennel & Pancetta Field Green Salad

    Eggplant Parmesan

    Strawberry Cheesecake:  This was bought from our local grocery store...

    It was an amazing dinner that made my pregnant belly very happy!

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Holy Hemnes!

    After a very long search, we finally found a dresser for the nursery- the Hemnes 6-drawer chest from Ikea!  We felt pressure to make a decision after receiving a ridiculous amount of adorable baby goodies at our shower last weekend (thanks everyone!).

    Being our first furniture purchase from Ikea, we were a bit surprised by the number of pieces that Hemnes came in...


    Luckily, John considers himself to be quite the handyman and felt up for the challenge.  I offered my services, but was told that they would not be necessary.  (I think his exact words were "I think it would be better if I just did this myself...").  Hmmmm, fine then!  He poured himself a beer and I skeptically got out of his way...  (I was a bit nervous at this point because the last time I was asked to get out of the way our new bathroom cabinet ended up being installed upside down).

    About an hour later John called me in to show off his mad skillz.  I was quite impressed by how quickly Hemnes was coming together!  (I think John was especially "efficient" because it was Super Bowl Sunday and he was determined to finish by kick-off).  Here is what Hemnes looked like at this point...

    As I looked a little closer, I noticed a slight problem...  Look at the above picture again and see if you notice anything that doesn't seem quite right...  (I have to admit I was very proud of myself for noticing this).  Did you see it?  Here is the issue that I saw.  The top board of the dresser was stained on what seemed to be the inside of the dresser, and the raw wood was on the outside.  I, very cautiously, pointed this detail out to John.  He immediately said that there was only one way that everything would fit together and that it had to be right.  I persisted because I knew this could not be right.  After looking over his work for a few minutes he admitted that he had made a mistake and that I was right!  (This was one for the record books!  I have to admit that I was gloating a little.)  The good news was that it was a really easy fix, since the back of the dresser had not been attached yet...  I let him get back to work and after about another hour or so Hemnes was complete!!

    We are very pleased with him so far.  The stain is a little bit ashier than the stain on the crib, but it's not too noticeable.  The drawers are very roomy and slide smoothly (one of my biggest pet peeves are sticky dresser drawers).  The two smaller drawers on top are perfect for storing little baby socks and other accessories.  I was also pleasantly surprised by the cute design on the inside of the drawers...

    I have to say that we are very satisfied with our first furniture purchase from Ikea.  Eventually, I'd like to swap out the knobs for something a bit more fun.  I really like these knobs from Anthropologie- I think the linen color with brass would look great on Hemnes.  For now, though, we can consider that one more item checked off the ol' nursery to-do list!!

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    My Favorite Pregnancy Recipe

    I think there must be something in this salad that my pregnant body is in dire need of...  I have made a batch of this semi-tweaked recipe for Rotini & Black Bean Salad about twice a month, for the past 8 months.  Each batch usually lasts me about 4-5 days, since my husband is not a big fan of it.  It's a perfect meal to bring to work for lunch. 

    Here is my version of the recipe:

    • whole wheat rotini (13 oz. box)
    • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
    • dash of onion powder
    • 1 can (19 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
    • 3/4 cup frozen mukimame (shelled edamame), thawed
    • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
    • 1 ripe avocado
    • juice of 1/2 a lemon
    • cook pasta according to package directions until al dente
    • whisk together garlic, onion powder, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper
    • slowly whisk in oil until dressing thickens and set aside
    • drain pasta and rinse under cold water
    • place pasta in large bowl
    • add beans, tomatoes, mukimame, and corn
    • toss gently
    • pour dressing over pasta mixture and toss
    • cover and refrigerate at least an hour before serving
    • peel and slice avocado and toss with lemon juice (use as garnish)

      Sunday, February 6, 2011

      Spring has sprung!

      Well, in my kitchen, at least...  I have MAJOR spring fever.  This is a very normal phenomenon for me, but it usually doesn't strike until March.  I knew I was in trouble when I decided to get my Spring decorations out as soon as I put away the Christmas decorations (in early January).  I think this has a little to do with the crazy amount of snow we've had this winter, but mostly I'm excited for baby Jackson to be here and to celebrate the season of renewal and growth with him as the snow melts away and color returns to our neighborhood.

      Here is what I'm most looking forward to...

      spending days at home with my first baby
      opening the windows and listening to the birds chirping
      taking Jackson and KG for long walks
      feeling sunshine on my shoulders
      getting back into shape
      locking all of my maternity clothes far, far away and bringing color and sundresses back into my wardrobe
      feeling like myself again
      seeing the first shoots of green rising from the dirt in my garden
      sipping a glass of wine on the patio
      baby smiles & giggles

      I cannot wait for this Spring to arrive!  Today, it feels like an eternity away...

      Thursday, February 3, 2011

      33 Weeks Pregnant

      Baby's Size and Development:  about 4.5 pounds and 17.5 inches long

      Weight Gain:  I really don't want to talk about this, since my weight has skyrocketed in the past couple of weeks...  I think Jackson must have had one hell of a growth spurt!  Alright, here it is- 24 pounds!

      Sleep:  I'm tired all the time!  I've been having a really hard time sleeping, thanks to my aching hips and lower back.  It's very hard to find a comfortable position.  Add that to my frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night, and you have one tired girl...  I guess I might as well get used to surviving on less sleep.  At least in a couple months my nightly interruptions will involve cuddling with my little baby boy.

      Best Moment This Week:  Continuing to feel Jackson move inside my belly!  I could sit and watch my belly morph into different shapes for hours- it's fascinating (and very distracting when I'm trying to work)!

      Worst Moment This Week:  Worrying about my friend who went into labor 9 weeks early.

      Appetite/Cravings:  I'm constantly hungry!  I continue to crave big, mixed-green salads.  I eat them several times a week.  On a less healthy note, I also had a major craving for gummies and licorice this week (typically my cravings have been of the salty variety). 

      Milestones:  We completed our birth classes this week.  I learned more than I thought and feel less anxiety about the whole labor thing...  The most important thing I learned is to go into it with an open mind and that, in the end, all that matters is that you end up with a healthy baby (and mother).  I need to write my birth plan now that all the info is fresh in my mind!

      Pregnancy Thoughts:  My dear friend gave birth to her son yesterday morning.  She was only 31 weeks along (her actual due date was ten days after mine).  Throughout our pregnancies we've compared symptoms and complaints.  It has been so wonderful to have someone to talk to about all the lovely and not-so-lovely things about being pregnant.
      She went to the hospital in the middle of the night on Sunday with contractions.  They did everything they could to stave off labor, which worked for a couple of days, but he was ready to be born.  Thankfully, both mom and baby are doing well.
      This situation made me realize that Jackson is going to come when he's ready (not necessarily when we're ready) and that is OKAY.  At first, that thought made me completely panic.  I have a never-ending list of things that I've been frantically trying to complete over the past several months.  For every thing I cross off, I seem to think of another thing that I want to accomplish.  Now I know that it won't be the end of the world if our baby arrives before every closet in our house is completely organized...