Jun 28, 2010

16 Weeks (That's four months, ya'll!)

Dear Little Lentil,

I have been carrying you for four months now. I can't believe how fast time is flying... even your dad is in disbelief of how quickly our due date is approaching. When we first found out we were pregnant with you, we thought we had all the time in thew world to get ready, but we're just a month away from the halfway mark! Already!!!

We are so very excited to meet you. Most of the time I am thinking of you, in some way. Sometimes I picture how big you are (the size of an avocado, now) and how you must be flipping and spinning in my belly. In my books I see pictures of what your developing body looks like right now, and you're really a little person in there! It's amazing how quickly your body is growing and preparing for real life outside the womb! Your dad laughs at me when I tell him you're "practicing" all your kicks and flips. (I think he secretly hopes that you'll be a ninja that's kick-ass at the drums.)

Sometimes, though, I worry about every little thing, like... Will I be a good mother to you? Will I enjoy being a mother? How will your dad's and my relationship change... will that be okay? And loads of other things, but really, I think I'm just adjusting to the fact that our lives will never be the same when you're with us. I know deep down that I'll love being a mom - it's what I always wanted to be - but every once in a while I wonder what the heck we've gotten ourselves into! We'll no longer be Kristina and Kevin... we'll be Mom and Dad, and that's just a little strange to picture! But it is so nice to imagine a little you sleeping in between us, holding our hands when we walk through the park, laughing with us and and putting on little plays. All that does seem so wonderful and precious, and I really can't wait.

I'm getting more energy now that I'm really into my 2nd trimester. I've begun to do this wonderful prenatal workout video that really has my thighs and arms sore! But I know it's good to get nice and strong before my labor and before having to tote around baby, then toddler. It feels good to exercise. And all the while I think "I'm doing this for baby" and I get these little flutters in my chest. I think it's called love.

My belly still doesn't feel that big, but I may "pop" any time now. I can't wait until I really look pregnant. Then I can quit thinking that I just look chubby to the average joe. I will be pregnant and proud - and everyone will know it!

Lentil, we really can't wait to meet you. Your dad talks to you all the time through my belly, and he smooshes his ear up to me under my belly button hoping to hear your heartbeat. It's so sweet, and I know he's going to be such a good, loving dad!

See you in 6 months, baby!


Belly's still not that big! (But skirt is very, very tight!)

He snuck in for a kiss... I love this picture!

Belly looks a little bigger when I'm leaning on the tree...

...only this far to go till I reach the other tree!

Happy 16 weeks!

Jun 22, 2010

15 Weeks, and a Trip for my Birthday/Father's Day

So, I actually hit 15 weeks over a week ago, on June 20th - the same day as my 27th birthday and the hubs' first father's day. We took a celebratory one-night vacation up to the mountains to revisit our college and our favorite eats, and since we've been back, I really haven't had the time (or energy) to upload pictures or post.

I've begun my summer job, which is babysitting the two girls I've watched for almost a year and a half. The days are long, 11 hours per day, but the money is good and I've got something really special I'm saving up for (hint hint: it's in my belly). I'm actually only babysitting for 5 weeks, so it's not too bad, and I'll have a few weeks off before school starts back. Enough of a vacation I hope... more than last year, at least.

I also taught my first week of art camps last week. It went very well, and was a lot of fun to do something different with some of my students. It's a lot more laid back, and the girls I babysit came with me and enjoyed it as well. The next week of camps isn't until the last week of July, and then also the first week of August. Busy busy!

So anyhow... traveling up to our college was weird! The campus has changed so much over the past 4.5 years! New buildings, old ones torn down... the road through the middle of campus isn't a road anymore - just a greenway with benches and trees! We trekked all over, looking at our old dorms, checking out the spot where we literally first met, etc, etc... We made a video for the little lentil so he/she will be able to see where mom and dad fell in love and began their lives together.

Since we went to college in the NC mountains, our campus is very hilly... and my old dorm is on the highest point in campus. I really wanted to go see it, so even though I was wearing jeans and was already sweaty in 86-degree weather, we hiked up The Hill. On the way back down I really needed to rest, and we took this lovely picture while sitting. Kevin thinks he looks like a giant.

Can't see my belly, but I like this picture anyway. I am more than my growing belly!!!

Ahh, here you go. The best shot of my belly all weekend. We went back to the park where we took our first picture together, hoping to recreate it, but they've taken away all the picnic tables and grills, so we had nothing to set the camera on, and we didn't have a tripod with us. So this is where we took our 15-week photos, and this was the best out of the bunch.

Sunday, on the way home, we stopped at a turnoff that mentioned a waterfall. It was a teensy bit of a hike, but not bad at all. And yes, there was a beautiful waterfall. More exciting, maybe, than that was this insane snake that regurgitated a lizard. No joking. But then we got down and took pictures of the waterfall and, of course, ourselves.

It was a great trip... just one night, but long enough to feel like we "got away." We need to do that more often, while we can! We're taking another trip up here (actually, to Asheville) on our anniversary, in July, so that's soon enough! Happy 15 weeks!

Jun 17, 2010

Getting stuff done (but also needing to take it easy!)

Tuesday began the official beginning of summer break: no more teaching and no more workdays. Ahh...
I have been super busy working on a huge list of to-dos. And now that the countdown is really on (6 months, give or take), I've been trying to knock off a little bit. I've only got until Sunday before I start babysitting 11 hours a day and teaching my art camps, so I really have been trying to stay busy.

And I have!
Three months ago, hubs and I began working on painting the exterior of our house. It was a butter yellow and I have hated it since we moved in three years ago (I can't believe it's been that long already!). So, with the motivation of my moma, we began during spring break. While she was here, we got the majority of the front painted. A beautiful dark gray with off-white trim and turquoise shutters and door. Lovely.

[Before: Yellow with green shutters and red front door, red porch; huge bushes out front]

[Somewhat After: Gray front, turquoise shutters/door; no more huge ugly bushes]

And then pregnancy kicked in. At that point, I was already a couple weeks along. I got real tired, real quick. And Kevin has been SO busy with his business. So the house got beautiful in the front but stayed bleh everywhere else.

This week, I have been trying to finish up the front, at least: painting window and door frames, scraping windows, priming the porch floor for repainting, fancying up a wall with a repainted medallion, and touching up the porch ceiling. Also, I've spent a lot of time helping Kevin rope up drums so that he can actually spend some time with me this weekend. Doesn't sound like a lot, but add in low energy, a super messy house needing to be cleaned, and freaking hot weather (something like 97 degrees and MUGGY), I'm proud of what I've gotten done so far.

But not without a price. I hurt my back yesterday so I have been literally worthless today. I spent the day trying not to move around (and eating double chocolate chip cookie bars), which completely sucks since today was the day I was going to paint the porch floor and put the 2nd coat on the front door. GRR.

All that probably won't get done since tomorrow is booked with things to do, including getting my car's a/c fixed (hopefully), taking our cat to the vet for a routine steriod shot, visiting hubs at work for lunch, and running to a bunch of stores to pick up the last needed things for my art camps. And then we're taking a weekend trip to the NC mountains (love!). And then babysitting and camps begin on Monday. SHEW!

But my back is feeling better, since I rested today, and by tomorrow I should be good. As long as everything I need to do doesn't take too long, I may try to squeeze the time in to at least paint the door. Hopefully. We'll see.

Lesson: don't overdo it. As a friend said: take it easy! I'm building another life!!!

Jun 16, 2010

Monday Evening Freakout

Monday night while I was in the shower I started thinking about our midwife and our birthing choices, and I started freaking out. I don't know what happened, but my mind start whirling around thinking that maybe she wasn't knowledgeable enough and I started doubting her/our choice of going with a midwife. Logically, I know that midwives are just as trained to handle birth as any obstetrition. They are just trained to handle it in a different way. A way that I accept and want for myself and my birth.

But for some reason I started focusing on how she hadn't emailed me back in two days - maybe that meant she was forgetful and would forget something really important on my most important day. Or how she had her apprentice come along to our first meeting without mentioning it to me beforehand, which threw me off... even though I ended up liking her apprentice and she helped out with videotaping our first hearing of the heartbeat. And other silly little things like that, that I blew up into way more than they really were.

So I got out of the shower, dressed, and told Kevin I thought I was maybe in a funk. After some prodding on his part, I started blabbering about all this and really working myself up. He did the right thing, came over to me and held me while I got it all out, and then told me it wouldn't be stupid to ask her to give me all the facts all the time because I'm that kind of person and I need to be able to know that she knows what she's doing. And really, that if she can't handle that need of mine, then she's really not the midwife for us.

Except, I think she is, because we really liked her when we first met her, and we liked that she had 10 years of labor and delivery nursing under her belt, plus all the midwife training. She was easy to talk to, could be serious/funny/understanding when it felt right, etc.

And I KNOW that this is the route I want to take. I do not want to go to the hospital. I do not want interventions pushed on me. I do not want a bajillion people hovering over me, staring at my hoohah, while I'm lying down unnaturally pushing a human out of said hoohah. (I know it's not always like that. Many hospitals/obstetritions are very openminded about birth and the different ways women need to birth. I'm just going on what I know, and from people I've talked to personally.)

I want a calm atmosphere where I can decide my positions, and how often I want to change them. I want the choice to birth in the shower, the tub, on the bed, on the floor, standing, squatting, all fours... whatever feels right at the moment. I want to choose who I want around me, and when I want them there. I want to birth unmedicated, because I believe my body was meant to do this and I know I can handle this natural process in order to birth my baby safely and meet this lentil on the other side of it. I want a midwife who thinks in this way and will guide me to a safe and natural labor and birth of my baby.

So, this IS right for me. And I know this, but I am a worrier, and my mind got the best of me, for only a few minutes. I know this is what I want to do, but I've never done it and so I have doubts that will only dissipate with experience.

Kevin assured me that I've been a moma for long before we even met, so there was no way that this wouldn't go the way it's supposed to. And that our midwife was only there in case of emergencies. It isn't really about her, or anyone else for that matter.

It's about me, him, and this baby that we've made, and that I'm growing in my body. It's about us.

And so I felt calm again about my decision, and I can't wait until next week (I think) when we'll hear the baby's heartbeat again. Hopefully this time for longer than 3 seconds. And I'll be able to share all my concerns and fears and doubts (and hopes and wishes, etc) with our midwife, and I'm sure she'll be able to make me feel all at ease about my decision.

Phew. Pregnancy sure is a roller coaster of emotions. I know it's perfectly natural to one day be so sure of something, and then the next wonder what the hell I'm doing.

Jun 14, 2010

14 Weeks

14 weeks! I am so glad school/work is finally over for the summer. Today was the last workday, and now I can finally concentrate on being pregnant. Enjoying it and learning and preparing: for labor, birth, and that little lentil coming on its way!

I decided to do different outfits each week, so that I'm not stressin' about what bottoms to match my black shirt. Plus, who wants to wear a tank top through December for weekly photos?

My belly definitely feels bigger this week. Maybe it's all the pizza, but I like to think it's my baby growing nice and strong and big. I still am in disbelief that this is happening.

Oh, and I keep catching Kevin say "for the first one" or "next time", etc.... meaning he is changing his mind about having only one kid. I told him early on he needs to get used to the fact of having at least 2, because I really want more than one child. He's even catching himself saying these things and trying to stop short before I notice, but my ears are open for those sorts of statements, and I don't let them slide. In fact, I usually do a little dance and yell "ah-ha" while pointing at him and grinning like a fox.

And, just because he's all camera-happy, hubs decided to extend the shoot onto me taking down the laundry (see previous post about not buying a new dryer). I think those shots are cute, and will satisfy my moma's craving for belly shots, au natural. Here's one for ya, moma:

Jun 13, 2010

Loving Belly Rubs

I find myself giving loving rubs to my belly. I don't think about it, but have caught myself mid-rub a few times, and then keep on going with a big ol' smile.

I got my BabyCenter email today, since I hit 14 weeks (what?! 3 and a half months?!), and little lentil is about the size of a lemon. What really boggles my mind is learning that his/her hands are half an inch big now. Little hands that are squeezing and finding their way (at least the thumb) into baby's mouth for a little suckaroo.

I'm growing a human! Squeee!

Jun 12, 2010

Choosing the Simpler Way (re: Clothes Drying)

Our dryer died.

When we moved from the mountains of NC (oh, beloved mountains, I long to be back!) to our current town four and a half years ago, we had to get most of the large appliances for our rental, as they weren't supplied by our landlord. We found a washer and fridge at Sear's, but our dryer... free on the side of the road.

An old dingy, yellow dryer. All it needed to work was a belt and an adapter plug. $8.00 later and we've had a dryer that has worked for almost 5 years. I have no idea how old it was, but I guarantee that it was not energy-efficient.

And a few days ago, something popped and it wouldn't heat up anymore. Kevin would have to take the whole thing apart, and then we're not even sure if he'll know what to do to fix it. So bye-bye dryer.

And we're debating on what to do: buy a new dryer, something energy efficient, with a warranty. Something pretty that matches the washer? Something convenient?

Well... maybe later. Right now, with the heat of summer and me having a little more extra time to be at home (school's out, remember?), we're going to postpone the dryer purchase. We have a wonderful clothesline in the backyard from my mom, so we're going the most energy-efficient, money-saving way: hanging clothes in the sun. And in place of the dryer, we'll get a drying rack to place there for those days that are rainy.

Every time I go out to hang clothes, I love listening to the birds and the sounds of the neighborhood: lawn mowers, kids laughing, music a few houses down. And I picture myself (I've done this for years) wearing a baby while doing so, helping the little one to appreciate slowing down and enjoying this type of work. Finally, my time is coming for that little dream to become reality!

Jun 11, 2010

School's out!

A friend wrote yesterday, "The last day of school for teachers is like Christmas for children.  You wait all year for it, and then once it's actually here, you can't believe it."

Yesterday was the last student day of school in my county.  We have a few traditions at my elementary school, at which I'm the art teacher, on the last day of school.  

One, class parties.  I don't get to do these.  What I do get to do is try to accomplish some sort of art with the kids either after they get sugared up, or right before, when their excitement cannot be contained.  In both situations, it's loud and chaotic, two things I hate in my classroom.

Two, day-long talent show.  We did it a little different this year than in years past.  This year, each grade level went to the gym at a specific time to perform.  Any other grade level classes were allowed to come and go from the gym as they pleased during other performances, which led to a very relaxed and lenient talent show.  Before, with 750 kids in the audience, we had to keep a pretty tight reign on behavior.  This year, with just a couple hundred at most, we could let them get up and dance with the performances, lay around on the floor... pretty much whatever.  MUCH better, and easier on the teachers.

And lastly, one I LOVE, after walking all the kids out to the bus lot and on to the buses for the last time of the year, all us teachers and assistants line up at the end of the lot and wave to the buses as they leave (peel out).  Kids hang out the windows yelling teachers' names and waving.  Yesterday, one kid teased us by waving his half-eaten doughnut out the window.  Some were crying, mostly fifth graders.  

I love the energy on the last day of school.  The promise of summer.  I have to babysit for 5 weeks this summer, 11 hours per day during those weeks.  I've been babysitting these girls for 16 months now, after school and last summer, and it's an easy way to earn lots of extra cash for little lentil.

I'm also doing 4 art camps.  This is something my principal lets me do, thankfully.  I don't have to pay the school or give a cut to the PTO.  I pocket all profit, and this year I'll make just over $2000 for 24 hours of teaching.  That technically could pay for over 2/3 of our birth center fee (more on that later)!  That's really exciting!

And I'll have a few weeks at the end of summer, right after I find out if little lentil is a boy or girl, to stay at home and craft for baby.

Summer break is sooooooo nice.

Jun 7, 2010

13 Week Photos

Yesterday I reached 13 weeks. Kevin and I slept in late under my new beautiful white duvet from IKEA, after a late night out with family celebrating a sister's marriage (more on that, later). As I woke up and the sleepies in my eyes cleared, I realized: it's Sunday, my week marker. 13 weeks! And I squealed and kissed on the hubs a lot.

With each week, my sense of wonder at what's happening inside my body is renewed, and the excitement bubbles over. Sometimes I forget I'm pregnant. With the rush of day-to-day work, babysitting, house chores, and sleeping, that thought gets lost in the shuffle. My belly isn't that big yet, and I don't feel the flutters of kicking and flipping that the baby is doing, so it's up to my brain to remember... and I don't have that great of a memory.

I wanted to start taking my weekly photos at 12 weeks, which was last week, but it just didn't happen. So yesterday, after pulling myself from my cocoon of puffy whiteness and away from the still-lounging hubs, I got up and gussied up for my first ever pregnancy "photo shoot."

Kevin got a new slr digital camera last week, and we're still trying to figure out all the settings and doodads it's got to offer. So, some of the pictures are blurry and out of focus. But the quick shutter speed meant that Kevin was able to click away so fast, and he got just over 100 photos in under 15 minutes!

Right now, I just look like a normal gal hamming it up for the camera. I've only gained 5 pounds so far, so although I feel a bit pudgy, it's not showing much yet. But I've got a special thing going on inside me, and when I think about it, my mind races with the possibilities of what this little lentil can, and will, become.

Right now, lentil's 3.5-5" long (depending on your sources), has fingernails, and is going at it like a little acrobat in there. Each week, so much development happens. It's bizarre to really think that a whole human is growing in my belly, and will be ready after only 10 months. That's a lot of work - no wonder I'm so tired all the time!

I wore a simple gray skirt and loose black shirt thinking that maybe, if I wanted to keep the same outfit, I could use the black shirt for a while. I don't know about that skirt, though; it's already kind of tight. Maybe keep the black shirt and change up the skirts/pants each week? I don't know! But I definitely felt pretty yesterday.

These two trees are in our backyard woods, and once held up an old, dangerously rickety tree house that got promptly torn down to open up the view of the woods and these two pretty barked lovelies. I'm really loving how the green in the background is so vibrant and clear in these photos! It'll be fun to see how the leaves will fill out more, change color and then fall off the tree as my belly grows and grows.

I thought it might be cute to stand in between the trees to see how my belly reaches out in between during the next 6 months. Wait, did someone say 6 months?!?! That's only half a year! And then I can bring baby out and stand between these two markers and introduce him/her to his/her backyard. I can't wait!

And of course, I had to share my cuddles with Keagan. He wouldn't stay away and I had to keep shooing him with my foot, so at the end I just had to hold him (practicing my baby cradle skills!) and love on him. And he matches!

I felt so pretty yesterday, thanks to the hubs and these pictures. Maybe that will be something to look forward to as my belly grows and I'm waddling around feeling like a fat cow. But a pretty fat cow, right? I'm actually looking forward to the big belly! Come on, 14 weeks!

Jun 3, 2010

Eat Fresh.

I want Subway. Now. But I have to leave in 20 minutes to go babysit, and I don't think there's a Subway on the way.

6" italian herbs and cheese bread.
american cheese.
LOTS of banana peppers.
line of mayo.
line of mustard.

Delicious. I wonder if this is my first craving? I called Kevin and begged him to stop by a Subway on the way to work, but he has to go to the post office and probably would't make it home in time before I left.

At 7pm, if I'm still wanting this sub, I'm gonna find a Subway and get it. I have been having this sub at least once a week (at least) for the past six weeks or so.


This post isn't helping!

Jun 1, 2010

I won a Boppy!

So, not only am I on cloud nine with everyone's positive and supportive reactions, I opened my email yesterday to find that I won a giveaway!

Anthro Doula hosted her first giveaway for a Boppy, and I won! It's pink, so if we have a girl, it's ready to go. If we have a boy, I'm sure I can fashion a slipcover for it using the original as a pattern.

Eek! I'm so excited!