Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our life right now

The timing of Christmas break is amazingly perfect. Two whole weeks to relax and nest and get ahead on school work, just before baby's arrives!

I'm trying to truly savor these lazy mornings with Joel. Our life together is so precious. I'm thrilled to parent alongside him, but it's bittersweet to know that we won't be just US again for a while. We have a beautiful life right now and the change to come is scary sometimes.

Our house is also showing subtle signs of baby's impending arrival.

Bottles sterilized and waiting to be used.
An exercise ball in the living room to be used during early labor at home.
Crib sheets in their packages waiting to be washed in fragrance-free detergent.
A few more pink clothes laying around.
Some Christmas decor still up as we finish the holiday season.
Pacifiers. Diapers. Bibs.

Oh, I love our life right now. And I bet our life six weeks from now will be darn awesome, too.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dear newly pregnant self...

Your belly hasn't grown. You feel bloated and are dying to have an actual bump, but you are still thin. Just you wait Henry Higgins, just you wait.

Nobody knows your little secret. Even though you can't think about anything else, it's not necessarily written all over your face. Keep the news close because in a few months it will be quite obvious.

Eat whatever you can keep down. Yes, even Wendy's French fries. Again. Leafy greens that make you puke aren't doing your baby any good. So just settle down with the guilt already. There will be time later for healthy eating. In the second trimester. Because third trimester tiredness makes it hard to cook/eat well, too...

Wear comfy clothes. Not muumuus. And not paper bags, but maybe loose skirts or shorts.

Also- Try not to buy many "maternity" clothes yet because they jack the prices up on those things and shockingly, you may not even fit into maternity clothes as the pregnancy comes to an end.

Drink water. Lots of water. And some juice and whatever tastes good but isn't terrible for you.

Go for walks. And hang out with people even if you don't feel like it. Distracting yourself will ease the nausea. Just a little.

Being pregnant is completely amazing. I have loved loved loved carrying this little worm. I'm getting tired and so so pumped to meet her, but pregnancy has been a total joy. I hope someday I get the chance to do it again. And if so, I'll need this list of reminders to keep me sane in the early weeks.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

baby registry update

First of all, we LOVED having an Amazon registry!! It seems like not everyone is comfortable using an online registry, which is a shame because it's so easy, but as someone who registered through Amazon I would give it two thumbs up. They make it super simple and provide a thank-you list with addresses. Awesome!

Second of all, my generous brother-in-law allowed us to order some of the remaining items on our registry using his Amazon prime account. Why yes, I'd love free 2-day shipping, thank you very much.

Third of all, I wish we hadn't done a Target registry. It doesn't always record things that have been purchased, Target's shipping isn't consistent (and by that I mean it's pretty slow!), and the things we chose often showed up as different when viewed online.

One note: even though it's totally awesome to have the ability to register for things elsewhere, the purchasing isn't straight-forward and seemed to intimidate even the tech-savvy gift buyers. I was disappointed by how few things were redeemed at the bottom of our registry.... stuff that was sold by IKEA, Etsy, etc. I don't know if Amazon has the ability to make that process a bit more streamlined, but if so, they totally should!

We have been really blessed by the generosity of our friends and family. Our little one is so well cared for and has received so so many great gifts. Plus, way to go, Amazon- your registry rocks!
image here.

pregnancy: week 35

Well, the heartburn is back with a vengeance this week. It seems like when I was sick a few weeks ago, the heartburn took a backseat and didn't bother me as much. Now that I'm healthy, though, it's a very frequent visitor. And all my Christmas overeating doesn't help the situation.

Another symptom of the past few weeks: constant tiredness and discomfort. On Christmas night I was ready to crash by 7:30pm. I couldn't find any comfortable position to sit/stand and I wanted to hang out but just didn't feel great. 

This Tuesday we have our 36 week midwife appointment and we'll start going every week after that. I'm so curious how the baby's measuring and what her position is. I've been feeling tons of heavy pounding movements so I know she's running out of room in there. Plus, I look large and in charge. So there's that.

Week 36 is when they check for Group B Strep, which influences whether we'll need antibiotics during delivery. Hopefully we test negative for that and can do the whole process without an IV! Also at week 36 they'll give us a "packing list" for our visit to the birth center on delivery day. My favorite part- packing! :)

Week 35 stats
4 immediate family members came to visit& celebrate Christmas here in our house (first time ever!)
5 evenings with constant back, hip, and ligament pain
1 baby the size of a coconut (so cute!) wiggling around inside
12+ girly, sweet outfits for the little worm to wear some day
2 loads of baby clothes washed, folded and ready
1 birth center bag packed for baby
0 hours of school work done by this pregnant lady
1.5 giant recycling bins filled with paper and cardboard leftovers from Christmas

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Baby 'Berts

We had a lovely day with family and friends. The baby is running out of room in my belly so she has been giving me some pretty sharp jabs in protest. We are really hoping the ultrasound wasn't wrong about her being a girl, because she received a mother load of pink and purple clothing this Christmas. If we have a son, he'll be wearing white. Or pink.

Yesterday we had a rather wild and spontaneous day downtown. We left home at 11am and came home at 11pm. Even though my body was protesting the hours walking in boots and sitting in a crowded back seat, I kinda loved the craziness because I don't think we'll do anything like that again for a while. 12 hours in the city with a tiny baby won't be quite as feasible as it was with her en utero. :)

The best part of this vacation is that it's only half finished! We still have a full week at home together. I can't wait!

Monday, December 23, 2013

on loss and love: a letter to my daughter

Dear little one,

Within the last two weeks I have lost two pastor friends who I know would have loved to meet you.

One was hoping you'd be born on his birthday, this coming January. The other invested in me during three critical college years- teaching me about love and marriage and teaching and urban ministry.

My heart breaks that you won't know these two great people.

I weep for their families, their children, their spouses. I mourn that their ministry will not continue; that they won't be furthering the Kingdom with their love and passion.

My heart aches to consider you facing loss someday, little worm. I am blown over by the thought of your heart breaking, of people you love dying, of others hurting you deeply. As sad as I am for myself over losing these two sweet friends, what strikes me harder is my love for you... my desire to protect you and keep you from harm.

But what I have learned from these two friends, as they taught from the pulpit and with their lives, is a lesson of God's faithfulness. Of God's constant care and sovereign plan for his people. Of God's presence in grief and in celebration.

We're entering a season of celebration, baby girl, and we're so, so excited to meet you!
Your dad and I know you will face hardship and loss some day. We know we can't protect you from the suffering that life on earth brings. But we serve a God who cares, who sent his son for us, whose power and love overshadow even death and pain and heartache.

So just know that whatever loss and grief you will face, we will point you as best as we can toward Jesus. And we'll tell you stories about Terry and about Joanne, and the way they lived for Him.


pregnancy: week 34

Did anyone notice the 33 week post was written yesterday (when in actuality we're now in week 35?!)? Oh, you didn't? Well, good. I don't like advertising the reality that my life has been crazy busy lately. But now that Christmas break is here (halleluiah!), I may become a blogging fiend.

I don't think either of these photos accurately showcases the size of our little girl. She is growing week by week and I love having these photos as evidence. Though I'm not really thrilled about the quality of pictures OR the quality of my face at 6:20am...

Okay, so week 34
2 car seat bases checked and installed correctly. [Local friends, here's a great resource for getting your infant seat checked. The technician was so helpful and informative. When we move to the next size seat, we'll likely use them again to help make sure it's in safely.]
155 beats per minute of little tiny heart
3 pounds lost (?!) since my last appointment. So strange.
45 minutes at the mall for Christmas shopping where we had to park a million miles away in order to find a spot!
65 degree weather on Saturday, December 21st
1.5 hours spent watching my students perform their Christmas concert with Grandmom & Granddad Nelson
29 average bumps and stabs and jabs to the ribs per day
1 time Joel said, "Hey, little worm" to our baby. I call her that multiple times a day, so it was precious to hear him say it, too. She is a seriously wiggly worm in there!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

pregnancy: week 33

I took these photos against our newly painted dining room wall. I tried multiple times to put my body in a place that would block the thermostat. To no avail.

Week 33
5 hours spent in a south Philly row home learning about all things birth
3 million sharp, pointy movements from little girl
1 extra car seat base arrived in the mail
2 items to make our nursery almost complete: crib mattress & waterproof pad!
5 days of congestion, sore throat, and runny nose
1 trip to the doctor on snowy roads
0 positive strep tests (yay for post-nasal drip & NOT strep throat!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Who am I?!

Pregnancy has done weird things to me. Sometimes I don't recognize myself. It's strange and occasionally alarming. Here are a few examples.

I have to literally tell myself aloud to do things: "Kelly, step out of the shower." "Okay, turn off the oven now." "Stop. Stand up."

Sometimes I drink hot coffee (decaf) just because it sounds good.

I finished shopping for my family's Christmas gifts less than 24 hours before I went to visit them. This is not normal.

My lists are frenzied and disorganized and I can't seem to get things done on them. (So I just do what anybody would do- throw out the list and start a new one. Right.)

Meal planning is no longer fun. My Pinterest board isn't providing any inspiration and nothing sounds exciting when I write it down on my weekly meal planning paper.

I have had a pile of stuff for the thrift store sitting on the living room floor for over a week. I finally moved it. To my backseat. Where it's been sitting for three days.

Sometimes I forget what week of pregnancy we are in. How embarrassing.

I also get weeks behind in blog posts. I haven't put up a 33 week picture but we are over halfway through week 34 already. Holy smokes!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

last Christmas

Last Christmas so.freaking.many of my Facebook friends announced they were pregnant.

Last Christmas I was quietly aching with the disappointment of not being pregnant.

Last Christmas I was beginning to worry that something was wrong with my body.

Last Christmas I was so insanely in love with my husband that my heart broke at the possibility that our dreams of raising a family wouldn't come to fruition.

Last Christmas my husband, my hero, consoled me and hugged me and reminded me of God's goodness. 

Last Christmas I went shopping with my mother-in-law and bought a beautiful off-white stocking from the 75% off rack.

Last Christmas I purchased that little stocking with the faith that someday my child would use it.

Last Christmas I chose joy. I chose confidence. I chose to reject fear and self-pity and instead turned my eyes toward Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.

Last Christmas I hoped and prayed and dreamed that this Christmas would be different.

And it is.

The beautiful little off-white stocking now hangs with our two stockings in the living room, just down the hall from toys and books and strollers and car seats and diapers and tiny pink dresses. 

Last Christmas God was doing a redemptive work in my heart and my life. And this Christmas is the same. But so very different.

Domestic failures

This week I've been lacking in the domestic side of life.

One day I stayed at school longer than anticipated and by the time I got home just couldn't muster the energy to make chicken pot pie for dinner. It's not hard or complicated; I've made it many times before. But the idea was daunting to me and I just wanted to eat. Fast. With no effort. So we walked down the street for a burger and all was fine. But the secondary effect of my laziness is that we don't have any leftovers and thus our lunches the next day were rather lame.

A few hours later I decided I wanted to make my Grandmom's big, soft, chewy, ginger cookies to take to a party. But the cookies bombed. They turned out terribly! I followed the recipe exactly and can't figure out what went wrong. Just look at them...
I come from a long line of domestic winners, so sometimes I take my kitchen failures pretty hard and get down on myself.

But the thought of cooking with my daughter helps keep things in perspective. She (and hopefully any other future kiddos we have!) will learn a lot from me- in the kitchen and in life. My attitudes and self-confidence will affect hers. The words I say and the things I do in response to my cooking frustrations will make a difference in her life. My response to my family when I'm annoyed or upset at myself will influence the way she learns to respond to others- to her dad, to me, to both of her domestically-inclined grandmothers, to future siblings, to friends, etc. It's humbling and heart-warming all at the same time.

PLUS: something I am NOT failing at is growing our wiggly little worm. She is so much bigger now and my belly keeps expanding to give her more room. :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

pregnancy: week 32

Week 32
1 very poor, shadowy photo of this growing bump
8 hours of painting by daddy-to-be (not the nursery; the main room(s) of our house) 
136 beats per minute of our little girl's heart on the doppler
7 hours of travel home from RI (should have taken 5... stupid post-Thanksgiving traffic!)
6 nights of heartburn- hello, third trimester problems
3 times average waking up at night to use the bathroom and adjust my aching body
1 second grade hand on my belly... "Your baby is growing!"
2 items arriving via mail for our girl- crib mattress and extra car seat base!
4 pounds gained since our lats midwife appointment two weeks ago
19 pounds gained total this pregnancy (!!)
8,467+ kicks, jabs, and wiggles felt on average per day; this kid can move!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Getting through with grace

True confession: driving from work to my prenatal appointments is when I am my absolute worst self.

It's the time in life I am most glad to NOT be on a reality show, when I'm most glad to NOT have any passenger, when I'm most relieved other drivers canNOT hear me through my rolled up windows.

I am nasty. Like, pounding both hands on the steering wheel, yelling at the top of my lungs, red in the face kind of nasty.

It's the time in life I'm most relieved to be a sinner saved by grace. And it's the time I need to read words like this: "Ladies, I feel like getting through the hard stuff with grace is absolutely vital to our femininity as women. I also feel like this might be something our generation is in danger of missing. For this life to be fulfilling, we must get our hands dirty. As far as I can tell, the gospel demands it. At home or at our jobs, the story is the same. We’re tempted to complain or avoid or quit when things get tough or uncomfortable. I know because I’ve been there, but I don’t want to be about that anymore. I don’t want to raise children under this idea, either... I want to be the kind of woman who isn’t afraid to put my head down and get the job done." - Rachael

 Let me be the first to admit that driving from my full-time job to my amazing birth center where I am an active participant in decisions regarding the baby I am beyond blessed to be carrying doesn't really qualify as hard stuff.

But it's the time I'm aware of my own failures and selfishness. My need for God's grace and my call to live accordingly.

So here I go. Publicly committing to my desire to put my head down and get through the hard stuff with grace. In pregnancy, in teaching, in parenting, in marriage, in friendships. In life.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Baby likes. And dislikes

Okay, this is an attempt to semi-seriously take note of our daughter's preferences. At about 32 weeks gestation.

It will be interesting to do this again in 6 months. Then again in a year. I hope Mom and Dad are still on the list then. :)

So far baby likes: music, warm showers, water, her dad's voice, her dad's hands holding her, loose clothing, loud places, sparkling lemonade.

Baby dislikes: the iPad resting on her, her dad's hands poking her, long car rides, tight pants, her mom eating too much at one meal, Qdoba burritos with chicken, little friends sharing her mom's lap, being squished on the right side at night.

What a high maintenance girl!