Friday, December 11, 2015

bump watch: week 39

TWO DAYS UNTIL DUE DATE!!!

I'm happy to report that after a week of all kinds of crazy exercises - yes, I spent about 1 minute each day hanging upside down off my couch - Skippy has moved back to an optimal position. Whew. This baby has met his match. He may be stubborn, but what he doesn't realize is that he gets it from his mama. Now we get to do lots of walking and wall squats to encourage him to move on down while optimally positioned.

hanging out in L&D.
this is exactly how i'm going to look in labor. ha!
My 39-week appointment was just dandy...except for that little heart rate issue. My pulse was up and so was baby's so they sent us over to labor & delivery at the hospital for some monitoring. We knew everything was fine, and sure enough, it ended up being a big waste of time. Once they had us hooked up, everything looked perfect. But, of course, it took forever to get officially cleared and discharged. They don't mess around with pregnant mamas and babies. I can appreciate their caution, but it was annoying to be the one stuck there. The most interesting thing we learned is that I was having some contractions. I couldn't feel them, but the monitor don't lie. Maybe that means this baby will eventually come.

We also had a lot of entertainment thanks to the couple in the triage area next to us. She was very high-risk (43 years old, carrying twins, preeclampsia). She had been sent over because her blood pressure was high, but she was much more concerned about not having her babies that day and the conference call she needed to be on in a few minutes. She also ate a burger for lunch (after they took away her doritos), which somewhat enraged the doctor who thought they were headed toward a c-section that would now have to be delayed because she just ate a burger. They eventually sent them home to come back in two days, but good riddance. I already feel bad for those poor kids.
and this is how jon is going to look...
frantically trying to wrap up work obligations.

Jon's birthday was yesterday. I was hoping to give him a son as a present, but that obviously didn't happen. Skippy clearly doesn't want to share the limelight with anyone. I settled on the Star Wars digital library and an adorable Star Wars onesie from Skippy. I had an unexpected surge of energy, though, so I did bake a cake to celebrate. We went out to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant in DC. It's insanely spicy so we were hoping it might have the added benefit of kick-starting labor, but no such luck.

Now we wait. Remember that list of things to do? Well, I already did everything on the list, which was probably a mistake because now I have no idea how I am supposed to keep myself occupied until this baby decides to make his appearance. Here's hoping it's not too much longer...





Wednesday, December 2, 2015

bump watch: week 38

Whoa. Somehow we blew through weeks 34-37 and here we are full-term and quickly approaching due date. Everyone says the last weeks are the longest and hardest, but to me, the end is actually flying by. I think it's thanks in part to all the nesting I'm doing. I'm keeping busy rather than just waiting for baby.

My appointments of late have all been good. We are going in once a week at this point, but the midwives are very hands off so no exams to check for dilation progress. I don't mind this at all. None of that information changes when baby comes and the last thing I need is something to over-analyze. I'm perfectly content knowing what I do know, which is this:

Skippy dropped at the beginning of week 36 and he is still head down, but he threw us a little curve ball recently and scooted over to the right side of my belly. The difference between left and right doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, but it's not as ideal for him to be on the right - it can delay the onset of labor, prolong labor and increase my chances of having back labor. Eek! Obviously nobody wants any of those things so hopefully we can get him to move back over soon. I get to do some fun exercises over the next several days to make that happen, but even if he doesn't budge, not all is lost - many babies rotate during labor and the fact that he was very recently in an optimal position is a good sign that he has enough room and gumption to move back. It would have been just too easy for him to stay put! I'm officially waddling thanks to his dropped position, but I traded that in for easier breathing and the ability to eat full meals again so I'll take it.

I'm still sleeping pretty well and grateful for the rest. I know it might not last through the last couple of weeks, but sometimes I even sleep through the night. I have been getting up earlier, but I mostly blame the time change and earlier sunrise for that. Once the sun is up, this baby likes to get up too.

I know women everywhere may hate me for this, but I just don't mind being pregnant. I might even really like it. I've been grateful for a normal, healthy pregnancy with only mild discomforts. But even with the not so great pregnancy effects, I find myself being able to go with the flow. I know it must be all the hormones because it's not like me to be this easy-going. Not to mention that people say I'm nicer when I'm pregnant. Ha! I hope I haven't totally lost my sarcastic edge, but who knows what I'll be like when this inside baby becomes an outside baby. Anyway, it's been a sweet season of life and I've loved soaking in the experience. Is there anything cooler than growing a human life?

Thanksgiving dinner out with friends.
We stayed here for Thanksgiving and went out for dinner with friends. Yep, we were totally those people, but I ordered all the traditional menu items (butternut squash soup, turkey/stuffing/gravy, and apple pie) and it was all really delicious. The rest of this week/weekend has been all about nesting. Jon has been incredibly busy at work lately, but with briefs filed and work travel over until January, I was more than ready to have an extra set of hands to help cross things off the baby to-do list.

We did all of our Christmas decorating - our outdoor lights are up, the tree is trimmed, and the house is looking rather festive. I was proud of myself for showing some restraint and leaving about 30-40% of my decorations in their boxes. Even I know my limitations, but there is just something really special about bringing this baby home to a cozy home. I'm mostly done with Christmas shopping too - now I just need to get everything wrapped and mailed.

More importantly, baby laundry is done (I've never washed so many tiny socks in my life), everything is put away and organized, and the nursery is finally completely finished. The hospital tour is done and my labor playlist with all my favorite Christmas songs is ready to go. Final must-haves have been purchased, the car seat is installed and the hospital bag will be packed within the next day or so (I've never spent so much time picking out an outfit and it wasn't even for me, but I can't blow my first parenting decision about what Skippy will wear home from the hospital). Whew. I thought we already had a lot done, but the these final little details seem to take the most time. By Sunday, we were both exhausted and enjoyed nice, long naps by the Christmas tree.

Skippy, we are almost all set for your arrival. Just give us a day or so to get the hospital bag all packed and then you can come anytime. We can't wait to meet you, and snuggle you, and bring you home. We already love you so much. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Friday, October 30, 2015

bump watch: week 33...almost 34

It's been a while since I've done a bump update.  A lot has changed in the last 4-5 weeks. We are officially in week 33 now and looking every bit of it....plus more. Remember that other shoe I mentioned? It has officially dropped. I can no longer stay in any one position for long periods of time, which has complicated working and sleeping. Have I mentioned how grateful I am to work from home? I can't imagine spending 8+ hours/day stuck in an office chair at a desk. My saving grace is that I can switch from desk to bed to couch to exercise ball every hour or so.

Sleeping has also become pretty interesting. I don't usually have trouble falling asleep, but I'm waking up at 4:00 a.m. almost every night. Sometimes I can go back to sleep quickly, but more times, it goes something like this:

4:00 a.m. - Wake up. Try to ignore that I am awake.
4:05 a.m. - Begin to come to terms with the fact that I'm awake. Attempt to roll over to relieve the rib pain which probably work me up in the first place.
4:07 a.m. - After successfully rolling over, debate whether or not it's worth it to get out of bad to use the ladies' room.
4:10 a.m. - Resign myself to the fact that I have no choice.
4:11 a.m. - Make the long 10 ft trek to the bathroom.
4:15 a.m. - Try to fall back asleep.
4:16 a.m. - Punch and/or kick Jon for 1 of 3 infractions: 1) snoring, 2) encroachment on my side of the bed, 3) or the more serious encroachment + illegal use of the hands by trying to "share" one of my pillows, which has been strategically placed to alleviate some kind of pregnancy-related discomfort.
4:20 a.m. - Skippy starts gymnastics or karate class.
4:21 a.m. - Realize I may not sleep again...ever. Begin dreading the alarm.
5:30-6:00 a.m. - Finally drift back to sleep.

But other than these normal and relatively mild aches, pains and sleeping troubles, everything else is A-OK. I'm grateful for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. All indications are that Skippy is perfectly happy as an inside baby. His heartbeat is strong and his punches and kicks are even stronger. We had a quick ultrasound earlier this week at my midwife appointment to check Skippy's position. He is doing just what he is supposed to do - hanging out head down in a classic fetal position. Of course, he is still measuring about 1-2 weeks ahead, but what else is new? I'm starting to resign myself to the fact that he might just be a big baby, but I'll take that any day as long as he arrives happy and healthy.

We are really starting to prepare for his arrival. I think since we recognize there isn't much we can do to prepare for bringing him home - everyone keeps telling us you're never ready for that - so we've concentrated all of our efforts on something we can prepare for: labor and delivery. We started birth class a couple of weeks ago with our doula Cara. We decided to do private classes for ease of scheduling, and it's worked out really well. Not only do we get to spend more time with our doula, but each class is geared toward our birth preferences and the practices at the hospital where I will deliver. We aren't wasting any time on things that won't apply to us and we get to spend a lot of time discussing and practicing techniques that appeal to us and our personalities.

Skippy you have been busy lately. I was a little cross with you the other day for causing lots of discomfort at once, but I think we've officially smoothed things over. You will learn someday that just because I'm unhappy with you, it doesn't mean I don't love you.

We've also had two showers this month. I'll tell you more about those in another post. You may remember that Dad explained a shower is a party in your honor, not an actual shower with water and soap. It's been so fun to celebrate with all of your family and friends. Everyone is so excited for your arrival. You are one lucky little guy to be so loved by so many people already.

In other news, your mom and dad have been married for 7 years. We celebrated our anniversary on Sunday, but the official celebration is dinner out tonight. We've loved being just husband and wife, but we are excited to become mom and dad soon. It will be fun (and I'm sure challenging) to see how life changes once we became a family of three.

Your nursery is *almost* done. We really just have the last finishing touches to take care of - mostly hanging some shelves and your other set of curtains. I'll let Dad take care of those jobs. Now we just need to tackle everything else on our to-do list. I'm starting to feel the crunch yet I don't have the energy to do much besides work and sleep. I'm hoping the nesting instinct/energy surge will hit me soon.

Still loving: prenatal yoga, the chiropractor, and heating pad.

Still craving: grilled cheese, bananas, and anything in the comfort food category.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

bumpmoon

I can't believe it's been over a month since we got back from Hawaii. Time flies when you are busy growing a tiny human.

I'm pretty sure we've already talked about how fun the flight was for this momma, but I would do it again today if the end destination was somewhere as amazing as Hawaii. I know it sounds like a cliche destination, but it's such a wonderful place. I'm not sure it could ever disappoint any traveler. I was there for all of 5 minutes before I was glad we chose an island getaway over a city. Someday, I will get to Paris, but now was not the time.

Jon had never been to Hawaii, and it had been years since I had been. We flew into Honolulu and spent 2 nights there. It was a good way to get over any jet lag and ease into our vacation - Honolulu is also home to some of the best restaurants on the island so we took full advantage of that. Our only must-do was Pearl Harbor, where we spent almost an entire day.

After our brief stint in Honolulu, we moved on to the main event: Kauai. I'm not going to do a day by day recap because I'm pretty sure that would be beyond annoying. I'll hit some photos highlights, but you can just assume everything else was a wonderful mix of beach bumming, pool relaxing, spa lounging, sunset gazing and general vacation bliss.

the view from our hotel balcony in honolulu
surprisingly put together after 8+ hours on a plane.
submarine tour at Pearl Harbor. it was really hot that day. i spent a good portion of the day sitting in the shade with all the elderly tourists. #noshame


this jeep was courtesy the baby bump. there was a little bit of a wait at the car rental place for midsize SUVs, which is what we had reserved. the guy took one look at me and gave us this Jeep which was ready to go....and it was a good thing because we needed it on more than one bumpy beach access road. 

baby bump waiting for the sunset.
the helicopter tour was the highlight of the trip. i got a little nervous when a guy coming off the tour before us was holding his air sickness bag, but baby and I took it like champs. much of the island isn't accessible by car so unless you want to hike for days (we didn't), this is the best way to see everything. it did not disappoint. 

this baby looks huge. focus on the pretty canyon beyond us. 
i took one step on this swinging bridge before deciding it wasn't meant for me. jon liked it, though. :)
fact: i don't love the beach. i usually make it about 20 minutes before i need to find shade.
peeking out the lighthouse.

And here are some really pretty scenery photos. Like I said, I don't think this place could disappoint any traveler.






And some food porn:

this lady makes amazing malasada (Portuguese fried dough) from a tiny cart outside a kmart. best. find. ever.

coconut shaved iced with coconut cream topping. be still my heart. i had this twice even though it was 30 minutes from our resort.

tropical hot dog - also had this twice on both sides of the island. :)

traditional hawaiian plate lunch. best pulled pork of my life.

a fine dining version of cotton candy. also know as a cloud of yumminess. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

bump watch: week 29

bumpie time...our good luck packers shirt!
Big news, Skippy, the Packers are 3-0!!!!! Ok, that wasn't really my big news (but I think you might be good luck. Or at least the maternity Packers shirt I have thanks to you is good luck)....

I *think* we have a name picked out for you! We've been trying it on for size, and while we still slip up and call you Skippy from time to time, there have been no other adverse reactions to your chosen name. The jury is still out on who/what/where/when/why others may get to be in on the secret, but we're leaning toward keeping it close to the vest. Telling people your name might just open a whole can of worms we don't want to deal with - we get enough opinions about you as it is. :) Besides, isn't it more fun for people to be surprised?!

I spend a good amount of time  these days debating the best way to tell people how far along I am - almost 30 weeks, due in December, just over 2 months to go! No matter what I say, I know people will immediately look at my belly and judge my progress. For example, I was getting along swimmingly with the nice young man installing the blinds in your nursery until he asked how far along I was. When I told him when you were due, he told me he thought I was farther along than that. Wrong answer, blinds guy, wrong answer.

You were measuring right on schedule at my last midwife appointment, but the chiropractor told me yesterday that you are long baby. Speaking of the chiropractor, he is mom's favorite person these days. You don't seem to mind him too much either. I know my comfort is your top priority...as evidenced by your constant beat down of my right rib cage. You are laying on my left side head down with arms and legs free to use the rest of me a punching bag. I imagine you as a boxing puppet, but cuter and more cuddly.

Our other favorite thing to do these days is prenatal yoga. We started a 6-week class last week. It's fun to be with all the other moms-to-be and little humans. The classes focus on getting us ready for labor and delivery. We are learning lots of great laboring positions and stretches to help strengthen and relieve those achy muscles.

Tomorrow, we are headed to Wichita for a little grandmother's shower. It will be your first trip to Schmeema's house (and your last plane trip from the inside). All of Schmeema's friends are excited for your arrival too! It's very sweet of them to want to shower you just because they know and love your Schmeema. There is a bit of a hurricane issue threatening our travel plans, but I'm hoping a little rain won't stop us.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

bump watch: week 27

We are just back from a lovely vacation in Hawaii. I'll post more about that once we have the photos downloaded for maximum jealousy, but I thought we needed a little Skippy update in the meantime. 

we borrowed dad's jersey for our football viewing today.
a packers maternity tee is on order. :)
Today marks the start of week 27 - depending on how you're counting (I swear nobody can agree on how long human gestation really lasts) I'm either in the last week of my 2nd trimester or the first week of my third trimester. All I know, is that I'm officially in uncomfortablemester. Skippy is due exactly 3 months from today.

All things considered, I really can't complain, but when has that ever stopped anyone? Ok, but seriously, I still feel pretty good, but I'm slowly watching the other shoe drop as the glorious 2nd trimester slips away.

Sleeping is becoming more difficult by the day. The jet lag certainly hasn't helped in that department either. I had a great run in Hawaii thanks to the king size beds and extra pillows. I built a little pillow fort every night and it was glorious. There isn't quite enough room to spread out like that in our queen size bed at home. I might have to kick Jon out at some point. If rolling over in bed used to be a quick, smooth U-turn, it's now the equivalent of a 3-point turn.

I had to sit down in church today because I thought I was going to pass out. It's pretty embarrassing to not be able to stand through three little songs, but I finally put my pride aside when I thought about how much more embarrassing it would be if I actually did pass out. I knew it was time when the stage started to blur. I thought it was ridiculously hot in the sanctuary, but Jon assures me it was just me...and the other pregnant lady in our pew who was also sitting down. Granted, she's due any day now, but it still made me feel better to be in good company.

I also managed to sprain my neck right before we left for vacation while....wait for it....warming up a muffin in the microwave. I showed up to my chiropractor with my tail between my legs, but it turns out this is incredibly common during pregnancy. He snapped everything back into place and I was on my happy way. And by "on my happy way," I mean I boarded a less than stellar 8.5 hour flight with ice pack and heating pad in tow. I've been on longer flights before, but none felt as long and uncomfortable as that one. Luckily, by the time we got to Hawaii, I was already on the mend and was back to 100% after a couple of days.

My current ravings are Caesar salad - don't worry, I didn't forgo all the delicious island food for salad, but I did have one at the airport on our way home - and peanut butter, honey, banana sandwiches. The last couple of days, I've been dreaming of an apple dumpling, but I haven't fulfilled that desire....yet.

Skippy, we tried to pick a name for you while we were on vacation, but I'll be honest, it felt weird to call you anything but Skippy. I promise it won't stick, but we just can't seem to come up with anything we like better....yet. I think you had a great time. You were very relaxed the entire vacation. I even worried about you a few times because you were so docile, but as soon as we landed in Dallas, you started doing nonstop karate. I guess coming back from vacation isn't your favorite thing to do either. Maybe someday we'll take you back to Hawaii and show you all of our favorite places.

It's good to be back, but now it's back to reality. There is a nursery to finish, birth classes to attend, a pediatrician to find, football to watch, and the list goes on and on and on. It's all very exciting, but also a bit overwhelming.

Monday, August 17, 2015

bump watch: week 21-22

We've been busy, Skippy!

Two weekend ago, we went to Arkansas to spend some time with your Nana & Grandpa Hardin. We also go to see your great grandmother and grandfather - MeeMaw and PawPaw. On top of that, I got to catch up with a college friend and finally meet her sweet daughter who just turned one. Everyone is so excited for your arrival. Nana made you an adorable stuffed animal from the red receiving blanket that Jon was given in the hospital. Apparently all the December babies born in Paragould, Arkansas received these red blankets. We call him red dog skippy. We also got to take home a blanket that Jon's great grandmother crocheted for him before he was born. I love having these sweet sentimental gifts. Both are already sitting in your crib waiting for your arrival!

baby store success
Last week, my mom, your Schmeema, came to visit and help us get ready for your arrival. It was a jam-packed week, but we got so much done. I had some general baby gear and nursery ideas before Mom arrived, but by the time she left, we had a car seat, stroller, playard purchased and several other things picked out and added to our registry. For the nursery, we now have curtains, a crib, crib skit, crib sheets, glider (on order) and a rug picked out! What was once a blank slate, is now a fully formed design. We also did a lot of clothes shopping. I have a hard time resisting the adorable baby wear. It's been so fun picking everything out for you. It makes me even more excited for your arrival.

We also put together your crib, which I really love. I've had trouble deciding on other elements of the nursery, but the crib was an easy decision and I ordered it almost as soon as we found out your gender (it also came in coral, but we thought you would like the navy blue better). It did not disappoint. It was easy to put together, the quality is great and I love the color and simple style. Better yet, it came with the toddler rail included and it can convert to a full-size bed someday. Considering all of that, the price was just right too.

The paint and glider were not so easy....

We picked up paint samples....twice (and then I grabbed a few more after Schmeema left) and tried them on the wall. At this point, we've basically painted the entire room in sample patches. I'm the Goldilocks of paint - it's never *just* right. Gray is hard. In fact, it might be one of the hardest paint colors because it loves to be anything but gray. As soon as it goes up on the wall, it turns purple, blue, green, beige, etc.. But I have good news - I finally found a color and I think it's going to be perfect. If you are still reading this paragraph, here is your reward: revere pewter by Benjamin Moore might be the best gray ever. There is a reason so many people love this color. I lightened it to 50% because it was a tad too dark for our smaller, north-facing nursery at full strength, but the lightened formula was perfect - not too green, not too blue, not too cool, not too warm - a just right gray.

paint samples galore
The glider was an ordeal too. We sat in a few dozen different gliders and rockers before making a decision. There were so many choices, but it still felt like finding a needle in a haystack. I might be the Goldilocks of gliders too. The more we looked, the more we learned, and the more we learned, the more complicated it all became. The perfect balance between comfort, style and practicality was almost impossible to find. Sometimes, the most comfortable chairs were the hardest to get in/out of, which is kind of a big deal when you are trying to maneuver with a sleeping baby in your arms. The most practical ones seemed to be the ugliest design-wise. And some of the contenders I liked just didn't come in the right fabric colors, the right price, the right shipping lead time, etc. I finally settled on the Graham glider from West Elm and was very satisfied with my choice, but then we learned the fabric I wanted was permanently out of stock. Ugh. I wanted to have a good hormonal pregnancy cry, but instead I just pouted a little and went back the next day to pick out another fabric, which I am equally excited about. The glider has been ordered, and I can finally sleep at night. :)

Pregnancy-wise, I still feel pretty great. My lower back started hurting last week, which was not cool considering we still have several weeks to go. Luckily, I already had a chiropractic appointment scheduled. Best. Decision. Ever. If you are pregnant, get yourself to a chiropractor who specializes in prenatal care RIGHT NOW. Dr. Andrino is my new best friend, and I'll continue to visit him throughout my pregnancy. He promised that by the time Skippy is ready to come, he'll just slide right out. ;) My back is naturally very curved, and before I even sat down, he immediately told me that it would probably be harder for me to deliver Skippy on my back thanks to my curvy spine. That seems like a really key piece of knowledge and worth the price of the visit alone. He also had some great tips on sleeping, stretching and exercising. Since being a
adjusted and doing my stretches, my back is already 100x better.

No specific cravings right now, except for a cherry dilly bar from Dairy Queen. I know, it's totally out of left field, but I'd been thinking about them for weeks now so we stopped for a little ice cream snack during one of our marathon baby shopping trips.

Skippy, you move all the time now and you finally moved for Dad. I've been feeling your little kicks and movements for a while now, but every time I told Dad you were moving, you would stop immediately. I think you must already be stubborn. I have no idea where you would get that trait....I drank my first cup of coffee this morning, and you haven't stopped wiggling all day. This is either the greatest day of your life or I've completely overdosed you on caffeine.

Dad still likes to tell you all about life and sing songs to you. He's been so sweet and patient with Mom. He was a total champ during the glider fiasco. I hope you take after him and inherit some of his patience and calmness. :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

bump watch: it's a....

BOY!

The biggest event of week 20 was finding out the gender. I guess Mama knows best because my hunch was right all along. My first thought when the sonographer told us was "oh, boy." It's going to be an adventure. I'm not really sure what to do with little boys, but it's going to be fun figuring it all out!

Most importantly, Skippy is happy and healthy...and completely uncooperative. I would expect nothing less from someone who is probably going to be just like his dad. It took over 45 minutes for the sonographer to get all the measurements and information she needed. Skippy was perfectly content to keep his head down, hands in front of his face, legs crossed and not move an inch the entire time. We really thought we were going to have to leave without finding out the gender. Thank goodness the sonographer was incredibly patient with our little guy.

In other ultrasound news, Skippy is already in the 95th percentile for weight. OH, BOY. I immediately emailed my midwife and she assured me that this is completely normal and it doesn't mean this growth rate will continue. The more I think about it, the more this makes sense. I feel like Skippy just had a huge growth spurt the week before the ultrasound. We went from 0-60 really fast. Just over 1 week again, I didn't even own any maternity clothes, and now I have very much "popped." Hello, baby belly.

Everything feels a lot more real now. This is both good and bad. I like thinking about names, shopping for boy clothes and browsing for nursery decor. On the flip side, everything I was putting off until after we learned the gender is now coming back with a vengeance. I have less than 20 weeks, give or take to be ready for this baby boy. Eek!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

bump watch: week 19

I'm about halfway through week 20 now, but just realized I forgot to post my update at the end of last week. I can blame pregnancy brain, right?

This photo pretty much sums up this week. There is no denying there is a baby in there now.

I finally went maternity shopping and I now know why everyone told me I was crazy for putting it off. Maternity pants > Real pants. I mean, they are like real pants that merged with stretchy pants. It's a dream come true. And since we are more than halfway through the summer (real summer, not that official summer that starts in June business), I've been able to find a lot of things on sale, which is nice because I'll have to buy more things when the weather turns colder. A December due date is not ideal for maternity shopping. Since it's warm here through Sept, I'll need bump clothes for two seasons. I even bought a maternity swimsuit this week. It was traumatic, but it fits so I bought it.

We shopped for baby gear on Saturday. We mostly looked at strollers, car seats and rocking chairs/gliders. I thought it would be more overwhelming, but it was actually kind of fun. Nothing makes you feel like a boss quite like figuring out how to open and close a stroller on your own. I feel like if we can conquer baby gear, we can conquer anything. We have an early favorite for a stroller/car seat system that we both really liked so now all others will compare.

Skippy, you are becoming more fun every day. They say you can hear us now and your Dad has been taking full advantage of that. He loves to talk to you. So far, he's told you all about his favorite sports teams and taught you a little bit about music too. Most importantly, he told you that it's best to let Mom think she is always right. Your Dad is a smart man.

As for me, I mostly talk to you when I'm blaming you for something - like my desire to always eat or my inability to get up the stairs as quickly as I used to. But please don't take offense. It's not because any of this is your fault per se, but you are an easy target since you can't talk back. I felt you move this week! You don't move all the time, and it's not quite strong enough for anyone else to feel. It's almost like we share a little secret right now, but I'm sure you'll be kicking up a storm soon.

Friday, July 24, 2015

bump watch: pink or blue?

Yes, we are going to find out the gender, but we won't know until next week. I know some people like to be surprised, but I figure it's just as much a surprise at 20 weeks as it is at 40 weeks. :) I've been kicking myself lately for rescheduling my ultrasound appointment. I had it scheduled at 18 weeks, but I let the sonographer talk me into moving it to week 20. So now as I sit here waiting for next Tuesday to roll around, I've watched a few friends with due dates after mine already find out their gender. I'm never this patient, and it might actually be killing me.

Here is what everyone is predicting:

I was completely convinced it's a boy, and while I'm still leaning that way, I've been faltering in the last couple of weeks. I had a dream the other night that it was a girl. It's hard to deny the gender reveal dream! I also think the fact that most others are team girl has made me second guess myself, but deep down, I still think it's a boy.

Jon had a dream it's a girl and he likes to be contrarian so he is 100% team girl. He has not faltered since day one. 

My Dad also thinks girl, and he is also 100% convinced. My sister votes boy, and I think Mom is torn.

Jon's family is full of boys so I think they are all hoping to add a little girl to the brood.

Apparently our pastor is pretty good at predicting these things, but now I'm thinking that's only because he plays both sides of the aisle. Last week, he said girl, but this week, he told us it's a boy so his vote is cancelled out.

And just for funsies, let's see which way the old wives tales are pointing: 

Heartbeat: It's always been over 140. Girl: 1 point.

Chinese Calendar: I'm 29 and the conception date was in March. Boy: 1 point.

Cravings - For someone who normally has a huge sweet tooth, I'm all about salty and savory foods these days. Boy: 1 point 

Hair & skin - For the most part, my hair and skin has been more on the dry side and has not gone completely haywire. In fact, when I actually do my hair, which is rare, I almost always get stopped by someone complimenting me on it. So no matter the gender, I'm giving a  +1 to pregnancy hormones. Boy: 1 point.

Morning sickness - I didn't have an appetite and I constantly felt like I was riding in the back of a car, but I never threw up nor would I call it debilitating morning sickness so I'm giving this one to team boy. Boy: 1 point.

So the old wives tales point to a boy. The plot thickens...

Whatever the gender, one thing is clear - we may never be able to agree on a name. Jon is an expert name killer. He has literally found a way to shoot down every suggestion I've thrown at him. I think there was one name on my list that made the cut. Sorry, Skipper, but your nickname might have to stick unless Dad starts cooperating.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

aunt kitty meets abby kate

Abby was born June 18. She was a little (or a lot) late and we were all beginning to wonder if she ever wanted to meet us. But now that she is here, I don't think she was harboring any ill will towards us. She must have just been too cozy hanging out inside her Momma. She is a sweet baby - probably thee sweetest. She's adorable (duh), happy, and easy to please. She does like to be held, but with so many eager arms, that hardly seems like much of a problem. She mostly just loves to eat and sleep. She's not quite a month old and Mom reports she slept for 13 hours last night!

I went to stay for a week to help Mom & Dad, but mostly to love on little Abby. I'm pretty sure we are going to be best buds. I hoped my visit would give me a glimpse into my future with Skippy, but Abby is such an easy baby that I'm not really sure I got much training.




Staring contest with Uncle Jon.

That time she had a little accident and had to ride home naked.





Her first outing. She was a big hit at the fro yo shop.


One thing is for sure, if we have a girl, she'll already have an adorable wardrobe to borrow from her big cousin. 

First stroller ride. She lasted about 10 minutes and then had to be carried home while I pushed an empty stroller.

On the 4th, we had a low country boil bc there is no better way to celebrate America than by eating right off the table. Yum!





I was soooo sad to leave little Abby. I know she will be so much bigger the next time I see her. She's already working on some pretty great fat rolls, not to mention her cheeks double in size every day.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bump watch: Week 17

Whew. We are finally all caught up and back to real time. Weeks 14-17 were really more of the same. I'm feeling great, enjoying having energy again, and most of all, taking full advantage of my rediscovered appetite.

Skippy's cousin was born June 18th so these last few weeks have been all about Abby. I got to spend some time in Oklahoma for a crash course in newborn care. I passed with flying colors, but Abby is such a good baby that I'm not sure I got that much practice. Something tells me Skippy won't be quite as chill as his older cousin. I'll write a full post all about Abby soon - she's kind of the greatest thing ever and I'm totally smitten.

In other news, I still fit into my real pants, but they are getting more snug by the day. It's almost time to breakout the belly band and hair ties. I arrived in Oklahoma bump free, but by the end of the week I was sporting a pooch that I could no longer hide by sucking in. I took a little bump photo my last day in Oklahoma at the start of week 17.

Babymoon planning has been in full swing. I kind of hate the term "babymoon" because really we just need a vacation, but whatever. We're taking this bump to Hawaii in early September. We had a tough time deciding between Paris and Hawaii, but sun and relaxation won out. [Speaking of Paris, have you guys been wondering about the 30x30 list? More on that later, but I think it's safe to say I won't be turning 30 in Paris with a 2-month old baby in tow.] But I now deeply regret our decision to choose beach over city after trying on a maternity swimsuit the other day.

On Thursday, I had my first complete stranger notice I'm pregnant. It was a man, of course, because women no better than to ever venture there. I was picking up something at Home Depot and the guy helping me suggested we get a cart because, "You don't look like you should be straining yourself." To which I replied, "Can you tell I'm pregnant?" "Oh, honey, I know better than to ask that, but I've got three myself so I had a hunch."

So congratulations home depot man, you are the first stranger to identify my growing midsection as an actual baby and not just a food baby.

Cravings: mostly the same - strawberries and cream frapps, Jimmy Johns (I had at least 3 turkey tom subs before remembering I'm not really supposed to be eating deli meat), comfort foods, and anything salty/savory.

Highlights: getting to meet Abby, booking our trip to Hawaii, clearing out all the random boxes and things that were in Skippy's future nursery - now it's a blank slate just waiting to become an adorable nursery!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

bump watch: week 13

Finally, it's public. I did a good job keeping the secret, but Jon was incredibly antsy. This is not surprising because Jon is terrible with keeping secrets and surprises. I told him next time he is having a baby, he can tell people whenever he wants. For someone who couldn't be patient, it should be no surprise that he had the worst delivery when telling people the news.

When we told our church community group at our last meeting before summer break, he just blurted out "Katie's pregnant." We had practiced a few solid ledes beforehand, but he threw all of those out the window in the moment of truth. I'd like to think I'm much better at slipping the news into conversation, but even I have to admit that it doesn't always come up in the most seamless way.

We had an ultrasound on Monday as part of the first trimester genetic screening, which came back all clear (yay!). Skippy is looking more and more like a little human. There are hands and feet. He was incredibly squirmy the entire time. It took several minutes for the sonographer to get all the photos she needed. We also got to see him taking a little sip of water. It's amazing to see life form like that. And then it's incredibly weird to think that it's forming INSIDE you.

Jon decided the middle of the ultrasound was a good time to tell me that Hardins have big heads. I'm going to file that special piece of information under "things I really didn't need or want to know."

I feel bigger, but I haven't actually gained any weight yet. I lost a few pounds over the first several weeks by virtue of having zero appetite. I suppose this means my body is just re-arranging itself in new and fun ways.

Now that I have more energy, the urge to nest is starting to hit me hard. I've started planning two nurseries so we'll be a little more prepared once we know the gender. I've also started researching baby gear, but I usually get overwhelmed and give up after 10 minutes or so. If I had trouble choosing between 5 doulas, I have no idea how I'm going to choose between 500 strollers.

Current cravings: anything! I'm just happy to like food again. Some things at the top of the list include hot dogs (not exactly pregnancy approved, but I think rules were meant to be broken), fruit, strawberries & cream frappucinos, grilled cheese sandwiches and anything else salty or savory. I've even been enjoying some things I don't normally love, like tomatoes and bell peppers.

Highlights of the week: announcing Skippy's arrival, passing the first trimester genetic test, and yoga in the outfield with my friend Rebekah at Nats park.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

bump watch: weeks 9 & 10

These were the weeks of the doula search. My midwife practice highly recommends hiring a doula - especially for first-time moms. After doing some research into exactly what doulas do, I needed no further convincing. Who wouldn't want someone who is there solely to support you and your husband non-stop for the entire length of your labor?

One article I recently read put it this way:
"Have you ever cut your hair yourself? It might turn out okay, but then you get it done at the salon with the hypnotizing head message and the mysterious, magical products and the blow-out-you-can-never-replicate and you realize, yeah, that was better with professionals. That's kind of what doulas are to birth."

Typical doula services include 1-2 prenatal visits to get to know you know, discuss your birth plan and teach you some pain management techniques. When you go into labor, they usually come to your house in early labor and help you decide when it's time to go the hospital or birth center. They stay with you throughout labor and a few hours after delivery to make sure all is well with mom, dad and new baby. There is also a postpartum visit to see how everyone is adjusting to their new normal. On top of that, they are available for questions throughout your entire pregnancy and most have a large lending library of great resources.

Again, once you realize everything they do, it sounded like a bargain to me. The good news is that there are many, many doulas in the DC area. The bad news is that it's really hard to choose with so many great options!

I was getting an early start on my search, but I knew the December delivery complicated things a bit because not everyone takes clients around the holidays. I interviewed 5 doulas over the course of two weeks. There were things I really liked about all of them, which made the decision ridiculously hard. I ultimately chose a team of two doulas who have both helped deliver over 200+ babies. It's like I'm getting two amazing resources for the price of one.

Other items of note:

At the beginning of week 9, I had my first official appointment with my midwife practice. There are several midwives in the practice so I'll rotate through all of them before my delivery. So far, so good.

Jon sent me flowers for Mother's Day, which was very sweet. It feels very surreal that I'm going to be a mom. I guess that's why they give you 9 months to let it sink in.

I'm still tired, and still not enjoying a healthy appetite, but not all is lost. I'm still going to yoga/pilates barre classes 3x week and powering through. It's hard to not have the energy to do everything I want to do, but I know the end is near.

Current cravings: watermelon and fruit.