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Sunday, January 31, 2010

"C", "D", "E", and "F"!

Well here are four more additions to my hand at painting the alphabet for my son Conner's nursury.  I am on track of 2 a week and really like how they are turning out.  A few ("C" and "D") are from my own creation and do not quite match the others so I am thinking about redoing them, we'll see :)

Peace,
Pinner

Preggo Update - Week 29




Conner:

Size - Conner is about 15.5 inches long and weighs apx. 2 pounds 9 ounces!

Activity - I am totally feeling every movement now. It is so constant and I can't help but think how strange it will be after he gets here and I won't feel him anymore. He is my tiny dancer and gymnast and kick boxer all in one. He is most active at night and late afternoon. He still does somersaults when I eat grapefruit and gets the hiccups quite often for short periods of time.

Labor signs - A few more contractions this week. I have been more active myself because I am starting to panic a little about the third trimester exhaustion and trying to get things done around the house. They are a little more intense and I can feel them coming. Never are they more than one or two an hour, so I have nothing to worry about.

Conner's brain is continuing to develop rapidly. My midwife says that he is head down, so he has completed that journey. His lungs are now close to fully developed, his bones are making his red blood cells all by themselves, and he can regulate his own body temperature. Conner is still growing every day and continues to build fat under his skin.

Me:
Size - I am feeling good about my size. I have not gained any weight in the last two weeks, but I am sure that is about to change quickly.

What I am wearing -Same as last week. Trying to rock the accessories and cute bags and try to be more confident about my style. I have a lot of clothes that I cannot wear but all my jewelry and scarves can be flaunted! I need new shoes as the ones I have been wearing religiously for the last 2+ years are wearing thin... but I am not looking forward to shoe shopping at all.

Strange stuff - Crazy dreams are really getting to me. Because I wake up so often I am in REM sleep more and tend to remember my dreams. I have had a few doozies -I will spare you - but nothing awful. I have tons of back pain now and can barely bend over towards the end of the night, but sleep seems to cure me. The swelling in my hands is a lot better (Thank you grapefruit!!!) and I can still wear my rings. Oh, and everyone smiles at me! I like it but I am not used to it.

Food cravings - Pepsi, fruit, cookies, and sub sandwiches.

Status of belly button - almost an outie!

What I miss - skinny days, only having one chin, being able to bend over, jeans that button, wine, summer, my less puffy self, and sleeping a full night without waking up.
In General:
Best movement this week - a dance party in my belly at 2am last night

Most looking forward to - SUMMER! I am craving it. I cannot wait to take Conner everywhere and enjoy all the things I love the most with him. Grill outs, our backyard, the farmers market, music on the park, long sunset walks through the neighborhood, gardening, all that stuff that makes us feel complete will be so much better with our son.

Words to live by - Don't complain. Just don't do it. Everything that is going on with me physically, emotionally, and mentally is good... It does not need to be scary or painful, or sad. Everything can be funny and exciting and wonderful. Staying positive is the most important thing to remember through this journey.

Milestones - Hitting that 8th month that I thought would never come - that I thought only happened to other people and not me. It is here and it is wonderful. I am so loving this!

Dave and I talk all the time about how things will be... what our plans are, what we want to work on, how we want to spend our time. We have become this huge heart that together and only together beats. We have the same passions and concerns and fears. We have the same dreams. He said to me the other night that he wants to have "German nights" once a week where we speak only German and explore the culture. Things like that we both talk about and it creates this excitement and love between us and for our child. This is what it is about, I have learned. It is not about the fancy stroller or the trendy onsies or the deluxe crib - it is about being a family that loves each other and creates a feeling that no other place in the world could. It is about feeling confident and loved and secure and safe. It is about falling asleep at night knowing that the people that share your home with you are a piece of your life that would cause you to die inside if you were without...

Peace,

Pinner

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Preggo Update - Week 28







Conner:


Size - Conner is about 15 inches long and weighs apx. 2.2 pounds!

Activity - I am feeling much more powerful movements. These last few days I can really tell how he is positioned. Lots of hiccups!

Labor signs - I very rarely feel the Braxton Hicks anymore. I get one maybe once a day if that. I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary at all.

Conner's brain is developing rapidly. The peaks and valleys found in a newborn-adult's brain are starting to form this week and more hair will start to grow on his little head. At this point Conner is putting on weight and allowing his brain to develop as much as possible before birth. He is also making his way down for proper birth positioning.

Me:

Size - Well, I am really starting to feel the weight gain. I bought a pair of super cute black maternity pants right before Christmas and they are a little snug. I can still fit into most things and I am not worried. I know it is temporary and the little bit of weight gain is not making me feel awful. I know it is good for Conner and healthy for me.

What I am wearing -Trying to work the accessories this week... Most of my clothes are plain and non pattered - best friend to a lady trying to appear less than she is ;) I have a great collection of scarves, earrings, rings, and bags that compliment all my plain jane tees and jeans. I have even been painting my nails!

Strange stuff - hmmmmmmm... well, the strangest thing this week has been little kicks to what feels like a kidney. It sometimes takes my breath away. I am laughing at myself a lot because there is so much that I used to be able to do that I have to actually think about now. The biggest one is getting in and out of the bath. It is hilarious. I will spare you the details, but I always have the "Humpty Dumpty" nursery rhyme stuck in my head when I am in there. I am very calm lately. I cry a lot for many reasons, some lame, but it feels good to get the emotion out.

Food cravings - Cookies, fresh veggies, fruit, and water - lots and lots of water

Status of belly button - almost an outie!

What I miss - high heels, moving around in bed without grunting like an old man, wine, and spring

In General:

Best movement this week - a few kicks to my side area, hiccups, and lots of rolls

Most looking forward to - Getting the nursery completed and gardening with my son


Words to live by - Do not, I repeat - DO NOT go to the grocery store 7 months pregnant and hungry. You will come home with chips, 2 types of cookies, random cheeses and veggies, donuts, and completely forget the milk.

Milestones - Talking to Dave about our birth plan and making decisions together

I am starting to really feel everything. It is like my senses are all on overdrive and everything smells and tastes and feels amazing. I feel energetic, beautiful, happy, blessed, and thankful. I am not scared, and that to me is the most important thing. If I can keep that up, I feel that things will go smoothly and I will be confidant and calm. I am staying away from the negative. The only thing that bothers me are people telling me what my experience is going to be before I have experienced it. This happens mostly with older people and people that have had children before and had bad experiences. I just wish that they would keep those things to themselves and allow me my own chance to create my own story.  Good rule of thumb to live by - only share if you have been asked... a scared pregnant woman is not a pretty sight...

Peace,
- Pinner

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To Doula or Not to Doula... This is My Question

I have been doing a lot of research the past two weeks as my son's birthday quickly approaches. He is due in three months this Friday and I want to know everything there is to know about the birthing process. I have bought some great books, have joined groups on Facebook and Twitter geared towards soon to be moms, and I have been doing a ton of internet research. It can be a bit baffling out there with all the contradictory and biased information but there seems to be a few strong points that shine through all the junk. Of those points the ones that I am most interested in are a natural drug free water birth and hiring a doula. Because of my insurance and decisions that were made before I had truly educated myself, I am having Conner in a hospital and from what I understand I have quite a bit of freedom to choose how I want to birth my son.

I am so new to all of this and I am just beginning to make decisions, I feel I need to make sure that I am on the right track with asking for what I want. From what I have read a doula is an extension of me during my son's birth. She will make sure that my needs are communicated to the medical staff, that I am getting the treatment I need, that I understand the process, and that Conner is born in the most natural way possible I have also learned that having a doula present created a much healthier and safer environment because the chance of induction, C-section, tearing, use of narcotics and epidurals, and use of forceps and vacuums goes way down. I was surprised though to see that there was only one practicing doula in my entire area. I live in a pretty decent sized city in Wisconsin and expected to see quite a few pop up in my searches. Regardless, it seems that she would be an awesome addition to "Team Conner".

I guess what I am stuck on is whether or not I can do it by myself. I have read many stories of successful hospital water births with doulas as well as without. I am torn because again I want to make sure that if I do hire her it is the best possible decision. I am a little scared of the entire process and I am one of those people that can only ease the stress with information and research. So I am asking any of you - what were your birth experiences and did you hire a doula? What were your thoughts on the process? What would you have done differently? I would love to hear what you have to say...

Peace,

-Pin

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Preggo Update - Week 27

Conner:

Size - about 14.5 inches long and about 2 pounds

Activity - Conner is moving a lot more this week. I can feel him more often than not during the day and I felt some pretty powerful movements yesterday. I am pretty sure that he did a somersault in there.

Labor signs - I am really not feeling any contractions at all. The only thing I noticed this week was a strange sharp pain in my lower abdomen. I am thinking that is ligament or growing pains. I have been a little less active this week due to not feeling well, so maybe that explains the lack of Braxton Hicks.

Conner's sleep cycles are much more apparent to me now. I can count on when he will be awake and moving and when he will be out like a light. He is now actively opening and closing his eyes, his retinas are maturing, he is sucking his thumb, and his brain is becoming much more active. I am also feeling his hiccups! I have been waiting for that ;)

Me:

Size - Thank god for Old Navy and their huge sale this weekend... oh and for curl enhancing spray. I have been getting a little uncomfortable, but with a few new roomier tops and being able to completely neglect my flat iron I am embracing my natural look - I think I am rockin it :) I haven't gained any weight this week and I am right on track for average weight gain for my pregnancy.

What I am wearing - Maternity pants? Check... warm socks? Check... wedding ring on chain hanging around neck? (Fingers are SO swollen) Check... Some cute accessories to accent boring maternity tops? Check... good to go!

Strange stuff - I am still waking up a lot during the night but I am having a much easier time falling asleep. I have had the flu again for the third time during my pregnancy this week but am feeling better. I asked about that and apparently it is normal as my immune system is on overdrive due to the baby and I am more susceptible to viruses. I am trying to take it easy and drink lots of fluids. I was given a prescription for Tamaflu and was really thrown off by the price - 95.00 for 10 pills... and that was with insurance. I opted to not take it as I have successfully battled the flu twice already and the drug was a level C which means it penetrates the placenta - no thanks. Other than that, I really have no complaints at all... I am really still loving being pregnant.

Food cravings - fruit, cookies, french silk pie, grapefruit juice, and steak.

Status of belly button - almost an outie!

What I miss - bending over, sleeping on my back, my less puffy self, and energy

In General:

Best movement this week - Some serious somersaults and hiccups!

Most looking forward to - Dressing Conner in the outfits daddy got for him.

Words to live by - Always call your health care provider if there are any worries. I am so glad I did and that I didn't sit and worry. Even though I was terrified, all my fears were squashed by an awesome medical staff and a really really really great, calm, encouraging husband.

Milestones - First time ever in the hospital this week :( not really a good one, but it is something I'll never forget.

Man this is flying by. I finished the baby shower invites today and will be mailing those out Tuesday. I am starting to see my Midwives bi-weekly now and am well into my third trimester. I remember thinking last August when I first found out I was pregnant how far away January seemed, and now the month is half gone. I am starting to feel the pressure of getting everything ready but when I take a step back I realize that we are really pretty prepared (as prepared as new parents could ever be at this point) and we can relax and just wait. I am starting to do my research on birthing options and am educating myself so my confidence is high when the day comes. I am loving this stage of my pregnancy... I am happy and super emotional and excited and so in love with Conner and Dave has been more than amazing (even as I write this I am tearing up... oh jeez, oh jeez) I could not feel better if I tried. I love my life...

Peace,
- Pinner

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

B is for Bear


Here is the next masterpiece in Conner's nursury collection ;)  So the "b" is an upside down lower case "g" - you do what you can.  I would love to write more, but I am tired from a long day.  Hope you enjoyed B!

Peace and goodnight...
 - Pin

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A is for Alligator!




YAY! I finally finished my first painting for Conner's room! Only 25 more to go... this one took me about three hours but I love how it turned out. I just used a 12x12 stretched canvas, acrylic paint, some cute pics found online for inspiration, and wooden letters.


I painted all 26 canvases alternating colors (orange, brown, beige, yellow, red, blue, etc...). Then free handing the pics of animals for each canvas. I found the wooden letters at Michaels for about $1.29 each and painted those as well. I thought the floating letter would add a little texture and depth to the paintings.

Hopefully these will be completed before he gets here... 3 hours x 25 paintings = 75 hours of painting! Here's to determination!

It was really fun painting this one... Conner has been really active tonight and I was home alone listening to the "Kate Nash" station on LastFM.com. I was singing along and all smiley and happy the whole time. Dave was off watching the Packer game with his buddies and so it was just me, the dogs and Conner. I was having these fantasies the whole time of my son asking about all the paintings and learning the alphabet a ridiculously young age because he had been exposed to it since birth... then I fantasized that he asked me as a father-to-be himself if he could have them for his unborn child's nursery. It was kind of cool to just sit and be creative and let my mind go wherever it pleased. It was really important to me as an artist to incorporate something that I had made into his nursery and have that something be educational and inspiring. I hope I hit the jackpot with this idea!

So, what are some things that you have done for your kids? Please share your ideas and pics and experiences, I would love to hear what you have all come up with...

Peace!
 -Pin

Preggo Update - Week 26






One more week down!!! 


Conner:

Size - about 14 inches long and about 2 pounds

Activity - Our little squirt is super active and kicks about once every 10 seconds.  He is getting higher and is starting to turn from breech to a transverse position.

Labor signs - Most contractions are happening at night and are less often. They are getting a little stronger, but mostly feel like a pressure or tightening below my belly button. 


This week Conner is very active.  His eyes are beginning to open and close and he is beginning to make breathing movements.  He is sucking his thumb which calms him and strengthens his jaw and mouth muscles.  He is responding to me too.  When I gently push on my belly, he will kick back.  He also responds to my voice and loves the shower.  I am starting to notice more of a routine with him.  He is quiet in the mornings and evenings and is most active in the afternoons and late nights.  He also LOVES music.  I sing to him and he moves around in there like crazy.  He is my tiny dancer...


Me:

Size - I feel better now than I have in a few weeks.  My hair is thicker and my belly is bigger but still in it's cute stage.  I feel beautiful and look pretty pregnant.  I even received my first "stranger compliment" today.

What I am wearing - Still sporting my sexy maternity pants, but have begun to feel more confortable in my maternity tops that are beginning to fit better now.  Instead of hanging on me, they are complimenting my growing belly. 

Strange stuff - I am awake about every 2-3 hours in the night.  I have had to make huge efforts to fall and stay asleep.  Because I am up so often in the night, I am very tired through the day.  Excercise and hot baths have been helping.  I think I am also going to try earplugs...

Food cravings - grapefruit, potato chips, and lunchmeat - oh and sorbet

Status of belly button - on it's way to becoming an outie

What I miss - still missing sleeping on my tummy and I had an intense craving for grapefruit vodka and tonic (with a dash of lime)  mmmmmmmmm...

In General:

Best movement this week - felt his butt stick out by my belly button and felt him roll over completely.

Most looking forward to - getting his nursury finished and spring

Words to live by - Allowing my husband to help me.  He is so willing and I have been stubborn, but when I did it put me in a better mood and he did an awesome job.  (We cleaned the house together...)

Milestones - Watching my belly move when he moves.

Well, we are one more week closer to meeting our son.  This week was huge because we were able to see him move and really feel him.  We also made our plans for lamaze and my family and I began to plan the shower.  Things are really begining to feel real and exciting.  This year is going to be so amazing...
-Pin

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Roots are Just as Important as the Flower

I remember being a little kid and my grandmother from my mother's side stayed with us for quite awhile. She would wake up early and sit in the rocking chair that my father made her and watch us get ready for school. When we would get home there was almost always a warm batch of fresh german rye bread made from scratch by a recipe that she had memorized. She was fluent in "old German" and we would sit and talk back and forth as we were learning the language in school. My grandmother made her own noodles, made magnificent quilts, and made almost everything she wore by her own hand. I look back on that now and admire that she was able to do all of those things. I want to someday be able to teach my children the importance of these things and where they come from.


My husband made a short list for the new year too.  The number one thing on his list is learning a new language.  He has a dream that he, Conner, and I will someday become fluent in German and travel to Germany able to communicate with the locals and appriciate the culture.  I am three quarters German and Dave is about a quarter German.  I am a third generation American and would love to learn where my family came from.  We would love for our son to grow up learning two languages and to go on in life understanding his roots and the culture from which he was raised.  Being in the United States I think we tend to let go a bit of our traditions and fall into the melting pot.  I have always thought it was sad that our different cultures blend and with each generation the line becomes more and more blurred between who our families were and who they are now.  We want to change that in our family by bringing back some of the traditions that our great grandparents celebrated and a huge part of that, we believe, is the language. 

So with that I want to ask my readers if you have integrated a second language into your families and if so, how did it work for you.  Do you follow any traditions from your ethnicity and culture that differ from the mainstream American?  Do you think that your children understand and value the things that you are teaching them?  Please share with me your thoughts and practices.

Peace,
Pin

DIY Corkboard

So I love wine... Before I became pregnant I had this belief that everything was better with a glass of wine, but I haven't been able to "partake" for almost half of a full year. Because of this belief, I have this slightly ridiculous cork collection and have been meaning to use them to create something really cool. If you will recall from my Anti-Resolutionist post, one of my list items for the year was to take those corks and create a cork board. I have spotted them before in wineries and decorating magazines, and thought that was something I could do myself. Because I have been asked by a few people how I will go about making this cork board (which is awesome because it means that people are actually reading my blog!!!) I will list the instructions as I have them in my head.

Warning - I have not yet created this project beyond the pictures in my mind, so if there are some serious flaws to my design please feel free let me know.

Homemade Cork Board

Ingredients:


  • wine corks apx 50 - discard plastic and torn corks
  • 1/4 in Plywood cut to size
  • Wood Glue
  • Hanging Hardware
  • framing - I will most likely use 1/4 round or something similar
Instructions
  • Paint or stain plywood depending on your taste
  • Cut all the corks lengthwise and begin gluing from the middle of the plywood. Alternate between vertical and horizontal placement making sure that the winery is showing on each cork. (tip - use 2 corks at a time for each placement = II = II ensuring that the placement is even)
  • Make sure that all the winery names are facing the same way.
  • Allow glue to dry for a day or so
  • Stain or paint the framing and add to the board
  • Add hanging hardware to the back, find a stud, and hang it up
  • Voila! A brand new cork board... congrats!
I Promise that when I actually get around to making mine, I will post pictures and the instructions that I actually used. If you get to it before me, show me your finished masterpiece!
Peace,
Pin

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Quitters Rule

So I will admit, from the time I was fourteen until the day I found out I was pregnant, I was a smoker. I had always liked to smoke, made excuses why I smoked, and puffed away guilt free for many years. It was not until I went back to school and had to take anatomy and physiology classes that I became aware of my habit and began to feel self conscious about it. I hid it; wore more perfume, stopped smoking in my car and became obsessed with finding the ultimate gum to cover up my smoker's breath. Anyway, the point of all of this is the fact that I tried to quit so many times in the two years before I became pregnant and each time I failed miserably. So when I took that pregnancy test, I made a vow to myself that I would never smoke again. It was probably one of the easiest things that I have ever done, which surprised me because I had always not only failed at quitting before but I was scared of quitting. It scared me because it was a big part of my life and I was an addict. It is a scary thing to admit that and to walk away from your habit. I had always said that if I become "with child" that I will kick it. So with that and besides the obvious and doing what was best for my baby I never touched another cigarette. I didn't want to smoke anymore anyway because my morning sickness was in high gear from the beginning of my pregnancy until about halfway through my fourth month and my sense of smell was heightened. I could smell cigarette smoke from someone smoking in the car next to me with all the windows rolled up and it made me gag to the point of wanting to find the nearest receptacle ASAP. So that made the whole quitting smoking thing for me really easy.

So I haven't had a cigarette since August. I think the hardest thing for me though was the feeling of not fitting in and no longer wanting to be a part of something I had always been a part of. Pretty much everyone I know smokes and so I had to completely alienate myself from all of my friends for a few months. Mostly because I did not feel included at all and also I did not want to puke on their carpets from smelling the stench. What was really tough though was that my husband had not yet quit.

You know the drill - there will always be an excuse or a "reason" not to quit. for example a few that I have used and/or heard are, "work is really stressful, the holidays are coming up, my wife just found out she is pregnant and I am a little freaked, I like to smoke with my coffee, I will quit when the taxes go up again, I am afraid I will gain weight", the usual. I am sure that you can pick out of that list the reason that was keeping my husband from quitting. He was a little freaked out. I don't blame him, so was I. Anyone would be lying to you if they said that they did not have a little fear when first presented with a pregnancy and at first that was his main reason. That and then school, then the new job, then graduating, then finally the holidays. He is not a weak man nor is he one to fail. He decided that it was his time to quit and so he made a promise to us that the pack he bought on the 3oth of December would be his last. Now I can honestly look into my husband's lovely eyes with pride and love and call him a quitter to his face. He is on day #3 today and for him that is quite a feat. Now we are both quitters and quitters rule :)

To my DH - I love you baby and I am so proud of you. I knew you could do this and I have so much faith in you that you will succeed. Keep up the good work... PS - your coat doesn't stink anymore, yay!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Preggo Update - Week 25



Well, I am officially in the third trimester... here is what is going on in there

Conner:
Size - about 13.5 inches long and about 1.5 pounds

Activity - little squirt is super active and kicks about once every 25 seconds when awake

Labor signs - Some contractions if I am really active are getting stronger. Sometimes they knock me on my butt

This week his spine is continuing to develop as are the blood vessels in the lungs. His nostrils are fully formed and will most likely open by the end of the week. He looks like a real baby now just very thin and small. He will be starting to move from the breech position and rotating around to get to where he needs to be for birth. He even has hair! (Hopefully... mommy was bald till she was 3)

Me:
Size - none of your beeswax ;) a little weight gain since week 22

What I am wearing - super sexy full panel maternity pants, long sleeved cotton shirts that cover my belly, and warm socks - full blown maternity clothes.

Strange stuff - I can't sleep for more than 3 hours at a time and my hands are always falling asleep due to carpel tunnel (common in pregnancy) I can cry on a dime and am pretty much always happy

Food cravings - fruit and chocolate

Status of belly button - still an innie

What I miss - sleeping on my tummy and wine

In General:
Best movement this week - Daddy being able to finally feel his kicks

Most looking forward to - baby shampoo :) and sleeping next to him

Words to live by - always wear slippers while playing Wii bowling - had a few close calls

Milestones - feeling constant movement through the day - no more scary worries

Well, so far so good. We are in the last stretch of my first pregnancy. We have a lot to do but we are feeling really good about where things are headed. Hopefully I can keep up!

-Pin

Anti Resolutionist


My mother is a genius. She is one of those people who is always looking for something new to fill her time and new ways to become a more well rounded, better person. Every year, instead of making a silly resolution that she is sure she will neglect or forget, she makes a list. She looks closely at her life and makes a list of things that she would either like to change, improve on, start or stop doing, or just be better at. These lists make so much sense because not only does she get to take many different aspects of her life into consideration, she can actually see the improvements. My mother just remodeled her kitchen and in doing so put a chalkboard wall by the back door. She puts her list there so that every time she walks by that wall she sees a pleasant reminder of her progress. My mother made a list of ten things last year and at Christmas I asked her how it worked for her... she accomplished all ten and then some. You rock mom... you are the bomb ;)

So in the tradition of my mother's dedicated lists, I have decided to make my own and watch my progress through the year... plus it will give me some great stuff to write about!

To Do List for 2010

  1. Have a baby - this is a given, but it will be monumental to me so it is number one.
  2. Love the crap out of my husband - show him how much I love him and not ever take him for granted
  3. Make a dentist appointment
  4. Finish Conner's nursery
  5. Take down the Christmas tree before February
  6. Feel pretty at least once every day
  7. Organize the basement
  8. Finish one more semester of school
  9. Beat Mario Brothers on the Wii
  10. Make a cork board from my wine cork collection

Not too shabby if I might say so myself... It is simple, meaningful, and most importantly - doable! Wish me luck!

Pin

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