Thursday, March 31, 2011

Confessions

(That title sounds like the name of a dirty soap-opera, doesn't it?  Don't worry, no sex or scandals here... Just a pregnant woman being real about some of the less-glamourous sides of preparing for a baby.)

First off, I'm fat.  Not like chubby or cute, just fat.  I've gained A LOT of weight so far in this pregnancy.  Twenty pounds at 24 weeks, to be exact.  Maybe this doesn't sound horrible to you, but consider this: my doctor told me at the beginning of my pregnancy that he would prefer I only gain 20 - 25 pounds the ENTIRE time.  Awesome.  I don't really know why I'm sharing this... I've tried to be kind-of private about my weight since getting pregnant; but, I do want to be real on my blog.  I'm just going to be honest and say I'm tired of all the adorable bloggers who gain 15 pounds total and never have to switch to maternity clothes.  Maybe that is/will be you.  But, if so, you are one of the LUCKY ones.  My reality has not been like that.

I'd like to blame my weight gain on Baby C.  But, according to our doctor's appointment yesterday, he weighs 1.5 pounds.  That'll make a big mama feel good! ;)  If I'm really being truthful, I have let myself splurge and eat whatever I want during this pregnancy.  I've also all but given up on any form of physical exercise.  On the one hand, I really want to be able to do that --- when else can you and not be judged?  But, on the other, I'm ashamed and wish I'd made wiser eating and exercising decisions from the beginning.  At this point, there really isn't much I can do about those 20 pounds except try to slow down the remaining weight gain.  (Which, just in case you didn't know, will be difficult since the third trimester is when you are supposed to gain about 50% of your weight.) Awesome.

My other confession.  My house is a DISASTER these days.  We finally decided to set up a nursery where we are (yes, the house is still on the market but we haven't had much interest and we aren't really pursuing it further).  In fact, my sweet husband is at home painting as I type.  I am so so excited about this! BUT, the result has been total chaos.  My upstairs looks like a tornado hit it.  There is a TV in the middle of the office floor, a stroller filled with miscellaneous baby items in our bedroom, and we won't even discuss the guest room.  Meanwhile, the downstairs isn't much better.

My parents obviousl, agree with my sentiments, as they cut out (and so kindly labeled) this comic for me from Sunday's paper:  (j/k Mom & Dad, I know you love me... mess or not!)


Funny huh?  Maybe.  Except my house ALREADY looks like that and I can't blame an infant.  I'm not going to lie... As my due date gets closer and closer and the reality that I will almost definitely go back to work afterwards sets in, I have a good bit of anxiety about how I will function.  We will most definitely need a live-in cleaning lady... Which will kind-of defeat the purpose of me going back to work in the first place.  Oy vey! (P.S. One of my first thoughts when I read this was: "What's the point of a chocolate IV, then you wouldn't be able to taste it!"  See above point.)

And finally, I just haven't felt like a good friend lately.  This probably bothers me even more than the above two complaints/confessions.  I feel busy and, in all honesty, self-absorbed.  It's been weeks since I've talked to some of my very closest friends.  I value friendships SO much, and I KNOW how much I will need them after Baby C is born.  So, I'm frustrated that they seem hard to me right now.  Like, if given the choice between a nap and a walk or phone call with a buddy, I'd almost always choose the nap.  Friends, I'm really sorry.  Thank you for loving me despite this phase.  I promise, one day, I'll repay the favor. 

Ok... that's enough whining for one day.  Thank you for listening.  I'm not looking for sympathy in return; but really, it feels good to get some of that off my chest.  Maybe to some of you who are also pregnant or just going through a transition stage in life, it will provide some comfort that you are not alone.  We don't have to be supermoms, even BEFORE baby is born! 

And, at the end of the day, no matter what these days look like... THIS makes it all worth it:
That's my little man at his 24 weeks appointment yesterday.  Everything is still looking perfect.  And, I'm convinced he's going to be a pistol - just look at the way he's flexing those guns already!  :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love and Respect: Part 2

From Andrew & Allison's wedding this weekend at Virginia Tech.
As promised, I am continuing my five-week Love and Respect series (a book and video series on marriage that Jeff & I are participating in on Sunday nights) this week.  (If you missed Part 1 on "The Crazy Cycle", click here.  Today's post will make a lot more sense in light of that one.)  This week, the course focused mostly on how men can love their wives... So, you may want to grab your husband for this one!  But, don't worry, next week we will move on to challenge and instruct the women.  Get ready!

Part 2: The Energizing Cycle

So, how exactly do we stop the "Crazy Cycle" in our marriages?  Simple.  By shifting into what Eggerichs calls "The Energizing Cycle."

Credit
This seems easy enough.  Except, it's not.  In fact, LOVE doesn't come naturally at all for men.  And, likewise, RESPECT doesn't come naturally at all for women.

... I think this is important (especially when I think about raising a little boy):

For the last 40 years, the Christian community has MISSED it.  It IS NOT all about LOVE.  We've told men to get into their "feminine" and emotional side; but we don't ask women to become more masculine.  MEN SHOULD BE MEN.  They were made differently.

That's why marriage is WORK... It requires some sacrifice and changes on each of our parts; NOT because it will be easy, but because we value our relationship enough to do what is completely UNNATURAL for us in order to meet the needs of the other person.

So, (husbands, here's where you can take notes) what spells love to a wife?  

C-O-U-P-L-E

C - Closeness.  A wife feels loved by a husband who is physically close.  She wants to be with her husband face to face (and eye to eye). Women feel secure when they know they can expect and count on this.  Consider setting aside 15 minutes a day to just be together.  Or, a date night once a week.  Make one-on-one time with your wife a priority - even above your kids, job, etc.

O – Openness. When a husband isn’t secretly mad at her.  A wife feels very unloved when her husband appears mad at her, closes her out and refuses to open up.  The message that is sent is “I’m angrily stonewalling to teach you to treat me more respectfully,” and that message rarely gets through.  Instead she feels unloved and misses the signal that her husband is trying to send.  Try "let's talk" instead.  She'll swoon.

U – Understanding. When a husband empathizes with her.  Like a teapot that comes to a boiling point, a wife can experience an emotional overload and need to ventilate to someone who empathizes.  That said, we don't always need solutions, sometimes just a truly focused listening ear.  It's OK to ask which one we need when.

P – Peacemaking. When a husband resolves and reconciles with her.  “Will you forgive me” are very powerful words. 

L – Loyalty. When a husband is completely committed to her.   When a wife asks “Do you love me?” what she is asking for is reassurance, not information.

E – Esteem. When a husband treasures her above all others.  Women have a different point system than husbands when it comes to this point.  What may seem like an insignificant action could be a very big deal to the wife.  

All this sounds great; but here's the reality: (Proverbs 24:17) You WILL mess up.  Eggerich talks about making "deposits" (good times) and "withdraws" (bad times/arguments) in your relationships.  The key is not to totally avoid withdraws; but ultimately, to have more deposits than withdraws.  Be easy on your husband with the above  changes -- I spent way too many years of our dating and early marriage relationship DEMANDING things of Jeff, rather than simply acknowledging his efforts. Remember, it is totally UNNATURAL for him to love you in this way, and his attempts are strictly because  he cares for you and recognizes that your needs are different from his.  An HONORABLE man will attempt to do these things, not because he necessarily "feels" it; but because of he cares for his wife.  Many of us, myself included, need to learn how to appreciate this more.

So... What do you think?  Do you think Eggerich is right on with this?  How do you feel loved by your husband?  Husbands, I'd love to hear from some of you too!


Stay tuned for Part 3 next week... and check out the Love and Respect Ministries website if you are interested in more info.
 Some of the above info also came from this blog.  (FYI.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Decorating and Cleaning

Can you believe it will be APRIL in just a few days?  Spring is here, folks!  (Even if we did have a bit of "wintry mix" this weekend.)  And, along with flowers, allergies, and flip-flops, the change of seasons also brings a little spring decorating and spring cleaning to my life.  Of course!
Today, I'm linking up over at Centsational Girl to share a few of the glimpses of spring around my house...

Since our house is on the market, I didn't overdo it with the decor this year.  But, here are a few of my favorite touches to "springify" our house:

Spring decorating isn't complete without a bird cage and some fake eggs.  :)  My mom found this for me at a thrift store last spring, and I LOVE it!
Spring mantel.  Another thrift store bird cage, a bird house, and sunflowers.  Delight.
I use mason jars everywhere.  Love them.  And, with a sprig for forsythia from the neighbor's yard (I asked) in the kitchen window, spring feels alive and well!
 Simple things go a long way.  I'm a firm believer of this.

Also, since I'm off today... You will find me buried beneath clothes in my bedroom for the Great Semi-Annual Closet Switch. This is when I clean out my closet, donate things I no longer wear or can stand to look at, and cutely arrange my spring/summer clothes in color-coordinating order.  This year, this task will be slightly different since I don't imagine many of my spring clothes will be fitting.  But, I'm trying to embrace the new minimalist look of my closet and work with what does fit.  

What does your spring decorating and cleaning consist of?  Go here to check out other bloggers and post your own linky.

Happy Spring!

24 Week Update

Thanks guys for the birthday wishes and for participating in my 30 Before 30 link-upI've had a great weekend so far... It actually is FOUR days because of the end of the nine weeks at school - thank you unnecessary snow days - so, I'm only just beginning!  Yesterday, I got a lot done around the house that has been calling my name for weeks!  Then, we attended the wedding of our good friends Andrew and Allison; it was beautiful.  Today has spent at church, lunch with Jeff's parents, watching laptop movies in bed, and now getting ready for our Love & Respect class & a birthday dinner with my family at a Japanese Steakhouse - a pregnant gal's dream!

At the wedding yesterday, I met a "blog fan."  It was kind-of a surreal feeling, just one of those times where I realize people I don't know are following and care about my life.  Kind-of neat.  (Hi April, if you are reading!)  Anyways, for all of you following along, here's my latest pregnancy update...
 
Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 24 weeks

Size of Baby: Approximately the length of an ear of corn and a little over a pound.  Also, according to BabyCenter.com my uterus is close to the size of a SOCCER BALL.
Maternity Clothes: Oh yes, pretty much all the time. (Although I did wear an entirely non-maternity outfit today.  It's nice to know that can still happen --- even if it consisted of leggings and  a giant poncho.) 

Here's a picture from before the wedding yesterday.  The dress is from Motherhood Maternity.  If you know me in real life, you'll probably be seeing a lot more of it.

Gender: A little man. :)

Movement: YES!  Finally!  I am feeling a good bit of movement, and I LOVE it.  Thank you baby boy for making mommy's day every time you do a little dance in there. 

Sleep: Still not terrible; but, I do wake up several times in the middle of the night just randomly.  I assume this is normal. so bad.  I also get really hot when I am sleeping - a down comforter, a husband, a dog, and a huge pregnancy pillow make for a bit of a sauna squeeze.

What I miss: A thinner face and arms.  What? I'm just being honest.  Photographs are difficult for me right now.  It's a good thing I love this baby so much. :)

Cravings: Anything sour & fruity - especially sweet and sour filled Twizzlers.  Could this have something to do with my above complaint?

Symptoms: Mostly, still great.  I have a lot of energy.  I also have... Puffy hands and a big belly (I never really notice how huge I am until I take these update pictures.)  Also, I'm starting to realize how hard later pregnancy will be.  Already, basic things like putting on tights or shaving my legs feels like a work-out.  Come on July!

Words of Wisdom: I'm learning a lot about expectations.  From pregnancy, to labor and delivery, to breastfeeding, and travel with a baby --- I've had a lot of wise women warn me against setting up expectations that are unrealistic for myself and our life in general.  It's been freeing to hear that and realize that (just like pregnancy) every woman's adjustment into motherhood is different... So, I should have some "plans" or "goals;" but, ultimately, I'll know what works best for our family.  And, it is important to kind-of "roll with the punches" and not be disappointed if things don't go exactly the way I'd hoped.  Good advice, I think.

Best Moment(s) This Week: Getting the invitation to my FIRST SHOWER - coming up on April 16th.  And, organizing some of the clothes friends have given us and other little accessories for the nursery I've been picking up here and there. I'm loving the elephant theme! 
Adorable elephant lamp from our friends Jake & Amanda - via Marshall's
Now... if we just knew where we would be living so I could really get started on the room...

Hard to imagine how different my life will be on my birthday next year.............. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

30 Before 30: One Year Re-Cap

Tomorrow marks one year since we posted our 30 Before 30 lists for all the world to see.  (Or at least my readers.)


Here's where I stand:

1. Write a book (Even if I NEVER publish it.)
2. Become a mom --- on my way!!
3. Run a half-marathon
4. Perform in a play
5. Plant a garden
6. Learn to sew and make something I can wear
7. Cook an entire Thanksgiving meal by myself
8. Go to another continent (besides Europe)
9. Drive across the United States (7/2010)
10. Paint a painting I'm proud of
11. Learn basic photography and PhotoShop
12. Take a class just for fun
13. Read the Bible cover-to-cover
14. Visit all 11 of my college girlfriends at their homes --- I have been to 5; they just keep moving!
15. Present at a national teaching conference (NCTE 11/20/10)
16. Read the top ten novels of all time (Modern Library Association List)
17. Take a "girls only" vacation w/ my mom and sister
18. Get something published (poem, article, etc.)
19. Go on an overnight hiking trip
20. Go to Disney World (I’ve never been) (11/2010)
21. Refinish a piece of furniture --- scheduled for the next few weeks/ nursery furniture
22. Mentor a younger girl
23. Get a make-over and buy the make-up
24. Take HIP-HOP dance lessons and show them off at a club
25. Decorate someone else's house
26. Finish my scrapbook from London (started in 2004)
27. Grow my hair out past my shoulders
28. Wear a bikini and not be self-conscious
29. Learn yoga
30. Learn a song on the guitar

I admit, I really haven't done very much in year one.  In fact, I'm quite behind schedule.  BUT, I have been pretty busy with #2... It is a nine month venture.  ;)  Hopefully, my 27th year will bring lots of excitement & experiences.  (Since that's totally realistic with a new baby, right?)

What have you accomplished?  Please link-up below and share your updated list with us!! (Consider it a birthday gift to me!)

And, in the meantime, I am happy to announce the winner of my Pretty as Pie Pedestal Giveaway...


Congratulations Emma! You are the proud new owner of a  Shabby Chic 3 Tiered Dessert Pedestal!  Please email me to claim your prize.   

*And, if you didn't win, you can still get these cute pedestals here.  There is even one more Shabby Chic.

Ok now... ready, set, LINK!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just a few reminders...

This is quick today - I'm OVERWHELMED with school work to do.  Please pray for productivity!

In the meantime, don't forget that tomorrow I'll be posting a link-up where we can re-cap the last year of our 30 Before 30 lists.  (Can you believe it's been a YEAR?) I'd love to hear from all of you and see how you're doing - maybe it will even get my butt in gear! ;) 

Also, I'll be announcing the Pretty as Pie giveaway winner tomorrow too.  Don't forget to enter.  (Could I remind you any more?)

Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Lucky Week

Ya'll... this must seriously be my LUCKY WEEK!!!  (I knew it was my birthday week, but really?!?)

In the last two days I have won, not one, but TWO blog giveaways!

Honestly, I'm in a shock - and maybe a little embarrassed. People probably think I'm rigging these things.  I'm not, I promise!!

First, I won this adorable Kate Spade (I know!) pencil pouch at Desperately Seeking Seersucker on Monday.


Although I love a good pencil pouch as much as the next Type A girl, I'm going to opt to use this as a little "catch all" in my diaper bag.  Since we are having a boy, we decided to go with a pretty gender neutral look (no flowers or polka dots for this mommy).  But now, I can add a little female flair with my cute pouch for my cell phone, credit card, and chapstick instead of carrying around a purse too.  Score!

And THEN yesterday, I won a momAgenda from Running in High Heels.  Seriously, is there anything more perfect for my life right now? I am beyond thrilled!
The moral of the story... ENTER GIVEAWAYS (like my Pretty as Pie one here).  You might just WIN!

I'm off to a buy a lottery ticket now... ;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Love & Respect: Part 1

Sunday night, Jeff and I began a five-week marriage class at our church based on the book and video series Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.  Have you heard of it?

I actually started this book a few years ago and never finished it...  I REALLY liked the concept however; and have had it in the back of my mind for a while.  Anyway, I'm glad that we are able to participate in this study now - especially as we prepare for a totally new season of life - and  I thought it might be valuable to some of my readers too.  So... starting today, I am going to try to post a Love & Respect summary every Tuesday for the next five weeks.

Before I begin, I do want to say that I realize that the topics of marriage, male and female roles, and even scripture can be really controversial.  I'm not at all trying to "stir the pot", if you will, but rather to simply share what I am learning and hopefully spark some interesting conversations among readers on some of these topics.  I am coming at this from a place of humility and open-mindedness, NOT expertise or offensiveness.  Just so you know...

So...
Part 1: The Crazy Cycle

Jeff and I really don't fight very much.  That's not to say that we never fight, or haven't gone through seasons of "fighting;" but, we aren't there right now.  That said, as luck would have it, we had a fight literally on-the-way to our class that actually involved the words "Why can't you just respect me?"  Perhaps subconsciously we were "preparing" ourselves for the lesson... Or, maybe it was just God reminding us that we aren't invincible to this stuff.  Either way, I walked in feeling corny and needy.

The whole premise of this comes from Ephesians 5: 21 - 33.  This is kind-of the "go-to" passage in the New Testament about marriage; and, in fact, my friend Stephanie read it at our wedding almost four years ago.

 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

I remember this reading ruffled a few feathers at our ceremony...  Personally, I don't interpret the word "submit" in the bondage kind-of way our culture often hears it.  I think it means trusting your husband's relationship with Lord enough to allow him to "lead" you and your family.  In fact, I really think the husband's calling is even greater... To love his wife as Christ does the church - that means to DIE for her.  That's big.

But, I'll save that debate for another time...

The important thing here - according to Eggerichs' theory - is verse 33: the "last word" on the topic.  Men are commanded to LOVE their wives, and women are commanded to RESPECT their husbands.  When we don't do this, we begin what is called the "Crazy Cycle."

Credit
This is where marriages fall apart.  50% of them, to be exact.  Obviously, it wouldn't kill any of us to try something just a little different; maybe even counter-cultural, in the way we treat our spouses.

Women are naturally lovers and nurturers. God designed us this way.  Because of this, we deeply crave the love of our spouse (Genesis 29:32). That's why men are commanded to love their wives (Colossians 3:19). 

This, really, isn't too hard to accept.  Truth be told, we live in a "love dominant" society.  Of course we want to be loved --- haven't you ever seen The Notebook? :)

The switch - at least in my mind - is with men.  Because of our very natures, our husbands don't fear our "lack of love" unless we specifically tell them we don't love them anymore.  On the other hand, they DO fear our "lack of respect" - that we don't view them as strong enough, or smart enough, or valuable enough.  That's why women are told to respect their husbands (1 Peter 3:1-2).    

What if we lived this way?  How would it change our marriages?

Thoughts?  Feelings?  Examples?

Stay tuned for Part II next week... and check out the Love and Respect Ministries website if you are interested in more info.

P.S. If you haven't already, don't forget to enter my Pretty as Pie giveaway here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pretty as Pie Pedestals Birthday Giveway

It's my BIRTHDAY week!  (Yes, I know I am an adult and should be more "humble" about this event... But, I'm a birthday person.  They are a big deal to me.  I just can't help it!)

I will be 27 on Saturday... I realize that this is cliche, but where has the time gone?  It feels like I was just in high school, or at least college, or at least a newlywed... Now, here I am about to become a mom.  WOW!

Saturday will also mark the one year anniversary of my our 30 Before 30 lists.  Did you participate?  If so, start working on your "Year One Recap" now -- I will have a link up on Friday.  And, if you haven't done very much, DON'T WORRY - me either.  Seriously.

Also, to celebrate, my sweet friend Ashley has offered to give away one of the ADORABLE "up-cycled" dessert stands from her brand new Etsy store, Pretty as Pie Pedestals to one of my readers.  Have you seen this idea before?  They are SO cute!  And, the particular one Ashley is giving away she said "screamed my name" when she bought the plates.  I'm so flattered!

Do you love it?


To win... Simply visit her shop here and leave a comment below telling me which item screams your name.  :)   (She even has "Southern Wine Glasses" - mason jars on candlesticks... So creative!)

I'll leave this contest open until Thursday at 11:59 PM and announce it on my "Recap" post Friday.

It's going to be a good week...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My To Do List

Updated 3.21.11

I'll start by just warning you that this is a lame post... But, accountability works well for me, and I need a productive day today. Jeff is out of town again this weekend - this time, he's with his college roommates in Shenandoah National Park camping and hiking - I will definitely miss him, but I'm hoping to take full advantage of a Saturday with nothing and nobody to distract me from my list... (Starting next weekend, we have three weddings in a row - one of which is out of town - and, we're hoping to going to squeeze an open house in there too.  After that, we have our first baby shower one weekend and then two more weddings.  Time is going to FLY.)

*Jeff, as it turns out, didn't actually camp "in" Shenandoah.  Apparently, it doesn't open until NEXT weekend.  I mean, who would have ever thought to look into that before leaving?  Anyhow, those hooligans hiked the AT in the middle of the night - and a rain storm - to find a place to sleep, and ended up coming home late Saturday night all stinky and campfire ish.  Needless to say, it put a damper on my "plans."  Oh well, there's always next weekend!

Credit

 So, here goes:  (I'll check back late tomorrow to let you know how it goes.)

1. Clean house - the works (vacuum, dust, mop, scrub, wipe, etc.)

2. Do ALL laundry and put it away

3. Change sheets on the bed/ wash down comforter & duvet

4. Switch out spring clothes & pack up ALL the ones I won't be wearing this year - at least my closet will look bigger for the open house.

5. Clean out dresser & nightstand to be painted for baby's room.  Get rid of excess t-shirts, socks, etc. that are currently occupying it.

6. Move dresser & nightstand to the basement for painting... Remove/trash guest room rug.

7. Sort new baby clothes etc.  (Two friends have given us huge boxes of baby boy clothes in the last week.  This makes me beyond excited and happy!  I'm finally ready to start acting like this baby is coming in 17 weeks and get a move on it.)

8. Write thank you notes to said friends.

9. Grade 150 essays that I've been procrastinating for two weeks.

10. Go to dinner and a play with girlfriends tonight.  (At least I know I'll be able to cross one item off.)

***This list is totally unrealistic, but I'm really going to try... It helps to see it all written out.

Too bad this also happens to be the most beautiful weekend we've had since last spring... I will definitely be opening some windows and blasting some tunes for motivation! I will also be daydreaming about our next place - a smaller and more simplified loft/townhouse.

Here's to a productive Saturday!


P.S. I'm feeling KICKS.  My baby boy is finally a mover and a shaker!  :) Greatest.feeling.ever.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Introducing Your Four-Legged Baby to Your New Baby

While we're on the subject of dogs and such...

From November to about the middle of February, Jeff and I had a friend of ours living with us during a little transitional phase in his life.  He had his own make-shift bedroom in the office/nursery; and we called him Addy's "brother."  This basically meant that there was another person in the house to feed her, play with her, rub her, and for her to wake-up early in the morning by licking his face.  I'm not sure, but I think she is a bit confused now when we talk of this "baby brother" she is "about to get" in July.  Perhaps her expectations are slightly off?

Thank goodness, our local hospital offers a free dog and baby class for expecting parents.  Jeff and I attended it on Wednesday night, and found the information provided by the teacher (a veterinarian and mother to two very young children) very helpful.

For those of your interested, here are a few of the suggestions they offered for "introducing your four-legged baby to your new baby":

1.) Take your dog to get a full examination at the vet and make an appointment at the groomer -- to make sure all shots are up to date, all flea/tick and heartworm medications are filled, and nails are kept short -- BEFORE baby. (I have a list a mile long of things to do BB, but this one had somehow slipped my mind.  And, I admit, sometimes we slack on the flea/tick/heartworm meds... So, this was a particularly good reminder for me.  We DEFINITELY do not want a baby with fleas.)

2.) Make any "After Baby" changes for your pet NOW - like teaching him/her to stay out of certain areas, not jump on people, etc.  It is a good idea to also introduce your pet to baby "things" (i.e. car seat, stroller, crib, blankets) and the baby's space now.  *Some friends of ours even say "No, that's [insert baby's name]'s" when the dog tries to sniff our her toys etc.  This seems like a good idea - to make even the name familiar to the dog before you actually bring the baby home. :)

3.) Practice.  Carry around a doll for a few weeks and let the dog see it and learn now to be rough around it.  Take your dog for a walk with the stroller.  (In all honesty, I doubt I'll be doing either of these two things.  I'm two vain, and they sound too weird.  But, they are probably really good ideas.)

4.) Once the baby is born, send Dad home with a blanket or hat from the hospital with the baby's smell on it.  Let the dog sniff this out and become familiar with it prior to the baby's actual invasion of the home. (We've heard this one a lot, and will definitely try to make it happen.)

5.) When you do come home from the hospital, it is a good idea to let mom enter sans baby FIRST to greet the dog.  Be sure to give him/her lots of love and allow it to get out some energy.  THEN, have dad enter with the baby.  The vet even recommended for some dogs, that they be on a leash or outside (its a territorial thing) the first time they meet their little brother/sister.  (I don't want to be naive, but I really think Addy will do great with this.)  And, of course, be sure to continue paying attention to the dog even when baby comes home --- hire a dog walker or invest in a few days of doggie daycare if necessary.

6.) As the baby grows up, be careful not to let him/her get away with doing "just anything" to the dog.  Even if your dog is as gentle and laid back as they come, you don't want them to think that all dogs enjoy being tugged on, etc.  The neighbor's dog just might not agree with that philosophy.  (This was a good reminder for me as I tend to fall on the "liberal" side of dog/baby parenting.)

Finally, by some crazy oversight, they left this one off; but Jeff and I think dressing the dog in baby clothes is also a good prepartory technique.  The way I see it, by the time the baby comes, she will be SO thankful NOT to be the one getting dressed up and photographed all the time. ;)


Poor Addy... She isn't going to know what hit her!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy P(Addy)'s Day!

On this day every year, I really miss my maiden name.  It is a classic Irish name; and, without it, St. Patrick's Day just isn't the same.  Luckily (and I use that term very loosely), I still have the freckles and pale skin to attest to my Irish heritage.  :)
Credit
We take St. Patrick's Day very seriously in my "clan."  Growing up, we took family pictures in green Izod shirts on this day, the same way most families do for Christmas.  I wouldn't be caught dead NOT wearing green; and, even this non-beer drinking gal, has been known to toast a green beer or two. (Oh, and I can't forget the annual "potatoes or green" potluck at our church every year.  I think I cried when that tradition ended.)

I don't know what we will do tonight - Shepherd's Pie and green milk at home maybe - but... we have another VERY important occassion to celebrate as well...

It's ADDY'S THIRD BIRTHDAY!!!

Here's the lucky little birthday girl all decked out to celebrate!  (Doesn't she just look so happy?!)

I can't believe my sweet little furball is all grown up!! :)

Our first baby and my only girl.  It seems like just yesterday that we went to pick her up after I "tricked" Jeff into thinking we were only looking.  :) 

So... obviously, there's a lot to celebrate tonight!  What are you doing?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Bachelor (Spoiler Alert!)

I watched The Bachelor last night with my mom and sister.  Their commentary is hilarious.  We were a split room:  they both were team Chantal, and I was team Emily all the way.  They thought Emily was "not ready," "too serious," and "too much of a pessimist."  Truth be told,  if Kathryn and I were on this show, she would be Chantal (adventurous and fun), and I would definitely be Emily (serious and deep - NOT blonde and skinny probably).

Anyway, what did you think?  I feel like I have SO much to comment on!  Haha!


First of all, I REALLY love Brad.  (Not the way I love Jeff, of course, but he definitely stole my heart...) I LOVE the way he talks to Emily, and about her.  When he gave his little speech about wanting to be a father for daughter, I was seriously in tears.  I probably would have married him right then and there. I also really like how determined he appeared to be even at the "After the Final Rose" interview... Like there was no way he would let a few complications change the way he felt about this person.  I honestly thought he seemed genuine and real.  He's a keeper.  (Watch it turn up in two weeks that he's a cheater or a beater like Jake - then I'll be eating crow!)


You also know that I called Emily from day one.  She's just "wife material" - not to mention gorgeous (especially after they darkened up her hair for ATFR) - and I appreciate the way she sees things for how they really are - not all exotic vacations and candle lit dinners.   I will say, however, that I didn't think she made a very good impression in the interview last night.  She seemed cold and only so-so into Brad, which was disappointing.  A lot of other girls got their hearts broken and would have married him in a hot minute.  I know she was trying to be guarded and mature for her daughter, but come on!  I haven't read all the tabloids and tweets, but I'm guessing America hates her just a little bit more today. 

Either way, I'm excited for them, I think they're cute.   I truly hope they work out... Eventhough, when Brad and his twin and their wives hang out they will look like freaks of nature - all identical.  (Did anyone else notice this?)  Cute. I guess.

I have to also comment on Chantal.  She was never really one of my favorites, but I was still sad for her at the end.  She looked beautiful, and I think really was in love. What torture to have to go through all of that "sweet" talk only to hear "you aren't the one."  (Kathryn said she would have slapped him and run away!)  I kind-of wanted to grab him and shut him up... especially when he said, "everything that we had... and always will have... was very real."  Will those feelings really always be there?  Let's hope not... for Emily's sake.  Poor Chantal. I'm not sure if she could hear, but my mom coached her through the whole limo ride home.  Thank goodness for that.

*And, just to add to the insensitivity of all of this, did you notice that the dress hanging strap was sticking out of the poor girl's dress.  Bless her heart! (Of course there are no pictures of this.)

In all honesty, I know this show is ridiculous.  (Jeff honestly gets SO mad that I watch it, and has asked me to give it up when we have a baby.  I'm not going to.  I think it's important that I stay true to my "girly" "romantic" roots after I have a little boy.)  But, I just like it so much.  It gets me every time.  I don't really think love is like this in real life; but, I think it's fun and - in some crazy way - a real reflection of what our dreams are made of.  It's sad too... And, I guess that part is real.   Either way, I'm not exactly watching it because I can relate to it... It is just a nice break each week.  And, it's nice to be reminded of how nice it is not to have to watch Jeff fall in love with other women on national TV.

I don't know if I will watch the next season, because they announced that Ashley H. is going to be the Bachelorette (I was kind-of hoping for Ashley S. myself).  I don't know what it was about her, but she kind-of got on my nerves... Who am I kidding? I'll be huge and pregnant and probably want nothing more than to sit on my couch and eat popcorn and dream of being skinny and beautiful. ;)


So... another season has come and gone.  What were your thoughts?  Please share!


*All photos from abc.com

Monday, March 14, 2011

22 Week Update

A funny thing about being pregnant: Every two weeks when I post a picture, I think I look huge and declare myself officially "popped."  Then, two weeks from then when I post my next picture, I realize how small I looked in the last picture and am certain that I have only just now "popped."  I'm beginning to think that I will just continue to "pop" every week from now until 40.  Oh well.

Anyway, Saturday marked 22 weeks of pregnancy for me!  It is CRAZY how fast time seems to be flying now... I honestly feel like I just wrote my 20 week post.

For inquiring minds (or at least tolerant ones), here's my latest update...

Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 22 weeks


Size of Baby: Approximately the size of a spaghetti squash (but hopefully cuter) and one pound.  That kind-of explains the size of my belly, but not that my butt is equal in size.  (Just kidding... mostly.)
Credit
Maternity Clothes: Almost entirely now... THANK GOODNESS for my wonderful mom who took me shopping on Saturday.  We got all kinds of goodies to get me through the spring.  It feels SO good to have clothing options that I actually think are cute and comfortable. (The dress above is from Old Navy Maternity.  I also got a bunch from Motherhood Maternity and ordered a dress from Shabby Apple this week.  So happy.)

Gender: A precious baby BOY!!!  (I still can't believe I'm having a boy!) 

Movement: Late at night, sometimes Jeff and I think we feel something - but still, no obvious movement.  (Remember from my last update that my pesky placenta is between me and the baby... I'm hoping as it shrinks and our little man gets bigger/stronger, I'll start feeling more soon.)

Sleep: Love it. Do A LOT of it.

What I miss: Diet Coke, my wedding rings (as luck would have it, I've got puffy fingers already.  I squeeze them on when I'm going out in public so no one judges me as an "unwed" mom - trust me, my days of making that assumption are OVER - but I don't wear them during the week really at all), and cable TV (oh, wait, that isn't pregnancy related).

Cravings: Sweets all of a sudden - especially  of the gummy/sour variation.  Probably not good.

Symptoms: I actually feel really good right now.  If it wasn't for my belly, I might forget I was pregnant some days.

Things People Say: People have been pretty nice recently - mostly just paying me compliments.  Thanks friends!  I think maybe I've "evened out" a little and don't look that much different from anyone else at this stage of pregnancy.  I don't know... It was fun; however, talking to some moms-of-boys this weekend at a friend's baby shower.  I learned all sorts of things I had chosen to ignore not known before now about baby boys; like: the circumcision healing process, the need for pee-pee tee-pees, and how much they LOVE their moms.  :)

Words of Wisdom: No one actually told me this, so I'm sharing it with you instead... DO NOT READ JODI PICOULT'S NEW BOOK SING YOU HOME IF YOU ARE PREGNANT.  I knew what it was about (infertility, among other much more prevalent topics) before I ordered it, but had still been anxiously awaiting its release.  In the first twenty pages, she loses a baby (I'm not spoiling anything - I promise) at 28 weeks. Because I'm crazy *and had already paid for it on my Kindle* I kept reading, and it got pretty good; but, I wouldn't recommend it during pregnancy.  FYI.

Best Moment(s) This Week: Shopping with my mom and ordering some elephant accessories for the nursery on Etsy.  Each week all this is becoming more and more real... I can't wait!


P.S. A reader pointed out that you couldn't see the results of the "Baby Questions" poll from last week - so I've updated that with results here.  Go check 'em out if you are interested.

March Sponsors AND a Winner

Sorry I've been a little slack on the blog this weekend.  Jeff was out of town for a bachelor party, so I spent both nights at my Poppy's house to keep him company.  It was nice, relaxing, quality time with him; but, it was totally unproductive for the blog, my school work, my house work, etc. etc. etc.  Oh well!  (I'll have a 22 week update and picture posted later tonight.)

Anyway, I'm also late highlighting my wonderful sponsors for the month of March:  The Letter Tree & Willow House.  Both have super cute things for your house, your kids, and YOU at very reasonable prices.  Plus, they make AWESOME shopping go-to sites if you - like me - have hundreds of wedding and baby gifts to buy this season!  (Go check them out, seriously!)

Here are a few of my current favorites from each: 

Continental Kitchen Ruffled Apron from Willow House - they have matching oven mitts & towels too!
Flower Market Door Bucket from Willow House
Avery Birdhouse Trio from Willow House - wouldn't they be perfect for an Easter tablescape?

Personalized Weekly "Mom" Planner from The Letter Tree
Monogrammed Turquoise Stone from The Letter Tree

And, I LOVE this monogrammed romper from The Letter Tree.  I need to hurry up and finalize our baby boy's monogram so I can get on this!


And, last but not least: the lucky winner of the CSN Stores giveaway (via Random.org) is commentor #29 - Liz.  Hope you get to buy your Cuisinart fondue pot! :) Congratulations!

*If you are interested in becoming a sponsor and/or hosting a giveaway on this blog, please email me at e@emyselfandi.com.  I'd LOVE to hear from you!



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