August 26, 2013

Week 27 and Registry Busy!

August 19 -25
Romaine lettuce isn't so accurate, we just didn't have a rutabaga on hand. Genevieve is now over 15 inches from head to toe. She can open her eyes and weighs over 2 pounds. I am carrying her really low which means bathroom breaks every hour. It is definitely more frequent than 1st trimester. I have to get up 4-5 times a night. Preparing for late night feedings? I think so.

This week has been marked with the craziest movements.
Seriously, I have never seen my stomach move like this. It is like a wave in my belly. She moves CONSTANTLY. I am always aware of her presence. I can't get through a staff meeting without staring at my belly and watching her jump and turn and stretch. Soon I will be able to tell where her arms, legs and head are located. Right now I just feel a hard mass from where she is curled up.

Every day I am one moment closer to grasping the magnitude of what is about to happen and I fall more in love. Only 10 more weeks until I am full term!
How our evenings are spent
I was wondering why I was feeling so anxious about Genevieve arriving. Besides just the change in it all, I realized it is because I don't have any baby items! Nothing! It is time to reach out to friends and family and for us to do some shopping too so we can get our home ready for our daughter.

So this week I have put all my energy on the baby registry. Especially now that our baby shower invites are out! Thanks to incredible friends and new mommas, I have been given so much advice on what to register for. It can be a little daunting! Michael and I also attended a babywearing and cloth diaper workshop to help educate us on our options. I am all about being informed so I did lots of research when putting the registry together.

This is a lot of information but I hope it will be helpful for anyone wondering what to register for!

Here are my registries: 

Top Registry Items:

1. I love wooden toys. I like the simplicity of it. I also love toys that encourage imagination. I want to avoid electronic, plastic toys as long as possible. I found this company (Plan Toys) and really loved reading about their principles. They are based in Thailand and make all their products from preservative-free rubberwood. It is one of the leading companies committed to keeping the environmental sustainability, no waste concept.
It is safe, sustainable, and smart.
I like it.
Buy it here (Amazon).

2. Sakura Bloom Sling - Having been to a workshop on baby-wearing, I knew exactly what type of carrier I wanted. And actually this is my husband's favorite too. I like ring slings because they are adjustable for different body sizes. Our family will be a dual baby-wearing family so we needed this option. Baby Genevieve will probably live in this sling for the first 3-4 months of her life. I also adore the driftwood color, perfect for both my husband and me to wear.
Buy it here (Amazon).

3. Ergo Baby Carrier - This continues the theme of baby-wearing. Which, by the way, has so many benefits for both you and baby!
1. Convenience - you can multi-task!
2. Happy Baby - babies, especially 0-3 months old, are still in the gestational period. They need to be close to mom. Feeling safe against mom and hearing her heartbeat makes a happy baby. 
3. Muscle growth - once babies are sitting up, being in a carrier helps with their spinal and muscular development. 
4. Oxytocin - skin to skin contact with baby and mommy (or daddy) releases oxytocin which helps regulate baby's body temperature.
5. Smarter baby - their heads are right up near their mom's face so moms tend to talk a lot more to their babies, pointing out the world around them. 
6. Keep strangers away - especially in the cold months after Genevieve is born. No one will be poking at her like they would if she was in a stroller or carseat. 
7. Breast feed discreetly - to name a few...

The Ergo is one of the top rated soft-structure carriers. And great for babies 3 months - 3 years. You can find them at big-box stores like Target now. We can't wait for Genevieve to use this once she has neck support!
Buy it here (Target)

4. Baby Swaddle -  these swaddles are made by Summer Infant. I know that you can swaddle with a receiving blanket or just any small blanket, but I have heard that some babies love these little swaddle sacks. It has been the lifesaver for many moms I talked too. We will see what little lady thinks about them!
Buy it here (Target)

5. Fuzzibunz Pocket Diapers- Ok, Michael and I went to a 3 hour cloth diaper workshop. I learned A LOT. I learned the pros and cons to all types and got to test out many different brands. All the moms I talked to raved about Fuzzibunz. I can see why. They are super easy and convenient. They are called pocket diapers because they have inserts that go inside the diaper making it one piece. I also registered for GroVia All-in-One diapers (AIO). The difference is that the inserts are attached to cover so you wash it all together. Diapers have come a long way. I am super excited to give these diapers a try.
Buy it here (Amazon)

6. Thirstie Diaper Covers - Part 2 of cloth diapers. I actually loved pre-folds and covers more than pocket diapers. It made more sense to me and it is so much more versatile. But with pre-fold diapers you need the fastener (I registered for Snappis) and you need a cover on top. I really liked the Thirstie brand and I can't wait to try them out. I also registered for Diaper Safari covers.
Buy it here (Amazon)

*Another thing to think about is getting a wet bag for the dirty diapers and a diaper bag size bag for on the go diaper changes.
*I also registered for an attachable hose on the back of the toilet for easy rinsing once baby is eating solid food.
*And you will need some laundry detergent to wash the diapers. Everyone I talked to recommended Charlie's Soap. It is biodegradable, safe for the environment and does not irritate the skin.
 I feel like there is a science behind reusable diapers but I am excited to learn the system that works for my family.

7. Sophie the Giraffe - We had to register for the iconic Sophie. This teether is found in everyone's nurseries these days and I love it. It's been around for over 50 years, originating in France, and babies love it! It is known for stimulating all 5 of a baby's senses:
-Sight - the spots attract babies because of the high contrast.
-Hearing - it makes little squeak noises that help baby link cause and effect.
-Taste - it is made out of 100% natural rubber and food paint making it safe to chew.
-Smell - the scent is the natural rubber of the Hevea tree which makes it easy for babies to identify.
-Touch- it is super soft emulating the mother's skin and is comforting to the baby.
Ok, it's a glorified chew toy but I still love it ;)
Buy it here (Amazon)

8. Cloud b Sound Machine - And keeping with the giraffe theme (my favorite animal), we added another giraffe item. Michael and I sleep with a fan every night. I love white noise. Genevieve is currently sleeping with the sound of my heartbeat, amniotic fluid swooshing, blood pumping and the noise of the outside world. Having white noise to sleep makes sense to me. But here is another item that our baby may love or hate. Either way, it's cute :)
Buy it here (Amazon)

Giraffe love

9.  Hand Teether - by Green Sprouts. This teether is made out of a cornstarch based eco-friendly plastic. It contains no synthetic or toxic substances. It is even biodegradable and compostable. Another earth-friendly option in case Sophie goes missing! 
Buy it here (Amazon)

10. Itzbeen - I am not sure how much I will use this handy device. Some swear by it, others don't use it at all. I think I'll like it. It helps foggy brained new moms keep track of the last feeding, how long it lasted, which side was the last nursed on, etc. It can schedule diaper changes, tracks sleeping and timing medicine if needed. I have no intention of being a rigid scheduler for all of those things. My hope is to use some common sense, some routine, and being in tune to Genevieve's natural schedule and needs. But a little helpful reminder may be very useful. I will update post baby!
Buy it here (Target)
11. Bumbo - These things are another household item. I love how squishy and easy to clean they are. We don't intend on getting a highchair and I prefer this alternative for keeping baby in place once she starts sitting up and eating solids.
Buy it here (Target)

12. Boppy - Just like the Bumbo, a Boppy is on everyone's registry. There is also "my breast friend" brand but this one is more readily available. This will greatly assist me when I breastfeed and need extra support under my arms and baby. I think I am really going to love it. Plus all the cute covers. We registered for a few different types.
Buy it here (Target)

13. Baby night gowns - All the moms I talked to said I must have these on the registry, especially for the earlier months. The gown makes it super easy to change diapers in the middle of the night. And there are so many cute options! I registered for night gowns from Baby Soy and Tadpoles Organic. Oh I just love it all. Of course I love the idea of using natural fibers on my baby and I love all the neutral colors and simple designs too. However, Michael and I gladly take second-hand, gently used items. We already have a decent collection of little girl clothes that people have given us. That is the ultimate green - reusing clothes. But a few cute, organic pieces are fun too!
Buy it here and here (Amazon)

14. Muslin Swaddles by Anden + Anasis, ok really anything from this company. I absolutely love the muslin swaddles because they are so soft and really big. I also  registered for crib sheets, diaper pad cover, burp clothes, and bibs from this company. The simple colors and designs are right up my alley, too. And like the night gowns, we love anything organic on baby.
Buy it here (Amazon)

There are so many other items we need before our little one arrives and I put an equal amount of work into researching which type to get.
-Stroller - we just wanted an umbrella stroller because we intend on using the ring sling and ergo carrier for a majority of the first months of Genenvieve's life.
-Car seat
-Bottles - I was recommended Dr. Brown's bottles because it has the most natural flow
-Pacifiers - still try to decide how we want to use them
-Breast pump - Medela is the king of breast pumps. Super expensive but necessary!
-Diaper changing pad - no need for a changing table. We will just put one of these on top of a dresser.
-And the not so glamorous but useful items: nipple brush, bottle warmer, newborn disposable diapers, first-aid kit, nasal aspirator, to name a few.

Little Genevive,
Everyday I spend time connecting with you, talking to you and rubbing your current home.
I've been processing your arrival and getting so excited to meet you. It is now time for your daddy and me to prepare your physical home. I am so excited to watch you in your new room, to put all these little outfits on you and to see you use all these things we are getting specially for you. But more than that, we smile thinking of the day your presence fills our home and brings fullness to our family.

August 20, 2013

Week 26 Cabin Vacation

Week 26
August 12 -18
This last week was a tough one for me. 
I had a pretty decent melt-down. 
Or maybe it was just pregnancy hormones building up, but either way, I was very emotional.
I have a hard time with transition and the unknown, I always have. 
Every aspect of our lives right now is in limbo. 
We are going through so many changes and there are still a lot of answers we are waiting on.
-I cried because I am getting bigger.
-I cried because I don't want to stop being pregnant.
-I cried because when I do get bigger, there will be a baby. 
-I cried because we still have a lot to do to prepare for baby; we have no baby things. 
-I cried because it won't just be Michael and me anymore. 
-I cried because sometimes I am scared of being a mom.
-I cried because sometimes her movements make me feel nauseated and tired and not always magical. 
-I cried because I will miss sleeping in and having a flexible schedule.
-I cried because I am closing a big chapter of my life and moving to a new one.
-I cried because this is something I have wanted for so many years and yet I fill like I am loosing control (which I am). 

And with all those emotions, both good and bad, I smile so big when I think about looking at my little girl's face and watching my husband rock her to sleep and the precious moments I have during late night feedings. These emotions are strong and it makes me more aware that this is what life is all about: moments like these. I am learning so much about trust and letting go of control. And relying on God's daily grace. 

Our 4 day getaway could not have come at a better time!
 Last weekend, Michael and I joined 3 other couples to Red Roof Cabin in Spencer, Tennessee.
No schedules, no expectations, no plans.
It was perfect. 
The view from the back porch. 
Amazing view of the bluff. 
Karlie and Drew
Jonathan and Becca
Lauren and Evan
We spent all of our mornings enjoying the porch. 
We even got crafty with bibs and embroidery. 
The cabin had a game room with air hockey, pool and ping pong. 
Lots of crazy games of Round Robin!
I loved this group of people. 
My twin sister and her husband are some of mine and Michael's closest friends. 
There was Karlie and Drew.
 Karlie is the one person in this world that can get me excited and motivated about anything. She will also be my doula at our birth. And Drew is the nicest, most easy-going guy around. I loved seeing them. 
And of course Becca and Jonathan. 
Becca is a little less than 2 weeks behind me in pregnancy. I've talked about her many times. She is someone I could not do this without. Sharing in all of these adventures has been such a huge blessing. And Jonathan is one of Michael's favorites, too.
 We had so many conversations around the dinner table about gun control, vaccinations, child birth, Judaism, disciplining our children, work ethic, circumcision, health insurance, the role of social media, city living and carbon footprints, to name a few. Mix that with lots of laughter, guitar playing, board games and s'mores.
 I love sharing life with these people. 
I can't believe how different we are getting. Although, I am grateful that I haven't put on much weight anywhere besides my belly bump. 

We couldn't got to Fall Creek Falls without a beautiful hike. 
It was breathtaking.
 And might I add, Becca and I, for 2 pregnant ladies, did such a great job! We kept up with no problem. Trying to stay fit with our growing babes!

And we topped the weekend off with a photo shoot!
She's getting so big!
This is our "Welcome to 3rd Trimester" series:
 My Sweet Genevieve,
You continue to bring so much light, joy and life into our family. We have been unbelievably blessed by your growing presence. Entering this last trimester has allowed us to fully embrace the change that is about to happen and the anticipation to meet you face to face. So soon little girl! We can't wait to welcome you into our lives.

August 14, 2013

A very busy Week 25!

Week 25  
August 5-11
This last week has been wonderful.
Michael and I went on a date in what feels like such a long time. 
We had a lovely dinner at Satco - which brings back so many memories from the high school days and then topped off dinner with Krispy Kreme :) I crave donuts, no big deal. And I had a free coupon ;)
We also enjoyed the evening at Centennial Park. Another nostalgic place for us. 
This is where we 'officially' started dating back in 2006. 
It was so nice daydreaming about our little girl and life as parents. 
Before we got married we went through pre-marital counseling. But there isn't pre-parent counseling or pre-parent prep. It was great to talk through our ideas of holidays, traditions, and thoughts on so many things that come with parenthood. Of course Genevieve will dictate how we adjust our 'ideals' but it was so good to make sure we are on the same page. Although, I can't really say I will ever be ready to parent!
What a daunting, humbling, wonderful task to undertake. I am very thankful for grace even before I have started! 
Michael and I joined Lauren and Evan at Percy Priest Lake. This is the closest I will get to the beach this year. It was lovely. My belly saw light for one of the first times! (And probably one of the last!)

Genevieve is going to have the best Aunt Lalu around!!
This week we also got the wonderful news that Michael got a new job!
He will be starting next week at the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council. I am so so so excited for him. And he is too! Not to mention it is only 1.5 miles from the house so he can stop by for lunch when baby arrives. Such a blessing. 
We also celebrated my brother-in-law's graduation. 
He just got his Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy while working a full-time job, raising a toddler, and welcoming a new baby. I am so proud of him too and it was a great surprise party! These men in my life! 
 These celebrations are the perfect way to reunite with old friends! I loved it!
Becca has been my godsend. Seriously. I recommend that everyone time their pregnancy with a friend ;) (ok, not always possible) But I have been so blessed to share every step of the way with her!
Then I topped off my weekend in Chattanooga seeing my best friend, Natalie! 
And yes, another belly picture. 
Because quite honestly, it is impossible to be pregnant and not show the belly. It becomes your favorite accessory, part of your everyday life. I am sorry for all the pictures. It is impossible to avoid! 
On our drive back, Michael and I listened to an audio book (What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell) and witnessed this sunset over Mont Eagle. 
It was perfect and magical. 
This last week has been so very full and wonderful. 
Celebrating my many blessings today. 

August 2, 2013

Pregnant for 1/2 a year.

Week 22 - India!
July 15-21
Week 23 - India!
July 22-28
I used paper props because these updates were taken in India.
And the size of the fruit is hilarious. Can't say I have ever seen a grapefruit that measured 11.5 inches in diameter...
I will definitely write a blog about India once I have taken the time to really process the trip. I can't wait to share my trip but it is taking longer than I thought to work through the experience. But I will share soon!

Week 24 
July 29-August 4
I can't believe I have been pregnant for 6 months - half a year! And baby is now 11.8 inches long! We also hit a major milestone in pregnancy - baby is now viable. I want Genevieve to stay in my womb for quite a few more weeks but she is at a stage where she could survive earth-side. That is crazy! We will hold her in less than 4 months....
Little baby is making herself at home.
It is pretty unreal that my belly will grow so much more in the next 14 weeks.
A woman's body is amazing. 
Early morning kicks and cuddles just me and Genevieve. 

This pregnancy will be marked by so many memories:

1. Watching the Amazing Race.
I have seriously watched 10 seasons since I got pregnant. The theme song will be her lullaby :)

2. This snack:
Especially the white ones with red speckles :) Those are the best (Taro chips, I am informed).

3. The smell of this candle:

4. Listening to "Oceans". It became the theme song for my India trip but I first heard the song the day before I found out I was pregnant. I cried the first time I heard it. And it has been powerful every time I have listened to it since then.

5. Learning to be 'internal'. With the help of pre-natal yoga, meditation, journaling, a study called "Counseled by God", and morning moments with my baby girl, I am developing a more intimate relationship with God and myself.
Pregnancy has been the most growing, spiritual process I have ever been through.
Growing life, learning to let go, embracing the present, finding joy in the little things, it's all pretty amazing.
Little one, four more months until we meet face to face!