Tuesday, December 22, 2009

36 weeks...the home stretch!!

Baby girl is looking good and measuring well!  She is head down and now we are just waiting for her to make her grand entrance into this world!!  We are so excited!  I have been playing baby a lot with Ella to help her get used to the idea of having another baby around.  So far, there has been a LOT of jealous whining, poking of baby's eyes, ripping baby out of my arms, picking her up by the neck, throwing her on the floor, and covering her head with a blanket.  Is this normal for a 16 month old??  When does the gentle, nurturing instinct kick in?  I may have to keep baby girl at a very safe distance from her little/big sister Ella :).  Good thing big sister Sophie has some experience and will be a great example for Ella!

Here is a picture of my basketball shaped belly (as many people have told me) and the latest stats...

How far along? 36 weeks

Total weight gain: 31 lbs.

Maternity clothes? yes...I only have one pair of jeans that fit comfortably now

Stretch marks? nothing new

Sleep: still waking from aches and pains and having to pee

Movement: a ton...she is still poking and pushing although I can tell she is starting to run out of room in there.

Food cravings: still sweets unfortunately...I can see the affect on my thighs :)

Gender: girl

Name: We have narrowed it down to Lily or Mary for a first name and the middle name is still a work in progress.  Feel free to vote and help us pick one!

Belly Button in or out? out

What I miss: a few things, but it is worth the sacrifice :)

What I love most: that she is almost here now!

Weekly Wisdom: stretch muscles, take deep breaths, careful with body movements and heavy lifting

Thursday, December 10, 2009

34 weeks and counting down...

We are so close now to meeting baby girl and I just know these weeks through the Christmas season will help the time fly even faster!

Here are the stats...

How far along? 34 weeks

Total weight gain:  29 lbs. (I am 2 lbs. heavier than I was with Ella at this point in the pregnancy)

Fundal Height (size of uterus):  33 cm. (I was at 34 cm. last time at this point)

Maternity clothes?  Of course!  

Stretch marks?  Same as before...nothing new thank goodness :)

Sleep:  Still waking a couple of times at night, but I am usually able to fall back asleep

Movement:  Wow!  This one is the most active in the womb!  The other night I put a cup on my belly and she was moving it around and poking out so hard that she was able to tip it off several times...quite amazing!

Food cravings:  chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven and a glass of milk at night

Gender:  girl

Name:  Mary Kate, Lily Claire, or Emilie Claire.  I also like Sadie which means princess, but I am not sure what Clint thinks about it.

Belly Button in or out? out

What I miss:  energy...I have been really tired lately

What I love most:  still the baby belly (even though it is getting bigger and bigger) and feeling her move although she is so strong that sometimes she takes my breath away with a kick!

Weekly Wisdom:  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights...

For the record...at 32 weeks and 2 days, baby girl dropped down a bit.  I could tell because my heartburn/reflux was better, but I started having sciatic nerve pain through my right butt cheek, hip and leg. I was able to limp around during the day, but by the evening I could barely walk.  On Friday, Nov. 27th (the day after Thanksgiving) I was unable to put any pressure on my right leg making it impossible to walk or move at all.  It was incredibly painful...worse than natural childbirth in my opinion.  Clint had to lift me up and carry me to the bathroom if I needed to go.  I am so grateful that this happened over the holiday weekend because Clint was home from work and he took care of all the meals and the girls.  I felt so helpless and awful.  I was able to get around some with assistance by Sunday afternoon, but I had another serious flare up on Monday and I was unable to move again.  It hurt if anyone even touched me so I was so depressed not being able to snuggle with my girls.  Finally, by the following Wednesday, I was able to stand on my own two legs and get around.  I have been taking it very slow since then and seeing the chiropractor and praying a lot.  I have not had another flare up for a whole week now...praise the Lord!  I hope and pray that I make it through the rest of this pregnancy without any more problems!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic...Oh My!!!

Warning:  this blog post is full of praise towards Sophie's homeschool accomplishments from the heart of her very proud teacher and mama.  My intention is for this to serve as some kind of progress report so I can remember this first 3 months of homeschooling. 

I am so proud of Sophie!!!  She is officially reading up to 4 letter words and is able to sound out some larger ones too.  She can read beginner books on her own and I know she is amazed by her own accomplishments.  Sophie's writing skills have greatly improved as well and she is finally confident using all her lowercase letters and even writing short sentences.  Kindergarten level math was a breeze for her and she is quickly advancing through 1st grade math now.  She counts and writes numbers up to 100 one number at a time and by tens, knows the value of coin money and how to add it together, and is excelling in addition and subtraction without the use of visual aids.  I can see where her strength is going to be!  It is so exciting to watch Sophie learn and make these important connections.

Sophie still needs some improvement with her handwriting as she tends to become sloppy or write a few letters or numbers backwards when she gets tired and when she tries to go too fast, but she is really working on taking her time and focusing.

I have to admit that I was very nervous to take on the responsibility of homeschooling.  It was rough in the beginning as we both struggled through frustrations, but I am finally able to see some of the fruits of this labor.  There are still days when Sophie grumbles about doing school work, but that just challenges me to be more creative in how I present the information.  Sophie does not learn well under the "traditional" model so I am glad that I am able to help her learn according to how her brain processes things.

Art is still her favorite "subject" and the detail in her drawings really amazes me.  She is also learning how to play the piano and is able to figure out simple songs by ear.  I will definitely continue to nurture her love and skill in creative arts.

I have noticed a change in attitude in Sophie as well.  She helps out without being asked and has shown real maturity in her compassion towards others and her desire to give.  It is hard to stay calm when her little sister has just torn apart something special, but Sophie has been very understanding and loving about these things.  Sophie is learning a lot about God's Word and His character as well and she has memorized a few scripture verses along the way.  I know this is why her attitude and behavior have made such positive changes.

Sophie does seem to be closer to tears than usual and is expressing a lot of emotion.  I was talking to a couple of other moms of 6 or near 6 year old girls and they described some of the same behaviors as I am seeing in Sophie.  She is just so sensitive right now.  The other day she found out that the Bear Rock Cafe at Cary Crossroads is closed and moving locations and she cried because this was her favorite place to eat lunch with her "partner" Clinty on his lunch breaks from work.  She also gets really whiny and tearful when she is tired or hungry which reflects her behavior from back when she was 2 or 3 years old.  I am thinking this must be something developmental, but I haven't really researched it yet.  

Ok.  I think I am done with the first unofficial progress report from our first quarter of homeschool.  I am looking forward to this next quarter and hoping that we are able to stay on track with the addition of another baby coming soon!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

32 weeks complete...only 8 to go!

Wow!  I really can't believe another due date is just around the corner.  The time has really flown by with this pregnancy.  I am trying to enjoy my belly and feeling baby girl move as much as possible during these busy days.  I am already starting to feel sad about this pregnancy coming to an end because it will probably be my last.  I know that sounds crazy and of course I am looking forward to holding our little girl, but I also love being pregnant.  There is something so amazing about being a life giver.  What a miracle to be growing a life inside of me and giving birth to one of God's creations!  I will miss that part, however; I do feel very blessed and honored to be given these little girls to love, care for, teach and train.

As far as being "prepared" for baby girl's birth, we are not...at all.  I have moments of panic and nesting, but it is not as bad this time as it was when I was awaiting Ella's arrival.  I am going to try to get the car seat washed and installed in the mini van this weekend.  Maybe I will even make a list of all the "to-do's" as well.  I guess I am more relaxed because I know all baby girl really needs in the beginning is love and mama's milk (and maybe some diapers would be good too).  I am also too tired this time to get everything done that I would normally like to have accomplished before a baby comes.  I am trying to just let some things go and make sure I am taking care of myself and the girls (and the house and my husband too) :).

Belly at 30 weeks...  

At 32 weeks...getting bigger and bigger :)

And here are the current stats...

How far along?  32 weeks

Total weight gain:  27 lbs.

Fundal Height (measurement of uterus):  32 cm

Maternity clothes? Oh yeah.  There is no other choice in pants at this point although I do have some non-maternity long sweaters that will still fit over the belly :).

Stretch marks? Truth time - no new ones, but I do have one that I got during my first pregnancy with Sophie.  In my younger, less wise days, I had to get a belly button ring.  I took the ring out when I got pregnant with Sophie (or maybe a little before that), but it left a hole and a small scar and of course my growing, pregnant belly stretched the scar tissue. After 3 pregnant bellies, the scar is now a permanent stretch mark that extends about 1 inch from the top of my belly button.  Oh well...lesson learned.  

Sleep: I am waking up every night now sometimes multiple times during the night.  I have terrible sciatic nerve pain through my right side and heartburn/reflux pain as well.  It's ok...I know it won't last much longer.

Movement: All the time!  I hope she is not that squirmy out of the womb :)!

Food cravings:  Sweets.  I have to eat smaller meals at a time now too because my stomach is being smashed and I get full faster.

Gender:  Another girl!

Name: Top agreed upon picks are still Mary, Emilie, or Lily for first names and Claire or Kate for a middle name.  

Belly Button in or out?  Out

What I miss:  Walking, sitting, movement without pain in my hips, butt, or lower back.  

What I love most:  My baby belly...holding her, feeling her move.

Weekly Wisdom:  Slow down to cherish every fleeting moment and find time to sit and rest!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fall Festival 2009

I'm finally getting some photos posted from Fall Festival this year!  Sophie was a beautiful Minnie Mouse and she had a ball bouncing, sliding, hunting for candy, and playing with her friend, Tinkerbell.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mountain Memories

I wish I could say that we had a great vacation in the mountains this fall, but it was not exactly the experience that we had hoped for.  We went to a favorite mountain town of ours called Blowing Rock just south of Boone here in NC.  The drive there was beautiful and we stopped along the Blue Ridge Parkway to grab a couple of photos.  

On our first full day, the weather was terrible.  There was a thick fog all day, rain that went from a mist at times to a downpour at other times, and cold wind. We tried to walk around downtown Blowing Rock, but we were nearly blown away by wind and soaked with rain.

We managed to get some lunch, but Ella screamed through the whole meal.  Needless to say, we HAD to get back to our room.  We ended up spending quite a bit of time in our "cozy" little room.  However, the kids were getting restless so Clint made some hats out of the newspaper to play pirates and princesses with. Thank goodness he is so creative!  

I found an advertisement for a local museum in the meantime so we decided to check that out later in the day. We should have known that it would be an overpriced tourist trap, but honestly, I don't think we cared at that point.  We needed to get out of that room and do something with the kids!  The "museum" had two rooms to play in.  One room was designed at a 45 degree angle so you could walk around at an angle and get dizzy and fall down.  I guess kids like that stuff.  The other room had a couple of puzzles and some bubbles.  Was it worth the $22 admission and extra $20 of crap from the "gifts and souvenirs" shop?  Probably not.  But Sophie seemed to enjoy herself and Clint and I had a good laugh over it :).  

That night, Ella would not go to sleep in our room.  She fussed and cried.  She is used to her own space with complete darkness and soothing sounds to help her fall asleep which was very difficult to recreate.  We ended up having to put her in the seat of her swing in the bathroom to get her to fall asleep.  Finally we had some peace and quiet around 10pm. However, Clint and I could not sleep because our mattress was so uncomfortable.  I was awake every hour in pain as I switched positions.  A hard, thin mattress does not go well with being 7 months pregnant. Since Ella was in the bathroom, I had to hold my pee which made me even more uncomfortable. Clint was at least able to go outside to relieve himself.  I wanted to cry, but Clint kept me laughing. 

Day 1 did not go well, but it ended and I woke up with new hope for Day 2. 

On Day 2, the rain finally cleared out late in the morning and we went to Tweetsie Railroad Park.

Gem mining

Poor baby was ready for a nap...

We did have fun exploring the old West, riding some rides, and riding the old steam train through the mountains, but it was cold and grew colder throughout the day.  Clint took Ella back to the car to nap and get warm and Sophie and I stayed to do a couple more activities.  We ended up leaving earlier than we wanted to with at least 1/3 of the park left to explore, but it was just too cold and it had started to rain again (and half the family was already waiting in the car).  At least we were wise enough to pick up take out food on the way back to the room instead of dealing with a fussy, screaming toddler and leaving half eaten meals at the table that night. 

I think I got a few more hours of sleep on the second night, but woke up incredibly sore and with the beginnings of a cold on Day 3.  I remember thinking... this is our last day...I hope it is better!  

Day 3, our last day, was the best day of the trip.  The weather was still brisk, but sunny and we were finally able to take in a little bit of the beauty of the mountains.  We enjoyed some Kilwin's ice cream and played at a beautiful park in the center of downtown Blowing Rock.

We did the short hike at Linville Falls later that day.  We actually tried to push Ella in the stroller for half the hike, but the tree roots and rocky terrain about took it out so we had to abandon the stroller half way along the path.  I can't wear Ella in a carrier anymore since I am so large with child so Clint had to carry her the rest of the way.  It took talent, coordination, and sheer strength to hold onto a squirmy toddler while trying not to wipe out on the slippery rocks as we got closer to the falls.  I admire my husband for persevering through the adventure! The reward was worth it.  The rushing water over the rocks was a beautiful sight!

The last time Clint and I went to the NC mountains together was two years ago.  It was a completely different experience because Sophie stayed with my parents for the weekend and Ella wasn't born yet.  It was just the two of us.  I wanted to recreate that trip because it was refreshing and breathtaking, but a mountain trip with small children is just not refreshing.  The trip did manage to take my breath away in a different kind of way since I was exhausted by the time we got home, but I guess that is the season of life we are in.  I love my girls and I would rather have them than a nice vacation any day, but I learned an important lesson after this trip: family "vacations" are a lot more work than rest and refreshment.  For now, I think we will plan "stay-cations" and enjoy our time at home with the girls while they are little :).