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Monthly Archives: May 2012

I Think I Have a Problem, Part 2

Back in mid-second tri, I had admitted my addiction to buying maternity clothes. I kept buying maternity clothes since then but have slowed WAY down in the past couple months. I did buy a pair of shorts and a skirt a couple weeks ago, but I remind myself that I only have a few weeks left to go so there’s really no point in buying anything else now… unless I can wear it after pregnancy too!

My addictions don’t really go away, they just get transferred to something else. For example, I used to bite my nails real, real bad. I don’t bite anymore but I am seriously addicted to nail polish and painting my nails. I probably own two dozen colors, no joke. I paint my nails almost every Sunday (I say almost because I have totally slacked in the last month, but before that I hadn’t missed a week in almost a year).

Now that I’m not buying maternity clothes, my addiction has transferred to the benefit of my daughter-to-be: she is super duper well-stocked with cloth diapers.

I’ve talked a little bit about my desire to cloth diaper this baby. I’ve read a great book (Changing Diapers by Kelly Wels) and attended a class at a local boutique. I subscribe to some cloth diaper blogs and follow feeds on Facebook. I have absorbed myself in the cloth diaper culture.

Early in this pregnancy, I told myself that I would only buy a couple diapers, see what works for us, and THEN stock up on our favorite brands and styles. Well, that plan quickly went out the window as my addiction to the fluff grew and grew.

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My AIO and pocket stash – some diapers were free so I do have doubles of the zoo animals and the yellow one. I got the flame wet bag for Mr. Handsome when he’s out on the town with Baby2.

First I was buying All-In-Ones (AIOs) and pocket diapers because they are the most similar to disposables. I think in the long run these will be great for us – Mr. Handsome stays home during the day so I want something quick and easy for him. Not because he couldn’t handle anything more complicated but because he has enough going on during the day – one less step in diapering is the least I can do for him. I’m already making him use cloth wipes as well so I don’t want to add any more complications!

The AIOs and pockets that I’ve gotten are pretty much all one-size diapers, meaning they have lots of rows of snaps so they can grow with your baby (most fit from approximately 10 to 35 pounds!). But they’re HUGE and super fluffy even when snapped to the smallest setting. I want to cloth diaper right from the get-go, mostly because we have a very limited capacity for garbage in our current living arrangement. These one-sizers aren’t going to fit a 7-ish pound newborn (Kiddo1 was 7 pounds 2 ounces at birth, so I anticipate something similar even though I know I could be WAY off).

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My covers and newborn stash (including a free newborn pocket I got with my last order! Who cares if it’s brown!), including snappis and a few cloth wipes. The prefolds aren’t pictured.

What’s a mama to do? Well, I chose to buy more diapers, of course! I’ve heard prefolds are a great way to go for newborns, so I got me 12 unbleached cotton prefolds, 2 hemp prefolds (for heavy wetting) a three pack of snappis to secure the prefolds and four newborn/small size covers (plus four more one-size covers!). I’m even thinking about taking these to the hospital with us so Baby2 is cloth diapered from the get-go.

So that’s my latest addiction. Hi. My blog name is Mother Mary. And I am addicted to cloth diapers. And my baby isn’t even born yet!

Tie Tuesday

For more about Tie Tuesday, visit the prologue post.

PhotobucketMonday

Baby is getting bigger! It’s hard to believe we only have seven weeks until her arrival. And she and I have so much more growing to do!

This is a Forever 21 tunicish shirt; it isn’t maternity but it is so very long that it still fits the bump just fine. Long enough to cover the belly panel on these Old Navy maternity jeans, so it works for me!

I looked for something to add a little color to this outfit, I hate going all grey, but it was Monday morning after all so I just went with what matched instead of what “goes,” as Stacy and Clinton would say. I haven’t been watching too much WNTW lately – I suppose my evenings have been filled with reading more than TV, as I’m trying to catch up on my book reviews at the moment.

Anyway, I digress! In keeping with the grey theme, I wore these Report flats to match my tunic. I suppose I figured I’d match the grey weather that we had this week!

PhotobucketTuesday

For Tie Tuesday I wore my Old Navy maternity pants with the “real waist.” I’m feeling less like my belly is really “beer belly”-looking when I tuck in my shirts so I’m more comfortable showing off the waist on these pants. Yay for real-looking pants making me feel a bit more normal!

This shirt is also from Old Navy – another one of my pre-pregnancy clearance finds I think. Some of the leaves on the shirt have silver sparkle things on them. Sparkles weird me out in the office a little bit BUT this shirt is kind of subtle and the work environment is casual so I go with it anyway.

This silver basket-weave bracelet looked like it would be a good accessory for this shirt. It’s a Forever bracelet and the silver is starting to wear off – I wonder if I can find a spray paint to make it look all new again? Or perhaps just let it age…

I also wore these black heels (I think they’re Rampage? I’m too lazy to go look at the box right now). I’m still wearing heels but I can’t wear them everyday or my feet will just hurt too much. Too much extra weight over my feet!

PhotobucketWednesday

This maternity dress is from Old Navy. A good thing about these maternity dresses is that they are long enough! My non-maternity ones keep getting shorter as my belly gets bigger.

I just got this short sleeve blazer off Ebay. It is from Black House White Market, which I usually love, but it must be a bit old because the sleeves are longer than I’d typically go for and the shoulder pads are a bit more paddy than I’d like. Overall it isn’t too bad for an Ebay find, but I don’t know if I’ll keep it. I’m piling up the clothes to sell or give away after I no longer need them. Anyway…

I found this silver necklace in my forgotten jewelry stash. It’s actually really long but I just doubled up the chain so it would work with the neckline on this dress. I think it worked out rather well since this dress has kind of a leafy print going for it. Not so bad!

For some color I wore these hot pink flats from Target. Pay more attention to the shoes than my ankles – it’s been two weeks since I’ve been to the pool which has not helped the swelling that has started. Sad face!

PhotobucketThursday

I have to bend over a bit more now to be able to see my shoes! Luckily I can still put my shoes on by myself, though (of course most of my shoes are slip-on so I shouldn’t loose this ability… I hope).

This whole outfit isn’t maternity which made me pretty happy on Thursday! The shirt is another Forever 21 tunic that is really a shirt now. It originally had a belt attached to it but it hit in the middle of my belly so I cut it off. That belt got in the way normally anyway.

These jeans are also Forever (another $10 pair!). Magic Forever jeans that still fit. It’s probably a combination of the stretchy material and the low rise – whatever it is, it makes me happy. I do a little happy dance every time I put these on and I can zip them up AND they don’t cut into my skin. Joy!

The flats are again from Target. I like finding cute shoes when I’m supposed to be buying fabric softener and cereal.

PhotobucketFriday

Another cozy maxi dress to close out the week! This is from Old Navy – a lot of my maternity clothes are from Old Navy. That’s because they send me coupons and I’m a sucker for the deal. So I buy online and the stuff shows up at my house and Mr. Handsome just kind of shakes his head at me. I have a problem, I know. I just can’t seem to shake maternity or online shopping!

I still love my jean jacket – lately it’s hard to limit myself to wearing it only so often! I have so many strappy summer dresses and there’s this big crack down in the office about not wearing sleeveless stuff (let alone little straps!) so what’s a girl to do? Jean jacket it is.

The necklace is a triple chain that I doubled up from Forever. These shoes are once again from Target – I love their pop of color. I wish I had more but by the time I gave in to these the other colors they were offering were sold out. That’s probably a good thing, actually, as I am running out of room for shoes!

Have a great week readers!

Scones and Dresser

In Friday’s update post I promised to post about some scones I made, so I’m finally getting to that now! It’s been a busy weekend… but, first – the scones!

I found this receipe on the Smitten Kitchen blog and I have reposted it here. It is mostly a verbatim repost but I did modify it slightly after perusing the comments.

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Whole Wheat Raspberry Scones

1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/2 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar*
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter
2 tbsp vanilla
2 cup (136 grams or 4 3/4 ounces) fresh raspberries
3/4 cup (189 grams) greek yogurt (6 oz)*
1/3 cup (79 ml) heavy cream

* parts that I changed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together.

With a pastry blender: Add the butter (no need to chop it first) and use the blender to both cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in raspberries and use the blender again to break them into halves and quarter berry sized chunks.

Without a pastry blender: Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife and work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Roughly chop the raspberries on a cutting board and stir them into the butter-flour mixture. (Mine turned very pink by adding the raspberries this early. In my next batch I’ll probably add them later so the dough is more marbley like the photos on Smitten Kitchen’s post.)

Both methods: Add the ricotta and heavy cream together and stir them in to form a dough with a flexible spatula. Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t fret if the raspberries get muddled and smudge up the dough. This is a pretty thing.

With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter, flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square about 1-inch tall. With a large knife, divide the dough into 9 even squares. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. It’s best to cool them about halfway before eating them, so they can set a bit more. I know, way to be a big meanie, right?

Do ahead (I took this route so they could be fresh-baked in the morning): Scones are always best the day they are baked. However, if you wish to get a lead on them, you can make them, arrange them on your parchment-lined sheet and freeze them. If you’re prepping just one day in advance, cover the tray with plastic wrap and bake them the day you need them. If you’re preparing them more than one day in advance, once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Bring them back to a parchment-lined sheet when you’re ready to bake them. No need to defrost the frozen, unbaked scones, just add 2 to 3 minutes to your baking time.

I also added the lemon icing for some more sweetness, because even though I doubled the sugar in the original recipe these scones still weren’t sweet enough for me! This is my own recipe:

Lemon Icing

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk

Adjust the milk-to-powdered sugar ratio to achieve the desired consistency. I wanted more of a glaze than a fluffy frosting so I used a teeny bit more milk. Just stir and stir until the lumps smooth out and it is ready to go!

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Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppIn other news, this dresser that I have been working on forEVER is finally finished! I’ve been sanding this thing sporadically over the last month or so (this picture was taken after I had sanded half of the drawers). My goal was to get it all painted by this weekend because the baby stuff we’re accumulating needs a home!

It took some serious perseverance and carefully watching of the weather but it all got done. The weather this weekend was so unpredictable. It looked like it was going to rain but aside from an intense thunderstorm on Saturday night we stayed mostly dry. I started painting on Saturday around 2 and brought everything in around 7:30, about 30 minutes before the storm started. Whew!

Anyway, here it is! I added some glass-like pulls that I thought we a bit more girly and, as a last-minute addition, I painted the insides of the drawers hot pink. The pink doesn’t really go with the rest of the color scheme but I think it’s a nice surprise when you open the drawers.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppUploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppUploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

On Sunday I applied a coat of sealer so the paint won’t scratch too easily and I let it sit outside to air out for awhile. As a result of all that work I rested a ton today, taking a nice long nap on the couch and generally neglecting all my duties and other projects. This week I’ll be sewing so hopefully I’ll have a post in a week about more accomplishments!

Friday Update: Week 33

apple-alu-keyboardBaby is 17 inches long this week! The keyboard that came with my iMac is also 17″ long. I’m currently typing this post on my iMac but I usually use my iBook because, well, I like to sit on the sofa and be comfortable. My iBook won’t turn on and that is upsetting! It’s only five years old! Stay with me buddy. Although I would love a new one of these! (Haha NOT going to happen!)

Another week down, only seven more to go! Seven! But I am focusing more on the weekend ahead. I have so much to accomplish – thank goodness I have three days in which to do it!

  • My number one project is finishing up the dresser that I’m refinishing. I’ve been sanding it all down by hand with little strips of sand paper because I’m too cheap to buy even one of those  sander things. I’ve been trying to wrap that up for days but it keeps raining this week so I’m stuck. I can’t sand inside! Then I need to fill all the scratches and dents with wood putty so it looks all smooth and pretty again (I found this dresser on Craig’s List so it’s a little beat up). Then I will paint the whole thing and attach new drawer pulls that are all pretty and girly. Finally a place to put all the clothes and diapers I’ve been accumulating!
  • I also need to finish the giant mobile I’ve been toiling over for weeks. Most of it is installed on the ceiling, I just need to adjust a few things and decide whether or not to make just one more yellow poof like the one I made over Spring Break (which I will try to do but after I finish a plethora of other projects).
  • Then there’s the sewing. Oh so much sewing. I want to make pillows, a cover for our Boppy pillow, covers for the changing pad and a couple sheets.
  • Finally, I found a cute little lamp at a thrift store for three bucks so I’ve got to fix it up and get it in place. Plus install a couple new mirrors to replace the full-length mirror I had to take down in order to get Baby2’s furniture in the right places. Aaand hopefully take pictures of everything so I can write a post about our finished nursery. Don’t hold your breath, my list is daunting!

Not to mention getting in some quality time with family and friends too! My moms group has an outing to the “What to Expect” movie so fingers crossed that people actually show up!

I’m excited for the weekend but I will look back on this week for just a few things:

  • Total weight gain: 26-27 pounds, the scale moves. Not surprising given the below cravings, (lack of) exercise and baby’s own half-pound gain this week!
  • Cravings: Still smoothies, I love them and it is unfortunate that a Jamba Juice is so close to work, but my old boss kept talking about wanting scones the other day and how I should make some (I’m like the team baker) so I did make some this morning and I wanted to eat all of them. I will post pictures later today (no time now!). I’m trying not to go crazy over carbs since my midwife gave me the okay to eat more of them!
  • Coolest symptom: It’s difficult for me to think of something other than baby kicks because she’s moving ALL THE TIME now. But generally I feel great, physically (so I should be exercising, dang it!). I’m sleeping very well provided I’m not woken by my bladder or other interruptions because I have not been able to return to sleep in those cases. I’ve had some extra early mornings at the office because of this.
  • Lamest symptom: I’m plagued by small, annoying things really. These things don’t really bother me all that much so I must remind myself that things could be a lot (a LOT) worse so be grateful. Grateful I tell ya! Still short on space between my belly and boobs, but I’m either getting used to it or it’s suddenly better. The midwife says I’m carrying really low and I was like. “What the hell are you talking about?!” But after looking at my pictures, I know she’s right, baby is pretty low.
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes): This week I have nothing, literally no logged exercise time. Total fail two weeks in a row! I spent a lot of the weekend walking around but I’m not counting that. I will be better next week. I WILL!

Here’s what’s new with Baby2, courtesy babycenter.com:

This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple) and has passed the 17-inch mark. He or she is rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look. Your baby’s skeleton is hardening. The bones in the skull aren’t fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap. This makes it easier for your baby to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don’t entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as your child’s brain and other tissues expand during infancy and childhood.

Group Appointments and Interventions

Mr. Handsome and I have taken the group appointments route for maternity care. We see a midwife along with five to seven other couples in one visit. It sounds a little strange, and we had some reservations at first, but now that we’ve had three appointments I’ve started to really enjoy and even look forward to them.

There are pros and cons to this style of care, of course. The biggest con is that the appointments take two hours (or more) where regular non-group appointments can be as short as 20 minutes. We can’t bring Kiddo1 with us so we have to ask someone to watch him for about three hours (with travel time).

However, a lot gets discussed during those two hours. Every session has had a focus. During the second session we focused a lot on nutrition. I learned a little too much about how many calories and carbs are in my favorite foods. We were all advised to keep our carbs to 30 grams per meal (three meals a day) and 15 per snack (two snacks a day) – that’s only 120 grams of carbs per day which may sound like a lot but when you realize your favorite bagel has 65 grams of carbs… it’s sobering. Even to a person who is stone-cold sober, like the pregnant.

Another con would be that there isn’t a lot of privacy when it comes to discussions (the part during which the belly is measured, heart rate monitored, etc is done in privacy). But, honestly, the fact is that we (the couples) don’t know each other and don’t know each others’ friends so what are we going to say about each other? We might as well commiserate on the what’s what. Plus, once we get going, things start to come out and we begin identifying with each other really well. It just takes a bit to get comfortable and get things rolling.

So other than great discussion and comradery, the main pro is that you don’t have to go through the same crap that you do during an OB appointment. I hear ladies in my mom’s group complain about how their OBs spend more time reading their chart than listening to them, that there isn’t time to bring up their questions or really get to the root of their concerns, that they analyze their urine sample more than their simple “symptoms” like leg cramps, indigestion, etc, which I’ve learned in my group appointments can be indicative of or adjusted by diet, exercise or vitamins. Simple fixes to annoying problems, which an OB usually doesn’t bring up.

I don’t mean to bad-mouth OBs at all. There are a lot of good ones out there. I’m simply reacting to feedback from fellow pregnants. The OB I had with my first pregnancy was great and a good listener, but this experience with the midwives is SO much more fulfilling.

I wanted to write about these group appointments today because during last night’s session we talked a little about our fears about childbirth (which I’ll write about more specifically in a later post). Our questions, however, led to a much larger discussion/overview of hospital policies.

I admit, after reading Natural Hospital Birth I started to focus my fears a lot on how the hospital could screw up my birth experience… After last night’s appointment I feel a lot better. The policies of the midwives very much align with my expectations and desires for this birth. This is why I chose this hospital and group of midwives, after all, so I shouldn’t be surprised!

The “24-hour countdown” of labor-to-delivery isn’t nearly as rigid with the midwives. They’ll pretty much let you take your time, but they say do yourself a favor and labor as much as you can at home (which won’t count on the clock). They only want to see you if your water breaks early AND there’s a risk factor (such as colored fluid or you tested positive for Group B Strep, the latter will cause a need for antibiotics via IV). Also, eating and drinking during labor is encouraged by the midwives but the OB-side of the hospital strictly prohibits it (the midwives will cut you off if you have Pitocin or an Epidural, though). Speaking of Pitocin, the midwives discourage it, which I am delighted to hear! Fetal monitoring is done via a doppler-like device and it is not constant, so it’s as non-invasive as possible. It still has to be done, but intermittently. As soon as you arrive at the hospital you are monitored for 30 minutes continuously so they can get a good idea of how the baby is doing. Then doppler monitoring will occur for about a minute every 30 minutes or so. For a hospital, that’s really not so bad.

We also talked about all the post-birth procedures that are generally required at most hospitals but are elective at the university. First off, as soon as baby is born she is placed on your chest and you are encouraged to breast feed within the first hour. All baby check-ups can take place right there on your chest. They even prefer to administer the vitamin K shot while you’re breast feeding (it distracts the baby from the shot). You can forgo the baby’s vitamin K if you want, or choose a gradual method instead of the shot (I think we’ll just get it over with with the shot though). You can decline the eye ointment if there’s no risk of infection. If your pediatrician is not affiliated with the hospital you can choose from a pediatric or family practice consult – the midwives recommend the family practice because they are “a lot more flexible” than the peds and will require a lot less monitoring if the birth was healthy and there’s no risk of infection. All this sounds great to me!

I got some great news on my stats, too:

  • I only gained three pounds since the last visit, which is consistent with my home-based weight check-ins. The midwife is happy with my weight gain, diet and exercise.
  • My fundal height (uterus size) is 32 cm which is also right on target. Baby’s heartbeat is an excellent 140 bpm.
  • My blood pressure is 118/70, most excellent. Apparently I am quite calm.
  • My glucose test (which I really tried to reject but apparently this midwife’s study focus is gestational diabetes so there was no getting out of it) showed my blood sugar level at 53 which the student midwife said is the lowest she’s ever seen. Not dangerously low, but low enough that – get this, GET THIS – the midwife says I have (basically) free reign on eating carbs and sugar. I CAN EAT CARBS AND SUGAR! I will still keep this manageable but I won’t be as restrictive as I have been. For example, that night I ate a sensible chicken dinner. And a cheese roll. … And some ice cream.
  • Baby is positioned the same as our last appointment – head down, butt on the right and feet to the left. She is awesome. Stay in that position baby! The midwife says it’s the best position for an easy, quick birth. Fingers crossed!

We have only two more appointments left until the due date! One in late June and one in early July. Unless a complication arises that’s all we’ll have to do! No weekly appointments, no constant check-ins. I’m loving the midwives at my hospital!

Tie Tuesday

Whoa! It’s the 20th Tie Tuesday post! Check this out to see where it all began…

PhotobucketMonday

The weather was so unbelievably nice this week! I got to bust out this pair of yellow sandals again. I think my feet are happier when they have some color on them!

This purple dress is from Old Navy. It’s technically a nursing dress, not a maternity dress, but it fits so I don’t really care! The only thing I don’t really like about it is that it has an odd twist-to-a-bow detail in the front that I don’t particularly care for – but I love the color so I bought the dress anyway! I just covered the weird part with this black wrap-style belt.

I do like the length on this dress, though. Most of my dresses are getting shorter and shorter (I must be getting taller right?!). So this slightly longer length is a welcome change.

Plus I’ll be able to wear it all summer and apparently have an easy time at nursing with it on because it’s got this faux cami thing that lifts up. Modest and stylish!

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PhotobucketTuesday

I recently purchased this maternity pencil skirt, as well as a pair of knee-length shorts both from the Gap (20% off sale!). I wonder if I’m crazy to buy any more maternity clothes with only two months left to go, but I know I’ll get a lot of uses out of these two pieces, heading into summer. It’s getting warm already and I only have so many dresses!

I’m already really liking this skirt anyway. It has pockets, what’s not to like! I just hope it fits for the next couple months. It is pretty form-fitting. Let’s hope my growing is confined to my belly and not my butt or hips!

This fuchsia shirt is from Old Navy, one of the clearance items I bought pre-pregnancy. It’s soft and nice but still super big – I have to roll up the bottom a bit so it doesn’t get all droopy.  I have another Old Navy shirt (or two) that is super big too so at least I know I’ll have something to wear all the way to the end!

I’m also wearing this long three-strand silver necklace from Forever (worn doubled up) and my black Rocket Dog flats.

PhotobucketWednesday

This is another Old Navy maternity shirt. They really design their shirts to fit for awhile! This time I could just tuck it in to my jeans.

These are of course my black Forever 21 jeans that I purchased for $10 (I say of course because I’m pretty sure I mention the same things every time I wear these!). I don’t know what angel designed these jeans but the fact that they still fit me means they must have come from heaven, right?! I have maternity jeans that are tighter than these, it just doesn’t make sense! I suppose I’ll just accept it and move on.

These are my Rocket Dog flats again, my go-to staple shoes. I think I may have finally gotten all the muddy spring-ness off them too!

And this necklace was a clearance find from Target. I love cheap accessories. Have  I mentioned that before?

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PhotobucketThursday

I’ve been loving wearing this jean jacket lately. It’s the perfect shoulder cover for some of my summer sundresses!

Apparently other KTFU ladies have been digging the jean jacket too, according to this brief article on The Scene Maternity & Style. Oh yeah, I’m so super trendy (ha!).

This Old Navy dress is not maternity but it is forgiving so it’s still working out okay. It’s getting short though! And the actual bust of this dress would not be anywhere near enough coverage for the girls right now, but with a pale pink tank it works out just fine I think. Doesn’t it look like it deserves pockets though? More dresses should have pockets, really; it makes them so much more functional!

These wedges are by Report. I like that they go with almost anything!

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PhotobucketFriday

I finally got a haircut the day after I took this picture, so my mulletiness won’t be as severe any more! I still can’t decide if I’m growing my hair out or not, so for the time being I’m just cutting the inch or two of growth down my neck. It’s only been like six weeks since my last cut. It seems to have grown really fast! That or she just didn’t take enough off last time. I think I’ll go with the former, it makes me feel better. Hehe.

This purple tank is from Old Navy and it’s maternity. It’s also really long when I stretch it out which is great because it completely hides the maternity band on my Old Navy jeans. Yay!

These bright shoes are from Target, score, and the relatively-close-to-matching necklace is from Forever.

“See” you next week!

Friday Update: Week 32

Photobucket This week baby is just over 16-1/2 inches long (16.7, to be exact). That is approximately the width of my bathroom sink (my bathroom sink is not the one pictured here, however). Washing my hands is going to be a whole new experience this week!

A great experience of this week has been interacting with Kiddo1. I’ve always felt like he’s been a little protective of me, but lately his protectiveness seems to be shining through all the time! It’s so interesting to see the change. He seems to know that I’m a bit more vulnerable right now so he’s watching out for me, especially when we’re hanging out alone while Mr. Handsome is working (which he hasn’t done nearly as many hours of this week and that has been awesome!).

I’ve suffered a few rounds of indigestion on the evenings lately (what’s new, right) and he’s sat with me attentively, often reading his Harry Potter book to me when I just don’t have the strength to read to him. He’ll reach over and touch my hands and ask me if I’m okay. It’s the sweetest thing in the whole world!

Lately I’ve also made some heavy sighs when I sit down because I’m running out of room for not only the contents of my stomach but also my lungs/diaphragm. He always looks over and asks again if I’m okay, usually twice. “Are you sure you’re okay?” Even if I just have a strange look on my face, he’s checking in. He’s always been fairly sensitive and always caring, but I feel like he’s really stepped it up lately!

Even at soccer practice (where only him and I and a father/son duo show up, sad – practice is optional during the spring season in our league) he will put himself between me and the ball so I don’t get hit. He’ll tell me to watch out and he won’t even let me run around with them anymore.

I have a feeling that this protectiveness will quickly shift focus to his little sister when she arrives. It’s a good thing he’ll be off on his own when she starts dating! (He could have kids of his own by then! Ahh! I shouldn’t think of that yet!)

Here are some more cool things about the week:

  • Total weight gain: Wow the scale has fluctuated a lot, but I’m going to say 25 pounds gained. Sometimes it says 23 pounds, sometimes 26. Weirdo scale.
  • Cravings: Smoothies. I want a smoothie so bad all the time! I have to remember, though, that a smoothie is like a meal to me lately. And really, there’s a whole lot of food in that cup: a whole banana, a couple strawberries, a kiwi, some veggie juice. I must pace myself!
  • Coolest symptom: I know kick-talk occupies this space like, all the time. And if that’s annoying to you I’m sorry (too bad!), but to me it’s still super cool. Every time I feel a kick I think, Holy shit! There’s a real live person in there! She’s kicking super high, super low, pushing on my cervix (ouch), I think I may have even felt a foot pushing out my side here and there! Every kick reminds me she’s that much closer to being here in my arms.
  • Lamest symptom: I feel like I am running out of space! I have to sit up really straight all the time because if I slouch at all I compress my breathing space and stomach too much which brings on the indigestion feelings even more. Plus she’s getting really close to kicking my boobs when I slouch. Too close, little lady.
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes): Oh man, I was totally lame this week. I only managed one 45-minute yoga session and one 30-minute elliptical session. I didn’t even make it to water aerobics due in part to indigestion and in part to reoccurring leg cramps. Major exercise fail this week but I’m trying not to beat myself up too much. There’s always next week!

Here’s a Baby2 development update, courtesy babycenter.com:

By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You’re gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, your little one will gain a third to half of his or her birth weight during the next seven weeks as he or she fattens up for survival outside the womb. Your baby now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). The skin on your baby’s body is becoming soft and smooth as he or she plumps up in preparation for birth.

Baby Gear Obsessions: Eating

Welcome to the second post in a series about my baby gear obsessions. The last post covered transportation gear: car seat, wraps/carriers, diaper bags and bike accessories. The next post will cover home items include our top crib choices, changing table, diaper stuff, bouncy seats, and play accessories like mats.

This one is all about eating, because that takes up a good portion of a new baby’s time and, even if you’re breastfeeding, there’s a surprising amount of gear associated with the task! Breast pumps, bottles, support pillows and high chairs will be covered here.

Disclaimer: I haven’t purchased/used all of these products so these posts are not reviews but rather an overview of research I’ve done.

Breast Pumps

Ah, breast pumps. The Holy Grail of working mothers (and SAHMs who need a break sometimes!) is a good, reliable, comfortable and quick breast pump. I’ve done the most research about this product than I have any other baby item I think. A close second would probably be the wraps for all the babywearing I have planned. I digress…

I started doing my research way back in the early second trimester after I had a weird dream about my baby’s birth, memory lapses, loss of time and pumping (it was a weird dream). But it prompted me to research pumps, including Avent, Medela and Lansinoh. Check out that post if you want the full run-down, but for this post I’ll just focus on the one I’ve picked (and have purchased already, just not used so again, this is not a review).

What’s important to me in a breast pump? To reiterate the dream post:

  • It must be fast, a double-pump is required.
  • It must be electric and preferably has a battery-operated option (I can only plug-in if I walk all the way over to the “quiet room” at work).
  • It must be relatively compact so that I can lug it back and forth to work each day.
  • It must be comfortable.
  • It should be quiet. Everyone (well, all the ladies in the bathroom) will know that I’m pumping and I’m cool with that, but I would still like to keep the noise to a minimum.
  • And adding from the last post, it should be easy to take apart and clean.

I’ve chosen the Avent Isis Double Electric pump.

PhotobucketWhy?

  • I used the single-pump manual option with my first round of breastfeeding (for Kiddo1). We didn’t have enough money for an electric version, but the Avent was still awesome. It was fast (even for a manual pump), compact, comfortable and easy to take apart to clean.
  • As far as the double electric option is concerned, it is apparently lightening fast – reviewers consistently state they’ve been able to pump 5-6 oz in 10 minutes from one breast. One breast! In 10 minutes! That means I can get up to 12 ounces in one pumping session which is approximately two feedings for a four-month-old baby.
  • Powerful (one reviewer favorably compared it to a hospital-grade pump). And it’s got to be to get that much volume right?!
  • It comes in a nice black shoulder bag that doubles as a cooler. It’s discrete and not too huge. It’d probably fit in my large Big Buddha bag just fine.
  • Customizable pace with memory and speed controls right on the neck of the pump: this is super cool because you set the pace manually for the first session and the pump remembers that pace for future sessions. So you can go slow at first to encourage let-down and then speed up once things are flowing (literally). And you can change the rhythm any time you want to. And the machine will remember again! Genius!
  • Quiet: people say it is a quiet electric pump, which is great. I imagine I’ll be using the dedicated room for pumping at work most often so quiet isn’t a huge issue anymore, however some discretion is still preferred.
  • Pump right into the same bottles you can use for feeding (although I’m interested in trying glass bottles this time, see below).
  • Like I said above, the manual option was quick and easy to clean. The electric option looks almost exactly like I remember but with the added suction tubes and motor. The suction tubes have this anti-back-fill feature or something so they don’t get milk in them and therefore don’t have to be cleaned. Easy peasy.

I’m very excited to start using this pump. It will be such an upgrade from what I had last time!

PhotobucketOne more thing about pumping… I found this little device on Amazon and I’m hoping beyond hope that it lives up to its promises. That’s right, it’s a bra with holes for your pump so that you can pump hands-free! That takes electric pumping to the next level right?!

You just strap it on – there’s a zipper closure in the front – stick the pumps in the convenient little holes there, turn your machine on and then get your Angry Birds on! (Or whatever it is that you’d rather be doing than sitting there holding your pumps in place which you try to somehow distract your mind from the boredom.) I think it’s genius. It had better work!

Bottles

If you’re going to pump breastmilk then you’ve got to have a way to feed it to the baby, so everyone needs bottles even if they’re breastfeeding. I’m quite interested in these glass bottles by Kinetic, for a few reasons:

Photobucket

  • We’re trying to eliminate the plastic food storage at our house and go all glass. We’ve gotten to an almost 100% switch so why would I start bring in plastic now?
  • These particular bottles have a wide neck which makes them easier to clean. There are glass bottles that look more like standard baby bottles but we wouldn’t be able to fit our scrub brush in them. Since we don’t have a dishwasher we need bottles that are easy to clean!
  • These look a lot like the Avent bottles. I’m hoping (fingers crossed) that these might even be compatible with the Avent breastpump so I can pump and store right into the glass. However, if that doesn’t work out I can still just put the milk in the bottles when I’m done pumping. Then I won’t need to use so many plastic bags!
  • What would be really cool is if I could use the glass mason jars that I have instead of bottles! But I suppose these would be the next best thing!

Support Pillow

I don’t have so many requirements for a support pillow. It’s a pillow, how hard can it be, right? Last time we used a Boppy Pillow. I know there are a whole lot more options out there for pillows now (including some that have pockets, but I’m not sure what you’d keep in there). I still like the Boppy because we could use it for more than just breastfeeding support for my arms. It was helpful for assisting Kiddo1 when he was learning to sit up. It’s good for tummy time too! And we took each monthly photo with Kiddo1 sitting in the pillow so we had something to compare his growth too. It worked out pretty well!

I thought for sure we had kept our old Boppy around but Mr. Handsome doesn’t think so. I can’t find it anywhere so I suppose I’ll get another one! This time I’m making a removable cover for it so I can clean it up. I never had any problems with it getting too dirty last time but you never know!

High Chairs

I like a chair that can be pulled up to the table so that baby can be close to the family during meals. We had a regular “stand-alone” high chair for Kiddo1 and has always felt so far away. Plus I think it’s more difficult to turn around and help them out. You could always pull the chair up to the table but then the tray sometimes gets in the way, maybe it doesn’t adjust to the right height, blah, blah, blah. I think the following two options are better in that they facilitate family dinner time with all members of the family, no matter how small. A high chair also has to be:

  • Safe
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable
  • Good-looking
  • Economical

The Platinum: Stokke Chair

PhotobucketHonestly, I wish I could get one of these for every member of my family. Seriously! Look at how they work: the horizontal piece for the seat can move to any height using the cool slots on the inside of the “Z” pieces, making it fully adjustable and customizable. Mr. Handsome can have a low seat, Kiddo1’s medium and Baby2 can have a nice high seat so we’re all looking at each other at about the same height. Genius!

stokkebaby

  • The chair has an attachment (sold separately) so baby can get all strapped in and safe. Of course baby needs to be able to sit up, but this milestone usually coordinates nicely with the introduction of solids, so no worries there.
  • See above versatility – this chair literally grows with you!
  • Okay so it’s all wood which accounts for the optional seat pad, but the back is curved so reviews say it is pretty comfortable. And it’s not like it’s a lounge chair or anything. Dinner only lasts so long!
  • I love modern furniture so this is a great looking chair in my book!
  • All this awesomeness aside, these chairs aren’t cheap. They run $200 each on the low end, so getting one for each member of my family probably isn’t going to happen at this time. We could get one now and one every, I don’t know, year or so until we have four. That’s quite a commitment to chairs, though.

The Basic: Fisher-Price Table Time Turtle Booster
turtlebooster

  • Reviews describe it as safe because it has non-slip rubber on the bottom and straps on to the chair securely plus there’s a harness to strap the little one into the booster itself. I wonder if a baby just starting out on solids (six months or so) could handle such a minimalist seat, but we can always see how it goes.
  • It could be used for any table activity, such as a game or art project, because it can be pulled right up to the table.
  • It doesn’t look like the most comfortable seat in the world since it’s made of hard plastic, but reviews say it’s a snap to clean, just wipe it down. Plus the same could be said of this chair as the Stokke: you don’t spend a whole lot of time at the dinner table! At least not in one sitting.
  • I think the little turtle is adorable and what child wouldn’t like it? One who doesn’t like turtles I suppose… Sure it isn’t the most grown-up thing in the kitchen but it’s little so it can be put away if needed.
  • It costs less than $15. Nuff said I think!

The only problem with this option is that we don’t really have kitchen chairs. We use stools because they’re stackable, lightweight and they won’t break. We used to have real chairs, but they were clearance from IKEA and they broke. All three of them (no, actually two of them broke, while we were sitting in them, so the third is condemned to the basement because we’re too frugal to actually get rid of it. “Oh I’m sure we can use it for something!” I’m not really sure why we think this).

So in order to make this option work we’d need to buy real chairs. Which does make “The Platinum” option more feasible. We’ll see!

Whew! All that just for eating?! Next post will be about Home gear. I think that actually might be a two-part post… Stay tuned!

Tie Tuesday

Here’s more information about Tie Tuesday if you need it!

PhotobucketMonday

In keeping with my recent love of long dresses, I took this one out again which is probably my favorite long dress. If I could wear this one to the hospital I would be one happy lady! It’s a little flowy and it makes me feel both pretty and a little maternal at the same time. Perfect for early labor, right? Assuming it still fits in nine weeks!

I put on this black Old Navy cardigan too because this dress doesn’t have any shoulder coverage and uncovered shoulders in the office make me squeamish. Sure, it’s a casual environment but not that casual (that doesn’t stop some people from wearing bedroom slippers and pajama bottoms though!).

I have some black sandals on somewhere under here (well, they’re on my feet, but you know what I mean). I’m so glad the weather is getting warmer!

I also wore my new silver “everyday” necklace that I got a couple weeks ago. It really does go with everything!

PhotobucketTuesday

One of the good things about maternity clothes shopping before pregnancy is the deals and clearance finds. However, once pregnancy “is on” the “pregnancy brain” can kick in and some of those deals will be forgotten.

I may have sort of, a little bit, forgotten about this knit skirt. I got it from Forever 21’s Love 21 maternity line (before they liquidated that line) for, I don’t know, less than $10 probably. It’s very no-frills, but I like the fit way more than my Old Navy skirt which is much more flowy and makes me feel bigger. Plus this one can go over or under the bump and I like that a lot!

I also wore a Forever 21 blouse that I haven’t been able to wear since the first trimester or so! Yay for high-waisted skirts! Plus this white Forever bracelet and black Rocket Dog flats.

I don’t usually include my bag in these shots but I felt like this look needed a bit more color. I love this Big Buddha bag and I get so many compliments on it!

PhotobucketWednesday

Speaking of pre-pregnancy clearance finds, this shirt was procured that way, a find at Old Navy for $5. It’s still a little big so I kind of have to fold the waistline a bit so I don’t look like I’m swimming in it, but I’m happy that it will last awhile longer!

I found these wooden bangles at Target recently; these particular three are orange, yellow and hot pink. I think the fact that they’re wood was the big attractor; they must remind me of all the wooden and colorful baby toys that I’ve been going for lately! Plus I’m way more of a cuff-style bracelet person than a bangle person, so I’m trying to branch out a bit with these. I bought a black one and purple one too!

I also recently picked up these yellow sandals. Mama needed a new pair of summer shoes! I think these are my “the shoes” of this summer. Which is great because I’ve had the same “the shoes” of summer for the past three years or so! (A pair of bronze T-strap flats.) I love all the bright colors of this outfit!

PhotobucketThursday

I felt like I hadn’t busted out a blazer in awhile, so I wore this grey one on Thursday (which actually isn’t the Banana Republic one I wanted to wear but it was early and I wasn’t paying attention, so I got this one from The Limited instead! I think the BR one fits slightly better and isn’t as wide on my shoulders, but whatever, it still works I guess). I also wore it because I refuse to wear my winter coat anymore and I was a little cold on Wednesday so…

Without this blazer, all I have on are $6 jeans from Forever (the Love 21 maternity line again) and Target tank tops! I love how a blazer classes-up an otherwise very casual look! (So casual that these tanks are the same ones I wore when Mr. Handsome helped me take pictures later that day for my yoga update post!)

I also wore my gray Report flats (another great find at $15!) and one of my grandmother’s pearl necklaces. I actually felt very proper in my pearls and blazer!

PhotobucketFriday

I love, love, love this navy cotton dress from Anthropologie. I’ve had it for almost six years and it’s been my go-to dress for weddings over the years. If you know about Anthropologie, you know they don’t have many inexpensive pieces, and this simple number was no exception, but they are quality clothes so you get your money’s worth for sure! And the fact that it’s stretching so I can still wear it is a huge bonus!

I don’t get to wear these pastel tweed heels too often. They’re so cute but they do seem like a bit of a contradiction to me: tweed is like a fall/winter fabric but pastels are decidedly spring. When does one wear these shoes then?! I choose the spring so they don’t get out much. I think I’ve had them for probably eight years or so? Most likely they’re the pair I’ve had the longest!

Finally, this big white ball necklace is from Forever 21 (I think, I’ve had it for a few years too!).

I’m excited because next weekend I get a haircut so this mulletiness should be curbed soon! One more week of shaggy hair before it gets cleaned up again. Whew!

Book Review: Natural Hospital Birth

PhotobucketThis book was recommended to me by a member of my Moms Group. When I heard the title I knew I had to read it, as I am planning a natural hospital birth myself.

I was a little afraid the book would make me start to feel really combative about how we would have to deal with the hospital in order to get our natural birth. Over the last few weeks, I have identified that my biggest fear about birth isn’t that I can’t do it, it’s that hospital staff will somehow mess it up for me by not following my wishes.

Much to my surprise, though, this book doesn’t encourage confrontation with staff. Ms. Gabriel emphasizes a calm but firm approach, one that allows the staff to see your confidence in and commitment to natural birth.

One of her biggest strategies for avoiding interventions is using the phrase, “I think we’ll wait an hour.” It isn’t rejecting the staff’s ideas or being combative, rather it’s a keen delay mechanism that often allows time for whatever they feel needs resolution to resolve itself. For example, if the staff is pushing Pitocin because of an inactive labor, one hour could be all you need to really get in the groove of things. And if one hour doesn’t work, ask for another. Staff may try to guilt-trip you into seeing things their way, but hold your ground and they’ll see your commitment to natural birth.

One of the great things about this book is the assistance in writing one’s birth plan. I had no idea that birth plans can be controversial: apparently some practitioners discourage them because they don’t want their patients to get “too attached” to a specific plan. Ms. Gabriel is a big advocate of plans, though, as long as you understand that plans change and you keep your “hospital version” short and sweet.

Ms. Gabriel recommends three versions of your plan: a dream version, a realistic version and a hospital version. The hospital version should basically say, “I want the most natural birth possible.” I’ve been inspired to finally start to writing down elements of my ideal plan and get working with Mr. Handsome, too, to make sure we’re on the same page.

Plus, I’m asking Mr. Handsome to read this book, too. It’s great that I have all the information about obtaining a natural birth in a hospital, but there’s only so much I’ll be able to do during “the throws” of labor. Mr. Handsome is my advocate so he not only needs to live and breathe our birth plan as much as me (maybe even more so!) but he needs to know the strategies presented in this book in order to get what we want out of this birth. Poor guy, his prescribed reading list is getting longer and longer!

I’m not as nervous about the hospital staff failing me after reading this book. I think there are things we need to do to prepare ourselves for trying to achieve a natural birth in a hospital setting. I have confidence in myself and in Mr. Handsome that we can convey our commitment to natural birth and have things the way we want them. I know circumstances can change and some things are just out of our control, but I feel like we will have a handle on ensuring that we have the most natural (and enjoyable!) birth possible.