Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review: 2013

Once again, a year comes to a close. Before I take a few moments to ponder all that has happened this year let me first wish you a Happy New Year!

Much of 2013 was focused on preparing our home and our hearts for our child. We had hoped and prayed we would become parents this year and were thrilled to discover we were expecting in early February. We kept it pretty quiet until the end of April and we had a chance to tell our family first.  I spent months figuring out ways to create more space in our one bedroom apartment; we made a few big purchases and got rid of quite a bit of stuff. All in all, I think we are happy with the way things turned out, but are also realizing that more changes will be required soon! We're learning to be flexible with our possessions.

I read quite a few books about parenting and childbirth and attended a group appointment each month with ten other couples. I have to admit that most of my waking moments - and sleepless nights - were spent learning, planning, dreaming, and hoping for our baby. And on the evening of October 1, William Bradley was born! Now all my waking moments and sleepless nights are spent trying to make sure he's eating enough and sleeping enough. So far so good - he's growing like a weed!

The other major theme of 2013 was FAMILY. Living so far away from our families, it always seems like a rare occasion that brings us together, but this year, we were able to see our families (at least one person) almost every month this year! There was a wedding, babies, and vacations that brought us together! We are blessed!

January was a pretty quite month. I started going to a Pilates class and continued acupuncture and my gluten free diet. Chris had started working as an office manager for the hedge fund he worked for back in 2010 when we first moved out here. We enjoyed more time together as he no longer had a commute across the Golden Gate Bridge as well as a few more dollars in our pockets since he could ride is bike to work rather than drive.

In February, my brother came to visit us in SF for the first time. The very next weekend, Chris and I took a long weekend and drove to Las Vegas to see my parents and my sister and her husband. They had a gender reveal party to reveal they were having a baby girl in July. I thought it was going to be a boy for sure, but I wrong. We also took a road trip all together to the Grand Canyon. It was chilly, but an enjoyable trip.

In March, Chris's mom and grandma drove out to see us and a few other relatives. We took this opportunity to share our baby news with them. I don't need to tell you how excited they were! Unfortunately, they were the only ones we told in person.

Chris turned 30 in April and we had a big birthday brunch with our friends. We also used that gathering to officially announce our pregnancy. His parents also visited us again in April and took us to wine country for the weekend.

In May, Chris's brother Brad got married to Emilee. (Yes, there are now two of us!) We flew to San Antonio to celebrate with them. It was really a gorgeous ceremony and a great weekend. We also made the decision to start investing in our retirement accounts; it wasn't always much, but it was something!

In June, the big news was my new glasses. I also started feeling better so instead of napping during my breaks, I started reading. I read a ton of free ebooks on my little smart phone. I had been wanting to get into newborn photography for a while and had my first real opportunity in June. It was great practice for my session with my niece in July!

I traveled a lot in July. I went home to visit my best friend Katie (while she was home from Australia) and see a few other people I hadn't seen in years. It was a packed week, but super fun. On the way home, I ended up in Vegas unexpectedly. It was a little tramatic as a plane had crashed in SF, but I did end up getting to see my sister! Two weeks later, I went back to Vegas to see my sister and her new baby girl. She is a cutie!

Chris took me to Morro Bay for my birthday in August. We toured Hearst Castle and spent a day on the beach. It was our last little get-a-way before Baby B was born.

In September we had three baby showers; we were showered with so much love! And we felt so much more prepared by everyone's generosity! I attended a Beth Moore simulcast with a few friends which was inspiring and a day I felt was much needed for "me and God." September 30th was my last day of work before beginning maternity leave.

And then my world was turned upside down when my baby arrived a week early! William Bradley was born on October 1st. I feel like I could stop writing right now as each and every day is all about him - literally, night and day. I don't even know how to describe how I feel about him and being a mom - it's awesome - and exhausting. He's adorable and exhausting! Both of our moms came out to help me for a week each. I was so thankful for their willingness to help and their eagerness to meet William.

For Thanksgiving we stayed in town visiting with friends. We were the only couple there with kids which was a new experience for us. It won't be the last I'm sure. We had so much to be thankful for this year!

And for Christmas we traveled to Minnesota to make my mom's dream of having both of her grandbabies home for their first Christmas come true. It was another great week with family.

There it is, 2013. A year I will never forget. As I write about the blessings and memories of my year, I am remembering friends who have had a rough year - friends have lost loved ones and homes and experienced illness and trauma and I want you to know that I think of you, pray for you and hope your faith remains strong and hope is restored in this next year.

Flying with Baby Babiak

Last week, we braved the harsh winter weather (leaving behind a glorious 60 degree week in SF) and flew to Northern Minnesota for Christmas with my family. It was our first time flying with William, just shy of three months old.

Our flight left at six a.m. Saturday morning. Giving ourselves plenty of time for a baby meltdown, we left our apartment at 3:30 in the morning. Not really a big deal for me, as I had usually been up between two and four a.m. every day for the past two months. Not getting any naps during our twelve hour travel day -- that was hard! We got there with plenty of time and little baby William did pretty well. A few diaper changes, a feeding before boarding and we were set.

The actual flight was perfect. I was told that to avoid a screaming baby during take off and landing to nurse or use a pacifier to help with the pressure in his ears. Well, I started feeding him way too early and he was out cold for the first hour our so. The hum of the engine and the turbulence put him right to sleep! We had a lay over in Dallas, which was a short 40 minutes. We made it just in time only to find that it was delayed for 30 minutes. At least it wasn't canceled like the flight at the next gate! Again, he did superb on that flight too! Chris gave him an A- since he squawked twice, but I was thrilled. Chris also handled all the diaper changes on the plane, so maybe he knows something I don't!

My brother picked us up at the airport with a carseat. I bundled William up in a little fleece suit that we were given (which barely fit!) and entered the frozen tundra that is Fargo. I think it was -5 degrees that afternoon, but the roads were pretty clear. We arrived at my parent's house around 5 p.m.

The return flight was a little more eventful, starting with the drive to the airport! Visibility was awful, practically zero I'm sure. The temperature was about 24 degrees, but with the blowing snow and harsh wind, it seemed much colder. We bundled William up as best we could, his snowsuit not fitting at all anymore. We got to the airport with plenty of time to go through security. When it was time to board the plane, the wind was gusting up the walkway so much so that I had to hold William tightly to my chest so his face wouldn't feel much of the cold. I had packed my winter jacket in my suitcase which left me freezing!

William was awake a lot more on the return flight, not necessarily fussy, just awake. I'm sure it had something to do with the hot chocolate and can of Coke I drank earlier. Oops! When we got to Dallas we were suppose to have an hour layover, but when we got to our gate, they had already started boarding! We had just enough time for me to change William's diaper and hop on! For the first time in my life, I purchased airplane food. It was actually pretty good.

All in all, he did fantastic. Much better than all those other screaming toddlers for sure. I guess that is what I have to look forward to next time. First flight = success.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Hutch Repaired

Thanks to the generosity of our church friends our hutch has been restored! It took a while, but it was worth the wait. I can't believe a woman from our church that we barely knew offered to repair the glass for us! It turned out beautifully!

The before photos were posted in May when we found the hutch.

The Christmas of Firsts

William's first Christmas was also:
  • His first flight
  • His first time to Minnesota (and first time outside of California)
  • His first time in below-zero temperatures - a real winter
  • His first time meeting his Grandpa Hagen and Uncle John, Auntie El and Uncle Ryan 

 Grandpa & Grandma Hagen with their grandbabies
  •  It was also the first time he met a great-great relative (my Great-Aunt Sylvia)

The week of December 22-28 we spent in Minnesota visiting my side of the family. All of my siblings and their significant others stayed at my parent's house, meaning there were 12 people under one roof! We had a wonderful time being together, but now that I think about it, there were very few times it was just the 12 of us! I'm going to do my best to remember the full week of events! Here goes:

On Sunday, we all headed to church, taking up two pews and enjoying coffee fellowship with many people I hadn't seen in years. Later that afternoon, my mom hosted a "Meet the Babies" shower for William and my niece Charlotte who were visiting Grandma for the first time. My mom loved showing them off to the women who came by. Many of them bearing gifts. William now has a nice collection of footie pajamas featuring monkeys and a few other new toys.

On Monday, my aunt and her three grown children joined us for dinner and games. Originally they had planned to stay with us also, but once they saw how chaotic our house was already, they decided to find a hotel.  Chris received a new game for Christmas called "Bonanza" which we played several times throughout the week. It was a huge hit!

Tuesday, Christmas Eve was a special day. It's tradition that our family open gifts that night, going around in a circle one at a time so we can all see what was given. For the past few years we've drawn names instead of buying gifts for everyone -- our family is just too big for that now (and we're all a little broke) --with the exception of the babies of course - which both ended up needing an entire suitcase to get everything home! It was a late night for the little ones (and me too) but it was pretty fun until they I got crabby. Chris got new bike tires from my parents and books. I got a beautiful hand made scarf from my sister and a sweater, meat grinder, and a few other things from my parents. William got a few outfits and plenty of toys.

Christmas day ended up being a pretty big deal. Originally the plan had been to keep it to just our growing family as we rarely get time together, but it worked out that most of our near-by relatives on my dad's side could make it too! Our house was packed for Christmas dinner! William went to sleep just in time for Chris and I to join the rest as they sat down for the meal. I was so thankful that neither one of us had to skip that part. The rest of the week, it felt like one of us was in another room with him either feeding him or trying to get him to fall asleep. Our precious little baby didn't want to miss out on anything! 

The next day (Thursday if you're keeping track) my cousin Mary and her family stopped by on their way to her parents home (even farther north than mine live!) I was so glad she stopped by, her kids are always growing and changing and I can't see them often enough. Her baby girls are almost a year old already. Everyone was snapping photos of the four babies under 12 months! Her older kids are adorable as ever sporting their backpacks full of new Christmas toys.

That night we had a few more people for dinner -- My great Aunt Sylvia, my Uncle Ken and Aunt Anne and their daughter Heather drove up from Minneapolis for a couple of days. I was so thankful William got to meet Sylvia. Although, I felt bad that she couldn't spend all day with him -- most of his day is spent sleeping and eating, I know she would have liked to hold him at least one more time. My cousin Terry and his wife Riki also joined us for dinner. (No, mom's table isn't quite that big, five people had to eat in another room.)

On Friday, the morning started with a family photo for mom's greeting cards. It turned out pretty well considering it was taken with a timer and a tripod (meaning no one could get the babies attention!)

Then all of my siblings went snowboarding but Chris and I stayed home. He didn't think Minnesota hills were worth skiing on, just kidding, he really just wanted to get some work done! But that didn't really happen either unfortunately. Baby care is exhausting and I needed his help most of the day. That night we played games with our visitors until way past my bed time. Visiting with people I only see every few years trumped opportunities to sleep most of the week.

Saturday was our last morning together. I actually got to sleep in for a while making it a little chaotic to get everything ready in time, but with a 12 hour travel day ahead, it was much needed. The visibility on the roads was awful. My brother drove us to the airport which is usually two hours away but with the blowing snow, patches of icy roads and fog, he couldn't drive very fast. We made it with just enough time to grab a bite to eat before leaving. (For the details, see this post)

We had a busy, but great time visiting with so many special people. I loved spending time with my siblings and being under one roof again. William had a great First Christmas at Grandma's house and survived his first real winter experience. Thank you to everyone who made the trek to see us that week! And thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Hagen for making this Christmas so special!

I took many more photos; you can see them here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
I've been waiting to post our little family Christmas photos since some of you have the privilege of being on our mailing list and I didn't want to ruin the surprise. But now that Christmas is finally here I can show them off without restraint. 

William was a little less than two months old in these photos. I took them when my sister and her family came to visit before Thanksgiving. So, they are a little "dated" already as he will be three months old in a week! (eek!)

May you have a joy-filled celebration of our Savior's birth with those you love!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Meeting Cousin Charlotte

The week before Thanksgiving (yes, I am that far behind on my blog!), my sister and her family came to visit for a long weekend. They just could not wait until Christmas to meet Baby William! And I was so excited to see all of them too -- but especially my four month old niece, Charlotte. I hadn't seen her since she was 15 days old! And she had grown a lot since then!

Cousins meet for the first time -- Charlotte thought it was great, William wasn't too sure!
We hung out that first evening together making dinner and homemade ice cream, neither of which would have been successful if Molly hadn't stepped in to help. We talked about baby stuff and what our lives are like now with children.

Our evenings and nights were interesting, I'd often wake up to feed William and find Molly also up with her daughter. If we had a larger apartment, we could have had a little nursery party every few hours! (But to keep our husbands sane, we kept quiet.)

On Friday we drove to Muir Woods to take a little hike. It was a gorgeous day with the sun shining bright, but once you are under the canopy of red wood trees, it was dark and cold. Going on a hike with babies is interesting. This was our second big outing with William and getting out the door took much longer than I had anticipated. By the time we got to the park, we had about an hour before we needed to head back in order to miss rush hour traffic. One hour was probably just perfect as I had not been used to hiking with a baby strapped to me and my hips felt it by the end. I did love getting outside though -- and Muir Woods is always beautiful and breath taking.

On Saturday, I spent the day taking photos of their family for their Christmas cards. I had just gotten my new camera, so this was the perfect opportunity to really try it out. I won't post their photos here, because I don't want to spoil their cards (in case you are on their list!)

The weekend went too quickly and they had to leave early Sunday morning. Our little apartment was pretty crowded for those two and a half days but it was incredibly fun to have them! Looking forward to Christmas in just a few weeks and more baby-chaos!

William with Aunt Molly

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Baby B: 2 Months Old

December 1st was the two month mark of Baby William's life. He celebrated it by catching his first cold and refusing to sleep more than 90 minutes at a time both day and night. (And yes, I should be sleeping right now!)

He has started to coo and make sweet noises that make it feel like you're almost having a conversation. He has also started to smile and be a little more expressive. Except of course on "Picture Day" as he was pretty sick and fussy.

He has outgrown a few of his newborn clothes, especially the ones with feet. Baby B is one long baby-- measuring 24" at his 2 month appointment. My sweet little guy is already 2 feet tall! Only four more to go and he'll be taller than me! (It's silly to think of it that way I know.) He weighs 11 lbs which makes him a long and lean little man -- just like his dad.

Our neighbor gave him his first pair of baby booties, technically "crib shoes." They barely fit so I promptly dressed him up in and took his picture in them! They are so adorable! I imagine myself pulling them out of a box in 18 years exclaiming "Just look at how tiny your feet used to be!" And of course, my respectful son will roll his eyes at me. . . again.


His eyes are a dark blue, often times looking almost navy or dark violet. I find myself marveling at them often. His hair as started to grow back on the top of his head, it is in fact brown. The lighter color in the photos is actually "cradle cap" and should go away in a couple of months.

Visitors this month include Aunt Molly, Uncle Quintin and Cousin Charlotte, my cousin Sarah and a few of my friends. We also ventured out to church for the first time and our small group with him in tow.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


It's that time of year again. Or, today is that day again . . . aren't we suppose to be thankful on a daily basis? Yes. We are. There are a lot of things I think of doing on a daily basis (shower, sleep, eat, brush my teeth, etc) that don't happen anymore. But I am thankful. And right now, I'm thankful I have a brief moment to pause and jot down a few things I'm thankful for this year.

I'm so thankful for:
My baby boy and his health and growth
My husband who I can't do this without
My friends and co-workers who kept me fed for the past two months
My family and friends who showered us with everything we needed for our baby
My mother and mother-in-law who helped care for me and William
My boss who reluctantly let me take three months off of work!
My small group who showers me with hugs and smiles just for showing up! (makes me feel so loved, let me tell you!)
My siblings who call often, I'm so thankful we're close!
My apartment that has been my home for over three years which I rarely leave anymore!
My mom-friends who tell me everything is okay and will get better. I do love hearing their stories.

I'm thankful for so much more. (including you dear reader) I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and remember to rejoice with thanksgiving a little every day!

My niece Charlotte and William wish you a Happy Thanksgiving too!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Drugstore Deals

Last year at this time, I was at the peak of my couponing high and couldn't wait for Black Friday, but at the last minute, my plans changed and I couldn't go shopping. I did however, partake in some pre-Black Friday deals at the drugstores. This year, I was looking forward to doing it again. And today was the day!

This was also a little bit of an adventure as I was taking my two month old with me! He did fantastic and I didn't do too bad either, although, I think my pulse races for two reasons now: couponing and fear of baby melt-downs! Here's what my three transactions looked like:

CVS Transaction #1:
1 dozen eggs: On sale for $1.79 (much cheaper than my grocery store)
1 Reese's candy bar: $.79 with $.79 Extra Care Bucks (ECB)
1 CVS brand panty liners: $.99 with $.99 ECB
1 Colgate Toothpaste: $3.00 with $.50 manufacturer coupon and $2.50 store coupon (=FREE!)
1 Sparkle Papertowel: $1.00 with $1.00 ECB
Total: $4.57 with $2.87 in Extra Care Bucks

CVS Transaction #2:
2 Chex Mix: $1.99 each with $.50 manufacturer coupon when you buy 2 and received $1.00 ECB
1 Crispix cereal: $1.99
1 Frosted Mini Wheats: $1.99
Total: $7.96 but I paid $4.66 and used the three ECB ($2.87) from my previous transaction and got $1.00 ECB for next time.

Walgreens Transaction #3:
3 Bumble Bee Tuna: $1.89 on sale with store coupon for $.99 each
2 Holiday M&M 11 oz bags: On sale for 2/$5; $1.00 off two store coupon and $1.00 off two manufacture coupon (making them 2/$3)
Total: $5.97

Total paid from my trip today: $15.20 and I still have $1 left for CVS (I probably should have changed the way I did my CVS transactions so I could carry that over for the second transaction too, but I had forgotten that the chex mix had it! oops!) $15 is still quite a bit to spend for a real crazy coupon lady, but I was quite pleased since I actually didn't have that many coupons. Technically, the paper towels, panty liners, candy bar, and toothpaste were all free!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Covering that Baby Bum

A long time ago, I asked for your help in deciding how to cloth diaper my babe. Well, it's about time I follow up with my decision and let you know how it's all going - since well, Baby B is nearly two months old!

Per some of your recommendations, I decided to go with a diaper service for the first month figuring I'd have enough to deal with without adding laundry to the list. And I'm so glad I did! A friend actually gave us a month of diaper service as a gift and let me just say that it was the best! We got to practice using prefold cloth diapers before having to invest in a stash of our own and didn't have to worry about laundry. (We also used a few packages of disposables that were given to us at a baby shower and at the hospital -- a little easier for the midnight changes)

A few friends passed along their slightly used diaper covers and inserts to get us started. Chris's sister even gave us an entire box of prefolds, covers, snappies and inserts that she no longer needed. And I received a number of covers from my baby registry at showers. I was so thankful for everyone's help and encouragement in this "project." After our month of diaper service ended, we were getting ready to build up our stash of prefolds (Bumkins Indian cotton), when a cousin of Chris's asked us what he and his wife could get our baby-- the timing was perfect so we asked for our diapers -- and they bought us all of them! I'm not even kidding when I say we have not purchased one single diaper for our child yet . . . (Praising the Lord for His provision daily!)

As you recall, one of my biggest concerns was living in an apartment with shared coin operated laundry. This was an issue because a) who wants to share a washer with poopy diapers and 2) the cost per load was going to be $3.75 if I added a rinse cycle before and after the regular wash cycle as was recommended in my research.

So, we ended up purchasing a portable washing machine; it's just a small, 1-cubic foot machine that hooks up to our bathroom sink. It can wash about 25 diapers at a time, which is perfect. We found a used one on Craigslist from a family who had used it for their baby's clothes. We would only need to do about 50 loads before it paid off in comparison to the coin operated option. I have a feeling I'll hit that mark by Christmas! And it's a lot more convenient than having to run downstairs to start the different cycles/change loads every time. We still pay to dry them in the dryer for a buck a pop, but that doesn't really bother me. Perhaps when the sun comes out again, we'll put up a line in the window and sun-dry them.

So far, I'm very happy with the way cloth diapering has worked for us. Thanks for your input and encouragement as started this process so long ago!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Babiaks Come to Town

At the end of October, Chris's mom came to stay with us and meet her new grandson. She stayed for a week offering to help me out while Chris was working. I needed her help badly and was so thankful she came! For you sleep deprived mothers, you understand just how valuable that extra nap is during the day and Mom B made that happen! I felt like a different person!

She was so helpful in preparing us meals, watching William while I napped, showered, ate, etc. We even got to go on a walk together (with William), which I really enjoyed. This motherhood thing is really new to me (obviously) so having one-on-one time with an experienced woman was both eye opening and encouraging. Plus, I got to hear stories of my husband's childhood, which is always fun!
Dad B came for a long weekend and the five of us drove up to Sonoma to go wine tasting (only four of us did the actual tasting!). This was William's first adventure outside of San Francisco and he did amazingly well.  Like a true gentleman, he waited until after we left the restaurant to let out his screams. And it was my first time trying out my K'Tan baby wrap, which he seemed to enjoy enough to sleep in while we were out and about. 

There were three generations of Babiak men in our home that weekend so I had to take a few photos. There is potential for a four generation photo to be taken, but I'm not sure when that might happen. We don't see (Great) Grandpa very often. William won't be able to meet my grandparents since they passed away several years ago, but I'd love for him to meet Chris's grandparents and see them as much as possible. 


We had such a wonderful time with them both and are so grateful they could spend the time with us! Looking forward to seeing them again this spring when we welcome another cousin into the world!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Budgeting: Delayed Gratification

I've shared a few of our financial success stories with you before, and you already know how we do our monthly budget following many tips from Dave Ramsey. But I have one more area I'd like to discuss: Delayed gratification and saving up for those big purchases.

Several years ago, let's say three or so, I decided I wanted to buy a new camera. A full-frame DSLR camera, something I could use if I decided to go professional. Well, three years ago we were not in a place to make such a purchase. Any money we had left over from our expenses was going toward paying off loans and setting up our emergency savings. Sure, I could have put it on the credit card and had it in my hands that very month but it would have ended up costing us more with interest if we couldn't pay off the balance right away. And there were a few other things we wanted to save up for as well. The camera just didn't make the list of top priorities.

So, what did we do? (Giving up on the idea was not an option!) We set up another savings account for the sole purpose of purchasing the camera. Every month, as long as we were able, we tucked away $25 into that fund. Not a huge amount at all, but it was something! When our loans were paid off we increased it to $50. Slowly but surely, as the months went by, the fund grew and we were getting close! If I received money for birthday or Christmas gifts, I put that into the fund too. That made a huge difference.

And three years later, I purchased the camera! I ended up buying a refurbished DSLR since I wasn't willing to wait an additional two years to buy a brand new one. I had shopped Craigslist for months trying to find a used one in good condition but that seemed a little risky and the price difference wasn't that much better than the refurbished one.

It still seems unreal to hold my new camera in my hands and actually use it! Three years ago it seemed like that day would never come. I don't feel like I really missed out by not having this specific camera and I'm more ready now than I was then to attempt professional photography. I'm so thankful that we didn't go into debt to buy it and it didn't hinder us from reaching our other financial goals!

We've used this model quite a few times for larger purchases: a road bike, our trip to Europe, and most of our flights to Minnesota or Texas. The amount varies depending on how quickly we need to make the purchase and our available funds. For the most part, this works really well for us. I think the best part is never really feeling "hit" by a large purchase and having to struggle to make the budget work because we had a big credit card bill to pay.

If you know you will have a large purchase to make in the future, or really want something that is out of your budget, try saving up for it instead of using a credit card/incurring debt or trying to scrape together enough money now. Set aside a specific amount each month so you won't feel financially stretched when you make your purchase. There is freedom in delayed gratification. And it feels good!

Bringing Up Bebe

I grabbed this book randomly at the library a month ago, I had never heard of it before but it looked interesting. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman is filled with fascinating observations and research about the differences between French and American parenting styles. She was raised in the United States and moved to Paris after marrying an Englishman. When they start their family they couldn't help but notice that the behavior of their daughter was quite different from the French children around them. Which led her to look into the way she was parenting.

Druckerman shares a lot of information on studies that have been done, interviews with well known pediatricians and other medical professionals, and her own personal experiences.

I found it really interesting that French babies learn to sleep through the night by three months old, often times much earlier. They learn to eat four times a day - three meals and one snack before they are a year old; they also eat four course meals and are able to sit through dinner at restaurants without making a fuss. They rarely interrupt their parents and they seem to live freely within the boundaries the parents set up (and the parents are consistent)

She also writes that French women to maintain their sexual femininity post-childbirth, keep their marriages thriving and go back to work. They seem more detached from their children than American parents. Basically, having children doesn't change the way they live. Most of this seems possible because France provides subsidized childcare for most families (there is an application process). Even if women don't work outside the home, their children still spend at least part of the day at day care.

It was inspiring to read that things don't have to be so chaotic with children. After reading the book, I wished I could implement what the author shared, but I have to admit, a few weeks later and I've already forgotten most of the details. It was an interesting read, perhaps I'll look into this French way of parenting more later.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why I Quit my Gym Membership

Most people probably wouldn't quit their gym membership when they know they will have at least 15-20 pounds (or more!) to loose after they have a baby. Well, I actually quit my gym membership the week of my due date. Here's how I came to that decision:

I have belonged to the same gym for a year and a half.  I shared my internal debate with you here; it was meant to be a month-to-month decision but actually, I enjoyed it so much, I never really gave it a second thought. And we made it work in our budget so I didn't have to worry about that either! I loved it.  I really didn't have any regrets.

When we found out we were expecting, I kept up the membership and actually kept up my routine as much as I could. Toward the end of my pregnancy, the frequency declined to three times a week and I dropped the intensity. But it was still worth the investment. I was feeling really good and it helped keep my weight in check (because we know I wasn't watching the calories).

I debated whether or not I should keep my membership once I had my baby. I knew I wouldn't feel up to working out for at least 6-8 weeks postpartum, paying for a membership when I wasn't going to use it seemed like a waste of money. And I knew getting to the gym three times a week would be a challenge, especially since I was planning to transition from working at the office to working from home which would make the gym not quite as convenient. I could go less often, but then it wouldn't be a very good return for my money. At three times a week, it was costing me $4 per session. Not bad. But I wasn't willing to have it cost more than that. Yes, this is my greatest motivation for getting to the gym!

Having a gym that doesn't provide childcare (not many in this area do), I would have to find a sitter for William if I wanted to go when Chris was unavailable to be home. Or, I would need to limit my workouts to evenings and weekends, which I knew would be challenging to commit to. 

So, I decided to end the membership. . . at least for now. I'm not planning to give up working out, I enjoy it too much. I needed to give myself a pass to rest and recover without the pressure of returning to a gym (and throwing money away); and when I'm ready to get back into it, I will! I know it would be good for me to intentionally get out of the house every few days and do something for myself. I might be returning to the same gym, but they did increase their prices, or I may have to find a cheaper gym -- one that I wouldn't feel guilty paying for if I only made it once or twice a week. They exist, I know it! I'll let you know what I find!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baby B: One Month Old

My little man is one month old already! Obviously he has become the focal point of everything we do, according to my blog posts lately, anyway. Its hard to believe I have been operating on so little sleep for this long . . . and I have so many more months of this ahead of me. 

Baby B has a hard time falling asleep anywhere but in my arms. The best way to get him to sleep is to try to feed him. From day one, he has fallen asleep almost instantly after latching on. My battle has been to keep him awake long enough to make sure he stays alive gets the nourishment he needs. Thankfully the scales show my success by proving he has gained weight since leaving the hospital. His current weight: 8 lbs 6 oz.

He has the amazing ability to wake up from a nap as soon as we sit down for dinner. Every. Single. Time. So, one of us ends up eating a cold meal or holding him while attempting to eat with one hand. 

He hates to have his diaper changed . . . no matter what we do. Thankfully we have gotten a little quicker so the screaming doesn't last nearly as long! 

His first real outing (not to diminish doctor appointments or the grocery store) was with us and his grandparents on the Babiak side last weekend. We drove to Sonoma to go wine tasting.  As someone who has abstained from wine for the past nine months or so, this was a very welcomed trip! He did fantastic in the long car trip and throughout the day only had a few fussy moments. I was so grateful.

He has gotten to meet a few of our family members this month: my mom, both of Chris's parents and Chris's cousin and his wife. Several friends and co-workers have stopped by for a visit or to bring us meals, too! We have yet to venture out to larger social gatherings, but hope to soon!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Balance Rewards: Redeemed

Earlier this year, Walgreens started a new rewards incentive program called Balance Rewards. I've been accumulating them ever so slowly but finally reached enough points to equal $20. My problem then became needing to actually spend $20 at Walgreens since I usually just spend a few dollars here and there - especially when using coupons.

Well, the day finally came when I needed to spend $30 - buying infant formula and vitamin D for Baby William. I gladly took this opportunity to redeem my rewards.

Here's what the transaction looked like:
1 can of Gerber Good Life formula - $18.99; used $10 off coupon from Gerber
1 bottle of Enfamil D-Vi-Sol - $11.99
1 prescription refill - $5.99
Total: $27-$20 Balance Rewards = $7 Total Paid

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Precious Little Fingers

I love these little fingers. The fingers that started out so tiny. Yes, they were slender and long from day one, but they were tiny too.  With one look we knew they were his father's fingers. And now, nearly one month later, they seem to have doubled in size! There isn't much fat on this little boy yet, but I can see a little "chub" on his hands now. I imagine in a few years that "chub" will no longer be there and they will resemble his father's hands once again — long and slender, capable and strong.

I think his fingers are my favorite part. Watching him reach and grab, clasp and pull (usually at me!). He's still learning how they work and what they are for. He's figuring out that these little fingers are good for chewing on and soothing himself, but he's also learning that they can get in the way of his food sometimes.

It's amazing to reflect on the smallness of his being and knowing that we all start out this way. This little baby started out with a tiny frame and tiny fingers, but our Father knows how he will grow and who he will become. Our Heavenly Father has made him for a purpose; He has a plan for him already.

I'm thankful I can place these tiny little fingers in the palm of my great-big-God's hand. I can trust Him for His plan and purpose and just marvel at these precious little fingers (and toes, and nose, and lips . . .) in front of me.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cutest Baby Hats

I have to do a shameless plug for my cousin who made this hat for William. Actually, she made it for me to use in my baby photography sessions and William just happened to be the first male model to wear it! I have a similar one in cream and pink for girls too! (see below)

My cousin, Sadie has made several styles with different embellishments, all are adorable and affordable! She'll even do custom orders if you have specific ideas in mind. They make great baby gifts!

If you're interested in purchasing a handmade hat like this, please email Sadie and she'll give you more information: pretty_cowgirl_07@hotmail.com

** I'm not usually one for promoting products on my blog, but I really want to help Sadie get the word out about her new business! If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please send her an email! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Breastfeeding Woes

Its been three and a half weeks since I started breastfeeding and I have been frustrated, scared, sad and fairly emotional about the whole experience so far. I'm just waiting for happy/thrilled to make it into the mix.

As I mentioned in my post about my blood loss after the delivery of my beautiful baby boy, my milk was slow at coming in. The first few days, no one really says anything, because well, that's to be expected. But when the nurse walked in from the nursery with my baby and says "you aren't feeding him enough, he's lost 10% of his body weight and we need to supplement with formula" I started to freak out.

"Formula" seemed like such a bad word. So much so that it felt like a punch to my gut when she said it. I grew up watching my mom breastfeed my younger siblings and I will admit that all of my dolls were breastfed as well. My mom is actually a lactation counselor and breastfeeding advocate for her county.  I grew up "celebrating" breastfeeding awareness week by dubbing videos, making posters and banners for her! I knew "breast is best" and formula was "second rate" at a very young age.

To hear that my baby needed formula was a lot like hearing "You're a failure." My body was not doing what it was made to do. I never imagined I would have troubles with this; I felt I had been trained for it! I was an emotional wreck about this. I was terrified. What if I can't breastfeed at all? What will happen to my baby because I can't give him what he needs? How will we afford all that formula?

Every breastfeeding resource I read pointed out over and over again how great breastfeeding is and how formula should only be used if medically necessary. Even formula says right on the packaging that breast milk is better than what you're feeding your baby. I felt bombarded by messages of failure.

I felt this way regardless that my situation made it "medically necessary." The doctor said that my milk production was probably affected by my blood loss and they hoped it would come when my body had recovered. How long would that take?

They gave my son the formula and brought a hospital grade pump to my room and hooked me up telling me to get to work. After a few times of pumping, I thought I was doing well. Something was coming out after all. But it turns out, it was only one-fifth (or less) of what my son needed in a single feeding. Chris was feeding him the milk I pumped via syringe. I still tried to breastfeed too but it was difficult to tell if he was getting anything. The formula feedings continued. They showed us some tricks to avoid using the bottle if we were worried about nipple confusion and showed Chris how to "finger feed."

A lactation counselor came in and helped one morning, but when she left, I still felt like I wasn't getting it . . . and he wasn't getting it either. I should have asked more questions. I should have clarified what she said so I understood it better.

Once we got home, I tried to just feed him all the time so I wouldn't have to use the formula, but the pediatrician vetoed that idea when she saw he still wasn't gaining weight as he should be. So we compromised. I would breastfeed all day long but then at night we would give formula.

Yesterday I met with the lactation counselor again and she gave me some encouragement that this can get better. There will be a lot of work on my end to get my supply up, but now that I'm feeling more like myself, it should in fact, increase!

I recently read this blog and was encouraged to keep up the fight, that it is worth it. And I'm realizing that using formula doesn't make me a failure. It may be necessary for my family. It is necessary for a lot of families -- that's why its there. I realize that I may have judged others who have decided not to breastfeed, but that was wrong. I never knew where they were coming from or why they decided to go with formula. I never even asked. (Can you ask that?)

I've been humbled. I'm still sad, frustrated, scared and the tears still come when I think about this struggle . . . but I'm going to do the best I can.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Family of Three

Photographs taken by: Emily & Chris Babiak and Connie Hagen

A Week with Grandma

William met Grandma Connie when he was just ten days old. She flew out to San Francisco a week after we all got home from the hospital to help with meals and make sure I was getting the rest I needed. It was really wonderful to have her with us and I am so thankful for all she did for us while she was here! Not only that, but she came with an entire suitcase filled with clothes for him too! His closet is now full of cute, boy things.

Mom braved the city on her own a few times. I was really too exhausted to get out much at all. She took a long walk to the farmer's market and the grocery store as well as enjoyed a walk at a nearby park. The weather was actually warm and sunny the whole week, which made the return trip back to the chilly midwest even harder for her. (Of course, I would be stuck inside during the entire two weeks of San Francisco's "summer.")

Chris went back to work on Wednesday after having a two and a half weeks off, and I have to say that I am so glad my mom was hear to help me with that transition. I don't think I could have done three days on my own with William last week. I was just too tired to take care of both he and myself. She also helped me with a lot of questions I had concerning breastfeeding and bathing him. She even showed me a few of the infant message techniques she teaches. William wasn't really a fan of that so it will take some time before I'm any good!

I did make it outside a few times; we trekked to Babies 'R Us in hopes of finding a little vibrating bouncer/swing, Target and the grocery store. After that, I decided shopping online was more my thing. I just got too worn out. Mom also came with me to William's doctor appointment. Traveling is so much easier when there is another person with us! I have no idea how I will do that on my own.

During the middle of the week, the three of us took mom on a little drive through the city so she could see more of it. We didn't want her to feel cooped up in our one bedroom apartment or miss out on some fun in the city. We drove to the top of twin peaks and then went out for pizza and ice cream. On Thursday, mom stayed home while Chris and I went on a date. We hadn't really had much time together as any new parent will probably tell you and it was much needed.

It was fun to witness my mom be "Grandma" to William. She has such a gift with babies and knows so much when it comes to caring for them. I know William won't remember this past week, but I don't think I'll ever forget it. It's hard to live so far away from her and my dad now; to know that they won't see him grow the way my grandparents saw me and my siblings grow. The times we will have with them will be extra special for sure, hopefully it won't be a rare thing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Baby B: 40 Weeks

How far along: 40 Weeks/1 week old (this post should have been posted last week, but I was too tired)

How big is the baby: Weighs 6 pounds and 14 ounces; 20.5 inches long

Sleep: Baby B wakes up every two to three hours; we're supplementing formula at night so he sleeps for a little longer than if it were just breast milk. I'm still not producing enough for him. I sleep pretty well in between feedings.

Best moment of the week: Taking Baby B home with us! Having him be part of our little family!

Worst thing: Honestly, the cramping and bleeding . . . my recovery.

Symptoms: Symptoms of pregnancy are gone! Symptoms of new-motherhood: sleepy, crabby, not showered.

Movement: Baby B moves all the time! He loves to scratch his face and poke his eyes.

What I miss: Feeling him inside me. I really miss being pregnant, not to say I don't love having him in my arms; its just different. 

Food Cravings: I don't really have cravings, but I'm suppose to eat a lot of iron rich foods. Bring on the meat!

Food Aversions: none

Maternity Clothes: Basically just for comforts sake. I can't quite fit into my normal jeans yet, but I can wear my normal shirts again.

Things People Say: Everyone says William is adorable or cute and I look great (why wouldn't they say that, right!?) Our almost three-year-old niece said, "He's a cute baby. He's sleeping, wake him up!" when introduced over skype.

Exercise: Non-existant. I can walk faster now, but it wears me out. Everything just wears me out.

Last Appointment: September 25 - where my midwife said to our group "some of you may not make it to our next session, you might already have your babies!" Well, she was right. I had William one day before our next session. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Extended Hospital Stay

The morning following William's birth was more eventful than either one of us were prepared for. I will warn you before you read my story that I do share a lot of details - and use words like "blood." If that might bother you, don't read it!

Throughout the night, I had gotten light headed and felt faint any time I had to stand up to go to the bathroom. The nurse advised me not to go alone, to either have Chris help me or to call a nurse. I had also been bleeding quite a bit, which at the time I thought was to be expected. (No one actually shows you how much you're suppose to bleed or not!)

On Wednesday morning I started to sit up in bed and felt completely dizzy. My vision was fuzzy and I was really clammy. Chris asked me how many fingers he was holding up and I said something about my eyes being closed so I couldn't see. Chris told me later that my eyes were wide open and my skin was as white as the bed sheets! He immediately called the nurses and they came running in. I don't remember all the details but eventually I was given an IV and fluids and they drew some blood for tests. I was told to remain in bed and was hooked up to a catheter.

My hemoglobin tests came back low (7 if that means anything to you), but the doctor said they weren't low enough to require a blood transfusion although it was an option to consider.  I had lost a lot of blood during delivery and through the night. I really didn't want a blood transfusion so I said I'd wait to see if the fluids were enough to get my system back up to speed. They had also given me some medication to help stop the bleeding.

After another blood test (every time they drew blood I was pricked at least three times!) my hemoglobin came back at a 4! What! How could they be lower than before!? Apparently I was also dehydrated and that can mess with the test results. The doctor tells me that I'm at risk of having a heart attack and need to have the blood transfusion right away. She would start me out with two pints and see after that if I needed more, chances are I would.

Having a blood transfusion wasn't something I ever thought I'd need after having a baby. I hadn't realized just how much blood I was loosing after the delivery. A midwife later told me that I had quite possibly lost half of the blood in my body and if this were 50 years ago, I would have died as they didn't have ways of treating blood loss like that back then. If my emotions weren't in high gear yet, they were after hearing that. And I would cry every time I thought of this fact for the next two weeks. I was terrified, scared and deeply saddened that my delivery/recovery wasn't what I had hoped for.

The thought of my husband's greatest fears (that something horrible would happen to me) had almost come to pass also brought an overwhelming sadness to my heart and streams of tears to my eyes. I hated that he had to see me so ill.

After the first transfusion they decided I needed one more the following day. And the day after that I opted to have another one. My levels still weren't in the normal range and the staff advised me to take the 4th pint as going home to take care of a newborn was going to be hard work and I needed to be better than I was. They told Chris that he would have to do everything. My job was to feed my baby, bathe, sleep and eat. He took that to heart and has changed nearly every diaper, burped him after every feeding and prepared every meal and snack for me as well.

William also suffered from my loss of blood. Not only was I unable to get up to comfort him when he cried (Daddy took amazing care of him though), but my milk supply was a lot lower than it needed to be and was a lot slower at coming in. His blood sugar dropped pretty low because he wasn't getting enough to eat and he lost a lot of weight. The pediatrician started supplementing formula to get his sugar regulated. This was another blow to what I had hoped for. I knew breast milk was best and that introducing a bottle this early on could cause some confusion for the baby.

No one really told me why I had bled so much, but the day after the first transfusion I had passed a larger blood clot that actually had a piece of the placenta in it. I was told that was probably why. Once that was out of my body I felt so much better.

So five days later, on October 5th, with my hemoglobin at a decent (but not great) level and William's blood sugar back up to a normal number, they let us all go home.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Birth Story

Tuesday, October 1st was my first day of maternity leave. I had big plans for my week off before the baby's arrival. Freezer meals to make, groceries to buy, shopping to do, furniture to find, nails to be done, etc.

I started out the day being pretty restful. I had a long quiet time which was much needed followed by a walk through a park to a baby consignment store where I had hoped to find a few last minute items.  I made a stop by the library and picked up a few books and then made it to the grocery store. That afternoon, I prepared a meal for a friend who had a baby the previous week and then got started on dinner. Chris and I were going to go to our small group potluck that night. At 4 p.m. I decided to put my swollen feet up for a bit and read my new book. At 4:50, I got up to clean the kitchen so Chris wouldn't come home to a mess before having to leave for small group. I felt a slight cramping feeling at this point but thought nothing of it.

At 5 p.m. I felt another surge of cramps coming on. I checked the clock and thought, okay, that's probably a contraction. 10 minutes apart. That okay. I sat down again, and tried to keep track of them. At 6 p.m. I thought, Where is Chris? He should be home any minute. I tried calling him, but didn't get an answer. Seconds later I heard the front door of our building close and just knew it was him. Sure enough, he walked through our door moments later. He took one look at me sitting on the couch and asked, "What are you doing, Honey?"

"Having a contraction." I said.

We discussed if he should still go to small group (the quiche was just about done!) but decided against it. I had expected the first stage of labor to last several hours and it had only been one; it didn't make sense to me for us to be stuck at home if nothing was going to happen. Chris didn't feel comfortable with that so we called the host and let her know what was going on.

I told Chris the contractions were about 10 minutes apart, but now seemed to be closer to 6. I took a shower, which at first felt nice, then it was awful so I got out and laid down for a while. Chris started his coaching script trying to keep me calm. He also took over the stop watch to clock the contractions. He quickly noticed that they were now 3 minutes apart. Okay, things were going quickly. Our hospital wanted us to call when they were 3 minutes apart for an hour. Well, after 30 minutes they were 2 minutes apart! Chris called the hospital and they told us to come on over.

Thankfully, the hospital we chose was just a mile down the road and after 8 p.m. there was hardly any traffic. When we arrived they put me in a wheel chair and brought me to the labor and delivery floor, we checked in and they put us in this tiny tiny room where they took their sweet time checking my blood pressure and had me take a urine test. When the nurse finally got around to checking my progress she exclaimed, "You're fully dialated! You're going to have this baby soon!"

They moved me to another, much larger room just as my urge to push was starting. They told me not to push yet, which in my mind made no sense at all . . . but the doctor wasn't there yet and my water had not broken yet.

Side note: For the past nine months I had been working with a midwife from the hospital so I was under the assumption I would have a midwife deliver my baby. But on that night, the midwife wasn't on call! It turns out, doctors and midwives operate very differently when it comes to delivering babies.

Once the doctor on call arrived there seemed to be a lot going on, and I don't really remember those details. A lot of questions were asked, people were scurrying back and forth and then they finally told me I could start pushing.

I grabbed Chris's hand every time a contraction started. (This was not part of my birthing plan so it surprised me that I needed to do this.) When it was time to push, the nurse on the other side guided me while holding one leg and Chris took the other. I had not planned to give birth on my back as I had read about other positions being easier, but there wasn't really time to discuss it at this point. During one of my contractions, another nurse tried to give me an IV; well, that was a complete failure as I ripped my hand from her as I was trying to push. I didn't even realize what she was trying to do until it was too late. That left a nasty bruise. Then they said I needed oxygen so they put a mask on my face. This was fine for a few minutes but then during another contraction it started to suffocate me! I ripped it off of my face only to have Chris put it back on saying the babies heart rate was dropping and the oxygen was helping that. I gladly took it back.

It seemed like just one or two pushes later they said they could see the head and I could touch it if I wanted. I had never thought of doing this before, but with the offer before me, I did. And with two more contractions (and a little bit of screaming on my part) my baby was born!

Chris looked at me and said, "We have a baby BOY!" And they wiped him off and put our son on my chest.  He had a beautiful face with round cheeks, big eyes and tiny nose. There wasn't a mark on him at all. He looked perfect. William Bradley was born at 9:22 p.m. - just four and a half hours after I noticed my contractions had started.

There is more to the story that I hope to share in the days to come, but today we'll end on a happy note!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It's a Boy!

Your Patience Please

I never imagined it would take me a full week to blog about the arrival of our little boy. There have been so many things I've wanted to share with you since last Tuesday. I've thought about my readers a lot; there is so much to tell you.

But after spending five days in the hospital (more on that later!), my energy has not yet returned and there is a little someone who has become my top priority - as he should be.

So, with that, I ask for your patience. I have every intention of blogging about my son and our family. Stay with me. I'll be back soon! And yes, there will be pictures!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Maternity Leave Starts Now!

Today I am 39 weeks pregnant and beginning my maternity leave from work. I'm so thankful that I can take this time off to prepare for the arrival of our baby and perhaps find a few extra hours of rest before the real work and exhaustion begins.

Originally, I thought I'd work all the way up to my labor, mostly for financial reasons, but also so I could spend all the time I could with my baby at home. But as the weeks wore on, and the bigger my ankles (and belly) seemed to get, I knew I wouldn't be able to do that. I needed to have time and space to put my feet up and rest.

Now that said, I have a feeling my week may be beautifully interrupted by an "early" baby. I just have this feeling that he or she may be ready to come any day now. Chris on the other hand is expecting to have an entire week after the due date to twiddle his thumbs. So, we'll wait and see!

My plan is to take 12 weeks off from my job and return around the first of the year. Can you believe 2014 is only three months away! I'm really looking forward to (as in my soul is craving) this time off of work and being a "stay-at-home-mom." I know half of it will be a time of recovery and transition as well, but to be able to spend this time getting to know our child and be able to invest my time and energy fully in my family and my home just brings my heart joy.

These past 39 weeks have gone by incredibly fast. I have a hard time believing that our baby could be here "any day," but it's true! I am incredibly excited. A little nervous. Scared. But so, so happy. Please pray for us and our baby -- for strength during labor and health for Baby and me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2013 Walk for Life

For the past two years, I've joined Alpha Pregnancy Center for their Walk for Life event.  I love the way they do their event. All of the walkers gather together at the center, load up their arms with gift bags and maps and hit the streets to deliver the care packages to clients that have been served by the center that year. We get to see their faces light up with joy and we offer to pray for them and their children. It really is a special event.

This year, I won't be able to join in the event as I'll have a brand new baby of my own. Baby B could be anywhere from two weeks old to two days old and I just don't know how I'll be feeling or what kind of activity I'd feel up to.  I was a little sad that I'd have to miss this year's event.

But, after some thought and prayer, I thought I'd try to help out in another way. Maybe I can't do the physical walking or lead a team this year, but I can help in the fundraising! And so can you! Last year we raised $600 for Alpha! We had surpassed my original goal of $500, which was awesome!

What can we do this year? Can we raise another $500? Below is an outline of what your gifts can accomplish through the center. If you feel so led, please click here to donate directly to Alpha Pregnancy Center, and if you like, mention "In Honor of Baby Babiak" in the "comments" section!

$5- Purchases one package of diapers given to a client
$25 - Covers the cost of a pregnancy test and a session of pregnancy options counseling
$75- Pays for one person to complete our Post Abortion Recovery Group
(or another one of our 8 classes)
$175 -- Allows one client to come on a monthly basis for a year to receive supplies and follow up care
$500 -- Provides one year of in depth case management for a family; making sure they have housing, health care, employment, and child care
$1200-- Saves an unborn child
As Chris and I have been preparing for our baby to join our family, I'm reminded again and again of the importance of the support and help that Alpha brings to families who need it. The classes they offer, the services and supplies they provide (all free of charge) are only possible by the gifts they receive from people like you and me. 
We have been blessed abundantly by our community as we get ready to be parents and I'd like to do the same for someone else in need. Will you help?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Baby B: 38 Weeks

How far along: 38 weeks

How big is the baby: Weighing about 6 pounds and measuring 19-22 inches long (according to those lovely Internet statistics).

Sleep: I've had a few nights where I go through long stretches without waking up, which is great. And then I am informed that I snore . . . a lot. Otherwise, it's about every 2 to 3 hours that I'm up, using the bathroom and feeling wide awake. I guess my body is getting me used to something!

Best moment of the week:
Feeling more ready for Baby B to join us. We're getting our apartment put together and creating more space. We received a lot of gifts and hand-me-downs that have us feeling much more prepared!

Worst thing: Swelling. My hands and face are starting to show signs of swelling as well. Not my favorite thing.

Symptoms: Swollen ankles, hands, face and a growing (daily) belly. Fatigue.

Movement: There isn't much space left to move so when Baby B does decide to squirm and wiggle it feels pretty intense. Baby is mostly sticking to the right side of my belly, making me look a little off center.

What I miss: Speed walking. Seriously, I just walk so much slower these days. It takes me a little longer to get anywhere. 

Food Cravings: Sweets. Chocolate. I'm addicted. I may need help.

Food Aversions: I can't think of anything!

Maternity Clothes:
Jeans have not been the most comfortable lately. I am wearing my yoga pants around the house more and more.

Things People Say: Street people are often the most bold in saying something to me, usually it's nice. Like "Congratulations!" or "I hope things go well." The other day, I had a man tell me that he would be available to be a daddy any time I needed . . . AAHH, get me out of here! I got on the bus as quickly as I could after that!

Exercise: My workouts have become more stretching routines than actual workouts. Walking is my main form of cardio these days. I put in my cancellation notice with my gym membership. Only two weeks left. Why quit the gym when I'll be needing to get back in shape after the baby comes? . . . I'll blog about that some other time.

Last Appointment: September 11 - We discussed baby care and car seat safety. There were a few more tests I had to take but so far everything looks great.

Next Appointment:
September 25