Friday, June 28, 2013

Flying Solo

I'm going on a little vacation today. Flying to Minnesota to visit a few very good college friends, several relatives and hopefully some friends from my hometown. I haven't seen them in two years . . . which seems a little like forever. The last time I made it home was for my sister's wedding. Can't even believe my sister has been married for nearly two years!

I have several stops to make, covering over 300 miles of the state. A few days in the Twin Cities, Fargo, Grand Forks and then Plummer before flying back to California. My husband isn't able to come with me this time. I don't think we've been apart for this long in a while.

Please pray that I feel well while traveling and that I get to see everyone I need to see. Also, pray for my sister (living in Las Vegas) as she's about to deliver her baby any day now!

~Just a little update since I won't be blogging again until I return next week.~

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Baby Fair

Last weekend I attended a Birth & Baby Fair. It's crazy that we have these. But apparently it's an annual thing. All the new baby product vendors set up booths and show their goods, some are national organizations, others local companies. It seemed like a great way to get to familiarize myself with all things baby -- to look, touch, and feel the items and talk to knowledgeable people about them.

There were also representatives from area services like the cloth diaper service, nursing mother's counsel, several doula organizations and birthing class teachers as well as several children's photographers and boutiques shops.

And a lot of babies and bumps.

I came home with a ton of brochures and information on everything from Ergo-baby carriers and Mother's Milk Tea to custom nursery interior design (in my dreams!). But it was great. I learned a lot and got to sit in on some workshops about breastfeeding and cloth diapering and even how to manage labor pains. All good stuff.

The things I didn't get to partake in that I had hoped was winning any of the door prizes and the 15 minute prenatal massage. Oh well.

I think the one thing I actually decided after going there was that I will use cloth diapers. I most likely will use the diaper service for the first few months and then transition to doing them on my own using the prefolds and covers as well as trying a few of the all-in-twos out there. I wasn't a huge fan of the all-in-ones after seeing them in "real life."  Chris and I have talked about looking into getting a portable washing machine so we don't have to worry about that needed extra rinse cycle or what detergents our neighbors use. It'll also cut down on the need to run downstairs to do the laundry and we should be able to do them more often and not have to worry about the cost per load.

It was an all day event, but I didn't feel as overwhelmed as I thought I would. I ended up going by myself because I had a lot of errands to run before and afterwards, which was fine because then I was more focused on the information I was learning rather than catching up with good friends in the midst of a crazy fair.

Next up on the list: Finish my registry, find a few furniture pieces and look into finding a pediatrician.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Register Rewards from Walgreens

It has been a while since I've purchased anything using coupons. I got a little burned out from the couponing craze for a while . . . several months actually. But, Walgreens had a few things that we've been in need of at a decent price, so I jumped back in this week. And the high came right back! (oh, dear).

I did two transactions because there were register rewards involved and I wanted to use one to pay for the second order.

Transaction 1:
 - H+ Creme (TMI, I know): Regular price: $9.99, on sale for $7.00 with $7 in Register Rewards
Paid: $7.61 (including tax) and received $7 RR

Transaction 2:
 - Colgate Toothpaste 4 oz.: Regular price $3.79, on sale for $3.00 with $2.50 Register Rewards; also used $.75 off coupon
 - Reach Floss 30 Yd: Regular price $4.49, on sale for $2.99 with $2 Register Rewards
 - Kleenex Tissue (2 boxes): Regular price: $1.49, on sale for $1 each.
Paid: $7 RR from previous transaction and $.94 (including tax) and received $2 and $2.50 RR

So, I ended up spending $8.55 (with $1.10 being sales tax) and have $4.50 RR left for my next purchase. The total value (regular price) would have been $21.45 if I ever needed to buy this stuff while it was not on sale (gasp! but it does happen).


I stumbled across a friend of mine's GoodReads list and put half a dozen or so of her favs on my hold list at the library. Bossypants by Tina Fey was the first one to arrive. After my attempts to read "Once Upon a Wish" this is exactly what I needed. I really enjoyed Tina Fey's "30 Rock" TV series which is what the book is based on. She carried the same sense of humor throughout the book that you find in the writing of her show.

Fey is also a working mom so you get your mix of parenting tips/experiences sprinkled throughout the book as well. I really enjoyed reading about her experience playing Sarah Palin.  The election season was a busy season for Fey to begin with and then this role just kind of landed in her lap and I think she totally made it work. Her recounting of it is great.

Really, I just enjoyed the read because it she makes me laugh. And I'd much rather laugh than cry. It was a quick and easy read. I think I finished it within a week or less.

If you like 30 Rock, SNL, or anything Tina Fey has done in the past, you'll probably enjoy her book.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baby B: 24 Weeks

How far along: 24 weeks (Sorry, the photo is already a week old!)

How big is the baby: Weighing over 1 pound and measuring 12 inches long (according to those lovely Internet statistics)

Sleep: Sleep is a struggle. The pillows are helping but it's been hard to wind down at the end of my day and let my mind rest. My hip/low back seem to be doing a little better which is helpful for sleep as well as every other area of life.

Best moment of the week:
Last week, Chris was able to feel the baby move for the first time. It has been great to have him share in that part of the pregnancy and the baby's growth! This is also the best part of this week too.

Worst thing: My jeans are getting just a little too tight for comfort. That and I've had a little more stretching pain in my right side.

Symptoms: Bigger belly, swollen ankles, hungry pretty much all the time.

Movement: The baby's movements are bigger and much more noticeable. I think I've even seen my belly shake. It doesn't feel like butterflies anymore, the movements are much too big for that. Chris can feel Baby B move now too.

What I miss: Missing wine and being able to do my Pilates Five (not really, I never liked them).

Food Cravings: Still chocolate milk and sweets. Although veggie sticks and hummus has been a welcomed treat. Also, I've cheated a few times on my gluten-free diet. Bread is just too yummy to pass up sometimes.

Food Aversions: I'm sure there are some, but I can't think of them.

Maternity Clothes: Only a few of my jeans still fit. I did purchase a pair of maternity shorts for my upcoming visit to MN and NV in July. They actually have a summer! Also borrowing quite a bit a from a friend.

Things People Say: Everyone has to say something. "Look at you." or "That is a real baby bump, can't mistake you for being fat." (Thanks I guess!)

Exercise: Still going to the gym. The elliptical is much more comfortable for my belly actually, so I've been mixing that up with the bike. I went to my prenatal Pilates class last week and the prenatal yoga class on Saturday. Felt great. I like doing guided classes so I have someone tell me if I'm doing it wrong or to change it up if it causes any pain.
Last Appointment: June 5; I started going a group check-up rather than individual check-ups. It's a program called "Centering" offered by my clinic. I love it. I'm learning a lot and getting to meet other new moms. I may write on this more later.

Next Appointment: Check-up with midwife on June 25. (This one will be individual because I'll miss the centering group while I'm in MN.)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Big Change After 8 Years

I've worn glasses since I was in 2nd grade. They were big, round and plastic. Ever since then, whenever I got new glasses my goal had been to find glasses that were as far away from that image as possible. And then . . . the 90s came back. Everywhere I look, people are wearing the very glasses I hated for three years of my life. They might even be bigger . . . ugh. And honestly, most of the time, people look great wearing them. But for the life of me, I couldn't do it.

A month ago I ordered new glasses. I hadn't ordered new frames since December 2005. Seriously. Eight years. That is a record for me. I've gone through five pairs of glasses, now on my sixth in twenty-two years. (Seriously... 22 years... thank you Lord for the invention of vision-correcting spectacles). *note that I've had my lenses updated way more frequently.*

Anyway, enough of this year-counting, it's scaring me. The point is, I finally got to update my look after so long. But actually, I loved my old look. These glasses were my all time favorites. I remember picking them out, being so nervous no one else would like them, that I actually canceled my order and made my mom come back with me to decide. She liked them, so I got them and I've never doubted them since.

But it was time for an updated prescription so I thought I should also get new frames. I found a coupon on a daily deal site and went for it. Let me just say, I hate picking out frames. Hate it. Worse that swimsuit and jean shopping. I think it's because they are so expensive (for blind bats like me) and I wear them everyday, so it matters. The coupon I got helped, but they were still expensive . . . and I am frugal beyond frugal.

Anyway, after sitting there for at least thirty minutes and debating between three different frames, I chose these. And guess what . . . their plastic! AAHH. I'm back to plastic. At least they aren't round! I picked them up on Friday, terrified that I would hate them. But I think I like them. They are a lot more bold than my old pair, but I can get used to being bold.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Rights of a Pregnant Lady

Do pregnant women get treated differently than other, non-expectant women? Should they?

I often feel that they should be treated better, their bodies are going through a lot at the moment. Not to mention their emotions and thoughts running wild as they try to prepare for their child to be born.

Yesterday, I was on the Muni (public transportation for all you non-city folk). The car was pretty full when I got on so I was standing. I was fine with that, but I wished that any one of the three young guys sitting right in eye-line with my protruding belly would have offered me a seat. I wasn't feeling the best. I would have been so thankful. But they didn't. Not one of them even made eye contact.

Then a seat right behind me opened up. I noticed an elderly man in a well tailored suit eying it from across the way but he made no move to take it, so I did. As soon as I sat down, I noticed that he had started his way toward it, so I stood up and offered it to him. Either he didn't hear me or he ignored me . . . and then he gave me the evil eye and mumbled something under his breath as he walked away.

I could have chased him down and gotten his attention. I felt guilty for taking it. But at the same time, I was so glad to sit down, however briefly the rest of my ride was going to be. So I stayed.

Half the time, I want to wear a sign that announces my pregnancy so people might give me a seat. Sometimes I sit in the seats reserved for the disabled because although I know I'm not disabled, I'm bearing an extra few pounds and my back aches and my feet are swelling and I just might vomit if I don't. But then I get looks.

I know I don't look super pregnant right now, I'm not super pregnant. Honestly, when I really felt like I needed a chair was before I started to show at all. You know, during those rough first-trimester mornings. But I never said anything. I didn't want the first people I told to be strangers on the bus.

What do you all think - is it okay for pregnant women to sit in the seats meant for disabled? Should I be able to ask others to give up their seat for me on those rough days? Or should I get over it?
I don't want to come across as "pity me, the poor soon-to-be-mother" or like I deserve the royal treatment. I'm more curious what others really think. If pregnant women can ask for that type of kindness or not.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Once Upon A Wish

Once Upon a Wish: True Inspirational Stories of Make-A-Wish Children by Rachelle Sparks is exactly what it sounds like . . . heart wrenching stories of children going through the unthinkable and surviving.

So heart wrenching in fact that I could not get past the fourth page without crying . . . in public no less. After reading the stories of two young girls, I had to make a decision. Do I continue and put my all-ready-super-sensetive emotions through the rest of the book, expecting to cry at least once each time I picked it up or to stop reading it.

I chose to stop reading it.

I never stop reading a book part way through. But I guess I had to this time.

So, although I cannot fully recommend this book (to pregnant women at least) I will say that reading about the hope and joy offered through Make-A-Wish is wonderful and I'm glad they do what they do. And it is inspiring to read what families have survived . . . that really, really awful stuff can be lived through and learned from.

If you need to let some tears fall, go ahead and pick up this book. Or maybe your not the emotional type, then by all means, read these real-life stories. They are incredible. These families are so strong and courageous. But be warned, your heart may break along the way.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

God Knows My Name

I found God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved by Beth Redman by chance really. It was listed on a website as a free download on Amazon Kindle that day. (I have a reader app on my phone.) After downloading it, I read the first few pages and just knew my friend needed to have this book too. I quickly sent her a text telling her to download it that day too. And so, we've been reading the book together! I like our  informal, spontaneous, little book club.

Redman shares some really deep hurts she has experienced in her past and how she has finally found freedom from the pain. When she found how intimately God knows and cares for her, she was able to cling to him and be healed. The first section of the book is very sad and almost painful for the reader to relive with the author, but she takes you along her journey in an honest and powerful way and brings you to the Healer too.

The chapter titles may tell you a little more about how she lays out her book. I find the titles themselves very encouraging too: 
1. God Knows My Name
2. God Knows My Past
3. God Shapes My Character
4. God Sees My Choices
5. God Has Not Forgotten Me
6. God Is My Helper
7. God Is My Defender
8. God Is My Restorer

My favorite section was "God Has Not Forgotten Me."  She lays out scripture after scripture that just grabbed my heart and gave me hope. I'm not really going through much at the moment, but know I need to arm myself with these powerful words. I found most of them inspiring and felt a calling to go deeper in the Word and spend more time with the Lord. My soul is so thirsty.

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8)

"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." (Rom 8:1-2)
I did find another link where you can download the book if you are at all interested. Check it out.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just 12 Days Old

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine had a baby boy and they were kind enough to let me take his picture when he was just twelve days old. {S} is the first baby I've been able to photograph that young and I was so grateful for the opportunity. There is just something about that newborn sleepy-eyed, cuddly age that is just so precious. And they don't stay that way for long!

I was a little nervous, but had watched and read some really great tips online that really put me at ease. And once I got set up and going, it felt like I was doing what I was born to do! I had the very best time. Here's a look at my favorites:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Corelli's Mandolin

After sharing a quote from this book, I thought I should probably read it. Corelli's Mandolin by British writer Lois de Bernieres is a story of family, friendships, love and war that is set on the Greek island of Cephalloni.

The author introduces us to several characters using chapter breaks as way of introducing someone else's story.  I liked getting to know these characters in this way; and trying to guess just how these characters would meet and interact later on.

The main characters are a father and daughter who live on the island of Cephalloni during WWII. They are invaded by the Italian army and find themselves having to host one of their captains. In the midst of trying to hate their enemy, they find that he is not a bad man and end up liking him very much, especially his music from his mandolin. As the war continues, life gets harder and all end up suffering in one way or another.

Without giving away too much, the second half of the book is pretty tragic and I found myself asking how the author was going to bring closure to their lives. I do have to say that by the time I reached the end, I wished there was even more. The story just wasn't complete in my mind.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and although, I'm not much into reading about war and injury, the love story was a good one! And I like the quote I shared last month even more. In searching out more on the book, I discovered there was a movie made in 2001; I may have to rent it. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Beginning of Summer

Can you believe May is already over? I don' t know about you, but time is flying by. It seems like every year as summer begins I have high hopes and expectations of making it a great one. Taking trips to the beach, hanging with friends, working on my little projects . . . the list goes on. And every year, it goes by too fast and very few things get crossed off of my list.

It was different when we marked time by the school year. When classes ended there was a certain freedom granted. As the days got warmer (in the Midwest), laziness set in and it was perfectly acceptable to do nothing. Now that the academic calendar has little to do with my schedule, I find it harder to carve out time for summer fun and sunshine. The weekends are just too short to get everything done and go to the beach. In many ways, I envy my teacher-friends who still have that school-year schedule.

As summer begins, I know I'll still be working my normal 40 hour work week. I'll still be making our brown-bag lunches and rushing home to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour. But I also know that there may be opportunities to go to the park a little more often, or have a picnic on the beach next Saturday. It may not happen as frequently as I would like, but it can happen enough that it makes summer time special and memorable.

Last Thursday we drove across the bridge to join our cousins for dinner. We've only made it to their home a couple of times since they moved there, but as we were sitting down outside around the grill (a sure sign it is now Summer) and watched the sun set after 8 p.m., I was reminded that it is actually Summer and the perfect time to relax and hang out with friends. And I sat there and soaked it all in. Glorious.

I want more of that.

My hopes for this summer include: a trip back home, a trip to Las Vegas to see my sister, short day trips to the beach and picnics in the nearby parks, maybe evening strolls if the wind allows and relaxing weekends with friends. Maybe I'll read a few books and finish a few crafty projects too.

Welcome to Summer!