Friday, August 30, 2013

Creating Space: Furniture Update

With just six weeks left before Baby B enters our world, Chris and I have really started to think seriously (and plan accordingly) about making space for our little one. We have a one bedroom apartment, which is probably around 600 square feet. We love it. It's been our comfortable home for the past three years and has been perfect for the two of us. And now, we need to make it at least functional for the three of us!

A while back, I wrote about our hunt for furniture and our great china hutch find. After that, I had been looking for a few other key pieces on a weekly (okay, daily) basis - an entry way table with storage, a dresser that can be used as a changing table, and shelves.

It was slow going. Really. Everything we found that we remotely liked was either too expensive (especially for used furniture!) or two far away. I'd been looking for months. Seriously. And as time was speeding by and my baby bump was getting bigger, I felt like we needed to hurry it up a bit.

Chris agreed to go to IKEA with me, it seemed like our last resort, but we knew they'd have the functional pieces we needed. We spent a few hours there, which wasn't bad. And Chris handled it well. He had never been there before so I was a little worried he'd be overwhelmed; thankfully we got there right when it opened so it wasn't too crowded yet. We even stopped for some Swedish meatballs!

So, without further ado, here's a before and after photo for you!

The change wasn't drastic by any means, but it does provide us with a lot more storage! I didn't think to take a photo of all the stuff in our bedroom that now fits in this new cabinet, but now we have space for a pack'n play/mini crib next to our bed.

And all my hobby stuff is in one place! My camera and equipment, card making supplies, and sewing materials are all hidden away and much easier to get to! Success!

Baby Boy's Quilt: Dots and Stripes

This month's quilting project was for my good friend Bevin, who is expecting her first child in September. I finished it just in time for her baby shower this week, and now I can show you!

I found the fabric at JoAnn's this time around. I was looking for something that would be a fun, boyish, but not to babyish. Both Bevin and her husband have a very relaxed, colorful style and their home uses a lot of different patterns and textures. Although the blanket is for the baby, I wanted it to fit well in their home too. I had heard their nursery theme was "Forest" so I knew I wanted green and brown to be a part of the color scheme.
I fell in love with the orange fabric right away and then found the green polka-dotted fabric that matched pretty well. Then the colors from the green fabric was used as a reference as I hunted for the blue and brown. I had the yellow striped fabric at home already and thought it added a nice contrasting touch.

I wanted to try something new for the pattern, but I also didn't have a ton of time to try something super difficult. I decided to make blocks using three strips of fabric and then rotate the blocks  horizontally and vertically.  Then, to try another new (to me) idea, and to save a bit of time, I added two borders. I love the way it all turned out. I can't take all the credit though, Chris helped me line up the strips so the same colors didn't end up together.

I did a stitch in the ditch quiling stitch around the blogs and the orange border, but then did the free-motion stippling on the green border. The final size ended up being 31" x 37"

 Be blessed Baby H. Can't wait to meet you!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Why I Don't Pay for Printer Paper

Why don't I pay for the paper for my home-printer? Well, because I don't have to! No, I don't steel it, or get it from someone else. I doubt that would be blog worthy! I buy it. And technically, I guess at the time of purchase I do pay for it. But, I get rebates! Which makes it free!

Staples* frequently run sales where you can get a rebate for a ream of paper after purchase. I've done it twice now! I signed up for their Staples Rewards program and get weekly emails with specials like this one:

You can either print the coupon or you can use their mobile app and scan that at the store. It's easy! Their paper isn't exactly cheap. This ream would normally cost $7+ but with their coupon I paid $3.99 and could fill out the rebate form online to get $3.99 back! I don't even have to use a stamp to submit the rebate anymore!

There are cheaper places to buy printer paper; I'd probably shop there if I didn't have these rebate offers. But free is free. And saving any amount of money, even just $7 every once in a while will help my family stay within our budget and reach our financial goals . . . or at least make it possible to go out for ice cream!

*Staples has no idea who I am and is not endorsing this post. I just really wanted to share so you could get free paper too!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Friends and Kites

 Last weekend was a pretty great weekend. It stands out in my mind because although I still had my normal chores, housekeeping and "to-do list" to do, we spent a lot of time with our friends, which hasn't happened in a while. And I rarely grab my camera when I hang out with SF friends, but this time I did!

On Friday night, we joined another couple for dinner. They are expecting their first child a few weeks before us so we had lots to talk about. We also played "Bang" late into the evening. Something neither couple will have energy for in a few months! It just a really great (can I say sweet?) time!

A large group of us from church got together to see a friend's art exhibition on display on Saturday; she's an artist and usually does more Japanese inspired painting but for this exhibit she designed and painted kites. They were beautiful! It coincided with a Family Kite Day event put on nearby so we got to do both; and we had a picnic together. The day was perfectly warm and sunny which was great except if you wanted to fly a kite! It seemed like it had been forever since we had the "whole gang" together like that so it was another "sweet" time of fellowship.

 This kite was huge! The wind wasn't quite strong enough to keep it up
for long but it was pretty cool anyway.

Chris couldn't say no to trying the slack line set up for kids

The expectant mamas

On Sunday morning we had arranged for a friend to take our maternity photos. I had taken theirs last year. The weather was perfect and she did a great job. I can't wait to show you! After church, Chris had a meeting that ran way to late for this hungry-pregnant lady. I was chatting with some friends and they invited me over spontaneously to snack on their fresh Farmer's market organic produce. I couldn't turn that down! Seriously, amazing food and great fellowship. And I love that they felt they could be spontaneous about it. It was great.

Later that evening we brought dinner over to a family and had a great time catching up with each other and hearing about how they adjusted to having a baby and how life continues to go on for them now with an 8 month old.

Friends are so wonderful, and most of the time, I wish I had more time and energy at the end of the day/week to spend with them.  This weekend was so refreshing! And a great reminder of how blessed I am to have a community here.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Baby B: 33 Weeks

How far along: 33 weeks (sorry, the photo is a week old already)

How big is the baby: Weighing about 4.2 pounds and measuring 17-18 inches long (according to those lovely Internet statistics)

Sleep: Sleep is back to being difficult. Between getting up to go to the bathroom every two hours and the nerves in my arms go crazy when I sleep on my side, I wake up pretty exhausted.

Best moment of the week: I spent a lot of time with friends of mine who are either expecting or recently had babies, it was rare and really fun to be around friends going through (or went through) the same things I am going through.

Worst thing: I've had pain in my hands and arms for a few years now, but it had subsided over the past six months or so . . . it's back. And being tired all of the time.

Symptoms: Swollen ankles and a growing belly. It feels like I'm getting bigger everyday. Fatigue.

Movement: Still moving a lot, but Baby has calmed down a lot in the evenings now which is helpful. At least that's not the reason I'm not sleeping! Baby B. is upside down already. That makes sense since I've had more pressure on my bladder, and I felt the first few kicks to my ribs.

What I miss: Moving around easily. Bending over to tie my shoes is a strain and getting out of bed is a little more difficult.

Food Cravings: Sweets. Of course! I've actually attempted to cut them out this week though. So far, so good. Carrot sticks have been great and I am loving fruit too.

Food Aversions: No real food aversions, food is food. And I love it all.

Maternity Clothes: All the time. I love my yoga pants! I find skirts and dresses are much more comfortable than jeans right now.

Things People Say: The funniest comment came from a man at the bus stop asking me for a lighter--I turned toward him and he said, "*&;^%, your pregnant, never mind!" I laughed. People have offered their seats to me on the bus more often now. Most people don't make comments, they just kind of glance toward my stomach and look up with a smile.

Exercise: I'm still working out about 3-4 times a week at the gym. My routine is 20 minutes on the elliptical followed by some stretches and back exercises. If I'm feeling up for it, I'll do some squats and freehand weights. I stopped going to my yoga class as my back never felt right afterwards. I sort of miss it, but like not having to be anywhere on Saturday mornings.

Last Appointment: August 14 - everything looked good; baby is head down now. Our centering class discussed family traditions and what we wanted to carry on from our own childhoods and the things we didn't want to carry forward. We also talked about identifying the people we can reach out to for help after the baby is born . . . look out, you might be on the list!

Next Appointment: 
August 28 - hospital tour!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Birthday Weekend Getaway

One of the little perks I have at work is a bonus vacation day every year; I can choose between my wedding anniversary and my birthday. This year, I took my birthday off since I thought I would have been spending our anniversary with my sister and her new baby. My birthday fell on a Monday which made it a perfect 3-day weekend for Chris and I to get out of the city.

We hadn't done anything too extravagant for our anniversary in July either, so this was sort of a combined celebration of my birthday, our anniversary, and maybe a little bit of a baby-moon. We hadn't been on a vacation together, just the two of us yet this year so it was sort of a big deal. (Up to this point, our vacations included visiting family, which is great, but not a true vacation.)

We decided to head south, hoping to catch a little more warmth and sunshine. We left on Saturday morning, making a stop for lunch in Monterey. We had a great meal at an Indian bistro called Ambrosia.


Then we made our way to San Simeon where we took a tour of Hearst Castle. It was a lot different than I had expected. The gardens and the pool were by far my favorite part. I could have sat there for hours (and probably should have).

This was the dining room

Outside the castle

This was taken from the pool with the castle in the background

The pool . . . stunning

The indoor pool

View from the visitors center

For dinner, Chris had found this cute restaurant called Robin's. The restaurant had at one time been a home and still had that home-comfort feel. The food was delicious. I had chicken and Chris had lobster enchiladas.

Then we drove to Morro Bay and found our little studio apartment/in-law rental from AirBnB. It was off the beaten path so it took a good 15-20 minutes to get there, but it was so cute and peaceful. We had a small kitchen, bed and bathroom to ourselves, and other than the 5 a.m. bird chirping outside our window, it was absolutely perfect!

On Sunday morning, after a big breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon, we drove to Pismo Beach. The morning fog did eventually burn off but the wind never seemed to die down. We spent the afternoon bundled up on our little blanket, reading and napping.

For lunch, we had a big picnic packed and as we started to unpack it and get everything laid out, a wayward Frisbee landed at our feet spraying sand all over our food. We were a little shocked as the guys playing with it were pretty far away. As one came over to grab it, he too sprayed more sand in our food and then apologized and ran off. I was so close to demanding he give me $10 to go by more food, but it was a mistake and I tried to be merciful. Thankfully, we were able to salvage most of it. And in the end, we had plenty. And now we have learned our lesson about picnicking on the beach.

That night, we headed to San Luis Obispo for dinner. Chris had picked out a BBQ place but once we got there, we saw that most things came on a bun (which I can't eat) so we opted for gluten free pizza instead. That was delicious! We walked around for a while, enjoying the sites/shops of downtown and stopped at a frozen yogurt shop for dessert.

Sunday morning we went out for breakfast along the docks of Morro Bay before heading home.

It was a great little weekend away from the city. And although our time at the beach wasn't what we had planned (it being a little chilly), it was still wonderful and I'm glad we took the time to be together.

Monday, August 5, 2013

30 Years and Reflecting

Last week I mentioned that I read a book called "What Alice Forgot" and wrote that there were a few questions it posed that I thought I should answer. The timing lined up pretty well with my 30th Birthday, so here it goes:

What would I think of who I am right now if I woke up and couldn't remember the last 10 years of my life?

In all honesty, if I lost my memory of the last 10 years, I'd probably wake up a little confused. How did I end up in San Francisco? How did I meet this tall, handsome man I call my husband? And why on earth do we pay $$$ for a one bedroom apartment? 

But if I look at my character, who I am as a woman, as me,  I think I'd be pretty happy with what I saw:
  • Ten years ago, my faith was just beginning to bud and I was learning so much of what of it meant to be a follower of Jesus. I think in the last 10 years, I've learned so much more. It wasn't just a stage in college after all! True, there are parts of my faith that I wish were stronger, but that just means I have more room to grow. I'm not finished yet!
  • I'm more sure of who I am, what I like and what I don't like. 
  • I might be a little surprised that I didn't end up with a job using my major, but I have found more of my true passions which have become hobbies of mine: photography, sewing, crafts, cooking, etc.
  • I might be surprised at how much I enjoy budgeting and how well it works for us (I was always a saver, but never knew where my money really went).
  • I'm thrilled with how close I am to my family regardless of miles that separate us.
  • I'd be a little surprised to learn of the places I've been in the past 10 years. For someone who didn't have the slightest inkling to travel, I've enjoyed it a lot! I've been to: Gambia, Mexico, Germany, Italy, France, the UK, and the Netherlands.
I like where I am in life right now - and the future looks exciting!

The second question I asked myself was: What would I tell my 20-year-old self if I had the chance?

Dear Silly Girl,
    You are a silly girl, but that's okay, because your husband loves you for it. I promise. Try to be yourself, don't worry about what others think so much. The reality is, it doesn't matter that much. I know you think it does.
    Relax. Life turns out pretty good. At least until you're 30.  But 30 is pretty great, you're married to a wonderful man who adores you, and you're about to have a child! Stop worrying about boys and marriage and all of that. You don't need to spend your time or your emotions on those college guys. Just be patient. Someone really does come and sweep you off your feet!
    Try to get along better with your mom. She loves you. She's very important to you and one day you'll wish you didn't yell at her on your wedding day. She was only trying to take a few photos! 
    Sarcasm doesn't get you very far, learn that now! Be respectful, genuine, real. Why do you try to cover your feelings up with bad jokes or laughing at others? It's mean. 
    Love Jesus. Seriously. He's real and He is the most important thing in your life. Seriously. I tell my friends that the one thing I wish I would have done differently in and after college was spend even more time in the Word and in prayer and less time worried about who I had a crush on that day. Because, Jesus knew my whole story from the beginning -- I didn't need to worry. I needed to know Him!
   Anyway, Silly Girl, right now, you are surrounded by great friends, family that loves you and a million adventures lie in your future. Be thankful for all you have and look forward to all that is to come. It's all pretty great! Relax a little, have fun, and be yourself.
                 You @ 30.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What Alice Forgot

Last week, I read a blog from a friend of mine about this book, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. It sounded interesting and her blog post about it was really well written. Check it out!

Anyway, my sister saw me reading the blog and commented that she owned the book and I should read it. So, the morning I was to fly out, I grabbed the book and started reading. I finished the first half before I landed in San Francisco! I couldn't put it down.

The story is about a woman, Alice, who falls and hits her head during a spin class. She wakes up with complete memory loss of the last 10 years. As she discovers what her life is like now, she's surprised at who she has become and where her life is headed.

She wakes up thinking she's pregnant with her first child only to find out that she actually has three children and her marriage is falling apart. As she gets to know her children all over again, she tries to make things right with her spouse and other estranged family.

Reading the book, as engaging as it was, was a little emotional for me. Can you imagine waking up and finding out your marriage (which is still new to you in your mind) is actually failing and your husband sort of despises you? OMG. I can't imagine it. Or if I do, I start crying.

Other than those thoughts, I really liked the book.

In my friend's blog, she reflected on what she would say to her 10-years-younger self, and I thought that was very fitting and a great idea. As I read the book, two questions kept cropping up in my mind: What would I think of who I am right now if I woke up and had lost the last 10 years of my memory? and What would I tell my 20-year-old self if I had the chance?

I think I'll answer those two questions this weekend as I celebrate my 30th birthday! Yep, I'm telling you in advance... I'm turning 30.

Reading up for Baby and Me

Instead of writing individual posts about the books I'm reading on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting I thought I'd lump them together. I started reading about pregnancy and doulas even before we were expecting, but I've lost track of those titles. The titles below are the books that I've read while pregnant.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy

My sister gave me "The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy" by Vicki Iovine when she suspected I was pregnant in February. I couldn't hide the fact that I was exhausted and didn't feel well and she snuck it in my bag before I flew home. She kept my secret well.

This book, although a little old and outdated was an enjoyable read. I laughed out loud numerous times and learned a lot about what was to come. Iovine didn't use any sort of technical or medical language but really shared as a girlfriend would. So, not something that you should take as medical advice at all, but a fun read to put your mind at ease (and helps you feel a little more normal).

The Happiest Baby on the Block
I loved this book. I had skimmed it a while ago when I saw my sister reading it, but I absolutely devoured it a few weeks ago. I haven't put it to the test yet (obviously), but I feel much more prepared to handle a fussy baby than I did before.
The concept of the 4th trimester made a lot of sense to me and the process he lays out to calm the infant seem really manageable. That said, I may feel differently when the baby has been fussing for hours!
I recently received the video that goes along with the book but haven't watched that yet.

What to Expect When Your Expecting
This is probably the most well known title when it comes to preparing to have a child. A friend lent her copy to me and I've skimmed parts and devoured other parts. I haven't read too far ahead of where I am in my pregnancy. I usually refer to it when I think something might be wrong or I'm experiencing something new.  It's not exactly a medical book but it's fairly all-encompassing of the pregnancy experience.  Also, I thought the movie by the same title was funny.

During one of my check-ups, my midwife mentioned how helpful the hypnobirthing method had been for several of her patience. She gave me information on a local class and as I skeptically looked into it, I was shocked that the class was several hundreds of dollars. I decided to read more about it in this book - Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method - and see if taking a class might be worth the investment. It was interesting and gave several helpful ideas, some of which I may implement in my labor, but I wasn't sure this method was for me . . .

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way
I found this book to be more in line with the type of birth I had been imagining. It's more focused on husband-coaching and relaxation than the breathe-focused Lamaze method. They go into quite a few techniques and give you practice homework too. I have to have my husband read it before we can start practicing, but I'm hopeful this method will work well.