Monday, January 31, 2011

Week 20: What A Difference A Month Makes

I finally got to take pictures tonight with Whitney.  She's 4 weeks ahead... will I be there in 4 weeks?  Pictures change things for me.  I feel like when I look in the mirror my bump looks different than seeing it in a picture.  Is it just me or do I look like I'm carrying relatively high?  So maybe I am busting that myth about boys being carried lower.

I am sorry my smile looks so freakin' creepy in this picture, lol.

Halfway there.  I don't really know what that means to me, but it gives some perspective.  I do know that the next 20 weeks are going to be a lot different than the last 20 weeks.  A few things I know for sure are in store: more back pain, more trouble sleeping, more headaches, more exhaustion, but also more sporadic little kicks (I love them... now), more quiet moments of Ryan and I sitting and waiting for him to feel him, more registering for and buying things that will be his, more talking with friends and family about who he might be, more maternity clothes and enjoying the looks on people's faces when they see me, more pregnant jokes, more learning about what a miracle this is.  I mean for real.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Revisiting The Aquarium

I am still on the aquarium trail (see #ThingsInMyDreamNursery: Aquarium).  And today, I found something completely perfect.

Toddler-sized aquarium!!!

Found this on a blog called The View Along The Way.  Her husband made this for their kiddo.

Hmm... I have a handy husband...

Of Utmost Importance: Legos

James already has a Lego collection.  It currently lives in the closet in Ryan's old bedroom at his parents' house.  As my mindset is trying, trying, trying to shift towards the reality that I will have a little boy, things like this Lego sorter are getting me excited.

Available for $29.95 (plus shipping) through the site or Amazon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Remembering A Labor of Love

A wedding-planner friend of mine asked me to write a blog on my wedding for her blog.  I thought I'd go ahead and post it here, too.  It is a walk down memory lane!  Thank you, Steph (c:  Check out her blog Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String for wedding pictures and tips, purses, shoes, and other fun stuff!

Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about my wedding are the stats:
250 Guests
7 Bridesmaids, 7 Groomsmen
1 Meal served
1 Custom wedding gown
In a historic German Opera House venue in Downtown New Braunfels, TX

…Budget: $6,000 (and when the dust settled, we had spent less than $5,500)

I think there are two basic trains of thought when planning a wedding.  The first is to basically cut corners where you can, do what you can do yourself, take advantage of connections and resources available, and maybe even compromise on a few things that you wanted, all in the name of a fun challenge and having a budget-minded, but “labor of love” wedding.  The second train of thought is to throw all sheets to the wind and have everything done by professionals in order to ensure all friends and family can sit back, relax, and enjoy the event, even if it takes a few years to pay off.  There is nothing wrong with either approach, but we chose to accept all of the offers for help that were given to us and go with the first method.

This is definitely one of my favorite pictures and definitely the one most people remember my wedding by.  Make sure to get some fun ones!

One of the biggest blessings to me was that my bridesmaids - all friends from different times and places in my life - hit it off with each other immediately.

My inspiration for my wedding came from citrus fruit.  Even a year and a half later, I still love the way yellow, orange, gray, and lime pop out on a dark gray background.  My mom thought gray was an awful color choice and fought it much of the way, and I compromised on that a lot.  I had wanted the bridesmaid dresses to be gray or pewter, but oh well.  The girls had fun with green (c:

My dear friend and sister to my Maid of Honor let me borrow so many glass items and floral arrangements from her own wedding - not to mention put them together beautifully.  Better than I could have imagined for sure!!

Waiting to be paired up and head down the aisle!

I can’t even list all of the help that we received in our 8 month long preparations.  Dorm mates helped with the handmade invitations and programs, amazing, talented friends did the decorations, my cousin’s husband learned how to play Blue October’s “Calling You” on guitar for our processional, close friends did our MCing and DJing, many of my mom’s friends pitched in a LOT to serve food, long-time family friends in the photography business gifted me with their time, talent, and photos.  My parents, uncles, and some of the groomsmen arrived a few days early to BBQ all of the chickens and briskets themselves ahead of time – I would estimate that over 50% of my guests were involved in some way in making it come together for us.

I have received some criticism for putting my friends and family to work.  If I had it to do over again, if any of them felt used or taken advantage of, in a heartbeat I would have had a tiny family-only wedding.  We only asked those who offered - we had to assume their offer was genuine and not just polite!  I hope and pray that they know now how much their effort means to us and that they do not feel taken advantage of.  This might be something for brides-to-be to keep in mind. 

My talented aunt made my wedding dress.  How could a bride get any luckier than to have someone offer this gift?  I am extremely grateful to her and I loved it.

I did NOT know he was going to dip me, but he did it successfully and smoothly (could have been a disaster!)

After I came up for air, catching my balance.

We married and partied in the same room at this historic German opera house in Downtown New Braunfels.  The original wood floors and especially the tiled pewter ceiling won my heart.

Not knowing what to do for the exit (rice, bubbles, sparklers, etc.) but wanting to be different, we came up with kazoos and clappers from a party store.  It went over great!

Little sister had mixed emotions, what a sweetheart.
When I look back at the pictures, sure there are things I would have done differently, but I remember the part each person who helped played and can’t help but be thankful for them each time.  And I got my man, the most important part of all!!

Products A Marketer Can Love: Alba Botanicals

I consider myself a bit of a retail critic.  Being in Marketing, I like to think I see past packaging, price, shelf position, advertising, etc. to what the product really is a little more than other people.  That is why there are just a few products I will sing the praises of.

Since about Thanksgiving, I have been using a skin cleanser called Alba.  I deal with moderate acne and since I was about 12 or 13 I have tried a zillion different products, routines, methods, concoctions, etc. to get the face I longed for.  I had hoped I would grow out of it, but I'm 25 now and I still suffer from it.  Some times are worse than others.

When I was on birth control for a year and a half, I felt like it did not help, maybe even made it a little worse.  I was feeling hopeless and my husband ordered me some Proactiv.  I used it for about a month and was really liking the results when I found out I was pregnant.  When I found out salicylic acid is thought to be unsafe for pregnant women, I asked my doctor about it.  Salicylic acid was not in the ingredients of Proactiv, but my doctor said that there have not been enough tests to be sure it is safe, and she firmly advised me to stop using it.  I did, and I started searching again for something that I could wash my face with. 

My two cousins and best friends came to visit me the week of Thanksgiving.  When I told Corinne about my face troubles, she told me about her face wash and I bought a bottle of it to try.  She said she noticed a difference about a week after she started using it.

It is not an acne face wash.  It does not even contain soap.  It smells delicious, and it kind of feels like you are washing your face with lotion (but not greasy).  While I still get plenty of pimples, I have found that they rarely come to a head anymore and they go away faster, like they are healing quickly.  The biggest thing I love about it though is that my skin no longer has dry and oily patches; it is extremely balanced.  My whole preteen-adult life I have felt the need to rewash my face in the middle of the day due to excess oil, but I have found now that my skin feels fresh and balanced all day.

It's not the cheapest - runs about $10 a bottle at Target and Walmart - but it is less expensive than the Proactiv system (about $20/mo).  I just purchased my 2nd bottle, so using it every morning and evening, it has lasted 2 months.  Will I get back on Proactiv after my baby's born?  I don't think I will.  The feeling of healthy skin is what I have been wanting all of this time, it makes the zits seem like not such a big deal.  So there you go, I just talked a whole lot about a $10 bottle of face wash!

Monday, January 24, 2011

10 Things Every Child's Room Should Have

Shoutout to one of my favorite blogs to read, Apartment Therapy.  And, since being pregnant, their child-space-focused blog, Ohdeedoh.  Found this list insightful and practical to counteract the tendency some mothers may have to decorate their kids' space like a page out of a magazine instead of a kid's room.

1. Something To Sleep On: We meant basic above, but the bed is the first place to start!
2. Something That Glows: Overhead lights can be so harsh, especially if you're trying to get little ones to sleep! A task light or lamp can bring much comfort and warmth. Even a flashlight to read under the covers with is a plus!
3. Something That Tells Time: Even if they can't tell time yet, it's still a good resource for parents. Or maybe you're a music person, the two can easily be combined!
4. Something To Snuggle With: For some it's a blanket, for others it's a stuffed animal (for me it was my She-Ra figurine) but a pal to keep you company is nice.
5. Something To Read: Even if you keep your main household library somewhere else in your dwelling, that doesn't mean there shouldn't be a few books in case naps are ended early or bedtime stories need to be read.
6. Something Handmade: Although this might not be at the top of everyone's list, a handmade item in a child's room is putting a bit of family right there with them. Don't forget to include things they make as well!
7. Something To Question: We aren't going to be the ones to tell you that you have to have artwork or sculpture in a children's space, but having something that intrigues them or has them curious about life, nature or the way something works is always a bonus.
8. Something To Take Pride In: It might be the pine wood derby car they made in Boy Scouts, a macaroni necklace they made, or a certificate of outstanding school attendance, but either way, having something they made themselves, won or achieved is a great thing to have.
9. Something With Color: Even if you love a totally monochromatic room (we do too!) there has to be some bit of color somewhere. A pillow, a throw, a mobile or even a rug, something to make the balance between cool and comforting and warm and bubbly exist!
10. Something They Chose: It's all too easy to get caught up in decorating a space for your tiny tots without any input. Try letting them pick out a few items and allow them to help create their own space, they'll be far more intuitive than you think though they might need a little adult guidance.


Week 19: My Achey Breaky Back

When reading in my pregnancy books this week, I was comforted (in mind, not in body) to learn that my aching back, legs, and head "may be more noticeable" this week.  Good to know that I am normal.  Somebody flipped the switch and suddenly everything requiring physical activity is harder.  Whether it's climbing stairs or sitting up in bed in the morning, I feel like I have sand bags weighing me down.  My muscles ache and my movement has slowed down.  I'm positively dragging.
19 Weeks

I have put on about 6 pounds so far, which is actually 1 pound less than the "recommended" weight gain range for this week.  I am not worried about being a little under, I am more worried about being out of control and I am afraid it will take off suddenly, so I am happy here for now. 

One exciting development I have been experiencing the past few weeks is little James' movement.  People have described it as "butterfly wings" or "tickling," but to me it feels like my guts are rolling over themselves... but very subtly, if that makes sense. 

We had one sonogram on January 13 where we learned that he is a he (c:  The technician said our doctor likes the sonograms done early which can make it difficult for the technicians to find everything.  James was super wiggly, doing all kinds of rolls and twists, stretching out his entire length and then returning to a curled up jumble (kind of like the picture shows) over and over.  He rarely held still so she could get the info she needed, but at moments he cooperated well enough.  We saw the lobes of his brain, all four chambers of his heart, and there was even a really cool view she did that showed the umbilical cord and how it twisted in red and blue, showing the blood flow.  Because the sonogram was "so early," the technician warned us ahead of time that he may not look very cute yet.  At that point, he had not started putting on much fat and he would look very skin-and-bones-ish.  He did, but it was not a disappointing experience.  She told us that this would be our last routine sonogram, but we could request another one at our own expense later on if we wanted "cuter" pictures.

The following week I got a phone call from my doctor's nurse.  She said the sonogram revealed that my placenta is low-lying and that I would need to return next month for another sonogram to make sure it moved.  So we will get another sonogram afterall, along with cuter pictures (c: 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Perfect Parenting: Preserving Dignity


I have been casually looking at baby Gap clothing for the past 10 minutes or so.  I wanted to see if little boys' clothes were as interesting as little girls' clothes.  I haven't learned much on that quest yet.  There are a few outfits that I could imagine you in, nothing great, but it was still fun to look.  There were also a few items that I wanted to assure you I will never dress you in:

Nothing with big purple polka dots...

Nothing with cyoot widdle whiskers and ears...

Nothing that will make your uncles tease you about udders...


And...Ok, I admit, we might have some fun with this one...

The point is, rest assured we will do our best to protect your dignity even when you don't know it.  

Unless, of course, it will make for a REALLY funny picture...

Love you.

Love This! - Color and Marketing Infographic

Sorry that I cannot make it bigger.  Please click on it to check it out!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#ThingsInMyDreamNursery: Aquarium

I have been wanting an aquarium big time lately.  It's all our receptionist's fault.  She got a medium-sized tank for the lobby and put about 20 orange mollies and platys in it.  Every time I walk by, I want to just sit and watch the fish for hours, but I'm at work so of course that wouldn't be good.  I kind of think that a baby might enjoy that too, maybe not a newborn, but as it gets a little older, it might be neat to have those good live vibes in the nursery.  Plus, the sound of the tank could be soothing, and it could double as a night light (money saver!! lol).

I haven't seen this in other nurseries and I was just wondering if there is a reason for that?  Obviously I would put it on a sturdy dresser or something - not a wobbly table.  Of course it would be out of reach and only observed by baby from a distance or under adult supervision (c:

Okay, so maybe I just want an aquarium for myself so badly that I am living vicariously through my kid. *sigh*

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week 17: You Just Missed It, Baby

For many, many years, I would look forward to the possibility of snow during the winter months in south Texas.  For a long stretch, there was none and I was able to tell my friends that I had never seen snow in person.  Mom told me that the last time it snowed was the year she was early spring that she was pregnant with me.  She must have only been two or three months along now that I think about it, but it hurt to think that I had *just* missed it!

I thought about that yesterday as I watched my husband run outside in his t-shirt, pj pants, and moccasin house shoes.  He stayed out there for several minutes taking pictures and I stood in the doorway, letting it open just enough to grimacingly participate.  If we move back down south, our baby might just have the same snow-less experience that I did.

I am ecstatic about Thursday.  All of this time, I have to admit that I don't quite feel like I know that there is a baby inside me yet.  Despite the physical differences in me, this is not very personal yet.  Lots of people wait to find out the gender of their baby, but I feel like I need to know in order to really understand it.  Are you James or Alvaree?  Or are we going to change your name?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Far Away Will Our Eyes Now See The Day, For Today The Everlasting Eternal Sun

We missed our appointment on Tuesday (woops!) and had to reschedule it for Thursday (yesterday).  But, happily, I got what I wanted.  Our gender appointment is scheduled for next Thursday at 4:15pm.  After the appointment we will promptly leave for San Antonio, knowing a lot more about who our baby is and-no doubt-inexplicably more excited.  We knew we wouldn't want to go back to work after we find out, so I am happy to get the appointment late enough to get on the road and have the next 6 hours between us to daydream out loud about this new person we are going to get to both mold and in turn be molded by. 

At the appointment, Ryan got to hear the heartbeat.  Of course he loved it.  It was strong and clear and fast at140.  The coolest thing to me was that the kiddo kept rolling over or moving, so we'd hear the heartbeat for a few seconds and then *woosh* the noise of the movement, and we'd have to move around to find the heartbeat again.  Playing hide and seek apparently (c:  It made me happy to imagine it moving around so much.

Don't feel like parents.  We pondered last night, if the baby inside me is a real baby and has been from conception, at what point is Ryan a dad and me a mom?  This is not a role I am feeling.  Although I do look extremely maternal when I see myself in the mirror and the bump out front.  Makes me feel like I should be waddling.  There is still plenty of time for that, though...

Every week that goes by brings us closer, and now that we're in the new year I think things will go faster.  I am not anxious or worried about anything, but I do wish we knew a little bit more about where we will be when the baby is born.  For those of you who may not already be aware of our plans for this year, our plan is to get a plan.  I don't like not knowing where we're going to be, but on the bright side, the possibilities are endless.  It is an opportunity for God to put us where he wants us, I just have to keep telling myself that.  I already know he knows what we need and that he cares.  My proof of that is Ryan.  He did such a good job picking him out for me (I am confident I could not have had the wisdom to pick him out myself - I just thought he was hot!)  and even in my humanity, Ryan was the best choice "I" ever made.

Back on subject - I don't remember ever actually telling God that I was trusting him with my husband situation.  But he still took what little I gave him and pulled through for me.  In this future situation, I figure it can't hurt to let God know I appreciate his care for me and let him know I'm trusting him on this one.  In the next 23 weeks, Ryan will be trying to obtain as close to his dream job as possible and we will be moving (maybe across the parkinglot, maybe across the state?). 

We've all been in situations where we had to just wait and see what happens.  Just this time, it seems bigger, because it's the intersections of some major life changes: baby, job(s), moving...  I will be glad when things start to unfold a little more clearly.  For now, I am daydreaming about the possibilities.  When June is past, I will see today more clearly, for now it just seems like a big stretch of unknown.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Week 16: Side Sleeper

I started to avoid sleeping on my back last week when I read that the pressure from my uterus on my spine can inhibit circulation to the baby. I have started using a body pillow and sleep on one side or the other. I always preferred sleeping on my side until now when I don't have an option not to! Sometimes I indulge in laying on my back for a few minutes, and sometimes Ryan wakes me up in the middle of the night to roll over because I'm not laying on my side like I should. So in addition to the long weekend and my schedule being off, sleep has not been so great.

I received a big box of maternity clothes from a girl at church - they are all cute items and I was so grateful to get them. A few items are too small, but I'll pass those on to Whitney. She has a few items that are too big so we'll just have ourselves a little swap (c: I probably have enough maternity clothes to get by for a while now, however I do have a gift card to the Motherhood store courtesy of the Brewers for when I get my next shopping urge.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the doctor. I don't know what we're going to discuss specifically, but I always love the check-in. Especially since it's been over a month since I've had it and I am pretty convinced that I am a little farther along than the ultrasound technician thought. I want to get the doc's opinion.

Ryan and I are hoping to make a trip to San Antonio this month, so I am hoping we can squeeze in the gender appointment before we leave for that trip. I will schedule that appointment tomorrow, and *crosses fingers* hopefully we are looking at no later than the 13th. That is in t e n d a y s. Woo!

Last week, we got a bill in the mail from the clinic that we were not expecting. I was shocked and overwhelmed because I knew I would have to figure out this health insurance business once and for all, a task I was not looking forward to taking on. After conversations with a girl who does our insurance here at work, the clinic billing department, and finally a very patient and helpful agent of my insurance company, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on it. Ryan and I moved some numbers around and by the grace of God we'll be able to handle it just fine. I feel just a little bit more grown up and knowledgeable about the world now (c;

Oh yeah, hello 2011!