Tuesday, June 29, 2010

29 Weeks: We're 72.5% of the way there!

Mary Harper is now as big as a butternut squash weight wise (3 pounds) and is a tad over 15 inches, head to heel.  Over the next 11 weeks, she'll more than double...or even come close to tripling her weight.  I loved this symptom listed under 29 weeks:  Forgetfulness: No wonder your brain feels especially foggy these days — hormones are wreaking havoc on your memory and your brain-cell volume actually decreases during the third trimester.

So I really DO have an excuse!

She can now hear better and can distinguish real sounds and voices from all the vibrations around her. Some experts say that the baby’s heart rhythm will increase on hearing the sound of the father or mother.  So sweet! :)

The music we play now or a story read now will be recognized by her later and we may observe her stopping to listen for the same familiar sound later.  We heard a Rolling Stones tribute band last night at Carnton Summer Concert Series and she did seem to be moving along to the music! 

Today I had my glucose screening test to check for gestational diabetes.  Not fun.  I thought drinking the actual sugar solution this morning within 5 minutes or having my blood drawn would be the worst part.  But the worst part was actually the way all that sugar made me feel later.  I felt kinda sick all day long and I don't think Mary Harper stopped moving all day today.  Josh was able to feel a few of her bigger "kicks" tonight.  Hopefully the blood work will come back normal and I won't have to follow up with the longer 3 hour test.  Yuck.

In other news, today I got to meet Coach Johnny Majors.  A while back I made my Vanderbilt fan husband bid on playing golf with Coach Majors and he won!  So they played today and their team actually ended up tying for 2nd place!
Go Vols!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice!

I would have been thrilled to have had a little boy...in fact, I was CERTAIN it was a little boy until our gender reveal party!  All we ever said we wanted was a healthy baby.  But boy oh boy is having a girl too much fun! 

I just had to share some of my latest gifts and purchases with everyone...especially with other moms and moms-to-be in case they "need" some of these items for their own little princesses.  :) 

Josh's mom found these hand-stitched bee shoes all the way from New York City at Vintage Baby in downtown Franklin.  http://www.itsvintagebaby.com/
My friend Heather gave me this BEAUTIFUL silk Baby Biscotti dress...yes, I'm finally starting to learn some baby brands!  This dress is also from Vintage Baby.  I think I'm going to use this dress for her 6 or 9 month old baby pictures.
I didn't even really know that newborns wear hats in the hospital but once I found out they did, I just couldn't have the standard issued hats the hospital gives out!  :)  The lady that makes these hats makes them from her home in North Carolina and actually was inspired to make them after the birth of her daughter, Harper.  :) http://www.tweetlebugboutique.com/Home_Page.html 
How much cuter would my newborn picture below had been with the hat above?  :)
Speaking of hospital apparel, I bought Mary Harper's coming home from hospital dress today!  It's a classic light pink Feltman Brothers dress.
AND FINALLY, this last purchase is going to be used in pictures we are going to schedule shortly after her arrival home.  I've seen the most adorable pictures of little girls in these fabulous tutus. (see examples below in case you don't know what I'm talking about). 
I got Mary Harper the tutu below.  http://www.oopsydaisybaby.com/press.html The top is just a onsie by Kissy Kissy so I can use the tutu by itself if I want.
Yes, I know at some point I need to start thinking diapers, baby wipes and items of clothing I don't mind if she throws up or poops on.  But I never claimed "practical" was my middle name.  And something tells me Mary Harper will follow in her mommy's footsteps heels.  And believe it or not, baby heels DO exist...and no, Mary Harper does not have a pair...yet.  http://heelarious.com/index.php

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

28 Weeks: We're 70% of the way there!

7 months!  I can't believe we only have 12 more weeks left before Mary Harper makes her grand entrance!  She is now about 15 inches long and weighs around 2 -3 pounds (like a Chinese cabbage). 
The websites I read have all mentioned now might be a good time to start looking into childbirth classes - but I am not sure I even want to go to one. Has anyone else skipped out on these classes?  I think there are just some things I may NOT want to know about until I have to know so kind of just want to handle the delivery as it comes.  But if they are really useful, I guess I'll go.  Josh will probably make me regardless but we'll see.

In other news, my new niece Naomi arrived from Ethiopia last week!  She is so sweet! (click the link below the picture for a video of her arrival - grab your tissues).
Saturday, was Chukker's for Charity Polo match - this is one of my favorite events.  It's not near as crowded as Steeplechase and is just a really top notch event...but VERY hot.  I actually had my first experience with pregnant swollen feet after Chukker's this year due to the heat.  But I figure our socializing days will soon be limited so trying to get in these fun events while we can...Shrek feet and all. 
And of course Sunday was Father's Day.  Josh and I are both so blessed to have the fathers we do...and Mary Harper will be just as blessed to have Josh as her father.  So even though I am a Vols fan, I caved and gave Josh a very sweet hand smocked Vanderbilt dress for his first Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

27 Weeks: We're 67.5% of the way there!

Our little Mary-Harper now weighs 2 pounds (the weight of a cauliflower) and is almost 15 inches long.  She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals (and she lets me know when she's awake)!  While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning (with medical help) if she were born now.  But let's pray we don't have to find that out! 

She is definitely moving around more - I swear it feels like she pushes me back when I try to dislodge her foot from my rib cage.  Perhaps I am experiencing our first mother/daughter struggle!
I can't believe this week marks the beginning of my 3rd trimester!!  It seems just like yesterday I found out I was pregnant and can not believe next week I will be at the 7 month mark!  I can tell my energy level has started to drop off which everyone warned me would happen in the 3rd trimester.  Of course I think the hot, humid weather we've been having has also contributed to the loss of my energy.

I am definitely in the "nesting phase" of pregnancy.  I read this paragraph below on one of my online resources website and it sure sounded familiar:

Females of the animal kingdom are all equipped with this same need.  It is a primal instinct.  Just as you see birds making their nests, mothers-to-be do exactly the same thing.  For a pregnant woman nesting is an uncontrollable urge to clean and organize your house, while getting things ready for your baby.  It can be as little as washing your baby’s clothes and bedding, to repainting your entire house because you all of a sudden don’t like the color theme you have.  It is believed that the act of nesting helps a woman feel more like she is in control.  You may become a homebody and want to retreat into the comfort of home and familiar company, like a brooding hen.

Not to be left out, I am nesting away!  We had most of the downstairs area painted a few months ago and the painters are back finishing up the upstairs now.  I had them start on the nursery first of course!  Lindsay and I have stepped up our decorating pace and I think I've had some sort of FedEx or UPS package delivered every day for the past two weeks!  

It's so funny how not having the house all decorated didn't bother me that much before but now I feel like EVERYTHING must be done before Mary Harper arrives.  I feel like my whole life is about to be turned upside down in just a few months so at least want my house to be in order.  Thankfully, I have a very understanding rooster...I mean husband who is just sitting back and letting me nest.  And so far he's handling all the changes (and perhaps a little henpecking) in stride...or would that be in strut? :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

So after being pregnant for nearly 7 months, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things for my fellow preggo friends (or those that may become preggo soon)!  I was really afraid I wouldn't find any cute maternity clothes but they definitely have come a long way since these days:

My first maternity clothes purchases and some I have actually worn more than any others were made at Otter Creek's Consignment Sale!  http://www.ottercreeksale.com/.  I found some great bargains there and can't wait to go back and shop for Mary Harper at their next one in August!  (I didn't know I was having a little girl at their last one in March)!

One of my "splurges" that I have definitely gotten my wear out of are Paige Maternity Boyfriend Jeans.  These are a bit on the pricey side but they are great to wear with heels or flip-flops (as my feet start hurting more, flip-flops are beginning to be my shoe of choice)! http://www.zappos.com/paige-premium-denim-maternity-jimmy-westbourne-in-rebel-rebel
This side tie top by Jules and Jim works great with the boyfriend jeans.  I also have the dress in the same floral material and didn't realize it was the same material until I got it home! 

Another one of my favorite discounted finds was online at Old Navy.  I recently ordered one of their navy bathing suit cover-ups and I soon as it arrived I knew it would actually work great as a dress!  It has a turquoise thread running through it so it looks really cute with a chunky turquoise necklace.  You can dress it up or down and it only cost $16.50!  So I had to go back and order it in black too - which I wore with some cute black wedges tonight but will definitely work with yes, you guessed it...black flip-flops! http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=54277&vid=&pid=754118&scid=754118032
This long white dress I haven't even worn yet but thought it would be perfect for a hot summer day...or stroll on the beach!  I got this one at Motherhood Maternity and is pretty reasonably priced at $49.  http://www.motherhood.com/Product.asp?Product_Id=978950022&MasterCategory_Id=MC3

I've also gotten quite a few dresses from Pickles and Ice Cream but try to stay out of that store as much as possible as it is really too expensive - especially when you can find cute alternatives at different places.  But it is worth a visit especially if you have a special occasion coming up.  I did recently see they just got this dress in and love it!  Since it comes in hot pink, I think it would be perfect for one of Mary Harper's baby showers so it just might show up in my closet soon!http://www.picklesandicecream.com/112500m.html
Another comfortable item I wear quite a bit is my Juicy Maternity Tracksuit - I literally throw on the pants as soon as I get home everyday!  I haven't seen any in the terry cloth material so they are probably more of a fall/winter item but they're so comfortable I wear it at home year long.  I will say that if you already have the regular pants, I would just order the hoodie because even the non-maternity pants I have work great.  But you can tell a big difference in the regular vs. maternity hoodie.  I'll be bringing this outfit to the hospital with me in September as I think it will be a comfortable outfit to wear home.
A favorite non-apparel items is Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream (thanks to my friend Natalie Dodd).  It's not made specifically to stop stretch marks but so far so good for me!  It's only $13 and I generally use it at night before bed and it keeps my skin feeling hydrated well into the next day.  The directions say for more hydration to wet the area you are applying it to with water first...but I took it one step further and add Palmer's Moisturizing Body Oil first, then apply the Mary Kay cream.  I guess we'll know in a few months if the stretch marks come or not but for now, it seems to be working!  I may start using this in the winter time too when my skin is extra dry.

I just recently started needing this next item but it has been a lifesaver!  I didn't realize at first why I would need a body pillow to sleep but I found out at around 24 weeks!  I got the Snoogle Original online at target.com for $49.99.  There were some I found online that were more expensive and may be better but I went with the Snoogle because it was more reasonably priced and still had good reviews.  The only thing I don't like is it didn't come with a pillow case but it does make sleeping lots easier with the added support!  (I think you can order a case for $19.99).  It is supposed to be helpful after pregnancy too with recovering from the actual delivery and also if you nurse in bed.

And my last favorite item during my pregnancy so far has been something I've always loved, but even more so now for some reason...COOKIE CRISP!  I think I have eaten at least one bowl every day for the past 6 months!  It may not be the healthiest cereal on the grocery shelf, but it certainly has helped satisfy my chocolate cravings!

One item I am thinking about getting for post pregnancy is something called Shrinkx Hips. It supposedly works thanks to the hormone Relaxin, which loosens pelvic joints and ligaments for childbirth.  Relaxin then stays in your system up to 8 weeks before joints and ligaments harden in place. They claim wearing the belt during this time lets you permanently narrow your hips by providing constant, even pressure during the first 8 weeks after delivery. If you've used this or know anything about it, let me know if it's worth the money!  By the way, something tells me the model in the picture did NOT just give birth 8 weeks ago.
So there are just a few items I have really liked so far - in addition of course to the all the wonderful moments that come along with being pregnant.  Of course there are definitely moments of pregnancy that aren't always so fun, but I have found that if "I simply remember my favorite things" (and pour myself a bowl of Cookie Crisp) "then I don't feel so bad!" 

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Welcome Naomi...My New Niece!

Josh and I are so excited to welcome our third niece, Naomi!  I am so proud of my sister and brother-in-law and my niece and nephew.  They are about to open their home and their hearts to a brand new child and new little sister! 

I can't help but think of how drastically little Naomi's life has just changed.  And now that I am pregnant, I can't help but think about how different our little Mary Harper will enter this world versus how Naomi entered this world.  

Naomi was born into one of the most poverty stricken areas in the world, unwanted, abandoned by her parents and extremely malnourished.  Our little Mary Harper will be born into one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, to overly protective parents who can't wait to meet her, a loving family and will never be wanting for anything.  While in Naomi's home country of Ethiopia, the vast majority spend their meager incomes on the basic necessities of life. 

Thousands of children die each day across the globe due to poverty.  And while I wish that number was zero, I am so thankful that at least one little girl will no longer be one of those children.  And despite how she entered this world, she will now be loved and have a world of opportunities at her finger tips.  And lucky for Mary Harper, she will be one of her first cousins, her playmate and friend thanks to one family from Columbia, TN.  It really makes me think more about what I can do to help.  Josh and I have often talked about adopting...but lately Josh has said let's see how we do with one first! :)  So for now, I will be content showering my new niece with lots of love...and I will probably be tempted to want to spoil her just a TINY bit too.  :)

Please pray for safe travels for my sister's family as they go to Ethiopia to pick up my new niece and also for a smooth transition for all involved. (I am sure I will have more pictures to post once we meet them at the airport upon their return)!

Here are some thoughts from my brother-in-law David as they prepare to depart on their journey:

On the very day that I flew into Iraq -- into a war that I feared would take my life -- God was preparing the next phase of our family's journey. In a village in Africa, my second daughter and youngest child was born. I did not know at that time she was destined to be ours, but I did not need to know.

This week, Nancy, Camille, Austin, and I fly to Adis Ababba, Ethiopia, to finalize the adoption of little Konjit. We will name her Naomi Konjit French, to join her sister Camille Ruth French -- so that our Ruth will help bring our Naomi from a land of want to a land of plenty, where our people will be her people, and our God will be her God.

Please be patient in our blogging absence. Please pray for us that our journey will be safe, that Naomi will know that she is loved, and that we will have the grace and wisdom to be the parents she deserves.

26 Weeks: We're 65% of the way there!

Mary Harper now weighs close to 2 pounds and measures 14 inches from head to heel (about the length of an English hothouse cucumber).  Her little ears are more sensitive and developed than before so she may be able to hear more of our conversations now.  Her eyes which have been closed for the past few months are beginning to open and she will start blinking her eyes.

I have started feeling more tired again but it hasn't gotten quite as bad as it was in the first trimester...yet.  I think the baby's growth and development picks up again at week 26 so I assume that (and the extra pounds) are what's slowing me down again.  I am starting to feel these stabbing sharp pains under my ribs when she moves around but I love feeling her move so can't complain too much.  :)  Oh and Josh can now feel and SEE her move around.  I'll just be sitting on the couch and my belly will jump and move as she kicks me.  CRAZY!

I haven't needed the "pregnancy pillow" I've heard so much about until now and I boy do I wish I had ordered it PRIOR to needing it - but it should arrive in the next few days!  Apparently husbands DO NOT like the pregnancy pillow so we shall see how this addition is received.  We do have a King size bed so surely me, my expanding belly, Scarlett and Josh can all fit comfortably. :)

I think the most surprising thing to me so far is my lack of heat tolerance.  I usually LOVE being outside in the summer sun from sun up to sun down and I NEVER thought being pregnant would change that.  It has. 

But while things ARE getting a TINY bit more uncomfortable...I wouldn't change it for the world.  I know each stage of pregnancy will fly by (it already has!) so I am trying to take it all in and enjoy everything that comes (good and bad) with each new week.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Deadlines and Due Dates = Progress!

Wow! Lindsay and I have been on a roll this week!  Nothing like a set deadline...or due date...to get a girl in gear!

We have paint and carpet picked out for the entire house, have picked out nursery furniture, picked out the glider for the nursery and the fabric for the chair and ottomon (we went with a very soft milky cream fabric with tiny polka dots).  And I think we may have narrowed down our nursery bedding!  Here are our ACTUAL choices so far (can you tell I'm excited?)!

Furniture:  I actually already have a beautiful cradle and crib that my dad made.  He used wood that he got from Andrew Jackson's Hermitage after the tornado went through there years ago.  He made the crib for my oldest neice, Camille, and so far, every one of my neices and nephews have used it.  Then he made a cradle I think when my nephew Luke was born (see pictures of the cradle below...we don't have the crib put together yet but it is just as beautiful).

So of course, Mary Harper will be the next grandchild to sleep in her Pa Bob's furniture!!  But since I have the crib and cradle already, I only really needed a few other big furniture items.  Oh and I think I'm going to have my dad do her a book case that matches the crib.  Guess I need to place that order now too! :)

I love it!  We are just ordering the double dresser and nightstand and will use the dresser as her changing table too.  The wood accents will go great with the dark wood crib we have...and hopefully matching bookcase.

Below are more up close pictures of her quilt, bumper pad, and other accessories that go with the line we chose - But I'm not sure I'm ordering all of the accessories.  Lindsay says she thinks we can find our own fabric for much cheaper to make the pillows, window treaments, etc...woo hoo!  We are also going to incorporate more light pink with our fabric choices.  Guess I'll have an order or two to place with my mom too once we pick out fabric!  But the items below are all items that go with the bedding we've chosen just to give you an idea of what the main features of the bedding will be.
Side note: If anyone needs any help with their house, you should really think about using Lindsay (AFTER I'M FINISHED WITH HER)! :)  I told Josh she is really saving us money by knowing exactly the items we need to buy without getting additional items we don't really need AND since she works with this stuff everyday, she knows when things are overpriced and stops me from buying them!

So there's our latest nursery design update!  Can't wait to get the room painted with the stripes, the new carpet and all of this put inside her room!  I just hope we get it all done before she arrives!