Friday, August 31, 2012

Pregnancy #2: 29 Weeks

29 weeks
Here's a funny side note--I tried new lip stuff today. 
I feel like it is NEON PINK in person, but I don't think it looks all that crazy in the photo.
Perhaps a good reminder that what might seem crazy-over-the-top to me probably doesn't look that way to anyone else, ha!

Compared to 29 weeks with Lizzy:

How far along: 29 weeks.

Size of baby: An acorn squash (The Bump) or a butternut squash (Baby Center).  In other words, about 15.2-16.7 inches inches and 2.5-3.8 pounds.

Weight Gain: +10ish pounds total, from pre-pregnancy weight. I'm still a few pounds under the weight that I was "stuck" at for months after Lizzy was born, so that's encouraging!

Symptoms: Still really bad heartburn (it'll be interesting to see if this kiddo has hair like Lizzy did!). Other than that, I have noticed that I've been having fewer Braxton Hicks contractions since implementing pajama day last week. I'm sure that also had to do with the fact that there were only two baseball/softball games this week and they weren't back to back--we were actually HOME Tuesday and Wednesday nights! I'm excited to have FOUR days off in a row over the holiday weekend! That said, I'm still feeling some pressure/soreness going on...almost like I'm saddle sore. It'll be interesting to see if this kiddo is head-down already.

Exercise: Not right now. I may try to phase it in slowly over this next week, as long as I'm getting plenty of rest too.

Clothes: Mostly maternity. Also, I realized the other day that the maternity jeans I'm wearing this time around are a full size smaller than the ones I wore last time around :) I may have to size up before the end, but still. {If you haven't noticed, I'm trying desperately to have a positive attitude that the postpartum recovery will be easier and faster this time around than last time}.

Cravings/Aversions: I could probably eat pizza every night!

Movement: Yep :)

Worries: Nothing major...just starting to get a little anxious that Justin will only have two more paychecks before the baby is born since he gets paid once a month on the last day of the month. I'm really hoping that our projected budgets match up with reality and that we're actually able to do what we're planning...that we don't blow the budget or have unexpected expenses come up.

Milestones: At this point, I think the baby is mostly just fattening up.

What's Different This Time:We still haven't even started cleaning out the room for the nursery. I'm hoping we might be able to get going on this over the weekend. I don't need it all finalized and finished, but I'd like to get rolling on a couple of moving the dresser from the driveway into the actual room!

Also, we still haven't finalized a name! I think we're both in a little bit of denial that I'll be full-term in 8 weeks.

Best moment of the week: It's been a good week--pretty low key and lots of time at home! I'm really looking forward to spending some time on the lake this weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

5 Random Things

1. Last night, I had a bad night. I was trying to finish the recipe for homemade marinara for dinner, and followed the instructions to blend it all. Only, I learned the hard way that hot liquids in the blender = no bueno. Hot marinara exploded EVERYWHERE. All over me (so now I've got burns on my arms). All over the cabinets. It's probably even on the ceiling. I was so irritated, and definitely did NOT want pasta with marinara anymore. But of course, it's the last stretch until payday (J gets paid once a month, on the last day of the month) and we're trying to be good about sticking to the budget, so it wasn't as simple as just ordering a pizza. Luckily, Justin made grilled cheese. But seriously, it was a bad night.

2. My spiffy new phone came with a free trial of voicemail-to-text. Only, it is so terribly (hilariously) bad that I'm not sure why anyone would ever pay for it! Here's just a few examples:

 My sister left a voicemail saying, "Hey Mere, it's your sister. Call me back!". 
This is what voicemail-to-text came up with:

My sister-in-law Kelsey left a voicemail asking her if we'd already picked the songs for that Sunday's worship service, and if we had, she was wondering if I could email them to her: 

Justin left a voicemail earlier this month asking what kind of ice cream I'd like:

Really...I'd almost rather let things go to voicemail now just to see what kind of crazy thing my voicemail-to-text is going to come up with next!

3. I feel like Lizzy has grown a whole bunch all of a sudden. On Sunday morning, she woke up screaming, and had a really hard day the rest of the day. We were like 'WHAT IS GOING ON?!' But since then, I've noticed that when we're out and about, suddenly she can reach the sinks in public bathrooms. She can get her own water from the faucet on the fridge. And her little bum is hanging out the bottom of her 3T shorts! Luckily, we have a few 4T pairs, and summer is almost over!


4. They found West Nile Virus in Southern Oregon. Of course, they announced it when I was COVERED with bites, and had been just down the road from where the infected mosquitoes were found. So, I pretty much spent the next few days convinced that I was going to be hospitalized with West Nile Virus...because if it was going to happen to anyone, it was going to happen to me. Really, the only advice they've given was to not be out around my knee jerk reaction was to say that I'm not going to Justin's baseball games anymore at all, EVER. But, it's probably much more reasonable to just pack my Avon Skin So Soft and slather myself up (and maybe bring a long sleeve/pants to change into). I'm trying to be reasonable and not a hypochondriac here! 

5. Has anybody out there tried any of the drugstore BB creams? I'm not a big makeup person, but I think I'd like to try one, because it sounds like they're a little more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, but a little less coverage (and effort, ha!) than foundation, powder, etc. I'm leaning towards the L'Oreal one because it doesn't have sunscreen in it (sunscreens tend to give me a chemical burn, though it sounds like the amount of sunscreen in the Maybelline one is minimal at best). Anyway, I'd love to hear from you if you've tried them!

Monday, August 27, 2012

What the Heck Do Lutherans Believe Anyway?


I've talked about my feelings on unity in the church on this blog before, but to make a long story short, I believe that the Christian community is called to facilitate unity within itself. In that vein, it's imperative that we start with communication and dialogue, because there ARE doctrinal differences across the different branches of Christianity. And that's okay, because (as a general rule), the differences don't negate the core of our faith. We're called to unity anyway...and I don't think it's in spite of those differences, but because of them. This post, which is hopefully the first in a series, comes with the motivation of facilitating unity in Christ by potentially dispelling any myths and misunderstandings, as well as by creating an opportunity for dialogue.

So, a few weeks ago, I was talking with a few of my friends, and one of them asked 'What are the Sunday services like at your church?' I started to rattle off words like "Creeds" and "Confession and Absolution", but as we talked more, I realized that the church she attends doesn't traditionally speak the creeds or do confession and absolution in the same way that the Lutheran church does, and so she had no idea what I was talking about. I thought that today I'd just lay out a sample service from our church as a starting point in talking about what Lutherans believe:

We Prepare Our Hearts
Opening Hymn: It is You (Newsboys)

Pastor: In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Congregation: Amen

We Confess Our Sin
Pastor: As we prepare our hearts and minds for worship, let us first confess our sins and be assured of His everlasting promise to forgive. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Congregation: But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Pastor: Let us confess our sins to God our heavenly Father.
Congregation: Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your holy name. Amen. 
Pastor: In the mercy of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for his sake, God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ, he gives the power to become the children of God and bestows on them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Congregation: Amen. 

Hymn of Praise: Children of God (Third Day)

Introit {this changes every Sunday, but is a piece of scripture spoken collectively, often from Psalms}

P: In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy. 

P: For the peace from above and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy. 

P: For the peace of the whole world, for the well being of the Church of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy. 

P: For this holy house and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.

P: Help, save, comfort, and defend us gracious Lord.
C: Amen. 

P: The Lord be with you.
C: And also with you.

Collect {This is a short prayer, often spoken collectively}

The Word of God is Read
Children's Lesson {then kids under 6 are excused for nursery}
First Reading/Old Testament Reading
Epistle Reading
Pre-Gospel/Alleluia Verse:Ancient Words (Michael W. Smith)
Gospel Reading

Sermon {related to one of the assigned scripture readings for this Sunday}
Sermon Hymn: The Heart of Worship (Matt Redman)

The Apostle's Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. 

(Note: You may recognize these words from the songs sung by Rich Mullins, Brandon Heath, and Third Day. I LOVE Third Day's version of The Creed and highly suggest it. Some churches may say the Nicene Creed instead. The church that I grew up at often said this Affirmation of Faith instead, which I still love.)

Offering & Offering Song: 10,000 Reasons/Bless the Lord {Matt Redman)

Prayers for All People & The Lord's Prayer
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

The Benediction
Pastor: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious unto you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you His peace.
Congregation: Amen

Sending Hymn: Hold Us Together (Matt Maher)


Also, I think it probably goes without saying that "Lutheran" is an extremely broad term. There are ELCA Lutherans, LCMS Lutherans, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutherans, and probably even more kinds that I'm not aware of. Even within one of those groups of Lutherans, the way that church services are held will vary greatly. Some will follow the very traditional order or service, and some will follow a much more contemporary one. The church that we attend is an LCMS church, and utilizes what's called a revolving liturgy, which means that each Sunday is a different style of service ranging from traditional (sometimes even with the organ and all), to contemporary, as well as a mix thereof. This particular Sunday would be an example of the contemporary liturgy.

Whew. So there you have it. If there happen to be any other Lutherans out there reading, how does this compare to what you experience at church? For everyone else, does Sunday Service at the Lutheran church look like you imagined it would? Do you have any questions?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pregnancy #2: 28 weeks

28 weeks
{It's pajama day. More on that later.} 
And a 28 week shot from when I was pregnant with Lizzy: 

How far along: 28 weeks.

Size of baby: An eggplant (The Bump) or a Chinese cabbage (Baby Center).  In other words, about 15 inches inches and 2.5 pounds.

Weight Gain: +8-10 pounds total, from pre-pregnancy weight. It varies from day to day.

Symptoms: {Fair warning--this is going to be a little whiny today}. The heartburn is so bad that I now have to sleep sitting up, and none of my sneaky pregnancy cures have been helping (nor has Tums, etc). So there's that. Also, I've been having lots and lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, as well as quite a bit of pelvic pressure already. At my OB appointment on Tuesday, my doc told me that it could simply be that I'm more aware of both this time. It could be the activity difference in having a toddler versus sitting at a desk all day. It could be the 106 degree heat we've been having. Or, it could be the fact that up until last night, we haven't had a single night with all three of us at home in over 3 weeks, and I'm just plum doing too much. It hadn't really crossed my mind until the appointment, but even sitting in the bleachers to watch Justin play softball/baseball probably isn't actually as relaxing as it may seem due to the heat, and the fact that we're all out late. There really is something to be said for being home.

Anyway, he told me that he'll probably check me at my 30 week appointment to make sure that I'm not dilating already. In the meantime, he told me that we really need to carve out more rest time and see if that helps calm the contractions and pressure down. He "prescribed" that we need to declare at least one pajama day AND night a week, where I'm inside with the AC on, and literally not doing much besides watching TV, reading, napping, taking a bath, and drinking water. This is harder than it seems--and it seems like even when we do carve out that time, some "emergency" at church comes up, or a friend calls and needs help with something time sensitive, or I have an opportunity to do a photo shoot, or we get invited to do something fun, or they won't have enough people to play in the baseball game if I ask Justin to stay home. We are the type of people who go-go-go, and Justin and I both have a hard time saying no. It's also frustrating for me, because I feel like we're home so little as it is that when we ARE here, we really both need to be doing dishes, laundry, etc. It's not that Justin doesn't help with that stuff, it's just that because everything gets crammed into one day or evening, we really BOTH need to be doing it if it's going to get done. I feel like I'd have less problem lounging on the couch if I magically woke up to a totally cleaned house, but I'm honestly not sure if that's really true either.

I'm trying to be good about it, because I know that if I don't carve out that time, there's a possibility that I could end up on bed-rest later on, which would obviously just suck. But sometimes, it's hard to be good about it. For example, I really really wanted to go to the Mom's Group playdate at the water park today. I'm feeling kind of lonely lately and desperately need some adult interaction, so I was really looking forward to it. But, I have a photo shoot at a bridal shower this evening, and I know if go to the park and sit in the heat all afternoon, I'm going to be having contractions like crazy by evening. So, I'm here on the couch instead, having pajama day...trying to ignore our disaster of a house, the mountain of dishes, and the fact that my kiddo is bouncing off the walls.

Exercise: Not right now, for the reasons mentioned above.

Clothes: Mostly maternity, though all the "lounge clothes" in this week's photo are regular stuff.

Cravings/Aversions: I'm having a hard time drinking enough water lately. 

Movement: Yep :) We've started with the kick counts this week as well.

Worries: Just the above!

Milestones: She's got eyelashes! Hopefully, she inherited the bright blue eyes and super long eyelashes from her dad :) Other than developing eyesight, she's mostly just fattening up at this point.

What's Different This Time: This post is long enough as it is this week ;)

Best moment of the week: A night at home...finally. Also, I loved getting to see a sneak peek of the quilt my mom is working on!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thinking About Nursery #2

{Oh yes...thinking being the key word here, because nothing has really happened thus far, which I'm starting to freak out a little bit about.}

A few people have asked what our plans are for Baby #2 once she arrives--will she be sharing a room with Lizzy? Sleeping in with us? In her own room? So here's the deal. We have a 3 bedroom house, the third bedroom of which currently holds the elliptical, a giant bookshelf of westerns, and...a bunch of junk that has no other home. Although the baby will probably sleep in the pack and play in our room for a few months, we are still planning to make the 3rd bedroom into a nursery for two reasons: (1) Lizzy really wasn't sleeping through the night without occasional wakeups until she was about a year. I see no reason to mess with both of their sleep during the newborn/4 month wakeful/teething stages, and really prefer that they sleep in separate rooms in the beginning if that's a possibility and (2) The bed rooms in our house are very small, and it would literally mean that nothing besides the beds would fit in the room.

So, two rooms initially...but that doesn't mean that they won't be sharing a room once Baby #2 is a bit older, and the 3rd room may be an exercise/playroom...and/or possibly even a baby boy nursery (way way way) down the road. Which is why I'm having a bit of a hard time deciding what to do with the room.

Do I go bold with the wall color like I love, only to likely have to re-paint not too far down the road? Or do I go more neutral on the wall color, and then bring in bright pops of color with the furniture, bedding, and accessories? And if I do go bold on the walls, which color?!

This is the first fabric that we picked for the quilt, and is kind of inspiring the color scheme for the room. The pink reads a bit more red in this photo than pink, but it's pink. Bright pink. Other fabrics also have a bright yellow, and I think the pink, orange, and yellow are going to be the main colors in the room, with just little accents of the green and turquoise. But again, I haven't decided whether or not to do a bright on the wall, or a tan-ish.

If I go bright, my gut says to go with orange...even though it doesn't seem to be typical for a girl nursery, I have seen some orange nurseries that I really like and would work with our color scheme, like this one:

Plus, orange could work for a boy nursery down the road as well.  BUT, I don't just love the color orange, and I know that finding the right shade is probably going to be hard, so I'm a big gun-shy and wondering if the orange wouldn't be better suited for a piece of furniture, like the wooden rocking chair we're repainting.

Because even if we went more neutral on the wall, I think I could still probably bring in the punchy pops of color that I love, like in these inspiration photos:

So basically, I have no idea. I'd love to hear what you all think!

The only thing I do know? I love this mobile. ADORE IT.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Morning Giveaway! {Fairhaven Health DreamBelly Butter}

After my pregnancy with Lizzy, I had a lot of stretch marks. Some moms don't seem to mind them, but I can remember looking at my stomach and just being so irritated--I'd faithfully applied all the cocoa butter stretch mark creams...I'd done all the things I was supposed to do, and I still ended up with a stomach full of angry red marks. I remember wondering if my stomach would always look like that--and for the record, it didn't. The stretch marks didn't go away, but they did fade from angry red to a white/silver color that wasn't as noticeable....but it took awhile. I think even at a year out when I was taking before and after photos for Insanity, they were still pretty noticeable, though definitely an improvement.

Anyway, the point is that I'm always a little suspicious when a product claims to "prevent" or "repair" stretch marks. So, when I was contacted by Fairhaven Health about reviewing (and giving away!) their DreamBelly Butter, which was described as a 'natural, nourishing formula to help soothe, protect and heal stretch marks'....I was super skeptical. That said, when I visited the website and saw that in the product description, Fairhaven Health straight-up said that some women are genetically more susceptible to stretch marks than others...I felt like this was a product I could possibly get behind, you know? They didn't make any fanciful claims about how if I used this product I'd never get any stretch marks or that all my existing ones would magically disappear--they were honest. Some women are going to get stretch marks during pregnancy no matter what (I'm one of them, apparently)...and I appreciated their honesty in that. Because I think that even if you are one of those people who are predisposed to stretch marks, there's still a lot of good sense in keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized. Between that and the fact that the product contained no parabens, artificial colors, or preservatives, I was interested. So, I agreed to give the DreamBelly Butter a try, and a few days later, it arrived on my doorstep. 

After using the DreamBelly Butter for a few weeks now, I can tell you a few things: 
  • This product is probably not going to prevent stretch marks for someone who is genetically predisposed towards them...but it does help to keep my stomach hydrated, which definitely makes the stretch marks less uncomfortable and also seems to help them look less angry and noticeable. 
  • I like that when I'm looking at the ingredient list, I actually recognize nearly all of the ingredients, like beeswax, rose hips, and sunflower seed oil.
  • I don't normally enjoy scented lotions (because I'm allergic to everything under the sun and even natural ingredients like lavender can give me hives), this lotion is lightly scented and doesn't bother me at all. But honestly, I'm not sure that I could tell you what the scent is--maybe slightly sweet with a touch of rose?
  • I can tell you that the lotion itself is rather thick, and I do feel like I need to wash my hands after applying it on my belly, but that may just be me. I tend to do that sort of thing.
  • And lastly, I can also tell you that it's AWESOME for cracked elbows, heels, and just skin in general. I almost wonder if Fairhaven Health does a disservice to itself by marketing this product specifically for pregnant and postpartum moms...because I think it's actually a really great, high-quality product for anyone.
So, by now you guys should know that I don't sugar coat things on this blog just because I'm reviewing them. Book reviews aren't always positive. Neither are product reviews. One thing you'll get from me in terms of any reviews I do on this blog is my straight-up opinion, good or bad. This time, I was initially skeptical of Fairhaven Health's DreamBelly Butter, but ended up being pleasantly surprised. And ultimately, I'd definitely recommend it to a friend...which is why I'm happy to say that the good folks at Fairhaven Health are giving away some DreamBelly Butter to TWO readers!

Here's the fine print: 
-To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog. For the love, please make sure you either have an email address attached to your account, or that you leave it in the comment. If I don't have a way to get in touch with you, I'll have to pick another winner, and that would just suck. 
-You do NOT have to be pregnant in order to win!! As I mentioned before, it's a great product for everyone...but how sweet would it be as part of a care-package for a pregnant or postpartum friend? I promise that no one will assume you're secretly pregnant if you enter this giveaway ;)
-This contest will close Saturday August 25th at 5pm Pacific Time. I'll draw winners sometime over the weekend and contact winners by email. If you're selected, please make sure to get back to me by Monday at noon, or a new winner will be selected!

Good luck, and I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I do! 

Disclosure Statement: I was provided with DreamBelly Butter by Fairhaven Health to try and review. I was not compensated in any other way, and all opinions in the review are my own!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pregnancy #2: 27 weeks

27 weeks
I feel significantly puffier than last week. I honestly took about 50 photos for today's post and hated ALL OF THEM. This point in pregnancy (27-30ish weeks) is honestly one of the hardest times for me. I just feel huge and blah, but unlike the later stages, also still don't feel like the baby is coming just right around the corner, you know? I can't quite see the light at the end of the tunnel yet! 

Compared to 27 weeks with Lizzy.

How far along: 27 weeks.

Size of baby: A rutabega (The Bump) or a head of cauliflower (Baby Center).  In other words,  about 14-15 inches inches and 2 pounds. The Bump referred to this stage as "late-pregnancy", which is both terrifying and crazy. It feels like there is SO MUCH LONGER left to go...but really, it's just about 3 months, which isn't that long at all.

Weight Gain: +6 pounds total, from pre-pregnancy weight. My doctor's scale tends to read about 5 pounds heavier than our scale at home, so I'm already mentally prepping myself for my appointment next week when I'll probably see a higher number than I'm used to seeing at home. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes that throws me for a loop if I don't prepare myself for it.

Symptoms: So, I'm noticing that when I'm around babies who start crying? Definitely get the boob-tingle. I don't think I'm actually leaking milk, but I can sure feel something going on there...a few moms I know have told me the same thing happened to them, so I'm hoping that's normal!? Also, heartburn, Braxton-hicks, and starting to feel sore in my hips/lower back if we've been up and at 'em all day.

Exercise: I haven't been on the elliptical all that much lately, but I *have* been spending some time seriously cleaning and organizing. And at the end of the I sure FEEL like I worked out!


Cravings/Aversions: I'm having a hard time drinking enough water lately. 

Movement:Yep :)

Worries: Nothing major.

Milestones: Baby is now showing brain activity, which will continue to ramp up in the coming weeks. She's also practicing breathing quite a bit, and also sleeping and waking at fairly regular intervals (which I'm noticing movement-wise as well).

What's Different This Time: Um, we've done nothing. I'm getting anxious to get her room cleaned out and some furniture painted...and also to have a place to put the baby clothes and things we're starting to accumulate and get back out again. Hopefully we'll be able to get on that a little this weekend.

Also, I didn't track weight gain all that much during my pregnancy with Lizzy...but I did find a note that at 32 weeks with her, I'd gained 28 pounds. This time, I've gained 6 pounds as of 27 I think I'm on track to gain less overall this time around (even though I already feel HUGE), which I'm really hoping for...or at least that it comes off easier this time around compared to last time. Last time, everyone said, "Oh, don't worry! If you're breastfeeding, the baby weight will come right off!" It didn't. I had to work out harder than ever before, and still didn't really feel like I was back to "normal" even when I got pregnant this time just over two years later. So....yeah. I'm struggling with the idea of the whole post-partum body thing a little, and hoping that this time around is a bit easier than last time. Really hoping.

Best moment of the week: Justin and I ate dinner together last night (Lizzy had eaten something else earlier and was already asleep) for the first time in two weeks. It was nice...and YUMMY, even with a very well-done steak instead of my normal medium-rare ;)

BQOTD: What time do you wake up?

Today's Burning Question of the Day is.......

What time do you wake up in the morning? 

Today, I was awake by about 5:30am--Justin's second or third alarm of the morning? About 6am, when I finally got out of bed and Justin was running out the door, Justin said he was sorry for the alarms waking me up (he sleeps like the dead through any number of alarms, and I don't). I told him that it was okay--I was kind of happy to have an hour or so to myself before Lizzy woke up. 

To which I promptly heard, "Mommy! I'm awake! It's okay for me to come out now!" (the latter part of which I believe is supposed to be a question, but is really just a statement, ha!)  Of course. But, what can you do? 

How about you? What time did you wake up this morning? What time do you normally get up?  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Since you last saw me....

-I've done approximately 20 loads of laundry (yet somehow it still isn't done).

-I've sorted all the clothes in my closet into "newly postpartum" and "pre-pregnancy size" totes, and put them away for the rest of this pregnancy. And cried looking at the size of jeans I wore shortly after Lizzy was born. I really hope I never have to wear them this time.

-I've spent approximately one hour waiting in the 108 degree heat in our non-air conditioned car. Then, I spent approximately three hours watching baseball and wrangling a kiddo in the same 108 degree heat. Happily, Justin's team beat the best team in the league last night, which was particularly gratifying as the manager of the other team kept throwing the bat, swearing, and straight-up trying to cheat. Oh, and did I mention he's the coach of one of the local high school teams? He's clearly an awesome role model. I wish I would have video taped him and sent it to the school district. It was SO gratifying that his team lost.

-I've researched, arranged, and planned to have our internet switched over to a new provider. Hopefully, they're installing tomorrow. We've had Clearwire for years and hated them, but for some reason, it always felt like more of a hassle to switch.

-I've averaged getting to actually speak to my husband for about 10 minutes a night for the past two weeks...he's been leaving for work at about 6am every morning, working out of town with no cell service, and getting back sometime between 6pm and 8pm, though I never really know exactly when. And if he does get home earlier, he usually has baseball. Or there's something, and we're still not home. I'm feeling beyond done with this arrangement. So is our kiddo.

-I've gotten a call from the refinance lady that the USDA's refinance program that they just announced (and we were planning to use) is almost out of funds already. We'd been planning to close in November, but she wants to close ASAP instead. So, I've been spending time trying to figure out whether or not we can make things happen sooner than we planned. Right now, it doesn't feel worth the effort, honestly.

-I've spent lots of time snuggling my sweet girl. She and I both aren't feeling great--there's a few fires going on in Southern Oregon, and the level of smoke in the air is unreal. I think the runny noses and sore throats on both our ends are probably mostly attributed to that.

-I have spent almost an hour on the phone with our insurance, trying to figure out this breast pump business. Apparently, a new law went into effect in August that breastpumps are covered, period. BUT naturally, it isn't that simple for us...and we don't actually get to benefit from that law until January when our plan renews. So, instead, I'm trying to figure out which pump to buy with their old policy, which is that we pay out of pocket and they reimburse 70% up to $200. I'm looking at the Medela Pump In Style Advanced, the Phillips Avent Twin Electric, and the Ameda Purely Yours Double Pump. So if you have any of those and would like to weigh in (good or bad), I'd love that!

-I've spent approximately 3 hours shooting photos, and another 3 hours learning (trying to learn) Lightroom, which has been a lot of fun!

Basically, things have been busy, but not with anything particularly interesting to write I apologize for my lack of posts lately! Hope everyone is having a fantastic summer!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pregnancy #2: 25 & 26 weeks

25 weeks 
{25 weeks}

26 weeks
  {26 weeks} 

And compared to 26 weeks with Lizzy:

How far along: 26 weeks.

Size of baby: A head of lettuce (The Bump) or a cucumber (Baby Center). I also happened to see that What to Expect says baby is the size of an eggplant this week. In other words,  about 13-15 inches inches and 1.5-2.5 pounds.

Weight Gain: +5 pounds total, from pre-pregnancy weight as of Saturday. It's kind of weird to feel like I'm actually gaining weight after I had been losing it at first, and I honestly have to keep reminding myself that it's okay. Considering the fact that the bambino weighs an average of 2lbs at this point, I do not need to freak about having gained 5 pounds total.

Symptoms: Still heartburn and still Braxton Hicks.

Exercise: I've been on the elliptical a couple of times in the past two weeks...maybe averaging two or three times a week? I've started dialing down the speed and upping the resistance, which makes me feel like I'm still getting a good workout without jiggling all over the place.

Clothes: Both photos are non-maternity--Target Long & Lean tank, and a Target fold-over skirt (sized up) in the 26 week photo, and a Wal-Mart maxi dress in the 25 week photo. I have to say that all you other pregnant and/or newly post-partum moms inspired the 26 week outfit pictured above (from my birthday party yesterday), especially the belt! I never would have thought to do that on my own, but I like it, and I feel just a tiny bit trendy, ha!

Cravings/Aversions: Nothing specific, really. I am LOVING watermelon though. 

Movement:Yep :)

Worries: Nothing major. It's occurred to me recently that our normal nap routine (snuggling on the couch and watching Food Network until L falls asleep and then me carrying her to her room) may not be the best option when #2 makes her appearance. Maybe I really should try to get Lizzy into the habit of going to sleep for naps in her own room before the baby comes? But (a) I don't think she'll ever actually sleep if we do it that way and (b) I would miss the Lizzy snuggles big time, since that's the only time I get them! I don't know...

Also, I've noticed that I've been bruising pretty easily lately...and then shortly thereafter realized that I've totally spaced taking a prenatal vitamin for the past week or so. I need to get on that!

Milestones: Her eyes will soon be opening, and she's practicing taking breaths of amniotic fluid. Basically, she's fattening up and getting ready for the outside world. Also, I've heard "pregnancy brain" is increasingly common at this point, which makes me feel slightly better that this past week I accidentally left the sprinkler on in the backyard for two full days. Whoops.

What's Different This Time: Depending on which doctor/website you're talking to, the 3rd trimester starts next week...and we've basically done nothing to prepare for this little one! I think by this point with Lizzy, her nursery was just about done! We may wait to lay flooring until after this one is born (which will be fine, really), so the nursery may not be truly done until after she's born, but I'd really like to get started here soon.

Best moment of the week: Last Friday, we met with the mortgage lady who closed on our house the first time around, and talked with her about a new pilot USDA program that would let us refinance from our current rate of 6.375% to 3.75(ish)% with no appraisal necessary. Um, yes. That would save us big time--probably at least $250 a month. She's never done one of these refinances before, and it's a new program, so I think everyone's still trying to feel out what all the requirements are, but we are really hopeful that we'll be able to do it and close in November. And since you don't make a mortgage payment that first month you refinance, we'd have no mortgage payment in either November or December...right around the time the baby is born. I don't think I have to explain what an AMAZING thing that would be, and I'm just praying big time that it all works out! {Thank you Sarah for all your help and suggestions about this!}

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


-It's my birthday, whoop whoop! I really have no plans aside from pizza with the family later tonight (which I am crossing my fingers that Justin is able to attend), and getting my free birthday coffee from the local coffee place. No matter what, it's going to be a good day...or at least better than last year's no-good awful birthday where we all had the stomach flu!

-We've been busy lately. In the last week, Justin rarely got home from work before 7pm. If he did, he had baseball. And on top of that, in the last week we also squeezed in a memorial service, my brother's birthday, some swimming, some beer brewing, a newborn photo session, some blueberry picking, and lots more. I'm a little tired just thinking about it!

{Lizzy and I blueberry picking}

 {I have no idea how this last photo horizontally flipped itself in my phone, but it did. I have no idea how long I walked around yesterday with two pairs of glasses on my head before I noticed.}

-Yesterday, after picking up a few things at Wal-Mart, I had the weirdest thing happen. As we were checking out, Lizzy told me that she had to go potty. We've been dealing with a major potty training regression with her since her cousin Lyla was born, so this was HUGE that she told me she needed to go. Awesome, and huge. Only? Wal-Mart told me that I was not allowed to take the cart full of things I'd just purchased into the bathroom. I get not taking unpaid merchandise in, but the stuff I'd just bought? What was I supposed to do with it? I'm sorry, but it's a terrible idea to leave a cart full of stuff I'd just paid for sitting unattended outside the bathroom where anyone could walk off with it. Luckily, we made it down the road to church for a pit stop, but honestly I was kind of hoping she'd pee on the the Wal-Mart floor.

- Justin and I still haven't actually sat down and had a names discussion about Baby #2. BUT, I think we are getting the impression that we are supposed to name her Rebecca? The weirdest thing happened this past week-- I had two separate dreams wherein I had a newborn named Rebecca. I hadn't told Justin about them yet....when the morning after the second dream I heard Justin accidentally call our daughter Rebecca instead of Lizzy. It was kind of bizarre! The only thing is that Justin's family was friends with another family in Washington that has both an Elizabeth and a Rebecca. Even though they're not a family we interact with all that frequently anymore....that would be a little weird. Also, there's an Elizabeth and a Rebecca (who are related) in my Mom's Group! How funny is that?! Either way, I don't think Rebecca was really on either of our "lists", but it just keeps popping up, ha!

Monday, August 6, 2012

For Steve

This past weekend, on the hottest day of the summer so far, my family piled into the middle school gymnasium to celebrate the life of my basketball coach of 8ish years, Steve. The gym was packed, which probably isn't that far out of the norm for anyone who coached for as long as Steve did. But Steve...he was anything but the norm.

Steve worked as a recruiter and basketball coach for years at colleges like Cal Poly and Cornell. In 1982, when his youngest daughter was a baby, he was told that he had a brain tumor and needed surgery immediately. During that surgery, he was apparently left too long without oxygen by the anesthesiologist, and remained in a coma for several weeks after the surgery. When he woke up, he had to re-learn how to speak, and basically re-learn how to do everything. Although he made amazing strides, he only regained use of his left arm, and still struggled with speech. His wife, Joyce, was told to put him in a nursing home and move on with life. She said no. And instead, they moved on with a new sort of life, together. To make a long story short, sometime in the 90's Steve began coaching his daughters in basketball and softball. Shortly thereafter, he established an AAU Girl's Basketball Club in our city.

I remember playing 4th grade YMCA basketball. I was 5'9" in 4th grade, so I was only inches away from the lowered hoop we played on, but also had no athletic ability whatsoever. I was super uncoordinated, and often fell for no reason at all (years later, Steve would joke that I was tripping over the lines on the floor). So, I think we were all surprised when my dad got this phone call from a man with extremely slurred speech who said, "Mike. I want your daughter." Once he explained that he wanted me on his tournament basketball team, between that and hearing Steve speak for the first time, I'm pretty sure that my dad thought it was a practical joke...but it wasn't, with Steve saying that he figured he could teach everything about basketball, except for being tall. And I was tall.

And he did teach me everything. He literally brought in a track to teach me how to run (sort of). He taught me the fun-DA-mentals (as he would say) of pass, dribble, shoot. He bought me my first pair of basketball shoes. He couldn't physically show us the game, but he brought in people who could, and the older girls showed the younger ones what to do and helped translate what he was saying until we could understand 'Steve-speak' for ourselves. From 4th grade on, basketball became my life, six days a week, year-round.

We played a lot, often with tournaments every weekend. Steve coached from his wheelchair parked at the corner of the court, using a headset and speaker box to call out plays, subs, and to often tell me to "USE! YOUR! LEGS! MEREDITH!" He taught us to give back by encouraging us to coach YMCA teams of younger kids or acting as referee when the younger girls had scrimmages.

My dad used to help fix things for Steve when they broke down--his wheelchair van, his speaker box, his motorized wheelchair, etc. So, I probably saw more often than most how often things went wrong for Steve, and I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been...but I never heard him complain. What I saw instead was his hilariously wicked sense of humor. For example, after a bout with Bell's Palsy once, he used to like to scare the bejeezus out of everyone by randomly pretending that he had it again. His daughter Meagan (who I have been thrilled to reconnect with via Mom's Group) told a story at his memorial service about him managing to escape from the van once while she quickly ran into Costco (after she'd asked him to wait in the van because she'd be right back), and wheeling behind her begging for sweets that he wasn't supposed to eat as a diabetic, and then loudly exclaiming, "I don't understand why you have to be so mean to a cripple!" and "Why won't you wait for me?!" to the horror of everyone else in Costco at the time, and to his delight. That was Steve. To say he had a bit of a mischievous streak may be the understatement of the century!

Faith, family, and school were important to Steve, and they always came first--no one was ever penalized for missing a game or practice for church or any other family reason. If you were doing badly in school, you didn't play. Steve knew everyone's parents, always, and had all their phone numbers memorized.

Looking back at newspaper articles about Steve, they are peppered with quotes like, "I'm probably a better teacher now... the chair will give you patience. And, of course, the Lord gives you what you need," and "I'd rather be in this chair, knowing Jesus and going to Heaven than bip bopping around like I used to and going straight to Hell." But unlike other coaches I've had throughout the years, I don't think he made any of the girls who weren't Christian feel uncomfortable either--he never demanded that we pray before games like others did. I remember knowing that his faith was important to him, but I also remember that his faith was separate from the game. In retrospect, he lived his life of faith as a lighthouse--making a sound only occasionally, but shining through his actions daily.

Shortly before Steve died, a Facebook page was created to keep everyone updated as he was in hospice. And literally hundreds of girls--many of whom I knew and many of whom I didn't--began to chime in about Steve. How he saw something in them when no one else did. How he believed in them. Taught them. Cared for them. How they knew that the AAU team in their city wouldn't have ever started if Steve hadn't been so instrumental in bringing girl's basketball to our city, and then the valley. All of these things that he was to me...he was that to literally hundreds of other girls as well.

I don't think I ever told Steve what an amazing influence he was in my life, or how much the opportunity of basketball meant to thank you Steve, for everything. You are missed by so many who knew you, and I can only hope that even those who didn't know you are inspired by your amazing life.

{Steve, and his wife Joyce}

Thursday, August 2, 2012

You Just Can't Have It All (A Proverbs 31 Woman Rant).

Some of you may have seen this yesterday on Instagram. The caption was: "Workout done. Now a little devo time before L wakes up. But something had to give, and today that something was dishes." YES, I now have Instagram (username: labuenavidamere) thanks to my parents, who gave me a new phone as an early birthday present! Woo!

Anyway, this post has been rolling around in my head for awhile since I happened across another blog earlier this week. The author was talking about her everyday life, and it came across something like this: 

I run my own business from home. 
I read to my boys for 30 minutes every day and make sure I do many educational activities. 
I exercise every day, with no exceptions. 
I cook every meal from scratch. 
We live on a very strict budget, and successfully meet it every month. 
My husband and I have date night once a week. 
I make it a priority to meet with friends for coffee or lunch weekly. 
I have blog posts planned out months in advance. 
I enjoy cleaning and keeping a well decorated home. 
We expect our children to behave the first time every time, even from a young age. 
I think it's important for me to get dressed and do my makeup every day.  
I spend time reading the Bible, doing devotions, and praying every day.
And I make it a point not to complain, ever, because I'm trying to be a Proverbs 31 Woman.

Basically (my words, not hers)...
Do all these things, and your life will be perfect just like mine. 

It's taken me this long to write about it, because initially I felt pretty's hard not to read something like that and roll your eyes sometimes, no? But more and more, I'm feeling like it's a discussion that needs to be had. Especially within the Christian community lately, I've been hearing lots and lots about the "Proverbs 31 Woman" (link here, begin at verse 10), and it seems to me like a lot of people feel like it's their obligation as a woman to be the modern equivalent of the "Proverbs 31 Woman". To do all those things outlined above, perfectly. Heck there's even a very popular Facebook page that suggests that women Live 31!, and that the men in their lives would 'rather have a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria Secret model.' There are numerous comments by Christian men that they want a "Proverbs 31 Woman" for a wife.

Can I be really (unpopularly) honest for a minute? 
Sometimes, hearing about "The Proverbs 31 Woman" in this context makes me want to vomit.

Because although it seems to be popularly held, I don't think that Proverbs 31 is actually calling us to do those things listed above. I don't think it's possible for us as women to do it all and have it all perfectly 100% of the time. To be a perfectly rounded, perfectly accomplished person who gets it right all the time. And I'm not really sure that based on Proverbs 31, it's my job to try either. 

If you'll notice, the whole verse about the Proverbs 31 woman begins with "a wife of noble character, who can find?". As in, she hasn't been found. She doesn't exist, then or now. Then, the author begins an acrostic poem. This is something that we lose in the English translation, but is basically a poem in which each line begins with the next consecutive letter of the alphabet--in other words, it's literally an A-Z listing of all the traits of this non-existent perfect woman/wife. To me, it's a child-hood daydream equivalent of "I'd like a husband with blue eyes, big muscles, who drives a nice car, goes to church every Sunday, makes me dinner every night, and brings me flowers once a week." It's not reality, and it's not meant to be a literal checklist of things that need to be done in order to be doing it right.

You'll notice that in Proverbs 31, we aren't told much about the wife's relationship with her husband. We aren't told anything about her relationship with God. We aren't told about her spiritual, emotional, or physical health. Basically, we don't know that she had it all together 100% of the time, and I really don't think we're expected to either. 

I'm not saying that we shouldn't ever clean our homes, or try to spend our days the best that we can. What I'm saying is simply that we're all imperfect. I'm just saying that if you've ever felt weary trying to do it all and be it all, it's okay. I have too, especially chasing after an expectation that I've grown to believe may not be what God expects or wants of me anyhow.  

We all have days where something has to give, somewhere. 
And that's okay. 
I think it always has been.
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