31 weeks down

(I'm a week behind, I know.  You'll get the week 31 picture today, and week 32 tomorrow.  There, caught up! Done and done.)

I forgot to take a picture this week on the actual conclusion of week 31, so these pictures are technically 31 weeks and 3 days.  Does it really matter? No.  Big is big is big.  That's all you really need to know.

Of course, this picture doesn't make me look as big as I feel.

That's a little more like it, but still....

Not much to say about week 31.  It was over a week ago - I don't even remember it at this point. Too much going on during week 32, so I'll save the stories for then!

Garage Renovations

A few weeks ago, on a whim, DH decided that he wanted to re-organize our garage.  I'm pretty sure that he thought it would only take a day or so.  Three weeks later he was still working on it, and I'm pretty sure he's spent well over $1000 so far (I'm only guessing though, I'm sure he'll correct me later.)

I don't have any great "before" pictures, but let's just say it looked like a fairly cluttered garage.  I didn't mind it though, but I am generally impervious to clutter.  It drives DH crazy (both the clutter and my lack of awareness of it.)

First, he removed all of the weird wooden paneling that the previous owners had put up (they did some weird shit in that house, let me tell you.)  The paneling was crappy, thin wood and near the back of the garage, where we would sometimes get moisture during the rainy seasons, most was growing on the wood.

Most garage renovation stories do not include stories about fires.  (In all honesty, most garage renovation stories are not interesting enough to tell. This one probably isn't either.  That's the beauty of writing a blog though, I can tell stories whether they're worth telling or not!)  But of course, our story DOES involve a fire.

A fairly intense fire that I am glad I was not around to see when it was in full swing.  Normal people might just put all of that wood out for the trash.  But when you have a fire pit and you don't want to haul wood down your steep, gravely driveway, fire just makes more sense, right?  Not to mention all of the space in a landfill that you're saving.

Apparently it starting raining really lightly, and DH panicked.  He was afraid that the fire was going to go out and that he was going to have all of this wood leftover.  So he threw it all on.

Then it almost immediately stopped raining.  And we had one hell of a bonfire.

I'm glad I wasn't around when it was in full blaze.  I would have been pulling the hose out in preparation for disaster. 

Since then he's finished the garage and it's a good thing too, because that's where the first two hours of our Pittsburgh baby shower were held when it started pouring down rain the minute it was supposed to start. 

More about that shower (also known as "Baby Bonanza" coming soon!)

Sodium and Headaches are kicking my butt

DH has been out of town the past week or so, and that meant that I was on my own for all of my meals last week.  Initially I was thrilled! It meant that I got to make all of the random things that I always want to make that he doesn't like, or continues only to be a side dish (and thus is too much work to make just as a side.)  I learned that he's probably right about the "side dish" theory - turns out most of these things are pasta, rice, or potato based.  Lots of carbs, pretty much zero protein.

But what these dishes also seem to have a lot of is sodium.

I have been so dehydrated lately.  I try to drink water and I am going to the bathroom constantly, but I still feel incredibly thirsty and dehydrated.  My lips are chapped and cracked.  It's like the water is going in one end and out the other without really being processed or dealt with in a way that could help my problem. I've tried sports drinks too, but only in moderation because those have sodium in them as well and I just feel like I already have way too much sodium in my body.

This dehydration problem has been keeping me awake at night.  I wake up, panicked and parched, drink a ton of water go to the bathroom and then repeat it an hour and half to two hours later.  Waking up 5 to 6 times per night recently is NOT cool, at all, especially considering that I was doing so well previously with my sleeping.

Is this a pregnancy thing? Or is it really that I'm just eating too much sodium?  I'm going to try and be more cautious of what I eat, but if cutting out the sodium doesn't help, then what?  I've also noticed a crazy spike in weight gain (like 5 pounds in a week) which I KNOW is mostly water retention because there's no way I ate enough calories to actually gain that much.  I'm thinking that once I can get the dehydration under control that number will also drop, but again, I'm not 100% that sodium is the culprit.

On top of all of this, I have had a headache for the past 3 days or so.  It is excruciating and just borderline migraine.  Every once in a while I feel like I'm going to throw up and I think it's become a migraine and then the intensity wanes and it's tolerable (but still horrible) once again.  I guess that means it's probably a migraine, but I think I'm in denial about that.  I am just not interested in figuring out how to deal with a migraine without my medication.  I've been so lucky so far, at least on the headache front, but I have a feeling this is going to be a bad one.....

Kentucky Wedding, Part 3 - Wedding and Reception

By 7 p.m. (or 7:30, I still can't remember exactly what time it started) the clouds were gone and the sun was just started to set.  It really was perfect weather for an outdoor ceremony - the pictures don't even capture it.

DH's mom wasn't able to attend, so I was in charge of videoing the ceremony so that she could watch it later.  The brother's were able to set her up with Skype so that she could see the ceremony live, but there were problems getting the audio to work and attempts to do audio through a cell phone didn't work either, so I'm glad I was able to take the video. 

Ready to go!

Beautiful bride

The minister was a family friend of the bride, and quite the quirky old man.  The ceremony involved him pulling out a guitar at one point and playing a song about ships or something like that, and after the song, he explained the significance of why he chose that song.  (Sorry, I don't remember the significance - I was multitasking like crazy and unfortunately not really able to pay attention as closely as I might have liked.) It was a nice ceremony - not too short, not too long, and more personalized than your traditional run-of-the-mill church ceremony.

The picture above is the ceremony from my perspective - I managed to take regular photos AND videotape at the same time.  Talented, I am.

And then it was over! Husband and wife.

Picture taking ensued and I was even asked to be in one of the pictures, which mortified me since I had decided that I needed to wear flip flops to the wedding given all of the walking that I was going to be doing, and the fact that I can't wear heels for more than 15 minutes or so without my feet hurting like crazy these days.  Hopefully I was successful in hiding them, but I highly doubt it.

I managed to snap a quick shot of DH and I.

I then headed over the reception with some of DH's family members.  It was at least 8:30 at this point, and I was STARVING. I can't even express to you how hungry I was.  I hadn't eaten since my pizza lunch and although I had planned to have a snack around 5 p.m., it was too crazy with DH scrambling to get ready, and then I had to get ready, and the snack never happened.  There were small appetizers but unfortunately the only ones I could really eat were the pulled pork sandwiches (which were delicious) but also unfortunately I could only get my hands on two of them, and they were tiny, so I was still wanting more.  I think there were initially a lot more appetizers, but since we got there late, a lot of the stuff seemed to be picked over.

Everyone else was filling up on liquid calories, but I sipped a Diet Coke to give me some caffeine to get through the rest of the night.  The set-up was really pretty, with lights hanging from the trees and pies as centerpieces on the tables. The one unfortunate thing was this weird sewer smell that was fairly intense in one particular area of the yard, mostly near the bar area.  I'm not sure what was causing it, but it's definitely something that the owners of the place should look into, because seriously, who wants to smell sewage at their wedding reception?

The pie centerpieces and the Skype laptop set-up in the background

The bridal party entered about 45 minutes later but I videoed their entrances, so no photos of that.  In fact, I realize now that I don't have photos of most of the major events of the reception, since I was videoing.  The entrances, first dance, cake (or rather, pie) cutting, the maid of honor and best man speeches.... no pictureso f any of it!

Anyway, I was double starving at this point, and dinner was thankfully served shortly after the introductions!  The food was good - I'm pretty sure it would have been good either way, but it tasted even better because I was so hungry.  I just wish that there had been opportunities to get more because even after clearing my plate, I still could have eaten more.  I AM eating for two after all, right?  Oh well...

Speeches and dancing followed, as well as one of the groomsmen getting a pie in the face.  You might be horrified to hear this, but I assure you, he was thrilled.  Apparently it was a life-long dream of his to get hit in the face with a pie, and the groom was finally able to give him his dream with a leftover lemon cream pie.  Ridiculous, for sure.

The reception lasted until midnight and I was exhausted by this point, so I took an offer for a ride home while the drinkers went to the tavern for the after party.  Through text messages, I convinced DH to come back to the hotel right around 2 p.m., which he originally resisted, but I think the next morning he was glad he came back. 

All in all, it was a great event with great weather and great people - a definite success!

Kentucky Wedding, Part 2, Pre-Wedding

Saturday was wedding day, but the wedding wasn't actually until about 7 p.m. (or maybe even 7:30, I don't remember offhand.)  In any case, we had most of the day to ourselves, which I planned to use as "vacation" time, since we weren't taking any other vacations this year given the need to save money for the impending new Hartman's arrival. 

 Some of DH's relatives started the day by taking a carriage ride around the little town.  It was expensive though - $15 per person no matter how many people you had, and we just couldn't justify the cost.  

Although I know that people always say that horses "like" to work, I honestly felt a little bad for this guy.  He started trotting around town as early as 9 a.m. and you would still see him at 10 p.m. pulling people around.  I don't know how hard it is to pull that carriage around, or how many breaks he got during the day, but man, 13 hours of work seems like a lot no matter how much you "like" it.

Anyway, I wanted to do nothing more than lay around by the pool, which I was quite successful at doing.  The Hartman brothers worked on their best man speech and I soaked up some sun and tried (unsuccessfully) to read baby books. 

It was actually a pretty nice pool for such a low-budget motel. 

DH insisted on taking a picture of me.  I am posting it here for posterity's sake, in all of my chubby glory.  This was the first time I wore my maternity bathing suit.  I realized that my belly does not like to be covered up.  I felt sooo hot with it covered.  So, since we were the only ones there, I decided to bare it all, chubby belly and all.  And if you were thinking that I look uncomfortable in that picture, it's because I was uncomfortable.  Those lounge chairs were hard plastic, and towels did nothing to soften them at all.  My tailbone hurt so bad from sitting there and my butt and legs kept falling asleep, I guess because the circulation was getting cut off.  Definitely not comfortable at all.

The groom stopped by for a quick dip in the pool.

We ordered Domino's pizza for lunch and had it to delivered to the pool, which was awesome.  After that we headed inside and while others took a nap, DH and I decided to take a walk in the little town to see if we could find something to use as our commemorative Christmas tree ornament that we like pick up whenever we visit a new place.  We found a miniature whiskey barrel that we figured represented Kentucky quite well. 

The town was super small, so the whole walk - there, around town, and then back - took no more than 30 or 40 minutes, and that included a stop for ice cream at this quaint little shop.  We walked by the reception venue, which was right in the center of town, and saw it being set up.  This was the first time that I realized that the ceremony AND the reception were being held outdoors.  At this point in the day it was a little overcast, but fortunately they weren't calling for rain, since I have no idea what the back-up plan would have been.  The restaurant definitely did not have enough space inside to accommodate everyone. 

The little tavern above was also a B&B and it was where the bride and groom were staying. It was also where we found our little whiskey barrel ornament, AND would become the site of the after party following the reception. 

Then we headed back and DH decided that he needed a quick nap as well.  When he woke up it was nearly 5 p.m. and they had to report at 5:30 for picture taking.  Rushing ensued as he showered and I attempted to steam the wrinkles out of the khaki linen suit that he was wearing.  Linen is such a ridiculous material.  You'd think that with all of the technology that exists out there, we could come up with a fabric that was light and breathable and yet didn't look like a wrinkled napkin as soon as you put it on. 

But if you don't look too closely, the suits don't look too wrinkled and I really did enjoy the khaki color.  It looked great on all of the guys, and was an appropriate color for an outdoor ceremony and reception.  Black would have likely look way too formal.

Also, in the background you can see the sitting area that I mentioned in my first post. I thought it was really awesome of the hotel to have that seating there, and since our block of rooms was the entire first floor, we pretty much owned that area for the weekend.  It was nice because at any given time you could look out your window and chances were really good that someone would be sitting out there that you would join. 

So, time for the wedding!

Kentucky Wedding - Part One, Rehearsal Dinner

At the end of May, DH and I traveled to middle-of-nowhere Kentucky for his brother's wedding.  It was a quick trip - arrived on Friday afternoon and left on Sunday morning.

Crazy thing about Kentucky - cell service there sucks.  I could only make calls and sometimes send or receive texts.  Apparently I wasn't getting all of my text messages, or if I did, it was hours after the person sent them.  There was no data service, and no GPS service either.  Which was really bad when we left the hotel on Sunday with no idea of where to go, and no GPS signal.  It resulted in a call to Pittsburgh to someone with a computer who read us the first couple of directions from Google maps until we could re-enter civilization closer to Lexington.

Anyway, a few hours after we arrived on Friday, it was already time for the rehearsal and dinner! The hotel that we stayed at was a five minute walk to the ceremony venue, which was great.

The ceremony was being held outside, on the enormous lawn of some historic building in the little town.  The first floor of the building held a whiskey museum, and then all of the other floors had completely random, unrelated business on them (I believe a school of some sort, legal offices perhaps, and then the top floor was a dining venue of some sort that they rented out for the dinner.)  Yes, the long brick walkway that you see in that picture above was the "aisle."  Crazy, right?

View from the steps of the building

I frequently forget how big I've gotten until I see pictures of myself

They served southern barbeque food for the rehearsal dinner and it was really good. I've recently developed an appreciation for pulled pork sandwiches and these did not let me down.  For that reason, there are no pictures.  I was starving and wasted little time in eating everything, which - in addition to the pulled pork - including fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  Yum.

There were speeches and gifts given out and all of that, but the room was really dark, so the majority of those pictures didn't turn out that great.  You can imagine though, right? Oh, and imagine that everyone else was drinking.  Oh, how I wanted to be drinking.....

Here's a funny one to end with though... I believe the prompt for this picture was "let's see your pregnant belly!"

There are a couple different versions of this photo out there, depending on who took it, and the angle that they were standing at.  DH clearly wins the prize in this particular photo although I hear his brother gave him a run for his money in some of the other versions. 

After the rehearsal dinner everyone went downstairs to the basement of the building, where there was a bar. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the bar in the random list of businesses in this building.) I stayed for about 15 minutes, but it was super crowded, I was carrying a ton of crap (my purse, my camera, DH's video camera, his groomsman gift, etc), it was super smoky, and super loud.  I don't think people were actually smoking IN the bar, but there were definitely at least 20 people standing right in the doorway smoking and they basically might as well have been smoking inside.  Plus it was so loud that you had to yell to talk to anyone, and when you're not drinking and totally sober, conversation is really all you've got left so I quickly got tired of just standing there holding stuff and decided to let the drinkers do their thing. 

I walked back to the hotel on my own, and on the way encountered some of DH's cousins who were taking a walk.  They walked back with me to the hotel and we hung out at this cute little sitting area that was outside of our block of rooms for an hour or so until I decided to go to bed. 

Up next, wedding day.

Strawberries - A Success Story

After my last gardening post, I mentioned that was one crop that didn't appear to be a total failure.  Of course, part of the reason for that is probably because it's crop was the result of work from previous years, not this past year's. 

That crop is the strawberry.

We planted these strawberry plants three (or four???) years ago.  I carefully followed the planting instructions and then diligently plucked little white and yellow flower and little white and yellow flower as the sprouted, delaying strawberry satisfaction but ensuring that the plants would get strong enough for a nice crop the following year. 

The "following year" the crop was only so-so.  I'm not sure what went wrong.  Perhaps nothing. But the harvest was minimal at best, and we struggled with slugs like crazy. 

This year, we have a nice lush bed of strawberry plants.

Better yet, they are actually producing decent strawberries!!!!

One crop is a June bearing variety, and the other is an "everbearing" variety.  The June bearers are definitely a nicer, larger berry, but they only produce one - maybe two - crops per year and then are done.  The evebearers, on the other hand, keep producing throughout the summer but the berries are smaller, not as nicely shaped and later in the season sometimes don't taste quite as good.  If I was to do this garden again, I would go with a June bearing and a July or August bearing - that way, I think I'd get decent sized crops of nice looking berries but not all at once.

Each container holds about a pound of strawberries.  I'd say that I got about 10 pounds in total this year.  That was a LOT of berries, especially considering that I don't eat them. 

DH got to have a lot of fruit salad the past few weeks, and he loved it.  The crazy thing is that with berries being in season right now, strawberries are actually super cheap at the grocery store - as cheap as $2.50 a pound. So assuming that we got 10 pounds at that price, we're really only saving $25 a year by growing our own.

Even I think these look tasty!!!

But that's not really the point of having a garden, is it?  I've known since the first year that this garden was going to be a hobby, an investment of sorts, with more or less no guarantee of return.  In that case, any return should be considered a success, and the strawberries definitely get the "student of the year" award so far for this garden!


Although I talk a lot about the more annoying aspects of being pregnant - weight gain, back pain, etc. - my days are filled these moments where I feel so incredibly at peace and content it stops me in my tracks.

In the mornings when I first wake up - and I lay in bed for a long time while trying to fully wake up - I lay there is a half-conscious drowsiness until a little nudge or kick from my stomach brings me back to reality and reminds me that it's not just about me anymore.  In all honesty, when I first wake up in the morning I don't remember that I am pregnant.  It takes either a kick or that crazy feeling when I first stand up out of bed and all of the weight in my abdomen is taken by gravity and pulled downwards that I really, truly remember.

There's a tiny human inside me.

When I unexpectedly catch my reflection in a mirror or window I stop short.  I know it's me, but it's a new, altered form of me that I am not always consciously aware of.  In fact, there are many moments - even when I am actively rubbing or resting my hands on my stomach - that I'm not aware of the what I am doing or the fact that my body has changed in such drastic ways.  It's weird that after so many months, it's still a surprise to me so frequently.

I don't want to say that "pregnancy suits me" because that sounds so terribly cliched.  However, I have been thoughtful recently about how - for the most part - this pregnancy thing is relatively effortless for me (relatively speaking of course.)  It often takes aching feet, or a sharp pain in my back to remind me that I need to take it easy, rest more, and that there are simply some things I can't do anymore.  I don't have that overwhelming sense of being tired all the time that you hear about, and although I do sleep a lot, I would be kidding myself if I didn't admit that I slept that much before I was pregnant when I got the chance. 

I don't have crazy cravings, am not spontaneously over-emotional, and overall, my body is handling this incredibly well.  I know that I am incredibly lucky.

I read a lot of blogs (or at least I used to, I'm so behind these days...) and in some of them the women write about their struggles with infertility.  Some have been trying for years and years to get pregnant, and for us it only took 3 months.  I say this not to brag, but to acknowledge once again out loud that I get it - I am one of the lucky ones, and I shouldn't take that for granted.  So I like to take some moments to reflect and dwell and live in the moment, because even if I never get this opportunity again, I can remember how incredibly at peace and content and happy I was back when I was 30 years old, living in the suburban wilderness with my husband and dog, and giddily pregnant with my little boy.

Garden 2011

Garden 2011 is in full swing, although I certainly got a late start on it this year.  The pregnancy is not the blame - it's the busy-ness of life.  But of course, the pregnancy has created most of the busy-ness (how do you spell that word?? I feel like I'm just making up a spelling..) then I guess we should just blame the pregnancy after all.

Like I mentioned, I got a really late start on this garden. For that reason, I don't think it's going to be as successful as last year's, which is sort of sad.  I like to always keep improving, not taking steps backwards.  This post will mostly reflect on the mistakes I've made, which I hope to use as notes for next year.

1. Mistake #1 - I planted the leafy vegetables too late

I bought a pack of 4 spinach plants and 3 romaine lettuce plants (to get an early crop) as well as seeds for leaf lettuce, spinach, and chard.  You might recall that last year, chard was one of my favorite crops of the season.  But I didn't get the plants into OR the seeds into the ground early enough.  I think it was the last week of May before I did this, and then all of a sudden it got hot out.  Leafy greens are cold weather veggies, and the fact that we had such a rainy, cool spring is like a double fail for me - I think I could have had an amazing crop if I had gotten these into the ground by the first week of May.

As it stands, I'm not sure that I'll have any leafy greens to harvest this year.  Huge sad face.

Mistake #2 - I picked up the wrong tomato plants

We like Roma tomatoes.  You know, the small, ovular shaped tomatoes, also known as "plum" tomatoes.  Last year our two Roma plants produced more tomatoes that we could keep up with (actually, we did keep up with them, but it was a challenge!)

This year I went to Home Depot, found the Roma section, picked one up and was on my merry way. Only to find when I arrived home that the plants I picked were NOT in the correct section at all, and now I had four "big boy" tomato plants on my hands.  I was all ready to plant them, so I didn't want to take them back.  They're in the ground, and seem to be doing fairly well but I'm not sure what I think about "big boy" tomatoes.  The large plant in the middle was from one of DH's students.  I think it's a cherry tomato plant, which I am kind of excited about.  

Only a medium fail on the tomato plants.

Mistake #3 - I don't think I have the proper support structure in place for Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are a new veggie I'm trying this year.  I decided to plant it after making chicken lo mein all winter long and enjoying the stir fried green little veggies. (I also looked into whether or not I could grow water chestnuts, but did you know you actually need a pool of water to grow those!?!?) 

Anyway, I don't know much about peas, other that the package said "provide proper support."  I have no idea what proper support is, but I used the fencing that I had from last year, which we used to let the cukes climb on.  Even after only a few days, the pea plants are already going over the fencing.  Clearly I need more support. 

Mistake #4 - I forgot to order potatoes in advance

Last year I ordered my potato spuds very early on with the rest of my garden order in the spring.  This year I forgot to add the potatoes.  When I went to order them, I realized that shipping is like $12 no matter how big your order.  For $10 plants, that seemed outrageous.  So I decided to give the Home Depot potato plants a shot.  Even though they looked ridiculous before going into the ground (they were indoors and reaching like crazy to try to find sunlight) so far, the majority of them seem to be thriving.  These were slightly cheaper than the nursery potatoes, so if they thrive and taste good this might not be a fail after all!!!!

I also planted cucumbers, but as of yet, don't think I messed anything up with them (fingers crossed.)  But the way this garden has gone this year, it will probably be the year of "weird and random cucumber disease" that destroys all of the crops.  That would just be my luck.

The next gardening post will spotlight the one single success that I've had this year, and it's a beauty.

30 weeks

I had my 30 week check-up on Friday and all is well.  I have gained 26 pounds so far, but the doctor that I saw this most recent time was not concerned (such a relief, as I was starting to dread these appointments. I need to avoid the crazy-weight doctor I think - he stresses me out.)

 30 weeks pregnant - look at that belly!

We have some big decisions that we need to make in the next two weeks, including:
1. Who our pediatrician is going to be
2. Whether or not we're going to have the little guy circumcized

I have some pediatrician leads that I need to follow up on soon.  There's a practice within a few minutes of the daycare that we'll be using that has gotten good reviews on some of the boards that I've been reading, and I think they seem like they'll be a good fit for us.

As far as the circumcision thing goes, I don't really know. I think I just assumed we would do it, but DH feels like it's medically unnecessary.  Does anyone have any information on the pros and cons of this?  I don't even know where to begin (other than good old google, of course.)  Opinions are appreciated.

 From the front

My stomach continues to grow at what seems like an unprecendented weight.  I said it once, and I'll say it again - I can't believe I'm going to get even bigger than I already am, and still survive.

But that said, I am also very content with this whole pregnancy thing.  I have very little to actually complain about.  Yes, I feel enormous.  That comes with the territory.  Yes, my feet have been swelling, I'm hot all the time, and my back hurts a lot, but I don't have heartburn, am not excessively tired, and am more or less able to go on with my normal life without any problem.  I just get the added bonus of random kicks here and there to remind me that something is going on in there.

And of course, I need show you how big it REALLY is - clothes hide a lot

Speaking of back pain, I have received a referral to see a physical therapist, as they believe that the back problem might be more than just sciatica (which is fairly common.)  I haven't had severe back pain in over a week now, but I've also been avoiding exercise at all costs, since that usually triggered it.

I also experienced my first REAL bout of swollen feet - if I thought my feet were swollen before, I clearly had no idea.  After 5 and a half hours of driving on Friday evening, I noticed that my feet felt weirdly cold.  I rubbed them to try to warm them up and realized that I couldn't really feel them at all.  Then I realized that they had doubled in size!!! They were so ugly and bloated that they didn't even look like they should be connected to my body.  It took over 24 hours so them to get back down to their normal size, and on the return drive home yesterday I made sure to wiggle around constantly so that I wasn't cutting off the circulation.  Although not entirely safe for driving, the wiggling seemed to help with the feet, and they were only mildly swollen by the time I got home.

All in all, all is well.

As of this coming Wednesday, I technically only have 9 weeks to go!!!  Never at any point in this process did I ever say, "I wish time would go faster," and I'm glad for that now.  I had enough "holy shit, only X number of weeks to go!!!" to keep me in line when it came to appreciating the time that I was given before this kiddo arrives.  I always knew this time would come quickly, and I know the next 9 weeks will fly by.  We're nearly ready as far as physically having everything we need.  But really, is any first time parent ever truly "ready" when their child arrives?

Thanks for the diapers!

This past week we received our first gift of diapers! We had them on all of our registries, but hadn't gotten any yet! I could barely believe it, but then I remembered that people probably wouldn't get excited about gifting something that was going to be disposed of after being filled with poop or pee.

The real mystery, though, is WHO are these diapers from?!? They were shipped by Amazon,  addressed to Critter, by someone who clearly knows our address, but there was no return address or mention of who they were from.
So if the sender happens to be a reader, please let me know it was you! In the meantime, an advanced "thank you" for being the first person to give us diapers. I hear we're going to need them!

Buying Maternity Clothes

There are a handful of places that have been my go-to's for maternity clothes.  Some are obvious, some less so, but I wanted to at least mention them here and the reasons that I either loved (or in some cases, hated) them.  If you're ever in the market for maternity clothes, hopefully you'll find this helpful!

1. Gabriel Brothers
Yep, Gabe's.  If you don't have a Gabe's near you, I am oh-so-sorry.  It's one of my favorite places to shop in general, although it can be very time-consuming to find nice things sometimes, and it's often hit or miss.  But the prices are dirt cheap, so I'm ok with the time spent.
I was surprised to find that they have maternity clothes, and every few weeks I've stopped by to look at the new stuff.  That's the nice thing about Gabe's - they get new stuff in all the time, so the stock is constantly rotating.  The stuff is generally cheap - shirts for between $5 and $7 for the most part, and really nothing more than $12.99.  I got a cute dress there, 2 pairs of slightly miscolored jeans for $3 each, shorts and skinny denim capris for $7.99 each, multiple maternity shirts, and countless numbers of ribbed tank tops for $3 or less.  I have purchased so much of my maternity wardrobe from Gabe's and I'm pretty sure I spent less than $150.

2. Target
The Liz Lange maternity line that is carried at Target has some really nice options, particularly in dresses.  Their full-price maternity stuff is severely marked-up though, so I refuse to pay full price. However, they usually have a small maternity section on the clearance racks, and the Gabes near my house generally has a bunch of Liz Lange stuff on their racks so I look for her stuff their too.  My Liz Lange denim shorts are worn every weekend, both days.  I love them.

4. Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart carries a limited line of maternity clothes and they really are dirt cheap (which is what WM is known for, right?) but it's only available online so you can't try stuff on before purchasing.  This is when I decided that I should really try things on.  I ordered a pair of gray pants in size large.  They were waaaaaay too big; I don't think they'll ever fit.  Plus, they weren't really gray  - they were more like green.  So I kept them anyway (since they were only $13 including shipping) and ordered them again in a size medium.  That would make sense right? Well, the mediums were too tight, and too short, and a totally different color than the initial pants, even though they were supposed to be the same thing.  I kept these as well, although I now regret it as I more or less hate them.
I have crossed Wal-Mart off of my list of maternity clothing providers and would not recommend them.

3. Old Navy
I've only shopped for Old Navy stuff online although there is apparently an ON near me that carries some maternity stuff in store.  They have some occasional sales, and their ribbed tank tops are a staple of my wardrobe.  I also got a cute dress from them, but be sure to read the reviews before buying - the applique on the dress is really cheap looking, and if I had read the reviews I would have known that in advance.

4.  Motherhood Maternity/Pea in a Pod
There's a MM/PinaP outlet store in the area where I generally shop, so I've never been to a regular, dedicated store for either of these brands. They have a great, robust website, but the in-store shopping experience is definitely a plus, because you can try things on.  There were pants that I saw online, and thought about ordering in size medium, but then when I went into the store to try them on, the medium's were way too tight and I ended up with larges.  I did order some shirts online and the size larges were too big, but since they were on sale, they really weren't worth returning.
Pea in a Pod is their designer brand, and it seems to be ridiculously overpriced. You can hold up a pair of Motherhood brand pants and an extremely similar pair of Pea pants and although you can't really see a difference visually, the price is often as much as a $100 more for the PinaP pants. 
Ridiculous, I tell you. But in general, their stuff is really nice and I would highly recommend them particularly the Motherhood brand, and particularly if you have a store nearby where you can try stuff on first. 

5. JCPenney
JCP primarily carries a brand called Duo Maternity.  Their selection is pretty limited, but they have great options in jeans.  I got two pairs of jeans that I really like from there, for a total of $32.  Definitely worth checking out, but again, try stuff on first.  I first saw the jeans online and they even include measurements for sizing.  I measured into a medium based on their online chart, but I couldn't get the mediums up past my thighs (and it's not like I have huge thighs or anything).  The size larges fit perfectly.  So again, buy where you can try stuff on first. 

6. Hand Me Downs
Not a place to shop, but worth mentioning.  If someone offers you free maternity clothes, take them! That stuff is so overpriced that even a crappy old maternity t-shirt will save you a few bucks.  And if you're crafty, you could probably take in things that are too big, or hem things that are too long.  Free is free, people!

Week 29!

I just realized that in my week 28 post I completely failed to mention the incredible fact that I am now in my THIRD TRIMESTER!  Wow... time has seriously flown by, and I cannot believe that over 2/3rds of the way through this.

Why does it look sooo much bigger when it's not covered with a shirt?

Last week I said something along the lines of "movement has increased." (I'm paraphrasing, obviously.)  I wonder if I should stop saying that, since this week the first thing I could think to write was "Holy hell, has the movement ever increased!!!"  Basically the exact same thing, only it's so much more intense that it seems worthy of mentioning. 

But how many weeks can I go exclaiming "more intense" movement, since I'm pretty sure that's par for the course at this point.  Of course I'm going to feel more movement. He's getting bigger and it's getting tight in there. If I'm not feeling a ton of movement, there's probably something wrong, right?

Still no stretch marks, and my belly button is trying reeeeally hard to remain an innie, but the top part popped out a week or two ago and I'm pretty sure it's not going to stay half and half for long. The good news is that it no longer feels "weird" (remember how I couldn't describe the weird feeling I had in my belly button region a few weeks ago? Well that went away.) 

These pictures were from last Wednesday - in two days, I will hit the 30 week mark!!! Ridiculous right!?!? The other night, I said, "Critter, I hope you come in 9 weeks" and DH was like, "NO! That's too soon!" And I said, "You realize there's only 10 weeks left, right?" And after a moment of silence he was like, "Holy sh*&!"

That's an understatement!

Maternity Dresses

Oh, maternity dresses.  How difficult it has been for me to develop affection for you.  You always make me feel frumpy, with your empire waists and excess material.  I never had anything against empire waistlines before, but now they seem to be very unflattering.  I guess there aren't a lot of ways to flatter a basketball attached to your spine.

In any case, a few weeks ago I need to shop for a maternity dress to wear to all of the weddings and showers that we had coming up this summer.  I found this awesome Pea In A Pod dress, which was originally $165, but on sale for $40.  I was so excited!!!

These are horrible pictures, but look at how cute this dress is!

It has pleats in the front along the belly, so it's more fitted instead of just hanging on my stomach.  The busy pattern also helps to conceal the basketball.

From the front I feel like you can barely even tell that I am 6 months pregnant (at the time that this picture was taken.)

From the side view it's definitely a little more obvious, but if you can get hideous yellow hue of this photo, I think you'll agree that it's pretty darn flattering.

I wore this dress to DH's brother's wedding in Kentucky, and I felt great.  Sadly I didn't get any pictures of the two of us though, except for this one, where I look pretty awful.

But even more sadly is what happened after the wedding.

I came home from Kentucky and promptly threw all of my clothes into the washer.  This dress didn't feel like it was any sort of special material and I had no reason to think that it would need special treatment, although the $165 price tag should have tipped me off.

Well, I learned a little thing or two about a material called "rayon" - turns out, you shouldn't put it in the washing machine.  My cute little $165-but-on-sale-for-$40 dress that I only wore once shrunk up so small that it was about half the size of the original dress.  After it dried completely it had stretched out completely but it was about 3 inches shorter and quite snug.  I was devastated.  Especially since I had decided that the dried version was as good as the original and packed it for our first baby shower without trying it on again, and needless to say, I was self conscious the entire time.  (Hopefully that didn't show too much.)  I'll post some pictures of the "after" dress at some point so that you can see what I mean, but trust me when I say "READ THOSE CARE LABELS." 

You can thank me later.