Monday, February 28, 2011

So baby clothes are hard to fold.

I washed the clothes we received at our first baby shower last weekend, and just finished folding a whole stack of them. I kind of stuck with folding them in half, because they're so tiny. Also, clothes sizes seem to widely vary. I have a stack of onesies already for the 0-3 month size, but they themselves are all different sizes....huh. And if our child is as big as many of our friends' newborns - the 0-3 months will only fit for a few days, maybe weeks, anyway!

I've begun to feel the poor kid have hiccups regularly - usually about twice each day, I think. Sometimes I don't really pay attention. I'm curious as to how tiny infants even get the hiccups - I thought it had something to do with the diaphram in tandem with either the lungs or digestive tract - neither of which are functioning in the womb, as far as I understand it. I feel bad - I HATE having the hiccups and wish I could help the little guy with them.

In the ongoing saga of our baby's room, its....still in progress. Closer, but still in progress. I am happy to report that one of the three walls is completely finished. the other three are...mostly done. We discovered a glitch in the baseboard we bought months ago - namely, that today's baseboard sizes (2" by 8") is actually almost an inch shorter than standard baseboard sizes of, say, 50 years ago. There's not much you can do about that - problem is, we ripped some old baseboard off to do some wiring and throw up a new adjacent to the two older walls on either side, and didn't even think about joint compounding and painting the old walls lower than the old baseboard used to go. So after 11 hours yesterday of painting, painting, painting, and, oh yes, painting (all the trim, attached and unattached, two coats to each, all the stripes we're putting from the chair-rail down, the ceiling, etc.), we realized upon completion of all of our painting that yes, there is literally a 3/4 inch section at the bottom of two of the walls where our new baseboard does not go up to the level of paint on the wall. So frustrating to now have to go through the whole joint compounding several layers, sanding, priming, painting, and striping all over again for what will literally be a 2" section around the very bottom of the wall. So quick, you say, much quicker than joint compounding an entire room! Why yes, I'll reply, thinking how I'd like to throw my glass-half-empty at you.
However, my wonderful father-in-law came for about three hours tonight and helped, along with my brother-in-law, to install about half of the trim in the baby's room. Hence one wall being complete. Check back next week to see if I've retained my sanity and the room is done...

So I tend to buy encyclopedia-like books when I'm researching something. My nursing book is turning out to be a load more than I originally thought - hugely useful, but it takes some focus to get through.

Speaking of reading, I'm having a blast picking up board books for baby boy. Most recent purchase (to get free shipping on Amazon by spending another $4) - Caps for Sale, a Flint family favorite for quite a long time, as I recall. if you one day think to yourself, oh yes, Holly and Tim are having a baby, I wonder what they'd like me to get them? There are only two answers: something off the registry OR a book (look how I held off from my rant about clothes!). I love books, I read voraciously until I turned 22 and entered the real world of 7-day work weeks, home improvement projects and continuing education in the hopes of finding a job that fits my interests. I figure about 25 years from now I'll be able to read for myself again, but until then, I shall do everything I can to inspire our children to!!!

Speaking of things you want your kids to be great at, here's a short list:
1. Making toast. Both my dad and husband are phenomenal at making the best toast, which should be a staple of anyone's diet. I do not possess this happy talent, but have benefited my entire life from theirs.
2. To cook. Clearly a skill I do not have, though I can bake up a storm and follow very simple meal recipes with some practice (see, shiskabobs, spaghetti and pancakes). This, however, is something Tim does with creativity and with always spectacular results, and our children, regardless of gender, will be required to help him regularly and catch the cooking bug.
3. To clean. well. This was a rule in my own parent's house - as soon as you were about 4 years old, you leaned to clean and do it perfectly, and not complain a bit about having to do so. Your chores obviously gradually increased in magnitude, but by golly, my three siblings and I could clean a large house top to bottom in a short period of time given the right tools.
4. To get dirty. yep - one of the reasons I wanted a boy first - I spent 90 percent of my childhood outdoors and I think it's a lost art today.
5. To like roller coasters. Okay, that one was for Tim. I tolerate roller coasters - generally only riding them if they strap you in entirely (feet dangling kind). But I want our kids to have a sense of abandonment, instead of my inherent tension when something is new or different.
6. The Dewey Decimal system. Just kidding, but MAN, I feel like I just barely figured that out before everything went via computers. It took me so long to learn it!!

There's about a million other things to add to this list, including being okay with who they are and not caring what other people think (a big order with today's teens especially, I know), liking a variety of foods and international flavors, swimming like a fish, and so on and so forth. I feel like toast should be first on that list though :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The superman of a husband - sexy voice, project tackler and supporter extraordinaire

So this baby boy has now discovered what I believe is called the pelvic floor. My doc said it's hard to tell how he's positioned in the womb unless you're an expert like she is - especially because even if you think you know where the feet are, they could be tucked underneath him, in front of his face, etc. etc.

However, yesterday, I can tell you how he was positioned - smack in between my hip bones, and I don't mean the ones that poke out a teensy bit at the top of your thighs. I mean down. in. there. very awkward feeling. It wasn't painful at all, but since I don't often feel my internal organs bopping in and around inside my torso, certainly a new experience.

I've decided that the baby responds to Tim's voice. Though he's usually active when I'm first lying down in bed at night, sometimes he'll have stopped moving too much, but as soon as Tim starts talking he's rolling around in there again. Tim has a great voice, but sometimes I wish he'd just be quiet :)

Over the weekend, we had an awesome baby shower back in Massachusetts at my 'rents home church in Uxbridge. I had a great time, and a lot of different people from my past showed up, which was hugely supportive. I hope everyone had a lot of fun - and we received some very much-needed items, from a pack n' play to a changing table pad (thanks Auntie Kara!) to some fun items like penguin booties for the little dude and a Red Sox Fan jersey onesie from Katie Kap.

We've got everything sorted in the living room right now, ready to go to various places - the newly finished furniture, the washing machine, the bathroom/closet (yes I'm serious) for future use.

The reason everything is still in the living room, other than I haven't been home for more than ten minutes late at night before bed, is because our nursery is still....going....

But for good reason. We'll be painting the trim in the room as well to make it nice and fresh, but it's old, peeling paint so Tim is working at scraping and sanding it down to an even layer for slapping on some fresh paint. I can't be anywhere near the area because there's the possibility that one of the two coats of paint is lead-based, as our house is nearly 100 years old, and that's just not safe. So until he finishes his stripping and sanding of that area, not much else will happen. He's been working for hours every evening, which I hugely appreciate!!! Once he's finished though, we'll just have to do a final coat of paint on the trim/walls and then stripe the walls before his dad arrives on Sunday to help us install the new baseboard and chair rail, hurrah!

On a very fun note, I helped my friend, Megan (cupo fisher, cupo fisher, cupo fisher, cupo-) make baby shower invites for my shower here in Pa. last night. it was a) super fun, because i love being crafty but have neither the time or supplies for it usually, and b) productive and with a very CUTE card at the end. I have a photo I'll have to add to this post later.

On the list to do in preparation for baby in the coming days? Breastfeeding class sign-up; childbirth class sign-up; research options for writing a will (software? hire a lawyer? crayon on wall?); and get final approval from my work for my specific maternity leave. I'm 90 percent done with that process, thank goodness.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Squishy Squash

So February has become a whirlwind that I'm incapable of slowing down! Mostly work or school-related things, but some baby stuff as well!

This weekend we will be heading back to Massachusetts/Rhode Island for a delightful baby shower my mom/sister/church ladies are throwing me up north. It will be SO GOOD to see so many people we haven't had a chance to catch up with in awhile, not to mention spend time with family, and of course, open presents! Very much looking forward to that. I believe Tim is looking forward to a baby-free afternoon with my brother as well :)

This weekend we had a maternity photo shoot. But first, a funny conversation recently with my dad:
D: A what?
H: A maternity photo shoot. Like, photos of me and my belly and me and Tim.
D: Aaaand....are you paying for this??!
H: Yes! But, in my normal style, I found a ridiculous deal with a photographer whose work I absolutely adored and she's bulking up her maternity portfolio, so she gave me two sessions for the price of one session fee, and her session fee is pretty affordable, especially in comparison with some of the big names around here. And her quality of photography is top-notch, so I'm not losing any quality in the price! (takes a breath.)
D: Oh. okay. so....will you eventually get pictures of, you know, your baby?
H: YES. yes. We have a six-month photo session to schedule with her as well.
D: Oh. okay.

Anyway, our photographer, Julie Davis ( has beautiful techniques with lighting, and she was very open to me suggesting several poses and ideas for the photo shoot. I particularly love fun, textured backgrounds (brick, stone, rustic wood, and snow!) and we did about half of the session outdoors to accommodate that. We also had just a lot of fun with her - she was flexible, but still directed us to move or sit a certain way. We felt like she knew what she was doing but was allowing our personalities to shine through. My favorite part? The kissing photos :) For our engagement photos, our photographer kept saying from yards and yards away, "okay, kiss NOW" and I kept not really hearing him and it was awkward, etc. Julie had a handy little count down option, of 3, 2, 1, and Tim kept making hilarious faces at me so I only kissed him about half the time, and the other half I busted out laughing. Anyway, I've asked if there's ways I can link to or post some samples of our photo shoot online to share, and she was all for that. I should be receiving a preview soon, and options for prints in 2 to 3 weeks.

While we were taking photos, I realized that the vertical line on my belly has started to materialize. Only - this is a bit weird - it's not straight! From my ribcage to my belly button, it curves in an arc to the left, and then straight down from there. Very. weird.

We also finished painting the nursery this weekend...and then realized that although we are old pros at painting, we are NOT pros at joint compounding. So. We decided to layer on another couple of coats of joint compound (making five total) to smooth everything out, which we are in the process of completing now, and then re-painting the one new wall next week. You know, along with scraping down old trim, priming and painting the new ceiling, painting all the trim and chair rail, installing the ceiling light, finishing building a couple of items of furniture, installing a dimmer switch, etc. There are two pieces of good news about this: 1) the hardwood floor has already been refinished, which we did a couple of years ago, and it still looks beautiful, so technically the hardest part of the room was already complete before we started. 2) I LOVE love love love the color of paint. Love. it. It's a pastel orange, bright enough to be a very fun color, pale enough to not be terribly shocking, and with no traces of pink in it (which is what happened when we first moved in and tried for a very similar color, which came out bubble gum pink b/c it was so pastel that the reds came out more than the yellows). I promise I'll post photos, but I think I might wait until the paint is all slapped on, the chair rail is up and the striping is done on the lower half of the wall (something I'm also terribly excited about).

So pregnancy symptoms: still going very well. I've had a couple of extreme instances of heartburn recently, which I literally had to call my mom and ask about because I wasn't sure what exactly was going on. I've got some tums now and I'll be asking my doctor about other possible recommendations as well. The baby's been moving around enough to sometimes wake me up which I'm dozing, though not in the middle of the night (yet). Nothing else much to report, other than feeling sliiiiightly more tired than in the second trimester, but it could just be because my life has become insanely BUSY these past few weeks.

Oh, I also completed all of the paperwork needed for my FMLA leave, my Short Term Disability insurance, and I cleared our healthcare/new baby understanding of insurance with my insurance, Tim's insurance, my doctor's office AND the insurance dept. at the hospital. The only one of those four "expert" places that actually could explain to me the timeline and how insurance for newborns work? The hospital. Though it will still cost us thousands of dollars in deductibles, it shouldn't be a shock or anything more than we thought before, thank goodness. I actually went down to our HR department to explain how the insurance works b/c I'm one of three ladies who are expecting in the next few months, and it seems no one,  not even the insurance companies themselves, understand the rules and steps of the process...of course.

I think that's all that's happened in the world of Baby Dwight this week! My weekly updates say he is the size of a squash. I think someone should tell them that squash comes in a lot of varieties. Are we talking a tiny acorn squash or are we talking a monster-sized yellow squash?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Congratulations Mom - 26 years later

So when I was a child, my mom was very insistent upon us putting away our clothes asap after they arrived, folded, in our room (we usually did the folding downstairs ourselves, and then whomever was near the laundry basket brought them up and distributed).

This was not so hard for me. What was VERY hard was keeping my drawers neat. I've never been able to accomplish this. No matter how often I organize them into cute, folded stacks, rearrange, etc., my drawers always look like someone put them in the drawer by standing across the room and shooting scrunched up handfuls of them in, basketball style. I have a friend who tells me its because the rest of my life is so organized, there has to be something, somewhere to slip up :)

In fact, my mother got so mad at me at least once when I was little for not having neat drawers, that she took everything out of my dresser, threw it on the floor and made me put it all back in. A very handy technique to inspire automatic neatness :)

I am here to tell you mom, that my wild ways have changed - I now have organized drawers!!! Partly because I finally started rotating my seasonal (or in my current case, maternity/non maternity) clothes, partly because we bought some marvelous boxes to use in our closets instead of trying to stack clothes on the top shelves which neither of us can reach.  Thanks to the marvelousness of Ikea, I should say. I've included a photo for proof of my new system. My skivvies drawer is also organized, but I figured I didn't want to make that permanent record on the inter-webs for my kids to find in 47 years :)

I'm feeling like our house is really, truly organized. We have so little storage space, it's not like I really had that much work cut out for me - but all three of our closets are good to go, our spare dresser in our guest room has two drawers cleared, I've donated old clothes to goodwill, our basement received a thorough (and shocking) clean out back in October, and I finally spent the ten bucks to buy a spice rack and get our large quantity of spices out of the back of the pantry next to the iron pans.

Next, and probably near the end of the organization list (until the baby items start arriving en-masse) is adding an extra shelf to our one kitchen cabinet at floor level. I also need a handy place to store my chemical cleaning stuff for the bathrooms - currently just sitting next to one of our toilets...not a good idea, I know. I'm thinking a bucket at the top of one of our closets might do the trick. We have no storage space in our bathroom and our linen closet is beautifully organized, but packed to the gills with only floor-level space left, also not so safe.

We were originally planning on painting our babe's room this past weekend, but we realized two things: it takes more joint compound than you think it does to joint a wall, a ceiling, and all corners of said ceiling and wall, and b) even if you have enough joint compound, you can't expect it to dry when it's only 42 degrees in that room all day, every day. The compound instructions said it dries within 24 hours --- at a temp of 75 degrees. Woops! So we'll be taking some time this week to do even MORE joint compounding, sanding, sponging, priming, and, eventually, painting. We'll be putting up some chair rail when Tim's dad visits in a few weeks - though that begs the question, with our very old house: do we level the chair rail with the uneven floor, the uneven ceiling, or actually level it around the room? I don't know.

While we waited for joint compound to dry, we instead put together our Ikea furniture, so when the room is done we'll hoof it on in there! These are stock photos, but they look as good as the real thing! Crib not put together yet, but that takes up the most space, so that'll be after we finish painting the room, probably. Oh, and I should clarify. By "we put together" I mean that Tim put together while I read him entertaining things from SuperFreakonomics, the Caveman's Guide to Baby's First Year, and Bill Bryson's The Mother Tongue. All entertaining in different ways.

You probably want to hear something about the baby, not just how I've endlessly been preparing for him. He's started to move around a LOT. I'm supposed to start fetal kick count monitoring this week, but I haven't yet, and I was thinking, crap, I don't know if he really moves 10 times every hour - partly because I don't notice very much when he does, and because before it went in spurts - his sleep cycles, as it were. Not so much now. He's probably still sleeping, but not so motionless. I'm sure he'd hit that 10 every hour number. There's one spot at the top right of my belly that he kicks the most, and sometimes I poke him back. Encouraging turn the other cheek retaliation early in life, you see :)

And last but not least, we think we've settled on a name. No, we won't be sharing it, but we're feeling pretty confident about it. No, it's not Grover. Or Wilmer. It might be Jasper.

I know this is getting long, but I thought I'd add one more thing which I somehow forgot to mention yet - we found a pediatrician's office that I am in love with! It's about a quarter of a mile from my OB/GYN, which is a mile from where I work, both of which are 15 minutes max from our house. They came recommended by my midwife, but no one I know actually goes there, so I was a little unsure. They have all of the things I was looking for though - small practice, PAs or NPs as well as physicians, at least one male doctor (there's two), very, very open and personable - won't think of me as the "uninformed and/or anxious mom" but rather as a partner in care for our little one, strict on vaccinations, and, oh yes, a super-fun waiting area. Their hours flex into the evenings and on weekends, which works out for us quite well. Also, the PA I met with's name is Joaquin. I think that's how you spell it, anyway!