Our Family Weekend Activities

Weekends are always our family’s favorite part of the week. They are a time where we get to spend time together, relax, and have fun.

Let’s face it- life is expensive, having kids is expensive, everything is expensive these days- and our family is growing so we are trying to save money wherever we can. We try to fill our weekends with free or low cost activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Here is a list of some of our family’s favorite weekend activities.

1. Cooking breakfast – Abby and I enjoy making muffins together. She likes to “help” me stir the batter. Blueberry are our favorite.

2. Playing outside – We love to play outside. Unfortunately, the current degree Kansas summer weather doesn’t always allow us to do this. Abby loves to blow bubbles, draw with sidewalk chalk, look for bunnies in the yard, kick a ball around, or go to the park. This last weekend we gave her a play house for her birthday, so I know we will spend plenty of time in the backyard.

3. Library time – Saturday mornings are great for a trip to the library. Our local library has a wonderful children’s floor that lends books, music, movies, video games, and more.

4. Swimming pool – The local Aquatic Center charges $3.00 for adult admission and Abby is able to get in for free, so we can pay $6.00 for an afternoon of fun splashing around in the water on a hot day. There is a great children’s pool with a small frog-shaped slide and a fountain that sprays water down that she loves. We have lots of fun sitting in a double innnertube floating down the “lazy river” together.

5. Reading books – Abby is a bookworm and we spend a lot of time reading books out loud.

6. Art – We spend lots of time with coloring books, stickers, painting, and drawing. I love to watch her artistic skills develop.

7. Napping – Who doesn’t like to take a nap? Abby takes one each day and I like to get one when I can too. Sometimes we have an afternoon “snuggle nap” – I take advantage of cuddling my little one when I can, she won’t be little or want to snuggle with Mom forever.

8. Shopping/Window shopping – While shopping isn’t a free or often a low-cost activity, we often go shopping to get groceries as a family on the weekends. We also like to go window shopping and walk around the mall or Hobby Lobby for awhile.

9. Watching a movie – We often watch movies together. I try to pick something new each time, if given a choice, Abby would watch Moana, Trolls, Zootopia, or a few other movies over and over again.

10. Chores – This isn’t the most enjoyable item on my list, but we often do chores together. I think it is important for kids to learn and help out. Usually we pick up toys together or she “helps” me fold laundry.

What does your family do on weekends? How do you spend time together?

Getting Ready for my Little Monster: Decorating Baby’s Bedroom

I have been anxious to get baby boy’s bedroom decorated and ready for him to come home to, or as my husband said recently, “nesting like crazy.” Part of it is because I am excited, part of it is because I want it to be done if he were to be born early. My cousin recently had a baby girl born several weeks premature due to preeclampsia, so not having things done or close to done for him makes me feel nervous.

The room has been used for the past two years as a guest room, so we had to do some rearranging and take all of the furniture that was in the room downstairs to an extra room in the basement that we had previously used for storage.

When we moved into our house this room had been wallpapered with a tacky striped paper and a sports-themed border. We removed both and painted the room a greige color. I didn’t want to repaint the room since we had so recently painted it, so we left the walls as they were. I found some cute vinyl decals of monsters on Wal-Mart’s website.

I painted two pictures to hang in the room, based on a similar project I had seen on Pinterest.

I found a cute monster-themed alphabet print in Etsy and framed it.

A fingerpainting that my nephew had made and had given to me for Christmas was already hanging in the room and I decided to leave it because it is colorful.

I couldn’t find any fabric with monsters on it at Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby, but found some with a cute pattern at JoAnn’s on an out of town trip. I sewed a valance for the curtains using it. It turned out to be a little long, but it will do. The blue curtains had already been hanging in the room.

 

We brought in the crib and rocking chair formerly in Abby’s room. Before Abby was born I had recovered the rocking chair cushions in gray fleece. The bookshelf was my husband’s from when he was a kid.  I would like to paint it but I’m not sure I will get that done any time soon. I added a couple fabric storage cubes with monsters on them from Dollar General. The other I had and previously used in Abby’s room. The teal hamper I bought at Walmart.

Right now the room is a little bit crowded because the swing and Pack and Play are being stored in there until the baby arrives, then they will be moved to the living room for use.

Did you go through a nesting phase while you were expecting?

Delivery Uncertainty

Photo by Daan Stevens. From http://www.unsplash.com

When I was pregnant with Abby lab tests showed that I had low platelets in the last few weeks of my pregnancy.  I was warned that if my platelet count fell too low that I would not have the choice to get an epidural, as low platelet count affects the body’s ability to clot blood, and they didn’t want to give me an epidural and then have hard to control bleeding on my spine.  That was not a comforting thought, but I wanted a medication-free birth anyways, so I was OK with it.  

After almost 20 hours of contractions I changed my mind and I asked the anesthesiologist if I could have an epidural since I was exausted.  My platelet count was on the border of being too low, but he let me make the choice to get it or not and I did.  It was an immediate relief.

My OB/GYN has been monitoring my platelets closely during this pregnancy and I have been diagnosed with gestational thrombocytopenia.  Thrombocytopenia is a condition where blood does not clot notmally, caused by a low platelet count.  It is diagnosed by blood tests.  Gestational thrombocytopenia happens during pregnancy.   According to my doctor, it occurs in only 7 to 10% of pregnancies and generally appears in the mid-second to third trimester.  It poses no harm to the baby and should resolve by six weeks after the baby is born.

Since my hospital does not perform VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) I will have to deliver via a planned c-section with a transfusion of platelets first.  My doctor has warned me that if my platelets are too low when I enter the hospital I will have to be put to sleep using general anesthesia, rather than being given an epidural or spinal anesthesia and being able to be awake for my child’s birth.  

I am hoping that I don’t have to have general anesthesia; I want to be awake and witness my baby boy’s first moments of life.  I want to be able to do immediate skin-to-skin and breastfeed right away, I don’t want to be groggy and tired and miss such an important event.  Plus, anesthesia often makes me nauseous, and I don’t even want to imagine puking with an incision in my abdomen.  Don’t get me wrong, the hour of chills and shaking after my precious c-section sucked.  I felt so cold, even with several heated blankets on me.  The anesthesia made me shake so hard that I was afraid that I would drop my baby when she was placed in my arms in Recovery.

I have already told my husband that if I do have to sleep through delivery I want him to do immediate skin-to-skin with our son until I am awake and able to myself.   

 So much of pregnancy is waiting.  I have already waited twenty-nine weeks to get this far.  I can wait longer, but the more I wait, the more anxious I become.  I just hate the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen.   I hate waiting another ten weeks to know.

The Name Game

Photo by Drew Hays. From http://www.unsplash.com

Decisions, decisions.  

When I asked Abby what her ideas for baby names were, she said Elmo and Coco.  Sorry, kid, those aren’t going to make th cut.  With only ten weeks left before delivery, my husband and I have finally gotten serious about picking out a name for our new baby.  

Well, maybe.  Last week he finally wrote out a list of boy names that he likes.  I had to restrain myself and wait a week before asking him if he was trying to play a long-running joke on me, as he included some pretty far out names on the list, like Apollo, Ulysses, and Magnus.  No offense to anyone who likes those names, of course,  but they seem a little grandiose for me.  He swears he is not trying to play a joke on me, although I still have my doubts… 

Coming up with names is difficult!  We didn’t want to go down the road of using family names, unless they were middle names.  Multiple names on our combined list just scream “nerd parents!” Because there are comic book character names, more than one Star Trek character names, and musician names.  

It is so hard for me to narrow down the list.  There are only three names on the list that I actually really like.  I never put too much thought into picking boy names over the years; you might remember that I have mentioned that I naively always believed that I would only have girls.  The name I am most attached to, Julian, is a name that my husband used to like but now says he feels like it is a name our kid will get picked on for having.  My second favorite is Oliver, which he for not care for.  My third is Liam, which he says is only so-so.  My husband favors Logan, which I just don’t like at all.

In order to weed out a lot of duds we took turns using each name in a sentence, like, “Quentin, quit picking on your sister,” Or, “Carter, just close your eyes and go to sleep.”  There were many names I couldn’t picture saying or just didn’t sound right.  Finally we were able to cut the list down to six.

Now it’s time to get down and dirty as the real discussion and debate begins.  I have no idea how long it will take us to settle on one, but hopefully it will be soon, or before we head to the hospital anyway!
   

 

Mom Needs a Vacation

Photo by Sergei Akulich. From http://www.unsplash.com.

Mom needs a vacation.  Or maybe just fifteen minutes locked alone in the quiet bathroom.  I will take what I can get.  

It seems lately I am one step away from losing my shit.  I keep waiting for that one thing each day that will send me over the edge.  If you see me sitting in the middle of the floor crying somewhere, just move along.

Will it be kicking the bedpost?  (Seriously, how do I have toes left at this point?) Watching Finding Dory for the one hundred and fiftieth time?  Crying over not getting a second cookie as a snack?  Getting cut off in traffic?  Are we out of butter again?  Being growled at by Ursula,  the evil sea with at work?  Spilling my hot coffee on my belly?  Hearing “Eww, yuck!” twenty times at supper?  Going to the bathroom with a kid on my lap because she won’t let me have a minute to pee?

Work has been very stressful.  I feel like I don’t have enough time to spend with my husband and child.  I feel like I don’t have enough time to take care of household duties.  I don’t have any time to spend on myself, let alone time to dedicate to blog or paint or read.  I feel so exhausted at the end of the evening that I just want to sleep.
I love being a wife.  I love being a mom.  I love my job.  I love being pregnant.  I love getting ready for the new baby.  It has been extremely difficult to balance it all and stay sane.  I can’t even imagine what it will be like when there is a newborn in the mix.

How do all you mommas out there do it?  

  

Jealous of Dad

Photo: Louis Blythe/Unsplash

When I became pregnant I began to prepare for the possibility that my firstborn would become jealous of the new baby.  It’s only natural, it happens.
I remember being jealous of my little sister when she came home from the hospital.  I was so excited to have a sister to play with, but I soon realized that she was too small to play, she cried a lot, and everyone paid a lot of attention to her and I felt left out.  I cut all the hair off of my Fraggle doll, Wembley.

I have had conversations with her about how when Mommy and Daddy bring the baby home the baby will require lots of our attention, but we will still love Abby just the same, always have time for her, and will still give her all the attention she needs.  I don’t think she really understands yet, but that’s OK.  

What I didn’t prepare for was the possibility that Abby would become jealous of my husband.  

In the past couple weeks she has gotten upset when Mommy and Daddy hug or kiss.  If we hold hands in front of her she will try to pull them apart.  When we sit next to each other or try to snuggle together on the couch she will act angry and try to hit my husband or push him away.

We have both tried to explain to Abby that hugging, kissing, and holding hands is how Mommy and Daddy show our love and affection for each other, just as we hug, kiss, and hold her.  I’m not sure how to get through to her that Mommy isn’t just hers.  Nothing we say seems to make a difference. 

I know and try to reassure my husband that this is just a phase she is going through and that will not last too long, but it is frustrating, especially for my husband. 

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle the situation?

Our First Prenatal Appointment 

Photo: freestocks.org/Unsplash

This week marks my 11th week of pregnancy.  I attended my first prenatal visit on Wednesday.  My babysitter’s grandfather passed away, so I had the day off and took Abby to my appointment.  My husband met us there.  

Abby has a severe dislike of doctor visits.  I’m sure most of this comes from getting her immunizations, but they don’t even have to touch her- usually just getting on the scale makes her upset.  She was fine the whole time we were in the lobby, but as soon as the nurse took us back Abby began to cry and did so until I was finished with getting my weight and giving a urine sample.  She wanted to sit on my lap the whole time I was on the exam table.  When the nurse was finished and the doctor came in the room she sat on my husband’s lap, but eventually whined enough for me to hold her that I did.  The doctor left the room so I could change out of my clothes for a pap smear, pelvic exam, and breast exam.  I changed into the charming little sheet like cover and then had my exams and paper smear, during which Abby removed her socks and shoes and threw them on the floor.  Luckily she didn’t scream or act too rowdy, but having a pap smear and pelvic exam is already embarrassing enough, let alone doing it in front of your husband and kid.

Otherwise, my appointment went well.  We were able to hear the baby’s heartbeat, which was 163.  When the nurse was looking for the baby’s heartbeat, my husband asked Abby if she was excited to be a big sister she said, “No!” which made the nurse laugh.  My blood work came back normal, but my platelets were low.  I had gestational thrombocytopenia the last time I was pregnant, so hopefully when they recheck my labs in a few weeks my platelet count will be higher.

Other than the morning sickness and heartburn, I can’t really tell that I am pregnant. There’s no tangible baby bump yet, but my pants are fitting a bit more snugly.  Now that we’ve had our first visit and heard the heartbeat I suppose it makes the whole pregnancy seem a bit more real. 

I Got This- Wait, What?

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From http://www.picjumbo.com

Sometimes I feel like things are finally starting to make sense, I am finally finding my rhythm, I got this; I can handle this! But then I also have days where I think life can’t get any crazier and then- surprise!
If you have been following some of my latest posts you may remember that I had recently not been feeling quite like myself and wondering if I were pregnant.

A couple of days after my missed period  I bought a two pack of pregnancy tests from Walgreens and tried out the first one when I went home on my lunch break.  It was defective and I couldn’t pee again so I had to wait all day long,  curious and anxious, to come home and try the second one.  It was positive! 

I am currently at six weeks and two days.  I have been really surprised that my symptoms seem to have started so much earlier than I remember from last time.  I have been feeling so tired.  I’ve had a couple of migraines  (mine are usually hormonal- I had one at the beginning of my last pregnancy and then none until I was several months postpartum so I am hoping that happens again) and daily headaches. I have started feeling morning sickness that lasts just about all day, every day.  I had to go buy cinnamon flavored toothpaste again, because every other flavor makes me gag.  I have also been feeling hungry all the time and have started craving lots of different things, most notably a Reuben sandwich while I was sleepless in bed at 3:00 a.m.

I have my first prenatal appointment on March 15th and then we will announce our news to family and friends.

We have told Abby about the baby, but she doesn’t understand yet.  I know that will change as my appearance begins to change.  I am hoping that she will get excited to be a big sister.

I am so excited, but also so nervous about the whole thing!  Keep following, I’m sure there will be many updates to come.

Waiting and Potential Disappointment

Photo by Tim Foster. From http://www.unsplash.com 

According to MyDays, my period tracking app, I should be starting my period today.  Usually my app is pretty spot on, but I am hoping that it is wrong.  I am hoping that it doesn’t come at all and I am pregnant.  

Last month I was disappointed, even though we hadn’t really tried to conceive- we just hadn’t tried not to.  This month we had tried several times the week I was ovulating, but we didn’t go crazy. 

All day long I have been trying to interpret the way my body feels.  It seems the signs are pointing to not pregnant, although I keep telling myself, hey, maybe I am pregnant after all.  Yesterday I was extremely emotional.  I felt like I was going to cry all day, without explanation.  I had a migraine, which often accompanies the beginning of my period, although I did still have migraines during pregnancy.  Today I had felt fine all day, but as I was sitting in a meeting earlier I began to feel a cramping sensation.  

It’s probably just PMS.

I just hate the wait; I hate the not knowing.  At the same time I want to hold on to the moment, knowing it is still a possibility, rather than knowing the result is negative.  As the day goes on I am trying to be hopeful, but also, as a realist, allow myself to accept that it may not happen this month.  

Either way, it will be fine.  Life goes on.  I have my baby, and I enjoy every second of time with her.  If it doesn’t happen this month there are more months ahead.  Who knows what time will bring.