Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

I know I'm late but I couldn't let Christmas pass without wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! I officially finished my last shift of work on Christmas Eve and Ill be off from now until the baby is here! And thank the Lord, too, because, WOWZA, was that last shift crazy busy! I spent most of Christmas Eve sleeping and recovering!

Christmas Day was a very happy one for my little family! We all made out really well in the present department and spent a happy (relatively) mellow day with family. And since Miss Katie turns another week "older" every Friday, I thought it would be appropriate to post a belly update, wince Christmas Eve/Christmas falls on a Friday/Saturday this year. So here is our little girl (and my big 'ol belly) at 36 weeks!

Also, even though I'm planning to do an update to give more Christmas details and to show off a few of the goodies we received this year (I told you we really made out!), I still thought I'd show you my favorite gift of all! :-)

I know, I know. Brad kept telling me it was super cheesy but I just couldn't help myself! What can I say, it made me grin!

I hope you and your loved one all had a wonderful, magical, happy Christmas!
~Layne

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Cooking and Baking

Normally, I love and adore cooking and baking for the holidays. I love the sweets and I love making fancy dinners for my husband and family. If you don't believe me here's the evidence. Oh! And here, here and here. There's more, but I'm sure you get the point. BUT this year has been a little different. First, I'm huge. And I work 2 hours away and pull 24-hour shifts. And I'm huge. And I've been putting up Christmas decorations. And shopping for presents. And wrapping presents. And I don't sleep that well at night anymore. And I'm getting ready for this new little person who will be joining our house soon. And I'm huge . . and sore. In short, I'm seriously beat!

::Wow, I just re-read that and, dude, I'm being such a whiner! Sheesh!::

In holidays past, I did all that stuff (minus the baby thing) and still powered through all the cooking and baking. This year, it's not working out that way. I want to bake. I want to cook and make something yummy. But I seriously cannot muster up the energy. Dinner during the week has still been happening (barely) but unfortunately the cooking and baking marathons that I'm used to for the holidays have fallen by the wayside. And, really, I'm bummed about that. Especially since I've been seeing some awesome looking treats for the holidays that, normally, I'd be all about trying!! Like this yummy chocolate gingerbread, or this white chocolate marshmallow fudge, and these chocolate chip tea cookies, butter cookies and peanut brittle. They all look so delicious and simple but I just can't decide! And even if I could, when do I have the time to do it? And usually I try to make some holiday treats as gifts for coworkers (here are some great ideas that I've tried some of and bookmarked others), because people who work in hospitals like to EAT, let me tell you! But again, no time and no energy. Though, in all truth my blood-sugars are probably thanking me and I know my feet and back are too.

So, we are going the lazy route this year. As much as I enjoyed preparing and hosting Thanksgiving, we won't be repeating that for Christmas. For my family's holiday, we will be doing pasta. They are bringing the sauce and dessert over (because they are angels and offered to do it at my place so we wouldn't have to travel . . . have I mentioned how much I love them?) and I am making the noodles, (bagged) salad, and (frozen, pre-made) dinner rolls. Can you say cop-out? My in-laws always host something separate at their house and like to be in charge of the food for their get together. I also celebrate every year with my best friend and our husbands (usually by cooking a gourmet dinner with/for our husbands for the holidays).

This is one of my favorite holiday meals because we come up with stuff that sounds yummy and awesome and we've been dying to try and we go to town in the kitchen all day. And since we are in there together, it feels like fun instead of work. But this year, she knows how whipped I've been and actually offered to order pizza. Pizza?!? It was really sweet of her but I just couldn't do it. I'd seen some ridiculously easy but yummy-looking recipes that I'd thought about trying for a weeknight meal and thought of a few more that I'd used for weeknight meals and know are delicious and quick and simple and suggested those instead . . . with few pre-made stuff thrown in. So, we've decided on grilled steaks with an easy blue cheese sauce (think heavy cream + blue cheese = done), roasted asparagus (again, seriously easy), salad (bagged), doctored-up pre-made mashed potatoes (I'm thinking of adding some cream and goat cheese or marscapone . . yummm) and dinner rolls (frozen, pre-made) . Maybe we'll buy a yummy dessert from the bakery? Or maybe we'll make monkey bread . . . I mean, it's practically a holiday staple right?

Why am I writing this post? Is it to whine about pregnancy. No, but it sorta came out that way, didn't it? Is it to kvetch about the holidays? Not really, I love Christmas and actually miss all the activities that I feel too tired to do! I think it's mostly to remind myself about all the fun I've had in the past with my holiday cooking and baking adventures. Because looking through old posts of mine and bookmarking posts of others has made it feel like I did kinda get to experience the baking fun! And it will be a great reference for next year to remember all the fun treats I wanted to try! And then I'll have a little kitchen helper with me who I'm sure will also function as my supervisor for "quality control." :-)

So what are your cooking and baking plans for the holidays? Do you enjoy it and try to find ways to fit it into the hectic holiday schedule? Or do you leave it up to others and enjoy the spoils? Are you hosting this year? Participating in a pot luck? I'd love to hear what everyone else has planned!

In conclusion, right now I'm 9 months pregnant and cooking a baby girl . . . and I think that will about do it for this weekend! The end. ;-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Card

As you probably remember, this year we were so excited about getting our FREE Christmas cards from Shutterfly. We usually do photocards for our holiday cards but I was SUPER excited about it this year because I knew that I wanted to include Katie in some way. Even if she won't be here-here this Christmas, she is still part of the family and I wanted to find a way to include her in our holiday greeting.

I also have a friend who is a great photographer and has shot some adorable maternity pics so I asked her to shoot a few for Brad and I (and Katie). Both as a keepsake and for us to use in the Christmas cards.

So here is the finished product! Please consider this my Christmas card to all of you in the DOC and the blogosphere. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful, happy New Year! I know that (for me) 2011 is lining up to be one of the BEST, happiest years of my life! :-D

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Katie's Nursery!

We've been putting a few finishing touches on it for the last week . . . trying to find a few decorative storage bins, washing her linens and clothes (it took 3 loads!?!) so that we could dress her bed and pack her hospital bag, hang up a few things on the wall. But there will always be stuff to do. I still have a couple of projects in mind to decorate and we have to build some shelves to help organize her closet . . . but, really, I couldn't be happier with it.

But first, I should probably share a bit about our baby girl. We decided on her name a couple of months ago. We love it and think it's such a sweet, simple name and we decided to incorporate into the decoration of her room (and her baby shower). And, to my complete surprise and delight, so many of our friends and family gave us things with her name monogrammed on them. For some reason, this amazed me. It was such a thrill seeing her name on things (hooded towels, blankets, cards, clothes) and it was just a reminder of how real she is and how soon she'll be here! So, I wanted to share her name with everyone since you'll be seeing it splashed all over her room!

Our baby girl will be named Kate Autumn and, as you can probably tell by the title of this post, we've taken to calling her "Katie." So, without further ado, here's a quick tour of Miss Katie's room!

Here is a quick reminder of how it looked before we re-vamped it into her nursery. It was our old guestroom (see also: Raina's room). During the remodel, we removed the weird crown-molding that was about a foot and a half below the ceiling and added new (real) crown molding. We also spackled, painted, hung a new fan and new closet doors.

This is her bookcase. This is the first thing you see as you look into her room, right across from the doorway. More than anything, I wanted a bookcase in her room. I have such wonderful memories of being read to and learning to read when I was younger. Brad is just excited about reading to her as I am and we plan on starting as soon as possible. So far the bookcase is filled with books from my childhood and from Brad's. Over time, we'll get her books of her own. I just hope she'll develop the love of reading and learning that her dad and I have.

Another view of her bookcase. Her diaper bag is resting on the floor at the foot of the bookcase and is packed and ready for us to take to the hospital. On top of the bookcase is a topiary that one of my shower hosts made from washcloths and baby socks, curled up to look like roses. How adorable is that?!? I can't bear to take it apart! And you can see a few of her stuffed animals hanging out in the bookcase with her books.

Moving over, on the other side of the window is her glider. It's so comfy and I can't wait to rock her and feed her in it! Next to it is her hamper which is conveniently located in between her crib and her glider so that I can dump spitty burp cloths in it after feeds or dirty linens from her crib.

Again, here's a view of the corner of her room with her glider in it. And you can see the stripe affect that we painted on her wall.

Her bedding and her crib. I'm not a huge girly girl. (I know, I know, but it's true, despite all the pink!) So rather than go with flowers or butterflies, I really liked the idea of clean lines and geometric shapes. Her dad ::cough::cough:: is a big fan of gender-specific color and so, in addition to all the pink, I added in touches of brown and green. And the bedding incorperates this color scheme and the stripes and polka dots from the rest of the room.

And, of course, we couldn't resist adding her name to the wall above her crib. Her birth certificate will say "Kate" but ever since we decided on her name she's been our "Katie" girl, so we went with that. I just bought these wooden letters at a craft store and painted them the same brown from the stripes on the wall and hung them over her crib.

And, to prove I'm not a girly girl, you can see one of my stuffed toys from childhood . . a football! Brad thinks it's the weirdest thing ever but I love it. And I wanted Katie to have it. I also love puppies (hence my "Puppy Love" Christmas ornaments) and thought this was one of the cutest stuffed puppies I'd seen and had to have it for her. Also in her bed is her "going home" outfit. A cute but simple, soft cotton dress. We'll probably need to add BabyLegs or a sweater or bundle her up nice and tight since she will be born in December/January but I really loved this outfit for her to come home in. I kept it on the hanger rather than in her diaper bag so it wouldn't get wrinkled . . . now, hopefully I won't forget it!

And here is her changing table. It's to the right of the door as you walk in and on the opposite side of the room as the bookcase. The only wall I've left out just has her closet on it, not very exciting. I fell in love with an adorable diaper caddy that I got but wasn't able to use, since this is a small changing table and it didn't fit. So the storage bins underneath hold all of the supplies for diaper changes as well as a few odds and ends like lotions, pacifiers, thermometers, bath supplies, etc. Hopefully it will be pretty convenient, even though it can't go on top of the changer like I had envisioned.

And, as you can see in the above two pictures, Katie's older sister, Raina, had to come in and investigate while I was taking pictures of her room. I know she's been scratching her little head, wondering what in the world we've been doing to "her" room. She's very curious about it but since there isn't a big ol' bed for her to hop on and no covers for her to burrow under, I think she's a little underwhelmed with the remodel. ;-)

So, that's her room. I can't wait until there is a little girl here to put in it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Doctor vs. Doctor

Okay, this is something that I could have gone into on my most recent rant but I was getting ramble-y already and, it really is a separate issue. I'm not sure if this is a common problem in diabetic pregnancies but it's been pretty frustrating for me so I thought I'd put it out there and see what others' experiences were. . .

Over the past few months as the doctors appointments have really ramped up, I've been getting more and more frustrated with all these crazy doctors! Individually, I actually really like all the MDs that I see. But all together, they seem to be one of my biggest hurdles right now. Mostly emotionally. For instance, it doesn't help certain bloodsugar-related matters that my Endo is freaking out over every single low blood sugar. And, of course, I'm super worried about the highs. But I feel like I have to go super slow with any adjustments I make for fear of being lectured again about over-doing it. ("You don't want to have a seizure, do you? You know, that wouldn't be good for the baby either, would it?") And it seems like going so slow just means my numbers stay out-of-whack for longer.

Meanwhile, my OB and perinatologist freak out anytime my fasting sugars are over 95. Even a morning blood-sugar of 105 draws sideways glances from them. Seriously? My Endo says that the OB's just don't get diabetes and aren't realistic but my OB's say that pregnancy is a totally different animal that just can't follow the same rules. No one can agree and in the mean time, it seems like no one cares what I think. Which is especially frustrating because not only have I been diabetic for 20 years but I'm medical and work in the NICU and deal with pregnant ladies and babies all the time. I kinda know what I'm talking about here and wish everyone would stop patronizing me and just listen! Add to it that I have to hear these opinions multiple times a week because that's how often I'm seeing random doctors, and I feel like my head is going to explode.

On a brighter note, the tweaks to my carb ratio made a huge difference in my sugars. The week of bad sugars that I was talking about in my recent rant happened a while ago and things have definitely made a turn for the better since then. Also, my Endo said something to me that (::gasp::) actually helped. He explained that as pregnancy progresses, gastric emptying time increases. Meaning that as I get further along, the food I eat doesn't exit my stomach and actually start getting absorbed until more and more time has elapsed. This really helps explain why I'm not spiking until 2-3 hours after I eat. It was so annoying to see my blood sugars stay pretty steady initially after a meal and actually think that I'd actually managed to bolus correctly . . . until 3 hours later, when I'd randomly spike into the 250s. He also suggested since I'm having to go up so much on my car ratio that maybe I should try grazing throughout the day rather than eating 3 larger meals.

I'm not really a fan of grazing because I feel like I end up eating a lot more. At a meal, I plan out what I eat, sit down, eat it and when it's gone, I'm done. But if I have to graze and eat more often, I feel like I lose the regimen and the willpower and overeat. But I'm trying it anyway. The plan is no more than 30-35 carbs at a time, with lots of protein (hard for me because I'm more of a fruit and veggie girl than a meat-eater) and eating every 3-ish hours. So far, combining these two things (grazing and taking the slower gastric emptying time into account) with increasing my carb ratio has proved very helpful in reigning in my numbers!!! I haven't seen anything in the 200s in several days!! :-D And even the 170s and 180s have only cropped up a couple of times.

Anyway, I know that each doctor has me and the baby in mind but my Endo's tend to put a lot of focus on me and my OB's/perinatologists put way more focus on the baby. I tend to be somewhere in the middle but, truthfully, lean more toward my OBs way of thinking. Mostly because I've been lucky enough (::knocking on wood::) that I haven't ever had lows that were scary. No passing out. No inability to think straight. I've always been with it enough to eat and check my sugar if I need to. And no issues with hypoglycemia unawareness. So I'm not really afraid of lows. I'd rather just air on the lower side and protect the little girl rather than air on the higher end of the spectrum.

But that's just me. And I really do get both sides of the argument.

I spoke with my Endo's nurse today because I'm still waiting on the labs from my last appointment. My fructosamine 207) and my microalbumin (7) look great (YAY!) but still no word on the A1C. Anyway, I told her a little bit about the tug-of-war that I feel like I'm in the middle of and she said that this was very common in their Type 1 pregnant patients. She said that most OB's just don't understand that there is a difference between Type 1's and Type 2's/Gestational diabetics. I get that and I tend to agree. Mostly I was just glad to hear that this is something other patients had to deal with and not just me.

Anyone else out there having this issue? Just curious.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

(Another) Blood Sugar Rant

Okay, brace yourselves because I had a bit of a bumpy ride about a week ago and I'm kinda ready to rant. Here it goes . . .

So my sugars have been driving me crazy lately. Recently, for my entire 32nd week of pregnancy, I saw way too many numbers in the 200s and even a couple in the 300s. At first, I thought no big deal. It keeps happening throughout my second and third trimester. I'll go along thinking I've got this whole pregancy-with-diabetes-and-stupid-insulin-resistance-thing down and then I'll have the week from hell. This is where my sugars suck no matter what I do. And since this whole insulin resistance thing seems to wax and wane a bit (ie what works one day won't work the next) I don't want to adjust too quickly and bottom out. Instead, I slowly tweak things here and there and eventually get everything under control again. But it's torture waiting until I see those numbers come down and all I can think is "I'm the worst mother/incubator ever and I'm frying my poor child with awful sugars!!!"

Can you tell this is making me a little manic? Anyway, this past week of bad sugars was probably the worst one yet. Not only were my blood sugars higher than they'd ever been but they were so resistant to anything I did and it made me want to scream. I was trying sooo hard and it was so frustrating that no matter what I did, nothing seemed to help. Recently, my biggest issue seems to be that I have trouble getting my numbers back down after meals. I can't help but to spike into the 180s or 200s (sometimes even mid-200s) after meals. But not right after meals, more like 2-3 hours later and then my sugars just won't come back down despite bolus after bolus. Then, randomly, 3 hours later I'll check and I'm 45. And I'm really careful about not stacking boluses so what gives?!?!

I've tweaked my basals and my sensitivity factor but it barely made a dent. And you might wonder why I didn't just up my carb ratio. Well, its easier said then done. I've always had a pretty high carb ratio and before pregnancy it was 1:5. Obviuosly, with a carb ratio that high (or low? depending on how you think about it) it's hard to tweak things. For example, the smallest increment I can go by is one, so my next move would be to 1:4. (Oh, how I wish I could do increments of 0.5 on my pump for my carb ratio!) Anyway, that's the smallest amount I can increase it and yet its a 20% change! That's a huge jump?!? So, I actually did end up going to a ratio of 1:4 a few weeks ago and I was very hesitant to bump it anymore because (again) the next jump would be going to 1:3 and now we're talking a 25% jump. It really blows having such a low carb ratios because they become really hard to tweak. Pretty soon I might have to give up on my bolus wizard and whip out a calculator so that I can do ridiculous carb ratios, like 1 unit of insuling for every 2.75 carbs.

Another thing that's making this whole insulin resistance thing even more frustrating is that some days my total daily dose is as high as 130 units!?! And since my reservoir only holds 200 units (really 180 after priming) I'm changing it CONSTANTLY and always at really inconvenient times (think middle of the night, at work or even better, during my own baby shower). Most days I'm only around 105 or so units per day but, again, every day is different. As it is, I can barely go 2 full days changing my cartridge which also means I'm changing my site with it. Ugh. Super annoying.

Anyway, I had such a meltdown the other day. I was up in the 200s, feeling like crap, couldn't get my sugar down, running out of insulin, my CGM was screaming at me and I just started to lose it. I started crying iin front of my husband and couldn't make myself stop. I think I totally freaked him out. I could tell Brad felt awful and totally didn't expect the meltdown. He kept telling me how good I was doing and how hard I was working and that he was so proud of me. But all I could think to myself (because I was too verklempt to speak) is that it doesn't matter how hard I try, if I can't get my blood sugars under control the baby and I both suffer. I can't tell my placenta that I'm trying hard, so can you please take it easy on me? No. All that matters are the numbers . . if they suck, bad things happen. Period.

And going into this pregnancy, I knew I'd have to stay on top of it and there would be a lot of hard work and changes, especially towards to end. What I didn't expect was to actually be super vigilant and on top of things, making adjustments constantly and still NOT see any response. To bolus and bolus and bolus and have my blood sugars just stare back at me, unmoving. Or even better . . . keep going up!

I feel like I'm trying so hard to be the "good diabetic" pregnant lady who has great blood sugars, great A1Cs and whose baby comes out weighing a normal amount and has no complications. It can be done. I know it can. And yet no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to keep up with my body. So it seems like even though I know it can be done, apparently I'm the schmuck who can't do it. And worst of all is that the baby could suffer because of it. It's infuriating! I hate feeling like I have no control, especially over something so important. And I really hate feeling so helpless!

Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and went to 1:3 for my carb ratio over a week ago. I was totally freaked that I would be low all the time but so far so good. In fact, the last several days my sugars have been pretty great. ::knock on wood:: I am actually having a few more lows now but I think those can be fixed by dialing my basals a bit since I was jacking them way up in a feable attempt to avoid messing with my carb ratio. I think things are getting better . . . slowly. But I'm not sure that I'll still have my sanity by the end of this pregnancy!

I hope that wasn't too much venting. And I hope that I'm not the only freak out there who feels this way, or worse, has this much trouble with her sugars. I think my biggest fear is that it's ME, not the DIABETES that is doing this to myself and my baby. That it's my fault and that I'm missing something or doing something wrong. I know this disease can totally psych a person out and make them feel guilty for stuff that they can't control so I'm hoping that's what this is . . . and not just an excuse.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

32 Week Update

So I never did a 32 week update and now I'm over 34 weeks!! So I thought I'd just combine the two. So far everything is still going well . . . ish. I don't know what has happened over the last week or so but I'm definitely feeling huge and out of breath all the time. And even though they say that the baby's movements should calm down (since she's quickly running out of room) and get less intense . . . this little girl does NOT seem to know that! She still bounces all around in there and now she packs a punch!

But it's still so cool to be able to see her from the outside and feel her so strongly. One thing that started happening maybe 3-4 weeks ago is that she got the hiccups for the first time. And now she gets them ALL the time! I feel kinda bad for her because she probably gets them once a day or so and they last a good 5-10 minutes! But it's also pretty cute!

Another change is that the sugars are starting to misbehave again. I'll probably do a whole other post on that because it just about broke me. Suffice it to say, the going was rough for about a week and that seemed to also be the week that the pregnancy hormones kicked in (up until then I'd been holding my own on the emotional front) because that week of crappy control really got to me.

As far as the doctors are concerned, everything is going to plan. Her overall growth is still in the mid-40th percentile but her abdominal growth jumped from 50th to 70th percentile. That TOTALLY freaked me out but I was assured it's not worrisome at this point. But since then, I've been working overtime to get these sugars under control so that she is affected as little as possible. I saw my endo last week but he hadn't received my test results from the lab yet, so I don't know my most recent A1C. Hopefully he'll call soon with that. Anyway, on to belly pics!

Here's a reminder of the belly at 29 weeks . . .

And here's the belly at 32 weeks. . .

And here it is today at 34 weeks and 3 days. Whew! It seems like the last 2 weeks she has really grown. For those who don't know, I'm pretty short, just shy of 5' 2". And my torso has always been the shortest par of me. I'm starting to wonder if that is why the belly is starting to poke out so sharply and I'm getting more and more uncomfortable (like, exponentially) the bigger she gets. That . . . or maybe I'm just being a huge wimp and need to get over it. Hmmm?

And, just because I was curious how the pics of "my view" of the belly would look if I put them side by side . . . here it is at 25 weeks.

. . and my view at 29 weeks . .

And my view today, at 34 weeks.
Holy smokes! These last 5 weeks she's been a busy lady!

That's about it for the update. The delivery date is still up in the air but it's looking like 37-ish weeks which means we only have 3 more weeks!! And then we get to meet her!!! And I did want to talk more about my trials and tribulations with my blood sugars but I just don't have it in me right now. And I also need to post pics of the nursery because it's pretty much done. All that will have to wait for the next update. Hope everyone is having a good Monday! Hopefully next time I update I'll have more info on her arrival!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nursery Update and Baby Gifts!!

So sorry for the week long absence. I was a little burnt out from NaBloPoMo and needed the blogging break.

I also want to admit that I've been putting off posting pics of the nursery. And it's not because it's not coming along (it is) or because we don't love it (we totally DO). But, unlike the bathroom remodel, I feel so sentimental and attached to this particular project that I can't bear to show it without it being perfect. And for it to be perfect, absolutely every detail needs to be finished. And (because we are slackers) it's not.

First, it took forever to get the paint the way we wanted it. (UGH! That was a nightmare of a story that I don't even want to think about.) Then my in-laws (who offered to buy the nursery furniture for us - so SWEET!) ordered our furniture and, to save on shipping, we offered to pick it up ourselves. Unfortunately, everything fit in my SUV except the crib. ::sigh:: So we had to wait for the weekend, rent a stupid U-Haul and make a second trip to get the crib. (Mental note: next time, spring for the shipping.) And, finally, just when we thought we were almost through, we realized we hadn't ordered a mattress. (Parental brainfart #1. The first of many, I'm sure!) So, hopefully the mattress will be arriving tomorrow along with the glider (a gift from my awesome mom) and we can finish up the last of a few small projects, dress the bed, build the glider and be DONE!! Whooppee!!

I must say that the nursery has been super close to done for a while and I adore it. I walk by it and grin. Most times I really can't help but stop and stare at it. Most of the time I find myself walking in, lost in my own thoughts and looking around, imagining what it will be like to have her in it. I feel totally cheesy doing all this, much less admitting it over the internet but, seriously, I'm in love. Both Brad and I are in such love with this little girl that having such a beautiful, physical representation of her presence (besides of course the ridiculously huge belly) and a reminder of how soon she'll be here with us just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Okay, enough of that. I did also want to say how ridiculously lucky she is (and we are) to have such wonderful, generous friends and family around to welcome her. I had two (TWO?!?) baby showers and after all was said and done and the presents were piled up in her (as yet unfinished) nursery, I was shocked at how much there really was. Holy smokes! She's already spoiled!

I took pictures to document her enormous pile of loot and decided to share them with you. In addition, since I am being a bit of a Scrooge about holding on on nursery pics until it's finished, it's a bit of a sneak peak of the nursery before it's quite done . . . .

This is the first pile of stuff that we stacked/hid in the corner next to the crib. The scary part is how tall it is (it comes up to my torso) and that it's filled tetris-style with TONS of baby stuff. It includes her hamper, Diaper Champ, infant swing, bedding, Bebepod, gym, diaper bag, walker/playcenter, Boppy, crib soother, and a box full of clothes and linens (bibs, socks, onesies, outfits, crib sheets, etc)!!

This is another random pile of her outfits (that we didn't have enough hangers for), more linens, blankets, nursing covers, diapers, bath tub and bathing products. You can even see a few of the many stuffed animals she's received that we have arranged on her bookshelves, for now.

And, finally, this is her mess of a closet. It has her Pack and Play and high chair (still in the boxes), the new light kit for her fan, the toddler rail for her bed, WD-40 to get the stupid, ugly warning stickers off her nursery furniture without ruining it (GRRR . . I could strangle whoever thought those were a good idea!!), the shadowboxes that need to be painted and hung on the wall and more of her clothes that need to have their tags removed and be washed.

Looking around the room, I think of two things. First, I realize how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends and family. And, second, I see how much still needs to be done!?! Eek! I feel like a total slacker!

The good news is that it's mostly a bunch of really quick mini-projects. Wash clothes and linens, organize the closet, hang a couple more things on the wall and open up a few boxes. There is a bunch of stuff that she won't be using for a while that we can store in the closet until we need it (high chair, walker, etc). So, hopefully this weekend we will be officially finished with her nursery! I'm so excited and will feel so relieved when it's done. And, of course, I'll be sure to update once it's ready!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Guest Bath: After

So today is the last day of NaBloPoMo (thank GOD!) and it seemed appropriate to finish it with another ending. I'm beyond thrilled to announce that the renovation of our guest bathroom is finally finished!! The last day of the reno was yesterday while I was at work. It was fun to know that I would come home to see the mess cleaned up and my finished bathroom!

So I thought I'd share pics of how it came out. I spent some of my time this afternoon (between my nap and doctors appointment and fixing dinner) trying to put the bathroom back together but there are a couple things that still need doing. Because I was so slammed yesterday at work (and consequently have only slept 3 hours in the last 36 hours) I'm exhausted and could only manage a perfunctory effort. So please excuse the bare walls and wrinkled shower curtain that has been crumpled up in a box with the rest of the stuff from that bathroom.

Eventually I'll manage to wash linens, hang decorations and finish up that bath but for now I'm so very happy with how it turned out. It's so much more my taste and actually feels like it belongs with the rest of the house. My decorations before for my guest bath had always been browns and tans and blues. I loved this color palette for a bathroom because it feels so relaxing and spa-like. I don't think that came through before because the ugly green tile was so loud it drowned everything else out. But with the modern vanity and fixtures plus the brown and blue accents, I think it looks wonderful! And, I'm not really sure why, but it also feel so much bigger!

Here is a reminder of where we started. Ew.

And now a tour of the new bathroom. Starting from right to left, this is what you see to your right after walking through the bathroom door, the new vanity, counter-top, mirror, light fixture, etc.

Because we were unable to go wall-to-wall with the new vanity we now have a space between it and the wall. I was worried it would look awkward but I actually really like it. It makes the room look less closed in and give us a place to tuck the unsightly trash can!

New toilet, towel rack, TP holder, wrinkled shower curtain, etc. Very exciting.

And our newly re-tiled and re-plumbed shower with new hardware. Love it!

As much as this whole process sucked, I know that it was SO worth doing it now and I'm really glad we decided to go ahead with it. Also, during this process Brad decided he wanted one more thing done. He loved the crown molding in the bathroom so much that he wanted to add it to the nursery and the master bedroom. That's the bad news. . . more mess, more men in the house, more money and more construction zone. The good news is that all of that is on a MUCH smaller scale. The guys will be back on Thursday to put up the crown molding in both rooms and said it should only take about half a day and the cost will be pretty minimal. So, no big deal.

In other exciting news, our nursery furniture has arrived and Brad's dad and brother are coming over Saturday to assemble it. (I don't think Brad really needs help but his mom liked the idea of it being a bonding thing. Cute!) So before long the nursery will be complete also! So exciting!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Slammed

O. M. G.

I was planning on posting a 32 week update today. (I'm 32 weeks and 3 days as of today.) I took pics and everything. But I am so ridiculously slammed at work today, I have no time to do anything. Not even eat. Not even sit. It's ridiculous. It's been like this since before the holiday but it got really bad for my shift on Thanksgiving. I've been b!tching/venting to my poor husband and I know he's sick of it but we really need more help.

Anyhoo, this is the first free second I've had all day, so I'm posting about how busy I am so that I don't have to sit and write a real post. I'll try to post an update (as in a real update) tomorrow if I'm not passed out all day after such an intense 25 hour shift.

Wish me luck that I survive until tomorrow morning. And (more importantly) that I actually manage to make it through my dinner without getting paged to the unit or called to a delivery.

Off to eat now!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Decorations!!

As I've said before, I'm a fan of seasonal decorations, so it should come as no surprise that a pretty steadfast tradition of mine is that Christmas decorations go up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Not before that and definitely not afterward! It's something I look forward to every year as the holidays approach.

We play our favorite Christmas tunes all over the house on our sounds system and go to work making our house feel merry and bright! Brad and I have our jobs that we've kind of fallen into over the years. He puts up the tree (pre-strung, thank-you-very-much, I hate stringing lights) and I put up all the household decorations (dining room table centerpiece, seasonal kitchen towels, candy bowls, and other chachkies that I can only handle in my way only grace our home for Christmas). By the time I'm done with that, Brad is done with the tree and it's time to trim it with our ornaments!!

This is by far my favorite part!!! My mom started another tradition with me from my very first Christmas where I get a new ornament for the tree every year. By now, I've built up a pretty good stock. Brad never did this with his family but as soon as we moved in together and had our first Christmas tree together, I started getting him an ornament each year for Christmas. I love unwrapping each year's ornament and remembering when I got it, what it signified and why it was special. Here are a few of my favorites:

This is the Christmas ornament I gave Brad this year. He is a Starbucks NUT. He loves coffee in general but really drools over Starbucks. I thought this ornament was adorable and very fitting.

This ornament is from a Hallmark series called "Puppy Love." Every year they come out with a different puppy breed doing something cute and Christmas-y. My mom started getting these for me because I've always loved dogs. The series started in 1991 and I have every one of them!

Here is another "Puppy Love" ornament. Neither of these are this year's but I think they are both super cute!

This is one of the first ornaments I got for Brad. If you can't read it, it says "3Basic Food Groups" and underneath is a platter with wine, cheese and chocolate. If you know Brad, you get why this is very appropriate.

These are little porcelain ballet slippers. My grandparents got them for me when I was 9 years old. On the bottom of each slipper my name is painted in silver along with the year I received them. These are so special to me and one of my favorite childhood ornaments.

This ornament is from our first Christmas after we were married. My mom actually gave this to us and on the silver the phrase "First Christmas Together" is engraved and the little red heart in the middle says "2006," which is the year we were married.

This ornament marks another milestone. I found this the year we bought our house. We were so in love with this house and so proud of the purchase. It's in the shape of a key with a little doorway on it and it says "New Home 2008."

And, finally, this is my very first ornament. It is a teddy bear holding a block that says "Baby's First Christmas 1982." It's plastic and old (as old as me!) but it's so special. And it makes me think of the ornament we will be getting our little girl for her first Christmas next year.

Hope everyone is enjoying the start of the holiday season as much as I am! Do you have any plans to get your decorations up? Or are they already up? Do you have any particular favorites you'd like to share?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

High School Reunion: 10 years?!?

So tonight is my 10-year high school reunion It's very surreal. In some ways I feel a million miles away from high school. I have graduate degree, a career, a husband, I own a home and we're starting our family. I've gone through so much since I graduated; death of a parent, all the drama of college years, marriage, graduations (3), multiple moves, buying my first (and second) homes, my first jobs in my career. . . Its hard to believe all that stuff could fit into 10 years.

But in other ways it's really hard to believe it's been a whole TEN YEARS?!?! (Well, really 10 1/2, since I graduated high school in May 2000.) My best friend is still the same one I had in high school, my high school boyfriend is now my husband and father of my child and a few years ago I moved back to my hometown and I now live within 20 minutes of my old high school and childhood home. So, in some ways, not a lot has changed.

I'm really looking forward to meeting up with everyone and catching up! It's pretty weird that I'll be pregnant at my high school reunion but fun too! It's at a lounge downtown and I'm sure people will be partying pretty late into the night. At the rate I've been going lately it will be WAY past my bedtime so I hope I don't turn into a pumpkin, or worse . . . fall asleep! ;-)

Wish me luck that I make a good impression and don't embarrass myself too much!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Baby Shower Update!

So my baby shower was this past weekend and it was very surreal to realize how far I'd come in this pregnancy. I loved my shower. Great food. Great friends. Great family. I really loved every minute of it.

I know traditionally the person who is being "showered" stays out of the planning. But my best friend (Kristen) and I are both foodies, planners and hostesses to the core so the idea that I wouldn't be involved at all was pretty far-fetched. (And I'm sure that my girl Kristen will be just as involved in her own shower . . . which we've already started planning even though she's not pregnant . . . YET!!)

So we put our heads together and came up with the concept, the decorations, favors, MENU (the food is my favorite part of any party) and games. Kris kept a few surprises under wraps and definitely bore the brunt of the prepping and planning but I appreciate her keeping me in the loop because I really enjoyed being involved in the design and planning. Anyway, I wanted to share a few pics from the shower:

We had the shower in the clubhouse of my mom's complex (YAY for not sticking someone with the cleaning!) This is one of the first tables you saw when you walked in. In the back, lined up, are the prizes for the winners of the shower games. And in front were the favors that each guest received. And the "centerpiece" was the cupcake tower, which I requested rather than a cake.

Yummy cupcake tower. Chocolate cupcakes and peanut butter frosting, another special request from me because, really, who can get enough of the chocolate/peanut butter combo? Oh, and that's a strawberry whopper on top to add a touch of pink! ;-)

And these might have been my favorite thing at the shower. My best friend is an amazing artist and she created these blocks as "topper" for the cupcake tower. They are the baby's initials and I think they are so cute and unique and seriously love everything about them!

She made the initials in script and block letters and filled the rest of the sides with images of things that start with that letter. For "P" there was a purse, pacifier, pig and penguin. For "K" there was lips for kiss, a kite, kangaroo and kitten. Adorable!

This is where the thank you card envelopes were placed. Guests were asked to fill in their own address (YAY for less work for me!) and then an envelope was drawn at the end of the shower and that guest received a prize.

This was the next table guests saw as they entered the clubhouse.

An adorable basket Kristen filled for me that was also used in one of the shower games . . . as a decoy! Guests were told to pay attention to me as I walked around the room showing them the basket. Then I walked out of the room and they were asked questions about me! What was I wearing? How far along was I? How was my hair fixed? I thought this was a fun trick to play on them! ;-)

Another shower game. The very popular shower game where you can't say "baby!"

This was the guest book. Since I love little written notes, I thought it would be nice if guests jotted down a few words that I could cut out and put in a scrapbook with some ultrasound pictures, a baby shower invitation, pictures from the shower, etc.

And here are the favors! We had a few of these set up around the room kind of acting as decoration and "centerpieces."

Because I'm a huge foodie I wanted to make something people could eat/drink. So I decided on a jarred favor and since the shower was in November, I settled on hot cocoa. I designed, printed and made the tags for the favors. On one side was a "thank you" with the baby's name and due date and on the other side were instructions for how to make the cocoa.

Again, to add a splash of pink, I had an idea to make this "strawberry hot cocoa". We layered homemade cocoa mix (Alton Brown's recipe, YUM!) with Nestle Strawberry Quik and added mini-marshmallows at the top. So it really tied in well with the pink/brown/white color scheme.

And, finally, the most important part, THE FOOD! And the people, of course! From left to right, that's Jan, my mother-in-law, Kristen (best friend/shower host) and Kristen's step-mom, Donna. And next to them is all the yummy food. Kris and I had a blast designing the menu for the shower and couldn't wait to dig into the all the yummy treats we made!

And here is the menu that Kristen created that listed all the yummy food.

And one of the prettiest and yummiest treats there was this fruit bruschetta. To. Die. For!! Although the pink punch that Kris made was also amazing. It was white-cranberry juice, Diet Cherry 7-up and scoops of floating raspberry sherbet. It was fizzy and so good and even turned out this gorgeous shimmery pink color. I wish I had a pic of it!

As you can see, there wasn't really a "theme." Just coordinating colors and patterns. We tried to tie in pink/brown/white color scheme with geometric shapes (mostly stripes, squares and polka dots) in subtle, cute ways where we could without going overboard. Kris used the brown and pink polka dot ribbon we found to accent all the table cards and menus and jars around the room. And I added it to some chocolate brown cardstock to create a "placemat" of sorts for our hot cocoa favor centerpieces.

Another thing we tried to incorporate was the baby's name, especially her initials. Since we haven't decided if/when we will share her name on a public blog, I have (so far) decided to hide her name in the pics. But I did decide to show her initials so that we could share all the cute details of the shower. In case you didn't notice in the pics, they will be KAP. We used her name/initials on the favor tags, wooden blocks, and menu. Kristen also sliced up some puff pastry and decorated the top of the baked brie with "KP." How cute! It was really fun seeing her name everywhere and hearing everyone calling her by name at the shower. It made it seem so real!

~Layne

PS: Strange but true: I'm actually having another shower in a couple of weeks on December 4th. My mother-in-law and her good friends insisted on throwing me a separate shower. I don't get it but who am I to refuse?!? This little girl is already getting spoiled!