Thursday, December 29, 2011

39 weeks

So, I'm still pregnant.  Our hopes of meeting Madelyn before year end are slowly coming to an end.  Just a few short days left of 2011.  One week until the official due date.  And I guess good news is no more than three weeks of being pregnant left.  These last days go by dreadfully slow.  I'm beginning to understand.  All I can think about is our baby girl, labor and being able to bend over again! The hardest part is that there is nothing I can actually do about it or have a clue when it will all happen.

Thursday before Christmas was my last day of work before maternity leave.  Thankfully Matt has had off this week so at least I've had great company during these long days.  They have been filled with Christmas celebrations, trips to the gym (walking outside is not happening due to the multiple inches of ice on the ground and, you know, these freezing temps), running errands, cleaning house, putting Christmas up, reading, puzzling...and waiting.  Lots of waiting.

Here I am at a full 39 weeks!

Right now...

  • I'm sleeping a bit better most nights and getting as much as I can of it.
  • Still swollen.  I look forward to wearing my wedding rings again.
  • Have sporadic contractions.  I don't really keep track of them, though Matt asks about them all the time.  I figure when I'm in actual labor I'll know (so I hear) :).  
  • I honestly still get nervous about how Maddie is doing.  This feeling has been from the beginning - the out of control feeling of not knowing her well-being and having minor freak outs.  I'm pretty sure I have the label of "nervous first time mom" across my forehead each time I walk into the doctors office. 
  • As ready as I am to not be pregnant anymore, I'm more ready (or as ready as I can be!) to finally hold our little girl.  Matt and I give her little pep talks trying to coerce her to come join us. One day it's bound to work:).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Madelyn's Nursery

The nursery is finished.  My mom surprised me with the curtains just the other day, of which I immediately went and put up.  We have booted Mocha from her room, of which she wasn't too happy about.  I often find her sprawled out on the white rug in the middle of the room in defiance.  We are still working on where her new "place" will be. 

I apologize also for the pictures.  It's dark all the time now.  And my iPhone on which I took these isn't the most high tech camera, but you get the overall idea. 

This is walking in the door to the nursery.  I love how all the projects came together. Sometimes I get a little concerned with how the ideas in my head will actually turn out in real life. 

The wood rocker painted white.  The armoire completely redone.  The new crib shipped on a barge so I could get it in Alaska.  The painted branch I was able to do for $1.  The mobile of fabric balls I made.  The curtains my mom made.  The black mirror painted white.  The old school bookshelf painted mustard to display all of Maddie's books.    The two smaller rugs from Ikea put together to make one (because that's all I could fit in my suitcase).
There is also the garage sale toy chest painted and furnished with new hinges & handles.  And two shelves that also came home with me in my suitcase from Texas. 
The piano still has a presence in the room, along with the recliner that matches the bachelor pad couches we have downstairs - but I admit will be a comfy place for all the midnight feedings.  I love the light hanging in the corner that gives just enough light off without it being too bright.  Also the etsy pictures framed and hung above the piano, with the wreath (that still has no place) and one of the two mustard M's being sported in the room (one made my me and one by my sister). 
A better view of a couple areas...
And here is a picture taken during the day.  Notice how it's not really bright outside, but that's about the best we get these days. 
I cannot wait to have our little one to put the room to use!  I'm officially in the the waiting game phase now.

Monday, December 19, 2011

38 weeks

Please forgive the very tired expression on my face.  I took this picture after rolling out of bed for work and a not so good night's sleep (a typical occurrence these days).  After work I typically go to the gym, shower and then put on I try to take pics when I'm actually decent. And though this picture may not qualify as decent, you get the idea of how gigantic I am.
Matt and I agree how wonderful it would be if Madelyn decided to come just 6 days early and grace us with her presence in 2011 (I am married to a finance guy), but I know that she will come in God's perfect timing and I'm not too worried about it - though selfishly that would be nice on so many levels.  My first priority is that she's healthy and safe!  I know she'll come when she's ready.

I've also been praying a lot lately that God would prepare me to be a mother who sets a good example of what it means to love and walk closely with the Lord.  I know there will be so many situations that we will come across as Matt and I begin to raise our child(ren), but I feel like if we have our priorities straight of seeking God first in our household, everything else won't seem as big a deal.  I want to have a home where God is talked about freely, where we pray together daily and read the Bible regularly.  I know our home will be the biggest influence on our daughter and I know we can't do it well without God. 

At this point...
  • have 2 days of work left - as much as I'm looking forward to the break, I hope I don't go stir crazy waiting for Maddie's arrival.  At least Matt has some time off with me.
  • still not sleeping well and have swollen hands, but overall I have little to complain about during this last little bit of pregnancy.  I'm definitely blessed in that regard.
  • feel like the days are dragging by. I'm going to have to pick up a new hobby or something.  Tonight I'm going to the book store to collect some new reads.  Matt and I started a puzzle last night.  I've recorded every Hallmark/ABC Family Christmas movie on TV.  I'm baking, cooking, cleaning like every day.  And I still feel so antsy, it's hard for me to sit still when I probably should be relaxing.
  • I'm having contractions every day, but nothing consistent.  It took me quite a while to realize that they were contractions...this is my first time and there are all sorts of aches and pains throughout the pregnancy that I just endure and move on.  But good to know now. :)
  • doing what I can to stock our little freezer with easy meals once Maddie comes.  We might be doing some take-out in the days to come by default.
Oh, and if you were curious today is the shortest day of the year.  So we Anchorage folks get a whopping 5 hours and 27 min of daylight today.  I can sense your jealousy.

Weekend Events

As I've mentioned before, there is thankfully plenty to keep me preoccupied as I anxiously wait out the days for Madelyn's arrival. Though some moments do seem to go by very slowly still....

First, we have all our presents under our tree!  We got the last couple packages from family this weekend.  This is the first year we've actually had presents under the tree since we won't be making the family get togethers.  It's also the first year Matt and I decided to buy each other gifts - since we'll be solo this season and everything.  However, it might become a new tradition because it was a lot of fun to shop for him!  (Yes, that's a jogging stroller behind the tree.  I cannot wait until I get use it soon!  I get jealous of watching people run on the treadmills at the gym.   I miss being in shape.)
We also went on a hike with the dog.  Now that I'm full-term and ready for our precious little one to make her appearance, I'm all about doing what I can.  Plus, I needed out of the house.  So we endured the over foot deep snow on the trail and went out.  Though Matt looks cold, it was actually pretty the 20s!  It was a pretty mellow hike until I fell into a snow bank and literally was stuck until Matt lifted me out (that belly just gets in the way sometimes!) and then almost getting run over by a sled and dog mushing team (only in Alaska is that not considered abnormal).  Alas, no baby...and until then it will not be the last hike.
 We also saw a movie and had my work Christmas party (no pics, shame on me). 

And then I spent hours baking goodies for co-workers, neighbors, mailman, etc.  We do it every year.  A fun way to show Christmas cheer to those we spend every day with or live around.  Matt helped me package them up...and eat a few:), another perk of baking.
Now I just have 4 more days of work left before my maternity leave will officially begin. And only 6 more days until Christmas!  And, if curious, 17 more days until my official due date.  But who is really counting?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Virtual Shower

Last weekend we were blessed with a virtual baby shower hosted by Matt's mom in Oklahoma.  Crazy what technology allows us to do.  We had his sister in Phoenix, 2 other ladies in Ohio and Iowa along with all the others in Oklahoma join us in our living room in Anchorage.

It was my first experience with a virtual shower.  The invitations were beautiful (hand made by Matt's Aunt, sorry I don't have a picture) and had instructions on to ship the gifts directly to us in Anchorage.  I am still amazed at how kind and generous people are!  We are so very blessed!  We have had to purchase very little in preparation for Madelyn - I haven't bought a single outfit (ok, maybe I broke and bought the cutest little dress a couple weeks ago that I cannot wait to dress her in!) - and I think we'll have enough clothes, books, toys, etc for her entire first year of life. 
Here are just some of the generous gifts we received all boxed up. 
Then Matt got it all set up so that we could webcam with all the guests while we opened gifts and chatted.  With instructions from his mom, Matt picked up some cupcakes and fruit, since that's what they were having.  We were even able to show off the nursery - that doesn't happen at every shower. :)
Makes living so far away feel a little closer to home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

36 and 37 weeks

I feel officially huge.  Maybe because I am officially huge.  I get the "you are about to pop!" comment or "there is no way you'll make it to 40 weeks" quite frequently (which I hope they are right!).   It's strange to think that we could be meeting our little one any time between now and 5 weeks from now (though the thought of waiting 5 more weeks kinda makes me want to cry).  Though I will admit, overall time has gone by very fast.  It probably helps that the holidays are in full force upon us and it keeps our weekends and evenings busy.  It's also helping me pack on those last few pounds by eating my way through delicious party food...oops, I guess add it to the rest.

At this point:
  • I have less than 2 weeks of work left.  Working part-time thing has been a huge blessing. It still allows me the flexibility to rest when needed, but certainly gets me up and out during the day.  I think it's helped the time go by faster but not totally consuming all energy I have.
  • My maternity shirts are starting to get too short.  I wasn't aware that happened.
  • Have certainly felt Maddie drop.  She sits a lot lower - and although it often feels like she's trying to fight her way out, I can breath again! 
  • I'm at the stage that some would label as "uncomfortable".  That might be an understatement, but if our little girl grows anymore I'm not sure my mid-section can take it.
  • Decided that God uses the end of pregnancy to train you to wake up at least 4-5 times a night with a bathroom break for all those feedings that are coming. 
  • I am decreasing on energy - I think it's the pregnancy and the Alaskan winter combined.
  • And with all that extra room for my stomach now, I can hardly get enough food in me.  How am I this hungry?
I would also like to brag on my sweet husband just for a second.  a) He endured a 12 week birthing class with me and b) he is completely supportive of the natural birth that I long to have.  So he gave me an early Christmas gift (just in case Maddie comes early, I guess).  He made a book to inspire/encourage me when things get tough during the birth.  It's filled with pictures of family, adventures we've had together and times when I thought I might fall apart - such as below.  The kayaking experience where at the time I considered just flipping into the icy Alaskan seas and swimming to shore...or my extreme fear of heights I've conquered at various times.  He added commentary to each picture for a sense of humor - and I love it!  I'm pretty sure he's the best. :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nursery Tree

I have been wanting to put a white tree on the wall in the nursery since the beginning.  And I finally did it, well a branch anyways.  For $1.  Literally.
These popular beautiful wall features in decal form run $60+.  A splurge I was just having a hard time swallowing (I am on a budget for this nursery).  I like to think I'm on my way to becoming a "crafty" person, but free hand drawing is not my strong suit and I couldn't convince my sister, Kelsey, to make a trip all the way to Alaska just to paint a tree on my wall.  I can't understand why.

Thus I improvised.

I just needed a way to somehow get a trace on the wall that I could paint.  Matt was all about buying a projector, but I vetoed that rather quickly.  I mean what in the world would we do with it on a normal day?  Anyways, I realized that my work has a projector they use for meetings.  I kindly asked to borrow it over the weekend...of which I was laughed at and asked "are you serious?", I then had to explain my excellent reason why.  But they were generous and let me take it for a couple days, thankfully.

I then found a branch picture online that I liked and projected it on the wall just as I envisioned it.  It actually worked out better than a decal, I think, because I was able to size it and place it exactly how I wanted it on the wall.
And no, I'm not doing this at 10pm at night. I'm pretty sure it was about 4pm.  It's just that depressingly dark here at that time.  Just about 2 more weeks til the days slowly start becoming longer again.  It's like a Christmas present in and of itself. 

It took me about 20 minutes to trace it with a pencil, one small bottle of acrylic paint from the craft store (where my $1 was spent), and a few hours of my life to carefully paint and erase erroneous pencil markings.

It left me with this above the crib.
I cannot wait for the curtains my mom is making to come to complete the nursery.  Now I'm just working on getting all the necessities washed and ready - and organize where all this baby stuff is going to go.  Goodness, who knew such a little person required so many things?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa Claus is coming to town...

Just a reminder...I absolutely LOVE Christmas. 

It brings joy to my heart.  I've been listening to Christmas music since early November and we got our tree out at least a week before Thanksgiving.  It can rarely be too early in my book.

Normally, I kinda pick through all our decor and get the most important things out.  Especially since we spend about 2 weeks around Christmas traveling to various celebrations. 

Not this year.  Few things were left in the boxes.  We are spending our first Christmas away from family this year - for good reason - as we hope to get the best gift of meeting baby Madelyn!  However, it is still very bittersweet.  I get a little sad thinking about not being "home" for the holidays.  Though trying to keep an optimistic perspective of starting new traditions with our family - Matt, me and Madelyn (and Mocha...lots of M's going on around here). 

Hence our house looking like Christmas exploded - and I love it. We even have all the presents under the tree - or shipped back south.  I've never been done this early - completely finished - I'm torn between being relieved and sad.  Who am I kidding, I'll probably continue to go overboard on all the M's in my life.

I also made a new wreath for our home.  I found the idea on my new favorite inspirational website, Pinterest.  It was super easy and I love the way it turned out...only cost about $8!
Here is our 5ft snowman we bought on clearance after Christmas last year (the best way to buy any Christmas decor).  He smiles at us in the back yard from our living room window. 
Matt also decked out our house with lights all over it - since we are an end unit, it's just that much better and brighter because they wrap around.  We may be the only town home in the area that put as many lights up.  I officially give us the prize.  (I'd put a picture up to brag, but I try to avoid obviously declaring where live on the internet). 

And just is my mom's house. She has a two-sided fireplace. One has the grand kids on it (Wesley and Madelyn) and the other has all the grown-up kids on it.  Our family is growing!  I love it.  Wish we could be there this year in person...sigh.
We had our first Christmas party of the season this past weekend for Matt's work.  I enjoy getting all dressed up (though it was a bit more challenging this year!).  They took professional photos when you arrived and gave everyone a copy.  I don't know if we've ever taken such a posed photo, except for the wedding day of course.  But I like that we have a nice copy of our growing family!  Exactly one month from today Madelyn is due!!