Friday, May 30, 2014

35 Weeks

I'm living life a day at a time these days.

We had a busy weekend.

Well, to me it was busy, even though we did our fair share of sitting around the house!

We went to the Renaissance Festival south of Nashville on Sunday. It was a hot day in the sun, but pretty pleasant in the shade.

A castle that a man has been working on for 44 years. Built by hand!
It pretty much exhausted me! 

I had a hard time getting out of bed the next day. And then I took a nap just 2 hours after being awake to catch up some more.

I had my first dip in the pool this pregnancy! I wore a pre-pregnancy swim suit with a tank top over it. I am thankful to have no stretch marks up to this point in pregnancy, but I decided I didn't want all eyes on me during opening weekend at the pool! I definitely had to use the ladder to get in and out of the pool, or I would hold onto Chris's hand to sit down on the edge and then slide in. It felt nice to be weightless in the water! I did a little casual swimming to get a bit of exercise. And Chris gave me piggy back rides! As soon as I got out, I instantly felt like I weighed a million times more and the pressure on my bladder quickly returned. We were lucky to find 2 lounge chairs - I was afraid we would find nowhere to sit! It was a very enjoyable visit.

And I was starving afterward, of course.

And then I took another nap.

No shame, people!

I am getting used to this "lack of lady-likeness". I have to sit with my knees apart. A squat into a chair is about what it looks like. It takes a bit of sliding around and a lot of use of my arms to get out of the car. I have lost that "feminine" walk - it is now a full-blown waddle; I've seen my shadow! I spill food on my belly at least once daily. I am turning into a bum. And I'm becoming more and more okay with that!

Here's what the rest of this pregnancy looks like: next week, not much going on. The week after, a doctor's appointment and then an ultrasound.

After that, it's 2 more weeks until my c-section.

This third trimester is coming to an end very quickly!!!

I have felt a change this week. I think I have officially hit the "uncomfortable stage".

It is harder for me to get comfortable in bed to fall asleep. Have you ever tried tossing and turning with a watermelon strapped to your belly? That's about what it feels like! I have to completely wake up to roll over. And then to readjust the pillow between my knees. And then probably kick off the covers because I'm hot. And then reach for them when I decide I want them back.

My back is starting to ache earlier and earlier in the day with each day that passes.

Running errands is such a chore now. It's not very comfortable to drive. I think I'll stop that soon. I'm really feeling the weight of Ava now, so walking around a store is not very fun. A shopping cart really helps, though, and I've found that the few times I don't get one, that the store employees will offer to go get me one. It's almost like they are shocked that I am not pushing one, even with only one or two things in my hands! Do I look that big and miserable?! Oh well; they are being courteous!

I picked up the last few things that we will need to get through the first few weeks of Ava being here. A few more newborn socks, some nursing supplies for me, some face cleansing wipes for the hospital bag, and step stool for these last few weeks (and post c-section) to help me get in and out of bed a little easier.

My hands have swelled up a bit. They've been that way for a couple of weeks now. Lookit how pudgy my hand looks! 

...and that is not my wedding ring set. It's an impostor from Walmart! Only $10! My wedding rings are like a size 5.5 - this ring set is a 7!

And I can no longer see the tendons in my feet when I fan out my toes.

So they are taking on fluids now as well! My flip flops still fit, though! And yes. It is time for a pedicure!

I found this adorable froggie at Babies R Us the other day!

We went to a child birthing class at the hospital yesterday. It was very informative. We were spared watching the video because it wouldn't pull up on the computer for some reason. We got to tour the labor and delivery floor. They were very nice laboring rooms, however, the mother and baby rooms were super tiny! There is a chance I would briefly have to share a room due to construction and remodeling going on in the ward. They try not to make you share a room, but it could happen. There is no nursery, so Ava will be with us the whole time. 

I can't wait for miss froggie to get here. But I am getting a little bit nervous about her arrival! I have to remind myself, one day at a day at a time!

Friday, May 23, 2014

34 Weeks

I am tired.

My brain thinks I have energy, but my body knows better!

Here's a scenario that makes me tired: pull off all sheets and bedding from the bed. Carry it downstairs to the laundry room. Start the load. Walk upstairs and prepare for shower.

Laying down on the bed was my shower prep! 

Taking a shower has now become more of a chore, mainly when I have to shave my legs. It's a whole lotta work! And then once I get out of the shower, I have to cover myself in Bio Oil and lotion. That's more work! Sometimes I have to sit down and rest before I can continue to get myself ready for the day. Bending and reaching really takes it out of me!

I cut my toenails the other day. That was really hard! It was probably the last time I will do that until after Ava arrives.

...and I have the bladder of a small child.

I still only wake once during the night to go (sometimes I can sleep through the whole night), but during the day; I am going about every hour or two once I get the fluids going in the morning.

I have been working on my freezer meal stash lately. I am becoming quite proud of my food collection! The bottom half of our freezer is all meals for after Ava arrives (or maybe even when I'm in the final week or two and I'm feeling more tired). I'm excited to have a vacation from cooking!

Ava has much more noticeable awake and sleep times. My pregnancy app says that she can now have "deep sleep". She squirms for quite awhile, and then is very still for an hour or two. She really likes to move her feet.

Into my ribs.

I gently push her back when I've had enough! :)

Chris and I think it's kind of funny to press on my belly and wait for her response. We laugh when it's a forceful one!

My walks have become very short. My lower back aches too much, especially if my walk isn't in the morning. I have much less stamina in the afternoon and evening. If I'm out running errands, I always get a cart so I have something to lean on or put my foot on while I wait in line. Time spent on my feet is less enjoyable now. We were going to go to a free concert on post last week to see Big and Rich, but we decided against it because of how far we'd have to walk after parking. Not to mention we would have to carry our chairs, and I'm not very comfortable in those camping chairs. I'd probably only want to stay for a little while and then be ready to go home. Not to mention all the food vendors that would tempt us (hubby is on a diet, and I'm trying not to eat everything in sight, haha).

We had our maternity photos taken! I was debating about whether or not I wanted to spend the money on them. I knew that photos of me with a giant belly would not stay framed on our wall for our entire lives, so I wasn't sure I could justify spending the money on photos that would most likely end up in a photo album that no one looks at anymore. A friend of ours, with a nice camera and photoshop, volunteered to take them for us! I'm glad we decided to get a few taken. It's an easy way to save money - the photographer and I both looked up some things on Pinterest and shared some ideas before the day of the pictures. I had some props in mind, and she had some ideas of her own to try out. I'd say they turned out pretty dang well!

Some signs this week that motherhood is coming....

Little baby socks in the laundry!

And a random box of formula samples in the mail!

I also have been dealing with Zorro, who recently believes that he should get to go outside just as much as Duke. He begs and cries at the door to go outside. Here they are, both wanting to go outside:

Zorro is desperate enough to get this close to Duke to get a chance to go outside:

And he will just run out the door if I don't stop him!

Here is Duke mid-yawn, tired of waiting for the grass to get cut so he can go play:

Oh, and I can't forget about fat Pearl:

She is 100% cat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Freezer Meals that Don't Take All Day

I knew for awhile that creating a freezer meal stash was something I wanted to do for my husband and I. Then, I got pregnant, and I knew that making freezer meals was something that I had to do for our survival!

But the thought of dropping an extra 100 bucks or so at the grocery store and slaving away in the kitchen for a whole day just did not sound like fun to me. Especially once I got into my third trimester.

So here are some useful ideas (that I found helpful) in case you don't want to turn your kitchen into a disaster zone and pass out from exhaustion!

Buy Some Supplies

I purchased a bunch of square aluminum baking pans from Walmart. They were like 97 cents for a 2-pack. I bought the entire stack on the shelf! I am just cooking for 2 adults, so if your family is larger, you will probably want to pick out a larger size.

You will also want to have some aluminum foil on hand (the heavy-duty variety is best). I also used plastic wrap to wrap around each pan before putting the foil on top to maximize freshness. THIS IS OPTIONAL, but I thought it was a smart idea in case the foil got a rip in it while stacking and moving things in the freezer.

Get a permanent marker to label each pan with it's contents. Some may need further instruction, such as "add cheese on top before baking" or "may need more chicken broth". This is handy to have written on the foil in case you are not the one heating it. Or in case you thought you would remember, but you didn't!

Lastly, I also got some gallon freezer storage bags for meats and soups. And any other random things you may want to freeze.

Now that you have all these things on hand, you are all set to get to cooking!

Research Good Meals to Freeze

This is going to be up to you and your family. What are everyone's likes? Dislikes? Allergies? Do you want to pick familiar recipes or try some new ones...or both? How flexible is your budget? Are you going for comfort food or health food...or both? How much room is currently in your freezer?! You may want to consider using up a lot of what is in your freezer (or just throwing away the old stuff) before you start making freezer meals. Or, better yet, you can plan to incorporate some things currently in there into your freezer meals!

I got a lot of my ideas from recipes that we know and love. I did look up some on Pinterest, so we do have some new ones in the mix. 

I'll bet you're do I know which meals will freeze well?

Pretty much any of them that are a one-pot dish or casserole! They may just need a bit of tweaking.

*Pasta dishes - you will want to undercook the pasta just by a few minutes. You don't want the pasta falling apart before it even gets to the freezer. These meals will be reheated to a bubbly temperature, so it needs to be able to withstand that additional cooking time during the reheating process.

*Make sure there is enough liquid/broth/sauce in the meal. If it's looking a little dry, you'll want to add some more. Heating it in the oven will cause a lot of moisture loss. And no one likes a dry casserole!

*Don't forget about freezer meats! Sloppy Joes, taco meat, meatballs, bbq chicken...while these are not complete meals, they are great things to have on hand and can easily be supplemented with a canned or frozen veggie and some bread or pasta!

Ok, so you've got your list of what?

Pick a Few Meals to Make Each Week

The majority of families are on a budget. And don't have a lot of time in the evenings to spend in the kitchen. I decided, along with my weekly meal plan, that I would choose a meal or two to double, and I would stick the second batch in the freezer. This only adds a little extra time to your dinner prep with minimal effort.

Super, super easy! You can make the double batch, sit down and eat your dinner, and when you go to put the leftovers away, the food has cooled enough for you to dump in your pan, cover up, label, and shove in the freezer! And the best part is that there are no extra dishes to wash!

An alternative to this method is to pick an extra meal or two to make in addition to your weekly dinners. Since most of the freezer meals are one-pot meals, they aren't super involved and don't take a whole lot of time. And some can even be crock pot meals! That might be the best way to save you the time. 

Or, maybe you've cooked a giant meal on a Friday night and it yielded a ton of leftovers. We are really bad about eating leftovers on the weekends, so you could easily just throw those leftovers in a pan and put it in the freezer. Another freezer meal down! This is how my stash got started!

Tips to Make You More Efficient

When choosing which meals to pick for each week, I tried to pick ones that had similar ingredients...especially the meat. I would choose 2 chicken meals, or 2 beef meals, or 2 italian get the idea. This way, you are purchasing similar ingredients and don't have a crazy shopping list, and by using the same meats you can cook it all at once and avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

For me, the easiest way to prep cooked and chopped chicken was poaching. I don't think I'll ever prep chopped or shredded chicken any other way! So easy. You start off just like you are going to boil some eggs...put your raw chicken in a large pot and cover with COLD water. Then heat to boiling, and cover, reducing to a simmer. I cooked my chicken for 25 minutes and it turned out perfect every time. No more dried out, overcooked baked chicken! (These directions are for boneless, skinless chicken breasts.)

The recipe you use may not always match the pan size you have selected. Some of my recipes made enough to fill 2 of my pans and then some, and other recipes filled only one (and some even gave me one pan and extra, but not enough for a full second pan). But that's ok! That's the beauty of making freezer meals - it doesn't matter! What matters is that you have a food stash going on in your freezer, and that nothing goes to waste! It's up to you if the extra is kept in the refrigerator to be eaten right away, or put in a smaller pan to freeze anyway.

Take care to wrap and seal your meal well before putting it in the freezer! It would be a shame to let air leak in and compromise all your hard work (and your money)! I wrapped all my pans with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil on top of that. If you are putting food in a plastic bag, like meats, roll it into a log so it takes up less space in the freezer. A log will reheat faster than a giant block. And all the air is pressed out, preventing freezer burn. If your bag is more full (like with soups), you can lay the bag completely flat until it is frozen solid (you can put it on a plate or a cookie sheet). Then you can store the bags vertically or horizontally to save space.

It might be helpful to have a master list of all the meals that are in the freezer. It occurred to me that all my pans were labeled on the top where the label could not be seen instead of on the side where it would be visible when the freezer is opened. You can keep the list attached to the outside of the freezer and then cross off each one as it is eaten. Or I've seen people use address labels on the side of each pan to label it. But those things usually come in a big pack and are kind of pricey. I though about using blue tape (because I always seem to have blue tape) but I don't think it would stick to the pans in the freezer. Maybe you'll find an idea that works better!

I'm Ready to Tap Into My Stash...How Do I Reheat the Meal?

This may not work for every single meal, but a general rule of thumb is that 350 degrees the the safest temperature to reheat a meal that comes straight out of the freezer. Not so hot that things will burn, but it will take longer at this temperature. You could go up to 400 degrees, but I would recommend keeping an eye out for burning edges, and covering the pan with foil towards the end to prevent that from happening. And also to prevent the top layer from drying out. Expect it to take 30 to 45 minutes to fully heat your food to a safe temperature until you see that things are bubbly and heated throughout.

Soups and meats stored in the gallon baggies should be heated on the stovetop. It is tempting to crank the heat all the way up, but all that's going to do is burn the bottom while there are still frozen bits on top. Reheat no higher than medium with a lid on. Stir often to break up the chunks as it heats up.

Reheating freezer meals takes some patience!

You can also take a meal out of the freezer a day ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator to help shorten the cooking time.

I hope these ideas help you to want to make freezer meals! They are a total life-saver!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Maternity Photo Shoot

Today we had our maternity photo shoot, graciously taken by our friend!

It was a perfect day! Lots of sunshine and shade, a perfect breeze, and a pleasantly cool temperature!

We took pictures at an area right outside of Ft. Campbell and at Dunbar Cave State Park.

Love them! Now I'm going to have to choose which ones to frame!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

33 Weeks

33 weeks...that puts the countdown at 6 weeks, 6 days.

Well, not exactly...!!!!

I had my ultrasound and 32 week appointment this week.

The ultrasound revealed her amazing growth! She went from being in the 45th percentile at my 20 week scan, to the 53rd percentile at 28 weeks,, to the 63rd percentile at 32 weeks! She's doing great!! That dang kidney of hers is still slightly inflamed, but my doctor said it's barely noticeable, but still present. It has improved!

And...Ava is now breech.

So we talked a bit about her position and both of us think the likelihood of her turning for delivery is slim. It's possible, but not likely considering the fact that I have a bicornuate uterus, she has been in one (transverse) position the whole time, and now she is breech. So I was asking if a c-section for me would be done at the full 40 weeks, and she said we would schedule at 39.

So the next thing I knew, we were scheduling her c-section!

My doctor was totally fine with booking the OR for me; I'm thinking its because there are SO MANY deliveries at this hospital that things can get booked up pretty quickly. She wanted to make sure we got the date we wanted. And she told me that she is on that day, so she would be the one to deliver baby Ava! We were both pretty excited for that!

So, June 27th will be her debut unless I go into labor earlier, or she decides to move to head down, in which case, we would go for a vaginal delivery! So no 4th of July baby for us. But that's okay with me!!

So the countdown is now at 5 weeks, 6 days.


Suddenly I feel like I have so much to do!!!

(I really don't.)

It's just that feeling of oh my gosh only 6 more weeks until our lives are forever changed!!

I will continue to have growth scans; my doctor still wants to monitor her growth closely. I'm thinking it will be more important to watch as we get closer to term and she should be growing at a faster rate, and room for her may be more of an issue.

I found an image on a website that seems to show exactly how Ava has been laying lately. It's not my image to share, so I will just provide the link. <----- Don't bother reading the article that goes along with it about a bicornuate uterus; it is a perfect example of how the internet can scare you to death. Anyway, Ava is laying pretty much the same way the baby in the picture is laying, but the placenta is right in the middle. 

It was a pretty busy week with both appointments and a breastfeeding class. I had places to go each day of the week.

Me and Dukie got some sun in the past week.

He prefers to lay half under my lounge chair.

I have always been a leg-crosser when I sit. I can no longer do that! Now I have to sit with my knees apart a little bit so my belly has more room. Not very lady like! I dislike sitting upright. I prefer a slight recline.

I'm really uncomfortable by the end of the day. Getting comfortable in bed is getting more difficult, too, with her growing like a weed in there. Her head is on my left side, which is the same side I lay on. So that's not always so comfortable for either one of us. I can feel her feet press into my ribs more consistently, along with her hands, and sometimes I can feel pressure on the sides of my hips. She is really filling out my torso now!

I got my hands on some watermelon. And a lot of other fruit, too!

Here's my Ava baby pushing her legs forward and making me lopsided. (My finger is on my belly button.)

I get Braxton Hicks contractions a couple of times per day. My doctor said it's nothing to worry about unless they are consistent and happen multiple times within an hour. My belly tightens, my ears get hot, and sometimes it feels like it takes my breath away and I feel my heart beat quicken. I may even get a mild hot flash. Sometimes with a BH I won't feel the tightening, but I'll feel everything else. It is very bizarre!

Here's your random fact for the day... did all y'all iPhone users know that if you open your calculator and turn your phone to the side that THIS pops up?! I didn't know about this until this week!!

Not that I will ever need these buttons.

I just open up the calculator so I can figure out how much each diaper costs in a pack to find the best deal.

Anyway, we got her car seat! And we installed it in the car, complete with a mirror to keep an eye on her. All that's left are some final touches to her nursery, packing my hospital bag, taking care of some last minute projects around the house, and trying not to go crazy!!

Here's her latest profile!

And here's my latest profile!

I can't believe she'll be here in 6 weeks (or less)!!

Infertility is an Emotion

This post sprung up from my last weekly update.

I realized my post had taken a turn and really needed to be it's own post.

It's not as happy-go-lucky as my weekly posts are.

It's about infertility.

(Ava will be here in 6 short weeks. And these are some thoughts I've been having lately.)

All these "just you wait" statements are about to end.

Yes, we've done our fair share of waiting, thank you very much.

Babies cry a lot. We will want more sleep. They make a mess. Blah, blah, blah.

Yes, parenthood is not always rainbows and butterflies...I already knew that. I don't need a lecture.

We are just ready for our lives to feel more complete.

To feel like we have more of a purpose.

To have more joy.

To grow our family.

Don't squash that with your attempts at horror stories. People who have tried to conceive for a long time have a different perspective and don't want to hear your crap.

There. There's my dose of "pregnancy hormones". 

Except it's all the truth and not erupting from some emotional moment.

I think a lot about our journey to pregnancy, and how much this pregnancy means to me. And how many countless others go through much more than I have to achieve pregnancy. And sadly, some never get there. Women (and men) literally spend years dreaming of a child of their own, loving a child that doesn't exist yet. It can be so complicated. Don't feel like you have to walk on eggshells around these people who struggle with fertility, but have some sensitivity. We think about things very differently. 

No "oops" babies for us. No "now what do we do" moments.

For us, everything is always mapped out. We dream for months and years what having a child will be like.

We are envious of all other women who get pregnant. Happy, but also resentful and probably deep down, angry. I know it got ridiculous for me for awhile. I'd see announcements on Facebook, and I would literally go from a joyous smile of excitement for that person, to suddenly a cold anger that often sent me crying my way to bed. All in a matter of seconds. And it was never anything against that person, it was always an anger at my situation.

You can't scare us with your stories of how your baby has "inconvenienced" your life.

We want that inconvenience.

Go ahead, tell us that you never go out anymore.

We'd gladly sacrifice our social lives if it meant we could have a child.

Maybe we do have some hopes for our day to day lives that you, as a parent, know are not realistic after having a baby.

I'm sorry, did you know what to expect before you became a parent?

And everyone parents differently, so maybe I will have a different experience than you.

I hate that line "you're not a mother, so you wouldn't know".

That kind of lights my fire.

I get the point, I haven't walked in your shoes, so you're right. I don't know.

Now try walking in my shoes.

See how much you like it.

Yes, this post seems bitter and angry.

Because I was for so long.

This pregnancy has brought me so much joy, that it has almost melted away all of those feelings from infertility.


And I don't want to forget the journey we took to get here. It's too important. Too many people live it.

Infertility isn't cured by getting pregnant. There is also secondary infertility, in which couples struggle to get pregnant with a second (or third, or fourth, etc) child. 

It's still painful.

It's a pain unlike any other. Jealousy, anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, exhaustion, fear...all rolled into one emotion. Infertility is an emotion.

Definitely don't say "Just relax. It will happen." 
Ok, now why didn't I think of that?!

And don't even bother saying "Well, at least all the trying you get to do is fun!"
After cycles and cycles of failed attempt, it's not. It's not the "honeymoon" you'd like to imagine.

Just listen. Be a friend.

But don't go all sad and sappy on us, either, If we can have a backbone, we expect you to have one, too! 

I still hurt for friends who can't get pregnant. With whichever pregnancy they are on. And there's no real way to comfort that person. Just pray.

Friday, May 9, 2014

32 Weeks

I'm officially in my 8th month of pregnancy!!

It's hard to believe! I have only imagined being 8 months pregnant...and now I get to be here.

And it's just about everything I thought it would be!

I feel big.

I eat frequently.

I am emptying my bladder very frequently. 

I can't reach things as well or fit through narrow spaces. And "sucking it in" is no longer cutting it.

I have back aches.

I have noticed tiny bit of swelling in my feet.

I waddle. Just a little.

My wedding ring doesn't fit. 

Well, it does, it is just really hard to get on and off. So I leave it off. My hands are really stiff in the morning and feel very swollen. It goes away after getting up for awhile. My husband is pretending to have "fat pregnancy fingers" too because he forgets to put his ring on a lot. When we are in public together without our rings on, we joke that I am his girlfriend and that someday we should get married. 

And of course, we are in love with our baby!

We have been talking a lot lately about how we can't wait until she gets here (but really, stay in there, Ava!) and we wonder what she'll be like and how much hair she will have. Call me crazy...but we think we are just about ready!! The anticipation is already starting to drive us a little nutty, even though we have 8 weeks to go! We talk about her everyday. 

Miss Ava makes very fluid movements now; it really feels like there's an actual baby in there, squirming around, and less like some sort of foreign object. She still occasionally jabs me. One of her favorite things is to slowly press her knee or foot up towards my ribs (thankfully not INTO my ribs...that may come later) and let it hang out for awhile, and then it disappears. I can always feel this little knob sticking out of my upper belly when she does this.

I really don't do a whole lot. I mean, I do, I just can't do it all at once. I make this really ambitious to-do list at the beginning of the week, and I'm lucky if I can get through all of it. It took me about 5 hours to clean the downstairs floors. Move all the stuff out of the way, then vacuum, swiffer, steam. I had to take breaks between each step - my back screams at me rather quickly! But that's what I get for ignoring all the dog and cat hair and dirt and stuff that tracks in the house from Army boots for so long. It was getting bad - Zorro was chasing the dust bunnies in the living room!

We had a garage sale this past weekend that was part of a post-wide one. We were very successful! We probably sold about half of what we put out, and got a nice chunk of change to put towards another expensive item for Ava! I was definitely surprised at how well we did. There were times we had crowds in our driveway!

I have an ultrasound and my 32 week appointment scheduled for this week. I am anxious to hear back about her kidney, to see what position she is in (I'm hoping its something different than her usual one), and to hear about how big she is! I also have scheduled childbirth and breastfeeding classes for us to go to coming up soon.

And my Nashville episode aired!

I never saw myself in the crowd, though.

But this is where I was standing the day I went:

I had to look twice during the scenes looking out on the crowd - I know there were not that many people there they day they filmed this scene. I'm positive they digitally inserted more people! And you can barely tell, but I drew in a red line where the crowd stopped when I was there. Can you tell a difference?! There is more warmth in the crowd up front, and the digitally added crowd in the back is more white and gray. It looks pretty convincing, though!

You would never guess from the episode that it felt like it was 2 degrees outside!

And here are some silly ways that Ava moves.

First, here she is making a large lump on my right side.

And next, is a great image of her in her standard transverse position - head on the left, and her body on the far right. She does this one a lot, and it's always more obvious when I am having a Braxton Hicks contraction, which is what is happening in the picture. My belly tightens and it makes me look very lumpy!

And then a little bit later, my belly looks more round again.

She did all of this in about an hour or two. 

When I woke up in the middle of the night last night (to empty my bladder, of course) she was right up against my rib cage, in the middle, in a ball. That's a new one - I've never felt so much of her body all the way up there! Usually its just a foot. All this movement, to me, is very encouraging, because it tells me that she does have enough room in there to move around, and is not as restricted as I was fearing. I am dying for this next ultrasound and appointment to hear more about what to expect for these final two months!

I need to fix that "L".

Monday, May 5, 2014

Two - Step Ant Killer

Let me just go ahead and tell you how to kill all the ants in and around your house. 

It will only take you two steps.

First step: buy this stuff.

Second step: spray the ants.

That's it!! This stuff is magic! It's EcoSmart Organic Home Pest Control for Indoor and Outdoor Use...and it kills and repels over 100 types of crawling insects!

It is safe to use around children and pets.

I first noticed ants in my house this season after dry mopping our dining room, which is the same room in which our dog has his food and water bowl. After dry mopping the floor, I (mistakenly) left the debris I had swept up on the floor in a little pile by the patio door. The next morning, I found that ants had come in through the threshold of the patio door and were feasting on a piece of dog food that was in that pile.

The subsequent times I have found ants in our house, they have come in through the garbage disposal switch and were enjoying a small pool of watermelon juice on a cutting board. 

And other times I have seen them just milling about, and I can't really determine where they're coming from or where they've been.

Over the years of renting, I have tried many ant baits, sprays, and various home remedy tricks to eradicate them. We've always seemed to get them in the kitchen every spring, no matter where we've lived. So I KNOW I can't be the only one who deals with them annually and is sick of it!

I found this particular spray at Walmart, and was drawn in by the fact that it was labeled as organic. We have some fur babies in the house that do not need to be near insecticides. I read the label, and saw that it was mostly different oils:

I thought, "Ok, what's another $3 and change for another useless spray..." 

Little did I know, this would be the last ant remedy I would ever buy!

The peppermint oil is definitely the predominant smell - it's pretty strong when used inside. I sprayed away at the ants on the floor, but I was a little hesitant for the ants on the counter. My instinct was to not spray an insecticide on a food prep surface, but then I remembered that it's organic. And I'd used it enough to know that it works and it keeps them away. 

So I sprayed the counter!

And the sink!

It kills the ants on contact!

And then I let it sit for awhile and then wiped everything down with hot, soapy water.

It was wonderful.

I'm not a huge fan of the smell it leaves behind, simply because it is so strong. But, it's all organic and is much better than toxic fumes from chemicals.

And who has ever had luck with those ant bait trap thingies?!

Tonight I found more ants coming into the kitchen where the cupboards meet the ceiling. I decided to check the outside of the house to see where they were coming in. We have this weird, textured stucco type stuff on the outside of our house (mixed with brick and weird vertical wood shingle-looking siding...sooooo attractive) and there are seams here and there, kind of like seams in a cement driveway. Ants were coming in through the window and then going up into the wall to get inside. I stood outside, staring at the wall for a little bit, trying to pick up on the trail.

I must have looked mentally unstable to the neighbors!

The ants were using the seam as their path get around.

I started spraying them. 

I walked around to the living room windows, still spraying. They would come down the corners of the walls to another path at the bottom of the wall, too. 

I kept spraying and following the trail.

Well, that trail led me all the way around the side of the house, and the fence cut me off. So I had to go back into the house and out the front door to catch up with them.

As it turns out, the ants were making a nest in a sidewalk seam.

Right under our doormat.

They were everywhere! I couldn't spray fast enough.

I didn't waste my time spraying the whole length of the wall - I think we are going to pick up this same spray, but in a bottle you can hook up with a garden hose to treat the yard. That is $10 and change. Definitely worth it to treat large areas (and to prevent my hand from cramping).

Is it weird that I can't wait to go pick some up?!

(This same brand also comes in a weed and grass killer that I use for our rock beds and sidewalk cracks in the backyard. Works like a charm!)

Friday, May 2, 2014

31 Weeks

I'm 31 weeks!

A little blurry...the "photographer" and I were being silly. :)

And pregnancy brain is real, people!

The "science" behind it is that so much blood is being rerouted to your growing baby that there is less than normal blood flow to the brain, which can lead to forgetfulness and overall diminished brainpower.

I have experienced a bit of that.

I will often get up and walk into another room only to realize I have no idea why I got up. I walk around for a second, and then return to the couch, confused.

Hmm. And it often never comes to me what I wanted to do in that room.

I was at Macy's the other week trying to find the maternity section (yay! They had one!) and I decided I should go to the bathroom. Well I was walking towards it, only to realize it was the men's dressing room.

Don't know how I messed that one up.

I was pumping gas awhile back and could not understand why the pump wasn't working. I was so confused. I thought for sure it was broken. Then I realized I had not squeezed the release on the pump handle.

Duh. Talk about a dumb blonde moment!

It is recommended that pregnant women not drive because airbag deployment in an accident can be harmful for the baby. I feel like pregnant women should not drive because apparently we are impaired!! I've not had any issues with pregnancy brain behind the wheel because I feel like I am extra cautious right now since I have Ava to watch out for, not just me. Overall I am a pretty aware driver anyway, but I can see how some pregnant women should definitely leave the driving to someone else!

Now that I'm not working, I have a new routine.

I'll admit, after leaving my job I was a little overwhelmed with the fact that "housework" was my new "job". Taking care of a household is a big task, and I needed to get organized! It has taken me a bit of time to figure out how I wanted to take care of this 1500+ square foot mess. I like routines and schedules, but I also like to, for a lack of better terms, do what I want. So it's taken me awhile to get into a groove that worked for me. And then I had to tweak it because Ava has been making it harder to get all the way through my to-do lists.

I do weekly meal plans. I hate those "what's for dinner" nights, so this eliminates that. I leave our weekend dinners kinda open; we tend to be spontaneous on those days. Now that the weather is nicer, we will probably grill at least once a weekend, allowing me to get a break from cooking! I make a once a week trip to the grocery store to get what is needed Monday through Sunday. I try to plan something easy for Monday dinner (like a crockpot recipe) because I am running around doing errands and using up all my energy. I usually plan 2 nights of leftovers. We always have leftovers because I cook for more than 2 people. We might make a second trip to the store towards the end of the week once we decide what to grill (plus the meat and veggies will be fresher that way) and to pick up things we may have gone through quickly or just weren't ready to stock up on yet (milk, eggs, my Activia yogurt).

I am digging this new routine! Meals are planned, we have what we need to make it, and I finally have control over my kitchen! I have accepted that dishes are a part of daily life. I never wanted to accept that! Working random hours made it hard for me to get into any kind of routine with chores and errands. Now the kitchen counter is consistently free of dirty dishes and this makes it easier to keep up with the hand washing too, because there is more room. The hubby and I could never agree on where to put the dirties - he thought they should go in the sink so there was more counter space, while I thought they should go on the counter so the sink could still be used at full capacity. Now that I keep up with it all the time,  there's nothing to disagree about!

So with errands on Mondays, it sets me up to have a successful week at home getting things done. No reason to have to run anywhere or pick something up.

I have Ava's laundry done! I am now trying to figure out where to put it all...this girl has a lot of stuff!

Ava sure has been moving around a lot lately. She is definitely bigger...there is less "squish" in my stomach and more of Ava's body! I'm wondering if she will be able to get head down - I really can't predict how she is laying anymore! She tends to mostly be on my right side, making a very obvious lump! But other times she will end up mostly on my left side. I don't feel nearly as many jabs anymore, mostly just smooth movements. Kind of like someone is dragging a golf ball across the inside of my belly. I do feel lots of little twitches (I believe this is mostly from her hands and arms) and occasional sudden urges to go to the bathroom, which means she is pressing on my bladder! And those hiccups...she gets them 1-2 times daily! I have felt them in 3 different areas, so I know she's moving around a lot. So I'm *hoping* this means she will be able to get head down.

I'm not going to use a birth plan, seeing as how my uterus may restrict her from doing what nature intended. I hope to deliver vaginally, but I will not be surprised at all if I have to have a c-section. Even if I wasn't high-risk, I feel that a birth plan is kind of a waste because it is out of your hands (for the most part) how your baby will arrive. I might have a few preferences for after she is born (skin to skin time right after, no bottle feeding without permission), if the situation allows. If an emergency arises, there's not much you can do. I just want her here the safest way possible.

So now that Ava's room is nearly complete, (photos are coming soon, I promise!) I am looking for my next baby-prepping bag packing! What do I need, and what do y'all recommend? I already have a robe and slippers and have a few outfits in mind for Ava. I intend to get some "granny panties", but I'm not sure what else I will NEED. Or what things I will want. The hospital is literally 3 minutes down the street, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if I needed someone to run home and get something, but I want to be prepared! And, how did y'all handle all the visitors, both at the hospital and at home? I am a little apprehensive about all these people that will want to just show up, and there I will be...all a mess. I don't want to shoo anyone away, but I also know that we are going to want some space and time to become our family of 3! I am definitely open to ideas and suggestions!

I have been doing some prepping for a garage sale that will be part of the annual post-wide garage sale. Lots of going up and down stairs and bending and moving things around...I really cannot move the way I used to! My back aches much quicker. I can't reach my feet without some serious effort. Getting things off of the floor has become just plain annoying - I get very upset when I drop things! Sitting on the floor is no longer an option - its gotten way too uncomfortable in the past few days! I'm getting so big!! Chris says my bump has really grown a lot this week, and I agree! I am anxious to hear how big she is at our 32 week appointment!

I was going through photos on my phone yesterday and saw some photos of myself pre-pregnacny, and I'm already thinking, "man, look how small I was!". Ava is taking over! I can't wait to be able to go to the gym. I haven't NOT gone running for this long in...I don't know how long! Ava, you'd better like your jogging stroller! Here's to hoping I have a smooth recovery from however she comes out so I can return to running!