Are We There Yet? The Last Weeks of Pregnancy

The end is in sight!

Until approximately three weeks ago, I couldn’t even remember how far along I was with MJ. Now I’m probably scaring people away with the accuracy of my countdown. Like, whoa, what’s this chick’s deal? She really wants that baby out. Actually, it’s been a pretty easy road this time around [knocks on wood] so I’m thankful for that. And I really only have the typical complaints at this point. I can’t get my shoes on and I need at least two naps a day.
My motivation to get to the end is different this time. Last night I had to rock C to sleep. She’s five days into Binky withdrawal and it’s been a rough go for all of us. Each night is a little less crying, but we’re not all the way there yet. I was sitting in the dark, holding this 35 lb three-year-old and singing to her like I did when she was a colicky three-month-old. As tired as I was, I realized I missed that. Soon she’ll be over the pacifier and put herself to sleep again and she won’t need her mom to rock her.
Kids grow up. That’s inevitable. But I’m ready for MJ to make me that kind of mom again for a little while. The only time I want to go fast is the 5 weeks and 2 days until she (hopefully) gets here. Then I’ll keep those nighttime snuggles for as long as I can.

Ready for MJ: Our Nursery Project From Start to Finish

We are no longer living in a construction zone! Remodeling our office to become MJ’s nursery took about a month, but based on how dirty it made my house, you’d have guessed it had been going on much longer. Luckily, I have a husband in the trades. It’s easier to keep the project on track when the labor lives with you (sometimes).

Since we’re trying to save for the unpaid portion of my maternity leave, we outlined a budget before we started. Without decor/furniture we estimated the project would cost us $850. The room we were tackling was a walk-through off the kitchen that we had never touched, not even painted. Our house is a 1970s ranch and this room was keeping The Brady Bunch relevant with its paneling.

Andy started the demo while I hunted for a small dresser to fix up. It’s a small, 126-square-foot room, so space is precious. I found one for $40 at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Some sanding, a few coats of paint/primer and some cute new pulls and it was just what we needed for baby girl.

Andy ripped down all the paneling to reveal some extra space behind the stairs, which he decided would make the perfect place for a built-in. He framed it up, Sheetrocked new walls/ceiling, textured and painted. Here are photos taken while I observed the work (without actually doing any).

Caroline has a coral/grey themed room, which is pretty fitting for our spunky little girl. I wanted MJ to have something just as cool and similarly non-traditional. Andy calls the local Sherwin-Williams more than he calls me, so he gave his two cents and we decided (after returning one gallon) on the colors Naval, Lotus Flower and Marshmallow.

We were generously gifted new trim from Andy’s employer, the leftovers of a different job. We picked up the remaining we needed and added some chair rail. At this point Andy decided to hire out the labor. He knows his limits (I’m glad one of us does), and finish work isn’t his strength. It cost a little more, but we’re not remodeling this room ever again so we wanted to do it right.

We rounded out the project with new carpet from The Home Depot and a new cordless window shade for the paranoid mom. This is how the expenses broke down:

$168 paint/primer – Sherwin-Williams (Andy always recommends the Cashmere line, which we used. It looks great and cleans well.)
$40 dresser – Habitat for Humanity Restore
$455 carpet – The Home Depot (plus we received a $150 gift card for our late install, score!)
$90 window shade – The Home Depot
$100 trim/chair rail/shelving – Menards
$250 trim labor – local carpenter
$120 drywall – Bond Drywall
$40 vents/switch covers – Menards
$74 decor – Hobby Lobby, Target

$1,337.00 Total

We obviously missed the mark on the $850 budget, but we’re happy with the outcome. Here are some shots of the finished product:

Ice Ice Baby

The most challenging part of this pregnancy has been trying not to fall down. January sucks on its own—all the parties are over, it’s freezing, there are no holidays off of work, everyone is sick. It’s a big time bummer. But this year, God was like, “You know, that Sara girl looks a little extra uncoordinated with that big ol’ belly, I think I’ll just make every outdoor surface into a SKATING RINK! That’ll be fun!” Honestly, I’d take a foot of snow every day over our current weather situation. Last week I went to the gas station and my gas cap was frozen shut. I looked like a maniac out there with my ice scraper, trying to chip it open. Today, muscles I didn’t even know I had are hurting, all from trying to brace myself as I do really exciting things like take out the garbage and get the mail. I’m probably a little bitter because last Christmas I went for a run with my sister in similar conditions. I had sprained my ankle a month prior and we were just chatting about how it was feeling pretty good…and then we turned the corner into my parents’ driveway. I slipped, of course, and got the worst sprained ankle of my life. I mean, I’ve had my share of sprains (basketball games and an unfortunate event at Ripley’s Believe it or Not, don’t ask) but this one took the cake. Photo evidence below. If you need help identifying, that’s a foot and those are toes. Hard to tell, I know.

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Luckily, this hasn’t happened this year (knocks on wood), but I’ve had a few close calls. Being top-heavy isn’t helping.
Caroline has been really into Happy Feet lately (thank you, Amazon Prime) and I feel like it’s very telling of our current life. We’re all just waddling around, singing Prince songs. Thankfully this egg isn’t due to hatch until May when no one has to look like Yukon Cornelius at the gas pump.

 

Confessions of a White Girl: I Have a Beyoncé Problem

This is my coffee mug. I’m drinking out of it right now, posted up…flawless.

I’ve always loved the Queen Bey. I mean, Destiny’s Child? Pshhh. Best girl group ever. Totally hooked. Drunk in love, if you will.

Then came some bomb ass albums in the last 10 years. Artists don’t make albums anymore. Bey does. And she makes visual albums. I haven’t watched a music video since MTV Spring Break was a thing. But I watch these. If you haven’t, do it.

Do I have a girl crush? Definitely. Has it evolved into a bit of a problem? Meh. Decide for yourself.

beyonce

Two pieces of evidence to consider:

First, when Caroline was in utero, I called her “Baby Beyoncé.” She was a very active baby, so I told people she was dancing in there. In my defense, Beyoncé had just done the Superbowl halftime show, so she was still on the brain.

Second, last night I had a dream that I was at some kind of sip and paint, creative canvas, girls drinking wine and pretending to make art place. For whatever reason, we were all contributing to a group canvas and we were supposed to add things that were “inspirational to women.” When it was my turn, I just took my paintbrush and wrote:

#beckywiththegoodhair

Why in the world my subconscious thinks that Jay-Z’s side piece is inspirational to women is beyond me. Also, I’m hash-tagging in my dreams. I may need a break from my phone for a while.

Until someone tells me that my Beyoncé problem has negatively impacted their life in the following ways, I’m riding the wave. Keep the jams (and the dreams) coming. And Jay-Z, I’m watching you, bro.

A Tale of Two Gators

I have a four-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer named Zoey. She’s your typical bird dog, full of energy and quick as a whip. She’s also the reason I had to ask Home Depot if they have any carpet that can double as a racetrack. Zoey is the best running partner/pace setter I’ve ever had. Her and I have logged many miles together. We’ve logged an equal amount of time napping together on the couch. Andy and I affectionately refer to her as “the Velcro dog” because of her incessant need to be touching one of us. We love this girl and she loves us. Life is good for Zoey.

Zoey isn’t big on toys (outside of a deflated football she’s lovingly carried around the yard for years), but she does have a preference for her stuffed gator. Andy found this thing on clearance at Target one day and she’s treated it like a baby ever since. Then one day the gator mysteriously disappeared. In all honesty, Andy and I kind of blamed Caroline. She’d been fighting Zoey for it for months, claiming it as her own. We figured she stashed it somewhere, never to be found.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2016. I’m on a last-minute Target run and I spot a new gator out of the corner of my eye. It wasn’t on clearance anymore, of course, and now it was $17. A sucker for the holidays, I threw it in the cart as Zoey’s Christmas present. Of course she attacked my shopping bags when I returned home and forced me to give to her early. Many joyous laps with gator #2 ensued and gator #1 was all but forgotten.

Fast-forward again to two nights ago. A long weekend had left all of us dragging through an unbearable Tuesday. We were tired, out of our routine and long hours of solo parenting meant that I was ready to check out the minute Caroline went to bed. I put her to sleep and immediately went to work making myself a milkshake. Yes, this is a stereotypical pregnant lady snack, but no, this is not out of the norm for me, regardless of my reproductive state.

I took my milkshake to my bed (STOP JUDGING) so I could watch one non-animated show before I conked out. But of course, I could not find the remote for the TV. Someone, who shall remain nameless, was watching Fwozen in there just an hour earlier.I became frantic. This mom just wanted a break, people. I was overcome with the fear that my beloved milkshake would melt before I could enjoy it (also if you haven’t noticed, I’m the bomb.com at being irrational). I am also the worst at looking for things, so I called for Andy’s help. We tore apart the entire bedroom, which included Andy searching in the opening under our dresser. When I heard him start laughing I could feel my irrational anger start to rise. “That better be the funniest damn remote you’ve ever seen,” I said. He responded by holding up a dusty gator #1 like a cast member of Swamp People who just bagged the ultimate trophy. I was about ready to choot ’em.

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Zoey quickly inserted herself in the commotion and was pleased to see that her long-lost buddy had survived a sabbatical under the dresser. The remote was located shortly after, buried in a basket of laundry, and the Velcro dog was happy as a clam, curled up in the spot in which I had planned to eat my milkshake—accompanied by two gators.

 

Just Call Me JoJo

For our anniversary in December, Andy gave me The Magnolia Story  by Chip and Joanna Gaines and Mark Dagostino. Somehow I’ve given up Fixer Upper and HGTV for a cable-free life (the ultimate sacrifice, I know) so he felt it was safe to indulge my inner JoJo. He was wrong. Not only have I been on a decluttering kick for a week straight, I’ve also concluded that my life has the potential to be a mirror image of Joanna Gaines’. Just to clarify,  I haven’t brought home any rusted fences to hang on the wall and I have yet to suggest shiplap for MJ’s nursery. Instead I’ve found inspiration in Joanna’s journey as a mom. There is a point in her story where (spoiler alert) she decides to close up her shop and focus on being a mom. Our family has recently been tossing the idea of me staying home with our girls. I’m super freaked out about it from a monetary standpoint and also from a social perspective. But Joanna just dropped everything, right at the peak of her success, and raised her babies. And look how things turned out for her! I mean, I realize that if I take a hiatus from the working world for a while, HGTV is not going to come calling (I’d have to wash my hair on a more consistent basis and we all know that’s not happening). But her faith in the fact that all would work out in the end amazes me. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, I often lie awake at night, overcome with mom thoughts. I wish I could just make a decision, feel confident in it and trust that all will be fine. I’m not sure I have the cojones to take it to the Joanna Gaines level, but I’m going to give it a shot. And until then, maybe I’ll refurbish a piece of furniture or install some subway tile, that should tide me over for now.

That’s Good! That’s Bad! 2016 Edition

A recap of the year, for better or for worse.

In true Step Brothers fashion, 2016 made me want to stand up in a crowd and yell, “This year is horse shit!” I do exercise some restraint though, believe it or not, and I’ve basically saved the drama for my mama (and my husband and my co-workers and my closest friends, sorry guys).

There was a lot of heartache and hardship, but looking back, a few really great things happened, too. Here is a recap of my year, as inspired by the Margery Cuyler book I loved as a kid, That’s Good! That’s Bad! It’s the story of a little boy’s adventures—some good, some bad—at the zoo. If you’ve never shared this with your kids, you should put it on your 2017 reading list. It’s a little bit scary, but in a “let’s talk about why we don’t crawl into a gorilla exhibit” way. Lord knows we don’t need another Harambe.

That’s Bad! 2016 was the year of the dead appliances. Our washing machine, water heater and microwave all crapped out.
That’s Good! We’re enjoying the benefits of cleaner clothes, warmer baths and a brand new surface on which to splatter uncovered leftovers.

That’s Bad! Andy and I sadly lost a baby in May due to a partial mole. It was the most heartbreaking thing that’s ever happened to our little family and it was a tough go for a few months as I endured weekly blood work and follow-up appointments.
That’s Good! Ultimately, I became much more in tune with what my friends are experiencing because, let’s face it, more people than not are struggling with infertility. I’ve grown more sensitive and realistic and hopefully a little more helpful to the people who need it.

That’s Bad! Donald Trump.
That’s Good! Maybe he’ll get a new hair stylist now.

That’s Good! Our miscarriage broke our hearts, but our faith was restored when we received news of a healthy pregnancy only a short time after our ordeal. Since then we’ve had several wonderful ultrasounds where we’ve been able to check on our baby girl, whom I’ll refer to by her initials, MJ. In an awesome turn of events, MJ is due on Mother’s Day, only two short days after the one year anniversary of my D&C. Everything happens for a reason, right?
That’s Bad! Nothing to report! We’re so excited!

That’s Good! We upgraded to a king-sized bed to accommodate the extra bodies (both human and animal) that share the space with Andy and I.
That’s Bad! Somehow, my square footage did not increase. Everyone else seems to be getting a little more leg room except for the mom with the growing belly.

That’s Bad! What I thought was going to be an amazing career opportunity fizzled out after significant time and effort spent.
That’s Good! I learned an important lesson about getting everything in writing. I also learned that my brain is still capable of learning new things, which is reassuring as I assess what my next career move will be.

Cheap Entertainment

When did I get so lame?

I used to know a lot about movies. For many years I worked as copywriter at a DVD distribution company, so writing film synopses was my jam. I was up on the Oscar® nominees, went to see big new releases and could tell you when something was coming out on DVD. Since I had Caroline, I’m so behind the times. I’m sure this happens to every parent, but when did I swap knowing the casts of summer blockbusters for knowing the theme song to every show on PBS? I went to two movies in the theater in 2016, The Secret Life of Pets and Bad Moms. One was to appease my kid, the other to escape her. So that’s probably a wash.

The reality of my decreasing entertainment knowledge hit me hard last night as I sat down for my first viewing of Finding Dory with Caroline. Somehow this is the best movie I’ve seen in six months. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved it. But I’m 28 years old, how is a movie about a separated fish family the top-ranking movie in my recent memory? Also, when did I become such a softy? Sweet Dory loses everyone (spoiler: it’s only temporary) and I totally lost my shit. The only movies I couldn’t really watch before I had kids were comedies about divorce (probably the least funny thing I can think of). Now apparently I can’t handle undersea adventures. After baby #2 I’ll probably have to stop watching PBS, too. The educational value will likely bring me to tears.