Thursday, March 29, 2012

Over Dinner

Here's. A conversation I had with SG over dinner last night.
SG: pointing to my tummy, Baby
Me: Yes, we're going to have a baby. What should we call him?
SG: while giggling, Chubby Baby!

She cracks me up because she knows she is saying something funny! We'll see if Chubby Baby is a name that sticks. I do like fat babies! He may already have his nickname in life.

Bath Fun!

Gramma sent SG an Easter prize!  She was delighted to use these new bath crayons and color on her body! 

She was so excited for the color to show up.  She keeps saying it shows up!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Belly Shot!

Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, when a baby's legs are curled up against his torso and hard to measure, measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom — the "crown to rump" measurement. After 20 weeks, he's measured from head to toe.)
He's swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first soiled diaper (some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).
Congratulations! You've hit the halfway mark in your pregnancy. The top of your uterus is about level with your belly button, and you've likely gained around 10 pounds. Expect to gain another pound or so each week from now on. (If you started your pregnancy underweight, you may need to gain a bit more; if you were overweight, perhaps a bit less.) Make sure you're getting enough iron, a mineral that's used primarily to make hemoglobin (the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen).

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's a BOY!

We went for our 20 weeks ultrasound and found out that Sarah Graves is getting a brother!  My feeling from the very start was that this was a boy and I only doubted it when I had a dream a couple of weeks ago and we were looking at an ultrasound of a chubby girl!  It turns out my first instinct was right!  Aaron is really excited and SG only cares that it's a baby! 

This a picture of the little dumpling's profile. 

This is a picture of his feet.  I just thought they looked so sweet!

They checked all of his measurements and organs and all looked healthy.  They estimate this little dumpling weighs about 10 ounces right now, but we know he will grow a lot in the coming weeks!  They did a detailed look at his heart and that all looks right on track.  Same for the brain, spinal cord, kidneys, bladder, umbilical cord, lips, and nose! 

My cervix looks long and closed, which is exactly what we want right now.  The only pause for concern is the placement of the placenta.  It is close to the cervix and they want to keep an eye on it to make sure that it moves out of the way.  Typically, it will move as the baby gets bigger and the uterus stretches.  I will go back in 7 weeks on May 14 to have another ultrasound and make sure that it has moved. 

My Weekend

I spent most of my weekend doing something for me and this baby.  It is rare that I choose to do something away from Sarah Graves on the weekend, but I took the plunge.  I have been carrying around a ot of concerns about the complications that happened in Sarah Graves' birth and how they may impact this birth.  Although her birth turned out healthy and all was well, there was something missing from it that I couldn't put my finger on.  The class I did this weekend was called Fear to Freedom and it focuses on empowering women (and sometimes caregivers) to have the birth they desire by addressing their fears. 

Let me say that this class was outside my comfort zone.  I loved it, but I had to stretch a bit.  The class not only talks about birth, but identifying your centers of power.  It incorporates dance, yoga, meditation, writing, and acting all as ways of identifying what may be keeping you from the birth you want and empowering you to change it.  I have only ever attended one other thing that was so powerful and that was Happening in high school.  It's the kind of event where you emerge transformed, but it's quite difficult to describe to anyone who wasn't there. 

I finally realized that the thing missing from Sarah Graves birth was a true joyful spirit in the room.  Yes, we were thrilled and overjoyed that she arrived, but there was a lot of tension and stress due to all the complications that came along the labor and delivery.  What I really loved is that we didn't stop with identifying the fear and we spent some time talking about what actions we could take and writing them down as a plan for when we left. So often you leave a training experience feeling all pumped up only to go back to your regular life and not do anything.  I have several actions that will be fairly simple, like making a sign for my room at the hospital letting others know that my birth is a private event and not for the viewing of all staff.  I have some other actions that will require daily effort, such as remembering that there is nothing sayng that this birth will be like the previous. 

I am really grateful to Aaron for being so supportive in me attending this.  The class took place way on the far side of town and he and SG spent a lot of time this weekend driving me over there.  It realy was a wonderful thing to do for myself and I am so grateful I took the opportunity to do it. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Four Generations

Last night we had an impromptu dinner out and took this picture of all four generations together.  Such fun times.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bathing Beauty

This little bathing beauty has been hit hard by allergy season. She coughs and coughs, so we tried some vapor bath before bed last night. I don't know if it helped her sleep easier, but she certainly enjoyed it! The vapor bath made bubbles and turning on the jets in our tub really made a lot of bubbles! At times I wasn't sure if we would be able to find her for all the bubbles! I think she will be asking to do that again!

Belly Shot!

Here's what's going on with our little dumpling this week:

Six inches long this week and about eight ounces in weight, your baby is the size of a large mango.

Your little action figure is able to choreograph Matrix-like moves at
19 weeks pregnant. Arms and legs are finally in proportion, neurons are now connected between the brain and muscles, and cartilage throughout the body is turning to bone. All these upgrades combine to give your baby more control over limb movements. Which explains all that kicking, stretching, and bodysurfing (or rather bellysurfing) you've possibly started feeling by now.

Something else going on this week: Your baby is getting a cheesy varnish. Say what? Yup — a protective substance called vernix caseosa (vernix is the Latin word for varnish; caseosa is cheese) now covers your baby's skin. It's greasy and white and is made up of lanugo (that downy hair), oil from your baby's glands, and dead skin cells. This waxy "cheese" may not sound too appetizing or attractive, but it's there for good reason: Vernix protects your baby's sensitive skin from the surrounding amniotic fluid. Without it, your baby would look very wrinkled at birth (sort of what you'd look like if you soaked in a bath for nine months). Some babies — especially those born early — will still be covered with vernix at the delivery, so you might get a look at your baby's first anti-wrinkle cream.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Maw Maw is Here!

My Maw Maw Yvonne is visiting and Sarah Graves is just smitten with her! She asks about her when she gets up and talks about her before she goes to sleep.
Here they are watching Sesame Street together.

Visit with the Easter Bunny

Saturday we went to see the Easter bunny!  Sarah Graves was very nervous to get on his lap and although she didn't cry, she wasn't her happy self. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Zoo Trip

Sunday we made a trip to the zoo.  Although we did look at the animals, her favorite parts are definitely the playground and the train!  She was excited to watch the panda eating bamboo and watched the tiger for a bit. 

She was so excited to ride the train!  She could hear it and would start saying, "choo choo!"  She sat so still and so serious the whole ride just looking and taking it all in. 

Toward the end she was getting tired and let Daddy carry her.  He was pleased to oblige.

Belly Shot!

Head to rump, your baby is about 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a bell pepper) and he weighs almost 7 ounces. He's busy flexing his arms and legs — movements that you'll start noticing more and more in the weeks ahead. His blood vessels are visible through his thin skin, and his ears are now in their final position, although they're still standing out from his head a bit. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around his nerves, a process that will continue for a year after he's born. If you're having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If you're having a boy, his genitals are noticeable now, but he may hide them from you during an ultrasound.
See what your baby looks like this week.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Funny Girl

This funny girl has started to enjoy wearing hats and insisted on wearing her hat and jacket the other night! 
When I first asked her to let me get a picture, this is the look that I received, her usual look.

 When I asked her for a smile, this is the look I received, her Daddy's expression!

Finally, she gave me this sweet look. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Baby and I had a check-up yesterday and all looks good.  My blood pressure is 90 over 64, measurements look on track, and baby's heart rate was 156.  I was so thankful when she found the heartbeat without a lot of difficulty!  We are almost to the halfway point.  I must say that this pregnancy feels like it is going by fast!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Educating the Parents

We recently completed a 5 week parenting series taught by Pam Roe, our doula and the classes really opened our eyes.  i thought i would give a synopsis of what we covered. The series is focused on parenting children in a way that is drastically different than what most people in America grew up with.  The series focused heavily on the work of Alfie Kohn and Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.  Pam also incorporated some of the work of Dr. Haim Guinott and Barbara Coloroso as well.

Aaron and I agreed up front that we did not want to spank.  We figured that we would probably do time-out or some other popular form of discipline that didn't involve hitting.  Then, we took the class that Pam teaches on parenting a big baby that touches a bit on the works of the above mentioned people and had our eyes opened a bit to a different way of talking to and interacting with children.  That class however was literally just a tiny taste and we now have a much bigger perspective on what others are thinking and doing when it comes to parenting. 

We started by focusing on what we wanted for our children for the future and narrowed it down to 2 adjectives we would like to use to describe her. We picked confident and joyful. That became part of our guiding principle in terms of setting our expectations along with Barbara Coloroso's principle of behavior needing to be neither morally or life (physically) threatening. I like this as a guidance to help with the little battles that sometimes feel monumental in the moment and later are insignificant (e.g., eating oatmeal with a fork).

We then moved to empathetic listening based heavily on the work of Faber and Mazlish. Acknowledging her feelings and that we understand can really help her develop an understanding of her emotions and feel like we do understand, even if we aren't giving in to the request. Speaking to her with empathy to acknowledge her feelings actually causes positive neurochemicals to be released (Pam had a neuroscientist speak to us).

The course also centered around Alfie Kohn's 10 principles:

  • Consider your Requests - Maybe it is in what/how you have requested that the child is not responding favorably Maybe you need to re-think what you are doing. Are you sure you want to trick the kid to get her to do what you want?

  • Put the Relationship First - Being right isn't necessarily what matters; it matters very little if your children stiffen when you walk into the room; what matters is the connection, the alliance, mutual respect. From a practical perspective, the relationship counts, where the child feels safe enough to explain why she did something wrong; when you put your foot down, is it worth any potential injury to the relationship?

  • The Love has to be Unconditional - Love withdrawl is conditional love; when it does work, the price you are paying is too high - it says, "You have to earn my love." You go away from me or I go away from you - banishment. Kids need love that never stops coming; affection that does not have to be earned. "No matter what you do, I will never stop loving you." Stop that which gives the opposite message - positive reinforcement when they are good. Items are a display of love or a tool to control - you cannot have it both ways. When we praise them for making our lives easy, they look for that. More praise, the more insecure they become, the more dependent they become on our approval. They have to know they are loved even when they screw up or fall short. They need to know they are loved for who they are, not what they do. Time out is okay when the child decides and the time is something that helps the child center - something fun, diverting.

  • Imagine how kids see Things - Look at the world from their point of view! The more you do that, the better a parent you tend to be. When I say, "X", how does she feel? Imagine how your friends (or relatives) seem to your child. From a young child's point of view, we're interfering with what looks fun.

  • Be Authentic - Do not forget your humanity. Don't pretend to be more competent than you are, apologize to your child every so often ~ you'll find a reason.

  • Talk less, Ask more - Listen, respond, elicit, imagine her perspective - makes you a better partner, too - manager, colleague - What is your perspective? Good parenting includes listening.

  • Assume the Best ~ A tribute to Children: the best possible motive consistent with the facts. Why assume the child was trying to make you unhappy? Children of a certain age cannot understand promises, sitting still for a long family dinner. Don't assume the worst. We do not always know why kids do things. Kids live down to our negative expectations. Assume the best.

  • Try to say Yes, when you can - Do not say No constantly. Sometimes you have to say No. Kids don't get better at coping with unhappiness when they were made unhappy deliberately when they were young. If you say Yes twice as often as you do now, they will still get plenty of opportunities with frustration. Pick your battles. This is not to say Yes out of laziness. Provide guidance, support. Mindful parenting. Say Yes as often as you can.

  • Don't be Rigid - Wave the rules. Be flexible. Respond differently to different children and situations, understanding the context. Predictability is good, but don't make a fetish of it. United front is dishonest - more useful for kids to see we disagree and can talk it out.

  • Let kids decide whenever possible - Support their autonomy, bring them in on the decision making. Children will feel better about themselves. The way kids make good decisions is by making decisions. Let them decide unless there is a compelling reason not to.

  • Believe me, this method takes a lot of energy and is in no way passive parenting. However, I think it is freeing to be able to have some general family rules (e.g., we don't hit) and a lot of freedom in between.

    I love the principle of reconsider your request, especially as she gets older. I hated telling her not to do something and then realizing that it wasn't a big deal feel like I had to stand my ground with her. Now I can second guess my first impulse and tell her that I changed my mind and she can take her shoes to bed. I also like the idea of training her to think in terms of making a case for something to convince me to change my mind rather than whining to wear me down.

    The other thing that we discussed was enrolling your child in the idea of something rather than ordering them to do it. It takes some mental energy, but I have found it can be successful. Telling her we have to change her diaper is met with screaming and gnashing of teeth, but suggesting that it would be fun to change her diaper standing up gets a better response. I found the same for picking up toys. Making it a game to quickly throw them in the bin is much better received than simply telling her to do it.

    It takes practice and effort! I feel like we would need many more children to perfect our skills, but fortunately this can be applied to work, family, and friends.


    This has to be one of Sarah Graves' favorite things to do - making collage/mosaic art.  She loves to use a glue stick and this craft gives her lots of opportunity.  I realized her love for the glue stick when she used one to make an Elmo face at her birthday party.  After that, she would beg for the glue stick, so I started cutting up craft paper for her to glue down.  We did some at Valentine's where I drew a heart on the page and tried to get her to glue the paper inside the heart.  This one was just cut up pieces of paper glued all over the sheet to her heart's content.  Sometimes her hands get so full of glue that she just directs me in where to put the paper! 

    Pregnancy Update

    Overall, I have been feeling pretty good.  I am still really tired, which I don't remember being before.  I'm almost 18 weeks pregnant and really want 8 or 9 hours sleep every night.  That is a far contrast to the insomnia I had when pregnant with Sarah Graves!

    The feelings of nausea and the bother with smells is pretty much all gone.  If anything, I have noticed that my appetite is back this week!  I actually had a desire for chocolate chip cookies last weekend and that is a little scary because I count on pregnancy to keep my sweet tooth at bay and my weight gain in check!

    The most exciting thing has been feeling those first flutters of movement.  For about 2 weeks I have felt subtle little movements, but the other night while watching TV, I'm pretty sure that he or she was practicing kick turns!  I am so grateful for those movements as affirmation that this little miracle really is getting bigger and stronger all the time. 

    One of the parts about pregnancy that I find that most irritating is the comments that other people make.  Those have started up this week.  One co-worker actually asked if I was having twins.  I wish I could be a snot and say, "no, it's triplets!"  Another co-worker asked if I was watching how much weight I put on.  I'm sure they are well meaning people, but really that is so unhelpful.  Apparently, I just carry large.  I think it might be because I have a really short torso, so there isn't much room   for a baby to go, but out.  I like the bump, so I will continue on my merry way. 

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Puzzle Girl

    Sarah Graves has turned into a puzzle fanatic.  She is in love with the tozzle app on iPad!  She can work them so fast that I am looking for more apps like it. 

    She recently discovered this bear puzzle set that Gramma gave her for her birthday.  It is sort of like paper dolls, but a momma, daddy, and baby bear. She dresses them up in all sorts of funny outfits and gives them different expressions on their faces. She just loves it!

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Maternity Wear

    When I was pregnant with Sarah Graves I heard about Noppies maternity pants.  They were expensive, but I quickly realized they are worth it.  There is no seam going across the belly to make them uncomfortable when you are really big and the elastic going through the top has buttons so you can adjust the fit for early, late, and after pregnancy.  These are the Bengalin Seidel pants by Noppies.  Don't ask me where the names come from, I believe they are a Belgain brand. 

    With Sarah Graves I only had two pairs, but decided this time I could use a couple more.  I ordered a khaki color like the ones I had before and also tried a pair of black in a style called Lely.  The Lely ones are absolutely the most comfortable things you could imagine.  They are made of a soft knit type fabric and have a very stretch band that pulls over the belly.  I feel like I have on my pajamas when I wear these! 

    I won't waste my money on less expensive pants that have a big seam across the middle this time around.  Those are all in my donation pile right now!


    Sarah Graves is really interested in playing outside now, so we have been getting out more. 
     She loves to ride on her Barbie ATV.  She doesn't understand about steering, but she goes full throttle all the way!
    For a while she had no patience for her swing, but suddenly she likes to get in and swing really high.  She stares up at the sky and watches the clouds. 

    Belly Shot!

    How big is your baby at 17 weeks pregnant? About five inches long and more than three and a half ounces — the size of your open hand. (Open the other one too and imagine your baby cradled in both your arms right after delivery!) Body fat (baby's, that is) is beginning to form and will continue to accumulate through the end of your pregnancy. By the time your baby is born, body fat will make up about two-thirds of his or her weight (and will make all those chubby parts especially yummy).

    Your baby is almost certainly listening up by now. In fact, loud noises — the dog barking, the doorbell ringing — will actually startle your baby (and also get him or her used to such noises; for instance, fetuses who regularly hear a dog barking will become babies who sleep right through Fido's outbursts). Your baby's eyes (which have fortunately finished their migration to the front of his or her head) are making small side-to-side movements and can even perceive some light, though the eyelids are still sealed. And since practice makes perfect, your baby is sharpening his or her sucking and swallowing skills in preparation for that first (and second…and third) suckle at your breast or bottle. In fact, most of the survival reflexes that your baby will have at birth are being perfected in utero right now.

    And here's some proof that your baby is truly one of a kind (as if you needed any!). Within the next week or so, the pads on your baby's fingertips and toes will become adorned with completely individual swirls and creases (aka fingerprints).

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012


    What to pack in a picky two-year-old's lunch has been a major debate for me.  She has to bring something that she can feed herself and it has to be something that doesn't make a huge mess. 
    I tried things like almond butter sandwiches, but they were returned mostly uneaten.  So this is what she usually has - a selection of snacks.  She brings almonds, craisins, goldfish crackers, another cracker made with flax seeds and craisins, and some dried apple slices. 
    I would love to know what other moms are putting in their kids' lunchboxes. 

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    More Outside!

    The weather this winter has just surprised me, but I am so glad for time to go outside!  We went out for a few minutes last night after dinner and she was a happy girl.  She and daddy had fun climbing on the rope ladder. 

    She was so funny on the swings.  She was sitting in the swing and trying to use her arms and pump her legs.  Pumping her legs looked more like frantic kicking!  She was delighted with herself and giggling all the way.  Swinging superman style is also popular!

    Little Ghost

    I don't know what gave her the idea, but she pulled her shirt over her face and walked around like a ghost for a quite a while last night!  She was hysterical walking around with her arms out trying not to bump into things.  She was giggling and thought it was funny too!

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Ash Wednesday

    Better late than never, right?  Lovie and Pops came to church with us on Ash Wednesday and this little girl was thrilled!  She just adores them and any time she can have Pops' attention, she is delighted.  There wasn't a nursery for the service, so Pops took care of SG and would take her out during the really quiet parts and he would also tell her all about what we were doing.  She was hanging on his every word!