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34 weeks: not that I’m counting

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Sorry I’m a day late on my update! I think I’m actually going to switch to posting them on Tuesdays because Sundays have become impossible to get pictures done.  I’m so tired, I go to sleep after church, then I have flat hair and puffy eyes.  Dennis is working an earlier shift again so he can take pics after he gets off on Monday (my other day off), though there’s barely any daylight left.  I’ll take low-light grainy photos over ones like this. LOL!

As my belly grows ever bigger, people are anxious to know when Joshua is coming.  Last Wednesday my answer was “6 1/2 weeks.  Not that I’m counting.” :)

I’ve gotten the “gathering nuts for winter” cheeks that Moms get in their last trimester, and it’s not like my cheeks needed any filling in. I already had that look, and now my double chin can not be hidden.  It’s taken on a life of its own and introduces itself before the rest of my face has a chance to.  You can’t tell much of a difference in these photos since Dennis is kind and takes them at an angle that minimizes it, but believe me it’s now an entity in itself! lol

Also, for the last week or so my inner thighs feel like I’m doing 36,000 squeezes with a thigh master every day.  I’m not sure if it’s really sore muscles or my pelvis is all out of whack–all I know is I now look and feel like a cripple every time I get up and try to walk.  As we went through Walmart last night, I told Dennis I need to track down a used wheelchair so he can push me through stores.  ;) During our nightly walk with Jessie, I had to sit down twice, which I’ve never had to do before.  I jokingly told Dennis to just leave me and bring the car back to pick me up, but I thought several times I really wouldn’t make it home.  But I know it’s good for me so I’m trying to keep going.  It just seems like soon it may be impossible.

Everything seems so hard now.  I really wish I had someone to help me put on my socks when I get ready for work.

Last week I didn’t get enough sleep because I was doing so much to prepare for my baby shower every night after work (I know, I brought it on myself by getting involved when I didn’t have to. My sisters were throwing it and my take-charge older sister complex kicked into high gear.).  I had to use three coats of concealer on my under eye circles for my shower, and of course when I finally laid down to sleep Saturday night, I couldn’t. Kill me now!  Thankfully, last night I slept well, so I think it was just the excitement of the day and I couldn’t unwind.  I didn’t take any photos of the shower myself, so I will share some as soon as I get them from the photographer, a girl I used to work with.  It was wonderful, and it deserves a post all to itself.  My sisters and I make a great team, if I do say so myself. :)

I got this dress at Target when I was barely showing because it was on clearance from last winter’s leftovers.  I love it and am so glad it’s cold enough to wear it now. It also works great with my witch hat and cape – easy Halloween costume. :)

For that last photo, I put my cape and hat on Dennis so they wouldn’t get dirty, then told him I had to take a photo.

Love his “why do you torture me?” face! He’s such a good sport.  He has to be with a wife like me!  :)


33 weeks: I never get sick

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I was just telling a friend last week that I rarely get sick…then I got sick.  Happens every time!  Mr. Snotty Pants sat next to me at work during the last two hours on Wednesday, blowing his nose the whole time (seriously, he hardly typed at all because he was blowing his nose so often!), and I stubbornly refused to move because I was comfortable and there were only two hours left.  (You choose your own seat where I work, and there are hundreds to choose from, so I was a little miffed he didn’t choose a seat that didn’t have anyone else around…there were plenty.)  But *cringe* I hated hearing that constant blowing into Kleenex’s.  And I felt feverish by the time I left work.

I worked Thursday and I thought I was fine, but woke up Friday feeling feverish again, and with a sore throat and my entire body hurt.  Especially my hips – it was hard to walk.  I called in sick, and didn’t work Saturday either, feeling even weaker and more feverish.  (I don’t know if I had a fever because my thermometer kept saying my temp was only 97 degrees…I think it may be broken).  I didn’t go to church on Sunday and I didn’t want to get out of my PJ’s for my weekly pictures so I apologize for being in them again – I just didn’t feel good enough to try to put on a pretty face for you this week – lol.

I have a lot to do this week in preparation for my baby shower (I know I’m weird, but I couldn’t help getting involved! Control freak, much?) so I’m praying I feel great when I wake up on Monday (I’m writing this Sunday).  I don’t have any more days I can spare to do nothing!

I may be down with the sickness, but my belly button sure is perky! lol

Oh and I have a Daddy update for you – Dennis did Via Christi’s Boot Camp for New Dads. I didn’t get a pic of him with his certificate yet so I’ll share that next week.  I’m so glad he did that – I know it will help him a lot! Three veteran Dads who’ve done the class and now have their babies come to the class with them in tow so the soon-to-be Dads can ask questions and observe how to handle a baby, while the pros teach them how to diffuse stress, help mom, form a family bond, survive a crying baby, etc.  We are both doing the Happiest Baby on the Block class in November to learn how to calm a crying baby.

33 weeks down, 7 to go.

Shrunken brain syndrome

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Today is Thursday, and I did do a Thankful Thursday, but accidentally posted it yesterday! Shrunken brain syndrome, I tell you. Anyway, if you missed it, I do hope you’ll check it out – it’s got our professional maternity photos in it and I’m in love with them. Thank you again, Stephanie!

Click the photo to open the blog in a new tab.

I also posted a recipe for a wonderful Smoky Red Lentil Chili, which was the only blog that was supposed to post yesterday, and it might have gone overlooked b/c of the double posting. So if you missed that one, I hope you’ll check it out too (click the photo). I’ll try to get my blog and my brain sorted out – lol.

Have a wonderful and very thankful Thursday!

Love, V

After hearing about all the dumb stuff I did yesterday, including posting my blog on the wrong day, a co-worker gave me these to smarten me up. :)

Thankful Thursday #117: professional maternity photos

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Update: It’s the shrunken brain, I tell you. I thought I scheduled this for Thursday and woke up to discover two blogs posted today.  Since there are already comments, I’m leaving it up. Be sure to check out the Smoky Red Lentil Chili as well. :)

You remember, Stephanie, right? The one that helped us with the nursery and bought  me this maternity outfit, as well as newborn baby clothes? Oh yeah, and she also won a gift set from Swanson Vitamins (love their products!) for me by entering a contest they had on their Facebook page.  Well guess what else she did?  She bought us a photo session with Jaclyn Marie Photography! I know, my head kind of exploded too.  Even experiencing this overload of generosity, it’s still hard to believe there are actually people like Stephanie living in the real world.

I was so thankful for this because it’s something I really wanted to do, but we are saving for the future and our one splurge ended up being the 3D sonogram.  Jaclyn did a beautiful job and I couldn’t be happier with the photos.  I’ll shut up now and just let you enjoy a few of my favorites.  OK, so I could only omit like five of the photos – I love them all so much!

32 weeks: a lesson in self confidence from a fat girl

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There is a girl at work who is morbidly obese.  I’m not saying that to be mean, it’s just a fact.  I’m obese (I’m talking my pre-pregnancy weight – I’m not blaming my baby belly for being obese), and she weighs at least one hundred pounds more than me.  But despite her physical appearance, which is generally despised in our society, she is a fashionista.  She has no shame in primping in front of the bathroom mirrors on her breaks, fixing her makeup and hair, checking out her backside.  She dresses with style and has nice purses and shoes to go with her outfits.  She always comes to work “put together.”

I used to kinda feel sorry for her.  I didn’t see anything but her large body, and felt bad that she was trying so hard to make it look good when she really couldn’t.  But that changed one day when she wore a dress to work – not a muumuu, but a knee-length dress that was relatively form-fitting.  Not in an in-your-face sexy way, but in a flattering, “I’m a woman” way.  Despite her enormous cankles and puffy feet, she wore chunky heels with the dress.  And she wore a confident, happy smile.  It was the smile that changed everything.  I haven’t felt sorry for her since.

I thought of her as I gave up on trying to find ballet flats that wouldn’t make my feet look like puffy blobs squishing out over the top.  Her feet are ten times worse than mine, maybe more like twenty times worse, but they don’t gross me out when I look at them because they don’t gross her out.  I respect her cankles and puffy feet now, because she is confident enough to show them off in stylish shoes while wearing a smile, so I bought a thrifty pair that was comfortable, even if my feet do look like something that baked out over the top of a pan when I put them on.  I wore them to church with confidence last Sunday, and thought of her every time I looked down at them. :)

While I think that being honest with yourself and doing what you can to achieve a healthy body that will last you through this life without a lot of grief is important, I also think it’s so important to be happy with your physical self no matter where you are at the moment.  This is a lesson I learned as a fat girl within the last year and a half (though I often forget it – it can be hard), and the fat girl at work helped reinforce it.  I was really getting down about being so big, but you know what?  You are beautiful, and all you have to do is realize it in order for everyone else to see it, no matter what your size.  And as they say, your smile is your best accessory – don’t forget to wear it.

Photo by Jaclyn Marie Photography

Check in Thursday to see more of the professional photos gifted to us by our friend Stephanie!

31 weeks: I’m too sexy for my PJ’s

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I was taking my Sunday nap and just couldn’t get motivated to pretty myself up for the mandatory photos, so I rolled out of bed in my PJ’s and fluffy blue socks, and went straight into photo shoot mode so I could go back to bed as quickly as possible.  Sleep trumps trying to look good!

OK, so maybe I was trying to look even worse than I had to – lol.

So I got my first weird craving.  We’ve all heard of pickles and ice cream (does anyone ever really crave that combo?), but since I don’t really like ice cream and haven’t liked sweet stuff, period, for most of my pregnancy, that never happened.  But last week I suddenly had to have slices of cheddar cheese dipped in salsa.  It was so good! lol  OK, I guess another weird thing I really like is potato chunks boiled in salted water, then tossed with some vinegar (I discovered this from making American Potato Salad – the first and second time I made it I could hardly resist eating all the potato chunks before finishing the recipe).  Oh man.

Last week we toured Wesley’s birthing center, which is separate from the hospital, and also the birthing floor inside the hospital since I’m high risk and will likely be delivering there instead.  A slow anxiety has been growing in me about the upcoming D-day (delivery day, lol), but touring the place I will be delivering helped a lot.  Being familiar with my surroundings will help put me at ease more than going into this with everything being new.  They also do everything they can to accommodate your wishes during the birthing experience, and it was relieving to know that, despite not really knowing what I want yet.

Click to enlarge

Remember the cards we get from our “son” each month?  I don’t want to say who really sends them because she reads this blog and I’m playing along, but I just got month 7 and get choked up every time I read it.  Favorite so far, though others have made me cry too. :)  I just can’t believe after so many years of waiting, we only have two more months to go before we can hold our baby.  It’s getting so real now.  I’m excited, nervous, anxious, terrified.  I don’t want D-day to come too soon, but man it’s going to be awesome when it does. :)

30 weeks: earning my stripes

30 weeks as of yesterday!  And I made it all this time without stretch marks.  Until yesterday.

I’ve been using Palmer’s products (this oil from 3-5 months, and this massage cream to the present) in hopes they would help my skin stretch and I could avoid the stretch marks that run in my family (both my Mom and sister got them really bad with their pregnancies).  All the books and websites I’ve seen say there’s no avoiding them if they’re in your genetics, but I was hoping to prove those mean old books and websites wrong.

About a month ago, I noticed the old stretch marks on my hips were turning red at the tips (they are vertical lines that extend upward toward my stomach) and I knew that these weak points were starting to stretch further as my tummy grew. I started putting extra lotion on those and they haven’t really done anything but stay red at the tips.  But yesterday I noticed several red spots on my lower tummy that don’t look like stretch marks yet, but I can tell they’re the tiny beginnings of them.  So it’s happening.  I still have 10 weeks to go so it could get really bad, especially considering how big I am already, and that Joshua is going to be doubling his weight during this time, and I’m trying to be OK with that.

A cousin shared this on Facebook before I got pregnant, and this is what I think of every time I think about the stretch marks coming my way.  I can’t forget how much I would have given at that time to have a baby that caused these marks, or “badges of honor,” as I’ve started to think of them.  Having known the pain of infertility and the fear that I would die without children, I should wear these marks with a happy heart, because not every woman who wants a baby gets one.  These marks are just another proof of the blessing, even if they’re not as appealing as the baby itself.  :)

It’s this thought, that Joshua is worth these “flaws,” that helps me most.  He really is worth it, and so much more.

You know it.

29 weeks: PANTS!

Maybe I don’t look excited, having just woken from a two hour nap, but look at what I’m wearing. Those are long pants!  Long pants that I could wear without sweating because the weather is so much cooler. Hallelujah!

Before that two hour nap commenced, I felt Joshua’s hiccups for the first time.  It was a steady throb that was slower than my heartbeat, so I knew it wasn’t a pulsing artery, even though that’s what it reminded me of.  Dennis was lying beside me (we are always tired on Sundays since we have to get up earlier than usual, and have taken to napping in the afternoon) and I put his hand on the spot I where I felt it, and he felt it too.  Pretty neat!  I was waiting for it and thought maybe I just had a baby that didn’t get the hiccups, but it finally happened.

I officially feel pregnant.  I felt pregnant before, but I feel really pregnant now.  I look back on my second trimester pictures and miss that little manageable belly, so I should probably try to appreciate the bigger one I have now because I’ll be doing the same thing with these pictures in another month when I’m the size of a manatee. To see week-by-week progression photos, you can click here. My belly was so cute during the second trimester. What happened? LOL!

Someone else is happy with the cooler weather.  Little Miss Priss! (One of her many nicknames.)  She loves winter and hates summer so we’re totally on the same wavelength right now.  Anyway, since the weather is cooler, she joined in on the outdoor photos for the first time.  Usually if she dared to go into the hot backyard at all previously, she would immediately dig a hole in the shade to lay in (click the link to watch a short video of her doing just that – so cute).  I decided to try and touch my toes (cue laughter) and here she came to join in the fun.

I was laughing, telling Dennis this was as far as I could go, and Jessie was itching.  Her allergies will soon let up as the grass dies, which is another reason to be happy for fall.

Jessie’s serious face.

I tried to touch my toes for real this time, and Jessie sneaked in between my arms and my legs! So funny!

There you go.  No more toe touching, at least not in this position.  I can still cross my legs but that’s getting harder too.  I don’t care.  I don’t really like having a big belly in the way, not being able to reach things or bend over very well, the swollen feet and hands, heartburn, or achy back, but I want it all to last forever anyway.  I love being pregnant, and thank God that I am, remembering how much I would have given seven months ago to experience any of the awfulness that accompanies pregnancy so that ultimately I would have a child of my own.  Sometimes I can hardly believe this is really happening and that in less than three months, Lord willing, we’ll get to meet our baby.  Totally unreal.  Totally amazing. Praise the Lord for this blessing!

Isaiah 66:9

A photo session with a reluctant dog

Yesterday I featured a picture of me with Joshua’s big sister, Jessie.  You probably assumed she just plopped down on her butt and smiled at the camera like a pro.  Um, no.  Maybe some dogs love to pose for the camera, but it’s Jessie’s number 3 thing that she hates, after thunder and the power going out.  She is always reluctant to face the camera.

I thought I’d share how hard it is to get a decent photo with this girl, and why I feature her on my blog so rarely.  She came into the nursery while we were doing our weekly pregnancy photos and I decided to try to get her to pose with me.  But first she demanded butt scratching, and once I obliged, she never wanted me to stop.  You can see on her tail where there is missing fur – even on medication, her allergies are so bad in the summer that she’s still itchy.

I finally got her to chillax on the butt scratchin’ and sit, but then she wanted to face me with her head down, which is how she asks for a neck massage.  Spoiled pup much? lol  At first I tried to coax her into posing without a massage…

And this was the best I got.

Why must you torture me, Mama?

Then we had some progress because she finally looked up at me and was smiling.  This would have been a great photo if I was smiling back in a normal way, and not with such an open-wide mouth that I looked like I was ready to eat her.

This one cracks me up because I look like a dog trainer and she’s listening really hard to me.  I wish!

But then the magic finally happened, and voila!  It was all worth it.

Jessie was rewarded with her neck massage. :)

I don’t think I ever shared this “Meet Jessie” video on my blog, so you can watch it now if you didn’t get enough of her in this post. :)  Also, it shows what our living room & kitchen used to look like before we had to empty the office and change it dramatically so that we had a place to put some of the stuff.  I will have to take pics of what it looks like now to share with you.  Soon!

28 weeks: I’m hotter than all y’all ;)

We started outside for this week’s pics, but even in the shade I couldn’t help squinting (this is as close to not squinting as I could get – lol) so this effort didn’t last long.

No, I didn’t just suddenly grow an ego the size of my belly.  I’m literally hot, and have been my entire pregnancy. I sweat while people around me seem fine.  I can’t imagine how much worse it would be if I was 9 months pregnant during the summer – props to the women who have to go through that.  I just hope the cooler fall weather isn’t delayed this year because I’m really just done with all the sweating.

This banner was given to me by some friends at church so I had to show it off. It’s hand made and so cute!

In addition to being hotter than all y’all, I’m also having twins.  Or so everyone seems to think.  I kid you not, three people asked me in the last week if I’m sure I’m not having twins.  Really?  I actually don’t personally take offense to this question because I know and admit that I’m huge and have no problem with it (right now, anyway), but what sane person would ask a hormonal pregnant woman a question that reminds her how enormous she is?  I haven’t had much problem with being emotional, but if I were prone to it like many pregnant women are, I think I’d probably start slapping people when they asked me this to knock some sense into them.  I think pregnant women aren’t the only ones who have side effects from their pregnancies – it seems to make people around them stupid too! LOL!  A friend just sent me a link to 28 things you should never say to a pregnant woman, and it has suggestions for what to say instead. Very helpful and a quick read if you want to check it out.

Jessie joined us in the nursery and I decided we needed a pic with Joshua’s big sister in it! :)

Not much new to report, except that I think Joshua might share his Dad’s fondness for martial arts because I swear he has taken to doing Tai Chi in my belly.  Sometimes he’ll move soooooo slooooooow, but with a lot of pressure, and it feels totally weird, and not really in a good way.  I’m already to that point where I need to stretch to give him more room sometimes because it’s uncomfortable.  Scary to think how cramped his quarters will be near the end if I’m already stretching out to give him room!  My Mom said she was so big she couldn’t reach the front of her belly and I’m hoping that’s because she has stumpy arms (she’s even shorter than  me, probably just over 5′) and not because her belly was really that huge.  I mean I’d have to be carrying a baby whale to be so big that I couldn’t reach the front of my belly! lol.

And the swelling/water retention continues.  I can see it in my hand in the above pic – my fingers aren’t usually so plump, and I’ve had to switch to a ring I used to wear on my middle finger for my wedding ring because it’s too tight.  And before you ask, my blood pressure is still OK, thankfully.  Last week it was 116/68, which is higher than the last visit, but about what it was at my very first visit.  Brace yourself or scroll quickly downward with your eyes closed because I’m going to show you how bad my feet can get and it ain’t pretty (the indentations are from sandals I wore all day that are usually really loose on me).

Sorry.  Hope you don’t mind me keepin’ it real.  It doesn’t cause any pain, just ugly to look at.  My feet do tire easily, but I have a wonderful man that will rub them any time I ask, and that helps so much.  God bless him!  <3  And just to leave you with something cute, here’s a random picture I took of a smiling Jessie girl, which was photo bombed by my belly.

One last thing – I just want to give some love to my friend, Stacy, who was diagnosed with Lyme disease a few months ago, along with her youngest son (though the other two also show symptoms as well).  She has apparently lived with it most her life and just thought that the migraines and pain were her normal, only to find out much later that there’s a reason for her and her son’s multiple problems.  The treatment, however, has been tricky, and a lot of trial and error has gone into finding things that work without taking away her ability to function as a human being.  She has a blog, DoingLifeWithLyme, where you can follow her journey to recovery if you have a personal interest in Lyme disease and treatments for it.  She is currently using both antibiotics and essential oils and getting really good results with the oils, so if you or anyone you know suffers from this disease, you might want to check it out!

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