Friday, May 25, 2012


Yesterday we had our FOURTH in-depth ultrasound at the Maternal Fetal Care unit of the Greensboro Women's Hospital. They now welcome us by name, know which time slots we like to schedule, and joke around  during our appointments.

Dragon is doing so well!! He was plenty active during the appointment, and we all joked that he was pushing the probe away from me.

 We got some comforting information on him, too: He is already in the head-down position and likely to stay there until birth, which means all the jabs I feel towards my ribs must be him trying to stand on his head and push me with his feet.

I know someone else who likes to do hand-stands...

Like father, like son :) 

We also learned that he weighs around 3.5 lbs right now- a major growth spurt since our last appointment! I feel like he is growing faster than my stomach can expand, so every movement he makes can be seen and felt by me. Ben teases me that every time I feel him move is like the first time: "Did you see that? Did you feel that? Put your hand here! He moved again!" But I just can't get used to it, and love it as if every time were the first time! 

Since seeing him again yesterday I am feeling particularly happy and close to him today, which reminded me of this clip from one of my favorite Disney movies, Mulan: 

"My ancestors sent me a little lizard to help me?" 
"Hey... Dragon... Dra-gon. I don't do that tongue thing."
"You're... um... "

"Intimidating? Awe-inspiring?" 
"Of course! I'm travel-sized for your convenience! If I was my real size your cow, here, would die of fright. Down, Bessie."

Mushu is probably my favorite Disney character ever. One of my favorite things is when Ben says to me, "That's better, much better. Let's go!" He sounds just like Mushu! I die every time. 

I had completely forgotten about the connection that he is a dragon, but now I just like him even more, and it makes me eager for the day when we can sit down as a family to laugh over this movie!

We have so much to look forward to! 

At least for now he is travel-sized for my convenience :) 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

31 Weeks... Start the Countdown!

Of course I've had milestones I was eager to pass this pregnancy, and 30 weeks is the LAST ONE! Early in my pregnancy I was less enthusiastic than I felt I ought to be, so I spent a lot of time researching some of the things that make pregnancy and babies fun: Maternity clothes, nursery designs, and belly/ baby photos. One maternity photo tutorial said, "The best time to take maternity photos is 30 weeks- your belly is large and beautiful, but you aren't yet too uncomfortable for a photo session." I loved that advice, and had been looking forward to "The most beautiful" week of pregnancy ever since.

Is it ironic that this is the first couple of weeks that we have NO pregnancy photos of me? :O)

I was, still, really excited to hit 30 weeks. It feels like, at this stage, people don't look at you strangely as if thinking, "You're only whatever weeks? You look full-term!" Instead, you have an excuse to be big, pig out, and uncomfortable because you're in the home stretch! 

There is something so wonderful about only having single digits to count down to. Only 8 more weeks until we have our baby! 2 months sounds far away, yet every week seems to flash by. All of a sudden I'm 31 instead of 30 weeks, yet we still have 2 more months... ugh... Why don't those larger amounts of time go by as fast?!

To be honest, the fact that we will be bringing a baby home is starting to feel overwhelming. Next weekend will be my first baby shower, Ben and I will go on our last trip away, we will put the nursery together, have my second baby shower, and BAM- Dragon is no longer kicking my belly to remind he's here, he'll BE HERE. My only experience with babies is that they stay at the hospital (or at least don't come home with you.) This one won't. Am I ready for midnight feedings? For my house to be a disaster zone? To have microwave meals every day? To forego a shower in favor of a nap?

I have loved being pregnant. It's a phase of life and body I've gotten used to, and Ben is a pro caregiver in! Having a newborn around will be a huge change from the life Ben and I have grown accustomed to for so long. After over a year of this pregnancy stuff, am I really not mentally prepared for a baby to be here?

You have to give me some slack... it's pretty scary. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ben's Adventures!

You may not have heard... WE ARE HAVING A BABY IN 8 WEEKS!! 


Ben is taking a quarter off from his MBA program for the month before and two months after the baby is born, and we have something scheduled EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKEND. from June to mid-July to prepare for the little guy. So we have been trying to "fit in" all the fun things we still want to do before our schedule get super-tight and our lives completely change.

For Ben, that meant {finally} using the one-hour flight lesson I bought him for Father's Day LAST year.

He had a total blast and came home with a plan for how long and how much $$ it would take for him to get his pilot's license. It does seem easier and cheaper in the long run for him to rent a plane to fly our family around instead of the $$ and time to fly with a commercial airline! What can I say, we are travel enthusiasts! And you can't argue with logic :)

The next weekend he spent the Saturday at the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. I got Ben interested in kayaking when we met, he bought a whitewater kayak (mine is a sit-on-top flat water kayak) and has been talking about going to the USNWC for a lesson ever since. 

I've been there a couple time for whitewater rafting, and, I have to admit, the center really bothers me! I don't like that you can see the concrete, man-made water tunnels instead of a natural river, and all the buildings nearby. It is busy and large, and I much prefer the solitude and beauty of being in nature! Ben agrees, but he still really enjoyed that this one area offers two different kayaking/ whitewater rafting routes, a mountain bike trail, rock climbing, and other adventure attractions. I guess you can't argue with convenience! 

Unfortunately, he didn't think to put on sunscreen before his 4-hour water adventure :(


Ben dropped me off at the outlet super-mall Concord Mills while he was kayaking.  He told me I had free reign with his credit card to amuse myself, which sounds great, but is more pressure than I am used to! I went to a movie {ALONE... how luxurious!}, walked around the entire mall a couple of times, bought a pretzel, then got so tired I plopped down in one of their lounge chairs and read a book for the rest of the afternoon!

When he finished we went to IKEA together. It was my first time going to the legendary store, and my tired/ sore body immediately perked up-- that place is AMAZING! 

The trip turned into a second baby registering adventure, almost. We spent a couple of hours walking around and talking about how to re-arrange the furniture in a couple of rooms to dedicate one bedroom as the nursery, and bought or made plans for some furniture and storage supplies we think we'll need. It was great to hear Ben's input on some nursery decor items, and talk about the more practical side of baby's arrival- like where the desk will go when the crib replaces it :)

Oh, and we got these Chocolate Covered Oat Balls! 

Have you had any before? Ben had them for the first time in Denmark, and just loves them! We bought a pack at Ikea and I've since looked up the recipe :) They seem pretty easy to make, and are so delicious!

Ikea Oat Balls Recipe

I am so excited {and already tired} thinking of all the changes we are about to make. Our house will look totally different after we re-arrange the rooms, and I am finally excited to put his nursery together with the great items we picked out! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

As you may (or may not) have guessed, Mother's Day was a pretty confusing holiday for me. After passing my 27th week (when Eleanor was born) I thought all my anniversaries and reminders of her would subside until her birthday and, possibly, being back in the L&D wing of the hospital. Well, I was wrong! I had been really excited for Mother's Day, but as of Friday all I could think about was the fact that we waited to announce my pregnancy with El until Mother's Day last year because my side of the family was together for a vacation. I wrote in my journal that day, "Today I am a mother. Because of you."

All weekend those words kept repeating in my brain, and I felt truly bewildered at the full-circle of events in the last 365 days: Announcing my first pregnancy, delivering and burying her, and now within weeks of delivering my second child. Who celebrates the lives of two children within 1 year?!

Ben had been planning my Mother's Day for a long time and told me that I wasn't allowed to be anything but happy, so I really tried to be.  I couldn't help but lean in the other direction a few times, though, such as in church when the senior primary (mostly girls) sang A Child's Prayer with their mothers and a mother/ daughter sang a duet themed "I'm glad God chose me to be your Mom/ Daughter." Phew. I lost it!

It was confusing, to say the least, to feel my attention pulled toward the child I've been loving since last Mother's Day and whom I gave birth to and shared so many strong experiences with over the year while my second child tried, literally, to push his way into my heart. I could almost hear him saying, "I"m here too, Mom!" with every motion. What I eventually realized, though, is that this is the first Mother's Day since bringing my girl into the world and I needed to celebrate and honor that aspect of motherhood.  Every Mother's Day from now on can focus on Dragon and our other children, but this one was Eleanor's.

We spent a lot of time at her grave on Sunday, and Ben jumped at the suggestion to take pictures of us together. Here I am with my two babies! Funny, huh?

Ben also asked what I wanted him to cook for dinner, shopped on his own, researched the best ingredients and cooking techniques, made dinner, then ordered me to "dress nicely". 
Is it strange that I requested steak and potatoes for Mother's Day dinner? Hahaha... well, even though its the sort of thing we've never made at home and eaten once or twice outside of the home, Ben did an amazing job and I was more than satisfied with his effort and the taste! 

After dinner he gave me my {real} Mother's Day gift: 

The Angel of Mine Willow Tree Figurine. 

Ben, ever the thoughtful and insightful one, figured out long before I did that this Mother's Day was meant to celebrate bringing Eleanor into the world and picked out this statue because it's how he imagines me and Eleanor when we are back in heaven together. I lost it before the statue was even out of the package. 

I asked Ben if he thought I was being silly for taking a holiday about parenthood so seriously when I don't have a child to raise. I wanted him to be honest- I know opinions on when motherhood starts vary person-to-person, and that doesn't offend me at all. He said no, I wasn't silly.  He expressed that, though my mothering experiences aren't the typical ups and downs of raising a child, that I have had my own unique experiences with our children that are different but equally important in the realm of motherhood.  One day I will know what it's like to argue with my child, rock him to sleep, and worry about his well-being the way "typical" mothers do, but, until then, I'm still loving them with my whole heart and going through a lot to help them as much as I can. It's a different path, but it's still a path of Motherhood.

I'd never thought about it like that before. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Baby Registry!

What's more fun than shopping, right? Well, we have actually put off our baby registry until now- the last possible second- and only now because I have a baby shower coming up and people are getting antsy!

Registering falls into that category of "Don't count your baby before it's born", along with setting up the nursery and picking a name. But, now that I'm on the eve of 30 weeks pregnant, I feel like it's finally time to count down to the big day and things feel more real and certain.

I have been adding items to an Amazon registry that Ben started here and there as I think of them, I've read the baby websites about what baby really needs, and we already have a lot of big, necessary items from my first pregnancy, so registering really wasn't such a big deal!

Including the time a rep spent explaining the clicker thingy to us and filling out paperwork to get started we were only in the store for about a hour and a half! I knew what I was looking for, what I wanted and didn't want, and had no problem clicking away on items that fit those credentials.

We team registered by Ben calling out the items we'll need from a checklist and I 
found the ones I wanted in the store.

Even though that's probably a world record, Ben still needed a break :) 

So, for anyone who is interested, we already have feeding supplies, crib, feeding chair, stroller, carseat, some toys, clothes, and diapers, front pack, slings, and white noise machine. 

And, FYI, we'd like to stay away from cutesy worded items, sports emblems, and blue things :O)

We rewarded ourselves with some dee-licious frozen yogurt! I have to say, a frozen yogurt place next to the Babies R Us seems like great product placement, right? 

All-in-all, a pretty good Friday Date Night!

Monday, May 7, 2012

29 Week Pregnancy Update!

I met a man last week who asked how far along I am.

"28 weeks!"
 "Uh... I just started the third trimester." 
"I still don't understand." 
"7 months." 

Everything has been so wonderful the last few weeks- especially since finding out that Dragon is perfectly normal and healthy, and so am I!

My favorite thing to do is watch him move.  He is around 15 in. long and 2.5 lbs. so he definitely takes up most of the room in my belly without being too cramped yet. That makes this the perfect stage to watch and feel him move powerfully around. I can tell when he is about to move and will then watch my bare stomach for it. I can see a bulge follow around my belly, so we say he is "Doing the hokie pokie" because he sometimes moves in a complete circle around my belly button! When he moves like that I follow where he is and can easily feel him under my skin. I'll pick the hardest place (where a large bone probably is) and start to squeeze it. I feel like that's my way of holding his hand or something, which I love. Ben will catch me squeezing my belly and will say, "Don't hurt him!" "I'm just holding him!" Don't worry- I asked my midwife about that at my latest appointment, and she assured me that he is well protected from any harm I could inflict that way :) 

The reason we can watch and feel him move with no interruptions is because my placenta (the large organ that attaches to the uterus in the earliest stages of pregnancy and feeds the baby nutrients, oxygen, and blood through the attached umbilical cord) has shifted from my front to my back! Yes, you heard that right: it's moved! Another incredible blessing during this process :) My placenta was in front (anterior position) with Eleanor, which was one explanation we were given to explain why I didn't feel her move. The placenta is thick, and in the anterior position acts as a pillow that absorbs the baby's movements until they are bigger and stronger. We were nervous to hear it was anterior for Dragon, as well, because I wanted to monitor this baby's movements as closely as possible. At my latest Type II ultrasound Ben asked if my placenta was still anterior and the tech actually told us it  was posterior (to the back)! I didn't think the placenta could move, but my midwife explained to me that, since it attaches to the uterus, it doesn't technically pick up and move to a new location but that, as the uterus expands, the placenta can, sometimes, shift. Just like any growing muscle can move things out of it's way :) Well, a posterior placenta is exactly what I've wanted- this way I can feel and watch him move really strongly, and we may even see a hand or foot try to push itself out! 

Hearing that he is perfectly healthy, my tests coming out negative, having his lifelike 3D picture, and seeing and feeling him move constantly have really helped us bond with this little in the last couple weeks! 

These pictures were taken on Saturday when I was 28 weeks, but I'm 29 tomorrow and haven't really changed :) 

I look like a goober in this picture, but at least I'm looking at the camera and smiling! 

Thanks, as always, for being my photographer, Ben!

Boccee Ball in Bicentennial Garden Park

We have been sort of boring after our week of adventures a couple of weeks ago, but I figured it was time to get out and do something blog-worthy after my sister (notorious for waiting up to a year to post outings or projects) started updating her blog almost daily!

Sorry, folks :)

But we finally had another really wonderful Saturday in Greensboro!

Ben came with me to the Friendly Center to run a few errands in different stores, then we headed to the grocery store for some lunch supplies for a picnic in one of the nearby parks.

The Bicentennial Park is one of Greensboro's most beautiful. It is full of well-trimmed flower beds, rose bushes, and special trees among various statues which have been donated and kept up by the Tanger family. It is truly so beautiful and in such pristine condition that photographers have to apply for days they want to have photo shoots!

Ben was nice enough to get veggie sushi with me (since I can't have raw fish... Boo!), before even realizing he was wearing his sushi shirt that day! What a coink-i-dink. 

We walked a fair ways through the garden portion to the park portion to find a grove of trees that Ben could use for slack lining... 

Which he did for about 10 mins. until it got too hot. 

I laid down on a bench beside him to let the sushi sit. 

Then... Boccee (Botchee) Ball time! Ben has a set that we've used at a church function recently, but it is so much fun to play with even only 2 people! We played rounds while walking back to the main part of the garden. What a great walk :)

The game involves dividing the colored balls into sets for each player then each person throwing their balls to get as close as possible to the white Pallino ball.  The person who has the closest ball wins that round. I am terribly at this game- I have very little control of myself and, therefore, hardly any aim, but I ended up winning about half the rounds! Woot woot! 

We used a yellow ball as the Pallino (Ben can't find the designated white one). My set was red :) 

Sometimes Ben had to measure which of ours was closest... 

Saturday night we went to ... cough, cough... Titanic 3D! No pictures, but I am still blogging about it! 
We saw Titanic as our annual Christmas Day movie the year it premiered, and it has remained a nostalgic favorite ever since. Thanks, Ben, for paying $20 to see a movie we own with snacks we had to sneek in to the theater when we could have watched it with our own kitchen feet away in the comfort of our living room on the projector screen :) 

It may seem illogical to YOU, but seeing a 3D movie was probably the closest I'll ever come to
 Leo DiCaprio :)