I’m not sure how much time we’ll be spending in here, especially at first.  But…it has been a good experience to decorate a space just for Graham.  The look for the nursery is vintage (thrift store/Goodwill) meets rustic (handmade) meets Pinterest (I wish)!  Its a semi-farm theme.  Blues, burlap, and white, with flashes of red.  (I wanted more flashes of red, but oh well).

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Meg made the burlap banner for my first baby shower.

 

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Gregg’s grandma made the blanket for him years ago and I sewed burlap pockets on it (I asked permission first!).  Now, its a hanging toy/stuffed animal holder thingy.

 

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Daddy’s additions: the fish tank.  If we were going for a full-on farm theme, this would not fit into it.  But, I love it.  Gregg keeps an eye on which fish are bullying the other ones. They change color when they are stressed.  The photo of Neyland stadium is the centerpiece of the room.  Gregg was quick to put that photo in place as soon as the paint dried.  I got that adorable rocking horse at a thrift store.  Its already been tested out by an enthusiatic 2 year old. it held up very well.

 

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Wall #1.  The shelf has since fallen off the wall.  So, its a bit of a work in progress.

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Wall #2

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For fun.

 

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Tootie loves all the baby mini-furniture.

 

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Spring!

 

Max loves it all. (Hopefully he’ll eventually love Graham, too.)

We have felt so loved and taken care of during this entire pregnancy.  I had my third baby shower at work last week.  I haven’t returned/exchanged a single thing that I’ve received as a gift.  I’ve loved everything and received duplicates of nothing.  And…we have pretty much every single that we need.  So thankful.

I’ve been lovingly militant (Gregg’s word, not mine) about washing all the new outfits and blankets that we’ve received for Graham.  I’ve washed everything as instructed, so it will be be ready for him when we gets here.  What did I find when unloading his goodies from the washer to the dryer this weekend?  A dead mouse.  Decomposing.  With my baby’s clothes.  Pout face.  I’d been so careful about washing his clothes, and then I run them through the washer with a dead mouse.  Go figure.  Don’t worry, I re-washed them.  He’ll have a very healthy immune system from farm-living.

 

Prepping

Gregg keeps telling me how prepared I am for our soon-to-be-here baby.  I’m loving preparing.  Washing clothes, getting the nursery together, decorating, figuring out what I want to store where.  Like the 100s of pairs of socks people have given us and the teeny tiny shoes.  How accessible do these need to be?  I’m thinking socks should be more within reach than shoes.  They’re cute, but does a baby that can’t walk really need shoes?

The nursery is upstairs and we are downstairs, so its been a challenge to figure out what should go where.  So far, we’ve got the changing table, swing, Rock N Play sleeper, and our glider (thanks, Mimi) downstairs.  Upstairs, we have the dresser, crib, a year’s worth of clothes, stuffed animals and books, and, the one item that every baby needs, a fish tank (yep, pictures to come).  Graham will be downstairs with us for the most part, so I really debated over whether I even wanted a nursery, but I’m really glad that we made a space for him.  Its really a space for his stuff, but I like that its organized and not all thrown haphazardly into a room.  I like to call it the staging area, but I don’t think that’s the correct use of the phrase.

Learning

I’ve started listening to a podcast about pregnancy and new mom topics.  While I don’t like listening to pregnant women complain unless they are my friends (there’s some of that on the show), I do like learning.  Through nursing school and my job on the maternity floor, there are some things that I do know.  Like, how to take care of a baby for the first three days of life.  But, that’s where my questions arise.  What happens when you and your baby get home?

I’m enjoying learning about things like babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping.  It sounds like we’re going for the hippie-parenting award, but they don’t teach you about these things in nursing school.  Gregg and I went to a childbirth class where we didn’t get on the floor once.  No hee hee hoo hoo’s to be had.  There was just a powerpoint.  I didn’t mind it.  It was a nice review and I learned a couple things.  Gregg, not the classroom type, would rather have been practicing breathing techniques or sleeping.  He was a good sport.

Again, as I’ve mentioned before, there are so many unknowns, so many things that I can’t prepare for. So, if I can prepare for something, I’m going to.  Getting our boy’s gear ready.

Planning

A woman that I work with is pregnant, due about 3 months after me.  Its her third baby and she’s had c-sections in the past, so she will have a scheduled c-section this time around.  She will get to decide when she has her baby.  Or, at least, she will know months in advance when she will have her baby.  I wonder what that feels like.  Once April gets here, I feel like I’m stepping into a great unknown (cue the dramatic music).

The not knowing effects more than just me.  Sometimes I like to see my patients in 2 weeks or a month to make sure they are doing okay, to make sure the changes that we made are helping them.  And I’m starting to say, I should be here in a month.  But, I really just don’t know.  I feel a little bad about that, like I’m leaving them high and dry.  They’ll be able to check in with someone else, but I want to see them myself.

Showering

Graham's Cake

Graham’s Farm Cake

My sister-in-law, Jennica, and her mom were sweet enough to throw me a shower on the Eastern Shore.  Almost all of my book club pals, our doula, and a few other friends were in attendance.  It was farm-themed and we made a bird mobile (pronouced mo-bill or mo-beel?).  We stitched and stuffed felt birds that are now hanging from a nest looking thing ready to entertain our boy.  Thank you, pinterest.

Bird Mo-Beel

Bird Mo-Beel

I’ve had a shower of old friends and this was a shower of new friends.  This shower came with lots of love, too.

Jen and me (she's due in June)

Jen and me (she’s due in June)

2013 Pryor Baird's shower 012

This is how excited I am about my handmade ring sling!

Introducing….

"Fugly" are her mama.

“Fugly” and her Momma.

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“Bella” and her Momma

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Chief (I’m his Momma)

Gregg got to witness the birth of Baby sheep #2 this week.  She’s not the jet black beauty of Baby sheep #1.  She’s a girl, so that’s why Gregg decided to name both of these little lambs.  Hopefully the next lamb will be a boy (we won’t be naming him) and that he’ll be able to provide us with some yummy meant in the Fall/Winter.  Its still a little disturbing to think about eating these animals that are grazing in our backyard.  But, I guess that’s the point right?  To know where your food comes from?  Its very close to home though…literally.

P.S. Our big white dog that didn’t have heart disease passed away last week.  The vets never found out what was making her sick, and she kept getting worse.  So, bad news afterall.

So, originally I was planning for this post to have some good news with some bad news sandwich in the middle.  But!  Our bad news turned into possibly good news.  I’ll start from the top (this is all animal-related btw).

Over the weekend, one of our ewes gave birth to our first baby lamb.  She was very no nonsense about it (the momma, that is). We didn’t hear a peep from mom or baby when she was in labor overnight.  One day she was pregnant and the next, she had a jet black lamb cuddled up beside her.  We had been hoping that our sheep were pregnant. You can’t really tell just by looking at them, and we weren’t expecting any babies  until spring.  But, here she is!  Gregg says he’ll keep her since she’s a girl.  She’ll make babies not meat.  She will also make some very pretty wool which I could turn into yarn.  I’m not sure I’m up for the challenge of combing out bits of poop/grass/debris, etc., then spinning the wool into yarn either by hand or otherwise.  We’ll see.

Now for the bad news turned good.   Aspen, our Great Pyranese, was diagnosed with heart disease after an appointment with our local vet.  One of her eyes started swelling, and we thought it was infected. When the swelling didn’t go away after a week or so, we took her in to get evaluated.  She’s only two years old, so the prognosis of heart disease was not a good one.  We took her back to the Great Pyranese Rescue, so their vet could give her the full work-up that she deserves.  We were really sad about it.  We only had her for 3 months, but we loved her.  We got a call yesterday that she doesn’t have heart disease afterall.  Our local vet had made the diagnosis after seeing large amounts of fluid on ultrasound.  The  other vet was saying that the fluid was coming from her gut, and that her heart is totally fine.  Good news, but nothing conclusive yet.

Another bit of good news is that there’s enough daylight for our chickens to lay eggs.  Gregg collected 15 over the weekend.   He warned me that since we have a rooster out and about with our hens there’s a chance that when I crack an egg, an embryo will pop out.  :( I’ve been nervous about it  ever since.

It really feels like we live on a farm now.

I’ve gathered up some solicited Momma advice over the past few months.  I’ve been asking my friends and family about labor, gear, maternity leave, and lots of other baby-related topics.  I wanted to gather it all into one place, and this seemed like the place to do it.  So, here’s the advice I’ve received about gear.  Some of the gear decisions didn’t have to/aren’t going to have to make since we have such a generous group of family and friends that want to give us their stuff.  We can’t thank them enough!  Its a relief both financially and to my brain.

I’ve literally copied and pasted advice that has been emailed to me, so its a bit all over the place.  And some advice is conflicting.  (Obviously, we’re not going to get 5 different stroller combos.)

MUST HAVE BABY ITEM: Fisher Price’s ROCK N PLAY SLEEPER

Strollers: (I’m so overwhelmed on this one.  I’ve told Gregg to pick one out for us.) Graco carseat and stroller combo, Graco carseat with “snap n go,” City Mini GT, BOBs are amazing - often can find one on Craig’s List a little cheaper.  For non-jogging/lightweight: Combi umbrella stroller.

Carriers: “Boba (check out the website!) and love it. It’s recommended for “petite” mommas…under 5’4,” Ergo, Moby wrap, Dolcina woven wrap, “I would recommend something that goes over both shoulders as opposed to a one-shoulder sling.  Those really start to hurt after a while.”  I’ve also been told the Ring Sling and the Fabric sling carrier(which are both one-shoulder) are awesome.

Bottles: Tommee Tippee, Medela bottles, not Avent, “Best advice I got though was to not open any in advance because you don’t know what your baby will like.”

Miscellaneous: Swaddleme velcro blankets, activity mat, Bumbo seat, Ingelsina Fast Baby Chair as a high chair, swing, Aden & Anais blankets.

And one momma of six, my cousin Kendra, dedicated an entire blog post to the topic.  She has a lot to say about what you don’t need which I also appreciate.

Somehow I always seem to move to a new place just before a major life a event.  We moved to Knoxville, then got engaged.  We moved to Virginia, then got pregnant.  So, since I’m about 6-12 hours away from many of my nearest and dearest, I didn’t expect to have a Baby Shower.  But…we managed to meet up at Wimbo’s parents cabin in Hendersonville, North Carolina over the weekend.  I knew that it would a challenge for friends and family to gather in one place because everyone had to travel.  But…I’m so thankful.  My mom and dad came, and so did some friends from Knoxville and college.  I cried a lot and felt very loved.

Love Shower

Love Shower

Mobile (not pronounced like the town in Alabame)

Mobile (not pronounced like the town in Alabama)

Shower with a View

Its Official!

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Preggeritos: Megan and me

Ruby: Our inspiration to keep having babies

Ruby: Our inspiration to keep having babies

I picked up Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project at the airport over the weekend.  I chose it because I liked the cover, and I’ve been interested in reading her other book which is about finding contentment in domesticity.  Also, all the other books for sale in the airport looked like copycats of 50 Shades of Grey.  No thanks.

I wasn’t that into the book at first.  It seemed like she was doing too many things to try to create more happiness in her life.  Each month she added new projects to the ones that she had already started the month before.  It was overwhelming.  Also, I’m at a very different place in life than she is.  I’m preparing for a huge life change and she’s trying to find happiness in her day to day not-really-changing life.  Still, she had some good things to say.

Each month she focuses on a different facet of her life.  Marriage.  Fun.  Work.  Etc.  Her Fun chapter is really interesting.  She comes to terms with the fact that her idea of fun is not necessarily other people’s idea of fun.  And vice versa.  For me, when I moved to California, I realized that I loved being away from sports, football in particular.  Going to the games every weekend in the fall had become less and less enjoyable to me over the years, and I needed a break.  (I didn’t realize that it was a break at the time.  I thought I was done forever, and then I met Gregg.)  I find it more enjoyable now, but to admit, even for a time, that I didn’t really like this sporting event that everyone around me loved was kind of freeing.

One of her fun projects was to start a Children’s Literature book club.  This totally resonated with me.  First, I surprisingly L.O.V.E.D,  Harry Potter.  OMG.  And as I’ve read The Secret Garden and Heidi, among other Kidlit over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten a different bit of joy than that which comes from an adult read.  Sure, some are a little boring.  Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, for example, were too slow or something, I couldn’t get into them.  And I’ve never been good at seeing the movie (or watching the show as the case may be) and then reading the book.  But, she made me want to tap deeper into this genre of books.  They’re so fun to read.

She has a very “Type A” approach to happiness.  She creates to do lists and challenges herself to do things that she thinks and has even researched will make her happy.  One gem that I received from her is “Act how you feel.”  This reminds me of Reimagine‘s philosophy: Do/experiment and the feeling/change will follow, instead of wait around for the feeling and then make the change.

I’ve been irritable this week.  I’m not sure if its being pregnant (so nice to blame that for everything) or the weather or something else.  But, for the rest of the day, I’m going to act loving and sweet, even if I don’t feel like it.  And maybe the feeling will come?  We’ll see…..

There is so much unknown during a pregnancy.  What will the labor/birth/baby/nursing/sleeping/routine/marriage, etc. be like?  One unknown that I’ve been thinking about a lot is being a working mom.  I’m pretty sure I’ll want to work part-time once our baby comes, and financially, I’ll need to work.  But my questions have more to do with when I will be ready to go back and how much I will want (and need) to work.  Gregg will most likely be the one to be taking care of our baby on the days that I’m working, so I’m comforted that he will at home with our boy.  I’m also thankful that they’ll have this time just the two of them, but I think I’m also a little jealous.  He’ll be there and I won’t.  What if something amazing happens and I miss it?

Sometimes when I have questions like these, I’ll google what other bloggers have to say.  I went on a search yesterday, and came across a Norwegian mom who was ranting about the difference between American maternity leave and Norwegian maternity leave.  In Norway, moms get a year’s worth of paid maternity leave.  Shut up.  Not what I want to hear.  Their taxes are exponentially higher than ours, right?  I’ll tell myself that they are.  I need to ask my friends about going back to work, but I know that every mom, baby, and situation is so different.  The question is what’s right for us, and I don’t know.  And I won’t know until we’re there and he’s here.  That’s it.  But I want to know now, please.

I feel God being really stern with me on this questions.  Trust me, child.  Weird and cool that I’m still His child even as I’m learning/preparing to be/becoming a mom.

I splurged.  I bought this woven Dolcino wrap to carry our baby.  Its was 30% off, okay?  Don’t judge!

 

Dolcino baby wrap

Why I’m excited:

  • Its really pretty.
  • Our cat Tootie liked being carried around in it.
  • It feels like a good idea to carry a baby around close to you like this/to “wear” the baby.(a lot of my mothering ideas are coming from this…a feeling.  Is it an instinct?  Not sure.  I guess I’ll find out eventually if these feelings are pointing us in the right direction.)
  • I would like to be carried around like this.
  • It came with a How-to/Why Baby-wearing is so great booklet.
  • I have a new friend that is really into Baby-wearing and wraps and even wants to become an educator on the whole thing.  She got me into it.
  • It makes our baby seem more real.
  • I think Gregg is going to like it, even those he’s rolling his eyes/laughing at my excitement over it right now.
  • Along with being good for the baby (bonding, attachment, nursing, etc. (I’m trying to sound like I know what I’m talking about, but I don’t)), it seems and looks cool.  This is a good reason to make a purchase, right?
  • If we like it, we can use it forever.

Why I’m not sure if it was worth the expense:

  • Our baby won’t like it.
  • Gregg and I won’t like wearing it.
  • It will be too confusing to figure out how to wear it.
  • I’m going to worry about the baby falling out or not being able to breathe.
  • I could make one out of more inexpensive fabric that would work just as well.

Looks like the reasons for excitement have won over when placed up against the “not sure if its worth it.”

 

 

 

 

I just finished another Anne Lamott book.  Its her new one Help Thanks Wow.  (This has been the year of Anne Lamott for me.)  I got home last night after work and was Chatty Cathy with Gregg, rambling about what I had learned over my lunch break when I read her Thanks chapter.   I thought I would relate more to her Help chapter, since I recently sent an email to my girlfriends asking for post-baby help.  But it was Thanks that got me.

Thanks was different than I anticipated.  She actually wrote a lot about looking out for the good when circumstances are not.  She doesn’t write about being thankful for the hard or tragic circumstances, but about trusting God in the middle of them and searching for what you can be thankful for afterwards: what you learned, who was brought close to you, etc.

There’s a lot of sad going on right now.  Even though its Christmas and its the season for joy and family and friends, but, along with the school shooting which the entire nation is mourning together, there have been a handful of tragedies closer to home.  To be thankful for the tragedies doesn’t seem right.  But, maybe her point is to recognize God in the middle of them and to know that good will come.

She also writes about thanks in action.  The whole “to whom much has been given, much is required” thing.  She says that this does not just apply to the Kennedys and the Romneys.  I like that.  Its us, we should give, even the smallest kinds of giving can mean a lot to the recipient.

Example.  My grandmother is one of the most generous people that I know.  This year for Christmas, she gave each of us grandkids a gift that was even bigger than her usual.  To say thanks and Merry Christmas, I sent her some sweets and a scarf that I had knit (she’s a knitter, too).  My mom said that she was overjoyed with the package, especially the scarf.  She said she’s knit for other people her whole life (she’s 92), but no one’s ever knit anything for her.  It was not a big deal for me to knit her a scarf with some white, lacey yarn that I had had around for awhile.  It was almost silly to me that she was so excited, since, compared to her gifts to her 5 grandchildren (she also has 3 children and 8 great-grandchildren,) the scarf and candies were beyond miniscule.  But, as small as it was, my thanks made a difference to her.

P.S.  I’m getting really annoyed by the use of the phrase “a lot.”  I’m open to substitutes if you have any suggestions.

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