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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.

 

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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!

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

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.

Last Christmas I got really into decorating our house.  Lights and those shiny balls (so cheap, but pretty hanging from the ceiling or mounted in bowls), holly and burlap are among my Christmas decorating staples.  I really did let myself get stressed by the season.  With decorating, baking goodies, buying gifts, planning a trip (Gregg’s present last year was a quick trip to New York City), I missed the reason for the season.  (The perfect overused phrase for what happened–and it rhymes.)  I didn’t realize it until Christmas was over, so this year I’m taking a slightly different approach.

This season, I decorated, but I did it pretty quickly so as not to get consumed by it.  We aren’t getting gifts for as many family members this year as we did last year (this cuts down on stress).  The gifts I have purchased are ones that I’m excited about giving, and I haven’t spent too much money on everyone.  But, I’m also preparing.

I’m preparing for Christmas itself even though I’m really not sure how to do this.  Reading baby Jesus scripture, gazing at an Advent wreath…I’m not sure, those don’t feel quite right to me.  But, I’ve found a way to tie in preparing for a baby with preparing for Christmas.  This just occurred to me this morning.  The common denominator between the two (Christmas and pregnancy) is grace.  Grace.

Even though I’m not sure how to prepare for Christmas, I’ve been doing a lot of preparing for a baby coming our way.  When I ask moms for advice, (and I have been asking.  I’m usually not a fan of advice, but I’ve had little shame in asking about maternity clothes, baby gear, labor, reusable diapers, pumping, a side ways swinging swing versus a normal swinging swing, and motherhood in general.  The questions are endless.  I can’t get enough of this advice to be honest.  And, I know I’m not going to get all of the answers until, um, I guess never.)

One piece of advice that I’ve been holding onto is to give yourself grace. (Two examples are E’s posts  and Ashley’s post, another example being my good friend Anne Lamott.)  This is not my best attribute.  But these women are saying over and over, give yourself a break, cut yourself some slack, trust its all going to be okay.  Grace.  Grace.  Grace.  They are talking about those immediate post-baby months and forever after that, too.   So, I figure, I should go ahead and practice now.  Christmastime seems like a good time to start.

Now, how do I do that?  Again, not really sure.  Its a total change in thinking.  A different way of thinking about myself and looking at myself.  Lowering the standard for myself of what I should  do.  Should=my Arch enemy.  As I’m preparing for labor and preparing to be a parent, learning things like how to keep a baby from crying not-stop, etc., I’m also preparing to practice grace.  Anne Lamott talks about looking at yourself from the outside with absolute tenderness.  She describes how helpful this is.  This is how God looks at me/us, right?  So why shouldn’t I/we do the same for myself/ourselves?

I keep accidentally spelling the name of this store wrong, so I’m just going to let it fly.  (Disclaimer: I know that the plural form of baby is babies and not babys.)

Gregg and I went to register over the weekend at Babies R Us, and we didn’t get in a fight.  Victory.  I tried to pick a fight, but Gregg stopped me in my tracks by making a joke.  Very clever, that one.  Registering for wedding gifts was a different story.  I like shopping with Gregg, because he says things like, “Let’s register for more practical things.”  And then, when we get to the bottles, he says, “Ok, which ones are the best?”  He even said, “Aren’t there some new pacifiers that all are the rage?”  Where and how does he even get all this information?  He knows we need stuff, and he wants to get the good stuff, but he doesn’t want a lot of it.

I know this baby is going to need some stuff when he comes.  Clothes, diapers, a place to sleep.  But, does he really need a plastic “weather” shield cover to put over his $500 backroading stroller?

Weather Shield

Weather Shield

Does he need a baby spa/bathtub/shower especially for him?

Luxury Whirlpool

Luxury Baby Whirlpool

These are actual items on sale at Babies R Us.  I know that there will be some things that we “must-have,” I’m just not exactly sure what they are yet.  I have some great mom-friends tat have been super helpful in telling me what the “must-haves” are.  Some of them seem to be true for everyone and others seem to vary from mom to mom and baby to baby.  I hope I’m not offending anyone, but its just fun to be a bit cynical sometimes.

My mother-in-law, already told us she was getting us this.  Definitely not a necessity, but pretty stinking cute.

Lion mane car seat cover

Lion mane car seat cover

See, I’m not completely cold-hearted when it comes to baby stuff.  Just trying to find the balance.

Its a BOY, not a GIRL!  Its BLUE and not PINK!  So, scratch the this post from the record, as well as my mother’s intuition that prompted me to buy a leopard print coat for a 6 month old.  Apparently the umbilical cord was covering the Oh-so-important boy part on our ultrasound.

So…bring on the toy trucks and barnyard animals and big appetites and sore arms that come from carrying the heavy load of a baby boy.

These days, it seems like to be a mom, you have to be an interior designer, gourmet cook, writer, and overall creative genius.  While I love Pinterest and blogs as much as the next girl. Sometimes as I’m perusing the Web, I just  think: Woa, that looks pretty, but I could never do that, and I don’t really want to try.  Trying to would mean a way-too-early dose of Mommy Guilt that I’m just not ready for.

That said, I’ve been looking at doable projects for Baby that I could actually complete.  There are projects and there are PpppprrrrrOOOOoojjjjeeeeeCCCCCTTTTsssssssss.  I’m more into the former.  I like to start a project, work on a project, and finish a project in a timely manner.  If it takes too long (unless its knitting), I get frustrated or annoyed and lose interest.  (I feel similarly about dinner, too.  Sorry, Gregg.)  Here are some doable baby DIY projects (not PpppprrrrrOOOOoojjjjeeeeeCCCCCTTTTssssssss)  that I like and may attempt.

Doable Project: Monogrammed Canvas with Buttons

Doable Project: Mobile

Doable Project: Another mobile with other cutie vintage pictures that I couldn’t crop out. 🙂

Doable Project: Lace in Embroidery hoops

This is from the Nester.  The subtitle of her blog is: It doesn’t have to be Perfect to be Beautiful. This is the life statement that I didn’t know I had.  Doesn’t look like baby, but still very feminine, which I like.

Not a project, just inspiration.  I love the turquoise Chevron pattern.

And then there’s knitting.  There’s about a bogozillion things that I would like to knit for this baby.  Here’s just one.

Poncho

My baby HAS to make this face if I make her this poncho.

Its hard to tell if I thought of any of these ideas myself or if they were all stolen from Pinterest.  Maybe I can say “inspired by”, as opposed to “stolen from.”

By the way, we found out that we’re having a girl!!  In case you couldn’t tell by my ultra-feminine design board here.

I’m really getting into learning about labor and birth.  I love reading about what to do to prepare and what the experience could possibly be like.  Lea calls the experience of medication-free contractions Laborland.  Sounds like Candyland, but I don’t think there’s much of a similarity.

But, I’ve been having some issues with the natural childbirth books that I’ve been reading.

First, what I love.  I love hearing what a female body is capable of doing.  I love hearing about the power of the mind when in labor: not feeling safe (i.e. someone that you don’t like/don’t trust coming into the labor room) can actually make a woman regress in her labor.  Woa.  I’m interested in learning what I need to do to prepare, both mentally and physically, and I love when these books help me do that.  And I love that, with their books, they share an alternative approach to the traditional, mainstream hospital setting.

What I don’t like is the total anti-establishment, anti-modern medicine attitude that some of these authors take.  I get it, its important for women to be informed about their choices and understand the interventions that may be offered to them in the hospital.  I just don’t like the bashing.  I don’t like painting every medication used for induction like it is going destroy your baby and your body.  There are risks with these medications, certainly, but the way they are presented could instill a lot of unnecessary fear.  I feel like the tone should be more to inform and not bash, but I don’t think an unbiased view on this subject exists and maybe it shouldn’t.

I think I’m sensitive about this issue because I’ve worked in the environment that they are bashing, and it is very protocol-driven.  I don’t like the Ob/Gyn’s and hospital staff being portrayed as uncaring clock-watchers (they are out there, but its not the majority).  Just don’t bash my friends!  I know the doctors and the nurses that work in the establishment and the majority of them care so much about their patients and want to take very good care of them throughout their pregnancy, labor, and birth.

Bloggers, sometimes do you think you are repeating yourself in your posts?  Sometimes, I think, have I said this before…?  Hope I’m not being too repetitive.