Saturday, July 30, 2011

Paper Projects!

It all started with the desire to create a pregnancy/baby memory book. We looked at a lot of pre-made books on the market, but none were perfect. Some didn't provide enough space or allow enough creativity in answering some of the typical questions. Others had pages that we would have to leave blank (for example, one book had a page to post a picture of every week's baby bump...well, we didn't take pictures that frequently!) Others were either not our style, or were just plain ugly. So, while I knew it would cost a little more to start up, we ended up deciding on creating a scrapbook.

I'd never tried scrapbooking, so I was a little overwhelmed, not only by the idea of embarking upon such an unknown craft, but also by the multitude of supplies I imagined I would have to accumulate. But I figured I'd give it a try, and stick within a budget. I first found the perfect scrapbook. It was a little pricier (about $30) than I had originally wanted, but the cover was impossible to pass up, especially since it had owls on it (one of our decor themes for our anticipated nursery, in addition cherry blossoms and the colors pink and lime green!)I then looked for a large pack of background paper ($20), and settled on one that I liked; muted pinks, greens, blues, and yellows in fun yet classy patterns and prints, including some 'nursery' type characters, like rabbits and Alice in wonderland. It also included some pearly solids and 'fuzzy' textured sheets. I bought some enhancements, like extra solid pastel sheets, ribbon for borders, stick on letters, and rhinestones. Aside from that, I used calligraphy pens and a high quality fine point pen and did much of the lettering by hand. So far, I've only finished two pages, since we still need to print out some pictures on photo paper before I can continue with our other ones. But here's what I've started....

First Trimester:

Our Name Choices:

It was so much fun and turned out even better than I had thought!

This past week I've been working on my second paper project: baby shower invitations! I hand printed a template for the invitation text, and got help from my friend, Sharon, and her superb photoshop skills in perfecting the format before printing them out on colored pastel paper. I then cut them out with textured scissors and assembled them to patterned paper with a ribbon--all using my leftover scrapbooking supplies! So while my scrapbooking setup may have cost me about $60, if not more, I ended up finding all of my supplies very useful! I had a lot of fun with these too, even though they were a little time consuming to assemble. I especially like the fact that each invitation is unique. Too bad the receiver can't see how unique their invitation is! Oh well, I can at least share them here...

I've been trying to find more and more creative ways to make paper projects, especially in the form of cards and invitations. Here is a gift card holder I made for a friend's baby shower:

I've been really wanting to start a little side-business making handmade/hand assembled event invitations and hand addressing invitation envelopes. I just love working with paper and hand-print. Making my own baby shower invites has been good practice! And I'll be addressing a friend's wedding invite envelopes in the next few days for even more practice!

In other news, we bought our baby her very first girly outfit. How could we not? This thing is adorable! You probably can't tell by the photo, but the hoodie is super soft and furry, with ears and a pink bow. And the onsie set has a sparrow pattern! So painfully cute!

And to wrap up this post, I've created a baby website, to help organize things, especially our RSVP's to our shower. Here our guests can go to one place, read all the info they need about the baby shower, and RSVP! It is

I'm really getting more and more excited about our baby every day! While I do appreciate the quiet and the calm and enjoy the feeling of my baby cuddling and squirming safely in my womb, I am really looking forward to welcoming this baby into the world and experiencing this thing called motherhood for all its good, bad, and poopy. Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Second Trimester

My Belly has been growing and growing! The above picture was from around week 20. Here is what I look like now, around week 24...

I can't believe that I ever thought I was big before! And I still have so much growing to do!

So how has my 2nd trimester been? Well, I can't say that I've felt 'amazing,' 'full of energy' or like I could 'take on the world' or even 'super horny' that I was told by others I would experience during this time. I DO, however, feel much better than when I was in my first trimester; the nausea is gone, I usually have more energy, I don't need naps as severely. This trimester seems to be speeding by, and is full of change, excitement, and, yes, pain.

Let's start with the negative:

Gaining (more) weight! I feel HUGE and I know I'm not even close to being so yet! But I can definitely feel the pressure of the extra weight I'm carrying around, especially when I stand, bend over, or work on my feet for long periods of time, like during my housecleaning job. I wear mostly maternity clothes, except for a few large, flowy shirts and sundresses. And thank god my bosses ordered me maternity shirts at Trader Joe's! I felt like I was going to pop out of my shirt before the stretchy, cozy, low-cut shirts arrived!

Need more (and better) sleep! While I may tend to have more energy, I still get tired easily and can't handle as much physical or standing work as before. I often feel drained after work, especially at my cleaning job (which is in the process of finding my replacement, pronto!) and sometimes need a nap. However, I noticed on days when I took a nap, I would be restless when it finally came time for me to go to bed for the night! I would toss and turn until finally falling asleep hours later. Before I was pregnant, I could get away with taking a nap and sleeping less at night because the combined hours made up for a full night of sleep. But now it seems I need a full night of sleep, regardless of an earlier nap, or else I feel like crap the next day. And I never can seem to go to bed early enough. I feel best-rested after at least 8 hours of sleep, but my average is between 6 and 7. I have been trying to make improvements, though, to help me sleep better. First of all, I've cut out naps unless I absolutely need them. Secondly, I turn on a small fan next to my bed. The white noise helps me fall asleep faster! Lastly, I sleep on what Spencer and I call a fort...

Sleeping on a fort! I slowly started feeling more and more aches and pains during sleep as my 2nd trimester went on. It started out with neck and lower back pain. I put a pillow between my knees. No help. Used a thicker pillow for my neck. No help. I finally fished out an old memory foam pillow that usually HURT my neck, pre-pregnancy. But it turned out to be just what I needed. The curved neck support and comforting memory foam must have been what I needed to help align my neck, spine, and lower back. But after about a week, the pain started up again. My neck finally seemed fine, but my spine and lower back seemed in need of support. So little by little, I began building a fort, adding more and more pillows when my body would 'get used' to my present set up. I had my special neck pillow, a pillow between my knees, and a pillow to hug, so I wouldn't roll forward on my belly and my spine would stay aligned. Then I added a body pillow behind my back, so I wouldn't roll backward. Then I propped up my neck pillow with another pillow. Then I added cushioning beneath my side/lower back.

But then the worst pain yet started: pain and slight numbness in my hips/butt. From what I've read, it's either sciatica or my loosening joints and ligaments causing my hip/butt joints to pop out of alignment when I sleep. So I began adding even more. I now sleep entirely ON TOP OF pillows (I don't touch the mattress at all) as well as being surrounded by them, my neck supported by 3 pillows total, and by body hugging a special 'pregnancy pillow.' I still toss and turn a bit and get that horrible hip pain every now and then, but at least it's manageable!

Itchy! My stretching skin can get so itchy! Especially my boobs and belly. While I don't lube up every day like I should, I do rub my entire body down with pure coconut butter every other day or so, and it seems to help a little.

Sweaty! I have never been a heavy sweater, not one bit. And when I do sweat, I still smell great...that is, until I got pregnant! I've read a few things here and there that this can happen, so I guess I'm normal. I've been trying to switch to all natural deodorant, but they honestly just don't work under normal circumstances. And under pregnant circumstances, not even chemical deodorant works! And it's not even that I'm sweating a's that I'm sweating up a stink! Sometimes I swear I smell like a taco bell! But for the past week or so I've tried the natural deodorant from my work, based on a co-workers high opinion. And despite my skepticism, it seems to be the best yet! And while it doesn't exactly STOP me from sweating, it sure has been keeping that taco bell funk at bay! Phew!

And what's so good about the second trimester?

My Belly! While gaining weight sucks, I love this big, round belly I've got growing. It's such an amazing little miracle to witness happening inside my very own body! I am so surprised every time I look at my reflection. I feel like my belly gets bigger every day!

Feeling the baby move! This is my favorite by far! It felt like I was never going to start feeling baby move! Around my 17th week, I started wondering if what I was feeling was baby moving, or just gas. Being skeptical, I discounted everything as being 'just gas' until just after my 18th week; movement could not be passed of as my imagination much longer! The first BIG baby movements happened just before my 20th week; Spencer and I were sitting on the couch, and Spencer was playing guitar. Baby started bumping like crazy! I could even slightly feel it from the outside of my belly! The movements grew stronger and stronger, and now Spencer can feel them too, if he is patient (baby likes to hide once you put a hand over her!) Sometimes baby moves so much, you can see my clothing bounce!

Starting the nursery! We've started moving our office, art, and music stuff out of our second bedroom and putting our things elsewhere (while still trying to maintain a clutter-free and stylish look to the rest of our apartment) and preparing for our future nursery. We haven't gotten anything in the way of large baby furniture, but we have gotten quite a lot of early gifts from baby's Great Grandma Donna, and we've also received a few wonderful hand-me-downs from Spencer's boss, so it's nice to have the room to put it all in. We already have a nursery theme in mind: pink, lime green, cherry blossom, and owls! Grandma Donna sent us beautiful crib bedding and nursery accessories in a cute pink and lime green cherry blossom pattern! I'm so excited to start decorating!

Getting Excited Despite any discomfort, I get more and more excited every day. We are going to love the crap out of this baby, and I can't wait to bring her into this world!

It's a...GIRL?!?!

So while our 15 week ultrasound showed what seemed to be the early forming of possible boy genitalia, our 20 week ultrasound found no boy parts! At first, baby's legs were crossed tight, but she's quite the squirmer (I feel baby rolling around in here quite often now!)so it was only a matter of time before we got a good look. The radiologist was quite flustered after we told her what the first lady had said, since she could find no evidence to support that early guess. She looked and looked from many different angles and views (I mean it, she's a squirmer!)and there were no boy parts. There was, however, the tell-tale '3 lines' signifying girl parts and she pointed them out to us quite a few times.

So it's safe to say we are probably having a girl. I say 'probably' because I have read and heard so many stories about couples thinking they were having a girl based on ultrasound evidence, only to give birth to a sweet baby boy (or, rarely but still an occurrence, vice versa.) I have a lot more fun assuming the gender of our baby; it makes shopping funner, picking out colors, nursery themes, and registry items funner. So for now I will call baby a 'she.' However, I won't get my heart set on this, and I'll accept the fact that we very well could end up with a little surprise and quite a bit of merchandise to exchange. But that could be fun too, right?

Here's a look at baby's other ultrasound pics. How about this skeletal face!...

Or these adorable feet! We got to see every lil one of baby's finger's and toes!...

I just love this baby already!