Thursday, June 30, 2011

20 weeks

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Half way there!

By the pregnancy wheel, I have 140 days to go.  My baby is supposedly the size of a sweet potato. By a standard calendar, I'm just a little bit over 4 completed months.

I'm measuring right on track for all my pregnancy numbers, and I'm finding my weight gain to be more mentally acceptable.  It helps when people are surprised that I am 4.5 month and not showing more with my 3rd baby.  A little self-confidence boost, that is. So far, I can still take my wedding band off and on.  Last two times it seems like I had to start wearing my band on a chain about now.

I am a nutritional slacker. I have not been eating sufficient veggies. Fruit is usually okay.  Carbs and fats? No problem!! Got that down!

I've been reading, and reading, and reading. And reading. I have a shelf full of pregnancy and birth books, and I keep finding more that I want.

I've also been compiling my list of baby-gear wishes. You'd think after two kids I'd have pretty much everything, and really, I am pretty set, but there are a few things that I want, or think might be helpful. Maybe I'll post about my wish list another time.

The past few days, I've been fighting an unpleasant summer cold, that leaves me tired, sore throat with the occasional headache, and now, lots of phlegm and coughing.  

As for today, alas, no kid pictures, since they were asleep.  I used the timer function on my camera, and it does well enough.

Monday, June 27, 2011

NTDI: episode 13 - bleach wins

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I finally got around to bleaching the microfiber inserts for my pocket diapers.  It really seems to have done the trick.  No ammonia burn, no noxious smells after just 2 hours of diaper wearing.

I would generally rather use "natural" methods for getting the ammonia stinkies out, but honestly, using a bit of bleach in a 5 gallon bucket was the fastest, easiest, most effective method I've encountered as of yet.

My method was simple: Get a 5 gallon bucket. Add 1/4 cup bleach. Add a bunch of hot water, making sure it's all well mixed. Put in up to 24 "clean" inserts, and let them soak for not more than an hour (really, could probably get away with something pretty brief, like 10 minutes). Run through a wash cycle to get the chlorine out. Done! If you have a top load washer, you could do essentially the same thing in the washer, eliminating the need for a 5 gallon bucket.

How long the benefits will last remain in question, but honestly, I'm going to try not to fret about this and simply do as CottonBabies/BumGenius suggests - once a month or so, wash with a 1/4 cup bleach to keep the stinkies at bay.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

belly binding (or wrapping)

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I know I'm only halfway through this pregnancy, but I'm already working at gathering supplies and trying to find bargains on the things I really value.  After being pregnant a few times, I have a good idea of what I think will work best for me during the final months of pregnancy, and postpartum.

One of those things is belly binding/wrapping.  I didn't belly wrap after birth with Elizabeth, read up about it before Nathanael, but didn't order my wrap in time to have in the first few weeks after birth (I got mine at - they offer 15% off coupons fairly regularly).

I wrapped using things around the house the first week, during the day. I wrapped a little less often during week 2, and hardly at all during week three. My Belly Bandit arrived at the end of week 3, and I wore  it day and night (with a few hours of exceptions here and there) until about 7 weeks.

I think belly wrapping makes a difference, certainly in comfort. I don't know that belly wrapping made much difference for me in my overall postpartum body shape.. It can only do so much when I eat 9 cupcakes over the course of 3 days.

Compared to my first week postpartum with Elizabeth, I felt much better after Nathanel with the belly wrap, even just using what I had on hand (a twin sized sheet and my moby wrap). I didn't feel like my innards we jiggling around and falling out as much. Consider - all those organs and intestines were quite compacted by sharing space with a baby. Suddenly, the baby (which provided some extra pressure and support to those organs in the expanded belly) is gone, and the organs are flopping around in space that had previously be occupied by a baby. The compression of the belly wrapping helps.

I know it caused me to think about pulling in my abdominal muscles more often, too, which ultimately helps with posture and getting the body back in shape.

When if comes to wrapping my belly, I figure that centuries of cultures around the world can't be that wrong! This time around, I'll be sure to have my belly bandit on hand, and I think I'll order the next size up for the first few weeks.  I know last time, the size I got at 3 weeks was just about right for then, but would have been too big immediately after birth.

I choose to use a Belly Bandit, but there are other brands (and non-brands) that sell postpartum abdominal supports and wraps.  You could even invent one of your own making, using a long piece of fabric, but the nice thing about a specially designed wrap is that it is a little less conspicuous.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with or compensated by Best Baby Organics or Belly Bandit. Just giving you info about what and where I got mine.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

how I organize and keep track of online giveaways I enter

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I've posted previously about how last year, I made a pretty decent "income" from the giveaways I've entered.  I've not been entering a lot of giveaways over the past few months, but with a new baby on the way, I'm giving a go at winning some of the replacement gear that I need and/or would like for baby Cakes.

I have a tendency to approach things methodically. You know, create a system for things. Whether I follow through with my systems is a totally different post, though.

When I first started entering giveaways, I knew I need to a way to track what I've entered and to find out if I won.  I've created a system for my giveaways that has evloved over time, and here's what I do currently:

I use Firefox for Mac and I use NetNewsWire as my news reader.

In Firefox, I set up a bookmarks folder, that I call "giveaways I've entered." Every time I enter a giveaway, I drag the URL of the giveaway post to the folder, which I've placed in easy access at the top of my navigation bar in my browser.

After placing the URL in the folder, I can make notes about it.

I use tags to keep track of any daily entries that I may be eligible for. I use the keyword area to indicate the giveaway prize. I use the visit date to let me know when the last time I visited for the purpose of tracking extra daily entries. I also have a column for visits and date added to the folder, which I don't really need, but I just like to have available. the date added column gives me a sense of how often I enter giveaways. I use the description column to add the date the giveaway closes.

Once I have confirmed who a winner is for any giveaway, or if it's been a few weeks for blogs that don't announce winners, I move the bookmark/URL to another folder called "expired giveaways" if I didn't win, or "won" if I did.  Doing this helps me track the giveaways that might require followup if I win, or that I need to check back to the blog for the winners if they don't automatically email the winner. (Some just announce it, and it's up to the winner to initiate contact to claim the prize.)  Using the expired and won folders helps me keep track of how many giveaways I've entered over time, which is how I calculated my earnings last year.

This is really a pretty easy process, although it seems like perhaps a lot of steps. Drag URL to folder, enter close date, tag any daily entries, and enter keywords describing giveaway.

I use NetNewsWire as my feedreader. Every blog I visit for giveways is added to my newsreader. Then I have immediate notification of new posts, giveaways, and winners lists. I recently upgraded from NetNewsWire Lite, which was being buggy and bringing up old posts from many of the blogs I follow, and discovered a host of additional features that help me track my giveaways better.  I can now "flag" a post if I want to go back to it later to enter, instead of having to enter it right away, or mark it unread. I can also see when a post was published, which helps me know if a giveaway is old and likely expired.

If you enter giveaways, how do you track them?

reading and writing

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Elizabeth can read a few words, and spell a few words.
Here's one she just typed, all by herself.


A few days ago, she made a "STOP" sign, accurately spelling stop.

We read a book, and she recognized several of the words in the book.

Thank goodness for PBS kids shows, because I know I'm not working on her reading that accurately.

Nathanael says it's his turn to type:




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kolo Photo Album winner!

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In an effort to be as fair as possible, since I know most of the people who entered, I decided to call a relative to do the random number draw for me.  This relative did not enter the giveaway, and had no idea who did!

The True Random Number Generator over at gave us entry number 1 as the winner.

Lucky number 1 is Amanda!

I'm glad to have this chance to give back to my readers - giving gifts is something that I enjoy doing.

18 weeks (or 19)

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Again I'm behind with my updating.

I have a photo from last week, though!

Compared to 14 weeks,  definitely an increase in baby bump. Hopefully baby bump.  If that's all fat, I'm super sad. I'm trying to ignore all my fluff, but that's hard when all I want to do is eat ice cream and junk food.  I haven't eaten nearly enough greens and good protein.

Aside from that crazy jump a few weeks, ago, my weight has stayed in the middle range of "normal" for me, according to  I've used that site to track all my pregnancies.  The graph they use shows a pretty linear and consistent suggested increase in weight.  I know that I tend to gain and plateau.  I must not get too over-excited about any particular week's number. 

I feel pretty good, and I've even managed to exercise a couple days a week for the past few weeks.  I can totally tell that I'm out of practice, so taking it slow.  I had intended to be in walking condition for a 5k a the end of September, but I think we have other plans for that weekend, so I need to see if I can find a local 5k on a different weekend.  I've got some mild symphis pubis dysfunction going on, and that's not helping matters.  It all actually started up after I ran my 5k at 8 weeks. Thank goodness for my chiropractor.  He can make it much better for a few weeks before it starts really bothering me again.

Elizabeth has declared this baby is a girl, from the very first moment that she believed that there was, indeed, a baby in my belly. She has not wavered from that opinion.  There might be some merit to her guessing - thus far, she's been right with her two cousins born in the past few months.  She declared both boys when she saw their mamas pregnant. 

She has named this baby, too: her baby sister "Cakes."  I really have no clue quite where she came up with this, but she confirmed that yes, it's cake as in the stuff we decorate and eat at birthday parties. Because she (Elizabeth) likes cake.

I'm working with her to let her know that it could be a boy.  Sometimes, it'll trip her up a bit, but ultimately she goes back to insisting Cakes is a girl.

I think it's super cute, and I might start calling the baby in the belly "Cakes."  Never had a nickname for a baby except Jr.  It might be a bit odd, though, if baby turns out to be a boy, and I've been imagining a girl due to E's insistence.  Either way, I'll be happy!

And Nathanael?  He doesn't really seem to get it, or care.  He mostly enjoys reading the Dr. Sears' children's books What Baby Needs and Baby on the Way.  He often pats his chest, indicating that he's a baby.  He'll figure out eventually that he's not the littlest baby.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

twinkle, twinkle...

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Elizabeth can now play a song on the piano, thanks to her Nana.

She can play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and she learned it by reading which keys to play.  She likes to show off her skill, and she is now proficient enough (and has memorized the keys enough) that she can sing along with her playing. She has even successfully tried different octaves, so she's getting a sense of the repetition of the notes!

Nana's song method is simple.  Post it notes on the keys of the central octave, number 1-8 for A - G .  A sheet of paper indicating which order, and how often to play the notes.

I'm glad Nana took the time to show her.  I've tried once in a while to show her some simple songs on the piano, but Nana found the solution.

I think when E is a little older (and reading words and sentences a little more) I'll find a piano teacher and get her started.  Although I can play, and took lessons myself up for years as a child and teen, I think I'd rather have someone else be the teacher, and me be the support/encourager.

My girl is a musician!

Monday, June 13, 2011

NTDI episode 12 - the stinkies see daylight

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The stinkies have quite suddenly returned with a vengance. Ammonia burn, during daytime, not naptime.

I think I'll take the quick and easy route this time, and follow the manufacturer's advice.  Wash them with bleach!  (Just the inserts, that is.)

So, since I don't trust my front load washer to distribute bleach without causing trouble, my plan is to put a 1/4 cup of bleach in a 5 gallon bucket, fill it with water, and let the (clean) inserts soak.  Then I'll run them through the washing machine to get the bleach out.

I'm really wishing right now that I had our old top load washing machine (still sitting in the basement) hooked up so I could just soak and wash them in there.  But, alas, that requires some extra plumbing work that I'm leaving up to my husband's ingenuity to figure out. In all his spare time, you know?

Hopefully a bleach wash for the inserts will put us back to a starting point of happy bottoms.

Friday, June 10, 2011

telling the grandparents {giveaway}

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 I like to do something fun to tell the to-be grandparents about the upcoming new baby.

With E, we simply called on the phone.

With N, we sent each family a card decorated by E, with a photo of E in a big sister shirt.

This time, we sent a photo brag book.

A great idea for my parents, as this is grandchild #11.  A great idea for Jude's parents, as this is grandchild #5, but the third one in 2011.

Unfortunately for our 13 collective siblings (not including their spouse and close cousins) they got a simple facebook/text message, and not a cool brag book.  (Sorry, guys!)

Here are some snapshots of the brag books I put together.

These were very easy to prepare - I purchased some Kolo Noci albums for 4x6 photos, with photo sleeves.  I love the Kolo albums - I first discovered Kolo when creating my wedding album, and I have purchased some of their larger 4x6 albums for baby photos.  The quality is great - hardcover clothbound books, with archival safe paper and plastics, and simple, clean pages.  No lines asking to be filled (I hate lines in photo albums!)  They are durable and beautiful.

I thought the grandparents deserved more than a disposable plastic mini-album such as those available locally.

Here are a few sample pages from my parent's book:

All of the portraits were taken by my husband, Jude.

Here is the 'announcement': a place holder in the book

Since Jude's parents only had 2 out-of-womb grandchildren at the time I made these, I needed to fill the book more.

So I made place holders for the other two soon-to-arrive babes, and placed them in order in the book, along with ours.

Still, that only filled 5 of the pages, so I added in some family photos. It is a brag book, and the older children are spread around, so why not show them off, if people ask?

 I included couples shots.

And more often than not, photos from some of the weddings.

 I printed photos from home, and put these together in just a few minutes.

And now the fun part (for you): A giveaway!

Since I love these albums so much, I thought I'd give one away to one of my readers. (Yes, family and friends are eligible, too, but you don't get any kind of advantage - I'll use a random number generator to pick the entry.)

Leave a comment about an interesting/fun way you or someone you know announced a pregnancy, or a good idea for me to use next time around! ;) Comments must be on this post on my blog (doesn't count if it's on Facebook or by email).  Giveaway ends on June 21, 2011 at 8 PM CDT. One entry per person. I'll announce the winner on or about June 22. It's your responsibility to contact me if you win. If I happen to have a way to contact you, I will attempt to do so. Winner will need to contact me within 5 days of announcing the winner. US mailing address only. (Sorry, international folks!)

If you'd like, you can share this on twitter, or facebook, or you could subscribe to my blog (email, rss, GFC, whatever) but that won't get you any bonus entries.  Just helps to share the love!


(Disclaimer: Kolo doesn't know who I am - I just like their products. I'm supplying this photo album out of Jude's pocket.  He won't know that though, unless he reads my blog.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

17 weeks

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I skipped a week. I know.  I was otherwise occupied.

Two weeks ago, we were out with Jude for the week at his work.  The kids got to see what daddy does for work, and how much time in the truck is involved. They did pretty well.

We also ate out. A lot.  As in, every meal.  From week 14 to week 16, I gained 5 pounds. Eeks. So much for the weight loss at the beginning of the pregnancy keeping my overall weight gain down. I haven't gained any in the past week, but I am, officially, at the same weight that I was, at the same point, during my pregnancy with N.

My brother-in-law and his wife birthed their first child at the end of May, and he had a lot of trouble getting started in life.  He's been in a children's hospital since his birth, and we spent some time last week being nearby, visiting a few times and trying to be helpful and supportive.  Jude spent time working on my dad's roof with his dad, brother, and sister.  Although it was an unexpected week off of work for him, it worked out to be a good week to get several things done.

I've been listening regularly with my fetoscope to see if I could hear a heartbeat.  I've read that the typical time the fetal heartbeat can be heard with a fetoscope is anywhere between 18-24 weeks.  One midwife told me she'd heard a heartbeat with a fetoscope as early as 16 weeks, but clearly that's not typical.

So, imagine my pleasure and surprise at hearing the placenta and catching the heartbeat for a minute at 16 weeks 5 days!  I haven't been able to hear the heartbeat again, but it was very, very soft, and with fans running and cicadas buzzing outside, the extra noise makes it hard to hear much of anything.

I have been an absolute exercise slacker.  With E's pregnancy I didn't do lots of regular exercise until about 20 weeks or so. With N's pregnancy, I was exercising 3-4 times a week by 14 weeks.  Time to hop back on the treadmill, but clearly I need to do so very early in the morning, to avoid the heat of the day.

Alas, no photo this week.  We'll get back on track with photos at next week's update.
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