Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Nora Kay Love ~ 38 Weeks

We're definitely counting down the days and starting to make some predictions as to when our precious baby girl will arrive.  I'm at about the same amount of progress that I was with Elyse at this point...and I didn't actually get to have a 39 week appointment with her because I went into labor.  Maybe that will happen this time as well! 

How far along:  38 Weeks
How big is baby: Leek; 6.75 lbs
Gender: My sweet baby girl, Nora Kay!

Weight gain/loss: Who cares.  I mean really.  Baby should be here in less than 14 days regardless, so I'm eating and drinking whatever I want as long as I feel comfortable.  And while I continue to gain weight at my appointments, I've also gotten some pretty great self-confidence boosters this week as people comment on how small I look for being 9 1/2 months pregnant.  I'll take it!   

Sleep: It's definitely not easy anymore.  Switching sides is a serious process in the middle of the night and it's certainly uncomfortable.  I'm still waking early, but I actually managed to sleep until 6 am for 3 mornings in a row recently...VICTORY!  Of course Elyse decided she wanted to wake up at 4:55am this morning; and while Nick went to try and get her back to sleep...I was up for good.  I seriously should have just gotten out of bed and started my day, but I can't bring myself to rise when it's still pitch black!        

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Another craving/aversion free pregnancy for me!  I'm truly thankful for this...although if I was going to crave anything, I wish it was fresh fruits and veggies.  ha! 

Movement: She's certainly still moving...but it can't be much fun for her in there. I imagine that she's becoming quite cramped...which would explain the ridiculous amounts of lower abdomen pressure/pain/discomfort.  Come on baby girl, just go on and start pushing yourself on out! 

What I'm loving: My life.  I know it sounds ridiculously corny,  but I'm just trying to soak up these last few quality days that we have as a family of 3.  Elyse has started talking more and more about her baby sister, Nora Kay, and I honestly can't wait to see the two of them together.  We're also loving just some quiet evenings at home, playing with Elyse's toys and enjoying her new games of make believe.  Even though it's quite difficult for me to get in the floor and play with Elyse, she's become quite understanding and enjoys climbing all over me while I rest on the couch in the evenings. 
A momma/daughter selfie commemorating one of our last days home with just the two of us!  I have one more day tomorrow where we have no plans but to do exactly what Elyse wants to do all day! 
Symptoms: Just simple discomfort.  I honestly don't remember being this uncomfortable with Elyse and while it's exhausting to be at home and playing with her...I'm really more uncomfortable from sitting at a desk during my working days (Monday, Tuesday, & Friday).  I'm thankful that I only have 2 days this week...and maybe that will be the end of my working days for awhile!  I've also got some crazy Braxton Hicks that kick in about the time we put Elyse to bed and they last until I fall asleep.  Nothing that is consistent enough to start timing...but these contractions have started to move towards my back which is where labor started with Elyse.  Hopefully that's movement in the right direction. 

What I'm looking forward to:  Of course I'm looking forward to Nora's arrival, but I'm also super excited about experiencing the holidays with Elyse this year.  She has already started talking about her birthday & Christmas and while I'll be in a pretty crazy newborn induced haze, I know that it's going to be amazing as I watch everything unfold through her eyes!   

Best moment of the week: Seeing Elyse's eyes light up as we got all the Christmas decorations out.  We decorated the tree while she was napping on Saturday afternoon, so it was pretty awesome to see her check out all the various ornaments and other decorations when she woke up.  She is absolutely in LOVE with Baby Jesus from her Fisher-Price nativity set and she has quite the running monologue regarding the animals and Baby Jesus and Mary & Joseph.  Oh how I adore her! 

And just because with Elyse this week resulted in my last belly photo...here's a comparison shot!  Nora on the left, Elyse on the right...38w4d with both of them! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Silver Dollar City 2014

In addition to an early ride on the Polar Express, Nora's arrival also prompted us to take an early visit to Silver Dollar City in Branson this year.  We bought season passes back in the Spring and wanted to take advantage of them one more time.  The great thing about these passes is that if you are even able to go 2x in a year, you've made money on your pass. 
I'm not gonna lie, I was a little nervous about the entire visit.  I'm 37w6d pregnant, walking up and down hills, and while it certainly would have been ok to go into labor that early...I wasn't real excited about overdoing it and feeling like crap the rest of the night.  However, the weather was beautiful for a Christmas outing, my body held up perfectly fine, and I'm at work today with no additional signs of labor in sight. 
In the past we have taken my parents along, but it worked out this year for just the three of us to go and we had a blast.  I think Elyse could have looked at all the "beautiful colors" for hours! 
The only downside...I forgot my big camera, which means this year I had to settle for iPhone photos which just aren't as good. 
Our first stop...the 5-story Christmas Tree on Main Street.  Elyse absolutely loved the dancing tree and it truly was such a joy to watch everything from her eyes this year as she soaked it all in! 

We then headed out and had plans to ride the train to hear the story of Baby Jesus, but with another 30 minutes to wait we opted for a quick ride on one of Elyse's favorites...the carousel! 

I wasn't about to FORCE her to sit on Santa's lap this year...we have two years of perfectly good screaming Santa pictures and I really want to save any Santa meltdowns for a picture that includes both Elyse & Nora.  I'm hoping we can convince her to sit on his lap, or at least stand next to him so she can "keep Nora safe."  However, I'm not holding my breath. 
Since we went on a Thursday night, later in the evening, there was literally NO ONE ELSE in Santa's barn.  So...after a little coaxing, we did walk up to Santa's stage where he came down with a candy cane and tried to engage Elyse.  We did not get out of the stroller.  We did not get an official Santa picture.  But we did get a nice lengthy conversation about Nora and her desire for an Anna or Elsa doll for Christmas.  It's blurry, but see that smile?!?  As my mom said...a smile can be the start of a beautiful relationship! 

After a quick ride on the swings and some more light-viewing, we found a place along Main Street to watch the updated Christmas Light Parade.  Elyse is all about the selfie right now...which makes it fun for family photo-ops!

We finished up the evening with another viewing of the dancing tree and a quick family picture in Santa's sleigh.  It was a fabulous evening and I'm so glad we were able to fit in a quick visit before Nora arrived. 
Silver Dollar City truly is such a magical place to visit this time of year...seeing things through your kiddos eyes is completely priceless and I am so excited to have many more experiences with my girls in the future!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nora Kay Love ~ 37 Weeks aka FULL TERM!!!

Well, here we are.  While I know that Nora could still stay put for awhile longer, we're officially full term...and I'd be totally fine with her coming anytime! 
How far along: 37 Weeks...FULL TERM!!!
How big is baby: Swiss Chard; 6.3 lb

Gender: My sweet baby girl, Nora Kay!

Weight gain/loss: Belly, belly, belly.  It's all out front and I feel ready to pop!  I was maintaining my standard weight gain this week, and at this point I'm really eating/drinking whatever I want...as long as I'm comfortable.  However, there can't be much room in there for her anymore which means there's even less room for my stomach to be too full! 
Sleep: It's becoming a struggle. I'm certainly not complaining, but the discomfort has certainly set in and has moved into the overnight hours as well.  I feel like I toss and turn a LOT, but I still wake up feeling fairly rested which is a bonus.  While I'm typically exhausted in the evenings, I try really hard to stay awake as long as I can...those nights when I fall asleep early mean a VERY EARLY wakeup call for me which is no good at all.       

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Whatever, whenever.  My belly gets so full so fast that my food intake has definitely slowed down...but I wouldn't say that my choices are really all that healthy.  I MIGHT have had two cups of hot chocolate with whipped cream last night during our Polar Express ride.  ;o)

Movement: It's definitely slowing down just because there's no room left.  I sort of feel like she might have dropped, just because the movement and pressure feels lower...but I'm not really all that certain.  She still does her barrel rolls and stretches out plenty often...which is fun for me to watch and even others to watch if they're sitting nearby. 

What I'm loving: As of our even last night, we don't have any MAJOR plans scheduled until after Nora's arrival...well, besides that big holiday called Thanksgiving.  This means that Nora could pretty much arrive at any time and there wouldn't be any major conflicts.  I'm also really just LOVING the time at home with my little family of 3.  We eat dinner, clean up the kitchen, and then spend the rest of the evening playing with Elyse & her toys in the playroom.  Hubby gives her a bath, and then we do her bedtime routine together.  I know that soon enough all of this will change, so I'm soaking up every moment I can. 

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks.  ALL THE TIME.  I seriously do not remember having these with Elyse, but they are certainly there this time around.  With Elyse my actual labor started as back labor, and I haven't had any of that...but man, these Braxton Hicks contractions can stick around for awhile this time around.  I've also got a little bit of slight swelling, but nothing to be concerned about. 

What I'm looking forward to:  Our weekly appointment tomorrow.  As of last week there was definitely some progress made...it was minor, but at least my body had started the process.  I'll be interested to see if anything has changed this week.  Elyse only came 5 days early, but I'm hoping that Nora might be an even earlier arrival.  I've also made my list to get my bag and Nora's bag packed...I need to make a quick trip to Target and gather those things but it shouldn't take long to get everything together.   
Best moment of the week: Our family weekend.  Friday night we had our first Missouri State Bears game, Saturday we literally stayed home ALL. DAY. LONG., and then Sunday we had church followed up with the Polar Express.  It was a great time for us to spend together as a family of three and I know that soon we'll be adding a fourth little person to that mix! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Polar Express 2014

With Nora's impending arrival, we've had to move around some of our annual holiday experiences...and our Polar Express train ride was one of them. We headed down yesterday afternoon for a fun evening fill with Hubby's family, a fun train ride, hot chocolate, and cookies...and we even managed to have an unseasonable snow fall which made it feel even more appropriate to be heading to the "North Pole."

Last year Elyse wasn't really too thrilled or excited about the whole experience...other than the fact that she got to spend the evening with her cousins.  And to be honest, this year really wasn't much different...she was asking to "go home" pretty much the second we got on the train.  However, she warmed up to the cookies and Christmas lights and even to Santa a little bit! 
Thankfully I got a great momma/daughter selfie! 

And Hubby toasted with our nephew Jackson! 

Elyse wasn't even real excited about the staff members waving at us as we left the depot...

Poor girl...she wasn't the happiest girl on the train!
But she was pretty excited as the conductor stamped her ticket with an "E"...and she even told him her name!
We read along during the reading of "The Polar Express"
And we ate the whipped cream off the hot chocolate with our fingers...
We looked at the Christmas light displays outside of the train...

And we briefly joined Mamaw & Pappy to see Santa & his dancing elves on the other side of the train. 

She also actually gave a little wave to Mr. Claus and his elves! 
And then it was time for the Big Guy to make his appearance...Hunter (our oldest nephew) played along like a champ, even though I don't really think he can hear the bell ringing anymore! 

But Jackson was THRILLED and even had a list all ready to share with Santa!

Elyse actually reached out to take the bell from Santa...and while she refused to take a picture with him...

Santa was tricky and decided that he would take a picture with her, even if she had no idea it was happening! 

The best we could do for a family picture...silly, cheesy Elyse!

And I absolutely adore this photo...my Hubby & his momma!  Such a precious, precious, lady!
After our train ride we had a nice family pizza dinner on the Branson Landing and then headed home...it was a fabulous night, and Elyse had a blast even though it was freezing cold!  She sure does love her cousins! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

What Elyse Has to Say...

It dawned on me recently as Nora's arrival is now much sooner rather than later, that I haven't actually done an Elyse-dedicated post in awhile.  What can I say about this girl?  She has my whole heart and I truly can't wait to see her take on the role of big sister as she takes on everything else...with complete and reckless abandon and dedication. 

And so...while this isn't a full completely picture-laden post, here's a few things that Elyse has been spouting off recently on a regular basis. 

*Holler if you need me:  When Elyse would like some privacy in the bathroom, she typically asks for her magazine (a Reader's Digest she's had since the first time she went #2 in the potty) and promptly says...Holler when you need me!  And when she's done...she hollers for sure! 

*Beauty Spots:  She has recently noticed a couple of very small moles that I have on my face.  When she asked what they were I told her they were momma's beauty spots.  And when she repeated it, it sounded much more like "booty spots!" Well...the other night as we were putting on jammies and panties before bed, she pointed to her nipples and said...Hey, these are my beauty spots!  I think we have some explaining to do! 

*When walking into her disaster of a playroom..."Momma, I have toys everywhere!"  Yes, honey, yes you do! 

*When anything important is left out of a grouping...."Oh no, we almost forgot!" My favorite one was on Halloween before her cousin Harper joined her back in the wagon they were riding around in for trick-or-treating. Says Elyse: "Oh no Harper, we almost forgot you!" Something tells me we didn't almost forget Harper, but Elyse was certain she was about to be left out of the fun! 

*Shiny Moon:  Elyse prefers to call the sun, the shiny moon and she hates it when it shines on things. Yesterday as we were driving to work, the sunlight was shining on her new princess book.  She promptly starts hitting and slapping her book and hollering..."NO, SHINY MOON, NO! DON'T GET ON MY PRINCESS BOOK!!!" 

*Momma, hold you?  Momma, you are the bestest ever.  Momma, wannaplaywitme?  BEST. THREE. PHRASES. EVER. 

*An Early Tattler:  DADDY...Mommy, told me not to whine!  MOMMY...Daddy put me in timeout!  It's already started, we've got a tattle-tale! 

*With tear-filled eyes and a whiny voice..."Momma, I want my baby sister!"  Oh honey, so do I.  SO. DO. I. 
This girl never ceases to amaze me with the amount of knowledge and wisdom she already has at just under 3 years old.  And while we're all certainly a little biased, I just know that she's brilliant and beautiful (both inside & out) and will continue to bring joy to so many in this world.  As her little sister arrives in just a few short weeks (or days!)  I know that it will be a huge transition, but I also know that my heart is already nearly bursting at the thougtht of having the privilege to love another little girl like I do my precious Elyse. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nora Kay Love ~ 36 Weeks!

And less than 4 weeks from now...we will have another baby girl!  Wow how time has flown! 

*please disregard the horrible photo quality & lighting...this is what happens when you hurriedly take full length selfies in a badly lit room!*

How far along: 36 Weeks!!

How big is baby: Crenshaw Melon; 5.75 lb

Gender: My sweet baby girl, Nora Kay!

Weight gain/loss: Still holding fairly steady at the 1 lb per week for the entire pregnancy which I'll take.  I don't feel like I'm gaining much weight anymore other than just in my belly...which is certainly nice.  I can certainly do without my face getting any rounder!  ha! 

Sleep: It's inconsistent, but manageable.  Some nights I wake up and have insomnia in the middle of the night.  Some mornings I wake up early and can't go back to sleep.  Some nights I sleep great and only wake up simply to move positions (which is becoming increasingly more difficult)!      

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: I'm not afraid to admit that I'm taking advantage of my last few weeks of snacking at will.  The holiday season will certainly still provide lots of opportunities for yummy food...but you can bet that my New Years Resolution will include a complete overhaul of diet!  I'm still trying to watch the QUANTITY of food I take in at each sitting, simply because I get way too full and miserable if I eat too much. 

Movement: And I'm thinking this girl has run out of room.  The last few days I've been noticing a heel kicking my right torso, and I'm thinking this girl really just wants to stretch out but doesn't have anywhere to go.  She has also transitioned into the rolling movements vs. the sudden kicks or jabs.

What I'm loving: Honestly, just life right now.  We have wrapped up most all of our official obligations and big events and while we still have plenty to do each week and lots of fun holiday stuff to come, our weeks are slowing down....a true calm before the storm!  I also have a LOT of my Christmas shopping complete and most of Elyse's birthday presents have been purchased. 
Super comfy work outfit today!  TOMS booties (the only heels I can truly wear), black maternity skinny jeans (Old Navy), and the Blardigan (for all of you Pinterest Told Me To fans you know exactly what this is!)
Symptoms: Still holding with those typical symptoms of  the third trimester...some slight swelling (but nothing crazy), my ever-growing belly, heartburn, overall discomfort (playing in the floor with Elyse has become quite the Olympic sport), and bloating after meals...however, it's all so short-lived at this point! 

What I'm looking forward to:  Holding my newborn baby girl in my arms...but also just enjoying some of the last evenings with our family of 3.  I'm so DONE with being pregnant, and I want to just start the whole newborn process, even though I know it's going to be crazy difficult with an almost 3 year old!  We have several of our evenings at home which means lots of playtime for Elyse and of course we've got some super fun Holiday outings coming up.  I'm really just hoping that I don't get super miserable in these last few weeks!    

Best moment of the week: I had a blast with my annual Cookie Exchange, that has probably been moved permanently to the month of November & renamed the Thanks-Mas Cookie Exchange...but regardless, it was a fabulous time with some of the most precious women in my life.  And believe it or not...I took ZERO pictures, which allowed me to simply enjoy the night with all my girls!   


Friday, November 7, 2014

Maternity/Family Pictures 2014

We had our annual family photos a couple of weeks ago and they served a dual purpose this year as my maternity photos.  Kaci @ YourStyle Photography managed to capture some beautiful shots...even if Elyse was seemingly less than cooperative. 
I honestly had extremely low expectations for how she would do during the shoot.  While she lived up to those low expectations, we still managed to get some fabulous shots tha tI think really capture what she's thinking about another baby being in the house!  ha! 
And so...enjoy the photos! 

Reading about "Nora" in my favorite children's book!