Sunday, April 26, 2009

Warm Weekend and First NST...

It was a beautiful weekend here! But I will say Sunday was a little too steamy for April! In the 90's, I believe and I'm just so thankful I've had Winter/Spring babies because I would not be a happy pregnant women in the Summer! Ainsley was thrilled that she got to wear her flip flops to the grocery store, just like mommy does. The simplest things make her so happy- I love it!

I'm excited to say we've started on the patio or should I say Mike has started. I would've taken a picture of him slaving away but I have a feeling he wouldn't be too happy with that. Poor thing worked himself to death in the sun and heat. If he can complete a project without hiring out, he does it, he refuses to pay people to do things he feels he can do and I admire that but I know he is completely worn out. My parents are coming this weekend (didn't know this until a few days ago so that's a nice surprise) and my dad will be here to give his expert advice:) So we may just have a patio before Bennett arrives, another check on my list!:) I love you Mike!!

We've been enjoying nightly walks around the neighborhood, Ainsley loves riding her bike and Harper cruises in her car. This has sadly replaced my running I believe. I just don't have the energy and I really don't want Bennett coming any earlier than planned (if I can help it) so I think it's best to stick to walking now. And forget it if Mike can't go with us, I'm terrified of something happening while out walking, chasing and pushing them along-Ainsley is not very happy with this though. I'm sure she is getting sick of hearing "mommy is tired"!

So today was my first non-stress test as well as an another ultrasound. Things looked good on the ultrasound and Bennett was moving around like crazy. As soon as they hooked me up to the monitors, which monitor any contractions as well as heart rate, he stopped moving. I was supposed to push the button every time he moved- so I'm waiting and waiting and the nurse comes back in and asks if I have anything to eat so I start eating a Zone bar I have and that finally got him going again. I was starting to worry a bit because he moves like crazy but he decided to take a little snooze of course when we needed him to perform! All in all, they were pleased with what they saw and they told me to come back for another one in a week.

We've got a busy week ahead with Mike out of town:(, school winding down, swim lessons, play dates and Harper's birthday! Stay cool during this heat wave!

Friday, April 24, 2009

35 Weeks, Belly Pics and Spring Outfits!

Wow, 5 weeks has flown by since the last time I posted a belly pic! We only have 4 weeks to go now until we meet Bennett!! I cannot tell you how excited I am to not only meet him but to not be pregnant anymore-Mike will agree! I know, being pregnant and uncomfortable is actually much easier than caring for a newborn but to not have this huge belly out in front of me will be nice and maybe I'll even be pleasant to be around!;) So here is my progression...

22 weeks...

25 weeks...

30 weeks...

35 weeks!!!

I don't know, I think the black may be a little slimming on the torpedo because my belly looks even bigger in person! I even had a sweet lady at Party City yesterday ask when I was due and I said I had four more weeks and she said "Oh, you're belly is bigger than mine and I only have 2 weeks left" -gee..., thanks. The past couple of weeks I've been retaining a lot of fluid but I started drinking a ton of water and I'm happy to report that I can see my ankle bones again! And my rings are loose!

And just for fun... it's finally getting warm enough for the girls to wear some of their spring Chez Ami outfits so I had to post a pic! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE dressing up my girls?? Or is that pretty obvious?:) Yes, I was made to have little girls. Oh, don't worry, Bennett has a coordinating outfit to go with this one-little brown check (like Ainsley's paints) shortall with a "B" on it. Can't wait to put him in it! And no, I won't dress him too "sissy", I'll make sure my little guy looks good or Mike will make sure of that!;0 This was sweet because when posing for this pic, Miss Harper actually put her little arm around big sister's waist, it's usually Ainsley trying to keep Harper in the picture. And as soon as Harper sees me pull out the camera now, she's already saying "cheese!!"

We're looking forward to spending the weekend outside with the girls-should be in the 80's here! Hope everyone has a good one!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A little update...

I went to the doctor yesterday for my 34 week check up and everything looked good, except for my weight- but that's never good while I'm pregnant! I saw the same doctor that I saw last time (the one that has a son with Down syndrome) and I chickened out about asking him about his son. Not sure why but it just didn't feel right and for some reason I think he knows I know.

Anyways, we were told by the specialist at my last growth scan that I would have to start non-stress tests twice a week starting at 34 weeks so I mentioned this to my OB and he said everyone in his practice as well as the maternal fetal medicine group (except for this one doctor) felt that it was really unnecessary but to make everyone happy we would do one a week. I'm comfortable with that. So they will do a full ultrasound as well as monitor fluid levels and hook me up to monitor Bennett's kicks and heart rate every week now until delivery.

I did end up calling my OB last Thursday due to some pain in my stomach (I've never gone into labor so I really have no idea what contractions feel like) that seemed to be coming every 5 min. They told me to rest and drink water and thankfully they went away. I have felt really good up until about last week, just getting really uncomfortable and having a ton of Braxton Hicks contractions- I guess I should drink more water!! I don't know if kicking in the womb has anything to do with muscle tone but if it does, Bennett kicks and moves and squirms like crazy! Way more than my girls did. I mentioned this to the specialist that also suggested the twice weekly non-stress tests and he said low tone is not the big issue with "these" babies. Well I know for a fact, it can be a huge issue, I mean obviously there are cognitive delays but tone has a lot to do with eating, drinking, talking, crawling, walking so I'm pretty sure it is a big issue. That made me a little mad. I hate feeling like I know more about Down syndrome than these doctors that have gone to school for years- pretty ridiculous. I don't know, he could have been referring to his heart defect more than the Down syndrome but I guess I just have the feeling that his heart can be fixed but the Down syndrome can't so I just want to do whatever I can to help Bennett.

Not much else going on, now that I'm done with most of my projects I'm getting a little anxious and just want to be done being pregnant! I did get a call today (message on the answering machine) from a nurse that would like to schedule a time to tour the NICU "in case your baby needs the services at the NICU after birth" - great, thanks for the reminder. Not like I haven't been there before. I know, I know it's good to be prepared and there is a good possibility that he will have to go to the NICU but I don't like thinking about it much.

Well, Harper will be turning two next weekend and we have plans to meet "Dora" so that should be fun or not- she's terrified of big cartoon characters so it could be a disaster! Otherwise just counting down the days....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friends, Waffles and Toes!!

Well, I have been excited for this day ever since my friends Ginger and Renee mentioned it a while back. A salon day as well as breakfast and to my surprise, a showering of gifts!! So fun!

Let me start out by saying that it is not easy moving to a whole new state while pregnant and on top of that finding out some pretty scary information about your unborn child half way through the pregnancy and quitting your job to stay at home with a 4 year old and 1 year old. Not expecting a pity party here but it's not your ideal situation to have all of those things going on at once but I consider myself a pretty strong girl... Well these two girls have been so sweet to welcome me to the area and introduce me to people, offer help and to just be great friends. It's like we've known each other for years but we only just met this past summer! Here they are, Ginger and Renee- such wonderful friends!!

We started off the morning going to breakfast at a cute little restaurant in town that had delicious food! I love waffles so that's what I devoured, Ginger had quiche and Renee had cream cheese, blue berry waffles-can you say YUMMY?!! We just had to take a picture of Renee's waffles...

The girls were very sweet to buy some gifts for little Bennett! I mentioned to them that this was the first shower I had ever had while pregnant! This is because when I was pregnant with Ainsley, the weekend of my first shower I ended up in the hospital and had Ainsley 3 days later so everyone showed up to my shower but I wasn't there:( I then had 2 more after Ainsley was born and while she was still in the hospital. With Harper there was no need to have a shower, being a girl and we had everything and even with Bennett I did not expect to have a shower at all so it was a nice surprise that they did this for me!!

Here are some cute Robeez that Renee got for me- they have little Prince Crowns on them- so cute!!

Here are two cards that Renee's kids made for the shower-(sorry, Ellie's is upside down!) Very sweet!

This is an adorable blanket that Ginger's mom knitted- so soft and she did an awesome job!!
They got me so many other things that we really needed like lotions, baby soap, an awesome mobile (that I totally needed and was stressing about that Ginger had no idea I needed and it looks perfect in B's room!), clothes, bib, blanket etc.- in other words-we have toned down the pink in our house now:) I'm sure Mike will be thankful for that!
After we stuffed ourselves, we were off to the nail salon for pedicures and manicures! I haven't had either in a very long time so this was a real treat. Here we are enjoying ourselves thoroughly in the comfy chairs!

And here are our beautiful toes, sandal ready and today was a perfect day for it because it was 76 degrees and sunny- woo hoo!!

It was a perfect morning and when I returned home the girls were eager to see what I had in the bags and to see my toes! Mike had them fed and the house was nice and clean! We had a little miscommunication about a Yankees game he told his coworkers he would go to but it worked out and he was able to go to that. Back to reality I guess;)
I put Harper down for her nap and I had promised Ainsley once I had my toes painted I would paint hers so here they are...
She is begging me to wear her sandals now, unfortunately the weather is not going to stay quite as warm so she is a little confused with proper outfits and shoes, she thinks it's time to wear her bathing suit! For my sake and everyone else, thank goodness it's not time to wear a bathing suit just yet!!:)
Thanks again Ginger and Renee for everything!!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Update On Bennett's Heart...

We finally got some good news!! The leaky valve that they saw before is now "trivial" and they said "everything with your baby looks really good"! When is the last time I heard that?? Thank you Lord!! They were looking for enlargement of the heart or if it was overworking but it looks great, of course there is still a hole in the middle of it but that's not a huge issue to these docs. They can fix that. The doctor called it a very well balanced AV Canal defect as opposed to an unbalanced one, so that's good! So things are going as planned and I will deliver at my local hospital, with Bennett going into surgery at around 2-4 months. I have requested Dr. Spray for Bennett's surgery, being told by numerous people, that he is the best and they said they will try to honor my request as long as Dr. Spray is not traveling at the time. I feel very confident that any of these surgeons will take good care of Bennett but why not ask for the one I've heard of, right?

After the fetal echo we went to tour the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Not going to lie, this was hard. It took everything in my power to not burst out in tears as we walked through there. It was a very nice looking unit but glancing to my right I saw a little baby in his or her diaper, someones son or daughter, hooked up to machines. Just thinking about it makes me tear up. I saw exhausted parents camping out in their rooms, a mom holding her baby while hooked up to machines, nurses stationed in front of computers while they monitored the babies. This will be us, I thought, by the end of the summer and we've kind of been here before. Visions of the NICU flashed through my head. Although I know going through the experience we did with Ainsley being in the NICU for 5 weeks only made us stronger, it is never easy to see a baby hooked up to wires and machines, especially when the baby belongs to you and especially when you're baby has gone through surgery. That will be new to us, the surgery thing. But you never forget the beeping sounds of all the monitors and that fear when you hear one of the machine alarms going off. I know I should not dwell on this now but today made it all real. My son may have to go to the NICU when he is born, my son will have Down syndrome and one other little thing, my son is going to have open heart surgery. Okay, that was really hard to write. And while I am so thankful I know all of this ahead of time because it's not like I cry about this every day and really I haven't cried about it in quite a while, it's just when you see a tiny baby that is recovering from whatever type surgery or illness, it breaks your heart. I just want to make it all better. I just wish it didn't have to be this way.

I know Mike had a hard time walking through the cardiac unit as well. Having Ainsley in the hospital was really hard on him and I know he's trying to be so strong through all of this. And then that guilt thing comes creeping back in, I'm the one that wanted to have a third, if I hadn't pushed to have just one more, we wouldn't be in this situation, Mike wouldn't have to go through having another child of his in the hospital or to have to raise a child with special needs. I don't know when I will be able to let go of that guilt. I'm hoping it's when I see Bennett for the first time and see Mike hold him. But I think that's going to take God changing my heart and how I see things. I have no doubt that Bennett will be a blessing to our family, I just know he will but it's still not easy when you think of the potential challenges. We will get through this and I'll be fine with all of it again tomorrow. I refuse to dwell for more than a day on the negative so my only other option is to remain positive. I think today was bitter sweet, I was excited to hear some good news but then saw what we still have to overcome as far as Bennett's heart is concerned.

I started reading a book called "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow and I have a feeling it is really going to be helpful in my life right now. Thanks Lex! And thanks again for all of your prayers!!! Today we definitely had a prayer answered, no Bennett's heart is not healed but it is healing somewhat I believe, no matter how small!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More Easter Fun!

This weekend started with a local Easter egg hunt that I thought would be fun for the girls and another opportunity to get pictures of them in their Easter dresses since they are pretty much Easter specific (smocked bunnies with eggs). Don't think we will be wearing them again until next year (hopefully they'll fit!). However, when we arrived we were surprised to see the other 400 people that had the same idea. Once we found our proper age group they announced that the "hunt" could begin. The eggs were right there on the grass so I thought the girls could just happily pick them up and drop them in their baskets but instead greedy parents rushed with their kids and snatched up all the eggs for their toddlers! We got one stinkin' egg and only because a mom made her little 2 year old give one to Harper!

Harper had fun, she didn't care if she didn't get many eggs.
Ainsley on the other hand, did not have fun. Here she is with Grandpa (Mike's dad), looking very timid. She said she was afraid the Easter Bunny was going to pop out when we asked why she was so scared. She barely cracked a smile and did not want to pick up one egg- not that she could get one any way-gees!!
This was her concerned face the entire time- I really think she thought some huge Bunny was going to pop out of the bushes...poor thing.

And Harper, care free, no idea what we were doing but had fun doing it!

So Saturday we dyed Easter eggs and Ainsley of course loved doing this. Only one egg cracked and all were eventually made into deviled eggs by Grandma, that we thoroughly enjoyed at Easter dinner!

Harper didn't want to cooperate during this activity. Here she is throwing a fit, as Ainsley calls it...

Easter Sunday the girls looked for their baskets that the Easter Bunny hid and then off to church. On the way to church Ainsley asked all about the Easter Bunny and I changed the subject and drilled her on why we really celebrate Easter and to my surprise she said "he arose"! So proud of my little girl, I hope she never forgets it! Here's the fam Easter morning...

After church we decided to do a much smaller egg hunt so the girls could at least know what it's like to search for eggs with prizes in them and collect them in their baskets. Ainsley enjoyed this much better-no threat of a huge Bunny I guess or crazy parents!

And yes, they are in scarves in almost the middle of April! Take me back to the South!!!! I mean it!!!!

Grandma with Harper...
and with both girls...
Grandpa with Harper...
and finally Easter dinner...
Ainsley said our prayer-(with my help) and even thanked Jesus for dying on the cross so we could be saved-that was said by herself!

So Monday morning we are off to CHOP to meet with the Pediatric Cardiologist and to do another fetal echo on Bennett's heart. Please pray that everything remains the same (or better of course) and nothing has gotten worse. We really do appreciate everyone that is praying for us, I truly feel it's helped me get through this pregnancy without worrying myself to death! Less than 6 weeks to go now!!!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!

Hope everyone has a great weekend and nice Easter Sunday!! We went to the worst Easter Egg hunt ever today but I'll post more about that with pics later! (We're working on Ainsley's major cheesy smile and Harper's non-existent smile-some day we'll get it right!)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finally, I'm Done... Well, For Now Anyway:) Lot's of Pics!!

My last big project was converting the formal living room that no one used into a semi-play area for the kids. Almost all of their toys (excluding big riding toys) are in this room except for some books, dress up and some stuffed animals

So far it's working out well, they can play in here and there's a french door that connects the room with the family room where the TV is, so if their favorite show is on they can play and watch at the same time. They don't even need me! JUST KIDDING! I don't let them watch TV all day, just from 9-12 and 4-7. KIDDING AGAIN!;) Actually, now that the weather is finally warming up we will be outside for a majority of the day-yay!

Anyways, enough rambling, here's what I've done: (oh, and some of you have asked when I have time to do all of this and I'll tell you, I am blessed that both girls still take 2 hour naps, well, Harper jumps for an hour and then sleeps for almost 2, but that's another story, you can read about it here if you're interested).

Living Room before:

A little "stuffy" and unusable...

And after:

More relaxed and nothing is breakable! I added baskets so a ton of their toys, dolls, games are in those and adults can still sit in here during a play date or whatever while the kids play.

The saying on the wall says: A laugh is a smile that bursts. I put some cute pictures of Ainsley with Harper laughing on either side-rarely do I get good candid shots!

So this table was a natural wood color with beautiful purple, blue and pink marker (not sure how they got their hands on real markers) scribbled all over it! It also had crayon marks and various stickers on it. So I decided to paint it black with green and yellow polka dots (same yellow, called Blonde, that is on the walls) So now it goes much better in the room and Ainsley says she really likes the new "look". (I'm glad she approves :)) I also thought it would be good for Bennett (not too girly) for when he gets older.

I really enjoy Ainsley's artwork from school and I try to save most of it so she can look back on it one day but the folder is overflowing so I decided to pick out the ones that were colorful and fun. The far left is one of her many paintings, then of course a duck and then on the right is dinosaur sponge stamps- she loves this one!

This is one of my favs in the room because I love funky prints mixed with traditional style! I got the frames for less than $5 at Jo Ann fabrics as well as more scrap booking paper (love that stuff, too bad I don't scrap book) and typed up A is for Ainsley, H is for Harper and B is for Bennett on the computer and then framed it with ribbon.

This is another one I did, not perfect by any means but it's funny, being the perfectionist that I am with most things, when it comes to homemade decorations I'm just going for a certain look and it doesn't bother me if when you look closely things aren't quite straight or perfectly centered. I had fun doing it!


I got these today in the mail and I had to share! This is what I ordered from Kristen at Faulkner Family (she works for Uppercase Living) and it turned out great! I love it! I must say I've used the press-ons from Target, Michael's and Scribble It and Uppercase Living by far was the easiest to apply. If you want to design your own or just see what they have- go to Kristen's blog and contact her, she's very sweet and great to work with! Thanks Kristen!!

This is one I got for free from Uppercase Living- they were having a sale and you could choose from a couple so I chose this one- I love these things!!

I had to throw this in (no I did not make these-sigh) My sister sent me some things in the mail today and first, the purses are for this fundraiser my mom's group is doing- part of it is raffling off baskets and I decided to do a "Mommy and Me" basket- I thought I'd add some of my Chez-Ami stuff, with some cute flip flops for a mom and daughter, bows, head bands, and I asked my super crafty, creative and talented sister if she would be kind enough to donate a mommy purse and a little matching girl purse. So as you can see they turned out adorable!! And these are just her simple bags- you need to check her blog out (LexiWynn Designs)- she will probably kill me for this but she is still working on getting her website back up so in the mean time I said I would do a blog for her just to display some of her work. She does parties in the Chicago area mainly so I'm not sure if she is going to start selling actual items on line yet- like I said she had no idea I was going to show some of her work so she might not be happy- sorry Lex!:)
And then she just threw in this burp cloth for Bennett! She does not have a monogram machine but you know, it was just something she did at the last minute- no big deal...(sigh, again) it's hard being related to 2 women that are so creative and talented when it comes to design and sewing!!

So not sure if you have discovered these but I just did and absolutely love them! In the picture it's hard to see but it's just a roll of tiny glue dots that I've used for things like securing fabric trim on hard surfaces, ribbon on picture frames, ribbon for Easter baskets or straightening a stubborn picture on the wall. I especially like it for straightening pictures- since I like to "eyeball" things I'm often in the predicament of slightly crooked pictures or the hook on the back wasn't put on straight so I just stick the glue dot to the corner of the picture and stick it to the wall and it works like a charm. I got these at Michael's- where else?!

I squeezed in another project that I originally planned on just purchasing a new one (chandelier) from Ballard Designs (with Mike's approval of course:)) because I'm not crazy about the light fixtures the builder put in our house. I prefer a venetian bronze to brushed nickel but again, I'm not going to go crazy with major decorating and changing this house when we may not live here for a long time. So at Michael's I found the plain lamp shades and bought a fleur-de-lis stamp (I really wanted the Bee stamp but couldn't find it:() and then some bead trim and made my own chandelier so to speak. Cheap fix but makes a big difference I think.

Here is the chandelier before... And after, still not my ideal chandelier but a very simple project and I think it makes it look so much better! It's called working with what you have people (and I'm not complaining about what we have- I'm very thankful!!)...

So that's it- I got the bumper for Bennett's crib as well as Harper's head board covers today in the mail- it was a fun mail day today!! They look great!! But I know I've bored you enough-now that I'm done, I can relax a little and enjoy these last few weeks before it gets really hectic in our household!! But I can't wait!!