Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Today marks 35 weeks of pregnancy, and to celebrate, I gave myself a pedicure. Blue, of course, in honor of Riley's upcoming arrival. (Please overlook my pasty white feet!) This was no easy task! It took a few complicated yoga moves, but I managed to remove old polish, shape and buff my toenails, and apply a base coat, two coats of polish, and a top coat. I hope this polish lasts until his delivery, though, because it is becoming almost impossible to reach my toes!

(For those of you who are wondering, this color is Something Borrow and Blue by Essie. You can find it here.)

Also going on this week, I'm considering a transfer to a different OB at a different hospital for the remainder of my prenatal care, labor and delivery. I had a conversation with my doctor recently that left me a little uncomfortable about whether my voice will be heard during the labor and delivery process at my current hospital, which has a reputation for a nursing staff that is overeager to stick to a rigid schedule and trigger-happy with unnecessary interventions. I am aiming for an unmedicated, noninterventional childbirth, so it seems switching to a different hospital is the optimal choice. I'm a little nervous about making such a big change this late in the game, though! I can only pray things work out as they should. 

Lately, my days are filled with snuggling my baby boy while watching Curious George, sitting on his bedroom floor watching him hide all of his Matchbox cars, and lots and lots of nesting. All four of us are packed for the hospital, and I keep finding all sorts of housework to keep me busy. This place will be sparkling clean when Riley comes home for the first time!

What kinds of things did you do in the last days of your pregnancy to prepare for your upcoming bundle of joy?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Zoo Trip!

Recently we took Liam on his very first trip to the zoo. I'd been wanting to take him for what seemed like forever, but he's been very into animals lately: pointing them out in pictures and posters and making the animal sounds he knows. So, we wanted to show him that animals actually exist in real life and not just in pictures! 

My parents went with us, and it was such a special time with him. I don't know how I made it walking through the park for more than two hours without going into labor, but it was well worth it to get to focus on him for a day before his little brother gets here.

He missed his nap, so he was a little quiet on this trip. But he was such a good sport!

And maybe one of these days, I'll jump in the picture, too! Why are moms rarely actually in the photos? I think it's time to teach my husband how to use the camera...

It's so hard to get a picture like this of him!

Checking out the elephants.

Monkeys are his favorite!

Watching the monkeys with PawPaw.

Not quite as ferocious as we were expecting.

Liam thinks giraffes moo like cows. Who am I to correct him?

Monday, April 15, 2013


This weekend Kelley and I transitioned Liam from a crib to a toddler bed! We had strategized about this day since I found out I was pregnant, but I had mixed feelings about it and wondered if he was too young, if we were forcing it, if he’d fall out and get hurt, or if he’d put up a fight to get out of bed.

It’s also a symbol of his growing independence, and that’s a painful thing for me to process. Removing a significant boundary and the safety of his crib and trusting him with a new level of independence is bittersweet for a mom. (At least I have another baby on the way, right? I get to start from the beginning again in a few short weeks!)

But this was what was needed for our growing family, and we wanted to make this transition before Riley comes. In a way, preparing a place for Riley in our home helps me make room for him in my heart. It’s a tangible expression of me realizing that Liam will not be my one and only for much longer.

So, this was the big weekend!

Showing off his new sleeping quarters.
Liam loved his new bed! He’s a relatively quick learner when it comes to listening to his daddy and me, and we didn’t have that much resistance teaching him to stay seated in the bed. He was so excited about the new bed that he stayed awake for almost three hours after bedtime talking to his bear lovey until he finally crashed!

In an effort to be completely honest, though, I do think my husband and I made it a little more stressful than it needed to be. We’d imagined the worst and let the opinions of naysayers rattle the peace we’d had about our decision. Not to mention that switching beds meant we set up Riley’s nursery and moved around furniture and other belongings all weekend. It was a little overwhelming, despite how productive we were. Tears flowed and tempers flared. And Liam felt our anxiety, because even though he was cooperative about the new bed, he was as tense as we were this weekend about so much change at once.

We ended on a good note, at least. I in no way think we are experts in this area, and most of the time it felt like we were having to make things up as we went along, but since the big change was a victory, I’ll mention a few things we did that made the transition smoother: 

We thought about what we wanted this new phase to look like, and we set the standards. I got a lot of comments from others such as, “You can kiss naptimes goodbye,” “Good luck getting him to listen to you,” “Oh, he’s going to climb out of the bed; there’s no avoiding that,” etc. It’s a good thing my husband and I are stubborn! Instead of letting Liam determine the boundaries, we made our expectations clear and made sure he knew that we were in charge. Liam will eventually rise to whatever standard we set (even if he challenges us at first), so we made sure he knew what we expected: he was not to stand up in the bed (for safety reasons), and he was not to get out of bed until one of us came and got him (because sleep time is not play time). 

We involved Liam as much as possible. I’d talked to Liam for weeks about how his new “big boy” bed was coming soon, all the way from Mississippi. (The bed is a hand-me-down from his older cousin.) He got to help us pick out the bedding and even “helped” Kelley put the bed together. We kept the bedding close to the same color and style as his crib bedding, at least for a while, to help ease the transition. 

Helping Daddy assemble the bed.

Testing things out.

We ditched the crib. Some websites online suggested leaving the crib in the room and allowing the child to sleep in it still, until he gets used to seeing the big bed. I felt this would be confusing, and I didn’t want to give Liam an “out.” In an effort to just keep things simple, we removed the crib and didn’t look back. 

We maintained his naptime and bedtime routines. Predictability seems to make kids feel secure, and keeping his routine the same helped him understand that he was supposed to act like business as usual. 

We respected who he is. The first night, we noticed that Liam was having trouble getting settled. He usually buries his head in the corner of the bumper when he sleeps, and Kelley mentioned that he probably just didn’t know what to do without the bumper. So I made a Target run and got a couple of body pillows to add to the bed. My makeshift bumper seemed to do the trick; Liam settled in and went right to sleep.

Finally asleep!
Liam sleeps 12 hours at night, usually from 7:30-8 until 7:30-8. Most mornings I don’t get him up until 8, so if he wakes up a little early, he’ll play in his crib until I go get him. This morning, he woke up at 7:15, but instead of going ahead and getting him up when he was ready, I put some stuffed animals and a book in his bed and told him to stay in there until I came back to get him. With a few things to entertain him, he did exactly that! 

We rewarded his obedience. To thank him for being so obedient, I surprised him with a new Curious George hand puppet book. And this morning, when he stayed in bed until Kelley and I went back for him, we lavished our praise on him. 

Reading his new book to Daddy and me
Since we switched out Liam's bed, that meant we were able to get the nursery at least partly set up. We still need to figure out a small nightstand and lamp and hang wall art, but here's at least a sneak peek:

Riley's woodland friends.

"Why is my furniture in here now?"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


When I first read this article, Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life, that a friend recently posted on Facebook, my first impression was that it was much ado about nothing, probably because I recently went through a Facebook cleanse and pared down what I view on my news feed anyway. And I simply do not have the time to pine over someone else’s 5-star restaurant meal or trip to Disney.

But when it showed up again on Kelly Hicks’s blog (one of my favorites), it got me thinking. How honest am I, really? Where do I draw the line between putting my best foot forward and creating a false reality just to impress others? I’m not very sure. So I thought I’d accept Kelly’s challenge, pull back the curtain and show a little more of my messy, daily life.

Some days the bed gets made; most days it doesn't.

Why put away toiletries when I'm just going to need them again later?

Clean dishes right where we can find them.
This is coming to mind since I’m 32 weeks pregnant this week. Tying shoelaces are a thing of the past, since I can’t reach my toes, and there is usually a sprinkling of matchbox cars and puzzle pieces on the floor for my husband to gather up when he gets home because I just can’t bend down to pick them up anymore. I mostly have to leave things where I drop them and wait for someone to come along and pick them up. Thank goodness my son is starting to learn how to pick up his toys!

Kicking them out of the way counts as cleaning up, right?

Pay no mind to the spattering of fingerprints on the glass door or the dusty floor!

I also vowed that with this pregnancy, as soon as the hyperemesis waned, I would stick to a healthy diet with very little junk. Well, that was before I started having an overwhelming craving for pop tarts. Does anyone even know what pop tarts are made of? I don’t. But that didn’t stop me from eating five s’mores pop tarts in one day. (I believe that was why I’d gained four pounds at my last doctor’s appointment!) Why oh why does pregnancy cause us to eat things we would never put in our mouths otherwise? How is it even possible to crave things that I don’t remember ever tasting before, like Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries?

I'll get around to picking up the crumbs...eventually.
Liam finally got four molars and his top two canines to come through, and now he’s working on four more bottom teeth (I don’t know all the names of them). Yesterday, I discovered he had a fever of 102 from a virus. So he’s been pretty grumpy for his usually sunny disposition. The only upside? I’ve gotten lots of cuddles from him this week. 

Despite the unmade bed, cluttered bathroom counter, or coffee grounds in the kitchen sink, I still wouldn’t trade my life for that of my former college classmate who’s traveling the world. Our lives may be messy, but that’s what makes them beautiful!

One day we'll get a toy box. Until then, the corners will do just fine.