Surrounded with Love (5w2d)

As we settle into the daily routine of having a baby, it’s amazing the things we start to take for granted. The tools and gadgets that make life so much easier right now – things that we never would have given a thought to before.

We are so blessed to have friends and family who take an active interest in Kieran’s life – even before he was born! We were (and still are) blessed with gifts from family and friends throughout the pregnancy, not just at the shower – which was overwhelming in a very good way. The little gifts keep coming now, and are hugely appreciated as we discover new things that are required to keep Mr. Kieran happy and healthy.

A huge example of that right now: Kieran is getting slightly thickened feedings now due to his acid reflux – 1t of oat cereal per ounce of formula or EBM. The bottles we have for him (Born Free) don’t really support thickened feedings – which require a different type of nipple. Fortunately, Kelly (Gnoam in the comments) had just sent us yet another care package of hand-me-downs from her 9 month old daughter Kara – which included four 5oz Avent bottles. The Avent system has a FANTASTIC variable flow nipple for thickened feedings. So Kelly’s hand-me-downs saved us from having to go purchase other bottles for these next few months of feedings for Kieran. So HUGE thanks to Kelly (and hubby Peter and Ms. Kara) for the great hand-me-downs.

But even more than that – when I look around Kieran’s room I see what he cannot. That every minute he is surrounded with reminders of how much he was loved before he even arrived. That he is (literally) cradled with and wrapped in love from people who have never met him. Aunt Nita provided his crib; Auntie Lisa & Uncle Mikey provided the mattress and sheets he sleeps on; Donna, Lisa, Kym, Becky, Lisa & Tia, Aunt Cassie & Uncle Kurt, and Grammy Jeanne provided the stuffed friends who keep watch over him as he naps. Every time we change Kieran, we’re grateful to Great Grandma Cat and Grampa John for the wipes warmer which makes all the difference in the world to Mr. Sensitive Tushy. Bathtime is made possible by Uncle Oin & Aunt Cynthia who completely stocked our cabinets with baby necessities, and by Caroline who passed on her baby bath now that her little Hannah has outgrown it.

And that doesn’t even start with the clothes!! Admittedly, nearly everything he’s worn at this point was provided by Mama & Daddy (or Kelly again with the hand-me-downs in newborn sizes) but Paul and I look ahead with a bittersweet glance to the future when Kieran can wear outfits provided by everyone – from adorable onesies, to rompers and safari outfits and teeny tiny smoking jackets. (I don’t think any of us expected me to have such a tiny little peanut!) But the flannel blankets that we received from so many people have been put into daily use – as well as the burp cloths! (Admittedly, I wish the burp cloths weren’t so needed now – the reflux really made those a necessity.) Once he’s able to wear the outfits that fill his dresser and closet – we’ll think of the friends and family who gifted him with such cute togs every time we change his clothes!

The books we’ve been gifted with right before I gave birth are being put to use already – not that Kieran has much of an attention span… but it’s nice to have something to read to him.

So thank you, again, to everyone. The love and support that you have shown Paul and I since we announced our news last Thanksgiving to our family and to the world at Christmas; the care and concern and interest shown during the roller coaster ride of my pregnancy; the generosity shown as we transformed our house into a haven for our son; and the fact that you’re even reading this now… it means more to us that we can say. Kieran has no idea how lucky he is.

Nursery Pics! (32w3d)

Sorry it took so long to get these pics sorted (good heavens between Paul and his dad, there were a lot to go through) but there’s finally a gallery of pictures to show the transformation of our house into a house with a nursery!

We (mostly Paul) cleared out our office/storage room so that it could be painted. We did the yellow and green painting in one weekend. The next weekend was carpet for the whole house, which basically meant we had to move out for the weekend. Paul and I busted our butts to pack up and clear everything out that week, but again – it was Paul who was up until 4:30am in advance of the carpet installer’s 8:00am arrival. The next two weeks (starting that afternoon) were a whirlwind of activity as Paul’s parents helped us immensely with putting our house back together and building a bunch of new furniture to make a nursery and to economize the storage space we have available to us now. The Guest Room is now Paul’s office/ManCave complete with an awesome new desk. He’s got room for projects and video editing now, which really makes me happy. (He’ll be spending a fair amount of time in there editing videos from the amazing camcorder Tom & Jeanne got us!) The guest beds are a lovely set of trundle beds from Nonny, which Oin and Cynthia have pronounced as extremely comfy.

The nursery is painted in shades of Honey Beige and Mother Nature. (No, I don’t know who makes this stuff up.) The switch plate and outlet covers alternate with the wall colors. The main decorations are a watercolor alphabet sampler that Paul’s Uncle Howie and Aunt Chris gave us as a wedding present, and a set of ten 1-2-3 mixed-media art prints I found on one of my deal-a-day websites. We weren’t really thinking about how things would go together when we picked out our layette, but everything ended up with a A-B-C, 1-2-3 motif. We’re thrilled with how everything looks. The distressed black crib (thanks again, Aunt Nita) looks good with the black-brown IKEA dressers and side table. The rocking chair doesn’t really match, but it’s something we’ve hauled around with us for 10 years now with the expectation of using it in a nursery. And if nothing else, it’s nice to have somewhere to sit in there – and Laurel seems to like it. The dressers will also serve as the changing table – as soon as I order the changing table pad thingie and install it. (It’s got straps that screw into the back of the dresser to keep it from coming off.)

We’re busy now, stocking the nursery with everything our little man will need. Diapers need washing, clothing needs sorting, diaper changing station needs to be set up. But there’s time, and all of this is something to be savored. Every step we take brings us one step closer to meeting our son (who has been kicking the crap out of my laptop the entire time I’ve been writing this!)

So. Stupidly. Happy.

SO much, and SO little! (30w2d)

There is so much I wanna write about, but holy cats am I tired.

  • Mother’s Day was great, once Paul and I got done killing ourselves to put the house together. We’re almost done, which is good cuz we’ll have guests this weekend! We had Paul’s parents and Nonny over for a great dinner.
  • Mother’s Day wishes were appreciated, but weirded me out kinda a lot. I do not see myself as a mom yet, and it seems like asking for trouble to take something like that for granted with as high-risk as I am.
  • The house looks fantastic. The Guest Room/Office is stellar. The baby’s room is amazing. My bedroom is incredible. The house seems more open with the slight shifting of furniture, and the removal of a ton of clutter. We’re about 90% put back – gotta refill the bookcases and such. Paul’s parents have been MONUMENTALLY helpful in helping us get our house put back together.
  • My work shower is Thursday and my family/friends shower is Saturday. Paul and I CANNOT WAIT to see our friends and family this weekend. We’re literally giddy at the thought of seeing our friends.
  • We’re having an open house of sorts right before the shower (until we head over to Tom & Jeanne’s place) so anyone who wants to see the house and nursery can stop by.
  • School finishes for me this week, and I am so happy. One less non-baby thing I have to focus on right now is so appreciated.
  • Foot swelling is still epic. A pedicure didn’t help the swelling, but I feel so much better for getting it.
  • Belly pains are increasing. I can’t be up on my feet for very long before they kick in. Not cramping or contractions – just a dull constant pain across what would be my bikini line if I’d ever worn a bikini.
  • I ordered our cloth diapers. Ended up going with a different style that hopefully will eliminate the need for disposables all together. We’ll be starting out with prefolds and covers – which is the modern version of what Paul and I were in as babies. We’re planning on still getting some of the Pocket style diapers too, but not for at least a month or two.

Ok, really. That’s all I’ve got right now cuz I’m falling asleep sitting up.

What a Weekend! (29w3d)

Wow, what a weekend. The carpet is in, and the house is about 70% put back together. Most of our furniture is back inside (from the back patio) and in the right rooms.

Paul really really stepped up this weekend. I commended him for doing real Daddy stuff this weekend by working SUPER hard doing stuff he didn’t wanna do simply because it had to be done, and I couldn’t physically help him with it. Paul was up until 4:30 on Saturday morning clearing out the house. He was unloading bookcases, liquor cabinets and dressers and then moving the furniture outside onto the patio until the wee hours. I had to stop before midnight because I was having some pretty painful contractions that forced me to go lay down. (Whoever said that Braxton Hicks contractions don’t hurt was a LIAR.) I dozed off and on, trying to get up and come help every hour or so and collapsing back into bed within a couple of steps.

Paul came to bed at 4:30am. I got up at 6:30 and started working again, letting Paul sleep until 7:00. The installers called at 7:00 and said they’d be there at 8:00. But we still had our bedroom to finish packing (our nightstands and general daily use stuff…) Paul ended up finishing that part of packing because I had to take our dog Kishou to go get a bath at Petsmart to get her out of the house while the installers were there. I came home later with bagels for breakfast to find the couches and bedroom dressers in the backyard, the bed in the garage and pad already laid down!

Paul and I spent the next couple hours on the back patio doing maintenance and cleaning projects while the installers worked. (Paul cut a new ventilation hole in our entertainment cabinet and installed a fan to help cool our system that it trying to overheat.) I got cleaning supplies so that I could clean/dust the furniture before it came back in the house. (I wanted to clean the leather couches, but they were sitting in the hot sun.)

In just under 5 hours, the carpet was done! The installers helped Paul put the bed back together (even though they’re not supposed to) because Paul had moved so much of the furniture for them. The couches and recliners came back in and that’s about it. We tipped them (and gave them a 6-pack of beer) and Paul and I left to go get food and collect the dog from her bath. We returned and collapsed onto our bare mattress for a fantastic (in Paul’s case) nearly 4-hour nap.

Saturday night was very relaxed, as we were both still very tired after our nap. I slowly worked my way around the house cleaning stuff (OMG, ‘Magic Erasers’ are the single most appropriately named product EVER!) and Paul worked on cleaning up cables for our electronics. It was a quiet evening, and we both collapsed into bed (still unmade) around midnight.

Sunday found us starting the morning at Cracked Egg for breakfast (Peanut Butter
& Banana french toast!!) and then hitting Target to pick up what turns out to be the perfect light for the nursery! We came back home and were soon joined by Paul’s parents who were ready to help us build furniture. Jeanne spent the first hour+ wiping down everything in sight with her microfiber cloths, as there’s a heckuva lot of dust everywhere now. Paul and his dad tackled the new desk and hutch for the office – which turned into a MUCH bigger project than any of us imagined.

Jeanne and I built the 4-drawer dresser for the nursery (she and I built a couple of them a few months ago for our bedroom, so we were old hats at it) and then moved on to the crib. I picked up three battery-powered screwdrivers for the weekend and they made all the difference in the world! ($8 at Wal-mart and SO worth it!) It was pretty awesome to be sitting in my son’s room, building his crib. It went together much easier than I expected, honestly and looks just fabulous! (Thank you again, Aunt Nita!) Now all we need is a mattress for the thing! Ha!

We called it a night on Sunday and came back Monday evening to continue working. Tom and Jeanne have been great about helping us with this stuff. Jeanne and I put together the last dresser (baby’s room is getting one of our 4-drawer dressers, so we replaced it with a 6-drawer model) while Tom and Paul moved the trundle beds into the guest room/office and built the horizontal shelving unit. It’s SO great to finally have all those boxes out of the garage and have everything built! (Oh, and Tom took the slot machine and put it in his office at The Sun, so that’s even more room we have now!)

It’s been an amazingly busy weekend. Paul and I are still recovering – I accidentally took a 2-hour nap this afternoon because I sat down to have a snack. We’re plugging away at putting the house back together – there’s still a fair amount of stuff on the back patio. But we have this weekend to work on it and evenings this week and next week (altho not Thursday evenings, cuz our Childbirth classes start on Thursday) to get the house into shape before Oin & Cynthia are here for the shower, and all our other friends are invited over to see the nursery!

So for all of that – Paul and I are both astounded that we’re finally here. The point at which we’d be setting up the nursery and having the paint done, carpet in, furniture built always seemed SO FAR away. And now it’s here. It’s entirely likely that we will have our baby NEXT MONTH. Unreal.

(And no, there’s no pics yet. We’ve taken pics along the way as the nursery came together. I want to get the last things hung up on the wall and get the crib set up with linens before pics of the nursery are posted. Another week or so….)

Diapers & Fun Stuff (29w1d)

Lots has been going on in addition to boring appointments. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a real planner. So researching stuff for our little guy hasn’t been a burden. One of the first things I started taking a look at was cloth diapers.

Paul and I (truthfully, more Paul) have become a lot more eco-conscious since I got pregnant. I think it’s natural for expecting parents to start thinking more about the kind of world they’re leaving for their kid. The facts about disposable diapers are just terrifying. Bottom line, in addition to whatever goes into them during manufacturing (IE tons of chemicals in the plastics manufacturing process and the bleaching process for the filler, and the chemical compounds that absorb the wetness) they stick around in landfills for somewhere between 200-500 years. So, enter cloth diapers.

Cloth diapers have changed incredibly in the last 30 years. Gone are layer upon layer of cotton diapers secured with safety pins and crammed into a pair of rubber pants with too-tight gathers at the legs to prevent leaks. Today’s cloth diapers work similarly to disposable diapers, but with varying abilities to add (much thinner) layers for varying needs.

Cloth diapers are cheaper in the long run over disposables – even when you factor in the cost of washing them ourselves. (At least here in Las Vegas where water and power are cheap.) That said, cloth diapers main barrier to entry is the start-up cost. At an average of $15-$25 per diaper, building enough of a stash to allow for laundry days means a fairly large initial investment. (The used cloth diaper market is HUGE.)

But I found a brand of diapers that has been around for quite some time in their native Japan, and has been brought to the States in the last year or so: Kawaii Baby Diapers. They’re getting rave reviews all over the internet (on baby websites, and diaper blogs – yes… these things exist) and they’re about a quarter of the price!! No, they’re not organic cotton, and they do have velcro fasteners. I’m totally OK with all of this. Why? Because I can get a 20-diaper stockpile for $115! That makes this a MUCH more viable option for us!

We’ll still end up using disposable diapers for the first month or so, as cloth diapers tend to be a little big between the legs of a teeny newborn. But we’re really happy to be able to try out cloth diapers. We’re not concerned about the extra work of a couple of loads of laundry a week. The benefits of cloth diapering make it worth it to us. I haven’t purchased our diapers yet, but I will in the next couple of weeks. (I’ve been holding off as much as I can on buying things until after we have the nursery put together – and after the shower.)

Speaking of the shower: I’m having one at work too! I can’t believe that two weeks from Saturday is the shower at Paul’s parent’s place! I’m having such a good time seeing the RSVPs trickle in on the Evite. Especially now that more of Paul’s friends are responding that they’ll be able to attend. I know he’s really stoked that his buddies will be at the shower too. (Although I think we’re gonna have to get creative on the seating! I’m hoping it’s a lovely day outside so we can take advantage of the patio.) We’ll have two babies at the shower, because Caroline is bringing her 7-month-old little girl and Jeremiah and Jamila are coming from San Diego and bringing their 4-month-old little boy! Paul and I are SO looking forward to having friends and family gathered to celebrate our little man. It’s just going to be such a great afternoon (and weekend!)

But, I found out this week my co-workers will be throwing me a shower at work too, a couple days before the shower at Tom & Jeanne’s! We’ll connect up our three offices with the video conference system so friends in the Northern offices can share in the fun as well. I was really happy to hear that something is being planned. I tend to miss out on a lot in my office since my physical office is so far removed from everyone else – which facilitates getting stuff done, but can have an isolating effect as well. I remember Caroline’s shower late last summer – everyone had a good time. I hope mine is as enjoyable.

Other big thing right now is the house. We’re (again, mostly Paul) killing ourselves this week to clear out our belongings in preparation for the carpet install on Saturday. Dangit, there’s a lot of stuff in this house. But at the same time, I’m so stinking excited about the new carpet and then putting the house back together – because it means the nursery will be mostly put together, and we’ll be that.much.closer to having our baby here!! Paul and I both spend a moment or two in the baby’s room in the mornings when it’s bright and full of sunlight. We love the colors we painted. I can’t wait to finish the room in the next week.