Friday, December 30, 2016

24 Weeks and Happy New Year

Isabella is 24 weeks along today.

 Yesterday she weighed one pound 6 ounces (45th percentile) and if they gave us the length we don't remember it (fail).

The fruit/vegetable comparison thing has been helpful for us visual types.  It has also been extra fodder for my brother's ongoing comedy routine.  See our text exchange below from when I sent out the ultrasound pic to my family yesterday:

I had a regular appointment with the OB today.  All was well.  They didn't even mention the 10 pounds (yes, 10 pounds!) I gained in December.  I hope that those 10 pounds cover both December and January!  My next appointment is at the end of January and will include the Glucose test.

Speaking of January it is hard to believe we are only a day away from the new year.  My parents (should) be coming down this weekend for New Years (winter weather headed their way last night so we shall see).  We will likely watch football, play games, eat (& drink for those who can) and hang out at home to ring in 2017.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ella's Echo

Babies born through the assistance of IVF are at an increased risk for congenital heart defects.  As a result an echocardiogram was scheduled as a part of our prenatal care for this morning.  We were certainly not going to complain as it provided us another opportunity to see our pretty girl and to get a picture as to her general health and well being.

Given the hustle and bustle of the season I had not given the appointment much thought.  That is until the knee I managed to wrench last night while unpacking and my new pregnancy pillow were at odds waking and then keeping me up.  I spent 1:30-3:00 this morning considering all that could go wrong.

TMI warning:  Added to the general "What if" concerns is some dampness of unknown origin I have been experiencing over the last few days.  With all of the preterm labor warnings I have been reading about (and leaking fluids being one of them) I was doing a lot of praying this morning!

Fortunately, my prayers were answered and the appointment was a success.  Everything looked perfect with Miss Ella.  Also, they did not seem concerned about my fluid levels and my cervix is still long so there were no signs of preterm labor and they are chalking the dampness up to discharge.

We also got the added bonus of a few 3D images.  Our girl is a shy one, so we only got one where her arms were not covering her face:

Isn't she beautiful?!?!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Very Merry Christmas

Last year as we traveled home from our annual trek to TN and PA we had a very difficult conversation related to where we wanted to go next in our journey toward parenthood.  How wonderful is our God that one year later our conversations on the way home were centered on what life would be like in the coming year with the birth of our baby girl!

Since we began dating almost 13 years ago we have rotated so that one year we spend Christmas eve/ day with J.T.'s family and the next year with mine.  This year we spent Christmas eve/day with J.T's family.  Friday night his aunt and uncle took the families out for dinner.  We go to see another aunt and one of his cousin's that we have not seen in years.  On Saturday (Christmas eve) we went with his mom and stepdad to see a very well done production of A Christmas Carol.  We then went out dinner and came home to watch the Livestream showing of Christmas Eve service from our church and, as is tradition, It's a Wonderful Life.

On Christmas we opened gifts (for ourselves and for Ella:).  J.T. got me a beautiful locket and jewerly box in which to keep it.  It may have made me cry:).

                  The love between a mother and daughter is forever.     We prayed for 2,190 days... He Answered.  1 Samuel 1:27

I.G.K & B.M.K 
Christmas 2016

After presents we ate Christmas dinner and watched Christmas movies.

On Monday we hopped back in the car and traveled to PA where we visited with my dad's family basically upon arrival.  My sister-in-law and niece & nephew came a little bit later and we opened presents and played games.  On Tuesday we went and saw Rogue One with my parents (RIP Carrie Fisher) and in the evening watched a bunch of home movies.

It was hard to believe this morning that it was already time to get back in the car to to go home.  J.T. had done all the driving to this point, so I took a turn.  We stopped every 2-3 hours, but when we got home I felt worse than I did while driving and worse than I expected.  I guess this was the last travel we will do until after Ella arrives as I expect getting bigger will not make travel any easier!

Looking forward to spending next Christmas at home with our 8 month old:).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Operation Organization is a Success!

It only took two days, two trips to At Home (one for purchasing and one for returns), and a trip to Target for me to pleased with the results.  A place for everything and everything will (hopefully!) go in its place...

Monday, December 19, 2016

And the winner is...

You may recall my story about the name we had picked for our baby girl all those years ago.  Well I drove past that little shop today and realized I had not yet officially shared baby girl's name on this blog (though if you read the 21 weeks sign closely you saw it:).  Here is a pic of the shop and a close up of the sign:


Grace was an easy choice for a middle name as in recent years it became abundantly clear that the only way we would be starting a family was through the grace of God.

It became even more clear that Isabella Grace was the perfect name when I looked up the meaning of the name Isabella:

I am going to keep the runner up under wraps in the event we need it in the future.  However, I will share option number three which seemed like a real contender until about the third or fourth day we were testing it out.  J.T. threw out the name Adeleine (pronounced Add-a-line) after I couldn't make up my name about the other two.  However after working at ATT for years J.T. began to pronounce her full name would be "Adeleine for $9.99" soooo there went that one!

So far we have yet to call her Isabella when we talk to or about her.  I call her Ella (Bella is out since it is the name of my sister's Miniatur Schnauzer) and J.T. has been calling her Izzy.  The name Isabella offers so many nicknames I suspect she will rarely hear her full first name!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Christmas Music...check!
Holiday baking...check!
Frigid temperatures...check!

We finally took the fall decor back up in the attic and lugged the Christmas stuff down last weekend. We will not be in town on Christmas so we are not doing a tree, so it was fairly easy once I got started.  Well there may have been a rigid strand of garland that made me mad and went to live in the trash, but I digress...

Monday night was the 2nd/3rd grade holiday concert.  It was cute, but REALLY long.

On Sunday, I started the baking for my annual dessert bar for my staff and may have gained about 25 pounds just from sampling my wares.  I am pleased with how it turned out.

Just realized I left the lids on most of the stuff when I took the pic.  Under wraps are a Thin Mint Cake, Candy Cane Brownie Cookies, and Reece's Peanut Butter Fudge.

I don't have much to do on the shopping front.  J.T. sent me a link to what he wanted so I have that ordered.  My family doesn't exchange gifts and my niece and nephew are 15 and 16 so cash is king.

While I enjoy the laid back nature of our family of two Christmas preparations, I am very much looking forward to next year's Christmas preparations while chasing a crawling 8 month old around:).

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Last fall we began to make a concerted effort to break out of our weekend rut (movies and going out to eat were the primary means of entertainment) and take advantage of all of the things our city had to offer.

I am so glad we did because since the start of this school year our weekends devolved back to going out to eat/movies and over the last few weeks have devolved even further into take out (or one raging Saturday night-cereal!) and Netflix/Amazon On Demand/Redbox.

I have decided we are simply hibernating.  We're not boring, we are storing up our energy for baby girl's arrival this spring.   Yeah, that's what I will keep telling myself...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Organization Needed Stat!

A teacher brought in a bag of baby clothes for me yesterday  She is having a baby girl herself, but she is due in a just a few weeks so she passed along the NB and 0-3 month summer clothes to me.  I was excited to come home and sort through the super cute, tiny outfits.

However, as I was sorting I began to feel a bit claustrophobic as I realized that this tiny bag of clothes was just the beginning and in the months to come many, many, MANY other tiny skirts, sleepers, pants, hats, socks, onesies, etc. are going to enter our home and if I don't come up with a plan to get it all organized fast we will soon be buried in very cute, but very many new baby items!

You see I was not born an organized person.  My mom was and I was forever exacerbating her growing up as our home was VERY neat except when the hurricane that was me came through.  Picture Pig Pen from Peanuts but instead of dirt I was surrounded by stuff!

Once I was out of my parents house I realized I needed some systems or I was going to spend my life looking for things I had lost or feeling discombobulated because I was used to living in order.  God bless the internet, HGTV, Pinterest and other resources that have helped me remain sane and fool the world into thinking I am a naturally organized person.

So, with all of that being said, I am in the process of trying to figure out the best way(s) for organizing all of the STUFF that this tiny baby girl will be bringing into our lives.  I am planning to set up the nursery over winter break, but got a head start on getting some ideas for how to organize things and bought some bins this morning to organize the items I got yesterday.

Friday, December 2, 2016

20 Weeks--Halfway Point!

Time is tricky.

Some weeks I think it's Wednesday and it's really Thursday (score!).  Some weeks I think it's Wednesday and it's only Tuesday (boo!).  Some weeks seem to fly by in the blink of an eye.  Some weeks seem to move at a snails pace.

With all that being said it is hard to believe we are 20 weeks in and it is equally hard to believe that we still have 20 weeks (fingers crossed!) to go!

20 Weeks

Baby Girl is the size of a...


Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Appointment

Another successful doctor's appointment!  We heard her heartbeat and all of our numbers looked good.  It would have been another in and out appointment, but I came armed with questions this time. Questions related to labor and delivery.

When I was in college TLC used to have the wedding story and the baby story.  I enjoyed both, BUT could not watch the baby story past when the mother went into labor.  I honestly didn't want to know what it was like.   I do remember in a high school classes watching the miracle of birth, so I had seen it once and that seemed to be good enough for me until the time came.   Well the time is coming...gulp.

Since becoming pregnant I assumed that I would go for an epidural--no questions about it.  However, after doing some reading I have a few concerns related to the ability (or lack thereof) to push with an epidural and how it may impact the breastfeeding process.

The doctor answered each of my questions and ultimately summarized our discussion with my favorite answer--"It can [to a certain point] be a game time decision."  Sounds like a plan to me!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One Final Gender Reveal

Before they were iced.                                     Iced and ready to go to school!

The teachers and staff enjoyed the cupcakes.  It also ended up being kind of neat as a number of the TAs brought the cupcakes to the teachers in their classrooms so a bunch of the kids got to be in on the reveal as well:).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Getting it Right (Part 2)

I have never been considered a perfectionist, but in retrospect there are a few times that I wanted things to go  just right.

My first year of teaching was a whirlwind and by the end I feel like I got chewed up and spit out.  At the end of that school year and all throughout the summer that followed I put all my energy toward setting the stage for year two to be just right.  All of my efforts paid off and while it was not a perfect school year it was just right and in fact I liked that class so much I looped from third grade to fourth grade with that second class of kiddos.

Every girl dreams of her wedding day and wants it to go just right.  I was no exception.  Once we decided on where (as in which state) we would get married, wedding planning went smoothly.  The wedding and reception went off without a hitch, we had a blast, and with the exception of our wedding pictures, it all seemed to go just right.

When it was time to buy a house we wanted one that was just right.  We researched and planned for about 4 months before actually picking a realtor and going on the house hunt.  I think all of our pre-work paid off and we found the house that was just right for us in lucky #7.

With all of this in mind I guess it should come as no surprise that after 6 years of patiently waiting to bring our first child home, I want things to be just right for her.

However, when I really stop and think about it I don't think she is much going to care about which outfit she wore home from the hospital. Nor do I think she is going to care about the other clothes she wore as a baby.  She is certainly not going to care about a first stocking that will likely be replaced for her actual first Christmas (and that can only handle a tiny bit of loot anyway:).  She may care about her name, but at the end of the day even if she hates it someday she may be as blessed as I to carry something so trivial as a primary piece of "baggage" from her childhood (#FWP).

Bottom line:  There is no just right when it comes to having a baby.

With that in mind:

I just placed orders for the items in the top row and will pick up one of these stockings the next time I am at Target.

Now I'm off to go tell J.T. her name:).

Monday, November 28, 2016

Getting it Right (Part 1)

So you've heard my ramblings on choosing a name and picking the one that is just right.  However, the more I reflect on some other decisions I have been (or rather have NOT been making) regarding baby girl, I think the name conundrum may be a part of something bigger.

You may recall a few years ago when we decided to adopt we also decided to set up a gender neutral nursery just in case we got a drop in the lap placement and needed to be ready ASAP.  You may also remember that in January I put the nursery away and converted it back into a guest room because it hurt my heart to see it unused.  Who knew (well of course God knew) that we would be converting it back into a nursery within the same year as I plan to set it back up while I am off for winter break at the end of December.

So while we have basically a complete nursery ready to go, I have yet to buy a single thing for baby girl.  Wait, that's not 100% true.  When I got the call that baby girl WAS baby girl I was at school, so I got to a special gender reveal just for J.T.  I stopped at a child consignment store and as luck would have it (or as God gave an assist) they had a baby UNC Cheerleading outfit that I bought and wrapped for him to open.

He was surprised and loved it.  So while technically I bought the outfit and baby girl will wear it one day, I bought it with J.T. in mind.

So having some time to think over the last week I have turned my sights on buying something for baby girl.  Last Sunday I randomly started googling coming home from the hospital outfits.  While I like the ones that say "Hello World!" I couldn't find one that was just right.

On Black Friday I tried to find a pair of super cheap brown boots.  I was successful, but needed to spend $30 more to get free shipping.  I found a grilling pan I had been wanting for a while for dirt cheap and still needed to spend $10 so I looked at baby clothes.  There were several items I clicked on and considered but I couldn't settle on anything that was just right.

On Sunday when I was at Target and saw the Christmas items I thought it would be cute to buy baby girl a stocking.  I saw a pink one at the front of the store and decided to pass.   In the Christmas section I saw a little red one that I put in the cart.  About half-way though the grocery section I put it back because it wasn't just right.

I am normally a very decisive person so what gives?

Oh wait, I think I see a pattern...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What's in a name?

A WHOLE lot apparently!  Now that we have shared with the world that we are having a baby girl the next inevitable question is "Do you have a name picked out yet?".  Well...ya see...about that...

Over a decade ago I worked at a little cafe (with a handsome man who would become my husband) and each day would pass a little boutique with a name that I really liked.  As J.T. and I would discuss the future we would discuss names of our future children.  I suggested this particular girl's name and J.T. agreed it would be a nice name for a future daughter.  When we decided to adopt we added a middle name to this name and were all set in the event that the stork brought a little girl.

Well little girl is on her way and...I'm no longer sure about the name:(.

So after we found out we were having a girl, I had to lay this little bombshell on J.T.  He handled it very well and in fact offered a second suggestion that once upon in my daydreams had been the name of our second daughter should we ever become so blessed which amazingly we had never discussed, BUT I couldn't commit to that name either!

If we peel back the onion there are some valid(?) reasons...

First, I was one of six girls who had virtually the same name (my name is often a nickname for a more formal name, but I just got the nickname), and that name we selected all those years ago has gained significant popularity.  Such popularity that there are FOUR little girls with that same first name in this year's kindergarten class.  The lack of uniqueness to my name has always somewhat bothered me.  While I am not one who feels the need to name my child a totally outlandish name just for the sake of being unique, but I would prefer to avoid a trendy (which has a way of becoming common) name.

Then you have the fact that my parents were all set with a middle name to honor my late great-grandmother, but they had not chosen a first name.  For that matter, it did not seem like they were having a difficult time choosing, they did not have a first name, period!  Family lore explains that the delivery nurse was trying to be helpful and said "_____ is a nice name!" and my parents agreed and poof that became my name.  I love my parents dearly and wouldn't trade any part of my upbringing, but I want our little girl to feel like her name is special and name #2 while it represents a wonderful trip we had I don't know if it fits the bill for being special.

As a born and bred yankee I am accustomed to babies not being named (or those names not being shared) until baby arrives.  Well wouldn't you know it after living in the south for 16 years I somehow missed the memo that southern babies are usually named pretty early on in the pregnancy and those names become public.  Well one you have one yankee parent and one southern parent that makes things a bit tricky.

J.T. also accurately pointed out that we have been calling tiny baby "Baby girl" which is also what we use as one of (many) nicknames for one of our puppies and it feels kinda weird to have two "Baby Girls" traipsing about our house.

So I need to get cracking on a decision.  Hoping God gives me a sign soon...

Friday, November 25, 2016

Turkey Day, Gilmore Girls, and 19 Weeks

Since we do Thanksgiving with my family early each year and we do an annual Thanksgiving before the actual day with our community group, by actual Thanksgiving we are content to do whatever.  Some years we go to J.T.'s moms, some years we host and other years we go to his step-grandmothers house.  We were supposed to do the latter this year, but J.T. woke up with a cold on Wednesday morning and by Thursday morning didn't want to go anywhere.

Luckily the grocery store was open until 2 so I was able to pull some things together and my brother came up for dinner.  Luckily we don't really like turkey so it was easy to find a ham instead:).  It was a beautiful and warm day so we even go to spend some time sitting outside.  

J.T. took Friday off, but I had called dibs way back in the summer for watching the Gilmore Girls reboot on Black Friday so that is what we (I) did.

Overall I was content with the show.  8 years later it is easier to see that Lorelei and Rory are both much more superficial and selfish than I would have given them credit for once upon a time (though I guess it has always been the case).  I did not love the ending, but after processing and getting input from others I can see some of the parallels that they were going for so I can live with it.  

Today also marks

She is still moving some here and there, and I can't wait until her movements can be felt on the outside as I know J.T. is super excited to be able to feel her move:).

Thursday, November 24, 2016


We clearly have so very much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all the many blessings you have given us.  Thank you for taking care of our physical needs of food, water and shelter without fail.  Thank you for growing our faith and our marriage each and every day.  Thank you for friends and family who share in our life.  Thank you for allowing us to support ourselves in abundance.  

THANK YOU for the plans you have for us.  Plans that have allowed us to know our beautiful daughter from the moment of her conception.  Plans that have allowed us good health and good fortune in preparing for her entrance into our family and your kingdom here on earth.  Plans of which I have no current inkling, but will be for our good.  

For these and so many other blessings we thank you.  In your holy and precious name I pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Diet and Exercise

One of my goals for this trimester has been to eat better and exercise.  I would love to say check and check, but unfortunately not-so-much:(.

What can I say?  I like food and unfortunately I don't really like healthy food.  When given the option between a grilled chicken breast or a piece of pizza I am always going to choose the pizza!  I have done pretty well with eating two-three servings of fruit each day, but some days the only vegetable I have is baked Lays.  The good news is I am not doing a ton of overeating, but it's probably not great to rely on my prenatal vitamin for nutritional value.

The other issue is that unless I HAVE to do something (like work or class or something) I am such a lazy bones these days.  So even though I have the ingredients for a yummy spinach salad that I actually enjoy I managed to order pizza for dinner last and ate leftover pasta salad from the party for lunch today and yesterday.  For baby girl's sake I have got to get better!

I didn't really gain in trimester one, and have gained a pound a week in trimester two (with the exception of the week we went away where I managed to gain three!).  All told I have gained 8 pounds which I guess isn't too bad, but I feel like I am failing baby girl or somehow setting her up to be a carb and sugaraholic like her mama.

Only this week, being off from school and classes, have I begun exercising.  I have walked 2-3 miles each day this week and hope to keep this up in the coming weeks as my classes begin to taper off for the semester.  If I can walk 5 days a week until the new semester begins that gives me about 6 weeks of steady exercise which would be a HUGE improvement.  The temperatures have dropped, but if the days stay this beautiful it hopefully won't be too hard to do!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mover and Shaker

At least I think that's what's she's doing.  Last weekend I felt a few of the "bubbles" I have heard are the beginning sensations of movement moms feel from their baby.  Last week was crazy busy so I didn't notice any through the week.

Then on Sunday morning I ate some chocolate covered Oreos (you know breakfast of champions) and I felt some waves of movement.  These have continued here and there.  It feels kind of weird (good weird, but weird:).  I am glad she is keeping busy in there and I am looking forward to feeling her move more in the days to come!

Monday, November 21, 2016

It's a...

well before we get to that, let me catch up on the craziness that has been the last few weeks😉.

Between daylight savings, Halloween, the Election, the Supermoon AND three days of indoor recess (due to the wildfires in the mountains impacting local air quality), the little children have been a bit busier than normal!  Bless their teachers for keeping their eyes on the prize (a WEEK long break for Thanksgiving) and their grumblings to a minimum (at least in my presence:).

The end of the semester looms and the to do list includes a 15 page research page, book review, field study reflection, and policy brief.  Unfortunately my motivation is lacking which makes these assignments even more daunting.

Along with all of this busyness, we have just finished celebrating Gender Reveal/J.T.'s 40th birthday week!

Last weekend we met my family in the mountains of Maryland for our annual Thanksgiving.

Friday night we did our gender reveal (cake pop style!).

Saturday we did formal family pictures (my cousin is a photographer) and J.T. and I managed to get our Christmas card done!  We topped the day of with a Thanksgiving Feast.  Sunday we turned around and headed home.

J.T.'s birthday was Wednesday, but because I had class he had to settle with a card and a cupcake until the weekend.  Friday night we went out for Hibachi (J.T.'s traditional birthday dinner choice since he was a kid) and then went to Party City and the grocery store to stock up for our (Star Wars themed) Gender Reveal & (Surprise) Birthday party.  It was a lot of fun, but I am not throwing a three -themed party again!

For the actual reveal we did more cake pops.

Sunday night was more Thanksgiving (Friendsgiving with our community group from church) and one final gender reveal with my college roommates.  I had mailed them gender reveal cookies which arrived without incident to each of them on Friday.  We had originally planned on a Google hangout, but due to technical issues, did a conference call instead.  So with the exception of my staff, for whom I plan to make gender reveal cupcakes (hey I may only get to do this once, so I am intentionally running the gamut!) everyone we know and love knows it's a...


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Anatomy Scan

We got to see tiny baby this morning at our anatomy scan.

Heartbeat strong and steady.

Weighing in at a solid 1/2 pound!  According to my What to Expect app weight at 18 weeks is 5 oz, so we may have another "chubby cheekers" (that was my older brother's nickname for me when I was a baby) on our hands:).

We experienced our first joint parent fail in that neither of us managed to catch the length, but tiny baby is looking perfect.

There was only one measurement they couldn't get precisely because despite all of tiny baby's movement, the head would only move when the machine was on the opposite side.  By the time they got it in place, the little stinker moved back in the same spot--ha, ha!

The doctor made a comment about long fingers which was nice as one of my parents' favorite stories to tell about me as a baby is that when my dad took me to the doctor one day an older lady commented on my "long and beautiful fingers". She then held up one of my dad's hand to examine his fingers and exclaimed "Well, she didn't get them from you!":).  So it's nice to see that tiny baby and I already share a common characteristic.

Overall measurements put us just a bit ahead (18 w, 2 d vs. the current 17 w, 6 d).  We couldn't ask for more!

(They got some good shots which I will come back and post once I am able to disentangle myself from these two sleeping puppies.)