Monday, March 31, 2014

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

I had some nausea and vomiting in first trimester. It seemed to strike in the morning, evenings, and especially the middle of the night. However, starting at about 19 1/2 weeks, I've been VERY nauseated only after dinner every. single. night. It's like clockwork. It hits about 20 minutes after I'm done taking my last bite. The bigger problem I'm running into is that I take all of my pills with dinner and have thrown them up (violently, might I add) a few times now. I'm planning to shift my pills to breakfast so even as I inevitably get sick at dinner, at least my pills won't be lost. I have a normal sized lunch and a small breakfast and this doesn't happen. Dinner is the winner here! And PS, I don't think it's the pills causing this because I've been on these exact same pills for far longer than I've been pregnant. No issues until just recently.

I'm not complaining, I'm so grateful to be in this position to even ask this question, but I'm wondering if anyone else ran into something similar? Only after-dinner nausea and vomiting? Sammy is breech, and the only explanation I can come up with is that her sweet little (or big?) noggin is squishing my stomach making it unable to hold very much volume. If I eat a VERY small dinner, it seems to help somewhat. So that's kind of my resolution right now. A few bites for dinner every night. Curious if this sounded familiar to anyone else reading.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The official nursery reveal!

I showed you guys a big part of our nursery the other day when I posted about the decal. Sammy's room is finished for all intents and purposes. Just a few finishing touches will be added after she is born such as family pictures in some of the empty photo frames. Obviously, we need photos of her to do that which means she has to be here!

Here's is the official nursery reveal complete with an extensive source list. Enjoy!

Gray Paint - Revere Pewter from Benjamin Moore (in Home Depot's Behr formula)
White Paint - Snowy Pine from Behr
Snowflake Wall Decal - custom order from Right on the Walls
Crib - Amazon - Delta Children's Products 4 in 1 Silverton
Sheep Sound Machine - Cloud b - Amazon
Crib Skirt and Bumper - Amazon - Baby Doll Hotel style collection
Snowflake Blanket - Target

Floor Lamp - Xhilaration Stardust - Target
Glider Chair - Wayfair
All of the white wall frames in the room - Ribba - Ikea
Curtains and chair pillow - Sewn with love by me! Hancock Custom Pink Canvas Fabric
Curtain Rod - Amazon - Levelor Sphere
Curtain Medallion Holdbacks - Amazon

Book shelf - Target - Threshold two-shelf bookcase
Desk lamp - Target
Bucket - Ikea (spray painted pink)
Pink picture Frame - Ross Dress for Less
Heartbeat Sheep (From RE)

Dresser - Eddie Bauer Langley - Target
Elephant - Heartbeat Elephant (from RE)
Wall Art - Free printable art  - various sources online
Small circle frame - Hobby Lobby
Mirrored music box - Family heirloom from my grandma

Changer - Target - Langley Open Changer
Changing pad cover - Target - Circo plush popcorn
Baby Monitor - Amazon - Infant Optics
Wall Wood S - Hobby Lobby - spray painted pink
Baskets - Burlington Coat Factory
Wall Art - Free printable art  - various sources online
Blanket - Ross Dress for Less

And we didn't buy these beautiful Muslin Swaddlers, but one of Kevin's co-workers got them for us. Too sweet not to share! They are monogrammed Aden and Anais Bamboo Swaddlers with Sammy's SLK initials on them. Love!

So there you have it - the nursery we have dreamed so long to create! Thanks for letting me share it with you all!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's more than just a nursery

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you'll know we started on our nursery crazy early. Probably as early as 12 weeks, or even earlier if I had to confess. We've had that room empty for a couple years prepping for this elusive baby during our long baby chase. But I realize now that working on it meant so much more than just getting the decor up or the furniture assembled. It was very symbolic for me. I felt like moving forward with it was a way of sending a message to my pregnant-after-loss brain stating this baby WILL get here, it's not IF she gets here. I was making a statement loud and clear. And besides, since we waited so long to have this baby, it didn't feel "early" to me anyway.

By pressing forward with the nursery and shoving fear aside I was telling infertility and the nagging loss brain to go eff itself. And it's felt really good.

So here I am today at 21 weeks (yay!) and it's about 99% finished. But I'm curious for the rest of you who have found success after infertility/loss, how has the timing of your nursery decorating been impacted by your infertility or loss thoughts? Do you feel like you should wait until the end of your pregnancy because of thoughts around infertility and/or loss? Or did/will you do it sooner? Did that not even weigh into the decisions at all? Did you forge ahead early because you felt entitled to after the long wait?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Good things come to those who wait

Kevin and I met while we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. We started dating in 2004 and got serious quickly. We both knew we wanted to get married and have a family. But one big hurdle was purchasing a family home to start out in while living in the expensive California market. The real estate market in the mid 2000s was as it's peak. As the future family man Kevin had always dreamed of being, in 2005 he purchased a San Jose condo with noble intentions believing it would be our foot in the real estate door to move up into a family home eventually. And for anyone who understands the Bay Area real estate market, you'll know how much of an accomplishment the purchase of even a condo can be!

You all know what happened next. The California housing market crashed hard shortly thereafter. The condo that Kevin originally paid $440,000 for had dropped down to a value of under $200k. The condo became less of a hopeful future for us and turned into an expensive ball and chain that made us feel stuck. Kevin and I got engaged in 2009 and we decided to start making some serious decisions about our future. Neither of us could fathom how we'd bridge the gap to sustain our fast paced careers, the expensive Bay Area lifestyle, and especially this 1200 sq foot condo with a family life and future children. We couldn't see how it would work out.

At that time, many homeowners were foreclosing and walking away from their mortgages. But I am proud of Kevin for choosing to keep his commitment to his lender. He didn't want to walk away from that financial commitment. After much discussion and planning and shortly after our engagement in 2009 we decided to take a leap to move to Austin, TX. We felt it offered the lifestyle that was more in line with what we were looking for. But we still couldn't sell the condo. It was massively underwater. We decided we'd rent it out to offset some of the mortgage costs (but definitely wouldn't cover it all) and we'd pray the market would improve to the point we could eventually sell it to at least break even.

We both felt at times that this was never going to happen. We talked about short selling, but Kevin was adamant about keeping his commitment. He is such a man of integrity. Time passed and we eventually bought our current home in Texas in 2010. It's humorous to me that we bought a 4000 sq foot, 6 bed/5ba home here for far less than half of the cost of the 1200 sq foot, 2bed/2bath condo in California! But hey, that's California vs Texas real estate market for ya! Glad we got in here when we did.

Then we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more.

We waited and watched the housing values like hawks.

Renters came and left, $700+ losses continued to be incurred every single month. Even with full rent coming in.

And we waited some more. I honestly didn't think an end was in sight.

With the California market finally going up and with Sammy on the way, Kevin decided to call his California Realtor just to discuss options hoping something creative could happen. We both thought it was a long shot to be able to perfectly time the existing renters lease end with the right time to sell, also while not leaving it uninhabited (with no incoming rent) as it showed. Lots of moving parts which was terrifying considering how much money is at stake! Bottom line is that we had to sell  for enough money to cover the current mortgage plus closing costs and commissions. I was skeptical it would happen anytime soon because it still seemed like a long shot.

The Realtor suggested that now was a good time to pull the trigger and to give the tenants the heads up that we were looking to sell. A couple of weeks ago the Realtor approached the current tenants to let them know the plans for showing and selling it.

In an unexpected and mindblowing twist to this story, the current tenants offered to buy it. The wife tenant is in medical school and they have a three year old. They love the place and don't want to move. SAY WHAT?! I didn't see that coming!

They put in an official written offer yesterday that BLOWS MY MIND. Not only will it cover the existing mortgage, fees, and commissions, but it will actually give us a little money to leave the situation with. I could cry, friends. The dream of finally being free of this condo has been going on for nearly a decade. I never saw it coming together like this.

It's beyond comprehension perfect timing and a perfect scenario.

There have been times where I struggled with the "why me?" aspects through all of the bad things that happened to us (ahem, 2011....I'm talking to you!) But I realize all of this had to be timed perfectly to happen NOW. Sammy was meant to be NOW. This ball and chain of a condo could only be sold NOW. This all is a blessing beyond comprehension.

No doubt that God had a plan for us all along despite my kicking and screaming along the way. I'm extremely proud of Kevin for choosing to do the right thing with this condo and for not defaulting on his debts. We are scheduled to close on the condo sale on April 25th and could not be more grateful for this incredibly shocking and unexpected turn of events. I had to share the fantastic news.

You know the saying "Good things come to those who wait"? That appears to be true for us in more ways than one. Grateful. Grateful. Grateful.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A snowflake's nursery

I got this beautiful decal applied in Sammy's nursery today. It makes me think back to our painful infertility journey and how we are finally at this point. It reminds me how Sammy was meant to be ours all along, and this is the time she was meant to be. I can't wait to lay her sweet head down in this room. I tear up every time I see it.

In case you're curious, I ordered the gorgeous custom decal custom from Right on the Walls as a recommendation from my friend Jess at A Greater Yes. I seriously could not be more pleased!!! I had a really hard time finding anything pre-made that fit what I was going for. If you're looking for something like this, I highly recommend that site (and no I did not get paid to say this.)

When the room is 100% finished, I'll make a post with lots of pictures complete with sources for everything in case anyone is interested. We've had a few questions about things and I'm happy to share!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Anatomy scan and half baked!

Well, friends, I'm at the halfway point! 20 weeks today! This morning, we had our much anticipated (and much feared, thank you PGaL brain) 20w anatomy scan. And great news - we were able to see that everything looked perfect in there! The only thing is that Sammy wouldn't give us a good shot of her ascending aorta and pulmonary arteries so we will be going back in a month. This doesn't mean there's a problem, but it just means they need to "check mark that box" according to my OB. He's not worried at all and is over the moon excited for how well it turned out. Today, she weighs 11 oz or almost the weight of a can of soda. LOL!

We learned that Sammy currently hangs out in the breech position which explains why most of the movement I feels is very low. Her little legs are just kicking away down there most of the time. But the surprising part is that her head is already much above my belly button! I had no idea she was so big. We got a few photos and a video that I wanted to share.

3d shot of her sucking her thumb! So cute <3 <3 <3

Looks like she's peeking through a curtain! Well hello there, Miss Sammy Snowflake!
This made all of us giggle. She really likes to keep her ankles crossed. She's quite a lady!
Bottom shot of her little feet in the crossed position shown above. I just want to kiss those toes!
And a video of miss wiggle worm...

We also registered at the hospital today. Can you believe it? I certainly can't.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Weekend recap

A lot happened over this past weekend, and it was good. Here's the recap.

Saturday I met up with a friend of mine for lunch who I haven't seen for a while. She is a woman I met through church who also struggles with infertility. She and her husband pursued traditional adoption through the foster system nearly a year ago. But shortly after being placed with three beautiful boys, ages four, three, and one, sadly, she suffered the loss of them as they were removed from her home. It crushed her beyond comprehension and my heart is forever broken for her. I hadn't seen her for many months and it was good to catch up, just the two of us. At lunch, I learned that she and her husband are planning to live child-free which I know has been an excruciatingly painful decision for her. I wish I could heal her pain. I hate that I can't. I hate that I can't heal anyone's pain from the cruel world of infertility. You can imagine my surprise when at the end of our lunch, she pulled out a gift bag of various baby items for Sammy. As I pulled them out, I learned that many of these items were treasured items to be used by my friend for her boys. I could see the tears well in her eyes as she told me how much these items meant to her, but she insisted she wouldn't give them to anyone else but me.


Words seriously can't express how honored and touched I am. These items go far beyond the items themselves. I will cherish every single item. Such a selfless woman. I hope that good things will come to her and her husband, in one way, shape, or form. I pray for joy for her.

On my way back from lunch, my dad called. We had a very upsetting conversation over the phone last week when I tried to tell him how much I missed him after he's distanced himself. That phone call ended horribly with him screaming at me and calling me names. But this time, he had a calm voice tone and wanted to see if I wanted to get together to talk. I was 99% sure that his invitation was a positive one (but when dealing with someone who suffers from bipolar, you just never can know for sure.) So I agreed to pick him up and chat at my house.

He was in a calm space which already laid the foundation for a good talk. We talked for about two hours and I felt I was adequately able to express my concerns. He told me that it's been hard for him to accept that this pregnancy is real. He knows we lost two babies before, and he also lost his spouse just over two years ago. He is traumatized by loss. He's scared of losing Sammy too. I had no idea he felt that way but I am glad he opened up about it. He apologized for his behavior the other night and for calling me a brat. I let him know how much I worry about him in general, his health, and his overall choices since my mom passed away. It's apparent I'm always going to worry about him. But at least this talk was a step in a good direction for our relationship. I'm still going to see a therapist to understand how I can best cope with an aging, blind parent who suffers from bipolar disorder. I clearly don't have the proper tools to deal with it. Having a loved one who suffers from bipolar disorder royally sucks.  Because while most days can be good, you never know when the next bad day will roll around. But for today, we are in a good-ish place. I hope it lasts!

Then lastly, on Sunday, I had my first newborn photo session. I was so nervous and so excited all at the same time! Kevin came along as my assistant and we drove to the home of a very special blog reader to meet her precious newborn baby boy. I'm talking BRAND new - just four days old! I spent nearly two hours taking family portraits and newborn photos. Hats, props, blankets, the whole shebang. It was really fun getting to know the blog reader and her husband. But it was also nerve wracking seeing how I have no idea what I'm doing yet I really didn't want to let them down.

Once I got the photos home and started the post-production work on them, I realized I had taken several photos with great potential and I breathed a sigh of relief. Not only was photographing this baby a wonderful experience, I had a really good time chatting with the blog reader and her husband. In fact, she had delivered her son at the hospital I will be delivering Sammy at, and her OB is even in the same practice as mine! Kevin really got along with her husband and had lots in common! I hope that means we made some new friends! The most touching thing about the whole visit was that my new friend/blog reader (and you know who you are) pulled out the sweetest little gift to give to us. It was a book called Wherever you are, my love will find you. She got it for us because she knew how much I loved to read to Sammy. She hit the nail on the head there, that's for sure! Such a thoughtful gift.

As if that weren't enough...I opened up the book yesterday morning to read to my Sammy-belly and was surprised to find the sweetest note written inside. Holy cow, new sure know what to say to tug at my heart! She suffered from infertility herself and it really shines through in messages like this one:

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Needless to say, it made me cry. In a happy way. The book was also a tearjerker and a reminder of the love I have for this little baby. It also reminded me of the love my mom had for me.

I am so very blessed. I really am.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bump pictures

I am 19w4d today. I'm starting to look more and more pregnant and I am loving every moment of it! And as much as I am excited to meet baby Sammy in August, I think I will miss having her in my tummy once she's out. I'm relishing in every second of it because I know each moment I am pregnant is a privilege and something I am beyond grateful for. Something I thought might never happen.

I had a fantastic weekend. I'll write about it tomorrow, but I'm on my way out the door at the moment! I'll leave you with some bump pics from this morning!

Friday, March 7, 2014

18 week bump photos

Here are some pictures of me from this morning at 18w1d. I think I'm finally starting to look pregnant!
Happy Friday, everyone.

I <3 you, Sammy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A new morning ritual

I have a confession to make.

Ever since about 15 weeks, I have added a new morning ritual to my day before getting ready for work. I feed the pets, eat my breakfast, then go upstairs into Sammy's nursery. Sometimes Oscar and/or the cats follow me. We (me, Sammy, and whichever pets have joined along) pick out a book from her growing book collection and I sit into the glider next to her crib with one hand on my belly and one on the book. Then I read the chosen book out loud! Every single morning. And I LOVE IT.

At first, it felt ridiculous. It felt like I was talking to myself and any fly on the wall would think I was losing my mind. But now it's something I look forward to so much! We've already read lots of books, and we (I guess I) already have some clear favorites. Obviously Sammy has no idea what I'm saying and won't for a very long time. But I hope she feels a growing connection between us already. My mom loved to read to us, and some of my most treasured memories with her were when she read to us at night. It thrills me to no end to look into Sammy's little bookcase and think of the memories we will make when we get to meet her this Summer.
Underpants Thunderpants, Lamb-a-roo, and Princess Baby are some of my favorites so far!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Making another dream a reality

As you may or may not know, I have been having fun with photography as a hobby for a while now. I really, REALLY enjoy taking pictures. It makes my heart go pitter-patter even thinking about how much I love it. I used to work full time as a graphic designer/photo editor in the early 2000s and loved the ability to create on a regular basis. And luckily, photo editing was a skill I became pretty good at because of that job. Then I gradually moved my career into IT which has also been fulfilling. But it lacks the creative aspects that the graphic design offered. IT satiates the analytical and troubleshooting side of my brain though, that's for sure!

For quite a while, I've secretly dreamed about starting my own photography business on the side, but that seemed like such a far-fetched thought. Well, now with the incredible advice of a good friend of mine who owns her own photography business herself, I am going to jump in and finally make it happen! This is a great way for me to have a creative outlet on top of my current IT job, have lots of fun, and make some extra money on the side for when miss Sammy arrives. I could not be more motivated and excited!

Currently I'm practicing on friends and am adding equipment to my collection to do professional portraits and newborn sessions. I had a name for my business picked out that incorporated my name into it, but unfortunately I found out another photographer uses it for her business in another state. So back to the drawing board! I'm still working on a name. I think by me telling you all this through my blog, it feels more real which is a gigantic and freeing step toward making it a reality!

And PS, if you and/or your family are in the Austin area and would like to be my guinea pig for some portraits that will go into my portfolio in exchange for a photo DVD, shoot me an email.

Oscar has been a great model for me so far!
This picture would look better with a happy couple in it, wouldn't it?

A happy bird and a happy man.