Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Final Stretch | Weeks 38-39

The last days of pregnancy are the absolute longest… (especially for Georgia), but it’s given me extra nesting time, so that’s good! On Saturday, I completely gutted our master bedroom, flipped our mattress and even mopped under the bed before bringing in Will’s Pack ‘n Play. We’ve had two garage sales, completely emptied entire rooms in the house and I’ve taken 3 Jeep loads of donations to Goodwill so far, with more left to purge! I’m creating a bit of panic for the wife though, who doesn’t like to get rid of anything and is convinced that I am going to eventually toss, donate or recycle everything she owns, haha! We are now 38 weeks + 3 days, which means that Georgia has carried our little guy for 6 days longer than she carried Grace… and for us, 6 days feels like forever!

The mamas are ready for this sweet baby boy to make his appearance! Like soooo ready, and here’s why. Reason #1: Georgia is more than OVER being pregnant with our giant baby! I’ve been joking lately that if family and friends stop hearing from me, it’s because G has killed me and dumped my body in the Rio Grande River! But seriously, grumpy bear does not begin to describe my little preggers and I seem to get on her nerves now more than ever. Sometimes I bite back, but mostly I just apologize for mistakes I haven’t made, because that makes life in our household run more smoothly (and please sweet baby Jesus, do not let her read this post… I’ll be dead for sure)! ;) Reason #2: my job is draining my soul. The experience I’ve had preparing for FMLA with my current company, has been like night and day compared to my medical leave experience 5 years ago with my former organization. People in our leadership team have completely changed the way they interact with me since finding out that I intend to take the full 3 months off (they seriously assumed I would only take 2-3 weeks, as if…). I’ve also been reassigned to a new Director since sharing the news of my plans to take 3 months of leave and they’ve piled on the work. Like, regular workload x 3… I don’t want to think that I’m being retaliated against for taking medical leave, but it often feels that way. Reason #3: we just really, really want to meet our little guy! The anticipation of seeing his beautiful face is just too much. We want to hold him and smell him and kiss his little forehead so bad it hurts!

In baby prep news, Gracie went to her Big Sister/Big Brother class at the hospital this past weekend and it was just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! There were 7 kids ranging in age and Grace looked to fall somewhere in the middle of the age range. These little cuties spent the afternoon learning baby safety skills as well as how to change, swaddle and hold a baby. They took a tour of the hospital and watched a pretty hilarious video on what to expect when mom goes into labor. They each got to decorate a gift bag for their siblings “birthday” and select a gift to put inside for their sib. William will be getting a super soft and adorable blue knit hat as his gift from sister and we can’t wait to see Gracie give it to him! The class was, of course, heavy on the mom and dad lingo and we were the only rainbow family there, but we are pretty used to that. This, I have no doubt, is what prompted Grace to tell us that she wanted a dad the morning following the class. I knew the day might come when she would say something like this and so we did our research and have been prepared for the conversation and I think we handled it well. We wanted to make sure Gracie felt open to sharing her feelings and asked questions rather than taking over the conversation. As it turns out, the sole reason Gracie said she “wants a dad” is because, “they’re handsome”. That’s it. That was her reason and I had to keep from giggling when she said it. I swear we have the most Disn.ey Prince Charming obsessed kid on the planet! ;) We talked about other special dudes she has in her life who love her and once we were finished talking about her Papa, Grandpa K and her many uncles, she was satisfied with our 10-minute conversation and quickly shifted focus to her favorite cartoon, Loud House.

Georgia and I were able to sneak a last date night into the mix before baby and it was so nice. The fancy banquet was for Georgia’s work and required that we get all gussied up and find a babysitter. G looked beautiful, as always and I got to wear a new dress I bought long ago but hadn’t yet had a reason to wear it. I always enjoy going to the wife’s work stuff because I love seeing how admired she is by her colleagues. They all adore her and go to her for basically everything. Her career has sent us on many all-expense covered business trips as a family; they paid for nearly 80% of our IVF costs (amazing, right!) and financed 100% of Georgia’s MIS graduate degree. They’ve actually paid her what she’s truly worth these past 17 years and are about to send her on a second fully paid maternity leave following the baby shower they threw for us! If only every organization invested in their female employees as they’ve invested in her – our country would be in much better shape, IMO.

We found the last thing we needed for baby brother’s room, per the recommendation of another LBGT mama in one of my online parenting groups. Check out Will’s super cool Himalayan Salt Lamp (aka, his nightlight)! Georgia first introduced me to these things at Christmas when she bought her mom one, but I never thought to use it as a nightlight! It’s a natural air purifier, reduces allergies, improves mood, provides light therapy for baby boy and has the most soothing red and orange glow + it looks like a meteorite from Outer Space! That parts just a bonus. 
Warning: it is extremely heavy though. So if you get one for your kiddo, be sure to secure it to the wall. 

Our hospital bags are officially packed and there are two car seats in our vehicles now, you guys! TWO! Before installing little bear’s car seat, I wanted my Commander in the best possible shape, so I had a new windshield put in, did all the usual maintenance and had it detailed including steam cleaning the interior and now I feel like we’re ready to bring our little guy home in there. Grace loves that she will get to sit right next to him and is obsessed with playing with his rear-facing jungle mirror. I can’t get her to keep her sticky fingers off the darn thing, nor can I keep her out of brother’s room. She LOVES it in there!

Jumping topics, as I love to do – I have the most amazing news to share! Grace won the education lottery and got into our #1 private/charter elementary school of choice!!! I haven’t written about the grueling process we’ve gone through since December choosing an elementary school, but let’s just say, I’ve spent more time doing this than I did selecting a university when I was college bound… We’ve researched the heck out of all our options, both public and private/charter. We’ve attended open houses and info sessions like crazy. We’ve filled out countless applications, but all the while we had a #1 choice in mind. We knew the school we LOVED was only going to take around 30 incoming kindergartners because they have a returning student and student sibling policy, but we thought we would give it a try. We went to the open house and info session and completed the necessary paperwork entering Gracie’s name in the lottery and waited… and waited… Then today we got the call! Grace ended up being student #15 in a lottery of nearly 200 kindergarten applicants and she got in! I cried and G couldn’t believe it! We never win anything!

The school is everything we would want in an elementary and middle school for our gal! Starting in kindergarten, the students have music class and physical education, every week. They have a beautiful music room where they learn to play actual instruments and have classes like art and computer science weekly, with a 1/2 computer/student ratio in each class. G and I were most drawn to the school’s small teacher/student ratio and their emphasis on math and science. It’s a bonus that the school buildings are super modern and colorful, and they have awesome security. All visitors and parents are required to pass through 3 layers of security before you are in any area where there are kiddos, which puts our mama hearts at ease given the level of gun violence in schools in the US. But the best part by far is that Grace and William will go to the same school, together for several years now! W will start kindergarten when Grace starts 5th grade and she will remain in his same school through 8th grade. That part makes us the happiest! We’re so excited for the years she will spend learning and growing there. 
And that’s about it. Oh, and I’m working on inducing lactation. Have I mentioned that?! I’m about a month in and just started on birth control, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m not allowing myself to get too excited because I don’t want to be upset if it doesn’t work, but I’m going to give it a try. Here’s me pumping at work, lol!

And here is G’s beautiful belly at 38 weeks, 3 days. Ekkkkk!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Outer Space | Nursery Reveal

Our sweet baby boy’s nursery is all finished and is EVERYTHING we envisioned it would be! Ekkkk! It’s the family’s favorite space (pun intended) and basically where we hangout 24/7, yay! Georgia and I have known that we wanted to have an Outer Space themed nursery since before Grace was conceived, and now we find ourselves in total disbelief that we actually have this perfect little room and that there will be a tiny human occupying it very soon. It’s just too crazy amazing and makes us so very happy! :)

As we were trying to conceive Gracie, I found the most amazing painting of a little boy in Outer Space standing on Jupiter surrounded by cool Space stuff. I LOVED it so much that I purchased it on the spot, but when we found out that Grace was a girl, the boy picture didn’t really fit. We then came across a tree decal with owls that we adored and that changed the whole theme of her nursery, big girl room and baby shower to a woodland outdoor adventure theme complete with birdhouses hanging from the ceiling and sky blue walls. Still, our love for everything Outer Space stuck with us and when we found out that we were expecting a boy, we knew that’s what we wanted to create!

Mama’s a bit obsessed with Land of Nod and all of their whimsical and dreamy décor! There are stores in several big cities across the US but not here in New Mexico, unfortunately. However, thanks to the marvelous interwebs, I’ve been able to satisfy my shopping addiction and order everything for little dude’s room, online! We started with the bedding, which we ordered on Cyber Monday at a smokin’ good price and went on to order W’s planets that now hang from the ceiling and a super cool rocket ship that he will one day play with!

It was so much harder to find Outer Space décor than I ever imagined it would be. Because of this, we’ve had to piece stuff together over these past 9 months and even make a few things, which required me to channel my inner DIY mama skills! This, “I love you to the moon and back” painting was the first thing we discovered for the nursery and set the color scheme that we based all other nursery stuff off of. I just love how colorful and bright it is! The happy Sun picture came from Tar.get and I ordered the print of the Little Prince standing on the earth from an artist on Etsy. W’s collage above the changing table also includes a scripture that reads, “He counts all the stars and he calls them by name.” I heart this little collage so much and I’m sure it will be nice to have something adorable to look at while we change our son (and probably get peed on, lol)!

The mural that wraps around two walls of baby boy’s room is our absolute favorite! The artist who created it listened to every details of how we wanted it to look and did an amazing job! It’s funny; many of the people who we told about the Space mural couldn’t really envision black walls in a baby’s nursery. I totally understand that having black walls could look a bit gloomy, but with the artist’s use of blues and white to make stars, it looks happy and colorful and totally makes the room!

Similar to Gracie’s room, we wanted to create a little reading space for baby boy where he could reach books on his own and sit comfortably while learning to be a bookworm! We found his little seat, which is called a Pouf, at Land of Nod and absolutely adore it. It’s comfortable, lightweight and easy to move from room to room. We know this because Grace has enjoyed the use of it in literally every room in our house. I’m thinking we may need to get her one too! I just love that it’s shinny and silver, like a rocket ship!

The bookshelves were purchased at IKEA 3 years ago, when we first started down the path to baby #2. They’re actually spice racks that I hand painted and turned into cute little shelves for W’s collection of books. They’re low and within reach of a toddles hands, which is exactly what we wanted. Above his books is the sweetest little banner that displays his name, William on planets. His banner was handmade by LittleLionLoveLiesCo and I heart it so very much!

The day that we started working on the nursery, I decided that we needed to paint the giant bookshelf that has always been in the guestroom because it was a weird mauve color and didn’t go with little man’s stuff, at all. I thought I could sponge on white paint giving it a textured look and it turned out horribly, haha! It looked like a child painted it, while wearing a blindfold, in the dark! It needed to go, which meant I had to run out and purchase a new bookshelf for Will. I found one that matched his crib and dresser perfectly and was half the size of the one I ruined. And because the new bookshelf was smaller, I was able to place the globe that Georgia’s had since she was a kiddo right on top. Yay!

Nurseries are such a funny thing. You put all this time and effort into creating an adorable space for a newborn that they don’t even really use until they’re a year old, or even older. With that being said, we didn’t feel ready for Will until we finished his room. Something about knowing that he has a space that is special and just for him, gave me a feeling of peace and readiness. We’ve moved tons of adorable clothing into his closet and washed his blankets. Now we just need to clean the rest of our dirty home that has been neglected while we worked on the nursery and pack our bags. Georgia is now 37 weeks + 1 day. Gracie was born at 37 weeks + 4 days, so baby watch 2017 is officially underway.

I’m kind of freaking out over here!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Baby Shower Out of this World!

I’m not even sure how to start this post because it’s hard to put into words how over-the-top amazing our baby shower was! I suppose the best place to start is with a THANK YOU to our incredibly loving friends, Sara and Kassie. I’ve written about Sara many times in this space. She’s the blonde you’ve all seen in photos who’s been my best friend for going on 30 years now. And if you live in New Mexico, you’ll recognize Kassie as the gorgeous meteorologist from Channel 4 News, who is even more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside! Kassie is married to Sara's brother and is like family to us too! These two incredible friends reached out to Georgia and I late last year to let us know that they were throwing us a baby shower. It wasn’t a question of, did we want them to throw us a baby shower – it was happening and that’s all there was to it! I’m so thankful that they insisted on celebrating our little dude because we wouldn’t have had a shower otherwise and we wouldn’t trade the experience for anything! I mean, even the invitations got us all chocked up!  

Sara and Kassie knew that for the nursery, we were going with an Outer Space theme and they wanted to incorporate it into the shower. We loved the idea of having it match baby W’s room but could have never imagined the extent to which our friends would take our theme and do such amazing things! Sara warned me that Kassie was basically Martha Stewart, “even more so than you” she said, and she was telling the truth! The shower was at Kassie’s house and was the first event her and her husband hosted since completely gutting their home and remodeling over this past year. Everything looked modern and amazing – as in, these two need to do this for a living on some home renovation show! The space was big and open, which was perfect for our giant families. As I mentioned in my previous post, we were permitted by our hostesses to help set up the night before the shower, but even then, everything was basically ready to go and made us even more excited for the happy day!

Georgia’s brother flew in from LA for the shower and stayed with us and we were so happy that he got to be a part of the day, which took place on his actual birthday. Sorry for stealing your birthday thunder, brother bear. ;) Grace was beyond excited and loved that she got a new, special blue dress for the occasion, just like her mamas. It was a somewhat strange feeling to not oversee every detail of the day, haha! It was just such a foreign feeling to not find myself running around like crazy the morning of, or working on an endless list of baby shower things in the weeks leading up. Weird but also so flippin’ awesome! The only thing we did contribute was the order of some ridiculously adorable Space themed sugar cookies and we had to pled with our hostesses to be able to even do that! We got to sleep in the morning of our shower… enjoyed some coffee and birthday breakfast for Uncle Dean and even got to take our time getting ready before jumping in the truck to head over. It was glorious. :)

Walking into the house all set up and decorated was just the best! Our friends and their families were running around taking care of last minute details and everything looked so great! There were stars hanging up on the windows and colored streamers draped in doorways and along the back wall. The fresh flower arrangements smelled like summer and don’t even get me started on the “Hydration Station”! Kassie asked me leading up to the big event what my feelings were on having booze at the shower. My response was, heck yes! As the non-belly mom, having a mimosa at your baby shower is one of the perks! Kassie and Sara wanted our guests to have options so they made Kassie’s mom’s famous ice tea and ice water with giant star shaped ice cubes (to go with the theme!) along with various wines, mimosas and a keg fridge full of Blue Moon beer on tap, also to go along with the theme. See – they thought of every detail!

Kassie and her husband Gabe are the super healthy types who run marathons for fun and whatnot, so our menu was fresh, healthy and so colorful! They prepared chicken salad croissant sandwiches + a variety of fresh fruit + Gracie’s favorite veggies with dressing + 2 types of salad + desserts. So many desserts and everything tasted YUM! Our guests couldn’t complement our hostesses enough on the spread and how delicious everything was. They even prepared homemade, cream-filled black berry cupcakes (from scratch) as thank you gifts for our guests, individually boxed and they were to die for. I ended up sneaking off with a few extra and literally ate one every day for almost a week... eventually I had to cut both Gracie and myself off, lol!

I would be lying if I said that the opening of presents wasn’t something Georgia and I were REALLY looking forward to! I mean, as an adult, there are limited events in which you’re showered with handpicked and awesome presents, ekkkk! One of the most amazing gifts we received was from my mom, stepdad and Gracie’s Guncles Anthony and Brandon. Georgia and I had fallen in love with a car seat/stroller travel set that was way out of our price range and so having it gifted to us by all of them was the most wonderful surprise ever! It just meant so much to us.

We had other friends who began working on handmade gifts for baby boy in the weeks leading up to the shower, including a rocket ship piece of string art that matches W’s nursery perfectly, an adorable bear with matching purse for Grace, a beautiful knit star blanket and quilt, handmade burp clothes… I could go on and on. It was humbling to be given such special things but even more humbling to know that our friends and family are just as excited as us and that they wanted to spoil more than just our little dude. Grace was given 5 or 6 “big sister presents” as well, that she opened in front of everyone. We didn’t expect all of this and it nearly gave me a full-blown anxiety attack.

The anxiety attack part really happened, unfortunately, but I survived. I never had anxiety prior to trying to get pregnant. It got really bad near the end of my journey and has since gone away for the most part, but that mother f-er still pokes it’s head out every once and a great while. I think the overwhelming feelings/emotions I was experiencing while opening presents, coupled with the 50+ faces staring in our direction while 10 kiddos crowded my feet, made me start to overheat and panic a bit. Thankfully, I was able to slip away to “go to the bathroom” where I put some cold water on my neck and calmed the f down before heading back in the baby mosh pit. Man, anxiety sucks so bad and it seems to come to the surface at the worst times… G swears that everyone thought I just needed the bathroom, but for me having to escape to another room while panicking that everyone noticed, nearly sent me over the edge. And even though I was only away for a few minutes, it felt like 20! What sucks even worse is that I never used to be this way. I could entertain a crowd, no problem. I could speak in front of hundreds of people and loved being the center of attention. But in recent years, much of this has changed. I was just thankful to be able to come back out 5 minutes later feeling calm and collected. The way I’m choosing to look at the experience is like this – the 4 hour party was absolutely amazing – the 5 minutes I lost my shit sucked, but I didn’t let it get the best of me and that’s progress! :)

The day ended with all of our favorite people relaxing in the living room looking through adorable baby clothes and toys. It’s been weeks since the shower and we’re still sorting through it all. Our sweet boy is one loved little guy and we’re just so thankful for all of the love and support that has been shown to us! Every part of this pregnancy has been more wonderful than we ever imagined, especially this special day!

And as if all of this wasn’t amazing enough, Georgia’s work surprised us with a second baby shower this past week! April marks 17 years that G has worked for her company, so to celebrate, they threw us the sweetest little baby shower and got us literally every last item we had remaining on our Targ.et registry. They had a cute guessing game that everyone filled out predicting that baby’s due date and size and the most adorable, personalized cupcakes with a sweet message to us on each. Our hearts were so touched by all the detail they put into the day and we couldn’t be more thankful!

In other pregnancy news,
we scratched more things off our “before baby gets here to-do list”!

Nursery | Before Pictures

This past week we finished W’s nursery! Ekkkkk! And I don’t mean to pat us on the back, but we LOVE the way everything turned out! It’s exactly how I’ve pictured it in my mind and it’s currently my favorite room in the house (where all 3 of us spend most of our time)! The artist who painted our little guy’s mural did an amazing job! Nursery reveal blog post coming this weekend! Yay!

Our helpers {Big Sister Kit} is ready to go! She’s so excited for her Big Sister/Brother Workshop at our local hospital! They’re going to take her on a tour of the hospital, teach her how to change diapers, feed brother and lots of other super cute things! She now has her own kit to help us once brother gets home with things like diaper changes and bath time. She is so excited; it makes our hearts feel like they could burst!

We got to see our sweet boy in Georgia’s 36/37 week perinatal appointment, which will likely be her last before baby’s arrival! W jumped to the 89th percentile for growth and currently weighs nearly 7 ½ pounds with 1-3 weeks left to go! He is perfectly healthy and again scored full points on all of his tests! We’re being told that it could be go time in about a week, maybe 2 (and our midwife suggested we exchange his NB clothing, lol)!

Oh my son, we can’t wait to meet you!

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