December 4, 2012

40 Weeks and 1 Baby Later...

 
 
Brandan and I feel so blessed to have our sweet baby girl, Kaiya Lym, finally here with us. She was born on November 26th at 6 lbs 8 oz and 19 inches long. She has big, deep-blue eyes and very long, thick, blonde hair (which we're hoping will turn curly!!)
 
[Look at her hair! The doc and nurses were all shocked to see a newborn with that much blonde hair - joking that there's a hispanic milkman (usually if a baby has that much hair, it's black)]
 
 
Kaiya was due to come on Thanksgiving day but was just too comfortable in my belly to want to come out I guess! I was induced around 8:30am Monday morning and was determined to see how far I could go without any medications, just to see what it would feel like. HOLY COW - I have so much more respect for women who didn't even have the option of modern medicine during labor and delivery!! Contractions came on within a few minutes of getting an ivy of pitocin and I had a fairly strong contraction every 1-2 minutes for the next 8 hours. I was dilated at a 5, around noon, when I gave in to an epidural. The dull, contractual pain wasn't unbearable, but the sharp, stabbing pains that came on after I was dilated to a 3 or 4 were awful. Though I felt woozy within about 30 seconds of getting the epidural put in and threw up twice (not even ice chips would stay down!), I would still highly recommend it to anyone ;).
 
By the time it came to start pushing, the epidural had begun to wear off, which I am actually glad for, since I could barely tell if I was pushing or not anyway. I felt so much more alert and aware of what was going on and what I needed to do. Brandan did such a great job of holding my hand and offering gentle words of encouragement the whole time, keeping calm (on the outside, but later said he had some very shaky legs during the final stages of delivery!) The actual birth was amazing - yes it didn't feel very good pushing a baby down and out of the birth canal, but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting and once it was all over and done I had the biggest rush, like after finishing a marathon. It was awesome! Oh yeah, and I totally broke down in tears when I saw our baby girl. It amazes me that she, a REAL little person, had been the thing in my belly for all that time, wiggling around, poking at my ribs with her heels, and making me several sizes larger. I know that sounds silly - obviously I had a baby inside of me, but it's totally surreal to think about.
 
[while still woozy, with another hour or two to go]

 [fresh out and onto the warming table]
 
 
Kaiya scored very well on the APGAR check but was breathing really fast so the nurses had to take her out and run a few tests, including a chest x-ray, right after she was tagged and diapered in the delivery room. All the tests came back showing nothing wrong with her; she may have just been a little extra nervous coming from a dark, warm place to a bright, cold room. We didn't get to hold her for at least an hour after birth, but we bonded instantly.
 
The hospital stay wasn't very fun - both Kaiya and myself were poked and prodded at least once or twice each hour, day and night, for two days. After a day or two at home though, we fell into a good schedule. She's been exclusively breastfed since birth and eats about every 2-3 hours and has gained her birth weight back within a week. She's been sleeping at night really well, just gets fed when I can hear her trying to eat her hands, only really cries when getting a bath, getting her diaper or clothes changed, or has an air bubble stuck in her tummy. It's been great living at my mom's house too, where grandma can take her for a little while each day while I nap, shower, etc. I've let Brandan sleep for a few hours before I take her up to our room at night so he can get a couple hours of unbroken rest but even then, he sleeps pretty well through the feedings since Kaiya stays fairly quiet and falls asleep soon after. Brandan's been really grateful for such a good baby so he can get up early, drive an hour to work all day and not feel totally wiped out by the time he gets home.
 
[Brandan's version of skin-to-skin :). Our nurse thought it was super funny - so cute]

[first full day for Kaiya]
 
I just have to share a tid-bit about Brandan. I married the best guy ever, who has been the best husband I could ever ask for, and who has proven to be the best daddy a baby girl would ever want. I want to cry tears of happiness when I watch him playing with Kaiya sometimes. When she was first born, any noise out of her brought him out of bed and over her crib, watching and making sure she's alright and comfortable. It's really hard for him to listen to her fuss or cry a little in her sleep - he loves his baby girl so much! He gets a bit stressed just thinking that there's a chance she's uncomfortable or doesn't have everything she needs. When I've been up with her on and off through the night and with her all day, he looks for any opportunity to take and snuggle her for a while and get some daddy-daughter bonding time in. He loves playing with her little hands and toes, testing the strength of her muscles and the motion of her joints (physical therapy student! haha), and making her smile in her sleep. In the hospital she was a total daddy's girl - he was the only one who could calm her down after being heel pricked or having her diaper changed. Anyway, I just had to throw that out there because it's been so sweet watching him with her and makes me so grateful for the Plan of Salvation our Heavenly Father has put in place where we can be with our families for time and all eternity. I don't think any other thought could make me this happy.
 
[Kaiya's first nail trim - she really enjoyed daddy's manicure]
 
 
Everyone kept saying one of two things to us as we walked out of the hospital with our baby girl, either "congrats" or "good luck." You know, I was a little nervous to be solely in charge of a little newborn life, not gonna lie, but as soon as she was actually born my motherly instincts kicked in full gear and it's been absolutely amazing being a mommy - so to those strangers who said "good luck," you can back off! :) Other than the basic post-baby physical recovery, I haven't had any complications and have had lots of energy (I'm actually sleeping a lot more and a lot deeper than I was when still pregnant!) and have been so incredibly happy, even in the late-night hours being up with Kaiya for feedings and through the crying and fussing randomly throughout the day. I can tell pretty easily when she's getting hungry, when she's fussy because she's uncomfortable versus tired versus having some gas bubbles. I don't feel stressed or anxious, just calm and comfortable. Brandan and I felt so strongly that we needed to begin our family, and I guess these feelings I have now for my baby are simply reflective of how God knows we were ready and fully capable of bringing a child into the world.
 
 
I'll just post a pre-birth and post-birth picture as has been requested by a few friends and end with an actually cute picture (of Kaiya of course). We love you all and thank you for being so supportive of us in this exciting time in our lives!
 
[Day before being induced, three days after due date]

[Day after we got home from the hospital - don't mind the frumpiness!]
 
[our sweet baby Kaiya, a week after she was born]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 

November 8, 2012

Last Day Trip for a Long Time

As promised last week, here are some shots from our 35 week ultrasound, which were taken about 3 weeks ago! (Only two weeks left until due date as of today!!!)
 

[35 week ultrasound - 3D. The tech had a hard time getting a good picture because our baby girl had both hands AND one of her feet up in front of her face...it's amazing how flexible babies are!]
 
 
[35 week ultrasound - 2D]
 
The lady performing the ultrasound was really funny this time around - she zoomed in on all the body parts we wanted her to so that we could try and see if Baby Lym #1 will have my long fingers or Brandan's shorter ones, if she has Brandan's big lips or my hardly-existent ones, my pointy ski-slope nose or Brandan's normal-looking one. Anyway, it was pretty fun to sit and have all three of us stare at the screen and at our own faces, trying to decide. We've decided that this baby has good potential for Brandan's lips and my nose. We'll see in about two weeks what she really looks like though!!!
 
It's a little mind-boggling to be a first-time pregnant lady awaiting those first contractions to begin. Today as I was running a few errands to get some baby things, it hit me that our baby could ultimately come any day now. Babies are technically full-term at 37 weeks, so everything is developed and ready to go and they're simply hanging out in the womb and getting bigger until they want to come out. Well anyway, we set up a crib and rocking chair in our room, pulled out the baby blankets and such, and packed "the bag" for the hospital so we can be ready - we feel ready!
 
At my doctor's appointment this week I asked about my fainty spells but nothing was really diagnosed. The doc said that it's probably from not getting fluids during the nighttime so after I eat breakfast my blood sugar and pressure dip for a while, but nothing to be worried about. Feeling fainty later in the day is probably from overdoing it while having low blood pressure too. Since I have 50% more blood than my body is use to having, it makes me a lot more sensitive to any change in my blood pressure or electrolytes level. Anyway, there's nothing I can do about it except to not sit or stand for too long at a time and to drink powerade or some other electrolyte fluid and snack when I feel things dipping. Only two more weeks of this!
 
 
[Not a great picture of 38 weeks along, but we were in a hurry. Everyone keeps telling me I don't look like I'm going to have a baby in two weeks and I assume it's the long torso and fact that it's my first pregnancy that I owe that to, but I'm not complaining! ;)]

 
[The only swelling I've had is in my lower legs after I've been wearing tighter wool socks for a while, but even that amount hasn't been bad at all, just funny-looking when I haven't had them on for two hours and still have lines...]
 
 
Last weekend, Brandan and I spent all day Saturday in Gettysburg, PA. We chose a shorter day trip as our last getaway for quite a while (how miserable would it be going into labor far from the town you were planning on delivering in...!). We made the 3 hour drive there, thinking we would be back for dinner if we left early in the morning, and realized once we got there how much there was to see and do. We took a two-hour tour of the battle grounds and it was very different than we were expecting. Rather than one, large field where the battle took place, it encompassed miles of land, in and around farmhomes and the little town of Gettysburg. Rather than one giant monument, every batallion that fought in the battle has their own, placed wherever they wanted it. They came back within a few years after the Battle of Gettysburg, those were left at least, and placed their individually designed memorial where they served the majority of the time, or where they lost the most men of their company. It almost gives the open landscape a cemetary feel, but it's really cool.
 
We walked around in the Gettysburg National Cemetary and felt in awe at all the marked and unmarked gravestones there. They are all made of a beautiful white, marble-looking stone that makes them stick out from the grass in their even rows feel so reverent. It might sound weird, but the unmarked graves were our favorite part - seeing all the little squares of white stone, marked only by a number, knowing that those souls died for a cause they truly believed in.  
 
At the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor's Center, we spent a few hours walking around and taking in as much as we could about the Civil War. The center wasn't only educational on the topic of the Battle of Gettysburg, but about what sparked the Civil War altogether, what led up to the Battle specifically at the town of Gettysburg, and what direction that war took our country. Anyway, if you are ever in PA, I would recommend you go to Gettysburg. Plan on spending at least one whole day because there are so many other things in the town to see (home of the only civilian killed during the battle, the home where Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address and the site where he delivered it, ghost-story activities, super yummy foods, etc).
 


[Little Round Top - where the Union held the hill before Pickett's charge the next day. You can see a few of the memorials placed by various batallions, all various shapes and sizes.]
 

 
[One view of farmland where the 3-day battle took place - the barns and homes out here in the country still have the original woodwork, brick, and bullet-holes.]
 
 
[Marked graves at the Gettysburg National Cemetary]
 
 
[These are the stones for the unmarked graves at the Gettysburg National Cemetary, lined up row upon row]
 
 
[Chillin' with President Abraham Lincoln outside the visitor's center]
 
 
The past few weeks have been nice and quiet outside of our weekend excursions. Brandan has been staying pretty busy with his internship and has been doing really well at it. He's getting more and more confident in his evaluations of patients and in prescribing therapies, performing manual manipulations, etc. It's been really nice for him to go to work, then come home and be able to hang out for a little while between dinner and bedtime rather than be so busy with homework and studying like he is when in classes.
 
During the daytime, I have been doing quite a few projects. Since being here, I've made a carseat canopy for myself and my sister, many burp cloths using cloth diapers and flannel and recieving blankets. My mom and I have worked on lots of Christmas gifts (I'm not allowed to say what yet), picked out some ideas for baby booties and a blessing dress, and made a very poofy, adorable tulle and sparkles-focused princess dress for my niece Lyndi. Let's just say that we could probably be called by name by any of the Joann Fabric's employees, haha! Oh- and my favorite project thus far has actually been helping my brother Spencer make a mole for mole-day in his science class. They had to chose a superhero to model it after and Captain America turned out stunning as a stuffed animal mole.
 
By the time Brandan gets home, we play games with my Mom and Spencer (we've gotten very competitive with Spades lately), watch a few episodes of our recently begun marathon of The Office, relax, and/or Brandan and Spencer play the PS3 while I do crosswords. Brandan hasn't played videogames more than maybe 3 or 4 times since we've been married so he's been having a blast on them while he can before we go back to Iowa. It's actually hilarious to go downstairs and watch how intense their faces get during some games.
 
 [burp cloths material]
 
 
[Carseat canopy #1 - this one is for us and then I made another with different fabric for Hayley]
 

 
[Captain America mole - designed it, stuffed it, and decorated it all my myself (with the stars and wings made my Spencer)]

 
[And don't forget about the detacheable shield on the back!! Oh geez - Spencer came home from class the next day when everyone had brought their own moles to school and said that his was by far the coolest - leave it all to the OCD, loves-to-do-projects sister! :)]
 
 
[Spencer and Brandan gaming - my Mom and I were laughing pretty hard at the fact that the boys were standing about a foot and a half away from the screen for a good portion of a 2-3 hr gaming session! Spencer claimed he couldn't see from the couch because he didn't have his glasses, and Brandan claimed he played better closer to the screen - haha... so funny I had to take a picture.]




October 28, 2012

Bye-Bye Sleep

 
 
As much as Brandan I absolutely didn't like Pennsylvania when we first got here, it's starting to grow on us (and by grow, I mean we've found one or two things we like about it and that's it). Brandan refers to this area of the country as "the never-ending wooded forest on rolling hills" because it is so densely wooded and you are never driving or walking on flat ground - it is always sloped upward or downward. As annoying as it is not having any clue what direction we're ever facing, the autumn has brought the beauty of PA come out. The rolling hills have turned into a painting of ball-shaped yellow, red, orange and purple treetops and there are hardly any spots where the ground isn't completely covered in leaves. I guess I am just a sucker for the fall season all around, but I am glad we were able to go into the more rural area this past week and explore a bit before the snow comes and we find more reasons to dislike PA all over again (snow+hills everywhere+crappy drivers=not so much fun).

 During our explorations we were able to go and see the memorial for Flight 93. For those of you who don't remember, it gives tribute to those 40 brave souls who were trapped on a hijacked airplane on the day of 9/11 and ended up losing their lives. When the hijackers took the plane over, they were planning on crashing it into an important structure in Washington D.C., possibly the capital building. The passengers were hearded into the back of the plane to await their certain death and, within the last 20 minutes of their scheduled flight, they revolted and tried to take the craft back over. Sadly, the hijackers made a last-second choice to crash the plane in a field in PA rather than get overrun and all on board died.





 The field where Flight 93 went down is just a hilly area with a long walkway with information posted on plaques here and there, then a beautiful, white, marble memorial with the names of all the individuals whose lives were taken. At first, I thought it was really small and not as significant as it should be, but near the marble wall, there is a large open area with seats and I realized how awesome it was that people can come, quietly read over the names, then sit and reflect on the tragedy that happened on that day in our country's history. I was teary eyed most of the time while reading through the story of what happened, but when Brandan pointed out that beneath a female passenger's name was a small, colorless (hard to see unless you were about a foot away from it) engraving that read, "and unborn child," I burst into tears. I know I've been crying a lot lately when I feel emotional, unlike my normal, un-pregnant self that doesn't really cry unless something very seriously wrong happens, but I think I would have felt just as fall-to-your-knees humbled by it. Anyway, I didn't plan on writing very much about that trip, but I am just so grateful that Brandan and I were able to experience that feeling of love for our country and those who fight for it.
______________________________________________________________
 
On a lighter note, Halloween is coming up and my Mom's ward had their trick-or-treat this past week. Poor Spencer had all four wisdom teeth taken out that morning, but Mom, Brandan, Alyssa and I were able to go and pass out candy to all the adorable little trick-or-treaters while reading ridiculous laffy taffy jokes in between. We couldn't come up with any good, easy  costume ideas at the last second (because we only ever think about it until the last second...) so I ran to the store and bought t-shirts and fabric markers to make the following outfits:



I figured that our baby is at least as precious to Brandan as his love of soccer, so this idea came to mind when I saw a picture of a pregnant woman who painted her belly to look like a pumpkin (maybe those two aren't related but that's my honest trail of thought).

When we got to the trick-or-treat, we realized we were the only adults dressed up so that either makes us really immature or super fun adults! haha. Anyway, I guess we weren't super decked out, just had humorous t-shirts on with soccer shorts and socks underneath. Plus, we get to wear them more often than just on Halloween!

As most of you know, my older sister Hayley had her second child, Emerie, a few weeks ago so to give her a chance to sleep while the baby would, we took care of her oldest, Lyndi, for a week here at Mom's house. We watched princess movies over and over, played games, went to the park a few times, went shopping, made apple pies, and painted our nails funky colors, though usually with some pink since it's her favorite. In fact, the day we were all at the park, she was wearing 8 different shades of pink - shirt, jacket, necklace, pants, socks, shoes, hair tie, and hair bow - she's hilarious. When we took her back home, I felt like I had lost my little shadow! I got use to having to explain everything that I was doing (she LOVES to ask "why are you doing that?" every chance she gets :)), let her help me do every little chore around the house, and hearing her constantly singing, "la la la la.... la la la la... so this is love..." from Cinderella. It was way fun having her around. Oh, and anytime Brandan was at work, she would ask me where he was, when he was coming home, and what he might want to do when he gets home. I think about 90% of the time his name was mentioned, she'd let me know how much she loves him. SO STINKIN' CUTE!

 [Lyndi taking a picture of us on our walk - she refused to be outside at all without her sunglasses, even when it was cloudy or raining]
 
 [Spencer and Lyndi at the park]
 
 [Brandan and his not-so-secret admirer who followed him every step as he threw discs around the park for an hour, even though she didn't want to throw any herself]
 
 
I also have to post something pretty cute that happened the first day Lyndi was here with us. So my little sister, Alyssa, and I look fairly similar. She's only a bit shorter than me and isn't as wide or curvy as me, but we have similar hair and our facial profiles are almost the same. Anyway, Lyndi has a really hard time keeping us straight. Whenever she has just seen me in person or on webcam and then talks to Alyssa, she'll call her Sarah for the first little while and vice versa with me after she's seen and talked to Alyssa and then is talking to me. It's really funny and I shouldn't laugh when she mixes us up, because even our neighbors and people at church mix us up all the time too. In fact, in my Mom's ward, five different women have mistaken me for Alyssa until they see my pregnant belly and/or my cuddling up to Brandan. They laugh and say they feel silly not remembering Alyssa getting married or pregnant since the last time they'd seen her.
 
Well, the first day that Lyndi was with us, I decided to get a haircut and donate my hair to Lock of Love. I was able to donate four entire pony tails worth of long, curly hair and even got a free haircut! [Before and after pictures below] Just before I left to get it cut, I ate breakfast with Lyndi and she hadn't mixed me up with Alyssa yet. When I got home about an hour later, she called me Alyssa a few times before I had a little talk with her about the differences between Alyssa and I. I pointed out my ring and my braces-less teeth and my belly that has a baby in it (she was so excited that I had a baby inside of my belly too, since her little sister just came out of her mom's belly, haha) and after that talk, I think she only mixed Alyssa and I up once or twice more that whole week.
 
 [I decided to let my hair grow out while pregnant since it's the fastest it has ever grown and I hadn't had it even close to this long since I was a little girl - I think I'll make it a tradition to donate it near the end of each pregnancy since that's the only time it grows enough between hair cuts to eventually get this long!]
 
 [My little shadow and I, dressed alike for our last day together before she went home - we had matching shoes, pants, shirts, and even eye shadow!]
 
 
 
Just a quick update on pregnancy and baby: I can no longer exercise as of about two weeks ago. I had been going on long walks with Brandan each day after work but all of a sudden my pelvis and knees decided that they wanted to get ready to deliver a baby so they ache pretty sharply if I walk or are on my feet for very long - just a trip to the grocery store is enough walking for me now. I also haven't been sleeping at night very much the past week or two because I get incredibly itchy in the evenings and, even though I'm on meds for it and have tried several other anti-itching things, it comes and goes as it pleases so between nights when I'm really itchy and other nights when I'm not so itchy but the baby won't stop moving (she's officially become nocturnal), I don't get more than an hour of sleep total. Luckily, it's just Mom and I at home during the day usually so I can take naps while I don't itch and the baby isn't squirming around. I also have been having trouble doing anything in the late morning because around that time, and sometimes in the evenings also, I start feeling really faint for an hour or two and can't really do anything or focus on anything other than laying down on my side with my feet propped up and drinking powerade until it passes. My doctor in Iowa thinks it's just my anemia (I've only been anemic since being pregnant so it should go away once the baby comes), but I'm going to ask my new doctor here about it at my appointment this week because anything I do to prevent anemic episodes (eating lots of protein all throughout the day, not overexerting myself physically, not standing or sitting for too long, taking a high-iron prenatal each day, etc) hasn't made a difference. Brandan thinks that I might be overproducing insulin so that sugars don't stay in my blood very long and it dips my blood pressure down, but my glucose test they make pregnant women take during the second trimester came back negative. Anyway, so hopefully I'll be able to figure it out so I can actually make it through church one of these days and don't feel completely helpless and unproductive in the mornings during the week.
 
We had another ultrasound at the 35 week mark on the 18th and everything looks great. Our sweet baby is in "thee perfect" percentile for height and weight according to the doc, all her limbs and organs have developed correctly as far as could be seen, and her head is positioned down so she's all ready to go! According to her size, I am still due to have her on November 22nd (3 1/2 weeks from now!!!!). Brandan and I are getting so excited and are going to set up the crib and get the hospital bag and everything else ready this next week just in case she decides to come early. I'll post the ultrasound pictures as soon as I can, but since they are 3D and were given to us on a CD with a funky format, I still haven't quite figured out how to do that. They also gave us a few videos of her moving but I don't think I can post those...




October 7, 2012

We Got Moved, Got Sick, and Now Play a Lot of Spades

 
Well, we have had quite the busy life lately. For the past two months, Brandan and I have kept ourselves nap-less (pretty sure I just made that word up...) trying to get everything done in preparation for moving to PA for Brandan's first physical therapy rotation. He'll be going through 10 weeks of full-time, unpaid work in a clinic in Pittsburgh from the second week of October through mid-December. It is pretty exciting to think that he is already almost halfway done with graduate school and getting his doctorate in physical therapy!
 



[The view of Pittsburgh from the clinic where Brandan will be working at for the next 2 1/2 months]
 
                   [Pittsburgh - not quite as big as I would have thought, but still pretty fun to live close to]
 
Rather than keeping our apartment in Des Moines, we decided to put everything in a storage unit and just filling our trunk with any of the important things we'd need during the rotation. We filled up our huge trunk and placed a few extra things in our back seat so we can have plenty of space to bring our little one home (due date for baby-girl Lym: Nov 22nd). It won't be super fun having to unpack everything into a new apartment with a new baby as soon as we get back, but it didn't seem worth it to pay for an apartment we wouldn't be using for 3-4 months.
 
Well, I spent a week or two taking my time de-junking, organizing, and packing our apartment up and getting our address changed and doing anything else you have to do when you leave an apartment permanently and move to a different state. Brandan was crazy busy trying to get everything ready for his rotation and taking final exams and practicals. We felt so blessed to have so many young men and older men from our church come and help us move everything out. We set what I feel is a record time for helping move anyone out of an apartment. Though there are only two of us who had been living there, we have quite a collection of stuff - more than an older gentleman we helped move out of his place a few hours later. Everything was moved out of our apartment and into a moving truck, driven 10-15 minutes to the storage unit, and loaded (and strictly organized so as to fit into a 10x10) into a unit within 1 1/2 hours. It was awesome! Then, since I'm fairly OCD about cleaning all the time anyway, it only took about 10 minutes to get our apartment ready for the walk-through (oven, fridge, dusted, vaccumed, etc) afterward. I'm glad we got all of this done a few days in advance and could just relax for a day or two at some friends' before making the trip out to PA.
 
We started driving around 5am on a Monday morning and made it 14 hours, Six different states (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virgina, Pennsylvania), and only a few pitstops for restroom breaks to get to my Mom's house. She lives under an hour outside of Pittsburgh so we decided to stay with her, Spencer, Alyssa and my stepdad Steve for the rotation to help save some money and so that I won't be crazy bored by myself in an apartment all day every day for 3 months. It actually works out great because my older sister, Hayley, is having her second child any time now so my Mom could go and help her out while Brandan and I help hold down the fort and get my little brother where he needs to be for seminary, school, cross country, etc. It will also be nice to have more people around to help out with our baby when she comes in November (and will save my Mom another trip this fall to help out daughters having babies! :)).

[32-33 weeks along]
 
[Brandan couldn't gain sympathy weight even if he tried! Lucky duck ;)]
 
[Hands of the creators? Haha - Just a more artsy pic]
 
 
Since we have come to PA, our baby girl cannot stop moving and shaping my belly into funny figures. At first, Brandan and I thought it was cute and fun, but holy crap - any woman who has had a fairly active baby inside of her knows and understands how crazy difficult it is to sit or lay comfortably for more than a minute or two at a time. We still have 6 1/2 weeks until the due date so it'll be interesting to see how much more sleep-deprived I'll get by the end and how much weaker I'll feel (she uses up so much of my energy now so I can barely make it through the day without a nap). But, as my sister said, it's probably all in preparation for being up and down all day and night with a newborn when she comes!
 
I have also realized how down my immune system gets while being pregnant. I've been sick for over a month now with a congested nose and chest. It's gotten better, then worse, then better, then worse and I'm ready for it to be gone! This sounds awful, but it made me cheer up quite a bit when Brandan woke up with it and was sick with me for a few days when we first got here. Luckily, he still had a week to get over it before his rotation!
 
[We look awful - but this is our "sick day" where we watched lots of movies and played cards all day]
 
 
This past Tuesday was a busy day. My little brother, Spencer, had a cross country meet Brandan and I were able to go to. It was really fun going to a high school CC meet again. I think it has been maybe 4 or 5 years since I've been to one and it's so different from CC meets in college. I'm amazed that running is popular at all here in PA with the humidity, never-ending hills (there were literally no flat areas on the entire course...), and thousands of bugs clinging to you (stink bugs - yuck!). Tuesday was also my stepdad's birthday so we picked up a delicious Coldstone ice cream cake on our way home from the meet, found a shiny Star Trek b-day card (he's obsessed with Star Trek so we have never failed in getting him something Trekki for his birthdays/holidays), and played some games. This day was also my sister Hayley's due date for their second girl, so we were waiting to get any word of how she was doing all day. Sadly, mini-Hayley decided to hold off and chill in the womb for another week, but we are so excited to have another member added to our extended family! She should be coming along any hour now.
 
[Spencer is the giant blonde in the blue jersey in the middle of the starting group]
 
[Happy 94th Steve! Haha - JK, he flipped the numbers around]
 
 
We have stayed busy while being here so far. Brandan has been working in the yard quite a bit since there are a billion little shrubbery/flower beds in the front yard, bought and set up spider traps all over the basement, and has been busily watching all of the Superman and Star Trek movies. I have been organizing and cleaning out the basement and garage, making it possible for my Mom to have all of her kitchen stuff actually fit in her little kitchen, making a car seat canopy (turned out SUPER cute but will wait and put up a picture when I get the buttons on there), running Spencer around to his activities, and organized various boxes of "stuff." It will be weird hardly seeing Brandan once he starts working tomorrow, leaving at 5am and getting home just before dinner just to be in bed around 8 or 9pm. My Mom and I will have quite a few "baby" projects though, so I plan on staying pretty busy. We have a blessing dress to make, baby booties to put together, burp cloths to make, some more recieving blankets to sew, etc. Three months seems like a long time, but I think it will fly by with a baby on the way and lots of big fall/winter-time holidays coming up.
 
 

 
 
 

August 24, 2012

Iowa State Fair in the Third Trimester!!!!

 
 
This past week, my little sister and brother (well... not so little brother... he's actually freakishly tall compared to the rest of us siblings) came out to Iowa to visit friends and family for a few days. It's crazy how much I've seen my family lately! Hayley, Tyler and Lyndi were visiting a few weeks ago, my younger siblings cam last week, and my mom and stepdad will be here in a few weeks from now - so exciting!
 
 
When trying to think of things to do in Des Moines, Iowa that doesn't cost money and that is always good for pictures, the crazy sculpture park always comes to mind. It's a park downtown, amongst all the tallest buildings, that has a winding path going through it, few trees and shrubs other than the rose bushes around the edges, and is full of THEE most random sculptures. I'm not sure what the whole story behind them are, but they are ridiculous and very "abstract," meaning that we can make them be whatever we want them to be, making them as serious or hilarious as we want. Anyway, so Alyssa, Spencer and I took a little visit over there for some funny pictures and came out of it with some pretty hilarious quotes such as, "Spencer has some happy poops" and "Alyssa has the scary ones." This is kind of gross, kind of took me back to being in middle school or younger, but it was actually hysterical when you put those with the pictures below...
 
 
There is everything there from random, poop-like figures, to giant spider-looking trees, to potato bug-looking steel pieces, to creepy doll-like girls, to simple cubes. My favorite, and what is probably most people's favorite, is the letter-person as shown below...
 
 
Last weekend was the final few days of the amazing Iowa State Fair and, luckily, Brandan was able to break away from his crazy busy school schedule for a while so that we could go to it. Last year we really only saw about half of it but this year, we went to everything we possibly could. I've decided that yes, it's fun to just show up at a state fair and roam around, but it's even more fun to plan it a bit so that you can actually see some good shows and contests going on. We got to see a gator show, an acrobatics show, a car show, sit through a water-free cooking show, listened to a few concerts, watched a part of the horse show, saw all the biggest and prettiest animals, and hit up the delicious (and deliciously bad for you!) food at times that were less busy. NOTE TO SELF: wear extrememly comfortable running shoes to the fair if and when you are pregnant! All of the walking around we did was noticeable the rest of the evening and the next day in my lower back and walking gate. Oh well - I'm glad I didn't have to miss out on anything there!
 
Something that was really cool for Brandan and I was that this is the last time we will be able to spend an entire day doing something like this without kids that might possibly keep us from seeing everything we wanted to see, walk for as long as wanted to, and be there for however long we wanted. I know that makes me sound like I think kids ruin parent's lives, but I'm simply just saying what I have heard from everyone else who are parents now, haha. Everyone keeps telling us lately to take advantage of going out to eat, seeing movies, taking trips places, etc while we can. I don't imagine it changing immensely once we have kids, but it will definitely be a new obstacle we'll be dealing with for the next 20 years! :)
 
["World Super Bowl," a 7 yr old Angus weighing 2,646!]
 
[Reggie, the 5 yr old Champion Big Boar, weighing 1,335lbs!]
 
I'm not sure why, but Brandan and I have a weird fascination with gigantic animals and plants at the fair, haha. I would post the rest of the pictures, but I'll stop. The largest pumpkin this year was 933 lbs! We were trying to figure out how people decide that they are going to set a goal to have Iowa's largest pumpkin to bring to the fair and came to the conclusion that once we've been out of grad school for a few years, we'll have more time to begin having random ambitions like that. For example, Brandan has a life dream of building a huge, temperature-regulated green house so that we can grow our own food year round. It might happen... it might not... I'll let him seriously think it through again in a few years ;)
 
Another thing that is unique to the Iowa State Fair is the butter sculpting. This year there was a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs theme. They had Snow White, the evil queen, the Seven Dwarfs, and several other random things like cows and alligators, etc. So creative!
 
 
 
After a full day of touring around and enjoying ourselves while becoming super tired of being on our feet, we ended the day with one of my guilty pleasures - funnel cake. This year they even had red velvet funnel cake! I didn't think it tasted much different from the regular kind, but it sure was delicious!
 

 
 
As for the pregnancy, it's going really great! Two days ago I woke up and, having fit into them even the day before, all of a sudden couldn't fit into ANY of my skirts, capris, or shorts. Pregnancy is funny that way, but it's not very fun not having anything to put on when I have to leave for an activity in the next hour! I finally broke down and went out and bought a pair of maternity pants and two shirts. Those things are sooooo comfortable!! The next two pictures are of the last time I fit into regular clothes (even though I'm wearing a dress, but it was taken the day before I could no longer fit into regular clothes with a belly band or maternity tank top) AND of what is probably the last time I will straighten my hair before I am debating chopping it all off. Most days I feel like a high schooler with it as long as it is and I just don't know if a 23 year old, married and pregnant, future-mommy and med school student can pull it off anymore? Opinions?