Thursday, April 29, 2010

37 Week Doctor Appointment

Just a quick update from my doctor appointment this morning!

My doctor was out on Monday, so they rescheduled me today, and I met with the new Physician's Assistant, Kathy. She was really nice, and I liked that she updated me on everything. It was a little more formal than my usual visits with my doc, but it was nice to hear all the actual measurements of everything.

I was surprised to find that I've gained 2 more pounds since my last visit a week and a half ago, bringing me up to 32 pounds. I thought I was supposed to stop gaining around this time! :P We'll just say that Baby had another growth spurt. ;) My blood pressure was 116/60, which is good, I guess, and my belly measured right on at 37 weeks. Little Bean's heartbeat was at 147. Kathy said it feels like Baby is still head down, and according to my records, she has been for quite some time. No surprise to me, because I sure feel her head butting me all the time!

Nothing new to report at this time. I go back again on Monday for my next checkup! They didn't offer to check me today, but I'm going to turn them down every time unless my doctor actually tells me they NEED to check me. I don't think there's any reason for it right now! I've been having some mild cramping in my lower abdomen, but for now it doesn't sound like it's anything to get excited about. They told me to let them know if it gets more intense or painful. So for now, I'm just resting, and walking, and moving around to try to get this little girl moving on out!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cooking Day Recap

The other day I posted about My Big Cooking Day, and I promised that I'd give you an update on how things went. I actually spent two days cooking - the first day I made my selections from Once a Month Mom's April 2010 menu, and the second day I made my selections from her March 2009 menu.

Day One
I started cooking around 9:30 AM. I had already thawed out my strawberries and spinach, and since I was only doing a portion of my menu, I didn't bother to bake my potatoes or chop veggies the night before. At 9:30, I popped the potatoes in the oven and then got started chopping all my veggies and ham for the day.All my chopped items, ready to go!

All my packaging supplies easily available for freezing.

Once I finished chopping, I prepared the Strawberry Bread, and baked the loaves once the potatoes were done baking. While the bread baked, I prepared the Sicilian Meatloaf and then assembled the Twice Baked Potatoes after flash freezing them for a bit.
Sicilian Meatloaf, packed and ready to freeze.

Flash-freezing my baked potatoes.

Prepared Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice-Baked Potatoes packaged and ready to freeze.

**Flash freezing**
This was a new term for me. It can be used to freeze produce items quickly and individual for later use, or it can be used for baked goods, which is what I did. I put the freshly baked items in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. This cooled them quickly so that I could work with them and package them up sooner, saving me room on the counter. (Once my freezer got full, I wasn't able to do this anymore!)
Strawberry Bread, cooling on the counter.

Once I was done with the baking, I started my Southwestern Egg Roll, Ham & Cheese Quiche, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Buffalo Chicken Fajitas. The Cordon Bleu and Fajitas did not need any baking, I just put the raw ingredients together and packaged them up for future baking. Then I baked the Egg Rolls and the Quiche. (Now that I'm looking back at my notes, I don't think I was supposed to bake the Quiche - hopefully it will turn out okay!)
Preparing the Southwestern Egg Rolls

Chicken Cordon Bleu, assembled and ready to freeze.

I packaged up the Egg Rolls and the Strawberry Bread, cleaned my kitchen, and I was done for the day! Including my break for lunch, it took me about 6 hours total, since I finished up around 3:30 PM. It was a long day, and my legs and feet ached from standing for so long, but I felt great about it, and my freezer was well on it's way to being stocked!


Day Two
I started cooking around 9:00 AM. The night before I took out my raspberries and bread dough, and again I didn't bother to chop veggies the night before. I already had enough green onions and ham left over from yesterday, so I only ended up needing to chop an onion, which I completed very quickly. I popped the frozen spinach in the crock pot with some chicken broth for the soup, and got started on the rest of my cooking.

I cooked the meat and pasta for the Mexican Unstuffed Shells, and after setting them aside, I mixed and baked the Orange Spice Muffins. While they baked, I took out the dough for the Pizza Roll-Ups and let it rise. While the muffins baked, I made the Chocolate Chip Raspberry Pancakes (they were GOOD!) and flash froze them for later.
Muffins cooling on the counter, ready for packaging, and pancakes ready to freeze.

I then prepared the Mexican Unstuffed Shells and packaged them up and froze them. Then I prepared the Pizza Roll-Ups and baked them. I had so many mushrooms left from yesterday, I decided to use some of them in the Pizza Rolls. While the Pizza Rolls baked, I put the salmon fillets in marinade for the Firecracker Salmon, and prepared them for freezing. Then I put together the Farmer's Casserole, also including some of the mushrooms from yesterday. By then, the Pizza Rolls were ready to go into the freezer, as well as the pancakes and muffins. Finally, I put together the Spinach Tortellini Soup, and let it cool in the fridge until it was cool enough for freezing. I cleaned up the kitchen, and was done by 12:30! It was so nice to have everything done, and I spent the rest of the day relaxing.
Mexican Unstuffed Shells ready for freezing.

Preparing the Pizza Roll-Ups

Pizza Roll-Ups and sauce, ready for packaging.

Pizza Roll-Ups and sauce, ready to freeze.

Spinach Tortellini Soup, ready to package and cool for freezing.

Our freezer is SO full now! I put a list of meals and quantities on the fridge so that we will know what we have available to us. Each meal is labeled with what it is, and has serving instructions. Most of them just need to be thawed and popped in the oven. Each label tells how to prepare it, and what temperature to bake it at, so that it will be easy for Mike to take care of if I'm not able to do it myself. Now we just wait until the time comes to start using them!
Our freezer, full to the brim! (And yes, we fixed the crooked shelf - it works much better now!)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

37 Weeks - FULL TERM!

We are officially considered full-term today! Anyone else want to get in on the Baby Pool to guess when she will arrive? We've got 29 guesses so far!



The little bean is probably somewhere near 7 pounds and 20 inches long by now. We have officially reached watermelon status! Her growth has started to slow down, and her organs are all ready to go. Her immune system is continuing to develop, and will continue to do so after her birth. She's still moving around quite a bit, some days more than others. I don't get the hard kicks very often anymore, but she's constantly rolling and shifting around. I feel her "dipping" a lot, a term I heard on TheBump.com. It feels like her head is knocking on my cervix. And I'm definitely waddling now!We met with our pediatrician yesterday. We liked her and the practice, although Mike isn't thrilled about the fact that there are 12 pediatricians in the practice. He'd prefer to have a smaller group so that we can get to know a little more about all of them. We'll stick with this ped for now, since she has privileges at our hospital, but in the next few months, we'll probably end up switching to someone closer to where we live.

I'm still not really feeling any labor action. I have been noticing some Braxton Hicks contractions again, but they aren't all that frequent. I'm wondering if I've just gotten used to them, and I'm actually getting them more than I think. I do get cramping now and then in my lower abdomen, almost like menstrual cramps. I don't know if that's any sort of contraction or not. I think that's just a sign that my cervix is getting ready for things to come. I'm still waiting for a real contraction to come - I'm pretty sure I'll know it when I feel it! It's really a surreal feeling to know that labor could begin anytime. I am so excited for it to happen, and trying not to over-analyze every little thing that happens with my body. These next few weeks are going to be a roller coaster ride, I'm sure!

I go to the doctor again later next week. I got tested for Group-B Strep on Monday, and I'm still waiting for the results. If it comes back positive, that means I need to be sure to get to the hospital 4 hours before birth so that I can get antibiotics to protect Baby. I'm hoping that the test comes back negative so that I can stay at home as long as possible before heading to the hospital! I was hoping to have the results already, but I guess I'll probably be waiting until Thursday now.

37 Weeks
(I have a dress on today, so no bare belly pic, sorry...I'll try to get one for you later this weekend.)

Now that I'm on maternity leave, I've definitely begun my nesting. As I posted earlier this week, I got all my cooking taken care of for after baby arrives. I've also been working on the nursery, packing my hospital bag, diaper bag, making the hospital iTunes playlist, and compiling all of my childbirth notes. This next week should be a bit more relaxing now that I've gotten the big stuff crossed off my list. I'll be spending time napping, relaxing, sewing, doing baby's laundry, napping, relaxing, washing baby toys, napping, and so on. :) One more important "To Do" on the list is to install our car seat, and put together the stroller. Mike and I are planning to do that tomorrow.

Until next time...have a great weekend!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Alice in Wonderland Crib Bedding

Thanks to poster Jessica, I realized that I never did share any photos of the crib bedding that I made for the nursery!

Here are a few pictures. I sewed the crib skirt, the quilt, and the pillow inside the crib. (None of the pillows, toys, etc. will stay in the crib...they are just there for storage right now!)

On a side note, we got our glider last night!!! I'll have to post some updated nursery pics soon once we get all the final details in.


(Click images to view larger.)
A couple shots of the crib all together...


...and a couple shots of the back of the quilt and pillow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Big Cooking Day!

Today is the big day - I am going to start my cooking so I can cook and freeze meals for after Baby arrives. I'm going to split it up over two days, since it's just me doing this on my own. I got all my menus, recipes, grocery lists, and instruction sheets from Once a Month Mom.

For today's menu, I followed the April 2010 Menu. A lot of the recipes didn't sound very appealing to me, so I just chose the ones that I did want to make, and edited the grocery list and instruction sheet accordingly. The instruction sheet is geared toward two people, but I will be doing it all myself. The recipes were also modified for two families, so I just halved most of them.

Here are the recipes I'll be cooking today:

Breakfasts
Strawberry Bread

Lunches
Ham & Cheese Quiche
Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls
Twice Baked Potatoes (I'm a bit nervous about these, since I've heard potatoes don't freeze well. We'll see how they turn out!)

Dinners
Sicilian Meatloaf
Buffalo Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Cordon Bleu


Tomorrow I'll be starting a new menu. I chose to use the menu from March 2009, and again, I decided to pick and choose the recipes that sounded appealing to me.

The recipes I will be making tomorrow are:

Breakfasts
Chocolate Chip Raspberry Pancakes
Whole Wheat Orange Spice Muffins
Farmer's Casserole

Lunches
Pizza Roll-Ups
Spinach Tortellini Soup

Dinners
Mexican Stuffed Shells (Unstuffed)
Firecracker Salmon


I'll come back in a couple days and let you know how my cooking days went!





Tuesday, April 20, 2010

36 Week Doctor Visit

Just a quick update about my doctor visit yesterday. Not much to report - my blood pressure and baby's heart rate are good as always. I've gained a total of 31 pounds. *gasp!* That's really about it! I could have gotten checked, but I chose not to since it's uncomfortable and really pointless. Even if I were dilated a bit, it wouldn't necessarily mean I'll go into labor soon. And if I'm not, that doesn't necessarily mean it will still be a long time. So, why get excited or disappointed unnecessarily? Plus, I haven't felt any contractions, so I'm pretty sure there's no action going on yet. From now on I go back to the doctor every Monday until baby comes (or until she's really late). I've already got my appointments booked!

DIY: White Rabbit Mobile


While I was planning my nursery, I kept coming across this beautiful butterfly mobile. I liked the fact that it was a little more mature than the stuffed animal mobiles that fit on the crib. It was something that could actually decorate the room when my little girl gets older, rather than just function as an infant mobile. I really liked the look of it, but I couldn't quite figure out how butterflies would fit the theme of my nursery. I started doing searches for Alice in Wonderland themed mobiles but all I could find were the gaudy stuffed kind. The closest I got was a cute little bunny mobile. And then it dawned on me, if I could make a mobile like the butterfly one, I could do it with little white rabbits instead of butterflies!

While reading blogs one day, I stumbled across this web page at Project Nursery that gave instructions for how to make your own butterfly mobile. I simply followed these instructions, making a few modifications of my own! (My modifications are in green.)

Supplies:

- 16″ embroidery hoop (bigger or smaller depending the size of your mobile) - I used a 14" hoop.
- (2) strips of 1/2″ balsa wood - These need to be LONG strips as you will need to divide the hoop in eighths.
- White acrylic paint
- Card stock paper
- A butterfly template made of heavier card stock - I used 3 different 3" rabbit shapes.
- Nylon thread and needle
- (17) medium size glass beads - I only used 13.
- (78) small glass beads - I only used 71.
- (1) small metal or plastic ring
- Glue gun, scissors, cutting mat and pencil

Directions:
1 .Use only the inside ring if the embroidery hoop (the one without the screw system).
2. Cut balsa wood into (4) strips to fit across the diameter if the hoop.
3. Glue these strips across the diameter of the hoop like a pie.
4. Paint the hoop and wood white.
5. Draw (95) butterflies on your choice of card stock paper using a butterfly template. - I only used 71.
6. Cut out each butterfly.
7. Cut (8) threads to your desired length to hang from the ceiling. Attach one end of the thread to the balsa wood and then attach the other end of the thread to the ring in the center.
8. Place a medium size glass bead onto the first butterfly. Tie a knot using a small size bead to thread the next butterfly leaving a space in between. Continue until all the desired butterflies are on one string. - Since my rabbits hang vertically instead of horizontally like the butterflies, I had to modify this a bit. I put a bead on the thread, then put the thread up through the bottom of the rabbit and out through the top.
9. Repeat process for each string. You should end up with (8) sections on the hoop attached to (8) strings on the outer circle with (5) butterflies on each string / (8) strings in the middle part of the hoop with (6) butterflies on each string / and (1) string with (7) butterflies attached to the center of the hoop. This creates the hanging chandelier effect. - I only did (4) strings in the middle part because it was looking too crowded if I used 8.
10. Lastly, glue some butterflies on the outside of the ring for a finishing touch! - I omitted this part.

I'm really happy with the way it came out! It's pretty long, so if I were to do it again I might make the rabbits a little closer together to shorten it a bit, but I really like the way it looks. It was super easy to make, and only took a couple of evenings to finish the entire thing! Plus, it cost me less than $20 to make since I already had some of the supplies on hand. You can't beat that!

DIY: Butterfly Mobile

Sunday, April 18, 2010

36 Weeks

We are now 36 weeks along - one more week til this baby is considered full-term! I'm still not expecting baby action any time soon, but I can definitely feel that she has dropped. I'm not having any contractions lately, not even Braxton Hicks, but I have been getting cramps and aches any time I get up too quickly and when I laugh. I'm not sure if that means anything, but I am definitely analyzing every cramp and twinge I get to see if it could possibly be a contraction. For now though, I'm pretty sure I haven't had one yet.
Baby's bones have hardened now, and her muscle tone has improved. She is pretty much ready to launch anytime at this point. Her lungs are still maturing, but she is getting closer and closer to being able to breathe on her own. The amniotic fluid is decreasing more and more as Baby takes up more room in there. She's probably somewhere between 18" and 20", and weighs 6-6.5 lbs. (about as much as a crenshaw melon, whatever that is!)
I'm feeling pretty decent right now. As you know, Friday was my last day of work, so I'm looking forward to finally being able to get a good nap in every day, as well as not having to sit in front of a computer all day. This past week I have been getting headaches every morning, which is NOT fun for me. I'm hoping that extra naps will help that! This weekend has been especially brutal. Generally I feel good, other than the exhaustion. I do have a really hard time getting comfortable, but I am managing okay. Leg cramps haven't been too bad this week. There's nothing quite like waking up in the middle of the night to stretch and suddenly being overcome by a cramp shooting up my leg!
36 Weeks

Now that I am home during the day, it's time to finish up my final baby preparations. Today I plan to get all of our cloth diapers organized by size, and get everything in her room put away. I still need to buy an organizing shelf for the closet, which I plan to do this week. Mike and I finally ordered a new glider for the nursery, which should arrive in a week or two. For the rest of the week, I plan to pack my hospital bag and prepare and freeze meals for after baby. All that along with napping should keep me pretty well occupied for a while! My next doctor appointment is tomorrow, so we'll find out how much more weight I've gained (hopefully not too much!) and whether or not she's still in the head-down position, which I'm pretty sure she is. I'll update again soon!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Know what today is?

It's my last day of work before maternity leave begins! AKA the Longest Day Ever. :P

I have a couple of fun blog updates for you. Stay tuned...I'll have time to post them soon!
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Saturday, April 10, 2010

35/35

Today is another milestone in my pregnancy - it's my 35/35! I am 35 weeks along with 35 days to go. 40 weeks will be here before I know it! Baby is somewhere around 6 pounds, and is mainly just putting on fat now. She will be putting on about an ounce a day. She's somewhere around 18"-19" and probably won't grow too much longer at this point. I'm pretty sure that she is really low. I've gotten several comments on how low I am carrying. And I can definitely feel her, between the constant need to pee and the weird lightning shocks I get in my pelvis when she moves down there. My uterus is well up under my ribs now (and I am definitely getting frequent kicks up there now!) and the amniotic fluid is starting to decrease as my belly gets more and more full of baby.
Well, it's official...my milk factories work. I'm a little freaked out by it... I was SO not prepared to see that. But hey, at least I know they are working! I feel like I am constantly peeing now. As soon as I walk away from the restroom, the urge strikes again. It's like each time I pee I make more room for the baby, so she moves down onto my bladder again. I had no idea it was possible to pee as many times a day as I do now! I'm also finding it necessary to start loading up on the fiber again. All that pressure down there is slowing other things down. I'm really not having any issues with heartburn or anything like that, thankfully.
35 Weeks

We weren't able to schedule my next doctor appointment until a week from Monday, so I'm guessing that after this next appointment, I'll probably be going in every week until I go into labor. This last month is going to go by pretty fast (I hope!)! My major "To Do's" are:

Make and freeze meals to eat after Baby arrives
Pack hospital bag
Put together all my notes from childbirth class, hospital paperwork, birth plan, etc. so that I feel organized
Wash baby clothes and put away everything still in packages in the baby's room.

My belly button hasn't popped out, but it's pretty much non-existent at this point!

This coming week is my last week at work, so I will be finishing everything up. My coworkers very graciously offered to throw me a baby shower on Wednesday, so that will be fun. That was very sweet and unexpected of them! Otherwise, I'll be continuing to train the girl who is filling in for me, and wrapping up loose ends around the office. I have a feeling this week will go fast! I already have plenty of things to do the following week. This is going to be an exciting month!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hey, everyone...

Take a look at my maternity leave countdown widget over on the right.

Whoa...it's getting close!!!!

:D

Saturday, April 3, 2010

34 Weeks

Today I am 34 weeks pregnant. Time is really going fast!!! We are officially to the point now where if she decides she is ready to be born, we won't stop the labor. (Although I'm not really expecting any labor action for several more weeks!) If she were to be born now, she might need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, she would probably do as well as full-term babies. Baby is still in the 5lb / 18" range for now. I still can't believe she's up to as much as 5lbs - I really don't feel like my belly is any heavier than it was when she was 2lbs. It's definitely bigger though! She's continuing to put on fat, and her skin is smoothing out more and more.
It's about time for her to start moving down into my pelvis. (It's about time, since my ribs have totally disappeared, and I'm starting to feel like my belly is up to my chin!) I can definitely feel her down in the pelvic regions at times. I get these electric shocks down there whenever she presses up against a nerve. That is NOT so much fun! I'm definitely waddling a lot now, and the pressure on my bladder is crazy. I went from not getting up to pee at all during the night to getting up once or twice every night. This is definitely a new development for me! I'm pretty sure she's still got some moving down to do though, since I still feel like she is up really high under my ribs. I'm still not having many Braxton Hicks contractions. They are less frequent now than they were for a while there.
34 Weeks

Lately I keep feeling a lot of regret for not exercising. I used to try to exercise at least once or twice a week, and I vowed that I would continue to do so throughout my pregnancy. I work long hours, and the only time I had to work out was at lunch or after work. During the first trimester I was too tired, and ended up napping during lunch, and I was exhausted after work and wanted nothing but sleep. In the second trimester, I was too hungry. I intended to work out at lunch, but my growling stomach had other plans for me. By the time I got off work, all I could think about was getting home to eat dinner. And then by the time the third trimester rolled around, I was so out of the habit that I had no desire and couldn't force myself to go to the gym.

I am so disappointed in myself. I know that I would have gained weight anyway...that's a given. It's the lack of muscle that makes me so sad. I was always so careful to keep my butt and legs in decent shape, and now they are shapeless and flabby. I really wanted to keep them up, not only for appearance, but to help me through labor. Now I have NO muscle strength in my legs to help with pushing or anything. I feel like I really let myself down, and I have no one but myself to blame. I tried prenatal yoga and loved it, but I've been to a whopping FOUR classes in the past 8 months. Next time I get pregnant, I am definitely making exercise a priority. I know I will have a little girl to take care of, but I will make sure that exercise is a part of both of our lives. I can't let anything work take priority over taking care of myself next time.

Anyway...enough of that. I just had to get that out. So, to any newly pregnant girls out there, that is my biggest advice - DON'T GIVE UP on working out!!!! I am really going to have my work cut out for me to get back in shape after this baby is born.

Otherwise though, I'm feeling really good lately. Nothing really to complain about this week. I'm just enjoying all the crazy movements going on in my belly. I really think I am going to miss being pregnant. It will be wonderful to have my daughter in my arms, but it's going to be very strange to not feel her inside my belly all the time. We have such a bond right now. I love being able to feel her every movement. It's going to be a strange, empty feeling when she's not in there anymore! But, it will be even better, I'm sure. :) I can't wait to meet her!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guess her birthday!

Just for fun, I put together a little guessing game for everyone to make a guess when Baby Peters will arrive. Whoever guesses the closest to her actual birth date wins!

33 Week Doctor Visit

Just a quick update from my doctor visit yesterday. Everything is still looking good! Mike was able to come with me this time so he could meet our doctor as well.

Weight gain: 25 lbs total (More than I would like...I need to be careful in this last month so that I don't gain too much more! The average is 25-35 pounds total during your entire pregnancy, and I was hoping to stay closer to 25.)
Blood pressure: 112/75 (I think? Something like that...they said it was good.)
Belly: Measuring right on schedule!
Heartbeat: Not sure of the BPM, but it sounded strong and healthy!

We still aren't sure if the birthing center will be completed in time for me to deliver there, but at this point I really don't mind either way. I am completely comfortable and prepared to deliver at the hospital. I know everything will be just fine however things work out!

One thing that really caught my attention: my doctor told me that at 34 weeks (which I will be in 2 days!), they won't stop labor. Meaning that if I were to go into labor at pretty much anytime now, this little girl will be coming! I'm not expecting her to come this early, but it was quite an eye opener to realize that we are already to that point! I don't mind if she comes a little early, but I'm hoping that she'll at least wait until the beginning of May so that I can enjoy some Me Time before she arrives. (And I'm still okay with it if she comes late, too. If my due date comes and goes, I'll just look at it as an extended personal vacation. I have to make the best of my time to myself while I still can!)