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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The thing about bras.

Warning: This post is not for guys to read. Simply because you just won't understand any of what I'm talking about.

They (Oprah Show maybe?) say that what 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. And you know what, it's not our fault. It's because companies make them the wrong sizes!

Literally one of the best things about living in Connecticut for awhile was that I found an actual bra boutique where I could get measured and fitted and they actually carried my correct size! And guess what, it turns out I'm a 32HH (pregnant or nursing anyway, 32G normally)!! Sounds crazy, but that's more like the sizes we should be wearing. The scale needs to majorly be shifted because culture thinks that a DD woman is huge, but really, it's not at all! Yet that's all we see in the stores. Nothing bigger than a DD really and by then they've moved the band size all the way up to 40, which is totally wrong and hikes all the way up my back, not supporting me in the front at all. When all wrong sizes is all you can find in the stores, then what?

My life was changed in a big way when I found the right bra size. Seriously! Before I had NO support and if I bent over or jogged to catch a frisbee, I totally fell out of my bra! I constantly had to find ways to discreetly readjust, and that's just not cool. In CT, however, I was fitted with a proper bra and I discovered a whole new world! I had proper support, was lifted and could actually do active things like play frisbee or volleyball or simply bend down to pick up something without having to hold myself in. It was great! You have no idea. But it costs big bucks to find a 32HH bra, averaging probably $50-80 for just a bra that fits. But for me that's worth it, hands down. There's still not a big selection, but at least I've found some stores online that carry the size (since I'm no longer near my favorite boutique in CT), providing for my bra-wearing needs and giving me a freedom that really is priceless. Check out Her Room, Bare Necessities, or Fig Leaves.

Except when it comes to nursing bras. *sigh* Now we have to get even more specific. There are three bras to pick from in my size. Two still aren't quite big enough (I bubble out the top) but don't come in any larger sizes. And the third is OK, I've worn it before. It does the job but doesn't give you a very attractive look. Hard to explain. Bras are shaped differently, and this one isn't a shape or lift I really care for, but it just might have to do. Yay. So I guess this is the life for the next year while nursing. I know, it seems so petty. But a woman likes to feel attractive. And how a bra fits also makes a HUGE difference in how shirts fit.

So. I'm frustrated. I want to go in the bra-making business so I can just help offer the right sizes for women like me. I don't really feel like I'm that abnormal, so I don't quite understand why it's such a struggle. How can we get companies to start making the right sizes and offer a better selection in normal stores? Does anyone else even share these problems??

Monday, December 28, 2009

Before-Baby To-Do List

We're almost down to 4 WEEKS before Baby's due date! Can you believe that?! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! I don't know why, but I feel so unprepared this time around! I feel so busy and swamped with the two that we have that I'm definitely feeling more than uneasy about how the adjustment will go with the addition of a third! We first heard that the transition was the same as going from one to two kids, but now I just keep hearing how extremely DIFFICULT it is for the first several months! So please, can anyone share some hopeful honesty or tips to make it easier??

I'm also feeling a bit stressed about delivery and all the details surrounding that. The timing with Kevin's work schedule, arrangements for the kids (WHO can be our on-call people, day and night until my parents can get here), the weather (seeing that we've had some MASSIVE snow lately!), and labor itself knowing this time we need to hurry to the hospital to avoid another surprise home delivery! I know God has it already planned out, every single detail, but it's just hard to rest in the unknown.

Pregnancy-wise I'm feeling very good. Sleeping well through the night. (for now!) Earlier in pregnancy I woke up nearly every night to pee almost precisely at 2am, but now I must be so exhausted that once I'm asleep I'm out until morning. And it takes so much effort to roll over at all that I just don't even move. I've had much fewer leg cramps than my last two pregnancies, probably less than a handful total, and that's good. There's nothing like having to hop out of bed in the middle of the night to walk out a cramp that ends up lingering for days. I only have mild heartburn sometimes, and no swelling or anything. But I'm definitely reaching the point where I'm just ready to not be pregnant any more. The huffs and puffs of trying to reach something, the extremely awkward baby movement, and the frustration of not being able to find a comfortable way to sit on the couch. I can't complain though, because pregnancy has been VERY good to me! It's just a bit hard for any woman, and I'm ready to reach the end and meet our baby!

So with that, here is my final to-do list as we prepare for this sweet baby boy:

* Finish hospital pre-registration forms.
* Make arrangements for where kids are going to stay.
* Pack kids' overnight bag.
* Rearrange van and install infant car seat.
* Clean up and prepare guest room. I never reaaally cleaned it after having our windows installed. So it's still super dusty and needs the bedding washed, even though I continue to keep clean folded laundry on there ALL the time now.
* Stock up cupboards and freezer with meals.
* Sew curtains for Eli's room. (I finally found fabric to make matching curtains for his second window!)
* Sew nursing cover blanket.
* Make a list for my hospital bag.
* Figure out snow plow something or other to make sure we can get out of lane if there's snow that week!
* Try on nursing bras again and decide whether to return or keep.
* Purchase Hannah's birthday presents, since her birthday is so soon after Baby's due date. Thanks, Amazon!
* Prepare MOPS activities for February meeting.

* Shopping List:
  • OxyClean and a bucket. (ahh, how I've forgotten those days...)
  • Binkies (just in case. our old ones look gross)
  • Infant socks. (I cannot find the ones we had for Eli!)
  • Raspberry leaf tea. (Due date is the 28th, and I'll be shooting to deliver on the 25 or 26th)
  • Nursing pads.
  • Baby hangars.

Snow, Christmas, Family.

A brief description of what our week has been like since Tuesday and over the holiday week...

Change of plans.
Freezing rain for 2 days.
Early Christmas.
Great time spent with both families.
Several hours with no electricity.
Candlelight Christmas eve dinner.
Candlelight songs by the piano.
Perfect moments.
Heavy snow storm.
Kevin back to work.
Still snow.
Fun board games.
Lots of goodies.
And hot chocolate.
A fun evening with my friends (and my kids).
Still blowing snow.
No plows back home.
Kevin's truck stuck. Again.
Kids and I "stuck" at my parents' house.

Yup, that about covers it. Without going into the long drawn-out detail of what's been going on. Basically we've had a lot of BAD weather here this week, but with a little rearranging we've still been able to have some nice time with both families. Kevin trudged his way back Christmas Even to return to work on Christmas Day and the kids and I stayed to visit with family that's home for the holiday. We would have driven separately but because of the weather we all crammed in the truck, and my parents will drive us back (or meet halfway with Kevin) whenever things are clear for us to get to our house. I'll have pictures and more to share when we get back home to our computer, but I thought I'd at least pop on and share a brief update. Hoping to get back home tomorrow. I miss my hubby and the home routine. But we'll enjoy this for now!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Meanderings - Holiday Style

Well with Christmas this week and us going home to see family, I'm obviously not going to be posting a week of plans. But I did think I'd share what our holiday plans are!

Kevin's been on nights over the weekend, and now today he starts his 4 days off. While he's still sleeping this morning, the kids and I are having a play date over at a friend's. Thought it would be fun to hang out before we all head off for the holidays. With the blizzard two weeks ago and then our trip to KC, it's been awhile since we've really seen anyone!

Tomorrow morning we're going to have our own little family Christmas. Stockings, one present, and a nice breakfast complete with a strawberry-cream cheese butter braid I bought from the local school's fundraiser. Then in the afternoon at nap time we'll drive home. Kevin and I are driving separately since he has to return earlier for work, while the kids and I stay a few more days to visit with family that's coming in for the holiday.

Wednesday we'll probably be just bumming around and taking care of a few Christmas-related things. My brother Paul and his wife Holly fly in that evening!! Kevin's sister Carri and her husband Lucas will also arrive that day!

Thursday will be our day for Christmas celebrations. Morning Christmas with my family and an afternoon Christmas and dinner with Kevin's family. Christmas Eve church service later that night, though I'm not sure I can go because the kids will be in bed. (the service doesn't start 'til 10:00) My dad's the pastor so their house is right next door, and as tempting as it is to just bring the baby monitor, I don't think I can do it. Kevin will drive back for work the next day. (bummed he doesn't get to see the family more while they're here!!)

Friday is Christmas! No big plans though. Probably a nice Christmas dinner with my family but otherwise probably just hanging out.

Saturday. Again probably just hanging out with a visit to see Kevin's family sometime during the day.

Sunday. Church in the morning. Then after naps I'm hoping to get together with some of my friends from home while Paul and Holly head back to the airport.

Then Monday sometime I'll head back home with the kids.

So it'll be a nice week of family time and relaxing! And celebrating Jesus' birthday! I like to play Christmas hymns on the piano by candle light/Christmas light, read the Christmas story, and watch The Nativity Story movie.

What are your family's plans this holiday week??

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmastime at our house

Just a peek into our home right now, cuz I thought it would be fun to share. I love seeing everyone else's Christmas decs! It's such a special time of year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

New cake decorating technique!

Every month at our church we have a women's fellowship meeting. "Godly Girlfriends" it's called. Before heading into devotion time, prayer, and snacks, someone shares an "added attraction". Last night one of the ladies taught us how to make bows, last month we got some fun ideas for creating gift baskets, and the previous months we've learned how to make candles and do cake decorating.

Now cake decorating isn't really my thing. It's hard and frustrating, takes forever to do, and the cake never quite turns out how I wanted. But I try. And I'm learning. So I was pretty excited when we learned some tricks at our fellowship meeting! Afterward I went out and bought the same pan (12x2" circle pan) and frosting spatula that our friend Rachel used in the demonstration, and now finally since it was Kevin's birthday this week I got a chance to try it out!

Step 1: Cut up a towel into strips the same width as the cake pan depth. Use metal safety pins to pin together your strips of towel so the whole thing will wrap around your pan 4 or 5 times. Wet the towel and wrap it around the cake pan. Bake according to your directions. I'd sort of tried this before and knew it helped, but this was so much easier to have the towel cut into nice strips and pinned together. This whole process helps your cake come out with a flat top instead of rounded. See?
Step 2:
Let your cake cool fully.

Step 3: Pick an image you want to use for your decoration. Anything you want. Kevin likes Jeeps, so I went online and Googled "jeep coloring page" and printed. Now cut out the picture, cutting along the lines of the picture as much as you can without actually cutting the picture apart.

Step 4: Frost your cake as normal and let it sit for about 10 minutes, 'til it's dry to the touch.

Step 5: Now lay your picture on the cake and gently press it into the frosting with a butter knife, especially so you can see the inside edges of your picture where details are.

Step 6: Now gently lift the picture off the cake, and you'll see your print in the frosting so you don't have to try to freehand a design or find a specific-shaped cake pan. Now when I did this I didn't let the frosting sit quite long enough so it smeared a little bit when I pulled the paper off, but I could still see it clearly enough. You'll see most of the lines for your picture, and then you can fill in where needed when your doing your frosting outline.

Step 7: Using a small frosting tip, outline all the lines on your picture. Then fill in accordingly with colors of your choice. Two more lessons I learned trying this one: 1) a Wilton 16 tip was NOT small enough, so I didn't have enough space for all the detail of the picture. I should've used my Wilton 3 tip, which I realized as soon as I started, but the tip was already in the bottom of the frosting bag so I couldn't really change it out. 2) For me the WORST part of cake decorating is getting the frosting the right colors. I couldn't get black for my outline, the darkest I got it was dark gray before I ran out of coloring. Then I wanted the Jeep to be a green color, but it turned out to be a really bright green, so I added in a little bit of the gray from the outline frosting, but that just made it a super dark green, and now you can't see the detailing of the Jeep because there's no contrast between the gray and green. But at least it gives you an idea of how it can turn out. I can't wait to try it again for Hannah's birthday in a few weeks, hopefully with a picture of a little less detail. Still came out pretty good though, huh?

I'm not very good at star-tipping, so for this one I just filled in the frosting and smeared it together a little bit. But still it was pretty easy and I'm excited about this new method! So what do you think? You gonna try it??

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Baby Names.

We're still in the process of deciding on a name for Baby #3, so everywhere I look I keep my eyes open to name ideas... brand names, initials, movie credits, stores, street names, book characters. Phillips 66, Taylor Trucking, Jesse James sign, etc. Names are everywhere!

The name Eli came to me because I remembered a friend of mine who worked with a little boy named Eli and liked the name. We chose Elijah as the full name though, and William is a family name.

Anne is another family name but I converted it>>Anna>>Hannah. Mostly I just really liked the name Hannah Elizabeth and was set on it right from the start. First name anyway, middle name took awhile to decide.

And baby 3's name is still in progress. I have a name I'm pretty set on, but we're not in 100% agreement about it quite yet.

But I'm curious, what's the story behind your children's names?? How did they come to you? Is it a family name, is it from a favorite TV show, is it named after someone special, or did it just come to you in a baby name search? I'd love to hear your story!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, honey!

Today I am celebrating my husband. His life, his presence in my life, the man that he is, the father he's become. I am so so thankful!

By the way, my Kansas City pics are up OVER HERE!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Kevin and I are home from a wonderful weekend in Kansas City. My parents dropped the kids off this afternoon, and we're loving being together again as a family. Amazing what a good break can do! There will be more to come! But for now I just wanted to stop in to say Hello! to you dear friends Kevin doesn't have to go to work until Thursday night shift so we'll just be hanging out the next couple days, and I can't wait to do just that! Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No more scraping windows!

While we're at it talking about how much I love coupon codes, I just remembered I wanted to share a little tip I've learned since being married to my wonderful husband.... Instead of scraping frost or ice off your windshield, just spray your de-icer washer fluid! It's gone in an instant! You might still have to scrape your side windows but if you were parked in the right direction, they're not usually as bad anyway. You might go through washer fluid faster, but it is soooo worth it!

Don't forget coupon codes!

I was just online ordering some new nursing bras and remembered during check out that I should just do a quick google search for a coupon code. ("bare necessities coupon code") In one click I found one and saved $15 just like that! So don't forget those coupon codes! They're easy to find and so worth the save!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

24 hours.

Whew, it's been a long day. I'm tired and ready to take a nice hot shower after having no water for almost exactly 24 hours. That sure made life interesting, needless to say. I spent all morning melting snow, which ended up only being enough for us to feed the cats and flush the toilet two times. With the microwave, stove, and oven I had a pretty good system going, but still it was a very slow process and one that I gave up on by mid-afternoon. I also learned how dirty snow actually is, despite its pure white color! There was quite a bit of dirt that settled to the bottom of the bowl as I was melting! What a surprise!

While I was melting snow, Kevin was trying to dig his truck out. He worked on it for almost 4 hours this morning, took a couple hours break, and then went back out right after lunch. Finally around 2pm, a nice old man came by with a front-loader and helped pull him out and scoop the road! What a blessing!!

By the end of the afternoon the winds calmed down, the sun shone, and everything was calm again. COLD (7 degrees!!), much too cold for play, but calm. So we took a rest.

And then Kevin got to work again fixing the water problem! Turned out it was a specific fuse or something or that sort. And I'm so thankful it was something we could fix without an electrician!

We had our mac n cheese and hot dogs for dinner, and now finally all the dishes from last night's dinner are washed and stacked high. The kids are tucked in bed, heaters are running, and clothes that have been in the washing process since yesterday are re-washed and finally getting put in the dryer.

Tomorrow's agenda: the lane. Must get it cleared out so we can get out for our Kansas City babymoon on Friday!!
And amidst all of today's chaos, one can still find much beauty:

Sun dogs.

This is Day #3 of being snowed in. And that we are. Kevin tried to get out for work today, and 3 hours later he's STILL just on the other side of the barn trying to dig out his truck, while at the same time the winds continue blow him back in. Poor guy. He just called the neighbor so hopefully they can come over with their tractor and help dig him out. (UPDATE: they're stuck in too) Not a single car or plow has been by yet.

The electric in the basement is out, and it's what runs our water pump so we've been without running water since dinner last night. And there's not a chance we can get an electrician out here any time soon in this weather. Everything's shut down. So I'm hoping that MAYBE an electrician can at least talk Kevin through something over the phone.

I'm thankful Kevin's stuck home today. So thankful. I didn't know what I was going to do! And I'm also thankful that he was able to bring home a little food last night. I told him to get milk, bread, and food, and he brought home, milk, bread, mac n cheese and hot dogs and three frozen pizzas. Haha. Yup, that works! We can at least do the pizzas without needing water.

I'm melting snow over the stove right now so I could at least feed the cats and soak our dirty dishes from last night. Snow melts veeerrry slooowly. But it's not so much. At least it makes me feel like I'm doing something, I guess.

While I was out collecting snow I snapped a few photos. See the sun dogs? The rainbow looking things on either side of the sun. I love them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snowed in.

We're totally snowed in this week. At least the kids and I are. Thankfully Kevin has a 4x4 truck and can still get out for work. We still don't have any snow removal device for our lane because no matter what we decide to go with, it's probably going to cost at least $2000! And since Kevin leaves for work at 5am, having someone else come dig him out before then really isn't an option. So the lane is drifting over and more snow keeps coming down and tomorrow's weather is supposed to be equally bad with heavy winds. Yikes! We haven't gotten to the store yet this week so we're really scrounging for food, but it's amazing what you can come up with when you really have to! The closest thing we have ingredients for is this yummy and easy alfredo sauce, so that'll probably be dinner tonight with chicken and broccoli from the freezer. I'm really hoping Kevin can at least bring home some milk and bread when and if he gets home tonight!

Today was a little bit warmer than yesterday (22 degrees instead of 10!) so I was actually wanting to take the kids outside to play in the snow today. But I couldn't get my belly to fit inside Kevin's snow suit and I don't have any snow gear to wear otherwise. I had to go out to the van to get diapers, and even that walk had me going through snow nearly up to my knees! So playing and building a snowman and getting my regular jeans completely snowy wasn't really my idea of a good time. So we stayed in and read some books instead.

So it's a quiet week at our house and we're bumming like nobody's business. And feeling thankful for a warm house to stay in and the fact that we do have food in the cupboards.

Monday, December 7, 2009

This week. Random.

I don't feel like sitting down and planning the whole week.
It's 5:00 and I have no clue what we're having for dinner tonight. It was too cold to take the kids all out for errands today, so we didn't. And we're not the type to really have much on hand for no reason. So we'll see. Kevin doesn't get home from work 'til 6:30pm, so I have a little time to think. Chicken nuggets?

This week I do need to:
* finish getting things ready for our MOPS meeting tomorrow, even though we might end up having a snow day and canceling.
* clean off the radiators. they're piled with STUFF right now.
* clean off the hutch. it's our hot spot and always cluttered
* put the Christmas bin away now that we have decorations up
* put laundry away
* wash our kitchen towels. they just pile and pile up until I finally have enough to do a load/we don't have a single towel clean in the drawer.
* write our Christmas letter

I'm trying to learn the art of decorating a Christmas tree so it's a PRETTY tree. Seriously, I'm not very good at it. The last couple years I've been keeping to golds and sparkly ornaments and glass icicles instead of toy-type ornaments. This year I tried adding ribbon and I really like it but it only wraps twice around the tree, so I need to buy another roll that matches, if I can find some. And now this year I've also learned that LED lights are not my friend. They're just too bright white instead of glowy.

I also want to learn how to make different Christmas cookies. I don't make cookies all that often, simply because I will eat them all! And I just realized the only kinds of cookies I ever make are oatmeal chocolate chip or sugar cookie. There are tons of varieties out there, especially at Christmas season, so I want to start trying new recipes! What are your favorites???

Hannah's into giving random hugs lately, and I'm adoring this new phase.

My camera is having troubles with the auto focus, so I've been having to do manual focus and it's really hard to tell looking through the view finder if something is completely in focus or not, so I've been ending up with a lot of blurry pics. Plus it's the time of year with pretty Christmas colors that using flash is especially undesirable, so I've been shooting in low-light settings with a very low shutter speed also contributing to blurry pics. Frustrating, but I did some looking online today and apparently it's a common flaw with this particular lens for the auto focus to stop working at times. I'm hoping for a different lens for Christmas this year anyway, so it may end up being the lens I start using more anyway and the auto focus problem won't be so much of an issue.

I just (as in just a couple clicks ago) came across this Jesus is the Gift online Bible study. I want to do this starting right this minute. And printing...

I'm super duper excited for our getaway this weekend! The kids are going to Grandma and Grandpa's house, and Kevin and I are going to Kansas City for THREE WHOLE NIGHTS! I can't wait! Wish I wasn't 8 months pregnant, so we could do fun things like ice skating, hot tubs, or champagne, but we certainly will enjoy some quality time together as a couple instead of as mommy and daddy!

So that's what I'm up to this week. How 'bout you? Oh and if you haven't been over to the ol' blog at all in the last week or two, come on over, because I've decorated for Christmas! =)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Countdown Calendar and Jesse "Tree"

Last year at this time we were in the middle of moving and didn't have our normal Christmas tree. So we were borrowing a small Charlie Brown style one and made ornaments following the Jesse Tree tradition. This year I wanted to make a Christmas countdown calendar and I realized we could incorporate our Jesse Tree symbols all into one. We're following these devotionals, using these symbols, and at the end of the day instead of putting the symbols on a tree, we put them over one of the numbers on our countdown calendar. Seems to be working well and is a great way to end the day!

the calendar I put together just using a large white piece of paper and red and green construction paper

calendar with symbols

What are your family's traditions leading up to Christmas??

I don't get it.

Why does my 3-yr-old frequently throw fits about not being able to do something he does every day??! Today it was a whole stink about how he couldn't get his underwear on, even though it's something he's been doing by himself for several weeks now! He does this sort of thing quite often and it irritates me up the wazoo because I don't know why it has to be an issue at all!! I usually just let him continue in his fit, refusing to help, telling him I know he can do it and somewhere along the line he gets it himself and we can finally carry on with the rest of our day. But seriously, this is ridiculous. Anyone know more about toddler behavior and can fill me in on something???

And while we're at it, I'm trying to help Eli learn how to dress himself (he can do underwear and pants, but we're still working on shirt and shoes) but WHY is it so impossibly hard to get him to even TRY to do it on his own! He gives one little tug on his sleeve and then pleads that he can't do it and wants help. JUST TRY!!

Okay, I'm done now. But seriously, if you have any suggestions, I would really love it! Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

There isn't anything I'd rather do, sweet child.

Today before nap time I was reading to the kids the book God Gave Us Christmas. I just bought the book this season but have been waiting 'til after Thanksgiving (and coughing) to read it. In the story Mama Bear takes Baby Bear all around showing him the wonders of God and how God gave us Christmas by giving us Jesus. And at the ending of the book, there was this simple conversation that brought tears to my eyes...

"Thanks for showing me God, Mama."
"There isn't anything I'd rather do, sweet child," she said with a kiss.

There isn't anything I'd rather do. Wow. Do I feel like that with my own children? Or do I allow myself to get consumed with to-do's and sibling battles and crying and messes that I forget what my purpose really is??

I admit I have been really struggling lately. I know there's no excuse, God can always provide the strength we need. But this horrible cold I've been battling has left me feeling ultra-frustrated and annoyed at everything the kids do. I'm tired of the constant fighting and the crying. I'm tired of them making messes as I'm trying to clean up. My constant nose blowing has made my ears pop a lot such that their noises are extra-loud. And my lack of full voice makes me feel like they can't hear me well, so I end up yelling even more. I'm tired of disobedience, and I'm tired of anger. I am tired of a messy house. I am just tired. And I've totally allowed myself to get consumed instead of taking joy in the blessing of motherhood. Yeah, the BLESSING OF MOTHERHOOD. It doesn't often feel like that, huh? But that is what it is. Because God has chosen me for this role, and honestly, in the end... there isn't anything I'd rather do.

Dear God, help me to choose joy throughout my days. Help me to not get consumed but to keep focus on the things that really matter. It doesn't really matter when all the puzzles get dumped out at once, but it does matter that I show God to my children with my reaction. So fill me your love and your joy and your peace and your patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, that I might glorify you in all of my days. Amen.