Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First Box to Saipan :: Check!

Today marks my first non-working-outside-the-home day, yay!  The stress hit me as soon as I left work last Friday...there is a LOT left to do and not much time to do it.  I didn't waste any time getting started on my To Do List this weekend and I'm pretty stoked about the progress I've made so far.

Toward the top of my list was packages to ship to Saipan.  We have certain items we want to take with us (towels, sheets, toiletries, Emilia games, etc.) that I planned to ship early.  This way we will *hopefully* have these packages in our apartment when we arrive.  Yes, this is really early.  We do not leave for Saipan until July 23rd.  But, we leave for North Carolina next Friday for a month-long cultural training so I don't have much time.

The first box was easy.  We are taking 2 pair of sheets for our bed and 2 pair for Emilia's bed.  I also have a new, bright, cheery, colorful, *thin quilt bedspread for E, as well as 2 sets of towels per person.  I was pretty proud of myself for managing to fit all of this into one box!

Rolling saves quite a bit of space.

I showed my MIL the exciting news and then she made my day!  She suggested trying one of her Space Bags.  They are plastic bags that you fill, seal closed and then vacuum the air out.  Magical!  We went from this:


It might not look like that big of a deal, but it really made some extra room along the sides.  I went from only having room for the items I listed previously to being able to include several bathroom items, toiletries, a few card games, an over-the-door towel rack, and so much more!  These were all other items I would have had to ship in a separate box.  How exciting to fit so much more in this box and cut a little cost!  Yes, this box now cost more to ship, but again, it was all stuff we were shipping either way.  Check out my final box!:

I am so glad all of these items are on their way to Saipan and will be waiting for us when we arrive!  We are just one tiny step closer to this long awaited adventure!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Maternity Clothes on a Dime

Now that I am starting to outgrow {or fit too tightly in} some of my regualar clothes, I have started pulling out the ol' maternity clothes tubs.  I have a very limited selection of summer maternity wear, for a couple of reasons. 

The last time I was pregnant:
1.  It was mostly during winter months.
2.  I wore scrubs to work every day.  Therefore needing much less "real people" clothing.
3.  I was lazy.  {Read- most nights I came home from work and transferred directly to sweats.}

I have pulled out what I can from those tubs and I'm stretching {figuratively and probably literally} my creativity and resourcefulness with my other clothes.

Outfitting one's closet with maternity clothes can be tiresome and expensive.  But it doesn't have to be.

My absolute, hands down favorite article of clothing, which I am certain will stick around for almost my entire (if not entire) pregnancy are the Old Navy Jersey Stretch Tanks, or Tamis.  This tank has modest chest coverage and is also longer than other tank styles.  I am someone who wears a tank under my shirt every day, so I definitely love these.  I own a ridiculous number of these in every color they have stocked in the past few years.  Before pregnancy, I rarely wore these on their own because I don't like my clothes fitting too closely to my body.  (I'm sure they looked fine, I'm just weird.  Plus, lots of other people wear them alone.)  But, since my belly has started making its grand appearance, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and I'm sporting these by themselves!  Usually I layer 2 together for smoothness and an extra pop of color.  They go so well with my newly made t-shirt skirts for a comfy, on-the-go look.  I know I will be especially grateful for this large collection once we hit Saipan!

Challenge #1:  Go through your tank collection and see which ones might work throughout your pregnancy.  Depending on the material, you may have to worry about stretching some out.  But, the ON Tamis have been through many shapes and sizes with me and always go back to their original form.

Another regular item I have enjoyed turning into maternity are a couple nicer style sleeveless tops which are supposed to tie in the back.  I picked them up on Target Clearance last fall in preparation for our Saipan move.  Lucky for me, I can fit in them right now. (Yay for wearing loose clothing pre-pregnancy!)  One little trick I tried the other day and LOVED- instead of tying in the back, I tie in the front, off to one side.  This helps accentuate my little baby bump instead of just looking chubby!  I have received numerous compliments on these tops and I also look forward to wearing them regularly again one day!

Along with these couple tops, I am also glad that tunic-style tops are still in fashion.  Talk about getting good mileage out of a piece of clothing!  Something that is supposed to look loose and flowy while not pregnant means you have lots of growing room in the same shirt.  Chance are it will still look cute as your bump starts to fill the space.

Challenge #2:  Test out some of your favorite tops that could possibly be styled or accessorized differently to work as early to mid-maternity shirts.  This could buy you a few months of extra wear before having to make the switch to "real" maternity clothes.

By some miracle, I am still able to fit into all my pre-preggo pants, shorts, skirts, etc.  (It's not really a miracle...I am keeping a closer watch on my food intake and exercizing much more consistently this time around).  I am in love with any yoga band bottoms I own.  Unlike my jeans and other bottoms that zip/button, yoga bands do not cut into my tummy and always help round out the bump.  I may be the only person left on earth wearing gauchos, and I'm OK with that.  I have loved them since the first day they appeared on the racks and I have never looked back.  Combined with my t-shirt skirts and other skirts with similar waist bands, I can coast through my pregnancy in comfort and style.  (Not to mention, they are airy and cool.  Major pluses when moving to an island...)

I also have a little trick for extending the life of pants when they start feeling uncomfortable while buttoned.  My friend taught this one to me during my first pregnancy, and you may already know it.  Take a rubberband (or toddler hair band, in my case), loop it through the button hole of your pants and secure around the button.  That little bit of "give" takes your fav jeans a long way.  (Keep an eye on your zipper though, mine tends to creep down throughout the day...)

Challenge #3:  Try on your pants/capris/shorts to see which pairs fit everywhere BUT the closure and test the rubber band theory for a little extra life.

Another one of my favorite tricks is to purchase one size up in a few clothing staples.  I have been stocking up on ON tanks in one size larger so they will fit later in my pregnancy.  The added bonus being, after the baby comes and before I can fit my pre-maternity clothes, at least I'm OUT of maternity clothes! ;-)

Challenge #4:  Keep an eye out for good deals or sales on your favorite staple items and put back a few in one size larger for the end of your pregnancy.  Old Navy has a $2, $4, $6 tank sale going on this Memorial Day Weekend.  I just scored several new tanks to add to the rotation, and I will be able to use them post partum too!

I know I will sooner or later end up in all "real" maternity clothes, but I am glad to get some extended use out of some "regular" favorites in the mean time.  Do you have a favorite trick or tip for making regular clothes work as maternity?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update :: 18 Weeks

Seeing as I completely forgot to do last week's update, I guess we can add forgetfulness to the list...(O:

I don't really feel like there is much to report, but I will try.

*Weight: gained 3ish pounds, still doing OK.

*Exercise:  I try to attend Zumba at least once a week and add in walking the park on other days as I can.

*Clothes:  I am surprised and happy to report that most of my pre-maternity clothes still fit!  There are 2 pairs of jeans/jean shorts that I have had to do the old "hair tie around the button" trick, but otherwise they are holding steady.  I have started adding maternity tanks and tops to the rotation for a little variety.

*Food:  No new cravings.  I have noticed that I think all milk smells slightly spoiled (when it is not)...which is weird.  I don't have a complete aversion to milk (yet), but I have been drinking less of it- especially plain white milk.  I guess this is a good thing, since I'm "off milk" once on Saipan anyway...but still a bummer.

*Preparations:  Thanks to my wonderful friend, Elise, I am now almost fully stocked on cloth diapers!!!  She was able to attend the Cotton Babies $1 Diaper Sale this past weekend and was kind enough to take my "Wish List".  She was even able to snag several in my favorite colors- kelly green and orange.  Yay!  Thanks friend!! (O:  I still have a gift certificate from my coworkers to use at CB, and I am researching diaper inserts, etc.  Feel free to throw any suggestions/opinions/advice my way! ;-)

I received TWO gift packages yesterday in the mail, speaking of cloth diapers.  One was from an old high school friend- she sent me a package of the cloth diaper kit she purchased and never used.  I am glad to help put it to good use!  Also, my Aunt Emilia sent a whole cloth diaper making kit!!  It is the cutest set I have ever seen.  My mom had asked about a pattern for them because she wanted to try to make some and so I was excited to tell her I have Everything she needs to make 3!  Thanks Tracey and Aunt Emilia for your love and encouragement!! (O:

*Other Prepartaions:  I was finally able to confirm with United Airlines that each Jason and I can check either a stroller or car seat, free of charge.  Jason can check the stroller and I can check Emilia's car seat, both for free!  Whew!  Now the debate about whether to purchase a double jogger here or wait to see if someone has one on Saipan continues...I can honestly say this is my only packing/planning Saipan worry at the moment.  I honestly do not know which option is the right one.  We are still considering the Baby Jogger Double City Mini...and it's hefty price tag.  I have found a few online for cheaper than retail, but it is still a big investment.  And a hard one.  I believe my friends who tell me it is a worthy investment, but I cannot help but feel guilty for spending that much on a stroller.  Each time I think about what to do, I get anxious and decide to leave that decision for another day.  (haha, good ol' avoidance...)

*Emilia:  We ask her often if she wants a brother or a sister.  Sister has been winning over the past couple fact, Emilia says she now has a "Sister Baby in her belly too".  Our discussions to the contrary are not changing her mind.  She also thinks she can see the "Sister Baby" by looking down my throat.  ;-)  We find out the gender in two weeks...I'm praying she will be excited either way!

*Belly:  It is officially out there and *finally starting to round a little.  Thankfully!!  I think my belly is a little lopsided and definitely LOW.  My SIL has also joined the races and is betting on a Boy.  This pregnancy has been different from Emilia in so many ways, she might just be right!  Only time will tell! (O:

*Pictures:  I haven't decided yet how often I will take updated "Baby Bump" photos...but the first one may come in the next few weeks.  I can't remember how early friends started posting pics of their bellies....but I wanted to make sure it was at least noticeably preggo before posting. ;-)

That's all for today.  It turns out I did have some updates to share! Have a lovely day! (O:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Google+ Users Beware...

I am behind on maternity posts and life posts, but I just couldn't stand it any longer.  I have to work on "fixing" my blog is my story.

I joined Google+ last week because after Picnik shut down, their site said to go to Google+ for free editing software.  {I couldn't find the software and ended up using PicMonkey.  It isn't as fabulous as Picnik, but I just wanted to be able to add text to my photos, so it works.}

Anyway, at the suggestion of my husband, I started deleting the photo albums which had somehow magically appeared in my Google+ account...he said it's in Google's privacy statements that any photos I use on their sites are now available for their use.  Jason is really big about not having our family's photos blasted all over the internet...

It turns out they already had rights to my photos since Blogger is part of Google...too bad I didn't find that out before deleting all the photos which were linked to this blog!!!  Now I am slowly trying to go through each post from the past year and relocate the photos used for the posts.  I still have a number of viewers each day, mostly to my craft posts.  And I really really hate that the photos aren't there.  How unprofessional.

Please bear with me as I try to add all my photos back to the blog quickly.  {I have also learned that I need to better categorize my photos all in one place...lessons learned}

Friday, May 18, 2012

Midnight Kisses

My daughter has always had trouble with sleeping at night.  There are very few nights when she makes it until morning without waking and calling out for someone.

This fact became even more evident once we moved in with Jason's parents during our transition to Saipan.  We have been living with them since December 2011, and she still wakes up at least once, most nights twice-3 times each night.  Sometimes needing to go potty, wanting more milk (which I don't give in to), having a bad dream, being scared, the list goes on.

It makes me tired.

As the sole bread winner for our little family at the moment, all I want is to sleep a whole night through, sans midnight wake up calls.  Waking up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for work every day makes me tired enough.  But, I also know that Emilia is going through a lot of changes right now and really has no idea exactly what is happening. 

I try to be her constant.  I try to always be comforting and supportive, instead of annoyed and irritated.  She doesn't understand these changes and doesn't always know how to express her confusion and frustration.

So, last night when she started calling out for me at 1:45 a.m., I faithfully drug myself out of bed and made it to her room without tripping over the dog, or shoes, or anything (small victories, people).  I peeked in her door and asked what she needed...

"Momma, I heed a kiss"

What sweet words from my little girl.  This was one request I was happy to fulfill.  I leaned over her bed, and gave her lots of little kisses.  Once I stood back up, she rolled over and went back to sleep.  That was that.

Do I still wish she could sleep all night?  Yes.  Am I looking forward to finally getting settled in Saipan and getting her back on a regular sleep schedule and retrain her sleep habits?  Definitely.  Would I trade her precious request for Momma's kisses at 1:45 a.m. for anything in the world?  Not on your life.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Small Style :: Refashion Victory

As it goes with almost any crafter I know, the "crafts to do" pile is ever-growing and the "crafts completed" pile stays rather short.  It doesn't help that we are in the middle of packing, shipping, selling and storing all our belongings for the move to Saipan.  Add to that the sewing machine I am borrowing from my mother-in-law is older and I have trouble getting it to cooperate with certain stiches (read: I don't know exactly how to operate it except for straight lines...).

That being said, please share in my excitement over the toddler tee to dress refashion I actually completed recently!  This was one of many projects I hauled to my momma's house (and her fancy-pants sewing machine) a couple weeks ago.  I am proud to say I completed every. single. project. I brought with me that day! (O:

This is Miss Emilia on Mother's Day:
Her dress and hairbow were both handmade by me. 

The tshirt necklace was made by Emilia and her Aunt Clare. ;-)

The only part of her outfit that wasn't handmade are these adorable pink peeptoe sandals.  They were part of a sweeping victory I had last year at the Gap Outlet.  I purchased over 10 pairs of sandals and flip flops for under $2 a pair!  (I had to wait SO LONG for these to fit, haha!)

Daddy can always make her laugh and smile. (O:

(I'm not exactly sure what this pose was about, other than being done with my mini photo shoot.)

If you are interested in making one of these adorable little dresses for your little sweetheart, this is the PIN I followed for easy instructions.

My sister is much craftier than I, so she already knew how to make the necklace.  But, for those of us who need to see how it's done, this tutorial seems pretty easy to follow.

I am linking up to Mama Loves Papa's Small Style again this week.  (O:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

16 Weeks Update


I had my 16 week check-up on Monday and everything looks good! 

*Baby's heartbeat is around 155 and I cannot remember if girls or boys are said to have higher heartbeats...

*Baby is about the size of an avocado (O:

*Weight is holding steady  (thank you Zumba!)

*The "BUMP" is officially here, no more denying it or hiding it.  It's not a full-out preggo bump yet, but it is past the "little bit of chubb" stage.

*I am still pretty tired.  Most nights I go straight to sleep after putting Emilia to bed around 8:30.

*No real food cravings.  The most I can describe is when a person talks about a food that sounds good, I then cannot get that food out of my mind and it must be consumed.  Like right now, it's a doughnut...and scrambled eggs.  (Not together).  I have noticed a decreased appetite, which I think is because most things do not sound good- except rav intake is on the upswing. ;-)

*My memory is deteriorating by the day...seriously, like it could get any worse.

*Emilia's latest decision regarding gender is boy...then girl...then boy.  I hope this means she will be satisfied either way.  Only time will tell!  She does ask to hold the baby often, not completely understanding that she has to wait a few more months.  I think she will be a great big sister.

*I have decided to take a break from baby product searches.  They make me tired and we aren't at a point where we can start making purchases yet, so why bother.  The only thing we really *need* will be cloth diapers and I already have those decisions made.  So, we will wait and make the purchases a few months down the road.  (Would it be rude to ask those wanting to throw a "Sprinkle Shower" to consider Cotton Babies gift cards or cash towards these purchases?  Probably...but I'm worried about getting a bunch of toys, etc. that we cannot really take with us.  OK, another issue for another day...)

*Exciting news on the maternity clothes front!  I scored 2 pairs of jean capris and one pair of jean shorts for $1 each...yay!  (Did I already mention that?  Probably...)  But then yesterday I found a pair of Gap Long and Lean maternity jeans in my size for a very reasonable price as well!  L&L are my favorite style of jeans- the ones I don't even have to try on because I know they always fit.  So that was a very exciting find.  I cannot wait for them to arrive.  I may turn them into capris or bermuda shorts so I can maximize their use this summer and on Saipan.

One last thing to note...I recently found out that Saipan does not administer epidurals unless there is an emergency.  To those who had their children "drug-free", this might not seem like that big of a deal.  But, honestly, I am not brave, I have never admitted to be.  I am not excited about this.  I have had a few well-meaning mommas tell me it is the best thing they have ever done, and I am sure they believe that.  I also believe that I CAN do this- I HAVE TO.  Soon enough I will start researching coping with the pain, etc etc.  But for right now, I want to just be able to say that I'm not looking forward to it and honestly, I am scared.  While I appreciate the encouragement of friends and family, I am not ready to start hearing the glory stories of others.  I'm sorry if that is rude, but it is how I feel.  I hope to come around to a more positive place soon, and I am sure I will.  But right now, I just want someone to agree with me that it really stinks.  (End pity party).

Sorry to end on such a bummer of a note.  I wanted to express even the sad/scary moments of this pregnancy and there was never going to be an exact right moment to do it.  So, say a little prayer for me and I will try to be more positive next week.  ;-)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Just a matter of weeks

The closer we get to our Saipan launch date, the more I begin to count big milestones by number of weeks.  This helps make these events more tangible, and also makes them a little scary!  This is my life, in a matter of weeks:

3 Weeks left at my current job

4 Weeks left until we go on full mission support

4 Weeks until we *hopefully* find out Saipan Baby's gender  (Make your guesses now!)  ;0)

(Less than) 5 Weeks until we (Emilia included) leave for a month-long Cultural Training course in North Carolina

8 Weeks until our Commissioning Service at Skyline Church

9 Weeks until the General Baptist Missions & Ministry Summit in Springfield, MO

10 Weeks until we say Goodbye to everyone and everything we have ever known, board a plane (or three...) and say Hello to a whole new life God has planned for us!

24 Weeks to Saipan Baby's due date

Whew!  Does that list make anyone besides me tired and a little anxious??  More tired than anxious.  I Know God has this all under control, and I trust Him with everything. 

It just doesn't seem possible that we are THIS CLOSE to leaving.  Wasn't it just September when we were announcing the initial decision?  How did so much time sneak by us?  Crunch time is here and I feel under-prepared.  It looks like it might be time to start making lists again...oh rats! ;-)

Friday, May 4, 2012

A First for Emilia {Embrace the Camera}

Jason has been talking about it for a while now. 

It is the only thing he really wanted Emilia to experience before our move to Saipan in July.

As any St. Louis sports fan may guess, he wanted to take her to her first Cardinals game at Busch Stadium.

We were blessed with a set of last-minute, free tickets to last Friday's game.  The seats were good- Really Good.  The nachos were tasty as always.  The Cards played a great game.

All of this pales in comparison to the joy of watching Emilia soak up the stadium, the fans, and everything else wonderful about baseball!  I loved watching Jason explain every move of the players to her in the first couple innings and then having her retell the information to us later in the game.  She clapped when everyone clapped, cheered loudly  ("Go Cards GO!" ..over and over and over...luckily those around us found it cute enough to not be annoying!) and loved every second.

Jason and I both grew up in the STL area and we love being part of Cardinals Nation.  It was important to J to share this tradition with our daughter and it was a wonderful experience for all of us.  Now, any time Emilia sees baseball on TV, she stops whatever she is doing and watches, exclaiming "Look Momma, BASEBALL!  Go Cards!"

Oh, did I mention- we got to see Fred Bird!  Emilia loved getting kisses and hugs from him and we even scored a cute family photo! (O:

Pink Cards attire for Emilia, of course. ;-)

Linking up here

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Update :: 15 Weeks

I am 15 weeks pregnant as of today and still feeling good.  Not much has changed since last week, but here are the highlights:

*Baby is now about the size of an apple!

*Still not nauseous, still tired.

*No new cravings.  I did feed the fried fish craving last night (YUM!!) and continue to drink apple juice almost daily.  Oddly, I haven't been very interested in food this week.  Nothing sounds all that good.  I'm still eating, it's just not as fun.  Haha!

*Weight:  Holding strong, no weight gain!  (I just wanted to mention that I know it probably seems like I am overly concerned about weight gain.  I really over-did it in this area while pregnant with Emilia.  So I am trying to do better this time of watching what I eat and exercising regularly.  Also, I started this pregnany a little overweight, so I'm not supposed to gain as much during the pregnancy.  Don't worry about me- I'm still eating plenty; I am just trying to make better decisions this time around!)

*According to Jason and my mom (and me, if I am being honest), my belly has started to poke out a little.  This is probably my least favorite stage because I don't look pregnant...just like I gained a few pounds.  I don't like the "chubby belly preggo stage" and hope it passes quickly.  My regular clothes still fit well, you can just notice my belly more than before.

*Zumba is starting to kick my butt!  I have to modify several moves and I Really don't like having to do that.  I want to be able to give 110%, but I know it isn't a good idea for me, or the baby.  So I do all the moves I can and modify the rest.  Again, since I do not exactly look pregnant yet, I feel like announcing to the class that "I am pregnant, not just a wuss".  I doubt anyone else cares about this as much as I do anyway. ;-)

In other news:

The search rages on for a good double jogging stroller.  I have been looking into a friend's recommendation about the Baby Jogger City Mini Double Stroller.  From what I am told, they actually fold down to the size of a regular single stroller.  This would be great because we would be able to take it on the planes- not just on our initial move to Saipan, but anytime we visit surrounding areas.  The trouble is- these strollers are EXPENSIVE!!  Way outside our budget, for sure.  I have been scouring Craiglist and even eBay for a good deal on one.  I feel like I am really obsessing over this one item, and maybe I am.  The reason I am overly concerned about finding a good double jogger is because Walmart does not ship strollers overseas.  So far, everything else I have looked up (pack n play, swing, car seat, etc.) will ship for $1.97 each (YAAY!!).  But, strollers are just too big.  I don't really want to test my luck about finding one once on island, so I am trying to plan ahead.  I honestly don't entirely care about the brand, as long as it has kid trays and a swivel wheel.  But, I am trying to find the best (and most cost-effective) option for our family.

J and I also discussed baby's sleeping options this week.  I looked at a couple mini-cribs and came across a review that mentioned putting a mini crib mattress in a pack n play.  The reviews said it fit perfectly.  Soo, I think we might give this option a try.  Baby will be sleeping in our room for who-knows-how-long (only a 2 bedroom apartment and we don't think Emilia will do well with a roommate...she's not a great sleeper).  But our room is pretty small, so we were worried about how much space a full-sized crib would take up.  A pack n play seems like a perfect solution.  It is small and with the added 3" crib mattress, it will have the same level of comfort as in a crib.  That's the opinion of the week, at any rate.

I have a little collection of white onesies already underway, yay!  I decided to start looking for them at yard sales, clearance, etc. so that once we know the gender of our baby, I can start dyeing some, appliqueing others, and fill the wardrobe this way.  If we have a girl again, I have most of the onesies we will need.  But if we have a boy, I am seriously lacking.  (Notice I didn't say empty-handed...yes, I have a tote *or two* of cute little boy clothes I have picked up over the years, just in case we ever had a boy.  I'm THAT girl.)

I have an appointment this coming Monday (5/9) for a regular check up.  I think I will get the results of my blood tests and that should be about it.  I am trying to psych myself up to ask for a sneak ultrasound (which my doctor is known for doing from time to time).  I want to test this theory I was told about by my friend Lacey- The Nub Theory.  She says she was able to tell her second baby was going to be a boy at 12 weeks.  She was right!  I have only done minimal research on the subject, but I think it would be fun to test the theory.  I am planning to ask my doctor if she has ever heard of it and say I would love to test the theory if we had time for a quick u/s.  Wish me luck! (O:

OK, so I guess a thing or two happened this week, now that I look back at this post! Haha!  I hope I didn't bore you too much! ;-)