Thursday, December 29, 2011

If Pregnancy were a video game...

Apparently I just unlocked super nesting mode....according to Drew!  I noticed a few days ago when I checked my Facebook news page that he posted this:

When I saw it, I had to laugh; but, I also have to agree.   I have NEVER in my life been so motivated to get some crazy little tasks done!  It is pretty sad when you are excited on Christmas Day that your son has gone down for a nap--so you have time to get on your hands and knees to scrub your bathroom floors.  Yes, on Christmas Day I got excited about scrubbing my bathroom floors!

I have some major insomnia lately--which is quite common at this point in late pregnancy.  So, I guess my brain has been using the time that it would normally relax to come up with some "to-do" lists for the following day.  Drew has these last two weeks of the year off of work as vacation and my last day of work was the 21st.   While he has been spending some quality time playing with Luke, I have been taking advantage of some "me time" by creating and completing these to-do lists.  It feels SO good!   But, of course, we have also made some time every day to have lots of fun together as a family.  I could really get used to this!  But, I know this will all soon change as our new little bundle of joy arrives. I am so excited for her arrival, but I know that the amount of work will increase significantly and "me time" will be in the distant past for a while!   Honestly, I feel that we have gotten so much done that I am finally "ready" for her arrival.   I would love for her to wait until 2012, but I feel like our home (and my body) are now ready for her arrival.   Here are some 38 week belly pictures:

For fun today as a family, we ate lunch at one of our favorite hamburger joints (Phil's Ice House).  It was delicious.  Also, Luke enjoyed playing on their fun playground while we were there.  Then, we visited Mt. Bonnell.   I think the last time that Drew and I had visited Mt. Bonnell was when he asked me to marry him!  So, it has definitely been a while.  It was PERFECT weather and felt great to "climb a mountain" as Luke said. Luke was very concerned about me climbing up the mountain after he heard Drew tell me to be careful.  After he heard Drew say that, Luke told me repeatedly (like 125 times--no kidding), "Be Careful Mommy!"  He is such a sweetie pie.

Checking out the scenery from above.

Posing with mommy for a quick pic--I am restraining him here as he wanted to run. 

Last time we were here, this picture included just Drew and I--and a ring newly added to my finger!

Luke decided he wanted to take the many steps down.

Mr. Independent didn't want mommy to hold his hand.  Instead, he wanted to hold onto the rail and race down the steps all by himself.  Our little boy sure does scare me sometimes!  I have my Bjorn baby carrier out and ready to be strapped to me (to hold our little girl inside), so I can continue to chase after our little dare devil with two free arms after our little girl has arrived!

Our 2011 Christmas

Our Christmas celebration this year was considerably different than previous years.   For one thing, we didn't travel to visit family since we need to be ready to go to the hospital for delivery at any time now.  But, Christmas this year was still very special.  It has been SO much fun to experience Christmas through the eyes of a two year old this year.   Two-year olds learn at a rate exponentially greater than us adults do.   So, every day this season, Drew and I were able to experience Luke learning something new and asking many questions.  For example, he LOVES baby Jesus!   In fact, he was all about baby Jesus--he could spot the nativity scenes outside of neighbors houses well before they came into the view of me or Drew.  

Since we were unable to travel to visit family, Drew's parents came up the weekend before Christmas to celebrate with us, and then we were able to use the wonderful technology of Skype to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family and with Drew's sister and her family.  This was definitely a time that my appreciation for technology like Skype grew!  Below is a little picture journal of some of our Christmas celebration this year.

We visited the Domain in Austin with Mimi and Pape to watch their Laser light show.

Luke breaks in his new recliner Mimi and Papa bought for him.

Our Tree..Luke loved this!  He was so excited about it that he showed it to everyone--even strangers who came to our house to buy things from us we had listed on craisglist!

with Mimi and Papa

Drew is uber excited to open a gift for our little girl--a girly paci pod.

As usual, Luke enjoyed riding Papa's "race car" while they visited!
Luke and I found a great Gingerbread kit at Sam's Club one day and just had to buy it.  I told him that since Mimi and Papa were coming to visit, they could probably help us build it.  Luke (Mr. Talkative) was super excited about this and told the cashier all about how we were going to all build it together since they were coming to visit us.  It was adorable!   Luke is really into building things lately--for example, he loves his Legos!  Unfortunately, Mimi and Papa had to head back to their house on Sunday and weren't able to help us build it.  But, we had a lot of fun building it together as a family.  Luke was so proud of it and unfortunately didn't want to ever get rid of it.  So, we had to throw it out when he was napping one day.  :-(
Luke was so proud of our creation!

So proud, in fact, that he decided to eat the gingerbread guy he made for the house.

Luke in front of the tree before one of our Skype Christmas celebrations.

On Christmas eve, it was nice to be able to visit our own church's Christmas eve service.  Usually, we are out of town visiting family and have, thus, never been able to attend our own church's service.  This year, they were actually recording their Live Christmas Worship album, which will be released next Christmas.  Our Church, the Austin Stone Community Church, recently created a website ( and released a live worship CD on itunes.  Their website even shares all of the original music (for guitar, piano, lyrics, etc) for other churches who wish to use the songs in their worship services.   So, it has been neat to be a part of this and to be a part of the Christmas live worship album that will be released next year.

Christmas morning was so special with Luke.   He was extremely excited on Christmas Eve about leaving a cookie and some milk for Santa.  One of the first things he noticed when he came down the stairs on Christmas morning was that Santa ate his cookie and milk.  He said, "Mommy! Daddy! Santa ate cookies---all gone!"  He thought that was the coolest thing!  Of course, then he immediately noticed the "bike" that Santa left for him under the tree.  He has been riding that thing all over the house!

Luke's new "bike".

Loving my new hat from Drew!

Luke was even excited about getting new shoes for Christmas.  He calls them his "cool shoes" and wanted to show both sets of Grandparents via Skype on Christmas morning.

Digging in his stocking!

Of course, the best part of our Christmas celebration had nothing to do with material "things".   One of my facebook friends posted something that I thought was definitely worth sharing here.   It discusses some of our Christmas "traditions" and the Christian symbolism of them.  "Did you know that the chopping down of the Christmas tree represents the death of Christ & putting it back up again represents the resurrection of Christ? Did you know that the wreaths we hang are never ending circles, that represent eternity? Candy canes were made to look like shepherd hooks & the colors red (Jesus' blood) white (purity). The gifts we give, represent the 3 gifts the wise men brought for Jesus [and of course the greatest gift that God could ever give us--the gift of his Son]. So when you are running around trying to get the "perfect gift", stop yourself, take a deep breath & remember we have been given the perfect gift-- Jesus Christ was given to us to remove all of our sins."

Our family is extremely grateful for all of the gifts that God has blessed us with.   But, of course, the greatest gift has been our Salvation. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pregnancy Progression in about 30 seconds...

Just for fun, we put together a quick video of our pregnancy progression pictures through 37 weeks.  We didn't take as many belly pics as we did when I was pregnant with Luke, but it is still fun to look back at how far we have come. It is my pregnancy in about 30 seconds!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


That was the theme of today.  Lots of new things have begun for me as of today.  A couple of major things include the following:
  • Today my pregnancy is officially considered to be full-term.
  • Today was my last day of work as Director of Human Resources for my current Company.
The first is a lot easier for me to come to terms with than the latter.  Drew and I recently decided that it is best for our family right now for me to take a couple of years away from the executive HR role that I have held for the past 6.5 years in order to focus on our family and raising our children during these important first years of their lives.   I plan on consulting in my field of Human Resources on a part-time basis for the next couple of years in order to maintain my skills.  Plus, I love what I do so much that I cannot imagine completely giving it up.  But, God has plans for us right now for me to be available more both mentally and physically for our family for the next couple of years.   I have had a very difficult time trying to find balance between work and home-life ever since Luke was born.  No matter how many hours I worked, the difficulty I found was in trying to give 150% as an employee, 150% as a wife and 150% as a mother.  As a "pleaser," I never wanted to sacrifice in any of the areas, which could really create some stress that I brought on myself.  Although it is a major leap of faith for our family, resigning my position will really help me have more time to focus on raising our children, which I feel is a huge responsibility and the most important and rewarding job I could have. 

On the pregnancy front, I had my 37 week check-up today.    I am officially considered to be "full-term" now, although my 40-week due date is 1/11/12.   We are really hoping our little girl will wait to make her arrival until January.  If she waits until 39 weeks gestation to make her arrival as Luke did, she will be here around January 4.  That sounds like a pretty good birthday to me.   I have guessed she will be born on 1/7/12 all along (7 is my favorite number).  So far, there is no dilation of the cervix, which is great!  At my 36 week appointment last week, they ran several standard tests.  One of the tests they administered was the Group B Strep Culture.  About 25% of normal healthy adult women have the bacteria in their system, although a lower % of pregnant women carry it (about 10%).  You can actually test positive at certain times and negative at others.  Therefore, studies show it is best to test between 35-37 weeks gestation, as that is the best indicator of whether it will be present at delivery.  Unfortunately, my test came back positive.  This means that I am a carrier for the Group B Strep this pregnancy, and I will need antibiotics administered intravenously once every 4 hours in the hospital once I arrive until the time she is born.  This is to try to prevent as much as possible our little girl from acquiring Group B Strep disease during the delivery process.  We are going to pray that the bacteria will not be present at the time of delivery and if it still is, that it will not affect her.  I have read about Group B Strep disease in newborns, and although rare, if they do acquire it, it can be extremely serious and even fatal.  The doctor didn't seem concerned at all--perhaps she sees so many of these cases and very rarely ill effects.  

Other than that, everything else seems fine.  I feel like she got a lot bigger in the last week, but my OB doctor says she's measuring right on target.  I am feeling much better lately as far as the contractions are concerned; however, I am getting very little sleep.  When I do sleep, I wake up every two hours.  But, I am more prepared this pregnancy for what to expect, and know this is nothing compared to when baby arrives.   So, I am looking at this as exercise or training for the marathon of hard work and lack of sleep that will be present for quite a while after baby comes.   

Here is a 37 week pregnancy belly photo:

Before my last day of work
And, here are some pictures of our very feminine-looking nursery.  We are hoping the ultrasounds were correct in indicating this baby is a little girl:


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

36 Weeks Pregnant!

I can't believe I have made it to my 36th week of pregnancy.  It seems like the time flew by this time--it probably has something to do with having an extremely energetic two year old at home! 

I think we are a lot more laid back this time around with trying to get prepared.  Last weekend, we finally pulled down some essentials from the attic and I just started washing a couple of things of our baby girl's so she would have something to wear home from the hospital in case I needed to go to the hospital in a hurry.  Last week I packed a last-minute hospital bag just in case my doc needed to send me to the hospital after a check-up for contractions. 

I ended up going to my OB's office a couple of times over the past couple of weeks due to consistent (like 6 minutes apart for hours), regular, painful contractions.  The contractions were reminding me of when I was in true labor with Luke, which is why I was fearful.  I never had any contractions with him (other than the normal periodic braxton hicks) until after my water broke at 39 weeks, so this was all new to me.  Turns out they are not causing any cervical changes (thank goodness).  Unfortunately, they said that I am probably just one of the few women that end up having contractions until I deliver.  But, the doc also mentioned she didn't think I was going to make it to January or my due date before this baby is born.  Of course, we are still hoping for a January baby and no human (even a physician) ever can accurately predict exactly when a baby will decide to come!  The doc also mentioned that my contractions are probably painful in my lower back due to the baby being in posterior position (back labor).  This is not good.  Luke was posterior when I delivered him, which caused some very painful contractions and two hours of pushing.  According to, mothers whose babies are face-up at birth tend to push longer, more commonly need Pitocin to stimulate contractions, and have a significantly higher risk of having an assisted vaginal delivery or a c-section.

Those who do give birth vaginally to a baby who is posterior are more likely to have an episiotomy and severe perineal tears than moms whose babies are in the more favorable face-down position, even after you account for the higher rate of forceps and vacuum-assisted delivery.  Needless to say I am going to be doing some exercises over the next couple of weeks to try to get her to flip over!  The doctor left me with instructions to get lots of rest, take it easy and drink lots of water in order to limit the contractions.  She said they would not stop them at this point in the pregnancy, but they also want the baby to stay in there as long as possible.  I haven't had a problem drinking the water, it's "taking it easy/get lots of rest" that is very difficult--especially with Mr. Luke at home and balancing finishing up work (my last day is December 21--next Wednesday!)

Other than the lack of sleep due to having contractions all night long and just generally feeling uncomfortable due to my massive belly, everything seems to be going well.  Here are some 36-week belly pictures:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Festivities

At our house, the Christmas season is our favorite time of the year.  There are so many traditions and festivals surrounding this time of year and anyone who knows me knows I am all about the festivals!  My parents came to visit us last weekend and we decided to take advantage of some of the festivities in the area.   We did a little shopping at the San Marcos outlets (I think it is considered the largest outlet shopping center in the US) on Saturday, and then headed to nearby Gruene for their Christmas market days.  Gruene is a cute little German town with a lot of charm.  You may know Gruene from its famous, Gruene Hall, Texas's oldest continually running dance hall (built in 1878) and the birthplace to many great country songwiters and musicians (George Strait & Ace in the Hole, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, and many more).  We were blessed with rain this day though, so we didn't get to spend as much time shopping in the outdoor market days as we had hoped.   We did get to enjoy a great meal at the Gristmill though.  This old cotton gin converted into a restaurant serves some yummy food, including these huge onion rings that Luke decided he loved!

Also on Saturday, we headed to Georgetown, which is a cute nearby town to ours, to participate in their "Christmas Stroll".  It is a fun festival with delicious food vendors, fun entertainment, and even a Bethleham Village.  The Bethleham village allowed us to step back in time to experience the village as it was when Jesus was born.  They had many different "shops" that were interactive for the children.    There was a local toy shop, grain mill, bakery, perfumery, dye shop, coin shop and stable.  Luke ABSOLUTELY loved this as it made all of the stories about Jesus that we have been sharing with him this Christmas season so real.   A lady even made him a "baby Jesus" doll at the Bethleham toy shop that he just didn't want to put down.    At the back of the village there was a live nativity, with actors/singers who shared the Christmas story.   Luke wanted to stay the entire time to watch it.

Luke takes a break with Grandma and Grandpa at the Georgetown Christmas Stroll.
It has been SO MUCH fun this year, as Luke really begins to understand what Christmas is all about.  Children are flooded with all sorts of stories about Christmas, so we are really learning as parents how difficult it is to help the kids focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  We do not want Luke to think it is all about receiving material gifts, but rather that we have already received the most amazing gift possible--the Gift of Jesus and Salvation.  This gift is available to everyone who asks and does not require special Black Friday shopping in order to attain.  That said, Luke still also LOVES all of the "other celebrations" of the Christmas season; this includes the Christmas lights, Christmas trees, Santa and what Luke calls the "Ho Ho Ho Deer".   Although difficult, we just try to tie it all back to the gift of Jesus and God's love. 
A Family Picture in front of our tree.
This weekend, we participated in more Christmas festivities.  On Saturday morning, we celebrated with a Christmas brunch at our house with our Church Community Group.  We had so much fun with our annual "white elephant gift exchange" and eating some delicious food.  Also, the kids got to see Santa come by on the fire truck through our neighborhood.  Santa does this every year in our neighborhood, and the firemen assist him by throwing candy to all of the kids waiting along the streets.

Luke and his friends, Dylan, Ford and Krystal, waiting with excitement for the firetruck.

Luke is excited about the sucker that he will not get to eat.

Bye Bye firetruck and Santa!
We also saw the Biscuit Brothers perform on Saturday night at a local church's festival and tonight we plan on visiting the Zilker tree of lights/HEB Holiday festival.  We love Christmas and look for every possible opportunity to celebrate!