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36 weeks!

Last Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, marked 36 weeks for Baby Smith!  My baby is comparable to a crenshaw melon in size!

“Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day.  She now weighs almost 7 pounds and is more than 18 1/2 inches long.  She’s shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. 

At the end of this week, your baby will be considered full-term.  (Full-term is 37 to 42 weeks; babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term and those born after 42 are post-term.)  Most likely she’s in a head-down position.”

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thanksgiving menu.

This Thanksgiving will be spent with lots of dear family.  A full house I must say.  I love having family over during the holidays.  It’s nice having the Christmas music playing, a fire going in the background, warm apple cider in my cup, white lights up on the banister, and a bonfire roaring in the backyard.  Oh, and the food.  We can’t forget about a delicious Thanksgiving meal.  This year we are having a potluck.  We’ve designated various families to make certain things — which is nice because one family doesn’t have to do it all.  What will our household be having this Thanksgiving?

Turkey
Chips + Mango Dip
Cheeseball + Crackers
Potato + Ham Soup
Pork Tenderloin
Rolls
Yankee Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Seven Layer Salad
Mashed Potatoes
Ohio Mommy’s Sweet Potato Casserole
Glazed Ham
Homemade Holiday Bread
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Fingers (delish)
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
Pumpkin Rolls
Cupcakes (I LOVE cupcakes!)
Banana Bread with a Warm Cinnamon Glaze
Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Apple Cider

Yum.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!


34 weeks!

Today I am 34 weeks!  My baby weighs a little more than a large cantaloupe!

“Your baby now weighs about 5 3/4 pounds and is almost 18 inches long.  Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she’s born — are filling her out, making her rounder.  Her skin is also smoother than ever.  Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well.”

34-cantaloupe

doula.

So we are now a mere 6 weeks away from Baby Smith joining the family, and I am beginning to get just a tad bit nervous about trying the whole “birthing naturally” thing.  I see the benefit of it, and really desire to do it, but when the times comes, can I handle it?  Both my Bradley instructor and my cousin have emphasized that having a doula makes a whole world of difference once those labor pains kick in.  So in order to make my wish closer to a reality, we’ve begun the search for the right doula — not that this is the answer to birthing naturally, but it sure will be a help!  First off, what is a “doula?”

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Where does the word “doula” come from?
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “woman’s servant.”  Throughout history and in much of the world today, a cadre of women support a woman through labor and birth, giving back rubs and providing continuous emotional support.
 
What is a birth doula?
A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.  Most doula and client relationships begin a few months before the baby is due.  During this time, they establish a relationship that gives the mother complete freedom to ask questions, express fears and concerns, and take an active role in creating a birth plan.  Most doulas make themselves available to the mother by phone to answer questions or explain any developments that may arise in pregnancy.  Doulas do not provide any type of medical care.  However, they are knowledgeable in the medical aspect of labor and delivery so they can help their clients get a better understanding of procedures and complications that may arise in late pregnancy or during delivery.
 
During delivery, doulas are in constant, close proximity to the mother at all times.  They can provide comfort with pain relief techniques, such as breathing, relaxing, and laboring position.  Doulas also encourage participation from the partner and offer reassurance.  A doula acts as an advocate for the mother, encouraging her in her desires for her birth.  The goal of a doula is to help the mother have a positive and safe birth experience, whether the mother wants an un-medicated birth or is having a planned cesarean birth. 
 
Benefits of a doula:
  • Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life.
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.
  • Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth.
  • Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor.
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions.
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical care providers.
  • A doula perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s memory of her birth experience.
For those of you who are interested, here is an informative clip, called “Birth Matters — Doulas Make A Difference.”

2 years!

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It’s crazy to think that we’ve known each other for close to 7 years now.  But today, Greg and I celebrate 2 years of marriage (actually it was around this time, 3 PM, that our wedding ceremony began).  It’s simply amazing when you get the chance to live your life with your bestest friend.  Greg has been the utmost most special blessing in my life.  His desire for God is so appealing to me.  His prayers for his baby girl every morning are the sweetest things (he speaks right into my belly).  His ability to carry himself in completely different circles really rocks my socks off.  His love for me is special beyond anything else I’ve ever experienced (except for God’s love of course!).  We feel like kids when we’re around each other.  We speak in funny voices when no one is around.  We have our own special sign language when no one is looking.  Oh God, I love this man so much.   

To celebrate our anniversary we whisked ourselves away to a cabin on Point Mountain in West Virginia.  There we rested, cooked good food, prayed together, built fires and stayed toasty, and lastly, conducted a little pregnancy photoshoot of my ever growing 33 week belly.  To all those who persistently asked, enjoy.

edit2edit3edit4edit5edit6edit7[point mountains, elkins, west virginia]

yogurt.

In just six days, Greg and I will have been married for 2 whole years!  To us, that is unbelievable.  This weekend we will be taking a 4 day vacation in the Point Mountains, WV, and staying in an eco-friendly cabin that has a brick bread warming oven and a Swedish green system.  Our plan?  Just to sit, relax, enjoy each other, and bake bread.  That’s how we do.  I’ve been planning our meals, since we’ll be cooking all our own meals in the cabin — which I think is more fun than going out.

When Greg and I went honeymooning in Portugal, we cooked alot of our own meals.  We would walk the dusty roads to the grocery store and purchase items to make soups, sandwiches, and other tasty meals using Portuguese goods.  One of the foods I absolutely loved was their plain yogurt.  You may wonder why plain yogurt?  Well, I had never tasted anything like it in the US.  Plain yogurt in the US is bland and watery and not good.  Plain yogurt in Portugal was creamy, slightly sweet, and came in small, homey glass jars.  We would eat them with tiny metal spoons we found in our resort apartment — the tiny-ness of the spoons made the yogurt last longer.  It made me sad to think that I wouldn’t get plain yogurt like this back home.

But give it a little time, and things do start to look up.  One day my mom comes home from the grocery store and tells me to try this new greek yogurt she heard about.  It’s called FAGE.  One bite and I was hooked.  It reminded me of the yogurt in Portgual.  FAGE comes in different flavors, but the plain is good for me.  It’s a tad bit pricey at around $1.75 per individual container, but it is oh so worth it!  Especially during pregnancy, when an abundance of protein is a must.  The average yogurt has about 5 grams of protein.  FAGE has 17 grams of protein.  A favorite snack of mine these days is a FAGE yogurt with a dash of raw sugar or honey and a handful of whole grapes mixed in.  So very yummy.  A close second to FAGE yogurt is Chobani yogurt.  It doesn’t have the custardy goodness of FAGE, but it’s still good, and it’s cheaper.

FAGE — it’s “ridiculously thick yogurt”, and it’s got my approval.

fage-yogurt

cloth diapering.

So, we’ve decided to take the plunge!  We want to cloth diaper right off the bat.  Everyone I spoke to has something to say about the issue, but I thought I would give it a try and form my own opinion.  Knowing myself, if I begin on disposable diapers, I may just stick with them for convenience sake. 

Since we will be newbies in this area of life, we decided that we will take small steps when it comes to cloth diapering.  We will start off using infant sizes — which means a few months of cloth diapering, and if cloth diapers don’t fit our lifestyle in that time period, trust me, the whole idea will be chucked! 🙂  After talking, we also decided that we will use disposable diapers while we’re out of the house running errands, going to church, or visiting people.  But most of our time will be spent in-house for the first couple years, so cloth diapering seemed beneficial to me.  Why?  Well after all the research I’ve done for the past several months, cloth diapering is:

1.  Cost-Effective:  Cloth diapers can save one over $1000 in diapers.  “On average, you will spend $2000 on disposable diapers per child.  Compare that to an average of $700 (that includes laundering expenses) for your first child’s diapering years using cloth diapers.  A second and third child will cost much less, as many of the diapers can be re-used.  Depending on the diaper system you use you can spend a little less or more than the above mentioned amount for your first child.”

2.  Comfort:  Cloth diapers are so much more comfortable on a baby’s bum.  It really makes me chuckle when I hear Ohio Becky say, “imagine yourself wearing a disposable diaper — how comfortable would that be?”  Cloth diapers apparently also reduce diaper rash — it’s a more healthy alternative.

3.  Environmentally Friendly:  I know I won’t feel bad throwing diaper after diaper after diaper away in the trash, because I will be washing and reusing them instead. 

4.  Simply Adorable:  Enough said.  Cloth diapers are the cutest things!

5.  User-Friendly:  Cloth diapering is not what it used to be 20 years ago.  “The new styles of cloth diapers now available are as easy to use as a disposable.  Plus by using the flushable liners (a soft, tissue like piece that you flush down the toilet with all the solids), you won’t have to deal with a messy cloth diaper.” 

6.  Potty Trained Faster:  “On average cloth diapered children potty train 6 months earlier than children wearing disposable diapers because cloth diapers do not mask the sensation of wetness.”

To start off, Greg and I plan on using the prefold + diaper cover system with our newborn.  And to my delight, the gDiaper covers were on sale today on www.babysteals.com!  For more information on cloth diapering, here are some diaper facts.

gdiapers

sweetness.

One normal day I got out of the shower, got dressed, and came out of the bathroom to find this package of sorts on my bed.  If anyone knows I love packages, it’s Greg.  But, there was no Greg to be found — just this brown paper bag.

IMGP3136As soon as I saw it, I knew my husband had come home from work.  So I quickly ran to the bag and took out its contents.  IMGP3108What was inside?

Delightful little items from Roots Market, like,

1.  pecan splendor granola — for our “crunchy granola” tendencies.

2.  rainbow pre-natal vitamins — because we don’t want that “government fortified junk” going to our baby.  Thanks Sue Williams.

3.  nitrate-free hot dogs — because after only one bite, I fell in love with Hebrew National hot dogs over the summer, but could not indulge myself because of those nasty things called “nitrates.”

4.  ginger brew — because Greg and I are always always up for new kinds of ginger ale.  This one did not pass our taste test.  We still have yet to taste one better than “Natural Brew Outrageous Ginger Ale” — yummy.

5.  heart-shaped “Love You” note — because I have a husband that falls under the category, “sweetness.”  The note didn’t come from Roots Market — I know because I found the paper he cut it from hidden in one of my drawers.

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