Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'll Hug My Husband a Little Tighter Tonight

I just got off the phone with my Grandma Neltner and it was one of the world's greatest phone conversations. That lady loves to talk and when she's talking about her life, I love to listen! I called her to let her know that we're still waiting on a baby; Mom told me she asks about us every day, so I thought I should get in touch with her. We spent an hour on the phone talking about all of her birth experiences, especially about the day my mother was born - April 1st! She told me that Grandpa wasn't allowed in the delivery room, so he brought along some baseball magazines to read while she held on to the iron bars on the bed, which she was certain she would bend by the end of the labor and delivery! My, how things have changed. She also said that when Grandpa called Grandma's sister to tell her about Mom's arrival, she didn't believe him because Mom wasn't due for another four days. She thought it was a very funny April Fool's joke!

I won't go into too many details here, but after telling me this story, Grandma and I talked for a long time about my Grandpa.  He was killed in a car accident when my Grandma was pregnant with her sixth child, my Aunt Lori.  Some of the stories she told me are ones I've heard before and some of them were brand new to me.  I'll be writing them all down somewhere else, but let's just say that I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to lose your husband before giving birth and while trying to take care of five other kids.  After I hung up the phone, I just sat on the couch and sobbed while I thought about how I would cope if anything ever happened to Sylvain.  The fact that my Grandma survived and managed to raise six wonderful kids is so astounding to me.  She is the strongest, most amazing person I know.  I am SO glad I was able to talk to her before I go on my own journey into motherhood.  If I could be half the woman she is, I'll consider myself remarkably successful.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Odds and Ends

Well, things have been all hustle and bustle around our house these days!  Our hospital bags are packed, baby clothes are washed, lesson plans are ready for whatever day the sub needs to be there for both of us...we're all systems go for a baby-rific journey, whenever she decides to show up.  Last on my list is updating the blog with a few pictures I've been meaning to post for a few days now.  (Has anyone else noticed how many times I say "Last on my list is __________?"  It's like I keep making things up to add to the end of a finished checklist.  Weird.)

First up, my last "belly picture."  We tried to get creative, so we set up the projector on the basement wall and took this shot:

Look at that giant belly!  There's a person in there!  Who has to come OUT!  SOON!  YIPES!

Next, I have proof that my husband is the greatest in all the land.  Here's where he's been sleeping for the last three nights because I've started to snore like a.....like....well, like him.

I snapped this little gem on Saturday morning.  Apparently he left our bed sometime around midnight and I had no idea until I woke up!  What a trooper.

Finally, I have a picture of our "birth plan," or at least the way we're presenting our birth plan to the nurses at the hospital.  Now, our hospital is all about birth plans, so I'm really not worried that ours will be overlooked, but I've heard that if you give it to the nurses in a super nice way, they'll be more inclined to remember you and hopefully be nice to you in return (not that they wouldn't be nice to everyone, but still, it's the thought that counts).  At first I thought about baking cupcakes, but that's not something you can get ready ahead of time.  I'm glad it's so close to Easter, because a basket of goodies with copies of our birth plan sounded like the perfect idea.  Wouldn't you love to have all of your professional workplace documents handed to you in one of these?....

Okay, I may have gone a little overboard, but it's just because as I was wandering through the Easter aisles at Target all of these glorious goodies, which have been off limits to me for the last ten weeks, were so irresistable, I convinced myself that the nurses NEED THEM!  No, I'm not hoping they will share with me - that's why I have a package of Milanos in my own hospital bag.  And I might have also packed some Robin Egg Whoppers.  But that's it!  And I'm not touching them until after the birth, and I'm making everyone else eat them too - so there!

On top of all these fun goings on, I also went to a wedding shower on Saturday which turned out to be a surprise double shower for the bride and...me!  The ladies I work with are just the sweetest, and I had such a wonderful time (at my four hundredth shower...seriously, people, how many presents can one person get?).  We watched the UK Game (I don't wanna talk about it) and went to see Jordan's band play.  I thought that maybe with all of this excitement, I might start feeling a contraction or two, but no.  Nothing.  Nada.  No signs of labor whatsoever, which is fine - by - me!  Hopefully I'll make it through the rest of the week and we'll be smooth sailing into spring break.  Or not.  Whatever.  We're ready and we'll keep you posted!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Guest Words for Baby

After I called Mom to tell her about me and my amazing 4 centimeters, she sat down and wrote the sweetest letter to the Baby Girl. I printed a copy and put it in the baby book, but I begged Mom to let me post it here with all of my letters so they can float around in cyberspace together! (Besides, she says an awful lot of nice things about ME!) I can't wait to see my Mom as a Grammy! Enjoy...

Well little girl, it sounds like you are about ready to make your grand entry into the world. Your mommy called me earlier and said she is 4 cm dilated, so that means you think it's about time to meet everyone. I just can't believe you will be here soon; I can't wait to lay my eyes on you! I have you pictured as a little redhead with chubby cheeks and green eyes. Which means you will probably have dark hair and brown eyes. Whatever it is, you will be the most beautiful baby your mom and dad have ever seen, and Grammy will brag that there is no other little girl in the world that can compare to you. You will look exactly the way God wants you to look, and you will be exactly the little person God intends for you to be. He has given you wonderful parents who are going to teach you all about life. They will laugh with you and cry with you and always be there for you. And sometimes, when you think they are really stupid and you know everything and they know nothing, you will think they hate you. But those though times are the times they love you the most, even though you won't know it at the time. But you can always come to Grammy and she will always make it all better because that's why God made Grammies!

I want nothing but good things for you, little missy, and my prayer is that you will be the sweet, smart, rambunctious little girl your mother was. And I pray you will be the beautiful young woman and mother she has become. And I pray that I will get to be here to watch it all. I can't wait to see you, hold you, rock you, sing to you, read to you, and gush all over you. See you soon!

March 25, 2010

On a side note, when I told Sylvain about the letter he said in jest, "You guys know this baby can't read, right? What's with your family and letters?" Silly boy just doesn't get it, does he?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Four Centimeters!

We went in for our 38 week appointment yesterday. The midwife asked how I was feeling and I said cheerfully, "I feel great! I feel like I could go for another month!" She said, "Well, you could go another month, you never know!" I told her that I really didn't think I'd be dilated at all because I haven't felt any contractions and I've been feeling really great lately - busy at work, but busy in a good way.

She started the examination and began laughing in the middle of it. "You are too funny," she said. "That baby's head is RIGHT THERE," (meaning very low). I got a little excited. She finished the exam and said, "You're four centimeters!"


I snapped my head around and looked at Sylvain. He said, "You're kidding!" We were both so shocked and excited. She assured us that I could stay at 4 cm for another two weeks, but knowing that we're already four centimeters and negative one station means that some of the work is already done! She also said I wouldn't need an exam next week, because once you're between 4 and 5 centimeters "You're in labor." Basically, I still don't know a thing about when this baby's coming, but I know that when I finally start to feel contractions and get serious about them, it'll be the real thing.

As I was scheduling my appointment for next week, the nurse (who I LOVE) came by the window and said to the receptionist, "She won't be here next week." I about DIED! I have to be there next week! I really want to make it to Spring Break. Of course, I won't be mad if she shows up tomorrow, especially since my mom gave birth to both me and my brother two weeks early. But it would be really nice to make it Spring Break. Really nice. Either way, it's not up to me. We'll welcome her with open arms no matter how early (or late) she decides to get here!

So I've been walking around all day today with a smile on my face feeling really proud of myself. I just wanted to say to every person I know, "I'm four centimeters! Isn't that great?!" But I know better than to gab about my cervix to other people. Now, gabbing about my cervix on my blog, that's one thing I couldn't WAIT to get home and do!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Last Words for Baby

Dearest Little Nugget,

I thought I should sit down and write you one more letter before our pregnancy journey is over. We're three weeks away from your due date, although I know that doesn't mean much. You could be here tomorrow or you could be here in a month. It's totally up to you! The good news is, we have everything ready - or as ready as it's going to get, anyway. Your room is finished, the car seats are installed, and every room of the house has been baby-fied. I have no idea if all of this "stuff" will really be useful or if we're missing something really important, but I suspect we'll figure it out as we go. I'm not too worried about it.

That's one thing I've been surprised about lately - I'm not too worried about anything these days! I've reached a state of complete trust and faith in you and in the process of growth, development, birth - all the things that God put in place to bring you to us. As an expert worry wart, I can say I'm so glad that I found this place of peace where I can wait for you. I know a lot of it has to do with Daddy and his very practical, always level-headed attitude about everything. I think some of my inner calm also comes from the fact that we feel "ready." If I ever start to worry about something, I can just go sit in your room for a few minutes and make myself feel better. You'll be here soon, one way or another, and all the waiting will be over.

So, as we wind down these last few weeks, I want you to know that I've loved helping you grow. Our pregnancy wasn't always smooth. I had plenty of discomforts and bumps in the road, but it certainly wasn't as terrible and worrisome as it could have been. We never went on bed rest, our blood pressure and heartbeats have always been good and strong, and our visits to the midwife have been, for the most part, fairly standard and boring, which is a good thing! I've been working hard at school, which I think you enjoy as much as I do, because when we get home at night you are very active and alert inside your little world. I love to sit on the couch with my feet propped up and watch you move around; watch you poke and prod at me in different spots as if to say, "Hey Mom! Let me outta here! I've got things to do!" I can already tell you're going to be a busy girl!

So take your time in there, little one. I'm in no hurry. Everyone else seems to have a request for when and how you should be born, but Daddy and I just want you to come out at the best time for you! We can't wait to see you, and I can't wait for Daddy to hold you and feel you move like I've been doing for months now. We'll do our best to make your journey into this world a peaceful one, and once you're here, we'll do everything we can to make you happy. We already love you more than we ever thought we could. I hope our hearts can stand it when you finally arrive.

Until then,

Monday, March 15, 2010

Operation Baby Room: Complete!

Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present - the cutest baby room in the history of babies! The only thing cuter is an actual, real, live baby (coming soon). Feast your eyes on this glorious masterpiece!

I ordered the tree decal online and Mom found the little mobile somewhere - those things can get pricey! This one isn't too over-the-top, though, so I love it. And I love the tree. My original plan was to put pictures of our family on it to make a family tree over the crib, but the tree itself was too cute to cover up so I did something else, which you'll see shortly. Oh, and I have to keep giving lots of love and shout-outs to Aunt Dar for those adorable curtains. I love them too.

I had to get a shot of the adorable pillow my cousin made for us. I also love the Ikea bookshelf, which we stole from our home office where it was laden with teacher-y things like binders and text books and boring bore-ations. Children's books are much more attractive on it, I think!

I played around forever trying to get a good shot of this adorable little lamp from Ikea (am I sounding like a commercial yet?), but I couldn't get my fancy shmancy camera to do what I wanted it to do. It has little frosted cherry tree branches all over it and it's the most precious thing I've ever seen. We picked up these two books (and a bunch of others) on our last trip to France. The book titled "La Nature" makes animal sounds! It's so cute.

And here is our changing station. The print was also a find from our trip to France, we bought it at a little shop on Montmartre. The French calendar on the door is one that I bought in 2004 when I was student teaching in England. I had intended to use it in my classroom, but as soon as I saw the way the kids treated it I brought it straight home and decided it's best for just one kid - my kid. That's it! You can't find those things everywhere!

And here's my favorite part of the whole room:

Our family tree collage! Since our family is far away (some farther than others) I thought it would be nice to hang portraits of us, our parents, and our grandparents so the little girl will have family around her all the time. The tree decal came with little birdie decals, so I decided to put the family tree collage on a separate wall and use the birdies to tie the whole "theme" together. I think it worked out quite well! (I'm still waiting on one photo from Sylvain's family, but I wasn't going to let one empty picture frame keep me from finishing this project!) All of the picture frames came from - you guessed it - Ikea! My favorite place on earth.

And now I can say that we are officially finished with the baby room. It is just as cute, if not cuter, than the one I've been dreaming about for years! Oh, I can't WAIT for the little girl to get here! She's the only thing left on our list, and we can't run to Target or drive to Ikea to get her. I hope she enjoys her room on the outside as much as she's been enjoying her room on the inside lately. Three weeks and counting. Come on, baby girl, we're all ready!

You can check out my other posts about Operation Baby Room here, here and here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Last Professional Milestone Before Motherhood Sets In!

Get your Oprah voices ready and let's all shout together: It's OOOOOOOVEEEERRRR!! That's right, today I officially mailed off my National Board Certification Portfolio! See that unassuming blue box? It's filled with exactly 127.5 hours worth of work. I kept track. Seriously. I logged every minute I spent on this project and I'm glad that I did. There are four portfolio entries in there, which include tons of writing, documentation, reflections, verifications, blah blah blah blah...oh, and two videos of me teaching (I feel sorry for the poor sap that has to watch those)! Not only is my portfolio finished, but in February I also took the three hour test that goes with it. This project has been my "other baby" since the due dates were so close, and I'm so incredibly glad that it's all over and done with! Now I can truly focus on the more important baby about to arrive. Ahhhhh, it feels so good.

Don't get too proud of me yet, though. I don't find out if I actually certify until November! Can you believe that? I have to wait eight more months to discover if I have to do this whole process all over again! Sheesh. That's almost a whole other baby! Actually, I wouldn't have to do the whole thing over again, just the parts that didn't score very well, but still - that would stink.

I couldn't have done this without the support of everyone at school and the amazing help of my mentor girls: Kate, Danielle, Janel, and Nora! We've been meeting every couple of weeks to read each other's entries and talk about the whole certification process. We had our packing party today, then went to FedEx together to send off the blue boxes and let me tell you, it was hard to say goodbye to the boxes AND the support group! I'm sure we'll keep in touch until November; I might need that support group if I don't receive good news about the certification. In the meantime, I'll just have to say my prayers and hope for the best. By this time next year, I might be able to call myself a National Board Certified Teacher! Woohoo!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

One Conversation They Won't Soon Forget

If my fourth graders have learned nothing else this year, they've at least learned something about babies! They can tell you all about the umbilical cord and it's function, amniotic fluid, and when a fetus can start to hear sounds outside of the womb. Today, we had the uterus conversation and it went something like this...

Me: Now, I don't know when I'm going to be gone, but I'm meeting with the long term sub today, so after today, we'll be ready and it won't matter if I'm here or if she's here. The baby could come as late as Spring Break or as early as tomorrow, no one knows! I might even be here after spring break if she comes late!
A: (a curious and thoughtful little boy) Mrs. F....how will you know when it's time for you to go?
J: (a know-it-all little girl) Her water will break!
M: (another know-it-all little girl) She'll have contractions!
A: (with a terrified look) What's a contraction?
Me: Well, let's see. Okay. There's a big bag of muscles surrounding my baby called the uterus (most kids look confused, some of them scream "Eww! Gross!" Which I ignore because it's hilarious). When it's time for the baby to come, this big muscle will start to squeeze and push the baby out. It feels like a really big cramp, or like someone's squeezing your insides. When these really big cramps start happening one right after the other, then it's time for me to go to the hospital. (At this point, A's eyes are so large they're about to pop out of his head - I think he just realized HOW a baby comes out of a Mom and he's starting to put two and two together. Half of my kids are covering their faces and shaking their heads. I've officially given them too much information...again. I love being the science teacher!)
A: But, Mrs. F......aren't you SCARED???

I laughed and said, "No, I'm not scared. I'm going to be just fine, don't you worry." Then we moved on to something else.

When I got home tonight and thought about A and his absolute shock, I realized that he is exactly where I was about seven months ago. I felt like this whole idea of the uterus contracting and something the size of a baby coming out of me was completely preposterous and I was terrified of labor. But now, I'm really not scared! I'm not nervous, I'm not worried. I know that I don't know how this is going to happen and I'm really, really excited about that! I can't wait until it does actually happen so I can start experiencing what I've been anticipating for so long. It's not going to be a picnic, I know, but it's going to be NEW and it's going to be WONDERFUL and it's going to be OUR BABY! How could anyone be scared about that?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Finally Some Rest

I've had such a horrible week as far as sleeping is concerned. My alleriges have flared up beyond anything I've ever had before. It was like the whole world decided to pollinate at once and my eyes, nose and throat were screaming NOOOO!!!! It's hard enough to sleep while you're eight months pregnant. Every two hours something starts to hurt or go numb and it's time to roll over, or get up and pee, or get a drink of water, or accidentally elbow your husband in the head, or go sleep on the couch. Add to it the runny nose, sore throat and 3 AM wide-awakeness that comes with allergies and you've got one cranky teacher! I didn't think I was going to make it through Friday, but I did - thanks to my Planet Earth DVD's and some really good fourth graders!

After school, I went to the local health food store and bought a neti pot - best purchase I've ever made! I really, really don't want to take any medicine for this, especially since I know it's just allergies and not something serious, so last night I did my research and loaded up on every non-medicine tactic I could find. I drank honey with cinnamon (not good for my blood sugar, but great for my throat!), ran salt water through my nose with the neti pot (ahhhh, that felt so good!), slapped on a breathe-right strip (usually reserved for the snoring hubs), and fired up the baby's humidifer! Turns out I finally got a decent night's sleep. I was still up every few hours, but I had no problem falling back alseep and I could actually breathe when I woke up this morning. Success!

I'm so grateful for a restful, non-eventful weekend. I woke up this morning to birds and sunshine, which does wonders for the spirit. Then, while eating breakfast and checking out all of my favorite blogs, I found this one from some lady in Utah. It was one of the sweetest posts I've ever read, and since I know so many people with young kids, or babies, or babies on the way, I thought I'd share it.

Enjoy, and happy Saturday!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lots of Love!

If you're wondering who the luckiest girl in the world is, you should guess ME! Last weekend, Laura and Emily threw a beautiful baby shower for me and everything about it was perfect - the food, the games and especially the presents! Here are some highlights:

First of all, the guest list was fabulous! These ladies can party - I should know, we did lots of partying together in college. The following picture used to look a lot different...

That's right. My friends can chug water from a baby bottle. What can your friends do? If you had told me nine years ago we'd be chugging bottles I'd have laughed in your face, and spilled my beer on your shoes. Someone suggested turning me upside down to do a "bottle stand," but that's probably not too safe. The bottle chug was one of many rousing games, including one where we had to guess each other's baby pictures, guess mystery baby food, and see how many pieces of toilet paper could fit around my belly! Fun times! They also passed around a basket of diapers and everyone wrote a message in permanent marker on the diaper butt, with the hopes that when we're changing the little girl at 3:00 in the morning, we get a little chuckle out of the butt quips. I was supposed to keep the messages a surprise, but when I got home I read them all (sorry)! They're hilarious.

Now, if there's one thing these girls know how to do, it's CUPCAKES! Here are the adorable cupcakes in front of some impressive fruit skewers. The table was full of delights!

Oh! I almost forgot another fun game - Diaper Derby! Here's the first heat of players trying to change diapers blindfolded:

Aaaand, Emily was the winner. She was really fast.

I received some wonderful presents, including lots of adorable clothes (just wait until you see the pics of my kid in an NKOTB onesie!), some baby room and crib supplies, our carrier, some books and toys, our changing pad, a print for the baby room wall...all kinds of darling little supplies that will make me think of my friends every time we use them!
It was truly a wonderful shower. My friends are the most amazingly thoughtful and the most outrageously fun people you will ever find. Anywhere. Period. I hope our little girl grows up to be just like them! She'd be the coolest person I know.