Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gearing Up

For thousands of years, women had children and raised them successfully without the assistance of Babies 'R' Us and Target, but standing here right now waiting for Elliott to show up, I can't fathom it.  Part of this is probably from being raised in a society that puts a lot of emphasis on material goods, convincing parents that they can't do it without the latest and greatest baby things.

However, I'm OK with the ways my nesting instinct has manifested itself.  Nesting is part of every woman's preparation for birth, but it manifests itself in a variety of ways.  I have been cleaning and purchasing the things Elliott and I will need, as well as thinking about these things and what they mean.  I have an analytical mind, and I didn't expect it to shut off in terms of my child.  Other women nest by being as well informed as possible and forming detailed opinions about how they are going to raise their children.   One of my best friend in graduate school actually wrote her thesis on nesting in the Mormon community (something I would love to read...hint, hint Nancy...).

Today, my final shipment of baby supplies arrived at my door (two days early, a pleasant surprise after the nursing tank debacle).  I got my Boppy, the waterproof cover, the slipcover, the Sophie the Giraffe teether, bottles (MAM Anti-Colic, for those interested.  I was a colicky baby), and the Moleskine Passions Baby Journal.  I have a mild obsession with Moleskine notebooks, and this journal has a place for everything about the baby.  I'm so excited to start filling it out.  I now feel fully prepared to have Elliott.  I really wanted to have the Boppy (and the covers) so when Elliott arrived, I could learn to nurse with the pillow.  I can't wait to bond with my little boy.

This weekend, which we are obviously playing by ear, will probably be awesome, no matter what happens.  Elliott could arrive (which would be the best).  If he doesn't, and I get the green-light from our midwife on Friday, we might make a day trip to Wildwood to see my family.  My dad's uncle has a bungalow there and my sister, her best friend, and some aunts and cousins will be there.  We'll see.

 - J & M.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I love free stuff.

Honestly, who doesn't love free stuff?  Today I got an offer in my email about a free nursing cover and a free baby sling.  It came from a reliable source, but I was still a little suspicious and checked the whole thing out.  All I had to do was pay for shipping?  Really?  There must be a catch.

Well, there wasn't a catch.  I really just had to pay for shipping.  On top of that, they let me use my PayPal, so I didn't even have to give credit card info.  I have freelancing money, so I just used that.  To top it all off, the styles and fabrics were adorable, so I'm really excited about these.  I don't feel like I'm settling.

So, now I have a nursing cover and a sling on their way, along with the things I ordered from Amazon the other day.  My Boppy is already shipped, which is good because I would like to have that (and the covers) in hand by the time Elliott shows up.  I love getting packages!

Just as a side note: I already have a Moby, but this sling is a little different and made more for a slightly older baby.  This way we have options with carrying him, as do the other people who might be caring for him (our parents and siblings).

I'm just so excited for free things!
(I still have the code and you can use it numerous times, apparently, if anyone wants it).

- J & M.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Baby Shower #2 / Father's Day

On the 18th, my two best friends from college threw me another baby shower, this one for my friends from Philly.  My mom, Jill, and Sarah also came in for the festivities, which was really nice.  My mom and sister hadn't seen a lot of my friends since the wedding, so it was a nice reunion for all.

We got some more adorable things, including Elliott's first pair of Chucks (I already know I want a photo of us in our wedding Chucks and E in his little grey ones...a perfect combo).  Our friends were so generous and Elliott is pretty much outfitted completely.   Here are some pictures:

Our adorable cake.

Sweet little favors.

All the guests made a page and wrote Elliott notes.  :)

Michele and I.

Sara and I.

Me and my mom.

Sarah and I.

Elliott's first Chucks.

Jill and my mom.
The next day was Father's Day (and my parent's 29th wedding anniversary), so Jason and I went home for the day.  I got Jason "Go the Eff to Sleep" and a recipe journal (it's so cool: it has different sections for you to fill in as you make and tweak you favorite recipes).  Even though Elliott isn't here quite yet, I thought it was nice to get Jason something.  He got me flowers for Mother's Day.  Our families met up at the Yinger's and we had Slow Country Boil (so good).  Sarah and I bought our dad a day at Hersheypark, complete with dinner wherever he wanted to go.  Sarah took him on Tuesday, and he had a fantastic time.

Now we just wait for Elliott to arrive.  Jason and I went to Babies 'R' Us to complete our registry (ha...they didn't have half of what we wanted at the store...) and I just finished ordering some essentials from our Amazon registry (most importantly our Boppy and Sophie the Giraffe).  What no one seems to have in stock (or discounted with our completion) is the cloth diapers we want.  The whole world seems to be against our decision to cloth diaper the baby.  We were planning on using disposables for the first few weeks (at the suggestion of friends who have successfully cloth diapered their daughter for two years, and have another on the way).  Still, we need to buy the diapers!  Sigh.  We'll find a way.

I also had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday (38 weeks), and externally, labor does not seem to be close.  My doctor offered to do an internal, but said I'd probably be disappointed by the results, so I declined.  Besides, from what I understand, an internal just tells you where you are RIGHT NOW.  It can't predict anything more.  I could be dialated and walk around at the same stage for days, or go from nothing at all to having a baby in a day.  Therefore, I keep walking and eating spicy foods.  :)

I don't have much left to do either in preparation.  A few things need to be hung up in the nursery (a task for Jason's day off tomorrow); I made spaghetti sauce to freeze; I have other meals lined up; his clothing is all washed; the hospital bag is packed; the car seat is installed; and I just need to write some thank-you notes and finish some course prep.  Elliott's arrival is pretty much all I think about, but honestly, what else could I think about!

I do have great friends who have come by to take me to lunch or invite me out.  Otherwise, I'd probably just sit in the house waiting.  It's too hot most days to go on a walk during the afternoon either.  He'll be here soon enough.  I just have to be patient.

- J & M.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Baby Shower #1

On Saturday, my mother-in-law and mom hosted a family and "home" friends baby shower at my mother-in-law's house.  The weather cooperated for the most part, and we were truly showered with love, gifts, and a little bit of rain.

I have another shower in two weeks, hosted by one of my best friends from college.  I can't wait!

Here are some pictures from the big event.  I didn't realize how pregnant I looked until I uploaded this pictures.  Wow.

The "spread."  Everything was blue and green.

A little polo shirt!  

Aunt Chris, Jane, and Oma.

My cousin Liz and her little one, Brooklyn (she's 15 weeks).

Emma, my cousin Matt's daughter (5 1/2 months).

A little gift just for Mommy.

That's us!

Sarah showing off her read-aloud skills.

The beautiful quilt Nancy made us.


Oma and Emma (too cute not to include).

 - J & M.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I have had a couple requests for this recipe over the last few weeks, so here it is, complete with my personal notes that might be helpful.

Strawberry Pretzel "Salad"

 - 2 cups crushed pretzels (use a rolling pin and a Ziploc bag)
 - 3/4 cup (or 1 1/2 sticks) melted butter
 - 3 T., plus 3/4 cup sugar (you'll use sugar twice)
 - 1-8 ounce package cream cheese (room temperature)
 - 1-8 ounce carton of Cool Whip
 - 2-3 ounce packages of strawberry Jell-O
 - 2 cups of boiling water
 - 2-10 ounce packages of frozen strawberries
 - 1 small can (about 6 ounce) crushed pineapple

 - Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
 - For crust, mix pretzels, butter, 3 T. of sugar. (I actually doubled this the last time...it was awesome).  Press into 9 x 13 pan.  Bake for 7 minutes and set aside to cool (you should even put it in the fridge after its cooled for a few minutes).
 - Beat together cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar.  Fold in Cool Whip and spread over the cooled crust (this is key!  The crust should be cool!  Otherwise the white mixture will melt and there won't be the appropriate layering).  Refrigerate entire dish until well cooled.
 - Dissolve Jell-O mix in boiling water, cool slightly.  Add strawberries and pineapple and let it start to set a bit.  Stir to mix and pour over the cream cheese mixture.
 - Refrigerate until well cooled, then continue in the fridge until serving time.  

Serving suggestion: In bowls with spoons.  While you can eat it with forks on plates, if the Jell-O gets melty at all (which it will in this heat!), it becomes a mess.  


Friday, June 3, 2011

35 Weeks

Look at that...I'm already posting again.

Yesterday marked the exact 35 week mark, but I generally blog on the days I have doctor's appointments, which was today.  From now on, I suppose, I'll be having Friday appointments.  Every week.  Until the baby is born.  Which could be three weeks from now.  Ack.

The doctor's appointment was normal, except for the addition of the Group B Strep test.  Now, so far, I have felt fairly well informed, and when I'm unsure of something, I simply ask or consult a couple of sources.  I thought I knew what Group B Strep was.  I was incorrect.  The nurse asked if the swab had been conducted, and I said no.  I assumed they swabbed the inside of my mouth.  So did Jason.  Without being vulgar...we were wrong.  Very very wrong.  We'll get the results back next week, and if I do have it, they just treat you for it while you're in labor.  I'll have an IV in anyway, most likely, so I won't even notice.  I just felt silly for not knowing more.

We also took our hospital tour today.  L&D at Penn is finishing some renovations, so there were work-people and construction stuff everywhere.  Things were sealed off so babies and mommas don't get all kinds of dust and stuff everywhere.  It was almost like being in a weird zombie L&D.  We saw a labor and delivery room, although the ones with jacuzzi tubs were filled (I hope to get one of those).  It's a pretty sizable room, and apparently I can have up to three support people with me at a time.  That being said, I have granted permission to a total of two people to be in the delivery room with me.  I guess if I'm in labor for a while, I'll have visitors.  We got a lot of questions answered and I feel a little more at ease with the whole thing.  I'm still nervous, don't get me wrong.  The last time I was in a hospital for medical care was 25 years ago when I was born.  I don't really remember the experience.  I'm getting better with needles, but I haven't shaken it totally yet.  However, I figure that lots of women do this every day, so I will be fine.  I need to go in with a positive, yet flexible attitude, and with the idea that labor won't last forever.

On another baby-related note, I recently ordered some nursing tops from the Gap, who was having a tremendous sale (I think I ended up saving 40 or 50 percent).  According to FedEx and the Postal Service, my package was delivered.  However, after an extensive search of the mail drop points around our apartment complex, my package is no where to be found.  My feelings are that either A) it was stolen   B) it was delivered to the wrong complex (there are a couple on our street...) or C) the post man is currently wearing my nursing tank-top.  I've spoken directly with the Postal Service and they are going to talk to the mail-person about where exactly the package was dropped.  Le sigh...I have a terrible feeling that I'm never going to see those tops.  : /

The next post will most likely be a shower post!  Pictures to come!  :)

- J & M.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

We're Back!

Sorry for the absence, dear readers.  We've just had so much going on in the last few weeks that blogging has been the least of my concerns (see other neglected blogs for evidence).  I figured I'd give a little update while I'm in the middle of baking.  :)

First, our new apartment is 97% put together, and Barney is 100% acclimated.  The nursery does not yet look like a place for a baby, but rather a storage area for people who might have a baby.  My parents' gift to us was the mattress, mattress pad, and crib (which is the same one used for Sarah and I).  Don't worry, the crib is safe...Dad retrofit it so the side doesn't go down, and everything else was up to snuff.  My mom took excellent care of it...although two little babies in the 1980s might have chewed it a little.  All it needed from me was a good thorough dusting.  We are still on the lookout for a futon frame for the mattress we have, so the room can be a guest room and so there is a place we can sleep if we need to between feedings and diaper changes.  Otherwise, I have two showers coming up, so I have a feeling we'll be a little more prepared soon.  My first shower is on Saturday (it's a "home friends" and family shower).  My mom and mother-in-law are having it together, just like my bridal shower, so I know it will be lovely.  One of my best friends and former bridesmaid, Michele, is having a shower for my Philly friends.  I'm so excited for both showers!

My sister graduated from High Point University at the beginning of May.  We all drove down to North Carolina to see it, and we are so incredibly proud.  She graduated cum laude with a degree in Elementary Education.  She's on the job hunt now, and hopefully she'll find something fulfilling and bill-paying soon.

I finished with school on the 12th of May, with the submission of my grades.  As of right now, I won't be going back until the spring, but I have my name in for one class, if they need me.  While I am a little stir crazy at the apartment, it's also nice to have time (for now) to work on personal projects.

What kind of personal projects, you ask?  Well, I've been working on some genealogy research for my father's family.  I have a giant binder of information, but I've hit a wall since I no longer have access to the Library edition of Ancestry.com, which was a free trial at La Salle.  I may start constructing a narrative, and eventually I would like to get some copies of said narrative self-published to give as gifts for my family.  I'm not working on my mother's side of the family because my uncle has that pretty well covered.

I'm also spending time researching Ph.D. programs and getting my materials prepared for that.  I would like to be in a Ph.D. program by fall, 2012, which works out well.  Our lease here ends at the end of May.  I'd finish teaching, and soon after, we'd move to where ever we needed to go.  There are no programs of interest to me in the Philly area, but I am seriously considering the Ph.D. leg of Penn State Harrisburg's American Studies program.  We could move back to our home base and be close to family, although we'd be far from our Philly friends.  We'll know more about that later.

Finally, I have a number of crochet and craft projects in progress, so I'm trying to finish those as soon as possible.  I'm almost done with a baby blanket for my cousin, and I have a couple of practical things for Elliott under way (bibs, booties, washcloths).  I also found a pattern for a little cotton baseball hat.  I have a bunch of red, cotton yarn, so I plan on making him a Phillies cap.  I also have yarn on order for a blanket for Elliott that will sort of go with the general theme of our nursery.

Elliott, by the way, is doing well.  He moves a lot, and about twice a day, he gets a case of the hiccups.  In babies, this is OK.  It means he's practicing his vital functions such as sucking and swallowing, so that's good.  I have an appointment tomorrow, and now that we are at 35 weeks, I have a feeling we'll start getting a better idea of his arrival time.  We're also hoping to take the hospital tour tomorrow.  We tried the other night, but they had 4 women in active labor, so there was no way for us to see a birthing suite.  That's OK.  We'll just keep trying.

So, that's the life of the Yinger's right now.  Busy busy as always.  Hopefully I'll remember to update again soon.  :)