Friday, September 27, 2013

Nature bags!

So, we're going on a hike with a friend of mine on Sunday. As many of you probably know, nature hikes are Bug's favorite thing, so of course he's as excited as I am!
I know, how can someone who's 36 weeks pregnant and waddles be excited to go walk waddle through the wilderness? It's still fun to me, and something new to do. I love hiking!
I know Bug is going to want to collect pinecones and acorns and sticks and leaves like always, he loves bringing this stuff home! So we decided to make nature bags and I thought it'd be nice to document so you guys can, too! :)

*Side Note: You can also use this tutorial to make re-usable trick-or-treat bags for Halloween, since that's coming up pretty fast!*

*An old t-shirt you no longer wear/use
*Sharp scissors/fabric scissors
*(Optional) Fabric glue
*(Optional) Fabric paint

Riley is my sister, who also wanted a nature bag haha. Bug had two of those shirts, so it was perfect to cut up since he had another. Plus, what better theme for a nature bag?!
Anyway, you'll want a decent sized flat surface to work on. We used the kitchen table.

Now you're going to take those scissors and start cutting up your shirt!
First, cut off the sleeves. Cut inside the seam (so you're cutting the seam off).
Second, do the same around the neckline. If you don't want a scoop neckline, you can make a triangle or whatever floats your boat. I don't care, s'long as you like it!
Third, cut off the bottom of the shirt, where it's hemmed. Cut right above the seam, just like with the sleeves and neckline. Keep that bottom strip handy!

Now cut some strips through both layers of fabric all along the bottom. I'd suggest about 1/2in-1in wide and 1in-2in long. Longer strips will be easier to tie! I found that out the hard way with Bug's shirt, but it's a 2T shirt so I only had so much to work with haha.

Remember that strip from the bottom of the shirt? Cut that into 4 strips of equal length. I took the picture at an angle so they don't look too even, but trust me, they're pretty even haha.

Now, back to those strips! Tie the front strip to the back one, directly behind it. Repeat with all the strips all the way across the bottom. This is closing the bottom of the bag. If you plan on putting smaller objects in the bag, or heavier objects, you can reinforce the ties by dabbing the knots with fabric glue. Since we're just using ours for pinecones, acorns, leaves, sticks, etc. we didn't reinforce the knots, but who knows - maybe we'll do that when we make Halloween ones!

Now take those 4 equal-sized strips you cut and tie one on the front of each handle and on the back of each handle. This step is totally optional, but I thought it looked cuter and just better in general. Less plain, I guess. The kids liked how it looked, too. If you want to, you can also reinforce these knots with fabric glue. I don't see much of a point, honestly, but I guess with older toddlers/children there's the "risk" (for lack of a better word) of them untying and losing those strips? I dunno. Do what you want with them haha, it's your bag!

And now your nature bag is all finished! If you have fabric paint, you can paint your own designs or whatever, even iron ons if you have them! Decorate your bag however you like!
Now we're all set for Sunday's nature walk :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

We made something...

Salt dough prints! A super fun, easy, slightly messy way to preserve your little one's hand or foot prints forever!
We made Bug's handprint and two letters - one for the first letter of his name and one for the first letter of Sparrow's name. We even painted them, and they came out really cute!

These are your materials. One cup of salt, one cup of flour, and half a cup of water. Don't ask why our flour is in a coffee can, it's a long, uninteresting story. I will say, however, that it stores better this way! This recipe isn't quite fool proof, it wouldn't mix correctly and hold together the way it should have so we added more water. That made it too sticky, so we added more flour. Just mess with it a bit and you'll find the perfect recipe.

Bug had a great time helping me. He was so excited to add more flour for me (toddlers have this thing for scooping and pouring, haha) and then he was way excited to mix it all together again.
He did good, too! He added just the right amount of flour and without any help!

Once you get your dough mixture perfect - you'll know when it is - play with it! Knead it for a bit, make little snowmen or people, just work it for a little while. Have fun with it! Then roll it into a ball about the size of your fist.
*Remember: Flour the table before rolling out your dough to prevent it from sticking!*
Now's a good time to preheat the oven to 200 degrees, so it'll be ready by the time you roll out your dough and make your prints!
We don't have a rolling pin, so we improvised. We used our salt container to roll out the dough and it worked really well. Roll it out to whatever size you'd like, but try to keep the thickness between 1/4in and 1/2in thick for a good handprint.
If it doesn't come out in a perfect oval - or whatever shape it is you want, it cuts easily with a butterknife. Just like play-doh! I had to trim the edges of ours to make it more oval-shaped.

While I was rolling out our dough, Bug decided he wanted to taste it.
It's perfectly safe because it's just salt, flour and water - but it doesn't taste great!
He licked the side of the little creation he was making, made some silly faces and told me "Ew, mommy, that was yucky!" I can imagine! That's a lot of salt and there's no way it tastes good haha!

So after you roll out your dough, make your prints, and write whatever you want (if anything) in the dough, your oven should be done preheating.
*Use a straw to poke two holes near the top if you want to thread string or ribbon through to hang*
Lay a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet (not absolutely necessary - ours came out wonderfully without it because we were out - but it still helps).
Place your creations on the wax paper, put the cookie sheet in the oven, and now you wait - 2-4 hours. Roughly 2 hours for dough that's 1/4in thick and 4 hours for dough that's 1/2in thick.
When your time is up, turn off the oven, and let cool in the oven for 8 hours for the dough to properly harden. If you need your oven within that time, just set the cookie sheet on top of the oven and let cool there.

Eight hours later...

We're all cooled and ready to paint!
We just used dollar store paints, six came in a pack for a buck. Black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue.
My plaque with his hand print has a small crack above his name, if you can see it. That's from not smoothing my dough before baking... it covered alright with paint, though.
The baby bottle just has water in it to rinse the paintbrush.
Speaking of paintbrushes, we only had one - so I used that and let Bug use his fingers. What little boy doesn't love getting messy anyway?
I let him pick his colors and he chose green, red and yellow. I used white, blue and black for the plaque.

Bug was so proud of his fingerpainting and he made more than just one masterpiece! He painted his N and his brother's... oh, I can't tell you guys - that'll give away the first letter of his name and that might lead to some educated guesses... ;)
We had paper bags laid on the table to protect it from the paint.
Bug decided it was a great canvas to paint on, and painted a beautiful masterpiece on it.
But alas, I'm biased, and pretty much everything my kid makes that isn't a normal bodily function is beautiful to me.

He also made this:

It's kind of heart shaped, and even unintentional, it's pretty neat!

The dollar store paint took a couple of coats to cover well, but that's to be expected using dollar store paint and a crappy watercolor paintbrush haha!
Here's our finished project:

I want to add a few more layers of paint, and a sparkly clear coat... if I ever do, I'll update the post!

*Note: Any leftover dough can be stored in a zip-loc baggy in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. It makes great play-dough, too!*
I hope you guys have as much fun with this project as we did! :)

Pain Relief in Labor: Water

I can tell you from personal experience that water is a lifesaver in labor. A birth/labor tub or a shower both work really well! For me, the shower worked significantly better than the tub, but I hear that's common in first labors. I just set the shower head to the massage setting and got the water to just the right temperature, and I was in heaven compared to not being in the water.
It helps the physical pain as well as being very relaxing. As someone who's struggled with anxiety and panic attacks, I learned years and years ago how relaxing water is and often used it to get rid of my panic attacks, and that's where I got the idea to get in the shower in the first place! I didn't even know it was a common method of pain relief in labor, I just knew I needed some help grounding myself and focusing, and if it helped me ground myself during a panic attack surely it would help me ground myself in labor!
I believe the birth pool or labor pool helps so much during labor partly because of the weightlessness aspect. In the water, you really do feel weightless, and it's much easier to move. That means that in a birth/labor tub it's much easier to change positions and find one that feels comfortable for you. Aside from that, the warm water feels nice and is very soothing and relaxing. It is said that laboring in the water makes for a shorter labor, which is also less painful. It is also said that laboring and birthing in the water usually results in fewer complications and less intervention!
Using water as pain relief during labor is also extremely effective when it comes to back labor. Trust me on that one! Because it helps so much to make you relax, it also helps you store/save energy for the harder parts of labor (hard labor, pushing, etc.).
Oftentimes in hospitals you will not be allowed to use a labor/birth pool until your cervix has dilated to 5cm. The reason for this is that is when you are considered in hard, active labor - and early labor can last for days. A birth pool should be emptied, disinfected, and refilled every 24 hours during labor. After you hit that 5cm mark, you're not likely to be in labor so long, and therefore they won't need to empty and disinfect it.
Another reason for this rule is that they don't want the water to slow your labor or contractions, or lead to other interventions. Forgive me here, but I don't buy that one. 
Personally, I think that rule is in place mainly to make their jobs easier, but there's a way around it!
Just because you can't use the pool/tub until you hit 5cm doesn't mean you can't still use water as pain relief in early labor. There's no rule about dilation for using the shower, as it's constantly running so you're not sitting in the same water for hours. Like I said earlier - showers are heaven, especially for first time moms!
Another great thing about laboring in the water is that your partner or child/children can join you. In most cases, your midwife or birth doula will not get into the birth tub with you, but your hubby (or wife!) certainly can! It's even alright for your child to be in there with you - it's all about what you want and what makes you happy and comfortable.
You can drink while in the birth pool at home, at a birthing center, and even in many hospitals - and it's a great idea to. Be it water, a sports drink (like Gatorade or Powerade or this awesome, natural, homemade sports drink), or juice - it's good to make up for the lost electrolytes because of all the hard work and sweating you're doing!
If you're at home, you will be allowed to eat in the birth pool, but in the hospital you will not be - following standard hospital procedure, unfortunately.
The great thing about laboring and giving birth in a birth pool/tub is that it's great pain relief and there are no adverse risks or effects to mama and baby!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

36 weeks!

Well, we're 36 weeks along today! That means just four short weeks until my due date, and just 28 days. Where has the time gone?!
This week, Sparrow is the size of a honeydew melon. He's about 18.7in long and about 5.8lbs. If he were to be born right now, he probably would be able to breathe on his own - but I'm not interested in finding that out, I'll take the four more weeks for his lungs to mature. His gums are rigid, and his liver and kidneys are in working order... that is, until he gets to college. Thankfully that's a long way away, though. His circulation and immune system are also "basically good to go", but like I said, I would rather wait to find out. Most of his bones are completely hardened, aside from his skull, which will remain softer and in pieces to fit through the birth canal. His muscle tone is improving greatly as well! My little strong man! I still feel like crap and I'm getting more emotional by the day - I cried because my camera cord was in a different place than where I left it today... I feel bad for Curtis. The heartburn is getting worse and half the time it feels like my hips have tow straps attached to them and are being pulled apart by monster trucks... but like I keep saying, it's worth it. Last night I had contractions for two and a half hours and literally told my fetus that he can't come out yet because I'm busy this week, I've got shit to do! That and our last six diapers haven't even arrived yet.
It's such a bittersweet feeling, knowing the final weeks are upon us. There's the happy stuff - the baby will be here, my clothes will fit soon, I'll be more comfortable, I can go in a hot tub, I can sleep on my stomach! And then there's the kind of sad stuff - no more baby kicks, no relaxation knowing he's automatically fed and provided the nutrients he needs straight through his umbilical cord, no more belly table or beautiful pregnancy silhouette. It's really just the strangest feeling, it's just like my last month of pregnancy with Noah... it's like a twilight in your life, a strange, beautiful and surreal period of time. So many feelings and thoughts, so many dreams. Uncertainty and excitement, joy, fear, love. From how you feel physically to how you feel emotionally, it's so back and forth and polar opposites at the same time, and it's just chaotically, strangely beautiful - just like the twilight hour.
This part isn't a pregnancy update, but I wanted to take a moment to say how grateful I am to be able to have a happy and healthy pregnancy, and to have healthy babies. I'm grateful to even be able to carry a child and create life, there are so many women who deserve to be able to do the very same and they cannot. It's a wonderful experience, it's beautiful and empowering. There's nothing in the world like it. There's no bond like pregnancy, after all, like the quote goes - your children are the only ones who know what your heart sounds like from the inside.
Life is good.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday #1 - Nature Walk/Scavenger Hunt

These are the boys. The blonde one making the super silly cheese face is mine (Bug, can't you tell?) and the one with the brown hair is the boy we babysit - Aiden.

I don't normally have Aiden on Saturdays so it's not often that he'll be on the blog, but he's a cutie pie and wanted to take a couple pictures with Bug and they were too cute not to share!
Anyway, we recently decided that we're going to do a new activity every Saturday, because we always do the same old thing. Today was Saturday #1 and the activity we had planned for today was a nature walk and a scavenger hunt! We planned to walk down to the woods by the river and look for acorns, pine cones, pretty leaves, sticks, stones, and other nature-y things. We brought our plastic shopping bags (makes sense, right? I guess it counts as recycling!) and we were all set!
We started our walk to the river and the boys skipped up ahead, chatting happily between themselves and talking about what they were gonna find.
"I'm gonna get corns!"
"I'm gonna get a-cones!"
They're two and three - their speech isn't quite stellar just yet, haha.
So they're excitedly walking and skipping and waving their nature bags in the air, and we feel it.
One drop.
Two drops.
It's raining. Of course it's raining.
So what, universe, does that mean we're better off being lazy? Because I was pretty excited for this whole thing and I'm pretty sure Bug was too!
Well, then it became a game. We had to race home and see who could find what items before we got home - and it was pretty fun to run through the rain like a little kid again!
Bug ended up with a stick, a purple flower, and a leaf; and Aiden ended up with a pink flower and a leaf.
We brought our spoils home and dumped our nature bags on the table. We used all of the items to identify colors and we named each item. They told me where sticks come from ("They fall off broken trees!") and where the leaves came from ("It's fall, they fall!"). They then proceeded to rip off all the petals of the flowers and tear each petal into tiny pieces... it's a shame, they were pretty flowers haha!
Well, the rain may have tried to ruin our fun but it was only partially successful. Here's to a better Saturday #2 - and the plan is to make Play-Doh!
Here's a picture of what the boys found, I hope everyone's having a great day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

35 weeks!

I'm sorry guys. There's no beating around the bush, my posts can and likely will continue to be days and days late. I know, bad blogger skills, man. Terrible quality in a blogger - consistently late posts. But I'm just so drained that half the time the thought of blogging makes me want to cry, I just want to sleep! At the same time, I like keeping you all updated and it's nice to know people actually enjoy reading this blog. So definitely not going to stop blogging, you'll just have to forgive my tardy posts.
Sleep is a terrible thing for me these days. My belly is huge! I can't lay on my back because it reduces oxygen to the baby and it's uncomfortable anyway. I can't lay on my stomach for obvious reasons (and if you can't figure that out you haven't been following this blog long enough!). Laying on my side is uncomfortable because life hates me. My futon is ridiculously worn out and uncomfortable - but thankfully we should have our new bed soon! So anyway, it gets even better. When I can finally manage to get comfortable, acid reflux returns with a vengeance. If I don't take Pepcid AND Tums right before bed, I'm SOL for the entire night. It blows. Really. It's awful and I have 4 and a half weeks left of it and I'm about to sell our bed for a La-Z-Boy to sleep in. As you can imagine, this makes for an awful, and incredibly not restful sleep. So I go to bed exhausted and I wake up only slightly less exhausted, even though my wonderful boyfriend gets up with Noah all night for me so I can give sleep a fighting chance. I dunno, spending my days barely being able to keep my eyes open is really taking its toll on me - especially with babysitting a 3yo while chasing my own toddler around, prepping for the baby, organizing, and doing endless laundry.
Well, back to the point of this post - I'm 35 weeks! As of Wednesday, if I were to go into labor, I could safely deliver at home. How crazy is that? I'm almost 36 weeks along and I feel like my doctor told me I was pregnant just yesterday. I have 33 days left! Anyway, Sparrow is about the size of a coconut. So about 18in long and about 5 lbs, on average. His hearing is fully developed and he responds best to high pitched noises - so big brother's random screeches are going to elicit the best reaction from him!
Big Brother Noah: 1 Mommy and Daddy: 0
His lungs are almost fully developed, but he needs the next four and a half weeks to put the finishing touches on 'em and ensure they're working correctly and that he can work them on his own.
Noah's getting more and more excited about his arrival with every passing day. He keeps asking if he can have him and hold him and snuggle with him yet - I can't wait to see them together! We have about $160 in miscellaneous expenses left to prepare for the birth - covering the rest of our diapers, bottles, pacifiers, our birth kit, and the items from the home birth check list. Ah - tack $70 onto that for placenta encapsulation. I'm so glad Curtis isn't a deadbeat because thankfully I'm not paying for all of this on my own! I'm not sure I could handle that honestly. He's a great guy though and he's helped a lot. He's bought diapers, made payment toward our midwife, bought clothes, etc. already... Out of all of our cloth I haven't paid a dime yet! Anyway, I still can't get over how soon we'll be meeting this bubs, and how soon you all get to finally learn his name! I think it's time for me to go to bed, though, so here's a bump picture and goodnight!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy (belated) birthday to me!

So on the 14th I celebrated my birthday, but I haven't gotten much of a chance to blog about it yet.
It was a really great day! I got to spend it with both halves of my family as I came back home on my birthday, so the first half was spent with my dad and the siblings on his side and the second half was spent with my mom and the kids on her side.
The night before I got to pick dinner, burgers with taco seasoning, mashed potatoes and chips! And right when I finished my dad and brothers turned off all the lights and confused the hell out of me. Then I saw the glow coming up the stairs and it made sense - birthday cake. Booyah! That was probably one of the best birthday cakes I've ever had, too. Thick vanilla frosting, pink roses, and yellow cake that tasted almost strawberry flavored. It was soooo good, my mouth is watering thinking about it. As healthy as I try to eat, I can't lie and say I don't love some junk food. And because it was a special day, I taught Bug how to lick the frosting off the candles after they were blown out. He loved it!
In the morning, my dad bought us breakfast of my choosing - so, naturally, boston creme donutes and hot apple cider! I played with the kids, we all went for a walk, and we hung around just talking and laughing and having a great time together. For lunch he bought me an incredible roast beef sandwich - and I mean incredible, NY has the best delis! After that we hung out a while longer. We played some video games, I colored some pictures with the kids, just spent time together as a family and it was awesome. I definitely didn't want to leave so soon, and neither did Bug, but realistically we had just spent three weeks in NY and really needed to get back home to our jobs and continue preparing for our little Sparrow.
The goodbye was filled with lots of hugs, snuggles, kisses, tears, and little gifts - pictures the kids drew, these cute little handmade soaps. It was sad but they understood why we had to leave. I just hate leaving them, because I hate seeing them upset.
So we loaded up the car and we came back home.
It was pretty nice. I got to come home and see all my friends and we ordered pizza. It was so nice to be in my own bed again, too. I definitely all but dove for it the second I walked in the door. It was nice to just be home with family, but we're not doing anything really special until tomorrow night. When I came home we just spent time together and hung out and went for a walk. Tomorrow night we having homemade baked macaroni and cheese, from scratch, with tomatoes and breadcrumbs for dinner. It's one of the best homemade dinners you will ever eat, I promise you! Afterward we're going to have a double layered cookie cake with frosting. I'm so excited! This is all it takes to give me a good birthday, some good food.

So yeah, I had a pretty stellar birthday, and ended it snuggling with my favorite boy - my Bug. I definitely didn't want it to end, but it was a great birthday!

It is a pretty cool hat, though, isn't it? :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Birth Affirmations

I thought it might be nice to share my birth affirmations here. Birth affirmations are a great way to help yourself through labor, whether you go all natural or get an epidural, are induced or have a c-section. They help you to stay calm and focused.
I used them without realizing what they were, or that they had a name, or how common they are, when I was in labor with my first son, and they helped immensely through 28.5 hours of natural, unmedicated labor.
Here are some of my favorites:

*My body was made for this. I can do this.
*This won't last forever.
*My body is powerful.
*I'm fortunate to be able to have this experience.
*This is the last time my baby will ever be so close. Cherish every moment.
*Let go.
*Let your body do it's thing.
*My body knows what to do, and how to do it well.
*The strength of my contractions represents my strength as a woman.
*Every contraction brings my baby closer.
*I trust in my ability to birth my baby.
*I have faith in my body and in myself.
*This is not a race. My body will give birth in its own time.
*Everything is going as it should.
*The pain is a good sign. The more intense my contractions become, the closer I am to meeting my baby.
*Breathe in, breathe out, relax.
*I deserve a wonderful birth!
*My baby will be here soon.
*I visualize each contraction opening my body up to give birth.
*I will not fight my contractions. I will focus on them, relax, and let them do their job.
*The pain may be intense, but this is what my body was designed to do.
*Women have been doing this for centuries!
*I am strong.
*I am patient.
*I am grateful.
*I am relaxed.
*I'm getting closer to meeting my baby.
*I am happy and calm.
*I am focusing on my contractions.
*I am focusing on my breathing.
*I am doing wonderfully.
*Nothing worthwhile comes easily.
*I am at peace.
*There is no rush.
*I am not fearful for I know I can do this.
*I believe in birth.

It's a bit of a long list, but maybe not every affirmation is a great fit for every mother. Though each affirmation is true, each one may not help every laboring mother. These are affirmations I used in my first labor, with more added to it to use with this labor in just 6 short weeks. This is only one technique I intend to use during labor, but I suppose I could post an additional technique every week up until labor - until I run out. Next week we'll discuss using water as pain management, the week after we will go over swaying and the tennis ball technique. The third week we'll discuss massage and essential oils. The fourth week we'll discuss bouncing on a birthing ball to ease pain. The fifth week we'll discuss walking. At week 40, if I'm not already in labor, we'll discuss another technique - but it will be a surprise! The same with weeks 41-43 if Sparrow is stubborn and chooses to hang out a while longer.


Since I forgot to even post my 33 week update... here it is!
It's like my pregnancy with Bug, you can barely tell from the front or back, but then I turn sideways and BAM!
At 33 weeks he was the size of a Durian fruit, about 4lbs and 17in long on average. Until now I've never even heard of a durian fruit... He began keeping his eyes open for the duration of being awake this week and began to coordinate sucking and swallowing to prep for breastfeeding. His bones are hardening, he's still going through major brain development, and still putting on baby fat so when he makes his appearance he'll be a little chunker :) My symptoms were the same as they are this week so we'll just cover them under the 34 week update. We ordered 6 more cloth diapers, bringing us up to 14 OS diapers and 10 NB diapers, but we're only borrowing the NB diapers. They're all so cute! We also paid our midwife some of what we owe and that felt great.
P.S. Apparently the Durian fruit has been nicknamed "the king of fruits" and is known for it's large size, strong smell and being covered in thorns. Yikes, imagine pushing THAT out!

And this is my 34 week picture, and probably my last bikini picture until I'm in labor - haha! I can't believe it's already September. This week Sparrow is roughly between 4.2 and 5.8lbs and between 17.2-18.7 inches long - about the size of a butternut squash. Just in time for fall! If this were my first pregnancy, it would be common for him to "drop" (also known as lightening) into the birth canal any time between now and 38 weeks, but because this is a subsequent pregnancy, it's common for them not to drop until you're in labor. Boo for me because when baby drops, you can finally breathe easier! He's now peeing about a pint's worth every day now, and he can recognize and respond to simple songs. He also recognizes -- and Noah's voices and goes crazy when he hears them!
While he hasn't dropped, he has turned head down. I don't expect him to stay this way, but I literally felt him turn his body around, head into my pelvis and feet straight up into my ribs. Super uncomfortable but normal and a good sign, right?
I still can't sleep, I still have awful acid reflux, headaches, backaches, my boobs leak all the time (especially if a baby cries!) my ankles still swell, I'm majorly uncomfortable but I've only got about 6 weeks left... or 41 days. All depending on whether or not I go overdue, of course.
Aaaaaand my birthday is tomorrow! As a treat to myself I bought myself a box of hair dye and ditched the blonde for what I think is a really pretty shade of red:

I like it a lot better than the blonde :) Well, Bug is napping so I'm going to go join him. I know better now than to let these moments go to waste!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Eventful week!

I got to go to my best friend's baby shower Saturday! We've been best friends for over a decade now, and it's been really neat being pregnant together. I actually conceived right before she told me she was pregnant, if you go back and look at my conception date (I think it was January 16th but I can't remember right now). I'm not gonna lie, I remember when she told me that I felt such a strange, wide range of emotions. A mixture of happiness for her that she was having a baby with the man of her dreams, sympathy for her nervousness and what was quite possibly fear of not being entirely ready, elation that it wasn't me again just yet because we wanted to wait a year, and even a small twinge of jealousy because I had baby fever but knew we should wait a bit longer. Well, as it turned out, I was already incubating some cells that would soon become a zygote, embryo, fetus, and now in a few short weeks, another baby of my own! She's due with her first on September 26th and as anyone who follows me regularly knows, I'm due with my second, four weeks later on October 23rd. It's really neat going through the same symptoms and feelings and having someone with the same crazy pregnant lady hormones to talk to! Megan's my rock, anyway, she's always done her best to keep me grounded and level headed, and hell, I have no idea where I'd be without her. Her mom is also my midwife, and the very same midwife I plan to study under. Her entire family has always been like a second family to me, and that'll never change. I think, honestly, if it weren't for this family that my views and beliefs as far as birth went would be very different, and I'd probably be on a very different career path as well. Without them I don't think I ever would have discovered my fascination and passion for all things related to pregnancy and birth. I've always thought pregnancy was pretty nifty, but wasn't all into it until after meeting them. I'd probably be content with a hospital birth, I'd probably think c-sections weren't that bad, I'd probably be all for an epidural, and I probably wouldn't be encapsulating my placenta. I also probably wouldn't do nearly as much research as I do. Basically my pregnancy, birth plans, and parenting choices would probably greatly differ from what they are today. I'm very grateful for having this entire family in my life. Our plans are to be present for each other's births, which is hopefully going to be feasible... I'm having my baby at her house, so she'll be there, no doubt - but I don't have a car right now and it's an hour and a half away, so to say I'm worried about not making it is an understatement.
Hopefully things will work out in our favor!

This picture is from yesterday, we went on a walk and we found some deer and bunnies and really pretty birds. I gave my camera to my sister to try to get a picture of the deer while I distracted Bug (who renamed deer "doggy bears" and refuses to accept the fact that that's not what they're called, haha) and she caught this precious moment on camera. It was right after he kissed my belly and he was saying "Hi Sparrow! Hello! I love you!" We also now have like, thirty pictures of this one "doggy bear" because we took a new picture with every step closer we got. This will probably forever be my favorite pregnancy picture. It's a tad bit blurry, but it was taken by an eight year old haha. It was just such a beautiful moment and I heard the shutter click as I was thinking about how I'd remember this moment forever, my baby telling his brother how much he loves him and kissing him and just talking to him. He's going to be such a great big brother when Sparrow gets here, there's no doubt in my mind.