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surfside beach

Even if it was just a 15 minute walk last weekend, it was glorious to walk on the beach. It’s Friday and a holiday weekend here in the U.S. My plans are to go see a movie, do some driving around, maybe some final baby shopping, sleep, and see if I can convince the baby to start making his way out.

I opted for a video this time around. There’s rambling and a four letter word towards the end. Just Google ‘Lightning Crotch’ and you too will throw out four letter words. Yesterday I had the two worst instances of it thus far and I swore the baby was ready to break through!

My 39 week appointment is today, preceded by another growth ultrasound. I’ll just predict the ultrasound and say, ‘Yes, he’s still giant’. Only a few days left in August so we still might have our September baby…who knows.

tithonia2
Late last week I managed to walk around the garden and check out everything in bloom. Despite the garden being overgrown and weedy, there’s quite a bit blooming. In addition, there’s a lot of wildlife flitting about in the form of bees, dragonflies, butterflies, lizards, frogs, and toads. So despite my thinking the garden horrendous, apparently the wildlife seem to appreciate the wildness.

tithonia
I’m quite happy with my self seeded tithonia that came up. It didn’t get nearly as tall as the plants that grew last year, which ended up falling over a few times and at least once or twice that was due to trampling by deer.

sunflower
I have a few sunflowers popping up in between some pink salvia. I threw some random seeds out earlier in the spring in hopes they would come up, which they have despite my forgetting they were even there.

roselle
One of the overgrown plants include the roselle, a type of hibiscus. It needed to be staked weeks ago and I didn’t get to it. I’m hoping to harvest the calyces in order to make tea from them.

moonflower
It’s taken all summer but the moonflowers we planted along the fenceline have finally decided to start blooming.

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The front flower bed is the jungliest (if that’s a word) of them all. The brugmansias (towards the back) went from presumed dead after this winter to 10′ tall, at least. They are just now getting flower buds which I’m quite excited about.

jungle
Looking into the jungle at the brugs, somewhere hiding beneath them are a plethora of four o’clocks. I tried to thin them out a million times earlier this summer so I wouldn’t have a profusion of them, but there they are—a profusion.

formosalily
Last year we bough a pot of formosa lilies and when they set seed we threw the seed out in the adjacent area which worked out great, giving us multiple new plants and more blooms this year.

culversroot
I’m really surprised the culvert’s root managed to make it through the thickness of growth around it. Actually, I only think this is culver’s root, I didn’t check the tag. I just know I we had one planted in this general area last year.

cleomeseeds
The cleome will absolutely need to be thinned out this year. As you see they are loaded down with seeds.

Even if I can’t get out and weed, at least I can take a few minutes to snap photos and enjoy what might be blooming—even if it is at nearly 8pm when I get to do so!

Day 80: No photo…There were a lot of no photo days this time around.

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Day 81: Teddy’s closet is done!

Day 82: No photo.

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Day 83: Small harvest from what was left of the tomatoes.

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Day 84: The new car just after we signed the papers!

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Day 85: Black and blue salvia blooming in the garden.

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Day 86: Leo enjoying his the baby’s crib.

Day 87: No photo

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Day 88: My little companion!

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Day 89: My cotton is blooming! This one is has brown fibers.

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Day 90: Finally the black eyed susan vines have taken off and are blooming! I’ve tried growing them multiple times and this is the first time they have thrived.

Day 91: No photo.

38 Weeks and the Baby Mobile.

Like the new baby mobile?

12 years later, trading her in!

We had to say goodbye to my Ford Ranger since you aren’t allowed to drive with a baby in a two-seater truck. Plus, at 12 years old and 154K miles she was definitely in need of some repairs.

Getting 'Red' in October 2002, Florida.

I think this was taken the day we got the truck back in October 2002 when we were living in Melbourne, Florida. Ah, I was skinny! And not swollen! And the truck was shiny and new! It was a little bittersweet turning over the the truck I’d driven all of these years, especially since I was giving up a stick shift. I’ve driven a stick since I was 15! Anyway, we found a good deal on a certified pre-owned Ford Edge and brought it home a week ago. So far I love it!

But yeah, looking up there at the first photo, I’m so swollen. My legs…oh my legs. My feet hurt. I gained 4lbs in the week between my appointments and my midwife jokingly asked me if I’d been eating packs of Oreos. Oh, I wish! No, I’m fairly certain it’s all of the water retention I’ve got going on. Don’t worry, my blood pressure is fine, urine samples are coming back fine, and I’m not seeing spots or having intense headaches. It’s just the damn Texas heat. I’m over it.

If it weren’t for the water retention I think I’d be pretty happy with being pregnant still. However, since I am dealing with it I’m also over being pregnant at the moment. With my sights on the home stretch, we’re looking at 10 days until my ‘due date’, I’m just ready to be done. The folks at my office have a list of guestimates on due dates and the baby’s weight with the first person’s guess on when the baby will come being tomorrow. Chris’ guess was this coming Monday. I was originally still holding out for September, I really wanted a September baby, but dude, now tomorrow sounds good, too.

Speaking of the baby’s weight, I didn’t mention that at my 36 week appointment I had another ultrasound. It was one for judging the approximate size of the baby and even though those ultrasounds at this stage in the game aren’t all that accurate, it came back that he was in the 90-something percentile for growth and was estimated at 7lbs 5oz. Yeah….a big dude potentially. In general I’ve always felt he was long, but have never felt he was too large or anything. So, we’re doing another ultrasound next week to see what has changed. I’m not getting hung up on it all, I think he’ll be on the big side but I’m not worried (ok, not too much!). That said, if he wants to come out a week early and finish growing on the outside, I’m totally down with that.

Mentally I’m trying to get used to the idea that we’ll soon be toting around a baby. I feel a bit bad for Leo having his life upturned in the last month with Samson dying and Leo not really knowing why his brother isn’t around anymore, and then knowing he’ll be bombarbed with guests and then some strange, crying thing invading his life soon. I’m mostly nervous about breastfeeding and being successful with it.

I had a lot more to write but now the words won’t come, so I’ll just leave it at that and start a new post in a few days.

Here’s a few blog posts that have resonated with me lately:
Postpartum Realities from Baby Rabies.
Playing House, Dressing Up, #likeaboy from Mommy Shorts. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we’ve come a long way in promoting to girls that they can do things just like boys do but we’re lacking in balancing that on the other side of the spectrum, instead telling boys that some things are too ‘girly’ for them to do. Just pondering a lot of gender related items, that’s all.
How I imagined it to be from Ann-Marie Loves…can’t wait to have my own set of photos like these.

Last week I said I would talk about some of the products I’m looking forward to trying post-pregnancy. Here’s a run-down of some of them.

diapers2
Bumgenius Freetime cloth diapers: This is probably the biggest product of all that I’m looking forward to trying. We won’t be starting the cloth diapering until the baby’s meconium has gone, so several days after he is born, maybe even a week or so since we have a ton of newborn sized diapers I got with a diaper cake a friend of mine made me for one of my showers. Of course we’ll be keeping a small amount of disposable diapers on hand for occassions when a cloth diaper isn’t going to be handy to use, but we’ll be making our best efforts to use only the cloth diapers.

I’m not sure how other cloth diapering families experienced it, but when people asked what we still needed from our registry we always replied “cloth diapers”…and yet, there was some kind of mental resistance in getting diapers. I think cute outfits always trump practicality! That said, we did receive some diapers, and I know that part of that mental resistance is likely associated with the initial cost of buying just one diaper compared to a box of diapers, but over the lifetime of using diapers for 1-3 years, depending on when your child is potty trained, the cost of cloth is by far the cheaper and less environmentally destructive option out there. In all we have 20 Bumgenius Freetime diapers to start with some other hand-me-down types from our friend Tracy that we can try too.

Bum Genius Freetime
Once we had all of the diapers I pre-washed them all per the instructions on the label. Bumgenius recommended washing the dark colored diapers, I think it was 6 or 7 times to prevent color bleeding onto the lighter diapers later on. I washed the light colored ones once as per the suggestion on the label. After doing a lot of reading about cloth diapers it can take a few washes for the full absorbency to take hold. Drying them did take awhile, a full day to dry. It isn’t recommended to put them in the dryer, though I did see many blogs with people doing that and putting them on low. I think the issue is that the diapers just might not last nearly as long than if they were line dried. I think next time I’ll try an extra spin cycle to get rid of extra moisture in the inserts. The outside of the diapers actually dried pretty fast, it was the inserts that took the longest. Part of the issue might have also been that I had 20 diapers hanging up in the bathroom so they didn’t get a ton of air flow between each diaper when in reality I will probably be washing 8-10 diapers at a time, not 20. In the cooler times of the year I will likely hang them outside to speed the drying time. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to dry in our humidity, which is why I didn’t bother hanging them outside this time around.

Next in the diaper realm is finding an appropriate detergent to use. Typically we buy Seventh Generation Free and Clear and have bought Ecos free and clear in the past, mostly because they are septic-safe and environmentally friendlier. However upon reading, the Seventh Generation isn’t cloth diaper safe due to enzymes and other ingredients that cause detergent build-up in the diapers. There are whole lists of diaper safe detergents and opinions abound on each one. The Ecos brand is actually listed by Cotton Babies, the owners of Bum Genius, as safe to use but after reading around there seems to be a lot of people complaining it doesn’t work well with hard water, which we have. I guess the issue with that is the diapers can build up a stink pretty easily and the Ecos doesn’t get it out well with hard water. I was excited to be able to use that, and we still may, since I can get it at several grocery stores by me and can use it on all of our clothes instead of having to buy something separate for the diapers. On the other hand, a lot of people rave about the Rockin’ Green brand of detergent. They also have separate formulas for various water types, which might be worth trying, and if I’m only using it for diapers then it should last awhile. Here’s one detergent chart and another. If you have opinions on detergents please let me know!

bamboobies2
Bamboobies Nursing Pads: I read a lot of good things about these reusable nursing pads. I did end up buying a box of disposable pads by Lansinoh as well. I tried out one of the heart shaped ones and it seemed to lay flat enough…I guess we’ll see when I actually put them into use!

bamboobies

motherlove
Motherlove Nipple Cream: A lot of people recommended lanolin but after doing some reading it appears to stain as well as be quite thick to put on. The next two recommended creams were by Earth Mama Angel Baby and Motherlove, and while both had great ratings and reviews I ended up going with the latter due to its ratings with the Environmental Working Group. We’ll see how it works!

Oh, I did just get gifted a pair of Lily Padz nursing pads. They are made out of silicone and are not absorbing, instead they are supposed to hold the milk in. After reading some reviews, I’m a little bit skeptical but will try them out. Most people say to wait 4-6 weeks to use them because they can inhibit milk production. I guess the upside to using these is that many people sleep in them because they allow you to sleep without needing a bra (to use other nursing pads, you need a bra to hold the pads on).

I guess that’s about it for now. Got any recommendations?

Hoping to do a 38 week check-in tomorrow!

weedygarden

This part of the garden is scary. The path is full of weeds and weeds have overtaken the some sections of the garden. Nevermind that the armadillos showed back up sometime last week and did some more jacking up of the garden.

Ah, how nice it will be to bend down to pick up weeds in cooler weather. I’ll be bending down to pick up weeds, probably, before it gets cool again. We’ve had heat advisory days most days in the last week and none of those afternoon storms that get just so close end up coming over our house.

August in Texas…yep, that’s where we’re at.

The inevitable first trimester question has returned with a vengence. How are you feeling? is the question of the day, hour, week, month, no matter if we just talked to or saw the person asking the question the day before. I get why people ask, they are interested in how things are going and are trying to make a conversation. But, it’s almost like asking a person who is sick that question—just a tad annoying. If anything, it has taught me not to ask any other pregnant woman that again.

So, how am I feeling?? Like I’m almost full-term pregnant in the heat of the Texas summer. In other words, just fine with plenty of aches and gripes, but nothing to worry about. I must be really huge because I’m just now getting comments from people when we’re out and about, with folks asking when I’m due and the sex of the baby. I hadn’t run into too many comments from people until these last few weeks, which has been totally nice since I’ve read all sorts of stories from other people about nosy strangers.

The countdown has started. Except that it feels like I still have for-ev-er to go. Months, not weeks. I’m 90% ready to be done, mostly because I’m tired of not being able to do anything outside in this heat. The tomatoes should have come down three weeks ago, the flower beds should have been weeded at least twice in July. I think the last time I went through there was in mid-June. I mean, in reality none of that is a priority, it isn’t like we need to live off of what we grow and well, weeds can be picked later. It’s just getting to be an eyesore, and it makes me feel like a slacker. And I feel bad for growing anything at all, like I’m just wasting the time and energy to attempt to grow it. Just another season of harvest down the drain.

Things I am *so* done with:
-Heartburn. I regret eating just about anything these days. It’s triumphant when I can go to bed or lay on the couch and realize 30 minutes later that I’m not dying from reflux burning my esophogus, which is a rare occassion. Seemingly harmless items like fruit sometimes comes back to haunt me–and forget salsa or spaghetti sauce, the biggest culprits of all.

-Swelling. I miss wearing my shoes. I’ve been wearing the same pair of flip-flops for over a month now. I wear them to work, when we do errands, around the house. I live in flip-flops. Yeah, I never expected not to be able to not wear my own shoes. If I go for a walk I have to super-loosen the laces on my running shoes and even then they are quite difficult to get on. The days I can look down and say, “Hey! I have ankles!” are great ones. Like two weekends ago when the high’s were only in the 80s, I somehow managed to have ankles the entire weekend. It was pretty fantastic!

-Feeling like a stranded turtle. I miss being able to utilize my abs to fling myself off my back and stand up. Turning over in bed is a workout in itself and then adjusting the belly to get comfortable is another ordeal. I know Chris is tired of my five pillows plus a body pillow taking up all of the space. In reality I could really use his two pillows, too.

-Tight spaces. You know what’s really fun? Getting out of a parked car in a parking lot when everyone parks sooooo close to the line. Pre-pregnancy I could squeeze in the belly and slide out the door if the space was tight but a lot of times now I’ll have to have Chris back out after we realize I’m not going to be able to get out without possibly hitting the car parked next to us with our door. And forget ducking behind someone in the kitchen, there’s just not enough space to do that anymore.

-Putting on anything below the waist. Crossing my legs to tie shoes, or like yesterday when I stubbed my toe on the landscaping bricks and in order to clean up the wound that occurred from that incident I needed to try to cross my legs to reach my toe—yeah that doesn’t happen anymore. And forget putting on pants or underwear while balancing on one foot to step through the hole. Balance? What’s that?

-Not being able to move freely and easily. Chores take longer now with a lot more breaks. Forget it if something falls on the floor, it takes so much effort to bend down or crouch down and then get myself back up again. Now that the dude is on his sprint towards becoming a watermelon, my back starts hurting if I stand too long doing certain chores around the house.

-Sweating while doing nothing. There was sweat rolling down my legs today at work. While I was sitting in a chair. It was gross. I gave up wearing any kind of pants back in June, it’s all about the airy dresses and shorts at the moment.

-My arms falling asleep while I’m sitting. It must be how the dude is sitting in my belly when I get up in the morning because without fail over the last month or so my arms go to sleep when I come to sit downstairs in the morning to flip through email or even to eat breakfast. They have also started going to sleep while I’m brushing my teeth. It goes away after I get moving and off to work, but I almost can’t really sit down when I get up in the mornings.

-Wearing bras. They suck. End of story.

-This is a great thread that I like to lurk on with many other late pregnancy frustrations.

Things I’m looking forward to:
-Sleeping on my back. I know a lot of women write about wanting to sleep on their belly, but I’ve found that the side lying I do seems to sate that desire enough. What I really miss is laying on my back. I’ll sometimes let myself lie on my back for just a few minutes to quench the desire, but since you aren’t supposed to sleep on your back while pregnant because it can slow the blood flow to the uterus and cause issues, I keep that in mind and turn to my side after awhile. Also, sleeping on my back brings the snoring out even worse—so there’s that.

-Sushi. Man, some raw fish over sticky rice sounds really damn good.

-Moving freely. Running, jumping, rolling…just not having to be conscious of a growing belly sounds good. I’m ready to work up a sweat, dig in the dirt, go for a hike…you name it.

-Showing Teddy the world. I can’t wait to take him on a tour of the yard, introduce the local wildlife, have him meet his big brother Leo and talk to him about his other brother Samson, to make him laugh, to blow on his cute little belly, to smell that delightful scent babies have, to show him how to garden, to take him on hikes…to just enjoy him!

Things I’m going to miss:
-The built in arm rest. Instead of resting my hands behind my back or crossing them, I can place them on top of my belly. It’s a pretty nifty arm rest!

-Feeling this dude inside me. It’s the craziest, coolest, surrealist thing to experience. Sure, sometimes he makes me umcomfortable by balling himself up against my ribs, but then I kind of tickle him and he moves back down so I can breathe. He’s a sweet little dude and I can’t wait to meet him, but I’m going to miss his hiccuping and kicks and general all around movements.

-Being pregnant. Yes, despite all of the gripes I have above, this has not been a bad pregnancy, at least compared to what I’ve read other women to have. It’s been an interesting experience and overall has been pretty fun and enjoyable. I get a kick out of looking at pictures from previous months to see how the belly has grown. It seems like I’ve always been this huge but in reality it has happened just a little bit, day by day. Back in December it seemed like September was a long ways off—and it was. Except, now it is only three weeks away. This time last year we were beginning to contemplate going down this road to parenthood and here we are a year later with a baby almost fully gestated. Craziness!

Here’s some self portraits I took at the end of 35 weeks:

late35weeks3

late35weeks2

late35weeks

I think I’ll do another post later this week (don’t hold me to it!) about products I’m getting together to use for post-pregnancy—for myself or for the baby.

day66
Day 66: The candy lilies bloomed!

Day 67: Forgot to take a photo.

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Day 68: Lots of progress on the guest bedroom! Go Chris!

Day 69: Forgot to take a photo.

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Day 70: Hanging with Samson on the stairs, one of his favorite spots in the house. He was already on his downhill turn at this point but was still coming out to hang with us.

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Day 71: Paint in the guest bedroom!

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Day 72: Homemade chocolate chip cookies…mmmmm, cooookies!

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Day 73: Seed order came in! Now if they could just plant themselves in this heat….and the tomatoes can take themseles down, too.

day74
Day 74: Not necessarily ‘happy’ but Samson was happy to have one last trip outside. Poor boy.

Day 75: Not a happy day.

Day 76: Forgot to take a photo.

day77
Day 77: Had a baby shower at work and I had Leo model a bib for me. He was quite content to do so, too.

day78
Day 78: Guest bedroom is almost complete! Just need the closet doors painted and the closet flooring and shelves put in. Chris has done an amazing job in there!!

day79
Day 79: Bought the rest of our cloth diapers and Leo wanted to ‘help’ out.

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pinkbanana4

pinkbanana3

pinkbanana2

pinkbanana1

Sometime back in the fall or even last summer Chris’ dad brought us a banana tree from his yard that was supposed to be a golden lotus banana, a pup from one of the plants that we had given him back when we lived in Florida. In our garden in Florida we had several varieties of banana trees that we grew. Anyway, the banana died back over the winter and with the very harsh winter this year I was still surprised that it came back up in the spring when the ground warmed up.

Golden lotus banana trees are typically squat and bushy so when the tree and its subsequent pups that were produced in our garden started growing taller I became less convinced they were golden lotus bananas. Last weekend that deal was sealed when I saw the pink flowers from the tree! Yep, it must have been one of the pink bananas that we had grown that had gotten mixed up in the lotus bananas that we’d passed on to his dad.

I’m actually surprised that they flowered and are attempting to set fruit already! We also have a few banana trees from my dad, I think they are likely plantains rather than bananas, but they haven’t done that great where we planted them down by the old deck near the pond. I didn’t ammend the soil and the deer constantly nibble at them. Eventually we’re going to rebuild the deck and since we have extra stone from our other flower beds we were thinking of putting in a small garden down there. That would be great if we could get those banana trees to grow and produce fruit, too.

Anyway, it was a nice surprise earlier this week to see in the garden, especially when I’ve been barely paying any attention to the yard this summer.

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