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October 30, 2009

Princess Feet

While Avery and my sister were in Michigan I gave them both pedicures and manicures. The next day we told Avery her feet were so soft from her pedicure that she had "Princess Feet."

Dawn and Avery reading a magazine at the "salon" while their feet soak. 



A close up of the pre-princess feet. 




After the feet, we had to do manicures!


October 28, 2009

Fall Harvest

It's fall. It's lovely. The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp but the sun is warm on your face. Pumpkins and apples are being harvested and it's candy corn season! I LOVE Candy Corn!

As we all know, every year retail stores seem to display seasonal candy and merchandise way earlier than we want. Back to school items are showing up in July, Halloween and Thanksgiving items in August, and Christmas items before Halloween! Well, every year, i see my first bag of candy corn and resist purchasing it because I know it's "early." I did the same thing this season until my co-worker broke down and bough a bag. We polished it off in a day, so I had to replace his crop. I bought the big bag and I think we polished that bag off in two days. After that, my addiction calmed down, or my body was so overloaded with sugar, the craving for candy corn ceased.

While strolling the aisles of the grocery store, I noticed what I like to call "special edition" candy corn flavors. I was amazed and in awe. I had to have them ALL! There were three different flavors, and they came in these cute square plastic tubs. I bought one of each and the taste test began at work.

The three flavors are made by Brach's, which is the candy corn I prefer to eat. I will eat any other brand, but I feel that Brach's is by far the best. They are: Caramel Apple, Caramel and Chocolate Caramel. The chocolate caramel is by far the best, not only because of its flavor, but because of its softness and texture. I'd pick the caramel apple next because it does taste like a caramel apple and finally, the caramel. But in the end, I prefer the classic orange, yellow and white candy corn.


October 26, 2009

Mind over Matter

Wikipedia.org says Mind Over Matter is the belief that the mind is more powerful than the body. Specifically, mind over matter refers to controlling pain that you may or may not be experiencing, such as holding your hand under extremely hot water and feeling no pain.

I think mind over matter happens most frequently in my life when I am at the gym. I often think I cannot do one more squat, lunge, or bicep curl and in reality I can do 10 more if I put my mind to it. Lately, my body has been taking over my mind at the gym.

At my last doctor's appointment, I expressed the tightness across my belly, from hip to hip, whenever I work out. The doctor asked me what type of work outs I was doing and I explained to her it was aerobics. She told me I should probably stop jumping around so much and the only way the tightness will go away is if I stop and rest.

I tried to "modify" my work out and take it easy at the last aerobics class I went to, and was frustrated because I struggled to slow down and my mind was telling me to go-go-go and the tightness across my belly was telling me to slow down! I'll tackle this endeavor to modify my work out and not be so motivated to burn calories instead of "working through" the tightness as I have done before. Because as my husband says, "it's only temporary." 

October 23, 2009

A Trip to Georgia

You can read all about my plane ride to Georgia to visit my sister here, but I know everyone wants to see photos of my niece, Avery!








October 21, 2009

Contractions - Pregnancy Update #31

I subscribe to a few email newsletters about pregnancy and each week I receive a new newsletter telling me how large my child is, what developments are going on inside the womb and what sorts of things my body may be experiencing.

At week 26, I received my normal supply of newsletters delivered to my inbox and each one of them said something about contractions. Contractions?!? I thought, what the heck! I have 12 weeks to go, that's 3 months, Why on Earth would I have contractions now? I knew I wasn't having contractions because I thought contractions during pregnancy were similar to your muscles expanding and contracting or shortening and lengthening, like a leg cramp.

At 28 weeks, my newsletters continued to talk about Braxton Hicks contractions so I actually read the information. And after reading exactly what these sorts of contractions are, I determined I'm having them. This was a relief because a few weeks ago, I started to feel "not right" when I was working out at the gym. The bottom of my stomach, from hip to hip, would get tight and somewhat painful. I would just work thru this weird feeling and continue with my work out. The pain would usually go away while at the gym, and sometimes return a few times during the class I was taking. I'd be fine to drive home and then when I got out of the car, my belly would feel tight again. One night after returning home from the gym, the tightness was back and it wasn't going away. I kept telling myself I must have overdone my work out, and I'll have to start to modify a bit, or maybe I'm out of shape because I missed a week of working out. The weird feeling didn't go away and I usually only feel normal when laying down in bed or sitting.

My husband was bowling and I started to freak out at home. I sent him a few text messages asking him to call me and then come home early and of course I learned later he left his phone in the car. My hormones got the best of me and I eventually broke down crying thinking I would have to give up the gym. I was so frustrated I would no longer be able to work out that I then started to think of all the things I had "given up" while being pregnant: alcohol, wearing belts, pants with zippers and buttons, mountain biking with my husband, sleeping on my back, etc. The one thing I wanted to try to do as long a I could was work out.

Alas, these newsletters came to my rescue. And with confirmation from a friend who had three kids, she had the same issues working out while pregnant! Thankfully I don't have to give up working out!


October 19, 2009


I went on a mini vacation to Atlanta to visit my sister, her husband and my niece. I'm 29 weeks pregnant at this time, and my doctor says I am fine to travel. My husband has a dentist appointment that morning, so he is able to drop me off at the airport. I don't think I've ever been taken to the airport by someone before. I usually just drive myself. So this was a nice treat. I flew from Flint, which is one of the easiest places to fly to Atlanta - small airport, quick check in, quick security pass through and a direct flight to Atlanta via Air Tran.

I checked in online the day before I was to leave, and was offered an upgrade to business (first) class for only $49. I wanted to take the upgraded seat. I texted my husband and he said to go for it, but decided I should try to stick with my budget and money-saving plan so I declined. I paid my $15 for my one checked bag and was ready to roll.

I arrived at the airport, checked in, got my bags checked in and was in the bathroom when I hear a woman come over the loud speaker. She was paging "all passengers on flight 255 with non-stop service to Atlanta." The flight had been overbooked and they needed one passenger with flexible flying plans to take a bump and receive a round trip ticket for free. Bummer, I would have been the first to sign up for this offer, because this was the first time in a long time I was flying alone, I didn't have a hotel to check into, and my sister can pick me up at any time.

When I finally get to board the plane, I find seat 14B, the middle seat, and I'm in between a skinny, maybe 150 pound man and a larger 300+ man. All I think of when I say, "I'm 14B" is that for $49 I could have been 6 rows up, in first class sipping my sparkling grape juice and sitting Indian style because those seats have so much room. But I'm fine. I can tough out two hours in these "close" quarters.

Just after I sit down, I stuff my reading material into the seat pocket and realize the seat pocket in front of me is falling apart. The magazines manage to stay and I go through the airline information card, as I do for every flight, noting my exits, where my life vest is located, which exits I cannot use in case of a water landing, etc. I then go for the Sky Mall magazine. And I DON'T HAVE ONE! Ugh! I love looking through that catalog at overpriced and often unnecessary luxury gadgets and must haves. No big deal, I have to fly back, so I'll hope that of the 100+ seats on the return flight, I will have a Sky Mall catalog and I'll have something new to read.

Now the skinny guy has the window seat, but I notice out of the corner of my eye he does not have the window shade open. This kind of bums me out because everyone likes to look out the window of the plane to see what's going on while we sit and wait for people to board, the door to close and everyone to get their bags to fit overhead. Our plane begins to push off and the window shade still isn't open. We begin to take off, and still no shade! I finally turn my head to look over at the man and realize row 14 does not have a window! I sigh and chuckle under my breath because I realize I am spoiled when I fly!

All settled in, snuggled next to the big guy - yes, my entire right side is touching him as I sit in my seat - leaning a tad toward the little guy, I read a magazine and soon the flight attendant comes to the beginning of the coach seats taking drink orders. I nab the flight magazine to see what beverages are offered, pick out my choice and plan for my refreshing free drink. As the flight attendant takes beverage orders on a piece of paper, she stops at our row and returns to the front of the plane. I sink into my magazine and an hour later, a beverage cart and two different flight attendants bring us beverages. Finally, my free drink and bag of mini pretzels. How great! I take a few sips and before I know it, the flight attendants are back asking if we need a refill. We just go our drinks! I guess when you are the last to order, you are the first to get a refill! Again, should have paid the $49 to upgrade!

Overall I survived. My baby was kicking like crazy, but that seems to be her normal active time anyhow. She may have been a bit more active than usual, but it could have been the fact that I was not distracted while on the plane like I am at work when she moves around in the afternoon. Coach or first class seats, the flight went well - on time, smooth sailing, free drink, bag of pretzels and now I'm in Georgia visiting my sister and niece.

FYI, on the return flight four days later, I got a window seat, next to a skinny guy but there was NO Sky Mall Catalog in my seat pocket.  

October 14, 2009

Baby Bump Photos 2 - Pregnancy Update #30

Here's what you've all been waiting for, more belly photos!

15 weeks, 21 weeks and 28 weeks


October 12, 2009

When the Belly Passes the Boobs - Pregnancy Update #29

I've had my belly button pierced since I was 19. I pierced it while in college, the spring of 1999 to be exact, and it seemed like my friends and I were at the tattoo shop once a week with another girl who wanted to get her navel pierced. Our friend Jaime already had one, so I'm not sure which one of us "started" the trend. I recall holding my friend Tiki's hand because she was horrified of the needle. She actually said while in the chair, ready to be pierced, that she didn't want to do it and began to cry. In the end, she handled the pain and pierced her navel. My dorm neighbor Marta got one, too. And I was in the list of girls as well. Of course back then, my 19 year-old belly looked much better than it does now or pre-pregnancy.

When I became pregnant, I figured the belly ring "had to go" but I wasn't ready to let go of my last piece of youth. I did turn 30 this year and was taking it well, but thinking back, this navel ring had been with me for 11 years...that's a long time! My doctor said eventually I will want to take it out because it won't feel good and that some women put some sort of plastic post in there instead. So I made a decision: When my belly passes my boobs, I'll take it out.

This means, when I stand tall and look down, and can see my belly protruding beyond my boobs, I'll remove the piercing. (Of course this is when I am fully clothed and wearing a bra. No bra is a whole different story!) So last night, Tuesday, October 6, 2009, I took a deep breath and swallow and began to remove my belly ring. And it wouldn't budge. I couldn't get it to come unscrewed. I asked my husband to help me and he unscrewed it in a half a second. I think I was screwing it the wrong way, making it tighter, possibly wanting to hold on to my youth a little longer. But for now, it's gone.



October 09, 2009

It's a Table...No, It's a Desk!

After replacing our sofa table with an ottoman in our living room, my husband expressed his desire to keep the sofa table because it belonged to his grandmother. I was fine with this because if you've read my previous posts, you know I am a lover and keeper of good furniture. I didn't know exactly what to do with this sofa table, so once we got our ottoman, I drug it into our office where it sat in the corner and occasionally collected "things." Now that we're having a child, we needed to clean out our office to make room for baby. I was not sure what to do with this piece of furniture. My husband expressed that we could get rid of it, and I kept my promise to keep it. And then I had an idea, convert it into a desk!

The sofa table belonged to his grandma and then passed to his parents and my husband remembers having this in his house as a kid, and eventually in his own house as an adult. It was a fine piece of furniture, the top had been re-done once by his dad and was in need of another refinish. The single drawer in the front had a broken handle, but that could be easily replaced. I asked my dad if he could put new legs on my table and I told him I would eventually bring the table to him. After researching how tall this desk should be, I realized I could buy replacement legs at Lowes or Home Depot for the table. So there was no need for him to fabricate new legs for me.

My trip to the big box stores didn't go well. They don't carry legs long enough for my desk. I needed 30" dining table legs and they only had 25" legs, which I later learned are end table height legs. This discovery came after I had removed the old legs and sanded down the old finish. So my project was on hold for about a week until I found some legs that would work with my new table. An internet search turned up Osborne Wood Products where I was able to purchase four new maple Cabriole table legs. They weren't exactly like the old Queen Anne legs that were on the table, but they were suitable for this project because the size matched the existing legs.

After removing all of the existing hardware and legs, I sanded everything down, omitting the use of a chemical stripper because I'm pregnant. The side finish actually came off quite easily, but the top, which had been previously refinished was a lot more work. I used a brass brush to get rid of most of the old varnish and stain in the routered edges on the table. I filled in the holes from the previous hardware with Plastic Wood filler.

I prepped the wood with Minwax Wood Conditioner before applying the stain. I used Minwax Stain in Ebony, the same intimidating color I used on the dresser project.  Another coat of stain and a long overnight drying and onto the varnish. I used a Minwax Polyurethane varnish in clear satin.

Besides having two files and a mosquito land on my varnish - don't worry, I got them off before the coat dried - the new desk turned out great and it now sits in our kitchen.


Here is the table before. 



A close up of the top which had been refinished once before. 



Here it is with its new legs. It's no longer a table, but a desk!



The finished product. I nabbed the chair and cushion from Ikea. 


October 07, 2009

Guess Your Child's Height

In a recent American Baby magazine I received, there was an article titled "Guess Your Child's Height" so I thought I would give it a try. The basic equation is below: 

Mom's Height (in inches) + Dad's Height (in inches) = Height Total

Have a boy you add 5 inches to the height total, have a girl, and subtract 5 inches from the height total, then divide by 2. 

Here are our results: 

Mom's Height 62" + Dad's Height 70" = 132" - 5" (it's a girl) = 127" divided by 2 = 63.5" or 5' 3-1/2"

Not too shabby, especially since I'd give anything to be 2-3 inches taller. It just makes buying pants that much easier!


Source: American Baby, October 2009, page 42.

October 05, 2009

Baby Got Back - Pregnancy Update #28

At my September monthly doctor's appointment, I confessed to the doctor (at 25 weeks) that I sleep on my back. She calmly said, "you shouldn't be doing that, you need to lay on your side." I left the office thinking, "yeah, whatever, I've read about this in a magazine, I'm fine until 28 weeks."

As I was telling my husband about my appointment, I informed him what the doctor said about sleeping on my back. He almost instantly said something to the effect of me "not caring about the health of my unborn child." This annoyed me, and I tried to blow it off, but now, as I wake up in the middle of the night or in the morning and realize I am sleeping on my back, a tremendous amount of guilt comes over me. I think to myself that I must get on my side immediately because I am cutting off vital blood and oxygen supply to my child. Sleeping on my side is fine, but my shoulders tend to fall asleep or go numb. It's starting to become a nuisance and always wakes me up in the middle of the night, forcing me to change positions.

I will admit every time I lay on my back, the baby moves like crazy. I'm pretty sure she is telling me that she cannot breathe and her oxygen and blood supply is diminishing...this creates more guilt and makes me move to my side even quicker!

I had a somewhat sleepless night last weekend and I told my husband that I was up every two hours with "frozen" shoulders from having to sleep on my side. When he came home from working on a Saturday, he had a present for me. This was truly a nice surprise, because, everyone loves gifts and when my husband takes the time to purchase something for me, it makes it that much more special!

I was presented with a Total Body Pillow to help me sleep better. It is somewhat ironic, because some of the lack of sleep is the guilt my husband seemed to make me realize and obsess about when I wake up on my back, and some of it is the numb shoulders. I've tried it for two night and so far it went well, no numb shoulders on the first night and just a few the second. I'll continue to test it out and hope it helps prevent future frozen body parts and guilt episodes.

October 02, 2009

It's a Dresser and a Changing Table

I don't like getting rid of good furniture, and as far as I could tell, the dresser my husband had since I met him was good furniture. It has a solid wood body and dovetail drawers and is still fully functional. Sure, aesthetically it isn't pleasing: outdated hardware, scratches on the varnish, spots of stain rubbing off, but on the inside it is a good piece of furniture.

I've always wanted to refinish this dresser, but never really had a reason, or any extra time to do so, but with a baby on the way, and no place to relocate this dresser, this refinishing project came to life. 

After removing all of the existing hardware, I sanded everything down, omitting the use of a chemical stripper because I'm pregnant. The finish actually came off quite easily. I think because it was such an old dresser. I filled in the holes from the previous hardware with Plastic Wood filler. Another few swipes with the sander and I was ready to stain.

I prepped the wood with Minwax Wood Conditioner before applying the stain. I purchased Minwax Stain in Ebony. This color is very intimidating. It looks black when you open the can, but once you apply the black to the wood color, it turns into an espresso like brown-black. Immediately I was in love with the color. Another coat of stain and a long overnight drying and onto the varnish. I used a Minwax Polyurethane varnish in clear satin.

The hardware I picked up from Ikea a month or so ago and my husband helped me install it. I was so worried about getting the two holes exactly 5 and 1/16" apart that after trying to get my measurements perfect for about 30 minutes, I decided I should hold off on my project until my husband could help me. He knocked out the task without any difficulty and taught me a thing or two about how to install this type of hardware in the future.

Here is the dresser before. 



And here it is after all my hard work! 


This photo really shows the holes from the existing hardware that I filled in, but I'm thinking it's just the garage lighting. (My husband has so many lights in our garage, it's as bright as an operating room.) Hopefully when we put this in the house, it won't be as noticeable. We'll be using this as a dresser in our daughter's room and will put a changing pad on the top so it will double as a changing table.