Monday, November 30, 2020

Nursery Tour & Name Reveal | Baby #2

Delaney Jane. 

Her name is Delaney, and we can't wait to meet her!

We chose a pastel rainbow theme for the nursery because Delaney is our sweet little rainbow baby. After two consecutive miscarriages, one last summer and again in the winter, we feel so blessed to be welcoming this little rainbow baby home, soon.

When I look at the pictures of Delaney's nursery, I can't help but remember all the work that went into this room. My husband has such a gift for remodeling. When we found out we were pregnant, there was a framed unfinished section where he added a wall. This was from when he added our second bathroom upstairs. This being the spare bedroom at the time, wasn't a high priority until we found out we were expecting earlier this Spring.

When I look at the pictures of this room, I also remember the days that Piper helped us paint the walls for her baby sister. We listened to hours of music, singing along at the top of our lungs while we painted. It was such a fun and special project to do together as a family.

Delaney and I already have quite a few hours logged in that rocking chair, just the two of us. I am looking forward to many, many more hours with her in that rocking chair to come. It won't be long, now.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

VLOG: Remote Kindergarten Routine | 2020

Happy Sunday, everyone! This post is one that I've been wanting to share for quite some time, now. With baby #2 due December 9th, I have been feeling the crunch to get all of my "to-do's" checked off; especially those that have been lingering for a while. Editing and sharing this vlog that I recorded in October was one of them!

This vlog shares a typical day in the life of remote Kindergarten! In this video, I share our schedule, my methods, and some tips to make the day go more smoothly.

For more on our journey in remote learning, you can revisit the following posts:

Piper's First Day of Remote Kindergarten

Our Remote Kindergarten Schedule

Friday, November 27, 2020

Pre-Baby Quarantine: Days 7 - 9

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving. We had a quarantined Thanksgiving, of course. I'll cover that all in another post soon. Today, I wanted to share the recap of days 7 - 9 of our pre-baby quarantine.

DAY 7:

This was the last day of home school before Thanksgiving break! My husband got home from work early this day so I could go to my prenatal appointments, which lasted most of the afternoon. 

I had a sonogram, meeting with the doctor, followed by a non-stress test. Everything looked really good!

After dinner, we had a fire outside. That was really fun and relaxing!

DAY 8:

On day 8 of pre-baby quarantine, we did a big donation drop off. It was zero contact and really nice to unload all the bags from the basement. We then went to our appointment for grocery pick-up. We really love grocery pick-up. It's so nice to not have to go into the stores right now with COVID cases so high in our area.

When we got home, we put away groceries and played a few games of Go-Fish. We have been loving card games lately. We've been playing Go-Fish, Old Maid, Crazy 8's and Uno Attack on the regular during quarantine.

Later in the afternoon, I began the long process of purging toys; creating new bags for donation. It took about 4 hours to purge toys and re-organize them with a new system that would work best for us moving forward. Before we went to bed, we put up the Christmas tree.

DAY 9:

On day 9 of pre-baby quarantine, we decorated the Christmas tree and the house for Christmas. Oh, how I love decorating the house for Christmas. The lights are so calming. I love to meditate and pray with the lights on.

For lunch, I made lasagna soup (a new family favorite). For dinner, I made ham and bean soup (and old time family favorite). We also made paper chain countdowns to Baby and Christmas!

We are so close to meeting this baby! We are soaking up every moment until then! Please keep us in prayer for a healthy delivery and God's protection from any illness leading up to delivery and after we return home.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Our Quarantined Thanksgiving | 2020

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Since I'm 38 weeks pregnant, our family was on pre-baby quarantine during Thanksgiving this year. For more on that, you can read about it here: Pre-Baby Quarantine: Days 1 - 3.

Even if we hadn't been on pre-baby quarantine, due to the amount of COVID cases in our area, I still believe we would have done Thanksgiving at home with our immediate family. It was no question, however, being 38 weeks pregnant. We were staying home this year!

Quarantined Thanksgiving was full of love and a lot of the same traditions as usual. We made breakfast together as a family and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning. We made monkey bread, eggs and bacon.

My mom cooked and dropped off our entire Thanksgiving meal in the afternoon! (Thanks, mom!!) We FaceTimed with her while we ate the Thanksgiving meal for lunch. We also Facetimed with my grandma during lunch. It was really nice!

Piper played with her legos while Nick and I cleaned up lunch. We all took a little rest before playing a few table games together. Later in the afternoon we Facetimed with my dad's side of the family. We got to chat with everyone for over an hour. That was also really nice!

We had Thanksgiving on repeat for dinner, and got to video chat with Nick's mom for almost an hour. With all of the video calls, we got to see most of the same people we always do for Thanksgiving!

I'll be sharing a little video with some clips from our Thanksgiving at home and time spent decorating the Christmas tree together, soon!

Although some things look a little different this year, we are so grateful for this season we're in.

Throwback Thursday Vlog: Winter Day in 2020

I recently found video footage for a vlog I meant to edit and publish earlier this year. Now, it's quite the throwback. Watching this video really made me realize how much has changed in such a short time. It was a simpler time before the pandemic started, and it's really nice to look back on.

I hope we'll be back in the jump park sometime in 2021!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pre-Baby Quarantine: Days 4 - 6

It's been surprising to me that our family's pre-baby quarantine has been flying by. I know some people say that their pregnancy seemed to slow down to a snails pace toward the end but that hasn't been true for me! After making it through the first trimester, this pregnancy has gone so fast for me! These last few weeks, especially.

I am starting to feel the bitter-sweetness of this pregnancy coming to an end, soon. I am going to miss being pregnant. It's so special to feel her kicks and movements. I love having her all to myself in this time. But, I also cannot wait to finally have her here with us; safe in our arms. I cannot wait for Piper to experience the growing of love that Nick and I have experienced when expanding our family the first time. I cannot wait to see Nick father another sweet baby; he is seriously the best dad. God has seemed to bless him with the near perfect amount of gentleness and strength for his role as "girl dad". It's such an incredible, beautiful thing to witness. This family is such a blessing to me! Thank you, God!

Pre-baby quarantine has been going really well. Deciding to quarantine for a period of time before baby's arrival was a decision that took a lot of prayer and discussion with my husband. In prayer we were prompted to consider if our decision was being made out of fear or love. I feel like that's question and filter God wants us to use when making decisions throughout this pandemic (and always) - His filter: love. 

While it's easy to think of all the reasons we have to fear in these final weeks of pregnancy during the height of this pandemic, we were able to identify our core reasoning for quarantine was out of love. Love and protection for our family. Quarantining our family is a wise thing to do in such a crucial time of my pregnancy. 

We are happy that we have still been able to bless others during this time despite physically isolating ourselves from them. We did a soup drop-off to our sick parents yesterday (good thing we were isolated and did not get sick with them this week) and Nick was able to help his brother with a water heater issue without physically coming in contact with his family. 

We are going to continue to try and filter every decision we have to make in the coming months through the lens of love over fear. This might mean we have an extended time of quarantine with a newborn - infant, or not. We trust God will help us in all our decisions as long as we continue to seek Him, first.

I started to document the first three days of quarantine (here) and so I figured I'd try to keep it going for as long as I can until baby arrives! Here is a little recap of days 4 - 6 of pre-baby quarantine.

DAY 4:

Relaxing was top priority on day 4 of quarantine. I could tell baby was growing, as I woke up tired on another level and couldn't shake the feeling the rest of the day. When my husband got home, he suggested I take a bath. So, instead of making dinner, I was taking a bubble bath at 5pm. It was glorious! 

I decided in the bath that we were going to order pizza for dinner. When I was done with my bath, we all headed upstairs to have pizza in bed. Our daughter wanted to take her pizza in her room and watch a show, so Nick and I had a bed pizza date. Then, I went to bed early while Nick put Piper to bed.

DAY 5:

Officially 37 weeks and full term on day 5 of quarantine! It was a typical schooling from home day. During our break, I wrote Piper goodnight letters for the evenings when I will be in the hospital. 

Right now, the hospital allows your 1 support person to leave and return once per day. So, depending on the hospital regulations at the time of delivery (could change any day), Nick may be able to leave the hospital to be with Piper in the evenings. However, I know that I won't be able to be with her and so I wanted to make sure she had something to feel special from me on those nights. We are also planning on doing a couple more things to make those days without us special.

DAY 6:

This was another day of home school. The weather ended up being really nice for this time of year and so in the afternoon we were able to visit with a couple family members outside, with ample distance and masks on. Piper was able to ride her bike, jump on the trampoline, and run around. It was a great day that didn't feel much like quarantine at all!

In the evening, I had a lot more energy than usual. I finished up the big task of sorting and putting away all of the baby laundry. I also reorganized and solidified our clothing system for the kids moving forward. This was a big win!

To be honest, in the months leading up to this season of quarantine, and before truly praying through it all, I was dreading the thought of it. I was anxious and nervous that this would be a depressing time to be apart from family and friends for so long. I know we are still in the early days of quarantine, but God has gifted me such a peace about it. I also feel like we've been using our time wisely. It's been a good mix of productivity, rest, and soaking in the blessings around us.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Third Trimester: Weeks 32 - 35 | Baby #2

Happy Monday! Today, I am 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant with Baby #2! I am soaking up every minute of this sweet liminal space; the space between what was and what is to come. While it's really easy to succumb to the fear and worry of the world in such a vulnerable time (being very pregnant during the height of a pandemic), I've been fixing my eyes on Jesus; staying close to Him in prayer. He has been so good to comfort me in this time.

I am enjoying every bit of time I get with Piper and my husband, while its still just the three of us. I have had so many precious moments of being fully present in this gift He has given me; this family, our community of friends, and His presence in it all. God has been so good to us!

We cannot wait to meet this little soul that will be joining our family soon! Here is a little recap of weeks 32-35 of this pregnancy.

Week 32:

- Weekly sonograms and non-stress tests begin

- Had a great chiropractor appt, feeling good

- Went on some walks by myself, prioritizing self-care

- My mom threw us a "Drop-By Baby Sprinkle"! So many people blessed us with gifts and love that day

Week 33:

- Didn't pass my first round of NST but passed the second round

- Figured out the trick to passing the NST is to drink juice, it helps her wake up

- Sonogram showed baby girl has hair, she is head down and face squished against my placenta so not pictures to share

Week 34:

- Sonogram has baby measuring at 5 lbs. 8 oz. nearing the 50th percentile

- I've gained a total of 13 pounds so far in this pregnancy

- Baby should be gaining about 1/2 lb a week from hereon out

- Nesting is in full swing between cooking and organzing things

- Celebrated Halloween with the family at Zoo Boo

Week 35:

- Worked on storage solutions for baby items

- Super tired; slept for 12 hours straight (aside from bathroom breaks of course) over the weekend

- Braxton Hicks contractions begin increasing

- Cervix is soft but not dilated, yet

- Passing my non-stress tests with more ease these days

Please keep us in prayer in the coming weeks! Prayer for peace, safety and protection for our families. Prayer for the hospital staff; all of those who are helping the infected and also all that are helping mothers bring new life into the world. Please be in prayer for my surgery (baby is coming via c-section soon), for our baby to be born healthy and for a good, speedy recovery. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Pre-Baby Quarantine: Days 1 - 3

About 20 days prior to expecting our arrival of sweet baby #2, we decided to self-quarantine our family. COVID cases are rising at an alarming rate in our area. We have chosen to do our best to keep our family healthy and safe in the days leading up to delivery and this is how we feel we can do that best right now.

During this self-quarantine, my husband will continue to go to work, but we will not be having any visitors at our house and we will not be visiting others. We will also be doing all of our grocery shopping via pick-up. However, we both agree that if we get a nice warm day in the days leading up to delivery we will absolutely meet up with family outside with distance and masks. We went into this quarantine knowing it was coming, and so we were able to have some final visits with family before we locked down.

Being 9 months pregnant at the height of this pandemic is an unimaginable situation to be in. While we have so much joy in our hearts, we also battle an intense amount of fear daily. Spending time with God each morning is not an option; it’s a requirement for survival in our household at this point. As we seek Him, He has been so good to meet us exactly where we are and give us exactly what we need for each day.

DAY 1:

On the first day of quarantine, I had my husband bring all of the clothing bins we had stored away from when Piper was a baby up to me in the nursery. I sorted through all the clothes, washed the clothes, put away some clothes and came up with a good system for both set of kids clothing moving forward. 

There’s still some work to be done on the clothing front but overall it felt good to begin tackling that big task on day one of quarantine.

DAY 2:

On the second day of quarantine, my true love gave to me... a full day of unexpected and extreme nesting! What started as just going to the basement to swap the laundry ended up being a total overhaul of the basement. We ended up spending 7 hours cleaning out the basement that day! 6 bags of donation, 2 bags of trash, and a big bonfire of burnables later, it was time to swap the laundry again. This has definitely been the biggest incident of my spontaneous nesting to date!

In between all of the cleaning, I also made ham and bean soup for lunch and chili for dinner. This made plenty of leftovers for lunches during the week! 

Day 2 of quarantine was very productive and it wouldn't have been able to happen without an intense amount of help from my sweet husband.

DAY 3:

We had to break our quarantine just a little on the third day of quarantine to take Piper to the eye doctor. Piper needed her eyes rechecked and her glasses fitted. We were the first customers of the day and were as safe as we could be! 

When we were all finished at the eye doctor's office, we saw the local coffeehouse across the street only had 1 customer in it. This coffeehouse goes beyond the 6ft distancing rule; the tables are probably spaced 12ft apart. They also have a couple different rooms for seating. Needless to say, we felt safe enough for a quick visit since we were already out, and we were so early in our quarantine. So, we celebrated Piper's new glasses with decaf coffee for mom and a chocolate donut for Piper.

The rest of the day included the normal things that come with schooling from home. While it hasn't always been easy, we are in such a great rhythm with remote learning and we feel so blessed to have Piper safe at home during this time when cases are on the rise.

Monday, November 16, 2020

36 Weeks with Baby #2

Today, I’m 36 weeks and 5 days pregnant! I’m officially in my 9th month of this pregnancy and I am feeling so incredibly blessed and grateful. Over the past 9 months, I have felt this baby girl grow, kick, wiggle, and hiccup inside of me. I can already tell she is a sweet soul. My heart is jumping for joy at the thought of holding this sweet girl in my arms in just a few short weeks!

In so many ways this pregnancy has gone incredibly fast. I don’t have my hospital bag packed yet but that is definitely on the list of things to do asap! We have scheduled our csection but part of me wondering if this little one will start trying to come on her own before our scheduled date. She has been head down for many weeks now and I have been experiencing an influx of Braxton Hicks contractions over the past week. The contractions aren’t really painful, just uncomfortable. Overall I am still feeling really good physically, which is such a blessing!

While all is going well, I must admit that preparing to welcome a baby into the world during what seems as the height of this global pandemic for our country has been challenging in many different ways. 

I know postpartum will be extra lonely this time around as we’ll self-quarantine for a while to keep our newborn safe. There will be no Christmas gatherings this year. These couple weeks leading up to delivery we are on self-quarantine as well. We won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving with anyone outside our home.

While the weather was unseasonably nice early last week, we took advantage of it by visiting with some family and friends for a final time before our planned family quarantine began.

During my Friday prenatal check up, we learned there will be no visitors allowed in the hospital after baby’s arrival. I am allowed to have 1 support person with me during delivery and recovery, which I hope doesn’t change as COVID cases continue to increase daily. My husband is planning on being with me in the hospital as long as the care person for our daughter stays healthy and well. 

We have a plan in place but we’re highly aware that things can change at any minute leading up to delivery. If at the time of delivery we don’t have a healthy care person for Piper, I may be going through a majority of the delivery and recovery in the hospital alone. This is also true if hospital regulations change between now and delivery. While that is all very anxiety-inducing to think about, I do feel a sense of peace at my core. On the surface I have a lot of anxiety and fear about how this pandemic pregnancy will conclude. But, at the core, I can rest in knowing God is with me, and He will not leave me.

I am at the point in pregnancy where I so desperately want her to be in my arms but I will also miss having her with me in this way. The 9th month of pregnancy is bittersweet in that way.

Monday, November 2, 2020

30 Week Maternity & Fall Photos | Baby #2 Update

These past few weeks have been flying by at record speed! We have been preparing for baby's arrival while also soaking up all the family time we can get! 

The nursery is almost complete, and I've been nesting in my usual way of cooking freezer meals for postpartum and organizing all the things. It seems like we've been shopping for bins and new storage solutions once a week. When I'm not shopping, I'm planning! Nick is always such a help with these kinds of things. I can't wait to share our nursery reveal. He did such a great job and worked so hard to make my vision for the room come to life! It's such a cozy space. I love to rock in the chair and look up... more storage solutions. This is nesting at it's finest :)

The countdown to baby time is getting real over here! We've got some 30-ish days left until I'm due with baby girl #2! This has been such a sweet time for us. I am making sure to take some time each day to appreciate life as it is right in these moments; while it's still just the three of us. Life is about to change in some big and amazing ways for each of us!

I am so grateful that we will be able to have Nick home with us for a few weeks after baby arrives this time around. Last time, we went into labor and came out with an emergency c-section. Nick was still in school at the time and needed to be back to work right away. This time around, we know I will be getting a c-section and we know I will be needing extra help; especially since I am facilitating Piper's remote Kindergarten at home. Nick and I will be sharing the schooling and baby care those first few weeks, which should help things to go a little more smoothly.

I am going to try to keep updating the blog more regularly these next few weeks! We are about 5 weeks away from welcoming baby home with us and I want to make sure to capture as much of this time as I can.