Thursday, August 28, 2014

Visiting the Nelson!

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I visited my mother-in-law at work, which is at a large community college. There is artwork everywhere and Belle enjoyed all the colors, sculptures, pottery as we walked through campus. That gave me the idea to finally visit the Nelson-Atkins museum! I have lived in Kansas City for almost nine years now and I have never visited the museum... even though it's one of the city's most iconic attractions! So shameful.

Now that Jackson has started kindergarten, Belle and I have a few weeks to hang out-- just the two of us! What better opportunity to go and visit! 

Upon quickly learning that she couldn't touch and/or climb inside the museum, she turned pretty sour. Apparently, I'm a terrible mother for not letting her sit on top of the lion statue dated back to BC years. 

This was Belle's favorite piece-- because of the puppy of course! She did like the portraits of women in fancy dresses and a few garden scenes too. 

She never got out of her sassy mood and so we didn't stay long before we ventured outside. Her mood didn't improve after learning she couldn't climb on the shuttlecock either. 

See how much fun she had? 

Right after this picture, we ventured over the outdoor glass maze, which is really kind of neat. It's a giant optical illusion once you're inside because the glass panels blend so well and you can see all the paths. I made sure to go slow (because honestly, can I even get around all that fast these days?) and to keep Belle really close. Well, as we neared the end, she ventured out in front of me and ran smack dab into a giant glass panel. HARD. At that point, she was really over all that the Nelson had to offer so we headed home. 

In all honesty, Belle's adjusting to the new kindergarten routine the hardest (pick up time is in the middle of nap time). Plus, with the new baby coming-- I know it's got to be rough on her! Also, age 3 = terribleness. Her mood fluctuates so dynamically and quickly that there really isn't a good way to plan around it, soooooo... we just do the best we can. If we would have gone the day before, she would have had a blast! We'll try it again sometime. I know that I'm ready to go back and check out the parts I didn't get to see, and even the parts I did! I'll likely wait until after the baby is born because those stairs-- whew! So many stairs. 

And I snapped a pic because I didn't have a recent one when I did my pregnancy update post earlier this week. This is 36 weeks pregnant folks. I feel about as enthusiastic as Belle looks in the picture above. :)


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

36 weeks

Even though I feel like I've been flooding my blog space with baby stuff, it's been six weeks since I've done the typical update! This is the most recent picture I have. I'm in a rotation of about three maternity tops and the same amount of tshirts that are large enough to conceal this belly.

Also, a friend sent this to me on facebook and it communicates pretty much how I'm feeling. :) 

How far along?: 36 weeks
How big is your baby?: 6 pounds, and about 18.5 inches long!
Total weight gain?: 32ish pounds
Sex: Baby GIRL! I sure hope there's not a surprise because there is a lot of pink going on in that little room down the hall! 
Maternity clothes: Weeeeell, I've outgrown most of my maternity wardrobe. So, when I go "out" I have a rotation of about three tops, one pair of shorts, and a few jeans. Otherwise, I'm wearing big t-shirts and yoga pants/shorts. If only it was fall weather, I'd have a complete wardrobe-- but it's not. It's 9 million degrees and I can barely handle walking up the sidewalk when I get Jackson from school before I determine we need to spend the entire rest of the day inside, sitting right in front of the a/c vent.
Sleep: I'm definitely back in the sleepy stage like I was in the first trimester and I'll need a nap or at least a quiet time in the afternoon if I want to make it through the day! Night time sleep is alright, just lots of potty trips and not being super comfortable. We're almost to the end, I'm bound to get more and better sleep once the baby comes, right?!? (hahahahahahaha!)
Symptoms: Yes. All of them. 
Stretch marks: Yes. :( 
Movement: All of the time. Baby has positioned herself head down, which is nice because she's not doing big flips, which are the big, uncomfortable moves. She goes through very, very wiggly periods multiple times a day. I don't even know what she's up to, but she goes to town practicing kickboxing or something for about twenty minutes throughout the day! 
Best moment this week: The crib is set up and the nursery is pretty much put together! Oh, and when Jack asks me to walk him into school and he shouts "I love you" down the hall. And also, getting to spend tons of one-on-one time with Belle! 

My dad made this crib for his grandbabies and
I love this crib more and more each time we put it together! 

Food cravings: Carbs. I want all the carbs. Bagels, bread, crackers, cereal, sugar. Oh, and cherry Icee's. I was so excited to visit my sister so we could eat at Lambert's last weekend. Throwed rolls--- YUUUUM!!!

Labor signs: I had some legitimate contractions this weekend. I downloaded an app to count and time my contractions for when they happen again (and hopefully, that's only when they happen "for real". I don't need this fake stuff). That contractions sure lit a fire to get some things done (at least started) that we hadn't even really thought about-- like packing a bag, figuring out plans for Jackson and Belle, completing the hospital paperwork, and so on...
Belly button in or out: Out, which has never happened with any of my other pregnancies. 
What I miss: Not being ginormous. 
What I'm looking forward to:  Not being ginormous. Not being a hormonal, pregnant, emotional mess. Of course, I am REALLY looking forward to meeting my baby girl! But until then, I'm looking forward to spending time with the kids before she comes. And taking advantage of the school day when I can clean out and organize neglected areas in the house. Hello, nesting anyone?

Speaking of nesting, my kiddos have been most helpful! Those walls aren't going to wash themselves. 

And neither is the refrigerator! 

My sister-in-law even came over this weekend to give our couches some much needed cleaning while Jackson vacuumed out all of the gross stuff under our cushions.

Completed: cleaned out and organized fridge, washed walls in dining room, organized plastic container tubs, completed the final touches of hall bath makeover.

Still on my list: Organize my linen closet and kitchen cabinet with baking pans and dishes. Clear out junk pile in kitchen and reorganize the china cabinet of kid craft materials. Wash my blinds and inside and outside all windows. De-clutter my bookshelf and mantel. Finish sewing project for kids room and have them make a handprint art project. Oh, and the master bath renovation. Because why isn't being 36 weeks pregnant a good time to gut the master bathroom? I suppose it's really not ALL that bad timing wise because I get a free pass to not participate. :)

I'm ready for this baby gal to join our family, but I also feel like I have a lot more I want to get done so I'm content with her staying put for awhile longer! I'm sure it'll go by quickly. Fingers crossed anyway! 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pregnancy update: 9 Ways to prepare kids for a new baby!

I've been keeping up with posts about how this pregnancy is going-- you know, the typical stuff! Symptoms (lots), weight gain (plenty), stretch marks (too many), etc. Most recently, I've  shared the back story of how didn't think we'd even have another baby (part one) to deciding to foster care instead (part two). Today, though-- I wanted to post about the kids preparing for their new baby sister! 

The kids have known and have prayed about their baby sister for months. They have joined me in prenatal visits and heard the heartbeat and got to see the baby during our gender sonogram! They've each contributed to the baby name pool. Belle's pick: Minnie. Jack's pick: Berry (after Eric Berry, #29 for the KC Chiefs). Together: Lucy, aka Wyldstyle from the Lego movie.

Until recently, we haven't really engaged the kids in a lot of baby prep because 1) several weeks away is practically forever in their minds and 2) we've been slow to prep for baby in general. But, over the last few weeks, we've gotten the kids involved and they have been having fun and are getting excited, too!  

Our hospital sent us information on the birthing and newborn classes they offer. We've done those before and didn't feel the need to attend again, but they recently added a Big Sibling Class! It was a fun time for them to learn about the baby in my belly and Jack was fascinated to know that the baby can "hold her breath" underwater the whole time she's been in my tummy. 

Check out the teacher's shirt! :)

They practiced changing a diaper.

And the proper way to care hold a baby!

They had a little tent with a pretend umbilical cord, they watched a video, and they just got to hear useful information from a real nurse at the hospital. They both got brand new books as special big sibling gifts and a fun coloring sheet booklet. 

Earlier this week, I took the kids to Babies 'R Us for them to pick out gifts for the baby. Belle wanted to buy every pink, sparkly outfit but I had planned ahead for what I wanted them to find. Both kids have blankets for a lovey and I knew it'd be special if they'd pick one out for the new baby since they both love their blankets so much. Belle was quick to pick out a cute blanket and so that's her gift! Jackson picked out a carseat toy and he had fun testing out all of the options. I really wanted their gifts to be items that they'd see the baby use and enjoy and I think we accomplished that!

And tonight, after asking all week-- they were finally able to help put the crib up! Both kids think it's pretty cool that it's the same crib they used as babies. They "helped" with the screws and also by washing it down to get rid of the dust!

Also this week, one of the kids favorite PBS character, Daniel Tiger, became a big brother and so we have watched the episode a couple of times online. Talk about perfect timing!

I know that a new baby is going to be huge adjustment, but I think having the kids go to their special class and getting them involved in baby preparation is going to help with the transition! Still on the agenda is to let them help pick items for Baby Girl's hospital bag, packing their suitcases for when they spend the night with family while we are in the hospital, and they'll be the first to know the baby name (once we actually decide ourselves). I picked up a few books at the library about mommy having a baby, the trip to the hospital, bringing baby home, etc! I used this link to pick out some books.

Here are the ways we've kept our kids involved and helped prepare them for the new baby:

  1. Tell them first about the new pregnancy and let them help tell others!
  2. Bring along to some doctor appointments to hear heartbeat and to see sonogram.
  3. Involve them in discussions about the baby name (even if we veto every name they suggest).
  4. Attend a special Big Sibling class at the local hospital.
  5. Buy meaningful gifts to give to the new baby.
  6. Have the kids "help" build the crib and get nursery ready
  7. Read books and watch shows about becoming a big brother and/or sister. 
  8. Help pack items for baby hospital bag
  9. Most importantly, praying with the kids about and having them pray for the new baby!
What are your best tips and tricks for prepping older siblings for a new baby? I'm all ears! :)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Day of Kindergarten

So the day finally came-- Jack started kindergarten today! He was so excited and reported having a good day. He's looking forward to tomorrow because it'll be his first full day (and then I might actually have some tears. ALL DAY!) 

Notice the new shoes? We bought them about a month ago. Jackson tried on every single shoe the store had in his size and he speed and cross-train tested each and every pair. He narrowed it down to the "run faster" shoes and the "jump higher shoes." He chose the faster ones and is so thrilled that he is finally able to wear them!

And speaking of tough decisions getting ready for school- this is Jackson picking one his folder. He spent TWELVE minutes deciding on a folder. He kept saying, "but this is a really tough decision!" :)

Okay, back to the school pics. It's a shame my poor kids are so boring and don't have any personality. Kidding, of course! I love these pics that show he's such a goofball! He's a pretty funny kid and loves to make people smile. :)

And of course he's wearing his Allermates bracelet! It gives me such a peace of mind that it's an extra reminder of Jackson's nut allergy 

 Belle is hardly going to know what to do with her big brother gone all day! Good thing she'll have a baby sister coming soon! :)

Jack with his teacher Mrs. McMillian (who is AMAZING! We love her.)

My handsome fellas! Jack is enrolled at the same school at Derek attended-- the same school that Derek started kindergarten 25 years ago! 

 Here's a comparison of Derek and Jack on their first days of kindergarten. Thanks to my mother-in-law who dug out this picture for me!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer Recap!

School starts on Tuesday! It feels like we were just kicking off summer a few weeks ago! In terms of being pregnant, this summer has been absolutely amazing. I mean, so far it's labeled the 5th coolest summer on record and we haven't even broken 100*. In terms of having lots of fun with the kids-- it's been absolutely amazing, too! When we weren't busy reading a ton of books, attending VBS, playing t-ball and going to baseball games, or getting tic tacs out of Belle's nose-- we kept quite busy! 

We've played at the splash pad with friends...

Checked out animals at a petting zoo...

Picnicked at Crown Center and watched The Sandlot...

and enjoyed sno-cones, too!

The kids armed themselves to prepare for water fights with Papa Johne...

played at the park with Aunt Laura after she came home from East Asia...

and had fun slipping and sliding at a friend's birthday party!

Last weekend, we visited Derek at the Armory for Family Day hosted by the FRG-- and that's always a summer highlight for the kids!

And, of course... LOTS AND LOTS of swimming. 

Belle loved hopping in the water like a frog and just a few weeks ago, she started going underwater for fun! :)

Jackson loved everything about the water! He really liked playing "water baseball", diving for toys, and practicing all sorts of new jumps! This one is called, The Helicopter. 


Oh, and once he was brave enough to do the tube slide one time, he never wanted to stop!

Jackson is more than thrilled that school is starting. Depending on the day and time, I am ready to send him off or sobbing because he's growing up! Either way, we definitely made the most of our summer as a family of four! :)



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