Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Life @ 35 weeks


Hey guess what? I'm growing a human.  It's 7:30 in the morning on an average Wednesday in the life of a 35 week preggo lady. I've been up for an hour feeling baby kicks and trying to figure out what position he's in, deciding that he's just moving all over the place. I've also been catching up on Facebook and Instagram, blog posts I follow, and playing a game of Bejeweled. I then debated about what to have for breakfast for about 10 minutes. Life cereal and bananas for the win.

Sounds like the sweet life. I'm not going to lie. It's pretty great. Though I did sleep really well last night and that has a lot to do with it. Most nights I toss and turn and wake up sweating and then sometimes can't fall asleep. Most mornings (like today), I wake up when E is getting ready for work and then once he leaves, no matter how tired I am, I can't fall back asleep. So most mornings lately, start off like this...usually with some variation in breakfast. I'm enjoying the rest and relaxation while I can.

I stopped working two weeks ago due to a lot of back and pelvic pain. My shoes weren't fitting anymore, and frankly I'm pretty sure my IQ has plummeted. It's hard to stay focused on things for too long, and when I do, my sentences start to get jumbled and talking becomes a big task. Since stopping work, my back and pelvic pain has almost completely resolved, there's still pressure, but it doesn't hurt to stand up any more. My shoes still don't fit. I'm left with my trusty new Birkenstock sandals as that's all that fits my swollen, puffy, empanada feet. Some days I have ankles.

Now that I'm home things are started to get exciting. Yesterday I hit the 35 week mark with 35 days to go... now 34 days. It's so hard to believe. Sometimes it seems like it's flown by, but when I think back to first finding out, it all seems like so long ago. Now our baby's room is nearly ready (just a few hundred more loads of laundry to go....and he's not even here yet!), and walking by it makes me smile.  His book collection is growing and we're enjoying reading to him already!

My days stretch out in front of me. I don't have a lot to do, but I have a lot to do. And most of the time I only have enough energy to do a little bit of it. I'm prepping for the biggest thing that's ever happened to me, to us. It's a lot of work this baby growing business!  He's also decided on an acrobatic career in the last few days. Or Karate Stunt Double. I'm not sure which. I just hope he judo-chops his way into the right position before he decides to make his grand-entrance. I still can't tell what body parts are poking out where and when. They all just feel round like heads...or butts. But I love when he wiggles around to make his presence known. Little reminders throughout my day of just how much I love him.

35 weeks down. Just about 5 to go. So far the consensus is that he's going to come a little early. I'm not too sure about that, but who knows?  As long as he's ready, we'll be waiting!

XO

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Project Venture: The Ultimate Survival Kit

Last weekend my sweet sister-in-law hosted an amazingly beautiful baby shower for me. It was, as some of my friends said, "a Pinterest dream come true!..." and she doesn't even have an account!  Full of blue tulle and baby blocks, and choc-full of a picturesque baby blue candy bar - even blue punch, she totally aced a pin-worthy, beautiful shower.

So what's a girl like me to do to thank her for all her hard work?  I am always stuck when it comes to thank you gifts for things like this. What can you possibly get that makes someone smile and feel appreciated for everything they have done?  I was texting back and forth with my mom about it (as I usually do when I need advice, or just a sounding board, or...whenever) and she came up with a "survival kit" idea. Not only am I going to be a new-mommy, but my sister-in-law is going to be a new auntie. Why not put together a bag full of fun, useful, quirky, things she might need?


And the light bulb turned on. It took a lot of back and forth about what would actually go into the kit, but in the end it turned out to be a big success. I started out with a blue and white beach tote from Forever 21 (color scheme inspired by my little man), and then thought about the things that a new auntie babysitting for the first time might need... and then some funny additives for kicks! After a trip to a few stores, my bag was almost complete...it just needed a little explanation.   I was so excited to figure out my new Cricut (I got it for my birthday in May and hadn't had a chance to figure it out yet). With some trouble shooting I learned how to make a gift tag in the shape of a onesie, how to cut it in different sizes, and suddenly my bag looked way legit.

Here's a few of the items I put inside:

 A bib: to avoid changing his clothes after every feeding...

 Burp cloths: to keep your shirts spit-up free

 Honest Company Diapers: for changing those stinky diapers - in style!

 Ear plugs: to drown out those high pitched cries (not really of course!).

 Pacifiers: for when you need a mute button (really...of course!).

 Hand Sanitizer: so you can stay baby-germ free!

Also included in the bag:
-A travel pack of wipes: for diaper changes on the go
-A tub of bath salts: for scrubbing off spit-up and drool
-A bottle of body oil: for hydrating your skin after playing in the mud
-An eye mask: for getting some shut eye (after he's gone home of course!)
-Two packs of face masks: to relax after a long day of baby sitting

Here's the full package deal after it was all complete!



I'm happy to say she thought it was super cute and that she loved it! I tried to incorporate things that she could have on hand for the baby (sort of like her own personal diaper bag), and then a few things she could use for herself, and some with just a bit of humor.  I did want to add something a little more special for her so I included a gift certificate for a massage at a day spa...just a little pampering for her to enjoy.

What do you all think? I loved making this and had a lot of positive feedback. Would you gift something like this to someone? I am thinking of creating a few more and putting them up for sale on Etsy. I'm thinking of having bag options for bachelorette parties, bridal showers, babies, maybe even for new dads. I also thought of adding in a bottle of wine and some wine glasses, that's definitely an option. And the bag can be customized after purchase with something special like jewelry or a gift card, like I added. I can also include a few extra tags for you to do your own personalizing, or leave them blank for you to add your words the way you want them. I'm definitely open to feedback and suggestions though! What do you think? Send me your feedback in the comments, I'd love to hear it!

XO

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Baby Name Game


Preston, Weston, Will, Grant, Kaden, Bennett, Nicolas, Everett, Ryker, and Ashton.

According to BabyCenter.com, this is my child's competition.  These were the top 10 baby boy names of 2013. While I love that we've sort of shifted away from the more traditional John and Alexander toward the more unique names, I'm still at a loss. None of these names fit my little guy. I know this even though I haven't quite met hit yet.  But the kicks I feel are not the kicks of a Kaden. Definitely not a Preston. And Weston reminds me of the hotel we stayed at on our honeymoon.

There's a lot of pressure in finding the right name. I mean, you're making a huge decision for a little guy who will one day be a big guy with his name on a business card, or a book, a work of art, or a building. There could be a medical procedure named for him, or a newly discovered planet. The possibilities are endless and you want his name to work with all of them.

Not only that, but I grew up with a non-English name. ANI. It's short and simple, but did you know, it's pronounced "Ahh-knee"? Not Annie, like the little orphan. Not Anne-eye. And it's definitely not Arnie (though I have been called that, seriously). It's not Anne or Amy, either. And while I have spent the last 27 years correcting many, many people, I still love my name. I love that it's traditional - from Armenia. I love that no matter how American I am and how proud I am of that, my name ties my to my roots. And while it is mispronounced a LOT, it's simple enough to not be completely butchered. There are far worse things to be called than Arnie.

I was also not the only Ani growing up. Apparently it was the number 1 Armenian American name in 1987, because when I was among my Armenian friends, I wasn't just "Ani," I was "Ani B." There was also "Ani K." and "Ani M.,"  "Ani N." and "Ani S." We all banded together under a common name and identity. And while that had it's perks too, it leads me to my next issue with the top 10 list.  If these are the top 10 names everyone is choosing, why would I want to choose one? I don't want my kid to fall in a long like of Everett's or Ryker's at school.

It's a tough job this name choosing business. You want to but original and unique but not far out, but you don't want to be so common. You want something that carries your roots with you, but not something that will get butchered everyday. Your kid doesn't have to love it, but you'd like it if he didn't rush out to change it on his 18th birthday, and you hope that if he doesn't it will grow on him and he'll appreciate the love (and hours of thought) that went in to choosing it. It has to be a name you like saying, and one he'll like hearing. Oh the pressure.

We're working on it. No, we aren't telling! It's a tough enough game figuring this out with our two, often opinionated, very indecisive selves. We've decided to keep our mouths shut until our little guy is here to help us solidify our decision (that is... once we actually make a decision).  One thing I will say for sure. It's not on the top 10 list!

XO

Friday, June 20, 2014

Baby's Second Blanket

Oh how I love a good craft project.  Right after we had our first ultrasound appointment at 8 weeks I headed off to Joann's fabric store to get started on a blanket. It took several months and a lot of troubleshooting, but I completed baby's first blanket, and my first homemade quilt, and you can see it here. It was super fun (and often very stressful) but I love the end result and I can definitely see us using it all over the house and even on picnics and camping trips.

One thing I didn't know at the time was whether our baby was a boy or a girl, so I tried to pick some gender neutral colors and patterns. With the exception of the purple stripe and all the floral prints, I think our little guy will be OK with it, and if it's not his favorite blanket, it will still be super special. Even after we found out we were having a boy we had to keep it under wraps until our gender reveal party with our parents, and it just didn't seem right to start a baby boy project until I could share the news.

So literally RIGHT AFTER our gender reveal my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law decided we needed to ditch the guys for a bit and head off to get a new craft project started. Back to Joann's where I found the CUTEST, fluffiest yarn in blues and creams. PERFECT! I wasn't too sure what kind of blanket I was going to make but I knew it was going to be just for him.


And this was the end result! I'm thrilled with how it turned out. I did it in the same stitching I used for my friend's baby's blanket, but the thickness of the yarn gave it a whole new look and feel. It's ultra soft and fluffy, and I can definitely see us using this to snuggle with while breast feeding or just rocking on our chair (double points that it matches the chair!).



Can you feel the fluff?  I'm so looking forward to snuggling with my little guy under this blanket! Just 10 more weeks!

XO

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What not to say to a 7 month pregnant woman


I've heard many times that when you are pregnant, people tend to think of your belly as public turf. That they can just come up and rub your belly like you're the Buddha statue at their local Chinese restaurant.  I've always been cautious about this and am definitely not one to walk up to pregnant women (even one's I am close with) and start rubbing their bellies. If they ask my to feel a kick, I will, but I won't walk up and touch without asking first (not that I am really compelled to). I thought this would really bother me when I got pregnant, but surprisingly, I don't really mind it when people come up and touch my belly, at this point it just is something people do. We're all excited, and frankly, it happens too often to bother to get frustrated about it.

Real talk : What does really bug me is that people just assume they can say whatever they want about your size, and forget that they're actually talking about your body and not just a temporary baby bump.  It seems like at least once a week someone will ask me how far a long I am and when I say "6 months" or "7 months" they look at me in shock and say, "wow! you're so big  - and you're still going to grow!!"  Really? Thanks, I had no clue my belly was going to keep stretching for the next two months. I thought I was going to stop right here and just let my baby sit and do nothing in my belly until August.

Everyone's body is different, and everyone's pregnancy is different. Everyone carries their baby differently. Think back...do you remember how HUGE you felt at just 7 month? Do you still feel compelled to ask me if I'm SURE I'm not carrying twins? Uh uh...don't even go there. We saw only one baby on the ultrasound, and no, his twin isn't hiding behind him, I promise. That's not how this works.

So the next time you feel the need to mention that you think I'm going to have a "really BIG baby" or that I look like I'm ready to deliver any day now, please don't. Just stop. Remember that I have raging hormones. Just bite your tongue, it's the safer thing to do.

XO

Saturday, May 17, 2014

baby kicks


Up until this year I had never felt a baby kick. I've had family and family friends who've been pregnant, but every time they'd grab my hand and hold it to their belly and look at me with this sense of amazement and ask, "did you feel that!?" I had no idea what they were talking about. To be polite I'd smile and say "yeah!" and think to myself, what are they talking about? I feel a belly.  

I'm also not a touchy feel-y person. I think it's a little strange that pregnant women's bellies sort of become public property and everyone and their mother think they can come up and rub like a Buddha statue in China Town. So I don't automatically reach out to touch bellies and feel kicks unless I've asked first. But a few months back my best friend was pregnant and I had just gotten the news that we were expecting too. We were at work when she told me to feel her belly and I actually felt the little guy kick me. It was pretty cool, and as a newly expectant mother I was pretty excited to finally "get" what everyone was talking about. I was so excited to meet her little guy. He'd kicked me and I felt a connection. I knew what it was like to feel baby kicks. 

Boy, was I wrong. 

Baby kicks from the inside are a completely different thing. My placenta decided to place itself in the front of my belly, which meant that feeling little 'flutters' that everyone talks about were non-existent. I don't remember the moment I first felt a kick, but I do remember that I had no idea what I was feeling.  At 22 weeks, we'd only just found out we were expecting a little boy, and suddenly I was feeling little bumps? bubbles? pulses? They were kicks, and they're not like anything you've ever felt before. 

Your baby boy is in there

At first they were all internal, meaning, the only thing I could imagine is that he was tap dancing on my bladder and my intestines. Not what you imagine baby kicks to feel like when you've only got everyone's smiling reactions to compare it too. I get what they mean when they say you can mistake them for gas bubbles. Sometimes it felt like I had to run to the bathroom, I'm not going to lie. 

But now when he kicks, 25 weeks and growing strong, I can see my belly bump up in places. I know that when I wake up in the early morning and lay on my left side, he'll say good morning with a few jabs of his sweet little foot. I know that walking around rocks him to sleep, but when I finally sit down at a computer to chart during a busy day at work, he'll kick and say, "hey, I'm here Mama!" (he also says, "feed me!" about every 2 hours). I know that when I finally rest on the couch after a long day he starts to wake up again and do his dance. He takes after his daddy and his grandpa. 

I know that I could spend all day laying down and feeling those little bumps. The word "kicks" make them seem like they'd be forceful and harsh. But they're the sweetest little love taps. Baby boy is reminding me that he's there with me all day, and my heart aches for the rest of the world because they can only feel a little tap from the outside. They don't feel the little rumble that comes before the kick, or the way it almost echos on my skin after it's done. They might feel them from the outside, but those kicks are mine all day. My baby boy is in there and I love him so. I can't wait to kiss the sweet little feet that give me those perfect little baby kicks. 

XO

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Defining purpose

As a birthday treat to myself I decided to sign up for an E-Course in blogging. Not about how to design my blog a bit more, but how to really give it my best and how to possibly expand it to do what I love for a living. I totally already do that - what I love, I mean. I love my job. But I am not going to lie, it is exhausting. Blogging is my escape from the ups and downs that come with being a pediatric nurse. I get to share my life, my projects, my day to day thoughts, and my ideas with the world. So when this first exercise from the e-course popped up about defining my blog's purpose, it got me thinking.



When I first started blogging I was at Bacheegs and Love. Bacheegs are kisses in Armenian, and the whole idea behind those posts (which you can now find in the archives of this blog) was that I was newly engaged and excited to share all the wedding planning ideas as well as the traditions that come along with planning a big fat Armenian wedding. It was super fun, but honestly, I wasn't planning it alone, and it was a lot to keep up with. I was also in nursing school and blogging to the extent I wanted to about just one topic couldn't be a priority for me. So I started another blog, naturally. On Cellos and Coffee. It was supposed to just be an "everything" sort of blog, but it was far too general and maintaining two blogs was just too crazy. I "expanded" my purpose of Bacheegs and Love and kept writing on there about whatever I wanted.

One problem. If you aren't Armenian, and you read the word "Bacheegs" you have NO IDEA what that is supposed to mean or how it was supposed to sound. In a sort of attempt to brand myself I started using that title as an email address, but no one knew what it was or how to say it or what it meant. There was no connection for the majority of people I wanted to expose my blog to.  The time had come to change the name. But to what?

At that point in time I was primarily blogging about crafts and DIY projects, as well as my day-to-day life. My readers were mostly just my friends and family (ok, my parents and like two friends). I wanted a title that encompassed my daily life and the other things I loved to blog about. "Love Well Crafted" came about when I was talking about it with a friend at work one night. I liked it and I was anxious to get started, so on my break I created a new domain and "Love Well Crafted" was born.

And now it has evolved into the site I love to write on today. Sure, I am not the most consistent poster, and I am hoping to improve on that (April goals are all out the window right now), but I love getting to write about what I love here on this blog. So when I think about defining my purpose, I get a little hesitant.

What is my purpose? To write about what I love. I think that is it. I get very tired of trying to pin point one or two specific things that I feel like I have to stick to. My purpose is to write and share about my life and the things I love doing. I narrowed it down to a few topics - and I feel like it's important to say that these are topics that apply at this point in my life: pregnancy and mamahood, crafting and DIY projects, gardening and home decor, and family. I think that is what I primarily blog about right now anyway. The one thing that I noticed is missing is food and recipes. Those may show up here every so often, but I think when I'm ready to start blogging about the food we eat again, E and I are going to work it through our joint blog at  The Grapeleaf. I know, I know, I've done the whole "trying to maintain two blogs" thing, but I am hoping to get him on board and show him the ropes so it won't be a one man(woman) show anymore.

So, pardon my rambling. I'm excited about where this course will take me and this blog. If I can continue to write about what I love on here, then I'll be a happy camper. If I can make writing about what I love on this blog into a part-time job then I'll really be a happy camper, but I'll still be camping in my same old tent... if that makes sense.

XO