Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dear Baby Stillwell:

A few weeks before I had Noah I decided to write a letter to him just in case something happened to me during delivery so that he/she would have something from me. I just went over some of my wishes and goals for them and who all is there to help them in their life. I obviously made it though that delivery fine and I put the letter in Noah's baby book so he can read it once he is older - or, Heaven forbid, something happen to me later, he will still have something from me to him.

I decided to do the same thing for baby #2. I used alot of the same things from Noah's letter and added some new different feelings. I am not sharing it all (in the real letter I go through certain special family members and friends too), but here are some excerpts from my new baby's letter:

First off, please know that I prayed for you. I wanted God to create you for me so badly. Your father and I have always had trouble conceiving children, and it took some work. But, we never gave up and God blessed us with miracles! I loved carrying you in my belly and having you move around constantly. It is just a daily reminder of God’s love. In your life I wish that you know God – go to church, be a Christian. It will be hard and not always possible, but God forgives – always. Please know that. Finish high school, with good grades. Don’t wrap yourself up with a significant other the entire time you are in school. It is ok to be in love and a long term relationship (your dad and I started dating at 16) – but don’t lose your friends and your alone time. Go to college if you want to. It is not mandatory and lots of people do great without it and it is not for everyone. But, a college degree can help you in life and it is something no one can ever take away from you. Remember to say thank you for everything you get in life – even the smallest things. Being a grateful person is important. Cut loose in life, don’t take everything so seriously. Dance and sing when you feel like it – you don’t need a reason. Make time for the fun things in life – don’t be scared to try something new and don’t be scared to not be great at it. Take pride in what you do and make it worth doing in the first place.
You are blessed with a lot of family! They will all be great in helping to raise you, but there are a few people in life that I know will take extra good care of you. First is your Dad. He is an amazing man and would do anything for you or Noah. He literally saved my life when he entered my life in 1998. He came along at a time that I needed him the most and he didn’t even know it. There are so many things that I want you to get from your Dad. He has a great way of always making me laugh. He will just randomly dance around, sing, say crazy things – he keeps life interesting! He will make sure you are taken care of always. He can be a little overprotective in certain areas, and then let you have too much room in others – but that is how he is and you just need to love him for that. Your dad is not the most patient person in the world, and he may get better at that with age and experience. So, give him a break and try not to push him. You all three will need eachother so be there for eachother. Make the effort to stay close.

Your big brother Noah is awesome! He is only a little over two years old when I am writing this, but I already have a vision/prediction of how he will be. He is going to get on your nerves and I am sure you two will fight, but he is going to fight for you just as hard. He and I developed a close bond and he is so sweet and trusting if you bond with him. I know it will be hard to love him sometimes and you two will fight, but please stay close. Be there for eachother and help eachother through life.

Just know that if I am no longer on this earth with you – I am always watching over you,  Noah, and your dad. I will do my best to guide you from heaven. Be great. Do what makes you happy. Be kind to animals. Don’t get a credit card unless it is absolutely necessary. Just because your job isn’t your dream job, doesn’t mean it doesn’t pay the bills until the dream job comes along. Make life long friends and be there for them. Try new things. Don’t worrying about not being good at everything. Pray. Trust and be someone who can be trusted. Try not to gossip – too much anyway. Know that the right song can help you when nothing else seems to be able too. Be accountable for your actions. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Always show respect where respect is due. Don’t bully. Know that words hurt – sometimes more than actions. Stand up for what you believe in. Be kind.

I highly encourage all moms (and dads) to do this whether they have already had their kids or not. This is something I would love to have from my parents - especially if they had not been able to be around. At some point it may be all the child has left of the parent.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sleepover, Shopping, and a 1st Birthday!

Friday was a momma first to me - it was the first time Noah stayed the night away from me just because someone wanted him to, not because I needed to be somewhere or go somewhere without him. It was also the first time he spent the night with Night with Nathan's parents. It was weird to try to think of something to do with some free time on a Friday night! So, I needed some things from Ft. Smith, so we headed there after work since we didn't have to rush back to get Noah fed and to bed on time. We went shopping for a mattress for Baby Stillwell, make-up, and a dvd player mount for Noah (since he will be moved to the side of the backseat soon). Well, we found 2 of the 3 things (still looking for the dvd player mount) so it was a pretty successful shopping trip! We also went to TGI Fridays - one of our favorite places to eat! We watched the opening Olympic ceremonies as we ate. It was a nice relaxing adult night.

Noah came back the next morning and we had a very lazy Saturday. Noah "helped" me vacuum and clean house. That evening we went on a jeep ride. It was a little hotter than we would have liked - it didn't feel that hot when we planned to go, but it was just hot air blowing on us. Noah loves to ride in the jeep. He is always so quiet and just looks around at everything and likes to try to catch the wind. He also sticks his tongue out at the wind too - he is such a character!

Sunday we went to church and I heard a good lesson that felt aimed to me in alot of ways. When life is good it is easy to be thankful and faithful, but we struggle when things are hard. The lesson was based on the movie Soul Surfer (awesome movie by the way) and even though the struggles and hard times in my life right now are nothing compared to those in the movie, it helped me relate. If you don't have tough times, how can you testify? Awesome message. After church we went to my nephew Greyson's 1st birthday party. He had the cutest sock monkey party! I didn't get to take many pictures because I was chasing Noah around everywhere - but he was having a blast so I really didn't mind.

Happy 1st Birthday Greyson!

The best present of the party? The boxes of course!

Noah helping Uncle Eli put Greyson's tool bench together :)

Now, time to start another HOT work week. I already warned my coworkers to bundle up because I will have the air cranked down and fans turned up for awhile now!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

32 Weeks!

8 MONTHS!! WOW! I was reading my What to Expect When You are Expecting and it said "with just a little over a month to go..." - and it took me by surprise! We have no furniture (I finally had to just go over Nathan's head and order something - he is too picky and is taking too long), no diapers, and don't have our newborn clothes or carseat out of storage and washed! I completely cleaned the baby room out and moved several things in there - nesting gives you extra muscles and strength sometimes so I really got alot done in a few days time. So, now I just wait to get the furniture in and hopefully it isn't damaged and I can get it all put together before labor starts!

* I am all about gaining some weight now - thankfully mostly in the belly! I have gained around 20 pounds - give or take. I am 15 pounds shy of my total weight gain with Noah so I am anxious to see how much I pack on at the end!
* I limit myself to two dresses a week so I don't look like that weird lady that wears dresses every day. On all other days, anything else elastic waist goes though!
* I am slowing down on the honey bun cravings, but I am still loving watermelon. I am craving lots of fruit all the time now - I even had cantaloupe for dinner the other night. I am very thirsty all the time - I literally have something to drink with me at all times and it is never the same thing - sprite, caffeine free coke, water, juice, milk - I crave different drinks all day long!
* The baby is still moving around alot, but I think we are head down again! I get alot of feet movement up towards my sternum, so I am hoping he/she stays that way and is ready to "head out" at delivery! :)
* The swelling has not increased and is still very minimal, which surprises me since it is so hot and dry so there is not alot of relief. It may be partly because I haven't gained as much weight at this point as I had with Noah, so I am not ruling out some major swelling yet.

* I have been getting alot more uncomfortable lately. I try to sleep on my left side (since that is what is recommended for the baby) but occasionally I switch to my right side some. I have my pregnancy pillow and other pillows shoved all around me to make me comfortable, but I still wake up several times a night and it hurts my back pretty bad to turn over. Thank God for hot showers in the morning to make my back feel better after sleeping all night. I get back and tailbone pain throughout the day some and these weird burning pains to the left and right of my belly button daily now. It is all very bearable and so worth it, I am a pretty tough gal :)

I think the belly size is evening out, I am just carrying lower this time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Peach Festival 2012

I LOVED the Peach Festival as a child! Probably because my mom and dad would take me down to the square and spoil me by buying me junk and letting me eat greasy food! I remember the street dances and racing my turtle in the terrapin derby and watching the parade with my Grandma. It was definitely more fun as a child than a parent, so far anyway. I know once Noah gets older he is going to enjoy it for the same reasons I loved it, but being 8 months pregnant with a 2 year old can be exhausting! I must have looked pretty pathetic because I had strangers offering me water! I felt ok, just hot and sweaty and ready for air conditioning.

Friday we raced Noah's turtle in the terrapin derby. They also have a frog jump, but I do not touch frogs so when Noah gets older he can do that if he wants to hold the frog! :) Unfortunately Noah's turtle did not even move off the starting line! He never even took his back legs out of his shell! At this age, the race is more for me and my memories than Noah's. He will never remember this, but I will and these are some of the memories I could not wait to make with my kids! In our turtles defense, he went to turtle heaven the next day - so he was obviously not in the best of health!

Noah and Greyson waiting to race their turtles
While we were waiting on the race to start a grasshopper jumped on Noah's cup - he was not happy!

Racing our turtle!

After the race we went and walked around the festival. Noah got to jump in the bounce house and Papa insisted he needed some toys (at least these are inflatable so I can let the air out and store them!). The Bikers Against Child Abuse booth was doing free fingerprinting and Noah actually let them do it! He would stick each finger out and let them print them! So, now I have his tiny fingerprints on file :) All the booths were giving away free peaches so Noah had his first whole peach - he seemed to like it. After all that hot fun, I took Noah to the sitter so I could get ready for my dad's birthday party that night!

Enjoying a peach with all his new toys!

We had a birthday dinner at my brother's house for my Dad's 64 birthday! We had chicken pouches (baked with broccoli, cheese, and bacon), twice baked potatoes, garden salad, and corn on the cob! I used my dad's grandmas recipe for mayonnaise cake (one of his favorites) and made him a birthday cake. I didn't think it tasted as good as when my dad's sister makes it, but it was edible and dad took half of it home so I think he liked it! My dad's gifts this year were pretty funny when he had them all out together -  Eli got him a pistol, Jeremy got him whiskey, and I got him running shoes! You would think we were getting him ready to rob a bank or something!

Mayonnaise cake and garden salad (my contributions:)

Dad blowing out the candles!

Saturday morning a lot of my family ran the 5K race. I was a little too pregnant for that, and it was too early for Noah and I to make it to the finish line. My nephew Greyson was racing in the diaper derby and we did make it to watch that. Noah won last year, so we had to go see who was going to take over his reign :) Well, it wasn't Greyson! He stood up on the start line and got disqualified! He can take a few steps, but he isn't a solid walker yet so they let him participate. I can't wait until next year and hopefully my new baby will be crawling by then so they can participate too! We went out for breakfast after that and then to sweat it out at the parade. Noah liked watching the parade - but he liked running around more! I had planned on taking him down to the children's area after the parade, but we were both so hot we just went home and enjoyed some air conditioned naps!

Greyson getting disqualified :)

I love this picture :) Noah and Liza waiting for the parade to start in the air conditioning!

Noah and I watching the parade :)

This years Peach Festival seemed to be better than the years past. A few years ago I really didn't think the festival was going to make it. I am glad it did so I can make more memories with my children!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baby prepping weekend!

Friday I had my 30 week baby check-up! Apparently my belly caught up from 2 weeks ago and I am now measuring right at 30 weeks! Everything looked good! I had to wait an hour and a half to see the doctor so I got bored and started texting people that I was dilated to 2 centimeters! HA! It was a disappointing joke though, either they didn't get it or were fine with it! I go back in 3 weeks, then 2 weeks, then every week until the baby comes! Yikes! That schedule inspired me to go home and finish cleaning out the baby room! It also inspired Nathan to get back to working on my closet so I can move my stuff out of the baby room closet. I learned long ago it is in my best interest not to nag about home projects getting done by Nathan - he likes to wait until it has to be done before he gets too serious about it. When I asked him why he all of a sudden started working on it again he said "I have a baby coming!" It hasn't rained at our house in over 3 months and then Nathan goes and buys sheet rock and leaves it on the trailer in the front yard while he runs to the bank and what to I hear - it pouring rain!! I had to grab towels and blankets and run out and cover it up in the pouring rain! All I could do was laugh at that point! Thankfully the blankets and towels saved the sheet rock - and my lightning fast reaction! HA! So now my closet has sheet rock walls and just needs to be finished and painted! Major progress was made in the Stillwell house!

Saturday morning we headed to look at dressers for the new baby. Furniture shopping with a 2 year old can be quite adventurous! I have about 5 crib and dresser sets I like and showed Nathan and he wasn't crazy about any of them and decided he would find a dresser he likes and I could just order a crib in a similar color. Well, not to my surprise, Mr. Picky didn't like any dressers when we went and looked. So, I gave him a week to find something or I was just going to pick one and order it because we are running out of time! I know the baby won't be in there in the beginning, but I also remember not having tons of time or energy to put a baby room together once the baby is here. So, I need it done now. Hopefully I can get it all ordered next week! Saturday night we took Noah back to Porkys - the restaurant where I gave up on ever taking Noah out to eat again. Well, I am happy to report, he did awesome! We all got to eat and no fits were thrown! I am not expecting it every time, but it makes me feel like an awesome parent when he acts right in public!

He LOVED the bunk beds!

Lunch at Chic-Fil-A!

Our church is in a series called "Journey at the Movies" right now and I love it! I absolutely love finding God's word in modern day movies! This week it was the movie Money Ball (one of our favorites) and the lesson was SO good! I saw that the next two weeks are The Help and Soul Surfer - two other movies I love! I can't wait to see what amazing lessons come out of those!

We also made a discovery this weekend - Noah loves, and I mean LOVES, spaghetti! He ate 3 helpings at dinner and still wanted "more, more!" This is also Nathan's favorite food - he is his Father's child!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

30 Weeks! How is that possible?!

To be in the week 30's is crazy! I didn' make it to 40 weeks with Noah, so I imagine I won't this time either (but you never know) so it won't be too much longer and our second miracle will be here! Only a single digit number of weeks left! Now for some highlights:

* I am all about gaining some weight now - thankfully mostly in the belly! I have gained around 15 pounds - give or take. I am about 5 pounds less than I was with Noah at this stage, but you can't tell that from looking at the pictures!

* I want to wear dresses everyday - they are the most comfortable. My maternity shorts even feel to small by the end of the day! That may have to do with the honey bun cravings though! :)

* I am still loving those honey buns, but I also am craving watermelon, cheese dip and chips, and bananas cut up in my cereal. The fruit cravings even out the honey buns right? I am very thirsty all the time and I don't want water. That is what I usually get anyway and I end up drinking it like I am about to die! It is crazy!

* At my ultrasound the baby was head down, but it moves so much and so constantly I have no clue what position it is in now. It moves both sides of my belly at the same time, then it will go top to bottom! I just hope it gets in position to head out before it runs out of room to move!

* I am working on the baby's room every chance I get! It was a little overwhelming at first, then I got a wall cleaned off and some shelves out and it really helped me see it is not that bad. We plan to order baby furniture at the end of the month - if we can agree on any that is! Sometimes I wonder if God is sitting there laughing when he watches us try to agree on things like furniture - it rarely happens!

* I have noticed a little bit of ankle swelling some days, usually the hotter ones that I was doing a lot of running around in. I am hoping it hold off until after our maternity pictures at least - but it is summer in Arkansas so that is a lot of hoping!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bigger Boy Room & Magic Mike!

Friday I finally worked on the baby's room some. I got alot cleaned out and some moved in. In doing this I also converted Noah's room into a "bigger boys" room - not a big boy room yet because he is still in his crib (where he will stay until he figures out how to escape) but set up more for a big boy! I took his rocker recliner (since he has decided he no longer likes to be rocked) and put it in the baby's room and made him a reading corner with his little recliner. I also moved his play center to his room. He loves it and we have been playing alot more in his room lately. Nathan was gone out of town Friday night so after I put Noah to bed I went back and worked more on the baby room until about midnight - gotta love that nesting energy!

Noah's play center - it has a slide on the back!

Still in the crib!

Reading area :)

View towards the door

Saturday we went to a beautiful wedding and didn't get home until almost midnight! It was nice to get away and relax with adults. My mom came over with my niece and watched Noah for us. Sunday we had a movie date after church so Nathan's mom came at watched Noah so we could do that! We are so thankful to have good grandparents always willing to help us out! We usually don't leave him that much, but it all came up in one weekend and I know I won't be doing much once the new baby gets here for awhile so I am taking the opportunities when I can.

Now for my view on the whole "Magic Mike" drama. My parents were not real protective of what I watched growing up, so I remember watching R rated movies and it not being a big deal. They taught me right from wrong, so I knew when I was watching a movie what they were doing was not necessarily right, but it is something that happens in the world. I have seen lots of people claiming it is a sin to go watch Magic Mike, it is cheating on your husband, etc. Well, that had me very curious as to what the big deal was. I saw previews and it didn't look too dirty to me and it was just rated R, so I knew it couldn't have that much bad stuff in it. I planned on going with a friend on Sunday (assuming Nathan would not be interested), then Nathan saw the preview and he loves Matthew McConaughey and said he wanted to go see it. Fine by me! So, Nathan and I ended up going. Honestly, I do not see what the big deal was at all! Yes, it was a story about a stripper, but as far as nudity went - they danced fully clothed 95% of the time and in spandex shorts (no less than a bathing suit) the rest and very few thong shots! The dancing was so cool! They used lots of props and it was just the same as those "Step it Up" dance movies - just choreographed routines. There were sex scenes (once again, nothing shown) and drug use - but I have watched several action movies with worse than that in them and didn't get accused of being a bad wife or a sinner. In the very beginning of the movie, there were naked breasts and a butt shot, so I was worried it was going to be like that the whole time (which could get uncomfortable after awhile), but it wasn't. I feel it was a tastefully shot portrayal of someones struggles they had starting their own business (this business being a furniture business, not a strip club). Not everyones lives were easy to get where they are - doesn't make it right or any less of a sin, but it is a good reminder to see people struggle. It is good to see that they can overcome obstacles and make something out of themself. I think sheltering everyone and taking a blind eye to this sort of thing is wrong. Be exposed - that way you can be thankful for what you have.  Now, I am still a big believer of "to each their own" so I am not telling anyone to go watch this movie - just don't judge those who do and try to push your views on them - especially if you haven't seen it yourself. It may just be the inspiration a lost soul needs.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Swim Lessons!

This is Noah's second year in swim lessons and I just knew he would love it. Well, yet another reminder that I don't actually know everything! :) He was good for half of the lessons, the other half he was really acting like a 2 year-old!  His last day seemed to be his best, he just is very head strong sometimes (which will be a blessing in his life someday, just not so much right now) that it made it difficult to get him to do what he was supposed to be doing. Thankfully we had two great instructors that were very patient with him and didn't expect him to do too much but gave him lots of praise when he did do things right. Noah was the second to youngest in the class, and I figured he would be. I just really want to get him as much exposure to the water as possible to help him be comfortable with it and hopefully help him learn to be a good swimmer.

The class worked alot of floating on his back and belly, blowing bubbles in the water, learning to go under (which he was awesome at!), reaching with his arms while kicking his legs (he loved this part - he yelled "reach" everytime he swung his arm, it was adorable), jumping in, and life jackets. We learned not to let him jump in because once I set him out, he was not coming back in the water! He literally would go get his towel out of the bag and wait on me! One time he took off for the deep end and acted like he was going to jump in and about scared me into labor - the stinker! He would lay back and float on his back and look at the "oon" (aka: moon) and he would hug me and float on his belly saying "momma" over and over - it was so sweet. His favorite thing was to "reach" and go get the balls and put them in the buckets on the edge of the pool and he loved going under on Ring Around the Rosie.

All and all I think it was a good experience and I cannot wait to see how different he is next year - hopefully for the better!

He loved going under!

Floating on his belly

Floating on his back

Ring around the Rosie

"Reaching" for the balls

Monday, July 2, 2012

Water and Parties!

Well, since there is no water falling from the sky we had to find some to play in to stay cool! So, Friday my dad took me, Noah, my brother Eli, and his kids Savannah, Eliza, and Greyson to the Alma Water Park. I had never been and thought it sounded like something Noah would really like. Well, he sort-of did. It was just like the park, he would rather run around and play then swim. We had plans of staying about 3-4 hours, but a little over an hour of being there we were headed home. He liked the little wading pool and did the small slide a few times, but really didn't care for the splash part. He wanted to go down the big slides really bad, but Momma wasn't about to let him do that. Too high, too much water, and I couldn't go with him. Not happening this trip. We ran into my friend Shawn and his son Jack there too - we love seeing them and rarely get to so that was a nice surprise. We headed home to a nice air conditioned 3 hours nap :)

Noah playing with Shawn

Noah and Jack in the splash area

Noah and Papa Bobby

Saturday Noah had a birthday party for 2 of his friends from daycare. Thankfully it was indoors. It was such a cute Island themed party. My camera was still in the beach bag from the water park so I didn't get any pictures, but Noah had a blast! They had the same bounce house Noah had at his party and he did not want to get out of it! At his party, he could have cared less! Toddlers! Anyway, Nathan was watching him bounce while Baby Stillwell and I enjoyed a cupcake and he called me over to the bouncehouse. He wanted me to witness our bully! Noah was tackling anyone that came near him and squealing and laughing the whole time! He was even doing this to 6 year olds and girls! They would hit him and he would just laugh and tackle them again! We could not stop laughing! Not sure if that was the appropriate parenting response or not, but it was so funny to see! We left the party tired and ready for another air conditioned 3 hour nap!

Sunday we had church and then a party at my mom's for me, my cousin, and my brother's birthday and we celebrated Father's Day now that everyone was back in town. My mom put 29 candles on the cake because no one in our family ages past 29 if you ask ;) From there we were home and got Noah's pool out for some cooling off time. He got a giftcard for his birthday so he got this wading pool to put beside his splash pool. He wanted me to sing Ring Around The Rosie over and over so he could "fall down" in the water. It was really cute.

29 again ;)

Everyone singing to us :)

Look what I got!

Filling it up!

Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, ...

We all fall down!
Another great weekend full of family and memories!

Our last peek at Baby Stillwell

Our doctor's office does a complimentary 4D ultrasound, which we are so thankful for because we would not be able to afford this opportunity otherwise! We had an awesome ultrasound tech who worked hard to get us some good good peeks at our baby. Baby Stillwell started out head down with it's feet straight up but before it was over had it's feet in front of it's face! I feel this baby move alot, so how I didn't feel a big movement for it to bring it's feet all the way down is crazy to me. I found it especially weird since my belly measures 26 weeks (2 weeks small) but the baby measures 28 weeks so it doesn't have all the room it should! Baby Stillwell measured right on track at 2 pounds 8 ounces and all it's organs looked good! Strong heartbeat of 131 beats per minute.

At this appointment I also had my glucose test (which I passed - YAY!) and had to get my Rogam shot since I am RH negative so that my blood doesn't attack the baby's blood. They also went over birth class options, sibling classes, and pain control - none of which I plan to participate in, but we shall see about the pain control.

After the appointment we all went to eat lunch and did a little baby furniture shopping. It was a good day, but got me so excited  to see my baby again. Now, lots to get done to get ready for the arrival!

The Ultrasound Gang! Laikken, me, Nathan, Donna, Mom, and Tammy

Baby Stillwell with it's foot by it's face :)