Saturday, January 31, 2009


The house is clean, my Benito is asleep after an AMAZING full day of an EXCELLENT playful mood, and I just finished the most gigantic bowl of Blue Bell's Tin Roof ice cream that I think I've ever eaten in my entire life, guilt free, and my parents are coming over tomorrow to hang out for some Super Bowl, some super commercials, and some super snacking.

It just doesn't get much better than that, my friends.

Friday, January 30, 2009


To start off, here's the picture at 32 weeks. Not as much change as there probably would've been had I not lost a few pounds from the flu.

I also want to recommend a book that I know is somewhat controversial, but after reading it again in preparation for this second baby, I really want other people to know about it that are looking for an organized, helpful way to schedule and stay sane with their newborn/infant. There are a LOT of us out there having babies, some first-timers and some their 2nd or 3rd time around, that I know of, and I thought someone might benefit from the recommendation.

When I was pregnant with Bennett, a friend of mine highly recommended a book called "Babywise" by Gary Ezzo. There are reviews out there of this book that side on the negative, but they are biased and pretty harsh (as well as completely inaccurate - taking things WAY out of context) in their assessments and comments of the book. Essentially, "Babywise" gives mommies a basic flexible outline of how to schedule the wake and sleep patterns of an infant so that they and their entire family thrive and develop in healthy ways. This includes a scheduling of eat, wake and sleep patterns that are pretty much common sense, but it's well-written and easy to understand. Basically it follows the belief system of the parent-directed home, rather than the child-directed one. In other words, mommy (or daddy) really does know best! :)

Just thought I'd throw it out there for anyone who hasn't had a baby before and doesn't know what in the world they're doing, or even repeat mommies who felt lost the first time. When Bennett was born, I felt confident and like I knew what I was doing, and the whole family benefitted from following the principles in this book. After reading it again, I'm excited all over again at feeling well-equipped and knowledgeable about what my baby's needs are and how to meet them. If you don't like this book or aren't sure about it, no worries. I wanted to share because it's worked so well for our family and for several of our friends.

Here's to 32 weeks and only having SEVEN weeks left!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yours truly was going stir-crazy this morning at the thought of the three of us being cooped up in the house all day (Michael's off from school), so I made a plan, and for those of you who are also going crazy, here's what we're doing:

1. Busted out a few of the obscene amount of new toys Bennett has yet to play with from his birthday and Christmas. This has gone a LOOONG way to entertain.

2. Busted out new books he hasn't seen yet from my stash. He's built up to reading 30-45 minutes in one stretch, a few times a day, which is fabulous. He's learning a lot, and our books aren't annoying - they're ones I actually enjoy reading to him.

3. Watched Sesame Street and ate blueberry cheesecake muffins for breakfast, which is about as close to perfection as you can get with a 2 year old.

4. Busted out the coloring books and jumbo crayons, which we haven't used in FOREVER. I also found a stray piece of poster board that we drew pictures on for a while.

5. Michael and I each took a 30 minute stretch (this is mine) to have free time while the other took over with the munchkin.

6. Michael's been playing some of his favorite "guy games" with him this morning, such as Hide n Seek (or shriek, the way they play), Ride around the House, Jump Over the Kid, Daddy Falls off the Bed a Ka-Zillion Times, etc.

7. We're about to brave the weather and meet Mimi for lunch because none of us can stand it anymore. We're just not home-bodies, though on days like today I wish we were.

8. After lunch comes a nap for the little dude, at which point I will boil baby supplies (joy) and then do battle with the Wii Fit.

9. Umm...this is where I run out of steam...NO clue what we'll do this afternoon...maybe start over again at number one?? hee

Hope this list helps somebody else! Enjoy your cozy warm homes and kiddos!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


That's right. Yours truly has had the flu for a couple of days and though I'm over the worst of it, I'm still having a fairly rough time of it. The worst was yesterday, coming off of a night with NO sleep whatsoever. So first off is a big lesson I've learned from flu-ing it at 7 + months pregnant:


Although I really do think there are things from the devil himself, and illnesses are one of those things, I also know God uses things to help us out, teach us, set us straight, etc. This has been one of those experiences.

I typically consider myself to be fairly low-maintenance and pretty tough, including during the majority of a pregnancy. However, I'm also a self-proclaimed wuss and complainer in bits and spurts when it comes to the last couple of months of pregnancy. I'd just crossed this threshold officially a couple of days before the flu hit. I was feeling really sorry for myself and feeling fat, slow and tired (it's hard to feel one of these at any one time, but feeling them all at once can be pretty overwhelming - amen, other pregnant women?). I was thinking "How on earth am I going to do this for another 8 weeks and WHY am I doing this to myself again??" I was also thinking "No WAY am I doing this again!" These thoughts are fairly ridiculous for several reasons: a) there are women out there who have a very difficult time getting pregnant b) there are women who have lost one or more babies and it's devastating c) there are women who have very difficult, puke-ridden, bed-rest pregnancies, or things like diabetes or high blood pressure....I've never had to experience any of these things, for which I am so thankful, but tend to forget in the mix of the last two months. Shame on me.

Anyway, I absolutely believe that God has used this illness to smack me around a bit and show me just how good I've got it and just how much worse it could be (because having the flu along with a huge belly is pretty ugly stuff). I'm thankful for this lesson and actually thankful for the virus, too, because I think it's really going to help me keep things in perspective this last stretch of the pregnancy. I'm back to feeling thankful and grateful, counting my blessings, rather than grumbling and throwing myself pity parties.

And I'd also like to take some time to give credit where credit is due.

Michael has been working steadily and faithfully, with purpose and drive, to become a husband who loves his wife as Christ loves the church. Many of you know that we really roughed it for the first years of our marriage and that things got much worse before they got better. But I am here to tell you that I say prayers of thanks every day for who he has chosen to become and the work God has done in both of us. This pregnancy has been easier and far more stress-free than the last because Michael and I are certain in our relationship and our future, thanks and praise be to God.

While I was up all night, Michael got up at 2:00am and went to Wal-mart to get me some medicine and Gatorade. He came back with those, along with crackers, apple juice, and Cool Ranch Doritos (it's the thought that counts - hee), because he thought I'd like them and that they might help. He stayed up with me when I couldn't sleep, turned the TV on and watched it with me in the middle of the night, expressed his sympathy for my plight, and held me. The next day, he took off work, moved our bed and a million pillows into the living room, rented me a movie, stayed with me while I watched said movie (even though it was a total chick-flick) bought me more goodies from the store, suggested and made me cinnamon sugar toast when I was ready to eat, helped me figure out who to call and did research on the internet about getting dehydrated, entertained, fed and bathed our son that night, did the dishes (including some pretty rough pots and pans I hadn't been able to do...think Chili Night), ordered thin crust cheese pizza from Pizza Hut because that's what I craved, even though Little Caesar's is three times cheaper, brought me whatever I needed about a million times, and then slept out in the living room on our mattress that night with me. Right now he is out with Bennett grocery shopping, and as I type this, I'm also listening to two loads of laundry washing and drying that certainly didn't make it to their respective machines because of me. He's never once complained, only showed empathy and a desire to help and make things better.

I'm sure many of you out there have men out there who would do the same, and this is NOT a "whose husband loves them most" post. I just desperately wanted to say thank you to my husband and honor him publicly for his hard work and love for me. I also want his mommy to know that she should be proud of her boy. He's amazing and there really aren't words, and the reason for this is that he's chosen to make it so.

All of this said, and a few hundred paragraphs later,
Here's to you, Flu, for teaching me a fabulous, much-needed lesson, and for showing and reminding me of some of the very best things about my husband! (and though I am grateful for these things, may the remainder of your stay be SHORT-LIVED!!)

Monday, January 12, 2009


So we got a Wii Fit for Christmas, and I really like it a lot...except for the fact that I'm practically obese according to my stats and that it won't let me tell it I'm PREGNANT. I laugh every time I get on the thing because it starts saying things like "'ve gained a little more weight. Could you tell me why?" HA! YES, I could tell you why if you'd let me! I have a blogging friend who wrote about her Wii Fit experience while pregnant and she said it was just as alarmed after she had her baby because she was losing weight at an alarming rate. hee. But other than this, I'm really liking the accountability and the fun things you can do on it. It keeps track of your minutes and what types of exercise and activities you do throughout the day, which is nice. Plus the board acts like a scale and also measures your BMI for you. Sweet deal (as long as you're not 7 months pregnant and counting).

I realized I haven't said just a whole lot about Bowen himself in all of my pregnancy picture and to do list updates, so I thought I'd do that now.

This kid seems to already have a mind of his own. He kicks and rolls and even pinches a LOT more than Bennett ever did. He really reacts when I'm laying down or right after I've eaten, and he makes sure I know it if I've been on my feet too long. When I wake up in the morning, he's already dancing around and saying hi, which is a pretty cool deal. Bowen sits lower than Bennett did, which is great because he's not up under my ribs (yet), but this is also a bit unnerving when he kicks down. Yikes. My family has been able to feel him move a LOT, whereas with Bennett, we had to coax and prod to get a jump or bump out of him. I think all of this movement and self-expression from the womb has helped me begin bonding with this baby in utero much better than I was able to with my first pregnancy - that and the fact that I understand how AMAZING it is to have a baby that is your own flesh and to develop a relationship with that baby as they grow. I'm on more familiar ground this time and can wrap my head around the concept of this baby being his own little person, with his own personality, preferences, etc. Everyday I'm reminded of what a miracle all of this is, and what a testimony this child is to God's faithfulness. Michael and I like to talk about what he'll be like, look like, etc. I can't wait to know for sure. I know that God is making him absolutely perfect for His glory and for our family, and that's a miracle, too.

And that's probably all the gush needed for this entry. Without further ado, I present you with the glories of Jennifer at 30 weeks pregnant (Warning: my belly has positively exploded over the past couple of weeks):

From now on I'll be posting a picture every two weeks since I've only got 8 weeks left, and because I'd like to have a record of just how gigantic I get this time around :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I put the finishing touches on Bowen's room today, and also rearranged Bennett's room to make it a more of a "big boy" room. I'm pretty excited about the baby room because it involved a lot of elbow grease, including painting some wooden pieces for frames, sewing pillows, and painting furniture. We did a nautical theme for the baby room, and Bennett's is the same, just moved around, in the Cocalo Alphabet theme we did his room in to begin with. Whew! So without further ado, here are the pictures (you can click on them to enlarge):

Bowen's Room:

Bennett's Room: (the dresser is the one me and my mom re-painted, and I spray painted the knobs silver)

Thursday, January 8, 2009


MICE -- Okay, final update on the mouse problem: FIXED. Those mice might have won the battles, but I won the war. Thank goodness, because I was tired of worrying about having my hand nibbled on again. If anybody needs an exterminator for such an atrocity, let me know because the dude that came out to fix us up did a rockin' job.

MEN -- Well, man, actually. Michael has done a FANTASTIC job of helping me get little odds and ends on my to do list finished. And lately, he's really helped out extra around the house with the dishes, straightening up, etc. since I'm becoming less mobile and less energetic, and he knows it drives me crazy to have a messy house. I'm so proud of him and so proud he's mine. We've come such a long way and I'm so thankful to be here.

BABIES -- Baby, actually. I really don't like to admit it because it seems early to me, but this kid is starting to make me uncomfortable. Sometimes I have Braxton Hicks that knock the breath out of me or make me hunch over. Not enjoyable. I've got about two months to go and I'm trying to pace myself (as if I really have much to do with it), but get the feeling I've begun fighting a losing battle. I'm not a pregnancy complainer, but the last couple of months are hard on me. I was hoping this time would be a little better, but in reality, I believe it's a little worse. I know in my head that two months is really no time at all, but when you feel heavy and awkward and your skin is stretched super tight against your belly, that's hard to keep things in perspective. Add on the fact that I'm a pretty impatient person, and you've got yourself an emotional and physical time bomb. I have two comments about this: 1) Lovely. 2) Poor Michael.

However, on the bright side, I knew this would begin happening around 7 months based on my experience last time and that I would feel like doing jack squat the last couple of months, so my To Do List is in ROCKIN' AWESOME shape (since I've already done most everything). For Bowen's room, all I have left is painting his name letters and hanging a couple of things I already have up on the walls. The plan is to have this done by this weekend, and I'll post pictures after. Here's a final peek at the To Do List for my in utero buddy:

1. Michael fixed the shelf in Bowen's closet and his clothes are sorted by age and type, both hung on little hangers and folded on the shelves. I amaze myself.

2. The paint party with my mom was beyond fabulous. We got EVERYthing knocked out, including picture frames, a couple pieces of furniture, a foot stool, and a framed mirror. THANKS, mom!!

3. Contact papering....this chore shames and defeats me. I have surrendered at present to the fate of ugly white and blue ducks.

4. Bennett's first year scrapbook is completely finished - I finished it the day before Christmas. I continue to amaze myself.

5. My mom has altered several clothing items for Bowen to use and there are just 2-3 things left to be done. We had a sewing day yesterday, where we sewed a couple of throw pillows for the bed in Bowen's room, and I attached some plastic washers to the back of both of my boys' quilts to hang on a wall in their rooms. I consider all sewing to be pretty much done. Could I be more amazed with myself?

6. I've washed all blankets, burp clothes and bibs. Still need to wash clothing, baby toys that Michael brought down from the attic, and to boil bottle and pump parts (next month, probably).

It's amazing to me how much has to get done to prepare for a new baby. We've saved a TON of money on this baby's room by doing it all ourselves, but I've been surprised and caught slightly off guard at how much extra work it's taken. It's been really exciting because I've created or designed a lot of the things in Bowen's nursery, but man am I TIRED!! It feels SO good to be almost completely finished with everything. Hopefully the last month I'll be able to kick back and relax, or at least try to find a comfortable sitting position :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009



by it goes:

4 things I did yesterday
*went back to work - I was SO ready to get our family back into our routine!
*played the Wii Fit - this thing is FUN, and I get exercise. Can't beat that
*had my parents and brother over last night for pizza and the Fiesta Bowl. Michael is a HUGE Ohio State fan, and my parents are big Texas fans, so it was quite a showdown :)
*vacuumed the house and made a list of things to be sewn for the sewing day with my mom

4 thing on my wish list
*for time to fly and this baby to get here...I'm starting to feel slightly uncomfortable.
*a finished nursery (hopefully this weekend!)
*to feel more in control of my hormones these days...poor Michael!
*a TERRIFIC girls night out

4 restraunts I like
Chili's (I know, I'm boring, but it's seriously my favorite. You can always count on Chili's)
anything Chinese
Red Lobster

4 TV shows I like
American Idol
The Office (although I don't often watch's a guilty pleasure, for sure)
Cold Case (even though it's totally predictable)
60 minutes

4 People I tag
Kristi P.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I'd greatly appreciate your prayers for a woman I worked with when I taught full time, before I had Bennett. I won't give her name - I'm not sure she'd want that - but she was due with her third child, a girl, in April, about a month after me. A week or so ago she gave birth at 24 weeks. Her daughter died on January 1st. I just heard the news today, so I'm not sure how the family is doing or how they're coping, but I know they can use all the prayers you offer.

I can't really fathom something like this, to be honest. It gives me such mixed feelings about my life, and about life in general. It humbles me. I feel so deeply for this family and for this mother, and at the same time, I am so thankful for this life inside me that is thriving, who, Lord willing, I will meet in a little over two months.

I take so many things for granted and forget so often to be thankful. I know we all have our struggles, and the Lord knows I've had mine, but comparably, I live a charmed life. A healthy family and a healthy baby are things I simply should not make assumptions about or assume feelings of entitlement for. So I want to say here and now, Thank You Lord for the good things you have given me, and for the hard times that have made me who I am. Thank You for molding me and shaping me to be Yours. Thank You for my marriage and my boys and my family who supports me through thick and thin. Thank You for friends who love me and stand by me. Thank You for our home and for blessing our finances. You are the Great Provider. That never changes, no matter what comes in life. Praise be to Your Name.

And thanks to all of you who take a few minutes to lift up a prayer on behalf of this family and what they are going through right now.