Sunday, September 28, 2014

DAY 1128... The Focus Before Baby Number 2

Besides making sure that this baby I am growing stays healthy and strong, my biggest concern during this pregnancy has been Aniston. I have heard all kinds of horror stories about what happens when the new baby comes home when there's an older sibling. I don't expect my children to get along perfectly, it's just not possible or logical to expect that. However, I do want them to love each other and to be able to develop amazing memories together. I hope that they can be friends. So in order to avoid Ani feeling left out when the baby comes, Spencer and I have been doing different things and establishing traditions that focus on her that we hope to continue after the baby comes that will continue to make her feel special and important and not at all ignored.

The first thing we did was move her into a big girl bed. We did that back at the end of June. We wanted her to be completely separated from a crib which is considered a baby thing. And after 3 months of using her big girl bed, she still does not get out of bed in the morning until someone goes in and gets her. She will just play or sing, which usually wakes us up, until we go and get her. I kind of feel like she sleeps even better in her big girl bed than in her crib. She loves her bed! We had a talk with her about how baby brother would be using her old crib to sleep in, and because she was making a good choice to share, she could pick out her own bedding. Minnie Mouse of course.

Even though Aniston begged to go to school this year, her happiness was not my main reason for starting a preschool at home. I wanted to have a set time each day that focused on her. Baby brother obviously won't be able to participate, and hopefully he won't cause much of a disruption during this time, but those 20-30 minutes in the morning are specifically about Aniston. I don't even bring my cell phone into the room when we have school time. I am amazed at how quickly she is picking up on letter sounds and other activities that we are doing. It takes a lot of work and preparation, and to do it right it isn't easy. But it's probably her favorite part of the day besides bath time, and I love watching her learn.

I spend time with Aniston each day practicing for baby brother with one of her close to life size baby dolls. We practice holding him, changing the diaper, giving him a bath and giving him "soft" kisses. Ani loves to put the baby in the baby swing. I think that practicing this will definitely be beneficial. I have seen her with other real babies lately and she is so gentle and soft with them.

We have begun to establish daddy/daughter date night. We live in Rexburg... there's really not much to do here. But every other week Spencer and Aniston will go out and spend an hour or so together, just the two of them, doing things that Aniston enjoys and getting that time in together just the two of them. This includes going to the library, bowling, going to the park, etc. The dates must always end with a treat of course. I think that this is really important not only to strengthen their relationship, but so that when Mom does have to spend more time with the baby that she will be okay going with Dad.

Every night before Aniston goes to bed we say a family prayer. It's tradition to have Aniston say it. It is seriously the cutest thing you have ever seen or heard! She loves to say the prayer. I think she enjoys that fact that Mom and Dad are smiling the entire time because we are dying of cuteness. This kid thrives on attention. But it's something that she knows that she gets to do every night and it means a lot to her to be able to do it.

Aniston has been very involved as I have prepared for brother by sorting clothes, washing clothes, and creating a space specifically for brother. The knowledge this gives her, helps her to be able to talk to others about what we have done so far to prepare for brother and it makes her feel like she's not being left out at all. I think that it has been very important to make sure that Aniston feels completely included in our preparations and that she doesn't feel like she is being left out or stepped over. She is old enough to tell and express to us her feelings and I don't want her to feel sad or hold any resentment towards her brother.

We have been sure to take a lot of photo's of this pregnancy that include Aniston. Her favorite picture is the one where she is looking at the ultrasound on our front steps. We actually have that photo framed above baby brother's crib. Ani and I also look at ultrasound pictures a lot. She likes to see his toes and hands. I even pulled out her old ultrasound pictures so that she could compare the two.

Aniston reads to and talks to her brother daily. Most of the time it's at a very inconvenient time for me, but I try to be as patient as I can be and let her have that time with her brother because I feel as though that bonding time is very important.

Aniston and I went through all of her toys and pulled out all the baby toys and put them in a special basket for brother. She has already picked out several toys that she insists on bringing to the hospital to give to him when he is born. Every now and then I will walk into the toy room and she has pulled down that basket and is playing with those toys, but I always hear her when she is cleaning up, talking about how they are going to be brother's toys soon. So sweet.

I have been savoring every cuddle and every hug. Aniston has never been cuddly, even as an infant she was very independent. But lately, she has been cuddling all the time. I LOVE IT! She forgets sometimes that there's a baby in the tummy and I get all kinds of kicks or elbows thrown into my belly by her trying to get comfortable, but in true sibling form, brother always kicks back. When Aniston asks if I can play with her, I have put down whatever I was doing regardless of how important it is and played with her. I know that time with her is going to decrease when the baby comes, and I want her to have memories and positive feelings about the time we spent together before brother.

When the baby comes, the plan is for Aniston to stay with my parents. I have been preparing a special Big Sister box for her to open when she is there and before she comes and sees baby brother. So far I have a "I'm a Big Sister" shirt for her, and a super cute book all about becoming a big sister. We plan on including a toy as well as some special snacks to have at Nana's house when we are at the hospital. Any other suggestions as to what to include? I wrote Aniston a letter on the day she was born and put it in a safe place for later. I want to continue this tradition and write her letters on important days throughout her life. I plan on doing another letter right before brother comes and adding it to her letter box. Maybe when she turns 18 or gets married I will give it to her. I don't know.

Spencer and I are also trying to brace ourselves for having two children. On October 11th, we are going to a production of Les Miserables (MY FAVORITE) as kind of a last getaway before baby. I am seriously going have to go to the bathroom like 40 times before it starts to avoid getting up and leaving in the middle! I am so excited!!!!

There is so much to think about when you're adding a member to your family! If anyone has any other suggestions or ideas I would greatly appreciate it! I want to make this such a special experience for our little family and I want to make sure that Aniston is feeling accepting and not ignored at all during this time.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

DAY 1121... Farewell to Summer

Even though today marks the official first day of fall, our summer in the Ahlstrom house ended last weekend. This past week work started back up for me and Spencer returned to school. It was kind of a crazy week! But let's talk about summer.... Our summer was AWESOME! We played disc golf approximately 4-6 times a week... I mostly was forced to watch, lame. We had crazy amounts of BBQ, I apparently give the best and useful Father's Day gifts ever. And we just had a lot of time spent together as our last summer as a family of 3!!!

The lifestyle we live, doesn't permit us to travel very often, so we didn't vacation much, but this is our life right now and someday we will vacation our pants off.

Last weekend we snuck off to Jackson Hole, WY for a last summer getaway.

Spencer had never been there before and we figured when we live this close we definitely should take advantage of the opportunity to visit. We had an amazing time! The weather was beautiful and Aniston was seriously awesome. That's how you know you're a parent. When your days out of the house and the fun you have are dependent upon how well your child does.

Our first stop was to Teton Village because we needed to get our disc golf on. I apparently don't listen well when I'm pregnant because despite the fact that this course took place on the side of the ski mountain and was uphill and off road I wore a dress and sandals. But I walked the heck out of the course... and so did Ani. She only asked to be carried at the very end. I really wish I would've worn my fitbit to see exactly how far we actually walked. It was intense and the crappiest disc golf course we have ever played, but it was good to get out and hike and the views were amazing!

But despite the condition of the course, any disc golf time is a good time! Seriously... we may or may not be 100% obsessed with this sport. I am dying to start actually playing again as opposed to just taking pictures and putting.

It was fun for Aniston to go out and be in nature. We go to the park a lot and spend time outdoors, but for the past week she has been bragging to anyone who will listen about how she climbed up the mountain. This was real, serious nature y'all.

 Ani decided to take a selfie.... She's pretty legit I guess you could say.

At one point Aniston was a little worried because she saw this sign... but it wasn't worrisome enough that goldfish couldn't solve the issue and distract the child.

Aniston and I had time to kill while the others were playing the holes, so we set the camera to self timer for a little bit. Sassy girls... and brother.

At one point Spencer tried to convince me that carrying a disc golf bag full of discs, was just as difficult as being pregnant.... yeah right.

It was a wonderful day and seriously the best way to end the summer, besides if we had gone to Disneyland or Hawaii I guess, but perfect for our little family!

Now we're on to the fall... BABY TIME! I love sweaters, boots, leggings, soup, hot chocolate, football and when the leaves change. Ani is super amused by naked trees. It's so crazy to think about how different our lives and family will be by next summer. Bring on the fall!

Friday, September 19, 2014

DAY 1119... Gestational Diabetes

So.... this is the story of my life right now. I have been busy with doctor's appointments and seeing specialists and adjusting to this new lifestyle of having Gestational Diabetes. I am actually surprised at how many people this affects during pregnancy. It was never even a thought in my mind or something that I thought that I would ever have to deal with, but neither was hyperemesis with my first pregnancy. Once again, it's an opportunity for me to learn a lot and in this case, make changes in my diet and exercise habits that will hopefully be able to continue after I give birth and will allow me to live a healthier lifestyle and to become, physically, the person that I want to see when I look in the mirror. I want to like the way I look and to be happy. Having gestational diabetes may give me that insight and knowledge into making that happen or at least giving me a head start after baby boy arrives.

When I first learned that I had failed that lovely glucose test, my first thought was that the reason that I got gestational diabetes was because I was too fat or ate too much junk food. This idea, which a lot of people actually assume to be true is false. Gestational diabetes can affect even the most healthy of expectant mothers. It doesn't necessarily depend on what you eat or how you eat, even though those things can factor into GD, it's just the simple fact that your body is having a hard time breaking down your sugars. It just happens. I'm lucky to have a doctor who took the time to explain that to me so that I didn't feel like such a cow.

So now that I have gestational diabetes, what does that mean? It means that I have been put on a strict diet and exercise plan. According to my plan I need, or can only have 45 grams of carbs for breakfast, 45 grams for lunch and 45 grams for dinner. I am also allowed 3 15 gram carb snacks a day. The carb thing hasn't been awful. It's tough eating that much for breakfast especially since I have never been a breakfast person. And when it comes to dinner, I feel like 45 grams of carbs just isn't enough. Snacks can also be tricky, but luckily I have found a few snacks that I absolutely love like cashews, Greek yogurt, pepperoni, and of course lots and lots of veggies with cottage cheese. Pricking my finger 3 times a day hasn't been super pleasant. Ani enjoys watching, and I will admit seeing my blood sugar numbers in the perfect range do bring me slight gratification. It's kind of like a game. Sure it sucks to not eat whatever you want to eat and be lazy like a lot of pregnant women, but this is my life, and that's okay.

The first couple of days I had some crazy headaches due to the diet changes and restrictions, but it really isn't the worse thing ever. My specialist gave me a book of all the fast food companies in town and what I can and can't eat from them. I can have 3 nacho cheese Doritos locos tacos and be under 45 grams of carbs! Good news, but quite a change from a burrito or a big box meal with my baja. It's just not as fun eating Taco Bell without Baja. But it's all about being smart. I can do that.

I have been living this lifestyle for the past 2 weeks and my doctor was not so thrilled when it turned out that I had lost weight. But really? I mean what did you expect? You changed the way I eat completely and have told me to exercise or else... what was suppose to happen? But they said that my blood sugar levels look great and the baby looks good. So I will just keep on keeping on for the next 70 days maximum and make sure that this little boy is as healthy as can be.

It's nice to know that there's an end in sight, even though this does make me more susceptible to Type 2 Diabetes in the future, I know what needs to be done in order to live a healthy lifestyle and to avoid that destination. It has been a good change for my family. Instead of eating some sugary cereal in the morning for breakfast Aniston wants what mommy is having and is loving her turkey bacon and peanut butter on toast. We have enjoyed spending time together as a family hiking and being a little more active. There's a lot of good that I am finding in this garbage dump of a situation and that's not something that I have always been able to do in the past. This shows me that my attitude, my mind and my life is different now then it has been in the past. It's better. And it's better because I am surrounded by people who love me and care for me and are willing to help me in ways that I had never imagined they could. I am blessed and now I see that. Plus I have this little girl who has the most darling smile to brighten my day!

My doctor said she will not let the baby get over 8 pounds, so we will be checking in on baby boy starting in two weeks, twice a week so monitor his weight closely. I'm thankful for a doctor who understands my fears and is willing to help me have a healthy baby who will born without complications. His actually due date is November 28th, but I am thinking he will be here more like the 14th. Aniston was 2 weeks early and weighed in at 7lbs 11oz without these complications, so I'm thinking our little man will be here before we know it. Until then I will just keep being as healthy as I can, watching those blood sugars and soaking up every last day I have with just my Spencer and my Ani Kate!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

DAY 1111....Taking Time vs. Making Time

It may never seem as though there is enough time in the day... ever! Life is so busy and there truly is no one who has more time in a day than another. We are all blessed with the same 24 hours and that's that. How we organize our time and what we choose to do with our time is completely up to us. Now, once children and a husband come into the picture, in whatever order you deem fit for your life, we may begin to feel as though our time is not our own and our choices become based off another persons schedule or life.

That brings me to the title of this post, making time verse taking the time. I often feel as though I must "make" time for my husband and daughter. When I want to be doing something, it always seems as though they need to be doing something else and of course they need my assistance or companionship in doing so. I can't even imagine or comprehend making the time for this active baby boy growing inside me. But when I sat down to really think about how I spend my time I realized that there is a HUGE difference between making time for your family and making time for your family.

Taking time for your family, to me, means simply that you are involved in their daily lives and in the areas they need you to be involved in, but at the same time you aren't 100% involved completely in them or the activity. I am the first to admit, I am guilty of taking time for my family. I have gone to Spencer's sporting events, but spent the majority of time on my phone not completely involving myself in what he is currently doing, just being their physically, not mentally. Aniston has asked me to play and entertain her, but I am in the middle of working or crafting, or doing something that for whatever reason I think cannot wait and so I turn on her bubble machine, or a movie, or grab her coloring books but I do not join her or offer her companionship. Although I may be showing a smidge of support for my family by simply doing the least that I can, it's simply not enough.

We need to make time for our families. Although at times they may seem like a burden, they are a huge blessing!!! I remember seeing a saying one time that read, " please give me patience, to deal with my blessings" and this is my daily prayer. Once I start something or am in the middle of something I like to just get it done instead of putting it aside. But really, is anything so important that I can't put it off until bedtime or nap time and spend those precious moments, those moments that will not always be there with my family? I'm gonna go out in a limb and say no. Nothing is too important for family. Making that time for your family instead of taking time for them will make all the difference. Aniston won't always be little and won't always want to spend time with me, even though I am really really cool. So I need to treasure those times when she wants to color with me or play with me. Life will only get busier for Spencer and I and so right now is the time when I need to drop what I'm doing and support him in the things he enjoys doing. It's a simple way to show love to your family.

The ways I make time for Aniston are making sure I do her hair, she loves this!

It's not always the easiest thing and toddler hair is kind of tough to do, but it makes her feel beautiful and happy. I can do that. I can make the 5-10 minutes to actually do her hair and to make her feel happy and beautiful. I recently created an in home preschool area in our office, because Aniston was begging to go to school and doesn't quite understand that she just isn't old enough to go to school yet.

I make the time everyday to plan lessons and to sit down with her and help her learn. She has been LOVING it! She is just so happy to show her Daddy and anyone else who comes over her worksheets and crafts and to tell them what she learned about that day. It's a little time consuming, but it's so worth it! Spencer and I also make the time to do things that she enjoys as opposed to having her just tag along to things that we enjoy. She loves the carousel, so that's what we do for her. I can't ride it anymore because it makes me sick, but we make that 5 minutes for her so that she can be happy.

Family is so important. They can drive you crazy and get on your nerves more than anyone else, but they are your family. You love them, you want them to succeed, and there really isn't anything that you wouldn't do for them.

Spencer and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary yesterday and it's amazing what we have created in 3 years!

It's unbelievable! We have a beautiful 2 year old daughter and a little boy who will be here soon. Things haven't been perfect and it's been tough, but we find that by making the time for each other, we make it work. We are silly with each other, we laugh with each other, we make it through the arguments and disagreements and it's working. It's not perfect, but it is a constant work in progress and as long as we keep making the time for each other, than it will work.

I encourage everyone to learn to make time for your family as opposed to taking time for them. The differences and improvements you will see in your life will astound you! Everyone will be a little more happy.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

DAY 1104... Making Lemonade...but not real lemonade cause that would give me heartburn

Let's be honest. When I do not get the food I want, when I want it and where I want it I can get super grumpy. It's a major flaw of mine. Food has always changed my moods and has definitely had the ability to make me incredibly happy. I just love it. I understand that this relationship may not be the most healthy. Food has just always been there for me. It rarely lets you down. That's a good friend. Yes, I am aware that this is completely ridiculous.

One of the benefits of being pregnant is being able to eat whatever you want whenever you want right? I mean within the boundaries of what is safe for the baby of course. You get to eat more and feel less guilty, and although some all foods may give you heartburn, that's what tums are for.

I went in on Tuesday for my Glucose Test. Super fun eh? I actually don't mind the taste of the drink, although it does tend to make me queasy afterwards for a few minutes. I wasn't really worried about anything because I didn't have any issues with Ani and I have felt much better this time around, however I failed my test. By 4 stinking points. It didn't help that I have the worst veins in the world and they had to keep pricking me over and over to get my blood. Aniston thought that process was very interesting, but she gave me lots of kisses on my band aids to make everything all better.

Next week I will go in for the 3 hour test (yes, I actually asked the nurse and she said it will take the entire 3 hours), but until then my doctor has put me on a low carb/sugar diet. She didn't say I needed to cut out everything, she even said I could have soda (diet only... woof), but that I needed to cut back for the next week like crazy. Luckily I dabbled in low carb a little last summer so I have recipes that I enjoyed and I understand what needs to be done, but it should never have to be done while pregnant. I was also grateful that she was quick to remind me that this doesn't mean I'm fat or unhealthy, it's just my bodies reaction to being pregnant. I appreciated that. I didn't appreciate that I had just gone grocery shopping that morning and filled our cupboards with delicious carb packed snacks. Temptation!!!!

The past two days have been a little rough. Thank goodness I have Spencer to keep me in line and remind me that it's only for a week. It doesn't stop him from eating chips and ice cream in front of me, but he's trying. I have had the worst headache since yesterday! I'm already tired of eggs, lettuce wraps, and water. Not tired of bacon though... I could eat bacon all day long! Also drinking a gallon of water is just not awesome while you're pregnant. I didn't know that it was possible to go to the bathroom anymore than I already was! Not pleasant.

But I am doing my best to take these lemons and make lemonade. I crave lemonade! Strawberry lemonade, but that heartburn is pretty awful. Even thinking about lemonade gives me heartburn. Doesn't stop me most of the time. But I am going to see this as an opportunity to make healthier choices for myself, my family and most of all to keep baby boy safe and healthy. The past two days Aniston has loved eating healthier. She loves having eggs with mom in the morning and surprise surprise she likes lettuce! I think breakfast is the biggest change for me going from cereal cough, captain crunch, cough, to eggs and bacon. But I have felt more energized and less sluggish. Positive thoughts.

Here's to one week of not so much awesomeness leads to passing my test and an enjoyable rest of my pregnancy!