Guess who is still pregnant?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Well.  it's been a week since my proclamation that my dogs are trying to break the human-animal language barrier to warn me our daughter is preparing to be born.  A week sprinkled with energy bursts, fatigue, extreme heartburn, one nosebleed, a whole lot of sporadic cramps.  Alas, no baby, yet.

we are at 37 weeks & 6 days.  Let the counting down begin.  for reals.

bringing in 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Our 2012 made a change of pace than the previous two years (here and here) as I was in no way, shape, or form prepared to host guests at our house for a party like we have in the past.  Mainly because I wasn't even entirely sure that I'd be able to stay awake for the ball to drop.  But we of course weren't ready to throw in the towel for some new years celebrating - so like in years past, we set our sights on the annual Gilmore New Years celebration (this was actually Brandon & my very first dates after our first kiss on new years eve 2000) and had the luck of having Jon & Ninny in tow:)

Before heading to the party, we made a quick pit stop at Brandon's parent's house to visit with Gigi since she wasn't feeling well.

And then because my husband and Jon can't help themselves, they peer pressured Pap Pap into taking a Wisconsin Lunchbox in honor of the big night.  

Then my sisters, parents, and I exchanged numerous photo texts of each other from our various locations across Western PA because we all had separate party plans and missed each other.

Gilmore New Years eve is always filled with fun and laughter, but Brandon's favorite part of the holiday is spending time with his cousins, (who they have self-dubbed themselves 'the four horseman' in the apocalyptic horseman part in due to their tendencies to drink a whole lot in a very short amount of time anytime they're ever together).  As an only child, Brandon's cousins were basically brothers to him growing up, so I can't help but smile (and occasionally shake my head at their shenanigans) when they all can get together.

And since Jon and Brandon are basic clones of each other and attend all drinking/hunting/fishing events together, the 4 horseman has since been expanded to include a fifth horseman...and then our son and Ray's son also jumped in on the hand along the years, we've accumulated 5 grown horseman..and 2 horseman in training (oh, Dear God).

As official DD (and at 8 months pregnant), I spent the evening stuffing my face with spinach dip (mmm) and hotdogs & kraut.  It was awesome. 

Ninny is now a seasoned Studer/Gilmore/horseman wife and knows that the best way to spend your time at these events is to stay out of the way and sit back and laugh.  She and I played dress up with Grey

And they even put on a little musical interlude together at around 11:45p at night.  First of all, my 20 month old was still awake at 11:45p...second of all, musical interludes is kind of Ninny's specialty at Studer/Gilmore/horseman functions (taking into account the very first time she ever came to a new years with us and was coerced into participating into a 'talent show').  hahha, love you, Nin for being up for always being up for anything.

Grey was so glad to meet his cousin, Reid this year...and the 2 of them playing together was adorable.  Reid was so patient and sweet with Grey (as Booboo tried to sit on his lap 44 times during the course of the night).  

And Grey had fun spending time with his other Gilmore cousins, Katelyn & Alexis who were both happy to play with, wait on, or get snacks for him.

By the time the ball was dropping, I had a still-awake, albeit cranky toddler and a still-awake, albeit highly intoxicated husband on my hands.  After a quick popcorn snack (oh, Brandon...), we made our way to the truck and after locating a wandering Jon, was able to get on the road and sink into bed - thankful for another  happy, albeit busy, year come and gone.

With the new year comes resolutions which is really my favorite part about the holiday because I am such a cliche Virgo.  2011 was a great year for us; we moved closer to home, got a beautiful new house, started growing a new little studerbaby, Grey grew steadily all the while learning to walk, talk, and climb.  It was an exciting year, but a hectic one that sometimes felt like we were just 'getting through' the days.  Just getting through hard parts until it would get easier and things calmed down.  But as we can see, we aren't any closer to calming down, with a new dog, more renovations, and a new baby on the in the spirit of one of my favorite quotes:

"For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin- real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first,
some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.
At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
-Fr. Alfred D. Souza

we decided to make-over our new years resolutions into goal categories for the year.  Brandon and I had a long discussion about how we want this year to feel less like we're just getting through the days and more like we're working towards a goal...we'll multiple goals; who we want to be in a year from now; better versions of ourselves.

So we sat down and created our 2012 goals by category and then because I'm 'that mom,' we made one for Grey too.  We arbitraily came up with the categories based off of the things that we'd like to accomplish this addition to our 12 months of dates...and our 12 months of Kindness.  What can I say, I love making lists.

haha - pic of b&i my junior year of college (left) and my sisters dressed & dancing like thing 1 & thing 2 (right)

So our year goals are hanging in plain sight so as to constantly remind us to keep working towards the kind of self/family/home we envision for ourselves...especially on the days that feel like we're just barely hanging on.  

In case you're interested, here are our goals.  Putting them out there for others to read is kind of motivation in itself.  Anyone else busy working towards their 2012 resolutions/goals?

tab and brandon's list
image goal: 
grow mermaid hair, then donate, then pixie cut
get another tattoo/work on sleeve

physical/strength goal:
successfully complete the couch to 5k program
get back in shape (play a whole bball game and dumbbell bench 100's)

spiritual goal (or as we referred to it, getting our minds right):
meditate/yoga for a half hour a day
wake up at 6a everyday

personal interest goal:
finish the 1st draft of my novel (!!)
shoot a buck & a turkey (hunting)

family goal:
make a family 'yearbook'
get the dogs trained

house goal (in):
weekly meal planning (ugh, this could have been my really ambitious)
complete kitchen remodel

house goal (out):
organize & grow a garden
landscape flowerbeds (3) around the house

travel goal:
take kids to Baltimore aquarium & Children's museum
take family to Nebraska to visit new Jurich baby!

really ambitious goal:
read a book a month (make list)
finish man cave

Grey's list
physical goal:
learn to swim

spiritual goal:
learn to say grace

personal interest goal:
learn to ride a tricycle

brain goal:
count to 10 and recognize ABCs

social goal:
have a sleepover!

travel goal:
spend a weekend (each) with Aunt Kitty, Aunt Uch, and Jonny&Ninna

food goal:
try 3 new foods

chores goal:
help clear the table & wipe it off after dinner

really ambitious goal:
potty train

The Great Labor-Predicting Dog Experiment

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So I still officially have 22 days to go until my girl's due date.  However, my dogs started acting a little strange...and if you recall reading this post (from 3 days before Grey was born 2 weeks early), you can understand why I've now become a little suspicious that our dogs know something we don't know.

Starting yesterday, Bully has become on hyper-alert of any noise in, out, or around our house.  At the slightest wind against the door, he'll start barking like a crazed lunatic.  Both Bully and Trixie have been following me all around the house; I go upstairs, they come upstairs, I sit on the couch, they want to sit on (or near) the couch.  Outside of the super-alertness of Bullet, he is otherwise subdued and kind of mopey; not trying to get into any trouble.  When Brandon comes home from work though, they are mostly back to normal - it seems like its only when I'm here by myself that they go into weird dog mode.

And I'm not the only that thinks dogs (and other pets) are labor/pregnancy predictors!  Check out these forums here , and here, and here, and here!!  (which I obviously googled to check my sanity level...not really a legit sanity checker, but you know what I'm talking about)

I, myself, have been feeling a little 'off' for the past few days.  Just super tired (even more than normal pregnancy tired) and like my belly is so full of baby and my guts that it might just tear at the seams.  Occasional tightening of my belly muscles and sporadic sharp/hot pains 'down there' (ew?) have also contributed to Brandon making comments like, "Please don't let your water break in here" (while out to breakfast on Sunday) and me texting my parents saying, "the dogs are acting weird - can I get your work schedules for this week?"  (which of course led to some frantic call backs insisting I tell them if they need to a)boil water or b)immediately leave work).

Besides just feeling off, my belly is so big that strangers that see me out, say things like, "Wow, how much longer?" and "Geez, you aren't going to have that little one in here are you?"  I have a lurking suspicion that people are tempted to follow me around with their hands outstretched ready-if-needed to catch a baby that they think might at any moment fall out of me.  (oh, don't you just wish that's what they'd do though - just 'fall out.')

Anyway, after all that rambling and somewhat TMI-info dump...I'm getting to the point:  Last time, it seemed like Bullet gave us about a week's notice of Grey's point of the experiment:  If I don't have our baby by next Monday 1/30 - then you can all have a good cyber laugh at the woman who thought she can speak the secret, intuitive language of dogs.

If I do however have my girl before then, well I'm going to come on and post as we leave for the hospital and write something to the effect of, "booyah, told'ya so, my dogs are magical, holycrapwe'rehavinganotherbaby, why are animals so cool and amazing, see you on the flip side of reality when i am a mother of 2."

in the meantime, this little episode has been (at the very least) a fire under my booty to do all my last minute baby prep stuff, including:
1. finish all work leave paperwork
2. clean the house
3. stock up on necessities (toilet  paper, dog bones, cat litter, etc)
4. make a labor playlist :)
5. empty camera memory card & charge camera

stay tuned.
(cue ominous twilight zone music)

Prepping our family for the new baby girl

Thursday, January 19, 2012

We're in the final countdown now; only 4 more weeks until our baby girls' due date.  Cue simultaneously screaming in excitement while cursing in confusion.  This second pregnancy could not have been the same amount of time as the first - it must be an illusion...or maybe it was the preoccupation with current toddler that has kept me from psychotically counting down the weeks like I did during the first pregnancy?  In any case, we're here and we're not quite sure if we're ready to be here yet (ahh!  we're going to be responsible for 2 kids now?!)  We are attempting to prepare ourselves (all of ourselves) as much as possible for this new little being to come, but first lets go over the fun stuff...

like how my belly is bigger than a basketball.  it's hilarious to Brandon,

Those pics were taken 3 weeks ago, so you can imagine the size of my belly now...hahh, just kidding.  It's only slightly bigger, but with all the preparations going on, I haven't had time to remember to take an updated pic.  Speaking of preparations -

First order of business is preparing the house.  Like finally painting and setting up the nursery.  Gemma's room has finally made the transformation from catch-all upstairs room (acting as both a guest room & Christmas gift hiding & wrapping center) to a full blown nursery.  Bud got to work on painting over the bright purple paint with Sherwin William's White Dogwood.
Before:  bright purple walls
After:  light, soft pink for my girl
And since I'm a crazy wife/nesting momma, I have also pushed Brandon into painting the hallways since a)it needed done B.A.D. (I cannot look at those stencils one more day) and b) we aren't really going to be able to do it for awhile with a new baby around (it being the dead of winter and a new baby's lungs not really suited for paint fumes).  So due to my constant nagging asking nicely, Brandon got to painting over the bright.white hallway walls to Sherwin Williams' Nomadic Desert.

buhbye, stencils!!

still a work in progress....
Besides all the painting, I also painstakingly went through all of Greyson's clothes that he has outgrown and pulled out anything that seemed gender neutral - which means our girl is getting boat loads of brown and green hand-me-down onesies.  After the sprinkle, I also was able to wash all of Gemma's clothes (with the help of my own momma doing a load or two - thanks mum!) and Aunt Uch folded and hung up our girl's duds.

And as a double whammy to both baby prep AND working on our January Kindness, we re-organized and combed through all the toys in the playroom.  Out of it, we moved any potentially dangerous-to-a-baby's-well-being toys (like Grey's sports equipment, including hockey sticks/nets, tball stand & bat, and various small toys) up to Booboo's bedroom.  We also got a chance to toss some seriously chewed/destroyed toys in the trash and a few others went into our donation pile.

our slimmed down & organized playroom - Bonus:  freshly cleaned fish tank!
We also did a search & rescue for all our baby equipment...which surprised me how much equipment a baby requires..why did I forget so fast?  So, from the depths of our (still unpacked) garage, we found, cleaned, and re-assembled the baby car seat, high chair, swing, and bassinet.

And since we're talking about getting out the baby equipment, we might as well dive right into preparing bullet & trixie for the new baby's arrival.  Just like the last time, we have already set up all the baby equipment (swing, high chair, etc) a few weeks in advance to allow for the dogs to get used to the new items on the scene.  For Bullet this is a refresh of last time and he seems to remember pretty well that he's not allowed to touch/bite/chew on any of the baby stuff.  For Trixie, since it was already up when she came to us - she has already come to know that the stuff is off limits.

We have f.i.n.a.l.l.y. transitioned Bullet into sleeping in his crate during the night, which was not the case a few months ago.  We are totally bad dog parents and had allowed Bully (and his 80 lb booty) to sleep in our bed with us for most of his life.  But with the addition of his new, bigger crate; he is happy to snooze in there on his plush camo bed.  This has made a huge difference in my pregnant belly sleeping and will continue to make a difference as we attract more little children into our bed in the middle of the night (for b.feeding or nightmares alike).  And luckily for us, Tricky-Licky is one of those dogs that kind of loves her crate, so we have no issues with her sleeping there through the night.

For our final (and most important) dog prep, we have packed 2 receiving blankets as Bullet's and Trixie's in the diaper bag for the hospital, to deliver to the house to them before we come home with Gem.  We got this advice with the first baby and it worked wonders.  For those of you that don't already know this trick:  make sure to pack a receiving blanket (that you don't care about getting back) in the hospital bag.  On the first day, wrap the baby in it to allow the baby's scent to be on it.  Then have a family/friend take the blanket home to your dog.  It gives your pup the chance to get familiar with the smell of the new baby.  Bullet kept his in his crate until we got home with Grey:)

And then we are doing our best to prepare Greyson for his new baby sister.   We introduced a tiny bear into Grey's stuffed animal crew a few months ago as "Maxie's baby sister" to get him acquainted with the idea of a baby sister even existing.  And then by a stroke of luck and kindness, we adopted a baby sister for Bullet!

We also do a whole lot of talking about the ever elusive "Baby Gemma."  Greyson knows that there is a "Baby Gemma" in my belly (or he at least thinks we call my belly specifically by the name of "Baby Gemma"). We also have had Greyson help us in getting Baby Gemma's things organized.  So we visit Baby Gemma's room, and look at Baby Gemma's toys and clothes...I don't discourage Greyson from trying to play with or sit in Baby Gemma's things, and it only took a few times until Greyson started announcing, "Booboo too big" (like he did this morning when he tried to sit in the Bumbo chair).  This has been a good segway into talking about how Baby Gemma and Big Boy Booboo will be different and sometimes the same.  Like Baby Gemma will like to sleep a lot, but Big Boy Booboo will be able to play a lot.  And Baby Gemma and Big Boy Booboo will both like hugs from mumma and dadda.

We also have been making an effort to read books about new babies.  Our favorites right now include: Peter's Chair (Picture Puffins) by Ezra Jack Keats (especially love that Peter is at first frustrated that his baby sister is getting all his old stuff, until he realizes he's too big for all of it), The New Baby by Mercer Mayer, and Waiting for Baby (My New Baby) by Rachel Fuller.  Besides reading up on new babies, Grey has been "practicing" reading books that he will be able to "read" to Baby Gemma when she My Big Animal Book ($7.99) (My Big Board Books) by Roger Pritty, No, David! by David Shannon (one of Grey's favs right now), and his sports books: Touchdown! My Football Book and Slam Dunk! My Basketball Book both by David Diehl (he's slightly obsessed with these books, we're looking to order the Hockey and Baseball versions very soon as well.)

And either because we think its going to be helpful for him or just because we can't believe we're going to be in charge of another newborn again - we've been showing Greyson pictures of him when he was just a new baby.

And then it has been quite overwhelming to prepare ourselves, as parents to a very wiggly, squirmy toddler - to get our minds ready for a newborn again.  So I pulled out and dusted off my number one useful tool when Grey was a newborn, On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep by Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam.  I also (thank goodness) had saved all of Grey's old nap/eat/waketime schedules which has saved me from trying to re-figure all that out.  You can read more about why we use this sleep method here  (we realize every parent can make their own mind up about this stuff, so this is just for those of you that are wondering...not for those of you that want to pass judgments on our choice.)

Inspired by pinterest (when am I not?) I got into a very determined mission to make freezer meals for after the baby arrives.  See, the thing is, when we had Grey, we maybe had about 3 legit meals for the first 8 weeks of his life.  And those 3 meals arrived from our family & friends out of the goodness of their heart.  So, in an effort to not have to announce to my husband and our son every single night that we're again having cereal or frozen waffles for dinner - we've been chipping away at a list of meals for after Gemmi arrives.  Here's a little peek at what's waiting in our freezer (btw, Brandon keeps asking me, "so we have to wait until after the baby gets here to eat these right?  we can't just make this tonight?")

1. Baked Shrimp Scampi
2. Chedder & Cracker Chicken
3. Asian Salmon
4. Honey & Spice glazed pork
5. Best Burgers ever
6. Crockpot Lasagna
7. Beef Sammies Au Jus
8. Coconut Chicken 
9. Taco stuffed shells
10. Marinated Chicken for the grill
11. Brandon's chili
12. Brocolli & Wild Rice Soup
13. Roast & chopped veggies

Besides that, I've been making some impulse baby girl purchases (like at this shop and this one) on Etsy.  Sorry, I just can't reign myself in - oops!

hello pink tutu, flower headband, and adorable leg warmers!!

Okay fine, the whole point of this post was to say that we're all a little excited and getting anxious to finally meet our girl.  May the next few weeks pass quickly and painlessly...(HAH! here's to hoping anyway!)

Gemma's Sprinkle

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What is a sprinkle, you ask?  Why it's smaller than a shower!

My sisters (who from here on out will be referred to as fairy godmommas to my babies) threw a beautiful and perfect "Sprinkle Sleepover" in honor of our baby girl that will be making her way into this world sometime in the next month.  I had specifically nixed the idea of a full blown shower for our second baby (as it seemed a little greedy considering we already have 95% of baby stuff from Booboo's shower), but...we are having a little girl which clearly calls for a celebration of all things sparkly and pink.  Thus, the fairy godmommas pulled together all of Gemma's future closest girlfriends and mentors for a proper sleepover in her honor.

The fairy godmommas somehow planned the whole thing without pinning anything to pinterest (since they knew I followed them both and would be stalking their pinboards - hah), but despite having to be super sneaky, the sprinkle was decked out in cute ideas and thoughtful details every which way I looked.

They put together 'Wishes for Gemma' cards that we all filled out (even Dadda answered one, which of course made me cry).

They made homemade Body Scrubs for the favors - which by the way, I have since used and it almost turned me into a cannibal in the shower (wanting to bite off my own arm which smelled amazing in vanilla and sugar).

They pulled together some festive spirits for the non-pregnant guests to enjoy and toast to our baby girl.

And Gigi (my mom-in-law) was in charge of the Diva-licious cake

Before getting down to sprinkle sleepover business, Abba (my mumma) pulled out a surprise for the grandmas:  specialized pajamas with their respective names on them!

Then it was time to get down to business - the fairy godmommas had tons of plans up their sleeves to get us all ready to celebrate everything baby and girly.  We started out with the most hilarious baby shower/sprinkle game ever called "Welcome Baby."  The fairy godmommas had frozen tiny babies in ice cubes which we then dropped into our (very pregnant appropriate) Shirley Temples.  Each of us had to guess what time our baby would be born (aka would separate from its ice cube).  We all took our guesses and the next half hour or so was accented by overly zealous shouts of "My Water Broke!" when our babies were set free.  It was hilarious.

None of us could resist yelling, "Congratulations!" anytime a new baby was "born."  We all named our little babes too and we all cracked up as Katie became ever more annoyed by her baby who just would not let go of his ice cube.  (she got a prize though for being the most 'overdue').  Abba won the game as she guessed closest to the correct time of when her baby was born.

While we waited for all our babies to be born, we got to work on completing "Turn to me when..." pages of a book that is being organized for our new girl.  Each of us wrote down examples of times that Gemma can turn to us for support or help throughout her life.  Each of us had our own unique examples including "When you want to travel!" (from Aunt Karpy who lives out of town) and "When you need help standing up to your brother" (from Ninny who has 2 older brothers herself).

We also got to work on decorating onesies for the baby girl with fabric, puffy paint, ribbon, and stencils.

And all throughout the evening, the most influential women in my future daughter's life chatted and giggled the night away.

After all of our projects were completed and the table was filled with both meaningful words and adorable outfits for my sisters pulled out the big guns - with props for a 'photo booth.'  After the Shirley Temples, cake, and hilarious accessories - we all couldn't help but get a little goofy and were cracking up while posing for the camera.  Gemma girl - you have so much to look forward to:)

Even our new pup, Trixie got in on the photo booth prop madness.  (she's obviously super psyched about it)

After a quick change into our pajamas, we headed to the living room for a final game.  The fairy godmommas had each of us write a message on a diaper so that in a few weeks when I'm so tired and possibly annoyed...I'll happen upon these messages from my girlfriends to remind me to smile and that I'm not alone.  I could only take a picture of my message, since the rest are still a surprise.  We were saying, "write with the understanding that this message could potentially save a life!"

the first 8 weeks was the hardest for me with our first (so tired/zombie)

And then, of course, there were presents to be opened since my baby girl is so loved already and the women in her life can't help themselves but to spoil her.

It's hard to even find the words to say how much the sprinkle and having all the most important women in my life together meant to me.  I am surprised everyday by the things that come out of my son's mouth or the weird things he decides to do.  There is something very comforting and close already that I feel with the knowledge that growing inside of my (very big) belly is a girl.  And maybe we won't be anything alike, or maybe we'll be just alike.  But knowing that she'll be surrounded by confident, funny, and caring women for her whole life makes me so grateful.  Every which way she looks, she'll have examples of how to be a woman with grace and dignity (in various different shades and forms) and there is not a better gift we could ever give her.  

to my sisters (aka the fairy godmommas),
I could never tell you how much it has meant to me for you to be in my life.
the only way I can even come close to explaining how much I appreciate you both 
is to tell you that for the rest of my childbearing years
I will be praying for another daughter
because for Gemma to not have a sister herself
seems a tragedy
after what we have shared together as sisters all our lives

i love you
and thank you