33 Weeks

We had our monthly ultrasound this morning for Miss Charlotte to measure growth and see if she had finally decided to turn.

Good news: She is head down!!  Woo!! And I think I recall the afternoon she turned.  I felt a JOLT - not really of pain, but it felt like a huge movement for her, and it was quite uncomfortable for me.  I kept feeling her little head nudging more and more into a transverse position...I kept feeling it more and more to my left side.  I had hoped that that meant she was in the process of turning, and turn she did!  It was such a relief to see that wand touch my belly and see her head shining at us instead of her little bottom. :)

More good news:  She continues to be in the 54th percentile with her measurements.  She is weighing in around 4lbs 15oz and measuring right on target.

I finally gained a little weight.  I'm up 3 pounds, so my grand total is at 13 pounds right now.  I'm still shocked by this since she is growing just like the boys did, but really....I'm not complaining.  I have about 6 more weeks to go (if she follows suit and comes about 10 days early), so I could potentially reach 20 pounds of weight gain, which would be typical for me....and great because I know I can lose that pretty easily and then some.  And boy do I need to lose the "then some."

I can't begin to explain how in love I am with this little girl.  When we first found out we were having a girl, I have to admit...I was a bit guarded.  I was immediately terrified, and it took me until recently to really warm up to the idea.  I didn't know how to be a mom to a girl.  I worried immediately that she wouldn't like me or that I would royally screw her up.  Girls bring a different dynamic - they are different creatures.  However, I have gotten over my hang-ups, and I am fully confident that she's going to turn out okay. ;)  She can't go wrong with parents who love her and a big brother (2 actually) who absolutely adores her.

Collen lovingly refers to her as "Char-baby."  He's really saying "strawberry" because Charlotte sounds close to that for him, but we'll take it as an endearment towards his sister.  Upon hearing her heart beat, Collen always chimes in and says, "Hear Charlotte?!" He will kiss my belly and point to it saying her name.  So, he's getting it.  Now, when she comes out....and she isn't in my belly anymore....I expect some confusion for him.  He loves babies, though, and is so gentle with them.  He loves to kiss them and pat their heads.  He will be a wonderful big brother.

Here is Miss Charlotte today 7/25/2012:

She kept her hand up by her face - determined not to move it no matter how much we jostled her around.  But, we got a good look at her nonetheless.  I was struck by how similar she looks to Collen.  Just...wow!  Especially the cheeks and mouth.  Around her eyes, though...I think I see a little of Ayden.    I can't wait to meet her and kiss those little cheeks!

A what?

Over the weekend, I noticed something on Collen's chest.

Since he was born, he has had this sort of "third nipple."  I know...weird right?  I know a lot of people get them, so it really hasn't been a big deal.  Just a little nodule that has been hanging out above his "regular" nipple.  It is/was flesh colored and had the same consistency/texture of a typical nipple, so we - and the doctors - just passed it off as just that.

Well, the day before leaving for the beach, I noticed it getting bigger.  Then, the next morning, it was red and had a white head to it.  I became immediately concerned but decided to just keep an eye on it.  The next morning, same thing....redder and more of a white head.  I call the doctor's office and set up an appointment immediately.  My first thought was that it was a cyst of some kind.  Other theories included a form of staph/bacterial infection or an infected/overactive gland that had been irritated somehow.

I took him in to the doctor yesterday, and it was decided that it was an inclusion cyst.  I thought, "A what?"  On my baby....a cyst?!  So, we had to have it drained....by means of holding him down and having to use a needle to puncture it and drain it.  That was tons of fun...

The doctor successfully drained it and cultured it to be on the safe side.  Collen is now on an antibiotic - just in case - and an ointment to help it heal. It is looking much better!

And I'm thrilled for him that it turns out he doesn't have a third nipple!!  I could just hear the boys in gym class picking on him....or getting him to show it off to everyone. haha

Never a dull moment...

Dwindling away...

Our summer is quickly dwindling away.  I try not to think about this fact daily.

We've been keeping very busy this summer!  Here is a peek at what's been going on around here:

Summer Project 1: Building a deck.

We have been in desperate need of "our space" in the backyard.  We let Gracie run around in the backyard so she can get exercise....which means we have to dodge holes and poop if we take Collen out to play on the swing set (which was destroyed in a freak storm we had a few weeks ago....along with our fence as well, which is the next project...more on that to come.)  We wanted Collen to be able to go outside and have a space to play in without having to always put Gracie in her pen while we were out there with Collen.  Why does she have to go in the pen, you ask?  Because she is one energetic, exuberant dog!  She is a little too loving, and it scares Collen when she runs up, gets in his face, and knocks him over trying to lick him.  One day, he'll be big enough to play with her, and they can romp the yard together!  For now, he needed space for his pool...picnic table...and a space where we could just hang out outside as family instead of the front or side yard.  

Thanks to some wonderful friends....and men who just wanted to learn how to build a deck....we're well on our way to it being finished.  All that is left to do is the railings and steps.  It's so nice to walk out onto instead of just stepping down onto concrete!

Project 2: Finding bedding for Charlotte.  I thought I was picky when it came to Ayden and Collen's bedding.  Choosing bedding for Charlotte has proven to be nearly impossible.  UNTIL...a kind, sweet, wonderful lady contacted me and said that if I got the fabric, she would make a bedding set for me.  WHAT A GOD-SEND!  I knew what I liked, but I just couldn't find it in one complete bedding set.  And if I found something close....it was too expensive.  So, I looked through several online fabric sites and finally found something I loved.  I knew I didn't want to go full pink.  Sometimes, you can go a little overboard with a little girl's one.  To each his/her own, but I love blue...and I wanted splashes of blue to be included.  So, here is the final fabric choice.  These 2 are the main fabrics.

These fabrics will be used for her quilt. :)

I decided against a bumper pad because I never use them anyway.  I put them in the crib to make it look pretty, but when the babies go in, the bumper pad comes out.  So, I decided to go with a rail cover instead.  I'll be sure to post pictures once it all comes together.

Right now, Charlotte's crib/furniture is at my sister's house being painted so graciously by my new brother-in-law.  He does a wonderful job at distressing furniture, so I know it's going to look beautiful!  We are using Ayden's/Collen's crib for Charlotte, but it will be painted white.  I love a white crib...especially for a little girl.  Can't wait to see it all put together!

After deciding on fabric, I had to decide on paint.  Charlotte's room is our former guest room/my mom's room.  We painted it a darker teal color....absolutely beautiful against the white trim!  But, it didn't quite match the light, airy look I was going for with Charlotte's fabric/bedding/furniture.  I surprised myself after choosing the paint colors.  I loved that aqua you see below, but....I actually decided to go with the middle pink (lighter pink), and we will be striping it against an even lighter pink.  

I have plans for the dark pink as well.  Our bathroom will finally get some color on the walls with this lovely shade of "berry much."  Love it!  

Project 3:  A desk for our room/more storage.  I had been telling Jeremy I wanted a desk for our house. We needed space to store all the odds and ends that end up on the kitchen table or in various other little, scattered spaces.  Our house is a bit small...around 1400 square feet, so clutter builds fast.  I hate clutter...with a passion...so I set out on a mission to find a "desk."  I just wanted somewhere to store stamps, checkbooks, pens, markers, mail, etc. all in one central location.  Also, I wanted space to sit and  do school work on my computer...if I needed to.  So, I went to a local antique store and saw this piece.  It was originally a dark wood.  We sanded it down, and Jeremy painted it for me.  I distressed it, and I love how it turned out!  It looks great in our room.  It still need a coat of protectant on the top, a lamp, and a few more finishing touches.  I love it!

Fun with Collen:  Kindermusik!  I was so excited to find out that our local parks and rec was offering Kindermusik this summer.  I had been wanting to get Collen involved somehow this summer, and this was perfect!  He rarely spends time with kids his age...aside from Sunday school...so this was a great way for him to socialize and learn to listen/follow instructions.  We went to Kindermusik every Monday morning for 5 weeks.  It was wonderful!  Collen LOVES music and animals, and this summer's class incorporated both!  I so enjoyed doing this with him...it was so great to watch him dance, play instruments, socialize...and be right there with him.  So much fun!  If you're able to do Kindermusik, I highly recommend it!

I hope the video works for you...

Our favorite part about Monday's after Kindermusik:  Lunch dates at Chick-Fil-A and trips to Target.

And Mommy's favorite part of the day this summer: Nap time.

I will confess.  Collen had never napped in his bed.  Ever.  Terrible isn't it?  I stayed home with him until he was 1.  Because of us being extremely cautious, he slept in our room until he was a year old.  Up until he was about 4 months, he napped in his pac'n play, and I usually laid beside him in our bed and watched him.  He didn't stay out of our sight very much.  Can you blame us?  Anyway, as he got older and more into a routine, I would lie down with him for a nap.  I loved those moments...just me and him...snuggled up together...listening to those sweet baby sighs.  He has never been a good sleeper, and napping with him helped him get more solid rest during the day, which made for better moods all around.  So, it stuck.  Once he went to his sitter's house, she tried getting him to nap in a crib, but he wouldn't have it.  She let him nap on her bed, and he would go right to sleep.  So, there it is.  He won't take naps forever....so I choose to enjoy these moments while I can!

Summer Vacations:

Collen's 2nd trip to the beach. This year, we went to a NC beach (last year it was Myrtle Beach in SC, which is where we usually go as a family, but without my dad with us this year, we all needed something different...it turned out to a be a good decision.)

Collen is definitely a beach boy!  He loves the water, and wore Jeremy out going back and forth and all over the place!  We visited an aquarium while we were there, and his day was made when he saw the alligators - his favorite animal right now.  I wish we could have stayed longer, but it was still wonderful to spend time as a family...especially before the arrival of a newborn!!  I'm glad we have these memories of just us and Collen.  We've definitely made sure we have made the most of our time with him this summer...it's going to change very soon.

Trip to the mountains:  We went up to the mountains with Jeremy's family. Collen got to visit Tweetsie Railroad!  He LOVES trains, and he thoroughly enjoyed everything about his trip to Tweetsie! He loved riding the train...seeing the cowboys....all of it!!

Project 4: Big boy room.  Because we needed Collen's crib for Charlotte, we were left with the dilemma of what to do about his bed.  His crib converts to a full size bed, but the conversion kit has been discontinued.  Note to all parents-to-be: BUY the conversion kit NOW because there is a good chance it will be retired.  Anyway, we were thinking we were just going to have to buy a new bed for Collen, but we just didn't have the money for that.  I searched craigslist...consignment shops...different places, but just couldn't find anything.  Then, one lucky day, a friend on Facebook posted a picture of a full-size bed she was selling.  Would you believe it was the EXACT bed we already had for Collen already converted to full size!!  How awesome is that!?!  I jumped on it and got it! Woo!  It's so nice that he can still have "his" bed (and for an awesome price...much better than buying new) and now Charlotte has a crib as well.  

The sad part:  taking that crib mattress out of his room.  Oh, I was almost a mess as I was taking his crib sheet off that mattress and moving it over the Charlotte's room.  I can't believe he's growing up so fast!  

Here is a picture of his new big boy bed/room.  They grow too, too quickly.

We have about 4 weeks left of summer vacation until school starts back.  So hard to believe it has flown by!  Collen is taking swimming lessons this week and next week.  I'll have to write more about that later.  We still have projects left to complete:

1. Finish deck
2. Replace fence that was destroyed during storm
3. Replace swing set that was destroyed in same storm
4. Paint Charlotte's room...de-clutter...find homes for the clutter.
5. Have a baby!
6. I'm sure there is more...

However, I plan to continue to soak up every moment I have with Collen.  I know I'll get maternity leave with him, but any mom knows that maternity leave is NOT extended vacation.  It is tiring, stressful, and tedious.  Nevertheless, I still look forward to that time with Collen and Charlotte together. Until then, we plan to spend as much time together as we can.  Football takes Jeremy away from us for the fall, so these next 4 weeks are extremely important!!

Hope you are all enjoying your summer.  Soak it up....it's almost over.

31 Weeks (While it's fresh on my mind)

Poor Charlotte....I don't update nearly enough on this sweet little girl who is coming very, very soon!

I confess - I bought a journal to write to her in.  It's still sitting on my night stand. I have every intention of getting started on it, and I get busy with something else...or I'm too tired...ugh.  I'm horrible. :(  BUT, lucky for her, I have an outstanding memory.  So, once I do get started on it, she will get the run-down, detail by detail.  Starting with January 9th - the day I took a pregnancy test on a whim and received a huge shock when I found out I was pregnant with this little nugget.  And then at 17 weeks when we learned about her 2 vessel cord, and she thrust us even deeper into prayer than we already were. And now, where every day I wonder who she will look like...be like...anticipating life with a little girl after my 2 sweet boys.

And I've added updates on the blog - so she can't say I didn't write about it.  She has no idea how precious she already is to us.  I'm still wrapping my mind around all the pink in her closet at the moment (finally got hand-me-downs unpacked and hung in her closet!).  I guess I'm so apprehensive because a little girl is completely foreign to me.  Being a girl myself, you'd think I would be a bit less nervous, but...also being a girl...I know how fragile they are.  Impressionable.  Emotional.  Not that boys aren't, but girls are just different creatures.  She will teach us a lot of life lessons, and I can't wait to learn with her.

Now...to the 31 week update.  Not much here, but I want to at least have it for my own records.

- Weight Gain - no new weight gain for me.  Still at a total of 10 pounds.  (I am SHOCKED by this...)

- Measuring at 30 weeks (today was the first day of the 31st week, so that is still good)

- Heart Rate: 140s

- Position - still appears to be breech.  If she turns, the plan is to let labor progress normally since I typically go about 10 days early.  If she stays breech past 36 weeks, I guess we are looking at a c-section.  I know we could try to turn her, but there are too many "what-ifs" that come along with that, and after living every day of the past (almost) 3 years daily saying, "What if?" I don't like the idea of that risk.

- Movement: Very active.  I can tell she is growing, which is a wonderful sign.  Her movements have gotten much more forceful in the past week. She has her quiet moments....when I frantically pull out the heart monitor to make sure she's okay.  Collen used to do that to me, too.  He would be super active and then super still.  Ayden was my easy one.  All I had to do was poke him a little bit, and I'd get a wiggle out of him.  I'll never forget finding his tickle spot when I scratched my belly one day around the area of his back, and he jumped all around. :)

All in all, she is looking good.  We go for another ultrasound on the 25th to check her growth and see if she has turned head down.  Keep those prayers coming.  You guys have been such encouragers and have helped keep me assured.  I'll be so glad when she's here, healthy, and in my arms. :)

Seriously, does it get any cuter than this?


My sister captured Collen dancing to DJ's drumming.  Too, too precious for words!  He has some moves!  He didn't get those from me, that's for sure!  Looks like he got his dad's rhythm. :)

Too Young

We've been out of school for 3 weeks.

And in 3 weeks, 3 of my former students (direct/indirect) have passed away.  2 fourteen year olds and one 21 year old.

The first was one of my 8th graders from this year.  He died in an accidental drowning while swimming with friends in a neighborhood pool.  One of his friends pulled him out of the pool.  I absolutely cannot imagine the horror his friend has felt since that moment.

The 2nd was just this past weekend.  I did not directly teach his student, but I remember him.  He was involved in a club fight downtown that carried out into the street.  He was shot and killed in the altercation.  He had been involved in some other things...felony charges...just breaks my heart that the route he chose seemed to lead to his death.

The 3rd was today.  Another of my 8th graders from this year.  I taught him all year, and he was one of my "success" stories.  He and I started out the year a little rocky....just learning how to work together.  He was one of my reluctant ones.  I couldn't keep him motivated.  UNTIL....I taught The Hunger Games.  He was hooked right away and was the first to finish the book - I think he devoured the entire series in a week's time.  Since then, I saw him take a 180.  He helped lead discussions, he was involved in class, he would participate.  He completed an awesome project when we read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief....one that I worked with him on and so enjoyed watching him complete.  He was so proud of it.  He was involved in a skate boarding accident.  He was not wearing a helmet and sustained an injury to his head.

I have lost a total of 5 students in my 6 years of teaching.  It's never easy. It's the part of the job that I absolutely dread because I know it's only a matter of time before the news comes of a loss.  And every time, it's always a shock.  Always.

And after losing a child of my own, it hits me so hard.  My heart aches and breaks for these families because I know the pain they are experiencing.  I know the future they have ahead of them.  I know the grief and the pain.  And these kids are like my own in a way.  As a teacher, I make it a point to try to form relationships with my students - ones that make it clear to them I care.  That I'm there for them.  That they can talk to me if they feel like they have no one else to go to.  I love my students...even the most aggravating of them.  There is something unique and good in all of them, and I make it a point to see those characteristics.

I told one of my colleagues tonight...."These kids are just too young to be going through this."  They are.  I will never understand.

Please pray for these families.  I'm at a loss as to how to bring them comfort because no comfort or kindness can change any of this.  My heart breaks for the family and friends of these kids.

Too, too young.