Wednesday, May 30, 2012

36 Weeks

Another week, another growth spurt!

I can't believe it's been a full nine months! It's the strangest feeling to respond to the question "When are you due?" in terms of weeks (three and a half!) instead of months...

I read the other day that the 40-week gestation calculation isn't truly accurate, that 41-and-1/7 weeks is actually more realistic, so I'm trying not to get excited.  I'm prepared for the long haul, and unless we hit July 1st, I'll be patient.  At that point, I may not get out of bed in the mornings, and my 66-degree household may become a 60-degree household!  Bundle up...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Nursery Update: Details!

Where Baby Shove will lay her little head to sleep...

The nursery is (finally) done!  Although I originally thought that I'd be done way sooner, I should've known better; I am way too OCD to make anything simple...especially these days! :)

So we started out with this amazing yellow painterly paisley fabric, but as you may have read, I panicked about limiting my decorating to only yellow and brown.  After some thought and inspiration, I decided to add aqua and chartreuse, which opened up a world of options--and slowed my process down a bit.  Now that everything is said and done, I am SO pleased with my decision to add color, regardless of the extra time and effort it took to pull the room together.


I have some burlap chandelier shades in storage that I may add to this later on, but right now it brings a lot of much needed light to the room, so I'm skipping them for the moment.  If/when we do move, I have matching sconces that would (in theory) go on either side of the crib.  Right now it's too permanent of a project (rewiring and all), so we'll just wait until our next home to get use out of them.

I LOVE this chandelier.  Vintage/girlie/understated?  Perfect.


I've owned these eclectic frames for a while, and thought they'd be perfect for over the crib.  Originally I was just going to do Etsy-ish letters in them to spell out her monogram, but I was feeling inspired to paint, and took the opportunity to add color to the walls.  Unfortunately I had to "white out" our baby girl's first and middle names in the pictures (since we're keeping it a surprise), but you can get the idea of what they look like from the "Shove" frame:

I am really excited how these paintings turned out--definitely the right choice.


I decided to let a professional seamstress make the bedding, which was definitely wise.  Because our crib is so oddly shaped, it took me enough time and energy to put together the instructions on how the items (the bumper in particular) needed to be constructed that I was over it before a stitch was even sewn.  In fact, throughout the process of having the bedding made, the seamstress even expressed how difficult of a project it was, so I'm glad I didn't waste my time.  I ended up having her make a bumper, toddler duvet and throw pillow.  The yellow crib sheet's store-bought, and the tiered, ruffled burlap bedskirt is my handiwork.

Ruffled edges in solid yellow with painterly paisley ties

A solid yellow crib sheet (with back-ups in fun patterns for late-night changes)

Toddler duvet (for future use) and Grandma's ivory blanket

Ruffled burlap crib skirt with tiers for extra style


Our changing table is awesome; it has a changing table topper that allows the piece to be used as a sideboard when removed.  It's caned doors are antique-y and will match our home's decor for longterm use.  Meanwhile, it definitely adds to the vintage vibe of the nursery while still being very functional.

The window panels are "parsley" colored, and we used tiered, ruffled voile panels to block the sun for afternoon naps.  I think the addition of the voile panels really softened up the grown-up feel the parsley curtains...and blocked my backyard neighbor's view! :)

I like that this mirror is sophisticated but not formal.


Oh, the rug.  This was perhaps the hardest decision for me in the whole nursery.  The moral of my rug dilemma is this: Go with your instinct.  When I first thought about adding blues and greens to my color scheme, this rug was the first one I found, and I was instantly in love.  However, just like any OCD person would do, I had to look through about a thousand (literally) other options and hem and haw for about six weeks before ordering this one.  (Hey, it's a big statement piece in the room, and I'm going to be stuck with it for a long time, so I wanted to be sure...)  When it came in, I was so pleased, and since then it's been a major inspiration for my other elements (especially the paintings).  

I'm a bit worried that the dogs will dirty it quickly, but I've had difficulty finding a good alternative to Scotch-Guarding.  Right now I just try to steer them away from it as much as possible...which is hard to do, especially considering Olive's dog bed (which is made of white voile to match our window treatments) is dangerously close to the rug. :) 

This rug absolutely had THE PERFECT colors for the room!  (Olive's bed and a toy bin in the background...)


Our nursery's not a super big space, but I really wanted a little "activity area" for books and toys.  My solution was a bench with baskets for storage (which right now are holding a million blankets!) with a book rack hung on the wall.  I've also got a collapsible toy bin (which is full already) in the corner for quick clean-ups.

I also really wanted a way to display the baby's monthly pictures, and after running through several different options, I decided to go with a simple pinboard.  My other thoughts were too complicated, and ultimately I realized that I just needed an easy way to add new pictures month-by-month.  Right now it's empty--but pretty soon it'll be filling up quickly! 

The reading bench was an easy way to add storage space, and with colorful pillows it's super cozy!

A pinboard for her monthly pictures, a place to store books and somewhere to hang headbands?  Check!


I love that my chair is super comfortable.  I'm already getting a lot of use out of it--as is Olive. :)  I opted not to purchase the matching ottoman because I wanted the furniture pieces to feel eclectic (and to add more color to the space).  (In fact, none of my furniture is from the same collection, but I think it all blends well together.)  The nightstand is handy for storage, and the lamp has a dimmer for late nights.  I adore the lamp and its shade (burlap) because it looks like an antique but is super functional (and safer than an actual antique!).

Also, I got a great deal on a HUGE shelf for next to the rocker, and since I'm a vignette-y type decorator, it's really been nice to have somewhere for a few picture frames and colorful accessories.  

Olive is already enjoying cuddling in the rocker with me...or alone even!

A few little decorative items for fun

The bird nests that originally gave me the idea to add blue and green... 
Right now the frames have pictures from our Gender Reveal, but I'm ready for baby pictures to replace them! :)

Most of this stuff was already in our home and was easily repurposed!

So there's a few details of the nursery!  I've been a bit crazy and obsessive over this space, and I can't believe it's finally done...although decorating is really never truly done.  (Right, ladies?)

The only "big" thing I haven't decided on yet is whether I'm going to make a mobile for over the crib.  I'm not a huge fan of how they look, and right now I'm very happy with the paintings being the focal point for that part of the room.  However, I know that mobiles are great for keeping babies entertained, so I'm still contemplating making one.  Other than that, we're ready...or at least her room is ready ! :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

35 Weeks

Growing still!

As any of you Southerners may have noticed, it's super hot out.  I would say that I've been trying to keep out of the heat, but that would be a lie.  I have a definite impending sense of a deadline that's been haunting me (yesterday was one month from my official due date!), and so I've been running around like a crazy person trying to get everything in order.

Since our last baby shower was on Saturday, you can imagine my delight when BuyBuyBaby had a bonus registry event on Sunday.  (You only get one completion coupon, and so I'm glad to be able to save that for any post-baby needs.)  I went in with a plan: I went alone so that I could be efficient. I knew which items I needed to wait to use the infamous 20% coupons on, and which were either cheap enough not to matter much or were excluded brands.  I arrived early.  I wore my workout clothes and shoes (and had planned on working out afterwards...ha!).  I brought a bottle of water, a copy of my registry and all of my gift cards.  I was ready.

Fast forward three hours.

(Sound familiar?)  It was a mess...and crowded.  And I've realized that I have a knack for falling in love with discontinued or overly popular (and thus out-of-stock) items.  Four separate online orders, a special direct-from-vendor order and a cart full of "stuff" later, and I was done.  I'm not going to lie--I was HOT, sweating and my feet were swollen, but it was worth it.  We're almost all ready, although we're in the midst of gathering a few last 20% coupon items (because they'll only let you use one coupon a day, depending on who checks you out of course), and mostly everything is organized and in its place.

I also had a doctor's appointment today (which, yay!, Ryan was able to attend), and we're chugging along like normal.  I met with my primary doctor, Dr. Jo, and went over a couple of small questions I had lingering.  She "checked" me--nothing doing so far, which is great since Ryan has two more weeks of travel left before coming home to await this baby with me.

Now the clock's just ticking down...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nanny's Big Shower

Pink and green made such a girlie setting!

No one throws a party like Wendi Shove, and if you've been to one before, you know what I mean!

Ryan's mom (a.k.a. "Nanny") threw us a baby shower today, and her list-making and crafting and cooking and decorating truly showed off her creativity and love for a theme. :)  Hot pink and green--it was 100% G-I-R-L from rock candy to polka dots, with a touch of baby birds to top it all off.  Never one to shy away from a motif, Wendi really topped herself this time!

When I walked into Wendi's house, beyond being overwhelmed by the extent and elaborateness of the party decor, my first thought was, "Man, she must be running on adrenaline!" because I know how much time and energy it must've taken her to get everything set up just right.  (I'm sure she will sleep soundly tonight! :) )  She hand-crafted almost everything, from a "custom" piece of art where each guest got to stamp a bird or leaf onto a tree to baby-belly shaped food labels to a tree centerpiece with fancy, feathered birds and many details were carefully thought-of and executed!

Mmm...Piece of Cake!

My sister-in-law Lisa helped Wendi in her baby shower-ing, and the centerpiece of the dessert table was THE BEST strawberry cake from Piece of Cake.  If you've never had it, you should.  They only sell it during the summer (and on Valentine's Day, which I know because I got up at 8 a.m. this year to ensure that I got one for our Valentine's dinner!), and it is uh-mazing.  If there were ever anyone who knows where to get good food (of any kind) in Atlanta, it's "Aunt Lisa," and really she couldn't have read my mind better on this one!  (I even stole a piece for Ryan--news that he was very excited to hear even being all the way in Ireland.)

Wendi is very blessed to have an amazing group of women to call her friends, and they've been so gracious to Ryan and I throughout our life events.  It's a true testimony to her friendship to them as well as their love for her that they have been so supportive to us, and for that we are so thankful.  It was great to see so many of them because it's rare to see them beyond her annual Christmas party and the occasional run-in around Alpharetta.  It was also fun to celebrate this baby officially with my mom (although we've been informally celebrating along the way!), Ryan's Aunt Alana (who chose to be surprised with the baby's gender at the shower for the first time!) and a few sweet friends as well, making for a fun mix of people from different areas of our lives.

As for the shower itself, we ate, and talked, and ate, and usual Shove-shindig style. :)  This was definitely the shower that rounded out our baby girl's closet, with a TON of cute, girlie clothes that I know will be put to good use.  (Right about now I think we're at needing at least three outfit changes per day for the first year in order to get through all of the clothes!)  In fact, Wendi's grand finale was a cart literally FILLED (and even overflowing) with baby outfits--complete from head-to-toe with hats and shoes to match!  Everyone gasped when she rolled it out, knowing that she really outdid herself this time. :)  (Of course I didn't get a picture of it--boo!)

I did manage to get a picture of this girl, my mom's "big gift" for the shower...she's about four feet tall and so cute!

What should we name her?

Overall, it was a wonderful event, and I'm thankful to everyone who spent a Saturday afternoon helping us prepare for this baby girl.  You guys are a blessing.

And, of course, THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH to Wendi and Lisa for throwing a shower I'll always remember! We'll never be able to tell you how much we love you guys.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Traveling Husband

How do you explain to this little lady where Ryan is all the time?

If you've been following our lives over the past few months, you know that Ryan's been traveling perhaps more than ever, and won't be surprised when I mention that I just said goodbye to him as he heads for a quick jaunt to Northern Ireland.  For the past four years it's been a large part of our lives, and although we really would love to spend every waking moment together, it's not realistic, so we've got a bit of a routine down (well, as much of a routine as not having a routine can be!) and are pretty used to it by now.

Since being pregnant, I clearly can't travel with him, so that's left me at home to man the fort and the business, which I've taken to quite well and am really enjoying.  Ryan and I have always worked (even on the side) for ourselves, and have included one another on projects on occasion, believing that we work well alongside but not "for" one another.  Over the past nine months, it's been really great to see that we can actually like being on projects together, although we've been working on taking one another's opinions more seriously, since we both naturally tend to believe our opinion is the best (of course). :)

It's funny how work, more specifically work that requires travel, comes in major waves, and this spring it's been SUPER crazy (thanks, God, for the business).  It's gotten to the point where Ryan's been traveling back-to-back(-to-back-to-back) with perhaps only a day or so at home in between--if we're lucky.  I've gotten into counting how long he'll be with us by hours, not days.   The upside is that he loves the airport, the excitement, the experiences and hasn't really grown tired of it, although he misses being at home and we miss him terribly.  Those days in between travels have become tougher as of recently, and always end up with me teary eyed as he heads down to the West Economy Lot yet again.

The saddest part of it all is the dogs.  Unfortunately they don't understand why Ryan isn't here lately, and Olive's taken to sleeping on the steps near the front door waiting for him.  Every night I tell her how long until he comes home and kiss her goodnight.  Depressing, right? The upside is that her little puppy heart nearly explodes every time he walks through that door, which makes up for her temporary depressions. :)

Oscar, on the other hand, I think relishes Ryan being gone a bit.  He really takes to being the man of the house (because he has an excuse to bark more), but I swear I can see relief on his face every time Ryan comes home.  (Hey, keeping a constant, watchful eye can be stressful and exhausting!)  Oscar sleeps in Ryan's spot when it's vacant, which doesn't help to curb his inflated sense of manhood, but it does give me some welcomed nighttime company.

Keeping watch for bad guys and for Ryan's return...

Happy to hear when Ryan's coming home soon!

The silver lining to having Ryan gone almost continuously over the past three months is that he'll be 100% at home during late June and most of July.  When we first talked about this crazy spring schedule, I told him to travel to his heart's content and that I preferred an extra set of hands once the baby's here as opposed to having him jet off once she's born.  Although he'll definitely have work to do, thankfully his craft can be done outside of the normal 9-to-5 parameters so that we can divide and conquer when it comes to the baby--and for that, I know I'll be truly thankful...a first baby + two crazy dogs = a wife in need of a husband's help! :)  Luckily I've always been good at deferred gratification, so as long as I can make it through the next three weeks, life will be back to a more normal "normal."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

34 Weeks


Can I get any bigger? (I guess the answer is "yes," although let's hope not!)  The baby clearly had a growth spurt over the past few weeks; I swear my stomach grows a few inches overnight-every-night!

The latest with the baby (besides continuing to be on track and doing fine) is that she gets hiccups--A LOT! The first time it happened, I was a bit confused; it felt like someone tapping my stomach to a beat, but considering I was alone when it happened (and don't believe in ghosts), I realized that her hiccuping was the likely culprit.  It was so unusual-feeling the first time, but slowly over the past two weeks it's been happening more and more.  "The books" say it's a good sign: It means she's practicing breathing, which is crazy to think about.  However, as the weeks have passed, it's gone from "every few days" to "a few times a day," including during my doctors appointment this morning...I have such a hard time concentrating on a conversation when it happens--sorry midwife!

And speaking of midwives, I met with one I loved this morning and asked her what to do about avoiding Disliked Midwife #1 and #2 during labor, and she gave me a couple of helpful tips.  Crossing fingers that now-named Adored Midwife #1 is on-call when this little lady decided to make an appearance!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Baby Shower at The Barn

Shower time!

Last night we had our first baby shower, and let me just brag on my wonderful friends--it was gorgeous and so much fun!

A relatively mild night (Thanks, God!) in downtown Roswell's Fickle Pickle with super feminine and vintage decorations, these girls really outdid themselves.  Ryan actually made it in town for the couples event, and as we were headed out the door with nothing in our hands, Ryan looked at me and said, "Well this feels great...we just show up?" :)  It's been a while since he's even been to a shower (say about seven years since our wedding?) let alone been the guest of honor, and although it was TOTALLY counterintuitive for us to not do a single thing for a party, it was also so nice.

Peach, coral and gray...oh, my!

Girlie decor for our little girlie

We arrived to a twilit room in the back barn, complete with tissue paper flowers (which I'm sure took a million years to construct!) and lanterns, mason jars of peach and coral ranunculus, roses and tulips (which are now graciously beautifying our home), and picture vignettes of Ryan and I themed "First comes love...then comes marriage...then comes baby!" (So, so, so cute!)  Really, I know how much time and energy it must've taken these girls to pull everything together (especially with kids, husbands and careers to attend to along the way!), and not only did they go above and beyond, but they really, truly made it an event that was so beautiful that I just wanted to sit and take everything in all night.

This guy...

Beyond how everything looked, it was also so fun to see our friends (especially for Ryan, who's been home a total of like three days this month) and to catch up and celebrate. The highlight of the night, I must say, was definitely Tim Carley and Eric Ragone's Dramatic Readings in between gifts.  The hostesses had requested our guests write a bit of advice to Ryan and I or to the baby, and to liven up the opening of presents, the boys entertained us by reading the "stacked" deck of notes (some sweet, but mostly they just ragged on Ryan).  One of the most fun shower "games" that I've ever witnessed, here are a few of my favorite funny excerpts (written to the baby)...

"When you're 16 and want two cars instead of just one, don't worry, just remind your mom that she bought you two cribs. A girl's gotta' have options."

"Remember that your dad will always have the better hair products to borrow."

"When you're ready for your first beer, come see your Uncle Shane."

"Just because your mom was Homecoming Queen doesn't mean you have to..."

"Whatever it is you want, make sure to ask your dad."

Uh-mazing.  And, of course, I made Ryan actually do all of the opening of gifts, which was funny to watch since he didn't know what most of the items' names or purposes, which gave the girls something to chuckle at as he squirmed. :)

Overall, it was a wonderful evening and as Ryan and I settled down into bed last night, we couldn't help but be overwhelmed by our wonderful friends.  God has surrounded us with people that inspire us, make us laugh, give great advice, are fun to celebrate with, give us hope, encourage us, and people who make us better in life.  We were so overwhelmed at everyone's generosity not only in helping us "set up shop" for the baby, but also in taking time out of their busy lives on a Saturday night to hang out for some literal "baby talk."  Thank you to everyone who made it were wonderful!

And, of course, THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES OVER to Kristan Carley, Alli Finlay, Natalie Kitchen and Ashley Glover (and their hard-working husbands) for putting on an event we'll always remember! We'll never be able to show our gratitude enough...for last night, but mostly for being great friends.

And on a final note, man, that was one heck of a shower! :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Partner in Crime

Belly monitor for the stress test

So I'm running into a potential problem with two midwives at our practice. Namely the problem is this: I can't stand them. :)

I know that's terrible to say, and if it was just a personality problem, then I'd be a Big Girl and wouldn't mention it.  However, since the midwives will be the ones with us in the delivery room for the majority of our time in the hospital, I think that liking them and knowing they'll listen to you are two very important aspects of the relationship (right?), and these particular midwives have failed on both accounts. I inquired of a nurse/friend what to do if either of these midwives are on-call when I go into labor, and the verdict was to basically just suck it up and not worry about what they think of me as I fight for the labor experience I want.  Luckily Ryan will be by my side and, despite being a generally nice guy, has a really intense protective side (poet/warrior) and will go head-to-head with whomever stands in our way.

And speaking of Ryan's dual personality, I believe that this little girl definitely has a bit of that in her.  I can tell (beyond basic intuition) because she's been really well-behaved and sweet during all of the poking and prodding and ultrasounds done by the staff members that have been nice and supportive.  On the other hand, when Disliked Midwife #1 was listening to her heartbeat (during the infamous Bellyflop Debacle) and was chastising me for a number of things that I disagreed with, she straight up KICKED the midwife's hand directly.  I was boiling over internally as she was jabbering on to me, but I held my tongue--which worked out well because the baby told her off FOR me.  The midwife was shocked for a second because it seemed like such a purposeful motion by the baby that it made her shut up.  I smirked and just looked at her silently. Take that!

You may think that it was just a small coincidence, which I did at first too. Then, I had an appointment with Disliked Midwife #2 (the same one who tried to force me to get a flu shot), and once again, as she tried to force a Zofran prescription upon me unnecessarily, the baby jabbed her harder than she's ever punched.  Once again the midwife was surprised because it was a direct hit and clearly was reflective of my attitude toward the discussion.  She made a comment about it, and my subsequent silence sufficed in ending the conversation.

AND THEN IT HAPPENED AGAIN!  I'm not kidding.  Last week I met with a really nice doctor, and the baby handled his poking and prodding just fine, but because her movement has been way less than it has been previously, they did a stress test.  As they were prepping me for the belly monitor, I was finishing up with my list of questions, and came to my final problem: What are my options if either of these midwives are on-call during my labor? (Just wanted the doctor's official verdict on the subject.)  Unfortunately, as I was about to broach the subject, one of the midwives came in the room, and I had to hold my tongue...and then the baby about stuck her foot straight through my stomach in the direction of the midwife as if to say, "Hey, get the heck outta' here; we're talking about you!"  I almost laughed out loud!  In fact, the doctor actually did, commenting, "Well, at least we know she's moving now!"

I know it sounds crazy, but I really feel like I can tell what her personality is going to be like already, and I can't wait to see her grow up.  She's such a sweetheart most of the time, but she has opinions and  already won't let anyone mess with her.  (Her sweetness clearly comes from Ryan, but that opinionated attitude? Hmmm...I have no idea where she gets that from.  Must be a fluke.  Ha!)  Thankfully as I've gotten older I've learned to be a little better at holding my tongue, and, perhaps as a reward for my good behavior, God's given me a kid who will have the audacity (and excuse, since she'll be "an innocent kid who doesn't know any better") to say what I'm thinking...the perfect partner in crime!

(And, by the way, the other 99% of the staff members at our practice--doctors, nurses and midwives--are amazing, so the odds are in my favor for having a great midwife on-call for the delivery.  Also, just to quell any fears, the stress test turned out fine; she's just getting too big to move as much.  Yikes!)

33 Weeks

SEVEN weeks to go...give or take a few!

I walked into my 32 week appointment last Thursday and the first thing the doctor said was (well, actually, he exclaimed) "Whoa! You're having a giant baby!" Ha. He did my stomach measurement to make sure everything was okay, and despite looking huge, he said I'm right on track (and wrote "32 5/7 cm" on my chart, which would be exactly on target).  Just when I think I can't get any bigger, it happens!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

On Set with Retro 8

My best function on Sunday? Stand-in for lighting...

I finally understand what it's like to be old.  Let me just say this: It stinks.

Since working from home full time, I've been trying to help out Ryan with Retro 8 Films more.  Over the past few days he's finally been shooting here in Atlanta, so I decided to help on set--but perhaps I overestimated my abilities at this stage in pregnancy.  It's HOT, and after a successful, 9-hour shoot (mostly outside in Piedmont Park) that ended with a flat tire and an arrival at home at 2:30 a.m., saying we were exhausted would be an understatement.  Truthfully, I almost felt bad being there because I wasn't of too much help; my hands and feet were so swollen they were painful to look at, and no one would let me carry barely anything.  Dead weight?  Maybe.

So yesterday when we had some guys doing guerrilla shooting around town, I relegated myself to being the taskmaster, riding along, making phone calls and (pretty much) just bossing them around.  In my element? Well, yeah, maybe. :)  The only problem? It was STILL HOT and, once again, an extremely long day.

Today I'm achy and sore and exhausted (Sleep? Who needs sleep?) and am walking around like a little old lady--a limp (from a KILLER middle-of-the-night charlie horse that's left my calf sore for two days now!), a stiff lower back, no energy and a cloudy brain.  I don't want to feel this way even for even half of a day, much less for the latter half of my life!  God, help me to stay active, competent and healthy as the decades pass...

Beyond resulting in my feeling physically old, the past few days have really made me appreciate Ryan even more than before.  When he's out of town for work without me, I forget how HARD he works, and how LONG his hours are.  I know that there's something in men that drive them to want to provide for their families, and I'm so proud that Ryan's found a way to do what he loves and make a living.  I think back four years to when he first quit his 9-to-5 job and how scared I was--in fact, I believe that I delayed him in even making that decision because of that fear (bad wife!)--and how life would be so different and less fulfilling for him if he hadn't followed his heart.

It will be interesting to see how much of our work lives change when this baby arrives (clearly mine has already adjusted over the past eight months), but regardless of the impact, I know that Ryan's talent and drive won't change, which is an encouraging constant.  Now if only God would protect his health too as we age, we'll be in good shape. (Pun intended.)