I honestly debated even writing this post because, let’s be honest, it’s most likely going to contain a fair amount of whining. And I hate whiners. But then it seemed dishonest to ONLY post about pregnancy when things are sunshine-y, so…here we are.

THE FINAL THREE WEEKS.

Truth be told, I’m super ready for this baby to be here and hoping the last few weeks zip by. For one thing, I feel totally ready. The nursery is done, the hospital bags are packed, the prep classes have been taken, and the pediatrician has been selected. We’re as ready as we’re going to get.

For another, I am also physically ready to be done being pregnant. Y’all know I actually enjoyed most of the process (I believe the words “I love being pregnant” were bandied about), so believe me when I tell you: I have different feelings about the last month and a half. Because those last six weeks? Mine weren’t even what I would classify as “horrible,” and they still were not awesome.

Like most things in pregnancy, I felt like things changed overnight. One day I was perfectly content, still able to do pretty much the same things I always did. The next? Well…let’s get into the update.

How do you feel?

I mean…fine. But mostly, uncomfortable. I have to be perpetually standing or slightly leaning back to keep my sternum from digging into my uterus (GlAmOrOuS!!!)(and even then, I’m still not really comfortable), I’m tired all the time, I get weird aches and pains virtually all the time, and sleeping through the night hasn’t happened for a few weeks now. Oh, and I’m hot all the time. And a few other symptoms that I am generously deeming TMI and keeping to myself, but trust that they are unpleasant. YOU’RE WELCOME.

How’s the belly?

Giant. And heavy. And hot. And every time someone tells me, “Oh, but you’re still so small!” I want to use it like a battering ram to boop them out of the way.

But, otherwise, you know, healthy. This kid is super active, which is equal parts charming and painful depending on when you ask. I think we’ll both be a lot happier when she can practice her calisthenics outside the womb.

Any weird symptoms or cravings?

Nothing too bizarre…I need a ton of ice in all of my drinks these days, but I think we can blame that on the 90-degree weather. I don’t get that hungry (blame the baby squishing my stomach), so it’s pretty rare that anything sounds all that great. As for my symptoms, I think they’re all pretty textbook at this point.

How’s your health?

Again, I can’t really complain about much because the answer to this question is a resounding, “GOOD.” Now that we’re at the tail end of things, I meet with my midwife once a week until the miss makes her appearance. They’ve stopped pushing me to gain more weight now that I’ve gained around 20 pounds, so I guess that means things are fine? Vivi is measuring at a good size, so that’s what really matters.

I’m just…ready to be done being pregnant. Even though I know life isn’t going to really go back to what I’m used to, I’m excited to at least be able to move like a normal person again (and to put on socks and shoes without having to hold my breath…the little things). So here’s hoping Vivi gets the memo and doesn’t try anything crazy like staying in there past her due date. (You hear me, young lady?)

I love when I promise you guys a post about a certain topic and am actually able to deliver in a reasonable amount of time. You know, instead of cowering around here in shame, avoiding eye contact because I know, I KNOW, you guys.

On a not totally unrelated note, I’m ready to share pictures of Vivian’s nursery! (Can you believe it? Remember 2011 Justine and her empty promises of apartment posts? She was a real flake.)

A while back, I shared the plan for what I wanted to do in our tiny back bedroom, and in general, I didn’t stray too far from that original vision. First, the photos:

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Let’s talk details. The first big decision I made about the room was the crib I wanted. I knew I wanted something white and modern that could easily be reused in the future if we had another baby, regardless if it was a boy or a girl. My parents generously offered to purchase this adorable model. If, for whatever reason we don’t have a second tot or we wait a while longer, this crib also converts into a toddler bed so Vivi can get plenty of use out of it. Plus, I LOVE that extra storage drawer for her sheets and the FIVE handmade blankets she has been lovingly given so far.

The first actual purchase I made for her room, though, was this super soft shag rug. Our entire apartment is floored with tile, which while cool in the summer, I imagine will be a little chilly in the colder months. The rug is fluffy and cozy as can be, and I can totally imagine Vivi crawling around on it when she’s a bit older.

Next, I was pretty thrilled to find this mid-century modern dresser on Craigslist after MONTHS of searching. As I said, the room itself is pretty small, so it took a while to find something within my budget that was also the perfect size for the space. This one has been impeccably maintained, and it provides tons of needed storage for the room.

The leaning bookshelf and rolling cart from IKEA were both items we had previously, meaning they didn’t cost a penny to add to the room. Dontcha love that? And considering one of Vivi’s showers was book-themed, it was nice to have a place to display her new library.

The picture frames were all mostly repurposed from other rooms in the apartment or given to me by friends who were doing their own clean-outs. I filled those with some of our maternity pictures and this and this from Etsy. Obviously I have a couple baby stock photos to replace once our actual baby arrives, but you get the idea of how it will look. I was also excited to be able to display the flower crowns my sister-in-law made for our gender reveal party — they match everything perfectly. I also added this light-blocking curtain from Target — in hopes of creating an environment where Vivi will just love to sleep.

Finally, those peonies on the wall. I was inspired to do some kind of flower mural by pictures I spotted on Pinterest, but I have to admit I was pretty nervous when it came time to put paint to wall. I am not really much of an artist (pretty much all of my flowers look like the ones you’re looking at), and I’d never done anything on this scale before. When I painted the first layer, they mostly just looked like coral-y blobs, and I was convinced I had ruined everything. Then I started to even everything out, sort of the way I would pastels or even watercolor paints, and slowly the actual flowers took shape. Adding the stems also really helped to ground the whole thing and keep it from looking too floaty and girlie. Now that everything is in place, I’m glad I went for it and think they give the whole room a lot of character.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with how the whole thing turned out. The room has a really cozy vibe when you first walk in, which, again, will hopefully be helpful in convincing our little lady to learn to sleep through the night quickly. (Are you sensing a pattern here?)

A couple of caveats before I can officially call the room DONE: I’m still waiting on the arrival of our mint glider. That should arrive by September 9th, though, so never fear. I’m planning to put it where you currently see Vivi’s swing chair. (Her chair, by the way? SO COOL. I can control it from my phone. It’s amazing.) I’m also waiting on this bear print that will most likely end up over the dresser somewhere, and this pillow to prop up in the glider.

It’s kind of incredible what a sense of relief I have now that the nursery is baby-ready. (I also spent the weekend packing our hospital bags, so that’s probably giving me a sense of ease as well.) Considering the little lady could make her appearance any time in the next 2-4 weeks (eek!), it’s nice knowing I can check off these huge to-dos. I can’t wait to bring her home!

You know that old adage, “It takes a village to raise a baby”? I’ve always believed there was a fair amount of truth to that. I mean, raising a responsible, good human sounds challenging — it would be great to have some help.

And, fortunately, having help and a village of people who care about Joey, me, and our little babe is something I’ve never had to doubt. For example, our incredibly generous family and friends threw us three baby showers in total (four if you count this sweet crafting session three of my girlfriends planned when they visited the city for a weekend).

I loved each and every one of them, and I decided to share the details at once. First up, my mother-in-law’s shower for Long Island family and friends:

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The theme was based around about a million pink, gold, and mint circles that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law spent weeks cutting out by hand. Two highlights: My parents surprised me by flying in for this one, and that cake pictured? It was AMAZING.

Next up, a tea party-themed brunch by my momma:

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This intimate little brunch was the perfect way to celebrate with some family friends during a quick trip back to Iowa for my friend Susan’s wedding. Food was definitely a highlight, considering my mom made two kinds of French toast casserole and three baked egg dishes. Because she’s an animal.

And finally, my friend Cynthia’s Once Upon A Time-themed shower in a book shop:

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Cynthia’s shower was packed with so many adorable, thoughtful details, including food and desserts themed after children’s books, book page table runners, and adorable nursery rhymes to go with every game and activity. (Shameless plug for my friend: Why is Cynthia so awesome at planning parties? Because she’s a professional event planner! You can actually see even more adorable photos from the shower on her company blog here.)

I loved how each shower was unique and had its own feel, but they all felt so personal since they either incorporated our nursery color scheme or things I love (brunch and books, of course). It makes my heart feel so full to see how many people already love our little girl, and I’m so touched at the effort everyone went to to throw these parties. If it takes a village to raise a baby, I’m feeling pretty good about the village I’ve found myself in.

Man, it’s been all quiet on the western front of this blog this week, huh? (What? I don’t know.)

I have a couple of posts I want to write, including a recap of the three awesome baby showers my friends and family have had for us in the last couple months and a nursery update, but those will have to wait until next week. Because, if I’m totally honest, there’s something else on my mind.

Y’all know that for the most part, I have loved being pregnant. Really and truly. But as we embark on our final month of gestation, I have to admit that I’m rather ready to trade in this belly for a baby.

And if I’m really honest? A big part of that is that I just want to wear regular clothes again. I know; I’m totally shallow.

But it’s almost FALL, you guys. And that change in the season just does something to me. In particular, makes me salivate over boots and coats and dresses with sleeves.

And because it’s Friday, and Fridays are great days for frivolity, today we’re going to talk about some frivolous fashion. Because it’s my blog and I’ll be shallow if I want to.

Of course, I’m also aware that post-baby, our budget will be even stricter since we have another person to support (who is not bringing in any income…lazy baby…). Which is why I’ve decided to create my fall wishlist now so I won’t be tempted to deviate and buy anything I haven’t really, truly wanted for months. That seems pretty responsible for a frivolous fashion wishlist, right? (RIGHT?)

So here we go! My Fall 2015 Fashion Wishlist — and one of my first posts in a long time that doesn’t really have anything to do with pregnancy. You’re welcome.

Fall 2015 Wishlist

 

1. First things first, the thing I am most excited about is to have a normal waist again. And, yes, I’m aware that there is baby weight to lose and that I might not have my normal waist immediately. Get off my back, Debby Downer. But ONE DAY, it will be back, and I will be able to wear A-line dresses and skirts. And when that day comes, I am buying ALL the midi dresses/skirts and wearing them constantly. I cannot wait.

2. I want to get a nice fall jacket this year. These two drapey ones from MANGO are especially appealing to me because they seem cozy and forgiving, especially when you’re still getting your normal shape back.

3. Okay, I guess this isn’t truly a baby-free post, because this is most definitely a diaper bag. But isn’t it pretty? And since it’s technically for the baby, it’s a slight splurge I don’t have to feel guilty about. (Plus I do have all those gift cards to spend on it…)

4. At some point, I need to buy a new pair of jeans. This will probably be the last purchase on the list due to the aforementioned baby weight, but, again, ONE DAY.

5. I have been trying to buy black booties with a brown heel for the last 3+ years. And you know what? This is the year. I’ve decided. I’m mostly holding off on this purchase because I want to make sure my shoe size isn’t going to change during pregnancy. We’re almost done, though, and so far, so good. (Which is fortunate, because homegirl has some big feet already.)

Is anyone else already dreaming in fall clothing? I mean, I know it’s only mid-August, but these crisp mornings are hitting some trigger point in my brain that is impossible to ignore. And when all you can wear are loose dresses and pants with elastic belly bands, it’s really the little things (like clothes with an actual shape) that get you going.

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I want to talk to you about the father of my child for a minute.

He’s pretty handsome, right? Not to sound totally shallow, but it’s pretty fun waking up to a handsome face every day.

His handsomeness is not what I’m here to talk about. I just think it’s fun.

What I really want to talk about? How excited I am to have a baby with this person.

On some level, I always knew Joey would make a great dad. I don’t think you marry someone without at least considering whether or not they would be a good parent unless you are dead-set against having kids yourself. I was pretty sure I did want kids, so I thought about it. And yup, I thought, he would be good at it.

Which isn’t to say we both didn’t have some growing up to do first. When you get married in your early 20s like we did, you probably have more growing up to do than most. And when you get married in your early 20s like we did, it’s not always a smooth, simple process.

I’m incredibly grateful, though, that we grew up and together. In fact, I think Joey and I have never been a better match than we are today.

I’m also incredibly grateful that we both grew into people that, I’m pretty sure, will be pretty good parents. At least, I know Joey will.

Joey is the kind of guy who remembers my friends’ various diet restrictions, just in case they want to come over for dinner, so he can cook them something they’ll like.

Joey is the kind of guy that, when he figures out something that makes you laugh until you almost pee your pants, will find as many excuses to do that thing as possible because he just likes seeing you crack up.

Joey is the kind of guy that babies notice from across a room and instantly grin at, as if simply seeing his face is the best part of their day.

Joey is the kind of guy who, when you’ve spent all day carrying your pregnant belly around to just limp home and collapse on the couch and lazily ask for a glass of water even though you’re two feet away from the kitchen, he’ll immediately get it for you without any fuss even though he was probably already making you dinner. No heavy sighs or dramatics. He just wants to take care of you.

Joey is the kind of guy who, in birth prep class, will make you try every practice labor position on the birthing ball and test every massage apparatus so we can be sure we’ve found the ones I like best. Then he’ll commit to memory what I liked so he can help as much as possible when we do this labor thing for real.

Joey is the kind of guy who, when I’m exhausted and finally starting to get tired of this growing-a-human thing and let myself complain a bit, tells me what an amazing job I’m doing and how brave, strong, and great he thinks I am.

Joey is the kind of guy who wants to read to the baby every night, but first he wants to wait until I feel her moving so he knows she’s awake and “paying attention.”

Joey is the kind of guy who never, ever loses that look of amazement and wonder in his eyes when he feels the baby kick or move in my belly.

Joey is the kind of guy who whispers to my belly before we go to sleep, sharing a private moment with his daughter that always ends with him telling her how much he loves her and can’t wait to meet her.

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to think of a guy better suited to being a dad.

I’m so glad I married this man. I’m so glad we stuck it out through the not-so-smooth-or-simple parts of growing up together. And I’m so glad I get to have a baby with him.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

You’re the best, Joey. You’re going to be so great at this — you already are. I love you from the left to the right.

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All photos by Figment Art & Photo Co.

33 weeks

33 weeks

My baby will be here next month.

Can your brain even wrap itself around that sentence? I’m not sure mine can. Hitting the 33-week mark and realizing the bean could be making her debut any time in the next 4-6 weeks (because, for whatever reason, I’m convinced she’s going to be a week early from her September 20th due date) is a bit of a…humbling experience? Intimidating? Something in that vein.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for it. As much as I’ve loved being pregnant, I can’t deny that each week of the third trimester seems to bring a new ache or complaint, not to mention the fact that my belly is just running out of room to stretch. And, you know, that whole being SO FREAKING EXCITED to finally meet our little girl.

It’s just a little overwhelming to realize how little time we have left before someone just hands us a baby and shoos us on our way.

To whom it may concern, here’s a general check-in of how the little lady and I are doing lately:

How do you feel?

I promised myself that I would appreciate every little bit of this process, so I really hate to complain about anything associated with pregnancy. But if I’m being totally honest…I’m getting tired. The third trimester has been a whole new experience for me, with increased fatigue, heart burn, and general discomfort (though, still, really, not that bad). If there’s some kind of committee lobbying to get this whole “human gestation” thing cut down to only seven or eight months, I’d be happy to sign the petition.

Overall, though, still feeling pretty good. The heat gets to me, but as long as I can find air conditioning, I can survive.

How’s the belly?

Bigger every single day. I think people think I’m joking when I say that, but I have never been more serious. I literally wake up every morning and it has grown. I’m not quite waddling yet, but I can certainly see how I would get to that point before D-day.

How’s Vivi?

She seems pretty happy to me! She moves a TON, despite her quickly cramping quarters. Yesterday, she’d wiggled herself into a horizontal position, which is how she spent most of the second trimester, but suffice to say we don’t fit like that anymore, Vivs. We’re both happier when she stays vertical, preferably with her head down like it’s supposed to be. But so far, we’ve got a strong, active girl in there. Tomorrow is our last sonogram, and I’m pretty excited to see her face again before I get the real thing.

Any weird symptoms or cravings?

Carbs in general sound pretty great most of the time, but especially waffles. I also still like the sound of ice cream pretty much all the time, but I think I can blame that on the heat. As for symptoms, like I said, heartburn, back aches, and holy HORMONES, Batman. I cry at everything, which can be annoying. (For me…and I assume for the people who have to deal with me.)

How’s your health?

You already know my midwife wants me to focus on gaining more weight in the remaining months (though I’m curious to see how tomorrow’s sonogram affects that), so I’m trying to eat at least a little something every couple of hours even if I’m not really that hungry. I’m still working out, though I’m going to start tapering that a bit. The last couple of spin classes, I’ve had a moment of “I’m not sure my body wants to do this anymore,” which I feel like I shouldn’t ignore. I’ll keep up with pilates and walking a lot, though. I still feel strong and healthy, but I’d be lying if I said tougher workouts aren’t hitting me harder than they used to. I’m le tired, y’all.

I think that’s everything! There will probably only be a few more pregnancy posts in the coming weeks (including an update on Vivi’s nursery), so soak ’em up while you can.