Sunday, June 26, 2011

week 28 - Hazelnut's first camping trip!

THIRD TRIMESTER! I believe that's what people officially refer to as the "homestretch"!

Not only is Hazelnut/eggplant a 2.25lbs, ~14.5-inch long baby who has eyelashes, can blink, is beginning to see light, and is developing tons of brain neurons and fat, BUT... he went on his first camping trip this weekend! And if you look really closely at my left leg in this picture, you can get a tiny glimpse of the vein nastiness slowly taking over my entire leg... also super special.

Our camping trip was at Crandell Lake (in Waterton) with Nicholas, PREGNANT Chelsea, and Kumeu's gf Maggie.

Photo cred for the following two pictures goes to Nicholas who was experimenting with the camera. Well done, Nicholas, well done...

This camping trip also marked a milestone in Kumeu's life... he learned how to swim! As he was learning, he followed the same general pattern:

Anticipate stick being thrown...

Watch as Maggie gets a head start...

Charge after her and steal the stick from her...

And then take credit for the fetch...

That is, before he learned that he was ticking Maggie off. Then it was teamwork all the way...

Kumeu also enjoyed his first fire pit experience (although he did get a little close and singe his eye brow)...

And I had to supervise Kumeu & Maggie's morning smoochies...

Lowell and my huge-normous tent was perhaps a bit overkill, but at least we could fit Kumeu's crate and ALL of our stuff in it... with room to spare. Unfortunately, it's size made it quite cold/airy during the (forecasted) chilly night, and it became more than clear to us that I (preggo brain) should no longer be the one in charge of packing bedding under such conditions. I optimistically packed a SHEET and the thinnest blanket known to man. We. were. FREEZING. Our rest was also not improved upon by Kumeu whom we let sleep in the tent with us (and not IN his crate). Every time one of us shifted, he thought it was time to play and came to jump on us and/or lick our faces. At about 3am we got smart, put Kumeu in his crate, put our sleeping bag (previously used to add extra padding/warmth to our thermarests) on TOP of us and snuggled in for the rest of the night.

We had great fun hiking, watching the pups swim, weiny roasting, devouring ice cream, chatting around the fire, drinking SUPER RIDICULOUSLY SWEET caramel macchiatos, and having an overall grandiose time with Nick, Chels, & Maggie. Our camping trips next summer will be vastly different as there will be two babies added to the mix... fun fun fun! You may not want to be in the campsites neighbouring us!

PS- Does anyone have any good recipes involving eggplant?? SHARE AWAY!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

week 27 - cauliflower and PUPPIES!

We've about maxed out lengthy fruits and veggies, so from now on the baby will be compared to the WEIGHT of fruits/veggies. Hazelnut weighs nearly 2lbs, and is ~14.5 inches long. It's crazy that this is the last week of the second trimester! Hazelnut now has regular sleep/wake cycles, is blinking, possibly sucking his fingers (SO cute!), and he might start getting the hiccups. I'd like to get a piece of THAT action!

Before I continue, let me just say that this is really not fair... me having to follow up on Lowell's thoughtful Father's Day post. I think it's pretty clear who the classy one in the relationship is. He just did a beautiful, meaningful post about integrity and being a godly man for his future child, and I talk about reflux and bacne. And the fact that I have a ZIT on my ARM.

Well, I'll just continue on that vein for a bit. I have recently noticed a significant drop in intelligence. Words fly out of my mouth that I don't mean to say, I mix words up, I have word finding difficulties, I'm forgetting names and faces (which is normally a total strength for me), I've been doing stupid things, and my memory just plain stinks. EXAMPLE. Last night we went to friends' place for supper and I brought a salad. I intended to top my salad with freshly boiled eggs, but when I went to peel and slice them in the last second before we had to scoot out the door, I opened the lid to a pot full of nothing but hot water. I boiled eggs without the eggs. Yep, I definitely feel stupider.

Oh, and I've spotted my first (and hopefully last) STRETCH MARKS! They're very tiny and very light... but very real. They're on my thighs which is further proof that my thighs have indeed expanded (and apparently gives Lowell license to lovingly call me 'thunder thighs'). I THOUGHT my pants were a little snug!

Enough about me... let's talk about PUPPIES!! This weekend we went to Lowell's parents' farm where there are PUPPIES! Kumeu's birth mom (not to be confused with ME as I did not actually birth him as much as I would have enjoyed it), Bonnie, gave birth to a litter of 9 about a month ago. Kumeu's STEP-Mom (aka the other woman) was due while we were there, but didn't respond to my plea to have her puppies in my presence. She was pretty huge and we made a good pair...

While we were hanging out (literally) on the lawn together, one of the cats decided to get in on the fun IMMEDIATELY before Lowell took a picture. Apparently she wanted a little piggy back ride. We couldn't have gotten THIS picture if we TRIED...

In another month or so, these adorable pups will be ready to sell, so Lowell and I had the pleasure of photographing them between snuggles. Just TRY to look at these pictures without melting a little bit inside... I DARE you.

They got a little bit sleepy...

Lowell's just practising...

If it was an option to quit our jobs and take pictures of puppies for a living... we might just do it.

From Lowell to the Fathers out there.

This is Lowell taking over the blog for a moment. I don't do many of these posts, as I can't match Julie for wit or entertainment value. In fact, Kumeu has now done more posts than I have!

I am taking over today as I have a message to share. I want to share my passion for building up men to be the best they can be--to be the best husbands they can be, and the best fathers they can be. While I am still learning everyday what it is to be a good husband, brother, son, and friend, I have no experience with being a father yet. Right now it consists of talking to Julie's bulging belly in gender neutral terms, and being ready to put my hand on her belly and stare at it in case the "baby is moving". Oh ya, this father thing is a breeze so far!

This will soon change. In three months I will be a real father with a real kid. This thought scares and excited me all at the same time. What a great responsibility, what an opportunity to show love and to help raise the child that God has blessed us with.

During a marriage conference we attended a few months back, the women were sent away to talk about wifey things, and us men were kept together to talk serious man talk. The speakers challenged us in many areas, including parenting. They showed a video called "I am watching you Dad" and it was at that moment that this whole 'being a dad' thing really set in. This video brought tears to my eyes as I listened to it as if it were my future son or daughter speaking right to me.

I think the message is awesome, and I wanted to share it with all the men out there who are fathers, or who one day will be fathers. Remember, your children are watching you! Everything you say or do is being filtered through their brains and they are constructing a worldview and a moral code. Live with integrity! And if you make mistakes (which we all do), be strong enough to admit it and to help them learn from your failures.

I hope you enjoy the video. Turn up the audio, and put it in full screen. Imagine this message coming from your child and let it hit your heart.

Happy Father's Day! Let a father in your life know how important they are to you and how much you appreciate them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

week 26 - cucumber!

Six and a half months! Hazelnut is ~14 inches long and weighs ~1 2/3 pounds. Apparently his immune system is getting pumped up for this big bad virusey world, and his EYES are now forming. We're hoping and praying that they form perfectly and wonderfully withOUT Retinitis Pigmentosa!

On week 24, I was told that my picture with the corn looked phallic which was TOTALLY UNINTENTIONAL (although the comment DID make me laugh). I was a little paranoid taking pictures with the long skinny CUCUMBER (quite possibly the most phallic-y food of all) and tried really hard to avoid giving anyone any type of phallic impression…success? I hope so (even though I just used the word 'phallic' 16 times in one sentence).

Let’s talk symptoms. For the record, overall I feel great and fantastic, and I think I’m a pretty lucky pregnant lady. HOWEVER, I DO have a fun new symptom to report.

Reflux. It came on with a vengeance during a deep water jogging class. I thought it was a result of the belt squishing my insides, but the reflux has persisted (although the belt definitely did exacerbate it). It basically feels like I throw up in my mouth every 6 seconds or so. Delicious.

Lowell is so funny. Since living with a pregnant me, he’s been advertising that pregnancy is not so glamorous. Apparently it's not hot to rub ointment on my bacne, watch me massage on support hose with rubber gloves, witness me aspirate on my reflux, or observe my waddle. BUT… he does it anyway, and that’s why we love him.

While we’re talking about exciting pregnancy symptoms, let me continue to enlighten you. Bloating. Normally I’m not a fan, but I have a theory. I call it my bloating theory. If I continue to bloat daily throughout my pregnancy, then my growing belly will constantly be pushing the envelope a bit more before returning to my new normal. I’m thinking this will reduce my chances of getting stretch marks because the skin is stretching ever so gradually. Wishful thinking perhaps… but let's just go with it.

This past weekend, my good speechie friends congregated in Lethbridge for a little reunion. We all missed our dear Ann-Marie (who’s gallivanting around LONDON!), but Kendra probably missed her the most. Had Ann-Marie been here, Kendra would not have been the only non-preggie. That’s right- four of us are with child and all due 2-3 weeks after each other. It’s an epidemic…better be careful!

This is us in our innocent pre-pregnancy days (2007)...

And this is us now. Married and knocked up...

We were all a leetle bit jealous of Kendra's rock hard abs, but our payback was to share as many juicy details about pregnancy as possible. You know-- the fun ones (reflux, veins, back pain, acne... the stuff they DON'T show in the movies). That'll be good birth control for a little while...

Oh, and one more thing.... we're PAST the one hundred day countdown!!!!! EEEEEEE!!

And that, my friends, is all for week 26 and our little cucumber!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

week 25 - lotus roots & bike rides

25 weeks! Whoa!

Hazelnut is ~13.5 inches long and weighs about a pound and a half! Apparently he’s developing a sense of equilibrium and is learning to tell the difference between being right side up and upside down- craziness.

A lotus root?! I was after rutabaga, but there’s NO WAY those things come 13.5 inches long around here. I spotted the lotus root, did a quick little measurement and went with it. Heavens knows WHAT we’re going to do with it now. What does one do with a lotus root after one is finished taking pictures with it? I guess I’ll be consulting my good friend google.

As we were getting this shot, I was smiling all nicely with my lotus root and Lowell said, "Julie. You're on a bike in the house holding a lotus root. You can be silly." Alrighty then.

What’s up with the sporty/biking theme, you ask? Well, this weekend Lowell biked 350km as part of Ride for a Reason (to raise money for Southern Alberta Bible Camp), and Hazelnut and I joined him for the last 90km on my old school 1920s road bike. It was great, and Hazelnut did sooo well (i.e., my lower belly area wasn’t nearly as sore as I was anticipating). It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and I really enjoyed the first 80 km, but I do admit that in the last 10 kms or so I became a bit of a Debbie Downer. All I could think of was how strong the wind was blowing (against us), how much my back, neck, wrists, and crotch hurt, how far we still had to go, and how badly I wanted to get off the bike. However, as soon as we rounded the last corner and spotted landmarks confirming we were nearly finished, my adrenaline surged and all was well again!

Enough about me, let’s talk about Lowell. He did all three days of the grueling trip, and he did AMAZING. He was one of the quick ones, but stayed back with me on the last day because of a knee injury (and because-- let's face it-- he likes to spend time with me). Because of his sore knee, this is how he biked up hills (and also just randomly at other times)… I’m not kidding.

What a trooper!

We enjoyed much road time with our friends Mandy & Graham (go Team Teimer!) We especially took advantage of drafting off of each other during the crazy winds at the end. (photo cred to Mandy & Graham!).

Speaking of exercise… since my impact-type exercise endeavors (i.e., running) are now limited, I took up Deep Water Jogging this week. I was the only one in the class under the age of 75, and the ladies were definitely more interested in socializing than exercising… but goodness knows that I never turn down a good gab session. I think I’ll enjoy getting to know my new friends Martha, Lorraine, Donna, Sheila, Isabelle, Carolyn, Gail, Adele, and Lisa!

Switching gears a little here…

We often receive very welcome comments about how cute our child is going to be. Well, we certainly hope so… but let’s not forget what I looked like as a child okay?

I think we should all prepare ourselves for anything! Also, a little boy this week predicted that we were having a 'half girl half boy'. Uh oh.

We’ve selected various facial features of each of ours that we think would make a cute kid. Not that THIS is cute or anything…

(This little mating machine video was part of our interactive wedding invitation 4 years(ish) ago.)

And I shall close with a 25 week profile shot…