Friday, January 17, 2014

Bed Rest and Baby

A few of you have been asking about how this pregnancy is going so I thought it was high time I sent out a little update. My due date is still Feb 9th, but this little guy (yes, we're having a boy!!) will be making his debut sometime next week.

I've been on modified bed rest (meaning my activities are restricted and I need to sit/lay down most of the day) since Dec. 12, week 31. It is the same culprit that gave us problems with my pregnancy with Alora: high blood pressure and possible preeclampsia (more on that story here and here.). I've been admitted into Labor and Delivery twice due to the elevated blood pressure but both times I was thankfully discharged the same day once things settled down. And although my test numbers have been getting a little higher and higher, I've managed to stay below what is considered the preeclampsia threshold, which is a very good thing. It seems the bed rest is doing the trick this time around. The longer I can keep my body rested and pregnant, the better chance this little boy has in coming home with us right away, instead of being in the special care nursery where Alora was stuck for two weeks.

I've been seeing a high risk doctor to monitor the baby a few time. So far, everything about him is looking great and on track, however the doctor does not want me to go past 37-38 weeks. That means I will be induced sometime next week. I have an appointment on Monday and if things are still looking stable, they will try to stretch this out until Thursday, however if things are elevating I could be admitted as early as Monday. Only time will tell... There is also a chance I will go into labor on my own.  I've been having TONs of braxton hicks contractions but they are very rarely in any sort of pattern. When I was at the hospital earlier this week they were coming every 5-8 minutes, which seems to be my evening routine. However when I wake up in the morning, they are back to maybe 1-3 an hour. So far they aren't painful, but every day they have been getting a little more and more uncomfortable, for lack of a better word. So who knows, maybe this kid will decide on his own he's ready to come out a little early. Again, only time will tell. Either way, I know that by this time next week our little family will be plus one!

Alora has been so sweet about me being on bed rest, too. For a three year old she's seem to grasp what is going on pretty well. She's constantly reminding me to sit down and rest, which is so cute coming from her. When I told her that baby brother is going to be coming next week so got very excited and asked if I would have him behind my back. (She's been really into surprises lately and will hold toys behind her back and yell "surprise!") I told her that I probably wouldn't be holding her baby brother behind my back, but maybe he'll be hiding under a blanket when she comes to visit. She seemed happy with that, haha!

A huge, HUGE factor in helping me keep things stable is the AMAZING support I've had. Since Jake is still working full days he's only able to do so much, and for every extra step he's taken I've been grateful. The rest of the gaps have been filled by various family members and friends. My mom has played a huge roll in keeping our household running smoothly. My dad has stepped in to help tie up some loose end projects and keep Alora occupied. Jake's parents have stepped in when their busy schedules allow, helping for a few stretches at a time. Even Jake's brother came for a few days to play "Mr Mom." I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to have these amazing people in my life. They've cleaned our home, cooked our meals, washed our laundry, entertained Alora, drove her to preschool and dance lessons and me to countless doctor visits.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. My heart is so full of gratitude for you all and I will make sure this little boy knows about all the love and support he was given to help him arrive safely.

I've also had a few people asking how I've been spending my days. Although there have been a few long and boring days, for the most part they are flying by. Since I already have a three year old, I'm not exactly able to read a pile of books or get caught up on my movie list. I spend a lot of my days on the couch in her playroom keeping her company or hanging out in the living room while my mom/mother-in-law/brother-in-law cleans and cooks around me. It has been nice to simply sit and talk with them all while they are here. I've also allowed myself a few outings to Target and Babies R Us to pick up a few last minute baby essentials, but I'm sure to check my blood pressure before, during and after each outing.

And I've started sewing again. I've been working on a hand-pieced quilt for about two years now. It's something I'll probably never finish but I like to get it out here and there to work on while I watch TV at night. I also made my first doll, lol. I'm not quite sure what possessed me to do this one. Awhile ago Alora was asking for a Beast doll to go with her Belle doll (from Beauty and the Beast) and I told her maybe someday I would make her one (not sure what I was thinking when that flew out of my mouth) and it dawned on me one day that now would be as good a time as any.

So I dug through my fabric scraps and garage sale clothes and managed to make her a Beast doll. I have to say it turned out way better than I expected! And I really like making it, too. So the past few days I've spent some of my time researching how to make a second doll.

I've also spend a lot of time snuggling with Alora in our big rocking chair while we watch a movie or watching her through the window while she plays out in the snow. Being forced to relax and sit down has definitely helped me to appreciate the little things like this. And the timing could not be more perfect, knowing our little world will be changing again in just a few days.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Moving In: A Very Messy House Tour

We moved into our new home at the end of April. Since it has been 5 months since the big day I thought I'd give a little tour of our new home.  We ended up buying several pieces of furniture from the previous owners, last minute. It was so nice to be able to do that because, one: she gave us a great deal, and two: it gave us some great filler pieces until we can afford/find what we really love. We also have a few plans for the house both within the next year as well as a "five-year-plan." Although the house was kept very clean, the walls and ceilings have a good layer of standard household grime. Every room is getting a scrub and we are repainting room by room, and at some point we will likely have a pro come in to do the ceilings. The five-year-plan calls for fresh carpeting throughout the main levels and refinishing the hardwood floors. Now on to the tour!

You'll have to forgive the lack of detail in these photos. They are not the best angles but they give you an idea. When you walk in the front door you are greeted by the stairs, living room to the right (we use it as a play room) and dining room to the left. At some point we would love to rip out the carpet on the stairs and replace it with darker hardwood and a runner. The paint is currently a yellow/tan on all of the entry and stairway walls, including the ceiling. This will be updated but I'm not sure to what yet.

The dining room needs fresh paint but is otherwise in pretty good shape. I'd love to get a more updated light fixture, too. Unfortunately this room still looks pretty much the same today, with heaps of boxes. It seems to be the place where things go when I don't know what else to do with them. On second thought, maybe I'll just put up a wall and pretend this room (and mess) don't exist....

The playroom has become one of our most used spaces. The red walls were a little intense for the playroom so this was the first room to be repainted and rearranged. I love how it turned out so that will be one of the first updates I share.

The back of the house holds the kitchen and family room. I am LOVING the openness of it all, especially after being cramped into our tiny condo kitchen. It's so nice to be able to get dinner ready while still keeping an eye on Alora or having a conversation with someone in the family room. The kitchen has already received a fresh coat of paint and I have plans of someday refinishing the table and chairs which were purchased from the previous owners.

The same story is true for the family room: its walls are already a different color and the fireplace will soon be getting a makeover. We purchased the couch and love seat from the previous owners for a steal. Although the pattern is a little dated, they are in great shape and fit the space really well. We also didn't have it in our current budget to buy brand new furniture so these work great for now. Oh, and if you occasionally hear cursing in the far distance, that's me. I'm attempting to make my own slipcovers for these bad boys and I am no seamstress. Blood has already been shed. 

Probably our favorite room in the house is our three-season porch. We purchased the patio set from the previous owners and have spent countless dinners and evenings out here.  You can also see a peak of our back yard (in it's naked springtime state). Since then we have removed a few trees to give us a little more yard space and sunshine, and to prevent a few broken branches from falling onto our house.

Also on the main floor is the laundry room, powder room and hall closet. The second floor holds four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Our master desperately needs a fresh coat of paint and some closet organizing but it's larger size has made it a little easier to take our time with this one.

Alora's room is so much bigger and brighter than our condo. We haven't really touched it as far as decorating (or even organizing) goes because most of the furniture will be moving into the new nursery in the next few months. But a new coat of paint is the first thing out our to-do list. Alora vote is for "dark purple".  We'll see...

Bedroom #3 is currently being used as our guest room. We purchased the bedroom set from the previous owners with the plan of moving it into Alora's room when it's time to move the baby stuff out. At that time, this bedroom will become the nursery with the crib and changing table.

The guest room will then be moved to what is currently being used as a guest room/office. It's function will remain the same but it will soon be the only guest room...and will hopefully look a little more inviting.

Unfortunately I didn't take a single photo of the basement before we started in on our first project so I'll share those another day. But it holds a family room, pool table, wet bar, full bath, small storage room and crawl space.

So that's our very (very very very) messy house tour from our first few days of moving in. I'm planning to catch up on the projects we've been doing over the past 5 months so I get to the point where I'm caught up and my posts are a little more current, or at least in the same season!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Big Changes!

Wow! Where to begin. We have had so many big changes going on since my last post (which was about forty-seven years ago).  Since there is a looooot to catch up on, I'll start at the beginning.

Big Change #1:

Back in March I mentioned that we were packing and getting ready for our big move. It was a whirlwind few weeks but we managed to come out ok in the end.

On the first day of the big move our movers loaded up the truck and headed out for the night. We did some cleaning, camped out on the floor, and gave a huge sigh of relief that we were done with packing.

The next day we had our condo closing early in the morning. We didn't attend this closing, but we had to stick around the area until we heard from our attorney that everything went smoothly.

We spent our last few hours in the city at our favorite park. Once we got word that everything was signed, sealed and delivered, we gave another huge sigh of relief. And then we were homeless.

Big Change #2:

A few short hours later, our second big change took place. With misty eyes we said our last goodbye to the city and thanked it for the millions of good memories it was sending with us, and we headed to the suburbs. By the end of the day, we officially became homeowners and residents of a fabulous city called Crystal Lake. We wandered around our partially empty new home (we purchased some furniture from the previous owners so it was there when we unlocked the door) and got to work cleaning. The next morning the movers showed up and by lunch time, our home was once again full of boxes. And we were happy.

Big Change #3:
Ok, this is a big one. Shortly after after moving into our new home and community, I put in a call to work and gave them my notice. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. I was leaving a job that I enjoyed, a position that was perfect for me, a workplace that had a great environment, and people that I really truly enjoyed. I few quick weeks later, I said another round of goodbyes and my life changed again.

Big Change #4:

Now you would think with me now being a full time mom that I would have a little more time in my days. I thought that too. Haha, what was I thinking! Clearly by my absence from this blog you know that has not been the case.  On most days I honestly can't tell you what I've done all day, but by 9pm I'm wiped out...and covered in some sort of glue, paint and/or peanut butter. But I'm loving every minute of it. And a big change that's occured with Alora is that she is now potty trained! Woo-hoo! I'll go more into that story another day, but for now we're celebrating. She's been going strong for a few months now. We're still working on nights, but that will come in time.

Big Change #5:
Jake's office moved to a new city. Don't worry, we planned our home purchase around his office's move. So now instead of commuting for over an hour each way, he only has about 35 minutes, which gives us a lot more time as a family.


His new office is really nice too, has a full gym with trainers, and a huge cafeteria with everything from sushi to brick oven pizza.

Big Change #6:

Alora turned 3! We had a great weekend with all of Alora's favorite people visiting.

We played, we ate and she got her requested Stripes (the zebra from the movie Racing Stripes) birthday cake. She had a blast! Her favorite present was her swingset (aka her Park).

And now that she is 3 she is acting (most of the time) like the big girl she is. She's taking swimming lessons and will be starting a 2-mornings-a-week pre-school as well as a dance class in a few weeks.

She caught her first fish and she is riding her trike all by herself. She went to her first movie at the theater (and ate popcorn by the fist fulls) and has learned to put her dad in "the sleeper hold!!!!".  Life is good for this three year old.

Big Change #7:

And now for our biggest change of all- I'm pregnant! After two heartaches and a year of hoping and waiting, we can now say that Baby #2 should be showing up around February 9th (my grandmother's birthday). So far everything has been right on track. I had terrible morning sickness for about 6 weeks (which explains some of my absence) and I was thanking my lucky stars everyday that I was able to be home and curled up on the couch (or next to the toilet) instead of at an office. Oddly enough mornings were great for me, so Alora and I rushed to get the day's errands and work done by noon. My "morning sickness" would kick in around 2pm every day and progressively get worse through the evening and night.  Every night Alora would say "You not feel good? Its okay (with a pat on my leg). You feel better soon." And she was right.  I am now in the second trimester and that phase seems to be over for the most part. My biggest issue now is that I am hungry beyond words. All. Of. The. Time. Honestly, I eat enough for a family of four. Four times a day. We told Alora that she was going to be a Big Sister when I was 12 weeks along and after a lot of questions she is now really excited and curious about it all. For awhile she would ask me every morning if the baby had come out yet.

My favorite conversation so far went like this:
Alora: Does the baby come out of a door?
Me: Sure, we'll go with that.

So that's it for big changes. Whew! It's seems life has been SO so busy since we listed our condo in February. I hate to admit it but we still have boxes to unpack and I've just this week started doing a little painting and decorating (photos coming soon). Aside from having a super busy spring/summer I've been trying to take it a little easy with this pregnancy. I keep telling myself that it will all get done in time. And it will; the important things anyway. And that's exactly where we've been able to put our focus this summer.

I'm am so so grateful for the time I've been able to spend with and for my family over the past few months. We have had more home-cooked and healthy meals this summer than we have had over the past 5 years combined. We have had more spur of the moment activities than ever before, like trips to the local beach and traveling with family. We've had simple afternoons that include discovering a new food to try at the store and playing in the yard. We've had weekend adventures as we discover our new community. We have had more evenings where we can just relax and enjoy our time together.  I'm so thankful for this sweet spot we are in right now and I am SO excited to see where all of these changes will take us!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Little Talks (and random photos)


Alora's daycare teacher told me they were trying humus for the first time at school. Alora proudly told them, "I eat humus at home!!"

After a weekend with grandparents, Alora had been acting up quite a bit.
Me, joking: What did Baki do to you?!
Alora: Baki crAAAzy!
(I later learned the story behind this one - Baki kept dropping things and finally said, "Baki is craaazy today!". Apparently it stuck.

While out shopping Alora was eying some red princess dress shoes but in the end we went with the princess tennies. (she has a thing for princesses, can you tell?) The next morning she was so excited to open up her new box of shoes, but looking very confused said, "No, these aren't red... where are my red shoes?" Back to the store they go...

While watching Daniel Tiger on PPS a fundraiser kept repeating during the commercial breaks. Alora finally had enough and said (loudly enough for me to hear from the other room), "Go Away Mercials!". I think the phrase might stick in the Malek household.

When we were waiting to board for Alora's first big plane ride, we were watching our plane through the window.
Me: What do you think? That's our plain right there!
Alora : The plane has yucky horns.
This was clearly one of those times when I had no response. 

"waiting for princesses"
Alroa:  Rock-a-bye baby, in the teapot...

Alora: "I don't like pizza. It's spicy. It hurts my head."
(She LOVES pizza.)

I was calling for our dog Cosmo and Alora told me, "He's coming. He's scratching his bum."

Alora: Whacha doin' mommy?
Me: We're making a cake for Dad.
Alora: Awesommmmmme!!

This one doesn't really need an explanation: "I went poop! I like poop! It's HAPPY poop!"

While listening to a song about acorns, I asked Alora if she was a nut. She responded, "I'm Crocodile Malek!"

We smelled a skunk while driving home one day.
Me: Peeew! That smells like a skunk!"
Ali" Yeah, Skunk went potty. He needs to change his diaper.

I explained to Alora that her wind breaker helps to keep the wind out. Later that day...
Me: Boy, it's really windy out.
Alora: My coat broke the wind.

Grammie: Ali, what will you do after you move?
Alora: Pack!!!

After packing up Ali's room, the first thing she did was run to her closet and say, "Where's my LOTS of shoes?!?!"

I tried to help Alora while she was having a hard time getting her sandals on.
Alora: Don't touch them. My toes are outrageous!"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dear Alora

March 2013
My Sweet Alora,

Lately you have directed a change in your bedtime routine. It is now only rarely that you like to rock in our chair before bed. Sometimes you like to sit on the floor (with daddy) while I sit in the chair and read a story. I'm assuming this idea comes from daycare. Unfortunately, it rarely results in quiet bedtime. You sit for about 2 pages and then take off running in circles or tackling your poor dad (he loves it). 

You also like to sleep with "lots of books." Not one, two or three books, but "lots of books." You usually have at least 7 books in bed with you and keep them the whole night. We've tried removing them after you fall asleep, simply to give you more space in your animal and book filled crib, but you will undoubtedly wake up saying, "Where my boooooks? I want me boooooks." We've only had a few nights where you stay up too late "reading" (10:30!). Most nights you'll sit in your dark room (with the closet light on, by your request) and "read" for 10 minutes before you fall asleep.

Sweet dreams my little book worm.
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