Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

If it's not one thing, it's another... My excitement over our floor tile was short lived on Friday when I inspected it and realized it wasn't laid well. You can see what all of the spacing should look like in my last post.

Here's where two sheets meet and there was a little too much space left in between (least of my concerns):

These two sheets were laid so close that the tiles are actually touching:

When the tiles are laid correctly, they should form diagonal lines like these:

Some areas of ours look like this, instead:

I called our contractor & he's coming to look at them on Monday, but so far, he seems to agree (based on the pictures) that these need to be ripped up and done again. The problem is that we don't have any extra tile-- these were kind of expensive and we only ordered what we needed. Additionally, they were special order (typically taking 5-10 business days to get here) but we paid $150 extra to have them sent two day air to get them here when the contractors said they needed them.

So frustrating!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010


Remember, way back in December when I posted about our home troubles, specifically the mess of the pipe that burst in our bathroom?

Well, the reason that there's been no update in 10 weeks, is because there's been no progress until this week. And, while I shouldn't complain because we are lucky that we have two tiny bathrooms in our 1928 house (many people don't!) this was the only bathroom with a shower, which means that for 10 weeks we've been taking baths in our cast iron pedestal tub every day and washing our hair in the kitchen sink. The tub is a great for the historical integrity of the house, but OMG I do not want to use it every day.

In a previous post, I mentioned that insurance was not going to cover our issue and that we may have to clean out our 401k to get the money to pay for the damage. We were freaking out.

Then, the best thing that could have possibly happened, happened. I was asleep one night when Rob came running into the bedroom yelling about a leak in the bathroom. We opened the door to find water pouring out of the faucet into the tub, overflowing onto the floor which was several inches deep at that point. It was incredibly bizarre-- the water was OFF! Anyway, we took a lot of pictures that night, called the insurance company again to file another claim & this time, they ruled it as sudden and accidental damage.

So, they sent out people to rip out the walls and rip up the floor. Then they set up huge dryers and heaters to start drying the water. And it stayed that way for about 3 weeks:

Once everything was dried out, we were ready to start reconstructing the bathroom-- only, the insurance company decided to take their sweet time in getting the settlement finished and our check issued. So, we've just been waiting. And waiting. And waiting. We finally got the check this week and the work started back up.

The drywall is finished, we have a new light fixture installed, the tile surround behind the tub is done and the floors were tiled this morning!!

We picked white subway tile for the walls (sorry the pic looks so dark):

and white penny tile for the floor with a light silvery gray grout (will be lighter when it dries):

I think that the tile is a nod to the 20's style, but still very clean and versatile. We like simple cottage style. Thinking about painting the walls a very pale silvery blue, but haven't decided yet. If you have any ideas, let me know.

We have the plumber coming out on Monday to install the valves for the sink and toilet, then the shower hardware will be added, the new pedestal sink will be installed, the old toilet will be reset, the walls will be painted and our new medicine cabinet will be hung. It's looking like everything might be done by next Wednesday. I'm counting down the days!!

I'll be sure to post complete before and after pictures once everything is finished!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

11 weeks

11 weeks! "Morning" sickness is mostly a thing of the past, but fatigue is still my constant companion. I'm hoping to turn the corner soon-- I can tell a difference from a few weeks ago, but I'm not back to normal yet... whatever that is.

This week, baby is 2 inches long, about the size of a sugar packet:
And looks like this (Check out those knees and ears!):
Baking Baby Blakely

"All of your baby's vital organs are now formed and functioning, so the risk of defects decreases this week as your baby becomes less susceptible to outside influences. Phew! Other exciting developments include:

Baby's ears are assuming their proper place this week and the fingernail and toenail beds are beginning to form. Your little "pumpkin head" really lives up to his nickname as his head is nearly as big as the rest of his body.

While testes or ovaries are completely formed now, don't start decorating the nursery. You won't be able to see your baby's gender for a few more weeks yet.

Your baby is really on the move now. In an ultrasound you might be able to see your little acrobat flailing his or her arms and legs and doing somersaults worthy of Cirque du Soleil. You still won't be able to feel any movement, so if you feel something "kick" in there, it's probably gas.

In the next nine weeks, your baby will increase 30 times in weight and almost triple in length. You might feel like you're increasing 30 times in weight at this point, too, but we can assure you're not—because, honey, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

Your baby now weighs a third of an ounce, about the same as two small, Starbucks-sized packets of sugar, is about 2 inches long, the length of one of those sugar packets. Isn't that sweet?"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just because it's funny...

...and everyone could use a little "That's What She Said" joke on a Monday morning.

(Thanks to Katie for tweeting last week!)

Saturday, February 20, 2010


This weekend marks the first purchase for Baby Blakely!
(Well, other than the things that were purchased before the baby was conceived.)

The Pottery Barn Bassinet has always been on my "Must Have For Baby" List. I know that we won't be able to use it for long, but we have to have something for the baby to sleep in next to our bed for a while (we will not be co-sleeping) and it can conveniently be wheeled into other rooms when needed. Craigslist came through for me again!

I took advantage of Old Navy's maternity sale last week and bought my first pair of maternity jeans. I'm in heaven.

I'm certainly not ready for full panel maternity pants, but my regular jeans are getting too snug, so these are perfect. (I bought a pair of regular jeans in a larger size, thinking that this was the solution, but they are so big that I have to use the Belly Band to keep them up.) The elastic waist lets me buy my normal size, but still allows some room for my expanding belly. I don't think they'll work late in pregnancy, but they are awesome now and should work for quite a while.

Even though strangers can't tell that I'm pregnant yet, I can tell all sorts of changes are happening-- Rob can tell, too. The other day when I was taking a bath after work, he came in to talk to me. He looked at my body and said, "Hon, you're becoming a mommy."

It's still a little hard to believe.

Friday, February 19, 2010

How to Make a Pregnant Woman Cry.

Seriously. I'm a freaking mess everytime I watch it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

10 Weeks

10 weeks!

The best part about being 10 weeks is that everyone keeps telling me that I'm in the home stretch of my fatigue and food aversions. "Morning" sickness seems to be getting better as long as I don't let my tummy get empty. I'm just ready for food to start tasting good again.

Just because I can't get enough of it, check out this great ultrasound video of a 10 week old dancing baby/escape artist.

This week, baby is the size of a Brazil nut:

And looks similar to last week...with the addition of elbows!!

Baking Baby Blakely

"By the end of Week 10, your baby graduates from embryo to fetus, which literally means "little one." It also translates to "I'm just going to keep getting bigger and bigger and so are you!"
Other highlights this week:

Your baby has finally morphed from a little tadpole into, well, a baby. Not only is the face more human-like, but that unflattering "tail" (really just the developing spinal cord) has disappeared, fusing into the spinal column.

Your baby now has discernible fingers and toes, which will explain the steady stream of kicks and punches you'll feel down the line.

Junior's skeleton is starting to grow and harden. The ears are beginning to take shape and the eyelids are no longer transparent. Tooth buds are forming, although your baby won't get any teeth until six or seven (or eight or nine or 10) months after birth.

Baby's brain will make an incredible 25,000 new neurons every minute this week. While you may feel like you're losing as many as he's gaining, we can assure you it's not permanent. "Pregnancy brain," like nausea and bloating, is a temporary symptom that soon shall pass. (And then you'll get "Mommy brain," but we won't go there now.)

If your baby is a boy, he's started producing that macho hormone testosterone. And whether your baby is a boy or a girl, the kidneys are creating copious amounts of urine. Lucky for you, you won't have to change a diaper for another 30 weeks.

Baby weighs only 4 grams and measures 1½ inches, about the size of a mondo Brazil nut."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter Wonderland & V-Day

When you live in Alabama, you don't see much snow... and when you do, it's kind of exciting.

Friday, we got between 2-3 inches in Birmingham. I didn't get out of work (although all of the schools were closed), but I did snap some pictures of our Winter Wonderland.

The front of our house:

The backyard:

View from our back deck:

Rob and I celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday. He surprised me with not one bouquet of roses...

But two!!

We also went out for a nice dinner last night. The food was great, but I have to say that a gourmet meal is kind of wasted on me right now-- my taste buds are off & I'm hyper vigilant about everything on the do not eat list. The restaurant we went to is mostly seafood and while I could have KILLED for some Grouper, it's on the Highest Mercury fish list and I just couldn't do it. Still, it was a very sweet surprise and we had a great time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Someone To Watch Over Me

How awesome is it to have a husband that truly takes care of you?
Pretty. Freaking. Awesome.

This post is long overdue. Sweet Rob has become quite the caretaker over the past 6 weeks. He has always helped around the house, often doing more than I do because of my job, but he's gone above and beyond since finding out I'm pregnant. Not only has he fetched my every craving (Breadsticks! Smoothies! Pickles!) but he also has kept our house spic & span-- doing the dishes, washing the sheets and just generally cleaning up after me. He's never once complained about my lack of cooking (I haven't made us a meal in over a month & haven't even considered grocery shopping...) or my constant sleeping (Nap from 5:30-7pm, then off to bed by 9:30pm). He tucks me in every single night (often laying down with me until I start to doze), even though he stays up for hours after I go to sleep.

And don't get me started on the cuteness... When we lie awake in bed, he still says in awe, "Hon, we made a baby. After all of that trying... we finally made a baby..." He pretends to feel the baby when we both know all he's feeling is my bloated nine week belly and pretends he can hear the heartbeat when he presses his ear against it. He has a feeling it's a girl! I keep saying that the only feeling I have is nausea... (For what it's worth, the Chinese Gender Chart says girl and the fast heartbeat could suggest girl...)

Last night at 3:30am, I woke up and told him about a really bad dream I had-- he put his arms around me and said, "We're so lucky to have each other. I love you." Then, the icing on the cake? He didn't complain when I ate Oreos and milk in bed.

This love, patience, nurturing and kindness makes Rob one great husband. But more importantly, it will make him a great Daddy.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gifts and Growing Pains

When I returned from my trip, I was so excited to receive our very first baby gift! Secret Sloper is so thoughtful-- she sent us this Park Slope Parents cd. A little taste of her family friendly neighborhood in Brooklyn, this is a fantastic kids cd with really fun songs--not the typical annoying kids music. I love it and I can't wait to play this for Baby Blakely.
Thank you so much, C!!

I've experienced some growing pains this week, as I started developing Round Ligament Pain. Twice over the weekend, I sneezed and the pain in my lower right abdomen was so intense it scared me to death. Yesterday, when I laughed a little too hard at the office, I felt it again so I called the doctor. She assured me that this is completely normal and that it's just my uterus growing and making some more room for Baby Blakely. While these pains are certainly uncomfortable, I am so thankful for additional signs that things are progressing as they should. I'm still pretty tired these days, but I've found that the more sleep I get, the better I feel. It seems like 10 hours is around the magic number to assure the following day is nausea free!

Speaking of which, time to turn in!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

9 Weeks

Nine weeks! As I've looked ahead at the week by week development pictures, I couldn't wait to get to week nine, because that's when baby started truly looking like a baby, instead of a hump chested sea creature. We made it!

This week baby is the size of an olive:

But looks like... A BABY!!

Baking Baby Blakely

"Big news! You may be able to hear the heartbeat this week with the help of a Doppler, an ultrasound device that captures the chug-a-chug sound of baby's heart. The first time you hear baby's heart, your own heart may skip a beat—it's the first real evidence that there's someone growing inside you! If you can't hear the heartbeat, no worries, your doc will just check again in a few weeks. Other amazing developments this week:

Baby is beginning to move, but you won't be able to feel anything for some time.

Baby is growing nipples and hair follicles (although there's still a chance you'll be giving birth to a baldy!) His pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and anus are all in place, ready to poop and pee a dozen times a day when he's born. Your baby's head is half the size of his body and his little chin is tucked into his chest. His tiny tail is beginning to shrink away, giving Junior a more human and less amphibious look.

Until now, all pre-babies look the same "down there." This week, however, your baby will begin to develop either male or female genitalia. In layman terms, your baby is beginning to develop her hoo-ha or his wee-wee. While you won't be able to find out the gender of your baby for several more weeks, the version you'll give birth to is being developed right now.

At this stage, your developing fetus is 1-inch in length, about the size of a martini olive (you remember martinis, don't you?) and weighs a mere 2 grams—a little less than a penny."

Monday, February 8, 2010


This weekend, I got to tell my parents something that I've imagined telling them for a long time--that they will be grandparents.

I got to the hotel on Friday about an hour before my mom did-- I got so nervous as I was waiting for her to arrive. We got checked in and brought all of our stuff to our room and my mom was trying to rush out the door so that we could grab some lunch. I tried to stall her-- I had waited a MONTH to tell her and I couldn't wait any longer.

So, before she could put on her coat, I said, "Hey, I brought you something that you've been asking for, for a long time." As she opened the box, she squealed, "Wedding Pictures, Yay!!" and she started jumping up and down. She slowly started looking at each of the pages-- my heart was pounding. She turned to the final page-- her face froze. She looked kind of confused for a few seconds, then she gasped and looked at me.

"You're pregnant??!!"

When I said yes, she immediately ran over to hug me and started crying. It was such a great moment. I asked her if she had any clue and she said no-- she said that she had noticed that I had stopped taking about TTC lately, but she just worried that I was getting depressed about not getting pregnant. We spent the rest of the weekend talking about all things baby related. She's dying to start baby shopping, but she wants to know if it's a boy or girl first. (She was so disappointed to hear that it will be 10 weeks or so before we find out. She wants to know NOW.)

We decided that I would follow my mom back to Columbia to my parents' house so that I could tell my dad in person. (He didn't know I was coming.) So, as we walked in the house, my mom said, "I brought you something from Greenville." My dad said, "What?" and as he rounded the corner he saw me standing there. He was surprised and excited to see me.

Once we got settled, my mom said, "Look what Stef made us! We finally got wedding pictures!!" She sat him down at the table to look at the book. We were both watching him like hawks as he turned every page. FINALLY, he got to the last page. He immediately looked up at me-- I nodded and smiled. He immediately put his head in his hands and started sobbing. It was the sweetest thing-- my dad is one of the most sensitive and sentimental people I've ever known. He was overjoyed at the news-- so much that he was speechless. My mom told me that he just said to her the other day, "I'm ready to be a granddad." Little did he know that he already was!

My parents put their house on the market last August, planning to move to Birmingham. While we're disappointed that they're not here yet, there really hasn't been much urgency...until now. As soon as I told my dad the news, he was on the phone with the realtor to find out what they can do to increase their chances of selling it--they're lowering the price today & coming to Birmingham this weekend to look at houses. (They've come househunting several other times, but are now feeling the pressure to make sure that they know what house they are ready to make an offer on, should theirs sell quickly.)

All in all, it was a great weekend. My mom and I had fun in Greenville, despite a rainy and cold weekend. Wicked was fantastic-- I can't wait to see it again! And my parents are beside themselves, they are so excited. It's a really good feeling.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spilling the beans...

My parents have been asking for wedding pictures for well over a year & unfortunately, I just haven't taken the time to make them copies. A friend of mine works for Creative Memories and I purchased some digital scrapbooking software from her last fall, figuring I'd make them an album. I love how scrapbooks look, but I don't have the time or the patience to put one together-- the software gives me cute layouts and I just drop in digital pictures, then have the pages printed once I'm done.

So, to tell my parents, I decided to make a scrapbook of our wedding pics, with a nice surprise at the end. I finished the pages last night and they're being printed today. I'll present the album to my mom when I see her tomorrow afternoon! (From there, I'll ask her if I should go home with her on Sunday to tell my dad in person, or if we should just call him.) We have a fantastic girls' weekend planned in Greenville, SC with tickets to Wicked on Sat night!

I apologize to anyone who has seen some of these before-- I posted some of the pages back in October on our first anniversary!

Hope she likes it!! I can't wait to spill the beans...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

8 Weeks

8 weeks in, which means we're only three days away from sharing the news with my parents! We can't wait-- this will all seem real, once we're able to spill the beans.

Baby is about the size of this (a celebrity's rock):

But looks like a gummy bear, like this (check out those hands & feet!):
Baking Baby Blakely

"This week, your little tadpole is starting to look a little bit more human. Other exciting developments include:

Your baby's eyelids, ears, upper lip and the tip of his soon-to-be adorable button nose are forming.

Junior will also sprout webbed fingers and toes this week—which you'll be well aware of in a few months, as baby starts early gymnastics classes inside you.

Baby's tiny heart has separated into four distinct chambers and is really ticking now—at a rate of 150 beats per minute. (168 yesterday!) That's more than twice your resting heart rate.

Your baby is now a little more than ½ inch long, about the size of the rock in Eva Longoria's engagement ring, and is about as heavy as the check Tony Parker wrote to pay for it."

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

First, let me apologize for being MIA for almost a week!

I haven't been feeling well (sick & tired) but the last thing I wanted to do was write whiny posts about feeling bad-- especially to lovely ladies who would give anything to feel sick and tired... As I mentioned before, I'm so thankful for any symptoms that let me know that Baby Blakely is baking properly, but I'm so wiped out right now I can barely post. But enough of that--
On to the good stuff!

We had an appointment with our new ob/gyn today and we really liked her. She was recommended to us by Dr. RE (they're friends) and she had a very similar bedside manner-- kind, friendly & thorough. We weren't thrilled that we weren't called back until 45 minutes after our appointment time (a huge pet peeve of mine), but we made our appointment for first thing in the morning next time, so maybe that will help.

The new doctor wanted to do an ultrasound to date the pregnancy, even though I had one done last week-- we were thrilled. She wanted a baseline scan and we'll take any chance we can get to see the baby! It's unbelievable how much changes in a week!

The small round circle is the yolk sac, which will disappear within the next few weeks as the placenta grows. Baby Blakely now looks like a sleeping gummy bear, with little arms and legs!

As the ultrasound tech was getting the measurements she needed (right on schedule at 7w6d), we saw the heartbeat. There was no squinting to look at it-- it was much larger and clearer than last week and was beating at 168bpm.

Then, out of nowhere, we heard the most beautiful sound-- whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. The heartbeat-- we heard the heartbeat! We looked at each other then stared at the screen in awe. Neither of us said anything as a tear slid down my cheek. Rob grabbed my hand and squeezed so tight, trying not to lose it as he got teary-eyed.

The heartbeat is recorded along the bottom of this ultrasound:

It was all we could talk about for the rest of the day-- I sent e-mails to Rob where the only text was "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh." He called and left me voice mails imitating the sound. When we got home from work, he pretended to hear the sound when he pressed his ear against my belly.

I expected that we would probably be able to hear the heartbeat with a doppler at our next appointment (around 12 weeks)-- but hearing it before 8 weeks was such a surprise.

I have to say, and I think Rob would agree, that today was the coolest day of our lives so far. Hearing the life beating inside me-- Hearing our baby was the sweetest thing.