Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The "Other" Party

As excited as I am about Liam's 1st birthday party, there are some people who I can guarantee aren't as pumped: Our childless friends.

Sure, goldfish and swimming and plastic buckets are awesome for kids, but I'm quite certain some of the closest members of our gang would rather take a rain check.

So, we'll be having Liam's 1st Birthday Party: The Sequel on the weekend after his birthday with our buddies.

Here's the invite for that party:

(click to enlarge)

This one will be extremely low key-- and I mean that. No decorations, no smash cake, no fuss. I can't make any promises that there won't be any party favors, though.

(Special thanks to the lovely Kate for pinning this idea to her Pinterest board!)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Party Planning Post

You guys, I am so psyched about Liam's first birthday party. 

I came up with lots of ideas and at first, I thought I was going to do a carnival themed party, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to save that for a birthday that he'll actually remember and enjoy. (Oh, and I'll be 32 weeks pregnant on his birthday, so I think a party without complicated logistics would be best.) This year, simple is better.

Well, as simple as it can get, if I'm planning it.

After poking around on some kids' party planning websites, Etsy & Pinterest (my new obsession!) I decided on a Goldfish themed pool party. Cute, Liam loves to swim, and we can have the party at my parents' neighborhood pool so that no one has the burden & stress of hosting.

Without further ado, here are his invitations: (click to enlarge):

Stickers for envelopes & napkin rings:

For the decorations, I'll make aqua and orange tissue pom poms & get polka dot ballons: 

Definitely want a few of these:

I've started cutting out my own teal & orange circles to make this garland:

I'll use these to label the food:

Along with aqua and orange tablecloths, plates, napkins & flatware, I want to order some of these:

Liam's Smash Cake will look something like this:

And we'll have cupcakes with these:

I plan on teaching myself to "flood" cookies & if I'm successful, I'd love to make these:

I bought a big stack of these buckets for $1 at Michaels to use for party favors:

I'll use these tags:

I plan on filling them with some fun things like these aqua & orange water bottles (Also $1 at Michaels). I'm considering personalizing each kid's bottle by cutting their name out in vinyl (I can do this with my Cricut) and sticking it to the bottle:

And, I found these fishy pool rings-- at $2.25 each, I plan on putting one in each of the favor buckets, plus throwing a few in the pool for decoration.

Real goldfish are also in the plans for party favors, for kids whose parents who give their blessing to have them as pets. (Yes, I will ask before the party. One mom has already said yes, but I need to check with others.)

I have more ideas, but I'm trying to reign myself in-- the good news is that I already have quite a bit done, and the party is almost 3 months away. If I can just try to work on a few things each week, I'll get everything done in plenty of time. In the meantime, I'm having a great time brainstorming and adding ideas to my Pinterest board  (My username is StefBlakely.) If you're on Pinterest, let me know so I can follow you!


*Full disclosure*
I know just enough about Photoshop to get me in trouble. I can fairly easily take someone else's design and modify it to be my own. I did not draw this little fishy myself. I "borrowed" it from someone and created backgrounds and layers and text to create my own paper products-- which for someone who has training in Photoshop would probably take a few minutes. For me, it takes hours. I'm proud of the work that I'm teaching myself to do. I just want to mention that I would never sell a design that wasn't entirely my own...but I will gladly use it for my own parties.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

...And He's Off!


What a difference a week makes!!

Name Our Baby

The great name debate has begun.

We had a girl name picked out, but now we're on the hunt for the perfect boy name and we need some help. We have a name in mind, but haven't settled on anything yet and would like some new ideas to consider. (We're partial to traditional, preppy sounding names.)

It has to go with Blakely (obviously) and it needs to compliment Liam.

Ok, GO!

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's a...


Are you stunned? I am!

Since the pregnancy has been so different, I really thought that it might be a girl, but it was very clear today that Liam will have a baby brother!

There are a few things that I'm a little sad that I'll miss by not having a little girl-- picking out her prom dress, planning her wedding together, seeing her have her own babies one day, etc. BUT, as I've learned from having Liam, being a boy mom is awesome, and I can't wait to do it again.

Most importantly, everything looked perfectly healthy today (nasal bone clearly identified!). This is such a relief after the anxiety I've had the past few weeks.

Now the debate over names begins! We had our girl name picked out, but hadn't agreed on a boy name-- didn't think we needed to worry about it... WRONG!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

We've had a busy week & an even busier weekend! Our trip to Nashville was great and we all survived the three hour car ride thanks to the help of a borrowed dvd player. Baby Einstein was a life saver!

This was the first time Liam has stayed in a hotel, and he did great-- naptimes were a bit of a challenge, but he did great at night and didn't give us any trouble at bedtime. We hit a huge milestone, too-- on the carpeted floor of our Hyatt Place hotel suite, Liam crawled for the first time & we caught it on video:

By yesterday, he was already zooming across the room. (Translation: We're in deep trouble & we need to babyproof our death trap of a house.) More videos to come.
Liam's saying Dada constantly now & Rob melts when he does:

We had a terrific dinner at Amerigo's in Nashville last night-- one of our old favorites from when we lived there. Liam was very well behaved, despite the fact that we kept him up more than three hours past his bedtime. We were all pretty wiped out by this morning, so after a quick breakfast, we decided to get on the road to head home. We had planned to grill out at my parents house tonight, but decided to postpone it until tomorrow, when we're all rested and we hopefully have news of a heathy baby to celebrate as well. (Our anatomy scan is at 10am tomorrow.)

Although I wish that we could have spent more time doing something special with Rob today instead of spending most of our afternoon in the car driving home, we were all together and that's what matters. He's taking some much deserved time off from Daddy Duty tonight and lounging on the couch-- he was such a huge help this weekend. I plan on going to bed when Liam does tonight.

Today, I feel extremely lucky for the two dads in my life.

I feel lucky that Liam made Rob a father & grateful that he's so good to our little boy:

{on the train at the zoo}

& lucky that my own dad is so involved in our lives and loves me (& Liam!) more than words can say.

{my wedding}

{the night Liam was born}

Happy Father's Day! I love you both, so much! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

17 weeks

Another week has passed!

Movement has really picked up this week and I'm feeling the baby almost every day, sometimes several times a day. This is more than a month before I really felt Liam. I hope that the thumps get stronger soon and that Rob will be able feel this little one kicking in the coming weeks.

Still thrilled to say that I haven't gained any weight yet. And, I'm starting to enjoy the belly. In previous weeks, even though I'm much bigger, much earlier this time, it's always been a mix of bloat and baby. I finally feel like everything is rounding out into a baby belly and that things are starting to even out a bit. I loved my big round belly while I was pregnant with Liam-- I've never felt more beautiful... Well, up until the last few weeks when I became miserably uncomfortable.

I hate shorts. I never wear them, but I broke down and bought a pair of black maternity bermuda shorts this weekend-- I may live in them this summer. My mom surprised me with another pair of khaki bermudas and I'm thankful to have them. I can't believe I managed to end up pregnant two hot summers in a row... I bought a second maternity bathing suit this weekend, too. We have two beach trips planned this summer, plus, I plan on taking Liam to the pool often, so I really needed a second.

I'm feeling ok-- those pesky migraines have still come a few times in the past week. The Fioricet helps, I just hate constantly taking pain meds. I feel like I'm putting the baby in danger, even though they were approved by my doc.

I'm still having quite a bit of anxiety about our upcoming anatomy scan (one week from today). I'm not completely obsessing over the "soft markers" issue that I wrote about last week... more just a vague worry that something might be wrong, even though I have no reason to think that there is. I've used my doppler several times in the past week and while the heartbeat is whooshing away in there, but I'm still having a hard time sleeping at night.

I miss my Ativan.

I took Ativan for years to help cope with anxiety, but had to stop taking it (along with Wellbutrin) when we started TTC. It's been hard that over the past two years, the time when I've probably needed it most, I've been unable to take it. With two littles, 14 months apart, I think I'm going to need to start taking it again after the baby is born. Unfortunately, that will mean that Baby #2 may not be breastfed for very long. I hate that. It's very important to me, but I also know that a relaxed mother is a better mother. I'm just going to see how things go in November, and if I feel like I really need it, please remind me not to torture myself over the decision.

The plan is to stay busy this week. I took Liam swimming yesterday (always a great day!), I'm meeting up with my mom today, I work Tues & Thurs and we're leaving on Friday morning for a weekend trip to Nashville which should be fun. Since my brother wasn't able to get off of work on Sunday to come here and spend Father's Day weekend with us, we're all heading up there.

Friday afternoon, we're going to the venue where my brother and his fiancee will get married next May and my mom and I are going to help her settle on some design stuff for the wedding. (Can't wait to get started! I've already designed the Save the Dates!) We may also have a chance to go with her to try on wedding dresses-- I'm so happy that she wants my mom & I so involved in the wedding planning. It will be a great opportunity for us to get to know her even better & I hope that we can make her special day beautiful!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

You Need This

Lights up, spins, shoots water. $9.99 at Babies R Us. Also comes in pink.

You want this me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

Pics of Liam and his Marmi (my mom) playing while Mommy got a massage yesterday:

*Just in case it's not clear in these pics, the car is in park!*

Speaking of cars, we just transitioned Liam from his infant carrier into his (still rear facing!) Britax Marathon. He looks so comfy and I'm thrilled not to have to lug him around in the carrier-- it was getting SO HEAVY!

I thought that after yesterday's post, a light hearted post with cute pictures was in order for today. Thank you so much for your support, ladies. The comments I got, the emails I received and the tweets that were sent my direction were so comforting. As I was telling Slopie, it's so nice to hear someone say that they understand your worry, then reassure you that it's likely you have nothing to worry about. I always know that I can count on you guys to make me feel better.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Do you ever feel like you're just waiting for the other shoe to drop?
I do.

I feel like infertility and loss (my own and others) have robbed me of a comfort during pregnancy that I'll never know. I mentioned in my last post that some days, I forget that I'm pregnant. When I realize it, I am plagued with guilt that already, I'm taking this pregnancy for granted, that this second baby is not getting the same attention that Liam did,  that I'm somehow messing up with this baby, before it's even born.

Yesterday was a very cruel day for some women who were ready to become mamas. Several losses, including one mom who lost her second set of twins, are just haunting me today. Add that to my dear SIL's recent loss and I'm really struggling to believe that this pregnancy will result in a healthy baby in my arms in November.

I haven't been feeling this way the whole time... I was actually pretty carefree the first few months of this pregnancy, but I've felt it sneaking in over the last month or so. I so desperately want to support women who are grieving, but I realize that hearing about these tragedies makes me somewhat neurotic. Some recent thoughts:
  • Some days, I forget to take my prenatal vitamin. What problems is this going to cause my baby?
  • This baby wasn't planned. Does the universe read that as "unwanted"?
  • My blood pressure has been high. Will I develop preeclampsia?
  • I already have one healthy baby. Am I tempting fate by attempting to have two?
  • The tech wrote on my ultrasound report at our NT Scan that she didn't detect a nasal bone. What does that mean?
The last thing, I didn't even mention in my post about the NT Scan because at the time, I really wasn't concerned about it. The Scan went well and the fluid at the back of the baby's neck measured at the low end of normal (perfect). When my doctor went over the report with me she mentioned that the tech wrote in the paper work that she did not detect the presence of a nasal bone (which I know is a soft marker for Down Syndrome). My doc kind of breezed through it until I stopped her and questioned it. She said that it was more important that the fluid measured in the normal range and that it could be that the baby either hadn't developed it yet or that the baby was just turned at an angle that made it difficult to see-- In other words, the tech didn't write that the baby didn't have one, just that she couldn't see it.
The doc told me not to worry about it, but you know how we are...we worry about EVERYTHING. Doctors say that everything will be ok...and then sometimes it isn't.
Soft markers mean virtually nothing, especially when there are no other indicators of a problem. I keep reminding myself that our odds are very good that we have a healthy baby (girl?) growing inside me. Sometimes I wonder if all of these "advancements" in technology are really doing us more harm than good. Years ago, the NT Scan didn't exist-- and while I'm certainly thankful that these tests help families of babies with issues prepare for what is to come, I also know that they can provide a tremendous amount of worry for women with perfectly healthy babies.
I've taken some comfort reading this article: Obstetrical Sonography: The Best Way to Terrify a Pregnant Woman which says:
“What are we trying to accomplish with the sonographic observation of “Down syndrome markers” in low risk women? Think about it! For the tiny residual number of Down syndrome fetuses that may potentially come to light by chasing down every last “marker” we intend to put at least 10% of all pregnant women with perfectly normal fetuses through a great deal of worry.”
Our anatomy scan is 12 days away & in the meantime, I'm trying to separate my reality from others' heartache. I'm hoping I can be supportive, but not torture myself with all of the what-ifs. I'm hoping that the next scan will calm my fears and assure me that all is healthy and well.

Today, I'm just trying to force myself to believe that it is.

Monday, June 6, 2011

16 weeks


How is it possible that I'm already 4 months pregnant? The time feels like it's just flying by. With Liam, I was focused on every little moment of my pregnancy, to the point of obsession. It's so different this time. Between Liam & family & work, I have days that I forget that I'm pregnant.

I'm feeling good. Morning sickness has passed and I'm thrilled to be able to toss the Zofran. I'm tired, but not as tired as I was during my first pregnancy. My belly is growing, but thankfully I'm haven't gained any weight. (I'm very hopeful that my weight gain will be minimal, like it was with Liam.)

Last week, I started feeling flutters! I didn't feel them until much later with Liam because I had an anterior placenta. This time, that little fishy swimming feeling was undeniable. It's awesome and I can't wait until it becomes more regular and evolves into stronger kicks that Rob can feel.

Several weeks ago, my blood pressure was slightly elevated. (I think it was just nerves from having the NT Scan.) I was having terrible migraines & had to go into the office to get a prescription refill of my painkiller (Fioricet). Well, they took my blood pressure mid-migraine and, of course, it was sky high, so the doctor prescribed me blood pressure meds. I went to have them filled, but have had a difficult time finding a pharmacy that had them in stock-- in the meantime, when I've checked my blood pressure at home, it's been fine. So, I've decided to delay the meds, keep monitoring it and talk to the doc about it when I go back.

We have our anatomy scan two weeks from today! So excited to (hopefully) confirm the sex of the baby! I'm still feeling like it's a girl, but I have a 50% chance of being wrong. I'll definitely be surprised if I find out it's another boy, but either way it will be great to know. Hopefully baby is less modest than s/he was last time.

When the new baby arrives, s/he will be in the nursery, so we're working on a new room for Liam. We're moving into a new bedroom (and will finally get back to our redecorating plans) and Liam will move into our current room. (Since we live in an old house, there is no Master bedroom-- the rooms are the exact same size.) I'm excited to share the plans for his new room-- I'll post about it soon!