Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today's Comments

  • "Is it just me or are you getting bigger every day?" - my Office Assistant
    • "That's the goal."
  • "You're STILL pregnant?" - my boss
    • "I'm pregnant!?"
  • "October 23rd?? You're so not going to make it." - my co-worker
  • (After telling someone I'm a bridesmaid in an outdoor wedding this weekend) ".. and you're THAT big??"
  • "Wait, turn around for a second.. from the back you don't look pregnant at all." - best. compliment. ever.

Let's see what else the day brings :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Alright world, I have a confession - I started couponing and I LOVE IT!!

Our good friend Dr. M (aka Auntie Colleen), she gave us the basics on how to coupon over dinner one night. The next morning we went to Sheetz and bought two Sunday newspapers - I have been hooked ever since. I don't aspire to be a crazy couponer like the ones on TV, but I have already saved a lot of money AND have been able to stock up on baby and cleaning supplies.

Each time I coupon, I'm gradually saving more and more on our total bill. I still go shopping weekly for the things I need and I try not to deviate from what I would normally purchase. On our first haul, we saved 25%. On our second, 30%. Today at CVS, I saved 50%. We use a combination of the Sunday newspaper, subscribing to our favorite brands' mailing lists, paying attention to the store's promotions, and adding digital coupons to our Kroger card/printing CVS and Target coupons. I spend maybe 90 minutes a week looking through, clipping, and clicking and I save at least $50 a week.  I know I'll only get better with experience and this will help me "contribute to our income" when I stay home with Joanna!

One of the highlights of couponing has been our ability to give to others. After the horrible flooding in Binghampton, NY, we were able to donate supplies thanks to coupons. Instead of giving $20, we were able to give them $65 worth of cleaning supplies.

Hauls this week:

CVS  for groceries and deal hunting
Retail Cost: $96.43
Total Paid out of Pocket: $48.11
Savings: $48.32 (Manufacturer coupons, CVS coupons, and CVS bucks)
Percent Savings: 50%

Target  for weekly grocery shopping (not all items had coupons)
Retail Cost: $97.65
Total Paid out of Pocket: $67.62
Savings: $30.03 (Manufacturer coupons)
Percent Savings: 31%

Kohls  for clothes (suit pants, 3 suit shirts, bath robe for hospital, bolero for dress)
Retail Cost: $298.12
Total Paid out of Pocket: $128.54
Savings: $169.58 (in-store deals and a 30% coupon found on my phone while Jonathan was trying on clothes)
Percent Savings: 57%

Babys R Us for baby items (baby gate, baby monitor, and pump)
Retail Cost: $473.77
Total Paid out of Pocket: $333.04 (we had a $20 gift card, so we actually paid $313.04)
Savings: $140.73 (using a mailer with coupons and timing it with in-store sales)
Percent Savings: 32%

Friday, September 23, 2011

God's Up To Something

I know God's in control. He reminds me of this everyday, some days more than others.

This weekend is my Lynchburg baby shower. Our really good family friend is throwing a tea party themed baby shower for us at her house. Well, she was. Lemme splain:

My Tea Party Dress from eBay
Out of the 25 people invited, 3 RSVP'd. One was a maybe and two were coming late. I reached out to all of the invitees and confirmed to see if they weren't able to come or if they forgot to RSVP. Most people can't come because they are participating or cheering for someone in the Virginia 10 miler. A few days ago, the hostess' daughter was diganosed with mono. As a result of this giant snowball effect, we decided to move the party to a restaurant and invite husbands/boyfriends to the shindig.

I know God is behind the unraveling of the party (in a good way). I'm not upset that it won't be what we planned; we've been blessed with two showers and the generousity of so many. We have all of our essentials and are (as) ready (as we can be) for baby to arrive.

I still plan on wearing a tea party dress!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

35 Week Doctor Visit

These are the questions I'm asking on this go around:

  1. Is there something I can do to keep down the swelling in my hands and feet?
    1. Not really. Eat less salt and elevate your feet when posible.
  2. The tylenol I take isn't helping with body aches. What can I do?
    1. Manage.
  3. Sometimes it feels like I'm wearing a belt that's too tight - is that a real contraction if its also in my back?
    1. If they're still random, there's no concern. They are likely Braxton Hicks. 
  4. Are you suuure I'm due October 23rd?
    1. Yes.
AND they didn't do an ultrasound. Suck. They're going to do one at 38 weeks.

Doc measured my belly - 39 inches! She didn't give a guestimate on how much Joanna weighs and I forgot to ask. Next appointment is October 7th!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


If Doc was a month off, then my due date would be this week.

I woke up to another sun-less morning, feeling extremely sore and extra heavy. Joanna bore down lower than ever and every joint in my body hates me. My feet are the most swollen they've ever been.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 34 Wrap Up

I've been told that once the behbeh is engaged, I will feel great. I'll be able to breathe, I'll have more energy, I can do last minute touches on the nursery, and it'll be rather smooth sailing into the very final week(s). I quickly learned this is not the case for all pregos.

I feel awful ever since my little booger beared down in my underbelly. First of all, it's harder to breathe not easier. Secondly, the pressure while she's sleeping or while I'm sleeping is way more painful (in a pressure way, not in sharp way). Sometimes I have to wake her up before I can sit up in the mornings or after I sit at my desk for a long time. Whenever she's awake, she channels Michael Jackson and does kicks and punches everywhere.

Thursday is my next appointment and they'll do a sonogram to see how much bigger she is. My guess is that she's over 7 pounds already. I'm not excited about the possibility of inducing me early. As I said before, I don't mind being uncomfortable if it means I'll have a healthier baby. Just because doctors think she's too big doesn't mean she really is - we just grow big babies in my family. Doc hinted that the longer I wait, the more likely I am to have a C-section. I don't want one, but if I NEED one for the health of my baby, I'll do it without batting an eye. If it's more of a doctor's preference, I'd rather bear down and pop her out myself.

If they were a month off in their due date diagnosis, I'm 39 weeks. If they're correct, I'm 35. Either way she's mostly plumped and ready for business. My next appointment is on Thursday and I'm hoping they'll do another indepth sonogram and really make sure everything is where it should be. If I went into labor right now, she'd be pretty good. At 35 weeks, her lungs and liver aren't 100% so she'd be in the NICU for a few days (at least). At 39 weeks, she's basically fully cooked.

On a possibly related note, I had a ton of energy last Wednesday. I cleaned the house and went on a 2 hour coupon trip to Target without needing a break - this is unheard of. I know pregos get a rush of energy before labor, but that seems way too early.. hm..

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Couch Sweet Couch

I wrote a song and posted it to my Facebook:

"Home home on my couch. Where the cat and I can be grouch(y). Nothing good on TV 'til it's time for Wendy (Williams), and the skies are just cloudy all day."

Laura: The cat just farted. It's just me on the couch for a while.

Robin: must have been bad if it scared itself away with the fart. Lol.

Betsy: Ok- you know how I think you look like Zooey Deschanel? Have you seen her show- New Girl? You act like her too! It's so funny; I feel like when I watch it you & I are getting to spend time together LOL Maybe you could be her stunt double!

Jeff: Netflix ftw.

Tommy: Youtube ftw.

Laura: Owens Brothers ftw.

Laura: ‎Betsy, I just may have to get bangs again then.

Tommy: Laura, do you get that Zooey thing a lot from people? She's always reminded me of you a little too...

Laura: Only when I'm adorable.

Jeff: ‎ always?

Laura: Gaaaaaw, thanks Jeff

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Nine Eleven

On September 11th 2001, I was a 16 year old junior at Osbourn High School. My hair was bright red, my fashion choices were ridiculous, and my life was theater.

Given my aptitude for all things fabulous, I naturally despised Math. Lucky me that Math was the first class of the day so I could get it over with. After class, I tied my Adidas sneakers before going down the back stairwell to my English class with Miss Carter. On my way, I passed Heather - she was in tears.

"Heather what's wrong?"
"They just bombed the World Trade Center"

The last bombing I really remembered was the Oklahoma City bombing when I was in elementary school. I was taught that there are bad people who do bad things to good people. I didn't know which World Trade Center it was since there are buildings of that name in other cities. I continued to my English class and saw the TV on - the news showed one smoking tower next to its twin - it was the Twin Towers in NYC. I was just there last year and had the chance to go inside- I said no because I wanted to go shopping at H&M. I figured I would just go next year when we take our next trip.

All of the faculty were called for a meeting while the students remained in the classrooms. Miss Carter put me in charge of taking attendance. I took attendance and tried to calm everyone down. "New York knows how to handle these kinds of things - they'll be okay". Our teacher came back and we turned off the TV.
Rumors flew between 2nd and 3rd period about a plane hitting the Pentagon and the White House. "Mr. ____ let us watch TV and we heard there are more planes that are headed here." "There's a plane circling around Dulles right now" "My dad works there" "My mom had a meeting in DC today" "My dad flew out this morning"

I don't remember the rest of the day, but I do remember walking outside into the parking lot with Brooke. There were no planes flying overhead. Because we live so close to Dulles Airport and Washington D.C., there are always planes in the sky. On that day, it was clear. She dropped me off at my house and I walked inside hearing the TV. Mom was sitting on the couch and we watched. I don't remember what we said to each other but I know it wasn't much.

The next day, school was canceled. Brooke and I made signs that said "Honk if you love America" and drove around Manassas, blaring country music and "God Bless America". We also went shopping at Old Navy.

I know I changed on that day. I was still a bratty, self-absorbed 16 year old who cared more about clothes than grades, but I had a sharper sense of how short life can be. I didn't question "why did this happen" because I chalked it up to a group of really bad people doing a really horrific thing to a lot of good people. Bad things don't stop - in my Senior year, the Beltway Sniper made his way to Manassas. People were petrified to pump gas. Several school events were shifted or cancelled so they could happen in the daylight rather than at night.  I also missed many days of school as a result of an arteriovenous malformation of my right temporal lobe. (a medical condition in my brain that can cause fatal aneurisms). I learned that living with fear is a waste of time, energy, and life.

As I quickly approach becoming a parent myself, I still have that sense of how powerful evil can be. I've encountered enough death, tragedy, and disaster in my 26 years of life that I've taken on a more "what will be will be" attitude toward life. My sense of justice is still very much present and I don't often get upset about things I can't control. However, I don't want my baby girl to be as cold as I am. I want her to know hope and optimism. I don't want anyone to hurt her. I want to keep her safe.

I personally didn't know anyone who died on September 11th. I do know that David's dad would have died if he didn't take a smoke break that morning. I know that I was on a plane 4 days before the attack happened and I've been on a plane many times since. I know the huge swell of patriotism that occured after that day was beautiful and inspiring. I know many heroes died that day. I know my God is a loving God.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


God is so flipppin cool.

My small group threw myself and my friend Cami a baby shower for our new bundles of joy! She's expecting baby Weston about a week before baby Joanna comes into the world. We have very different pregnancy stories but our excitement is the same - we can't wait!! (We're also really stoked about having babies right before Halloween and are planning to dress our infants in a costume.. haha)

Even though Joanna recieved many wonderful gifts, my favorite part(s) of the night were the advice, stories, and anecdotes. Cami and I are truly blessed to be in a group of women who are in many different chapters of life. We range from college students to grandmothers yet we're all sisters in Christ. The fellowship we share is truly the result of God's grace and provision and not our own doing. God is truly amazing.

Pain in the (B)ack

Yesterday was a day of true waddling - my lower left side of my back shooting down to my left kneecap was hurting each time I put weight on my left leg. This is the first time I've had back pain so I'm kind of excited to have another pregnancy symptom. I came home early from work and hauled up in my rocking chair for the rest of the day with my work laptop. Best office ever.

At night I had difficulty sleeping correctly. My back pain would alternate from left to right. This morning I woke up with no pain! My sensitive spot has also shifted further down and I now feel more pressure on my pelvis. This is making me think that she's engaged!! (that means her body is head down and preparing for her exit/entrance.) She's supposed to engage around this time and I think this is what its supposed to feel like? I feel like my bump is lower, too but that may be my imagination. I can definitely feel my hips trying to stretch and expand, too.

Just a few more weeks of discomfort and we get a baby!! YEAA!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How big is she??

Today's doctor's visit was very informative to say the least.

I went in and the doctor first answered my questions. When I asked how big she was, she had me lean back and she measured the belly as I continued asking my other questions about off center belly buttons and stretch marks. She paused and instead of giving me a measurement, she said "Hm.. she's measuring bigger than normal. I'd like to do an ultrasound to check it out." To which I replied, "Well, I did want a chubby baby." Doc didn't like that comment too much. She checked Joanna's heartbeat (160ish) and sent me back to the waiting room to see if an ultrasound tech could see me between appointments.

40 minutes later I'm laying on a table with jelly on my belly looking at freaky pictures of my unborn child. Ultrasounds are both exciting and confusing. I have no idea what the shadows and wiggly lines meant. Every now and then the tech would explain things to me and say things like "good" and "looks fine". I tried making conversation and she wasn't too keen on me interupting her work. I got to see all four chambers of her heart, her circulation in her umbilical cord, two kidneys, two legs, wiggly fingers and toes, a large head, and even a little bit of hair! It was really neat to have such an indepth look into the health of my baby girl.

When I asked her, "Can you tell how much she weighs?" and she waved her magic jelly wand around on my belly, punched in a few numbers, and told me 6lbs and 3oz.

Wait. What? My "little" girl currently weighs 6lbs 3oz?

That's right folks! My kid weighs at 33 weeks what 50% of babies weigh at birth!

After the 15 minute ultrasound extravaganza, I went back into the waiting room so the Doc could analyze the ultrasound and determine if there was any additional course of action needed. I waited and waited, possibilities bouncing around in my head. "Will I get to see her much sooner?" "Should I be worried?" "Will this be a September baby??" After waiting another 45 minutes, I could hear her come to the outside of the door, flip through my chart and say, "wow, that is a big baby!".

She came in, confirmed Joanna's weight, and made sure I didn't have gestational diabetes. Because "little" Joanna is already large and in charge with 7 weeks to go, my doctor said I should anticipate having a 9 pound baby. A NINE POUND BABY. I couldn't help but have a huge smile on my face - I was so excited! Doc was surprised at my smile and made sure I understood that big babies increase my risk for a C-section. "Whatever is best for her is fine with me." There's a 25% chance that my Doc will actually deliver my baby so I just need to make sure my birth plan is written out with that understanding.

I asked Doc if her size meant that my due date would move. "No, she's just a big baby". Her development is right on track for 33 weeks: almost all of her vital organs are formed and she is still very wiggly. I also asked what I can do to help prepare my birth canal. Her response? "Pray." haha!

They're going to do another ultrasound in 2 weeks to check her progress again. 

Okay, not quite that fat.
Nine. Pound. Baby. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Doctor's Appointment

I have my 33 week check-up tomorrow. Here are some questions I'll be asking:
  1. The skin on the top left part of my stomach is very sensitive - what can I do?
    1. It's normal for the baby's placement to make certain sections of your skin become more or less sensitive. Just keep on keepin' on until she pops out.
  2. I have several ribs on my left side (near my sensitive skin) that are often sore. Are they related?
    1. Not really, baby just likes kicking there.
  3. How can I tell when the baby is engaged?
    1. They'll be able to tell at the future appointments. The next one is in 2 weeks.
  4. How big is she?
    1. Haha.. the next post goes into that.
  5. How much does Joanna weigh? The internet says about 5lbs.
    1. Joanna weighs 6lbs 3oz right now. 
  6. I need another Rx of zofran; I'm on my final 2 pills.
    1. Done.
  7. When does the hospital give tours? 
    1. She recommended I check the website because they have scheduled tours and I can also sign up for a private one.
  8. I have stretch marks from my bellybutton down. What's the best lotion/oil I can use?
    1. She said all lotions pretty much work the same. There's no miracle for stretch marks because it's influenced by genetics rather than cosmetics. Some marks end up fading while some remain. 
  9. Why is my belly button off center?
    1. Joanna favors the right side and that's why the right side of my belly is stretched out, hence my bellybutton is to the left of center.

I Feel Pregnant

Today was rough. It marks the end of a sinus infection and the first day that I've truly felt pregnant at every moment of the day. I woke up with a sore back and swollen feet, wobbled into the kitchen to soothe my nauseated stomach, and attempted to find a suitable outfit for church. Nothing I tried made me feel good or even approachable. I wasn't trying to be glamorous or cute; I just wanted to be comfortable. The process took over an hour and I was thankful we attend the third service.

Jonathan and I went to Starbucks to spend some gift cards. My drink and bagel weren't enough to curtail my appetite so we also hit up the McDonalds drive through for a chicken nugget kid meal. With protein and caffeine coursing through my veins, I was able to worship God without my body distracting me! Yay! As we learned about the amazing things Jesus is doing in Ethiopia, I was able to shift my weight and reposition every part of me so I could sit comfortably for a few minutes at a time. Church ended, I ate a few meatballs and ice cream from the green room, and we ate lunch at home. Nom Nom Nom.

No matter what I ate, drank, or did, I felt gross all day. I slept for a bit but woke up anxious and wanting to clean the house. I'm still fidgety and want to distract myself from feeling so icky. Jonathan has been so wonderful this weekend. I'm truly blessed that he's the father of my child and the love of my life!

7 more weeks until we meet our sweet little girl. I know my hormones won't normalize right away, but I think having a wonderful face to look at will make it all better.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wiggly Booger

Joanna is perfecting her break dancing and fist pumping skills. I have to be careful not to lean too closely to my desk or else she'll bounce right off of it. She also enjoys sticking her butt out on the right half of my stomach. She loves it so much that I have more stretch marks on my left than my right, haha. She seems to know whenever Jonathan is around, too. She'll poke out on the side where he's closest. He's even able to provoke her and get her to push against his hand! I can balance a Slurpee on my stomach and take notes in meetings without using the conference table. Folding clothes is much easier with the additional counter space she gives me. I also have a portable furnace so I rarely get cold in my freezing office.

The best name I can give her is "wiggly booger". I don't know why; it just fits her.

I'm so looking forward to meeting her but I am definitely enjoying feeling every wiggle and hiccup until then.