28 Weeks

I am actually doing good posting this, this time. I am still in my 28th week, even if at the end. 

I don't feel like I have anything too exciting to report. Things are just humming along around here. I am measuring right on schedule. I am still feeling fine, though don't like bending over much anymore.  I am still having that dang gag reflux and can't wait for that one to go away. I also have something that Ian and I jokingly call IBS - itchy back syndrome. My back seems to itch all the time, especially if I am leaning up against anything, like a chair or in bed. I am mostly avoiding chicken, as it doesn't sound good to me. This happened in my other pregnancies as well, but it isn't as strong of an aversion as it was in the past. 

I am getting the urge to prepare for baby. I got out all the gender neutral baby clothes and washed them this week. I actually have way less than I remember. It's mostly white onesies. But I am guessing that is because I have some newborn boy and girl stuff I kept, but I haven't gone looking for that yet. I've started a mental list of things I would like to get for the baby before it arrives. Most of it is frivolous and unnecessary, but still stuff I would like. But I do need the obvious and necessary too, like those teeny tiny newborn diapers and such. I want to make a mobile for over the crib. I think I am going to repurpose the one I made for Callum when I was pregnant with him. I still really like it, but the older kids broke it a while ago, pulling on it. I think I am going to hang it in a circle this time. 

That's about all the excitement for this update that I've got for you. Well, unless you care to know that I passed my glucose test with flying colors, so I don't have to stop raiding the kids halloween candy stash anytime soon. Or that my appointments are now 4 weeks apart, instead of 6. And I am supposed to fill out and return my birth plan at my next appointment. My plan is to just write in huge letters across it, "All I want is a nice nurse!" Seriously, a good nurse makes all the difference! But, no more ultrasounds or anything exciting like that for me. Just waiting and letting this little one grow. 

In case you want to compare, here I am at 28 weeks pregnant with Callum, at 28 weeks with Isla, and 27 weeks pregnant with Connor. My belly with Connor was definitely smaller than with the others! 

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Decorating for Christmas

Isla helped me decorate for Christmas over the weekend and it really was a fun time. Connor was watching Home Alone and Callum was napping. With a Christmas movie in the background, we decorated. She really wanted to take the lead on the tree and did most of the decorating. She was so excited. It just melted my mama heart. I've decorated in years past by myself, so it's fun to have someone that gets just as excited about the decorations (if not more so) helping out. 

I definitely don't decorate as much as I did pre-kids...of course I was also working at Pottery Barn at the time and had that influence as well. There's no elaborate table decorations, as once I had kids, I realized how those annoying things have to either be moved every meal or get things spilled on them every meal. Practicality won out and the table now remains clear. Though I did add garland and lights to our stairs this year and that makes me insanely happy. But honestly, twinkle lights anywhere make me insanely happy. I am obviously easily pleased. I think it has to do with it being grey out and getting dark earlier that the burst of light in various places around the house is just appreciated. 

We put the Christmas tree in the corner of the living room this year, rather than front and center in the front window. Sure, there isn't magic in the window, but it really makes navigating our living room easier! It also gave the tree more space, as it wasn't having to be crammed up against a window so it wouldn't be so far in the room. All that to say, I am enjoying the set up this year. 

Now to get on with the Christmas shopping and wrapping. I was talking with someone the other day that had their shopping all done AND all wrapped. I am a bit behind over here, still trying to figure out exactly what I will get everyone. I find doing three presents each (wear, play, read), which we have done for years, makes me think longer about what I am going to buy each kid, as I want each present to really count and have meaning. But I am getting there, slowly but surely. I have never been out on Christmas Eve still shopping, so I am not too worried. It all comes together somehow. 

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Connor {9 years}

There is just something about your first born. I feel like both of us have grown so much together over the years. Not to mention, Connor is just so sweet with his mama. He still holds my hand all the time and freely gives me hugs.

Connor is such a tender hearted and sweet boy, yet also loves to shoot you at close range with his nerf guns. He loves reading and devours books in a matter of hours. He definitely prefers realistic books and funny books to make believe. He has read a lot of history books, as well as all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and Captain Underpants. He enjoys playing with cars and going on drives with his dad. He also enjoys picking fights with his sister and brother ;) He has such an imagination as well. The things he comes up with never cease to blow my mind. Especially his ideas for making money. He has sold everything from comic books he has written, to paper airplanes. And his latest invention is an arcade game made out of a box that he operates and charges 50 cents for.

Connor also has a love for Harry Potter, which makes this mama's heart happy, as I too love it. We have read through the first three books together, reading them as the illustrated versions come out. But he has gone back and read the first two by himself as well. We have watched the first four movies together as well and he is ready for the fifth.

Connor has really expanded his palate over the past year and I have been very impressed. He loves all sorts of kinds of seafood. We make shrimp at home, but he loves going out for poke bowl and eating the raw fish. He has even gotten to the point where he will eat more and more of the meals I cook without them having to be modified, like he will now eat things with sauce and has even eaten some of the soups I have made this fall. He is just more and more willing to try things.  I am really proud of him and it gives me hope for our other picky eater.

Connor recently started taking showers in the morning before school. It was all his idea and I have to say, it just feels so grown up! There is just so little I have to remind him to do these days and it feels weird.

Connor prefers to be home over being out and about. He likes battling me and Ian at tetherball. He also enjoys playing various board games. Though the thing you can find him doing the most is curled up with a book.

Now for a little interview with Connor:

What is your favorite:
     color - red
     food - ahi tuna
     drink - root beer
     ice cream - cookies n cream
     toy - nerf guns
     book - Diary of a Wimpy Kid
     song - all the songs from the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid
     tv show - The Andy Griffith Show
     movie - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
     thing to do - watch Harry Potter
     game - clue
     sport - soccer
     animal - leopard shark

Who is your best friend? Nixon
What do you like doing with your friends? have nerf wars
Where did you meet Nixon? I don't know, where did I? His house?

What is your favorite thing about school? I have the nicest teacher in the whole universe
What do you enjoy learning the most? math
What do you like to do on the playground? play tetherball 
Who do you play with at school? everyone who plays tetherball

What is your favorite thing about yourself? That I was born in Scotland

Three things that makes you special:
     1. How good I can read
     2. I was born in Scotland
     3. That I'm the oldest kid in my family

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Hide That Turkey!

It must be a first grade tradition to "hide" a turkey. Connor did it in first grade and now Isla is doing it. I tried finding photographic proof of Connor's hidden turkey and couldn't find pictures anywhere. Given I know I take loads of photos, I am guessing it is among the thousands and thousands of photos that I didn't sort though on my old laptop...hence the reason the laptop is sitting in a drawer a year later, still waiting for me to deal with all those photos. And by thousands of photos, I am talking like 40,000 photos. Such a daunting task and the reason the laptop is sitting in a drawer. But back to Isla and her hidden turkey.

When she brought home this project, I came up with an idea that I personally found brilliant. I told her we could dress the turkey up like her. We could print out a picture and make a face mask out of her face to go on the turkey. Even Connor said, "How come you didn't have these good ideas when I was in first grade?" But Isla didn't like it. She had other plans. She wanted to disguise her turkey behind a Christmas tree. And since I'm not the one in school, I let her do what she wanted. 

I am convinced the kids think the best part of any school project is going to hobby lobby. It's the best part for them and usually the most stressful for me, haha! They have a vision and I am trying to help them realize their vision without spending a small fortune. Besides having to talk Isla out of buying 32 packages of small ornaments, the trip to the store was actually pretty drama free. So was disguising the turkey. I will actually file it down as one of our easier and least stressful school projects to date. And Isla was really proud of it, which is what really matters. 

Isla was so excited to take her turkey to school this morning. But, it wasn't just excitement about her turkey. She told me, "I am so excited to see everyone's turkeys mom. I just know they all will be great!" I like her enthusiasm and positivity. 

Now here's to hoping they don't do a class vote on the best hidden turkey this year. Because, well, that truly caused some drama in my life two years ago. 

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The 6th Annual Christmas Card Challenge

Having already received our first Christmas card in the mail, I thought now was a good time to announce the 6th annual Christmas card challenge. Thanksgiving snuck up on a lot of us last year and is early again this year, so I thought the early reminder to get a card made (and capitalize on those Black Friday card deals!) would be good for all. 

This contest was born out of my love of Christmas cards. Well, not just Christmas cards, but any holiday card. We've even gotten some New Year's cards, which I think is fun because it makes the card season last even longer! I get so excited in this season to check my mail every day. I love seeing smiling faces of those I love on cards, I love the handwritten notes, I love the updates, I love the lush beautiful cards, I love the funny ones. I just love it all. 

The categories for cards will remain the same again this year, but I also have a fun little prize for anyone that is local, so be sure to keep reading! As a refresher, here are the categories:

     * first card to arrive
     * best handwritten note
     * best photo(s)
     * best update
     * best overall

The first card to arrive spot has already been snagged by someone who was obviously on top of their game. And being on top of their game helped me, as it reminded me to get to work on my own card. 

In the spirit of supporting my hubby, and supporting a local small business, I will be giving a bag of Bean Counter Coffee Roasters coffee to the winner. How it works is, after the New Year, I will choose a winner from each categories, then use a random number generator to pick the winner of the coffee. Now, for you locals, I have a separate prize. Also in the spirit of supporting a local small business, I will be giving away a month subscription (February) to Alchemy Bread. If you've never heard of her, go check her out. Her bread is AMAZING. If you win, you have to agree to pick up your bread once a week (either on Tuesday or Thursday) in downtown Modesto on 12th Street. You also have to be willing to provide your phone number for the subscription. You really want to be willing to do this because, guys, it's soup season and this bread is like no other. Your mind WILL BE BLOWN. And if you're not willing, I know plenty of people that would be, so...

If you want to join in the fun, but don't have my address, feel free to email me at jgrimbleby(at)gmail.com and I will provide an address to send it. And you need not be shy, I have had many people participate in the card challenge that aren't my close pals. And, guess what? Some have won categories! And, each one of their cards put a smile on my face because I LOVE CARDS.

If you are looking for some inspiration, here are the winners in years past - 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Just a little tip, funny cards are totally my jam, as are anything that makes your card stick out from the crowd. That could be a different shape, a different colored envelope, or perhaps forgetting to change your last name on your card, so it says the wrong name! 

Now get to work on your cards! Remember, Black Friday and cyber Monday are always great times to score great deals on cards and is normally the time I order them every year. And, what's nice is you can have them all designed and ready to go ahead of time and just purchase them when the good deal comes around. 

I'm excited for my mailbox to start filling with cards! 

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The Minivan Kind of Life

I knew deep down in my heart that adding a fourth child to our family meant a minivan was in my future. I just couldn't imagine two big kids constantly having to climb between an infant and a toddler to get strapped in. Never mind thinking about doing that in the rain when everyone is wet and dirty! 

We already had a Honda and figured we would just go with another Honda again, just a minivan this time. We aren't exactly warm and fuzzy when it comes to buying a car. We tend to know what we want and just go for it. The day we bought our minivan we were actually just stopping to look at them, as we had never even looked at them. I had an idea of what my must haves were for it, but that was it. We weren't picky on color and they happened to have this silver one with the exact trim package I wanted. And they offered us a deal we couldn't pass up, so we went for it. 

I've noticed the minivan club is quite large and all seem to be very excited about minivans themselves. Now, I am not going to deny that the thing is super functional. It has more cargo space than my pilot did. And the seats that move side to side in the middle row are super convenient for vacuuming out the car and having to reach for things in the back. BUT, I will say, I miss how my pilot drove. I am not joking when I say I have made this minivan squeal it's tires more times than I can count...especially going around corners. Apparently I drive a little too peppy for this bad boy. And I miss the right side camera my pilot had...that really made cutting people off a breeze. Also, my pilot got better gas mileage. Other than that, I really am satisfied with the minivan. It has a lot of great options and works well for the stage of life we are in. 

And someone, cough, cough, Isla, was beyond thrilled that we got a minivan. It was literally every hope and dream of hers coming true. She claims she even wants one as a first car, which I feel like I will hang over her head right around the time she is turning sixteen ;)

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A Weekend in Monterey

We went to Monterey for the weekend. We went not because of the holiday weekend, but because Ian was going to run a half marathon. It was one of those weekends that had some really great memories made, but also had some low points. A great memory would be Callum loving the lighthouse that we drove around at night and was still talking about it the next day. A low point would be our back window being smashed out on the van while we were playing at the park with the kids. Another high point was stumbling across the worlds largest doughnut...actually, I am sure there are bigger ones out there, but this thing was massive! And, a low point would be Ian's half marathon being cancelled the night before due to the air quality from all the fires in California right now. 

While in Monterey, we got an annual pass to the aquarium and went on both Saturday and Sunday. It was oh-so-busy, but the kids still had lots of fun. Including Callum unexpectedly pulling a crab out of the water in one of the touch areas. I think he thought it was seaweed, as that's what he kept playing with, but he got a surprise! My favorite part of the aquarium is forever and always the jellyfish. I swear they should have those massage chairs you see at the mall set up in front of the jellyfish and let people just pay to sit there and stare at them. There is something just so therapeutic about being in a dark room, staring at jellyfish slowly moving around. I can't be the only one that feels this way, right? Because of my love for the jellyfish, please excuse ALL the jellyfish photos. I just can't help myself. 

After the aquarium on Saturday, we took the kids to play at the park for a while. The park is huge and a lot of fun. The kids did a ton of running around and playing. But it was definitely a downer to go out to our car and discover the window gone. I joked to one of my friends it was because someone was mad that we literally got the front parking spot at the park ;) Thankfully we called our insurance and were able to get the glass replaced on Monday, so all is well in the minivan world again. And, it wasn't nearly as loud to drive home without the window as I expected. We obviously had it taped up, but I still expected it to be loud. 

Saturday evening we went out to dinner with some other people from Modesto who were running in the half marathon. It was at the end of dinner that everyone was notified that the race was cancelled. Whomp, whomp, whomp. 

Sunday we went back to the aquarium for a bit before hitting the road for home. And the best part about the trip had to be that the kids didn't have school on Monday, so we had a day to recover (i.e. do the laundry, grocery shop, get the busted out window replaced, etc.) instead of just jumping back into things. 

^^ said extremely large doughnut

^^ This merry-go-round contraption is crazy, especially at the times when it was so full it was standing room only on there. But the kids played on it for what felt like forever and had such a grand time. 

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24 Weeks

We are going to pretend for a moment that I am not halfway through my 25th week because this is the last picture I took. It's hard to keep up with these updates with three kids already apparently. I also miss our wood fence in our old backyard that made the perfect and easy backdrop for any photo. Anyway, here's me at 24 weeks. 

24 weeks. 6(ish) months. Viability. 

I always feel like I can breathe a little easier when I make it to 24 weeks. That's when most medical facilities are willing to perform life saving procedures should a baby be born. Sure, I've never gone into labor early or had any issues that would make me have to deliver early, but this is still always a milestone that I am happy to hit. 

I have been feeling good and feel like I am even getting some energy back. I'm not going to sleep as early every night and haven't been feeling the urge to take naps every day anymore either. Bending over is starting to be uncomfortable sometimes. I think it has to do with the position of the baby because most of the times it is fine, but other times it is downright painful. My gag reflux is still alive and well. I will be happy when this is gone. I still struggle brushing my teeth and anything touching my neck sets me off. 

I am starting to feel the urge to nest and get things ready for the baby. I started thinking about where I should organize the uber adorable and small newborn clothes. For now I am thinking I will set up a little changing area on a dresser we have in our closet. It's the same dresser we used for Callum when he was a baby and the perfect size to hold just the essentials. I've bought a couple things for the baby that I wanted as I have managed to find them secondhand for a price I was willing to pay. I got a mini crib for our room (as no one is wanting to move to the bedroom downstairs and I am not wanting to go up and down the stairs in the middle of the night to tend to a newborn and I figure it can just sleep in our room for the first while anyway), a swing and a diaper bag. 

We still have yet to discuss names and I haven't really done much research or even made up a list of names I like to discuss. I guess we should get on that one soon..ish! 

I had my anatomy scan at 22.5 weeks. I'm guessing all is well since I never heard back and was told to expect that "no news is good news". But I have a check up this week and I am sure they will tell me all is well or whatever. At the scan, the baby was pretty dang uncooperative. It took a really long time, them having me get up and move around and them trying me in different positions on the table to get all the pictures they needed. But we got to see the profile of the baby, see all its fingers and toes and even see its mouth moving. The mouth moving was pretty dang fun to watch. 

It's hard to believe that I am getting pretty close to my third trimester. Things really are moving along pretty quick! 

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Halloween was an insanely busy day for us. Like nonstop. It was all fun, but it was still crazy. It started with the kids halloween parade at school in the morning. Above is them all dressed up and ready for school. Isla decided the day before halloween that she didn't want to be a mermaid, the costume she had picked out at the store, but would instead use her witch costume from last year. I tried for a second to change her mind, but really didn't care. But now I have a costume with the tags still on it that I don't know what to do with. Oh well. Moving on. 

The halloween parade at school is slightly chaotic because the whole school participates in it at the same time. Isla gets really excited to see us when she is walking in it though, and I totally love that. Connor is more reserved, but still smiles and waves at us. After the parade, I went straight to Isla's class for her class party. I led the bingo station and must say I did quite the good job ;) Then I had a little break between parties to run to Target and pick up candy for the trick or treaters...nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?! Then back to the school for Connor's party. His was less party and more art project with a bunch of food involved. The kid who sits next to him was absent, so I got to sit next to him, which was nice for this pregnant lady because I felt like I did far too much standing up that day. Then it was off to get Callum with 20 minutes to spare before turning back around to get the kids from school. 

Straight after school on Wednesdays Isla has ballet. Since she had been looking forward to costume day at ballet since they announced it a couple weeks ago, I knew we couldn't miss, even though I would have loved a little reprieve in our schedule. She had lots of fun. Then it was home for dinner and wrangling everyone in their costumes to go trick or treating. I literally had to shove Callum in his costume while he screamed hysterically. Then we showed him people give him candy and he gets to put it in his bag and he was totally cool with the situation. 

Trick or treating was a lot of fun. Callum could easily do it this year and would come running back to the street after yelling, "I got candy!!!" He also did a status check of his candy after every house. He was REALLY, REALLY into the candy. He is also the only child that has asked for his candy constantly all day every day since. 

Once we were done trick or treating, we came back home to pass out candy. Well, Connor and Isla excitedly did from our front porch. The 400 pieces of candy I got only lasted about an hour...we get a lot of people coming into our neighborhood. Which really, that was good because we could then turn off the lights and put the kids to bed at a normal time. So, talk about a win! 

^^ I told you she gets excited! 

^^ This was the picture from right before we headed out to go trick or treating. Everyone full of hope and not all crazy yet, haha! 

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