Stephens Family

Stephens Family

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thirty Six 8.17 - 8.23 AND Thirty Seven Weeks 8.24 - 8.30

I'm going to try a new format for Weeks 36 and 37 -- a bit more simple.  (I'll blame this on my need for rest in the final 3 weeks of pregnancy.)

Biggies from 36 and 37 weeks:

*I'll start with the most exciting news of all (that I've had to keep quiet since Father's Day weekend in June) -- Eli's going to have a little cousin!  Yes, that is right -- my sister, Libby, and her husband, David, are expecting their first child on February 13th!  We are absolutely thrilled for them!  We are so excited that Eli will have a cousin so close in age to him and only 20 minutes from us!  They will be such great play mates!

Lib at 14 weeks! 16 currently :)  She's such a cute pregnant lady!

8/17 Mike and I met with Raintree Pediatrics and feel very confident choosing these practitioners as Eli's doctors.  They answered all of our questions and met some of the specific requirements we were looking for. 

8/20 We had a combined youth event with our church and my parents' church at my parents' house.  Mike did such a good job with the boys -- leading outdoor games and wrestling them in the pool.  It took about 8 boys to dunk Mike under water and they were so proud of themselves.  They really love Mike and because of this I know he is going to be a fantastic father -- can't wait to see him play with Eli!

Mike playing football with the boys!  Sammie too!  Can't wait to see him play with Eli!

All the boys trying to dunk Mike -- he was sore the next day!

8/22 Mike and I attended Healthy Arrivals Breastfeeding Class.  I knew most of the information presented from reading but there were several helpful hints and it was good for Mike to see and hear all of the benefits from breastfeeding.  The leader talked about how important it is for the husbands to support their breastfeeding wives through encouragement and taking on chores.  Mike is very supportive!

8/23 We met Leigh Miller (Mike's co-workers wife and professional photographer) at Lake Quivira for our maternity photo shoot.  It was so beautiful!  We took pictures on the beach, the dock, near sail boats, and even in the water at sunset.  We could tell that Leigh has an eye for what makes a perfect picture.  She was so kind and made us feel very comfortable.  We can't wait to see the finished pictures!  :)

8/25 Mike's work threw us the nicest shower.  They decorated their board room with bottles filled with blue and white M&M's and had the cutest and tastiest cake for everyone.  There must have been at least 20 of Mike's co-workers show up to congratulate us and wish us luck as first time parents.  You can tell they are all very excited for Mike and had good advice to share.  Mike wants me to include a special shout out to his boss, Sally, and co-worker, Chuck, who organized the event.  :)  Again, we are amazed at the generosity of the shower guests.  We received our high chair, diaper bag, toys, hangers and gift cards to Target and Babies 'R Us!  A BIG thank you too all of Mike's co-workers!

That day my mother flew (for the first time in 31 years) to Las Vegas with her sister, Monica, to visit her son, Ben (my cousin), and his wife, Sara, and their daughter Eliza.  I'm proud of her for facing one of her fears but was worried that Eli might have come when she was out of town.  Luckily, he obeyed her orders and is still hanging out in my belly :)

8/26 Mike and I met at the Just Between Friends consignment sale in LS.  We bought some items that we still needed (which isn't much considering the generosity of our family, friends, and co-workers!).  We got a carseat cover, shopping cart cover, bottle sanitizer (also good for breast pump equipment), books for Eli and me, a adjustable sling, and winter clothes for Eli.  We made out like bandits! 

We then met my dad in LS and took him to dinner for shampooing our carpets that day!  Thanks so much dad!

8/30 -- 7Blue (my middle school team) threw a shower for my co-worker, Liz, who is due to have her own baby boy 6 days after me!  It has been a lot of fun to watch each other grow and share stories (and some pregnancy complaining) together.  I'm looking forward to Eli and her son having a play date or two!  :)

Baby Milestones these Weeks:
Week 36:

  • Eli's getting closer and closer to being able to breathe on his own.

  • His skin is getting smooth and soft and his gums are rigid.

  • His liver and kidneys are in working order.

  • Circulation and immune systems are basically good to go, too.

  • Week 37:

  • Eli's practicing some skills: inhaling, exhaling, sucking, gripping and blinking.

  • He's getting his first sticky poop (called meconium) ready for his first diaper.

  • Best Moment of these Weeks: Our maternity photo shoot with Leigh was amazing!  It was also great to celebrate Eli with Mike's co-workers. :)  Oh, AND my good friend from college, Meryl, sent me lots of great baby items -- an amazing sling, toys, clothes, socks, bibs and more.  See below!  How incredibly blessed I am!

    Can you tell Meryl is organized?  :)

    Adorable sling, lots of infant toys and super cute bibs!  Thanks Meryl!

    Obsession of these Weeks:  To-do lists.  We've crossed so many things off our baby to do list lately and yet I feel like there is still so much to do!  Mostly just cleaning and organizing -- it is just hard to get motivated when you are working 40+ hours a week and are as big as I am!  That is what weekends are for but even if I make it till my due date I only have 3 of those left! 

    Symptoms these Weeks: Continued lack of sleep.  I'm having to get up to use the restroom 3-4 times each night and it doesn't help that Mike snores like a freight train -- very infrequent and very loud.  So when I come back to bed it is hard to go back to sleep with the combination of Mike and Sammie's snores.  :)  Also, Mike thinks my belly button is popping out just a little bit -- he was so excited when he noticed this; I guess he thinks it is really cute on pregnant ladies.  No stretch marks yet and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    Epiphany these Weeks: Planning to be absent from work for 12 weeks is one big chore!  Being a teacher, I know how much of a pain sub planning can be but making 12 weeks of sub plans is unreal.  My goal is to have the majority of the plans done by next Monday (two weeks before due date).  I'm very lucky to have a SS teacher take over for me.  He has expressed his willingness to make plans himself but I want to at least give him a good start. 

    What I'm looking forward to most next week:  We have our last perinatal appointment on Thursday 9/3.  Our last time to see Eli in my womb.  It has been such a joy to see him on the screen wiggling around.  I hope he has been perfectly warm and content the past 260 days!  And, I hope he enjoys the last 20 -- only 3 weeks until we get to hold him in our arms and see him face to face!  Can't wait!

    36 Week Belly Pics:

    37 Week Belly Pics:

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Thirty Four 8.3 - 8.9 AND Thirty Five Weeks 8.10 - 8.16

    Well, my aspirations of getting back to weekly posts have not come to fruition (as you can tell) -- and, if I'm being at all honest, I'm not sure they will!  After being at work all day it is hard for me to get motivated to do anything -- even if it is blogging about my pregnancy and precious son (who is going to be here before I know it -- 32 days to be exact!). 

    That being said, this blog post is going to be short and sweet.  :)  The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of baby activities -- starting with our monthly perinatalogist appointment.  And, at 33 weeks 3 days Eli weighed 5lbs and 13oz -- 2.5 weeks ahead of schedule!  He's going to be a BIG boy like his daddy!  And, his head is 3.5 weeks ahead of schedule -- lucky me right?  Ha!  Hopefully his growth will slow a little towards the end of my pregnancy so I can have a healthy vaginal birth!  Say your prayers!

    Mike and I attended the Healthy Arrivals Child Birth Class on 8/6.  It was an all day class.  I was a little worried that I would be the biggest pregnant woman there but most of the women were due before me!  We learned quite a bit about labor and delivery.  And, we both agree that child birth is a beautiful event.  However, the videos were quite something.  The women were in such agonizing pain during labor!  It made me rethink my, "If I can do it, I'll forgo the epidural."  I still have a goal of making it to 4-5cm before asking for an epidural.  Mike agrees and he is prepared to help me through laboring pains.  The class was almost more geared toward the coaches than the women.  Mike was incredibly thoughtful and took notes most of the time!  :)  If his perfectionism runs over into his role as "labor coach" I'll be one happy woman!

    Wednesday, August 10th was my first day back to work as well as our Baby Basics class.  It was very nice to spend some time with my social studies department -- they are great people.  But, it is hard for me to "check in" to school.  Usually, I anticipate the beginning of the school year and spend lots of time thinking about how I can set up my room, make better lessons, and get to know my students.  This year is very different.  I've spent all summer thinking and preparing for Eli that I can't seem to think about anything else.  Hopefully, this is normal for new moms.  I mean, this is a HUGE life change.  And, so EXCITING!  (Now, that I've been back for nearly two weeks, it is a little bit better and I stay busy at school thinking about school stuff.)  Our Baby Basics class was informative and I loved our instructor.  She and I share the same philosophy about caring for infants -- you can't spoil them! 

    The following Sunday our church threw me the most lovely baby shower!  I feel so blessed to have a church family that cares so much and is so excited to welcome Eli into the world!  Again, I was overcome with the generousity of the guests and loved all their gifts!  I can't wait to wrap Eli in all of the homemade blankets we received!  Oh, and the games were super fun and the cake super tasty!
    The food was yummy, especially the cake!  And, if you didn't know this about me -- I'm a fool for punch!

    Fun decor and lots a great gifts!  Thank you Outreach women, and especially Elyse and Marcia for hosting this!

    I was posing for the guests to guess how many inches my waistline is! 

    42 inches baby!  When I got home, Mike guessed 57 - ha!  I'm not having triplets!
    How cute is this cake!  We got to take almost half of it home and Mike and I enjoyed it for a whole week!  :)

    My mother came over this week to help me cook and freeze some meals for when Eli arrives and we come home.  She is so awesome and I am so blessed to have her.

    Baby Milestones these Weeks: Week 34:  Eli can recognize and react to simple songs...time to start practicing my lullabies! In fact, he will recognize frequently sung tunes after birth and probably find them soothing. Less cute news: he now urinates about one pint per day. Get the diapers ready!  Week 35: From now on, Eli's growth is mostly in the plumping up department -- though he won't get much longer, he'll put on a pound or more of baby fat before birth. (He's about 15 percent right now and will be about 30 percent by full-term.) His hearing is totally developed and his testes have probably completed their descent.  :)

    Best Moment of these Weeks: The wonderful shower my church threw me and all the practical and precious advice that was given during it by the women who attended!  Thank you all!

    Obsession of these Weeks:  Bathing in our jetted tub!  Thank God I convinced Mike to buy it during our home renovation.

    Symptoms these Weeks: Lack of sleep, and lots and lots of rib pain.  Not sure if this is from Eli's constant jabs or my ribs having to expand to fit baby.  Whatever it is -- it sure is painful!

    Epiphany these Weeks: I think Sammie must know I'm pregnant.  She follows me everywhere and constantly wants to be next to me -- even when Mike is around.  Usually, she prefers to snuggle with Mike but not anymore.  I know dogs can sense things and I wonder if this is what is happening with Sam.  She must already love Eli.  I can't wait to see how the interact together when he gets a little older!

    What I'm looking forward to most next week:  Can't decide.  On Tuesday, Mike and I have our maternity photo shoot.  Mike's co-workers wife is a wonderful photographer and she graciously offered to do our maternity photos.  Her work is amazing!  Check out her work at:

    And, Mike's work is throwing us a shower on Thursday, August 25th!  How thoughtful!  I'm excited to meet some of his coworkers and celebrate with them!  (Shower number four -- we are so blessed!)

    35 Week Belly Pics:

    A friend of mine from SLMS, Heather, gave me this shirt!  How funny -- and true!!!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Thirty Two 7.20 - 7.26 AND Thirty Three Weeks 7.27 - 8.2

    Another Two for the Price of One blog post.  I was just talking with a teacher friend about going back to work.  Surprisingly, she said she was ready because she needs to get back into a routine.  It is funny that each summer I have high hopes of crossing many, many things off several lengthy summer to-do lists.  Then, at the end of the summer I feel a sense of let down and a twinge of guilt for not accomplishing what I intended to do.  However, you have to be one motivated person to make yourself get up each day and "work" when you don't have to.  I have to admit there were several days this summer that I chose to go to my parents' home to swim instead of work on my to-do.  I even started to forget what day of the week it was after summer school ended.  Hence, my lagging behind in my latest weekly blog posts.  Who knows -- maybe once school starts I'll be back to weekly posts; I hope so!

    So, whats been going on the last couple of weeks?

    On my 27th birthday we flew to New Orleans to meet two of my childhood best friends and their spouses.  Mike and I had such a great time!  We got to experience New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Verret.  We strolled down Bourbon Street, visited the St. Louis Cathedral, saw Mike the Tiger at the LSU Stadium (real tiger!), swam in a lake with hundreds of alligators, and climbed a mountain of sugar -- literally!  Most of all, we enjoyed each other's company.  Mike and I agree that vacationing with friends is great! 
    The gang in New Orleans!

    Mike and I received our first beads on Bourbon Street!  And, no I didn't flash anything to get them!  I wonder how many I would have received if I flashed my big belly???
    Loving on Eli right outside of St. Louis Cathedral.


    How many 8 month pregnant women can say they climbed a mountain of sugar?

    Right when we returned Mike and I began our week-long VBS recreation class.  And, when I say right when we returned I mean it -- we went straight from the airport to our church!  It was from 6:00 - 8:30 each night for a week.  We had a lot of fun with the kiddos!  They are all so precious and so cute (especially our youngest group: 3yr olds)!  The kids loved: Red Light/Green Light, What time is it Mr. Dinosaur?, Elbow Tag, Frisbee games, and the Cheeto head game.  The three year olds were definitely the most challenging to keep entertained!  God bless pre-school teachers!  We found that bubbles and chalk kept them at least semi-occupied.  :) We thank God for this experience and for reminding us how precious He made children and how innocent and pure their love is.  Their prayers made our hearts melt!

    This is a fun game in which two teams throw cheatos at the head of someone in the middle.  The cheatos stick because they are wearing a shower cap covered with shaving cream.  The team that gets the most cheatos stuck to their person's head wins!  Kids loved it!
    That same week my mother, bless her heart, came over everyday to help my organize and deep clean!  It took us two full days to do just my kitchen.  I feel a lot better about Eli's arrival now that my home is clean and organized!  Thank you mom!

    Friday July, 29th I had an OB appointment.  It went well.  Low blood pressure, measured well.  However, what does not working out combined with eating out all week while your own vacation equate to?  It adds FIVE pounds to the scale in two weeks!  That is a balance of 4lbs in the last month which is right on schedule.  I hope I don't balloon these last two months -- I'm becoming less mobile (yes, I'm waddling) but I also can't eat as much as I used to because I get full right away!  So, we'll see what happens.

    That Saturday my sisters husband, David, threw Mike a Diaper Dump.  He hosted Mike's friends for a night of pizza and poker. In order for the guys to get in on the poker game they had to bring a box of diapers.  Lucky us!  Mike brought $50.00 for the winner but, according to him, before they got started he told them that he had full intentions of taking it home with him at the end of the night.  And, guess what?  He did!  He won!  We received over 700 diapers and lots of wipes, powder and Desitin!  Thanks guys! 

    I went out with some girlfriends that night to Cafe Verona - yum!

    On Monday, I went to a really neat breast feeding class with my friend Alyssa and her son Nate at St. Luke's in Lee's Summit.  I think I will definitely join the group once Eli comes!  I've heard so many personal breast feeding stories since I've been pregnant.  For some it comes so easy, for many others it is a tremendous challenge.  I think it will help me reach my goal (1 year) if I can surround myself with supportive women who also breast feed. 

    Baby Milestones these Weeks: Week 32: Ready or not, Eli's getting ready to emerge. He' in the head-down position now, with his bottom facing up. This is the comfiest way for his body to fit in my increasingly cramped womb and will make his eventual exit much easier.
    Week 33: Eli may grow up to a full inch this week alone, and his brain is developing like crazy. Pretty soon, he'll be able to coordinate breathing with sucking and swallowing. Also, his bones are hardening, and he's started to keep his eyes open when he's awake.
    Best Moment of the Weeks: Wow, hard to decide.  It has been a wonderful couple of weeks.  Spending time with my two best friends AND hearing the prayers of the children at VBS.  Makes me so excited to have children and raise them knowing the love of Jesus Christ.

    Obsessions this Week: Cleaning and organizing and a small dabble of decorating.

    Symptoms this Week: Increased heartburn -- it keeps my up at night!  I've learned not to eat too close to bed time!  Tums have become a MUST in my daily diet.  Insomnia -- I'm not sure if this is due to just being uncomfortable or what but I hope I can start sleeping through the night by the time school starts again!

    Epiphany this Week: Thank goodness for king sized beds, especially if you are pregnant!  Mike and I had to adjust to to sleeping in queens during our vacay and it was hard!  I was able to sleep but our bed felt so good when we got home!  I need my room now that I'm getting HUGE!

    What I'm looking forward to most next week:  Last week of summer -- I intend to soak it up till the last drop!  The depression will soon start to set in though.  Don't get me wrong - I LOVE teaching but I also LOVE my summers!  And, this summer especially felt so short working into the middle of July.   
    33 Week Belly Pics: