Thursday, November 20, 2014

36 Weeks and counting

Wow. 36 weeks! You read that title correctly. I can't believe it. Seriously. Tuesday, November 18 marked that 36 week point. And boy oh boy, am I ready for the semester to be over! (Then I can say that I will be "ready" for baby to get here.) I've been writing papers, working on projects, and starting on study guides for finals already. CRAZY. I've gotten all of my finals rescheduled, with the last ones being on Wednesday, December 10. (One exception--I do have an online final that opens on Dec 12, but it's open book and open note and is open for an entire week, so I did not bother messing with trying to get that one rescheduled.)

Talk about a gorgeous Autumn day on campus!

So far, so good. I have rough days (which Graham can readily attest to, although he is such a good husband that he never even mentions it!), but I am amazed by how quickly time is passing. I feel like it is still the beginning of October! Although, this recent cold weather has me rethinking that. Nothing like an extra 25 pounds to keep you warm at night. And all day. I may or may not be freezing Graham out...he has added an extra blanket onto his side of the bed, and has been consistently wearing a jacket around the apartment.

Pregnancy Updates: 
*Weight gain: somewhere in that 25-30 pound range
*Aversions: hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza (3 of Graham's favorite things!)
*Cravings: ehh, ice cream? :) and hot cocoa. But I've always been a sucker for hot cocoa when it's cold outside
*Swelling: my feet are swelling a little bit...I typically only notice because I'll have imprints on my ankles from my socks at the end of the day.
*Stretch marks: None on my belly! How lucky am I? (now I'll probably eat my words, but I've just been using lotion lots and lots)
*Contractions: NONE. And it needs to stay that way for another 3 weeks at least :)
*Childbirth class: We took a 6-week course at the hospital that covered everything from pregnancy to labor and delivery to simple newborn care and breastfeeding. We'll see how much of it stuck in a few weeks!

Nursery Update:
The Nursery is complete! I'm really happy with how it has turned out. All it is missing is a couple of paintings that Mom is doing for me--they will be going on the wall above the crib. I figured you guys might like to see the room, so I took some pictures!

Bookshelf--love all the books we received as gifts! 

And the top portion

Around the wall from the bookshelf

And the crib and changing table. *Will add another picture once the paintings are here!*

Other than school and adding the finishing touches to all things baby related (speaking of...I should probably pack a hospital bag, huh? And put the car seat in the car... That can be next week's project I suppose), life has been pretty uneventful. *But do note that school and baby things are VERY eventful, so it's nice to have a chance to sit and lounge on the couch at the end of the day watching Star Trek: Voyager on Netflix with Graham and a bowl of popcorn. It's the simple things, right? Those are the moments I live for currently. They are the best. As is Graham! Have I mentioned that recently?? 

And okay, I have to brag on myself a little bit, because I was pretty proud of myself with how this pie turned out! It was my first time to do an entirely homemade pie, all by myself! (The pie filling was actually filling that Mom made with apples from their backyard--it doesn't get any more homemade than that!) But check out that super flaky crust!!! So yummy. And perfect with a cup of hot cocoa!

With some of my birthday money I ordered Four (by Veronica Roth, sort of a companion to the Divergent trilogy), and I started it last night. Oh, and I finished it. Hah. I did stop for a bit for dinner, and I watched some of the Spurs game that Graham had on as well. So I wasn't a total hermit the entire evening just so I could read. But it felt nice to be able to pick up a book and read it cover to cover. It's been a long time since I've done that! Life has a habit of getting in the way. But I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

From Marissa, with love

Sunday, September 21, 2014

28 Weeks (almost) and Counting

Wow, does time fly! The month of September has been a major whirlwind. From school starting to moving, it has been one crazy month as we get settled in our new apartment. It is so nice to have extra space!! I'm loving having a more open living room and kitchen area. Plus, I love having more cabinet space for things so all of our cook/bakeware doesn't have to be crammed into one tiny little compartment.

Although both of our schedules have been busier with the start of school, I feel like I am constantly going NONSTOP. My typical day: wake up around 8, eat and get ready, drive down to campus for class, either stay in class all day or head to internship for the remainder of the day, and drive back home--arriving between 4-4:30 depending on the day. (Mon/Wed it's 4, all others it's 4:30) By the time I get home, ALL I want to do is sleep. Or just lounge on the couch. Or read a book. Or watch tv. Not plan dinner. Not do dishes or other household things. Not do homework/projects or even think about them. You get the idea. Graham is pretty busy during part of the week (first half: on Mon/Tues he's in class from 9-4, on Wed/Thur it's 9-11:30 and then he is off on Fridays), so we have come up with a division of duties so that I don't go totally crazy. He basically takes care of everything during the week and I cover the weekend (for things like dishes, tidying up the apartment, trash, checking the mail, etc). We typically plan and prepare dinner together most nights though. It is working well so far!

26 weeks; taken Sept 10

So on Tuesday, Sept 23 I will be 28 weeks! CRAZY. I should have looked at my previous post so I put things in the same order, but ohhh well. I'm too lazy for that ;)
*Weight gain: about 15 pounds
*My health status: doing just fine, check ups are going normally and such. But boy, am I tired! Walking up the hill multiple times a day wears me out (I'm talking from one edge of campus to the other to get from the Institute building where I park to class in the HPER back up the hill to the Institute for Book of Mormon class and then back to the HPER for class and then finally back up the hill again to get to the car so I can come home). THAT'S A LOT OF WALKING UPHILL FOLKS. And it's not getting any easier because I just keep packing on the pounds!! Also, because of my busy schedule I am unable to nap during the day (which by 2pm I am realllly wishing that I could). So I've adjusted by sleeping 10 hours at night. Seriously. I go to bed by 10pm and don't wake up until 8am. (with the exception of waking up every. single. time. I. roll. over.)
*Size of baby: Baby Girl A weighs an estimated 2ish pounds at this point and is about 15 inches long from head to toe.
*Cravings: ICECREAM. Mostly just that. Oh, and icecream.
*Aversions: Nothing new, still not a fan of eggs, pizza, or hotdogs
*Nursery Status: It's getting there! We have most of the furniture in place, we just need to get the recliner from Graham's parents' house and then I am getting the changing table/dresser in October when we go visit my parents. I'm grouping things as we get them, but I won't do any full on organization and placement of things until the end of October when baby showers are finished. (And speaking of baby showers, how blessed are we?? We had one up here, plus Montessori threw me a joint shower with the other pregnant ladies that work there even though I had to quit in August because of school, AND the ladies at the American Heart Association are going to throw me a shower AND I'm having one down in Cabot! Heavenly Father must know that we are on a strict budget and need all the help we can get)

I'll post more pictures of the nursery after it gets slightly more organized and once the furniture is all in place how I want it. For now, this one will just have to do. I know you can't really read the quotes that are in the picture frames, but you can check out my Nursery Board on Pinterest and find the quotes I used there! (One is from Narnia, one from Harry Potter, one from Lord of the Rings, and one from the Doctrine and Covenants)

As far as any other crafty things I have done....well.... I haven't. I've been busy, you read the first part of the post right? So you know that! I did make some curtains for our bedroom just yesterday. They are green with white microdots. They are currently thumb-tacked into the wall because we don't have a curtain rod yet. Classy. Hah. They give our room this eerie green glow. I feel like it gives me a sense of what it would be like to live in Hogwarts down in the Slytherin dungeons. Graham really likes it. (Most likely because he is a Slytherin...heh)

Since I now have 30ish minutes of a commute getting to school and back, I have now started listening to the Dave Ramsey show every day. I have the iheartradio app on my phone and listen to the Dave Ramsey channel on there which just replays the previous "episode" on repeat until the new one comes on each day at 4pm. Sometimes I hear a few of the same calls, but mostly it works out great and I get to hear financial advice for an hour each day! Yes. I am a nerd. I think he teaches really great things, he isn't afraid of telling it like it is, and the show always has a scripture of the day (normally from Proverbs). And anytime someone asks how he is, his reply is always "better than I deserve" which causes me to reflect on my own life. What a great perspective to have! I really am better than I deserve because I have a loving Heavenly Father who is constantly looking out for me and Graham. We've been incredibly blessed. Opportunities and blessings are out there, sometimes all it takes is looking for them.

From Marissa, with love

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Baby Room Crafts

Wow. School starts on Monday! I have orientation for my internship at the American Heart Association in two days, and I am very excited! I will definitely be having less time on my hands. As we will be moving soon (unsure of the date until almost right beforehand since we are transferring our lease) I have been starting to take down little things and pack them away: magnets from the refrigerator, pictures from the walls/desks/dressers, and various books/trinkets. It is making our apartment seem so empty! I am trying to get most of the odds and ends finished this week so that it will be less of a hassle with school and the internship starting.

I have also been using this week to work on some things for Baby Girl on the way! I've decided to use coral and teal for the nursery. Some of the items I've picked up are more on the pink side, others more orange-y coral, and the blues vary as well! I knew that what I wanted was that sort of color scheme, and I have been picking up items on the cheap that fit into it. With that being said, the shades won't match perfectly, but I feel like getting a good deal and having a little bit more freedom will be much easier and far less stress! I'm doing this decorating for fun, so I want to keep it totally stress-free!! The nursery "theme" is books! If you check out my "Nursery" board on Pinterest, you'll see lots of quotes from various books: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, and more "little kid" ones like Winnie the Pooh and Dr. Seuss. I don't have any of those made yet, I'm waiting until we move so I can decide on which frames I want to put them in. And I have already started buying books to fill little girl's bookshelf with. Lots of great classics: Berenstain Bears, various Dr. Seuss, Curious George, a few Little Golden books, some Disney ones, and a couple of board books. I figure if there is a good deal, no reason to pass it up! (And by good deal, I'm talking anywhere from $.50-$1.50--I feel like that is pretty good for a used book that is still in great shape!)

So here are a few of the things that I have already completed/been working on this week. First, I made a framed wooden letter (so that gives you a bit of a hint as to what name we are thinking of! The letter is just hot-glued on, so if we do end up changing our mind, we can switch it out easily!).

Then I worked on decorating some burp cloths to make them a little bit more fun. They are just Gerber diaper flats that my sister bought for Graham for his birthday ;) They were really thin so I first folded them into thirds and sewed it up, then measured out strips from my scrap fabric and sewed them on either end. I made five, and I have five more plain ones that I might end up doing the same with. We will wait and see!

Lastly, I worked on painting a canvas with a Dr. Seuss quote. I really like how it turned out! (Hobby Lobby had a great deal on canvases when we went--2 pack of 16x20 canvases for $8, and with the 40% off coupon applied it became an even better deal. Not sure what I'll use the other canvas for yet)

I'm quite proud of how crafty I have been this week. I know that it will pretty much come to an end whenever school starts back up though. I think that's why I was in the mood to do so much of it this week! 

Until next time,
From Marissa, with love 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Baby Atherton On The Way

Well, here it is folks. The post I just know you've all been waiting for--all things baby!! At least I know that Virginia is looking forward to this one :) I have been thinking about maybe putting something together but ... didn't. I think that much has been obvious. It's in no particular order, other than the order things came to me to add to the post.

*Number of Weeks--20 weeks on Tuesday, July 29
*Weight gain--About 8 pounds so far
*Estimated due date--December 16, 2014 (that's during finals week for me! Fingers crossed that baby will wait until that Friday or Saturday)
*Approximate size of Baby A: 10 oz and length of 6 1/2 inches from head to rump. Approximately 10 1/2 inches from head to heel!!!! That is so crazy to both of us. Our baby is halfway there in length. (The weight comes on at the last few weeks mostly.)
*Movement: I haven't been able to distinguish much yet. There have been a couple of times in just this past week where I have maybe felt a kick? Still not positive on it though. But I'm thinking I should be feeling more soon, because I was reading a handy-dandy email from BabyCenter that said up until about 20 weeks, babies are curled up in a little ball. Maybe with arms and legs having more room I will be able to feel more movement! I'm sure I will come to wish I could turn it off at night when I'm trying to sleep, but right now I am just anxious to feel our little baby moving around inside me!
*Cravings: I haven't had too many, mostly just the things I normally eat. However, I have been really into eating cold things: fruit from the fridge, popsicles, and ice cream. I mean, I've always loved ice cream, but now I have given myself the excuse to buy it. Soooo I may or may not be eating a bowl every night :)
*Aversions: Early on in the pregnancy I was eating scrambled eggs with toast for breakfast every day. Most days now, however, eggs sound utterly distasteful. Pizza has also not been at the top of my list, mostly because of the grease I think. Odd though for me because before being pregnant, pizza would always sound good! Also, I'm not in the habit of eating hot dogs, but Graham made himself a couple as a late night snack last week and I about lost it! I had to go to the other room to get away from the smell. He ate them quickly, turned on the AC to get the smell out of the air, and has since been trying to eat them only when I am out of the apartment. (Do I have a great husband or what?)

And here are some pictures :)

Baby A at my ultrasound, around 15 weeks

About 18 weeks, right after the Seattle trip

Graham and I were having a fun game night playing Life last week. I did not have any kids! (I did, however, land on the "Become a grandparent" spot and got a tile for that) Graham landed on this space, and it was too perfect to not take a picture! I thought it would be a fun way to let everyone know the sex of our baby!

For those of you who didn't know yet!!
We have actually known for over a month now that we were having a girl. I had an ultrasound to check something out and said "it's still too early to tell the gender at this point, isn't it?" (I was about 15 weeks at the time) The technician shifted the wand over and said "Let's check." (it took about half a second and then she said) "Yeah, it's very obvious. You're definitely having a girl."

With that being said, here are some of the names that we've been considering. We've actually narrowed down the list from here, but we are keeping quiet about it. We aren't deciding 100 percent until she is actually born. So here's the list (in no particular order, just however we added them to the running list we have; names in parenthesis indicate an alternate spelling if we aren't sure what we want): Emma, Kira (Keira), Elise (Elyse), Elina, Julianna (Julianne), Evelyn, Alice, Zoe, and Carie. Also, if you were curious, some boy names that we were considering included: Dean, Adam, Camden, Liam, and James. I know we had a few more, but I can't remember what they were now because I took them off of the list on my phone once we knew we were having a little girl!

And I can't finish this post without remarking that my husband is wonderful! I came home one day last week from work to find this delicious dinner waiting for me. Homemade venison stew, breadsticks (also made from scratch!), with tasty fresh watermelon. Such a great end to my day!

On Friday or Saturday this past week (I honestly don't remember which) Graham and I were planning on going to Cold Stone for an ice cream date. On our way there, Graham randomly said "ohh, Ghirardelli brownies with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream sound really good right now." And if you don't know, I have a major soft spot for brownies (definitely my all time favorite dessert, although ice cream is a very close second normally and is my favorite dessert during this pregnancy). So we went to Wal-Mart instead and got a box mix for brownies and a tub of ice cream. When we were on the baking aisle looking at all of the brownies, cookies, and cake mixes, I mentioned that everything looked so good! Graham (I'm reminded every day how very much I love this man!) says in his best British accent, "we'll take the lot." I could have cried I was so proud of him, quoting that. 

I'm sure I'll do another update or two before Baby Girl Atherton is born! I can't believe I'm already at the halfway point. It's going by fast! 

From Marissa, with love

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Seattle Trip

So I'm getting a little bit better about posting things in a timely manner. **And MAJOR bit of information. This post includes quite a few photos. I'm not sorry in the least. There should be plenty for your viewing and scrolling entertainment.** The past month has been absolutely crazy and hectic for us, but it has been filled with wonderful times with family and friends. That means it has been worth it! We are grateful to have a few weeks of "normalcy" before school starts back up. Then we will be busy with that and then all at once *BAM* we will have a little baby and our lives will be forever changed! More about little Atherton on the way will come in the next post (sorry, Virginia, I know you're dying to get all the information, but it will just have to wait!). I will try to get that together soon. Maybe for next week? We will see.

After all of the fun and craziness surrounding the Fourth of July with Graham's extended family, we had a few days (3) to rest and try to catch up on sleep before leaving for Seattle to go visit my sister, Michelle, and her family. This was our first time flying together, and I was proud of the ticket deal that I was able to find. We flew with American Airlines and enjoyed our travel just about as much as anyone can enjoy flying in those tiny spaces. On our flight from Dallas to Seattle they showed Captain America: The Winter Soldier which was great because we had not seen it before. Made the four hour flight go by just a little bit faster.

Waiting in XNA for our flight to board

 And then we were in Seattle before we knew it and getting picked up by Michelle and her three boys (Connor, 7; Jefferson, 4; and Peter, 2). They are so sweet and it was great to be able to get to know them better. It had been two years since I had seen Jeffers and Connor, and Graham had never met them before! He enjoyed getting to meet his nephews and had a fun time playing all sorts of games with them. I think Graham's favorite nights included playing Age of Mythology with Bryce and Connor, and all of the times that we played Settlers of Catan (which was just about every night that we were there!).

One of the many games of Settlers that was played

Throughout the six days that we were there, we had action packed days! On Thursday, we went to swim lessons with the boys and then had a picnic dinner in a park in Seattle before going to the Seattle Asian Art Museum. My favorite pieces were the dishes/pottery and the sculptures. Connor was really into all of the art as well! Since we went with three little ones, we of course had to end the adventure in the kids' room. It had pictures for them to color, little sushi food blocks to play with, books to read (including, my favorite, My First Sushi Book which said things like "Miso in my sippy cup" among other things), origami paper with instructions, and hand puppets.

Jefferson, Connor, and Uncle Graham eating tuna salad on our picnic

Connor and Peter, with Michelle, riding the stone camel out front

Peter and I with the horse puppet--he had been
running around with it, neighing

Graham playing with the snake puppet

On Friday, Graham and I had a date day where we traveled into Seattle to explore! We took the commuter train in with Bryce, then used the buses to get around the rest of the day (interspersed with walking of course). First we went to Pike's Place Market, but everyone was still in the process of getting there and setting up. So we decided to take a bus over to the Seattle Olympic Sculpture Park. *best part: it was free!* We spent a couple of hours enjoying the cool ocean breeze while walking around and looking at the different pieces. To be honest though, we both enjoyed the landscaping and architecture of the park far more than the actual art pieces!

I used the self-timer option on my camera several times 

Look how happy he is, being this close to the ocean!

We went back to Pike's Place and explored for a couple of hours before heading down to the ocean front to go to Ivar's for lunch. Graham had only ever had clam chowder from a can of Campbell's, so we had to make sure and get him some good stuff to eat on this trip. **Later in the week Michelle made homemade clam chowder with her mother-in-law's recipe which was so delicious that Graham had two very full bowls at dinner, and another bowl as his late night snack. Yes, he picked clam chowder over icecream AND popcorn! That's how you know it was really good :)** After lunch we went to the Seattle Aquarium for the hot part of the afternoon (sidenote: we of course went to Washington while they were having their one hot spell of the summer and while Arkansas was having freakishly cool weather for July. Upon returning back home, the weather went back to normal in both places *sigh*). Graham really loved it and we were able to be there for the sea otters being fed! My favorite parts were watching the otters eat and getting to touch all of the star fish, sea urchins, and anemones. 

Sucking on our honey straws at Pike's Place

Before his first bite of the clam chowder

Touching the sea urchin!

That night for dinner we had taco salad. One of the toppings was pineapple, and Michelle said it was a tradition in their home to drink the pineapple juice with straws after dinner. So I joined in with the three boys to see how much juice I could drink! The goal is to drink it as fast as you can so you can get more of the juice than everyone else. We did have to save the last little bit for Peter, seeing as he wasn't too good at keeping his straw in place while the rest of us battled for the best spots in the cup.

While the pressure was on!

And Peter's turn to drink

On Saturday, Graham and Bryce went to an outdoor shooting range in the morning. They had a blast! While they were gone Michelle and I took the boys to the store to pick up a few things (including snacks for our trip on Monday). That afternoon we all took a little trip to Camlann. It is this cool little recreation village that is considered a living museum because they do their best to hold true to the year 1376 in which their village is set (luckily they did have modern bathrooms though). We went on a Village Day, so there were about 6 volunteers there "working." We got to go visit the blacksmith (Connor and Jefferson both got the opportunity to pump the bellows for the fire) and watch him as he worked on making a spoon. We also visited the cooks in the kitchen as they were working on making pottage. It was basically a vegetable soup, but was very tasty because they used fresh vegetables and herbs that they grew in the gardens at Camlann. 

Connor working as an apprentice with Jeffers watching

Michelle and Jefferson looking at the smaller of the two gardens

View of the village "center"

Drinking water out of wooden "cups" before the pottage was brought out

On Sunday we went to church and then went to Gary and ReNel's for the afternoon/evening and dinner. (Gary and ReNel are Bryce's parents) Connor and Graham played against Jefferson and me in Foosball and Bocce before dinner. They beat us in Foosball, and our game of Bocce was cut short due to dinner but Jefferson had just gotten us an extra point so we were tied when we stopped.

On Monday we traveled nearly three hours to go to the Quinault Temperate Rainforest. It was so cool! So many big trees and just so many things growing! Connor and Jefferson kept wanting to go exploring off of the trail and we unfortunately had to put a damper to that adventuring spirit because there were signs everywhere saying to stay on the path...but we still had fun exploring where we could :) Peter even enjoyed himself and wanted to go off with the bigger boys. Michelle had to remind him that he needed to hold her hand when he was looking off the edge of the bridge to the water below. It was difficult to get my camera to be able to capture just how huge everything was! 

 After exploring the 1/2 mile trail through the main part of the rainforest, we hopped in the car to go see the world's largest Spruce tree. There was a 1/4 mile trail leading up to it, but it wasn't really in the rainforest anymore and just looked like a normal hiking trail. But, man oh man, that spruce tree was crazy! I took a panoramic picture on my camera to hopefully show just how big it was. Unfortunately, because it was so wide it almost doesn't look as tall as some of the other trees that we saw.

 Unfortunately, Tuesday was our last day :( We still made the most of it and had a great day though! Bryce took both of their new kittens into the vet in the morning for a check-up and when he and Jeffers got back, we all went to the beach! We went to Saltwater State Park which is a little beach on the Puget Sound, about 35 minutes from where Michelle and Bryce live. The tide was very low (Michelle said it was lower than she had ever seen it be at that beach) and it was a red tide. It was funny because on the way there we were actually talking about red tides and explaining them to Connor. All of the blooms made the water look very creepy. It was still fun to get in though. And by "get in," I mean, stick my feet in and walk around. That water was way too cold to be swimming in. Of course, that 51 degree water didn't stop Graham! The rest of us had fun finding anemones, crabs, dead jelly fish, and being squirted by the clams as we walked by. 

Notice the creepy red tide Graham is wading through

Connor was allowed to go waist deep with his crazy uncle!

A crab that Bryce found. It kept trying to claw at his finger nail

Graham out in the water! 

Annnd on his way back

After we got back from the beach, Michelle took me out shopping for maternity clothes! They have a kids' consignment shop near their house that has a maternity section. I was able to find three shirts and a dress there! Then we went up to Motherhood Maternity where I bought a pair of leggings and capris and Michelle purchased another shirt for me. Hooray for some new clothes! It is by no means a complete wardrobe for what I will need, but it should help get me through this summer at least. For dinner that night we had clam chowder, and we had Family Home Evening that night since we were out so late on Monday going to the rainforest. Michelle and I made blueberry yogurt popsicles the night before to have as our FHE treat! Annnd, special bonus, because the clam chowder wasn't quite ready yet, we got to have dessert first! 

Enjoying our healthy treat before dinner!

Peter and I had fun sword-fighting as well

And this post would not be complete without all of the pictures that were taken of me with the new kittens! *This will also serve as my nerd tidbit because I just finished reading Words of Radiance before we left for Seattle. The cats names are Kaladin and Syl :)* These pictures were all from separate days. I took lots of rests with the kittens :) 

This was the initial "cat sleeping" pic that inspired the rest

The flight back home was not nearly as exciting as our flight out to Seattle as we were sad to see our trip come to an end. We were grateful for the time we got to spend out in Washington and we had a blast! We only had two days immediately following the trip before we headed down to Cabot for one of my best friends' wedding. It was wonderful to be a part of Olivia and Matt's special day, and we enjoyed getting to spend time with April and Tyler the following day to catch up with them a bit. But that small weekend trip was the final straw that broke the camel's back!  So we are definitely grateful to be back in our own bed and are taking this next week to really recover from the past month! It has been a fantastic month with all of our exciting things happening back to back!

Virginia, I promise my next post will focus on all things baby! 
Until then, 

From Marissa, with love