Midwest Christmas

James and I ventured over to the Midwest to visit my family for the holidays. It was a whirlwind of family, friends, traveling, and food!  We enjoyed ourselves immensely!  We arrived Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon; my parents picked us up and when we arrived home my sister was there to greet James and I with a massive amount of baby clothes from newborn to 9 months old.  She has been spoiling our little girl–even before she arrives!

On Sunday my sister, her boyfriend, my brother (minus his fiance, she had to work), my mom and dad, James and I, and my grandma and grandpa met at our annual brunch.  We do this every year–although James and I only partake every other year when we are in Minnesota for Christmas.  The food is always great,  but too much, and so many choices.  After we finished our brunch we all headed over to my grandparents house to open presents, watch the Vikings WIN!!, and play some Rummikub.  If you do not know how to play or have never played Rummikub before, you must try it out.  It’s a blast! After we left my grandparents house we headed back to my parents house to do our family gift exchange.

Monday night James and I met some of my high school friends at Coopers Pub close to Minneapolis.  It is always a lot of fun catching up with my old friends and its nice that James is getting to know my good friends a little more each time we are in Minnesota.  James and my best friends boyfriend hit it off immediately and the two of them planned a trip to Montana this summer–my friend and I are thrilled! On Tuesday my mom, James, and I went to the Como Zoo.  It’s a free zoo located downtown–it was a cold day, but we figured it would still be fun!  The Como Zoo is an old fashioned zoo where the animals are in mainly their natural habitat with just a fence between us and the animals.  We would go when we were little and I remember the cages were not reinforced very well, I noticed that when we went this time they were a little more reinforced, but not as much as some zoos.  The warm weather animals were in their inside habitat but the ones that could hang out in the cold were still outside.

photo 2 (5).JPGI did not know that James was standing on the poor guys head..

IMG_20151221_133407430We were like kids at the zoo!

This is my favorite picture! The arctic fox is thinking “He is going to get me!”

The three of us decided that the animals were just fed because almost all (minus the fox and deer) were sleeping.  There is a massive green house at the zoo too, so of course we had to wander around there for awhile after walking outside to warm back up!

photo 5It would have been a really nice picture if James would have smiled.  But this green house was so pretty I could not pass it up!

We headed to Wisconsin on Thursday morning to celebrate Christmas with my moms side of of the family.  We made it just in time for James and my brother to play one game of broom ball.  Every other year we have a family broom ball tournament at my uncles ice rink. Each family is a team (we were the Mighty Ducks) and the winning team gets to take home the “Denominator” trophy for the next year!  Sadly my family has not won yet, but we have been close!  After the tournament we all headed to my moms parents house for our Christmas Eve party!  This party is quite a party–there are about 30 people in one house ranging from 85 years old down to 3 months old.  The average age being about 30 years old.  It is always a blast with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  It can be very overwhelming for somebody who married into our family and James did experience that–however this time he was ready and really enjoyed himself!  Christmas Day we had lunch with my grandparents and drove back to Minnesota later that night.

While we were in Minnesota James and I were also able to see my brothers new house and my sisters growing farm!  Both places are very nice and I enjoyed having my siblings show off their pride and joy!! It was a whirlwind of a week but we had a blast!


Bump Watch

Week 29:

I have been feeling quite large these past few weeks and of course this week is not any different.  My maternity pants are getting very tight and my shirts are just plain tight.  I had a male coworker ask me when do I “start the waddling phase of pregnancy?”  I told him I did not know but if I start to waddle, please let me know.  It was actually a rather awkward conversation since I really haven’t had many conversations with him.

My exercise class is getting harder and harder to do. I can still teach it just fine, however it is becoming very hard to show the residents the exercises because I can not bend, twisting is getting harder, and baby M is pushing on my lungs so talking and exercising is getting tough.  Luckily all of my residents are very understanding and most of them have an idea of what we are doing.  The new residents are ok watching the other residents do the exercise and I will help them if they need additional help.

I have also started to experience swelling my my hands and feet. I was wearing boots the other day and noticed how incredibly tight they were getting, I took my boots off and low and behold my feet and toes looked like little sausages.  My finger are also starting to swell, however not to the point where I need to take my ring off (yet anyways). I was talking to my boss and she said she started to swell way before I did, so maybe winter is doing some good for me!  I have also been hot for the past two week–I finally hit the stage in pregnancy that I was hearing about! Being that it is winter, I am not minding being hot most of the time, especially because none of my jackets can be zipped up.   Lastly, I have also been getting killer cramps in my calves and feet while I am sleeping. I have come to the conclusion that it is due to the 24 extra pounds I am carrying around all day. I drink a TON of water and eat a lot of potassium–baby is a big fan of bananas.

Week 30:

Baby M is the size of a large cabbage; on average she is 3 to 4 pounds and 15 3/4 inches long this week.

TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN:  +24 pounds
SLEEP: Minimal, I am always going to the bathroom, switching sides, or just laying awake uncomfortably.  Last night I played two hours worth of soduko puzzles at 1:30am…
BEST MOMENT: Hands down: The moment when James felt Baby M kick for the first time and the expression on his face.
MISS ANYTHING? Sleeping on my stomach.  Lately I have been missing moving things, shoveling snow, and bending over normally.
MOVEMENT: She is an active little bugger! 
 Cottage cheese is still Baby M’s favorite!!  
Constipation and post delivery hemorrhoids.  No I do not have either but I have been having to take extra iron supplements the last few weeks and constipation is a side effect of too much iron.  I have a cereal and cereal bars that are high in fiber–however I am not enjoying the fact that the cereal really just tastes like I am eating tree bark and dirt.
LABOR SIGNS:   No more signs of labor since I started to feel better.
SYMPTOMS: My ribs and where my ab muscles insert into my sternum.
MOOD:  Overall happy–especially when I get a full nights sleep!
EXCITED FOR: To go to Minnesota over Christmas and show off my GROWING baby bump! It will be the last trip James and I go on as a two person family household!
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30 weeks. Please excuse my hair, I threw it up when I got home and I guess I did not do anything with it before the picture.
I wanted a measurement of how big around I have been getting.  In my rudimentary way of measuring I stood sideways in the bathroom doorway. I am half as wide as the bathroom door, crazy huh?
A constant new this week? Heart burn.  Starting last week I have been getting quite a bit of heart burn–with almost anything I eat. Luckily James answered the phone when I could not figure out what was going on because I was debating whether or not I was having a heart attack at first.  The saddest news of the day–chocolate is giving me heart burn now too! NOOOOOO!

A Little of This and a Little of That

Well if you have not noticed it is getting closer and closer to Christmas!  It also means that I am getting closer to having our little baby girl.  I am 30 weeks pregnant now–a new “Bump Watch” is coming up this week.

I decorated the house for Christmas right after Thanksgiving–literally, the day after Thanksgiving.  We normally go into the woods and get a tree from the Forest Service but this year James thought it would be better if we were not trekking through the woods over ice and snow.  This year we went to Lowe’s and got a Christmas tree.  Not my first choice but I thought I would give James this one.  Needless to say, our tree does look marvelous and does not have any large gaps in it this year–however we do not have enough lights or ornaments to cover the tree, but being rather “cheap” I did not want to buy anymore and just made do.

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Christmas tree, I do enjoy the Scandinavian decorations–the wood or straw ornaments, red and white, simple, red/white bells…

I have not bought too many clothes for our little girl since everybody have bought so many clothes, but while I was at Target and saw this little outfit I could not resist.

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Normally I am not a fan of pink, however, the adorable pink and black leggings were far too cute for me to pass up.  James even thought it was quite cute and could not stop touching the pink sweatshirt–it is extremely soft!!

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Lastly, will you take a gander at this!?  During the winter our pups like to snuggle up next with each other to stay cozy.  Sometimes Brinks is laying ON TOP OF Maddie, other times they are snuggling side by side.

Snow Globes and Bulletin Boards

We have been very busy at work with the holidays.  My exercise class has been getting an average of 25 residents each class–with the record most at 30 still.  All of my residents love the class, even if they do not show it as we are exercising.  I always have residents telling me how much it is helping them stay limber, strong, and able to do daily activities.  Both my boss and the vice president of the retirement home are very excited to see the growth and enthusiasm that the residents are showing in regards to my class!

Other than exercise class I have been staying plenty busy at work. On Friday’s (after exercise) my boss and I will take residents out to lunch in town, go to a movie–the latest was “Love the Coopers”, we went on picnics this summer, hikes, and in January we are taking the residents out for happy hour downtown!  I also do activities every Friday with the residents in the assisted living portion of the retirement home.  This Friday we are making snow globes–which are adorable if I do say so myself!

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First the residents get to pick their character to put into their snow globe. Their character will go with a large and small tree.

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Then I will use the hot glue gun to glue these three objects into place at the top of a mason jar.

I will fill up their mason jar with water, the resident will be able to pick the color and amount of glitter to put into their snow globe, and then we will screw the top on the mason jar. Flip it over, add ribbon, and enjoy!

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Ta-da! Home made snow globes that I think the residents will love to make and shake this holiday season!!

You have to admit, they are quite cute!

I have not talked about my bulletin board outside of the fitness center in a long time, but I still change it monthly.  In October I had a board titled “Spooky Facts about our Heart”.  That was a popular one! It talked about how many miles of blood vessels we have, how much blood gets pumped through our body each hour, how many times our heart beats in an average lifetime….

November’s bulletin board talked about how to become a more thankful person–and I even remembered to take a picture of it.

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I really enjoy doing these! I can do whatever I want and cut out whatever type of pictures I want too.

December is “How to Destress during the Holidays.” I will take a picture of it and post it soon!

Bump Watch

Week 27:

I have been growing like crazy! My maternity pants are getting rather snug across my butt and thighs–my boss (who just had a baby 3 months ago) said the same thing happened to her at 7 months.  Since becoming pregnant and looking at other pregnant people have come to the conclusion that some people gain the extra weight in their face, arms, and abdomen/low back area and others gain weight in their thighs and butt.  I have also decided that you will gain the extra weight from pregnancy where ever you are predisposed to gain it normally.  For me, and my family, as many of the the women in my family can attest to, we gain our extra weight in the butt and thighs.  There are a LOT of pregnant people in Southwest Montana–its a baby boom here!  So it was very easy to observe the different weight gain patterns..and no, I did not ask them any questions–just looked and guessed from the proportions, real scientific I know. The local hospital put out a newsletter saying this year is one of the largest baby growths in our quickly growing city!

I have also gotten used to my lovely (and I mean that honestly) residents coming up to me GLEAMING with joy and telling me how fat I have been getting!  When this first started I was completely shocked and mortified that my residents saw me getting “fat” but after a while I realized that them calling me fat was a complement; kind of like a “WAY TO GO! YOU LOOK HEALTHY AND BABY IS HEALTHY TOO!” kind of cheer!  The generational age gap is truly showing here.  Now when residents tell me this, I take it as a complement and say thank you, yes we are growing quite well! And yes, it happens on a regular basis.  This week I have been having a lot of residents getting quite nervous that I am still teaching exercise classes in “my condition.”  My condition is becoming a popular topic among the 150 residents in our retirement community.  I have had residents tell me not to push, pull, or carry ANYTHING and that I should not be walking as much as I do–one even offered me his scooter to get around in.  I must admit, that would be fun!  The best one, most recently, was on a cold and icy morning outside.  I had a resident, truly concerned, come up to me and tell me that I should not be at work in my condition when the roads are icy and when it is this cold outside (it was about 2 degrees that morning).  She told me that management should not have made me come in.  I told her to let the vice president and my boss know and then report back to me on the results–maybe I could get all winter off?! Well to my surprise, she actually did talk to the vice president about it.  The vice president came up to me and told me, sadly he can not allow that.  We both had a laugh over it because the residents have been giving him a hard time about “my condition” and what I should and should not be doing as well.  The vice president loves how committed the residents are and how invested they get in his employees.  I think it is great! It makes each and every day quite interesting! You never know what is going to come out of their mouths!

James and I have been working on the baby’s room this week too.  We have a rug (waaawhooo!) and her changing table is all set. I think we have finally settled on a crib and rocking chair as well–but have not purchased them yet.  My wonderful sister has been spoiling our daughter already and has bought a massive amount of clothes for her; I have a feeling her closet will be over flowing with lovingly bought clothes soon!

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A sneak peak of what is yet to come!

Like I have said before, I have a very great family (on both sides) that are more than willing to spoil us with wonderful things!  Baby M is no exception!  My very talented grandma knit these lovely little dogs that you see on the changing table and my mom made the perfect little burp rags!  Our changing table is the dry sink from my grandmas house! It will work perfectly and I adore it in her room!

This week was exceptionally hard for me in terms of pregnancy pain.  I really have not had all that much pain or discomfort (minus mental discomfort) since the morning sickness subsided.  My lower ribs and where my abdominal muscles attach to my sternum have been hurting quite a bit when I am sitting or sleeping for too long.  Sometimes it just throbs, sometimes there is numbness radiating from my ribs into my back, and the worst is when there is a shooting burning pain from my ribs into my back. I find it rather annoying that by 3:00am I am done sleeping due to the pain. I have been getting up at 4:00ish and just standing around in the dark to stop the throbbing.  Sometimes I just get up and go downstairs or after I awkwardly stand in the dark for awhile I try to go back to sleep.  If I could sleep standing up, it would be great!  I have decided that baby is doing this to me to prepare me for the little sleep I will be getting in the few short months to come.

Week 28:

Baby is the size of an eggplant, about 2 1/4 pounds, and approximately 14.8 inches long.

TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN:  +23 pounds half way through week 28. I was happy that I did not have another 10 pound weight gain month.  Just 3 pounds.
MATERNITY CLOTHES?  Yes, yes, and yes–although like I said earlier, my maternity pants are getting snug around the butt area…time to move to leggings perhaps?
SLEEP: More of the same..Not comfortable. If I could stand while sleeping I would. Sitting and laying down is not comfortable.  Plus, Baby M is a fan of kicking me in the middle of the night. She is doing a great job of preparing me for no sleep when she arrives!
STRETCH MARKS?: NOPE! Still avoiding any stretch marks, come on body! Only 2.5 more months to go! YOU CAN DO IT!
BEST MOMENT: Hands down: The moment when James felt Baby M kick for the first time.
MISS ANYTHING? Sleeping on my stomach. And Subway–I still avoid walking into a Subway because the smells make me drool.  I think Subway may be the cherished meal that James brings me after I deliver baby M.  The nurse in our birth class said that all new dads bring the new moms a meal of their choice because they are just STARVING after the labor and delivery since moms are not allowed to eat after labor starts and it could last from 12 to 24 hours for first time moms.  Hopefully James can leave our precious Baby M for a few moments after she arrives to go grab me my subway–maybe TWO subways if my labor starts to push the 20 hour mark!!
MOVEMENT: She is an active little bugger! The only time she is really quiet is when I am doing my exercise class or while I am walking on the treadmill at the gym.  The rocking movements must put her to sleep.
 Cottage cheese is still Baby M’s favorite!!  …and french fries.
The birth class was an experience.  Really the only thing that I could not handle was when she talked about taking home the placenta.  The science-y side of me MAY want to see it, but then take it away and throw it out!  The nurse was telling us that some people dry it out, grind it into a powder and eat it because of all the nutrients in it.  Umm..YUCK! You are telling me that after it has been sitting inside of you for 9 months, you deliver it, and people touch it some people think it would be a good idea to eat it again!?  She also said some people bury it; maybe slightly better, but no thank you!
LABOR SIGNS:   While I was sick I did have a few braxton hick contractions. No pain, but it felt very strange when my uterus was contracting and my abdomen was very hard.  They went away if I moved positions or drank water.  I was just dehydrated because of my cold.
SYMPTOMS: Those ribs are becoming quite a pain.
INNIE OR OUTIE? total outie now.
MOOD:  Overall happy–especially when I get a full nights sleep!
EXCITED FOR: To go to Minnesota over Christmas and show off my GROWING baby bump! It will be the last trip James and I go on as a two person family household!
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28 weeks and counting!

Baby M’s Room

I was going to wait until Baby M’s room was completely done, but I could not wait any longer.  James wanted to put hardwood floors in the nursery because it would be cleaner with two hairy dogs in the house.  I finally agreed after much hesitation.  We bought unfinished circle sawn fir to match the wood in the living room.  We had pulled up the carpet in the nursery and threw it out.  We did have somebody put the wood floors in the nursery, James nor I have ever done that before–so we thought we would let the professionals do it this time and we would hover over them to watch how they did it.  James parents arrived just in time from Sunny Northern California to help James stain the floor. I would have helped but was not allowed to because, well, I am pregnant and should not be around the fumes.

IMG952015110595180227957Unfinished Circle Sawn Fir in our baby’s nursery!

James and his dad worked for two full days on finishing the floor. They carefully sanded the wood planks, vacuumed all the dust up, stained the floor–two coats, and then put the finish on.


I must admit, this is one job I was happy to hand over to James and his dad. The fumes from the stain were horrible, even with the fan out the window and the nursery room door closed.


Then came the finishing coat.  That stunk pretty bad as well, however it did seal in the rest of the smells.  If I am not mistaken, James dad put two coats of the finish on and it did not take too long for it to dry.  We got the baseboards back on, touched up the walls, and painted the ceiling white. (The ceiling was the same color as the walls before this).


Floors are done! I will not show you the rest of the room yet because we have not completed it.  But the floor looks nice doesn’t it?  I was not a fan of the wood at first because it seemed cold and not baby friendly–however I have since changed my mind and can not wait to bring our little girl home to her wonderful room!