Thursday, April 25, 2013

25 Weeks: Rutabaga Caroline

I cannot believe I am 25 weeks pregnant! According to my handy BabyCenter weekly update, sweet Caroline is currently about 1.5 pounds, weighing in at "the size of your average rutabaga". She is growing fast and time is literally FLYING BY. It sounds really really crazy to me to say that our precious little girl will be here in just 15 short weeks, AH! It gets more and more real every single day {probably because the belly grows more and more every single day}. I find it hilarious how the craziest things make me so excited for Caroline to be here. The other day Bennett and I were at Panera and this little baby was just crying and crying... which normally wouldn't have had an effect on me besides being slightly annoying.... but I just looked at Bennett and said "awwww listen to that little baby, it makes me so ready for her to be here!". To which he thought I was nuts. But seriously, in some weird way hearing a baby cry makes me even more excited to have Caroline! {Now, get back to me a few weeks after she is born and I am sure I will have a whole different opinion on baby crying} Something else I have noticed lately, is that I find both Bennett and myself literally staring at small children. For long periods of time. This gets kind of awkward at times. I'll all of a sudden realize that we are both just staring at some little baby with smiles on our faces.... sometimes it isn't even babies, but school age children.... I'm surprised parents don't find us extremely creepy and get out of our sight fast. We are literally FASCINATED by little ones now, and I love it!!! I look at little girls no matter what the age and think to myelf  "I wonder if that's what Caroline will be/look like??" Surely we are not the only first time parents to have gone through this "stare at children 24/7 phase"?? haha.

We have big things to look forward to in the coming weeks but I am hands down beside myself excited for Caroline's 4-D ultrasound! At our ultrasound a few weeks back, the tech did a little mini sneak peak 4-D ultrasound... couldn't really get the full effect since I wasn't quite as far along, so parts of her looked a little funny. But this time will be the real deal! I literally have dreams now about what it will be like to see our sweet girl in more detail, and to be able to see her little facial characteristics! Wonder who she will look like? I should also add that Bennett and I are making a bet on when we think that Caroline will make her grand entrance into this world. Sometimes I get flat out terrified that she will come like 4 weeks early and I won't be ready, or my water will break will I'm working or something, yikes. But, I think I've landed on the prediction that she will arrive on August 10. What does everyone think?!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

24 Weeks: Happy Little Moments

24 weeks today and 16 weeks away from meeting our sweet girl!! {Well, from our due date at least} Time is seriously flying by. I cannot believe how close we are getting to being able to hold Caroline Anne in our arms. Each day brings more and more movement inside my tummy. I have always heard from mommies how special it is when you feel your little one move in there but WOW- "how special", those words just do not seem to do it justice. Honestly, I don't think there even are words to describe how wonderful it is to feel her move during the day. Lately instead of feeling just general movement, I can put my hand on my tummy and clearly identify that I have felt one of her little limbs, etc. Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at Panera, up to my eyeballs in excel spreadsheets full of data {my version of hell} working on a never ending presentation, and all of a sudden she decided to just go to town in there moving around. I immiediately stopped what I was doing and just took the time to put my hands on my belly and enjoy that moment {which obviously she has moved tons before but her timing yesterday was impeccable}. It is funny how she is already making my day so much brighter and isn't even here yet, my mood was completely changed after that! I can only imagine how these happy litle moments are going to get better and better once she finally graces us with her presence.
Speaking of happy little moments, it is amazing how doing things to prepare for her arrival can literally make me the happiest gal around! For example, Bennett put her high chair together the other day and I seriously just sat and stared at it with a smile on my face! Oh and don't even get my started on painting her bedroom, which we finished over the weekend. Bennett was literally cracked up at my anticipation and excitement to get the heck home and get started once we picked the perfect color at Lowes {which is only 2 minutes down the street, thankfully because I might have burst with excitement had it been further away!}. We had such a great time together preparing her room. I should also add here that I do not believe it is a coincidence that the room color we picked was appropriately named "Princess" for our sweet Princess little girl!

Earlier this week, I received the sweetest email from my Meemaw {Caroline's great grandmother and who her middle name, Anne, is after}. I wanted to share a tidbit of it with the meaning of her name: Caroline Anne
Caroline is charming, childlike, sensitive, gentle, and a very capable
woman.  She is an extrovert, so she enjoys communication, attention,
seduction and is strikingly charming.  She dreams of taking centre stage in
front of an audience and animating the crowd with her presence and faculties
of self-expression.  She craves emotional security, hates monotony and
enjoys adventures and novelty.  Emotionally, she is pleasant and
good-natured, adds sugar and spice to any party, household or work place, is
an outstanding hostess and an excellent mother.  Of course, gentlemen, you
may be very tempted to try your luck.  However, be warned, she might behave
like an angel and she certainly looks like one, but she is anything but
docile and won't be easily seduced.  Whatever happens, be nice, because hell
hath no fury....! During childhood it
is important that her parents shower her with affection and help her to feel
secure, encourage her to be creative and cultivate her flair for language.
They should do their best to impart a sense of order and discipline,
qualities in which she can be more than slightly lacking.  Caroline loves
reading, however, her incessant chatter should be monitored closely if you
don't want to be surprised by an astronomical phone bill! I thought this
last sentence was cute and reminded me so much of you when you were growing loved to talk......I can still hear that sweet voice now!
Anne:  People with this name have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving
family or community, and a need to work with others and to be appreciated.
They are excellent at analyzing, understanding, and learning.  They tend to
be mystics, philosophers, scholars, and teachers.  Because they live so much
in the mind, they tend to be quiet and introspective.  Their solitary
thoughtfulness and analysis of people and world events may make them seem
aloof, and sometimes even melancholy.
As my sweet MeeMaw put it, "these two personality traits are bound to be a steering guide to keep Caroline on the right path through life!"

{Sweet little highchair}
{I wore this mask while we painted... just to be on the safe side!}
{You can't get the full effect of the paint color here, I plan to do a "nursery post" once the whole room is finished!}

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

23 Weeks: Remix Week

Where did this past week go?! 23 weeks already. Time is really starting to fly by and I'll be honest, I have mixed emotions about it. On one hand I wish that I could go to sleep, wake up, and have our sweet little Caroline here {sleeping thru labor, of course}. Buuuuut on the other hand I am a nervous freaking ball of emotions WRECK. I feel like I have a gazillion and one things running through my head pertaining to her arrival. Aside from the obvious things to freak out over: perfectly decorated nursery, everything packed in bags, getting all the "baby gear" {on that note- who knew such a tiny little thing could require so many gadgets!!} I find myself more and more having a momentary "Wait... WHAT?!" moment in the middle of the day when I think about the fact that I am going to be a Mommy. Me? A Mommy? No No No, there's no way. Mommies have super powers that give them the answers to every question, the remedy for every sickness, the cure to every heartache.... I don't have all of that! Please oh please please SOMEONE tell me where to purchase the Mommy super powers and FAST.
{Sweet Caroline is growing fast!!}

Ok,'s the husband/daddy/Bennett here. I have officially gained new power in the maternity process and been entrusted with the highest honor of speaking to all of Lauren's faithful readers. Let me start by saying, I can't believe that we are only about 4 months away from being real life, bottle filling, diaper changing/up at 3AM parents. It's funny how your perspective changes as you go through lifes "rights of passage." Things like going to college, graduating from college, getting your first real job, getting married and having a baby all gradually give you new insights into the secret world of wisdom only your parents had access too. Now, I find myself wondering about things like which local schools are the safest and have the best teachers. Questions like, exactly how much is dance class? I wonder if I could actually find a way to buy her a pony? You know every kid asks....Worse still, my forward thinking mind projects to the day Caroline is 13 and begins crushing on little Tommy. I am literally petrified. I think about all the hearts that I broke as a teenager (had mine broke a couple times too) and wonder, just how exactly the father of those girls didn't kill me..because I can't make that promise to the future little Tommy. It's funny, better yet, just how God intended it as he designed the process of growing closer to a human being that's yours, but you can't actually interact with via most of our 5 senses. I can't really touch Caroline, can't really hear her, can only see the bump in Laurens tummy, and feeling her, well I guess I can do that...but it's not like we are holding hands just yet. Regardless, I find myself falling more in love and attached to this baby. Wanting to protect, provide, and coddle a tiny little baby girl that hasn't even made her official debut yet. I have a new found respect for the way my dad interacts with my sister. I have often wondered, how does she get away with that? How can he just always say "yes"? Well, I am beginning to understand. I see a cute outfit at the store and it's like she asked me for it, but obviously she didn't and I already can't say no....future prediction, Caroline is driving a brand new 5 series BMW and I am driving Pinto, all because she looked at me and said, "Daddy....".  I will soon be surrounded by two beautiful girls, both Lauren and Caroline and words can't express how nervous, excited and ready I am!
{Love practicing her little monogram}
{Getting plenty of practice putting things together}

Thursday, April 4, 2013

22 Weeks: Lauren's Version of What to Expect

22 Weeks! This has been a really big huge awesome wonderful week for the Smith family, because Bennett got to feel our precious little daughter move for the very first time! Over the past couple weeks, her movement has become more frequent and much more pronounced, and I have loved getting to feel her more and more every single day. However, poor Bennett would sometimes feel left out {bless his heart}. She has gotten on somewhat of a schedule as far as movement patterns go- after I eat breakfast, around 2:00/3:00 in the afternoon, and right around bedtime between 9:30-11:00- and it is always at nighttime that I can feel her the most. So, every night for the past 2 weeks-ish when we lay down to bed and she is just a moving around, I put Bennett's hand on my tummy. You know, just in case that night happens to be THE NIGHT that she gives us a really big kick and he gets to feel her. Well, every night {until this week, at least} I feel her move, look at Bennett with big eyes, and ask "Did you feel that?!?!" and every night it is the same response, "Nope!!!" {as he then loses hope and moves his hand}. So this past Tuesday night was no different. I put Bennett's hand on my tummy {because I swear that I was feeling her from the outside and not just the inside}. After about 5 minutes of waiting patiently {something he is not that great at}, I felt her kick and before I could get the words "Did you feel that?!?!" out of my mouth, I heard "OMG I think I just felt her!!! Awww hey Caroline, it's your Daddy!!". It was the sweetest little moment that I don't think either of us ever will forget.... something about that just still gives me goosebumps on my arms. Love.

When we first found out that I was pregnant, I remember feeling a little bit sad that I do not have that many "mommy" friends. I have a small {very, very small} handful of girlfriends with sweet little ones, and that is all. Well something is IN THE WATER for sure because so many people are expecting these days and I. Love. It. Some old friends, some new friends, some have made it public, some have not, and I am just literally beside myself overjoyed for all of them. That being said, I thought it might be nice to give the "Lauren's Version of the First 22 Weeks"... you know, the stuff that you don't necessarily read in the "What to Expect" books, or Baby Center website.

What I've Learned #1: Just give me a sandwich and no one gets hurt
Ok, so I have always heard that your appetite gets bigger when you're with child. But for some extremely odd and self-admittedly haughty reason, I always thought to myself "Oh those women just use it as an excuse to eat more, it's in their head, that won't happen to me" blah blah blah blah.... WHOA NELLY was I wrong {or maybe this is just payback for those evil, evil thoughts}. Before pregnancy, it was a good day if I left the house in the morning with a banana or apple for breakfast, then most days I wouldn't stop for lunch until about 3:00 which is when I would eat some sort of version of a tiny salad, soup, or maybe even just a protein bar, then after work I'd head straight to the gym for some sort of grueling workout, come home and have fish with veggies for dinner, and that would be it.... Yeah, the thought of doing that now is laughable. Not only do I now eat breakfast, but I have to have a light snack between each meal or else it gets ugly. And the thought having only a salad before I workout? HA! Give me a sandwich for lunch people... and give it to me now or I will bite the head off of every single person in this room. Seriously, what is it about being hungry when you're pregnant that makes you want to become the Incredible Hulk's sister? And this started pretty much immediately after we found out the big news. I'm sure my family remembers our trip to the Nutcracker at Christmas-time... I ate an entire bucket of popcorn. By myself. Before the show even started.
  Pregnancy Must Have: A lunchbox stocked full with snacks at all times

What I've Learned #2: Me hungry me eat... baby?
Speaking of eating..... I know I have been eating alot lately but this past weekend I was thought by a certain little person to have eaten something that I definitely did not... a baby? My step sister's adorable little son, Hunter literally was absolutely terrified of me. While she and my mom were trying to explain that I had a baby inside my tummy, somehow someway the message got across to him that I ate the baby and that is how it ended up in my tummy. He spent the rest of the day running from me whenever I came near, and telling his mom that he was afraid of me. And don't worry, it gets better... the next day when Ashley {my step sister} was asking him something about me, he so nicely said to her "Oh you mean the zombie?!" Who knew that pregnant ladies morph into zombies that eat babies.
  Pregnancy Must Have: Some sort of book to explain being pregnant to small children

What I've Learned #3: Brushing my teeth looks like a murder scene
I have always liked to think that I take impeccable care of my teeth. You can pretty much qualify me as a "serial brusher". I don't even know how many times I brush my teeth per day, but it is alot. I am a big, big fan of beautiful teeth and a beautiful smile. That being said, clearly my "good oral hygiene" is no match for pregnancy hormones. Something extremely awful happens in my mouth every time I brush my teeth these days. My gums bleed and bleed like nothing I have ever seen before. This is weird, scary, and quite honestly pretty disgusting. However, apparently this is something that happens to tons of pregnant women. Go figure, I thought I would be the exception to that rule... boy was I wrong. Oral health when you are pregnant is a very, very tricky thing!
  Pregnancy Must Have: More than just your bi-annual dental visit

What I've Learned #4: Kids Adults say the darndest things
"You've gained weight, you must be eating something besides celery". "You've padded a little". "Ooooh you just look so much healthier now that you have filled out". "I was starting to thing that marriage was just being really good to you." "I just thought you needed to do some extra crunches." ....... You thought I needed to do some extra crunches? Nope, I am pregnant- what is your excuse?! I literally have been astonished at all of the things that have come out of people's mouths the past couple of months. I literally heard every single one of those quotes by full grown adults who clearly have absolutely no filter. On what planet is it ok to tell a woman that she has gained weight?! The best though is the things that people say once they find out that it is because you are pregnant. Like, "I just thought you needed to do some extra crunches."- WHY IN THE WOLRD would you say that to someone that you just found out is carrying another human being inside of her? All of these people are just lucky that I have a little bit of tact and did not give them the "what for". Maybe this whole "no filter" thing is a widespread issue, or maybe I'm just surrounded by rude people. Either way- pregnant women be warned... and don't let it hurt your feelings. You are creating what will be the most beautiful little creature ever, certainly more beautiful than whatever dufus feels the need to point out your recent extra pounds!
  Pregnancy Must Have: VERY. THICK. SKIN.

What I've Learned #5: Retail therapy ain't what it used to be
Sometimes I think I am a borderline shop-a-holic... Joking... {kind of}. Seriously though what red blooded woman doesn't love anything more than having herself some new duds? Well, I really love it alot {I'm also very fortunate to have a hubby who enjoys shopping about as much as I do}. I also love nothing more than undergoing a little retail therapy after an especially hard day/week. Talk about turn that frown upside down. When you're pregnant though.... it just is not quite the same. I have a serious issue shelling out tons of money on clothes that I am only going to wear for a few months. And for some reason it seems that as far as maternity clothes go, if it is not super expensive... it looks like a straight up homely gross TENT. I've tried being creative as possible when it comes to just buying things in larger sizes, etc but still... I don't want to spend good money on something that is two sizes too big!! Frustrating. I've lucked out with buying things online, from boutiques who will ship to me, etc., but I'm not that great with delayed gratification. The point of retail therapy is instant gratification, right? GOOD NEWS: being pregnant means there will soon be another person in this world to clothe, and believe it or not, you will enjoy shopping for them ten million times better than you enjoy shopping for yourself. I almost cannot step foot into a retail establishment without buying something for Caroline and I love it. There are no words to explain just how fun it is to prepare her little clothes collection before she gets here. She is a little fashionista in the making, and the best retail therapy money spent is that spent on sweet Caroline.
  Pregnancy Must Have: A  large closet for your bundle of joy
{We just moved into our new place and I couldn't resist the urge to hang up everything (even sleepers for some reason), I've also made several purchases since that picture..... it was a rough week}