Sunday, December 31, 2006

We're Home!

We've been gone for the last week to see Keith's family in Florida...we got to visit with darn near everyone! His parents are full-time Floridians now, his grandparents are snowbirds, and his bro, sis, bro-in-law, and niece were all there to round out the immediate family. In addition, we saw great aunt/uncles, cousins, aunts, etc. We had pretty good weather for most of the trip, and got in a few days by the pool. I went swimming twice, and it felt great to get the baby belly in the water (and take the pressure off my back!). I have to say though, that coming out of the pool makes you feel like a lead balloon...back to reality! We took lots of walks in the sunshine, and Keith went out for his morning ritual of a golf cart ride around the community with his cup-a-joe while I slept in a little. I'll post some pics, which also highlight my 32 week sized baby belly!

While in Florida, Keith's sister, Stacy, and his mom, Judy, threw me a baby shower at a Tea Room in Sebring. It was situated right on the lake, with really pretty views. We had a delish lunch, and it was a fun afternoon. Thanks for organizing the shower, Stacy!

Keith got a book for Christmas called, "So You're Going to Be a Dad". He had it finished in two days and said it was pretty humorous. He said it nicely summed up all the crazy pregnancy characteristics that I have, and proved to him that I'm a pretty normal pregnant woman (mood swings, nesting urges, forgetfulness and all!).

We finally got all the parts we needed to finish putting the crib together, and Keith did that this afternoon. I am ordering curtains, and we'll probably have the nursery done in the next week or two. I'll be sure to post pics of the finished product!

Please Leave a Comment!

I have made some changes in the requirements for leaving don't have to have a Google or Blogger account to do so anymore. So, feel free to comment away. Of course, if we start getting all kinds of spam in our comment section, I'll have to go back to the previous restrictions...darn spammers!

Have a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas to All!

Well, we're ready for the holidays. Keith and I exchanged gifts and did stockings last night, as we will be celebrating Christmas with Keith's family this year. It will be nice to have some time off to relax and visit. I'm looking forward to sitting with my feet up and doing some reading, and Keith wants to play some golf with his Dad.

Our first baby shower is in one week, and is being hosted by Keith's sister and mom. We are now scheduled for 5, yes FIVE, baby showers and have an online shower going as well...see the link on the lefthand column! It's so wonderful that people want to help us celebrate the arrival of our Babygirl, especially since we are total newbies at this! We've checked out some baby books from the library that have come highly recommended by friends, and plan to do some reading in the coming weeks.

The nursery progress is at a standstill at the moment. Keith starting constructing the new crib, only to find out we were missing about 5 vital screws and bolts, as well as the set of casters! Major frustration on his part! He called the company, and they quickly sent us replacement parts...minus one important bolt. Grrr....another (less friendly, no doubt) call was made to the company, and the bolt is on it's way. Once that's done, I'll wash the new bedding and get the crib set up. I'm ordering red gingham curtains to hang up, and ordered some accessories this week to go along with the crib bedding. Right now, we don't have much to put in the nursery, but I suspect that will change after the baby showers!

We hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, filled with friends and loved ones! May 2007 bring you much joy and happiness! Our wish is for peace in the world, and good health for our family near and far.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Transformation Has Begun!

Yippee! We painted the nursery tonight! Well, okay, I helped tape and take the outlet covers off and Keith painted the entire thing himself. He did a great job, and the room looks totally different and very warm & inviting. The new dresser is being delivered on Saturday, and we'll be assembling the crib this week sometime. We have a closet organizer to install, and I'm on a hunt for red gingham curtains to hang. Here's a link to our crib bedding. Can't wait to add the accessories and "baby stuff" to finish up the room!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Ho Ho Ho, and All That Stuff...

Wow, two weeks to go until Christmas...where does the time go?! Keith was out of town all last week at a training course in Atlanta, and it allowed me to finish up his Christmas shopping. In fact, all my shopping is done except for one person! Yahoo! We have a Holiday Potluck Party to attend tomorrow afternoon, and Keith has a potluck this week at work (he's making green bean casserole to take, his specialty!). Friday, I have an office Christmas party and then I think that's it for the festivities.

I talked with my boss(es) at work on Friday about my plans to return to work after my maternity leave. We discussed returning to a 30 hour/week schedule in which I would do 3 clinic days weekly and have either a half day administrative day in Durham vs. a full day every other week. They are willing to be very flexible as long as I get my work done and fulfill 130 hrs/month. At this schedule, it's still considered "full-time", and I don't lose any benefits. Double yahoo!! This way, I get 1-2 days a week at home with Babygirl. We're thrilled with that arrangement.

On Tuesday, I have a regular OB checkup, and will get the results of my diabetes screen. They're seeing me every 2 weeks now, and it's making it feel like I'm really getting close to the end! This pregnancy has literally flown by, and so far has been pretty uneventful (hopefully it stays that way!). I have discovered in the last week or so, that bending over is becoming an issue. I see a time in the not-so-distant future when Keith will need to help me with my socks. I am starting to feel like my belly is right under my chin, and I still have 9 weeks to go! Lordy, I can only imagine what delights are ahead of me!

Monday, December 4, 2006

29 Week Ultrasound & Babyface Unveiled!

I had an ultrasound today to check Babygirl's growth. She now weighs about 3.5 pounds, and was flipping around so much during the scan that the tech had to keep reorienting herself. She was able to get an awesome 4-D picture of the baby's face, which I'll post here. She's very cute, if I say so myself! (No bias at all!) There was a profile photo too, and it looks like she might just have Keith's nose (see what you think). Don't be alarmed by the funky stuff around her's just movement artifact, like arms waving around. The only abnormal thing on the scan today was that the left ventricle in the baby's brain looked a little enlarged in one out of three measurements they did. The upper end of normal is 10mm, and one was 11mm. The ventricle is an area filled with fluid, and I was told there are many reasons this could be slightly bigger than expected. The doctor recommended coming back in 3-4 weeks to repeat an ultrasound to measure this area again. I'm not getting too worked up about this, as only one of the measurements was abnormal (and 2 were totally fine). We'll just check again, and see what happens. Meanwhile, we have a very active baby who is growing well and looking quite cute!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Busy Beavers!

It's been a busy week at the Stouder house. We've been getting ready to start the nursery transformation, trying to figure out where to put our new baby "stuff" and what to do with all our other "stuff". Our answer for now is...put it in the attic. It seems just when I get things crossed off my To Do List, more gets added on to it. With just a smidge over 10 weeks to go until baby arrival, I am starting to feel a little pinched for time to get everything accomplished!

The baby name game is still going strong as well. I think we'll have it narrowed down to 2 names by the time we deliver, and will make the final decision once we see Babygirl for the first time. I think it's safe to say the middle name will be Grace. Just love that name, plus it reminds us of a good U2 song. We'll keep first names under wraps until she makes her entry into the world. I probably get asked (literally) three times a day what we're naming the baby, and that's just so hard to say until we've seen her face.

I saw the OB this week, and everything looked and sounded great. I had my diabetes screen on Friday, so hopefully everything turns out okay there. I have an ultrasound on Monday to check Babygirl's growth, so expect to see a pic on the blog this week! By the way, that's me, starting my 8th month (pic above). It felt so good to wear pants that didn't have a waistband!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Grizzly Adams Comes to Chapel Hill!

Several weeks ago, Keith decided he was ready for a change. So, he did what most rational men do when this urge hits them...he grew a beard. I must say, I like the look...he's sort of a cross between Grizzly Adams and an Eddie Bauer catalog model. He's received positive feedback from people about the facial hair, and I think he intends to keep it for a while. Now, when I see pictures of him clean shaven, it seems strange! See what you think about his new look...

I am thank for...

I am thank for April, our daughter to be, and a nice home to create fond memories of both loves of my life. I am thankful for gainful employment, good health, and a community of friends. Overall, life has treated me very well and hopefully will offer me many more years to be thankful.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What Makes April Thankful?

This time of year especially, I tend to make a mental list of the things that make me most thankful. Here's my list, in no particular order (okay, except for #1)...

1) A loving, supportive husband who puts up with my pregnancy-induced craziness and makes me laugh every day
2) A home that we love, and can stay in for a long time to raise our family
3) A good job, willing to consider my part-time return to work after maternity leave
4) A pregnancy that finally went our way, and has been fairly uneventful so far
5) A great family, even though they are scattered all over the country and we don't see them as much as we would like
6) Two fat cats, who are a big part of our family
7) A network of long-time friends, who lift me up when I need it most
8) Good health, my own and Keith's

What makes you thankful this year??

Thanksgiving Recovery

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We had family here for the Dad, his friend, and my bro, Josh. They arrived Tuesday night, slightly frazzled after a 13 hour drive, and left at the butt-crack of dawn today. We always have a list of home improvement projects for when my Dad (a retired construction worker) comes to visit. This year, we chopped down a tree in the back yard, after a few precarious moments when we wondered if it would fall into the yard, or onto our roof. Luckily, Dad's part-time job in retirement is tree trimming, so he knew what to do to make if fall in our favor! Keith and Dad also installed an attic fan, fixed our mailbox, cleaned gutters, and went shopping for a new electric drill. I cooked a 14 lb fresh turkey with all the trimmings on Thursday, with plenty of help in the kitchen (what a relief!!). We've got plenty of leftovers for the weekend, and I'm sure I'll be freezing some turkey for later use in casseroles. On Friday morning, Keith, Josh and I did a little Black Friday shopping at Kohl' know me, can't pass up those kind of bargains! We all went out last night to see the new Bond movie (okay, Josh opted to see the Santa Clause 3) and came home to play some Pegs & Jokers. If you've not heard of that game before, it's very fun to play with a crowd of people. Unfortunately, after everyone left, I realized I had taken NO photos of their visit. Pregnancy has officially turned my mind to mush!

For the rest of the weekend, Keith and I are cleaning up the house a bit and then will probably get started on transforming the guest room into the nursery. There's lots of work to do there, but we're excited to finally be able to make Babygirl's room come to life!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Childbirth Class Adventures

This weekend was our Childbirth Preparation class. We did the weekend crash course, which took place on Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon. There were about 10 couples in the class, all of whom were having their first babies. The instructor was a labor & delivery nurse named Ho-Yu, who is originally from Hong Kong. She's been doing this forever and a day, and had lots of good advice! The first day, we watched birthing videos (and some poor dad-to-be passed out cold!), learned massage techniques, relaxation, breathing, and different positions to help with painful contractions. Day 2 consisted of learning what goes on once you arrive at the birthing center, how to push effectively (THAT was an interesting moment!), practicing breathing/positions, learning pain medicine options, and watching a video about C-sections. Keith did a great job, and I think was able to see that his role during delivery will be much more than just a passive observer. We both got teary-eyed watching the birth video, and he's looking forward to being the masseuse, cheerleader, cord-cutter, and general all-around right hand man. I, on the other hand, am now officially nervous about delivery-time. I hadn't thought much about it until now, and am suddenly filled with doubts about my ability to handle labor. I'm no wimpy wimp, but I've also never been physically tested like this before. All I know is, Keith had better bring his pompoms, because I'm gonna need a really good cheerleader!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Our New Blog!

Keith and I have been talking for some time about starting a to document our lives in North Carolina (thus the "changing compass" portion of the blog name!), as well as our family happenings. With a first baby on the way soon, we figured our lives were evolving pretty rapidly, and we'd have plenty of things to share with everyone. Rather than doing generic mass emails, a blog seemed like a more personal option.

So, in the future, look for Stouder updates, baby pics, funny stories, and random commentary on life's events. Once the baby arrives, we plan to have a photo gallery, so you can download whatever pics you like best. If we get REALLY techno-savvy we could even put video clips online for you to enjoy! (This whole blogging idea is really stretching my techno-world, but Keith assures me it's easy.) We're excited to start our blog, and hope you will check back often to see what's new!