Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome Paige Karolina!

On December 26th at 6:03 PM, my angel arrived.

Paige Karolina
8 lbs 8 oz
21 3/4 inches

More details to come! 

Friday, December 25, 2009

It's On!

After 39 weeks and two days, we're FINALLY going to have this baby!!! It started with a scare yesterday (another TIA /mini stroke)and then a rush into the hospital. After all that had happened we decided it was time to bring this little girl into the world! One roadblock: heparin. I had taken heparin at 10 am that morning, and unless a dyer emergency, won't start anything until at least 12 hours had past. So at midnight last night we got started - had the Cervadel inserted. It is a cervical ripening agent that works to thin out the cervix prior to the pitocin drip. At around noon they are going to take that out and start pitocin. Then we'll just need to wait and see how quickly my body moves. I'm thinking she'll be making her big arrival around 9 or 10 tonight- we'll see!!!! Can't wait to meet my Christmas angel! I will be sure to keep everyone posted and will post pics asap : )

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dropped Like a Hot Potato and Other Interesting Developments

As I wind down to the end of my pregnancy, I've been noticing some interesting developments. First, my belly totally "dropped" yesterday. Or at least it sure looks like it did. I snuck out of the house to pick a few last minute Christmas presents, and just as I was leaving Dick's Sporting Goods, I felt a big release inside my belly. Kind of like a thud, but with no sound : ) I looked down and noticed my belly has completely changed shape. It wasn't cute and round anymore - now it was low and oblong. Very strange. I can't really wear the shirts I've been able to get away with for so long now because my baby belly sticks out underneath. Hopefully this is a sign of her imminent arrival.

Second new development... I looked in the mirror last week and saw that my roots are coming in MUCH darker than usual. Yes, there is still gray inter-mixed (BOO!) but my hair is usually a mousy brown, and it's coming in a deep chocolate color. I've heard pregnancy can change the texture of your hair - but the color? Maybe its God's way of preparing me so I actually look like my baby is related to me : ) At least we'll have the same hair color. And chin.

Third development... Insomnia. I usually head up to bed around 10:00 each night, watch some TV, then dose off around 10:45 - 11:00. Well - I can't seem to fall asleep lately until close to midnight, and then I wake up bright eyed at 3 a.m.! From 3-6 a.m. I wander around the house, doing laundry, cleaning, paying bills - then I get tired again around 6:15 and head back to bed. Not fun. But I'm thinking my body is preparing for being up all hours of the night with the little one.

Fourth development... Taking time for myself. Over the last week, I realized that I will soon have a sidekick with me wherever I go. You're probably thinking: Yeah, DUH! But seriously, it finally dawned on me that this is the last week of life as I currently know it, and have known it for the last 26 years. So I've really been savoring it. I've been taking the time to blowdry and style my hair each morning - which is something I really haven't done due to the hot flashes since I became prego. On Monday I went and got a manicure, pedicure AND eyebrow wax. SO relaxing (and I need to look good in the hospital photos : ) ) On Tuesday AND Wednesday I went out to lunch by myself. I know this sounds crazy, but I have never really done that before. I always thought it would be uncomfortable to sit at a table by myself. But it wasn't uncomfortable at all! I actually really enjoyed the people watching.

So that's life right now. Fingers crossed I go into natural labor over the next few days. If not, the doctors decided it would be best for them to induce me on Sunday/Monday. I can't believe it's almost time. The last nine months have literally felt like a LIFETIME - but now that my baby's arrival is right around the corner, it feels like time is flying by. Ready or not, here comes the next chapter in life!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

TLC: The LIttle Channel?

Maybe I've been watching too much TV since I've been home, but I can't help but notice TLC (The Learning Channel) has a new niche of programming. First came "Little People, Big World". Next - "The Little Couple". Then came "The Little Parents". And now - "The Little Choclatiers" about a little family that owns a chocolate-making business. And just yesterday, while watching "A Baby Story", I saw an ad for yet ANOTHER little people show - "Dwarf Adoption".

Now, I have absolutely NO problem with little people. But isn't TLC's influx of little-themed programming a little odd? It's like "Little People, Big World" was such a big hit that they said - "Hmmm... next season, let's focus all our new shows on little people! Go out and find them, and no matter what they are doing, we will create a show about it! Living an average life in Houston, TX? Perfect! Having a baby? Great! Making chocolate? HUGE!"

Anyone else notice TLC's new programming niche?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hypertension Scare Will Give Me Hypertension

Enough already! I think I have gone through enough during this pregnancy - I'm ready to get this show on the road and be a Mama! Here's what happened:

On Monday morning, I went to the Perinatologist for my weekly ultrasound. The Thursday before, they found that my fluid was significantly lower than previously and wanted to monitor it. So on Monday, I was a little anxious that they would find that the fluids were lower. Ends up they weren't - they were the same as the previous appointment. So that was a relief! However, my blood pressure was significantly higher than usual. It's usually 120/65-ish consistently, and on Monday it was 135/85. Also, during the ultrasound, Baby wasn't moving as much as she should have been. So, the doctor decided I needed to go to the hospital and be monitored for potential hypertension/preeclampsia. So off I went for a 24-hour stay. On the walk over, I took a look at the paperwork from the doctor and it said "Recommendation: Deliver for Preeclampsia". WHAT?! Is this the way I'm being told I'm about to be induced?

I was admitted to an L&D room around 11:00 a.m., and was hooked up to he monitors. I was also told that I would need to "save my urine" for a 24-hour period. Ummm - EW! I had to pee in what they referred to as a "hat", and then dump that into this large container. It was really gross to say the least. They use it to test for protein in urine (which is another sign of preeclampsia).

Throughout the day, my blood pressure kept going up - as high as 141/86 - and then back down. Daniel came to sit with me, and we notified our families that the Baby could be on the way!

The next day I got up, took a shower, and got in the right mindset to be induced and give birth. I wasn't being given any information to the contrary, so I figured I might as well be mentally prepared. My 24-hour urine collection test results came back around noon - and then we sat there until 3:30 p.m. waiting for the doctor to stop by with the results. Ends up there was protein in my urine - but at a count of 192. 300 would mean preeclampsia. So the doctor then said - "Ok. You can go home. But you need to be on bedrest."

Wait a second - I sat here for 36 hours just to go home?! No baby?! No induction?! I know it was a good thing that I didn't have hypertension/preeclampsia and there was no danger for the Baby, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed that I wasn't going to be delivering that day. After all this time, I thought this was finally it. But it wasn't. It was just a false alarm.

So Daniel and I headed home, physically and emotionally exhausted. The last 36 hours had been such a roller coaster - and it felt strange to be coming home without the Baby in our arms. Luckily she is still in my belly, but we were both bummed. We're READY whenever she is!

I've decided that once I do finally give birth, its going to be a LONG time before I go to the doctor again. I'm tired of people poking and prodding at me without providing information. Doctors don't understand how hard it is for patients - they give us limited information, and then leave us to connect the dots and figure out what it all means. And of course, 95% of the time the patient connects the wrong dots and jumps to conclusions. I used to think it was crazy when people said they were having a home birth, or decided to avoid hospitals. But not anymore. Hospitals stink (figuratively and literally - what is up with the putrid hand soap they have there?!).

I'm not going back to the hospital until I'm in full labor, contractions 2 minutes apart. I can't stand the thought of going back to that place and the lack of information. I know my body, and I need to trust my instincts about what is going on. No blood pressure cuff can replace that. God is the only one who knows when my Baby is going to arrive - I'll wait until he puts it all in motion.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Neighborhood Watch

Let me start by saying that when I was a child, I always dreamed of becoming an FBI agent. The mystery. The suspence. The danger. It was so alluring! That was until I realized that at the age of 17, I was still afraid of the dark. I'm pretty sure you can't be afraid of the dark and be an FBI agent. And even though I'm still afraid of the dark (I blame it on all those scary movies and books I read!) I still think of myself as quite the detective. So, now that I've clarified that I'm not just a crazy, nosey neighbor, but instead a seasoned sleuth, I can move on with my story : )

I've been on "house arrest" since 30 weeks, and have used that time to rest, clean, exercise (relatively speaking), and get ready for baby by watching the overly informative Discovery Health channel. I've also gotten to know some of my neighbors. One in particular fashions himself as quite the Don Juan. He's in his 40s, but thinks he's in his 20s - or I should say tries to act as he thinks someone in their 20s would. Loud parties all weekend, joy riding through the neighborhood in his cool white truck, and blasting bass-thumping music all day long! But the most interesting thing about Mr. Don Juan is his roster of girlfriends that he spirals through his home like a Lazy Susan. I've started to recognize a pattern based on the girls' cars. White Eclipse I'd Sunday and Monday, Gold Volvo is usually Tuesday. GV really fashions herself as the housewife, cleaning up, taking the trash out, putting a Christmas tree up - she must think this is the way to his heart. Then there is Silver CRV who usually makes an appearance on Thursdays, and Friday is left for Black Mazda. Saturday is left open for rest, I guess : ). The funniest thing about this is the fact that they are the only ones who take his dog outside to pee! That's how I started to realize that it truly is 4 different women - not one woman with 4 different cars. Every time I see them outside, each waves and smiles like we are old friends. I wave back. But I am dying to spill the beans! That's why I am doing it here : )

On Monday, there was a close call for Mr. Don Juan. I went to walk Lenni around the block and saw White Eclipse getting in her car to leave. It takes me exactly 12 minutes to walk around the block, and by the time I got back, Gold Volvo was pulling into the driveway! She's the Tuesday girl! Oh what I would have given to see GV pull up with WE still there ; ) Or any of them for that matter. It's my weekly soap opera. More updates to come... Especially when he gets caught! I'm sure I'll be able to hear the gunshots : )

Monday, December 7, 2009

Baby's Favorite Sounds

Some soon to be mamas play Mozart for their babies. They say it helps improve brain function once they are outside the womb. I wonder what the things my baby reacts to will mean for her brain development? : ) I say that because there are two distinct sounds that make my baby wiggle around, and it isn't Mozart! The first sound is my laugh. She loves it! As soon as I start laughing, she goes wild! The second sound is a little more interesting... It's the chimes that ring as I play my new favorite iPhone game - Chain Rxn. As soon as I start playing, she gets sooooooo excited and litterally starts jumping around. Your probably thinking - "well how often do you play this game?" Let me tell you - ALOT! But it's not because I'm a major gamer or arcade enthusiast. It's because I've been trying to become a more patient person. Being patient involves alot of waiting around. And while I'm waiting around - in lines, at an appoinent, for water to boil - I have started to play this Chain Rxn (reaction) game. And I must admit - I am good!! : ) But now my unborn baby thinks the chimes of a big win is her personal dance mix! Don't think I'll have as much time to play once she is here, but I may have to let her hear the chimes at least a few times to see how she'll react! My laugh, now that's not going anywhere, and something she will hopefully be hearing for a long long time!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Walk It Out

At a little over 36 weeks, I've decided it's time to take matters into my own hands and induce labor : ) My method of choice? Walking. A lot. I've extended my daily walk with my puppy from 1 mile to 3 to 4 miles. I walk up hills, down hills, and everything in between. And I actually think it may be working! I went to the perinatologist today and they said my baby has pushed her way down deeper into my pelvis, and is now pushing her head against my cervix. Woo hoo! And even if it doesn't work, I figure its a win-win situation - I'll be in better shape for the BIG PUSH! I've had the date of December 17th floating through my mind since the beginning - it will be interesting to see if mama's intuition is right!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sweet Tweets Nursery: Revealed!

Thanks to the hard work of Nana and Papa (my mom and step-dad), my "Sweet Tweets" nursery has come to life! It's my new favorite room in the house - whenever my husband can't find me, he knows just where to look - usually sitting in our comfy glider admiring the room. Nana made everything in the room - wall hanging, bed linens (bumper, bedskirt), curtains and table cloth. I painted the Birdie paintings and a sign for over the baby's bed (to be revealed at a later date - it's her name!). Papa helped paint, install, build - he even finished the faux-wood floor I started to lay in the adjoining bathroom. I'm blessed to have such a wonderful family! Check out the pictures below - now all we need is Baby!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Diagnosis: NOTHING!

So last Saturday I woke up convinced I had a UTI. If you've had one, you know the distinct feeling that only the joys of a UTI can bring to your life. So I call the doctor's office to request a prescription, and the nurse calls me back to let me know that they can't prescribe antibiotics over the phone for pregnant women. AHHHHH! She told me to head over to an Urgent Care if I couldn't wait until my Tuesday appointment. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of going to Urgent Care - I can just imagine the Swine Flu grabbing hold of me as soon as I step through the door. So I took the old fashioned route - good old cranberry juice and water. By Tuesday it hadn't gotten better, but wasn't getting worse, so they tested me. I got the results on Thursday - NADA. There was nothing wrong with me. Ummmm - HELLO? I can tell you right now, there IS something wrong, and when its "down there" you can't ignore it. So I asked what else it could be.. and the nurse says, "Probably just another lovely side effect of pregnancy." NOOOOOOO! So I respond, "So your telling me there is no medicine to help with this?" And she says, "Nope. The baby is probably just pushing down on your bladder." I know this is common, but really? Can't a prego catch a break? My mom suggested some Yoga positions to help shift the baby - so far, no dice. My husband caught me in the "Cat's Cradle" position last night. His reaction? Nothing. He's used to the crazy by now : )

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hold Me Back, Mamas

This morning I was at the perinatologist's office for my weekly ultrasound (everything is good, BTW!). It was super busy and crowded, with lots of women in all stages of pregnancy. I was sitting near the front of the office, so I could overhear some of the conversations as women came to check in. No, I wasn't eavesdropping! But Fit Pregnancy magazine can only provide so much distraction... especially for this mama : ) So one woman dropped off her forms (it was obviously her first time there) and the admin started flipping through them. I guess she noticed the "Baby's Father" section wasn't filled out, so the admin inquired if she had skipped that part accidentally. The woman laughed awkwardly and said, "No. I just haven't had any discussions with my husband about it yet, so I don't want to put him down on the form. I know what his reaction will be...". Hmmmmm... I thought it was strange, but went on reading about daily exercise routines while pregnant - nice.

So about 30 minutes later, I see the woman run out into the hall pale as a ghost, and then a few seconds later follow her Shrek-like husband into the waiting room. He threw himself into a chair and started huffing and puffing. And ladies - this was the icing on the cake - he was wearing white athletic ankle socks with black loafers and dress pants. Umm - seriously?! Then, as if no one else was in the room, the man says, "It is RIDICULOUS that you are pregnant again. How could you let this happen? I told you we were DONE with kids!" All the other pregos in the room looked at each other with wide eyes. Was this guy serious? Had she cheated on him or something? Ohhhhh no. He went on to say this next statement to prove he was truly an idiot - "It's your responsibility to make sure this doesn't happen. You tricked me." WHAT?! The woman had all she could do to keep from crying (she was also reading a copy of Fit Pregnancy - and we know nothing in there is enough to bring you to tears!).

At this point all the other pregos were staring the man down, shaking our heads with disgust, and trying to hold our tongues. If there is one group of people in the world you don't want to mess with, it's the mamas!!

So then he pulls out his laptop computer and begins ferociously typing with his sausage fingers. He must have pulled up some sort of vacation website because the next thing you know he taps his wife's arm, turns the monitor towards her, and says, "Wow. This looks beautiful. But we can't go there because you've gone and gotten pregnant!" And then snaps the screen away from her. It was obvious this was the last straw for one mama who was at the water dispenser... she turned around, looked straight at him and said, "Excuse me, but let me tell you something, sir. I have been listening to your rude remarks for the past 15 minutes - the way you have been berating your wife - and let me tell you this: it takes two to tango, so SHUT THE HELL UP!" Then she goes to walk away, but turns back and says to the wife, "And bless your heart sweetheart. Lord only knows how you put up with him."

HALLELUIA! The man turned red and huffed back into the hall, loafers, white ankle socks and all. His wife followed him into the hall. And then I got called for my appointment. It made me thankful for my loving husband - even if he does snore like a freight train. : )

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Channeling Rachel Zoe

I'm driving myself BA-NANAS right now! If you watch/love Rachel Zoe like me, then you totally get the reference. I was having a lazy evening in bed and decided to catch up on the Rachel Zoe episodes I missed. And let me tell you - I can't wait to be able to wear real clothes again!! I am SO over the tent-wear. I can actually count on one hand the number of true maternity clothes I have purchased - two pairs of jeans (Skinny and Boot Cut), two pairs of crop jeans, a denim skirt, a cute grey t-shirt, a denim dress, and two work pants (khaki and black). Ok - so I needed two hands for that. But I've been kicking and screaming my way into maternity clothes for 33+ weeks now. So now, with about 4-ish weeks left to go, I'm planning my return to fashion. Mommy-wear will be more functional-fashion, but Rachel Zoe is helping me think through my next fashion phase. For now, I'll keep rocking my oversized sunglasses, leggings and cute new bangs - oh, and huge round baby belly : ) BANANAS!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just Call Me Rip Van Winkle

I don't know what it is, but I CAN NOT stay awake more than 4 hours at a time! And then I sleep for three hours, then up for 4, then back down for 3 hours. I feel like a grizzly bear hibernating for winter. I've turned my bedroom into a cave - dark, cozy and comfortable. I must have at least 8 pillow that I use just for myself. My husband starts out the night with 2 pillows, but I usually steal one more for myself during the night : ) I'm going to blame it on the Heparin injections I have to take now. I believe drowsiness is a side effect. But I actually have to plan my day based around my nap schedule. I get up with my husband at 7 a.m. and make breakfast, take care of Lenni LuLu (our puppy), and pick up around the house. He head's off to work around 8:30 a.m., and I take Lenni for a walk. Then I eat breakfast myself, watch the Today Show, and try to do some chores. By 11 a.m., I am exhausted. And not just a little sleepy either - I'm in full on Rip Van Winkle mode and can barely make it up the stairs and fall into my bed. I sleep until around 2-ish. Then I'm back up, walking Lenni again, and usually take on a project to keep me busy until it's time to make dinner. By 6 p.m., I start to get tired again and have to hang out on the couch like a sloth. Daniel gets home around 7, we eat, walk Lenni again, and then it's off to bed for this mama. Phew! I got tired just writing that out : ) Hope my energy returns by the time my baby girl arrives!!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Big Baby!!

Last week I found out some interesting news - they figured out that the ultrasound measurement was read incorrectly while I was in the hospital. My baby girl didn't weigh 4.5 pounds at 30 weeks - she weighed 6.5 lbs!!! So now, at 33 weeks, they say she weighs 8 lbs! No lie! So - if I go to term - my baby girl will weigh in at a whopping 11 pounds. HOLY. SMOKES. Here's hoping she comes a little early. Funny that all along I've called her my "little piggy" : )Can't wait to see her chubby cheeks!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

De Ja Vu of the Worse Kind!

You won't believe it, but it happened again! I should have been prepared for it, but it totally caught be by surprise. Remember that fateful day back in June or July when I picked up my wedding photo thank you cards from the Target Photo Center? And the women behind the counter made that mind-numbing comment about the bride- "Is this your sister? She's so pretty!" And then didn't believe me when I tried to tell her it was me? Well - it happened again yesterday.

I've been trying to check everything off my To Do list before the baby comes. One of the big things has been to frame and hang all our wedding and family photos around the house. Last week I did 95% of it - and yesterday I thought I would knock out the big finale piece... a 20"x30" black and white print from our wedding (LOVE IT!). So I waddle into the framing place with my print. The man behind the counter unrolls it and then... he says it... Brace yourself - it's even worse than last time!... "This is beautiful. What a lovely couple. Are you the photographer?" WHAT?!?!?! At least last time I was in the same FAMILY! This time I'm not even related to the the bride! So I say, "Ha! No. It's me and my husband." And then he says, " Oh. Wow. So you've been holding on to this for a while?" I was a little confused, and then I realized what he was saying - I LOOK TO OLD TO BE THE BRIDE IN THIS PICTURE! Smart man finally realized he was batting 1,000 and dropped it. Good decision : )

So here it is - until I give birth and am back to my normal self - my wedding photos are not making public appearances with strangers. My swollen face, sausage fingers, gray hair and blotchy skin just can't take it anymore!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Over the past two days, a feeling has swept over me... I feel like I have been pregnant FOREVER!! I really do. I'm completely aware that patience is one virtue I run a little short on : ) I'm much more like a hare than a tortise. I like things to happen quickly, and then move on to the next chapter quickly. I've found 40 weeks is not quick. It's like time is moving through quicksand - and SLOOOOOOOWS down the closer I get to my due date. I just want to see my little baby girl. I want to hold her and hug her and kiss her and snuggle with her. I'm ready to move forward with our life with her - like, NOW! : ) But I know it's best for her to stay inside as long as possible to make sure she is healthy and ready for the world. This mama will just have to be patient for the next month or so - I know she will be worth the wait!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Latest Debate: Is Buffalo Check Appropriate for Pregos?

Over the past few months, I've noticed that Buffalo Check has made a major comeback. Being the trendy mama that I am, how could I pass up a fad?! So off I went last week and picked up a buffalo check shirt (not maternity - just big). I finally had the chance to wear it on Tuesday as I went to my various Dr. appointments (changing out of sweats was a big moment for me!). I put it on and thought it looked pretty good before I left the house. But as I walked into my first appointment, I caught my reflection in the shiny glass building. And let me tell you - there was A LOT to see! I looked like a picnic blanket, with a giant pumpkin hidden under it. It was horrendous! I of course gasped, and hit my husband on his arm - "Why didn't you tell me this shirt looked so bad?". As with everything else - of course it was his fault. And that's when he said it... "What do you mean? That's what all your shirts look like." WHAT?!?!?! That wasn't the answer I was looking for. But - it did make me think - maybe this buffalo check made me look like a tablecloth covering a pumpkin, but does my zebra print shirt look like a throw rug over a beach ball? And does my blue shirt make me look like a giant blueberry? I've decided  that no matter what I wear - it's not going to be pretty. So might as well have fun with the fads, trends and wear what I want - I just need to avoid reflective surfaces : )

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In Position!

Headed to the maternal-fetal specialist yesterday for follow up tests after last week's episode. And guess what? The baby is fully in position! Over the past few days, she has turned from breach (head up) to sideways, to head down, and now - her head is starting to wedge itself into my lower uterus, pushing against my cervix. WOO HOO! Well - there are two sides to this sentiment - I'm happy that she is progressing, but the pressure/discomfort has raised significantly. But somehow it's easier to deal with it all when you know its only a matter of weeks until she is here!! They've moved me to a twice-weekly doctor schedule to keep an eye on her and me until I deliver (or they decided it's time for me to deliver!). Every Tuesday I will head to the perinatologist/specialist to do an ultrasound and check my cervix, etc. And every Thursday I will head to the regular OB to hook me up to monitors and check for contractions and the like. Can't believe we're SO close! I'm so appreciative for my baby girl (even more so than ever given last week's scare) and can't wait to see her smiling face and be the best mommy I can be for her. Let the countdown begin!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Last Few Days...

I've decided that I'm going to stay in bed every Wednesday until the baby is born. Why? Because that is the day that bad things seem to keep happening. This past Wednesday, I was at work on a conference call - just a typical day around the office. My colleague asked me to forward an email, and as I went to try and type, I realized the fingers on my left hand weren't moving. I then realized that my entire left arm was numb and I couldn't move it. I thought - "hmmm. that's strange. I must have been leaning on it weird." And then it got worse...

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Sweet Smell of Babies

When I think of babies, a certain smell comes to mind. One part baby powder, one part "clean linen"-scent from Yankee Candle and one part milk. I always thought this is what babies came out smelling like on their own. Never mind the fact that I never noticed the coincidence that ALL babies smelled the same. That's besides the point... : ) But this weekend I started washing my baby's clothes to prepare for her arrival with the one-and-only mother-approved detergent - Dreft. I transferred the clothes from the washer to the dryer, then went back downstairs. A few minutes later - lo and behold - the house filled with the smell of babies! It was only at that very moment that I realized what the true baby-scent is - Dreft detergent!! Who knew? Well - I'm guessing all the experienced mamas knew. So now the baby's room smells like baby/Dreft. And I love it! Makes me feel like her arrival is right around the corner!! I wonder if they have a Dreft air freshener I can hang in my car and office? That would be nice!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Top New Dad Fears: Sweet Leigh Mama's Responses

My favorite resource for prego info (after Google and my mom and sister) is But this week, they posted responses to "fears" new dads may have. Some of their answers were a little weak. So I've decided to post the real world answers for all the new Dads... so listen up! : )

FEAR: “Will I do everything right?” --Andrew
MOM TIP (From TheBump):Let him know that it's okay to be clueless.
SLM RESPONSE: You know those books I've bought for you that are collecting dust?  READ THEM! And stop trying to get out of the parenting class I've signed us up for. This is new for both parties involved - but be as prepared as possible.

FEAR: “I'm scared that everything we do will now be centered around babies.” --Hendrik
COUPLE TIP (From TheBump):Relax. Like Gold says, “If an active social life is important to you, you're going to make that work with one kid or ten.”
SLM RESPONSE: Yup, pretty much! At least for the first year or so. We've had nearly 30 years to be selfish and focus on ourselves - it's ok for something else to be more important now.

FEAR: “I guess my biggest concern is that having a baby will force me to grow up. I'll have to drink less beer, play less video games...” -- Tom
DAD TIP (From TheBump): Yes, life is going to change. But it's okay if you still need some time for yourself. “Verbalize one thing you need and have your wife verbalize one thing she needs,” says Gold. Maybe you can take baby-duty on Tuesdays while she has a girls' night, and she'll hold down the fort so you get Thursday nights with the boys. 
SLM RESPONSE: Ummmm... does this even deserve a response? Yes. You will need to grow up. But the bigger question is - why/how are you in a relationship if you haven't "grown up" yet? Does your mother still do your laundry, too? Sorry - but this one really frosts my cookies!

FEAR: "Lack of sleep, because it makes me really cranky." --John
COUPLE TIP (From TheBump):“You WILL sleep again,” says Gold. Just not at first. In the meantime, get a sleepy-time strategy. Will one of you handle the late-night shift on weekdays and the other on weekends? Can a grandma help out sometimes? Make a plan that works for you.
SLM RESPONSE: Now think about if you had no sleep AND were breast feeding a baby every 2-3 hours. You want to see cranky?! Team work is the key. And Starbucks!

FEAR: "All the crap that will be everywhere around the house." --Nate
DAD TIP (From TheBump): “There's not some monster that's going to come in and steamroll over you,” Gold laughs. If it's important to you to maintain some order, make a plan with your spouse to do so. Follow Gold’s lead: “I have a house with baby-friendly and nonbaby-friendly areas,” explains the mother of two.
SLM RESPONSE: News Flash - You know your koozie collection, college football posters and stinky shoes that are hanging around the house that I've been stepping over and decorating around for years? Think of this as pay back. And bottom line - deal with it. It's your baby you are talking about!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Those Darn Thighs!

I think my body likes practical jokes. I stepped on the scale this morning and saw that I've lost about 5 pounds since I cut back on the carbs. Not sure what the doctor will think about this development, but they must have realized that was going to happen, right? Anyway... So since I was having a "skinny" morning (relatively speaking), I thought I would slip right into my prego skinny jeans. WRONG! I pulled. I squatted. I even laid down on the bed to try and wrangle them on. But that just made me out of breath, so I finally gave up. I couldn't get the darn things over my thighs!!!How could I have LOST weight, but my thighs still expand? I wasn't ready to give up on my outfit for the day (skinny jeans with Uggs), so I found another solution - I took my cropped prego jeans from the summer (that, btw, are made out of a nice stretchy material), cut the cuff loose, and pulled my Uggs up over them. PERFECTO! However, I must note that although stretchy, these jeans have almost reached their maximum capacity as well. Gosh - if I lose another few pounds, I'll have to go up two sizes! : )

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

B.Y.O.G.: Bring Your Own Gown

At my baby shower a few weeks ago, I expressed a deep, dark secret - hospital gowns! My best friends completely understood (although not yet mamas themselves) how gross a hospital gown may be. One of my friends is a nurse, and confirmed that the gowns are reused from patient to patient. Washed, of course. But STILL! The experienced mamas in the room (my mom and MIL) thought I was nuts. They said that is the last thing I'll be thinking about while giving birth. I agree with them, but I'd rather feel 100% comfortable (I'm big on atmospheric influences affecting my mood - smells, lighting, etc.) than be grossed out by a skeezy, scratchy, previously-used hospital gown. Soooo... I've decided to make my own. I know I'm not the only one because there is a booming B.Y.O.G. market online. But man, they sure expensive! Plus, I want a specific style (yes, for function!). All the one on line look like hospital gowns made out of pretty fabric - zebra, leopard, flowers, etc. Gorgeous! But I'm not big on being surrounded by tons of loose fabric while laying down. I always feel like the fabric is going to engulf and suffocate me. SO, my BIG idea... (drum roll please)... is to take the top portion of a nursing tank (pictured below), and then sew on a large skirt-like bottom. I'll keep it open in the back, and put ribbon ties for closures. This way, I'll have tight support on top (zero suffocation), and built in convenience for immediate breastfeeding once the bambino arrives. I created a very loose visual below for reference... what do you think??

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

If It Walks Like a Duck... It Might Be A Prego!

Week 29 has brought on a new development - the prego waddle. I think I've been doing this for a while in order to keep my balance, but now I'm waddling around just to get through the day. Becasue of all my medical qualifications (aka NADA), I've determined that the baby has gotten into a head down position, and each day works her way further and further down. Why do I think this? Imagine the weight of a watermelon pushing down on your va-jay-jay from the inside. Each day, the pressure gets a little stronger, and the watermelon gets wedged in a little further. It's not pain per se, but just maaaaaaajorly uncomfortable. All the pregos (or mamas) know exactly what I am talking about. It almost feels that if you don't walk slowly and take your steps gingerly, something may fall out. Hence, the waddle walk. You have to stay in just the right position while in motion - clenched up to put it nicely. This new development has also slowed me down a bit. OK, a lot. No more laps around the office. I strategically plan my movements, trying to get the most accomplished on each journey to and from my office. 8 more weeks to go... think I could get away with using one of those electric scooters??

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pregos SayThe Darndest Things

My husband has informed me that my pregnancy and raging hormones are causing me to be a bit... how do I say it... feisty! Particularly when it comes to my temper. You know how people excuse old people for things that they say because they "can't help themselves"? Well I am asking for the same leniency when it comes to us pregos. Sometimes we just can't help what bothers us, gets under our skin, or frosts our cookies. On Saturday night, I told my loving husband that he "acts like an idiot when he sleeps." Oops! I'm honestly not even sure what I meant by that mean-spirited comment. But I know what spurred it - he fell asleep on the couch, and then I had to wake him up and tell him to go up to bed. Keep in mind, this scenario is reversed 99% of the time, with him waking me up... but that's besides the point! : ) So he stumbles upstairs, turns off all the lights, throws the covers onto my side of the bed, and falls back asleep. Ummm - EXCUSE ME?! He must have not gotten the memo that I'm the prego one that needs pampering, back rubs and pity as I try to fall asleep each night. So that's when my blood started to boil, and diahreah of the mouth kicked in. I didn't feel bad about it either until the next morning. I apologized of course, and you know what my husband said (with a laugh)? "It's a full time job keeping up with your mood swings! I never know what's going to push you over the edge next." At least he has a sense of humor about it. So - with this post - I apologize for what I have said and what I will say that may seem out of character. Blame it on the hormones!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Clear out the clutter in time for baby!

The room that served as our storage closet last year, is now being converted into a nursery for my baby girl. I'd imagine this isn't uncommon for all us pregos! : ) So what do you do with all the old junk that's piled up? Best Buy is kicking off a fun contest and a chance to win a $3,500 home theater makeover! I don't know about you, but any baby of mine is going to love watching Elmo and Dora on a big screen!

Check out the video, and then go to to enter.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Dreaded Words... Too Many Carbs!

I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday morning. Nothing unusual - just the usual weight and blood pressure check, plus the baby's heart beat check. They also did the glucose screening (btw - that drink is sooo gross!). Fingers crossed all is well with that.

So when the doctor came in, she asked me to review my daily diet. So I did: milk and waffles or a bagel for breakfast, a sandwich and soup or a baked potato with chili for lunch, pretzels for a snack, chicken or fish with pasta or rice for dinner, and a Weight watchers ice cream bar for dessert. I was actually pretty proud of myself for staying away from fried foods and junk. But the doctor didn't look as pleased as I was : ) She said, "You are eating WAY too many carbs!". WHAT!? I was shocked. But then when I thought about it - I was eating a lot of carbs. She said my weight gain was normal (about 19 lbs), but that if I kept on this path, that I would probably gain another 15-20 pounds by the time the baby was born. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Not so good.

So - she told me how I can adjust my diet to reduce carbs, but still feel full and keep my energy up throughout the day. Here is my new, carb-limited diet:

Breakfast: 2 eggs with toast; fruit
Snack: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Baked potato and salad OR chili and salad (but not a baked potato with chili)
Snack: Fruit or vegetable
Snack #2 (because I usually don't eat dinner until 8 pm): Yogurt, cheese or vegetable
Dinner: Protein and vegetable - NO CARBS! (boo!)
Dessert: Weight Watchers ice cream bar (she said I can keep this - yay!)

Day two of this new way of eating and so far so good. She also said I wasn't snacking enough (which I know I wasn't), but that I needed to make sure I was eating something every 2-3 hours. I'll keep you all posted on how this goes!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

UPDATE: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

GOOD NEWS for the pregos! The seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte comes in DECAF!

I know you were waiting with bated breath on this one : )

Baby on Board

I never could figure out why women drove around with the "Baby on Board" signs on their cars. I figured it was just a mom-badge of sorts, but served no real purpose. That was until Tuesday morning... As I was driving into work (reminiscing on my fantastic baby showers this past weekend - more to come on them soon!) I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a red pick up truck racing toward me. The driver jerked into the left lane and I saw he was on his cell phone. Great! He immediately began to jerk right back into my lane - and into me! I slammed on the horn, and was forced to drive off the side of the road. Thank goodness there was no one in the lane next to me! Everyone around us stopped -I'm sure they witnessed what just happened and were panicked like I was. The red pickup truck driver stopped for a second, shrugged is shoulders, gave me a quick wave, and went on his way. WHAT A JERK! Luckily everyone was fine, and there was no damage to my car (or the baby!). But it made me think - maybe, just maybe, if I had the "Baby on Board" sign on my car, the driver would have been a little more cautious when driving by me. Needless to say, I am headed out to buy one tonight. This is precious cargo I'm carrying!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Charles Bronco

Charlie Horse. Such a nice, innocent sounding name for that slight cramp you get in the back of your leg from time to time. Well, I got one of those last night. And let me tell you - it was not an innocent Charlie Horse. I've decided this was a visit from his much more intense, crazy older brother - Charles Bronco. During last night's peaceful sleep, I was rudely and suddenly awakened by stabbing pain in my leg. I really thought I was going to open my eyes and see someone stabbing me. I started screaming - scaring my husband to death btw - and reeling from the pain. I read that leg cramps are common during late pregnancy due to restricted circulation... but really? Charles Bronco, you are not welcome here!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Other Things I Miss…

Nothing says “fall” like a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. Now, that once delectable green light of Starbucks that drew me in like a moth to a flame is just plain mean. It taunts me as I drive past the 4-5 Startbucks locations on my way to work. I even have two locations within a one block radius, calling to me through my office window. I would assume that Starbucks can make a decaf pumpkin spice latte, but what if they can't? Would I be tempted to order a regular? Oh, the dilemmas we pregos face : )

I decided to create a list of other things I miss, and am looking forward to enjoying post-baby:

1. Starbucks
2. Sushi
3. Diet Coke (non decaf)
4. Margaritas!
5. Non-elastic clothing
6. Decompressed lungs
7. High heels
8. Being able to see my feet
9. Walking regularly
10. No heat flashes
11. Peeing less frequently
12. Bending over freely
13. Wearing my wedding rings
14. Staying awake past 9:30 pm
15. Full brain capacity and function.. although I've heard this never returns to normal! : )

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Can Actually Do This!

I had an epiphany (not episiotomy) this weekend during my tour of the labor and delivery unit at my local hospital - I can actually do this! I CAN give birth to this baby living inside of me!

Up until Saturday at 6:15 p.m., I wasn't able to quite wrap my mind around the idea of giving birth. I knew that it had to happen one way or another, but it was hard to picture myself in the moment. I'm a very visual person - I need to see things for them to become real. I didn't realize childbirth was one of those things.

My only "experience" with birth was watching "A Baby Story" on TLC and those scary "real life drama" births on Discovery Health. Sweating, screaming, panting, agony, getting wheeled into an ER and then being left in a hallway, a cramped hospital room that reeks of that terrible hospital smell, SHARING A HOSPITAL ROOM!! The horrors! For the many reasons listed above, it wasn't something I was ready to picture myself doing. Sweat + pain+ gross smells + unknown territory = a very freaked out soon-to-be-mama!

So my husband and I drove to the hospital on Saturday evening and it was NOTHING like I expected. First of all, this hospital has a separate "Women's Center" that is apart from the rest of the hospital. Its a beautiful building with soft lighting, non-threatening odors, and smiling faces. The Admissions Desk it quaint - no weird cubicles or mean receptionists. Everyone coming to the Women's Center is there for a reason - either giving birth, visiting someone who just gave birth, or taking a tour/classes (like me). We were able to tour the Labor and Delivery room, and then the "Family Centered Care" room. The Labor and Delivery room is straight out of a hotel - spacious, comfortable and PRIVATE! All the lights are adjustable so you can "set the mood you would like" before, during and after labor. The thermostat is also adjustable per room - no sweating for this mama! There is even a big-screen TV, DVD player and CD player.They demonstrated different birthing positions, and how the bed would come apart during the actual delivery. Daniel said I had the biggest smile on my face during the whole demo - I'm sure it was because this place wasn't scary at all, but instead pretty peaceful : )

Two hours after the delivery, we'll be moved to a different floor (still in the Women's center) and be given another PRIVATE room (I can't tell you how thrilled I am by the "private aspect"). This room is also spacious and comfortable with a private bathroom/shower and space for the family to spread out. Everything is clean, inviting and again, peaceful.

So now, with approximately 80-something days to go until my baby girl arrives, I am ready. Mentally ready, that is. The nursery? Don't ask... that is still a work in progress. Luckily Nana and Papa are coming down in November to whip that into shape : )

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Metallic with a Tinge of OJ After Toothpaste

For the last week, my mouth has been a hot mess. No gum, mouthwash or toothpaste on earth can rid this TERRIBLE taste from my mouth!  It's the same taste that you get after brushing your teeth, and then drinking orange juice. PLUS - a little bit of aluminum foil mixed in. So bizarre! According to my husband, my breath does not stink - hallelujah! But I feel like it does. I've gone through three packs of gum this week alone. Is it just me, or does being prego seem to bring about the strangest symptoms? I'm sure doctors would blame it on the hormones - they always do. But for goodness ssake, can a soon-to-be-mama get a break?! Ay yi yi!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just Call Me Dr. Sweet Leigh

I have decided that my due date is off by approximately 14 days. My "official" due date is December 30. But, due to my obvious medical skills as a soon-to-be-mama, I think it is actually closer to December 16. Here is my non-scientific rationale:

1. I completely guessed when asked the day of my last menstral cyle. I honestly had no clue. I knew I had gotten it, but I never kept track. It always came like clockwork - a perfect 28 days. By method of deduction, I guessed March 25. My shower and bachelorette party was March 20/21. I got terrible food poisioning that weekend and am positive I didn't have my period during that episode. So here is the question - did I have my period the week before? or the week after? I did some backwards math today from the last time I KNEW for certain I had my period, and I ended up on the week BEFORE my shower/backelorette weekend.

2.  My HCG levels were high. When I first realized I was pregnant and went in for the blood test, they said my HCG levels were somewhat high. So high that they thought I may be having twins. Thinking back, I wonder if they were high because I was further along than originally thought? Things that make you say "Hmmmm..."

3. The baby's weight and length is closer to a 28/29 week old, than a 26 week old. From the beginning, ultrasounds revealed my baby was ranging very high for weight and lenghth. She is consistently about 2-4 weeks ahead of the curve based on my scientific (aka Google) research. At 21 weeks, she weighed 1.5 lbs (24 oz), while the average at that time is 13 oz. At 26 weeks, she weighed nearly 3 lbs, while the average that that time is 1.5 lbs. Coincidence? I think not!

So there you have it... I know what you're thinking - I should be a doctor! LOL. Just kidding : ) But all throughout the pregnancy I have felt that I'm a little further along. Call it mother's intuition, or maybe it's just the hormones making me crazy, but I think this little one is going to come around mid-December, rather than late-December.

Oh - and I've expressed my thoughts to the doctors and they all say, "Well, a due date can be plus or minus 14 days.. so no need to change it!". It will be interesting to see when she arrives!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

That chin!

During yesterday's ultrasound, I could see that my baby's chin was really prominent and she had a huge smile. It sure didn't look like Daniel's chin and grin. So I wondered where it came from. Daniel kindly reminded me via a photo montage...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

26 Week Ultrasound and Update!

Good news to share! Went to the perinatologist (aka "specialist") today for a follow-up appointment, and he said that everything is "perfect"! Spine, heart, brain -- all of it! Woo hoo! They were able to get a complete view of all her vital parts, and confirmed that she is A-OK. I wanted to cry, I was so happy and relieved!

So here are her stats:
Current weight - almost 3 pounds! Dr. said the average at 26 weeks is 1.5 lbs. She's already a chub : )

She is also VERY long - he said she is in the 90th percentile (average is 50th percentile) for the length of her bones. No wonder I can feel her kicking and punching so much!

She has a HUGE smile (see attached pic)! Happy Baby, Happy Mama, Happy Family : ) She was also sticking her tongue out at us today. Nice.

I love my baby girl so much -- I can't wait to see her!!

What I'm Loving: Mural Mural On a Wall by Amy Lee

One of my friends is an amazing artist who paints beautiful nursery murals. Check out her site here:  and if you're in the Atlanta-metro area, contact her:

I'm going to see what she thinks about bringing my "Sweet Tweets" theme to life (fabric swatch below) for my baby girl's room.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vote for Sweet Leigh Mama in The Bump's "Best Pregnancy Blog" Contest!

Love reading Sweet Leigh Mama? Nominate Sweet Leigh Mama as the "Best Pregnancy Blog" in's "Best Mommy Blog" contest.

Thanks for all the love! : )

Monday, September 21, 2009

We Aren't That Bad... Are We? Ok, Maybe...

Check out this hilarious video of women drivers... It's sad to how many of these I can relate to!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ice Cream, Curly Mullets and Oil Changes

I don't know about all the other pregos, but I have been having the CRAZIEST dreams over the last few weeks. Last night's was the ultimate combination of random scenarios. First, I dreamed of ice cream. Lots of it. I dreamed that I was eating a huge bowl of banana chocolate chip (does that flavor even exist?). Then butter pecan. Then mint chip. YUM! Then from there, I jumped to a dream about my husband, who magically grew a long curly mohawk mullet overnight. Keep in mind - my husband is as bald as Mr. Clean in real life! In the dream, he loved it. He kept twisting it through his fingers. I remember gagging in the dream, just as I am now : ) The last part of the dream involved me and my husband, along with my mother-in-law and her dog Jack, my brother-in-law and his dog Hogan, and about 10 of our friends, all at a Jiffy Lube. We were crammed into the oil change bay, watching our dogs take rides on the car lift. In the dream, I was the only one who thought this was bizarre.

Anyone care to take a stab at analyzing this? Should be interesting!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Squiggly Red Line

Last night my husband and I were sitting on the couch watching TV. I was in my usual at-home get up: sweat pants and a tank top. The same thing I've always worn. The only difference is that the sweat pants are folded down under my belly, and the tank top covers about half of it. Nice visual, I know : ) So as we sat there, my husband points to my belly and says, "What's that?". I responded, "It's your baby, you fool!" But then he comes in closer to investigate and points to a specific spot on my belly. He says, "It's like a pinkish-red squiggle line." Because of the sheer size of my belly, I can't readily see all angles, so I waddle in front of the mirror to take a look. Lo and behold, I see it before my very own eyes -- a STRETCH MARK!! Bright pink, about an inch long and indented. So much for my daily lotion slather-fest... eek! I told my loving, supportive, honest husband that ignorance is bliss. Unless I point it out to him first, consider any random marks, hairs or other new developments on my body off limits for commentary. Sorry hun - only three months left! : )

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What do you think of Sweet Leigh Mama? Post and win!

Sweet Leigh Mama is celebrating its 8 week anniversary (that's two months for the non-prego readers who don't measure everything in weeks). Woo hoo! I gave the site a face lift to celebrate. I'd love to know your thoughts about SLM - what do you like? what is your favorite post? can you relate? what would you like to see more of? Post comments below for a chance to win an Insignia Digital Photo Key Chain from Best Buy (like a tiny brag book for our bambinos). One poster will be chosen at random Friday at 9 p.m. to win.

Much love and belly rubs,

Weight Watchers "Lose-a-Palooza": Lose for Good

While I will not be able to participate this year due to my prego status, it's still a great cause. Can't wait for next year!

Lose-A-Palooza is a one-day online social networking event taking place on September 15, 2009 to help raise awareness for the Lose For Good™ campaign!

For every accepted mention or acknowledgment of “Lose For Good” made on September 15 via blogs, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, Weight Watchers will make an additional donation - up to $25,000* - for just one day of social media activity. This donation is on top of the $1 million** Weight Watchers is hoping to donate to Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger as part of the 2009 Lose For Good campaign!

The ABC's of Life

I saw this hanging on the wall of someone's bathroom recently. I googled it and thought I would share:

The ABC’s of Life • Accept differences • Be kind • Count your blessings • Dream • Express thanks • Forgive • Give freely • Harm no one • Imagine more • Jettison anger • Keep confidences • Love truly • Master something • Nurture hope • Open your mind • Pack lightly • Quell rumors • Reciprocate • Seek wisdom • Touch hearts • Understand • Value truth • Win graciously • Xeriscape • Yearn for peace • Zealously support a worthy cause

Monday, September 14, 2009

CZ Bling

It has finally happened. I've been warned many times, but I continued to deny that this could happen to me. I was going to defy the odds! Yesterday, I officially out-grew my wedding rings. AHHHHHHHH! It was a battle of wills - between my beautiful rings and my sausage-like finger. The sausage won. This happened at 9 pm yesterday night. So what does any hjavascript:void(0)ormonal prego do at this point? Run to the computer of course, to see what discount store is open this late on a Sunday so I could find a replacement ring ASAP. I tried Target and Kohls, but only Wal-Mart was open "late night". So off I went, determined to find something to temporarily take the place of my bling. Well -- let me say this: Wal-Mart + Cubic Zirconia selection = horrific. I know, I know. What did I expect? But if I was going to wear a CZ, I wasn't going to settle for diamond dust. Who DOWNGRADES with a CZ? The thought was ridiculous. So I had to go in a completely opposite direction - forget fake diamonds. I found a cute faux-amethyst ring for $8.99 : ) It works for now.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Another Day, Another Scare

Pregnancy makes me jumpy. But I think my fears and apprehension are for good cause - I do have a baby growing inside me after all! Yesterday I went to the restroom and had the dreaded "spotting". I've never had spotting before in my life, so I immediately thought the worse. When I called my doctor to ask what I should do, she said I needed to come in immediately. That scared me even more! Like a bat out of hell, I barreled up to the doctor's office. They took swabs, shined lights and felt around. Luckily, everything was intact - right where it should be. Then they did an ultrasound and the baby was waving at us : ) She was saying "You fool! I'm fine! Just chillin'." Ends up I have a vaginal infection of some sort which caused the spotting. Reason number 6 why traveling isn't a good idea for pregos: Travel + lack of sleep + stress + lots of people with their germs = weakened immune system. She gave me an anti-biotic prescription and on I went. Come on baby -- only 16 more weeks until you'er here. Hang tight and grow big. We're ready for ya!