Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Decorations


I don't normally put up holiday decorations before Thanksgiving, but I decided to make and exception and put them up a week early this year just in case I went into labor.

One of the things I love most about having our own home is being able to decorate for the holidays. There's something about surrounding myself with festive decorations that really lifts my mood at this time of year.

Here's our tree this year. Each year we let Taylor pick out his own Christmas ornament, something that relates to his interests at the time.


Here's the one he picked this year, which I think pretty adequately sums up his personality:


Here is Oliver's first ornament. I get a little choked up every time I see it.


I'm so excited to have four stockings this year; it really makes it feel like this will be our first Christmas as a complete family.


Don't you love this cute advent calendar? I got it at Target for $2.50! I'm thinking about buying little mini candy bars to put in each pouch. It'll give Taylor an added little treat each time we move to the next day on the calendar.


Taylor and I made a paper chain this year that drapes all the way around our living room. This is a tradition we did as kids with my mom and I'm so excited to do it each year with my own kids.


I hope you're all enjoying this great time of year! Oh, and I'll be sending out Christmas cards as soon as we get pictures of the new addition. :)

Sick.

Question:
When is the worst time to come down with a really bad cold?

Answer:
The week you're going to have a baby.

Sean, Taylor, and I have all been sick for several days now, and I'm starting to panic as my c-section date gets closer. What if my doctor has to postpone the surgery? What if they won't let Sean in the surgical room with me? What if Taylor can't come to the hospital to see his baby brother?

Luckily it looks like Sean is quickly on the mend and I'm just praying that I'll start feeling better soon too. Right now I'm in the phase of sounding worse than I feel and I've been spending my days drinking glass after glass of orange juice and trying to rest as much as possible.

My last OB appointment is today, and I'm hoping she'll be able to calm my fears a bit so I'm not so worried. I'm sure stress isn't helping me get better either.

Three days and counting!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Glowy Bath

Need to get your preschooler in the bath but he refuses?

Tell him he can take a bath in the dark with glow sticks.


video

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010


We had Thanksgiving dinner with the Jacobs family this year. I love that our family is so big now that we have to reserve the gym at a church just to fit us all in. It was so nice to see everyone and enjoy such an amazing meal together, especially since we won't see much of our family for Christmas this year. I love that I'm so close with my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and I love this time of year when we can all get together and catch up on what's been going on with everyone. I really appreciate the work everyone puts into making Thanksgiving so special, especially my grandma. She works so hard to make sure that everyone has what they need and that each part of the meal is delicious.

This is my Uncle Buba and his amazing 'stache of wonders. Pretty impressive, eh?


Love these two. They're so dang cute together.


Taylor had a great Thanksgiving this year, mostly because he got to sit at the kids table instead of a high chair this year. He loves my younger cousins (which are really more like his cousins) and thought it was so much fun to eat with them instead of the boring grown-ups. While we all cleaned up afterward the kids had so much fun running around and chasing each other. (And no, he's not chewing on his hand. He's got a bunch of corn in his fist that he's attempting to get in his mouth. I'm sure most of it ended up on the floor.)


After dinner we met over at my grandparent's house for pie and were able to visit some more. It was really exciting when everyone wished us luck this next week as they were leaving. It's so crazy to think that in less than a week I'll be in the hospital having a baby!

Here is my last belly shot. I feel enormous and uncomfortable and awkward, but so happy that we're in the final countdown now.


I feel great most mornings, but by the end of the day I'm usually rubbing my ribs and complaining about how huge my ankles are and how petrified I am of the upcoming c-section. I'm so grateful for my loving husband who holds me and rubs my back and makes me feel better. I'm so happy to be having another son with him, and I look forward to having his calming influence by my side when we head off to the hospital.

For now I'm trying to enjoy every second of our last weekend as a family of three. Six days to go!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lights-On Celebration

Last night we went to Orem City Center to watch the mayor turn on the Christmas lights for the season. It was really fun and festive, and Sean and I were both grateful that it wasn't too cold. Taylor loved listening to the group of elementary school students singing Christmas carols and would clap and cheer as loud as he could after each song.


When they turned the lights on, Tay's very favorite part was this train. He thought it was so neat.


I played around with my camera a bit and came up with a couple of pretty cool shots of the lights.





It was a fun little activity to do together and a fun way to kick off the holiday season.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Preparing for D-Day

After Taylor was born Sean and I lived off of fast food and frozen pizzas. It was definitely not the most nutritious (or frugal) way to go, and I was determined that this time around would be different. I would plan ahead and set one day aside for baking, divide up the food into tupperware containers, and have a freezer full of dinners when I got home from the hospital after having the baby.

Much to my amazement, I actually did it! I chopped and simmered and cooked and baked all morning, and I now have dinners for almost three weeks packed away in the freezer. I have a feeling that I'll be really grateful to have those dinners when I get home from the hospital.


Now, who wants to come over and wash my dishes?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thankful.

Every year around Thanksgiving I make a list of the things in my life I'm most thankful for. I think this is such a great time to reflect on all we have and all the wonderful people who surround and support us.

So without further interruption, here's my 2010 list:

- My husband. It seems like Sean is always on the top of my list each year, and there are so many reasons for that. Sean is my very best friend. He is my knight in shining armor. He is my rock and my other (better) half. Sean balances me out and helps me stay grounded and focused on what's most important in my life. He loves me unconditionally, even when I'm at my worst. I fall deeper in love with him every single day, and never forget to tell him how much I love him. I don't know what I'd do without my Mr. Nichols.


- My kids (I can use the plural form now, right?). Taylor is the sunshine of my life, and even though being a mother is one of the hardest and most stressful things I've ever done, it's also been the most rewarding. I'm amazed every day at how big my Tay Bug is getting and how much he's learning. I can be having the worst day in the world, but when he looks at me with those big brown eyes and chubby cheeks and says, "Mama, I wanna give you a kiss," I just melt. I'm also thankful for my Oliver. Even though we haven't met yet (two weeks to go!) I'm already so in love with my little man. I'm so excited to meet him and to watch my boys interact with each other.

- My home. Sure, we have the ugliest '70s linoleum on the face of the planet, have already run out of storage space, and our bathrooms are too dark. But you know what? I still love this place. I feel comfortable and safe here and love being home all day.

- Family. I love my parents, siblings, and extended family so much. They have always been so supportive and caring in everything I've done in my life and I love that we're all so close. I'm especially thankful that my mom lives just two buildings over from us and will be such a big help when the baby comes. I don't know what I'd do without my mommy so close by.


- Mountains. I know I've said it many, many times, but I just love living so close to the mountains. I love that they change with the seasons and at certain times of year I feel like they call to me. I love driving up the canyon and going to Sundance, Heber, and Park City. I love living in such a beautiful place!

- Modern technology. Although Sean and I have successfully cut ourselves off from most of the social networking sites we used to belong to (including Facebook), I'm so grateful that we live in an age of technology where I can easily look up a recipe, find an address, balance my bank account, check up with friends, and shop for Christmas.


- Ice cream. This was my biggest weakness when I was pregnant with Taylor, and this time around is no different. I'm seriously in love with this stuff. Any kind. Just gimme some in a big bowl and I'm a happy mama bear.


- My car. Buying our Honda Element was one of the best decisions Sean and I have ever made. I love our car, and I love that at any time during the day Tay and I can pack up and head out to run errands. There's enough room for all four of us (which is saying something considering the fact that both my boys need a ridiculous amount of leg room), the floors are rubber and SO easy to clean, and it's the first time we've had a car with an automatic transmission and cruise control in I don't know how long. Love it.

- Friends. I'm one of those people who doesn't have a ton of acquaintances; instead I have only a handful of really close friends, and I really like it that way. I'm so grateful for all of my friends (you know who you are) who are always there for me, even when we get busy or have hundreds of miles between us. I love you all so very much.

- Dishwashers. When we first moved in to this apartment my mom bought us a portable dishwasher and it has been an absolute life-saver for me. When you're home all day with a preschooler and cook dinner every night the dishes really pile up quickly, and it's such back-breaking work washing them by hand. I'm so happy that I just have to rinse everything off, pop it in the dishwasher, and walk away. Makes my life just a little easier.

- Bed. I know I'm not going to be seeing much of it a few weeks from now, and that's why now more than ever I try to stay in bed for as long as possible. There's nothing like curling up under a warm blanket and snuggling down in my zillions of pillows, especially when it's cold outside.


- Hot chocolate. This has been another pregnancy weakness for me. I can't get enough of the stuff. Oh, and topped with lots of mini marshmallows or whipped cream, please.

Well there you have it. There is so much I feel thankful for right now! I hope that you have a lot in your life to be thankful for as well, and I hope all of our loved ones are enjoying the holidays with their families!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New camera!


I'm not sure if any of you have noticed, but all the photos I've posted the last couple months have been pretty grainy and low-quality. That's because my good camera died back in August or September and I've had to take pictures with my phone.

But no more!

Ladies and gentlemen, I now officially have in my possession a Canon EOS Digital Rebel that I got on a killer deal on eBay! Woo! Mama happy.

I'm so glad I've got a decent camera again, especially because I'll have a new little one to take zillions of photos of soon.

It's been a good day in the Nichols household. A very good day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Impatient.


On Friday I'll be 36 weeks pregnant and exactly three weeks from my c-section date. Unfortunately I've hit the slump that most women do in their last month - time is crawling by and I am DONE with this whole pregnancy thing. I'm tired all the time, constantly out of breath, my back and ribs are so sore I want to cry, and FORGET about bending over to do anything. Even eating isn't pleasant anymore.

I'm usually not such a whiner, but I can't help it right now. I'm impatient and ready to meet my son and have my body back. I'm sick of being an incubator and just want to feel like a human being again.


On the plus side, I went shopping at Target a couple of days ago and bought Ollie his Christmas stocking and "Baby's 1st Christmas" jammies. I have a feeling he'll be my favorite Christmas present. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Movember


The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember.

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. This year Sean is joining with team MovemberUT to raise money for testicular and prostate cancer research.

As most of you know, Sean was diagnosed almost three years ago with testicular cancer and underwent surgery followed by a horrific three months of chemotherapy treatments. He's now been in remission for two and a half years, and we are grateful every day for his health.

If you'd like to help us raise money for this special cause (and support Sean as he attempts to grow a 'stache this month), please click HERE to visit Sean's Movember page and click the "Donate" link on the right.

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

30 Day Countdown


In exactly 30 days I will be going to the hospital for my scheduled c-section (that is, unless Ollie decides to make his appearance early). What this means for me is lots of excitement, endless checklists of things to get done, and a heaping helping of freaking out.

I know that this is the time when I should be relaxing and getting a few more good nights of sleep, but my brain just won't turn off. I'm always thinking of something else I need (or want) to get done before Oliver arrives and worrying about how I'll handle two kids.

There are times when I feel like I'll handle everything well and be Super Mom, and other times when I feel so inadequately prepared to take care of two kids since most of the time I feel like I can barely handle one. I'm sure these feelings will continue after the baby is born; everyone has good days and bad days. Beneath everything though, I'm just so excited to meet my little man and complete our family.

Some things I've loved about this pregnancy:
- Time has gone by faster than it did the first time, mostly because I've been so busy chasing around a three-year-old.
- I'm at a much healthier weight this time around, putting me at less risk for high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, both of which I had when I was pregnant with Taylor. In fact, at this point of my pregnancy with Tay I was on bed rest, which I definitely couldn't handle right now.
- Knowing that this is my last pregnancy helps me appreciate it more.
- I've actually felt pretty cute in my maternity clothes for the most part.
- I know what to expect and what's normal so I spend less time worrying that something is wrong.
- My amazing, patient, loving husband giving me back massages every night and going out to get me ice cream/chicken nuggets/whatever other crazy thing I'm craving.
- Little Tay Bug constantly rubbing and kissing my belly and talking about his "baby brudder Owver." I can't wait to introduce my boys to each other.

Things I haven't loved so much:
- Indigestion. Ick.
- Intense hot flashes.
- Having to get my birthmark removed, six cavities filled, and a root canal during this pregnancy. Talk about adding insult to injury... or rather, adding injury to injury.
- Not being able to breathe. I feel like I spend all day huffing and puffing and straining to complete even the simplest task.
- Being huge. Even though everyone is incredibly understanding, it's embarrassing to struggle putting my shoes on or scrubbing my tub.
- Kankles. Need I say more?
- Bony little knees, feet, and elbows jabbing my ribs and kicking my hip bones. I think Ollie is getting just as impatient as I am.

Pregnancy certainly has it's ups and downs, and I'm definitely about ready to say farewell to this stage and move on to being a mommy of two.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Life with a three-year-old


My aunt sent me this hilarious post from Motherhood Uncensored and I thought I'd share a little snippet of it for all the mothers out there who have had or currently have a three-year-old. I laughed out loud reading this, and it made me feel better knowing that it's not just my preschooler who acts like this. Enjoy!

Here are 10 handy tips to get you started on parenting your 3-year-old:

1. They like nothing.

1a. Well, sometimes they like stuff, but it's only on every 4th Thursday that falls in an odd summer month when the weather is partly cloudly.

1b. Or if it's covered in chocolate.

1c. Maybe.

1d. Depends.

2. If they do happen to like something, they will never like it again.

2a. Maybe.

2b. Depends.

3. Everything can be argued.

3a. Especially when you're in public, with your hands full of groceries and other children, and tons of other people around. (Reference #4)

3b. Or when you've just gotten all the other children to sleep.

3c. But never with your spouse or babysitter.

4. They have impeccable timing.

4a. Like when you're a good 10 minutes away from a potty and they decide that they must poop.

4b. NOW.

5. They have no filter

5a. Like when you're in a dressing room trying on bras.

5b. Or when you're in a public restroom with your pants around your ankles.

6. Everything is negotiable.

6a. On their terms.

6b. Even bodily functions.

7. Hearing may be selective.

7a. Repeating yourself will only cause them to hear less.

7b. Speaking loudly at them will only make you look more crazy.

7c. Yelling at them will make them cower like a wounded animal thus sending you into a guilt-stricken state in which you will give them exactly what they wanted in the first place and then some how apologize.

7d. See #8.

8. They always win.

9. If someone else has it, they will want it.

9a. But only at their house, not at your own.

9b. But only at the store, not when you buy it.

9c. But if you don't get it, then they will throw a tantrum the size of Mount Vesuvius. (See #4)

10. They will respond to everything with "No!"

10a. Even if it's not a question.

10b. Even if they actually do want it.

10c. You're supposed to know the difference.

10d. Idiot.