Monday, April 30, 2012


...Creepy "Stage Mom" Alert.
I am now painfully aware of why one should never take a mirror picture of their child while simultaneously trying to get them to smile-- it's totally creepy.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Good Form

My wonderful friend Caryn lent me a bunch of Prenatal workout DVDs, my favorite in particular being 10 Minute Solutions Prenatal Pilates. Although in my ideal world I would be doing this DVD daily, I'm normally hover around doing it 1-3 times a week.

The main reason being that if I don't get it done before Grace wakes up, it doesn't get done. Do I dare mention that this 36 weeks pregnant instructor with her toned pregnant body kicks my trash to the curb every single time, and I may or may not have to take to my bed afterwards....
I have attempted to power through a workout video while Grace is awake, especially if I have already set my alarm, gotten up, and started the workout. I think if I get toys out, or a DVD playing on my computer, that she will be content doing her own thing.
Unfortunately, I have learned the hard way, that trying to work out while Grace is awake is like trying to have a conversation on the phone while Grace is awake. She knows I'm not paying attention to her and, in that moment, my attention is the only thing she wants. I'm pretty sure a work-out is insufficient when you have to pause it every two minutes to get a band-aid, get a snack, stick a toddler in time out, or remove said toddler from your back. So I bag the endeavor altogether. On one morning attempt of mine Grace woke up and felt like this day she would give the old work-out a try.
I have to admit, sister has got some skills. She probably also has enough energy to do the whole DVD without feeling like she is going to die a slow and painful pilates-related death at the end like me.
But pilates is never as fun as Dora or toys or a trip to the pool so she lost interest. Aaron and I did get a kick out of watching her attempt some of the moves though.

Perhaps my pregnant buns and thighs won't be as toned as they promised on the DVD, but there is always next time, right?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

March of Dimes

This year Aaron was able to participate in some fundraising through his work for the March of Dimes. On Saturday we set our alarms, packed snacks, and headed downtown to join the walk. We seriously underestimated the amount of people that would be participating and ended up having to park about a mile away and walk to the starting line. A little pre-walk, walk, if you will. But the weather was gorgeous and the company was good. It was amazing to see all of the people who had joined together for a good cause. 

After about 4 Braxton Hicks contractions Aaron and I decided to head back at the "Tiny Tot Turnaround" instead of braving the whole 5 mile walk. I didn't want to go into Pre-term labor at a walk for babies who are born super early. We still got a good 2 miles in though. Right when we turned around we saw some friends of ours and kicked ourselves for not planning better and walking together.
My one requirement for the day was to take a picture together as a family. Yes, I am rocking some EY gear, and yes the girl who took our picture cut Grace's chin off. But, we got the picture and that is all that matters, right?
It was a pretty fabulous way to spend a Saturday morning, and we're so grateful for all that the March of Dimes does for babies who are born prematurely.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bubble Bath

My mother-in-law sent me a "relaxation package" chock-full of gear to make a pregnant woman feel like a million bucks. And thus began an addiction. This little bottle holds some amazing liquid. The smell alone sends tingles of calm and relaxation down my spine, I can't get enough of it.
It fills the bathtub with good scents and soft bubbles. The warm water eases any and all aches or pains. I attempt to read a book, resting it ever so lightly on my belly. The warm water wakes the baby up, and he kicks and rolls against my book. Finally, when the water loses its warmth I find myself crawling into bed with contented sighs.
I'm telling you, it has actual magical powers. Tonight my eyelids have that tired sting and my blinks hover longer in the closed position. My feet feel swollen, and my hips are aching. Aaron is working and Grace is asleep. So I think I hear my bathtub calling my name. And you better believe I'm going to answer that call.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Today I Saw My Baby

I have tried to write this blog post all day. Somehow, whichever words I chose to use didn't seem to do this morning justice. I had a sonogram scheduled. Standard check ups and measurements, and probably one last "look" before Baby Boy is born. I was excited, as per usual.

This morning my wonderful friend and neighbor told me to drop Grace off at her place despite the super early hour. Then Aaron told me that he was going to join me for my appointment. Little things that make big differences.

This sonogram wasn't all business like the anatomy scan at 20 weeks. The ultrasound tech took a few measurements and hovered for longer periods on the "cute" and fascinating things like watching him kick his feet or cover his face with his hands. We saw a profile shot, and a shot of his feet (which are definitely snug underneath my ribs on the right side). She measured his head, torso, and leg to get an approximate measurement of his weight (3lbs 4oz). 

Then she switched the sonogram to 3D mode. Did you know that standard in-office machines do 3D? I didn't. I thought you had to go to a place in the mall and pay a big chunk of money just to see things in 3D. But all of the sudden there was my son's face, right there on the screen. I was floored. His chin rested on his chest and his little cheeks sagged just so, and he was sticking his little lips out.

He pursed his lips sticking them out further. Lips that I will kiss for as long as he'll let me for years to come. Cheeks I'll munch on and wipe tears from. And a nose that I swear, looks just like Grace's. It was right there on a screen and I was looking at my 3lb 4oz son, 10 weeks before I should be able to. It was unreal. I kept looking at Aaron and saying "Can you believe this?!"
And if I wasn't already on Cloud 9 his cheeks suddenly pulled upward and he smirked ever so slightly. A sure fire reflex or muscle twitch, but who even cares. He smirked, I saw it, and better yet the technician got a picture of it. I soaked it in and swooned and made sure to double check 400 times with Aaron, "Did you see that?!"I think I'm still swooning.
I'm in love, smitten with this little thing that usually wakes up to party at 11:30pm. Today I desperately wished it was July and that I was looking directly into his face and cuddling his little body in my arms. His pictures are on hanging on the fridge and I find myself stopping just to stare at them. Grace and I sat down to look at them. "Grace, this is your baby brother." "Oh, baby brother" And then we pointed out his eyes, and nose, and mouth. She probably still doesn't understand but she will soon enough.

It was an amazing morning. I was giddy. Can you believe that little face and body are somehow crammed into this belly?
30 weeks
We are so so grateful that everything with this little man is growing and progressing well. And today I am grateful for 3D technology.

Today I saw my son.

Is is July yet?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mobile Me

I think the thing I love most about my phone is the picture taking. It's easy to take pictures, they look decent, it's easy to download them, and easy to text them to Aaron. Getting email on my phone along with Instagram and Facebook is pretty nice too. I'm pretty easy to please. All you tech savvy phone people don't judge me to harshly. 

Back to the picture taking. Sometimes it is nice not to lug my big camera around, and sometimes there are moments that pass in which retrieving said camera from it's "camera spot" would take more time than the moment would allow. So my phone camera is a perfect go to option. I find myself scrolling through my phone's photo library and laughing at the daily moments that are captured. The moments where nothing significant is really happening, but they are a great depiction of everyday life. Most of these moments are recorded and sent to Aaron with one liner's about what is going on or what Grace said. For example:

Grace, with baby doll in tow, sitting up close and personal. Who needs an IMAX theater, am I right?
After days of requesting Chick-fil-A for lunch, Grace's needs were satisfied. Perhaps her requesting this for lunch along with recognizing the building every time we drive by is an indication that we go to CFA a little too much...
Satin gloves at Target were 50 cents. I definitely bought some for Grace. She thinks they have magical healing powers. She asks to rub my hands with her gloves on and then tells me "Now you're all better."
Sometimes we use our pictures to make Aaron jealous that he has to be working for the man. And yes, the pool is now being frequented by us. I'm hoping spring in Texas lasts just a little bit longer.

With Grace's new found love for sass and attitude, we have to be stealth in order to take pictures that don't have her hand blurring across the screen while she's whines and furrows her brow. The Funny Face is our current best option.
Outfit choice: Grace's idea. Dinner choice: Mine. Aaron was working late... Spongebob Mac and Cheese it was.

My 30 minute "Computer Time" alarm went off, I should probably be constructive and clean my apartment. But it was fun to take a walk down Mobile Me lane.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Sometimes the dishes just aren't worth doing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Man Card

A few weeks ago Aaron was in Utah for a recruiting event. You might remember this occurrence since I blogged/whined about it here. The nice thing about Aaron doing recruiting events in Utah is that his parents live out there and it gives him the chance to stay and catch up with them.
Between events for recruiting Aaron was at a small grocery store with his parents. He offered to hold the small basket full of items for his Mom. After a few gallons of milk and a 12 pack of soda, the basket was getting heavy. This nifty basket came with wheels and should you so choose, you could put the basket on the ground and pull the handle up and wheel it around instead of carry it. Aaron's Mom kept telling him to put the heavy basket on the ground and Aaron kept refusing. Finally, Aaron's Mom questioned his motives since it made no sense for Aaron to be carrying heavy items when he didn't need to be. Aaron responded, "If I put this thing on the ground and wheeled it around I'm pretty sure they would revoke my man card."

Aaron returned home and a day or two later he got a letter in the mail. Inside the letter was his "Official Man Card," and details outlining the terms and conditions for it. We were laughing hysterically as we read it over.
Here is what it said:

AARON BARNARD is hereby awarded an official MAN CARD for manly acts beyond the call of duty. Specifically, you are being recognized for your attention to your *sick (but still beautiful) daughter even though you had the opportunity to party hearty with your parents in Utah.

Please be advised that this MAN CARD can, and will, be revoked if you participate in any of the following events:
1. The wearing of excessive pink, excluding tea parties with your daughter.
2. The purchase or lease of a Prius (or any other egg-shaped car).
3. The reading with intent to enjoy any of the Twilight novels.

Should your MAN CARD be revoked, it can not be re-rewarded unless you can unequivocally prove to the MAN CARD COMMITTEE that you have successfully run with the bulls at Pablona. Your survival of the event is not required.

CONGRATULATIONS FROM ALL OF US (high five, chest bump, light pat on the rear)

(*The sick event referring to a terrible sick day Grace had the last day Aaron was out of town where I spent pretty much the entire day talking to Aaron on the phone, updating him on what was happening, and sending him pictures like this:)

I will have you know that Aaron's Man Card is printed out on an official business card that he could carry in his wallet. One never knows when proof of one's manhood needs to be shown. I hope to one day frame his card and letter, because the whole thing is too epic not to have hanging on our wall.

And congratulations Aaron, you are officially a man.

Mad props to Aaron's parents for their ridiculously awesome creativity.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thoughts on Pregnancy: 28 weeks

I know what you have been missing in your lives, and that would probably have to be me standing in front of a mirror taking a picture of myself. Spot on, right?

27 weeks

 28 weeks
I've had some thoughts on this pregnancy. Most of which were negative. Aches, pains, heartburn, swelling, too hot, too sweaty, feet in my ribs, braxton hicks, belly muscles stretching, too much weight gain. I was on a complaint train headed straight for cranky station. I told Aaron the other day "I am so done being pregnant and I'm only 28 weeks in." He laughed and then joked with me, "You complained about not getting pregnant, now you're complaining about being pregnant." His comment was said lightly, but there was some heavy truth behind it.

A few days later I found myself in a situation. After a particularly sweaty and uncomfortable day I was with a group of girls and one asked "How are you feeling?" I said "As good as you can feel when it seems like there is cottage cheese down to your ankles and sweat rings the size of moons under your arms." As the words were escaping my mouth my brain caught onto a small fact. There was a girl standing in the group who would have given anything to be pregnant. A girl who would have taken the cottage cheese legs and sweaty underarms just for the pregnancy experience. And suddenly it was too late, I couldn't take my words back. I felt awful, like I just wanted to crawl inside a hole and die.

I became what I never thought I would be. I was taking for granted something that I wanted so badly and something that came when I least expected it. I have been so caught up in the slight discomforts that I forgot what a blessing it was that I got to be carrying this sweet baby. I forgot the tear filled moments on my knees begging for these moments of heartburn and weight gain. I felt so ashamed. I woke up this morning with a better resolve to "get over my bad self" and enjoy what I have been given. But to those who might have heard me complain about being pregnant and wanted to punch me in the face, I am so so sorry. Please find it in your hearts to forgive me.

Here is what has been going on at 28 weeks:

-Baby boy has been active. I think his feet are somewhere near my right ribs and I feel the hiccups most (which I love) underneath my belly button. I have a sonogram in two weeks so I'll get to see whether my guesses were right. He moves across my belly and we're starting to see random things poking out here and there. Aaron always asks, "What is that?" I wish I knew whether it was a knee or an elbow.

-I normally fall asleep on my side and wake up in the same position the next morning. If I have to change sides I have to wake up, although I have mastered using my elbows behind me to roll over. Sometimes I wake up on my back and have a slight panic attack hoping I haven't hurt the baby somehow.

-My Braxton Hicks contractions come randomly throughout the day depending on what I am doing or whether I have to go to the bathroom, but they start coming regularly at 10:00 at night. Aaron and I are now well read on Braxton Hicks contractions, making sure we know the ins and outs should something out of the ordinary happen. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that perhaps all this "practice" will gear me up for a quick labor (a girl can dream).

-I find myself day-dreaming about this little one a lot. What will he look like? Will he be bigger than Grace? Will he look like Grace? Will he come early or late? I can't wait for July to come. I'm excited for the changes that he will bring into our little family dynamic.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter in Houston - Longest Recap Ever.

A few weeks ago my sister invited us down to Houston to celebrate Easter. A lot of different things had to be sorted out in order for us to go. A week before Easter we weren't sure whether a drive down to Houston was in the cards. I told that to my sister who relayed the information to my parents who were coming in town for Easter as well. A couple days later the last few pieces fell into place and Aaron and I were more than ready for a vacation, however brief it might be. We decided to keep our visit a secret since everyone (my sister aside-someone had to know we were coming) thought we weren't able to make it.

Our bags were packed, the apartment was clean, and after Aaron got home from a half-day at work we piled into the car and made the drive. We arrived around 8pm and my sister snuck outside to greet us. She grabbed Grace and headed back inside with Aaron and I trailing behind her. It was a lot of fun to surprise everyone. Stacey must be a pretty good secret-keeper because no one had any idea. We chatted, caught up, and eventually crashed in bed.

The next morning the boys headed out for a round of golf, and the girls and kids headed off to an Easter egg hunt and brunch at our friend Lauren's house.
There was some crafting while we waited for everyone to arrive.

Then of course there was some brunching
Lauren approached me all stealth like she was running a covert operation and said "I have one cold Diet Coke left, do you want it?" Lauren knows me so well. I love her.
Then we commenced with the egg hunt. Grace barely containing her excitement...

Our lovely Hostess and Host, who spent hours filling hundreds of plastic filled eggs with candy and toys for the little ones to find. I think that qualifies them for sainthood, don't you?
Grace, Taylor, and Carly showing off their loot.
It is a really interesting story of how we all know Lauren. My brother Matt was friends with Lauren's twin brothers in college (they then became roommates after their missions). I met Lauren's younger sister at lacrosse camp the summer before my senior year of high school. My roommate in college married one of Lauren's twin brothers. Lauren and Jon lived in D.C. and know members of my extended family, then Lauren and Jon moved to Houston. My sister moved down to Houston recently and ended up in Lauren's ward. It is a crazy little web of who knows whom, but I think we were all destined to be friends.
While the men headed home from golfing the kiddos dyed Easter eggs. It was a somewhat traumatic experience since some of the eggs were cracked and since Grace felt it necessary to dye eggs completely "clothing-free."
But cracks (no pun intended) or no cracks Carly was up to the challenge of dying some pretty stellar eggs.
And we drank cold beverages and watched the proceedings.
Grace spent the rest of the afternoon soaking up every moment of play time with her cousins. She has missed them terribly. On the days leading up to our trip she told me repeatedly where Carly, Taylor, and Stacey were going to sit in our car and which toys she was going to let them play with.

My Mom's birthday was the following Tuesday, so we took the opportunity to celebrate her with as many of us together as we could manage. I will have you know that my parents are posing like this to make fun of some of the ridiculous engagement picture poses that Aaron and I had to do way back when. Dinner out at Lupe's.

The kids played outside after dinner, stopping in briefly to point out where Meah's eyebrows were.
It was bright, can you tell? Sorry Dad.
Presents, singing, and then an ice cream cake made purely from Bluebell ice cream (read: heaven).
Being the awesome children that we are, we left my parents to babysit while Cade, Stacey, Aaron, and I headed out to watch The Hunger Games.

On Easter morning we headed downstairs to see if the Easter bunny had come.
A quick check of the basket and a few jelly beans later we were off to church.

Happy Easter from the Barnards!
We inhaled an amazing smoked brisket lunch, the kiddos had another egg hunt, Aaron and I packed our things, took a group shot,
Said a few last goodbyes,
And hit the open road.
It was a short trip, but definitely a good one. Just what the doctor ordered.
I have to give mad props to Grace who was a stellar traveling companion. She hasn't been on many road trips, but she deserved a gold star for this one.
Hello Dallas.

It was a wonderful way to spend the holiday. Thank you to our lovely hosts who made the trip so doable.