39 Week Bump Update

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We made it! Baby Hales 2.0 is officially 39 weeks old. At this point, he/she could come anytime now!

Overall during this pregnancy, I’ve gained 34 pounds, and despite all the nausea in months 4, 5, and 6, and the skin tenderness in months 8 and 9, it hasn’t been THAT bad. At our appointment this morning, the doctor confirmed that I am 2 cm dilated, and have been for the past couple weeks. She also did a quick ultrasound to confirm the baby had enough fluid in the placenta (Yep! Nice and comfortable!), followed by a NST (non-stress test) to check the heart rate and confirm that we were seeing the kind of movement we wanted. The non-stress test showed the heartbeat hanging steady at around 140 bpm, and that I was undergoing true contractions every 8 minutes or so. The doctor was very pleased with this progress, and decided to send me home until next week’s appointment, with instructions to call her once the contractions grew stronger and came closer to 5 minutes apart.

And so, we wait. James and I have decided not to stress it. This baby will come when it comes. In the meantime, we’ve got our bags packed, the car seat ready to go, and we/I’ve been keeping ourselves busy by nesting. This includes putting up the tree!

This was the first year Lauren, and her stuffed friends, were really able to help. Here she is helping Daddy figure out how to put together our 10+ year old tree:

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My primary job, of course, was to supervise and take photos. My photos came out “ehh”, but my supervision was on point!

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And, thanks to me, before we knew it, it was time for the annual tradition of Lauren hanging the star at the top. With a little help from Daddy, she reached…

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… and pretty quickly we had Christmas magic!

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And, like I said, now we just continue to wait for the best present of all to arrive…

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We already love so much Baby Hales, and we can’t wait to see you soon! :)

Happy Halloween 2016

We hope everyone had a Happy Halloween 2016!

Did you know I actually started this blog the day after Halloween in 2010? I guess that would make today my 6 year blogiversary! :) I celebrate, I figured I’d post a picture showcasing our first Halloween as a family of 3 up to our last Halloween as a family of 3. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Yep! You caught it! 2016 was our last Halloween as a family of 3, because in a few short weeks, we will be having a baby!

Which means that this little blob from April,

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… turned into this little blob in June…

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… and into this little blob in July…

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… and now we can’t wait to see the final product!

Meanwhile, I’ve grown from a Easter Sunday flower …

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… to a round summer beach ball…

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… to a full fledged fall pumpkin! ๐Ÿ˜›

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All with a lot less sickness than I had with Lauren (Praise GOD!!)

So now, I’ll take a quick minute to answer some of our most commonly asked questions about this pregnancy.

1 . When is your due date?

We’re actually due on December 6, 2016. All indications are that everything is going well, so we’ll probably make it to then, or maybe a couple days earlier. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2.ย  What is the gender, boy or girl?

We originally weren’t going to find out, but I couldn’t stand the wait. So we have a pretty good idea, as do a few others, but everyone is sworn to secrecy until the big delivery date!

3. What are you going to name it?

That is fully up to James! He’s tossed out a few ideas, but I don’t think even he knows right now. ๐Ÿ˜›

4. How are you feeling?

I’ve got the usual 3rd trimester aches, pains, and Braxton Hicks contractions. However, I’ve got an OK amount of energy, the baby is head down, and has dropped pretty low. I don’t feel as many kicks, but the hiccups are a good assurance that everything is going well.

5. Will you go back to work after the baby comes?

So, for those of you who don’t know, James left his job at IBM back in May 2015 to become an entrepreneur full time. Unfortunately, his mother got very sick (stage IV breast cancer) in August 2015, resulting in me leaving my full time job at JLL in December 2015 to be more available to help. Though she, sadly, passed in February 2016, I found out I was pregnant two months later in April. We definitely consider this pregnancy a blessing from Ms. Marsha (James’ mom), and have grown and healed so much as a result of it. In some ways, this baby saved our lives. And for now, the plan is to stay home with it until spring/summer 2017, in order to give it the care and full attention it so much deserves. :)

So that’s it for our big updates! I hope you’ll stay tuned for more updates and pictures as our little family continues to grow.

P.S. As another special blogiversary treat, I’ve been updating Lauren’s Monthly Photos. Click on the link in the header above or here to see what our little girl has been up to!
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Lauren & The Pledge

There’s a lot going on in the United States right now: race riots in Ferguson, the US battling ISIS, the growing level of income inequality, etc. And I know for all of us the 13th anniversary of 9/11 has weighed heavy on our hearts and minds this week.

However, every now and then, no matter how bad things look, something will happen to make you proud to be an American. You’ll remember that despite our history, this is still a land of promise, and that there is still hope for the next generation.

For us, that was hearing Lauren recite the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time. In reviewing her weekly syllabus from school I saw that the theme for the week was “citizenship”, and the word of the week was “allegiance”. So after a quick talk this morning about what it means to have good citizenship, I asked her if she knew the pledge. She said yes and recited it perfectly. I was so excited, I had her go upstairs and do it for her Dad, and this is the video we got: (Warning: it gets pretty loud at the end)

It was a great memory to capture of a little citizen in the making. :)

Lauren’s First Day of Preschool

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Monday was Lauren’s Official First Day of Preschool!

It wasn’t her actual first day of daycare. That was October 4, 2010, when we put her right into daycare at the age of 6 weeks old so that Mommy could go back to work.

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Nor was it her first day at any new sort of school. The school she currently goes to, she actually started back on August 29, 2011.

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But it was her first day in that school’s official Pre-K program, so we took a picture!

This is her “It’s bright, it’s early, and my annoying Mom won’t stop taking pictures” face:

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As you can see at first she wasn’t that interested, but when I handed her the prop, she got more into it.

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So how has her first week been? Great! She’s already come home with new words (like “chewy”, before everything was “crunchy”), and new phrases (like “so why did you say that?”) and, of course, lots of songs and stories. Parenting-wise, the only difference is that her new class doesn’t eat breakfast until 9am, which means we’ve had to start giving her a little snack before we head out the door.

The other thing this means is that we’re one step closer to her starting kindergarten next year. Unfortunately, our local school district isn’t one of the strongest, and our zoned elementary school has some shockingly low test results. So the hubs and I have decided to start exploring alternative options for elementary schools. Our current list consists of two private schools, two charter schools, one Catholic school, and one public magnet school. We’ve been told it smart to apply to so many because many local schools accept students via a lottery system, and you want to make sure you have a spot somewhere. Each of these schools will require tours and applications, and, for some of them, testing. And with the first round of applications being due this December, it’s going to be a busy fall!

It honestly seems kind of daunting right now, but every kid deserves a great education, and we’re going to try our best to give her one. And we know most importantly, that no matter how things play out, as long as she’s raised in a house full of love with family and friends around she’ll be fine.

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What about you guys? How are your kids doing in school this year? Anybody else prepping for a big round of applications? Any tips?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Lauren’s 4th Birthday Recap

First, welcome to the new blog! I’m still making a few minor tweaks here and there, but it feels good to give a fresh face to this almost 4 year old little corner of the web. I hope you enjoy it, and be sure to let me know if you have any problems. Now on to the birthday fun!

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Can you believe our baby just celebrated her 4th birthday?! Happy Birthday Lauren!!

The weekend started off with a pretty big bash at school. There was cheesy pizza delivered for lunch and then Tinkerbell cupcakes and a birthday candle for snack. Afterward, we headed home with our life size Tinkerbell balloon and Lauren got to open her BIG gift from Grandma, a castle for the girls!

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As you can see she was VERY excited about it!

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She played with that thing all evening.

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Until I finally had to force her to go to bed!

The next day was her birthday party. We had it at a place called Lil’ Chef in Raleigh and, although we kept it considerably smaller than her party last year, the kids still had a blast!

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They got to decorate their own hat and then make Pixie pancakes and fruit fairy wands. Afterward they put on their custom apron favors and we adults all tried to get pictures until it was time for them to dance on out the door!

It was so cute, but let me tell you, THIS is what it looks like when you try to take a picture of eleven 4 year olds:

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Saturday night, while Mommy went to a bridal shower, Lauren and Daddy went on another late night chicken nugget run!

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On Sunday morning, we had breakfast and played with Gummy…

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Until it was time to go to the Fresh Beat Band concert with Lauren’s best friend Zoey and her family!!

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Ready to Dance with Daddy!

We had so much fun and the kids were super excited! We even ran into Lauren’s classmate Christopher!

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So as you can see overall it was a GREAT weekend for our GREAT 4 year old!! :) Happy Birthday Lauren! We love you SO MUCH!

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