Thursday, July 28, 2011

sharing some Newport Beach pictures :)

Last month we visited Newport Beach while on our Disneyland vacation and had a wonderful time.  The weather was beautiful and the waves were really coming in and we had so much fun wading and splashing in the water.

"The cure for anything is saltwater- sweat, tears or the sea." -Isak Dinesen

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

24 weeks :)

Your Baby in Week 24 of Pregnancy

Vivienne at 23 weeks, 5 days
  • During week 24 of pregnancy, your baby will begin the phase of rapid weight gain. Up to this point, the growth has been in structure and not bulk. Since all of the structures are in place, they will begin to fill out and strengthen. This week alone, your baby will gain 6 ounces of muscle and bone mass. That’s almost 25% of their total body weight! Can you imagine gaining 25% of your body’s total weight in just one week? Don’t worry, your baby won’t gain weight with such haste every week!
  • Your baby is acutely aware of light and dark by week 24 of pregnancy. Unbelievable as it may seem, the uterus does let light in and your baby will know it. They will blink reflexively when light suddenly enters the uterus (such as when you walk from indoors to outdoors or turn on a light in a dark room). They will also recognize darkness, but it doesn’t mean they will sleep when it’s dark! Your little boy or girl will still have periods of sleep during the day and periods of activity at night. Much like they will after birth! 
  • Your baby’s hands begin to get more detailed during week 24 of pregnancy. Little creases begin to show on the palms of their hands. 
  • In week 24 of pregnancy your baby will work on developing their sweat glands. The sweat glands are located on various parts of the body. Obviously, the glands will produce sweat when the body is active and needs to cool off. Your baby’s sweat glands will still be quite immature after birth. It’s best to keep them out of direct sunlight and out of really hot situations if you can, at least until they are a few months old.
  • Your baby’s lungs are experiencing rapid growth during week 24 of pregnancy. The branches of the respiratory “tree” develop and grow more complex this week. The trees are bronchial passageways and are very complex throughout the lung. The trees will help get air through and around inside the lungs and help you breathe. 

Size of Baby: About 10-12 inches long and 1-2 pounds

Total Weight Loss/Gain: -17 pounds

Maternity Clothes: maternity jeans and trying to find cute tops to wear so I actually look pregnant and not just large :-P

Gender: GIRL! Vivienne Claire Hall.

Movement: lots of it!  And she seems to love to kick especially while I eat, right behind my belly button... which just feels weird!

Sleep: Could be worse... but I wake up about every 20-30 minutes at night now, trying to re-position myself before I get bad muscle aches in my side.

What I miss: Laying on my stomach. Coffee.

What I'm looking forward to: Enjoying the rest of this pregnancy as much as possible... baby gear collecting... getting her room ready to go... my baby shower... holding her in my arms when all is said and done.

Cravings: basically anything with protein in it.  Baby is an Adkin's follower I think.

Symptoms: general soreness and tiredness and still battling some morning sickness.

On Monday we had another ultrasound and doctor appointment and everything is looking very healthy and super cute!  Luckily for us, Vivienne decided to be awake and cooperative for the ultrasound technician to look at her heart and get a beautiful little 3-D view of her sweet sweet face.  I almost starting crying when I saw her... technology is absolutely AMAZING even the 6 1/2 years since we had Roslyn.

We saw the nurse practitioner at our appointment this time.  I'll be going in for the gestational diabetes blood test in the next few weeks and to also check on my blood since I am RH- and may need to get another shot for that.  I'm not too worried about the diabetes test since this pregnancy has me not wanting anything to do with sugar at all and I have felt healthier while pregnant than I have in a long time.

Other than all that, we're still busily settling into our new home and enjoying the process of unpacking and settling in.  I'm feeling more and more bit by the crafting bug again so I am trying to quickly get all my stuff set up so I can do just that... create!  BUT, my desk reached a sad and unfortunate end while in its move to this house so I have to buy a new one before I can get to crafting again.  Soon!  Hopefully I'll be picking one up tomorrow night!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

on the devaluing of death...

This will be one of the few occasions that I feel compelled to post about something that I am sure people will disagree with, but at the end of the day, I just don't care.  I feel that what I have to say needs to be said and I feel that this subject hits a bit too close to home for me lately.

Within the last 2 weeks, I have heard about the death of one of my closest friends, many people in an act of personal rage and statement in Norway and the death of a celebrity most likely due to her personal battle with drugs and alcohol.

All three of these are sad, tragic things in which as a human being I am compelled to  grieve whether it be my personal loss, the loss I feel as a human on this earth when I see the needless deaths of the innocent at the hands of a sick individual, and the loss I feel as a fan of an incredibly talented artist.

I would be lying if I said that the first thought I had about the passing of Amy Winehouse wasn't along the lines of sad, but not surprised.  After all, she very publicly battled her substance abuse demons for years and will always be remembered by her own words "they tried to make me go to rehab, and I said no, no, no." But she DID go to rehab.  More than once.  And unfortunately never seemed to be able to beat it.  Like MILLIONS of other people in this world.  Having the means to seek help, does not mean that the monkey on her back was any less insurmountable for her than a person who can't afford treatment.  All she had was the world knowing her problems and her failures in this area of her life and judgement that we all seem too quick to dole out because apparently, the celebrity is somehow less than human in this culture now a days.  It makes me sad, angry and sick to my stomach.

And at the end of the day, her death IS a surprise and IS important and deserves to be mourned.  She was only 27 years old.  And was looking healthier than she had in a while.  And now she's gone.  Her life, her spirit, her talent to be gone from her family, her friends and all of those who enjoyed it in our lives.  Why must we be so quick to judge, devalue and compare the quality of the tragedy of death?  We stingily dole out our condolences and support based upon our own ideals of the quality of the person who died, the circumstances of the death and so many more little ridiculous qualifiers that we somehow feel the right to be the judge and jury.

Amy Winehouse's death was simply noticed because of her celebrity.  19,000 deaths a year are purported to be due to drug use in the US alone.  And alcohol abuse is linked to 75,000 deaths per year between the direct affects of its abuse and the number of people who pass away due to driving under it's influence.  Why is it okay to vilify her and devalue the mourning of those who are sad and care about her death because she fell victim to something that chances are, you're related to or at least know, someone who is dealing with those very same demons?  And if it were your brother or sister, or child, or parent, or friend who died because of their addiction, would you be so quick to judge, be hateful and /or laugh or be seemingly joyful and/or unfazed about it?

I've seen many show disgust at the seeming shift in news coverage from the tragedy in Norway to Amy's passing.  But honestly, Amy's passing yesterday was breaking news.  So it was reported.  And so was the continuing Norway coverage.  The news media has a job to do, report on the news as it is happening.  And they did their job.  Why are we so quick to judge how a culture we are a part of creating by our obsession with celebrity, deals with the passing of one of our creations?

At the end of the day... About 70,000 people die in the world everyday according to WikiAnswers.  And that is about 70,000 sad tragedies every day in this world.  Death is death.  Loss is loss.  And all deserves to be valued, grieved, mourned and acknowledged.  We have to stop judging and categorizing things that should be free from those judgements.  If not for the people who we've lost, for the people who are left behind, dealing with their pain.  I know what it's like to feel that somehow your loss is being judged and categorized to a lower level of importance and I can PROMISE you that it is one of the worst things to do to those who are just trying to get by every day.

Every person who lives and has lived has their own unique path, story and potential. And no matter how that journey ends... it is always a loss.  It is always sad.  And there are always those who are left saddened, shattered and broken.  Don't try to lesson or cheapen their pain because of your own ideals.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

23 weeks :)

How your baby's growing:

Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

How your life's changing:

You may notice that your ankles and feet start to swell a bit in the coming weeks or months, especially at the end of the day or during the heat of summer. Sluggish circulation in your legs — coupled with changes in your blood chemistry that may cause some water retention — may result in swelling, also known as edema. Your body will get rid of the extra fluid after you have your baby, which is why you'll pee frequently and sweat a lot for a few days after delivery. In the meantime, lie on your left side or put your feet up when you can, stretch out your legs when you sit, and avoid sitting — or standing — in one place for long periods. Also, try to exercise regularly to increase circulation, and wear support stockings (put them on first thing in the morning) and roomy, comfortable shoes. You may be tempted to skimp on liquids to combat swelling, but you need to drink plenty of water because staying hydrated actually helps prevent fluid retention. While a certain amount of edema in your lower extremities is normal during pregnancy, excessive swelling may be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia. Be sure to call your midwife or doctor if you have severe or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, swelling in your face, or puffiness around your eyes
Size of Baby: apparently the size of a large mango :)

Total Weight Loss/Gain: -20.5 pounds

Maternity Clothes: maternity jeans and trying to find cute tops to wear so I actually look pregnant and not just large :-P

Gender: GIRL!

Movement: lots of it!

Sleep: same as before.  Sleeping alright.

What I miss: Not giving a second thought to the amount of caffiene and/or other things like medicines etc I consume.

What I'm looking forward to: another ultrasound on Monday! :)

Cravings: yellow tomatoes, cheese, melon (especially watermelon!), protein rich foods

Symptoms: general soreness and tiredness and still battling some morning sickness.

First of all- I am so sorry about the lack of updates lately!  We've been in the process of moving, and then you add in a vacation there and the sad passing of a dear friend and no internet at home and you get an absent Rachel from the world wide web unless you count what I can easily and quickly do from my phone which is of course, not blogging.

The pregnancy and has been going along... Im tired alot and I am very busy making the new house our home and getting us in here and settled.  And then we added a small 3 day vacation to Anaheim for an Angels game and Disneyland and you have me as basically a spent, tired gal all of the time.  But I am plugging along and making it all work.

Most importantly, my family has been greiving the loss of our dear friend Ganai Silverwolfe who left us exactly a week ago after a long and courageous battle against cancer.  Her passing has left us shell shocked and with gaping holes in our lives and our hearts and I am just now beginning to be able to say what I wish to say about her and will be posting specifically and especially about her soon, as soon as I can.  What I can say for now is that I love her, I will forever miss her and I am so saddened by her passing but so incredibly joyous and blessed that I was allowed to share in her path in life and have her guide me along in mine.  She's not completely gone because I am forever changed by her.  But I miss her deeply.

We have another ultrasound coming up this Monday which we are excited about.  Always a blessing to see our little girl and see how she is doing. I'll update again after that.  Til then... sending much love and thanks to all of you!

22 weeks :)

(while we were moving we were without internet so I missed my weekly updates week 20-22 so I am posting them now!)

Your Baby in Week 22 of Pregnancy

This week, your baby weighs in at a whopping pound and measures nearly eight inches, about the size of a small doll. But your little doll (who now has eyebrows, eyelashes, and maybe even some hair on that little head) is a living one who can now perceive light and dark. She can also hear your voice, your heartbeat, your gurgling stomach, and the whoosh-whoosh of blood circulating through your body. And as her brain and nerve endings develop, she may reach for her face (or whatever she can reach) just to experiment with her newfound sense of touch.

Your Body in Week 22 of Pregnancy

As if an ever-expanding belly wasn't enough — now your feet are getting in on the act! That's because the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which loosens your pelvic ligaments when you're expecting, loosens every other ligament too — including the ones in your tootsies. In turn, the bones beneath those ligaments spread slightly, which results, for many women, in a half or whole shoe-size increase. So if you haven't already stashed away your stilettos, now's the time to bid them farewell — at least for a while. Besides, you need sensible shoes to help you balance that big belly and your changing center of gravity.

21 weeks :)

(while we were moving we were without internet so I missed my weekly updates week 20-22 so I am posting them now!)

Your Baby in Week 21 of Pregnancy

How big is your baby? About the size of a large banana — and speaking of bananas, if you eat one this week, there's a good chance your baby will get a taste, too. That's because he swallows a bit of amniotic fluid each day (for nutrition, hydration, and to practice digesting), so he eats whatever's on your menu — and gets to put those developing taste buds to good use. So go ahead and nosh on those nachos (or crunch those crudités): Your baby may develop a taste for them when he’s older.

Your Body in Week 21 of Pregnancy

You may start to notice some stretch marks as your body expands and your belly and breasts just keep on growing. These pink, red, or purple streaks appear when the supporting tissue under your skin gets torn as skin stretches (and stretches and stretches) during pregnancy. Not every woman gets them, though you're a likely candidate if your mom had stretch marks during her pregnancy or if you've gained weight rapidly. So go ahead and slather the cocoa butter — at least it’ll keep your skin from drying out, even if it won’t keep those marks at bay.

20 weeks :)

(while we were moving we were without internet so I missed my weekly updates week 20-22 so I am posting them now!)

Your Baby in Week 20 of Pregnancy

Curious about whether that melon-sized belly contains a boy or a girl? Now's your chance to take a peek! Your second trimester ultrasound, scheduled for anytime between 18 and 22 weeks, gives your practitioner a chance to see how things are going in there. And, wow, are they going! If you're having a girl, her uterus is now fully formed and her ovaries are holding about seven million primitive eggs. If you're having a boy, his testicles have begun their descent from the abdomen to their ultimate destination — the scrotum. And while your baby is definitely getting bigger (weighing in at about ten ounces and measuring six and a half inches), there's still plenty of growing room in there, which allows him to twist and turn (and allows you to feel his acrobatics!).

Your Body in Week 20 of Pregnancy

Now that you’re at the midpoint of your pregnancy (20 weeks down, 20 more to go!), that little cantaloupe (aka baby) you have in your belly is becoming more of a reality as you feel his movements and draw smiles from passersby who see your baby bump. You might also be noticing that your nails are stronger (though they could also turn dry and brittle) and your hair (all over your body) is thicker and fuller than usual — all thanks to pregnancy hormones and increased circulation, which furnish extra nutrients to hair and nail cells. But while the hair on your head may be lovelier than ever, you might not be digging those sprouts on your chin. This situation is indeed temporary, but feel free to tweeze!