Avery’s Nursery

May 17, 2014 in Our Little Cub

Creating a nursery can be a therapeutic process.  For expectant parents, painting, assembling furniture and applying the finishing touches are physical tasks that can represent the abstract… joy, anxiety, and expectation.  Creating a nursery is one way to start embracing the fact that your life is about to change forever.

I normally jump right in to decorating projects without a second thought, but I waited for quite a while before I started Avery’s nursery.  We had wanted a baby for so long and the beginning of the pregnancy was rocky.  It took time before I was ready to conquer my fears and create a physical representation of our dream of becoming parents.

This room was such a labor of love.  We spent so many hours painting, applying vinyl decals, assembling furniture, organizing gifts, picking art, hanging shelves and most importantly talking about our daughter.  About what she would be like and look like.  About things we wanted to do with her and teach her some day.  About how much we already loved her.

Now she’s here and we hope her room is fitting.  Here’s a peak at her space!

38 and 40 Weeks

April 25, 2014 in Our Little Cub

38 Weeks

At our 38 week appointment, our doctor found a red flag for preeclampsia that lead to a series of tests and eventually an induction at 39 weeks and 1 day.  Needless to say, we were pretty busy that week preparing for her slightly early arrival.  We had been convinced she would come late!  I didn’t have time to write a blog post, but we took this last bump photo before the big day.  We are so blessed that both mama and baby are healthy and happy thanks to the hard work of a great medical team and ultimately God’s beautiful, perfect plan.

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40 Weeks

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This week…

Cub is the size of a…  a real baby!  No more fruits or vegetables needed to describe this little one.  Avery Loufay was born on April 16, 2014 at 7:39pm.  She weighed 6lbs 15oz and was 21.5in long.

My bump is… gone now.  It’s certainly bittersweet to not be carrying her around inside of me anymore, but there is nothing sweeter than having her here with me and her daddy.  Hopefully I’ll be able to work on my body after baby soon, but for now I am just focused on healing and taking care of our little one.

Our favorite thing has been… finally meeting our beautiful daughter!  Her birth was nothing like what we planned, but it was the most beautiful and perfect experience for us.  I’m hoping to share her birth story soon.  It is such an example of how God shows up and works miracles in our lives every single day.

I have been feeling… tired and unbelievably happy!  Birthing a baby, recovery and bringing a newborn home for the first time are all huge challenges, but we are so thrilled to be experiencing this amazing, sleepless time as a little family.

I have been craving… homemade food, red wine, fancy unpasteurized cheeses, sleeping on my stomach, a long massage and just a few more hours of sleep.

We are looking forward to… every little first time and new discovery with Avery.  Every day is something new and fascinating.  We’re excited to find out who she is, but also to enjoy this incredible time when she is small.

From Start to Finish

We are so thrilled to have gotten the chance to go on this incredible journey!

34 Weeks

March 16, 2014 in Our Little Cub

34weeksThis week…

Cub is the size of a… pineapple!  She is about eighteen inches long and weighs around five pounds.  We’re only six weeks away from her due date and her little body is already getting in gear for her big arrival by preparing her lungs for the outside world.  She’s running out of space now, so her movements have gone from sharp kicks and punches to rolls, stretches and wiggles.

My bump is… feeling a little bit beat up.  My belly feels pretty stretched and tender and always seems to be in the way.  I’m definitely a bigger, slower moving version of me, so I’m trying to give myself a break and take it easy for the last few weeks of this crazy journey.

Our favorite thing has been… the INSANE amount of exciting things that have been going on around here!

Last week my best friend Megan threw me a gorgeous Kate Spade inspired shower at Bella Mia Downtown.  The details were absolutely incredible and some of my favorite ladies in the whole wide world showed up to celebrate, including my mom, grandma, sister and mother in law.  I loved the big balloons, headband bar and delicious food.  Cub was completely showered with the cutest, most girlie gifts you can imagine.

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While we were having our girl-fest, a friend and I arranged a surprise guy’s day (or “man shower” as they called it) for Jake and some of his most awesome friends.  They showed up at our door step that morning and took him on a day trip down to Firestone Walker in Paso Robles.  They spent the day “sampling” craft beers, eating good food and catching up.  All of the guys had a great trip and it meant so much to Jake to get to celebrate with them.

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Later that week I celebrated my twenty-sixth birthday with lunches and dinners with family and friends and a trip to Cream for ice cream cookie sandwiches!  Yum!  Jake’s gift to me was a prenatal massage at Burke Williams which I am saving to use in a few weeks when the schedule slows down a little bit.

This week we were treated to our third and final shower, a delicious brunch at Abby’s Kitchen in Brentwood.  My mother in law and sister in law did an incredible job with a sweet pink and leopard themed soiree.  The food and decor were amazing and my MIL gave a beautiful devotional to me about becoming a mother that made me tear up in front of everyone.  Cub got some more great gifts to finish off her growing collection of completely adorable belongings.

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After all that showering, we received her pack and play, stroller, glider, crib, and nearly all of the smaller necessities we need to bring her home.  Yesterday, we went out and bought her car seat.  It’s finally starting to feel like we are prepared to have a real baby in the house, which is good because she’ll be here before we know it!  Her room is really coming together and we can’t wait to share photos soon.

I have been feeling… ready for a change of pace!  Like I mentioned before, things are wrapping up with our busy schedule within the next couple of weeks and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It will feel great to have a few more things off my plate.  I’m focused on everything that has to be done, but I’m starting to put more of a priority on slowing down, enjoying the time we have left and preparing myself emotionally for the big event ahead.  Relaxation is a huge part of what we have been practicing in our birth classes the past few months and I’m excited to use that training to get my mind in the right place before this little girl decides to make her appearance.

I have been craving… sweets and pizza!  I know this baby takes after her dad, because those are his two favorite things, not mine!

We are looking forward to… things slowing down a little bit, making final preparations for Cub’s arrival and our last few weeks just the two (or four) of us.

32 Weeks

March 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

32weeksThis week…

Cub is the size of a… squash!  She is about sixteen inches long and weighs around four pounds.  At this point, she’s gaining up to a half a pound a week putting on baby weight for her big debut!  She rocked her check up this week and we found out that as of now, she is head down which is great news for getting her here safely.

My bump is… still growing.  My first little stretch marks appeared this week, and as much as I told myself to stay calm, I’ll admit I freaked out a little bit!

Our favorite thing has been… Cub’s first baby shower!  We were so spoiled by our family and friends in Southern California with a beautiful cub-themed shower.  Every detail was so thoughtful and adorable from the onesie banner to the “cub cakes”.  One of my favorite things was the collection of childrens’ books that Cub received from each of the guests. It was a fast, fun trip and it meant so much to us to celebrate with the people I grew up with.

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We’ve been working hard in our (very scarce) spare time to get ready for Cub’s arrival.  From decorating her room and sorting out the essentials to finalizing our birth plan and making arrangements with family, there is so much to be done.  Our hospital bags are packed and ready to go though, so that’s one big thing off of the list!

We also got our maternity photos back this week and absolutely love them.  We can’t wait to share them with Cub when she’s older.

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I have been feeling… like I am in survival mode lately.  The clock seems to be ticking down pretty quickly and we have so much packed into the next few weeks.  Some days I live off my to do list, but I have to remind myself that I am slowly making progress, even if I am slower than ever before!  Just feeling her roll or kick around makes me feel better though.  Once she’s here the to do list will probably seem a lot less important.

It was a bit of a tough week.  Things seemed to be going awry from the very beginning and then on Wednesday I woke up with a lot of sharp pain in one side and spent several hours in bed and in touch with my doctor and the Labor & Delivery Department.  Eventually the intense pain subsided, but for the next 48 hours I felt pretty beat up.  They finally wanted me to come in for observation after some painful contractions on Thursday evening.  We weren’t scared because Cub was moving around pretty often the entire time, but the contractions and the Labor & Delivery visit still weren’t fun.  On the up side, we got an inside tour of the department and listened to Cub’s gorgeous heartbeat for about an hour.  After a thorough check up, everything ended up looking great and indicating that Cub is planning on staying put for a while.  It was nice to have that worry off our minds.  Hopefully next time we go in will be in about eight weeks for the real deal!

I have been craving… sweets still.  It’s been bad.  If you haven’t tried the Unreal Peanut Butter Cups you are missing out.  Poor Jake thought he bought them for himself and then was surprised when they all disappeared.  Oops!

We are looking forward to… two fabulous showers for the next two weekends!  One is being hosted here in San Jose by my best friend  and the second by my amazing mother-in-law and sister-in-law in Jake’s hometown.  How spoiled are we!?  To make the next two weeks even sweeter, my mom, sister and grandmother will be visiting as well.  Oh yeah, and it’s my birthday next week!  Can’t wait!

30 Weeks

February 16, 2014 in Our Little Cub

30weeks

This week…

Cub is the size of a… head of lettuce!  She is about fifteen inches long and weighs around three pounds.  She’s a funny girl who has decided to be completely sideways in my belly.  She has plenty of time to turn around, but I ask her nicely every day as a reminder.

My bump is… big, just big.  Almost anything physical… from working out, to getting in and out of the car and even sleeping is quite a challenge.  The craziest part is that I know it still has the capability of getting bigger.  I guess we’ll see!

Our favorite thing has been… getting to feel almost everything she does these days.  It used to be that I could feel strong kicks and jabs, but she’s so big now that I can feel every roll and stretch and elbow.  I love it!

We had such a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  Besides romancing each other, we got to spend some time dreaming about meeting our little one soon.  It’s bittersweet since we know that the next ten weeks will fly by and then it will never be just the two of us (or four of us) again!

This weekend we also got to do our maternity with Jake’s cousin Ashley of Cain Photography.  She makes photos so much fun.  We had a blast taking photos all over Coloma and then hanging out with Ben and Ashley and their three amazing boys afterwards.  We love the sneak peeks from the shoot and can’t wait to see all of her work.  I get so excited thinking about getting to show these to Cub someday and telling her all about how much we loved her before she even arrived.

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I have been feeling… busy busy busy.  Like I said, ten weeks seems like nothing at this point.  There is so much to do with work, preparing for Cub’s arrival and our other commitments.  We want to get as much done as possible now so that we can really enjoy the time off together as a family in April.

I have been craving… Sweets!  Let’s just say my Valentine’s candy is all gone and Jake had to make a late night Baskin Robbin’s run last week.  It’s been sort of fun to have cravings, but they honestly aren’t too intense.  Oh, but oranges… always oranges.

We are looking forward to… our first shower is this coming weekend with my family and friends in Southern California.  It’s a long drive, but I can’t wait to share this milestone with all the people I grew up with.

26 Weeks

January 19, 2014 in Our Little Cub

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This week…

Cub is the size of a… head of lettuce!  She’s longer than a foot and weighs almost two pounds.  From here on out her main job is to gain baby weight.  My weekly updates may be less than accurate since babies will vary in length and weight until they are born.  We do know she can hear us and that she spends most of the day either sleeping or kicking and punching around for entertainment.

My bump is… large and in charge.  I definitely have to move differently now, a fact I’m reminded of every morning when I awkwardly roll out of bed.  Picking things off the floor and tying my shoes have become my least favorite activities and I’m interested to see how much bigger I’ll get from here.

Our favorite thing has been…  preparing for Cub’s arrival!  We’re finally at the place to make birth plans, work on her nursery and talk about showers.  Her room is all painted and cleaned and ready to collect all the sweet little things we need to bring her home.  I’m excited to share some of our progress soon.  We’re back to our normal schedule of being busy nearly every week night, so it’s fun to do little projects when we can and day dream about when we’ll get to meet her.  We’re finishing up the second trimester and we know the next three months will fly by!

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Just the beginning of Cub’s grey, white and gold Kate Spade inspired nursery!

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Little miss is already building her miniature sized wardrobe!

I have been feeling… just like a six month pregnant woman should… large, awkward and excited.  I won’t lie and say it’s always comfortable, but I’m doing alright so far and consider myself pretty lucky.

I have been craving… Mexican food (no surprise there) and Haagen-Dazs vanilla milk chocolate almond bars (thank goodness for the snack size)!

We are looking forward to… Cub’s next doctor’s appointment, reaching the third trimester and gearing up for some great showers with family and friends!

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24 Weeks

January 5, 2014 in Our Little Cub

DSC_0267This week…

Cub is the size of a… cantaloupe!  She’s almost a foot long and weighs about a pound and a third.  She’s constantly kicking and dancing around in there, which we love.  She had a check up this week and everything looked perfect.  We feel really blessed that she is doing so well.

My bump is… pretty round, but I think I’m finally starting to get used it.  I’m feeling more and more comfortable as I slow down and take things day by day instead of expecting to be able to do everything I used to just as quickly.

Our favorite thing has been…  a fabulous Christmas with each of our families.  We enjoyed the time to relax and catch up.  Cub really is so loved and spoiled already.  Our favorite gifts for her were some pretty clothes, adorable tiny Toms and her very first nativity.  She also received a beautiful crocheted dress that my grandmother wore when she was a baby.  It is completely precious to us.

Since we’ve been back home from our travels, we’ve also been enjoying getting the house and nursery ready for Cub.  Her little closet is already amazing, we’ve picked the paint and built her dresser.  I also had to have the carpets cleaned and every storage space in the house organized.  I think this is considered nesting.

We started our Bradley Method birth class today and we’re already pumped to take on this challenge as a team.  I am blown away by how supportive and excited Jake is to be my birth coach.  He has big plans!

I have been feeling… fantastic.  Physically I have no serious complaints and emotionally it’s been nice to have some time off of work with family and friends.  I’m feeling healthy, happy and strong and I’ve really been enjoying this time with our little family.

I have been craving… Greek food today.  We satisfied the craving with a quick trip to Opa! for some tasty gyros.  Other than that I’ve been enjoying bananas, breakfast foods and anything with garlic.  No real “do or die” cravings still.

We are looking forward to… continuing to prepare for our little girl.  Jake will paint her room in the next couple of weeks and plans for baby showers are underway.  Returning to work, crossfitting, nesting and homework for our birth classes will keep us busy in the New Year!

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20 Weeks

December 8, 2013 in Our Little Cub

20weeks

This week…

We’re half way there and we’re having a girl!

Cub is the size of a… banana!  She’s about six and half inches from the top of her head to the tip of her toes and she weighs about ten and a half ounces.

My bump is… the real deal!  There is no sucking it in these days.  I’m still getting used to the feeling because it is hard to bend at the waist and I’m starting to feel unbalanced, but I’m also extremely proud of my bump since it’s keeping Cub healthy and safe as she grows.

Our favorite thing has been…  there have been so many favorite things in the last two weeks that I really can’t pick just one, so I’ll name a few.

No. 1 – At nineteen weeks, Cub had her big anatomy scan.  It was completely beautiful and humbling for us to see every inch of her miniaturized little body, from the ventricles in her brain, to the four chambers of her heart to her tiny hands and feet.  She measured perfectly and the sonographer assured us that every little part of her anatomy was “textbook”.  We could not have been prouder or felt more blessed as parents.  She wiggled around, waved and sucked her little thumb.  In fact, the only things we didn’t see were her gendered parts.  As hard as it was to close our eyes and not open the envelope when we left, we were so excited to be surprised with our families later that week at Cub’s gender reveal!

No. 2 – On Black Friday both of our families got together for a beautiful Black Tie Gender Reveal for Cub at my grandmother’s house in Southern California.  My mom lovingly planned a completely decadent and over the top soiree instead of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  It was one of the best nights of our lives!  Everyone got dressed up and we had a delicious steak dinner and a big confetti reveal.  My aunt made a beautiful cake and arranged the poppers and balloons, so she was the only one there who knew the sex of the baby.  The best part was having both families there with us when we found out that our Cub is a baby girl!  There was lots of screaming and celebrating.  We could not be more excited for our little girl and we will never forget what a magical night it was!  I wrote a little post about it with a video here and hope to have more photos in a few weeks.

No. 3 – Cub’s movements have been getting stronger, and this week Jake felt her kick for the first time!  It has been so fun getting to feel her moving around several times a day, but sharing that feeling with him was a whole new level of awesome. He is now convinced that she will be a soccer player just like him!

After all that wonderful stuff happening back to back, we have had a hard time wiping the smiles off our faces!  Next comes Christmas with our friends and families and then, in the New Year, it will be all about preparing for our little girl’s arrival!

I have been feeling… happier than ever.  As Cub gets bigger, I’m starting to feel more intense fatigue from things like hard workouts or being on my feet at Ikea all day.  I’m hoping to find a good balance between doing it all and getting the rest we need.

Being completely candid, I am occasionally very fearful about all the things that could happen to Cub.  I remember some of the dark places we struggled through during infertility and our miscarriage and I can’t help but compare them to the joy we feel now.  Of course I don’t want to go back there.  I hear stories every day about mother’s losing their babies from this point all the way until their due dates and beyond.  I know many of them personally and my heart aches for them.  We love this baby so much and can’t imagine losing her.  There is such a temptation there for me to think that things must be too good to be true and that heartbreak is lurking around the corner.  I just try to remember every day to appreciate this beautiful season in our lives and not to take it for granted.  Our God isn’t a cruel one, hiding out or waiting to snatch things away from us.  He is a loving and merciful God who has a plan for each of us.  A plan that is totally unique and better than we could imagine even when it is hard to understand.

I want to be honest about my feelings and that sometimes I find it really difficult not to worry.  My friends with kids assure me that this is a constant struggle of motherhood from here on out!

I have been craving… soul food!  My first real craving just hit this week and I’m constantly thinking about fried chicken, ribs, red beans and rice and corn bread.  I have no idea where it came from since we don’t get soul food very often.  We don’t know many good places around here, but Jake has promised he will take me to a restaurant we found on Yelp this week.  I can’t wait!

We are looking forward to… Christmas!  We’re busy with shopping and planning and all of that fun stuff, but we can’t wait to settle in with our families and celebrate in a couple of weeks.

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Gender Reveal

December 2, 2013 in Our Little Cub

This weekend our families put on the ritz with a Black Friday Black Tie Gender Reveal for little Cub.  We could not have been more excited to have our loved ones together or to find out the sex of our little one!  My mom did an incredible job and everyone in the family pitched in.  My aunt was the ONLY one in the family who knew because she sorted out the balloon, confetti poppers and a beautiful homemade cake.  Jake and I were just as surprised and thrilled as everyone else!

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We are ecstatic to be welcoming a little girl into the world in April!  She is already so precious and so tough at the same time.  Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us!  More photos to come in a couple of weeks.

Credits:

Photography: Tina Chiou Photography

Balloon & Poppers: The Gender Reveal