Thursday, February 9, 2017

Adventures with Baby Sister | Third Trimester

And just like that, we made it through the third trimester!

37 weeks... officially full term and ready to go!

It's been a busy few months.

Stew and I actually took a huge step (for us) toward the beginning of December... we hired a babysitter! Yes, it took us two-and-a-half years, but it was finally time. We've been so lucky to have a nanny who we love, and family members who have always been excited to watch Ryder whenever we had any weekend activities going on. But when I received the invitation for my company holiday party (to take place on a Thursday evening in downtown Seattle) I knew the time had come. We asked around and hired a super responsible and highly recommended teenager from our neighborhood to come over and stay with Ryder for the evening, and go figure -- he had an amazing time and was peacefully asleep in bed by the time we got home. Stew and I also had a great night out on the town.

As a reward for being so good for the babysitter, we decided to take Ryder with us to a friend's birthday party at an Everett Silvertips hockey game. Unfortunately this turned out to be a terrible choice (two-year-olds, it turns out, don't care about hockey) and we left after the second period.

Ryder is growing up fast though, and we toured a really cool preschool that we are considering sending him to in the fall. We're still not sure if he'll be quite ready by then, but we thought a couple mornings a week doing his own special "big boy" thing might be good for him once Baby Sister arrives. 

The holidays were, in a word, BANANAS.

We started a week early with a fabulous Alway Family Christmas celebration at our house, and then spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my immediate family in Olympia. But the fun didn't end there! The following weekend we had our third and final Christmas celebration with my sister's family and a ride on the Polar Express!

Needless to say, all these weeks of holiday festivities have really made the time fly by. 

Then, at the beginning of January, my best friend Tara threw me an amazingly thoughtful, sweet, baby "sprinkle," and my extremely generous co-workers also hosted a shower for me the following week. So now we finally feel like we have everything we need to prep for Baby Sister's arrival.

Throughout the third trimester I generally continued to feel great, and even passed my glucose test with flying colors. We had another growth ultrasound done at around 30 weeks because I mentioned to the doctor that this babe is feeling HUGE, but it turns out that Baby Sis is progressing right on track. In any case it was fun to see her sweet little face again. I also turned 35 years old, officially knocking myself into the "high risk" pregnancy category, which I'm still not quite sure how I feel about... We did have a great little cocktail party with some of our best friends to celebrate, though. 

Some other happenings...

I attended a beautiful baby shower for Haley and her little girl. Haley's due date was supposed to be a week after mine, toward the end of February, but sweet little Jane Elizabeth ended up joining us early on February 1!

I also attended a little sprinkle for my dear friend Amanda, who welcomed her son William Mason on January 18. Seriously, it has been so much fun to share my pregnancy adventure with good friends this time around, and I can't wait for all these little kiddos to grow up together. 

We've watched the seasons change from fall to winter here in Snoqualmie, and have been trying to spend as much time outside as possible. 

Just this past week we had a huge storm that left about a foot of snow, and Ryder was in absolute heaven!

Stewart had quite a bit of fun in the snow, too...

We know that life is going to get crazy here real soon, so we've been trying to take advantage of the luxury of having only one child as much as possible by taking Ryder on some special outings. Most recently it was a trip up to the Snoqualmie Summit Tubing Center. We thought Ryder would love this little winter adventure, but unfortunately he was cold and not feeling well, so he ended up taking only one trip down the hill before we gave up and headed home. Maybe we'll try again in the spring...

Unfortunately, the last week or so hasn't gone exactly as smoothly as we had hoped. I accidentally took a hard fall in the parking lot at work, and Ryder subsequently came down with a horrible cold, which I almost immediately picked up myself. His turned into an ear infection, while mine morphed into bronchitis. Because both of us were feeling so lousy, I ended up starting my maternity leave a few days earlier than planned, but so far we haven't been able to get much rest. And in the meantime, due to Snoqualmie's epic snowstorm, we've basically been trapped in the house going crazy. Here's hoping that we both start to feel better soon, because...

Tomorrow is Baby Sister's official Birth Day!

After a lot of soul searching and conversations with our doctor, family and friends, we have elected to do a planned repeat cesarean section with this pregnancy. In December we met with our surgeon to discuss the details, and we feel confident and at peace with our decision.

We've been talking to Ryder every single day about his baby sister, and how soon she won't be in Mommy's tummy anymore, but instead she'll be a real baby that we can hold and love. I don't exactly know how much he can understand (I can hardly believe it myself!) but we'll find out soon enough!

Big Brother practice...

For so long, this little goofball has been my whole world. He made me into a Mommy, and from that point forward I was changed forever. I have been extremely apprehensive about how another baby will affect our relationship, although I have been assured over and over again that "your heart just makes room." In any case, every day I give Ryder some extra special snuggles as we soak up these last few moments as a family of three.

Soon enough, all the places that we've prepped in our home and in our hearts will be filled with a new little angel baby.

I can hardly wait to see what adventures lie ahead.

Wish us luck!

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Monday, January 9, 2017

A Little Sprinkle for Baby Sister

This isn't my first pregnancy, so I didn't expect another lavish baby shower, but my best friend Tara still wanted to celebrate Baby Sister with a little "sprinkle" at her house. 

Of course she couldn't help herself and went completely overboard, hosting what I would really call a monsoon or a deluge! I was absolutely blown away by the thoughtfulness and generosity of my amazing friends who showed up to celebrate me and Baby Girl Alway. 

The decorations, food, games, gifts and company were all absolutely fabulous!

12th (Wo)Man cupcakes for the newest Baby Seahawk!

It's important to get yourself a buddy (or two!) when doing the important things in life...

I seriously couldn't ask for better friends.

Thank you to everyone, near and far, who has been so supportive of us as we continue down this crazy rabbit hole of parenting.

We couldn't do it without you!

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Club: Bright Shiny Morning

What an amazing book!

I think that regardless of how you feel about the whole James Frey / A Million Little Pieces controversy, Frey is an absolutely brilliant story teller.

Bright Shiny Morning definitely lived up to my expectations, which were very high, especially after reading The Final Testament of the Holy Bible a couple years ago. 

My main take-away from Bright Shiny Morning was that I never, ever, ever want to live in or anywhere near Los Angeles, California. In fact, I think I want to avoid that entire state altogether... yuck. 

Set in L.A., the book follows the lives of several characters: a married celebrity couple, a young couple following their dreams from the Midwest, a Mexican-American maid, and a homeless man. It also includes mini-profiles of other minor characters, as well as intertwining historical facts and figures about the county of Los Angeles.

It was a total page turner.

I have always loved Frey's writing style, although I can see why it might get on some peoples nerves. In Bright Shiny Morning, all of the main stories were extremely well developed and showcased a vast variety of people, cultures, socioeconomic statuses, etc. I did sometimes find myself rushing anxiously through some of the "mini-profiles," because I was so anxious to get back to my favorite characters, but overall I thought all of the stories brought something to the table.

I can't think of a book that better describes a city, to the point that L.A. actually becomes its own character.

And Los Angeles is, in a word, hideous.

My only complaint would be that although some of the Trivia Facts / Historical Knowledge about Los Angeles were interesting and informative, I usually ended up skimming through those chapters and could have done without a lot of them.

I always love a novel that leaves me with strong feelings and opinions, and Bright Shiny Morning definitely did not disappoint. I'd rank it all the way up there with Frey's other novels, which I loved and highly recommend.

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Polar Express

The Polar Express is one of my absolute favorite Christmas stories.

When we were kids, my mom read it to us over and over again during the month of December, and I was absolutely thrilled when the movie came out in 2004 and completely exceeded my expectations.

Needless to say, I was super excited when I learned that the Mt. Rainier Railroad now brings the magic of The Polar Express to life! I immediately contacted my sister to see if she was interested in taking the kids. We booked tickets for the weekend after Christmas, and I promptly pulled out my copy of Chris Van Allsburg's classic tale to start reading to Ryder. 

By the last page, I was literally in tears.
Thanks, pregnancy hormones... 

"At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe." 

All month long we looked forward to heading down to Elbe, Washington to meet up with my parents and my sister's family for what we hoped would be a truly magical Christmas journey to the North Pole.

You guys... It was amazing!

First of all, the Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum is super cute. Ryder absolutely LOVES trains, so he was in heaven running around the platform and checking out the vintage steam engine and all the train cars while we waited for our turn to climb on board. 

Once the journey began, we were entertained by cheerful chefs who walked around reading a large-scale copy of the book to the kiddos, followed by dancing, singing, and of course serving us delicious hot chocolate and cookies, just like in the story. After a beautiful ride through the snowy wonderland of Mt. Rainier, we arrived at the North Pole, where Santa boarded the train to give each child the first gift of Christmas (a silver bell). 

Then, on the journey back, the servers led a Christmas caroling sing-along that included the kids dancing up and down the aisles of the train.

Sophia, Aubrey, and Ryder were absolutely enchanted by the entire experience. Ryder's delight as he looked out the window of the train and exclaimed at everything he saw was pretty much the best Christmas present ever. And frankly, I was pretty impressed, myself. I thought the entire production was extremely well-done, and definitely worth the extra money we paid for our first class tickets (which also included beautiful souvenir Christmas mugs for each of us). 

I think we may need to make The Polar Express an annual tradition for the whole family!

Afterward, we headed back to my parents' house to exchange gifts (yes, at this point we were on at least our third Christmas celebration!)

Ryder's like, "Seriously Mom, MORE pictures?!"

My favorite part of the whole experience was seeing Ryder play and interact with his cousins. He was so thrilled to have other kiddos to spend time with; it was just adorable. 

Perhaps he needs a sibling?

As the year and the holiday season draws to a close, I sure hope that your experiences were as magical and memorable as ours.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating with all your nearest and dearest.

Merry Christmas from the Getchman Family!
Sometimes it's just impossible to get a 2-year-old to cooperate for the annual family Christmas photo. This is the best we got...

We typically celebrate Christmas in my home town at my parents' house, and this year we arrived a couple days early for some extra quality time and relaxation. 

Almost as soon as we arrived, my brother and his beautiful wife revealed some super exciting news!

YAY! Ryder is getting another cousin this August!

After a day of lounging around doing nothing except eating, napping, and watching Christmas movies, Stew and I left Ryder with my parents for the day while we headed up to Seattle for the Christmas Eve Seahawks game versus the Cardinals.

Bundled up and the icy cold tailgate. I forgot how much colder tailgating is when you're sober...

It was an awesome day out with Stew and our friends, but unfortunately the Christmas miracle we prayed for at the end of the game just didn't end up panning out... 

However, Ryder had a fantastic Christmas Eve at home, baking cookies with Uncle AJ and Aunt Morgan, and making a gingerbread house with Nana. 

After the game, we went home to enjoy our traditional Christmas Eve meal of Chinese take out before we all settled down for our long winter's nap. Of course that was after Stewart stayed up until almost midnight putting together Ryder's Christmas present. 

Christmas morning was quite a blur, at least for the littlest Alway.

Ryder got a three story wooden fire station, complete with all the accessories. He was thrilled and literally hasn't stopped playing with it since.
Sometimes you just really gotta get in there...

And not to worry... Santa brought him his blue dump truck.
Later that morning, we had our traditional Christmas brunch with my dad's side of the family.

Heck yeah, we rock those Christmas jammies ALL. DAY. LONG.

My lovely, adorable grandparents.


Christmas Night family snuggles. Check out that amazing Paw Patrol quilt that Aunt Morgan made for Ryder!

On the day after Christmas, we always go over to Grandma Sally's house. 

My mom has 14 brothers and sisters, and I have almost 30 first cousins, so we typically like to avoid the chaos that ensues over there on Christmas Day. Instead, we head over on the day after for a nice, quiet visit with Grandma. 

Ryder gets an epic fail for his cooperation in family photos this year. This is the best I could get...

Once again I was blown away by the generosity and thoughtfulness of our friends and family this year. 

And a HUGE shout out has to go out to everyone for all their lovely holiday cards! We almost ran out of room on the fridge!

From our family to yours, we hope that you had yourself a merry little Christmas and that from now on your troubles will be miles away.

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