nineteen weeks

Before my next weekly update, if baby cooperates, we'll know our baby's gender. In case you're wondering where my emotions are, they're high, high, high. We've never found out the gender of our baby before, and I'm a huge fan of first times.

As the weeks pass, if something new is happening in my body, it's handy that so many women have gone through it ahead of me. It's reassuring to see that weird thing on the page with the number that corresponds with the week I'm on. All's well, pregnancy normal. Gender reveal soon.

Hope you're getting to be with family this Thanksgiving! We have a million things to be thankful for.


Yesterday, while at work, my husband Matt sent me the top picture. He said, "He's a cutie. What do you think Tater would do with another cat around?"

So, very, out of character. We talked about it for a couple of text messages, decided Tater would get used to it, but not love it at first, but let it go. Because I'm the one who always wants to adopt every cat we see (in parking lots, pet stores, across the street etc.), and Matt is the one who's always telling me an elaborate story about how someone loves that cat, and it has a warm home and bowl full of food in the nearest neighborhood, I was surprised when Matt brought up the cat again upon returning home. He had more pictures to show me. He called the cat "the friendliest cat he'd ever seen."

My husband Matt washes windows. He was washing windows while this stray cat was loving him to death. The elderly lady he was working for explained that she feeds the cat outside twice a day, but hasn't been able to find a home for him, even though she's been searching. She was worried about how cold it has been at night lately, but her cat doesn't get along with him, so she doesn't let him inside. Matt was smitten. He came home with the lady's phone number and asked me to call her to talk about the cat.

We have a new cat. His name is Mr. Perkins, Perkins for informal salutations. He was named after the lady who cared for him: Mrs. Perkins. Her husband was the first news anchor for News Channel 3, owns (owned) original stock in The Weather Channel, and died a couple of years ago after fifty-five years of happy marriage and fifteen years of living with someone else's heart beating in his chest.

Max (dog) likes Perkins as much as he likes every cat. He's timid when Perkins hisses at him (goes and lays down on the other side of the room), but is still friendly and interested. Tater (cat) is avoiding Perkins, and Perkins is avoiding Tater. They're not fighting, but they are happy enough to live in the same house and not see each other. And I expected nothing more, after all, it's only been a day.


extra kids

This week, aside from the normal little Maura and occasional sister Bekah, we have two extra kids we're responsible for keeping safe. Their parents are on a cruise this week, and the six kids were split between church families. It's nice to have bodies warming the extra beds upstairs, playing with the legos (apparently some blonde chicks have full, black mustaches), and wearing the uno cards thin. They've learned how to play pool this week and want to play even when they can't feel their hands anymore (unheated garage). Natalie's a big help, especially with food prep, but also with keeping Josh in line. I'm thankful for these kids.

Maura has been going to story time at the library once a week, and she's super cute. Making friends, popping bubbles, and always ready to dance or clap. I'm going to be sad when she stops being a "baby", and it's coming too soon!


eighteen weeks

If there's anything I have to say about this week, it would be that even though the exhaustion and emotional roller coater have faded more to normal, the dreams are still in pregnancy mode. As far as normal dreams go, I can normally remember pieces of them, but in pregnancy I can have four full-story dreams (interrupted by Tater Cat or my bladder) and remember all the details about each one. Maura (the little girl I watch) has been growling at animals. She knows it's what a bear says, but yesterday she was pretty sure it's what a horse, cat, and stork say too. So last night when I had a dream that lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) were attacking a large group of humans that my father was somehow responsible for keeping alive and needed my help in directing to the highest point of the nearest (gigantic) playground, I blame Maura.

Yesterday Matt took me to Anthropologie, which I hadn't been to since they opened one in Virginia Beach. Ok, I'd just never been to one ever, but I'm a fan of their stuffs online. Oh my goodness. Some of it was so pretty. But the $50 candle, $180 puzzle, and $300 skirt were just beyond my price range on these things. Seriously though, I started flipping the tags just to check, even though I got good at guessing the ridiculous answer. We did buy two things on clearance as a Christmas gift for a sister-in-law. Pretty stuff.

On the way back to our car, we passed a maternity store that I didn't know existed. Matt recently bought me two maternity shirts (one pictured above), but other than that and a dress I bought the day I found out we were expecting, I don't have any maternity clothes. A lot of my skirts are stretchy and do fine, but my belly was showing in too many of my shirts, and most of my jeans don't close (or aren't comfortable closed). So, Matt leading the way, we slipped into Destination Maternity for a look around. They carried popular maternity brands, had a good clearance section, a play area for Maura (and Matt) while I shopped, and apple juice and a goodie bag for coming in. I ended up buying two motherhood belly bands, one of which I'm wearing today. It's definitely doing its duty keeping my tummy covered.

I just wanna say, when you're pregnant, go into all the baby stores and make all the registries, cause people give you free stuff in goodie bags. We already have two bottles, several pacis, and a bunch of coupons/gift cards, just from walking into places and announcing that this bump in my shirt is alive.


baby stuff: wooden toys and cloth diapers

When we found out we were expecting our first little goosecake, there were decisions to be made. There are one hundred different directions to go on what you choose is (or is not) important. Let's start with something that we've put on the "no, thank you" list.

To quote Land of Nod, "Toys that run on pure imagination; Batteries not required." That's not to say that if you buy us a battery operated kid's toy we're going to return it immediately without thanking you, but, after thanking you for your kindness, we will return it. It's not what we're in to. What do we want for our babies instead? 

See? Other things too, when they're older. Play food, dolls, puzzles, blocks. etc. etc. etc. The point isn't to limit them, it's to expand them.

Something else we are going a less traditional route on is the diaper department. Yes, we will register for some newborn diapers, so that while I'm low on sleep and new to this whole mommy thing, I can do what I already know so well, but after the first month or two, we're going to use cloth diapers. If other people have done their math well, it will save us thousands of dollars on the first baby alone. We'll be pouncing on these on Black Friday to save all the pennies we can. When Matt was talking about it earlier today he said, "I've never changed a diaper before, so it's not like I'll have to adjust." 

Cloth diaper

There are other things too, that we're thinking about/registering for. I'll write you another post when I round some of them up. All that really matters is that we keep this baby safe and teach it about our Savior, but if we can poke its imagination early and save some pennies on diaper duty, we'll do those things too. 

There are clickable links throughout this post, so click them.


seventeen weeks

Yesterday, at seventeen weeks, I hoisted myself up onto the vinyl, paper covered bed and asked a doctor some awkward questions, which she assured me were totally normal occurrences. With the confirmation that my pregnancy is "totally normal" and the admonition to eat more potassium (a banana a day, keeps the restless legs away), we listened to the rapid thumpity-thump-thump of a tiny heart.

We still have a long way to go, but there's so much growing left for littlest Nowak to do, so it's worth the wait.


sixteen weeks

That's where we were, Matthew and I, when he bent his knee and asked me if I would marry him. It's one of the places in the world that has a frozen memory attached to it. A slippery climb to the top of the playground in a short, black dress, with the man I love. We met there, you know. On the soccer field a few feet away. We slid through dew covered grass many Saturday mornings making the best kind of innocent memories, and then one day Matthew decided to give me another memory there. I'd say yes again, three years later, without blinking.

There's a baby in my tummy. It probably has blonde hair, soccer skills, a love for singing, and a quick mind. When I think about him or her, I always imagine the wonder in their eyes when Matt teaches them something for the first time. I'm looking forward to so much about this little one. There it is. Sticking out for the world to see. Strangers don't comment yet, unless I'm in the baby section of a store. That's ok, they'll see you soon enough. Only 24 more weeks inside, and in less than a month, we'll know what your name is!