On babes and pictures.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Little Daniel - nephew.

Second cousin - Sarah
Second cousin - Rocco

Nephew - Wyatt


Friday, December 26, 2008

(Overlay of 11w pic)

There's definite baby growth going on! Baby bless is at a remarkable 7.6 inches {or there abouts} from crown to rump this week and getting ever closer to breaking the pound division.

His digestive system now functions in a rudimentary manner, with undigested amniotic fluid passing into his bowel which he will eventually excrete after birth {oh joy!}. He's also busy sucking and swallow, and is probably deciding whether or not he will be a thumb sucker.

Baby blesses senses are developing as well, especially his sense of touch. He can feel his face and stroke his arms and legs. So . . . maybe he's too busy feeling himself to be punching/kicking his surroundings?

Now, you might be wondering how Mom's doing? And that answer would be fine/okay. Two words that Tony is beyond sick of hearing. I'm never great anymore, but that is more mental than physical. Please refer to my previous post about finally realizing {again} how blessed we are. I really want this knowledge to sink in, because I've been enjoying a bit of a pity party. In all reality, I've been robbing Tony of his joy and excitement regarding the baby and pregnancy these past few weeks, as I would rather pretend that I'm not. I've been focusing too much on how I need to fix this and have been very scared how it will be accomplished since everything that my body is doing right now seems to negatively impact finding a solution. I have not been a joy to be around and yet he still loves me, a fact that always amazes me.

So, I'm trying to let go and let God, as the saying goes, because at this point, I need a definite miracle. And I'll let you in on a little secret, I'm not much of a miracle maker, I'm pretty sure I'm 0 for infinity. :)

Baby bless is near 7.6 inches! Pretty soon I'll be measuring with the width of a sheet of paper!
He's very occupied touching himself.
I've been a bia.
I have back fat.
I'm realizing I can't fix this.


Despite what I wrote regarding Christmas traditions and how our days are filled with multiple families, this year was surprisingly laid back, almost even relaxing due to forgoing Christmas Eve night at Mom’s and all together not visiting with Tony’s family.

We started with celebrating my Mom’s birthday with a Christmas Eve brunch, before leisurely making our way over to my Dad’s around 5:00ish to celebrate Christmas with the family before one of Shirley’s sister’s made their way over with all of my cousins. I was looking forward to my little 2nd (step) cousin’s arrival. Little Rocco and I had never met before . . . and I was armed with my camera, determined to show my worth as a photographer. I’m very excited to report that I think I succeeded, but there will have to be more on that later.

Yesterday we then went to my Grandma’s and were delighted to hear that my cousin and his wife are expecting again. Sheena had suffered a miscarriage earlier in the spring, but is now due in August ’09! Following my Grandma’s we made a pit stop to visit with all of my step-Mom’s family, before making it back to my Mom’s for the evening.

Tony and I, in agreement with our parents decided to skip presents this year, although, when it really came down to it, Tony and I were the only ones who abided. If you remember, my Mom blessed us with our Christmas present early . . . seconds after we finished running our ½ marathon, a shiny 2nd hand oven! :) She’s a beaut. The blessings from my Mom did not end there. This year she has been a huge source of support to Tony and I. I’ve failed to mention that we haven’t really been scraping by on one vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, 80% of the time we’re using one vehicle, because our schedules allow it or we force a bit of flexibility {like my visiting with my in-laws for a few hours while Tony refs a hockey game}, but on those days when we just can’t make it work? We’ve been blessed by the availability of my step-Dad’s vehicle since he is out of state for prolonged periods of time. Now it may not seem like that much of a sacrifice for my parents to allow us the use of a vehicle that was just sitting in their driveway, but considering that they fixed it so that it was operable for our use would definitely qualify. And . . . it wasn’t cheap, but my Mom saw the need and without our asking she and my step-Dad decided to go ahead with the repairs.

My Dad and brother also failed to heed our agreement. I was the recipient of a fabulous gift card to a local mall from my Dad and a sturdy camera bag from my brother {based on Tony’s great suggestion}. These gifts are so very timely as I honestly couldn’t find anything to wear on Christmas Eve. I think a pair of maternity pants is in my near future. Additionally the camera bag works quite a lot better than my purse! :)

We have also been blessed by my opportunity and ability to waitress. Kaitlyn had written in response to my post about serving that God would be faithful even if it’s not the way we think we want. I immediately had a negative reaction to that response. And really, I should have nipped my attitude in the bud a long time ago, but I’ve been a bit of bad news bears lately. I don’t want it to be God’s plan for us to get through this by my serving, which is a very different outlook than I thought I had. I thought I was praying for God’s will, but instead, I have very established expectations on how He’s supposed to go about this.

So, as my title reflects, I think I finally figured out that while our situation sucks, we’re still blessed beyond words. A reality check that you would think one with the blog title marital bless would have figured out by now.

Picture tags and poll results.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Well the results are in and while I steeled myself for the inevitable votes at the top ranges, I definitely wasn't prepared to see them! lol.

That being said, majority rules. I say that because when I first posted the poll, I was safely 11.5 or less, but yesterday and today I've consistently stopped at 12 lbs. So there you have it, I'd take either of the bottom two answers as correct. :)

The lovely Erin tagged me {as have a few of you, but I've always been at work and unable to participate!} with the 4th picture tag.

Rules being: 1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer. 2) Select the 4th picture in the folder. 3) Explain the picture.

That would be my hubs wake boarding, summer of '07 at our friends family cabin in WI.

The second version, just as fun came from AJ: 1) Choose the 5th folder where you store your pictures on your computer. 2) Select the 5th picture in the folder. 3) Explain the picture.

This would be Beth and I putting our muscles together for the great fence party of '08.

I'm sorry, I'm totally coping out, I think this is such a fun tag that anyone who reads should do it!

Up to speed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I failed to mention the reason I withheld the surprise . . . I was pretty bummed out following my phone interview. I felt as though I answered reasonably well, but my attempts at humor {what can I say, it's who I am} seemed to fall on deaf ears and I did not feel as though I ever connected with my interviewer. That may seem to be a high aspiration, seeing as how it's her job to weed out candidates and remain stoic, yet cheerful, but for some reason that was how I guaged the success of the interview. And then to hear from Erin that the in-person interview should have been scheduled while still on the phone if I were to be granted one per corporate "standards," well, I just wasn't in the celebrating mood, you know?

On Friday though, I received just about the only news that would enable me to head into a weekend of serving without feeling despondent. My interviewer called back to schedule my in person interview!!! Due to the holidays, it's further out than I would have hoped, but I'm scheduled for 9:30, Wednesday January 7th. I'm hoping the new year brings a new job!

As for the weekend of serving? Friday and Saturday went just about as well as I could hope. We had a bit of blizzardish conditions on Saturday, our first day of full operations, so I didn't expect much . . . but at dinner hour every seat was filled! I was quite worried about our business, seeing as how the powers that be decided to do a quiet opening. We'll be doing a Grand Opening when management decides that the staff is ready, which I don't blame them! In all honesty, I felt like more of a bar back than a server Saturday as I was preparing and running drinks for 4 of the new girls. Yikes.

So, anywho, back to the interview. I'm worried about my bump at that point. That's putting me at 23 1/2 weeks ladies. That's nothing to sneeze at, trust me I do a lot of bump analyzing and I know what I should look like at that point. These girls are not the greatest sampling, but they fairly well depict why I'm worried.

Christmas Traditions

Kim tagged me in her self-started tag that I think is pure genius, regarding Christmas traditions . . . and yet, I'd been toying with the idea of ignoring the tagging {as I seem to be so good at roughly 60% of the time! I'm sorry!}. See, I couldn't seem to find a positive spin on Christmas traditions, being as I've been shuttled to 5 Christmas' almost every year since I was 8. Additionally, I really wanted to lay down solid Christmas traditions of our own last year . . . and I'm pretty sure I failed. So, this post is off to a depressing start.

Here's what we've got though:

- Christmas decor up the day after Thanksgiving (2 for 2 on this one).
- Tony places the star topper.
- My Mom's birthday is Christmas Eve. My parent's had a bitter drawn out horrible divorce (is there really any other kind?) and my Dad claimed that his family celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, when in reality it was my Mom's family tradition . . . and as mentioned her birthday. Unfortunately, custody was given to my Dad for Christmas Eve, so my tradition has been to celebrate my Mom's birthday early Christmas Eve morning, heading out the door to my Dad's around 3:00 to celebrate Christmas with my step family and Dad, only to trek it back to my Mom's around 9:30ish to celebrate Christmas with my Mom while it was still Christmas Eve.
- Christmas day is reserved for stockings, as our presents had already been opened the night before.
- Then began the whirlwind of family, starting with my stepgrandparents, followed by my Mom's parents and finally my stepmom's family.
- Now that we have to factor in my in-laws, to say that it's tricky is an understatement.

I think that's about it, there aren't really any funny anedotes, time honored traditions or the like.

But I want there to be. I really do want there to be.

The delayed surprise reveal.

In what may prove to be the worst money management decision that we have made to date . . . I succumbed to my husbands persuading. :)

On December 12th, we received our Christmas bonuses, $200 each. I immediately chalked it up to savings. I mean is there really anything else we could even entertain doing with that money in our position? Apparently so, as I listened to Tony, with tears in his eyes and a choked up throat, decisively tell me that we were going to purchase my camera with our bonus dollars. Honestly, no joke, I've seen the man cry more in the 5 months I've been pregnant than the entire time I've known him! Which I find incredibly sweet. So the hunt was on, what could I purchase where to get the most for our money. The answer surprisingly was a lot, thanks to this store.

I honestly doubt you will believe me when I tell you that I was able to secure the Canon Rebel XS with 10.1 mp, a 18-55mm IS Lens and a 75-300mm III Lens for $500, including free shipping, if it weren't for the remarkable proof. That's right, it's still available and by my research still currently beating all others by $100. To top it off, when I told my Mom what we were considering she hastily offered to help by giving us our birthday '09 presents. So there was no additional cost to us!

It's been a few years since I've shot with my 35mm Rebel, so there's been a definite learning curve as I fight my way out of auto mode . . . but I couldn't be happier. It's the most illogical decision we've ever made, but I think that the results will far outweigh the cost!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just for fun this week, I included a comparison pic of me sucking in. Hah! I was asked last night at our small group by a guy, whether or not I could make it disappear . . . the answer is quite ademantly, no!

Baby bless weighs about 10.5 ounces and is measuring about 7.2 inches from crown to rump, but he still moves about freely in amniotic fluid. I've started reading the Bible to baby bless, as I'm finally convinced he can respond to external sounds, such as the music I'm listening to or my voice. Kind of funny, all of the books and websites encourage soon to be mothers to try to get the fathers to be to speak to the baby . . . yeah, does it surprise anyone that I did not have to suggest it to Tony?! I can't get him away from my stomach. :)

Additionally, the babe has developed some red blood cells already and the white blood cells that he needs to fight infections are being manufactured. Plus, he is developing taste buds on his tongue {he better love my cooking!}. Baby bless's eyes are still sealed shut though.

And supposedly he continues to grow and develop and his kicking is getting stronger, but why can't I freaking feel it?! :(

In the next ten weeks I'm supposed to be prepared for rapid weight gain, as the baby grows and develops layers of fat. I hear the next 10 weeks will be when I gain about half of your total pregnancy weight. Good thing this is in alignment with Christmas huh? Oh and that brings me to my poll, how much do you think I've gained? Reference here, for pictoral support. Or don't, it makes me want to cry.

On a related note, I'm wearing a pair of athletic black C9 pants to work today . . . and no one's the wiser. Ahh, comfort. I can fit into all but one pair of my jeans yet because of the cut . . . but work pants? Not a chance. I've decided that I'll also be serving in these pants. Yay for delaying maternity purchases even still!

I can only suck in the top portion of my stomach, but look ridiculous when attempting. :)
Baby bless is getting closer and closer to a full pound.
He's supposedly grown a full inch in the past week!
Tony talks to my stomach like he's on the phone.
Baby bless has blood cells, taste buds and his eyes are still sealed shut.
His kicking is supposedly getting stronger, but I still can't feel him.
I'm supposed to gain half of my pregnancy weight in the next 10 weeks. Joy.
Black athletic pants are serving as work pants, don't judge.

Oooh boy, hold on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My thoughts are not going to be coherently arranged, so please just hold on and go with me.

Phone interview: The phone interview this morning happened, but I'm very unsure how to feel regarding it. The interviewer was extremely pleasant in the unshakeable way that recruiters are over the phone and gave me no indication as to how she felt the interview was progressing. I definitely knew that I had prayer support when a few concise answers seemed to just form on my lips without the necessary thought. I was told to expect a phone call on Friday or Monday following the phone interviews wrapping up. Unfortunately, I have been told that the fact the inperson interview was not scheduled while still on the phone flies directly in the face of the recruiters standard practice. So, that's not very encouraging.

Current position: I've been pretty glum at work and nonexistant in the blogging world due to my traveling 8 hours a day and delivering Christmas gifts on behalf of our company the past 4 days. Today I was informed that I will be paid hourly over my 20 hours and that they basically expect that I will be working 40 hours a week the next two weeks due to some RFP's coming in. Great news! I like being paid for the job that I have and do, however, I will not be working a full 40 since I took one day serving shift.

Fun: My life hasn't been very fun lately, but Monday night I was able to see a few friends and tomorrow night, we've been invited to dine over at the blogger previously known at living and learning's house.

Blessings: No words can express how moved Tony and I were to receive a Christmas card from Ashely and her husband Kurt. She emailed me a bit back to request my address and I thought it would be fantastic to receive a card from them. There's just something about crossing the lines of this electronic world into the one that we actually live in. However, the card was not alone. Ashley also included a gift card and a thoughtful message regarding their knowledge of times of struggle. To say that I cried is a given, obviously, but the reasons for the tears varied so much.

Ashley, thank you for taking the time to mail me. I didn't know how badly I needed the support and your act of faith meant well, more than words can convey. My heart needed the thoughtfulness.

Drama, because I just need more.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Right? You disagree, I shouldn't have more drama? Well, that's too bad for you and me, because I do.

Today, we were informed that the company made a cost cutting decision to change our insurance plan to a high deductible plan . . . so that manageable $3,000 that Tony and I thought we would have covered between hockey and my waitressing? Yeah, it's now $6,000.

This needs to be avoided. I'm praying to be guided in the right direction in my job search, and trying to remain faithful, but I'm slipping. The littlest things are causing mini-breakdowns. I'm making up for all of the tears I didn't cry in the first trimester. Like keeping the car lights on and draining the battery, even though there was no pressing errand and fully accesible jumper cables. Didn't matter, I was a blubbering mess. Or Angeli calling me today to give me the most reassuring conversation that I've had since this whole mess began. Two sentences in I was running to the bathroom to cry.

I just don't see any good coming out of this, and I know that's half of the point, I will never know the mind of God. Right now though, a little bit of peace would do my body so well.

The silver lining, all though not one of my top two positions that I've applied for, I have a phone interview scheduled for Wednesday. Please pray. I haven't had to do this for a while and it's for a position that I'm overqualified for and the same time have no experience with, in my opinion making it even more difficult to reassure that I would be happy in this position.

Little updates

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tony went on his first pregnancy induced trip for me. This morning I woke up severely desiring a bagel. Last Sunday it was pancakes, which were no problem as I could make them, but bagels?No matter my frugal bone, I just didn't think I could bake myself some bagels lol. So off he went this morning to fetch some bagels from Panera. Honestly, I think he was happy to do it, as I've basically gotten through this so far without any assistance {okay fine, he's stepped up in helping with housework!}. But truly, I think he was glad to be doing something for me. I definitely could tell it was a craving, because I can not remember the last time I ate a blueberry bagel when I had a choice, let alone seeking it out!

YUM! Love the melted cream cheese.
(Is anyone else anal about applying whatever the topping
immediately after the toasted item leaves the toaster?)

We ran to Target to some dog shampoo . . . which of course resulted in some gandering at the baby section. As it turned out, we made our first baby purchase today! Yes, I'm serious, the very first item that we have purchased for the baby! It happened today. Almost 5 months in (20 weeks tomorrow people, that equals halfway!) Can't beat the clearance section.

Look at the cute little tiger and soccer balls! Although, Tony and I have noticed that there is a severe over sight in hockey related apparel. We're going to be making some phone calls. :)

Oh um, unrelated to the job front, I have something huge to announce . . . say around Wednesday. I'll leave you in suspense, but will take guesses.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Goodness sake's people, there's a lot of growth going on! I had to include a portion of my butt, just to equal out the proportion of my stomach and in my life, I've never done that! lol. Tony was very disappointed in my choice to forgo jammies, in order to save a few minutes this morning . . . on the way out the door to our BIG ULTRASOUND! So we have a sojourn in my being clothed this week. But you didn't want to read all that, you want to find out what's going on with baby bless, or at least I think you do! :)

This week, I don't need any generalized information on length . . . as baby bless was measured before our eye's at a nice 6.1 inches! That's right in line with the expected 5.6 to 6.4 inches.

Apparently, I can expect baby bless's skin to be thickening and developing multiple layers- the epidermis and the dermis, the deeper layer where it will form fat, this week. Baby bless is now also developing a waxy protective coating for her skin called vernix caseosa. The vernix protects the skin which is continuously submersed in amniotic fluid. Vernix, which is particularly thick around the eyebrows is held in place by tiny downy hairs called lanugo.

Addionally, baby bless can now grip with his fists and his toenails and scalp hair are growing.

Before the ultrasound, I completely forgot to mention the wonder that is our rented heart doppler. I also forgot to detail how much of a fuss Tony made about my wanting to get it! He just did not see the need, mainly because there wasn't one, but I made my case and finally won his approval for my peace of mind. It arrived on our front step, the day I found out about the paycut. It could not have come on a more needed day. I literally gasped in the middle of dinner when I remembered it was to have been delivered and ran to the front door, ripping the package apart to get to the lovely machine. For all of his negativity towards renting it, Tony was just a shade under as excited as I was, and within 20 seconds we were listening to baby bless's heart beat fill the room. It was amazing. It is the best $22 I've spent all year. Now if only we can keep it down to one month, so that it only costs us $22 and not more! C'mon baby, work with me, give me a few recognizable kicks!!!

Okay, now onto the fun part! :) You can see in the upper right corner the length. All of baby bless's measurements {femur, rib cage (area), brain} were within a day or two of where they should be. All fingers, toes and major organs are accounted for, including being able to see all 4 chambers of the heart.
Cute little profile, upper and lower lips were accounted for, ensuring no cleft palate. Although baby bless was not too cooperative, as he continually had his left hand up and over his face {the shadow behind the profile}.

Annnnnnnd, YES! HE is still a BOY! :)

Holy crap, I need to start interviewing! My stomach has a mind of it's own!
Baby bless is 6.1 inches. :)
Renting a heart monitor was the best decision ever.
Baby bless is healthy! Thank you Lord!
Baby bless is still a boy! Again, thank you Lord! :)

It's a long list folks.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I can't ensure that this will be entertaining, but I haven't been doing much of that lately anyways.

My long list details what we are out of:

Peanut butter
Vegetables (frozen or fresh)
Fruit (of any kind)
Meat, besides frozen chicken
Rice (of any kind)
Coffee sweetner
Raspberry lemonade powder juice mix

Body wash (using Tony's soap)
Deoderant (using Tony's deoderant)
Face wash (see above)
Face cream (break out city!)
Laundry detergent

Cat food

Dog shampoo

A 2nd vehicle, so even if we had the money to purchase all of the above, I couldn't go to the store to get it.

Granted, this hysteria is self-imposed, we won't feel the pay cut for another two weeks, but as we are adjusting to the new budget now I'm getting used to the feeling of going without.

If I am going to experience cravings, I think that my completely rational and budget centered self will squelch them.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

I woke up with this song in my head.

Particularly the chorus:

Majesty, Majesty.
Your grace has found me just as I am,
Empty handed but alive in Your hands.

It couldn't describe how I feel at this time any better.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Soo . . . life has undoubtedly been interesting of late. Since boss b delivered the news, boss A(ss) has upped his antics to make it sufficiently clear he would much rather they had cut my entire salary and been rid of me. It's to the point that Tony contacted a few lawyers to see if we had merit in a hostile work environment case {without proof at this point, although plenty of witnesses who would love to help, we do not}. I saw my husband cry for the 4th time in my life yesterday, as he broke down explaining how much it tears him up to witness/hear how I am treated by boss A.

After reviewing our budget and bills, Tony and I came to the realization that with some tweaks and adjustments we will be okay. We were paying additional amounts on our mortgage, student loans and vehicle loan, so after contacting the necessary instituations and lowering our payments in conjunction with cutting the cell phone plan and reprogramming our thermostat . . . we're in a little better place than the dread of Tuesday.

That said, we would only be okay, not in a position to save for our deductible and known costs of having a baby, let alone the unknown! So, for the time being, I'm going back to serving. I called up one of my old managers and will be picking up 3-4 shifts a week. In the end, it is the most convinent way for me to suppliment our income while screwing the least amount of people if/when I am successful in finding a new full time job. Additionally, while I expected a great deal of flexibility from boss b, since we are expected to accomodate this 50% cut at a drop of a hat . . . I'm not getting it to the extent that I previously assumed. That sucks, basically that means I will be giving up weekends.

It is literally killing Tony that I am going back to serving for two reason. First, I'm pregnant and he knows the toll it will take {the dude knows I'm strong, he just doesn't want me to have to be right now} and secondly, because he knew how important it was for me to reach a point in my life where I finally put serving behind me. I threw away my Shoes for Crews people, it was more than clearing the stink from the closet, it was an act of liberation. Finally knowing that I would not have to rely on tips for income. Serving has always been good to me . . . but I don't want to go back.

I've applied for two specific positions that I feel I was well qualified for {kind of pivotal moment in my life! hah}. I'm remaining hopeful. Erin has been an invaluable resource to me this week and I'm extremely grateful. Additionally, my Mom made a contribution to the "Leah's Pregnant and Needs a New Job Fund," by way of Target clearance. I'm husbandless tonight, so the pics of the outfit are not on my body . . . but I guess use your imagination! lol.

The cut is both flattering and concealing at the same time . . . even if it looks a bit school marmish here!

I love the shoes!
And there you are Erin! :)


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Well hoody hoo, baby bless is looking at about 5.2 to 6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 7 ounces. :)

The buds for the permanent teeth are forming behind those that have already developed for the first teeth. Aww. Then we get to go through the fun of teething! Baby bless's nervous system and brain development continue at a spectacular pace. By this week, the motor neurons, which connect muscle to the brain, have grown into place so that the little guy can consciously direct his movements. Millions of neurons inside his brain are growing and forming connections and the nerves in his body are being covered in a fatty substance called myelin.

Baby bless's limbs are now in proportion, even though his tiny foot is just one inch long, it is in perfect proportion to the rest of his leg. Amazing.

What all of those fabulous baby sites don't tell you however is how to hide your pregnancy when you are almost 1/2 way through as you go about trying to interview for full time positions. Nope, no helpful suggestions or strategies. However, there are fantastic bloggers who are supporting me in this venture, even some offering specific job postings!

I have a few part time opportunities to explore in conjunction with keeping my job here, in addition to pursuing employment all together elsewhere. It's the elsewhere that is frightening considering health insurance and maternity leave.

I seem to have been hoarding them lately, but I would very much welcome your prayers in this time. I know that God is in control, that He has my best interest at heart, it is now up to me to follow His guiding.

Extended early maternity leave.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

No, I didn't go on bedrest, but financially, as Tony so humorously put it, I've been put on early extended maternity leave.

After a few weeks of closed door meetings, I was finally called into the office . . . and the news isn't pretty. The writing on the wall was there and I thought that I was prepared, but I was informed today that I will experience a 50% pay cut, effective next week. I'd like to say that Tony and I can handle this cut . . . but we can't. We aren't even close.

My benefits stay the same, my hours are cut to 20 even though I'm salaried, so hopefully I'll be able to get a part-time job. I'm in the process of contacting my HR rep at Target, but I know that they are in a unspoken hiring freeze right now . . . I'm not panicking, but trying to be faithful.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Talk about worst picture in existance! Not necessarily as good as I'd hoped, as it was taken promptly before the battery died, but eh, it'll do. So hmm, I've completely screwed myself up here and whether I should detail the developments of week 17, or skip ahead to 18 as that's where I am now? {crickets} Okay, by audience applause we're going with week 17. :)

Baby bless is definitely between 5 to 5.6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 5.25 ounces {or almost a 1/3 of a lb!}. He is practicing breathing by gulping amniotic fluid into its lungs. This helps the lung's development so they will function at birth {only 4-5weeks now until we reach viability!} He is becoming more sensitive to the outside world and is moving around, kicking and punching. As there is still plenty of space in your uterus, your baby can move around a lot, sitting cross-legged, reclining or even turning somersaults {all without disturbing me, sadly}.

He can debatedly hear by now as the ossicles {the bones that pass sound to the inner ear} have hardened and the portion of the brain that receives signals from the brain is under development.
The little guy is getting used to the sound of your heartbeat and blood passing through the umbilical cord, but may be startled by loud noises. He is also aware of some things in the outside world, including sounds and light. If the sun were to shine on my belly {if the sun actually came out in MN}, he possibly could perceive a warm red glow.

Oh and my uterus is supposedly comparable in size to cantalope right now . . . which would be okay, if I could feel it! {note anxiety}.

I fear I'm on the cusp of turning into one of those pregnant ladies. I've decided that monthly appointments are just too few and far between right now! Especially when I'm not feeling movement or growing outward at what I would think a normal rate! So, I did what any sane 18w, 3 days away from an appt, and less than 2 weeks from an ultrasound pregnant woman would do . . . I got Tony to okay our renting a fetal heart doppler. I think we'll only rent it one month, hopefully, or at least until I start feeling baby bless move. You get free next day air, so I should have it tomorrow afternoon!!

On the name front . . . there's been no forward progress. We have our list and I want to start narrowing it down, but Tony doesn't want to start until after our ultrasound on the 12th. I should just mention to you guys as well, that we will not be sharing the names. It's something I'm pretty lukewarm on, but Tony suddenly turned adament about. Following the conversations his sister was subjected to given her slightly non-traditional name choices {Wyatt and Reagan}, Tony does not want to be put in the same situation. We're not too worried about needing peer approval given our traditional taste, so really, it should be a win-win choice.

For recap:

Terrible picture
Baby bless is 5 to 5.6 inches and almost 1/3 of a pound
Baby bless is beginning to breathe amniotic fluid
No baby bless movement has been felt
I'm starting to feel like my stomach should be showing more and am worrying myself about it
I get my fetal heart doppler tomorrow
Monthly appointment is on Thursday
"Big" {hopefully anti-climatic} ultrasound is on the 12th
We are not going to tell people our name choices

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