Sunday, November 30, 2008


I know this post is coming a bit late, I had every intention of getting online either on Thanksgiving or the day after to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, but those plans just didn't pan out. It has been a busy weekend but as I sit here on Sunday night, looking out at another week, I realize I have so much to be thankful for. The economy is tough right now and like alot of others we find ourselves struggling, but yet when I look beyond the bills and unrented duplex, when I look at the big picture, I know we are so very blessed. During the homily at mass today Father said something that resonated with me. He said that there are many things that are out of our control and if we prayed as much as worried we'd be in a much better place. Pretty simple really, pray more, worry less. I know for me it will be easier said than done, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Our Thanksgiving was great. For the third year now we celebrated with Collin's, Kira's and my family. The food was delicious and the company was even better. Getting ready for the guests wore me out but as I sat down to dinner I realized it was all worth it. Here are just a few of the little things I am so very thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend:
  • Family who helped us get the house cleaned and remodeled (we have a new guest room! Yay!)
  • All of the help with the side dishes for the meal and the dish washing after the meal
  • Justin's "Turkey Trivia" which made us all laugh over dinner (seriously, the boy knows entirely way too much about turkeys!)
  • A safe hunting season for the boys
  • A fun shopping trip with my Mom on Friday
  • Leftovers

I hope you also had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Notes from my 31-week appointment

  • Baby Kono is measuring right on target at 31-weeks.
  • Doctor asked to see my ankles and noted a bit of swelling but said that as long as my blood pressure stays down (it was actually a little low) the swelling is okay.
  • Doctor noted that I looked "serious" today - I know I have too much on my mind with getting ready for Thanksgiving.
  • Doctor had a little bit of a difficult time finding the heartbeat at first. Even though I knew there was nothing to worry about, I had just felt the baby kicking, it still scared me a little. When he did finally find it, it was very low at 118-120, which is the lowest it has ever been. I questioned this and he assured me that the baby is probably just in a sleepy/lazy state. Almost immediately after he uttered the words the heartbeat jumped to 160 and he said "opps, we just woke it up!" Sorry little one, didn't mean to scare you like that!
  • Doctor said he thinks the baby is head down
  • I was referred to a dermatologist to get a couple of moles checked out. There is one in particular that has been bothering me, but I just haven't had the time to do anything about it. I go in on Feb. 4th.
  • On my way out of the office I ran into Kira and Justin, who were waiting to be called in for their appointment. As I got in the car I couldn't help but think 1) I'm so thankful they live up here and 2) I'm so excited to have our children grow up together.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Opening Weekend & Birthday Wishes

Yesterday marked the opening of the 2008 gun deer season in Wisconsin. This has always been an important event in my family. My Dad went to college in Stevens Point and he and his buddies have hunting land about a 20 minutes East of where we now live. Each year the week before Thanksgiving my Dad would pack his bags and head North for the week. We'd spend the week at home with my Mom, going about our normal routine and waiting for a call from Dad to hear if he got a deer. I remember these weeks vividly; and I remember them being full of anticipation. Dad would always come home the weekend after Thanksgiving and if it was a good year, there would be a deer in the back of his truck.

Because I was raised by an avid hunter one of the things I looked for in my future husband was that he loved this sport. This may seem odd to some, but I could not imagine being married to someone that didn't hunt. In addition to hunting, one of my Dad's other hobbies is taxidermy. As anyone who has been to my parent's house knows, the trademark items in their house are the mounted animals. They currently have deer, geese, ducks, fish, rabbits, squirrels, and a coyote. When we were younger there were much, much more (including a sea gull....don't ask :) )

When I found out Collin was a hunter, I made a mental check by that qualification box and I knew for certain that he would fit into my family just fine. (My brother actually made reference to that fact in the comments to this post.)

But here's the thing about hunting and specifically about opening weekend, although it is not something I directly participate in (I used to beg my Dad to take me with to which he told me 'when you are 13' -of course 13 came and went and I was never able to go with. Years later I understand why....this is a guys thing. Not that woman can't hunt, it's just that they like their time with the guys) I get just as excited as the boys do. I can't wait to hear the updates as to who got their deer and how big they were. I love the stories about their drives or the one that got away. I'm thankful that my Mom was a good role model for me growing up. She always accepted that my Dad would be gone for the week, she never argued about the fact that my Dad wouldn't spend Thanksgiving with us, she just accepted this hobby for what it is and supported my Dad and his hunting trip. I feel like I can be a better wife to Collin, my hunter, now because of her influence.

So, I'm happy to report that Collin got a deer this opening weekend. It is an 8-point buck with a 14-inch spread. He plans to have my Dad do a European mount for him, which is a mount of the skull and horns. I can't wait to have it done and get it up on the wall because each animal we add makes our house feel more like a home.


25 years ago today my Dad missed his first (and, to date, last) hunting season as he stayed home to welcome his son into the world. As soon as my brother made his debut, my Dad's hunting buddies were on the phone telling him he could come up now, the baby is here. Dad didn't leave home that year (I think my mom would have killed him) and I know that if he had to miss one season the birth of his newest hunting buddy was the perfect reason to miss. My brother shares my Dad's passion for hunting, so you can only imagine how he spent his big day. I was going to do an acrostic for my brother for his birthday but instead I'm going to direct you to Kira's, my sister-in-laws, new blog. She has a much better post up; one that brought tears to my eyes.

Happy Birthday Justin! I feel so lucky to have gotten you as a sibling. You are not only my brother, but my friend. Here's wishing you a wonderful year!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I fully expect to eat his/her Halloween candy too.

Yesterday I stole a gift that was given to us for our unborn child and used it for myself.

A couple of weeks ago at our Earlville baby shower I opened a gift from Gail that included, among other things, Johnson's Shea and Cocoa Butter Baby Lotion. As soon as I saw it the wheels in my mind were turning....cocoa butter? Hmmm....I'm out of pregnancy lotion (for stretch marks) and I bet this would work as a replacement, after all, it has cocoa butter in it.

When we got home I unpacked our gifts and, reluctantly, put the lotion in the baby's room. It's been there for almost two weeks. For two weeks I've been thinking about the cocoa butter lotion and for two weeks I've been refraining from digging into it. But yesterday I caved. My skin has been so taut this week that it has actually become uncomfortable and yesterday morning I realized the lotion I was using just wasn't cutting it. So I snuck into the baby's closet, found the lotion and indulged myself.

I planned on just using it on my belly, but before I realized it my entire body was covered in shea and cocoa butter baby lotion and it felt so good. I told myself that I would only use the lotion until I could get to the store and buy some more pregnancy lotion. Then I'd put it back on the shelf in the baby's room and no one would know the difference.

When I got into the office yesterday I went through my usual routine: take my coat off, log onto my computer, get my planner out of my bag, and then head to the bathroom. When I got in there I hiked my shirt up and slid the big 'ol panel down on my pants - man that sounds attractive. Even more attractive is the rest of the process, in which I throw my arms out in front of me in order to get the most control out of my squat to the toilet. If I had a personal trainer, I think he'd be happy with my form - and that's when it happened. As my hands made contact with my silky smooth, baby soft belly, I knew I owed Baby Madden an apology.

Sorry kid, but Mama's keepin' the lotion.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

28- and 30-week belly shots

Although I missed posting my 28-week pictures, I did actually take them. So tonight you are getting a double dose!

28 weeks

30 weeks

Holy Crap! I didn't realize I had changed that much in two weeks until I saw those pictures next to each other.

Also, I apologize for looking particularly crappy in this 30-week shot, but it is very depictive of the way I'm feeling these days. I'm tired and I'm stressed out. I feel bad mentioning this here; I would prefer to keep these posts limited to positive updates, but I can't really talk about things that are going on right now without mentioning these. We've been traveling the past 3 weekends now and the loss of sleep has finally caught up with me. My body is sore and dragging. Mentally I'm not at the top of my game and it has caused me to fall behind schedule at work. Our house is also a complete disaster because I haven't cleaned in 3 weeks and a week from tomorrow we are hosting Thanksgiving. I know everything will get done, it always does, but again I find myself wondering exactly how.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, how about a 30-week update?
  • Weight gain to date is 21 pounds (okay, technically it is probably closer to 21.5, but we're rounding down). I'm a little nervous to post this because my weight hasn't changed in the last week or two and I'm not sure if the days I get on the scale just happen to be good days or if I really am "slowing my roll" - I suppose only time will tell.
  • I'm still sleeping through the night for the most part. Last night I was up from 3 am to 4:30 am but it wasn't because I was uncomfortable, it was because I had too much on my mind. It was all important things of course, like what curtains are we going to use in the spare bedroom and should I put the nativity set on the entertainment center this year? (answer: yes, I think I'm going to try that)
  • In addition to my body pillow I'm also using another pillow propped under my belly these days. Doesn't matter where I'm sleeping, I need this additional pillow.
  • Tomorrow night is our final Lamaze class. I'm not sure that we've learned a whole lot from this class except for the following: I've learned I'm pretty much terrified of actually giving birth, however, I'd really like to do it naturally if I could. Now, that's not to say I will, I'm just saying that if the pain is manageable I'd like to. It really has less to do with wanting to be superwoman and more to do with the fact that I'm scared of an epidural. That needle creeps me out a little. I'm just hoping that if the pain is bad enough I'll overcome the fear of that needle being threaded into my spine. Either way, I'm not going into this with any expectations. Collin has learned that he has to bring snacks to the hospital :)
  • I've been having alot of Braxton Hicks contractions lately. They were actually scaring me a bit last night as they were getting stronger and were happening about every 10 minutes. I finally sat my butt down and put my feet up and that seemed to help.
  • The swelling has finally begun. I stopped wearing my wedding ring a couple of weeks ago. I could still probably force it on, but I'd rather not take the chance of it getting stuck. I've also been wearing tennis shoes as much as possible. My dress shoes just aren't very comfortable these days.
  • The baby is getting so strong. When he/she moves now it feels like he/she is going to bust right out of my belly. I typically feel the most movement in the upper right hand corner of my tummy. And I feel what I think are hiccups in the lower left hand. So I think (I hope!) Baby Madden is already head down.
  • A couple of weeks ago Collin woke up in the middle of the night and could feel something from my half of the bed. I was snoring so he put is hand on my belly and said the Baby was just rolling around like crazy.
  • We are both getting very very excited for January 25th to get here!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I passed! I passed!

Now pass me the cookies!

Last week at my 28 week doctor’s appointment I had to take the dreaded glucose test. All I really knew about this test going into it was that the purpose was to test for gestational diabetes and the drink was disgusting. I met Collin at the house before we headed up north for the appointment and I chugged the drink as quickly as I could so we wouldn’t be late. Surprisingly, it didn’t taste nearly as bad as I was expecting. No, chugging it wasn’t the hard part for me. Keeping it down on the ride to the clinic? Now that is a slightly different story. I could feel it sitting in my throat and although I didn’t actually throw it up, I would have forgone my fear of puking to have gotten rid of that feeling.

When we got to the clinic I went first to the lab to have my blood drawn and then headed up to see my doctor. The appointment went well, we were still measuring on target and I got my questions regarding episiotomies and drugs answered. You know, the important things….what kind of drug options do I have? When I left the appointment the results from my glucose test were not yet in. Before we even made it home, however I had a message from the clinic asking for me to return their call. I knew immediately that the results of the test were not good. And I was right. My numbers came in at 164 when they want to see your levels below 140.

Yesterday I had to return to the lab for a 3-hour glucose test. The test started at 9 am with a fasting blood draw followed by another lovely cocktail. This time I choose fruit punch, and honestly, it wasn’t half bad. I got it down in my allotted 5 min time frame and then I plunked my butt in the waiting room, which is where I’d spend the rest of my morning getting up once every hour to have another blood draw.

I was working on thank you cards and watching Henry Paulson make his speech regarding the financial bail out when the nurse came into the waiting room to call in another patient. She looked at me and asked if I was doing okay and right there, in the middle of a full waiting room I told her, “Yeah, but I feel like I might puke.” And I followed with a “Would it be okay if I puked?” By the look on her face I knew that no, it would not be okay if I puked, it would screw up the whole test. So I assured her that I’d be fine and returned my attention to the TV. Right at this time is when a man from the other end of the lounge said “Oh, too much information for me” and from the corner of my eye I could see him return to his book. I’m still unsure if he was referring to Paulson’s speech (it was kind of information overload) or the fact that I just told a waiting room full of innocent bystanders that I was about to loose last nights dinner.

Thankfully, the need to vomit passed after the first hour. During the second hour I came down off of my sugar high (which they told me would happen) and I felt dizzy and extremely tired. It was during this hour that I was certain I was going to have to call in sick for the afternoon. There was just no way I was going to be able to function at work like this.

But, by the time I made it into the third hour that too had passed and I felt like myself again. Actually, I felt really good. Better than I’ve felt for awhile, I think because I put myself to bed early the night before. By the time I had my fourth and final blood draw I was good to go. I treated myself to lunch and then went back to the office.

This morning I finally got the results to the test and I am so happy to say that my numbers are normal and for now there is nothing to worry about. Yeah!!

Wait. There is one thing I need to worry about. How quickly can I get a milkshake here? I’ve been craving ice cream - soft, creamy, full of sugar, ice cream - all week simply because I knew I couldn’t have it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bender Family Baby Shower

I told you guys that I was going to post more frequently during this last trimester and then I go and completely disappear on you. The past few weekends we've been busy traveling and because I haven't been getting enough sleep, it makes for an exhausting week. But we can not complain because we spent them in the company of family and friends who threw us showers for Baby Kono/Madden.

Two weekends ago Collin and I got up early and drove with Kira down to Rockford, IL for the Bender family shower. It is tradition in our family for the aunts to throw wedding and baby showers for all the cousins. They always do a wonderful job and this shower was no different.

The cake was beautiful, the mostacolli was delicious, and my cousin, MaLinda, made her famous sugar cookies, which I could eat by the handfuls. We played two games, the "baby animal" game and the "pass to the left/right" game. For the baby animal game my aunt read a list of animals and we had to come up with the corresponding baby animal name. I learned during this game that a sow is in fact a pig. Not a female cow.

Oh don't look shocked, it's an honest mistake :)

In the second game my Aunt Cindy read a story about "Mrs. Right" who went to a baby shower. Prizes were handed out around the circle and every time we heard the words "right" or "left" we passed the gift in that direction. It was pretty fun.

We got so many amazing gifts for this shower and we feel so blessed to have such supportive family and friends who care so much about us and Baby Kono. Here are a few pictures from the shower....

My mom, Aunt Cheryl, Me, Aunt Cindy, and Aunt Candy

The girl cousins: Kira, K, Me, E, Andrea & MaLinda

While the women in the family were doing shower stuff, the men in my family were busy doing things that guys like to do: eating and drinking.

At Hooters.
We've had two more showers since this first one....posts on those to come...