Monday, March 28, 2016


So here we are at 37 weeks. What a miraculous pregnancy this has been!

I am still having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that I am about to have a baby at 46. The past 9 months have been challenging, but I think I've needed every minute of this time to process what's happening. Today's sonogram shows a cutie pie who is still breech and looks pretty comfy in there, so I'll discuss options with the doc tomorrow about c-sections:

I thought you might like to take a peek at his room!  We left the walls white and did a gray and yellow color scheme. I had a dear friend offer to paint a mural for the wall, but I thought it might be too sad for me to paint over it in a few years as his interests move to trains, superheroes, or God forbid, Pokemon.

Jack had vintage schoolhouses on his blue nursery walls, Margaret had fairies, and this little guy has elephant decals that should remove quite nicely when the time comes.

My small group bought us the adorable yellow Jenny Lind crib, and my sis bought us the bedding. Don't worry, the bumper is just for show before we start putting the baby in there to sleep. The rug is from Target.

We have so many other sleeping options to start with, I'm not sure when he'll end up in the crib, but I hope he'll eventually find it to be a haven.

Next to the crib is a rocking leather recliner lent to us by friends as a place for me to sleep when my shoulders hurt. Next to that is a  bookcase from Ikea, and a stash of current magazines for any baby whisperers who are going to take a turn hanging out with Baby D between feedings while I sleep.

The lighting  looks terrible, but between the two windows we have two special prayers for the baby.  "Nothing but Joy" came from my friend Kate after I told her some of my fears and insecurities about having a baby at this point in life.  She assured me that this phrase is what she keeps coming back to in regards to our little one.

On the other side of the room is a twin bed, with Jack's navy comforter on top. I didn't mean to bring navy into the room, but after the big blue recliner, it seemed to work okay. This twin bed is for me, or for a kind soul who wants to take the baby between feedings for me. Do I sound like a broken record? 

With it we have the Rock and Play, which my (now grown-up) former students swear is a miracle worker, and a little bed for the baby so we won't roll over him if he's in bed with us. 

This wall is pretty blank. I want to hang shelves there for knick knacks and artwork, but I recently got rid of ours and need to figure out some options.

This is my mom's dresser. If I try really hard, I can still smell her perfume in it. I've always loved the little marble top. It holds swaddles and blankets and such. 

The room has a nice big closet, so one half is for baby clothes; the other is a changing station.

There's not enough height in here for Jack's origami bird mobile, but we'll have to find a way to have that somewhere in the room. We got the changing table for free from a yard sale site, and Tim and Margaret painted it gray. Love this soft minky changing pad cover.  Jack and Margaret just had the plastic changing pad.

Next to the closet is a calendar to record significant milestones. I did this with Jack and Margaret, and it's fun to look back through and see when they first got a tooth, etc. I found that hanging it on the wall, with a pen attached, was the best way to make sure I filled it out.

Well, bye to the room for now! In less than two weeks it will have an occupant. 


Note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Baby Shower!

While I wish we could all get together over decaffeinated tea and cupcakes to celebrate the impending arrival of the miraculous Baby D, I know we are a bit too far flung for that. And you might feel compelled to bring the sweetest little presents, too.

Sounds wonderful, but a bit overwhelming!

Instead, I'm hoping some of you might feel moved to celebrate Baby D in one of two ways that  support moms and babies who don't have the resources Tim and I do.

I read an article in the paper today about how low-income families spend nearly 14 percent of their after-tax income on diapers, while for middle-income families, it's closer to 3 percent! I have great laundry facilities in my home if I want to use cloth diapers, and enough money to cover initial cloth diaper purchases if I choose to go in that direction. I can easily have disposable diapers delivered to my home in bulk, or I can hop in my car to find  the best deals; but for many people, buying diapers means taking multiple busses to buy overpriced, smaller packs that run out quickly, and even leave them debating whether to re-use disposables in order to stretch a pack just a little bit longer.

If an online baby shower interests you, it's easy to send monetary or physical donations to the DC Diaper Bank in Baby Donaldson's name. DC Diaper Bank provides diapers to 30 social service organizations that are already helping families in need.

If you would like to help a mom and a baby in a different way, you know I love the offerings in the World Vision Catalog. The New Mother and Baby Kit provides a bassinet, new baby essentials such as cloth diapers, blankets, a bucket for clean water, soap, and parent support/training for a needy mom around the world. No amount of donation is too small!

There's absolutely NO PRESSURE to participate, but I thought it would be neat to share these opportunities with you as we await the baby's arrival.

With Love and Thanks.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Kitchen Reveal!

The kitchen is finished! I haven't decorated or accessorized it or the adjoining dining and living spaces (think lots of mirrors, family photos, TV, baby clutter, a rug) but I wanted to show it to you today.

We are LOVING it.

My resident photographer is at school right now, so my unedited cell phone pics will have to do for now.

  • Tim's favorite part is how open it is.
  • Margaret's favorite part is the homework/breakfast bar.
  • My favorite part is how much more light we get, even on a dreary day like today.

View from kitchen into Living Room:

More realistic, cluttered picture:

Living room sitting area. I would like a comfy sectional here for nursing and hanging out. We also hope to buy a new TV which will hang on the long LR wall, but just have to agree on size first.  Sectionals are expensive, and I just missed one on our yard sale site. Will keep looking. Bird chair from Target.

Breakfast/Homework Bar in LR. Stools are from Target and are gorgeous and comfy.

We didn't go for a lot of bells and whistles like wine fridge, etc. but we did get these spice racks built in:

AND one of my favorite parts, these two appliance garages, one for the microwave, and the other for the coffee maker and toaster. Now you see them:

 Now you don't:
This leads right into the dining room area. It is pretty small and I haven't quite figured out how to decorate it yet, but it feels brighter and more open than ever! It was cut off by a small doorway and slatted doors.  Remember, we how we switched our foyer light out and put it in here? I really like it, and the much bigger fixture looks great in the foyer. 

 Here are the new sliding doors. The dogs are loving running in and out of the house this way:
 Huge foyer light fixture:

I am looking for a narrower farmhouse-type table to replace this thrift store one, but there is no rush. I will either make a gallery wall of mirrors around my Grandpa's china cabinet, or replace the china cabinet with a white sideboard I have upstairs to make room on the wall for even more mirrors. My mom had a wall of mirrors when we walked into our house growing up, so I've had one in each house since then.

This shallow cabinet next to the breakfast bar is to store Margaret's homework stuff as well as arts/crafts supplies for the baby. Wish I'd made it one inch deeper so binders would fit better. When I find her things sitting all over the counter, I shove them in the cabinet.

View as you walk into kitchen from the rest of the house:

We did keep this narrow wall between the foyer and kitchen. Tim doesn't like it, but I'm cool with it:

And when you walk in from the garage. I love the range hood and the wavy, extra long subway tiles in light gray:

Here's the close-up of the countertops, Calacutta Grey (I know it's spelled funny, but that is the name) by Quartz Masters. This is the decision that sent me reeling, but I'm super happy with them. We have already spilled stuff on them, and Margaret got Sharpie on them within the first 10 minutes,  so it's good to know they are super durable. 

Sink view. We went for an inexpensive, $150 stainless sink with no divider. Looks plenty big for bathing a baby.

Breakfast nook right off of garage. This is where you will see family pics and a bulletin board when I get around to it. Oh, and a high chair!

We replaced the built-in desk area with a pantry because of all of the upper cabinets we lost. Instead of fancy pullouts, we opted for plain, adjustable melamine shelves to save space and $$. Our builder just took a fridge cabinet and added doors to it. I kept the phone jack and plugs in there for charging. Love it!

Even though I lost sunlight before taking these final shots, you can get the gist of the whole space here:

And of course, after all of the stress of small details that loomed large, plus living through, and then paying for, the renovation, it's good to have a reminder of what's REALLY important. 

I ordered this from Wall Words, just as I did 13 years ago in the old house. Makes me happy that the new baby will see these words every day just as Jack and Margaret did:

Friday, March 11, 2016

Bump Watch, 34 Weeks!

I'll be at 35 weeks on Monday, so I thought you might like an updated picture of baby and mama!

Things are going well!

The baby is super active, and last night Margaret and I got to see one of those alien-like pokes where it looked like a whole hand or foot was coming out of my side. Very cool!

Please continue to pray that he is developing well, that he comes at the right time for him, and that I can get some much-needed sleep before he makes his debut. My feet have also started swelling a lot, so I'm just hoping that is still in the normal range. The doc didn't seem concerned yesterday, but all I can think of is Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey and her swollen little foot, and also how pre-eclampsia risk goes way up with maternal age and the longer you go between having babies. Eek.

Thank you for caring about us, and TGIF!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Dear Body,

I got out of the shower today and I saw my belly stretching out so far it looked like I might tip over. My breasts, formerly of the marble in a tube sock variety, were full and flush, and didn't look like they belonged to me. Veins popped out where they shouldn't, and unless this baby weighs 40+ pounds and has taken up residency in my rear end, I know that what I was looking at was not "all baby" as folks say.

The image I saw in the mirror surprised me, but filled me with gratitude.

This has been a challenging pregnancy in some ways, but you have done a lot of hard work, Body. I'm guessing you thought this part of your service wrapped up more than a decade ago. But here you are, providing this baby boy with what he needs, keeping him in the safest place for him right now. Figuring out how to move and maneuver and make space inside you for this new life. It's not easy or comfortable, but you are doing it, just as Tim, Margaret and I will recalibrate our lives based on this little guy when he's on the outside, with us.

I want to thank you.

This work you are doing came not when I was a busy young teacher in my 20's, or a strong and fit yoga aficionado of 31, but after many years of being sedentary. Of cocooning during grief. Of not giving you the best foods for you. Of not sleeping enough, or taking vitamins. Of injury and repeated illnesses that came after my heart broke.

To be called into service this way likely surprised you, and this pregnancy has taxed you beyond what you experienced the others times, but still you pump the blood, carry the girth, and feed the baby.

You didn't get to coast these final years into menopause and the unique "joys" it will bring.

I know that in a few months I'll probably be rushing you, wanting you to go back to the "before" too quickly, if that's even possible. I'll complain about trying to find clothes that fit, and wonder if, while nursing a baby, you will ever feel like you are completely "mine" again.

But you have done something miraculous. Getting this far was never a given. Ever.

Thank you, Body.

Love, Anna

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Baby Donaldson on the NEWS?

Love the title of this article! Ha Ha! Pushing 50 is right. I wasn't sure which parts of the interview would air, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. I never want to seem like I'm taking the extremely low odds of getting pregnant at this age for granted, as I know so many women struggle with this.

The kitchen is 99% finished.

The baby's room is started.

I am slowing down big-time, and have a SONOGRAM this afternoon. Looking forward to sharing a sonogram photo with you on Facebook later today!

Here's the news interview!