Tuesday, September 13, 2011

35 week update

Today week marks 35 weeks and since so many people have asked, I felt I should put a quick update out here. I am posting in a new picture in the belly growth series in case you are curious to see the big belly! I am still feeling absolutely great! Robbie and I are still able to go for hour long walks or so most days of the week. Bella is still an incredibly active baby...I am fairly certain she only sleeps about an hour a day. Now that she is bigger we are able to identify her little feet and hands when they push out my stomach. It seems there is constantly one body part or another sticking out of my stomach now…

My doctor is requiring me to do non-stress tests (NSTs) weekly which is somewhat of an inconvenience but at the same time it is nice to hear her little heartbeat each week and see how much she moves. For those not familiar (no worries…I wasn’t either!) an NST monitors both the baby’s heartbeat and the number of movements in an hour. To have a successful test the baby has to have at least 6 movements in an hour and they have to a few different types of movements. So far, the doctor has stopped the test early each time because Bella has moved so much there is no need to continue. The last appointment Robbie came along for and the doctor stopped it after about 15 minutes. She had to have moved at least 30 times in that 15 minutes – it is crazy! Rob was laughing at her repeatedly kicking the movement monitor strapped around my belly (it makes a loud noise when she does, kind of like tapping a microphone). I guess she still hasn’t gotten over her space issues. We hope she lets us hold her without freaking out!

I am not to the point yet where I want her out…in fact, I hope she stays in all the way through her due date. I worry more about her coming early! Our crib came in this weekend and Robbie was anxious to pick it up and put it together (wheww!). We finally got our stroller lined up and a glider/rocker put together but I still feel like there are 100 projects around home I’d like to get done before this little girl takes over our lives. My plan is to pack my overnight bag with a month to go and put it by the door – I figure if I didn’t have it packed she would probably surprise us but it seems like if you are prepared you end up waiting! Robbie lectures Bella on occasion telling her she is not allowed to get here more than a week early. We will see if she listens! It is possible we will get more anxious towards the end but for now I think we are both extremely content having her stay put for awhile.

Each appointment the doctor comments on my little belly but I am measuring right where I should and right in the middle of the recommended weight gain so she is happy with that. The baby books say Annabelle should be around 5 pounds now and 20”. She is just now able to touch my ribs on occasion but tends to hang out in other parts of my belly instead. With only 5 weeks to go she doesn’t have too much more to grow so I feel like we are on the downhill slide now!

Robbie putting together Annabelle's crib

He made me double check every bolt to make sure it was safe :)

Innie or Outie?!? Neither! My belly button is gone!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


In the past year it seems we have crammed in every life change possible: engagement, wedding, graduation, moving, and now our first baby! With that has come many showers and parties and each one has left me feeling completely overwhelmed (in a great way!). So many of our family and friends have generously given gifts, sent meaningful cards and messages, and faithfully showed up for wedding showers, our actual wedding, graduation, Robbie’s graduation party, and now our baby showers. I feel like it is about time for us to give everyone a break! I have never in my life been so aware of the reality that Robbie and are are very unusually blessed with amazing family and friends. I don’t know many people who have such genuine supportive and loving people in their lives – people who give without a second thought motivated only by love and excitement, people who think of us and encourage us daily, and most importantly people who support us with their thoughts and prayers. I am beyond words.

One memory that I will share, knowing I will absolutely never forget this moment in our lives. The day after our wedding Robbie and I stayed at our apartment since we had decided to wait a day to fly out for our honeymoon. Our bridal party had graciously cleaned up after the reception and brought the gifts and cards to our apartment. I will never forget being alone with Robbie, sitting on the couch opening gift after gift, card after card and reading each and every message of support people had written for us. It literally took us hours to complete the process. About halfway through we both looked at each other realizing we hadn’t said a word for quite awhile. I knew he was thinking exactly what I was at that moment and I asked, “Are you as overwhelmed as I am?”. Robbie just shook his head and said, “I don’t even know what to say. I just can’t believe all this.” It’s rare that I ever see him look unsure or overwhelmed but at that moment the look on his face was of someone who is completely stunned and humbled. I know we don’t get the chance to say it often enough but I truly hope everyone in our lives knows exactly how much we appreciate your generousity and support. Not just the gifts but everything – the phone calls, cards, emails, facebook messages, visits, and your genuine excitement for us during our first year. I know without a doubt we will never forget the day-in and day-out support we have received from each and every one of you as we are starting out. We regularly pray that we will try to live up to the examples you all have set for us – generously, selflessly, loving and supporting the people in our lives.

As for the showers, as I mentioned earlier, this has been a whirlwind of a first year (in fact we are still 5 weeks from finishing our first year of marriage but it sure seems like we’ve been through a few already!). Our Iowa baby shower was held on August 13th one year exactly after our Iowa wedding shower – I couldn’t help but notice the coincidence. If you had told me a year ago I would be back in Iowa (from Cleveland of all places…) for a baby shower the very same weekend I would have thought you were crazy. Yet, that’s exactly where I found myself and I loved every minute of it! My brother, Seth, was back from Afghanistan so it was not just a shower but a family reunion of sorts. My sister, Jolie, and brother-in-law, Mark, were able to make it up from Nashville which was really exciting for me. I love that my sister got to see my pregnant tummy before Annabelle gets here! My brother, Neal, and his girlfriend, Ashley, couldn’t make it but I am really excited we are now close enough to D.C. that they will be able to come visit us in Cleveland in a few weeks before the baby gets here! The Iowa shower was decorated with little owls and had one of my favorite desserts – flower cookies!! In college I worked at a local Danish bakery one summer and flower cookies one of their signature items. My mom ordered them in pink with little brown sprinkles…so absolutely adorable! A lot of my aunts, uncles, and cousins were able to make it for the shower and it was so nice to see them since I had originally been unsure if I would be able to make it back to Iowa before the baby. I was touched that so many of them drove out to come celebrate with my family. I was able to work in some visits with my friend Beth in Davenport, Krystal in Des Moines, Andrea in Altoona, and the Mosher family in Bondurant as well during the week I was home. My friend Tara who I studied abroad with also drove down for lunch the day before the shower since she would be at a wedding on the day of the shower. She is such and encouraging, positive person and I am really glad it worked out to meet up. I am so thankful I got to see so many people while I was back! Here are some photos of the shower – there are a few missing that are on Seth’s camera so sorry if you took a photo with me that is not here!!

Banner over doorway


Advice cards

Flower cookies that I love in bottom left

Diaper cake!
Owl and bouquet of baby clothes

Me and my sister Jolie

Anne, Mom, and me

I'm just a little bit bigger than dad now!

Me and my dad!

My aunt Bonnie with her granddaughter, Sophie

Aunt Cheri - her first granddaughter is scheduled to arrive just a few days after ours!

Aunt Marva and Uncle John

Uncle Johnnie and Aunt Kathy

After the Iowa shower, I drove to Chicago for a shower the next day, August 14th. Rob’s mom and Shelly did a great job putting the shower together and, fittingly, had some adorable cupcakes and cookies in pink and purple! Check out the photo of them below! Again, the house was full of well-wishing friends and family members. In the beginning of our relationship I had a hard time keeping everyone straight in Rob’s life because everyone is an “aunt”, “grandma” or something even if they aren’t related. There is nothing quite like a Tanzer holiday or party since everyone makes a point to stop by or send a message over to let you know they are there in spirit. Everyone had a great time guessing how big my belly was – some tried to flatter me with a teeny-tiny measurement and others WAY over-estimated…good thing I am not easily offended – ha! It was a great shower and I had a smile on my face heading back to Cleveland that night. Below are some photos of the Chicago shower.

Yummy cute cupcakes!

Kara, Libby, and Annie :)
Dawn - look how great she looks!!! A fellow runner now :)

The Smit family women
Karen and Audrey

Aunt Marie, Hannah, and Kelly

Libby got the grand prize!

The fabulous hostesses - Mrs. Tanzer and Shelly :)
So, in summary, an amazing weekend of “pink” baby showers (I purposely left pink out of all wedding d├ęcor so I LOVED that the baby showers were filled covered in it!). Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who came out and to those who couldn’t make it – you were very, very missed!! We are finally ready now to start putting that nursery together!!