December 22, 2014

29 Weeks

Twenty-Nine Weeks Status:
Estimated Baby Size: Butternut Squash
I know it's been a while since I posted, but it's been busy busy busy!

Halloween has come and gone, the kids don't really go trick or treating, but we let them dress up and give them candy. We had a Reformation celebration at church that Andy and our friend Scott organized with the pastor and his wife playing roles in a pretty funny skit. It was a really fun time.

A pic of the boys dressed up:

We also were blessed with a visit from Gramps and Grammy Robin. It was so much fun taking in the lovely fall weather, walking all over and exploring Richmond, and just getting to spend some time with them. It, of course, felt too short, because we know it will likely feel too long before we see them again, but we are so glad they got to come out and walkabout with us.

Since then, we've gone through a couple bouts of illness and have been just struggling, it seems, to keep ourselves well. But we've also had a lot of fun. We have been busy with our church choir program for Christmas, as both Andy and I dusted off our orchestral instruments to play in the orchestra accompaniment for the two concerts we gave.  It was so much fun playing my french horn again, even if my third rotor string broke and I had to remember alternate fingerings that had almost evacuated my brain from years of not practicing.  Regardless of the mishap, it was a great experience and a great way to glorify our heavenly father at Christmas time!

Winifred seems to be growing excellently, despite my "I'm sick and don't want to eat" diet, and her heartbeat has been strong and all has been well at all of her/my appointments.

The above belly shot was taken at our little Christmas-time getaway. We decided, since the boys are such huge fans of hotels, that we would treat them to an in-town hotel getaway, and we spent a couple nights at a hotel up in Short Pump. They had fun playing in the pool, watching the rerun of The Sound of Music Live on TV,  going to yet another Sushi King, driving around to see Richmond's famous tacky Christmas lights displays, and celebrating Daddy's birthday at a brewpub.  Good times! Christmas is this week, so the house is decked out, and we'll just be celebrating at home this year.  We are looking forward to a New Year complete with a new baby, and possibly a new minivan to fit her more comfortably! :)
More pics:

Tacky Christmas Lights

Daddy's Birthday

They fell asleep watching the Sound of Music at the hotel:

October 20, 2014

20 Weeks and Surprise!!!!

Twenty Weeks Status:
Estimated Baby Size: Banana

So much has happened in the past few weeks that it will be a wonder if I can cram it all into this post sufficiently.

I will just gloss over some of the non-baby related things because as I mentioned earlier, this is indeed the moment of the big news, gender reveal!

Over the last few weeks, we have settled into a good homeschooling routine, and ESL teaching has been a highly rewarding venture. I really look forward to going to see my Spanish-speaking ladies on Thursdays, and my fellow teacher Marci is always a joy to spend time with.

On the 8th my dad finally received his long-awaited hip surgery, and he has made great strides of recovery since then, go dad!

Before that, we celebrated both Leopold's second birthday, and Sebastian's fifth.  I always really enjoy putting together their parties, even though it is a lot of work. It's just so much fun to see their faces light up and try my best to make their day really special.

Leopold's party was all about "Mighty Machines" or construction vehicles, and I found a cool recipe on Pinterest for a construction or caution tape pattern using yellow cake and dark chocolate cake layers cut into diagonal concentric was fun to learn the process, and I think it turned out really cute!

Sebastian's party was Super Mario themed. He and his brothers are all quite taken with the fantastical world of the Super Mario Brothers--they love playing it on the Wii. I'll post a few pictures below of the party celebrations. I can't believe I've been a mom for five years, or that Leopold will be TWO! It's a good thing there's another baby on the way or I might've just cried their whole birthdays long!

LEOPOLD's Party:


Well, leading up to the big gender reveal I became less convinced of the reliability of the Ramzi method for predicting gender when the Ultrasound tech is not in on the discussion and interpreting accurately where everything is.  This means that for all three previous Ramzi methods that had proved correct, it was a good possibility they were all coincidence!

OK, so last week I told my mom, who was still dreaming pink despite my assurance that Wombat was a little dude, that her hopes could be realized again.

And what do you know? SURPRISE! There is a bona fide Wombette growing snugly in my belly :) To say I was over the moon, is just not adequate. I was over Jupiter or Pluto! And quite honestly, I was in shock to hear the news, or rather, see the news! I knew she was a girl the second I saw the ultrasound, after seeing three successive boys, I could tell that "something was missing," haha!

Andy, of course, had to make that joke aloud to me and the ultrasound tech.  

I was so excited to call everyone and tell them the astonishing news..."A Schwartz child was going to be born that did not have a Y chromosome!"...that I was in a daze walking to get the car from the hospital valet service. Yes... valet service. No, not because we were too posh to park; the visitor parking is always jam-packed and the parking attendents give out free vouchers for their very inconvenient and slow valet service when it's over capacity.  Anyone who has visited VCU / MCV can surely commiserate.  The valet line usually wraps around the block when the parking lot is full...

Anyways, her name will be Winifred Jane. :) It was easily agreed upon by both Andy and I, and we love it.  Andy's great-grandmother's name on his mom's side was Winifred, and she was apparently a pretty awesome lady. Also, we love the name because it invokes memories of one of our and the boys' favorite films: Mary Poppins. If you recall, the mother in the flick is named Winifred, and the daughter is Jane.  It imparts her with an air of vintage whimsy, and I am already teeming with ideas for her nursery...

Anyways, I'll post the ultrasound pictures, only slightly doctored, and the announcement picture we posted to Facebook below... It's not the best announcement photo, but my phone was dying and everyone was asking the results, so we ran into Kid to Kid and got a little pink dressed and snapped a quick belly shot with my phone so I could update everyone before it died. Then we celebrated with some well-enjoyed lunch at Sushi King. By far our favorite Japanese restaurant in the area...highly recommend it!

See ya soon!

September 17, 2014

Sixteen Weeks!

Sixteen Weeks Status:
Estimated Baby Size: Avocado

It's amazing what a difference two weeks can make on a baby bump! Wombat is now officially not in hiding, and I can stop feeling like I'm just bloated and awkward and start showing off the W bump! The great gender reveal is not far off, and will conveniently happen on my parents anniversary, Oct 20th, so that will be exciting to reveal to them as an anniversary gift. Wouldn't it be nice if they finally got a granddaughter as a present???

We shall see...

September 6, 2014

Fourteen Weeks

Fourteen Weeks Status:Weight: 146 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Lemon

Five weeks have passed since Wombat had his first ultrasound. I have another appointment in two days and have enjoyed being able to say I am now in the Second trimester all week. Always a nice milestone!

I have definitely had much more energy for the last three weeks or so and feel more human again. I have been really bad about exercising though, and have decided to buckle down. I know for a fact now all the good I was doing myself in my other pregnancies by staying on top of the prenatal fitness, because the lack of it this time is all too evident.  My back has been really bugging me, and my posture is worsening.

I am determined to remedy all of this though, I started slow with two very spaced out workouts this week. I will try for three next week, and one every other day the following week.  It's hard because I really only have a chance right after the kids go to bed, and the kitchen gets cleaned up, and that is probably when I'm the least motivated to do anything physical, much less torment myself with cheesy workout DVDs.

10 weeks 6 days
I cycle through three different discs usually, so at least it's not the same one every time.  I highly recommend Summer Sanders' & Erin O'Brien's workouts...and if you can put up with her, Leisa Hart's prenatal workout always leaves me feeling straightened out and better prepared because of its focus on labor prep breathing, posture, and stretching.  I've tried countless other ones, just to add variety, but these are the only three that I've stuck with and not wanted to chuck out of a window. At least not usually...

The reason I haven't posted for five weeks was because Andy was travelling a lot. It seemed like every other day he was overnighting it. I also had Sebastian start homeschooling early, to prepare for the time off we'll be taking when Wombat arrives.  He loves school, and I can only hope my other three will take to it as enthusiastically as he has, although I am not holding out hope.  They all have graciously gifted minds! And, yes, I'm probably biased in that opinion...

I will start teaching ESL next Thursday as well, so my schedule will not get any easier, but hopefully Andy's will be a little easier now that his annual Summit is finished.  We had another ultrasound when wombat was 10 weeks 6 days...he was being stubborn and hiding during the sonogram so they sent me for a freebie. He measured a little long, which is not that surprising I guess. Thankfully the US tech this time printed out a much better picture (see above).

Well, hopefully on Monday I will get a better idea of when the big gender reveal will be...although I seem to remember it is usually around 22 weeks, which means I have a long wait still. Trying to enjoy it as it comes. Love this trimester so it's not hard to do!

July 30, 2014

Nine Weeks

Nine Weeks Status:Weight: 140 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Grape

Three weeks later and fatigue is still going, but it's potency is beginning to ease up.  I still feel like I need a couple naps a day and don't want to get out of bed in the morning, but I feel surges of functionality this week that I would have killed for last  week.

Yesterday, out of the blue, I decided it was time to trim the hedges (or small prickly trees) in the front yard, and I actually did the laundry I've been putting off all I'd say I'm getting back to normal.

It hasn't been all that eventful for the past three weeks. The boys went to VBS at a neighborhood church for one week, and Andy has been travelling a lot, which I do not like, but have been dealing with. We did get to see our dear friends The Cook family who are moving up here. As I type, in fact! Excited to have them in our neck of the woods again, as they moved away before Leopold was born and had a baby I only recently was able to greet.

The most exciting baby news is that I had the 8 week ultrasound last week. I was highly disappointed in the quality of the frames the tech decided to print for me, because there were some really beautiful full baby profile shots that I would have loved to capture. Oh well, pictured somewhere above, with the help of the Paw Patrol, is the almost indiscernible strip. The important thing is that Wombat looked healthy, and had a good heartbeat. I am convinced that Wombat is a boy because he/she was obviously on the right of the uterus (left on screen but abdominal is flipped) as per the Ramzi method, this means boy #4!  My mom took it better than expected. It could be wrong after all!

I have been spending most of this week calling and meeting with contractors to fix our deck, which is in pretty bad shape. It doesn't appear to have been treated as often as needed, so many of the boards, all of the top rails and caps, and the benches and steps will have to be replaced, and the whole thing will need some screws, powerwashing, sanding and restaining.  I will be happy when that is done.

I have also been getting estimates to fell our huge walnut tree in the back yard. It drops walnut bombs from who knows how high, I'd guess at least 100 ft if not more.  And it is positioned right over the kids' swingset.  Only a matter of time, and my goodness what a pain it was to clean up after when all the fruit dropped off of it last fall. The nuts were all spoiled too, so it's beauty and shade have been outweighed by it's negative qualities...and it has to go! I am going to leave the stump because I SO enjoyed playing on stumps as a kid, and I figure the boys will feel the same...I may keep a few of its logs and use them as benches and screw down a top on it to make a cute little yard table au naturale...

I guess that's about it. See you again in a couple of weeks!

July 8, 2014

Six Weeks

Six Weeks Status:Weight: 135 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Lentil 

Well I definitely feel as though I am pregnant as I approach the six weeks mark tomorrow. Notorious and glorious (only because it means things are working) pregnancy fatigue has been leading me to indulgent four hour or so naps, and I'm starting to feel the necessity for unrelenting trips to the ladies' room.

For me, these symptoms are pretty trademark for my previous pregnancies early on, so there is nothing new here, except perhaps for the now trio of gentleman whose beckon and call are also somewhat unrelenting. Thankfully their neediness also will offer a great deal of distraction from the long waiting game of pregnancy.  Maybe this pregnancy will feel more swift as a result!

While incubating Boops, Zoops, and Loops, I had recorded  that morning sickness started around 6-7 weeks each time and lasted just a brief 5-7 days. I only had nausea, mostly on an empty stomach, with the exception of one night of latrine bonding with Boops.  I am starting to feel nausea again as of last night, so my pregnancy is thus far being very predictable.  It seems I get the most variety out of my labors with each child, and hardly any out of my pregnancies. Still, I will take fact I much prefer it. Though I suppose I shouldn't assume it's not going to get worse until a week or so has passed, right? Right...

Ah, yes! In keeping with our tradition, Schwartzling #4 is to be given a womb name, post haste!

I hereby dub our lovely lentil baby: Wombat, to be referred to as such until such time as Andy and I reach an agreement on a proper name after the revealing of  his or her gender.

Wombat and I will have our first appointment on Thursday.  I've been informed this will be a very exciting session of blood drawing to confirm that I am not deluded into thinking that I'm pregnant, but that the midwives at VCU can indeed proceed with my care in another yet to be determined appointment. !

With that, I bid you adieu! I think I might need another nap!

June 23, 2014

Pregnant Again! - Four Weeks

Four Weeks Status:Weight: 135 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Poppy Seed 

Yes! We are indeed pregnant again with our fourth!  I am beyond excited. We had loosely planned on trying for a fourth later in the summer, in August, but God had other plans for us, and I am happy for the somewhat unexpected surprise!

Since last I wrote, Leopold has grown into a sweet, loving mamma's boy. He's struggling with eating properly, as they all seem wont to do at times, and he is beginning to really talk clearly.  Sebastian will be starting Kindergarten (at home) this year, and I will teach Izaak alongside him. It will be very low-key, with lots of electives, history songs, and field trips! :)  Love my sweet boys! They can be really well-behaved or completely wacky depending on when and where we are, but they love deeply, and God's not finished with them yet. Mommy's patience may be taxed, and her hands may be full, but I wouldn't trade a minute of it!

On Saturday I started having a bit of a weak stomach. I had taken a Clearblue digital test earlier in the day and it was negative, but, after a full day of mild nausea, and not being able to sleep because I was just sure something was up, I got out of my bed around one in the morning and tested again. I was just a tad out of it at this point. This may or may not have had something to do with Andy calling from Kroger earlier in the day telling me the car was stolen...don't ask! We have it "back."  He maintains he has not lost his marbles, and we'll leave it at that! Haha! :) Anyhoo, it felt like I was sitting there staring at that blinking hourglass for 10 minutes instead of 2.  When it finally pronounced "pregnant" I had a momentary jolt of shock pass through me, like maybe I was seeing things because I should've been in bed dreaming.  (I should add, I had dreamt about a positive test two days prior).  I suppose after getting the negative result earlier in the day I should have been even more surprised, but I had a feeling I was pregnant, or I wouldn't have tested at 1am, right?!  I had even expressed the possibility with my parents and a close friend or two last week.

Alas! Here we go again!!!  Of course, the grandparents are all rooting for a girl, with seven grandchildren, ALL BOYS, on both mine and Andy's side, who can blame them right? I admit I think that it would be novel and adorable to have some estrogen backup around here, but it's hard to fathom getting a girl result after three boys.  'Tis not in my hands, so we shall see in 22 weeks!  I am going to use the Ramzi method on the early ultrasound scheduled for Jul, 10th, as it has been accurate for everyone I know who has ever used it, and was accurate for all three of my boys.

Gretchen has suggested, since Andy was #4 in his family, in honor of him, this little one should adopt his womb name of "Azalea."  This would be the first feminine sounding womb name bestowed to any of our brewing bundles. If you recall, Sebastian was Gorthar, Izaak was Lord Chitty Merlin Arthur CaChoob Pendragon Schwartz III, and Leopold was Wooster aka Chewy.  Schwartzling #4 will probably end up with his/her own unique womb name anyways. We  have too much fun with them to borrow one from Andy.

There will be no belly pic this week; we started Vacation Bible School (VBS) today and the church is borrowing our camera. Besides, it's not like there's really much of a baby bump the first few weeks, so whenever I post again it will probably look the same!

I could ramble on and on about the complexities and joys of adding a fourth child to our quiver, but I am sooo tired, I always forget how powerful that early pregnancy fatigue is. Besides, I really should go study up on the story I'm teaching at VBS tomorrow...I don't recall the story of Jairus. Tsk tsk...

Fare thee well for now!