Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another glimpse of our baby

We went in on Wednesday for our final routine ultrasound.

 We asked the ultrasound technician if she could switch the view to 4D, and she agreed! It was so fun to see our baby's facial features for the first time. What a squishy little mouth and nose! :) FYI ... The umbilical cord is running along the right side of the picture, blocking part of the baby's eye and cheek.

The baby and amniotic fluid levels looked great. The baby's heart rate was 136 bpm.  The technician pointed out the hair that she saw sticking up from the baby's head!

Based upon measurements of the baby's humerus, femur, head circumference, and abdomen circumference, the technician estimated that the baby's current weight (at 37 weeks, 2 days) is already 8 pounds, 2 ounces!! Yowzah! If this measurement is accurate, and the baby stays inside until the due date (gaining about 1/2 lb. each week), we could have over a 9-lb. baby in our hands!

The technician said this measurement can be off by up to a pound in either direction. Our doctor said the measurement is just as often (if not more often) low, though. By comparison, at Ian's final ultrasound (at 38 weeks, 0 days), his estimated weight was 7 lb. 14 oz. and he was 8 lb. 7 oz. at birth (39 weeks, 6 days).

Anyway, our doctor suggested that we think about the possibility of induction at some point during the 39th week if the baby hasn't already come. We're not sure what we want to do. Though Kim was induced with Ian without any complications, we were sort of hoping this baby would come on its own. But, the idea of induction also sounds sort of nice to this girl who's a planner ... and who is getting very, very tired here in these last weeks. Please pray for God's wisdom as we make a decision about induction (or let Him make it by having the baby come before the 39th week). :) And please pray for a healthy delivery for both Kim and baby! Thank you so much ... we'll keep you posted!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Three Weeks and Counting ...

 It's hard to believe that we're in the final stretch before baby comes! We've been trying to get last minute baby- and house-preparations finished and trying to spend as much quality time with Ian as we can. :) 
 Kim and Ian went to visit our friend, Mrs. W., in the assisted living home one more time before baby comes. It's so cute to see Ian and Mrs. W. interact. Some of their favorite things to do together are reading books and doing simple puzzles. Another activity that seems to work really well is bringing along a few photographs of what our family has been up to. They're great "prompts" to get Ian talking, and they can help Mrs. W. get to know Ian a little better.

 We also went to Daddy's school to visit Daddy ... and to see some other special "friends." A teacher there, Mrs. S., hatched some chicks!

 Ian was thrilled to be able to hold a chick himself!

 The same day we went to visit the chicks, one of the high schoolers' fathers had brought their show cows to the school, too. Mr. W. helped Ian feed one of the cows a banana.
 Then, they brushed the cow together.
 That night, we hosted a baby shower for some friends. As usual, Ian latched onto our youngest guest, Philip, and did a good job of playing with him gently. :) We're hoping the interest and the gentleness continues when we bring Ian's little brother or sister home!
 On Saturday, we went to the zoo for a final time as a family of three (our zoo membership expires at the end of April). Toward the end of the visit, we decided that it probably wasn't the best place for someone in her 9th month of pregnancy to go with all of the walking required, but we still had a good time together. :) Some big hits included seeing the meerkats,
 seeing the cheetah,
 and even seeing a special movie ... Dora and Diego's 4D adventure!
 This was Ian's first experience in a "theater" of sorts, and he thought it was great! Matt and I had never attended a 4D movie, and we thought it was pretty cool, too.
 We've enjoyed having to wear jackets some of these recent mornings with the cooler temperatures!
The baby continues to grow! It's getting to the annoying part of the pregnancy where EVERYONE (even random strangers) feel the need to comment on Kim's size and/or how it appears like she's going to pop. One lady even asked if Kim was sure she wasn't having twins. (Um, yeah, pretty sure!) God bless those sweet people who compare the baby to "a little basketball under your shirt" or just say that Kim's looking great. When you feel as big as a barn, it's nice to have a little encouragement. :)

Kim is thankfully still feeling well, and aside from the tiredness and the increasingly more intense Braxton Hicks contractions, has few complaints. Thankfully, her feet and ankles aren't swelling nearly as much as her pregnancy with Ian! Her weight gain is about the same as with Ian's pregnancy, but her belly is a little bigger. (The night before she had Ian, her tummy was 41" around the biggest part. It's already now 42" around. It'll be interesting to see if it gets any bigger or just stays the same.)

At our last OB appointment, the doctor said that Kim isn't dilated at all, so we're hoping that the baby stays inside for at least two weeks longer until Kim's family arrives! We'll go into the doctor again this week for our ultrasound to help guess what the baby's current weight is.

As we get closer, Matt is guessing that this baby is a boy, and Kim is guessing the baby's a girl. Ian's vote changes depending on the day. What do YOU think? Vote in our poll along the right column of the blog.

This baby doesn't seem to move around as much or as forcefully as Ian did. But, this baby gets hiccups WAY more often. Below is a cool (though some might think creepy) video of the baby with hiccups. You'll also notice a few larger baby movements in addition to the regular belly "jumps."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ian's (early) 3rd birthday party

We decided to celebrate Ian's birthday a few weeks early ... well in advance of littlest Schleicher's arrival. :) While brainstorming party themes, the one we were most excited about was Goldilocks and the Three Bears -- since Ian is turning three AND because he loves stories!

Right away, I emailed my creative cousins that live in Illinois and Wisconsin, and they replied with a list of more than a dozen possible ideas that I could incorporate. (Thanks, Marcie and Becky!!)

We chose Saturday, 4/14 as our party date, and for weeks beforehand, we worked at getting all of the details figured out. Here's what we came up with ...

The INVITATIONS were story books that were personalized for each child or invitee. Here's a copy of what we sent out (with our personal info scratched out). You may have to click on the pictures to make them large enough to read the details, if you're curious.

We were very happy to hear that all of the children we invited except one was able to attend! :) We had 11 of Ian's friends and at least one parent join us to celebrate Ian's special day.

The past two years, we've been blessed to have family here for Ian's birthday parties. This year, all of our family (understandably) wants to wait until after the baby is born to come to Texas! Instead, we relied on some of our "Texas family," the Oblinger family to help us with last-minute details as well as behind-the-scenes details during the party.  Friends Tanya (owner of Tanya Alexandra Photography) and Martha took pictures for us!
Eric helped to blow up balloons and hide some of the teddy bears for a game (along with Matt, Ian, and Melissa).

 Ian and Melissa supervised the set-up of the cupcake table.

Carrie had some great decorating ideas!

We kept the decorations pretty simple. Kim and Ian had used the die cut machine at our church's early childhood center to cut out lots of teddy bears. We placed some of these teddy bears on the table, hung some in our doorways, and made some "chains" out of teddy bears, too.

 Of course, we used balloons to decorate, too.
 On our mantle, we placed four pictures of Ian (age 0, 1, 2, and almost-3). In between the pictures, we placed three teddy bears of varying sizes. We had helium-inflated some gold balloons the night before and had planned to have bunches of helium-filled balloons decorated like bears that we could hand out at the end of the party. Unfortunately, the balloons weren't floating by morning. Nevertheless, we decorated six of them like bears and hung three above the mantle and placed three on our mailbox outside. :)

We placed an easel and sign out front, welcome people to Ian's "cottage in the woods."

The party started at 10:00. Our first activity was a craft that we did outside in the driveway.

We had ordered some ceramic teddy bear piggy banks from Oriental Trading Company. Kim painted them all brown, and then we purchased decorations that the kids could glue on the banks with tacky glue. We used ribbon, jingle bells (that could hang from the ribbon), foam stickers, pom poms, sequins, and googly eyes. The parents had to help, but the kids had some great decorating ideas! 

Kristy and boys, Eli and Micah. Kyle with Caleb.

 The whole group hard at work ...

Melissa shows off her teddy bear bank -- complete with ear muffs!

Here are some other completed teddy bear banks, in front of the favor bags. (Design copied from this website) Inside the treat bags, we placed Teddy Grahams, gummy bears, a Berenstein bear book, and a teddy bear (from Oriental Trading Company) that we personalized with fabric paint.


We copied Goldilocks and the Three Bears coloring books/story books for the kids to color while they were waiting for their friends to be done with decorating the teddy bear banks.

 Other kids chose to just play outside! (Christopher, Ian, and Brooke)

(Caleb B.)



In typical toddler fashion, only about half of the kids were interested in the "Hot Bear" game. But the ones that played loved it! We passed a teddy bear around the circle. Whoever was holding the bear when the music stopped got to growl like a bear, and everyone clapped for him/her.

Melissa read a Jesse Bear story to the children.

(Ian and Christopher)

Then, Kim read the book "Going on a Bear Hunt." The kids loved doing some made-up actions along with the story.

After hearing the story, the kids were excited to go on a bear hunt of their own! First, we handed out bear "hats" to everyone (posterboard circles with construction paper bear ears). We attempted to take a group picture and ended up with a great shot of 8 of the 12 kids there. (Maddi, Melissa, Christopher, Brooke, Caleb B., Ian, Carson, and Caleb L.)

We gave the directions for the bear hunt after the photo-attempt. Each child was given a specific color and had to find three bears of that color hidden in the backyard and/or garage. Children then exchanged the three bears for three pennies that they placed right into their teddy bears banks! This bear-hunt was probably the overall favorite activity of the party, perhaps because it reminded kids of the Easter egg hunts they had probably done only the weekend before!



 (Caleb L.)

The Oblingers handed out the pennies.

Then, we came inside! First, we did the "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" rhyme together.

Then, some dear friends (Daree, Julie, and Melissa) helped us act out the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
We had set up some basic props prior to the party (bowls, spoons, chairs, and blankets which served as beds).

Matt played the part of Papa Bear, Kim was Mama Bear, Julie was Baby Bear, Daree was the narrator, 

 and Melissa played Goldilocks.

 Thanks, actresses, for helping us out! :)

We served brunch food -- yogurt, fruit, blueberry muffins, sausage balls (thanks, Sarah, for making them!), mini-quiches, and mini-pigs-in-a-blanket. 

 We also had a "porridge bar" -- oatmeal with toppings like sprinkles, cinnamon, brown sugar, blueberries, Craisins, raisins, and banana slices. YUM!

Instead of a cake, Ian asked for bear cupcakes. 

Surprisingly, we couldn't find ANY good bear cupcake patterns on line or in cupcake idea books from the library. So, we created our own by combining some various ideas we found and some of our own. We used M&Ms for the nose and eyes, Nilla wafers for the mouth area (and chocolate icing for the mouth), Grasshopper (or Oreo) cookies for the ears, and Starbursts cut into fourths for Mama Bear's bow. They were simple and tasted yummy!

 Happy third birthday to our sweet boy!! :)

Then we gathered to watch Ian open presents. (Bonus points if you noticed the new area rug in our living room!)

 Following the tradition a friend started, the child that brought the gift was able to help Ian open the present. What a fabulous idea!

Thanks, friends, for helping us make Ian's birthday so special! We had a fantastic time at the party!

 We love our almost-three-year-old! :)

It's hard work to celebrate ... even our non-napper fell asleep on the couch right by Daddy!