35 Weeks...35 days to go

I decided to post this on my official 35 weeks, since this means that I only have 35 days left of this pregnancy! I seriously cannot believe how fast this has all gone by and very scary to think that next week I will be in my 9th and final month! I feel like there is still so much to do and that I have plenty of time to get it done in...but the reality is, I better get my butt in gear.

As for the baby, he is still the size of a honeydew and from now on his growth is mostly in the plumping up department - he'll put on a pound or more of baby fat before birth. His hearing is totally developed and his testes have probably completed their descent.

How far along? 35 weeks
Maternity clothes? Still in maternity pants and still mixing and matching shirts. I haven't been working for at least a week now, so most of my daily wardrobe consists of comfy lounging pants and tops.
Stretch marks? I have made it one more week without a stretch mark
Sleep: We are both still sleeping through the night, although some nights are better than other. Some nights I make about four or five trips to the bathroom, while others I make one.
Food cravings: I don't know if I would consider this a craving or not, but yesterday all I wanted was a chocolate cupcake! I have no idea why...maybe it is the season or maybe I just really needed sugar. I found the most DELICIOUS cupcake I have ever had in my life at Maison Vacher (where else?) and it was a chocolate vanilla cupcake...chocolate frosting filled with vanilla cream, YUM! And an interesting tidbit...a cupcake here is called, charlotte - glad I am not having a daughter and naming her that.
Gender: Most definitely a boy.
Labor Signs: Still nothing. Still worried I won't know what labor feels like when it happens. I had my doctors appointment yesterday and the baby is still high. I have another appointment in two weeks to see if the situation changes.
Belly Button in or out? Belly button is still in! Let's see if we can make it another five weeks!
What I miss: Thanks to the finding of the cupcake...I have not missed anything. This week will be my first attempt at American Style baking, so we'll see if I miss anything or not.
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to a weekend at home, finally! We have been so busy running around with the new house and the nursery it has been hard to find time to just be at home during the weekend and get things done.
Weekly Wisdom: I have none this week.

It has been another week of ups and downs in terms of the baby. This week we had our hospital tour, and it was very informative. This will make us more prepared for when the time comes and we have to go to the hospital. I also love the way the system was set up - the baby sleeping in our room and us taking care of him for a week in (hopefully) a private room.

We also had another doctors appointment this week. The baby is doing good and his heartbeat is at 140 and normal. I have gained another 2 KG's, making my total weight gain so far this pregnancy 8 KG's (18 pounds). This week was also my first internal exam and the doctor noticed that I have a very small pelvis. Small enough to cause a concern and for him to order a pelvic scan to see if I will be able to push a baby out or not. I am still not sure what to think, but I am nervous to find out what the results are going to be. I have my scan next week and another appointment the week after, so I will keep you all posted on how this will all turn out!

And now....here is the picture of me at exactly 34 weeks....

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34 weeks

It is crazy to think that this pregnancy is quickly coming to an end. I am getting a little sad to think that I won't get to have this bond with the baby anymore where I can feel him kicking, moving and growing inside of me. As uncomfortable as it is sometimes, I don't want this feeling to end. I don't know if/when I will be able to have more children so I want to savour every moment possible.

According to the experts, the baby is still the size of a honeydew and can recognize and react to simple songs. He can now urinate about one pint per day and this is the big week where the baby's testicles are making their way down from his abdomen to their final destination.

How far along?
33 weeks 5 days
Maternity clothes? As I am reaching the end of my pregnancy I am very happy that I did not over exaggerate with the maternity clothes. The four pair of pants I bought back in August have helped me make it through to the end and I have mixed in maternity and non-maternity clothes.
Stretch marks? Well with six weeks to go, I still don't have a single stretch mark, at least none that I can see.
Sleep: Both the baby and I sleep through the night and we sleep very well. I think I am very fortunate to have had this amazing pregnancy. Like most people say, I am enjoying all the sleep I can now before the baby comes.
Food cravings: Still no special cravings. Although I have bumped up my calorie intake this month, I am loving fruits and sweets.
Gender: Most definitely a boy.
Labor Signs: Still nothing, and from his last ultrasound he is in position but still very high. I hope that I will be able to tell when labor finally comes.
Belly Button in or out? Belly button is still in! I really don't think that it is going to pop in the next few weeks.
What I miss: I haven't missed anything this week. I am too busy looking forward to the future to think about what I am missing in the past.
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to finally finishing the nursery. It is coming together so nicely that I can't wait until the only thing missing from the room in Nathan.
Weekly Wisdom: I have none this week.

This week has been full of ups and downs in terms of the baby. We had our last ultrasound last week and the baby did not cooperate and show his little face, so we'll have to wait until December before seeing what he looks like. Also, when the doctor weighed him, he said he was a bit on the small side: 1.7 Kg's when he should be a little over 2Kg's. I have started eating more to try and fatten him up a bit before his due date. While the doctor tells me he is in the average and not to worry, I can't help but feel like I didn't do a good job making sure he was healthy.

In positive baby news...Cornel finally finished painting the nursery, mural and all, and it looks amazing. We have started setting up the furniture and hopefully we will be done by next weekend and all we will have left to do is put Nathan in his room!

And as usual, here is a picture of the baby bump at exactly 33 weeks!

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Home Sweet Home

Well as of September 29th, we are now proud homeowners! We bought a two bedroom, 80 square meter apartment in Chamalieres, France. We fell in love with it the moment we had seen it. Original hardwood and marble floors throughout the entire place and a completely redone kitchen, built-in-closets (which is hard to find in France) and amazing views of the surrounding hills from all the windows. It wasn't all perfect, there were a few drawbacks - the bathroom needed to be completely redone and it is a fifth floor walk-up (and for anyone who knows me, knows I am not much for exercising, let alone climbing up five flights of stairs everyday). But it was exactly what we were looking for, in the neighborhood we wanted and in in our price range. We kept comparing every other place we looked it to this one apartment, and so our decision was easy.

The house hunting process in France is nothing like it is in the US. We put in our bid and had it accepted at the end of May, and then we had to wait three months for City Hall to give a favorable approval of the sale - which thankfully they did. There are also no such things as mortgages, or mortgage brokers or even such a thing as a credit check. You go to a bank and apply for a home loan and you arrive with your prior year tax information, 2 pay check stubs and they calculate what you can afford. Once you are approved for an amount based on the number of years and your monthly payment, you are good to go, the loan is yours. The big difference is that you don't make any payments to the bank, but rather they have direct access to your account and they withdraw the money automatically every month. But alas, after our long process of three months, our dream apartment was ours!!

We have such great friends that woke up early on a Saturday morning and came over to help us move all of our stuff up four flights of stairs! I don't know how we would have done it otherwise. The hardest part was setting everything up and deciding where we wanted to put the furniture, etc. Here we are two weeks later and we are still trying to set everything up, but things will hopefully fall into place little by little.

We have started setting up the nursery and have made countless trips to Leroy Merlin, the French version of home depot, and I can't believe we have our own little nest to grow into. And without further ado...here are some pictures of our new house. Please excuse the moving in mess.

This is the spare bedroom a.k.a the nursery...

..and the view from the nursery.

This is the view from our main terrace.

Our very red and very messy living room

Our foyer, looking into the our very messy bedroom

our dining room looking into the kitchen

This is the kitchen! My favorite room in the house! And where I spend the most time!

I can't wait to have everything set up, and finally feel settled in our new home!!

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33 Weeks

I haven't had a chance to post my weekly updates in a while, with moving into our new house and not having internet it has been hard to catch up! Last week I officially crossed over into my eight month! I can't believe it, where has all the time gone? Now we are just anxiously awaiting the arrival of our Nathan Alexander!

According to the experts, the baby is now the size of a honeydew. The baby is gaining weight at an average of half a pound a week, brining his grand total this week to about 4 1/2 pounds. Pretty soon, he'll be able to coordinate breathing with suckling and swallowing. His bones are hardening and he's started to keep his eyes open when he's awake.

How far along? 32 weeks 5 days
Maternity clothes? I have been wearing my maternity pants exclusively now for about a month, but I still love and fit into my non-maternity shirts, which is what I love to wear, especially now that the weather is cold, I love being able to put on my comfy sweaters.
Stretch marks? Still not a one and I am hoping to make it one more month without any! I am afraid that with the baby doubling in size almost daily that it will be inevitable, no matter how much cocoa butter I buy!
Sleep: I love sleep and sleeping! I haven't had any trouble sleeping at all, and in fact I feel so much better sleeping than I do walking around and working! I feel like it is the only time when I don't feel all the weight on my stomach.
Food cravings: No cravings and as I am nearing the end of my pregnancy I am a little disappointed! I thought I would be eating all types of strange foods, but I haven maintained my usual diet. Every once in a while I really get a sweet tooth, but for nothing out of the ordinary.
Gender: Most definitely a boy.
Labor Signs: Nothing yet. I hope I will be able to recognize it once it happens.
Belly Button in or out? Belly button is still in! Still so happy, I am in complete fear of this phenomenon. I also hope that with a little over one month to go that it will stay that way!
What I miss: There has really been nothing that I am missing this week, and least not pregnancy related. I miss the comodity of American shopping. This week we tried to go and buy some lighting fixtures during our lunch break and found out that the store was closed from 12-2 p.m. Seriously, when are people supposed to get things done.
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to our last ultrasound tomorrow! I can't wait to see how much Nathan has grown and changed since I saw him almost two months ago! I am also looking forward to finishing the nursery and our big shopping trip to finish buying things for the house this Saturday.
Weekly Wisdom: I have no weekly wisdom this week. I guess I am too exhausted from moving.

The weeks are winding down and I only have a few more to go. I can't believe that I we are decorating our son's nursery, it is a dream come true! I feel like it is finally becoming real! Everyday that I watch Cornel getting the baby's room ready, I fall in love with him even more than before. He is so sweet painting the baby's room and designing the mural to go on the wall. Our son is already blessed to have such a wonderful father!

Tomorrow we will be able to finally see what the baby looks like, but for now...here are pictures of what he looks like from the outside with my pictures at 30,31 and 32 weeks. Can you see him growing?

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Happy Birthday to Me

Well, officially my birthday was two weeks ago, but what a crazy couple of weeks it has been! Between birthdays and moving and life in general, I haven't had time to blog about what an amazing birthday weekend it was!

I guess I should start by saying that I have the most amazing husband ever, and he never ceases to amaze me with his creativity and thoughtfulness! Last year for my birthday he surprised me with a wonderful trip to Carcassone, France, but this year it was a little more difficult to try and do anything being that I was 7 1/2 months pregnant, and we were in the middle of packing and moving all of our things, so we decided we would have a low key birthday. Little did I know the surprises I had in store for me.

Since we were having a get together with friends on Saturday, my actual birthday we decided to get all dressed up and go to dinner on Friday night. It was so nice, even at 3o weeks pregnant to get all dressed up!
We went to La Tente Berbere, the best coucous restaurant (Moroccan restaurant) in Clermont-Ferrand! We had gone there the year before for my birthday and I had been craving the couscous ever since!

As always, the dinner was delicious and I was given my first of many presents, a beautiful photo album, which I had been wanting for a while!

Dinner was not the only surprise, I was woken up at midnight and saw out apartment covered with heart balloons and happy birthday streamers and of course, my favorite, a triple chocolate cake from Maison Vacher with candles! It was so sweet, and I couldn't help but start crying, and then came the beautiful bouquet of flowers! It was so special and wonderful!

After waking up on Saturday morning, we headed out to do what else, get pain au chocolate and coffee! There Cornel gave me a beautiful card and inside a gift card for a free manicure! I had been so sad because it was something that I used to do in the US all the time, but haven't been able to to do since coming to France. It was so thoughtful, and I couldn't believe he had thought of getting that for me! I was also given my favorite perfume, J'adore, by Christian Dior!

The afternoon was very busy since we had to do all of the shopping for the party we were having later on that night. We made it home in time to have a late lunch and there I was greeted by more surprises! I got to open two more presents...another photo album (I love photo albums, but will never buy them for myself) and an alarm clock (no more waking up to a cell phone)! My wonderful husband had outdone himself.

What is even more wonderful, is that even though our house was half packed up and a semi-disaster zone, he was still enough of a trooper to have a small party at our tiny apartment! We spent the rest of the afternoon putting the food together! We had an assortment of appetizers, cheeses (of course) and made lamb kabobs for dinner!

Since my friend Ana and I have birthday six days apart we always decide to celebrate together! We had a great collection of friends and even Jean-Baptiste got into the party mood and wanted to socialize with all of the people!

There is no better way I can think of than spending my birthday surrounded by good friends and good food. I wish I could have enjoyed the wine, but there is always next year! I also got slippers for my present, which I haven't taken off since moving into our new house!

This birthday was so amazing, thanks partly to my wonderful husband and friends! It was a great way to bring in the final year of my 20's! Next year will be so special in so many different ways, I will bring in my 30's with our son by our side!

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