mums make it all better.

yes, folks, it’s time for another odd, out-of-season post!

I swear, if keeping up with a blog is this difficult NOW … well, let’s just say this blog will be retiring around April 13. However, I have a feeling that all I need for a complete blog post from that point on will be quick, timely posts of just pictures … I’ll let little baby girl’s cuteness do the talking for me.

Back to the mums.

First of all, I love our house. I love almost everything about it. I love how it looks like a little cozy cottage, yet has a surprising amount of room. I love the location, all nestled in the cutest neighborhood ever, fairly safe, and extremely convenient (to everything but my workplace). I love the multi-colored brick, the pop of the white windows and the beautiful dogwood in front. … and the hottie husband building a french drain in the front.

However, I still felt like something was missing.

So, we did this.

In order to play up the “cottage” look it already had going for it, I decided it needed some flower boxes. I bought these black window boxes made by Mayne. They’re unique because they have a nice curve in the front … which is a shape prevalent throughout the house (especially in the interior arched doorways) and the detail is very craftsman, also like the rest of the house. I also thought the black really pops and brings out the color in the mailbox and storm door. [It’s difficult to see, but there is a window behind the dogwood, with a window box.]

Then we stuck 2 pots of yellow mums in each box. We kept them in the pots for easy removal before winter.

What do you think?

What simple things have you done to improve the curb appeal of your home?


Baby Barto: Week 26

me at week 26: Two very exciting things this week! First, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law threw me a baby shower in Wisconsin. It was such a great day … full of love for this little girl that hasn’t even been born. All of the women in the family gathered for an afternoon full of delicious food, conversation & games. I was showered with love and very generous gifts. Let’s just say that Baby Girl Barto’s wardrobe took a flying leap toward complete in just one day … and all but two pieces have some touch of pink on them! ūüôā She and I are pretty lucky girls. I’ll post pictures of the special day if someone has any!

The second very important event … another sneak peak at our little girl. The Thursday before we left for the shower, we went in for a quick ultrasound to make sure my placenta was far enough away from my cervix. It was (3.3cm) and Baby Girl is healthy. The doctor wasn’t incredibly skilled at taking ultrasound pictures, and little miss was moving a TON (so incredible to see in real-time), so we only got one semi-decent photo.

Here, you can see her face (adding some chub since last time! yay!), and her hands in front of her face (just like at the 20w ultrasound!):

Baby Girl Barto at week 26:¬†¬†She now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (website says like an English hothouse cucumber? Who comes up with these foods?)¬†from head to heel. The network of nerves in little Miss Barto’s ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. She may now be able to hear both our voices as we chat with each other (and singing Santa Fe to her). She’s inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of her lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when she’s born and takes that first gulp of air. And of course, she’s continuing to put on baby fat … as evidenced by the the ultrasound!

Baby Barto: Week 25

me at week 25: Ahhh…. my second & last week of vacation before heading back to work. I relaxed and still crossed a lot off my to-do list. I think I spent the majority of my time pinning nursery ideas on Pinterest, though. Don’t be fooledthis doesn’t mean I’ve actually lifted a finger on getting the nursery actually started. I love decorating, so I thought I’d naturally want to begin the nursery planning as soon as I found out I was pregnant. However, the kitchen renovation has consumed my design thoughts. Throw in a crazy work schedule and some traveling … no nursery action throughout 1st & 2nd trimesters. Here’s hoping 3rd trimester will be productive, or else Baby Barto will be sleeping in an open suitcase.

Baby Girl Barto at week 25:¬†¬†Head to heels, she now measures about 13.5 inches and she weighs around¬†1.5 lbs.¬† She’s beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she’ll start to look more and more like a newborn. She’s also growing more hair ‚ÄĒ and if you could see it, you’d now be able to discern its color and texture. This will be a surprise for us … she could either be a blond or a brunette … or even a redhead!

Baby Barto: Week 24

me at week 24: This is a nice week. I can relax, just like the pregnancy books tell me to – it’s Christmas break! Danger also lurks in the holiday sweets available at every turn …¬†especially at my family’s house. However, I was better about working out this week, since I had time off. Jogging, yoga, and DVDs are still helping me feel healthy.

This week, Mom and my sister got to feel little Miss Barto kick, and Dad felt her move a little bit. That was a lot of fun. One of the things I’m most looking forward to is seeing my parents be grandparents for the first time, and seeing my brother & sister be an uncle and aunt. Baby girl Barto is already surrounded by so much love.¬†

One morning during my week off, I visited a local daycare.¬†It came highly recommended, and it lived up to its reputation. I was impressed with the level of care, and the curriculum for all of the different levels (infants, toddlers, preschool). The infants were happily playing. The toddlers were reading a French book and putting on a nativity scene. The preschoolers were caroling around to the different rooms and also learning about the different bones in the skeleton (I saw a little boy writing the word “phalanges”¬† …!). ¬†Afterward, I was just so excited for our little girl to be exposed to all of these opportunities.

Unfortunately, there is a¬†year-long waiting list, so we’ll need to find interim care – but¬†both Michael and I are pretty happy with this eventual opportunity for our little girl. ¬†

Baby Girl Barto at week 24: She is¬†growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week.¬†Since she’s almost a foot long, she cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but her body is filling out proportionally and she’ll soon start to plump up. Her brain is also growing quickly now, and her taste buds are continuing to develop. Her lungs are developing “branches” of the respiratory “tree” as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help her air sacs inflate once she hits the outside world. Her skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

Baby Barto: Week 23

me at week 23: This week was pretty cool. One night, I was sitting at the computer and happened to look down at my belly during one of her kicking sessions. I actually saw my belly move. It was really, really amazing. It was like she went through a growth spurt in that one day, because that night, as I was lying in bed, I could see my belly moving again… and the next night too. Michael was out of town on business, so I recorded it for him to see. Up to this point, we could only “see” her by looking at the ultrasound … now we can look at my belly and see movement … by our own baby girl’s free will. This is really what astounds me – that I’m carrying the life of another being, with different DNA and different thoughts.

If she’s anything like I was, I’m sure it’ll only seem like a second until I hear her telling me these different thoughts. ūüôā

Baby Girl Barto at week 23:¬†¬†She’s more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as large as a big mango).¬† She even may be able to be seen squirming in mama’s belly (right on target!). Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing. Loud noises that become familiar now ‚ÄĒ such as the hairdryer or the pounding of kitchen contractors working ‚ÄĒ probably won’t faze her when she hears them outside the womb.¬†

This is what she may look like at this stage.

Baby Barto: Week 22

me at week 22: I had a regular, but quite eventful OB appointment with Michael this week (I’ll get to that later). Don’t worry, the baby is quite healthy. This was the first time the doctor measured my tummy, and he said I’m measuring a week ahead – I’m sure that will change over time. At my most recent ultrasound, my placenta looked like it could be covering my cervix (placenta previa), so the doctor will be doing another ultrasound just to check things out on Jan 5. Most often, if the placenta is covering the cervix at this point, it will move out of the way before labor.


When you’re pregnant and you go in for an OB appointment, the routine is to immediately give a urine sample. Like any other appointment, I complied.

However, I went to a new office location and their sample routine was a little different. In the bathroom where you give the sample, instead of having a little metal cubby in the wall where you would set the finished cup, they just had a rolly cart.

Maybe you think you see where this is going. Oh no, I can assure you, it was worse.

Another pregnant lady had done her sample right before me, so her (quite full) cup was on the metal rolly cart just inside the bathroom.

No big deal … gross, but I can handle seeing someone else’s pee in a cup.

I go in, take a new cup, write my name on it, set it down, and proceed to KNOCK OVER THE OTHER PEE CUP.


So I’m standing there, possibly with my pants around my ankles (maybe), staring at the situation. Stranger’s pee is all over the rolly cart and the floor, with not so much as a drop left in the cup.


I think I stood there for 5 whole minutes …. because that didn’t just happen. Right? That would never happen.

It did.


I cleaned up the stranger’s pee, did my sample, took a big breath, and went outside to discreetly find a nurse.

No nurse to be found, OF course, so I had to whisper to the receptionist … in full view of the waiting area … which contained the stranger whose pee I just cleaned up.

I think my face remained the same shade of scarlet for the¬†entirety of the the visit. I didn’t know who¬†knew about what happened … so I just assumed¬†everyone did.


I would have loved to hear the nurse tell the stranger lady that she had to muster up some new pee because a clumsy other preggo decided to rinse the bathroom floor with her first sample.

::: mortified :::


But I digress.

Baby Girl Barto at week 22:¬†¬†At 11 inches¬†(the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, little Miss Barto starting to look like a miniature newborn. Her lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and she’s even developing tiny tooth buds beneath her gums. Her eyes have formed, but her irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. Fine hair (lanugo) covers her body, as well as deep wrinkles on her skin, which she’ll sport until she adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside her belly, her pancreas ‚ÄĒ essential for the production of some important hormones ‚ÄĒ is developing steadily.