Nesting Like a Mutha.

The nesting bug has hit me. Last night, despite having a cold, I washed and organized all of Adrian’s clothes and sheets and began decorating his nursery. I have no idea where the energy came from.

I got the bright idea to organize clothing he won’t be wearing into labeled bags. Always trying to be more organized around here.

I left all his 0-3 month clothing loose. Hope he’s not a huge baby!😅


Pinterest, along with all my friends and family, have gone gaga for those prints. I purchased the art on Etsy for $10, printed them at Walgreens, and framed them.

Japanese fish bunting purchased on Amazon


Full term as of yesterday. 

2016 – Oh Baby, What a Year It’s Been

I always recap the year on New Year’s Eve or some date close to it, so here I am again…but I don’t have nearly as much time to be as detailed as I’d normally be, so I’m going to do my best at summarizing my takeaways over the last 365 days.

The first thing I have to say is that 2016 has been a monumental year. One of my best. I’m ending it in a different place than I started, which is always a feather in my cap, and while my life has taken a dramatic turn from what it once was, it makes me happy that this year I finally found the courage to be myself.

1. I kept my faith first this year, and as a result, I got some of the things I’ve been longing for. No, it wasn’t always easy to choose Jesus first, to not act and wait for His word, and to stick to what He states for us is right. But I did. I chose the hard path. And He rewarded me for it by helping me grow by leaps and bounds.

2. My family is growing! I thought we couldn’t have more kids. I thought something was wrong with me. Something was definitely wrong with me, but it was my thinking, not my reproductive system. Our son will be here in March. Though Kennedy is a fantastic kiddo, she doesn’t deserve to be an only child, and as it’s looking now, she won’t be. (I’m so, so happy for that)

img_5990

Just us, the founders of Team Oesterlein. ❤️

3. My marriage is on the upswing, after a long period of downswing. We have no fairytale romance or whirlwind story to speak of. We’re just two imperfect people who like having each other around and tend to do some great stuff when we stick together. I don’t speak for him, but I will go so far as to say that we both learned this year how to put aside the bullshit, and dial up the realness. I’ve enjoyed abandoning the periphery in favor of growing closer to the person I said a vow to grow with almost nine years ago.

4. My career moved in a positive direction this year. I was finally able to move away from teaching in favor of something else related to education. I love the field, but I wasn’t in love with teaching anymore. I’m currently in love with curriculum, though.

5. I stuck to my biggest New Year’s Resolution for 2016 by abandoning Facebook…as well as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Yes, it did mean I had to give up being a Beachbody coach as well, not because it’s impossible to work that business while not on social media, but because I wasn’t willing to invest the time to learn to do so. I walked away. Certain people are still mad. That’s okay, I left on a good note and have nothing bad to say. People’s opinions of me are really none of my business or concern.

6. I got the upper hand on my anxiety this year. I did this through a variety of measures including prayer, meditation, journaling, speaking to a counselor, subscribing to The Anxiety Coaches Podcast, my semicolon tattoo, setting new boundaries, being wholly honest with others about my feelings, and what I view most important: practicing emotional detachment. I found the courage to release myself from the weight of things I was under and didn’t need to be. Don’t ask me why I felt like I had to assume these burdens; in some way, I think I thought I was being a good friend or person by doing so. But no more. Especially when referring to the phenomenon that was #5 of this list, I have learned to confidently view myself as being in control of my life and its direction. I cut my obligations to others by cutting people out who only expect things of me but offer nothing. I toughened up. I’ve learned how to say no, how to stand up for myself, and how to not care about pleasing others. Did it cost me anything? Yeah, I suppose. But what I gained? Priceless. I have clear perspective on who I am. I recognize that my feelings are not my reality and therefore I don’t need to be victimized by them. I’ve learned how to pick up a thought and also put it down so that I can live in the moment. I was never like this when I was a Facebook user. I’m a better wife and mom now. I love who I am. And I’d rather love me and be hated by others than do things the other way around. My husband and daughter seem to love me for this too, and they (as well as our impending arrival) are the only ones I’m interested in making happy. (Mom and dad too, but we’re all 32 years deep, so they can’t really get rid of me. Did I mention they celebrated 35 years married this year?!)

Okay, well, I’m off to take K to my parents’ house for a bit. I can’t effing wait to see you, 2017. Many thanks to 2016 for everything it brought. I couldn’t have written a better year for myself if I’d tried.

Home Stretch

Today is the start of my third trimester, and I can’t help but marvel over just exactly where the time has gone. This baby has been with me through one road trip to Nashville, two hurricanes, three birthdays (not mine, obviously, but my mom’s, dad’s, and Kennedy’s), three major holidays and the preparation for a fourth, lots of ups and downs with regard to aches and pains, and a weight gain of about 16lbs after an initial weight loss of 8lbs (so I’ve actually gained 24lbs).

I’ve told all my friends and family that it’s likely that this will be my last pregnancy. I have no idea what the future holds, if I will want another after our son has arrived, or if it’s even in the cards according to God’s plans for us, but because I’m treating this like it’s the last time, I’m going about things very differently than I did before.

This is where I come to a tough spot in this blog post, because I’d normally freely divulge just what my intentions are with the remainder of gestation for our son and how I want his delivery to be both similar, and different from, his sister’s. Normally, I’d write in depth about all the ways I’ve changed since August 2013, making me a different kind of mom now. I am not opposed to speaking about these aspects of my newest bundle and myself, but I don’t want to put much onto this blog for the time being as part of my larger move to become a more private person (hence why I set fire to all my social media accounts this year).

My skirting the larger subject of labor begs the question of why I bothered to bring the subject up in the first place. It’s simple: I am anxious to meet him. I’m anxious to see how much better at this I’ve gotten since the first time around. I look forward to the day, whenever it comes, that I can hold him in my arms. I anticipated meeting my daughter this way, but I was so new to the mom experience that I was a little too infatuated with just pregnancy. Pregnancy is beautiful (as is breastfeeding, attachment parenting, cosleeping, etc.), but it’s definitely just 1/8 of the tip of the iceberg. Raising a child these past three years has taught me that there is much more that awaits. I do enjoy the bump as an accessory, though.

image1-1

‘Tis the Season

The season has finally changed here, as evidenced by this crazy cold temp we welcomed in the other morning…

IMG_6542.PNG

Brrrrr!

The seasonal pattern down here is very different from how it was in SoCal. In California, I’d spend most of the year longing for the sunny, warm weather of spring and summer because summers there are bearable. Fall and winter are bearable too, but beach-going in those off season months means ridiculously cold water, so you just kind of chill on the sand, and it’s usually windy, so not always the most ideal beach conditions. With the beach only about a 10-minute drive away, a dip in spring or summer is easy and comfortable; water temps are much warmer from March through August/September. But overall, the weather is easier to contend with because there’s not much severity (or at least there had not been in the first 20 years of my living there) with regard to heat or cold. Climate change (whether anyone wants to admit it or not) has brought severe heat and dryness to the area, and winters have gotten colder (it even snowed in certain parts of the Inland Valley in December 2014).

This post isn’t about weather patterns or global warming. Sorry if that’s what you came for.

Here in Florida, the opposite is true – I pine after cool weather months as they are a relief from the severe heat and humidity we face from May through September/October. I live much farther away from the beach now, so a dip in the Atlantic requires a day trip. I don’t mind that so much, but it limits us to only going on the weekends. We have plans and the room to add a pool to our backyard, so that will help us cope in the future. For the time being, we celebrate when the leaves change and the air becomes cooler and our AC unit stops kicking on regularly throughout the day.

Combine this change in temps with my current urge to nest, along with some killer specials at Michael’s, and Christmas has exploded early at our house.

image2

My nutcrackers are back 🙂


image4

I ALMOST bought a new wreath this year, but I opted to dress up the old one for a fraction of the cost. This wreath originally was all green and silver.

I know, I know…”But Antoinette, you love fall!” Yes, that’s true, but I love Christmas even more. And, Kennedy is just that age where Christmas is becoming that perfect level of magical. She’s old enough to understand what the holiday is about, and young enough to still believe in Santa Claus (a nifty tactic for controlling tantrums and other bad behavior, by the way). She’s old enough to help out with Christmas baking and decorating, and young enough that she isn’t too cool for family traditions. I’ve been waiting for her to reach this point since she was born, so I’m in mother-daughter heaven with her a bit.

image3-copy

Christmas card teaser! This isn’t what went to print this year, but it is one photo we took. Super easy to do with some holiday props and a selfie stick. 

I’m also in mother-son heaven with a growing bump to show off in fall/winter rather than spring/summer. When I was pregnant before, I thought it’d be better to be pregnant during spring/summer for ease of wardrobe. Perhaps that is true in San Diego where the temps are easier to deal with, but here, the North Central Florida heat killed my spirit and motivation during my first trimester. I wouldn’t wish such a fate on anyone, even those I can’t stand. Nausea + sticky hotness is just a fucking chore, so needless to say, I’ve been LONGING for it to get cooler out here.

image5

23 Weeks. Fall/Winter bump > Spring/Summer bump.

I’m not nauseous anymore, but I have other things to contend with by way of sciatic nerve pain, low back pain, hip joint pain, and Braxton Hicks contractions (which are more uncomfortable than they are painful). None of them are fun, but I’ll take those over the nausea. My back might hurt, but at least I can eat Chipotle again. 🙂

A growing bump also means a growing baby with bigger kicks and rolls, and though they sometimes send me rushing to the bathroom to pee, or keep me up at night, I’m so enamored with feeling my son’s movements. We’re also in the fun phase of planning for him where we’ll start (I say “we,” but really it’s just Fabian) painting and purchase matching sheets. I got curtains on sale at Kohl’s a few weeks back and plan to have the glider rocking chair reupholstered. Decorating has kind of been my jam lately, so it’ll be fun to create a new space for a baby boy – something I haven’t done before.

The incoming holidays also mean more time that we get to spend with family, something that has always been a priority for me regardless of the time of year. As I’ve grown and changed this year, I’ve found myself clinging tighter to my family as my inner circle, basing more of my activities around my opportunities to involve them. Especially as my parents get older, it’s important to me to keep setting aside the time for them, even through the differences I experience with them (particularly, my dad). We aren’t meant to move through this life alone; my belief in God and Jesus means that they serve as my Creator and Savior, but belief in them doesn’t cancel out the need for companionship and a sense of purpose. My purpose used to be vague to me, and in many ways it is still undefined to me, but through the growth and development of my own family I’ve come to appreciate the place I have in relation to them, and the value they all hold for me. That’s probably one of the things I am most grateful for this holiday season: realizing my importance through my family.

Whoa, Nelly

One detail that I didn’t mention in my blog post comparing this pregnancy to my last one is the fact that I’m really making an effort to go about some key behaviors differently. Before, I figured that as long as I wasn’t in pain or bleeding, I could take over the world with my baby bump. I had no qualms about climbing ladders to paint, moving furniture, or lifting light to moderate weight boxes. I was also standing for about six hours total to teach four days a week while in my second trimester, so I was pushing it. It wasn’t until a doctor hooked me up to a fetal monitor and showed me that I was having regular contractions that I knew anything was wrong. This of course led to my hospitalization at 30 weeks, and being placed on bed rest for weeks 30-35 before giving birth to Kennedy at 39 weeks 2 days. This may very well be my last pregnancy – not because I don’t believe I can ever be pregnant again, but because I’ve only ever really desired to have two kids – so I owe it to myself to go a different route this time. Even though I work from home for my job, I still have to pace myself, know when to take it slow, and give myself adequate time for rest so as to avoid having the same perils with my son.

This is hard for a woman like me.

If I need a box moved, I don’t like asking someone else to do it and then waiting for that person to move it. I’d rather just move it.

I have standards for how clean I like to keep my home, and that usually entails vacuuming the floors at least once a week, mopping once every two weeks, cleaning toilets and showers every two weeks, and dusting furniture weekly. I try to dust our ceiling fans once a month.

Laundry gets done weekly, and I do usually ask my husband to haul that over to the machine for me because sometimes it’s just way too much to try to carry, or even kick/scoot across the floor.

I grocery shop weekly, which means groceries are hauled in from the car weekly, though if he’s home when I come back from the store, my husband will also do this.

But in addition to these chores, I’m also cooking meals daily (which requires standing) and doing shopping (which requires walking on hard surfaces).

I got to learn the hard way this past weekend that I don’t have as much energy to go around for these things as our son grows and grows. I spent Saturday morning shopping, the afternoon at the play area with Kennedy, dinner at Red Robin with Kennedy, and then sat through a movie (and millions of previews) with Kennedy. It was a long day, and I was burnt out by the end of it. My husband came home to find me seated on the couch under a throw blanket watching Mean Girls with a glazed over look on my face. I told him about my day and how exhausted it had made me. I also told him about how Kennedy’s attitude (typical of a three year old) had also worn on me.

I think all parents try to be the impressive, fun person their kids want to hang out with all the time and share fun memories with. Where reality balances this dream is that we can’t always do everything our hearts aim for. Some of us would love to take our kids to Disney every weekend, but time, money, or geographical constraints stop us. We would love to be able to buy them the hottest clothes and greatest toys and coolest gadgets, but certain factors prevent us from that, too. Eventually, we want to be able to send our kids to Ivy League schools with a full ride, but that’s not practical for everyone, either. I had this lesson handed to me as I tried to be everything mom while also being expecting mom – it just doesn’t work. And while my daughter surely loved me for taking her out to play, and to dinner, and to a movie, and for all the awesome new clothes I surprised her with that day, she would’ve also been okay with a trip to the park, dinner at home, and maybe a Redbox movie on the couch with homemade popcorn. I don’t have to (and in my current state, really can’t) wear myself out to make her happy, because I alone can be enough. More importantly, I don’t need to place such expectations on myself in order to feel like I’m succeeding as a mom or a wife or a person. This last part is the trickiest for me to master.

It’s hard for me to sit back and relax and let others do things for me.

I don’t do well at waiting on others. Perhaps it’s impatience? I don’t know.

I’m a woman of action. I have a vision, I put it in motion, and I get things done. Taking a more docile approach goes against a lot of what I’m about.

 

…but the cost of not doing such is far too great right now. I’m setting aside my selfishness – which is equal parts ego and need for purpose – and erring on the side of nurturing our baby boy right now.

 

Check on me in a couple weeks to see how this is going. 😅