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May 30, 2012

Hump Day Bump Day at 23 Weeks

Um, hello summer! Nice of you to bust through the walls like the Kool Aid man, dousing me in sweat and very little motivation to do anything at all on Memorial Day. 

I'm nearing the 6 month mark and am feeling really great this week. We're hoping to start the nursery in the next week or so, and I have a feeling the summer is going to just proceed full speed ahead. I've actually started feeling more achy and uncomfortable in the past week. My goal is to stay cool and comfortable for the next 3 months, which means long, loose, and comfortable dresses and sandals. 

Today was a big day because I felt Baby Girl kick on the outside for the first time! A couple nice strong kicks right after lunch, and I was on Cloud 9 the rest of the day. I just wish she'd kick her daddy now, too. 

Baby Development 

Baby Girl is about 11 inches long and just over a pound. Blood vessels in her lungs are preparing her for breathing, and her ears are becoming more keen to sounds in the outside world. She will start to become familiar with more and more sounds, like my voice and the music I listen to.

Best Part of the Week

The long weekend! Two days spent at home seeing my parents and getting lots of belly rubs. It's funny, when it's a stranger trying to touch, I will pretty much karate chop them. But having my mom, Sean's mom, and my grandmother give a little rub and talk to Baby Girl was just awesome. Monday was really nice, as Sean and I didn't do anything. We just chilled out at home with Loki and relaxed in the air conditioning. I'm very easy to please lately.

Maternity Clothes

I am all about dresses. The less planning I have to do in the morning the better. Throw on a dress and shoes and head out the door is my style. I am also digging these long maxi skirts from Old Navy with a tank top. Easy and breezy. The dress I'm wearing in these pictures is by Everly Grey Maternity, purchased through zulily.com.

Weight Gain

Well, according to my mother's scale, I've lost 3 of the 14 pounds I've gained since the start. I have a hard time trusting scales, especially knowing how much my weight can fluctuate in a day. I have my 24 week appointment next week and I'll get weighed there. At my last appointment, I was up 14 lbs total, which my doctor was happy with. I feel like it's all in my belly. I haven't really noticed any other parts of me growing (yet), so I guess that's a good sign!



Symptoms

Belly Discomfort: I've had a few aches here and there that I think may be Baby Girl practicing her tapdancing skills on my sides and my ribs. I get a tingling feeling across the top of my belly sometimes, which I suppose might be skin and muscles stretching. It tends to happen towards the end of the day after I've gotten a couple meals and snacks in me. I also need to pace my eating and eat a lot lighter. Heartburn is really uncomfortable and if I eat too quickly, I get pain and discomfort on the top right of my belly. I have to remind myself that my organs are getting a bit cramped in there.

Back pain. Not terrible, but sitting all day at my desk, I definitely feel better lying down on the couch on my side and getting a lower back rub from Sean. I am attributing my upper back pain to my bras being too small. Time to go shopping!

Swollen feet and ankles. The ankles haven't been bad, but I've noticed my feet getting a little puffy if I spend a lot of time standing. I shot a wedding Saturday and there was no better relief in the world than taking my shoes off the minute I got in the car to go home.

Stretch marks? I've had these since pre-pregnancy. I use Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion and Burt's Bees Milk and Honey Nourishing Lotion. There's only so much you can do to fight nature!

Mood swings: Well, I tend to get more mood swings at work, but I'm sure it tends to be part hormonal, part stress. I have been a lot weepier. I cry a lot.

Cravings

Ice cream is always welcome. Last week I was craving peppermint stick ice cream from Far Far's in Duxbury, my hometown. I sadly did not make it there over the weekend but am determined to go next time I'm home. And the other night, we were watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and he was in Lisbon, and for some reason I had a sense memory to sitting on the beach in Corfu eating a chocolate frosted donut, and all I wanted was that donut. I didn't make Sean go out to get me anything, though (and he was willing!). I'm stockpiling the crazy for much later.

I dream of donuts....This is the actual donut from Corfu. 


What I'm Looking Forward to This Week

Saturday will be "V-Day", which at 24 weeks, is Viability Day. It basically means that should I go into pre-term labor or the baby needs to be delivered, this is the earliest it would have the best chance of survival with a lot of medical intervention and assistance. Every week after V-Day the chance of survival further increases, so making it to this point is quite a milestone. Plus - 24 weeks = 6 months! Wow.

May 24, 2012

Thoughts on a Thursday Evening

I am turning into that weepy pregnant lady. It's hilarious. You could tell me you had the best bowl of mac and cheese of your life and I would just lose it.

Major kudos to Marvel Comics for continuing to inspire kids young and old everywhere, and contributing to my weepy ways.

The next Darwin Award and some major side-eye goes to the mother behind me in traffic on the commute home who let her young son run rampant in the backseat of her car. Not strapped in, the kid was very small and all over the place. Oh, and the backseat window was down so their spaniel could hang outside in the breeze. Epic fail, lady.

Rain, rain, go away. We're in a fight. You're sapping my mojo.

I'm patting myself on the back today for McGyvering my potato sack of a maternity dress today. All it took was 2 bobby-pins attaching the neckline of my dress to my bra straps to take my neckline from boobalicious to work-appropriate.

I have been feeling like I need to grow more creatively lately. I'm not quite sure how, though. Hopefully the long weekend will do me some good and bring a little refreshment.  

It'll be a busy weekend, so I hope whatever it brings for you, you're able to take some time to think about all that you have and thank the service men and women in your life for the gift they give each one of us. Freedom isn't free at all and we're blessed to have people in this world willing to put themselves on the line for the love of our country. 

Stay classy, loves. 

May 23, 2012

Hump Day Bump Day at 22 Weeks

Do you have a bucket list?

My good friend Kate wrote a great post last week about how she isn't a fan of bucket lists because people make them, but never actually take the time to accomplish anything they would like to do. Life is spent wistfully dreaming of faraway beaches and adventures, trying some exotic food, or skydiving, yet we live our lives with our feet on the ground, close to home, eating grilled cheese sandwiches.

There's goodness in the ordinary and routine. There's comfort. There are simply beautiful days spent doing not much more than catching a nap with the windows open and a cool breeze kicking up your curtains. Not everyone has an adventurous get-out-of-the-country spirit, but what drives you forward? What keeps you from looking back and wishing you'd done something more with your time?

As Baby Girl's due date looms in the not so far future, I think about this summer, The Last Summer, which will be our last summer of just us. Three glorious months to do what we want, go where we want to go, without worry of diaper bags and extra changes of clothes and baby sunscreen and security blankets. The ability to go on a quick errand to the grocery store and nimbly carry four stuffed bags up the two flights of steps in one trip to our apartment. 

And of course, not knowing if or when I will be pregnant again, I want to really enjoy this belly and the joy it brings me. I have learned that 40 weeks of pregnancy can be the fastest and slowest 40 weeks of my life.

So I made a list. I asked Sean for input. Things we can and want to do this summer, before our littlest family member arrives and everything changes.

1. Day trip to a beach back home (me: swim/float pregnant in the ocean)
2. Go see Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spiderman on opening night at midnight. Eat popcorn and drink Cokes.
3. Learn to make homemade ice cream.
4. Day trip to NYC to go to the top of the Empire State Building. Get some frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity.
5. Sean's addition: "Sleep." Have some lazy Sunday mornings where we don't get out of bed until the afternoon.
6. Spend a weekend camping and/or do a good day hike.
7. Day trip or overnight to Block Island.
8. Get to a Sox game at Fenway.

It's not a long list, but there are things we've said "Oh, I've never done that/been there" and other things we've been meaning to do summer after summer. I'd be happy to scratch only 2 or 3 off that list, but I think we'll be able to do a lot, big belly and all.

In the righthand pic, I felt Baby Girl doing a cartwheel.

22 Weeks

Baby Girl is now approximately 11 inches long head to toe, and weighs about a pound. She's wiggling around more and more, and I'm confident I'll be feeling those kicks on the outside soon. Today, she was all about the backflips. It felt like gentle waves ebbing and flowing from the shore, but inside me. I love it.  

The most common question I get is "how are you feeling?" In one word: great! I had no idea how my body would handle pregnancy, and I think even with the aches and pains and puking (yes, still puking), pregnancy has been treating me well. I guess I always had a fear that I would just become enormous overnight and not be able to do much and enjoy myself. I'm happy with how things have been progressing, and look forward to continuing to grow each week.

I've wrapped up registering and am looking forward to my weekends freeing up in June so I can really start prepping the nursery. The next couple weeks are chock full of weddings and family shoots, and spending as much time as I can at home taking care of Loki. This weekend I have a wedding up in Massachusetts and fully intend on visiting Far Far's Danish Ice Cream on Sunday for a scoop of peppermint stick ice cream - one of my first real cravings! Sean is grateful I'm not forcing him to drive up there at 10pm on a Tuesday to get me some :)

A confession...

So every Tuesday or Wednesday that I come home and take my bump picture have Sean take my bump picture, no more than 5 minutes later my my bra is on the floor and the penguin pants are on. From 8:30am - 5:00pm each day, I dream of my penguin pants.

If I lean my butt back, I can still see my toes, and the fact that I could use a pedicure.

We are big fans of bare feet in our home.



Conehead Update

Each day is getting better. Less crying after peeing, a little more energy, eating a little more eagerly. Official Bird and Squirrel Lookout is back in action.



I'm pretty sure only this face can make a plastic cone look kind of sweet. He makes it work. Tim Gunn would be proud.




We're looking forward to a nice long weekend and hopefully some sunshine. But for now, we're unwinding and letting the rainy days dictate some relaxation.

As long as I have my penguin pants, I'm good.

May 20, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

After one trip to the animal hospital ER, 12 days at the vet on a catheter, countless medications, and finally surgery, Loki is home with his people, resting, and very, very happy. Wearing a cone for 10-14 days, but very happy.







There is fur that needs regrowing and stitches that need healing, but we're so glad he's home with us and on the mend. It was a scary, uncertain two weeks that I would be happy to never repeat again. But we are basking in lots of scratches, snuggles and purrs, enjoying the soft breeze coming in off the back porch and birds happily chirping away. A return to normalcy has made us all happier and and feeling at peace.

I will write more about his surgery and what we went through later. Right now, there's a little chin that is begging to be scratched.

May 18, 2012

Unexpected Light

Dear world,

Just when the dark and gloomy days seem endless, with no reprieve in sight, we catch a glimmer of unexpected light.

Thank you.

It catches me off guard, but puts a smile on my face and a bounce in my step. It's refreshing and I feel renewed.

Today I'm overwhelmed and thankful for that unexpected light. There's true goodness in the world. Good people doing good things. Sunshine beating down and sending the sweet smell of lilacs and dewy blossoms into the air.

A cherry atop a much needed ice cream sundae.

I'm blessed and I'm thankful.

May 16, 2012

Hump Day Bump Day at 21 Weeks

Fun seeing the difference between bathroom and window lighting!

 Well, we are now past the halfway point and can sort of start the the official countdown until BG (Baby Girl) gets here. 129 days to go! It still feels like a lifetime away, though the weeks just seem to be disappearing before our eyes. There's plenty to keep us busy and on our toes right now, and I'm sure in no time I'll be saying I can't believe the time has come!

It's been a rainy, crummy couple of days, after having a positively beautiful weekend. We had a date on Mother's Day to go check out strollers, cribs, rocking chairs, and oooh and awww over oodles of sweet, tiny things. We continued our date over lunch and discussed BG's name, which I'm 99% sure we've decided on. Too bad you'll have to wait 19 weeks to find out what it is...

I know, I'm a tease. Deal with it. :)

We had another ultrasound this morning, and this time I remembered to ask for some pictures! Since she was so wiggly last time, they were hoping to get some clearer shots this time, and they did! We saw 4 chambers of her heart, a healthy looking spinal cord, kidneys, sweet little feet, her brain, and we got some pictures that we weren't able to get last time. Looks like she's waving hello, right?



There's lots to look forward to in the next couple of weeks, between weddings to shoot, squishy little faces to shoot, and a nursery to start cleaning out. One thing at a time, and it'll all get done, I'm sure. I have had so much on my mind with our sweet kitty, who is sadly still hospitalized for his bladder. We remain hopeful that he'll be home and back to his mischievous snuggly self soon.

I'd also like to give a shoutout to my childhood friend, Alexis, who had a darling baby girl on Mother's Day. Annabel arrived that morning - I couldn't imagine a sweeter Mother's Day gift. Congratulations, my friend!

May 13, 2012

Mumsie

My mom is boarding a cruiseship, after a week of poolside reading, cocktails and excursions around Key West. 2 weeks off, alone time with my dad, and I don't think anyone deserves it more.



So I didn't send a card or flowers. They'd be sitting at the house for another week. Through the greatness of technology, she and Dad have been regaling their family and friends with tales of lazy mornings, a bartender named Clark, and sunset poetry inspired by the watercolor sky and sweet drops of rum.

I wish I could see her this weekend, but I am more happy that she's getting this time away. My parents are celebrating their 35th anniversary on Monday. They've accomplished a ton, they've raised 3 pretty awesome kids, doted on their grandchildren, and now it's their turn to play.

Go ahead, Mumsie. Splash in the Caribbean Sea. Giggle over dinner with your hubby. Sleep late if you so choose, and wiggle those piggies in the warm sand. You've earned it.

I love you, and I'll see you in a couple weeks for hugtime.

xoxo Peanut

May 9, 2012

Hump Day Bump Day at 20 Weeks Take 2



I'm sneaking it in under the wire. With everything going on this week, I knew if I didn't get a picture I'd be upset. So here it is, in all it's glory. My halfmoon of a bump.

I have felt good this week. In all honesty, I haven't really been thinking about how I'm feeling, just trying to stay calm and get things done that need to be done. When I'm hungry, I eat, and when I'm tired I go to bed (unless I'm at work and then I just suck it up). Sleep is getting a bit more difficult, and I can only sleep on my sides now. Oh, how I long to sleep on my back. And to sleep for 8 hours straight. I know, I know, enjoy the sleep while I can, it'll be different in a few short months. But seriously, mama wants a good night's sleep - now.

I am loving my bump. It feels like it's filling up with Baby Girl, which makes me happy. I also feel like I look pregnant when I rub it or rest my hands on it, not like I just finished a really satisfying cheeseburger.

I shot another wedding this past weekend and had my first stranger ask me when I was due. It was cool to be seen as pregnant by a stranger, and I just felt so happy!

I have to do another gestational diabetes screen tomorrow. I passed at 16 weeks, which screened for pre-GD. Now at 20 weeks, they'll have a pretty good idea if I'm going to have it or not. I will also have to do the 28 weeks test. For those who don't know what the gestational diabetes screen is, it involves drinking a bottle of liquid that tastes like flat, slightly thick 7Up with a cup of added sugar. An hour later, I have blood drawn and hopefully my body will have processed the sugary madness correctly.

The last exciting thing I guess is that we have a loose "theme" for the nursery. It's not really a theme like "ladybugs" or "pink explosion". But it's good. Everything we have been planning and picking out, well before we knew she was a she, just fits. It'll be perfect. And that's all you get to know right now. :)





 




Hump Day Bump Day at 20 Weeks

Ready?

When do you know you're ready to be a parent? When do you decide to take the leap and be ok with grasping every challenge that comes along? It's not always snuggles and fluffy dresses and peaceful sleeping faces. Sometimes it's long sleepless nights spent worrying or crying because you just don't know what to do. Sometimes it's cleaning up pee from a backside and giving drugs to a fussy little face that can't tell you where or why it hurts. It's missing work, but it's ok because you have priorities in life. How do you know when you're ready to welcome the bad with the good, with open arms, because no matter what, you just want to give all the love in your heart to someone else?

 I don't have a picture to show this week. I usually take a picture on Tuesday when I get home from work, so I can post this first thing in the morning. But I spent Tuesday taking care of my kitten, my poor sick little kitten, so there's no picture this week. I am halfway there, 20 weeks, and no picture.

And I am 100% fine with that.

Loki needed me today. Not work, not photo editing. He needed me. He had a blockage in his bladder requiring a trip to the emergency care vet at midnight. Sean took him while I tried to sleep, but come 1:30am, we had to decide what kind of care to go forward with, so I joined Sean at the ER. We signed over a release to have him catheterized, a "drive by" treatment that may or may not work. We gave it a shot. We had to leave him there and go home and try to sleep, but I don't think either of us slept. Not really. Sean picked him up at 4:30am and we both slept on the couch so we could keep an eye on him. Except, again, we didn't really sleep. They had a hard plastic cone around his head to prevent him from licking, and he kept running into furniture, walls, and rolling around on the floor trying to get it off.

We went to the vet first thing  in the morning and were told he needed to pee. He had to produce a goofball size amount of pee on his own throughout the day to avoid being catheterized again. So we went on pee watch. I went to work for about 20 minutes and had to come home to bring him in again. He had peed, but seemed to be in pain. We were assured he was doing well since he peed and to keep monitoring him. Sean had to go to work, so I stayed home and watched. He slept, and mostly just sat around the apartment. He peed again mid-afternoon and I took him for one final vet visit for the day.

Covered in pee, all I wanted to know was that he was ok. I know there is a vast difference between a cat and a child, but Loki, to us, is our baby too. He needs us and depends on us to take care of him, to make decisions about his health and to love him even when he is at his worst. So today, I think, I really felt ready. It was the first time I felt real fear for the well-being of another that I was responsible for. Because I love him. I love our baby girl. I love Sean, and I'm ready to give all the love in my heart for someone else.

20 weeks. Half baked. We can do this.

Update: Loki is at the vet now for having blood in his urine. He's being catheterized and kept at least overnight to pump fluids, do a urinalysis, and get his electrolytes up. Hopefully we'll know more later tonight or tomorrow. Your kind thoughts and prayers are appreciated!

May 7, 2012

Cheers & Boos: Avengers, BBQ, Weddings and Cat Pee

Shall we?



Boo...

...to Loki having trouble peeing, needing a trip to the vet to be put on a special diet.
...to eating too much BBQ last night and having heartburn that burned with the power of a thousand suns.
...to Monday = back to work.
...to still having morning sickness thanks to freakish amounts of phlegm in my throat.

Cheers!

...to seeing The Avengers at midnight opening night! Hulk Smash!
...to photographing a beautiful wedding and the rain holding off long enough for all the outdoor festivities.
...to sleeping late on Sunday and enjoying a date with my husband. Delicious barbecue (but, oh, the heartburn...) and a second viewing of The Avengers!
...to The Bloggess for making me laugh my butt off this morning.
...to a quiet, event-free weekend ahead! Is it Friday yet?

May 3, 2012

Omelette Muffins

Omelettes are possibly one of my favorite things to have for breakfast. It's a versatile meal, as you can add in whatever you want for flavor. Sean's favorite omelette is with ham, red pepper, onions, and cheddar, or a "Western" omelette. I tend to gravitate towards the "Mediterranean", with spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese. To each their own!

I am not a morning person. I pretty much roll out of bed, shower, get dressed, and run out the door, giving myself just enough time to grab something to eat in the car or once I get to work. So I was psyched to come across this idea on Pinterest to make "omelette muffins", an easy grab-and-go breakfast for someone wanting a little more than a granola bar, a mug of dry cereal or yogurt. I whipped these up last night, froze them in individual ziplock baggies, and we now have breakfast for a week!



Omelette Muffins (recipe via Quirky Cookery)

Ingredients

1 dozen eggs
1/4 cup of milk (I used lactose free skim)
1 1/2 - 2 cups of "filling". This can be whatever you want! Bell peppers, onions, spinach, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, etc. I used green and red bell pepper.
1 cup of cheese (I used shredded sharp cheddar)
Salt and pepper (or other seasoning) to taste
Nonstick spray or cup liners

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray your muffin tin with nonstick spray, or place cup liners.

Finely chop your filling ingredients, placing a bit in the bottom of each cup. Sprinkle cheese on top of filling, maybe 2 tablespoons into each. Cups should be 1/2 - 3/4 full with your fillings and cheese. Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl and pour into each cup, just shy of level with the pan's edge. Top with another light sprinkle of cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Muffins will puff up and brown. Allow to cool a bit before removing from pan.

Freezing

I allowed these to cool completely first. I placed 2 at a time in a ziplock baggie and then into the freezer. Reheat in the microwave for 1.5 minutes and enjoy!

This recipe can easily be doubled (or tripled!) for a big family or a brunch. It took about 15 minutes of preptime and then they're in the oven and done! I will definitely be making use of this recipe to a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast option.



May 2, 2012

Hump Day Bump Day: Special Edition

Dear Baby Girl,

Baby Girl! It is so amazing to know that, and to say it! We have this little glimpse into the person who is growing in there, and we are so in love with you. Your daddy held my hand yesterday as we got to see all of your tiny body parts, all growing strong and healthy. We saw your heart beating, your fingers and toes. It looked like you were kicking me at one point. Perhaps the ultrasound tech disturbed you from a nap?

You are almost "half baked" as they say, and you are a wiggly little baby. You moved around so much that they told us we need to come back in 2 weeks to get some more pictures. Twist my arm! I can't wait to see you again!

We told your grandmas about you, and they both cried. They can't wait to meet you. A lot of people can't wait to meet you! I don't think anyone out there is more excited than me and your daddy. He is already making plans to have tea parties with you, teach you the ways of The Force, and I think he has already drafted an application for future suitors who want to date you. He mentioned something about having to battle him in a game of Street Fighter...

You're going to start getting really big now. I promise to be careful not to let Loki use my belly as a springboard when I'm lying down. I think he suspects there's something going on in there. He knows it's a soft, warm place to curl up, and I can't wait to see how he reacts when you kick him in the head for the first time from in there. Feel free to kick all you want, my love, because I love knowing you're in there, growing, preparing to make your debut.

For every hope and dream we have for you, the most important thing is for you to know how loved you are. More than any disagreement we ever have, more than grades, trophies or achievements, we love you so much. Every bit of you.

T-minus 21 weeks until we meet. It can't come fast enough!

Love,

Your mommy

p.s. We did a little shopping and we each picked out something very special for you!