Monday, September 11, 2017

Pregnancy: Week 23 and counting...





Welcome to week 23 of my first pregnancy! I wanted to stop in again and post a bit about my progress so far, how I am feeling, etc for all those interested viewers out there. We just had our 20-week anatomy ultrasound two weeks ago and it was so amazing to be able to finally see a baby-looking version of our little boy! I am already so in love with this little child and feel like I am beginning to count the moments until we get to meet him! Here are a few updates...

Month/Trimester: Week 23/month 6- second trimester

Belly: definitely "popped out"! I think this happened on day 1 of week 20 exactly! My pants definitely were not fitting well prior to that, but now there's no denying that I am pregnant! I enjoy being out of the "she ate too much for lunch" stage and on to the "she might actually have something going on in there" stage. Actually now people are giving up their seats on the bus to me, which is pretty sweet.

Movement: I have been feeling those baby flutters for about 4 weeks now! He was the most active during the finale of Game of Thrones- odd. It is such a weird feeling and at first you're not really sure if it's gas or a muscle spasm tbh but now that I know it's the baby moving, I love it. I am starting to notice his patterns now.

Symptoms: The back pain I was experiencing around week 18-19 has improved a lot after seeing a chiropractor. Definitely make sure to have a good bra if you are pregnant! Some stretch marks are happening (embracing it). Energy is relatively normal at this point, but I can feel a huge difference when the baby is having (what I assume is) a growth spurt. The swelling in my ankles when I got off a 5-hour flight 2 weeks ago was out of control. I wore compression stockings, got up and walked a bunch, drank a lot of water but that did not stop me from having 85 yo congestive heart failure ankles. I had a crease. Around my ankle. ok? Definitely don't sit for long periods of time without propping your feet and drinking a lot of fluid.

Cravings: Nothing crazy, but I still have my sweet tooth intact! I think the pregnancy/pickle myth is true though- I have thought about pickles an unnatural amount of times the past few months. For a few weeks I was craving all the fruit so it's a good thing it's summer now. I am trying to behave really well now that the first trimester carb cravings have died down and as I look forward to hungry hippo third trimester.

Aversions: my aversion to veggies has gone away after the first trimester so I am back to eating more greens...thank goodness! Nothing else is bothering me at this point.

Sleep: I bought a Snoogle and at first it was too bulky, but I have been adjusting to it. It's also good for foot elevation when you aren't sleeping. I wouldn't say I "swear by it" yet, but I can see why people do. I think at this point a pillow behind my back to act as a back-sleeping-preventer is also fine. Last week I had to sleep on the couch a few times because it has more "give' than my mattress and I think my belly/baby was having a growth spurt so I needed all the comfort I could get in order to actually sleep through the night. Also- guided meditation for sleep and chamomile tea.

Maternity clothes: yep, have them and actually love them. My go-to place is Gap as they always have a sale going- their shirts are real soft. I like the full belly band pants, but they stretch out fast on my jeans so I definitely will have to wash/dry them between each wear to prevent them falling down all the time. The Motherhood Maternity leggings are nice (although see-through) and I love the Gap maternity workout leggings I just got. And getting maternity scrubs, which I wear to work daily, was the best thing I have done. Comfort is key.

Exercise: Let's say it hasn't been a "fit pregnancy" but I am incorporating as much walking, and occasional swimming, as I can. Ugh I was just so tiredddd for the longest time.

What I am missing: RUNNY EGGS and more COFFEE! I really just want a littleee bit of coffee in the afternoon but usually my morning cup caps out my caffeine limit for the day. Counting down the days till I can drink a Venti...I mean, till I have a baby. Oh and Lox- on a bagel- with cream cheese and a juicy Jersey tomato. Gosh come onnnn. Someone better bring me this post-delivery.

Baby prep: We have a crib and plenty of baby books and clothes so far! We also have wallpaper for the nursery and some other smaller decor items (of course decor is coming first!) This week is the kick-off of the first big projects for the room- wallpapering, new flush mount light fixture, painting the non-wallpaper walls, and patching up any holes, etc. Still working on finding a rug and dresser. My husband will put up the crib in the next month and we have a chair ordered.

Baby name: we have it all picked out, but don't want to share till he's here! It's sooo cute though.

Currently working on: gathering all the must-haves for my registry and trying to think about prepping and freezing ready-to-go meals to have available when baby arrives and wondering if I will actually get around to doing that (has anyone else done that?) Last night I made a week-by-week list of things I would like to accomplish so I can pace myself but have it all done! I am excited to be able to look ahead in that way.

Essentials right now: my water bottle, my prenatal vitamins, coconut oil to hopefully reduce stretch marks, compression socks daily, Magnesium and chamomile tea for nights I have trouble getting to sleep, prune juice (oh yes).

Highlight moments: this past weekend I spent a long day at a conference sitting down and by 9pm, my ankles were quite rounded out, so my husband, mom, and sister all worked together to put compression socks on my feet and I was in hysterics watching the whole thing and them breaking a sweat doing it. True love.

That's a wrap for now! Thanks for reading through. Have a great day!



Saturday, July 8, 2017

My First Trimester: a Recap and Essentials





We are expecting a baby boy in January 2018! I am excited to say I have made it through the first trimester and am starting out week number 14! All said, it was not the worst experience I have had, despite those dreaded pregnancy rumors. I just wanted to record a quick recap of what I have experienced and the essentials that got me through the first 3 months...
but let me start from the top!

My husband, Les, and I have been married for over 4 years and have known each other for a total of 8. For quite a while, the idea of pregnancy scared me. I never thought when I was younger that it would, but for some reason the thought of going through this whole process seemed so intimidating and almost ....dare I say... gross to me. Then it was almost overnight that my feelings completely changed and I knew I was ready- funny how God works. On May 1 (a Monday), I took the first pregnancy test which obviously had that bold plus sign on it. The first "sign" for me was that I was "late". When Les came home from work, he barely got in the door before I could say "guess what!!"...and at first he didn't believe me, but this quickly turned into pure excitement. We were planning on seeing my parents and sister that Friday night and keeping the secret from them for even that long was so hard. May 5th, that Friday, was the one year anniversary of my aunt's sudden passing so the mood around the house was very somber. It was also my dad's birthday weekend so to honor him, we told them right away on Friday and they were all so happy- not a dry eye in the house!

On May 31, I had my first doctor appointment (right up the street from our house- the best part was taking the bus with my husband) and we saw the heartbeat for the first time! Wow- what an experience! To be honest, my anxiety was high prior to that. It's so scary to know that there is apparently something in your belly but you have no confirmation of it until that first appointment- it takes a lot of humbling and faith to trust that God is in control of that little life. I was having a lot of cramping the first few weeks, which apparently was nothing to worry about, but as someone going through this for the first time, it was very scary. Ultimately, I was just really excited to begin the journey of pregnancy and so far it has been awesome.

We started to announce to close friends and other family within the weeks following telling my parents- I have a really hard time keeping secrets, especially one like this! By week 12, we "announced" even more publicly on social media and week 13 we found out the gender (we chose to have the genetic testing which can predict the gender with 99% accuracy).

As I said earlier, I truly have had a very "easy" first 14 weeks. I have not experienced any nausea or morning sickness. The fatigue and very low energy was my most prominent symptom. I am a person who is used to "go, go, going" all the time- I come home from work and pump out chores every night and on the weekends we are always doing something, but those first 12 ish weeks, I was literally down for the count. My workouts took a back seat and I literally came home every night from work and didn't get off the couch until I had to relocate to bed. It was unreal and even my husband said who are you?! Additionally, I had a lot of back aches (still do!) and as I said, some cramping that ended around week 8. My appetite and diet hit rock bottom- I got to know the local bagel shop well and didn't hold back on eating whatever was in front of me. My veggie sandwiches from before pregnancy made me nauseous at the thought- definitely a food aversion. And other than those things, my chest felt the most pain, but I won't get into that in too much detail...

Now that it is week 14, my energy has returned and I have been getting back to the gym, although not nearly as much as I should yet. Walking and swimming have been my go-to exercises. My diet has also improved a lot and I am able to return to eating cleaner again, although don't get me wrong- the ice cream is still top on the food pyramid here. I definitely feel my clothes fitting tighter (um shoot maybe thats the bagels and ice cream) and just bought a "Be-Band" last week at Target.

Here are a few things that got me through the first trimester:



Mama Mio Tummy Butter and "Boob Tube" are both creams that I have been using daily to hopefully cut down on or prevent stretch marks. My belly hasnt grown much yet, so I cant tell if the tummy butter is working yet, but the other one has definitely helped with other things growing ;) (sorry guys who are reading this!). They are both a little pricey, but definitely worth it and all natural ingredients! 

These ever-so-sexy compression socks!! These were something I wore regularly prior to becoming pregnant as I have a bad history of varicose veins already and I am a nurse, but I definitely make sure I have them on daily now. I just purchased a 6-pack on Amazon for under $25, which is a great deal.


Water! Yes, you will be in the bathroom all the time, but it is so important to keep hydrated even more than ever. I bought this 24 ouncer at Target- the biggest one I could find- so that I always had a lot of water on hand.


A heating pad! I bought this so early on due to back pain and have used it very frequently since. For $15 on Amazon, it was worth every penny. And the"What to Expect" book- an essential. My mom gave this to me for Mother's Day:) I also really love "The Bump" app as it provides a ton of good information and answers to common questions and lets you know what size the baby is every week!



And finally my natural beauty products. I am so glad I made the switch to a lot of these prior to becoming pregnant but it is even more important now to take care of your body and not fill it with chemicals and carcinogens. Schmidt's deodorant is my favorite- you can buy it at Target. I also love Pacifica for face wash (another Target-found brand). But please be careful of what products you are using. Most essential oils are contraindicated during pregnancy, and especially the first trimester, mostly because they are not well researched but also because they can do harm to your baby. For one- stear clear of lavender! 


Ok I think I have rambled on quite enough. I leave you with a few photos from our mini gender reveal with my family. So excited for our little boy!!










Monday, March 6, 2017

Kitchen Reveal


Today I am excited to bring you a glimpse into our newly renovated kitchen. It was a three- week, very highly anticipated project that occurred partly out of pure desire to rid our lives of orange granite counters but also partly because there had been some water damage to our walls (#oldhomesarethegiftsthatkeepongiving).  As you might know, we live in a rowhome in South Philadelphia that we purchased almost three years ago. We absolutely love living in the city and to this day are still so glad we made the decision to buy where we did. It's not our "forever home" though (at least I don't think I want to be in the land of cheesesteaks and mummers forever) and in doing the kitchen renovation, I had to keep that in mind. We needed to make sure the look was classic and would hold up for a few more years for our use, while also making it something that would appeal to the clientele of South Philadelphia when we sell it down the road. I really look forward to the day when we have more room and a place of our own forever, but for now, this was a lot of fun. 

I stuck with a white palette because you can't go wrong with it. For the counters, we chose Silestone Quartz in Lagoon. It's a great marble-looking alternative and known for its durability. All the other floors in our house are original heart pine hardwoods and to find more of that and run it into the kitchen would have been a lot of legwork, so we opted to use Daltile Slate in Brazil Gray for the floors. I like how it's just a clean, classic, and neutral look that will work for years. The best advice my Dad gave me was to seal it right away with a matte slate sealer, which I did. This came in handy on night one post-reno when my husband was back in the kitchen cooking and the olive oil was flying and all I had to do was wipe it off and it didn't penetrate the slate. 


For the backsplash, we went with good ole' subway tile- the Rittenhouse 3"x 6" white from Daltile-and Alabaster grout. This was a hard decision for me- I was worried it would look too modern or too transitional (ps nothing wrong with either, just thinking about my preference here) but I think it's all in what grout color you choose. Dark grout= modern. White grout= transitional (think traditional and modern mix. ie pottery barn). Alabaster grout= juuuust right.  


And finally...the fixtures. The fixtures are what pull the whole place together. The faucet is satin nickel, purchased from Wayfair (Kingston Brass). I love how it looks with the 24" Barclay farmhouse apron sink I found on Amazon. The pendant light above the island is from Wayfair and the range hood is also from Amazon. We opted for open shelving on one side to open up the room- and it seriously worked! The brackets are Rubbermaid from Amazon and the wood is hard maple from a local lumber yard. After about 2 weeks of living with open shelving, I absolutely love it! No dusty dishes when you display things that are used on an everyday basis. 


For this renovation, we decided to keep our existing cabinets. When I painted my cabinets two years ago (click that link to see more), I did it thinking someday we would replace them, but turns out cabinets are muy muy expensive, and since my paint job held up nicely, we kept them! We also did not replace the appliances yet. This isn't HGTV- this is real life. Things cost money:)



Overall, this project went really well and I am thankful we were able to do it! One of the best decisions we made to open up the small room, aside from the open shelving, was to rotate the island so that the short ends were parallel to the side counters of the room. This made it feel like less of a rowhome layout and more open into the bottom floor of the house. We also "customized" the island by adding trim to it and decreasing its "builder-grade-ness". 


aaaaand for the melty cupcakes...


Thanks for stopping by and checking out my post! 


AND NOW THE BEFOREs.....

These are the real estate listing photos....


And some other before photos.... 








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