Friday, December 22, 2017

Week 38 Update & the Hospital Bag

Since this is likely my last post (ok definitely my last) before we meet the newest member of our family, I wanted to provide one more update about the last few weeks of my pregnancy.

First of all, I can't even believe I have made it to 38 weeks (as of tomorrow, December 23). Thinking about 9 months of pregnancy when we first found out we were expecting in May was simply unfathomable. I can't believe we have made it through almost 4 seasons waiting for this little baby to grow. And I can't believe that on a daily basis now, I am literally carrying around a full grown newborn inside of me. Am I the only one who finds that crazy? God is amazing and the fact that this baby has gone from pea size to now (according to my handy-dandy app) the size of WINTER MELON (how appropriate, but what even is a winter melon?) is nothing more than a miracle.

I am so unbelievably thankful for all that God has provided to us during this time (a supportive and loving family, my husband completing grad school just this month, health, anything we could need and want for this baby, etc) and know full well that it is only by His grace that we have any of it. As we enter Christmas weekend, I just sit here with a heart full of joy and gratitude for a Savior who sent His Son to be born and die on a cross so that we could be free and live eternally with Him. There are so many people dealing with so much right now- sickness, death, brokenness, job loss, etc- and trust me, my family has not been immune to this, but to think that we have a God who has promised that this life and these sufferings are only temporary and the future of eternity with our Lord is more than just a hope is enough of a reassurance for me to face another day. I hope that you find comfort in this as well.

Alright, now onto the real reason you visited this page today...

Month/Trimester: 38 weeks/9th month/third trimester...THE END.

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

Belly: I officially think that I had an early belly growth spurt and pop. I was showing early on but now I have definitely plateaud (probably not a word) and even though it is definitely large, many people comment that I don't look like I am at the end, while early on several people would tell me how big I was. This is my analysis anyways. If you think I am a large whale, don't comment :)

Symptoms: So as of December 12, which was my 36th week, I was diagnosed with Gestational Hypertension and advised to stop working. My blood pressures had been 130s/80s for the majority of my pregnancy and at one point, if you remember, it did shoot up past 140/90 at an office visit and I spent a short amount of time in the hospital maternity ER. It went back down but then increased again around week 35. I started seeing only physicians, rather than the midwives, as I was then deemed "high risk". I had two fetal growth scans which were both normal...actually, my kid was measuring in the 84th percentile already and at 35 weeks was already 7 lbs (GOOOOD), so there was definitely no concern for decreased fluid or blood flow to the baby causing him to be underdeveloped. When I saw the doctor on Dec 11, he advised that from that point on I stop working to keep my BP where it was and limit exertion, see him twice a week for checks and non stress tests, and plan for an early induction around week 38-39 unless the pressure gets worse in the interim. Staying home from work at this point was definitely not part of my "plan", as I wanted to be able to use my full 12 weeks of maternity leave AFTER he was here, but now that I am 1.75 weeks into being home, I am so grateful for my time to be able to rest and enjoy the quiet moments before our life changes forever! It has been worth it and I know that it has been best for me and for him. Each doctor visit and non stress test has been fine and I am officially going to be induced on Tuesday December 26th! It is not pre-eclampsia otherwise they would have brought me in ASAP.

Other than this, my hip pain isn't as bad as it was a few weeks ago. I just pee frequently and have been having off and on trouble sleeping (like every other or every 2 nights I wake up in the middle of the night). And my swelling, although there, is SO much better than when it was hot outside.

I have occasional reflux as well.

Maternity clothes: I am at the point where one of my maternity athletic leggings are too tight for me!'s definitely the end. Otherwise, only having a few wardrobe items to choose from when packing for the holiday or choosing what to wear is actually nice...not as much stress on "I have nothing to wear". 

Baby prep: It's all done, baby! I even hired a really good house cleaner (finally!) who came on Monday and made my house all clean! My biggest challenge of the week has been making sure the clean is preserved till we get home from the hospital! The nursery is complete, the freezer meals have been cooked, the car seat is in the car, the hospital bag by the door, and the house stocked with some essentials. There is nothing left but to wait! 

Essentials right now: water, my Snoogle, occasionally Prilosec, Red Raspberry tea (tones the cervix to make labor faster...hahah! stay tuned for more on that...). 

My to-do list for the next few weeks: well, my to- do list for the next few days is to enjoy Christmas with my family and be on spontaneous labor watch. And the next few weeks? Well figure out life with a newborn! Ha! 

What is in my hospital bag? Alright so I am posting this not so people can tell me "you won't need that", but to have a record of what I did pack so I can go back and let you know what I found most helpful for the future and for others planning this as well. I have one bag packed and if I don't use a certain item, or 5, then so be it!

For me:
-black lightweight Jersey robe
-black pjs from Target- this Ribbed Henley Top and matching shorts
-black yoga pants
-two plain t-shirts
-this very comfortable nursing bra
-two nursing tanks (one to wear home under a zip up)
-this Aerie Sweatshirt- which is SO cozy and currently only $25!!- to wear home
-these cozy Aerie Pom Pom Socks
-black leggings to wear home
-two pairs large brief undies, although I hear hospital net underwear is all the rage
-toiletries, including breastfeeding cream and pads, chapstick, shampoo, conditioner, soap, face wash, deodorant, toothbrush and paste
-snacks: a few Kind bars, a bag of peanut butter filled pretzels, and gummy bears and Twizzlers (my husband's favorite)
-long cell phone charger
-cheap black Old Navy flip flops
-my camera

(our hospital provides things like pads, ice packs, peri bottles, etc, so I won't bring those. Also, I hear many people say they never used their nursing pillow in the hospital, so also leaving that home)

For baby:
-a footed onesie for going home (L'oved Baby) 
-extra onesie and pants in case I can't decide
-a pair of socks, mittens, and knitted booties
-a Hannah Anderson bonnet
-a knit hat from my mom
-a quilted one piece down suit from Gap...SO CUTE!
-a swaddle (mostly for pictures, as I know the hospital will provide these as well)
-his UPPABaby Mesa Car Seat and this JJ Cole Bundle Me are in the car

and for my husband...he hasn't even packed yet so I am not even going to bother with that! :)

Alright, wish me luck! And someone please provide written instructions on how to have a care for a baby and mail them to me. I think I might need that.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Nursery Tour

When I started thinking about what I wanted my nursery to look like after we first found out we were pregnant, I really didn't think we would go with a theme. As with everything in my house, I envisioned neutral tones, cozy textures (he would be a winter baby after all!), and a little mix of modern and vintage. Then I decided I really wanted to incorporate wallpaper on one of the walls and after searching for days for the perfect 'boy' pattern that I wouldn't get sick of in a few months, kept with my neutral look, but was also appropriate for a nursery, I ended up landing on the Whale Migration Wallpaper from Anthropologie. Quickly my lack of theme turned into an "under the sea" theme. Coming from a family who has grown up at the beach, loving every moment and memory we have by the sea, it seemed only appropriate that this room would reflect that major part of our life and something we hope our son will find room in his heart for as well. When my mom discovered the French stuffed sea creature brand, Big Stuffed, it pretty much sealed the deal. Keep scrolling to see our favorite new octopus and whale...

With the wallpaper being the main focus of the room, I kept everything else primarily in white and natural tones. The ceiling light, ottoman, and crib bring in some modern elements, yet the dresser kept with my love for antiques. The wallpaper was not difficult to put up...for me at least! Thank goodness my engineer Dad was around to make the calculations and measure three times, cut once...unlike me who would have cut once and regretted three times. My mom and I just pretended to help, slapped some glue on, but mostly talked too much while he was trying to think! (we might have been told to leave the room once or twice hehe)

Keep scrolling through to see more of our nursery tour as well as a few more snippets from me! 

I think one of my favorite things in the room is the mobile that my dad constructed (multi-purpose for use at our baby shower and the nursery!) out of some rope, a $1 sewing hoop that was found at a flea market, and some wooden fish that were found at the Country Living Fair several years back. He added in the white piece at the top which plays "When You Wish Upon a Star" when dialed and brings a smile to my face everytime I hear it! 

Those building blocks are another favorite and were gifted to us by my friend (thanks, Tika!) from Land of Nod. The pictures and patterns on them are adorable and so well done. My mom bought the bike basket from Olliella, a brand from the UK. This is also where my sister purchased our changing basket, which I absolutely love and think is so unique! The wrap is from Solly Baby Wrap and the overalls from H&M. 

 The sweaters in the photo above mean so much to me: the grey one was knit by my mom (the soon-to-be Nanny) and is simply precious. The yellow one was knit by my grandmother (Nanny) when I was a baby and has been preserved to be passed onto our son. And the blue one (with bonnet) was also gifted to me by my mom from Luca and Lola, a beautiful line of Australian handmade knits. I can't wait for our little winter baby to wear them!

Sebastian the Lamb is from Cuddle and Kind, a company that provides 10 meals to children in need for every stuffed animal purchased. An adorable toy AND the ability to feed children is a win in my book. The tote is Pehr Designs. 

 Next up is the bear rug. Can you even believe that my mom knit this, too? She is absolutely amazing. Her vision is to see a little newborn laying on it but then as soon as he is old enough, to see him dragging it all over the place with him:) It is the softest, most adorable thing ever and it may not be "under the sea", but he is here to stay!! 

The rocker and reading side of this small, cozy room is probably my favorite corner. My dad made these photo/book ledges for us to display all our favorite reads. My mother-in-law has been sending us a few books a week ever since early pregnancy (which is the best idea ever!) and our library surely has grown! I love the illustrations on these and cannot wait to start reading them to our little guy! 

The curtains are from Anthropologie and the rug is from Target several years back. Oh and that pom pom knit blanket? My mom. What can't she do?!
 And finally we arrive to the focal point of the room: the wallpaper wall, complete with fishy mobile and Oscar the Octopus. Isn't he GREAT? And if you keep looking through the pictures, notice his whale friend as well:) 
Thank you for stopping by to tour our nursery! The only thing it is missing is the best part yet: our son. We are SO ready to meet him in just 7 weeks. He already has our hearts and I cannot wait to love him forever and ever. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pregnancy: Week 32 Update

Photo by Emily Troutman of Emily Troutman Photography

Month/Trimester: As of Saturday, November 11, 2017, I was 32 weeks! Third trimester!

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

Belly: Wait, I still have 8 more weeks with this thing? Remember that time around 18 weeks where I was like 'I can't wait to look pregnant', well I should have savored every moment of that. Just kidding, it's not terrible, but as the belly grows, the back, leg, and hip discomfort grows, which is tolerable but can be uncomfortable at times. Overall, I like looking pregnant! 

Movement: He is a crazy little guy! Moving all the time- kick counts are not a problem here! I love when all the sudden my belly goes in two different directions at once with his butt pushing out on one side and his feet on the other. It cracks me up! I compare it to the movie Flubber. Or all the sudden a huge bump protrudes out and I know it's his butt pushing! This is really the fun stage where you feel closer to this child growing inside of you and its movements almost give him a personality already! 

Symptoms: I still have ankle, lower leg, and foot swelling, but the colder weather has definitely helped keep it less than it was. Around week 29-30 I had a midwife appointment where my blood pressure was just at the borderline of being worrisome- 140/78. My appt was at 7am, so they had me go into work and get blood and urine tests (luckily I work at a hospital/outpatient building) and then recheck it around noon. When I rechecked, it was even higher, so at their recommendation I headed down to my hospital (it's the same health system I work at, but the nicer maternity spot is at the other end of town closer to home) and was checked into their PETU (prenatal emergency room) for monitoring. Of course, all three times they checked me, my BP was well below the original readings that morning and everything was fine! They are having me see doctors from here on out, but everything is normal and I do not have gestational hypertension at this time. 
I also had a Fetal Growth Scan as an extra check on the baby last week and he is already in the 84th percentile at 4lbs, 10oz!! No concern for a small baby there:)

Other than that, I am starting to have more achy legs and hips, especially when I wake up in the morning. Sleeping hasn't been a problem, but I am working on sleep positioning to decrease this pain. My back has been fine unless I do a lot of housework for an extended period of time. 

The skin issues are probably the funniest to me- skin tags. yuck! 

Sleep: I pretty much addressed this above. It hasn't been bad for me which I am really thankful for. My Snoogle continues to be very comfortable to sleep with! 

Maternity clothes: Clothing is working out great. It's starting to get colder and I can't close my coat and refuse to buy a maternity coat for 8 weeks so I plan to bundle up! The shoes are the bigger concern- I might be wearing a dress and UGGs to Christmas dinner haha! 

Baby prep: I am going to post a third trimester checklist in a few days- things I have been accomplishing in the past few weeks in preparation. Some of them include: final decorations in the nursery, washing all the baby clothes and linens, prepping some freezer meals (I actually did it!!), making lactation cookie dough (ha!!), getting my hospital bag ready, and since we are approaching the holidays- getting all my Christmas shopping and wrapping done really early! I also was so excited to get the ok from my husband to hire a cleaning lady for a few visits before baby and I found a "good" one who came for the first time on Saturday morning! My mom, sister, and I were out for massages (using a gift card from last Christmas) and I was SO looking forward to coming home to a clean house so I could kick my feet up and light some candles (my husband was also out of town for the weekend, soooo you knoooowww....some peace and quiet hehe). Well, when we got home, 90% of the house was still completely untouched!! She spent 3 hours just cleaning the bathrooms. I was seeing red for about 3 hours after that. My Mom so very graciously came back to my house to help me clean the rest of the house which only took us an hour! I know, first world problems, but when you expect something to be done, it kind of sucks when it's not! 

In the past few weeks, I have also sterilized all our bottles, breast pump pieces, and pacifiers, finished all baby shower thank- you notes, use my registry completion discounts to purchase all remaining postpartum supplies, and made sure all smoke detectors had new batteries! 

Oh and on October 21 (week 29), my sister and parents threw us a baby shower (click link to see her post about it)! It was "co-ed", as we wanted everyone special in our life to be there to celebrate the new chapter Les and I are about to embark on. It was such an amazing time and we felt SO loved. We received nearly everything on our registry for the new baby and walked away feeling overwhelmingly blessed. My family did an amazing job decorating and preparing the day for us. It was "under the sea" themed, but in a way that was perfectly my style- neutrals, pom poms, yet adorable:) I am so thankful for my sister and parents and all the work they put in to make that day so special for Les and I and I cannot wait for them to become grandparents/aunt! 

Essentials right now: water, my Snoogle, my desk fan at work (I am always hot!), chocolate milk and orange juice (current cravings)

My to-do list for the next few weeks: put the car seat in the car (we are traveling to Cape Cod for Thanksgiving in a week, so plan to have this and our hospital bags with us just in case!), prep 1-2 more freezer meals, stock up on some household supplies, and take our "Baby Care Basics" class at the hospital. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pregnancy: Week 28 update

Month/Trimester: As of Saturday, October 14, I am 28 weeks and starting my third trimester! According to the Bump app, baby boy is the size of an eggplant: about 2.2 lbs and 14 inches long! 

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

Belly: Growing! I remember several weeks back I had a week where I felt a huge belly growth spurt and it took everything out of me. I haven't had that since then, so I guess it's just a steady growth now or maybe I am in for a big surprise. I have some stretch marks despite daily polishing of the bowling ball with Burt's Bees Mama Belly Butter and putting Collagen Peptides in my smoothies most of the pregnancy (gives more elasticity to your skin!) - I am a little bummed about this. 

Movement: He moves like crazy! Some days more than others but I have definitely noticed a routine. It's so weird when you can feel an actual limb brush up against your insides! I am now trying to do my "kick counts". I think he was hiccuping this morning as the movement was very rhythmic! Such a funny thing! I love when he kicks so hard that my arm or hand bounces off my belly. 

Symptoms: Ankle and foot swelling! this definitely seems to be "my symptom", although I think now that the heat is turning into more fall weather, it hasn't been as bad over the past few days. This is also causing my legs to be very achy and sometimes my lower back. I wear compression socks religiously, drink a lot of water, almost have no salt in my diet, elevate my legs nightly, and try to sleep on my left side as much as possible, but after sitting most of the day at work, I inevitably have cankles. My fatigue is also returning- I notice that by the time I get home from work, I am pooped. I am really glad I worked hard during my second trimester to check everything off my pre-baby to-do list, because there's no way I would be doing it now. 
I think skin things are another weird symptom: skin tags (yuck!), some breakouts on randomly my shoulders- fun fun. 

Cravings: I craved brownies last week. I think I should probably move on from that craving though haha 

Aversions: no aversions! I am glad to be back to meal prepping on Sunday nights with lunches that have actual veggies in them:) 

Sleep: I have finally reached the point of LOVING my Snoogle. First trimester, I didn't like it. Second trimester, it was growing on me. But now...I think it is my sleep buddy for life. I have not had any issues sleeping recently- I had some of this first trimester, but have been very careful about maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, drinking chamomile tea before bed most nights, reducing screen time before bed, using guided meditation when needed, not napping during the day (which I don't usually do anyways, but yesterday- Sunday- I did and I suffered last night as a result), and taking my daily Magnesium supplement. I only wake up once per night around 3-5am to use the bathroom, but this is only if I drink too much water before bed, which I am trying to limit. 

Maternity clothes: Still loving them. It was so hot here in Philly for a while- mid 70s to 80s daily with 80-90% humidity. I bought a bunch of cooler-weather maternity clothing thinking it would be fall weather sooner but so far, it's still borderline. Thank goodness for my birkenstocks though, because if it was cold, I literally am not sure what would be fitting on my feet, which is reassuring as we enter November and December...not. My poor beautiful clogs I got last year will have to be dusted off for the spring :(

Baby prep: I got my breast pump in the mail a few weeks ago! It was free with my insurance, but I opted to pay a bit extra for an upgrade at the recommendation of some coworkers. I just started the FMLA maternity leave process- shooting to take the full 12 weeks. I am really glad Les' company provides 3 weeks as well for paternity leave! The nursery is still mostly finished- Les and his dad will be setting up the crib this weekend when his parent's visit town. I had my glucose test this morning and I am crossing my fingers that I pass- I think this made me the most nervous out of everything so far. The drink was actually not bad at all though! 
We have a breastfeeding class this week and a Baby Care Basics class in a few weeks, which I am really excited about! Les got his TDAP vaccine last week (a highly recommended vaccine for those who will be around baby a lot) and I will have mine next week...and we both got our flu shots! 

Essentials right now: water, pillows for foot elevation, my Snoogle, an early bedtime, taking it VERY easy. 

My to-do list for the next few weeks: begin to prep some meals to put in the freezer for when baby comes, continue to stock up on some household/personal care essentials so we don't have to worry about running out of toilet paper with baby here, look forward to my baby shower coming up very soon, definitely making lactation cookie dough to freeze (don't even know what that is, don't even care- but the word cookie is in there, so I am down). 

And a little further down the line: set up baby things, wash baby clothes (that detergent though- so much money!), put car seat in the car, pack a hospital bag! Things are getting real:)

Birth Plan: I am not a birth plan kind of girl. My plan? Get the baby out in the fastest, safest, and most painless way possible. That's all. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Part 1: Our Trip to Monterey, California

In mid-August 2017, we took a week-long trip to California to visit the Monterey and Los Angeles areas. It was a trip that we had planned to do prior to finding out we were pregnant, but then ended up being a 'babymoon' of sorts (it landed on my 20th week). We were hesitant to go at first, as we knew spending that amount of money before expecting a baby could be rough on the budget, but we knew if we didn't go now, who knows when our next chance would be. Ever since I met Les 8+ years ago, he has talked about California and his time living in Monterey and how he has always wanted to take me back. In his early days in the U.S. Air Force about 10 years ago, he lived and attended school at the Presidio of Monterey Language Training Institute for about 6 months studying Spanish. His stories always revolved around young man shenanigans, as he turned 21 during his time there, but it was obvious that Monterey has quite a bit more to offer than local delis and the 'best liquor store in town'. I am very glad we went on this trip, despite dealing with a growing belly and post-flight swollen ankles! I wanted to share a few highlights of our time there, beginning with our time north. My next post will focus on the second half of our trip in LA.

                We had a family photo session with Molly Hansen Photography at Point Lobos Park. 

We flew into San Jose airport on Saturday, August 19th and had a one-hour drive to our bed & breakfast in Pacific Grove, a small town next to Monterey. The drive was truly beautiful- my favorite part being the contrast in the landscape from mountains in the background to more desert-like foliage along the road and then the Cypress trees. We passed many fields and beautiful ranches. Our first stop, after dropping our bags at the B&B was the Monterey Aquarium. We met our friends from Philadelphia there, whose trip to CA happened to overlap with ours, and spent a few hours enjoying the aquatic life. The rest of Monterey seemed to be very touristy, with Cannary Row and the Fisherman's Wharf, which we did not end up doing. I was glad we were staying in the more quiet and eclectic Pacific Grove at a beautiful Victorian bed and breakfast called the Green Gables Inn. I highly recommend this inn to anyone visiting the area. It is not trendy or hip by any means, but offers the most peaceful, relaxing, and romantic stay with daily homemade breakfast, afternoon cheese and wine, and homemade cookies! The best part was that it was across the street from the water, so when we looked out the window from our balcony room, we could see the ocean with otters floating on their backs and the sea lions laying on rocks.

Here are some of the bullet point highlights of the rest of our time, so I don't bore you with the paragraphs...

-Watching the sunset at Spanish Bay: this was beautiful! The weather was very crazy when we were in Monterey- in the morning it was very cool (60s) and hazy, but by the afternoon it became hot (70-80s) and bright sunny- we didn't stand a chance of seeing the solar eclipse. Most of the evenings turned more hazy again so we didn't have a great sunset view, but the glow of the sun off the water along the coast was worth it all.

-17-Mile Drive: if you don't have much time in Monterey, I would say you could skip this. It cost $10 to get into the area of the drive (I think it is managed by the National Park Service) and you follow a self-guided driving tour. The only stop that I found worth the time was Bird Island- a HUGE rock about 200 feet out off the coast that was COVERED with over a hundred sea lions. The site was funny to watch...and hear them barking.

-Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur: at the time of our visit, Big Sur was still closed due to the landslide that happened some time before, but the long drive toward it is breathtaking. Les absolutely loved this drive, where you could stop at multiple points to take photos or climb down rocky cliffs onto beaches, etc. This was worth every moment and I only wished I had known to wear hiking gear that day...and maybe not have been 20 weeks pregnant...otherwise, we could have spent all day hiking up and down to catch the views. We also passed the iconic Bixby Bridge (a site you would know if you watched HBO's Big Little Lies).

-Touching the Pacific Ocean: this was my first time in CA since I was a baby, so it was pretty exciting to check this off my bucketlist.

-Carmel-by-the-Sea: a more upscale small town near Monterey full of art galleries and the "higher-end" crowd. We spent a morning walking around here looking in the stores. A lot of the homes in the area have a very dutch-style to them, but very gorgeous.

-Campagnos Deli- I couldn't leave this out because it was probably the main reason Les wanted to return to Monterey. This was a deli he frequented while there and is owned by a guy who has a strong passion for the military and all the men and women stationed in the area who serve. We had sandwiches here and I have to say, it was well worth it. The HUGE slice of peanut butter chocolate cake we had on the house after was even better.

-Carmel: different than Carmel-by-the-Sea. A very small town in a valley between mountains, full of wineries and beautiful ranches. Our photographer told us about this on our last night there after our photo shoot and we wished we could have found it sooner. We went to dinner at an Italian place with delicious rustic pizzas. The scenery and beauty of the town was perfect. If we ever go back, I wish we could stay in one of the ranches! '

-Point Lobos Park: this is where our photo shoot took place and it is another thing that I wish we had discovered earlier. We would have loved to spend half a day hiking through- the scenery is nothing you can capture in photos- it is simply breathtaking.

I am very glad we started our trip in this area. The first day of traveling was so exhausting that the ability to have a laid back first few days in a quiet little town was much appreciated. We were able to take the days slow, spending mornings sitting drinking coffee in robes and taking in as much of the "quiet" as we could. I think compared to LA, northern CA ended up being much more our speed and taste.

A few more photos from our shoot with the very-talented Molly Hansen. Thank you, Molly! These are special memories we will treasure for a long time!

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! 


These are the real estate listing photos....

And some other before photos.... 

adding pinterest script 3. Changing the Position of the Pin it! button The cool thing about this code is that you have some freedom over where the Pinterest button for Blogger will go over the image. Take a look at the code that you just copied and pasted into the HTML for the word 'center'.