Thursday, July 24, 2014

Week 20 Recap: It's a....!!!

What an incredible week!! My mom flew in from Tennessee on Thursday and was able to attend the 20 week ultrasound with us. It's always an amazing treat to see our baby on that screen. You spend so much time thinking and dreaming about the little one, that getting this glimpse makes all the more real. There was so much wiggling (again!) and so much growth since last time - the length of a banana now compared to the size of a peach in week 13. I'm trying hard to wrap my mind around how we've made it to the halfway mark already and semi-wishing I could slow things down just a little. We got a healthy report back for this point, which was a huge relief for me. Since the beginning, I've worried (probably a little too much) about all the things that can and do go wrong and have spent many a moment in prayer for a healthy, happy baby. Even though neither of us have a gender preference either way, we'd always planned to find out. But as the day approached it felt more and more bittersweet knowing that the abstract days were coming to a close. For a split second I thought about backing out but since we had a reveal party on the books later that evening I knew deep down the planner in me couldn't wait that long we had the tech write the baby's gender and place it in two envelope's - one for the party store, the other for us (in case the party store lost it - I need something for the baby book!)

Since Alex was leaving town the next morning we'd planned an outdoor reveal soiree for later that evening on the same rooftop where we celebrated events like this and this, which seemed fitting given our love of theme parties. (I knew I didn't want to find out in the doctor's office, that just felt too sterile and hospital-y for such an incredible event.) So after the appointment came the mad dash of prep like wrapping our balloon box, explaining to the store associates what we needed without having the surprise ruined, a last minute grocery store run, and an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. (I had purchased the most beautiful blue silk dress shortly after I found out I was pregnant hoping that it would accommodate the bump later in the the summer. Since we'd decided to wear the color of the gender we suspected and my feeling all along was boy, I was dead set on this dress. However, the zipper had other plans. It wasn't the bumps fault, just shoddy construction, and after tugging and trying as hard as the three of us could it finally snapped and I was left scrambling for a back up outfit. I guess it's good practice for when the baby spits up on a future planned ensemble...)

We arrived at the party with what felt like minutes to spare and as our friends trickled in I became more and more anxious with each passing moment! Soon we would know if a sweet little boy or precious little girl would be making us a family of three.

But first, snacks. 

And socializing. 

Pappa pops the champagne in preparation for the reveal. 

Our friends donned diapers with their gender picks, Team Girl...

and Team Boy.

And the moment we've been waiting for... 
It's a ..........

Words can't explain how amazing it was to share that experience with my Mom and so many of our friends. Though I initially wondered if finding out the sex early would take away from the actual birth day moment, after experiencing such excitement and outpouring of love that night, I have no regrets. From the thoughtful little gifts (unexpected, unnecessary, but so appreciated!) to the loads of hugs and cheers immediately following, my heart is full with love and warm with the thrill of it all that won't soon be forgotten. We knew we wanted something visual to share with the loved ones who couldn't be here, and I hope this makes them feel part of the festivities. Celebrating in the spot that's housed so many wonderful memories, in front of the skyline that's been our home for nine years, could not have been more meaningful. One day, I can't wait to share these pictures and video with our little one and remind her how much she was loved before we'd even met her.  

This is where the pictures get a little blurry because they're screen shots from video. 

To say I was shocked would be the understatement of the year! 

Since the very beginning I just *knew* it was a boy. From boy-leaning old wives tales to the way we kept referring to the baby as "he", having a girl never entered my mind, even though we would have been happy either way. People would ask if we wanted a girl or a boy and when I'd say I honestly had no preference whatsoever, just healthy, they'd act bored and basically accuse me of lying. But I've felt/feel so honored to be able to be part of this miracle, and hoping/doing all I can to grow a strong babe, that it felt too selfish to wish either way. I believe we'll get what we're meant to have and it's one baby girl, two of each, or three of the same, nothing could change my mind about that. However, even as I write this a few days later, I'm still getting used to all the pink. I guess I had four and a half months of thinking blue so it might take some time to convince my mind otherwise. But I couldn't be happier. 

A daughter
Alex will adore her. 
And I can't wait to share shoes with her. ;)

Kisses, baby girl! 

P.S. The night after the reveal I felt her first "kicks". Although I'd been feeling bubbles and flutters for a few weeks, the midwife had asked the day before if I'd felt any biggger movement yet and described the early sensation as "being punched through a pillow", which I hadn't. But at bedtime the next night, little tap, tap, taps from within started and I was melted. It feels exactly like being punched through a pillow, if you imagine the tiniest fist possible coming from the sweetest of babies, pushing on the softest of pillows. Yeeep!  Lying in bed at the start of a new day, or end of an old one, feeling her wiggles and seeing parts of my tummy move up and down on it's own is my new favorite thing. It's our little moment and it's so surreal! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summa Time: Week 19 Recap

Week 19

The weather this week was beautiful (minus the rainy few hours pictured above) so we took lots of walks around the neighborhood soaking up the sun and breezes. I'm living in stretchy skirts and tunic tops these days, as well as maxi's and flowy sundresses with room for the bump. Getting dressed is an interesting challenge being a new size and shape what feels like daily. Baby is the size of a mango and I'm continuing my unintentional trend of eating lots of whatever food the baby's size corresponds to so I had a mango smoothie every morning, and mango with sticky rice one night (which tasted like Heaven). I can’t believe we’re one week away from being half way there and in just a few more days we’ll know if it’s going to be bows or bow ties for our little nugget! The beginning felt slow, I guess because we were anticipating a heartbeat and waiting to break the news, but time is truly flying now.

A few more snaps from the weekend:

Mojito doesn't appear impressed, but he loves to snuggle on my belly.
Michigan Avenue looked beautiful this weekend.
Greek fest for dinner on Saturday night, summer food is the best!
This dress fit a lot different a few weeks ago...

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Making it in America: July 4th / Week 18 Recap

We had a groovy weekend.

Our 4th was spent boating with friends...

...the bump was huge...

                            ...we went 'Merica inspired, hence the head coverings and neck tat...

...and the skyline was beautiful as always.

On Saturday, we attended a friend's annual BBQ which had a 70's vibe this year. 

Someone joked that if I wanted to dress as a pregnant hippie that they make pillows for that and I didn't actually have to get pregnant. But I politely reminded them that when I commit to a theme, I commit. (*wink*)

By Sunday, 'lil mama was exhausted but spending time in the sun, with friends, celebrating our nation's mid-summer holiday was worth it. Overall, I felt so much better this week. Most of the growing pains were gone, just a few here and there, which made life a lot more bearable. Baby was the size of a sweet potato and I happened to eat one for dinner nearly every night - it just tasted sooo good. I haven't any cravings (as in "I need ice cream and pickles stat!") yet, but I do have kicks where certain foods will be my favorite for a few days in a row, and luckily so far, those items haven't been too unhealthy. The farmer's markets are in full swing so we're enjoying making dinner with fresh produce (and of course, a few sweet treats from an Italian grandmother who makes the best mini cherry pies of your life).

Hope your week and weekend were wonderful!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Garance Doré for Rifle Paper Co.

Blogger favorite's Garance DorĂ© and Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. have teamed up for an epic collaboration.

I'm in love with all the black, white, and yellow! But let's be honest, every piece is pretty awesome.

P.S.  Lucky Magazine has a 15% code until July 11th!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Growing Pains: Week 17 Recap

A couple of shots from our phone camera's over the weekend. 
Walking along the Milwaukee River, boating in Chicago. 

Last week was all over the board. It started with a trip to the midwife on Monday to asses some major cramping and stabbing jabs that really freaked me out at first. Turns out that round ligament pain was to blame and, man, was it bothersome. Common during this stage in the second trimester, it's just the body stretching and making room for the little life in there, but I pinned it on karma for turning my nose up when I read that baby is the size of an onion this week. (An onion? Something so sour and bitter for something so sweet??) The pain was pretty constant until around Friday and all of a sudden, voila!, a bump! (Ok, it wasn't technically overnight, but definitely a major growth spurt!) The growing pains were legit and I think it's safe to say I've "popped".

It was extremely foggy all week (see above), a little chilly, and rainy, so we jumped at the chance to escape for a bit and drove up to Milwaukee on Friday to see Atmosphere at Summerfest, who coincidentally happens to be the artist who sings a song we've had on repeat since we found out, which includes the lyrics, "She want a baby so I gave her one of those." We were joking that it was appropriate for the babes first concert, and just before we arrived I felt flutters of the baby moving on the left side. They were so faint, and I almost missed them had it not happened a few more times that night and since. Some people describe them as butterfly wings but mine feel more like bubbles, and that reminds me of a champagne celebration happening in my belly, which makes me insanely happy.

On the way back to Chicago on Saturday we stopped for a little outlet shopping and when a sales associate noticed the belly she got teary and admitted she'd just found out she was four weeks along. I was the only person she'd told besides her husband and doctor and it felt nice to have that moment with a complete stranger. It was my second experience of feeling like part of this exclusive club of support and understanding. It's a nod, a smile, or a comment that just means, I get it. From what I've seen and heard motherhood and parenting can be an open door for judgement ("You're doing it wrong!") so I'm really enjoying these tiny moments of camaraderie and openness.

On Sunday we spent the day on the lake with friends, and it was one of the first times most had seen the bump so baby got lots of love. I'm truly overwhelmed when I think of how many people are caring about us; asking questions, making sure we're comfortable. It's just so kind.

So what started out as rocky week, ended in a really happy weekend. Every day, sometimes hour, can feel different. I'm not sure if I'll do a recap each week, but it's nice to document a few things I want to remember and appreciate. I hope you don't mind following along!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Farewell First Trimester

15 weeks

While I'm not planning to turn this into a baby blog, it's always been a place where I've documented our lives and happenings at a given time so some pregnancy posts are inevitable. Currently, I'm reflecting on coming to the end of the first trimester.

It's a little bittersweet saying goodbye to the first three months of growing this little one. In the last few weeks I've been in a total comfort zone. The nausea has pretty much passed and as of week thirteen I could still fit into most of regular clothes. Word is officially (finally!) out and we're on cloud nine.

But moving to phase two just seemed like it came so quickly. By the time we shared the news (outside of family and a few friends) the "keeping it on the down low" phase was well behind me, which may be one of the reasons time seems to be flying. Also likely because for the first twelve weeks I really didn't let myself believe it. Some of it was shock, but most was a defense mechanism. I needed that first ultrasound and confirmation that there was a real, live baby in there. (Even though I had plenty of symptoms as "proof".) But once I saw that wave I was melted, and all of a sudden I have a belly and everyone's all "you're pregnant!" and lots of tummy rubs and hugs ensue. (Which is totally cool with me, by the way, as long as you aren't a complete stranger. The way I see it, the more baby love the better!) I'm sure at some point I'll want things to move along faster but right now everything is just so good. I've enjoyed each week, as different as they can be, and hope that trend continues throughout the pregnancy and parenting process, and if it doesn't...well at least we'll have a precious babe to show for it.

So, hello part two! Hello bigger bump and official maternity clothes, hello new symptoms I'm not quite ready for, and hello to the moment we find out if we'll be buying pink or blue - eeeeps!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

First Trimester Favorites

Thank you so much for kind calls, comments, tweets and notes about our happy news! As thrilled as we are I won't deny that the first trimester was a challenge. I can't say it was horrible, (some might actually describe it as a breeze as far as months one through three go) just different and something to get used to. (Basically, I'm just not used to feeling like myself, and always a little "off".) From morning sickness and headaches to fatigue and emotional overwhelm, it's an adjustment physically and mentally. Best naps of my life? Check. A few out of the blue crying fits? Check. Hormones are no joke. Luckily, I've had a great (i.e. understanding) partner by my side and have also found a few can't-live-without products along the way.


Honest Company Prenatal's and Omega's - As soon as the test came back positive I spent several hours researching the necessary nutrition, vitamins and minerals and comparing the options. In the end, these won, not only for covering all the basies but also due to the organic ingredients. I absolutely loathe swallowing pills - every day it's a struggle - but knowing I'm providing a good base for our baby makes it a teensy bit easier. I carry a weekly pill organizer in my purse so I don't forget to take them each day.

Morning Sickness / Nausea / Gag Reflex:

Ginger - For the most part, my morning sickness hasn't been terrible unless my stomach gets too empty or I smell something offensive (eggs, and hubby's protein shake were the culprits) but for those random times I needed something to ease the nausea ginger was my BFF. During weeks five through eight I was never without ginger tea, ginger lemonade and ginger ale (along with crackers and sometimes cheese).

Preggie Pop Drops - when I was sick of ginger or on the go I'd pop one of these babies. They also doubled as cough drops when I got a crazy two-week cold during week seven!

Kid's toothbrush - Yep, a super small one made for kiddo's. After complaining to my mom about the pregnancy toothbrush gag (very common) she suggested this miracle. You won't believe the difference! The options are pretty limited though, be prepared to be into Princess or Cars, so I'm rocking a Belle!

Beauty / Body: 

Mother's Friend Skin Toning Oil - I can't say whether or not this is actually working yet, but I figure why not start early? I've read that stretch marks are genetic and no cream or rub can change that destiny, but my mom used this throughout her pregnancies with nary a mark so that's good enough for me. Plus, it's super hydrating so at least there's that.

Aragan Oil - Early on I gave up lots of chemically laden beauty products, especially things absorbed by the skin like body lotion and facial skin care. I wanted to use products with the fewest ingredients as possible so aragan oil became my skin savior even though I was initially terrified due to my typically oily skin. A little goes a long way!

Water bottle / Reusable Cup - Growing a baby requires lots of water. It's vital to keep the organs hydrated, the toxins flushed, and I hear it does wonders for constipation (did I really just type that on this blog?). I have a simple reusable Starbucks cup that I keep with me daily, knowing I need to down at least four refills per day. I also like this timed idea.

Naps - there is no greater sleep than pregnancy sleep. (So far. I have a feeling that won't be the case for much longer.) In the last three months I turned down more invitations and events than I can count, I've been lazier than ever before in my life, and have enjoyed cat naps likes nobody's business. From 30 minutes to 3 hours, I can rest in the afternoon and still be fast asleep by 9:30. It's incredible and very necessary.

Hair ties / rubber bands - The bloat kicked in for me pretty quick. Pants became unbutton-able by about week six. I was shocked and not ready, or quite big enough, for the maternity plunge so I looped bands around my button and long, drapey tops became my look du jour every day. The bloat disappeared around week 10 though, so I got a few more weeks out of my regular clothes.

Alright mama's that's it for this round. I'll be back with second and third trimester favorites in the future. In the meantime I would love to hear some of your favorites!