Week 39 Recap: Reflections

Sunday, November 30, 2014

What can I say that hasn't been said yet? I have absolutely loved the past nine months. Getting to experience this process has been one of the greatest, most exciting experiences of my life. I never dreamed pregnancy would be so... enjoyable. I tried to savor every moment, each milestone, and truly appreciate the miracle of changes every new day could bring. The love I've felt personally, as well as for her, has been above and beyond anything I could have expected. The excited anticipation from friends and family meant so much and gave me such strength and support.  Time has flown by, almost too quickly, as I'm sure it will only continue to do (at an even more rapid pace!) when she's here with us. Knowing that at any moment, she'll arrive and I'll instantly be a parent, responsible for her in every way, is an unbelievable and emotional thought. I'm oddly excited about labor (I guess 12 weeks of birth classes will do that to a person) and can't wait to know what date she picks for her birth day. Pretty soon, I'll be writing about two girls in this big world!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gratitude is a muscle that can take practice to perfect. Whether it's finding the best in difficult situations or being content with a current happening, sometimes the feeling and use can be interchanged with "acceptance". Last year, I wrote about having a thankful heart and though it took years for me to strengthen that part of myself, I'm so glad to have filled my mental repertoire with a plethora of "fixes" in times of need. Whether it's taking in a few minutes of morning meditation, or calling my mom to vent, having the tools to help put and keep things in perspective is invaluable.

When I think of the most important things in my life, it's the people and the memories, not the material. And reflecting on the past year has been evidence of that. I spent less on things and more on relationships. From small weekend getaways and big family trips to monthly ladies dinners and designated "phone a friend" times. Even taking time out for myself when needed, also known as saying no.

My heart is happy and full to have so much to be thankful for this year and always. I'm beyond blessed to have experienced a healthy pregnancy, the joy the comes with those first baby movements from within, to the excited anticipation of looking forward to having her out here. It's been a whirlwind of happy, positive experiences, events, and happenings, for which I am insanely grateful.

To my few and faithful readers, I so appreciate you spending time with me here on this blog. Though it started years ago with a focus on fashion, this year shifted into a digital diary format and became a fun way to keep family and friends informed, and has lead to some awesome relationships and conversations both online and off. I'm honored to have you and I hope coming here is inspiring and uplifting.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and many blessing this year and always!

Week 38 Recap: Almost Ready

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

38 Weeks 
I shared the story behind this shark on Instagram if you'd like to hear about it

Pregnancy-wise there wasn't much newness this week. I'm trying to keep moving (in between propping up my swollen feet, see above) and luckily a lot of the sheer exhaustion I was feeling a few weeks ago has subsided. Still feeling some contractions, but the timing and intensity depends on the day. She's typically very active, especially after meals. My shoes and wedding rings no longer fit. My right leg sometimes falls asleep at the knee, supposedly she's pushing on a nerve. Sleeping kind of hurts, laying on my side just makes the belly feel heavy and pulls even when propped on a pillow. At this point it's more about getting and feeling prepared. The hospital bag is packed, she has a sleeping spot, and I think by this time next week I'll feel comfortable in saying we're technically ready for her earthside, but one more week or so in the womb would be just fine with me.

Since it's the week of Thanksgiving, I felt like sharing a few things about this pregnancy that I'm grateful for as well... There was so much about being pregnant that I dreaded based on things you hear and read. I'm not sure if I've just been lucky or if people complain just a tad too much but most of the "worst" symptoms didn't come until the past several weeks and I wouldn't feel right to vent about them as any discomfort at this point should be expected.

I never:
Had a craving.
Snissed (TMI?)
Had the terrible lower back/hip pain people talk about
Had to worry about counting kicks since she's so active!
Felt more loved

I didn't: 
Have much morning sickness (Keep a little something in your stomach in those first weeks.)
Get stretch marks (Keep moisturizing, no matter what they say!)
Start swelling until the very end (Hyrdation helps so much!)
Resent being pregnant. Aside from missing wine and good cheese, I was able to carry on as usual.
Get super hormonal or emotional. I can count the times on one hand.
Have my sleep ruined. Even getting up multiple times in the night I would still fall right back asleep, thank goodness.

I loved:
Seeing her tiny body on that first ultrasound and that little wave. I die.
Watching this bump grow
Hearing her heartbeat the first time (Man, was I holding my breath for that!)
Feeling the first "bubbles" of movement
Feeling the first gentle kicks
Watching her bigger kicks/shifts in my belly. We'd call them alien moments.

Even though she could make her grand entrance at any moment, it's still a little hard to believe this part is coming to an end!

Pregnancy Quotes

Saturday, November 22, 2014

{Week 20 Bump}

Over the past several months I've come across a few pregnancy related quotes that really resonated with me. I realize now why people become obsessed with #bumpies and oversharing their kids on social media; because before they're even born, you devote nine months of your life doing any and everything you can to guarantee a healthy start and a safe arrival. It literally consumes you. This experience has given me a new appreciation for the miracle of life, our bodies, and the joy (and terror!) of creating and preparing for a little one. Here are a few of my favorite words on the subject....

"I ended up
 getting kind of excited to show the 
bump, as a badge of pride. "Like 'I'm a woman! Look at me making a human! I am a goddess!'"

Enjoy the pregnancy, not racing ahead and relishing the moment. I think people see pregnancy as something to get over with, but every stage of becoming a mother is really special.”
-Olivia Wilde

"There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation." 
-Pamela S. Nadav 

"I’ve become a gentler and more patient person. Having {my daughter} in my life has forever changed my heart. She’s changed the way I see people, the way I see the world. To me, everyone is someone’s baby and I find I have much more compassion."
-Amanda Jane Jones

"I do not care what kind of birth you have...a homebirth, scheduled cesarean, epidural hospital birth, or if you birth alone in the woods next to baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices, and that you were respected." 

Week 37 Recap: Big 'Ol Bump

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Oh my goodness, how is it possible we're already at this point?! Here's what's happened in week 37:

  • The Midwife felt around my belly and asked if anyone in my family is long and lean. When I said yes, a few folks, she said that's what the baby's size and shape feels like. Then she added, "It's easier to birth a noodle than a brick." I'll take it! 
  • Swelling. I know I need more water, it's just hard to drink sometimes. I forget, or feel stuffed. My feet aren't ginormous but most of my shoes and socks are snug and my fingers stiff and sore in the mornings.
  • I've had a few labor and delivery dreams, most of them err on the negative side. (In one, I used our secret epidural code word before I even got checked in to the hospital.) For some reason I keep dreaming that I'm really bad at it!  I guess we'll find out soon... 
  • There is sooo much happening in the bump. Between baby girl squirming more often than not, Braxton Hicks contractions, and heartburn, my stomach is as crazy as after hours club on Saturday night. And I'm feeling a lot like a ticking time bomb. 
  • Getting up and around takes help and time. Between not being able to bend or being out of breath I've relinquished to the fact that things are just going to take a lot more effort and longer than usual. It's frustrating but temporary. 

Knowing that this babe could decide to make her exit any minute from this point on is exciting and terrifying! 

A Letter to our Friends

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

With changes on the horizon lately I've been feeling sentimental and evocative thinking of our amazing friends in Chicago and around the country. I can't help but remember a conversation Alex and I had shortly after we got settled here almost ten years ago. Sitting on the balcony of our new condo one summer night, an adult beverage in hand, everything just felt good. Then he declared, "Now we just need Chicago friends." And it was true. The only thing missing was a good group of people we could call our own. Over the years we've met and become close with an unbelievable circle of individuals. Time, careers, and life changes have brought a few in and taken them away sooner than hoped, but the connections still remain. Some feel like they've been around since the start and continue to be fun fixtures in our daily lives, while others have arrived more recently but are just as meaningful. For all of these, I am so grateful. You have given me many favorite days. And in many ways, you're like family to me, not just because we spend holidays away from home together, but also because some bonds just won't be broken.

Whether it's sharing in shenanigans like theme parties, or celebrating life's big moments (like babies!), there is no comparison to that feeling of being understood, supported, and cared for. If I had time, I'd list all the names and address each of you individually. (And if you're wondering whether you'd be part of this list or not, just assume you are.) If we've shared a bottle of wine, celebrated a milestone, or made memories we can barely remember then you can bet we've felt welcomed into your life and I can only hope you've felt the same in return.

I'm not sure how we got so lucky, but I love knowing that no matter where the roads lead us, a cocktail hour or a couch to crash on can always be arranged. It's hard to remember life before so many amazing people came into it and whether we see you once a year now, or once a week, having you along on the journey means the world to me. Paths take us places, but our Ultra-Deluxe air mattress (or spare bedroom if we ever have one) will always be open. 

Life is meaningless without the three F's: Family, Friends, and Fun - thank you for making mine complete. 


Week 36 Recap: Four More of Four

Monday, November 10, 2014

Four more weeks of the just the four of us. 

Two humans, two cats. Good even numbers. It's a little bittersweet thinking of this life we've had for so long changing so drastically so soon. It's been a good run. Eleven years of couch cuddles (one lap for each cat!), family cocktail hour on the balcony during warm summer nights, silly routines like Mojito always having to be in the bathroom when I shower, or Petey always sneaking and getting himself locked in the closet. Though hopefully these things remain intact, we'll have a new girl in town, and as Faith Hill would say, a baby changes everything. I've loved this life of four, and as excited (and almost ready) as I am to begin our life of five, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the passing of this portion. 

I had this portrait made for Alex a few Valentine's ago and it hangs in our living room gallery wall. Often I see it and think, "That's my little family." and wonder how it's possible. Having a family of your own is such an adult thing to do! Because there are times, despite having and doing things that adults do, that I still don't feel like one. Plus, I'm a thinker, a ponderer. I'm emotional and sentimental. Memories are my favorite and I do lots of wondering and remembering. My brain is always on. So these days, it's a swirl of excitement, anxiety, reminiscing, and planning. As much as I love the picture above, the idea that one day, we'll have another portrait made which will include our newest member is enough to make me squeal out loud. Savoring the last of bits of this transition time while simultaneously gearing up for our future of five, floods me with emotion and a feeling of something I just can't wrap my head around. 

But one (ok, two) things are for sure - four wasn't a bore, and five will be alive! 

Push It Real Good

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Birthstone ring {similar}  /  Name rings 12  /  Initial Necklace {similar}  

Alright, I know it might seem pushy (ha :) to post about push presents; they have a bad rap, and I get it. But navigating the ninth month of pregnancy, and nearing the end of twelve weeks of birth preparation classes, I'm going to go ahead and assume it's safe to say that all mama's deserve a little something for the hard work, regardless of what we call it, whether it's given to us, or we gift it to ourselves.

I'm a sentimental person to the core, and since receiving gifts is my love language I thought it would be fun to round up a few ideas for the mom-to-be's or any papa's needing help out there gifting their loves on the little one's birth day (or any day!) I received the bracelet in the middle as a shower gift (which I love!), and these picks could also be great options for the upcoming holiday's, Mother's Day, etc.  My only advice, this is NOT the time to go generic. Avoid anything "Mom", at least if you're my husband *cough cough*. It doesn't have to be expensive, just think thoughtful, and something she'll treasure for years to come.

I'm partial to dainty initial or name jewelry pieces (this is my current fave, but this shop has some awesome personalized options!) but technology items, vacations, and or spa days are also good options if that's your thing.

Push it real good.

P.S. More ideas here.

Week 35 Recap: Booty and Boo!

Monday, November 3, 2014

35 weeks

I think the baby wanted to be Miley for Halloween because she was twerking up a storm in there this week! Supposedly she's head down now, and there's a constant booty in my ribs. But seriously, this kid moves like crazy. I've become that pregnant lady who has her hand on her belly almost always. Ten percent of the time it's just my way of saying hi to the little bean, but 90% of the time it's because I'm afraid she's going to just bust right on out of my skin. (As I type this it feels like a wrecking ball swinging around in there!) However, unlike the wrecking ball movements, baby hiccups (which she gets a lot) are the cutest thing ever! Totes makes me giggle.

Speaking of Halloween, we didn't really celebrate this year, which is kind of a bummer because I love it so much. But the weather was horrible on Friday and I was still getting over a cold so we did a very adult thing which was a trip to Ikea to buy a crib - woot! (And also have a meal of food, because what's a trip to Ikea without a plate of meatballs (for him) and a savory Swedish dessert (for me).

And speaking of food, is it possible to go an entire pregnancy with no cravings? Because that's been the case for me so far. There might be a slight increase in my sweet tooth but it's not like I've devoured a tub of ice cream or entire package of cookies in one sitting. Nothing tastes particularly amazing or better than usual. I was on an apple/juice/cider kick for a week or so but think it had more to do with fall weather and the delicious Honeycrisps in season than pregnancy. However, here's a symptom I've never heard of....drooling. I drool in my sleep now. Yeah, it's gross. And it's something I forgot to mention before but it's been happening for the last few months. Like, major pillow wetness in the night - ick. I've never heard of it in relation to pregnancy symptoms but it's been a regular for me.

Over the weekend I did the first few loads of baby laundry. Oh, how happy it makes my heart to see her tiny clothes hanging around! Alex picks them up and holds them like a pretend baby, I get teary, and then we squeal thinking about how soon she'll be here!

Time keeps ticking....