November 05, 2013

A Baby Sprinkle & Maternity Photos

I have been a bad blogger lately. You would think with all my sitting around at night that I would have plenty of time for blogging, but sadly, that is not the case. So I guess I'm making up for some lost time!

My husband, an aspiring photographer, takes magnificent nature photos. He wants more practice on people photos so I allowed him to take some pictures of me as a maternity shoot. Bringing along the 5 year old posed a few logistical issues, but we ended up with some beautiful shots. I was hesitant to do a photo shoot of any kind in this body, but this is the last time in my lifetime I will ever be pregnant, so a little part of me wants to remember. These were taken at 29 weeks- I feel even a thousand times bigger than this now at 32 weeks! Here is a little sample:

Being that this is my 2nd baby, I was hesitant to allow anyone to throw me a shower. However, with my mom's heavy persistence, the fact that we gave away the majority of Jack's baby stuff after being told we'd never have another and that it is a girl- I gave in. I am so very glad I did! It was a wonderful day full of family friends and laughs. Everyone was so generous and I am beyond overwhelmed by all the love and support. I came home with a sea of pink stuff, so if this baby comes out with a penis, we are going to have a major problem!

Top L-R: My BFF, childhood neighbor(!), College roommate, sister, sister-in-law (brother's wife), MIL & SIL (husband's mom & sister), dear friend

PNP- biggest pain in the ass to put together EVER. But so cute, right?  We're ready to bring you home Mackie! 

October 22, 2013

True Love: 8 Years of (mostly) Wedded Bliss

A week ago on October 15, my husband and I celebrated 8 years of marriage.

It is pretty safe to say that I undeniably love him. As most already know, love isn't necessarily enough. Marriage is hard and we have to work on it EVERY SINGLE DAY. With so many priorities it is very easy to get distracted from simply loving each other. Spending time with each other. Hugging each other. It is so easy to forget about the simple things when it comes to just getting through the day most of the time. Between his working at a thankless job that makes him varying levels of cranky on a daily basis to just being flipping busy, it wasn't hard to sink back into a rut.

Did I mention I have been a hellacious bitch to him since I became pregnant? While my expectations might be a little high, they are not entirely out of line. I am 29 weeks, can barely walk and yes I have had to learn to start letting things go. Things like cleaning and dishes. It has been fairly obvious when this mama doesn't "tend" to the house because earlier this week it was a disaster. I could have nagged for help, but I didn't. My snotty comment of "It's pretty obvious around here when mommy is out of commission," probably wasn't necessary (even if it's true).

Regardless, he puts up with me. He has to of course, because you know, HE DID THIS TO ME. :)

We certainly had other plans earlier this year for our wedding anniversary. We were planning initially on taking a vacation together, just the two of us. We were thinking Disney's Food & Wine Festival. Rides. Fun. Partying. Um, yeah. Not going to happen at 7 months pregnant. We then considered a drive up to the north shore. Um. Nope. Not going to happen either- I can barely tolerate my commute to work right now. Instead, he sucked it up and bought us FANTASTIC tickets to see Josh Groban and we had dinner at the Union Rooftop. I say sucked it up because there were serious concerns over the loss of my husband's man card seeing Josh Groban. I am happy to say that he loved the show. Is he going to rush out and listen to Josh all day? Probably not. However, I love that he appreciates talent and Josh certainly has enough of that.

While Union's food was seriously lacking, we were treated like absolute royalty for our anniversary. I was particularly impressed when our server made a non-alcoholic suggestion for a drink (most servers look at me like I'm stoned when I ask for a non-alcoholic drink... is it really that odd??). We also received an anniversary card signed by the staff and a free dessert with our meal. So despite the fact that the meal itself was so-so, I give a lot of credit for good service.

My tasty non-alcoholic spritzer. No idea what was in it but it was tasty!
Our dessert- carrot cake with a dreamsicle! 

And Josh Groban, well... I'm a vocal geek. He was fantastic and I have never had such good seats to see one of his shows. I was horrifically uncomfortable sitting at a concert all night but still absolutely mesmerized. We did get a kick out of the 55+ club ladies swooning over Josh. It was fairly obvious many of the people at this show don't get out much.

I wish I could do more and be more for my husband right now, but I'm glad we were able to have a nice night out as I'm sure they will become fewer and far between over the next year.

Here's to many more years with this wonderful guy!

October 09, 2013

Motivation (Or Lack Thereof)

Despite my best intentions when I found out I was pregnant, I was not able to keep up with a workout routine and my diet crashed and burned in a fiery explosion of carbs.

There has been a lot of talk out there in the media about these women who continue to do crossfit and other crazy workout routines while pregnant and whether or not they should or shouldn't be doing them. I don't believe there was a single story that said they had no doctor approval and the truth is (and rule of thumb) is that if you were doing it before pregnancy, you should be able to continue with maybe some minor modifications. So, I say. GOOD FOR THEM. You go mamas! As always, talk to your doctor first.

Am I jealous as hell of these ladies? Yup. Not only am I AMA but I am also in a high risk pregnancy. Luckily I started out much healthier this time around (even somehow trudged through a 5K unknowingly when I was around 5 weeks along) so my blood pressure isn't a concern at this point although carefully watched. The big concern was around the big fat endometrial cysts sitting on my one good ovary. The last thing we wanted, especially in the 1st trimester, was to disrupt them. So, limited physical activity was on the agenda for me. Being sick as hell through all of the 1st trimester and well into the 2nd, it pretty much equaled no activity for me. Could I have stuck to a better diet? I could have; however, I was in survival mode. I had to get through work. I had to get through being a mom. I had to live. That meant eating things that tasted good and soothed me. Things like... potato chips with french onion dip. Ugh. One of my local Twitter mama friends gave me props for continuing to work in my 3rd trimester. Trust me when I say, I would give my left arm to be able to work from home every day. Working in Downtown Minneapolis is taxing. The walk from my car to my desk isn't exactly a short one and the commute... well... yeah. Horrific. However, I have always felt like I didn't have much of a choice. This is my job. This is what I do. If I want to keep it, I have to learn to live with all of my pregnancy woes. Perhaps if my day job wasn't so grueling to my body, I would have been more inclined to workout. I will say that I have better eating habits at work because my diet is limited pretty much to what I bring with me so I made it a habit to bring fruits and healthy snacks. I am happy that my work has been flexible with me working from home on the days of my doctor appointments (which now switch to every two weeks) and it is a nice break to sit and put my feet up in my recliner than trudge through the day in my uncomfortable office chair. I give my 110% at work during the day so I have pretty much fallen apart when I get home at night.

I have had a few good weeks of little to no nausea, but now that I am OFFICIALLY in my 3rd trimester (holy shit), it has started to creep back in. As if on cue, my pubic symphysis dysfunction also reared it's ugly head. I was in so much pain on Friday that I was in tears. I couldn't even take my pants off because that would require actually lifting a foot which basically sends shooting pains through my entire pubic and pelvic region. Awful Awful Awful. On Saturday, amidst my guilt of missing both soccer and bringing my kid to a friend's birthday party, I was attempting to be productive and cleaning my bedroom. I was suddenly hit by a wave of dizziness, hot flash and nausea which sent me straight back to the couch. No lie, it was kind of scary.

So with 10 weeks left, I am giving in and giving up. I am no longer going to sweat over my diet (my limited stomach capacity seems to be helping in that area though). I am no longer going to worry about productivity (with the exception of my job which is still wicked busy given I only have about 10 weeks left). I refuse to feel badly about making my husband do things which are getting increasingly difficult for me to do no matter how much he grumbles. My motivation? I'm scaling a mountain growing a human and it's hard on the body! That has to be my priority now.

28 Weeks (er... 31 weeks???)
I had my 28 week checkup yesterday and I am not surprised at all that:
a) My blood pressure is slowly rising (mostly stress related)
b) I am measuring at 31 weeks

My doctor of course said, "Just because your uterus is measuring larger doesn't mean that you will go 3 weeks early." To which I burst out laughing. I told her that it was like deja vu- she said the EXACT SAME THING when I was pregnant with Jack and wouldn't you know it, HE CAME 3 WEEKS EARLY. *insert eye roll*. My next appointment will be a growth ultrasound so we can know exactly how big Mackenzie is and pinpoint more of an exact date.

I did get some good news in that my iron levels have increased and I am no longer considered anemic! YAY! So even though my diet isn't the greatest, I did make some changes to increase iron and it worked. Phew!

I have noticed the puffy swelling in my hands and feet over the last few days and although my BP was slightly elevated (130/70), my doctor did not attribute the swelling to that. I now have to increase my 80oz of water a day to 100+oz a day. Can you say me and the bathroom are going to become intimate with each other?? I also have to keep my feet elevated whenever possible.

28 weeks also means that I need to start doing and logging daily kick counts. This freaks me out a little because Mackenzie's activity is so sporadic. I can never pinpoint a time that I can just sit, be quiet and monitor her kicks as they can come at any time unannounced.

I am thankful that this pregnancy journey is on the final stretch. Obviously I'm uncomfortable, but more than anything, I am just so ready to meet this baby girl and make her a part of my life. Our whole family is ready! Jackson is by far the sweetest thing ever when it comes to his little sister, he talks about how he wants to share her with all of his friends and show her off to the family. His nightly ritual is hugging and kissing the dog, me and my belly. He even sang her a song through my "belly button microphone" the other night. The song was Cotton Eyed Joe... LOL.

28 Week Belly Pic:

Baby Mack:
I'm thinking she feels more like a pineapple right now... 

Puppy Love:
My doggie loves to nap on my belly!!! She's been very protective of me lately. 

October 02, 2013

Pregnancy Has Made Me Scary

One of the things about pregnancy that continually takes me by surprise are my emotions.

Pregnancy has made me a total, scary lunatic. This is beyond feeling physically like I have a hangover every single day. I'm all over the place and my pregnant rages can strike at any moment.

Here are a couple of subjects and situations that have gotten my blood boiling:

The Kindergarten Birthday Date Cutoff BS 
One of the age old debates that I have been dealing with is my son's September 11 birthday. If you have never had a child in September, then you'll never have to understand what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the dumb date cutoff for Kindergarten being a "strict September 1." So you are telling me that a child who was born maybe weeks prior to my son is more developmentally, socially and academically ready for Kindergarten? Why the "strict" cutoff date? He had to go through testing (seriously, the kid is reading and doing math at a 2nd grade level) and certainly has the ability to control himself in the classroom. Basically I think the date cutoff is the dumbest thing ever.

I've said a million times over that I love (LOVE) my son's school. We have been there for 5 years since he was a wee 3 month old and even though we have never been named the family of the month (seriously... how does one achieve that level? I'm not sure), we truly believe in the curriculum. We have never felt like my son was "overexposed" to education at an early age. He's always had fun at daycare without having education shoved down his throat. We chose to keep him in at this school for their private Kindergarten program. He adores his teacher and is rocking the program right now. We couldn't be more proud of him! We don't regret for a second the move to Kindergarten even though he is a whopping 11 days past the cutoff date. We intend at this point to continue moving him into 1st grade next year despite many parents who are having their children repeat Kindergarten who are in the same situation as Jack is with the age cutoff. Sure, he won't be in the same class as many of the other kids he's known for years, but if there is anything we know about our son, it is that he can hold his own.

Please stop this mad debate! You worry about your child. I'll worry about mine. Ok? Thanks.

The Blood Pressure Raising Email
In the early evening on Sunday, I received an email from my son's school's owner (actually signed, "The Management Team") that inspired an anxiety so deeply in me that I pretty much tossed and turned all night because of it.

It appeared to be a blanket email to all Kindergarten parents (however... it did look like it was sent specifically to me). It basically said that if your child is not part of the before and after school program that you are NOT to drop off before 9:00 am or keep your child there later than 3:30 pm.

It immediately triggered a fear deep in me... did we mistakenly register him wrong? What if he isn't part of the before and after program? What if we try to get him in and there is no room for him? What will we do?? WHAT WHAT WHAT???!

I was ready for battle. We've had our child at this school for almost 5 years now with basically the same drop off and pick up time (that we have to enter electronically every time we drop him off and pick him up). Why would this have changed just because he started Kindergarten?

I put my husband on "Find out what the hell this is all about" duty. Turns out there were 2 other parents waiting in line with the same question for the school director. She basically said "You're fine. You're fine. And you're fine. You shouldn't have received this email."


For the love of all things holy. I know these are new owners and I am trying desperately to cut them a break. If my husband hadn't dealt with it, I would have gone all pregnant crazy woman on their asses. I hope there was a valuable lesson here? Don't send out blanket emails unless it applies to EVERYONE.


So, Yes. I am Crazy. Be Careful
As my poor, darling, wonderful husband has learned, there is no way to know when my pregnant crazy will rear its ugly head. Some suggestions...
  • Do things for me without having to be told. Chances are if I have to tell you, it isn't going to be pretty. 
  • When I say, "Ugh. I've gained so much weight thanks to all this constipation, gas and bloat." You do NOT say under any circumstances "Yeah, I thought you looked a little puffy." True STORY. Simply tell me I look glowing and beautiful. Period. 
  • If you cut me off when I'm driving? You will be honked at, screamed at, flipped off, cursed at... etc etc. If my darling newborn doesn't come out saying the word "fuck" I will be shocked. 
  • If you park so close to me that I can't get out of my car, you will get a nasty gram (one of the pleasures of working Downtown). 
  • If you criticize my daughter's beautiful, chosen name Mackenzie I will likely disown you and rip you a new one.
  • Do not touch the belly unless I physically place your hand on it myself. 
  • If you witness me dropping something, please, PLEASE just help me pick it up instead of watching the hilarity that my attempting to bend over is. 
  • Just because I bitch about how much being pregnant sucks doesn't mean I do not feel overwhelmingly blessed and grateful for the insane miracle growing inside me. If you insinuate otherwise, I will destroy you with my evil glare. 
  • I cannot walk fast. Skyway and escalator tailgaters beware (and I'm talking to the jerk who had to RUN down past me and was still waiting at the elevators when I walked up 30 seconds later). If you want to understand why I can't speed up or run stairs, simply take a baseball bat with a blowtorch attached to it and hit yourself in the crotch over and over. You could also toss a bowling ball in your shirt and carry that around for awhile. That is what it feels like for me. As my husband learned, I got all PDA with him and took his arm in public *gasp* (he loathes PDA). I did this so he would walk WITH me and not 20 feet in front of me. Because, you know, walking 20 feet in front of your date and not together is super romantic anyway. 
I think it is important to note that while most of the above will trigger massive pregnancy rants and rage, I may also break down and cry because of any of them as well.

Your best bet is to just say "I'm sorry" and give me a hug. And probably a tissue. And slowly step away.

27 Weeks! 
So although I'm not "technically" in my 3rd trimester, given the very real possibility of an earlier birth, I feel like I am there already. I am BEYOND excited that I could be meeting my daughter in about 10 weeks!

I have acquired some new, fun symptoms this past week- leg cramps, braxton hicks and hot flashes. The leg cramps come without warning and I'm pretty sure the first time it happened and I screamed out in agony so loudly that I freaked out my husband. The hot flashes come without warning and a bottle of ice water is always on standby. Not that anyone in my house is complaining, but the AC is still going full blast despite the fallish-like weather. The braxton hicks of course freak me out a little. They are weird and uncomfortable. Not painful. I might have a couple a day, more if I don't stay hydrated. I also think my skin sensitivities have multiplied- if any fake jewelry or metal touches my skin, I will most definitely break out. So much for the super sized fake wedding ring I bought myself. Is the green finger and bubbled up rash a giveaway that this thing is not real?

Thankfully, despite my growing belly, my weight seems to have steadied off (for now). I'm seriously trying not to worry about it anymore. My SPD (symphysis pubic disfunction- which means that the hormone relaxin which makes a preggo woman's ligaments stretchy works a little bit too well causing imbalance and a shit ton of pain) seems to be okay for now; however, I'm sure the pain will start to increase in the weeks to come. I seem to feel better the more I move around, so I make a very valiant effort to get up and away from my desk at least once an hour (which usually isn't hard given my bladder implications).

Jackson finally SAW the baby move for the first time- I don't think Mackenzie cares too much for her big brother trying to snuggle with her mama. I seriously thought that foot was going to come out of my belly- biggest kick I have seen and felt yet. Jackson thought it was the most hilarious thing ever.

Being Wednesday and traditionally hump day, I am declaring it BUMP day for me! I have recruited my dear husband to take my professional maternity photos. I did not do this with Jackson and always kind of regretted it. As soon as I have them, I will post them! For now, it will have to be hideous bathroom selfies.

27 Week Belly Pic

Baby Mackenzie

Interesting that last week's size comparison was a head of lettuce... which I feel is bigger than a rutabaga? Maybe I just don't know my rutabagas very well?

He might be a big, tough 5 year old now, but he still loves to snuggle with his mama before bedtime every night. Best. Part. Of. My. Day.

September 25, 2013

Pregnancy: The Good Stuff

To combat the horrific amount of negative posts I have had about this pregnancy, I thought it might be time to do one that had some of the good stuff, in addition to some hints and tips for things to make preggo life better.

The Good Stuff:

Pregnancy Dreams
Another online preggo friend posted recently about the dreams she had been having. Since she is waiting to find out the gender until her baby's birthday, her dreams have revolved around whether or not it is a boy or a girl. My dreams? Completely and utterly fucked up on so many levels. Here are my top 5 preggo dreams that I remember as if I had them yesterday:

  • I had a dream that my 5 year old was smoking. As we were walking along, his little hand holding my hand and the other puffing on a cig. He threw the cigarette in the grass and went to stomp it out but it started a huge grass fire.
  • I had a dream that my best friend had died and her ghost came back to talk to me. (Seriously. WTF?)
  • I had a dream that my sweet newborn baby girl was crawling and walking all within the first week of bringing her home and because she was so small I kept losing her.
  • I had a dream that I lost my 5 year old. We got separated at a school function (and he was weirdly going to a Kindergarten that was seemingly bigger than my high school) and I wasn't able to find him. Que my terror. And waking up sweating. And checking to make sure he was tucked away safe and peaceful in his room.
  • This one is my favorite- I had a dream that Enrique Eglasias chose me to come up on stage to sing to me. He kissed me and then I got to go hang backstage. It was awesome. I'm pretty sure this dream would have put my sister-in-law into a jealous rage. LOL
  • Last night's dream- Jackson, his best friend and I were trapped in a series of tornadoes. First, like the apparently super smart mom that I am, dragged them outside to lay on the grass. THEN we tried to drive away from it and at a stoplight, the tornado picked the car up and spun us around like we were on the Gravitron with me (unbuckled) turned around to hold the hands of these little boys and pray for their safety. Good god! Do I need to read up on weather safety? Did my dream brain EVER consider just GOING IN THE BASEMENT?? Now that I'm traumatized for another day... I digress. 

No Period
Not to get all TMI, but it is really fucking awesome not to get my period and be in agonizing pain every month.

Baby Kicks
I have said all along that I adore feeling her move. Her little kicks reminding me that she is there. Her big kicks making me flinch and bringing stares from my nearby co-workers. I love that when I am driving home at night with my radio cranked that I can feel her moving and grooving- I just know she is having a dance party.

Some ladies took pity on me when I saw the extensive line to the ladies room at the MN Viking's game this past Sunday and let me cut in line. For as many who stare awkwardly at my belly, there are just as many who open doors, let me go first and give me extra food.

Some Tips and Hints:

Maternity Underwear
This seems to be a debate on many of my mama boards mostly being: what is the point? Can't I just buy bigger underwear? Well, as I discovered, the amazing thing about maternity underwear is that is made to fit perfectly for big pregnant bellies and asses. It doesn't slide halfway down my ass by the end of the day or ride up my butt (and if you are wearing thongs while you are pregnant? Well... I just flipped you off). My personal favorites are the Thyme Maternity undies- you can buy them in the maternity section at Babies R Us. They are amazing. They are lacy enough to be a little sexy, because hey, just because I'm hugely pregnant doesn't mean I don't want to be pretty and they are so, so soft. I love them. Best purchase ever.

Pregnancy Pillow
My sister asked me if my husband feels the baby kick when we snuggle at night. I chucked for a number of reasons. Firstly, he doesn't come to bed with me at 9:30 (or even earlier these days with anemia kicking my ass). Secondly, he's been replaced. By my Boppy full body pillow. I am able to wrap myself around this thing and it has produced some of the better sleep I've been able to get in weeks (which frankly isn't saying much, but hey, I'll take it).

Maternity Yoga Pants
I had some sweats from my "fat" days that I had been wearing throughout my pregnancy. I found that no matter how tight you try to tie those puppies below the belly, they still feel like they are perpetually falling down. In a recent excursion to Macy's to escape from the office (and to buy a sweater because my office is liking living in the North Pole), I decided to try on some maternity yoga pants. Holy sweet Jesus! Amazing, most comfortable pants ever. I was tempted to change into them for the rest of the work day. Seriously, I will wear them so much over the next 3 months they will be falling apart by the time Mackenzie arrives!
Shop here for all cute and adorable things baby and maternity related. No, I'm not getting compensated in the least for saying this, but we got wall decals for like 60% off and the cutest little outfits for less than $10 each. Halo swaddle sleep sacks? Dirt cheap. I haven't forgotten my little boy either- I got a $150 winter coat for the kiddo for $45. Sign up to receive your Zulily sale notifications NOW mamas!

Prenatal Gummies
I encountered very serious issues with swallowing and taking regular prenatal vitamins. They made me gag not to mention increased my nausea. I decided to give the gummies a try. Not only were they hella tasty but they got the job done... that was until anemia took over. Word to the wise... the prenatal gummies do not contain iron which means if you become iron deficient and therefore anemic like me, you have to go back to the regular ones anyway *sigh*. These are great if you are able to get away with it though!

Weekly Preggo Update
26 Weeks now! Wow. I'm just 2 weeks from my 3rd trimester!!! YIPPEE!!! At this point we still have a lot of nesting to do- things like cleaning out a cupboard for bottles and bibs for example. The only piece of "equipment" we feel we are missing at this point is a new pack 'n play. We picked up a new video monitor and I LOVE IT. I can't believe how much better these things have gotten in 4+ years! I will say that I find the microphone "Talk to Baby" feature is somewhat scary. I can see my husband using it to scare the shit out of me during late night feedings. In other news, I ate a strawberry walnut salad today without gagging on it for the first time in like 5 months. That's progress, right? As you can see, I'm trying to keep this post as positive as possible this week without any mention of my horrific heartburn that has begun to plague my soul.

26 Week Belly Pic
I'm obsessed with this skirt. FYI- maternity compression tights are hilarious to try and put on! 

My kiddo took this pic of me and my pup (aka, stalker dog who won't leave me alone. Ever.)

My gorgeous son. Just because. 

Baby Mackenzie!

September 20, 2013

Secret Revealed: 25 Weeks and Counting

Despite my due date of December 31, it is pretty much common knowledge with my doctor and within my family that this baby will make an early appearance. I am feeling at 25 weeks that I can say that I am nearing the home stretch with just 12 (maybe 13 if I'm lucky) weeks to go.

As you all know, I am very anxious to get this baby out of my belly and into my life.

I feel like I have grown tremendously in the last few weeks, going from adorable baby bump to, holy shit that chick is super preggers. My discomforts have increased- nausea, digestive, insomnia, pelvic pain, fatigue... (I'm sure I can think of more). My emotions are a roller coaster and nobody is safe- I have just endured a 2 day sad-fest and I'm not sure how to pull myself out of this emotional hole I dug myself into. I am very ready to get back to just being me again. The old Joanne just feels lost somewhere. I want her back! She was awesome!

I had my 1 hour glucose challenge test a week ago. Blah! Yuck! Okay, the drink itself doesn't taste that bad (I chose fruit punch), but the after affects?? Ugh. I nearly fell asleep in the waiting room and suffered from a hellacious headache and nausea for the remainder of the day. I'm SO glad I chose to take the day off! The good news is that I passed it with flying colors! They wanted to see a level of less than 130 and mine was at 89. Not even close!! Yes! One less thing to worry about with this pregnancy. There was some bad news though- my iron levels are low and I am borderline anemic. It does explain a lot of my fatigue, dizziness and issues with concentration lately and thankfully, being iron anemic, there is a way to fix it. It means more iron in my diet (not to mention more tummy trouble). I am hoping that this resolves itself by my next checkup in October, because I REALLY don't want to have to take iron supplements. Yuck. The baby girl is doing fantastic though. She is VERY busy- kicking me all the time. Some of the kicks are so sudden and so strong that they make me flinch! The husband still has yet to feel her kicking. Little stubborn girl likes to stop moving when he comes along. Hilariously, her big brother did the same thing. I think I was close to 35 weeks before he finally was able to feel him moving around.

On another note, we decided after a bit of deliberation that it was time to tell everyone baby girl's name. We want to be able to talk about her freely and openly, especially around Jack (who we knew would NEVER be able to keep the secret). So at Jackson's birthday party last weekend, he marched our family up the stairs one by one to show them the baby's finished nursery, complete with her name decal. To my surprise and happiness, everyone loved her name (not that they would dare to criticize it otherwise unless they want to feel the wrath of my pregnant rage).

Haha- the name decal- before we decided to divulge the secret. And yes. Please. Someone buy me the matching changing table for the crib! 

Why do these decals always look so much taller on the websites?  It's still perfect though and I love it. 

Her name is:
Mackenzie Marie.

I wish I had some big story for why I chose that name. There's no grand meaning to it. Not even a hint of ancestry (it is a Scottish name which we are not). It just came to me one day and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I thought for sure my husband would give it the big veto, but to my surprise, he really liked it too and it just kind of stuck. I love being able to give her an identity before she is here with us. I talk to her every day, sing to her in the car and rock with her in the nursery telling her about allllll the time we are going to be spending together in there. I love that we have everything ready for her to come home to and feel like she is already so much a part of my world.

Here are some new belly pics!

24 Weeks- Cute Preggers

25 Weeks- Suddenly huge preggers
AND a little about Baby Mackenzie (who is measuring a little bigger than this):

I'm also SUPER DUPER excited that my mom is throwing me a baby shower! I know, I know... 2nd kid... bad etiquette to have another shower but hey- it's been 5 years since I've had a baby around AND it is a different gender. I hope some ladies are able to show up!

September 19, 2013

My Child Is Overweight? Really?

I knew it was coming. And even though I knew it was coming, I was still mad.

They told me my gorgeous rough and tumble little boy was overweight.

Does this look like the picture of childhood obesity to you?

I say that I knew it was coming because since about age 1 he has been in the 90th percentile for weight (which is a far cry from the tiny little being he was at months). He is 50% for height, so we can no longer blame the "overweight" thing on him being short. Thing is, as you look at this kid, the last thing I think is that he is overweight. He is rock solid. Six pack abs. So my question is? When are doctors going to start accounting for factors OTHER than BMI to determine obesity risk factors? We were lectured about his eating habits, despite the fact that his school serves a very balanced diet every day. He rarely eats candy. He told the doctor he hated chocolate. He rarely eats chips. Fruit juice gives him the runs. So, doc, go ahead and just TRY to tell us we are doing something wrong here. I dare you.

Our very athletic-built family will NEVER get out of the "overweight" range unless other factors are taken into account. As a pregnant woman, I've been getting DRILLED about being "overweight". Yeah... my weight gain has exploded, but to be honest? I don't know why. My eating habits are not all that different from where I was prior. Sure, I have had some aversions to my usual favorite vegetables, but I haven't been THAT bad. Either the sins of my 1st trimester have caught up with me or gaining weight is just what my body does when its pregnant.

I have preached many times over why I loved Medifast so much. They looked at the big picture. Muscle Mass. Body Water. They looked at the body's total composition before making their final assessment on my final "goal" weight. While BMI was factored in, it wasn't the be all end all of my overall health. They readjusted my goals to a reasonable place that was RIGHT for my body. Weight Watchers certainly doesn't do that. So I ask, why can't a doctor's office perform these assessments?? I don't give them enough money already? They can't afford this equipment? Tell me why?!!

Beyond the "overweight" analysis that I got for my son, they have verified that he is a healthy, vibrant 5 year old boy. His vision and hearing is perfect. He has already blown away 95% of the developmental and physical milestones that he should have reached (or will reach) during age 5. We only have to work on tying shoes :) As anticipated, he had to get 3 vaccines which pretty much knocked him down for the night and earned him a little extra TV time and snuggles from mom.

As always, I feel beyond blessed that my son is healthy and happy. There could be SO many worse things to worry about than my son weighing "more than average".

September 18, 2013

A Special Week

The past week (or so) has been a special week.

My first miracle, my Jackson, turned 5 on September 11! While I know so many who are saddened by this date, I feel insanely blessed that he was born on this date because it is now that happiest day ever for me. I'm sure he will learn as he grows up what a dark day this was in our American history; however, I want him to know that because of him being born on Patriot Day, it has become a celebration of life. He's a miracle.

We held his first ever "friend" birthday a few days before his birthday. We discovered that his birthday is actually at an awkward point in the school year- he moved on from Pre-K to K and left some buddies behind, but we needed all the RSVP's before he left that class, so what do you do? We did have to cap the number (which annoyed some of the other moms that their child was "forgotten"... seriously??) so we just proceeded with a WTH attitude and made it the best we could for Jackson. We had the party at Pump It Up and despite the choke-able cost, it was great. We didn't have to do anything except pretty much show up with a cake (which was our choice to bring- they would have done one for us had we asked them to). Jackson does get a little overwhelmed at being the center of attention and seemed a bit frustrated at gift opening time with the kids clamoring around him. Otherwise, it was perfect. He had a great time with his friends and loved every moment of it. Here is some video footage from the day:
Singing Happy Birthday

Yes... the girls were chasing the boys... 

On Wednesday, his actual birthday, we went out for a dinner of his choice, just the 3 of us. He has become obsessed with Chili's (which is great for this preggo mama because their menu is expansive). Unfortunately, he had swimming that night, so that was pretty much the extent of that birthday night.

Then to cap off all of the celebrating we had a family party for him. Nothing over the top, just grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins. We ate (and for the first time EVER did not have any leftovers!), opened presents and had birthday cake. He LOVED all his presents and loved even more spending time with his family.

What can I say about my little boy. He's not so little anymore. He is independent and so, so smart. He's athletic and tough yet a video game nerd at the same time. He's sweet and sensitive. My favorite? He's a mama's boy. He still gives me big hugs and kisses me on the cheek. He always wants to snuggle before bedtime and sit with me to watch a movie. He wants to tag along with me wherever I go. He gets sad if I am gone before he wakes up in the morning.

I know these things won't last forever, although, I secretly hope they do.
Even when he's too embarrassed to give his old mom a hug, I will still love him the same.

Oh my little boy how you have rocked my world. I may not have had any clue what to do with you the day you entered this world, but we have figured things out together over the years. I'm so proud of you. Proud that you are smart and funny. Proud that you are excited to be a big brother and share your world with a new little person. You are my heart and soul.

I love you to the moon and back my sweet boy.

September 06, 2013

Starting Kindergarten

I can't believe it. My precious baby boy started Kindergarten this week!

I feel very lucky that this transition is such an easy one for us. He is attending Private Kindergarten at the same school he has been at since he was 3 months old. He knows his teacher (her son is about 6 months younger than Jackson and they have been in preschool and Pre-K together). No big scary bus. No new kids. Same place, just a different room. We are very strong advocates for Primrose Schools and have often told the former owners that Primrose needs to expand it's program to include Elementary Education. We are believers that this school is one of the primary reasons for Jackson's intelligence and manners. We are so sad that this is his last school year there but excited to start our baby girl there next March.

The first day of Kindergarten was not without it's tantrums. Primrose Pre-K & K students are required to wear school uniforms. After 3 months of summer camp? He was not thrilled to put on the brown Merrill dress shoes. It was a fight and one that he lost.

You can see his disdain over the shoe fight in this photo
Ready for his 1st day! 

He quickly recovered and we got ready to go. He was excited that BOTH his mommy and daddy were bringing him to school for once. We said our goodbyes and off he went all grown up and independent. Nothing but a wave and a smile.

All day at work, I thought about him. How was his day going? Was he able to keep up with the work? Was he getting along with his friends? Was he listening to his teacher? I couldn't leave fast enough at 4:00p to get to him and hear about his day.

His first day of Kindergarten was good. When I picked him up, he barely even noticed me walking into the room he was having so much fun with his friends, playing CHESS (WHA??). He said the work was hard and he had trouble with one center and that he couldn't "solve the problem". Being a very excitable little boy, he had some trouble listening which we will keep an eye on. He said the best part of his day was "Playing tag." So, as suspected, recess is still the best time of the day.

The start of this school year marked some new routines in our household. After a summer of relaxed routines and rules, we laid the hammer down. No more TV during dinner. No more eating dinner at the center island- but sitting down at the dining room table and having dinner as a family and talking about our days. Homework, when that starts, will be done after dinner and before any playtime. Bedtime is now a quiet bedtime snack and maybe one episode of a cartoon (preferably a more educational one) instead of a full-blown movie. We are now reading a couple books (he reads one to us (!!) and we read one to him) before laying down to sleep by no later than 8pm. We are working hard on getting him to go to bed independently before the baby comes.

I am so blown away at how awesome this kid is. I am such a proud mama this week!

September 05, 2013

This Time Is Different

I had an interesting conversation with my husband last week about all of our upcoming life changes, and he mentioned that he's scared to death about this new baby. Not so much about how to be a parent, finances or anything like that, but more along the lines of our age and how to keep ourselves healthy for our children.

While 36 and 37 years old doesn't really seem all that old, in parent years? We are pretty much ancient. In the obstetrics world, I am considered AMA: Advanced Maternal Age which we all seem to chuckle at every time I go in for an appointment. At 37 I am about a thousand times healthier than I was 5 years ago when I was pregnant with Jackson. Despite my morphed sense of reality (a.k.a, I feel as big as a house right now) comparing pictures from my first pregnancy to now helps a great deal. Even though I don't feel like it, I am much smaller this pregnancy. With Jackson I threw up almost daily for 25 weeks, this time (and perhaps it is thanks to my good friend Zofran) it has been nausea. My tummy seems more rounded, high and pointy this time around and she is definitely positioned differently than I remember with Jack. Her kicks are low resulting in the most delightful jabs to my cervix and bladder. I also have zero issues sleeping. I had some major insomnia with Jack. Not the case this time. As a matter of fact, I could sleep anytime. Anywhere. I don't think I even moved last night.

It is no secret that I haven't enjoyed being pregnant. Frankly, I'm a disaster. I feel so limited in what I can do. Exhaustion following my 9 hour work days are taking their toll on my home life. All day, I have to find a way to "live with" my limitations (i.e. nausea, sheer exhaustion, discomforts). When I get home, I need a break. I need to let go and not have anyone expect anything of me. I want help without having to ask. I want to be babied and pampered.

Is this too much to ask? LOL

Besides the physical differences in my pregnancies, I have a completely different mindset this time around. With Jackson, I wanted to keep him in my belly as long as possible. Yes, there were a number of logistical reasons for this, but I was also kind of scared. I had zero idea what to do with a baby. I read every book, attended prenatal classes but was completely clueless the day I took him home. With all the lessons I learned the first time around, I feel so at ease with bringing my little princess into the world. I feel like I know what I need. I know what I'm doing. I remember feeling super overwhelmed when I started my baby registry for Jackson. Which bottles? Breastfeeding? Do I need that Pack N Play? What about a bottle warmer? This time around, piece of cake. I easily picked out everything I know I will want and need.

Probably the most important of differences, and one we didn't have any control of with Jackson, is that we are in our home. We will not be in the process of moving and living out of boxes. We will have her nursery ready and her crib built. We will have a real home filled with love and memories to bring her into.

I'm not living in fantasyland. I know that a newborn is not all rosy and beautiful. I am aware that I will have sleepless nights and unnecessary trips to the ER. It will be a major adjustment going from one kid to two. Our very scheduled existence will be a disaster. Bickering will be at an all time high. PPD will likely rear its ugly face.

However, this time is different. I'm ready. I know what to expect. I'm not afraid.

With that said, we have had a very busy Labor Day weekend filled with plenty of labor and nesting. Baby Girl's room was painted and new curtains hung. We made a couple of large purchases including her bedding set (the adorable Daniella by CoCaLo Collection) and the Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger Click Connect stroller and carseat (which by the way, Target is having a HUGE baby sale including 25% off strollers right now that I think ends on the 7th). We cleaned the house from top to bottom.

I also cheered one of my dearest friends on at the finish line for her first ever 10K which she rocked with a time of 1:07. I WILL be joining her for next year's Women Rock 10K!

I am 23 weeks along this week! Just 3 1/2 months to go until my little princess arrives. Jackson says she is the best Christmas gift ever. Love him. Hey also likes to say, "Hey pregnant girl. I bet I can beat you up the stairs!" Yup. Pretty sure you can, buddy.

Is it December yet? I'm so excited!

August 26, 2013

The Pregnant Infertile

I have never kept it a secret- I am was an infertile. I struggled through 2.5 years to conceive my son. I was also told I would never be able to have another child after him. My infertile friends- I have been there. I know the sadness. I know the emptiness. I KNOW. Yes, I would get pissed when I would hear a pregnant woman complain about her pregnancy discomforts. I would get pissed when anyone had to leave early or take time off because of their kids. I was quite bitter for a long time. Then, something happened. My husband and I made the decision to just live, be satisfied and be grateful for our great life together. When we got pregnant with Jackson, sure, we were trying to conceive (ovulation kits, vitamins, calendars... yadda yadda yadda), but it was no longer the be all, end all. We were satisfied with our life no matter what.

Being that I have lived through the hurt and sadness of infertility and loss, I always swore that if I ever got pregnant I wouldn't complain about it. If there is one thing I have learned out of my one and a half pregnancies, it is that I don't do pregnancy well and damn right, I have complained. Probably even more so the second time around.

Being a pregnant whiner, I feel like a complete and utter failure to the infertile world.

Despite how I often dreamed of having the beautiful big belly and that I would feel like part of some exclusive club, it is not all butterflies and roses. I cannot for the life of me enjoy the following:
  • The constant worry that something could go wrong.
  • Obsessive TP checks in the 1st trimester.
  • Relentless morning sickness with no end in sight and not enough PTO or sick time to cover it 
  • Vomiting. Nuff said. 
  • Constant overwhelming exhaustion that easily rivals finals week during college.
  • Peeing every 20 minutes or when you least expect to like sneezing, coughing or shifting positions in your chair. Also the having to pee in the middle of the night thing. I really try to ignore it because I treasure my sleep, but it is painfully impossible. 
  • Excruciating pain in which I can only describe as what it feels like to have been hit by a baseball bat in the vagina. Over and over again. 
  • Weight gain. And a lot of it. Whether I like it or not.
  • Not being able to poop. Is this to prepare us for childbirth? 
  • The uncontrollable emotional roller coaster. No really. There's no control. One moment I'm as happy as can be and the next I am sobbing uncontrollably. And I'm sorry to those affected on a daily basis. 
  • Uncontrollable burping and farting. Seriously. How gross am I?? I'm so gross. And now I'm crying about it. 
  • Heartburn. Jackson likes to make comments on my mommy candy (a.k.a. Tums) and that they smell good. (Really buddy? They don't taste as good as they smell). 
  • It's going to be 98 degrees today. And no I'm not talking about Nick Lachey. With a heat index of 105, my feet are going to turn into club feet with a Tempurpedic-type quality and may never go back until weeks after giving birth. P.S. Flip flops are not acceptable with my work dress code. 
In a conversation recently with another mom, she said that when she was pregnant, she never had any side effects whatsoever other than a belly which didn't show up until she was close to 30 weeks. No morning sickness, no constipation, no...nothing. She said she even forgot she was pregnant sometimes. Holy fuck. My jealousy was palpable. I would give anything to be able to go about my normal, everyday life AND carry a baby at the same time. 

I guess my point is, I'm not going to apologize for how I feel. I feel shitty. Physically and mentally. I feel guilty about it. Guilty for not being a proper pregnant infertile. Guilty for not being a very good wife and mom while pregnant. Guilty for barely keeping up at an insanely demanding job. 

I won't deny, I am lucky. Really lucky. While pregnancy might not exactly be a fantasy come true, there is a silver lining: 
  • A posterior placenta: What does this mean? The placenta is towards the back which means I get to feel movement ALL THE TIME. I know some women find the kicking to drive them nuts, but it is the one singular thing I adore about pregnancy. Girlfriend can kick me all day long and I will love every second of it. 
  • My pregnant belly. It is my badge of honor in a world darkened by infertility. It is the only time I am proud to look huge. 
  • I'm having a little girl. A GIRL! In a male dominated family, I feel ridiculously blessed to be having a daughter. It's always been a dream of mine to have a boy and a girl. Yeah, yeah... the grass is not always greener on the other side and they could end up hating each other, but at least in my fantasy world, they are perfection no matter what. 
  • Feeling complete. It's one thing to say, "I'm only having one kid," and have that be your choice. It's another to have someone tell you, "You will only be able to have one kid." I felt guilty for feeling like Jackson wasn't enough, God knows he is enough kid for about 10, but it just FELT like something was missing. Having this chance means our family is complete and whole. 
  • Jackson is super stoked to have a little sister and it warms my heart when he tells me he is excited to meet her. 
So even though I have complained endlessly about how miserable I feel, I have not forgotten the good things about it. I have also not forgotten what it felt like to be infertile. I have not forgotten the baby I lost back in 2006. 

It's just... hard. I always want to be the best I can be for everyone- my husband, my son, my boss, my team. I physically cannot be my best right now. I struggle with losing the two years of running training I put in. I struggle with having to start over with my weight loss after this little girl shows up. I want to lie and say it is easy and the best time of my life. I want so badly to love pregnancy, but I just can't.

The truth is, I just want her here. In my arms. Regardless of how miserable I am, all I want is for the next 127 (give or take a few) days to go quickly because I cannot wait to be her mama.

Here are some back-logged belly pics...

21 Weeks
22 weeks- side profile (Bad hair. Thanks weather)

22 weeks. Still rockin' the heels. 
Just for fun... and because it makes me feel better about how I look now compared to 5 years ago (because I have been having some very major body image issues), here are some pics from when I was pregnant with Jackson:

In Bora Bora- 20 weeks pregnant 
Bora Bora- 20 weeks

My baby shower (and funny husband)- 33 weeks

August 13, 2013

Spoiler Alert! It's A...


PROUD Big Brother Jack

The only time I will let anyone see her goodies. Ever. 

My princess

The long awaited day in my pregnancy finally arrived. The day we found out if Jackson will have a brother or a sister. The day where we either run to the store to pick up a bucket of pink paint or break out the crib bedding we used for Jack. The day that we can finally start giving this baby an identity rather than calling it "it". While I lovingly referred to baby as Nugget in the beginning, the nickname didn't stick and I long to be able to refer to it by the name we have chosen. We have chosen a name which will be revealed when she makes her glorious appearance into the world this December. I will tell you our number 2 & 3 girl names that got cut in the final hour: Kate (Katie) Marie and Alexandra Marie.

Thankfully, the VERY first question from our ultrasound tech was, "Do you want to know the gender?" We replied with a resounding "YES!!!" Without a bit of hesitation, she typed G-I-R-L on the screen and said, "It's a girl!" Both my husband and I got pretty misty (okay, he may be have been misty, I was outright crying). All along, everyone kept asking me if I would "prefer" a boy or a girl and my answer was always, "Healthy. Doesn't matter either way." Deep down, I wanted a girl; however, I didn't want to be disappointed either. Certain that it would be a boy in my very male genetically dominated family, I got myself pumped up for hearing the words, "It's a boy!" We even picked out his name, Noah Andrew. I was so certain in fact that I stopped fantasizing about a girl altogether and starting getting really excited about it being a boy. So when I heard that word, GIRL, I was legitimately shocked. Of course in the best way possible. It's a total dream come true. For my parents too- this is their first granddaughter. They have 4 grandsons.

I am thankfully halfway through my pregnancy and so anxious and excited for this little girl to be here and in our lives. I'm so ready for her. I have heard the rumors that baby #2 is a difficult transition. While I have no doubt going back to being up all night and changing diapers will be horrifically exhausting, I just feel more prepared to deal with it this time around. There are no surprises. There is nothing planned in December other than to simply have this baby (yes, I plan to do all of my Christmas shopping online this year not to mention buy a LOT of gift bags as opposed to wrapping all of those fucking presents). I felt like when I was pregnant with Jack that I had absolutely no idea what was really going to happen. No preconceived notion about what having a baby would actually be like. I was honestly clueless. I don't expect to be the baby whisperer now that I have had some experience, but at the very least, I have some expectations going into it and some knowledge about what I need to do this time around.

Now that I know I am having a girl, soooooo many things in my pregnancy have become apparent. For example, the relentless morning sickness that I am pretty sure won't go away until she makes her debut. The other part? Holy shit, the emotional roller coaster. It HAS to be the whole female growing in my body thing but I have been an absolute disaster this pregnancy. This week has been probably the worse week ever. My husband went on his annual fishing trip with the boys for the week. Now, normally, I wouldn't have cared but let's face it. I'm pregnant. Sick. Exhausted. My 5 year old is hella high maintenance. Please don't judge me when I pull out the babysitter otherwise known as "Wii U". Top it off with work stress. My company had a HUGE website launch, one that I will be pretty much owning from a content marketing perspective going forward, and it has been a complete and utter disaster. It failed on a disastrous level and any moment that I have not been catering to my son or sitting in traffic has been spent working. Even sleep has become secondary. It's only Tuesday and I am just completely DONE with this week. I need a hug. Or perhaps a spa day.

Next year that trip WILL become a father-son fishing trip.

Here is me last week at 19 weeks. Wearing pink in honor of my baby girl of course.

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