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Documenting the Bump: Weeks 15-18

We’re well into the 19th week, me and my baby. And we’ve become the best of pals.

Weeks 15 through 18 were really easy and really difficult all at the same time. I felt amazing. Besides a nausea stint last week during our drive back from Florida (ew, it was so not fun), things have been incredibly smooth sailing. Sort of like when I wasn’t pregnant, even. In fact, sometimes I had to remind myself I was pregnant. Like, No, Tina, you can’t have raw oysters at the oyster bar. Or, No, Tina, lifting that 50lb suitcase is not a good idea.

At the same time, it’s been very hard. And still is. My body has changed in ways I never imagined it would. I’m well into the fat stage of this pregnancy where I just look like I’ve let myself go. I have a little heavier of a chin, my butt’s definitely bigger, my arms are thicker, my boobs are gigantic, and then there’s this little bump. If you know pre-pregnancy Tina, you know I’m pregnant. But to any passerby on the street, I just feel fat. And my bump isn’t big enough to carry around like women do. But now I know why they do. When you hold your belly, you are definitely pregnant. So I try and pretend.

I still just feel fat.

That being said, I’m so happy to be here. I’m so happy that I’m halfway to the end (or even closer, since the doctors think baby may come early). I’m so happy that this peanut is growing and that I’ve gained weight and that I have a pregnancy glow (the glow is real, people, it’s very real).

So here are the photos from weeks 15-18. It was between 17 and 18 weeks when I “popped” and it was clear that there was no turning back. This belly is growing. Things aren’t in the same position, if you know what I mean. I’m thicker in places to make room for my child. And it’s all really cool. I love seeing what my body is doing for this little miracle.

Oh, and if you want to compare these shots to weeks 11-14, they are documented here.

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Easter Baskets, Confetti, and Brown Paper Packages

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I just love stumbling across a good blogger holiday swap. I’ve met some of my favorite bloggers (and social media buddies) through these swaps and they are always simply the best. For this particular swap, the lovely Aimee of House of Fauci’s sent me the most incredible Easter package filled with sweets and treats.

Aimee lives in San Antonio and sent me a little slice of her city for the holiday! She doesn’t know it, but this was such a perfect gift. Alex and I spent a short overnight in San Antonio a few years ago and we fell in love with the Riverwalk. It’s a pretty magical place. Anyway, my basket from Aimee was filled with sweets…. lollipops and chocolate and fudge ….. if I end up with gestational diabetes, we’ll all know who to thank. ;)

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So she also sent a few other lovely gifts (really, I was spoiled rotten)…. and I think my favorite was the dozen confetti eggs. Have you guys heard of these? I had never! When Alex came home, I decked them all at him at once. It was solid fun until I had to clean up.

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And, lastly, the sweetest of all of my surprises, Aimee gave baby a gift, too! I just love the book she sent and I can’t wait to look through it with our baby when the time comes. It’s destined to be a favorite.

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If you haven’t stopped by Aimee’s blog, do so. I’ve just loved reading her posts and following her (and her sweet family) on Instagram.

Thanks, again, Aimee. This was the best package to receive for Easter. If you’d like to take a peek into the package I sent to Shannon from Smile and Write, visit her blog

Ten Instagram Accounts I Can’t Get Enough Of

I went through a phase on Instagram where I followed ev-er-y-one. Sadly, I found myself bored with my account after awhile because my feed was just littered with ugly pictures, boring pictures, things I didn’t care about… well, while we’re being brutally honest, I realized I was going to Instagram to find beauty, photography, inspiration, but some people I followed didn’t make me feel that way at all. So, therefor, I had a great purge.

Before we move on, I better say that I don’t find my Instagram account to be anything worthy of following, but, I do try most of the time. I promise, I do. It’s just that these people below, well, they’ve got some sort of talent I wish I had. So here’s a list of ten of my favorite accounts, big and small.

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@theeverygirl_ This is a clean account. Do you stay up to date with The Everygirl? They’ve got absolutely impeccable social media channels. I find them to be a great source of inspiration.

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@amy_stone Here’s a hint. If you are wondering why a brand has a great social media presence, take a look at the personal accounts of the people in charge. Amy does social media for Gap and I kind of think her personal account is the best thing in the world. She should turn it into a coffee table book. Seriously.

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@mallorieowens I’ve only been to Alaska for an extended weekend, but Mallorie’s photos are such a gorgeous reminder of how awesome that state is. She has such an eye. Plus, the landscape in Alaska is otherworldly compared to Annapolis. It’s so refreshing.

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@andonemorething I love love love Sarah’s Instagrams. Another girl with a great eye. I always find her photos making me think, “Well, yes, I guess that is worthy of snapping a photo.” If you are into everyday accounts, the kind where you get a snapshot into a real life, she’s your girl.

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@alainakaz If you love The Everygirl, thank Alaina. She’s co-founder of theeverygirl.com and she’s got a pretty awesome Instagram account herself. I absolutely love the shots she takes of her home. It looks like the most lovely place to live.

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@theghostonmyback This IS the ultimate food account. Look no further. She turns a bowl into art unlike anyone else. Another account that should be on my coffee table in book form immediately.

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@annapolisandco This is a fun account. A lot of times I find family/ kidcentric accounts boring. But not here. I love it all. One of those accounts you end up double clicking “like” every time a new picture comes scrolling in your feed.

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@puremichigan If you follow any brand account, follow Pure Michigan. I love that it content is generated from fans. I tag my photos #puremichigan every time I visit, but I have yet to see my photo make it on their account.

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@elizabethmessina This is it when it comes to gorgeous photography, friends. Look no further. Plus, you really should already be following her. So I hope this one is a no-brainer.

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@joyprouty I just love following this gorgeous family. Not only are the photos amazing, but they are so creative, loving, and perfect. I can only imagine how amazing it would be to be a child in this home.

So there it is…. ten Instagram accounts you should be following. Any accounts we should add to the list? I’d love to find new accounts you think are worth a look-see!

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The Non-Maternity Maternity Wardrobe

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I’m having mixed feelings about building a maternity wardrobe. One would think (especially if you knew me well) that an excuse to NEED to be shopping for brand new clothes would make me squeal inside. But it isn’t. I’m at a loss because 90% of my pre-pregnancy clothes come from J.Crew and, well, I’ve already exhausted their maternity line (which, by the way, is well worth the money). Here’s my problem: maternity clothes, overall, don’t seem to be made with great quality. I’m sufficiently disappointed in the stores at our local mall, equally dissatisfied (yet, I’ll keep them because I’m giving up) with my online purchases, and all of the good stuff seems to be $300+. But, I still have these fantasies of a perfect little maternity closet.

So, I’m making due. For starters, I’m not really “maternity size” yet. Baby Byland’s hanging out really well in between my hips here at 17 weeks (I knew they were going to be good for child bearing! Yes!), so it isn’t as much that I’ve got a huge baby as much as it is that, for the time being, my regular sized clothes aren’t fitting the way they used to.

I’d like to call this the fat stage of pregnancy. Those who know you’re pregnant, and knew you before, can totally tell there’s a bump there. But the grocery clerk who’s checking out your carb-loaded, snack-tastic grocery purchase just thinks you’ve let go of your body. So, for the next month or two, here I’ll stay. In the fat stage.

I’ve developed a few coping mechanisms:

Maxi skirts and dresses: Truth be told, I can’t tell the difference between my non-maternity maxis and my new maternity maxis. Just this weekend, I bought a to-die-for casual maxi dress from Anthropologie that seems to be ready to stretch out in the midsection moreso than the Jessica Simpson maternity brand maxi dress I bought for later on. So, that’s something to keep in mind. I’ve already targeted a special dozen items in my wardrobe I fully expect to get me at least to months seven and eight. And, there again, I wonder if some of these maternity things will outgrow my belly at that time, too.

Billowy, flowy blouses: It’s no secret that I’m a fan of structured, tailored, classic lines on clothes. I’ve spent the past two weeks of my pregnancy allowing myself to finally understand that a Tippi sweater just doesn’t work when you have a belly. These, however, also don’t have to be maternity purchases. I found an adorable blouse on sale that will easily last me to the delivery room. I just love it. The key here turns out to be oversized items. Plus, what’s more comfortable than a feminine, oversized tee?

Layers: Everyone’s figure is different. For me, I’ve never before had to worry about a gut. My excess weight likes to pile up on my arms and my hips and my thighs. But my tummy? Always flat. So I’ve probably been over-conscious of my little baby bump. I love it, because it’s my child. But, it’s still weird thinking that people may think I have a little belly. I’ve really come to love throwing on blazers and jackets. Ladies… there’s nothing more slimming than a well-fitted blazer. I PROMISE YOU. I’m blazering it up all the time nowadays. Extra points if it’s sort of cropped. That’s turning out to be a cute look.

Accessories: Never underestimate the power of a scarf or a chunky bracelet. If nothing else, I think it makes me feel like I’m more put together when I just feel exhausted. 

Leggings: For all the slack people give Lululemon, my Wunder Under leggings are still my best friends. Even better? The Astro pant has a pretty nice waistband for baby to expand. Leggings get a lot of play in my weekend life these days.

Denim: Lastly, the first thing to go was honestly my jeans. All the jeans. And I bought those belly bands that cover up the fact that I’m not buttoning (or zipping) my pants any longer, but it’s not a perfect fix. I much prefer to wear the J.Crew maternity jeans I splurged on. They don’t have a huge elastic band that goes over your entire midsection. And, they look (and fit!) like regular jeans. So, from that, I can tell you that having a nice pair of maternity jeans on hand before you think you will need them could save you a panic attack or two. It sure did for me.

As of Late

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As of late…

I haven’t been one for words here. Nothing big. Plus, I already told you I’m having a baby so what else could there be for me to be keeping from you? But, sometimes, I think writers block maybe is a real, living infection. I’m also writing quite a bit for work, expending long hours (even though I thought busy season was complete), and just not wanting to be in front of a screen more than necessary.

I have been having little thoughts. Thoughts that, if I had more time and more energy and- gosh darnit- cured my writers block, each probably would make solid, thought provoking blog posts. A nice, monthly supply of blog posts most likely. But, alas, sometimes you have to thrown in the white towel and admit defeat.

So let’s call this a survey of sorts and I’ll throw it all out there at once and you can tell me what you’d like me to expand upon. And, as my writer’s block subsides, we’ll go there.

As of late….

I’ve been thinking about the beauty of purity, of the color white and just how lovely it is. There’s a lot there- this idea of the beauty of plain, simple white. I must explore.

I’m having mixed feelings about building a maternity wardrobe. It’s cause for concern, really. And time’s a ticking. Sixteen weeks today and if I stand a certain way in the shower, I can’t see my feet.

Speaking of being pregnant, I love growing humans. I think I am going to be sad when my human-growing days are behind me. But, that’s probably just the second trimester talking.

I’m wondering if I could be the .0001% of the population that just doesn’t like slow cookers. We got a really nice one for Christmas, but I’m not hooked on it. Food tastes better to me on the stove.

Instagram accounts. Ones I love. Ones I am tired of. Ones I just unfollowed because, well, I went on an unfollowing spree.

Social media algorithms. And why I hate Facebook. And, well, I think about this stuff for about 9 hours each day at work, so, I’ve been thinking about sharing some of my trade knowledge here. If you were interested.

And, mostly, as of late, I’ve been trying to decide what one packs for a babymoon when they will be 18 weeks pregnant, aren’t needing maternity clothes yet, but probably will (maybe?) need them in two weeks? What’s a girl to do?

There’s been a lot to keep me thinking, as you can see. I’ll try to expand more as the days go on. Until then, happy Monday.

P.S. That picture up there is for you. From this time last year. I figured we could all use some spring in our wintery-spring.

Documenting the Bump

Believe it or not (but, really, believe it), the husband of the blogger is the one in this story who pushes it forward. Said blogger didn’t exactly care too much about documenting a week by week change in le bump.

A “what about just monthly pics?”/ milestones/ when it happens, it happens attitude led me to be totally fine with veering far away from blogger-esque weekly bumpdates. Besides the iPhone photo I texted to my sister the morning after we found out, there’s no photographic evidence I peed on a stick (or four sticks). And, even then, that photo’s just a zoom in of the digital “Pregnant 3+ weeks” window. There’s no “before” picture showing what I looked like 5 weeks in, zero evidence of pregnancy on my physical body besides pimples and bags under my eyes. And we don’t have a smiling selfie of the two of us holding up a sign “WE’RE PREGNANT” or anything like that.

Yes, it’s true. I wasn’t going to make a big deal about my body changing. But then, as Alex looked over my shoulder at my secret pregnancy pin board and saw these photos of moms holding pieces of fruit week by week and touching their bellies week by week, he decided once and for all that we had to do something similar. He really wanted me to hold a piece of fruit over my belly those first few weeks and smile for the camera, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

So, on my own terms, I went out and bought a few chalkboard wall stickers, rearranged some picture frames, and turned a wall in our living room into a baby shrine. And, truth be told, I’m loving it. It’s like a ritual now, deciding what to share each week about the little babe.

It’s frustrating, though, because (thanks to wider hips and, apparently, a history of being relatively fit), my bump is hiding rather well. I hold my little bump in bed each night. It’s there, poking out in between my hipbones. But, mainly, I just feel like I’ve lost my figure, gained some boobs, and that I’m edging toward the fat stage of pregnancy at full-speed. I can’t wait for my real, proper bump. But, until then, I’m trying my hardest to embrace these fat days that are just around the corner.

Plus, Alex really enjoys our weekly photo shoots.

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I’ll be 15 weeks on Monday. Maybe you’ll actually see the bump then. Or, maybe not.

A Story About a Cheeseburger

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There wasn’t much time for being a tourist this past weekend, which isn’t a bad thing because I’ve been to L.A. a handful of times and the only thing I can really say was ever worthwhile on the tourism front was a day spent at the Getty. So I wasn’t bummed.

But spending your entire business trip locked in a room with no windows in the middle of the L.A. convention center leaves much to be desired. So, I did what any normal pregnant woman would do when work got out early (err, 5 p.m.) on Sunday. I high-tailed it to the closest In-N-Out. Duh.

Considering the other times I’ve been to L.A. I was either a kid or a vegetarian, I really can’t be blamed for never having an In-N-Out experience before, right? Good.

So, there I was, handing $25 over to the cabby, hopping out onto the curb of Sunset Boulevard, and waltzing right into the madness that is In-N-Out at dinnertime on a Sunday night. 

And here’s the verdict.

While I love a greasy Five Guys cheeseburger, In-N-Out kind of won me on their spread. What IS that? Amazingness in some sort of unhealthy, fatty sauce, that’s for sure. So, if I ruled the world, we’d have ourselves a Five Guys cheeseburger with that spread slapped right there on the bottom bun. And then we’d dance in circles with flowers in our hair and declare world peace.

But, in all seriousness, the highlight of the $25 cab ride to Hollywood for the cheeseburger of the decade actually goes to the chocolate milkshake. The cheeseburger’s going to have to take the silver medal here. 

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The REAL First Trimester: What They Don’t Tell You

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So here’s the deal. It seems to me, at least, that all anyone can talk about when it comes to your first trimester is the morning sickness. Ohhhh, the dreaded morning sickness that takes over your life. And, well, first things first, first trimester nausea does NOT limit itself to mornings. If you’re anything like me, first trimester nausea greatly preferred late afternoons and evenings, hot showers, and any car ride that lasted over 30 minutes (Ever thrown up while driving before? It’s the epitome of multitasking, trust me).

So moving on. The ugly stepchildren of first trimester misery. That’s what I’m really here to talk about. And for the record, everyone has a different experience and this was mine. Also, my symptoms diminished to just about nothing like clockwork on week 12 day 6. Like clockwork, I tell you. So all I have to share is the only 3 months I’ve ever been pregnant. That being said, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to get it all out there. So here we go.

Fatigue Did you ever get mono as a kid? You know, that “kissing disease” or whatever they called it. Yeah, that one. Pregnancy is a bit like mono. Forget about staying up to watch your favorite television show or going out on the town all night with your friends. And your weekends will be cut in half because you’ll spend 12-15 hours sleeping each night, accompanied by 2-3 hours of napping each afternoon. If you work long hours and have a long commute like I did, forget about it. All you’re worth by the time you get home each night is some thrown-together dinner and maybe a shower. Also, it should be noted that working out is very difficult simply because you have no energy to do so. The one rule I learned early on was that when my body was tired, I really just needed to close my eyes. 

Breakouts Well, these go away after awhile, but I was 2 seconds away from calling the dermatologist before we found out I was pregnant. I guess it makes sense- your hormones are all whacked. I changed my skincare routine completely, added in a super good moisturizer, and things are much better.

That weird taste Ok, so, usually if you have a bad taste in your mouth all you have to do is brush your teeth and it’ll go away. Not this taste. I lived with a constant metallic taste in my mouth and the only way to temporarily get rid of it was these tea tree mints from Trader Joe’s (thanks for the recommendation, mom).

The girls are so sore Yup. And they grow beautifully (two cup sizes for my little girls!). And that belly butter you’ve bought for your expanding midsection…. best to lather them up, too. The key, I realized, was soft shirts. All of those screenprint tees you have lying around aren’t comfy on your sensitive girls. Give them a break with soft, quality cotton.

Mood swings I did pretty good, I think, with these. I cried at the drop of a hat about everything and if I stayed awake too late at night, all I did was bark at my husband. They key here is to stay hydrated, well fed, and rested.

Cramps Not everyone gets these but I got them on and off and let me tell you, there’s nothing like them to worry you silly. The triage nurse at my OB’s office got very used to my panicked phone calls. Each time they came, I was convinced I was losing my little peanut. She always told me to drink a ton of water and rest. And to remember that my body was growing. Oh, yeah, duh. The water helped the most.

Stinky Smells Oh my gosh. COFFEE! Just awful. AWFUL. Made me gag walking near a Starbucks let alone into a coffee shop. On the plus side, I never worried about wanting too much caffeine each day. You will find something you used to love completely repulsive. It’s okay. It happens to the best of us. I didn’t figure out a way around this one. Just avoid those bad smells.

Cravings I can’t tell you for sure what my real craving was. Probably doughnuts. Alex bought me doughnut holes every Sunday morning. It’s glorious. I also strangely ate a lot of pb&j saltine cracker sandwiches. And smoothies. Loved an afternoon smoothie. Here’s the thing: if you crave it, eat a little bit of it. Or a lot, if it is something healthy. Eat what sounds good. If you’re concerned at all about intaking a well-balanced diet, your diet will be just fine. Don’t fret if you really want a scoop or two of ice cream now and then. And since there’s not too much folic acid to be found in gummy bears, take your prenatal daily!

Sinuses To be fair, I already have sinus problems. But apparently they can get pretty bad when you are pregnant. I ended up with a sinus infection during my 8th week. So much fun, let me tell you. There’s barely any medicines you can take and I ended up just filling my antibiotic prescription because Tylenol and Nasonex can only do so much. This goes along with the breakouts, but keep a humidifier by your bed. It’s helped me a lot since the week 8 debacle.

So there it is. The real first trimester. Growing a kid isn’t for wimps, let me tell you. And I can give you my tips and tricks, but everyone is going to be different. This is just what worked for me.

Making it Rain

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The other day at work, we ended up in a side conversation on saving vs. splurging, what we each willingly throw down cash for, and where we hold back. It was incredible to see how different each of us were with our spending habits. Very different vices. Very different ways of being thrifty.

Where do we get these spending habits from? I think some of it is our upbringing, and not just if our parents spent a lot or saved a lot. Smaller things. Like, for example, my mom never spent money at nail salons. It was never part of my childhood. I guess it’s no surprise I paint my own nails and only get one pedicure- at the beginning of sandal season.

But it isn’t just upbringing, is it? I think some of it has to do with where we live. If I lived in Florida, I’d probably spend more on swimsuits, but I don’t, so I never buy new suits. Or, since I live in the mid-Atlantic, I (forcibly) put more money toward living expenses.

It’s fascinating, though. And I thought I’d share with you a few of the things I happily throw extra money at… and those things I get really cheap about. So here we go.

My Splurging List

  • Shoes (take care of your feet!)
  • Diesel Fuel (diesel engines are better for the environment and 50 mpg is worth the price)
  • Linens (you spend so much time in your bed, do it for your skin)
  • Dry cleaning (most of my favorite clothes are dry clean only, but they make me feel confident at work)
  • Organic dairy (the health benefits far outweigh the cost)
  • Purses (but I stay in the $100-$200 range)
  • Hair products (taking proper care of long locks isn’t easy)
  • Skincare products (I have really bad skin, I’ll pay anything if it works)

My Thrifting List

  • Nail maintenance (mentioned earlier, I paint them myself)
  • Car maintenance (the men in my life do this one for free)
  • Generic grocery store brands (they taste the same)
  • Movies/ entertainment (I go to the movies maybe once a year)
  • Booze (why spend all that money at a restaurant when you can make it at home for cheaper?)
  • Hotels (I use Expedia and Orbitz when we travel to get better deals)
  • Clothes (I buy nice clothes, but almost never full price)

So there it is. You know my spending habits. How about it now? Is there anything different you always will spend a little bit extra for? Or something you go really cheap on no matter what?

New Things

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First things first, the incredible response of well wishes and love over the past few days has changed our world. You showered us with kindness over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, text, and this little blog. I can’t stop smiling. Thank you.

That being said, I guess you probably now know why this blog’s been a bit desolate recently. I’ve been busy growing a baby during busy season at work with typical distractions of the surprising type. Most days, I would stumble in from my 12 hour + workday and just collapse of exhaustion. For a girl who is used to having more than enough energy, those first three months were pretty difficult.

But more on that later.

Before we return to our regularly scheduled program, there are a couple of items deserving of a little bit more observance for a quick minute. Unanswered questions, holes in the story, things I’ve kept to myself. And less important stuff.

When I was a teenager, I planned out a timeline for the rest of my life. Besides college, jobs, and whatnot, I put a few other goals on there, too. Fall in love at 21. I fell in love at 20 years 9 months. Get married at 25. I got married at 25 years 1 month. Have a baby at 28. I’m due September 15th. I turn 28 on September 29th. Looks like I’m beating this one by approximately two weeks. But I really never planned to follow this timeline with such precision.

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you probably know that motherhood is all I really care about in this world. You probably also know that I was never really sure this would be an easy process, delivering a baby. So, that’s why we decided to “not stop it from happening” this holiday season. We were convinced we’d be in it for a heartbreakingly long period of time. When I said I was scared in Monday’s blog post, it wasn’t a fear of becoming a mother. It was a fear of losing my babies. And it’s a fear I still, unfortunately, hold close at heart.

On top of the standard hells of the first trimester, I lived in complete fear day in, day out. I wouldn’t allow myself to get excited. When we went in for our 8 week visit, things didn’t get much better. Things could be worse, certainly, but things aren’t going to be easy. I woke each morning convinced I was going to miscarry that day.

I had a huge miscarriage false alarm in late February that almost drove me crazy. A few hours later, when it was clear that everything was going to be just fine, I made a declaration. Come what may, this baby is going to make it. I wasn’t ready to be excited. But I was ready to believe this was real.

I had two big doctor’s appointments last week. Last Wednesday, we had another sonogram. And there was our baby looking just perfect. So, with jelly smothered over my belly and my husband sitting down by my side, I shed layer after layer of fear. I even smiled. And I laughed.

So I bought a diaper bag.

Thinking about how I’d break the news on the blog, I really didn’t know what I’d do. I felt like so many people had these epic TTC stories that built up to these grand announcements. And what I had to tell was so different. Eventually I decided I’d just go ahead and tell our story. Even if it isn’t what we had expected.

There’s a lot of new going on in my life right now. Our family feels brand new. My mindset is brand new. My priorities are brand new. It’s all so very new. And exciting, confusing, strange… so many things.

Tomorrow I fly to California on a business trip where I’ll clock in long hours and little sleep. I’ve left a few posts for you while I’m gone. And it got me thinking about a few promises I’ll make to you now that I’ve got so much newness going on. Here you go.

1. This will not turn into a mom blog. I mean, I’ll be a mom. And this is a blog. But still you’ll find regular content (whatever that even is) here.

2. I’ll be blogging more regularly. After this trip to California, work will slow down and I also caught my 2nd trimester second wind.

3. I’ll continue to be completely, brutally honest with you. I don’t share everything here, and that won’t change, but what I do, well, it’ll be real.

Promise.