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Documenting the Bump: Weeks 23-26

The past four weeks have likely been the most impactful weeks of pregnancy so far. The changes I’ve felt physically are undeniable and I’m feeling more “third trimester” than “second trimester” with each passing day. I’m getting used to pregnancy, if that makes any sense. Sort of like, I’ve been around the block now. I’m also beginning to feel comfortable with the idea of labor and delivery. Beginning, however, being the key word.

My weight gain throughout this entire journey has been a roller coaster. I lost weight during the first trimester, which didn’t surprise me because I had no appetite. My second trimester started off slow, gaining teeny tiny bits of weight back. Then, at my 24 week appointment, I had already gained 18 pounds. Nine of those pounds in just four weeks. It was hard, because I spent all of May absolutely starving. I couldn’t eat enough, no matter the time of day. But, because it’s rather important that my baby doesn’t grow too big too quick, I’ve been very careful. I’m still the same weight I was at my 24 week appointment and baby is, clearly, still growing. I’m walking often. I’m eating more salads. Nothing fancy.

Alex and I are beginning to feel like we already know our son. He has a routine that we look forward to each day. And we’re talking to him more these days. The cats are spending more time with him, too. Baci and Misha both love sitting on my belly and feeling him kick. They purr and close their eyes and we smile because we can already tell they can’t wait to meet their new kitten. I just hope they aren’t too bummed when he comes out a human.

Interestingly, as my belly grows and I feel my weight redistributing to my son, I’m getting more comfortable with my body. When your belly gets this big, you actually regain your waistline, which is nice. It’s a lot higher than it used to be, but that’s okay. It’s nice having a “smallest part of your waist” to accentuate again. Before I was just one big blob. Oh, and my boobs are still growing. Endlessly. I broke a bra last weekend. In public. It was terrible.

I’m so proud of my body, though. And I’m getting ever so eager to breastfeed and also so eager to see just what I’m capable of in these last few months. Still no stretch marks on my belly. Counting my blessings each day with that one. I’m predicting that the third trimester is going to be rough, but likely not as bad as the first. Plus, exciting things are happening.

We plan to have the nursery complete by Independence Day weekend, in case he comes early like we’ve been told he will. Then, we’ve got a few house projects to finish over the summer, but we’re looking at a fresh start by August. I’m keeping as positive of an attitude as I can about the summer heat. After all, I’ve got a pool across the street and a great excuse to keep ice cream in the house.

What’s the funniest is that some days I feel bigger than others, bump wise. I know it is because he’s moving around in there. I spent almost a full week with him sitting on my bladder and let me tell you. It felt like the pain you get from a UTI, but only when he felt like stretching his feet out. It was misery. Luckily, he finally moved.

I’m developing quite the back and neck pains, my feet swell by the end of the day, and my face is rounder than I ever remember it being before. I’m getting tired- tired in the way I felt the first three months. My energy wains quickly. I try my best not to complain and stick it out. I’ll begin going to the chiropractor in July. Until then, we’re just doing our best, me and my little peanut.

So bring on this third trimester. We’re so ready.

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The Minimal Approach: Beauty

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I was never a glam goddess. In fact, my beauty routine since adolescence has mainly been an endless rotation of products that never really make the go-to list. Most products I try are clones of each other, just different packaging. I know what I like, it’s just taken a lifetime to figure out what to stick with.

That being said, I’m also guilty of being a traveling makeup artist. I hate the time it takes to get ready, so I usually leave the “getting pretty” part of the routine for time I have waiting for other things. So I’m used to doing my makeup in the car, in public bathrooms, pretty much anywhere I can grab a mirror and a few spare minutes of time.

So, when you combine a serious case of nesting with the fact that sometime in the very near future, I’m going to have to come up with a quick and easy mama-friendly routine, I did some purging and cleaning and went back down to the basics.

You guys, I threw out so. much. makeup. So many things I’ve bought, used three times, decided I didn’t like, and then just never gave up. I threw out broken things and expired things and just things I didn’t even remember I owned. I also did some soul searching and realized that I do, in fact, have some go-to products that I really do love. And, honestly, that’s all I really need, right?

Fortunately, those go-to products are things I have multiples of since it turns out I really do love them that much. What I ended up doing was giving myself a little travel bag for those inevitable, on the go times. But, for the first time ever, I also gave myself a place to keep my makeup at home. I kept it to the few products I actually do use. Nothing more. And, would you know, it took me less than ten minutes to do my hair and makeup today.

The minimalist life is quite nice.

So. Here’s a breakdown, in case you are interested (come on, we all are nosy).

Milani Brow Fix Brow Kit || Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream || Stila Prestige Palettes (sidenote, THESE ARE THE BEST) || Benefit They’re Real Mascara || Benefit Ooh La Lift || L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Magic BB Cream || Clark’s Botanicals Soothing Herbal Face Wash || Clarisonic Mia || Barlean’s Organic Oils Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (cheapest makeup remover, also good for oil pulling) || Mason Pearson Nylon Brush || Hot Tools Tapered Iron || Hana Professional Dryer

The Nest Around These Parts

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I’m not going to apologize for my week-long sabbatical. So let’s get that out of the way first. Moving on (and welcome, again).

I nearly didn’t go to work today. It was 5:30 in the morning, 90 minutes before I really have to start getting ready, and my mind just reeled. I’m pretty sure our tax documents aren’t all in one place. The health records- well, where are we keeping them? And, actually, where’s the key to the safe? The baseboards are so dirty. I bet I can figure out a better system to organize the vet records. Baci and Misha need their vaccinations. When’s the last time I dusted the books on the bookshelf? When does Home Depot open? I need to buy a new front doorknob with a new key- we haven’t ever changed our keys. What if we forget to write our will before he comes? And we need to update our life insurance policy. How long will it take to sell our spare mattress on Craigs List?

You guys. I almost called out of work on account of, well, I don’t even know.

Nesting is a real thing. And I have decided it may possibly be simultaneously the best and most horrible side effect of being pregnant ever. I mean, I can guarantee you the baseboards are getting a scrub by yours truly in a matter of days. But I can hardly function and I’ve still got 15 weeks left of this.

So here I am, alternating my spare time between a stack of books on breastfeeding and labor with this insane to-do list that embarrasses the heck out of me because how did I go this long without doing any of this stuff?

I’m also being particularly cognizant of where my spare time is going, since these days are really numbered. Three months left. My new favorite hobby is actually leaving the house to go on walks with just me, myself, and I (and my phone). I’ll make a phone call or listen to my audiobook while I walk. It’s pleasant. And gives me time to think about my to-do list for the house. So much to do.

But, more so than anything else, I’ve realized recently just how far the extent of our hormones and our instincts and this entire pregnancy thing really goes. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as animals have birthed and mothered since, well, forever, but it all really builds up naturally, doesn’t it? I mean, how nice of my mind to take a neurotic (errr, more neurotic) turn toward getting the house in order for the baby! So, please, excuse the organizing and the cleaning for a moment. 

I’ve turned into a mama bird and it’s time to build my nest. 

On the Importance of Making Your Bed, and Doing Little Things Right

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Awhile back, I blogged about my reaction to Gretchen Rubin’s post on broken windows. Broken windows, those things that make everything just feel like they aren’t together, are different for everyone. I listed tabletop clutter, piles of paper, dirty dishes, cigarette smoke, unfolded laundry scattered around the house, non-immaculate bathrooms, a messy car, and stains on pretty much anything. And all of them still apply.

But today I was reading Gretchen’s most recent blog post on making the bed and it dawned on me…. WHY DIDN’T I PUT THAT ON THE LIST? I realized I didn’t put it on the list because, 90% of the time, I do make our bed and it isn’t a usual broken window in our home. But, Gretchen’s post really sung to me this morning and I wanted to share more thoughts on such a mundane task.

Growing up, my mom always, always, always made sure the beds were made. Sometimes I would jump out of bed earlier than I planned to use the bathroom, come back, and see that my bed was already made. If she didn’t get to it first, I usually made it within an hour of being awake. It’s just so nice to have a made bed.

When Alex and I talk about the little details of raising our children, one of the first things I mention is my expectation that they’ll make their bed every single morning. It doesn’t have to be made perfectly. In fact, I firmly believe that if you give a toddler the opportunity, he will, in his own time, learn how to make an immaculate bed. And that’s a habit you can take with you the rest of your life.

So in Gretchen’s recent post, she shares thoughts from Naval Adm. William McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, who recently spoke of making your own bed in a commencement speech. This particular part really spoke to me:

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

Right on. So, did you make your bed this morning?

Documenting the Bump: Weeks 19-22

At the beginning of my pregnancy, everything seemed to fall on May. “I bet I finally start showing in May.” “We’ll know if we are having a boy or girl at the end of April, so we can really begin planning in May.” “At the end of May, baby will be viable, and that’s going to be when we can really relax.” “I am going to be a mom over Mother’s Day this May.” Yes, May has lived up to everything I expected.

I feel absolutely pregnant these days. My belly gets a little bit bigger with each passing day and I am finally beginning to fill out those maternity clothes I bought on sale a few months ago. These must be the days that make you want to be pregnant over and over again. I’m so happy, so calm, so ecstatic and at peace.

My new favorite moment is Saturday mornings. I’m waking up early these days, about 6 a.m. without an alarm. But, on Saturday mornings, I don’t need to get out of bed so I lay there with the cats cuddled around me and we feel the baby move around. I usually doze back to sleep, and then wake a few hours later with Alex and we do it all over again, playing a sort of “catch the kick” game where we wait for his next big kicking storm to fire up. We burn away the better part of Saturday mornings feeling his little kicks, but it’s my favorite part of the week. Just us, the cats, and our baby. It feels like we’re really a family already and we love it.

There are still a few side effects of this whole human-growing thing that I grow tired of dealing with most of the time. And I’ve reached a new level of this pregnancy thing that I think of as the “no turning back now, labor and delivery is inevitable” time period. I feel a mixture of anxiety, shock, worry, excitement, and disbelief to the task in front of me. And my concept of time has completely disappeared. September, or even sooner if he so pleases, will be here eventually. But whatever eventually means, I neither comprehend nor am I ready to figure out.

There’s much to be done and so very little time to do. There’s much to decide and no grasp of how to choose. We’re biting off little chunks- the nursery is coming together with decent progress, we have a pile of clothing and toys and newborn-sized disposable diapers waiting for him. And my growing belly is telling me we’re doing it all just right.

But, still, never before have I embarked upon such a wild unknown. I’m just trying to enjoy the ride.

photo photo117_zpsb96491a5.jpg(That face up there is a face of excitement and terror, still soaking in the thoughts that my baby is a BOY, since we’d only found out hours earlier.)

photo photo40_zps07a195e7.jpg(And in case it’s not totally obvious, he had a HUGE growth spurt at 20 weeks. I think I ate probably 5,000 calories per day (seriously) around that time. I was always hungry and that little dude was why.)

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You can see weeks 8-14 here and weeks 15-18 here.

Win a Canon Rebel T3i!

How about a Monday surprise? Emily from The Freckled Fox has teamed a bunch of us up to give away quite the prize. We are giving away a Canon Rebel T3i… I, personally, use this camera and can attest to how great it is. I love it. Even if you already have one or it’s not really your thing, a back-up is always a good idea and it would make an amazing gift as well.  Just look at this beauty!

Here’s all of the wonderful bloggers who made this possible. :)
Notes: The giveaway will run for ten days, the winner will be selected at random, contacted, and announced shortly after the giveaway concludes. Yes this is open internationally! The winner will receive the Canon Rebel T3i in a kit with an 18-55mm lens, a battery and a battery charger. Winner’s entries will be verified before the public announcement. If you’re interested in checking out all the amazing specifications of the camera, this is a great list though it’s not the camera that you’ll be receiving:) Enter below:
And that’s it! As always, make sure that you complete each of the entries in turn or at least as many as you can to give yourself better odds at receiving this girl in the mail!

Babymooon Part 1: Disney and Orlando

It’s been an entire month since Alex and I went on our little babymoon adventure down to Florida and then slowly back up to home. Truth be told, my absentmindedness is having a very difficult time hunting down my memory card. Most annoying side effect of pregnancy? Perhaps. I’m not used to being forgetful, but it’s something I’m working on accepting.

So we started on our journey one lovely Friday evening, only to find out our usual short cut through southern Maryland was closed and we were stuck on 95 south where it took us (locals, you will understand how incredibly awful this is) FOUR HOURS to get from the beltway to Quantico. For those of you who are not familiar with the DC area, that basically means we crept along at 2-5 mph for ever and ever and ever. I saw people relieving themselves on the side of the road, cars running out of gas, it was like the apocalypse. Terrible. And, I’ll have you know, this was all from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Not exactly rush hours.

Anywho, once we got on our way with a friendly reminder of why we never, ever, ever would move to northern Virginia, we traveled our little way down south overnight. The end game was my sister’s place in Winter Park. And that’s where we stayed for the next few nights. Here’s a little snippet of our time with her wandering Park Avenue and enjoying Downtown Disney through the little lens of my iphone (oh, memory card, I need you so). Good times all around. I recommend a little visit to your family member in Orlando (because don’t we all have one?).

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(Can you see it? Can you see him? He was so tiny back then… This was when I popped, at 18 weeks, but you can barely seem him. So tiny!)

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photo photo214_zps376be148.jpg(strange photos to put next to each other, hm? Thought so, too).

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And one more with the mice for good luck.

photo photo311_zps17c6bbd5.jpgI’m beginning to think my memory card may be in that purse I’m wearing up there… time to go look.

Preparing for Motherhood: The Waddle

 photo photo39_zps77c1557d.jpgMother’s Day selfie for the sole purpose of sending my own mother an updated picture of her grandson. Shameless look at the current state of our living room. 21 weeks, 6 days pregnant.

You know, I could deny it til the cows come home, but I really can’t. Even my husband, who has followed the “watch what you say and do around your pregnant wife” tip to the very T it means told me, just about two weeks ago “you’re starting to get the pregnant lady waddle” and I didn’t cry or feel offended. Because it’s happened. I’m waddling.

I really figured this would happen later on, when I begin to carry a regulation-sized basketball instead of a baby. But, no, the gods aren’t that kind. The waddle begins before baby gets very large. It’s got to be scientific, is how I’ve chosen to write it off. My boobs are three sizes larger than they’ve been ever before in my life, my belly changes sizes each day, and the proportions just don’t really work well with my muscle memory. The shape my body is used to carrying around has morphed into something totally different and my center of balance is, well, I don’t even know what it is.

So while I practice the best posture I can, shoulders back, head up straight, marching on day by day, it ends up looking a bit more like a duck than a confident woman. I’m working on my sea legs, but the problem is by the time I get it down at the end of the day, I fall asleep and have to start all over again finding a brand new center of balance. It must be similar to a puppy to who is growing so fast that as soon as it learns how to go up and down stairs, it grows again and has to learn it all over.

I waddle about, so conscious of my waddle that I sometimes don’t hear the conversations around. Focusing on straight lines, stepping ahead in non-pregnancy movements is a big thing for me these days. Oh, how I don’t enjoy being the pregnant waddler.

In other news, however, I waddled about so proud on Mother’s Day this past Sunday that you could’ve believed, if just for a second, that this waddle was fabricated for the sake of being a pregnant waddler. Being greeted in Home Depot (hello home projects, such a happy mom I am) with a “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!!” was pretty freaking fantastic. That’s right. I may not have a little baby to show you, but I’ve got myself a solid, rock-hard bump in my belly and I’ve certainly got myself a waddle.

I am a mom. And motherhood is worth the waddle. Every single step of it.

Happy Friday, oh, & Win $250 in Paypal Cash…


My wonderful blog friend, Beth, of Oak and Oats just turned 26. Happy birthday, Beth! Anyway, for her birthday, we’re giving away $250 cash and I know you are interested. Who couldn’t use that sort of cash right about now? So, I hope you have a fabulous weekend and then I’ll shut up because what you really want to be doing is entering this giveaway immediately. So, on that note, over and out.

This giveaway was made possible by….. Brynne of Thatch & Thistle, Maddie of Maddie Richardson, Alyssa of Impractical Composition, Megan of Rivers & Roads, Liz of Life as Liz, Britney of the Quiet Place, Rachel of Rachel Boulevard, Abby of Becoming Blog, Robin of Fly Free, Elizabeth of Omnnomnom, Jenna of Dearest Love, Tina of Like Ordinary Life, Robin of Living Colorfully, Katie of Lublyou, Angie of My So Called Chaos, Tyler of Arkansassy, Amanda of Little Tranquility, Jillian of Brave Sunday, Mary of Trusty Chucks, and Janene of Celebrating Life.

YOUR CHANCE TO WIN! All entries to this giveaway will be run via rafflecopter. In exactly one week the giveaway will close, one winner will be selected at random and announced! all entries will be verified, so please play by the rules! I will transfer the $250 from my paypal to your paypal and it is just that easy (if you do not have a paypal account, I highly suggest you sign up with one today!!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Becoming Me: New Limitations

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It’s felt like limbo in our house for what seems like an eternity. I mentioned months ago how we’d bought a new couch but couldn’t sell our old one. Well, that finally changed this weekend, but the rest of the house has taken over the limbo stage. We’re deep in the midst of updates on what will one day be our little dude’s nursery, and what that really means is that there’s junk we need to sort through, store, sell, and reorganize everywhere.

Carrying this little one is the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced, but I’m having a terribly hard time succumbing to my “frail” status. I’m such a doer. I see something that needs to be done and I do it immediately. Otherwise I go stir crazy. Sadly, about 95% of the things that need to be done in our home during this limbo time period are things I can’t physically do right now. The heavy lifting, the moving, the painting…. I’m going insane.

I hate being on other people’s time tables. I’m trying to be patient, really, I am. But so much of what has to be done actually requires two people… two to lift, to move, to organize, to take out of the attic and put back into the attic… and so Alex does what he can and then we wait for helpers. Meanwhile, I’m busying myself with the few tasks I can do (straightening up, laundry, dishes…). It makes me feel slightly more useful.

And I’m bringing flowers home regularly. Just to make it feel more like home.

This past weekend, this past gorgeous weekend… well, let’s just say all I wanted to do was work on our yard. Sadly, thanks to about a dozen (yes, a dozen) outdoor cats who practically live in the flower beds of our street, I can’t even do yardwork. So I limited myself to raking leaves. It felt so very unsatisfying.

These new limitations may make other women happy. They just make me anxious. I keep hearing that I need to take advantage of it, remember I’m growing a baby, that I’m doing plenty. It doesn’t feel that way and I struggle with it every day.

There’s this old dresser that used to be in his soon-to-be nursery that had to get moved and where did it get moved? Plop. Dead in the center of our master bedroom. It’s too heavy for Alex to move himself and so there is remains. For a month now. I have to walk around it when I come and go from our bedroom. I see it when I wake up, I see it when I turn the lights off each night. It’s like the haunting metaphor for my limitations. I feel so lazy and helpless. Plus, I just want it gone. Have since the day is was dropped there in the middle of my bedroom floor.

The end is near, I know it is. We plan on having the nursery complete sooner rather than later and then the house can start piecing itself back to normal. But I’ll still be stuck unable to lift or move or paint or garden. And hopefully, by then, I’ve settled into my new limitations.