Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Baby C's Nursery Reveal

After months of planning and preparations, Hubs and I finally gathered everything we need for our little girl's arrival.  We had our baby showers (pictures coming soon!) and utilized those ever-valuable registry completion coupons to ensure that we have the essentials ready to go for Baby C's imminent arrival.

The biggest hurdle we've had has been preparing her nursery.  Although we plan to have her sleep in our room for the first 4-6 weeks, having her room completed was one way that I could officially feel "ready".

I had quite a debate in my mind about how to decorate the baby's room.  My first inclination was to check out ideas at ProjectNursery.com and Pinterest.  I saw ideas I LOVED.  The designs had the requisite chevron patterns, monograms and modern furnishings... Friends, they were gorgeous!  I adored the chic color palettes, statement wallpapers and ultra-mod light fixtures.  However, I found myself enamored with designs that didn't really look like they were for children at all, let alone babies.  Anyone, of any age, could have lived in those rooms if you swapped the crib for a queen sized bed and ditched the changing pad.  That's when it dawned on me:  I want my baby's nursery to look like it belongs to a BABY.  I want to decorate with her in mind, not my own grown-up tastes and desires.  I had to push that selfishness and desire for a Pinterest-worthy room aside and focus on my little girl.

So, my focus changed.  I was then looking at bedding and classic nursery items that were cute and pink and all of that jazz.  I began to entertain the thought of "cartoon-y" bedding, which had been off the table before.  That's also when my husband and I talked about incorporating some of the items from my childhood collection of giraffes (which have always been my favorite animal) into the design.  When I went to register, my sister and I found a very cute crib bedding set that used giraffes and jungle animals, but it was still girly and distinctly baby-like.  Hubs liked it too, and the decision was made.  We were going with the girly jungle animals, but trying not to over-play the theme.

We finished decorating and organizing the nursery last week, and besides a few art prints that haven't come in yet, the room is done.  Hallelujah!  There were times when I wondered if it was ever going to be done.

Below, you're getting a peek of our work...

A good friend of mine had also given us a wooden diaper pad tray for the top of the dresser, which I was excited about using.  She painted it a light lime green to match the bedding but contrast with other colors used in the room.  However, the rubber pads she put on the bottom took the finish off of our dining room table, so we decided that we need to find some other pads for the bottom before we dare put it on the new dresser.  Hopefully that will work out down the road.

We also have a monogrammed throw pillow for the arm chair coming soon, so that will be a great extra touch for the room.  I'm very excited to show our daughter around her new room once she arrives.  I'm proud of how the room turned out, and feel like it's very appropriate for both baby and I's tastes.

Now that this is done, we're just putting the finishing touches on the house to prepare for Baby C.  She should be here very soon, we're ready for that whirlwind to begin!

Friday, July 11, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with Pregnancy & Maternity Clothes

Being pregnant is truly a wonderful thing.  It's beautiful and it's a miracle.  However, there's a dark underside to this pregnancy gig, and everyone who's interested in being real does their own kind of expose into this area.  Even me.

Pregnancy symptoms are for the birds.  I haven't even had all of the possible symptoms, but the ones I have are making me miserable.  Swollen legs and feet, heartburn, headaches, hot flashes, discomfort while sleeping, lower back pain, widening hips, ligament pain in my abdomen, growing breasts, rounding belly, increased mucous/fluids... the list could go on and on. 

Aside from that, there are other changes going on that really stink.  They're mostly chain reactions of the above, and they serve as reminders of your temporary state of impairment and the fact that being pregnant as a plus sized woman is no picnic. 

Restaurants have become trickier.  You know that restaurant you love going to because it has all of those booths?  Well, those cozy booths aren't comfortable anymore and now you can only sit at a regular table.  This means longer wait times and eye-rolls from the host stand, who just think I'm being super picky and high maintenance before you've even ordered your first non-alcoholic beverage.  Telling the host that you're pregnant helps a smidge, but they still act put out and annoyed by a special request.  You'll also notice that some restaurants have VERY few tables, and most will be high-top tables in the bar.  This just isn't cool because even high-top bar chairs can be uncomfortable during pregnancy, and I don't really want to be sitting in the bar area watching everyone drink their 2-for-1 margaritas.  It's like rubbing salt in my wounds!  Also, chairs with arms are less comfortable for me right now since my body is getting wider without my say-so.  My docs say it's normal, but I say it's shit. 

Also, NOTHING fits right anymore.  No surprise, right?  Even shoes stop fitting.  Most of my shoes are too tight now due to my swollen feet, so my footwear options are now limited to one or two pairs of flip flops and ballet flats.  I seriously miss all of my other cute shoes!  Even the shoes that other pregnant ladies recommend don't fit my feet, since they're so chunky on  top right now.  Even my toes have little chub rolls.  I wish I was kidding.

My hands have even swelled up, causing me to ditch my wedding rings and now I also have the start of a lovely phenomenon called Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel.  While the wedding ring issue is fixed by my cheap, Target CZ ring, there's no easy fix for the temporary Carpal Tunnel problem.  There's nothing like trying to type something quickly while your hands and fingers are engulfed in that pins-and-needles feeling.

Finally, the latest bane of my existence is plus sized maternity clothing.  Do you realize that practically no one makes this segment of clothing??  It's super-specialty clothing that most retailers ignore.  I mean, most retailers like to pretend that plus size women don't exist anyway, and those that do sell plus sizes assume the women wearing the clothing are all over the age of 50.  It's completely insulting.  But plus size maternity clothes?  Forget about it.  There are SO few options.

Here's a newsflash to retailers:  PLUS SIZED WOMEN HAVE BABIES TOO!!  And we're not all dumpy, white-trash types who will just live in huge 4X men's t-shirts and sweatpants while we're with child.  Plus sized pregnant women want cute clothes, pajamas, swim suits and business clothes, too.  We want cute shoes that fit our big sausage feet.  We want CHOICES.  It shouldn't be such a hard thing for stores to grasp.

My problem is that friends often try to help by pointing out where they found cute maternity wear, but they're all smaller than I am or are just built differently.  99% of the time they suggest Old Navy and Target, but these stores only go up to an XXL in maternity wear.  Pre-pregnancy, this would not have been an issue for me, as XLs and XXLs were a regular staple of my wardrobe.  But now, my wider hips, bigger boobs and round tummy require me to wear a 2X or 3X in plus sized maternity.  NO JOKE.  Target's clothes simply don't fit right (most are too clingy for my liking) and Old Navy has given me only limited success.

Motherhood Maternity is a decent resource, but the clothes are less stylish and more expensive.  Most of my current work clothes have come from there, as well as some casual pants and t-shirts.  Casual pants in plus maternity are extremely limited unless you want leggings or cargo capris (neither of which are really my thing), and the selection of shorts is laughable.   I just don't love buying a super plain, borderline frumpy maxi dress or ill-fitting khaki pants for $50, but a girl needs to be clothed.  Decisions, decisions.

People have recommended Kohl's, but they've stopped selling plus sized maternity last year.  I've also heard about JC Penney, but their selection is also very limited and can only be purchased online.  Ugh.  No one besides Motherhood offers maternity that you can try on in the store, and even then, Motherhood's in-store selection is far smaller than their variety of online offerings.  JC Penney does not have any in-store plus maternity, so that's also out if you want to try things on.

My biggest hurdle has been finding something to wear to my baby shower.  I have two dresses I've bought online and I don't love either one.  One is passable but shows off my swollen legs, and the other is just frumpy, cheaply-made and dull.  I am probably going to try to dress up a work outfit for the occasion, which is less than ideal.  I never thought finding a cute maternity dress would be so hard!

Now on to the parts of maternity clothes that I love...

The best thing I can say about plus sized maternity is that when you find comfortable pieces, those are the only ones you want to wear.  They're a godsend as you get larger and more uncomfortable in anything else you own.  I love a full-coverage elastic waistband on pants these days (the vain part of me never thought I'd say it!), as well as tops and dresses with extra belly room.  Totally.  Glorious.

My favorite pants are these lightweight pants that roll into capris, which are keeping me cool this summer.  I have shorts too, but I like these better because they cover more of my swollen parts.

Motherhood Maternity
VERY Comfortable, but not particularly exciting

This t-shirt is also great due to the light fabric and sleeves that cover my squishy upper arms.  I own it in 4 colors, so you know it's a favorite. 
Motherhood Maternity
Nothing special, but lightweight and comfortable

I've been wearing maxi dresses from Motherhood and Old Navy, but unfortunately neither site still carries them.  They're long, they cover a lot and yet they're cool for the sweaty summer months.  They also work well for work or play, and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.  I highly recommend maxi dresses for summertime pregnancies!

Finally, ballet flats and flip flops are your friend when your feet get swollen and other shoes are no longer a comfortable option.  Since I don't work at a flip-flop friendly workplace, it's ballet flats for me every single day.  Even other sandals don't work for me right now because the tops of my feet are so swollen, and don't let anyone tell you that Tom's or Crocs will work better.  If you're feet are like mine, they won't cut it.  Invest in some reasonably comfortable ballet flats and you won't be sorry.  Even affordable shoe stores like Payless make some decent ballet flats, including those in wide-widths (if you need that sort of thing). 

Our Child Birth class teacher recently asked me what I liked about being pregnant.  And I answered honestly:  There aren't many things I like about being pregnant, other than feeling my baby move and kick and seeing her little face on our sonogram pictures.  I also like that no one expects me to lift anything heavy, do any manual labor, or be around chemicals (Hall Pass to get out of painting the nursery!).  Several other moms in the room felt the same way, so I wasn't alone.  I don't feel like a sexy, womanly being who has that pregnancy glow.  Being pregnant hasn't been comfortable for me physically, but I love knowing that it's temporary and will result in us meeting our newest, most exciting family member to date.  Woo-hoo to that!

So that's it.  It's a bit more of a rant than I initially planned, but you get the truth here.  Overall, despite the trials and tribulations of being pregnant, having our baby here will be AMAZING, and I know that.  It will all be worth it in the end!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Refocusing the Planner In Me

The life of a crazy-busy, 33-weeks pregnant lady is tough... At times turbulent.... But always an adventure. 

I recently experienced some severe abdominal cramping that really terrified and upset me.  Normally, my non-preggo self would say, "Damn, I won't eat at that sushi place again."  But my preggo self got nervous because I didn't know the cause of my pain. (I haven't had any sushi while pregnant, even though I've had some serious cravings!)  It lasted for a couple of days, and on the second day, it was so bad that it brought this tough girl to tears.  I stayed home from work to rest and rehydrate (the doctor thought I may be dehydrated), but the pain persisted, and by the end of that day, I couldn't sit down comfortably but I couldn't move much while standing either.  I was really worried about what that might mean for baby and I, and if that meant that I was having any problems with my pregnancy.  Thus far, my pregnancy has been very healthy and I've had no issues to speak of. 

I decided to go to the hospital for monitoring, which was a great decision, at least for my peace of mind.  I found out that our baby is doing wonderfully, and my pain and discomfort was likely due to a stomach bug and a non-serious infection.  I learned that I'm not experiencing any kind of pre-term labor, and she's not likely to arrive anytime in the next two weeks.

Relief set in.

Afterward, I reflected on the experience.  While the thought of having a baby born 7 weeks early was scary to me, I was really most worried about her arriving before I had everything ready for her.  I don't have a car seat, stroller, diapers, or other necessities.  My baby shower is this weekend, where I will probably get some essentials, but I need to buy the rest and darn it, I need time for that!  I also don't have her room organized and decorated, which I realize is minor in the grand scheme of things, but I was still upset about it.  I want everything to be just right for her and not done on the fly.

But that's the planner in me.  I was more upset that my prep-work wasn't done than I was knowing that she might arrive before her lungs are fully developed.  Silly, silly, silly.  But the planner reminds me that we have excellent doctors, a great hospital staff and a great support system to take care of her if she's born early, but the planning and preparations are all on me and my hubby.  And we aren't ready.   There's nothing like a swift kick in the butt to get you moving on your to-do list!

Nonetheless, I was reminded of what truly matters.  It's not about having cute d├ęcor hung on the walls of the nursery, having just the right Coming Home outfit, or saving up to buy the fancy stroller.  It's about making Baby C gets here in the safest, healthiest way possible.  I also have very little control around when baby decides to arrive, so I have to be prepared in case she makes her way into our family earlier than expected.  As long as I'm staying healthy AND preparing for her arrival simultaneously, things will be good.  I'm confident in that.

So from here on out, I am committed to being focused on preparations for baby without losing sight of how important she and her health are to me.  I need to pack our bags for the hospital, finish decorating the nursery, and stock up on baby essentials.  I also need to drink water like its my job, keep eating healthy and rest whenever possible.  Physically over-doing it in June didn't do me any favors!

Here's to a wonderful (and hopefully productive) next 7 weeks!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Winding Down

Hola, aloha, bienvenidos, ciao and hi!

It feel like such an absentee blogger as of late, but I know that this whole thing is a function of my life's circumstances right now.  Thanks for bearing with me!

I have been absolutely swamped over the past two months, with every single weekend being booked with activities and my weeks packed with work, conferences and commitments.  I'm exhausted, to say the least, and it's a miracle that I've been able to keep up with everything.  

This weekend marks a turning point for me.  I purposely planned to have most of my traveling, big commitments and such completed by the end of June so I could have all of July and August to prepare for our baby's impending arrival.  After I got back from my conference and had my second (but not my last) 4D ultrasound, it was mostly over.  We're now in the downhill slide to baby's arrival!

We only have a few things planned for this week, but July is shaping up to be a much quieter time.   My Hubby's birthday and my baby shower are in early/mid July, but that's it.  The rest of the month will be dedicated to baby stuff and getting our life in order for this tremendous change.  Holy mother of pearl, I can't believe she's going to be here in 2 short months (or less!!).  

To be honest, I'm feeling completely overwhelmed by my to-do list right now, which is growing by the day.  I also feel extremely tired, which is apparently a cornerstone of the third trimester of pregnancy.  What great timing!  Ha.  

Anyway, I realize that part of the reason I'm feeling so exhausted and run-down is because I've been over-doing things in the past month.   By being on the go A LOT and not resting or taking care of myself enough, I've probably just made the exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed worse.  

My problem is that I have trouble slowing down.  Throughout my life, whenever I've taken time to feel better, rejuvenate, or relax, it's always been met by someone being snarky and joking about me being "lazy".  Many times growing up, this was my family.  For example, until my pregnancy, I'd always been someone who needed more sleep than some other people do.  (Since being pregnant, this has changed and I don't sleep nearly as much anymore.)  My family always liked to point out how "lazy" I was for sleeping in on the weekends or needing a nap after a stressful day.  I was always hurt by this, since I knew I wasn't being a lazy, shiftless oaf, but rather trying to do what was necessary to keep me functioning like a normal human being.  As I got older, I learned to push myself through those periods of exhaustion, so although I'd sleep in on weekends (unapologetically, thankyouverymuch), I never napped anymore.  I also learned to keep up with many commitments and just work my tail off.  To me, I did this so that no one could ever say I was being "lazy", even though those words would occasionally (and still do) pop out of my mom and sister's mouths from time to time.  Ugh.  It's like nails on a chalkboard at this point in my life.  My inability to slow down, whether its in planning or participating in activities or at work, is a product of my need to show people that I'm doing my part.  It's me, waiting a big flag and saying, "See?!?  This is me NOT BEING LAZY!!!"

My problem is that at 31.5 weeks pregnant, my lack of willingness to slow down has only made me more tired and more overwhelmed, due to everything from a massive to-do list to anxiety, excitement and wonder about my changing body and life.  I'm having to learn to delegate tasks to people in a way I've never had to before just to keep sane.  Sometimes it hurts because I want to do certain things myself.  Other times, it feels like relief.  I'm still learning how to balance these feelings, and it's not as easy as I thought it would be.  As a working mom, I know that delegating to a husband or my employees will be a critical skill, so I need to hone it now, before my little one arrives and even more stress enters my life.

Truth be told, even though I'm winding down my external activities in preparation for having my baby, other aspects of my life, those on the baby front, are ramping up.  I've got a nursery to decorate, tons of baby things to buy, a house to clean, and a dog, car, home and hubby to tend to.  Life isn't really going to slow down, but all of those outside commitments are being put on hold while I focus on bigger and more important things.  

So here's to June.  You were a slave driver and kicked my butt.  Cheers.

July, I'm ready for you, but go easy on me.  I need a few breaks and a little TLC.   Huggy smoocho.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Life Lately

Hey there, ladies and gents!  I realized tonight that it's been awhile since I caught everyone up as to what I've been up to lately.  As usual, I've had a million things going on and I've run out of time for doing things I really enjoy.  It seems like my life is a tug of war between responsibilities and total exhaustion, which isn't fun or healthy for anyone if it doesn't come to a reasonable end at some point.  Here are some highlights from the last month or so...

Work has been NUTS.  Earlier this year, my boss and I did a "roadshow" of sorts, traveling around to our company's facilities and talking about employee performance management (I'm in HR, after all).  Following those seminars, I was SLAMMED with requests from leaders who wanted my help in managing problematic employees.  Which was great, but there's only one of me to go around... for 1300 employees!  Not good.  Finally, I got some help from a co-worker who was being underutilized and had some employee relations experience.  She's been a godsend and I'm thrilled that we've been getting our business under control together.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, one of my three administrative employees quit and she didn't exactly leave things in a great place.  So, now I'm searching for a temp to fill in while we wait for our CEO to approve the position as a regular hire.  On top of all of that, I've been going into work early and staying late many nights, and I know I'm heading for burn-out if I don't nip this in the bud soon.  Plus, with baby on the way in August, I'll be forced to scale back on the stress in the months to come.  I have no idea how that will happen, but I'm coming up with plans and hope to get everything in place by the end of July.  You know, just in case my little one decides to join us earlier than expected!

I enrolled my hubby in guitar lessons about a month ago, and he LOVES it!!  He's always had guitars around the house, but rarely plays them.  He can play a bit, but is self-taught and really needs someone great to help him be more proficient.  I'm so excited that he's taking this on.  He may never be a famous rock star, but he'll be able to play songs for baby and I, which we'll love!

Traveling is important right now since we won't be getting to do much of it once baby arrives.  We spent a few days in Orlando earlier this month, and a few days in Venice seeing my parents over Memorial Day weekend.  This weekend, I'm headed to Orlando once again, but just for one night.  I have a training meeting on Saturday morning at a resort, and then I'm heading right back home to try to get some things done for the next weekend.  The first weekend in June is my hubby and I's anniversary trip and babymoon, and we're heading to Savannah, GA!  I'm crazy excited and I've always wanted to go there.  We booked our hotel room, but haven't made any dinner reservations or tour reservations yet.  I've gotta get that done this week!

I've been steadily trying to do baby-related things, but there's SO much to do!  I found some viable daycare options, but nothing is locked down yet.  We're on two waitlists, but there are no guarantees.  It's driving me crazy, too, because I'm a planner and hate last minute issues!  I am praying that something works out.  We have other options, we just don't like them as well and hope to avoid using a Plan B, C or D option.  We also need to start looking for a pediatrician and finish decorating the baby's room, which both need to be sorted out in June.  Other things like childbirth classes, newborn care classes, etc. are already booked for June, so we're set there.  I'm sure there are other things, but you get the gist of it.  Lots. O'. Stuff. To. Do.

Being pregnant has been a trip.  I'm currently 27 weeks along, and I'm now noticeably pregnant, not just extra-chubby.  I wear mostly maternity clothes, with a few stretchy non-maternity pieces thrown in for good measure.  Baby has been moving around a lot more lately and she's getting stronger, as evidenced by her swift, hard karate kicks to my bladder and hip bones.  She still doesn't kick hard enough for Hubs to feel her most of the time, though, so I'm hoping he can feel her kicks soon.  I've got all kinds of crazy pregnancy symptoms, too.  My swollen feet resemble bread baking in in my ballet flats... yeah, definitely not cute!  I also have trouble sleeping, have terrible heartburn and all of that other jazz.  I still have about 3 months left to go, but knowing that my baby girl will be here soon makes everything seem strangely... okay.  

Blogging has taken a bit of a backseat, but it's still a big part of my life that will be continuing well into the future.  I see a re-branding, though, and I'm not sure what that might look like yet.  Even though I've fought long and hard, it's not easy to have a blog and not talk about big things like pregnancy, kids, or family when they're significant parts of your life.  I've never wanted to be solely a 'mommy blogger', but if you mention kids or pregnancy at all in this type of forum, it seems inevitable that the 'mommy blogger' label gets stamped on you.  I guess it's time to sort-of embrace that, but I just don't want to fall into trap where those are the ONLY things that get discussed in my neck of the woods.  There are many wonderful things in my life beyond my kiddo-to-be, and I want to touch on all of those things.  Beauty, celebs, home, activities, the community, and more... I look forward to diving right back in!

Weather here in Tampa Bay is already HOT and muggy.  The famous Tampa Bay storms are also starting early this year, so we've had lots of crazy weather to contend with on my drives home over the past few days.  Between the heat, humidity and dampness from storms, I feel like I never stop sweating.  I really need cooler maternity clothes, but I haven't been successful in finding cool clothes that are suitable for work.  As a fix, I've hooked a fan up and it blows directly onto my face, chest and arms all day long while I'm at my desk.  It feels like a little slice of heaven, too!  

That's a quick-ish update on me!  I hope you all are doing great and having a wonderful time heading into summer.  Hugs and squishes to all of you!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Date Night: Jersey Boys

Hubs and I have been homebodies lately, since it seems like most of the festivals and events I'd usually go to during this time of year involve drinking or partying.  While I definitely love those things, they're not as fun while pregnant.  So, unless my husband or friends REALLY want to go, we're been skipping those events.  I've been searching for some good, wholesome, sober fun lately, so I jumped at an opportunity offered by our local performing arts center, The Straz Center in Tampa, to attend the opening night of the musical, Jersey Boys.  

I'd heard about the musical from my friends, who loved it.  They're also from Jersey, so... they felt the kinship.  I knew the show was about the formation and career Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  Since I'm a sucker for oldies, this sounded like a fun night's entertainment and a great date night option.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

My husband and I attended the event last Tuesday, and I was happily surprised at what a great production it was.  I love the acoustics of our performing arts center, which make the performers sound wonderful (even if they're a little off that night).  We had great seats to the show, and I found out after we sat down that this is the first musical production my husband has EVER seen outside of a high school theater.  WOW.  I've been to Broadway shows, regional and national touring shows at local performing arts venues, etc., so I guess I never knew that he hasn't had those same types of experiences.  After the show, he told me that he really enjoyed himself and would go to other shows like this.  Woo hoo!

The show itself featured actors portraying the four original members of the Four Seasons, including the star of the group Frankie Valli.  The actor playing Frankie sang wonderfully on some songs and his voice seemed to struggle a bit on others, but overall, he did a great job as Frankie.  The other actors were wonderful too, and the set design was simple but very effective.  

I loved these parts of the show, as well as the sets...

The pictures only tell a small slice of a story, it's really a great show with fun, energetic music that you want to sing along to (if you're like me, that is!).  Check it out here in Tampa or in a city near you!!

Next up:  Getting my husband to see more musicals.  I hear Jesus Chris Superstar is coming soon and starring artists like Michelle Williams (of Destiny's Child fame), JC Chasez (my N'Sync crush), and Brandon Boyd (my Incubus crush), so DEFINITELY need to convince my hubby that it's a must-see.  At least to get this lady some eye candy!

What's your favorite musical?  
Have you seen any great shows lately?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Questions for the Preggo

Lately, it seems like people have not only been asking me more questions about my pregnancy, but giving me their commentary on how they think I'm handling my pregnancy.  People warned me that the Peanut Galleries of the world would be doing this, providing their unsolicited opinions and making statements about what THEY think I should do/eat/think/believe.  I was ready for it.  Although most of this is meant with the best of intentions, I know that some questions are coming from a place of judgment and critique.  It's all soooo much fun!

So, without further ado...

Q:  "Why don't you put more baby bump pictures on Facebook (and Instagram, Twitter, etc.)?"  Also, "Are you going to have maternity photos taken?"
A:  Hmmm... It's both simple and complicated.  Simple answer:  I just don't feel like posting any pictures until I have a more defined baby bump.  This is the truth.  Complicated answer:  I've gained a lot of weight over the past couple of years and I really don't like seeing any ol' pictures of myself plastered all over the internet.  I'm selective about which pictures I show these days, until I'm feeling better about how I look.  As I noted in a previous post, I got pregnant at a higher weight than I had hoped, and I've been instructed not to "diet" while pregnant.  I've been making efforts to eat healthier and take on healthy habits, which has helped keep my total weight gain to date at 11 lbs.  I actually do have a growing baby bump, though, so I will probably post a picture or two soon.  I probably won't be investing in maternity photos for the reasons stated above, but I could change my mind in the upcoming months.  You never, ever know.  (I've been known to change my mind from time to time.)

Q:  "Why didn't you do something special for your family to announce your pregnancy?  Like giving your mom a special "grandma" onesie or something."  Also, "Why didn't you have a gender reveal party?"
A:  Let me start by saying that I LOVE parties, and any excuse for throwing one, but there are several reasons why I didn't make a big production out of announcing my pregnancy or the sex of the baby.  First, my family members are anxious and impatient beings who have been dying for me to get pregnant for years.  I found out I was pregnant on December 17, and immediately I asked Hubs how we should tell people--special gift at Christmas time or just call everyone right away and share the good news.  As soon as I mentioned these options, my better senses smacked me in the face.  My family would NOT have been happy if I had known I was pregnant for 1-2 weeks and didn't tell them, only to spring it on them with a silly gift at the holiday party.  I also vividly remember my sister saying to me, "Don't you dare find out your pregnant then wait several weeks to surprise us with some dumb gift." (That says it all, folks.)  My family doesn't care about making a big ordeal out of things, so we abandoned the gift idea and called everyone.  It was a wonderful night.  Everyone was happy and crying (tears of joy), and I knew I'd made the right call.  The gender reveal is pretty much the same story, but in all honesty, nobody really cared if we were having a girl or a boy.  While our families and close friends were interested in our baby's sex, waiting for us to plan some party wasn't going to make anyone happy and we would have been pestered non-stop.  We just called our families, texted the news to a few close friends, and posted the news on Facebook.

Planning parties with my family and friends is tough anyway.  We don't all live near each other.  My parents are 1.5 hours from us and my sister and her family are almost 2 hours away.  Many of our friends are in town, but most live 20-30 minutes (or more) away and everyone has incredibly busy lives.  It just worked better for us to not have a party.  I don't think this makes our announcement any more or less special than someone else's, but with all things, I think you have to consider your audience and timing.  The Peanut Gallery has told me that I'm not "trying hard enough to make my pregnancy special" because I'm not doing these things, but I think that's ridiculous.  10 years ago, nobody did gender reveal parties and silly gifts. They're an invention of the Facebook and Pinterest era, and while these parties are a fun concept, they're not necessary to have a happy, healthy and fun pregnancy.

Q:  "Have your feet started to swell yet?"
A:  Oh yes, and my fingers too!  I could barely stuff my feet into my work loafers this morning, which was delightful.  I can't wait until the third trimester when my feet will only fit in to flip flops!  My bosses are going to love that.  My fingers started to swell early on, too, so I took my rings off around week 10.  Then I got hit on by some dude at the Veterinarian's office and was asked by a lady at work about my baby's dad.  I knew that if she'd seen my wedding rings, she would have asked about my husband.  I knew right then and there that I needed a cheap, fake wedding ring to hold me over, ASAP.  Fast forward to 2 weekends ago, I was shopping at Target and found a passable set of fakes for $20.  SOLD. 

Q:  "When are you having your shower?" 
A:  Hopefully when I'm around 30-32 weeks.  Any later will just be miserable and hot and uncomfortable.  Plus, it will be nice to have an idea of what I'll need to buy on my own before baby arrives, and have time to buy everything without being in a rush.

Q:  "Will you be doing anything special for Bella?"
A:  I didn't know what this meant.  If they mean a gift, or special treatment, or special kenneling, or a party, I don't think so.  We'll give her all of the same love, cuddles and kisses that we already do, but we don't want to draw attention to this as a huge, life changing event for her (even though it is, kind of).  I want her to know that she's loved as much as always, but sending her to a pet resort for a week would send her into a panic.  She'd think of it as a Puppy Alcatraz, and would probably come back home with a horrible attitude and pee all over the house just to spite us.  It's better for us to show her that things will be carrying on the same as always, just with a new family member.  Also, if that friend asking about Bella meant special training to prep her for a baby, I'm not sure.  Bella loves babies and kids, and while she will be a little bit jealous with a baby in the house at first, I'm confident that she'll adjust quickly to change like she always.  I do know of a good pet psychologist/trainer, though, so I'll use her if Bella starts doing anything cray.

AHHHH, these people kill me.  But I know their questions are coming from a place of love... helpfulness... and nosiness.  Until later, friends!

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!

La Bella Vita

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