Nugget’s First Baby Shower

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Alright folks, I think we are on the inside of the last two months!! I’m 32 weeks and measuring right on target for growth (my uterus is 32 cm from top to bottom). Nugget is currently in a head-down position – and we really hope it stays that way until he/she is ready to come out! Nick and I have our last birthing class this evening, and have signed up for a breastfeeding course in a few weeks, so hopefully all of the things we could possibly do to prepare ourselves for the big day and for life with Nug are done.

Now… what can we do to help prepare Nugget for the big day and for life with Mommy and Daddy? Shower him/her of course!!

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On Saturday, my dearest coworkers and friends were so sweet to me, and threw Nugget a baby shower. I am lucky enough to work with some of the most amazing women I’ve ever met, who are not only fantastic teachers, but incredible mothers themselves, and I couldn’t have left the party feeling more grateful for the opportunity to have them in my life.

We had some delicious food, played a hilarious “famous TV mothers game”, and then opened gifts. Nugget is going to be set, y’all. He/she has the best of the best coming his/her way, and I tell you what… I seriously cannot WAIT to open the clothes/toys/supplies in the coming months. The best part about all of this – I am fortunate enough to have more amazing friends and family who’ve organized other similar events for Nug in the next few weeks!!

Someday, when my child is old enough to understand, I am going to do my best to make him/her realize that we, as a family, have so many things to be thankful for. I am still coming to grips with the fact that this baby is not only loved immensely by Nick and me, but by our friends, families, and coworkers too. I can’t possibly express my gratitude enough. I know that not every parent feels as supported as I do in this journey, and for that reason, I do not take one moment of this support for granted.

31 down, 9 to go!

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Well… it’s official… I am starting to feel “big” and like it’s a little bit harder to maneuver my body around than it was a few months ago. And, I want you to know that I say that because I am absorbing, cherishing, and relishing every single moment of this feeling… I am not complaining about it in the least. The funniest thing is when I go to get up off the couch… I have to perform a sort of “roly poly” move, which makes me laugh out loud each time. And, Nick has tied my shoes for me a few times this week – not because I physically can’t, but because it takes him less time to do it for me than it takes for me to do myself, ha!

New things this week: stretchmarks, some restless sleep, and Braxton Hicks contractions. None of which are super concerning, just interesting new developments that you can’t quite describe or explain until they happen to you. My belly button is slowly disappearing as well. I am not sure if it will actually “pop out” or just “flatten out” so I’ll have to keep you all updated on that front. I have gone through two entire tubs of body butter/cocoa butter, which helps with the itchiness that accompanies stretchmarks, and that is a fun nighttime activity for Nick to watch/participate in as well. He is kind enough to put some on my feet and legs for me – again, since it’s getting tough to reach 🙂

At our 31 week check up yesterday, the midwife taught Nick how to feel the baby’s head, which is down and hopefully staying that way! Nugget’s back is on my left side, and his/her hands and feet are on my right side, which is why I feel most of the kicks and tickles over there. They are definitely getting stronger because Nug is too. He/she weighs as much as a coconut and is over 16 inches long now!

I am getting so anxious and excited to meet him/her. I know that soccer is going to help these next few weeks fly by, and that April will be here before we know it. I have my first baby shower this weekend, hosted by my wonderful coworkers, so I will have some fun updates next week about that!

I have 2 Valentines

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February 14, 2016

Dearest Nugget,

My darling child, how can I possibly write the proper words with which to express my love and admiration for you?  In just a few short weeks, your father and I will get to meet you, in person, for the very first time.  Although I cannot possibly predict the future, I already know in the depths of my heart, that day will be the most magical one of my life thus far.

I chose to write you this letter on Valentine’s Day because I have hit a big milestone in my pregnancy with you. Today, I have officially been carrying you for 30 whole weeks! We are 75% done with this journey together, and although I am anxiously awaiting your arrival, I am going to cherish the next 10 weeks or so, because they are so vital to your growth, nourishment, and protection.

What do you look like, little one? Do you have blonde hair and blue eyes like your daddy? Or do you have my brown hair and brown eyes? Will you be taller than us? Are you going to be funny like you dad, or will you be musical like me? Is math your favorite subject? I have so many questions for you, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life getting to know the answers to them, just as I get to know you.

Although I have lots of questions for you, there are a few things I already know are true. You like to read books! Your daddy has been reading you books ever since your Aunt Lisa gave us your very first one… Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  Every single time you hear his voice, and the story he is sharing with you, you perk up. You squirm around in my tummy, as if you are trying to get closer to the source. It’s incredible to witness. I hope your love for knowledge stays with you all the days of your life.

Guess what else you like? Yoga! I have been going to pre-natal yoga classes most Friday afternoons with you, and believe it or not, as I move into new and challenging positions to prepare myself for your birth, you move into fun positions too. I smile a lot during these yoga sessions because I have a feeling that you are going to work with me, as much as you can, to make your entrance into this world a peaceful and empowering one.

You are not going to be a picky eater. I know this because I have not had any aversions to food since you’ve been growing inside me. In fact, I eat pretty much anything I want, when I want. Even sushi!!! And guess what? YOU LOVE IT! When I finish eating, particularly dinner, I can feel you rolling from side to side, before settling in for a nap after being fed. You, like your mommy, enjoy your sweet treats after dinner, and love to show me so with your movements.

Although your interests might change as they develop throughout the years, there is a certain fact right now: you are a fan of soccer. In fact, since you’ve existed, you’ve attended approximately 50 boys’ soccer games and just as many practices. Before your arrival in the next few months, you will attend approximately 40ish girls’ soccer games and practices as well. That fact, is not one to which many babies can attest! If you grow up to love the game as I do, you will have quite an impressive resume, being that you loved the sport before you were born.

The most important thing I already know about you, is that you are loved beyond words. Your father and I dreamed of what it would be like to have you, long before you were a little nugget in my belly.  The year before your birth, daddy and I had many amazing adventures, including our wedding at the farmer’s market, and our incredible trip to Italy.  All the while, we discussed how much fun we would have bringing you along with us, on our hikes, camping, to the beach, and to work in our yard and garden. We knew, all the while, that the greatest adventure of all would be our transformation into your parents.

As we await your arrival, sweet baby nugget, I hope that you can feel our love. You give us more strength than you might realize, tiny as you are. We are already proud to be your mommy and daddy, and hope that we make you feel as such every day of your life.

All my love,

Mama

The Nursery Post

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I decided to bring back the “bare belly” picture for my 29-week post, because yesterday was the first day I really started feeling some serious growing pains in my abdomen. These pains, apparently known as “round ligament pain” can be as minor as a muscle ache, or as severe as an appendicitis episode… and I had something in between the two, right before our super bowl party!! Thankfully, my sweet husband called the birthing center to make sure we didn’t need to go to the hospital or anything (after all, stomach pains during pregnancy = scary times) and I was given some helpful instructions to ease the pain and calm my anxieties. Anyways – the belly pic is starting to get bigger and more “popped out” over my pants, so I wanted to share the incredible growth with y’all!

The other great thing that happened this week had to do with putting the finishing touches on nugget’s nursery! My mom came up from Charlotte for the weekend, and we made a trip to Buy Buy Baby so that she could complete the bedding set. Although Nick and I still have approximately 10ish weeks until Nug arrives, we wanted to finish the nursery well ahead of time so that we can enjoy spending time in there and getting “used to it” as the newest room in our home.

With all of the showers we have coming up, we are looking forward to adding items as they are given to us, but most of all, we are so excited for the warm, joyous memories that will be made in our baby’s room, whether it is changing diapers, reading books, or rocking nugget to sleep at night. We wanted the grey and yellow to be a neutral, but bright, place for our sweet little one to live, and of course, the Eno River poster (one of our favorite places to explore) was the inspiration for the entire space. 🙂

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The Final Stage of Pregnancy

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Today, I am 28 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I have entered into the third and final trimester of pregnancy. The nugget weighs approximately 2.5 pounds and is around 14.8 inches from head to toe. They say that the baby is the “size of an eggplant” and can now blink his/her eyes and that he/she is developing billions of neurons in his/her brain each day.

This. Is. Incredible.

What a crazy, beautiful, strong, magnificent, amazing feeling this is. There is a real baby in there, y’all! He/She moves all the time. And, Nick and I have started our “Birthing from Within” classes on Monday nights to prepare for the day that nugget makes his/her entrance into this world. After our first class last week, it was a really refreshing reminder that, at this point, we should be focusing on the “positive” and the “things that will” rather than the “negative” and the “what ifs.” Like… one way or the other, this baby will arrive, and I need to start focusing my brain waves and energy on getting him/her out and here safely. I am working on a post about my birth plan to share with you all at a later date, so stay tuned for that.

It has also been so fun getting our house ready. Nick and I purchased a queen-sized bed this past week… not that that has anything to do with nugget, except for the fact that the three of us are not fitting in a double bed anymore and I am pregnant and get whatever I want these days (just kidding… but not really). Truthfully though, preparing our living space for the family of three that is about to inhabit it, rather than the family of two, is such a special process that I’ve come to love. Every thought, feeling, action, etc., is starting to reflect the “three of us” attitude rather than “two of us” and that, ladies and gentlemen, is life-changing.

Before I sign-off this week, I want to give an extra special shout out to Nick, who, without any hesitation, reservation, or complaint of any kind, drove to Wendy’s this week… after driving home from work and making a dinner (that I did not see fit to eat for some “weird” reason, haha) in order to buy me a junk-food meal because I was having a major craving that was affecting my mood. You, my love, are the best husband any wife/mama could ask for. I love you ❤

SUPER BOWL 50, HERE WE COME!!

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A super fast 27 week update: THE PANTHERS ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!!! Nick, Nug, and I are so freaking excited!!! We can’t wait to cheer on our team, while hosting friends for a chili cook-off competition.

I am entering into my third and final trimester next week… holy crap!!!! More on that next time — I am swamped at school because of our snow days and weather blunders (hence the crazy hair in my photo). Everybody stay warm out there! 🙂 #KeepPounding #PantherNation

Nick’s “Babymoon” Post

Well, if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t exactly written as many posts as Sarah. There are lots of reasons for this. First off, I like to write about hiking and beer – two things we haven’t been doing as much (or at all) recently. Secondly, I am not as gifted a writer, nor as succinct a writer, as Sarah. It simply takes me longer to produce a lessor product, so it’s no wonder that I’ve been writing less. I’ve been getting a bit of grief from my beautiful bride about my lack of blog proclivity as of late, so when she asked me this past weekend if I would write about our trip, I said sure! And as I read her last post, I saw that she hadn’t forgotten about my agreement. So on this sleety Friday morning, here it goes.

I had heard the term “babymoon” before, and figured it was something Sarah would be all over. To my surprise, we were months into the pregnancy, and Sarah hadn’t made much of a peep about it. I thought I was in the clear! In early December though, the kitchen paint not even dry, she brought it up. She wanted to go on a babymoon! To my delight, her ideas were modest, just a weekend trip – something close and historical. We quickly settled on Charlottesville. It was a place we’d both only been to very briefly and separately. With Monticello close by (I’d never been, Sarah  went when she was around 8), it seemed like a fun city to explore together, with plenty to keep us busy for a weekend!

While never explicitly spoken, it was clear at the onset of the trip we had three shared goals for the weekend. Below, I’ll share those goals and how we accomplished them!

  1. See some history.

Not only did we get to see a lot of U.S. history, but also some history from Sarah’s family as well. Our first historical stop was in Lexington, VA, the home of Washington & Lee University, as well as the Virginia Military Institute, where Sarah’s dad and uncle both attended school. I’d seen pictures, but couldn’t appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the place until seeing it first hand. Also, I was amazed to see Stonewall Jackson’s horse, Little Sorrel, stuffed and on display, looking as though he just trotted off the Civil War battlefield.

Upon arrival to Charlottesville, we checked into our home for two nights, at the South Street Inn, a downtown Bed & Breakfast, first built as a personal residence in 1856. Over the years the house has served several other purposes as well, including a school, a boarding house, and a brothel. Our room came with a large Jacuzzi tub (guessing this wasn’t original), which made up for the narrow staircases and thin walls.

The highlight of the trip was Monticello. Its free to go on the grounds, but the $25 for a tour inside the house was well worth it. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I couldn’t believe how much of the 200 year old house was original – functioning clocks, window glass, furniture, floors, books, various tools & gadgets, silhouettes and even elk antlers acquired from Lewis & Clarks’ famous journey. It was an amazing look into life at the dawn of our nation from a man who was so “ahead of his time” in some ways, while still a prisoner (not to mention an imprison-er) of societal norms of the day. I was amazed at how intact Sarah’s recollection of the place was from her visit 20 years prior, but given Sarah’s affinity for history her whole life, and the wonder of the place itself, it didn’t really come as a surprise.

On our way back home we stopped at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. This is one of those historical sites that requires a lot of imagination, as many of the buildings weren’t original. It was neat in that several miles surrounding the actual site of the surrender has been saved as park land, and thus undeveloped. Driving through the open fields while approaching the actual park helps the imagination go back in time and picture life as the civil war was ending. Our stay was brief, as it was freezing, but we were glad to cross this place off the list!

2. Eat some tasty food (and for me to drink some good beer).

An hour into the trip we stopped for breakfast in Danville, VA at a diner called Heart Line. The “Hillary Lied and Four People Died” and “Keep Working: Millions On Welfare Depend On You” bumper stickers in the parking lot, as well as the sea of camo hats and NRA sweatshirts caused us some slight apprehension at the start, but the delicious food and friendly staff quickly put us at ease. I also think it helped that Sarah dialed up her Southern accent meter to 10.

We also enjoyed some great food around Charlottesville. We enjoyed some delicious won-ton nachos and wings at South Street Brewery during the first half of the Panthers game, and a burger and salad at the highly acclaimed Citizen Burger Bar during the second half. Upon leaving the brewery at the end of the first half, I told our server there wasn’t even much point in watching the rest of the game. WRONG! As tasty as Citizen Burger Bar was, I don’t think we’ll forget our feelings of embarrassment and fear we felt as everyone else in the bar (seemingly) cheered on the ultimately failed, but respectable 2nd half comeback by the Seahawks.

On the way home we stopped at a cafe in South Boston, VA called Southern Plenty. We loved the food, though quite a different atmosphere from our experience a couple days prior at Heart Line. Part grocery store, part cafe, part craft beer store, and filled with collar-shirted retirees, it was clear the target demographic of this place was a bit wealthier than the close-by diner we had stopped at a couple of days prior . Still, being in the rural south, wouldn’t have been surprised to see another anti-Hillary sticker. Maybe something with a little more class, like “Huck Fillary”.

We visited three Charlottesville breweries during our trip – the aforementioned South Street Brewery, as well as Blue Mountain Brewery and Champion Brewery. I must say I wasn’t blown away by any by any of the beer, but it was all decent. (SIDE NOTE: I’ve admittedly been having a hard time finding beer I like ever since having a beer called “Tropicalia” by Creature Comforts while in Atlanta over New Years. It was so good I think it ruined me, and of course I can’t find it for sale anywhere in NC.) Each spot had it charms too. Blue Mountain was a bit out of town with gorgeous scenery and outdoor seating. The place was also a restaurant and was huge, clearly a favorite spot among locals and vacationers alike. Champion Brewery was a quaint little bar spot downtown, and South Street was worth it for the food alone. Probably my favorite new beer I tried during the trip was from a local brewery, Three Notch’d, called “Killer Angel”, a double IPA. My favorite old beer was a 22 ounce Grapefruit Sculpin for only $8.

3. Have some quality time together.

The truth of the matter is that this was a given. We cherish our time together, no matter what we are doing, so it always feels like quality time. Now would be an appropriate time to say “barfola”, as my sister Ellie likes to say, but we don’t care. Our relationship has been through some very trying times over the years, which makes the happiness and contentment we found in ourselves and each other recently (Sarah has alluded to this in prior posts) all the easier to cherish.

In addition to cheering on a Panther victory, seeing some historical sites and eating out together, we also managed to start and finish season 1 of the show “Broad City” and see the movie “The Revenant” at one of those leather-seated swanky theaters. Despite our vacation status, we still got up at 6AM -and breakfast wasn’t until 7:30 – hence all the time to enjoy “Broad City”. Though I was initially skeptical, we both really enjoyed “The Revenant”. I don’t know if I can say the same for the gentlemen sitting next to Sarah, who’s uncomfortable shifting during the movie would seem to suggest he was confusing my hand under Sarah’s pants in order to feel nugget wiggling around, for something a little more raunchy.

The weekend came and went in a blur, but it was nice to do something a little different from our normal weekend routine, and make new memories together. We can’t wait to go back to Monticello someday, nugget in tow, and tell her/him that they actually came to this exact place with mommy and daddy once before.

A “Babymoon” at 26 Weeks

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Well, here we are… 26weeks2days! Nick actually wanted to write up the post about our weekend in Charlottesville, VA… so stay tuned for that more extensive recap of our babymoon trip. I mostly just wanted to add our weekly picture for you all, and to ask for good vibes as I am having my glucose screening test for gestational diabetes today (fingers crossed I won’t pass out)!

Time is moving very quickly now. We have our first “Birthing from Within” class on Monday, the second semester starts tomorrow (a new set of students, yay!), and the girls soccer season is less than a month away. Holy crap!!! We also have our baby showers officially on the calendar… which is something we are really, really looking forward to. Especially because we have the absolute best/most supportive family and friends ever!!!

Since the weather has turned cold, and I’ve been spending more time indoors, I’ve been working on some future posts that I look forward to sharing with you all as well. One of them is a letter to my baby, and the other is a post about my birth plan. I’ll continue to draft those in the next few weeks… until then, be well 🙂

PS – here is a little video of the nugget kicking me!

25 Weeks Later…

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25 weeks have flown by! I look at the very first picture we took, 20 weeks ago, when my belly was flat and school hadn’t started yet… and I can’t believe nearly 5 months have passed. Where does the time go?!

Honestly, I’m feeling very proud of myself and of my incredible husband because we have a lot to show for ourselves since August. Both mentally and physically. We’ve accomplished so many things on our “to-do” list since getting back from Italy and finding out about our big news, and next weekend, we are rewarding ourselves with a trip to Charlottesville, VA.

I will have a larger update after that, and some pictures to share! We are excited to spend some time together as a couple… especially since the days of “snick the duo” are coming to a close very quickly. If I think 25 weeks flew by, the next 15 will probably be over before I know it. 🙂

2016, Here we come!

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This week, the three of us rang in the new year in Atlanta with family and friends. My goodness, how we are blessed! These days, it really does feel as if there are three of us, not just two anymore. The more my belly grows and the more movement I feel on an hourly basis, the more I begin to incorporate “we” and “us” into my discussions of what “I” am doing. After all, it is not just me or me and Nick anymore… Nugget is fully with us at 24 weeks, and the countdown to April has started to speed up.

We had the pleasure of spending New Year’s Eve with Nick’s sister, Emma, in Atlanta at a restaurant called Ladybird. We had dinner and (everybody but me had) drinks and got to hear a live band who played some pretty awesome Outkast covers. As the clock struck 12, I couldn’t help but picture the year ahead. 2016 is going to be, by far, the healthiest (both mentally and physically), craziest, scariest, most wonderful, most challenging, and most rewarding year of my life to date. We are only 4 days in, and I already know all of these things for a fact.

On New Year’s Day, we had brunch with Nick’s sister and then made a trip to IKEA for the last desired items for Nugget’s room. I will post the finished product in a week or two, when we have everything put in it’s place and put together. We also got to spend time with my cousins, my aunt and uncle, and my brother, Brian. It was good to catch up and spend time with my family after the holidays, and I am looking forward to my next trip down there because my sweet aunt, Molly, is throwing me a baby shower for Nug. 🙂

The weekend was topped off with a FABulous wedding for my dear friends Chris and John. I love all weddings, but I REALLY love camp weddings because I’ve known my camp friends since I was little. I’ve known Chris and John since age 12 or so – and we spent several summers together working at Mikell while we were in college. John and I are famous for singing and playing guitar together and Chris and I got our camp tattoos together in 2008, the summer after we raced through the 7th Harry Potter book while at camp (very nerdy, we know). Not only did I get to watch these two special people exchange wedding vows, but I got to see all of my other childhood/teenage/college friends who know me better than anyone else in the whole world (and love me anyway, I might add). Spending time with them always means the world to me, and it always recharges my batteries. The wedding was incredibly beautiful, and leaving such awesome events gets harder every time, especially because I have to say goodbye to everybody for months at a time.

These next four months are going to FLY by. My second semester at school starts in two weeks, as do our birthing classes, AND my third trimester in pregnancy. I am “leaning in” to 2016 with a clear mind, open arms, and full heart. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring!