An Attitude of Gratitude :)

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I am 35 weeks and 1 day in to my pregnancy journey, and today, I have nothing but gratitude for my life, my love, my family, and my friends. How could I not? I had two amazing showers this weekend and got to see some of my favorite people! And, Nugget is stocked. The next few weeks are going to be over in a flash, and I am going to use my week off over spring break to install the car seat, pack a bag, and wash the baby clothes.

Soccer season is officially underway, and my JV ladies are a fantastic group thus far! We had our team pictures made on Monday, and nugget has now officially been in two team photos this school year. 🙂

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I also wanted to recount a funny story from Tuesday of this week, wherein I had to ask some gentlemen at a volunteer fire station to help me remove my wedding ring, which had basically gotten stuck on my finger, trapping my swollen knuckle and cutting off my circulation. After a few days of contemplation, and trying “not to think about it”, I finally called Nick on my way home from soccer and said, “I HAVE TO GET THIS THING OFF RIGHT NOW!!” Nick, being the cool, calm, and collected problem-solver that he is, called a jeweler on Leesville Road. They told him cutting off rings was not a problem, but that their ring cutter was broken. They also told him that I should go to the fire station on Pinecrest to receive some immediate assistance. So… I drove over there, walked my pregnant belly into the station, and told the firefighters I needed help. They, of course, immediately jumped up out of their chairs, probably because they assumed I was in labor (looking back, I should have been more clear about that from the get-go, haha) but they were so kind and sweet when I explained what I needed, and even comforted me when I got a bit teary-eyed over the whole situation. However, at the end of the day, I am so grateful to have had the help, and really do appreciate the tools/technology we have available to us in this modern world.

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Then, on Friday, our weekend began with a visit from a dear old friend, Catherine. She lives in Oregon, and we do not get to see her but a few times a year, so having her over to our house that evening was a real treat. Having friends near and far makes it so much more special when they come to visit after months of not seeing one another, and it is a really great feeling to know that your support network literally spans from coast to coast!

On Saturday, my best friend Jenn threw the most incredible baby shower for us. This woman really does have a career in party planning if she wants it! She is a fabulous cook, incredible decorator/crafter, and an excellent hostess. My dear friend Amanda came down from Baltimore for the occasion, as well as my grandparents who live in Virginia and my parents who live in Charlotte. Nick’s family who lives in Greensboro, including his Grammy, made the trip as well. You wouldn’t believe how many gifts, surprises, and treats that our sweet baby nugget was showered with. The two of us were stunned. Having all of this love is so much more than we could have ever hoped for, and so much more than we feel like we deserve at times. It makes looking forward to this time in our lives so much more joyous than we could have imagined, and we are truly blessed.

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And then, as if my week couldn’t have been any more wonderful, the girls JV and Varsity soccer teams threw me a baby shower that included… drum roll… CAKE POPS!! Delicious!!! We had so much fun getting together off the soccer field, and the girls even wore blue and pink to show which gender they thought Nugget would be. Some of nug’s gifts included a soccer ball onesie, an infant-sized warm-up suit, baby crocs (because the girls are obsessed with wearing them on game days), and nug’s first soccer ball!

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I am still trying to find a way to express how happy I am, and how grateful we are to have such a wonderful life. I simply can’t do it justice. I know there are so many people who have to “do this” on their own, or with much less help than we have, and someday, before this is all said and done, I am going to try my best to bottle up this feeling, label it, and share it with others.

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A Much Needed Weekend in Atlanta

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Yesterday, I had a long car ride home from a weekend in Atlanta to think about and reflect upon the past few days. It was nice to have this opportunity to gather my thoughts and to have my moments of gratitude because, quite frankly, time is starting to move at a break-neck pace, and the closer I get to meeting my nugget, the more I wish time would speed up.

Before I get into my weekend and why I “needed” it so much, I want to say thank you to Nick, who has been (even in his recent sickness) unconditionally and entirely supportive and loving towards me throughout the past 8 months. I am 34 weeks and 1 day pregnant, and with each new day, starting to feel bigger and bigger. My ankles and knuckles have disappeared (my wedding ring is permanently stuck), and although I know they are not going to come back until after the baby comes out, Nick still sits next to me on the couch every night and tries to rub the fluid out of them. He showers me with compliments, even though he knows I don’t “hear” them, and offers to let me go shopping for things like new shoes because my feet don’t fit into my old ones anymore. He sees me struggling with my self-esteem and with feeling too needy at times, and still greets me with a smile and hug at the beginning of each day and at the end of each night. He thanks me for carrying and growing our baby, and tells me that he can never repay me. I know that it is not always easy to love somebody that doesn’t love themselves all the time. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without him, truly. I love you, Daddy Nick… thank you for everything.

So, now on to me. Things are starting to change pretty quickly as far as my body goes. Physically, I feel fine. And I continue to say and think that I am grateful for this because I know that a lot of women do not. I’m not going to lie… at the end of the day, I am a bit sore, and my swelling feels slightly “tight”, but it’s not painful. It’s just… different. More than anything, it’s hard to feel like my old self. My self-esteem is starting to take a little hit. Its hard to wake up in the morning and feel “pretty” when my feet and ankles and now, calves, are twice the size they were last week. The skin on my finger is bulging out around my wedding ring and my face is swollen and puffy. I haven’t been able to color my hair… so the two-tone black/orange look is starting to annoy me, and the big purple stretch marks that are covering my entire stomach are enough to make any woman a bit sad. Also, I know you all who read this are aware that I struggle with an eating disorder and my body image… so being pregnant and gaining a lot of weight is constantly on my mind too. And by “a lot of weight” I mean it… a lot. I’m way over the “goal” I had set for myself and the one that women are “supposed” to gain for my height, age, and pre-pregnancy weight. So it’s hard to escape the mindset of “you did this to yourself” or… “you wouldn’t be so swollen if you hadn’t gotten so fat” or “your blood pressure is high because you’ve gained too much weight too quickly.” I have to constantly remind myself to stay as present as possible, and to appreciate this opportunity I’ve been given to grow a child inside me. Mindfulness practices after mindfulness practices help… but also, talking about it does too. I want to chronicle this. Just because I feel like I have no room to complain because my pregnancy journey has been relatively easy compared to some, doesn’t mean that my feelings aren’t real and that the “physical” effects of pregnancy have to be greater than the “emotional” ones. Also, none of this means that I am not enjoying my pregnancy, or that I am not cherishing this time in my life. I am absolutely enjoying being an expectant mom… I am maybe just starting to look forward to having my baby in my arms and not worrying about what feels like “petty stuff.” Although I am fully aware of the fact that my concerns will shift and change with each new phase of expectancy, infancy, motherhood, and beyond.

And then… just in time… as if the universe knew that I needed a boost… I was surrounded with some of my favorite people in the whole world over the weekend. Lots of strong, empowering, amazing, independent women who have been role models to me throughout my entire life, came to my aunt’s house and reminded me that I can do this, and that I have a support network who is ready for me whenever I need them. They shared such beautiful words of wisdom, showered nugget with gifts and love, and were so attentive in asking me how I was doing, how I was feeling, and how things have been going. They listened to me, loved on me, comforted me, and reminded me that I am doing the best I can, which is more than anybody can ask for. Their genuine care and curiosity was so refreshing for me, and was the extra little “something” I needed to get me through this week.

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I was nervous that Saturday wasn’t going to “go my way” from the beginning when I got out of the shower, started to get dressed, and the two different pairs of boots that I had packed to wear with my dress did not fit on my feet. Like, they actually wouldn’t zip (I am still mourning this fact and the fact that we have to purchase new shoes for me to wear for the next few weeks) but my aunt Molly immediately ran upstairs and found two pairs of shoes to offer me for the day, and even suggested that we go shopping if need be. Every now and then, you need those little reminders… where people would literally give you the shirt off their back if you needed them too. It also helps that my family is amazing. My mothers, grandmothers, sisters-in-law, aunt, cousins, etc… all of them, love me AND my baby, and are right there with me, every step of the way.

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The universe was at it again on the way home… we drove right past the biggest and brightest rainbow I have ever seen 🙂

 

Week 33 Update!

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33 weeks down, 7ish left to go! This post will just be a brief update because I have a much bigger one planned after my Atlanta baby shower this weekend! Nugget and I are doing well, we had two visits to the birth center this week. The first was a planned check-up, and the second was a follow-up to the original because I had a little blood pressure “scare”. As it turns out, I just had a random spike in blood pressure after a stressful day at school, and everything was back to normal the next time I went in. So, no hypertension and no risks to report. I am cleared to travel and I can’t wait to see my friends and family in just a few short days! 🙂

 

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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