Friday, November 28, 2014

Every Day is Thanksgiving

I feel like it's okay that this Thanksgiving post is a day late, because shouldn't we be thankful every day?

One of the oldest residents at my last facility was blind and bound to a wheelchair and only got through the day with the help of three rotating private caregivers, 24 hours a day. That would be wildly frustrating and disheartening to many people, and yet, Martin greeted every day with a smile and would gleefully say, "Every day is Thanksgiving!" He warms my heart every time I think about him.

I worked a 1/2 yesterday and a full day today. Sure, I would have rather spent a four-day weekend with S, but it wasn't all that bad. I really love my job, and I'm saving up as much PTO as possible for maternity leave next year. When I got home yesterday afternoon, S had a full vegetarian Thanksgiving feast brewing. It was heavenly! Stuffing, green bean casserole (my favorite!), meatloaf, and pumpkin pie with vanilla custard. Oh, it was marvelous! We briefly FaceTime'd with my parents before we ate, and they were quite impressed with the spread. I'm telling ya. This husband I snagged does not disappoint!

I think I say this every year, but... it's been an eventful year! So much has changed, and I'm so grateful for this life that we have. This list is strikingly similar to the list I posted three years ago, save for the baby, of course. In any case, these things I'm thankful for are worth writing again.

A husband who encourages me to chase opportunity
Family, by blood, by choice, and by adoption (cats!)
Health and a healthy pregnancy
Handwritten mail
Sheridan's frozen custard
A job I love with a company that has opened doors for me
The internet
The daughter that 2015 will bring

I am exponentially thankful for all we've received in the last year, and I am so looking forward to each and every thing we'll receive and experience for the next year.

I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Some Thoughts on Pregnancy Weight

Taken 11/23/2014 at 27 weeks

Pregnancy weight. It happens!

Like many young females, I spent a good amount of years overly concerned about my weight and frame. It was mild concern, and then straight-up obsessive... and then less and less of a priority in my life. For anyone who has ever had an eating disorder, I'm not sure that weight ever truly becomes a non-issue. It hasn't for me, at least. My life is rich and full of happiness and good people, but every once in awhile there's still a wee, nagging voice that tugs at me.

I'm lucky to have people in my life who helped yester-Lindsay back to a better life. Five and a half years ago, one of those people asked me how things were going. "Things" was the general term for "those things that shall not be named," including, as I called them, food issues. I told her that things were really good and manageable and that I had accepted that my "normal" would just always be different than hers. She asked,

"What do you think will happen when you are pregnant one day? Will gaining weight make you unhappy?"

It was a valid question, but I knew right then and there that I would a) be strong and smart enough to stay healthy, b) be too overjoyed to worry about weight in an unhealthy way, and c) protect my child with everything I had. I may have been more hopeful than certain with those words back then, but I can now tell you that I was completely right. Pregnancy weight hasn't made me unhappy! (Thus, reminding me how healthy I am today!) Sure, I hassle my sister via text message (Why am I so big already? At 24 weeks, I look like you did at 30 weeks. WHAT THE HECK? This is the most I've ever weighed in my life. Blah, blah, blah...), but I'm happy. She reminds me that I'm growing a human being -- and a healthy one, at that!

Not to mention, women wear pregnancy differently. Some women are short. Some women are tall. Some women are large. Some women are small. Some women gain weight all over while some women look like they're hiding a basketball under their shirts. It just it what it is. There's no controlling it. Just make healthy choices and take great care in housing a precious baby.

To all the other mommies-to-be with expanding waist lines: You're doing a great job! Keep that baby safe and healthy. The rest will take care of itself. As other parents often tell us, "it's not about you anymore." Oh, so true!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Little About the Growing Little Lady

I didn't plan to be a "bumpdate" blogger, but it seems to be the most concise way to share my thoughts and how things are going right now for the little lady (the baby, not me). I'll admit that, before I was pregnant, I skimmed bumpdate posts, at best. The photos were the best part to me, but other than that, I couldn't relate. If you click away from this post, I totally understand, and I promise I won't be doing this weekly for the rest of the pregnancy!

For those who are currently pregnant, just generally interested, or family/friends waiting for details, I present to you our Week 26 Bumpdate.

How far along?
26 weeks and 1 day

Gender of baby

Size of baby
According to my Ovia app, she's somewhere in the ballpark of a butternut squash and just shy of two pounds.

Wearing maternity clothes?
I wore maternity pants for the first time last Wednesday, and they are magical! I'm not kidding. Why are regular pants not made the same way? I think the world would be an exponentially happier place if everyone experienced the comfort of maternity pants on a daily basis.

I sleep like a rock, just as I always have, but I have been awoken by baby kicks a few times. She's not even born yet, and she's already waking me up early. Heaven help me.

Best moment(s) this week
1) S came home from work travel one week ago, and he has done everything in his power to make things easy for me. That is his usual way, but he is doing everything -- cooking (including the most amazing vegetarian meatloaf and Thanksgiving stuffing in the universe!), cleaning, moving/carrying/unpacking boxes, massaging my aching shins. Aside from him being his wonderful self, I love whenever he touches or kisses my belly. Now that I'm showing so much, it is so much more real for both of us!
2) One of my best friends has started writing letters to the baby for me to hang on to until she's older. It's a really sweet tradition that reminds me how much this baby is loved already. I'll have to get a keepsake box or hope chest to save things like these letters.

Things I've been told
"She's all belly!"

Missing anything?
Abdominal muscles. It wasn't until I wasn't supposed to bear down or exert energy from my torso that I realized how often I use my abdominal muscles. This growing baby is causing abdominal separation which feels really weird.

Food cravings
I want an In-N-Out grilled cheese with animal style fries, but that has nothing to do with being pregnant.

Anything making you queasy or sick?
Prenatal vitamins. I plug my nose and wash them down with my protein shake every morning. I know there are other prenatals that are more delicious, but the Vitamin Code RAW prenatal vitamins are the best I could find, and I'm willing to sacrifice my taste buds for a few seconds each morning to give her the good stuff.

Labor signs
No, and let's keep it that way for another 11+ weeks.

My only symptom is that I feel exhausted by 8:00 PM every day, but I think that has more to do with starting a new job than being pregnant. 

Belly button in or out?
A little bit of both! It's on its way out but not quite there yet. It looks really funny to me.

Happy, happy, happy (and tired)! Baby girl is healthy, I'm healthy, S is home, the holidays are just around the corner, my new job is going really well, and I finished my last two classes with an A- and a B+. The B+ really messed up my GPA, but whatever. To survive a full-time job, pregnancy, moving, and two grad school classes at all felt nothing short of a miracle.

Looking forward to...
Our trip to San Diego next month for an extended weekend of baby shower and early Christmas fun!

That's all for now! Today is our first appointment with the new OB. Here's to hoping it's a great first visit and that we "click" much better than I did with my OB in Knoxville (which shouldn't be hard to beat)!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

East to West: Why We Moved to Memphis

It all started with a phone call at work.

During a workshop at work in August, I was asked if I would consider moving if the right opportunity with the company presented itself, and without hesitation, I said "yes." S and I had discussed my career goals over the last year, and we knew that we would one day move so that I could reach those goals. Knoxville is pretty, but it isn't exactly where my corporate career would flourish. There weren't any opportunities that interested me at the time, but it was nice to know that the conversation had been opened. It felt good to be recognized, and I would just wait until my time came.

My time came in the form of a phone call only one month later. I got a call at work about a new position at one of our communities in the Memphis area. It was unexpected, and I had a lot of questions, but I was told, "I can set up a call for you and the Executive Director, so you can find out more. Just see what happens. No obligation." Couldn't hurt, right? That call led to a visit/interview, so on the day I hit 17 weeks pregnant, my little belly and I drove the six hours to Memphis. She must have been my lucky charm, because I was offered the job!

S and I spent two whole weeks deciphering whether or not it was the right choice to accept the job, even though I knew I wanted it. Is this a good time to move? Do we want to live outside of Memphis? Can we get out of our current lease? Will S be able to keep his current job and work from home? etc. We went through a lot of emotions over those two weeks. One day we'd feel optimistic and semi-sure we would do it; the next day we'd feel like it wouldn't make sense for our family. At one point, we were sure the answer would be "no," and I was in tears. I wanted to take this move in my career so badly! We went back to the drawing board, and after we knocked some sense into ourselves, we decided that we would make an educated leap of faith -- just as we had done several times before in our marriage and never looked back. I accepted the job, and almost immediately, everything fell into place. We knew we made the right decision.

I will never forget how hard S tried to make this move work, because he supported me and knew how much this would mean for me professionally, and ultimately, for our family personally. He sat down with pen and paper and truly made sense of our thought process as we searched for the answer. I am so lucky to have this man in my corner, rooting for me at all times.

The craziness began! We (meaning "he") packed, we booked movers, I prepped my job for my replacement, I tried to keep my head above water in school, we ate a lot of pizza, we lost a lot of sleep, I looked for a new doctor close to our new home, I walked in on the preparation for my surprise baby shower/going away party, and we (he) packed some more! We moved two weeks ago, and I am so happy we're here. I hit the ground running at my new job last Monday. My work is cut out for me (and then some), but I'm thrilled to be there.

SIDE NOTE: I feel like a walking oxymoron as a Human Resources Director with a personal blog. Teachers, photographers, wedding planners, artists? Sure. HR lady? Unheard of.

We still have some small boxes to unpack and the crib to assemble, but we are settled in. It's a great house with plenty of room for guests (of which we hope we get many!), and we are happy to make the space ours. More importantly, we will make this place "home" for our daughter.

So here we are. Living in Memphis and embracing a life that looks completely different than it did two months ago. And preparing to add a baby to it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Feel Like I Blinked and Was 24 Weeks Pregnant

That title is misleading. I mean it as in "time flew by," not like "this baby was made by blinking."

This blog post is not starting off the way I had planned.

While we're off to a weird start, I'll confess that the following photo was taken using a shoe bench drawer atop a tall cat perch as a camera tripod. My husband is out of town on business, so I had to be resourceful. (curtsy)

The last six weeks have been a complete tornado of change. When I finally had a quiet day at home this past Saturday, my body surrendered to rest. My energy was completed zapped, and I remembered that the pregnancy wasn't all to blame. It was the fact that I wrapped up a job, moved my family across the state, kept up with two grad classes, and started a new job. So... busy! Now it's November, and it's hard to believe that this little girl is going to be here in just 3.5 months. Last week I had the first moment of anxiety about labor and delivery. I had never thought twice about having a natural birth, but for a brief moment, I thought, "How am I going to do this?" More curiosity than anxiety, I think, but still -- it became very real. I just need to remind myself that my body has been made to do this and that any pain I'll feel will be for good reason and will have an end in sight. I can do this!

Pregnancy continues to be a really interesting and funny experience. The last nine weeks have been free of morning/day/night sickness and so much more fun than the rough beginning that brought me to tears. I spend time sitting cross-legged on the couch staring at my bare belly as it twitches with her every move, and I can't help but giggle and gush to her, "Good job, baby girl!" It's a really fun stage right now, especially as S becomes more and more warm-and-fuzzy about her. He kisses my belly, starts sentences with "When she's here," and requested baby registry items as birthday gifts from my family.

I'm growing by the hour, and I'm constantly fascinated at what a difference a day makes. My innie belly button is flattening out. I have to alter how I sit and carry things, because my belly gets in the way. My clothes are begging me to buy their maternity cousins. I feel like a new woman every time I look in the mirror, so let me introduce myself:

Hi! My name is Lindsay, and I'm six months pregnant (which is blowing my mind).