Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Favorites

I'm not sure what to say about 2013. It turned out quite a bit differently than I expected and it was not without it's challenges. But, there was a lot of good as well, so here are some of my favorites from the year: 


Day Trip to Portsmouth

IMG 7982

Portland Maine

IMG 8123

Washington DC

IMG 2185

York, Maine

IMG 9153

Iceland, Austria, Germany

IMG 9323

Cape Cod

Winn 130823 8548 Edit Edit


IMG 0339


Picisto 20131229103228 584315



Sprint Triathlons, SWIMMING (especially outside at Walden Pond) and Prenatal Yoga :) 

IMG 2699

Things Accomplished: 

So much decluttering/organizing

2 Sprint Triathlons

Surviving 2 + trimesters of pregnancy 

Winn 130922 0372


Tell me a great trip you went on this year, something you accomplished or a favorite book you read :) 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week 32 and 33: Expect the Unexpected

Weeks 32 and 33

IMG 0895

As you all know, I am no stranger to children. I am under no illusions that any part of parenthood will be easy and I'm also under no illusions that I will be able to plan how things will go. 

I guess then I shouldn't be surprised that this pregnancy has taken a complete 180 turn from the time when my doctor declared me her healthiest patient to… where I am now. In this case, I can't even blame Max. He has continued to do everything he is supposed to do as expected (hopefully this is what he will be like out of my tummy as well, please?). 

This past week I was diagnosed with Cholestasis of Pregnancy. I fortunately caught it quickly thanks to some crazy middle of the night itching I was complaining about on twitter and in my last update. It's basically a liver disease that, in my case, is brought on in pregnancy and will disappear afterwards (yay!). In the meantime, it could cause a lot of stress to Max and has been shown to increase the chance of stillbirth or preterm labor. Not yay. 

Fortunately, last week I had a Non Stress Test (checks baby movement and heart beat) and ultrasound to confirm that as of now, the baby is doing very well. I will continue to be monitored twice a week for the remainder of pregnancy, which incidentally will be MUCH shorter than I expected. In order to decrease the stillbirth risk, this will be dealt with by inducing the baby between 36-37 weeks before my liver can bother him too much (hopefully) which is in… about 16 days. AH. 

Since all of this occurred during Christmas week, there was a lot of craziness with the doctor and I just didn't feel comfortable going to Florida in the midst of this chaos. Okay, what actually happened was that I literally packed everything (actually not everything because I forgot half of what I actually needed), went to the airport and had a complete and total meltdown for over an hour before deciding not to get on the plane. Full disclosure. It was a bad day. But in the end, I think I made the right decision because I am now relaxing at the Cape and not a three hour plane ride away from my own doctor and hospital. Max has probably enjoyed enough travel for now and hopefully it's only the beginning of his many travel adventures. 

IMG 3058

So. That's the biggest news of Week 32 and 33. Other notes include: 

- I did get a prenatal massage. It helped my back A LOT. I do not find massages to be super stress relieving, but they do seem to work wonders on my back. 

-Only a few days after fixing my back, I managed to hurt the back of my pelvis (which is basically my back/butt) and could barely walk on Christmas Eve morning. I decided to go swimming anyway (but Caroline had to bring me a towel because walking upstairs to get my own was too hard). By some stroke of luck, swimming ended up being exactly what I needed and all back, pelvic etc pain has been pretty minimal since then. I don't know how many times I can say it, I would not have survived this pregnancy without swimming. 

-Max continues to take after his dad and be a night person. He is predictably quiet in the mornings and CRAZY active in the afternoon. At my appointment last Monday they had to wake him up with an alarm clock (not joking) to get him to move so they could measure things properly. This is because it was 9 am. Lol. 

-The silver lining of being a "high risk" pregnancy is I now get a weekly ultrasound. The one on Friday was fun and even though he looks like an alien on the 3D machine, at least he looks like an alien with my nose. Score. 

-Max currently weighs 5 pounds, 6 ounces which is exactly what I weighed when I was born :) He is at the 64 percentile for weight, which I think is a perfect place to be. Hopefully he will be about 7 lbs when he is born. If all turns out well, this will be a blessing in disguise because he may have been REALLY big by February, ha. 

IMG 3044

I may do weekly updates now, since I'll probably only have 2 or 3 more. Crazy! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Friday Favorites

It's been a pretty blah week in these parts. There are so many things I'm currently over: snow, being pregnant, darkness, winter (which btw technically has not actually started, just kill me), and crazy kids who need a vacation. BUT, who wants to hear me whine? Not me. Plus, a 13 day vacation begins this afternoon at 3pm. So, let's get positive. Here are some of my current favorites: 

Books: Just finished two great books- gave them both 5 stars. 

Thestoryteller     Morningglory

Podcasts: I've been loving listening to podcasts lately. My current favorites are: The Art of Simple and Stuff Mom Never Told You. 

Dessert: Christmas cookies


Snack Food: Goldfish crackers… not only do they taste good, but adding this extra salt each day has completely cured my pregnancy dizziness. Amazing! 


Moment this Week: Gingerbread House decorating with some of my favorite kiddos.

IMG 0809


On the Web: When You Let Your Kid Play Ball In the House


Blog Post: the everyday: morning and night edition


Christmas Song: Christmas in Dixie, Kenny Chesney


What are some of your current favorites? Send some recommendations my way! 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week 30 & 31

It's time for another week of pregnancy updates. These are a bit reminiscent of my negative first trimester thoughts, so I'm sorry in advance for that. I will preface by saying I know I have been lucky in many ways. As far as we know, this baby boy is healthy. I am not having any major issues and I'm not on any version of bed rest. Thank goodness. I had another doctor's appointment last Thursday. The baby's heart beat sounded good, I'm measuring on schedule (just according to bump size, I may not have any more ultrasounds as long as everything seems fine), and my gestational diabetes test came back with no problems. I do truly know how lucky I have been. That being said, I just can't bring myself to be someone who loves being pregnant. I don't know if I'm going to love having a newborn either. But I already love the baby, that's what really counts, right? 

Week 30

It's weird to hit the number 30, knowing there is approximately 10 weeks to go until we really meet Max. I can't decide if that feels short or long. It feels too short when I think about actually taking care of a newborn, but it feels too long when I think about continuing to deal with pregnancy for 10 more weeks. As for Max, he continues to show off his hyperactive personality. He no longer limits his crazy movements to nighttime and now is just all over the place at all times of the day :) He particularly loves to hang out on the right side of my tummy, and I occupy way too much time at night watching him stick different body parts out and trying to guess if that's his head, elbow or foot. 

IMG 2980

Week 31

I've been told many times that the second trimester is the best of pregnancy. I tried to tell myself that after the not so fun first trimester I had that the third trimester would be kind to me. I didn't just wish it, I've stayed active and healthy hoping that I wouldn't be super uncomfortable come this time of the pregnancy. Well, I don't know what it would be like if I didn't do that so I have nothing to compare to. But, I'm still uncomfortable. A round little heavy basketball attached to my front may LOOK cute, but honestly at the end of the day, OW. Forget the end of the day, by 9:30am. My lower back absolutely hates me right now. You should see the ridiculous pillow set up I have on the couch and I've now been carrying a pillow around at work too for the rare times when I sit down. The only real relief seems to be swimming, yoga (sometimes) and sleeping. My other complaint is being SO ITCHY. Who knew this was a pregnancy symptom? Last night I was lathering myself with lotion and Benedryl Spray at 3am. I'm starting to think cuddling/feeding a newborn at 3am will be a major step up in my life. Perhaps that is the point of all this? Max, you best be cute is all I can say. 

I know it's a goal free month, but I'm going to make some for Week 32: actually take a bump photo, eat slightly fewer Christmas cookies, and maybe get a prenatal massage… there has to be something out there that will fix my back, at least temporarily? 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Simplify #3: The Internal Struggle

In 2013, I decided I wanted to simplify. Like any good blogger, the first thing I did was start reading minimalist blogs. Then, I took action in the form of a major declutter. I have cleaned closets, sold and donated clothes, and I even spent basically a whole month not buying anything. I researched my baby registry extensively with the glimmer of hope that I would have what I need for the baby, and a few conveniences, but not a house full of things I don't use. I cleaned more closets. I tried to say no more often. 

The idea of simplifying appeals to me for many reasons. The first is, I don't really like cleaning. My mom says that no one does, but I maintain I like cleaning less than the average person. But I do like things being clean around me, and so I am left with the idea that by having less stuff, perhaps I will have to clean less? The second reason I would like to simplify is that my life is about to change a lot. I will soon have sleepless nights and diaper changes and a tiny little boy who depends on me for everything. I will have to get rid of some things- things I worry about, things I do- to make room for Max. Like all new moms, I hope to not lose what is important to me in this journey and I think the only way there is any hope for that, is if I get rid of what does not matter. The excess. 

IMG 2961


But guess what? Ironically, simplifying is not simple. It's actually hard. Not matter how much I have decluttered, I still spend a lot of time cleaning up what I still have left. Sometimes I just want a new outfit… or three. Sometimes I go to a cute local store and I want something, maybe a shiny notebook, or a new bag. I don't need either. I'm still not great at putting everything in it's place, even if it has a place. I vow that having the guest bed downstairs won't mean that I'll pile things on it and well… there is some stuff on it. I still pack my weekends with things, some of which I probably should have said no to. I have gotten a lot better, but I still probably do more at work than I need to. 

I don't have any grand illusions that this will get easier. I know babies don't NEED a lot of stuff, but I'll be honest if it takes 16 different swings, jumpers, vibrating chairs etc to quiet my screaming little boy… I'll buy them all. I'd like to say that after a bad day (and I anticipate a few ahead) I'm not going to go online and buy myself a new shirt (when I fit into them again) but I don't know. I hope that having a baby will help me say no to things in my personal life and at work, but really I have just no idea what to expect on this little adventure, how it will change me and how I'll stay exactly the same. 

But I'm not going to give up on simplicity. I think that every bag of clothes I donate, every time I say no, every time I don't buy something matters. In 2014 maybe I'll do better and maybe I won't. But I'll keep trying. Even if it just means one less thing I have to pick up off the ground. 

Do you strive to simply? Does it come easy to you? 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Five Things Friday

I'm not sure where this week went, but my mind was too jumbled for a coherent post. Instead, you get some random thoughts. 


#1- I don't know how people survive their lives without exercise. It doesn't matter how much I fight/delay/almost don't do a workout, it always makes me feel better. Specifically, thank you yoga for saving my sanity on Monday and swimming for saving my extremely sore back on Wednesday. 


#2- Max's due date is exactly 2 months away. We "celebrated" this (without realizing it was happening, thanks Caroline for reminding me ha ha) by doing our hospital tour and having a doctor's appointment. I learned a lot about the process and the baby sounds good (based on heart beat, I don't do much else at appointments these days!). 


#3- Since there is pretty much no leaving early/coming late in teaching, we had to take the day off for our baby adventures. We spent the time in between killing time in Boston. It was ridiculously cold but I still just love Boston. Plus we got some Christmas shopping done at cute local stores in Beacon Hill. I officially recommend venturing off the Boston Common to check out some of the cute stores along Charles Street. On a slightly warmer winter day, you could throw in a little ice skating on the Frog Pond first. 

IMG 2999

IMG 3001

IMG 3002

4. As I mentioned above, winter is in full force here right now- as it is in many other parts of the country. We've had some snow all week so the kindergarten kids have needed all the gear. Sigh. Please never buy your child tie boots. Why do these even exist? 


5. This weekend we were originally thinking of a quick Cape Cod trip, but a forecast for a blizzard Saturday night changed our plans. My new plans include brunch with Katie & Teddy, reading as much as possible of my book (The Storyteller- so good!) and hopefully getting a pedicure. I'm not really a big spa treatment person but I really just cannot reach my toes comfortably at the moment. 


What are you up to this weekend? Do you think you could survive without exercise? 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Simplify #2: Simple Holiday Season

I love Christmas, but I do not love the craziness that often comes along with it. I don't want to waste my entire holiday season sitting in traffic on the way to the mall or spending a ton of money to clutter up the homes of my family and friends. I want to choose my presents wisely, support local businesses where possible and just enjoy spending time and energy with the people I love rather than ON them. Here are some ways I am trying to have a simpler holiday season. If you are doing the same, please share your tips. 

 Photo 1  2

Event Gifts: Give your family the gift of experiences rather than items. For kids, do a trip to a museum, farm (if you can stand the cold!), or holiday show. For adults, maybe visit a winery or brewery, go see a comedy show or a play, or take a weekend trip. I highly recommend this article from Slow Your Home on "The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide." 

Homemade Gifts: If you are the crafty type, make presents yourself. Even if you are not, you can always support a small business by purchasing something homemade. Check out Becky's series on homemade gifts for some great ideas. Shutterfly is also great for turning photos into presents: calendars, mugs etc. 

Photo 4

Event Advent Calendars: I've seen this idea in a couple of places but I've never tried it myself. Basically, instead of taking an ornament or chocolate out of an Advent calendar, instead you take out something fun to do. You have to be careful with this because if you put this together with a bunch of event gifts you are participating in, you can end up with the opposite of a simple holiday season. But, you get to make up what you want to do, so you can keep it super low key. Some ideas I like include taking a drive to see Christmas lights, listening and dancing to Christmas music, watching a Christmas movie, and making cookies. Remember, this is YOUR Advent Calendar so you don't have to have an "event" every night. 

Say No/Do Less: This is a great article about how moms of little kids should do less, but I think everyone should do less. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you, but you don't have to say yes to every holiday party, volunteer to bring extravagant dishes to a dinner party or even send out Christmas cards this year. Choose only what you most love and/or need to do, and say no to the rest. This is a work in progress for me. 


How do you simplify your holiday season? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 27, 28 & 29

Well, hello 3rd Trimester. Now that you are here I not only forget what week I am on, but I also forget to do updates. Oops. I'll catch up with 3 this week. I really have nothing that interesting to say about each week individually other than, I'm getting bigger- yay baby is growing, boo I hate tying five year old shoes. So, I'll be picking a random pregnancy related topic and addressing it instead. Ready, GO. 


Week 27

IMG 0602

Things That Have Really Surprised Me About Pregnancy: Everyone is different, but I had a lot of thoughts about what I would be like in pregnancy. I thought I'd be an emotional mess, but in reality I've been much more angry than teary. I had never given much thought to Pregnancy Brain, but oh boy is that real. I thought I'd want to read lots of books about pregnancy when in reality, I hate the books and love just reading bloggers updates and other resources online. I expected to have a ton of food cravings and be sending Eric out for random things I wanted- in reality, I still want cupcakes and ice cream, so… nothing has changed on that front. I have had a couple of food aversions, but nothing crazy. There were other things I was right about: I do pee constantly, I will never ever say I love pregnancy, I'm  staying as active as I hoped to be, I am just as scared and unprepared as I thought I would to actually have a child… someone save me. 

Week 28IMG 2858

My Pregnancy Essentials So Far: I refuse to invest in a $80 pregnancy pillow but I have found that I could not have survived pregnancy so far without: lemon drops, mints, Trader Joe's golden round crackers, insane amounts of water, prenatal yoga, swimming (so therefore my bathing suit, my wetsuit, my Y membership and goggles), walks with Eric, google (I am probably the only person out there who feels calmer after googling things), cute maternity clothes and one king bed pillow for my back and one small pillow for my front… works as well as any pregnancy pillow I am convinced. 

Week 29

Winn 131129 1839 Edit  1

Baby and I were reunited with the Cape this week, yay. He continues to love vacation, or 4 day weekends. We did have one big moment this week due to the fact that the baby is moving just SO much these days. On Thanksgiving, Eric's grandmother put her hand on my stomach and felt him move. She is the first one besides obviously Eric and I who has felt him. This is particularly impressive because he tends to stopping moving right about the time that anyone tries to feel him ha ha. 

Other Random Things You Might Be Wondering About: Yes, the baby boy has a name- he will be called Max. He won't have a longer name, just Max. I clearly don't care at all about surprises and secrets- let's just get it all out there. No, I will not have a "birth plan" and in all likelihood I'll be having an epidural. Yes, I'm planning to work up until my due date (possibly two days longer if I haven't had the baby yet and I can survive it- that will get me to February break). Of course I know I have no control and I may not be able to, but I plan to. I also plan to return to work in late May and my most amazing mother will be watching the baby, which let's face it- is probably way better/safer than him being with me anyways. Plus it will only be for a few weeks before summer. 

If you are wondering about anything else, ask in the comments! :) 



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Music, Miles, Books and Looks of November


I enjoyed a late birthday present (my fault- it took me that long to decide on what I actually wanted) this month from Eric, a waterproof iPod shuffle to enjoy on swim workouts. I haven't fully figured out the headphones yet, but I seem to be able to listen to blasting music for the moment. I downloaded the Florida Georgia Line cd so that is the inspiration behind my first favorite song of this month. 

Round Here, Florida Georgia Line

Everybody's Got Somebody But Me, Hunter Hayes

Sweet Annie, Zac Brown Band



I set a goal to swim 5 miles this month total. I finished up on the last day of the month with 5.22 miles. Wahoo! It actually wasn't much of a challenge to get myself to the pool or yoga this month, I just need it or everything starts to hurt and I become more grumpy. 



Novemberbook1 5 Stars. This is a great mother/daughter story that takes place in New York and Iran. 

Novemberbook2 4 Stars. A great story that begins in 1962, with some fantastic characters. 

Novemberbook3 3 Stars. The setting of this story had a lot of potential, but the characters did not draw me in. 

Novemberbook4 4 Stars. A young adult novel set in World War II Hawaii. It makes me wonder yet again why I had to read such crap books in high school. 


I really like maternity clothes better than regular clothes. They just fit me so much better. We can add this to the very short list of things to love about pregnancy. However, I think you see enough photos of me in maternity clothes because of my weekly updates. So how about I show you a WAY cuter look? Baby clothes!

IMG 2831

November Goals Recap

1. Buy Nothing November. You can read more about what I did and why, and how I did with it. I was slightly less successful in the Black Friday madness (just online shopping, I am not one to deal with the stores), but overall it was a pretty successful month. It also helped me to see why I was shopping so much more than usual, and I think I've concluded it's because so many of my stress/bad mood relievers, like a quick run or bike ride, a glass of wine, planning a trip etc have all been taken away from me. Sigh. This is why I will not be giving up cupcakes in the month of December… though maybe I should. 

2. Throw out, donate or repurpose one thing per day. Not exactly. I learned this month that I cannot commit right now to doing something every day. Some days, things just are not going to get done. Preparation for motherhood? That's okay. I did throw out/recycle some serious bags of things, repurposed some other things. Just more on the 2013 Decluttering Spree

3. Read 4 books. Yes, thank goodness. See above. 

4. Swim 5 Miles. Yes, total 5.22 miles swam this month. Wahoo! 


In December, I won't be setting any goals for the first time in a long time. To be honest, life feels very overwhelming to me at the moment. I'm tired, not in that first trimester I must nap right now kind of way (thankfully-please let that not return), more just tired in a I-can't-possibly-fit-anything-else-into-my-life-right-now kind of way. I know this is not going to get any better in 2014, so I'm just preparing myself now but saying let's just hope I accomplish what I need to this month. Not going to aim any higher than that :)