So, I’m Officially an Active Duty Army Wife.

How am I doing? I’ve been asked that a lot lately. And I’m actually a lot more sad than I thought I’d be, which was a surprise. Maybe it’s my pregnancy hormones. But I’ve been an active duty wife before (USMC), so I didn’t think it would be that bad. We’ve been together through 2 combat deployments, but I guess I’ve gotten used to having him around the past 6 years. On top of that, it appears we’re looking at 23 weeks of training. 23 weeks training = 23 weeks apart…that’s nearly 6 months, which I was not anticipating (at least not immediately). Oh well, I know how that goes.ByeDaddyByeDaddy2

He was so sweet the day he left. He went to the bank to get a Power of Attorney for me, and made a surprise visit to Target. He came home and surprised McKenzie with Cheer Bear (the pink Care Bear) to comfort her when she gets sad, and me with a body pillow (majorly awesome in his absence). It was so amazingly sweet that it made me cry. Again with these hormones.CheerBear

And it’s been a little hard on McKenzie. It’s only been two days, but she really misses her daddy…in fact, I’ve brought Eddie back for a visit or two to cheer her up. And that’s the part that kills me: I am totally fine/composed until McKenzie starts crying. She’s been pretty great, but we’ve had 3 sad moments so far. Cheer Bear helps her, for sure. =) And I let her bring it to school.

We had a really great time spending time together these last few weeks, though. On Friday we went bowling and had a great dinner out. It was really fun, and I highly recommend bowling for young ones! But only do one round…McKenzie was definitely “over it” after the first game.bowlingBut we’re trying to stay busy. There are a bunch of things I’m looking forward to in the next month, including:

  • A trip to Minnesota to visit my sister and see her new house!
  • My first official doctor’s visit…with a doctor.
  • Getting my hair done.
  • A week-long trip to visit Grandpa Jeff in Laguna, CA (and to get the new stroller!).
  • Sleepover & Girl’s Disney movie night with McKenzie and my friend, Stephanie.
  • FINDING OUT THE SEX OF BABY #2 April 2!

Any guesses?!

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First Trimester Screen

We had the First Trimester Screen ultrasound today…everything was great!  The odds of Down Syndrome or Trisomy (18 or 13) are 1/10,000. So far, it’s healthy. *sigh of relief* And we got to see “it” again, so that was awesome. We were able to get a 4D ultrasound, and I know it still looks alien, but it’s cool nevertheless!

The heart rate was 176, and the baby was bouncing all around (even though I couldn’t feel it). But they refused to guess the sex…so I’m pretty bummed. =( I really wanted to know before my hubbs left! BUT I scheduled a private ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby…they guarantee accuracy at 16 weeks! April 2nd is the big day! =)

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12 Weeks

Since I’m 12 weeks now, I think I’ll start doing this little survey every couple weeks. For reference, here is my 9 week post. Frankly, I can’t believe I’m 12 weeks already!

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12 weeks, Baby #2

How far along are you? 12 weeks…seems like a milestone! I’m definitely bigger, but I still don’t think that the “bump” looks visibly pregnant. Maybe just like I enjoy beer a little too much. ;)
How big is the baby? According to my BabyCenter App, it’s about the size of a lime. 3 inches, ½ ounce.
Weight Gain? 5lbs, same as McKenzie the first trimester.
Maternity clothes? A mixture. Since I’m getting bigger sooner with Baby #2, I’ve already bought a couple things: 1 pair of skinny jeans from Motherhood, and 2 long tunic shirts from there, as well. I figure if I can wear them til September, it’s worth the money to be comfortable. I’m mainly wearing yoga pants/sweatshirts around the house, and leggings with the tunic tops when I venture out.
Stretch marks? No not yet, but I have a feeling I’ll get them. With McKenzie I got them on my hips & inner thighs…but nothing on my stomach, thank goodness. Hopefully it stays that way. My friend who had twins recommended BioOil to me (she said she went through 2 bottles her entire pregnancy), so I’ve been using it every night before bed.
Sleep: Could be better. I wake up to pee at least 2 times, then I have a hard time falling back asleep. Blah. Warm milk helps with that.
Best moment this week? Spending quality time with McKenzie & Jon before he leaves. We’re also pretty close to having names picked out! Which was important to me to have done before Jon leaves. They’re not set in stone, but we like them both a LOT.  [[Hint: for a girl it would start with an “E,” for a boy it would be a “B”…neither are conventional, and both are surnames, but easy to say & spell with good nickname possibilities (meets all our criteria!). Just like McKenzie.]] Guess away!
Movement? None yet, but I hear you can feel it as early as 12 weeks with Baby #2.
Food cravings? Belgian waffles. Orecchiette pasta & calamari from Lombardino’s (best Italian food in Madison, hands down). Cheerio’s with fresh strawberries. Chocolate milk.
Food aversions? Steak or meat of any kind. *gag* When my hubbs makes it for himself, I need to leave the room.
Labor signs? Nope. Stay in there & grow, wee one.
Gender? Too early to tell. =(
Symptoms? Intense food aversions, and I’m moody. I’m also extremely “backed up.” It’s awful. Warm water with honey helps a little, but I’m pretty uncomfortable. If anyone has other suggestions, I’m all ears. =/
Belly button in or out? In. With McKenzie it just went flat…it was never an “outie.”
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or moody? Depends on who I’m talking to. ;) I’m definitely “set off” more easily, and more likely to speak my mind when I’m peeved.
What I miss: Wine night with our friends. =(
What I am looking forward to: Thursday is the 2nd part of our First Trimester Screen, so we get to see the baby again via ultrasound. I bet it’ll be a lot bigger this time! We will also get the results of the blood-work taken by the genetic counselor, so hopefully all’s well with that. And I’m debating a private ultrasound to determine sex at an earlier date…apparently, they guarantee an accurate result at 16 weeks, and it’s relatively reasonable ($65). I just want to know so badly! And perhaps have a bit of control over something. Oh, and I can’t wait to watch the Walking Dead this week. Yep.

You spent $1,000 on a…WHAT?!?

Yes, it’s true. As I alluded to in this post, we got a 2012 Bugaboo Cameleon! (Pictured below is the color scheme we got.) If you don’t know anything about these strollers, it’s probably because they start at $979 brand new. Which is insane. I mean, who spends that much on a stroller?! That’s a lot of dough. It’s pretty sweet though…just look at it. But you know who turned me on to it? My momma. Bugaboo

You see, before McKenzie was born, my mom practically begged to buy us this stroller. She thought it was super cool. Awesome even. But I vehemently opposed the purchase of a $1,000 stroller.  I was like, “Geez Mom…for that price, would you please just buy the entire bedroom set AND a cheaper stroller/car-seat set?” But at the time, I wasn’t personally aware of the awesomeness that is the Bugaboo Cam. Until now.

When we found out about Baby #2, I started thinking about strollers immediately, so of course my mind drifted to the Bugaboo, which my mom had liked so much. I did TONS of research. Read hundreds of reviews. Etc. And I came to the same conclusion: it’s pretty awesome. It has a sweet bassinet (w/ a foam mattress!). It’s car-seat compatible. It can be forward or rear-facing. It has 6 different positions. Adjustable suspension (no kidding!). Heavy-duty foam tires. A reversible, height-adjustable handlebar. On top of all that, it’s relatively compact, and everything is machine washable…and according to the legends, you can push this bad-boy with one hand, no problem.

McKenzie will be 5 by the time the baby is born…which, I’ve decided, is a little old to be using a stroller…don’t you think? So I quickly ruled out double strollers. ((As a hilarious side-note, check out www.toobigforstroller.com for photographic evidence of this phenomena, if you could use a laugh.)) BUT, that said, if I’m going on a long, work-out-style walk, it might be too far for her little legs. Enter: the Bugaboo’s roller-board! I had never heard of these…but it folds up or detaches easily when not in-use…the perfect solution to my problem! I can still use a single stroller, but my kindergartener can ride along if she’s tired. Brilliant.

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Anyway, so I decided to go ahead with my Mom-inspired purchase, but I was still completely opposed to paying full-price. No freakin’ way am I dropping $1,000 on a stroller. So I began obsessively checking Craigslist and eBay. Unfortunately, not a lot of people in Madison, WI (or even Milwaukee) use Bugaboo strollers. And on eBay, they were pretty beat-up. Then, I had a genius idea: my step-dad lives in Orange County, California…so I searched the Craigslist there, and there were pages of Bugaboo listings. Score!

I kept my eye on them, and found a 2012 stroller, listed for $450 with car seat adapter + other accessories included. My lovely step-dad swooped over and scooped it up at my request…and after some bargaining, the final price was $375!  It’s still a lot for a stroller (I know), but we didn’t spend $1,000 on it. We managed to get a *mint* condition Bugaboo Cam for almost 65% off. I’m stoked, and I can’t wait to push Baby #2 around in it! And the best part is: I know my momma would approve. ;)

“Masking Tape Racetrack” & Some Other Things

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McKenzie doesn’t have school (4K) on Mondays, and I can never figure out what to do during the day. The Children’s Museum is closed on Mondays. It’s snowy and crappy outside. What do I DO? Urgh. I’ve been taking her to the mall (across the street) to play on the kiddie playground inside. It feels so…trashy. Anyway, I remembered seeing this idea on Pinterest (don’t know where), and decided to give it a shot. The “Masking Tape Racetrack” was a hit! Hours of entertainment with her MatchBox cars. Tomorrow we’re going to build a town with her wooden blocks and set up some train tracks nearby. She can entertain herself with imagination play for hours. =) *Note: I used regular masking tape & a black Sharpie marker…I triple checked and it did NOT bleed through. And it’s super easy to peel off!*

6 Other Things in My Day:

  1. A moment of nervousness: We had Part I of our “First Trimester Screen” for Baby #2 this morning. Just some blood-work and informational stuff. It made me nervous though. Just thinking something could be wrong with the baby. Ya know? When I was pregnant with McKenzie, one of the blood tests came back showing a higher risk for Down Syndrome (her odds were 1/180…which was very high for being age 21 at the time). We opted not to have the CVS or Amniocentesis done with her, but I was nervous the whole time. The first thing I asked when she was born was, “Is she okay?” Of course, she was fine. But if one of the tests is flagged this time around, I might opt for the CVS or Amnio simply to have the peace of mind. Hopefully it’s a non-issue.
  2. A moment of disappointment: At the aforementioned appointment, they dashed my hopes of finding out the sex at the ultrasound on March 7th. BOO! I hear there’s a private ultrasound center that will do it for like $65, so maybe it’s worth it? I know it’s still early, but I really want to know before Jon leaves (if we can). Did anyone have accurate results early? =/
  3. A moment of hilariousness: Today we saw a homeless man walking down the road while we were driving by our local grocery store, and McKenzie said, “Look Momma, I think it’s a ZOMBIE!” Oh. My. God. I laughed SO HARD! [[She was dead serious though…so we had a long talk about homelessness, mental health, and addiction. And yes, I really did that with my 4-year-old (with age-appropriate dialogue, of course). I firmly believe honesty is the best policy, and sheltering her will only make her naïve. It was an excellent “teachable moment” and I don’t think it’s ever to early to start reinforcing the dangers of drugs and alcohol. She’s gonna be a realist!]]
  4. A moment of elation: Vincenzo is GONE! Hellz-to-the-YEAH! I confirmed with property management that his sister removed him from the premises on Saturday. It’s so much quieter already. And his name is gone from the mailbox and everything! Woo! It made me a little giddy. ;)
  5. An update:  Cali’s tail is completely healed! The tip is growing hair, and it almost looks normal again…even though half is shaved. (That’s what she said! Haha.) Anyhow, it doesn’t look too weird either…I guess her tail was super-long, because two inches is barely noticeable. =)
  6. A future post: I know it’s long overdue, but my next post will be about my awesome new stroller, although I don’t physically have it in my possession yet. And don’t worry, I didn’t pay full price…not even close. I’ll let ya know how I pulled that off, too. ;) And I’ll explain my emotionally-motivated rationale for choosing this particular stroller in the first place (other than the fact it’s the Rolls Royce of strollers). Have a great week, everyone!

Crunch Time

Valentine's 2013 FlowersWe had a great Valentine’s Day! I woke up to not one, but two beautiful flower arrangements & a sweet note from my wonderful husband. Our romantic evening in Milwaukee was so much fun (although, let’s be honest: the February horse-drawn carriage ride in Wisconsin was a little torturous). As expected, the food was amazing, and we had a beautiful river-view from our hotel room. I would say dinner was the highlight…we got to order whatever we wanted off the menu! Whatever. We. Wanted. I didn’t snap any pictures because I wanted to feel “present” in the moment with Jon, so my apologies (or not). We really did have a great time.

On that note, it’s crunch time: Jon leaves for the Army 3 weeks from today. It’s getting so close! I do a really good job of NOT thinking about things until they’re here…I think it’s a protective mechanism for me, but it helps me to enjoy the moments we still have without anxiety about the future. So overall, I think it’s a good thing. It won’t be real until we get back to the empty house without him. =( I figure we won’t see him for about 3 months. While he’s training, I plan on staying busy with McKenzie and going on a few trips.

As I mentioned in this post, my sister and her husband are closing on their first home on March 15th, so we’ll definitely make the trek to Minnesota to visit them and see the new place. I’m super excited for them. Any good housewarming gift ideas? We also plan on visiting my step-dad (Grandpa Jeff) in Laguna Niguel, California. Not a bad place to visit! He loves taking us out on his boat to see dolphins, seals, & whales on the weekends. We were out there for McKenzie’s birthday in August, and we always have a blast.

In other news, I have another doctor’s appointment this week. I’m hoping we’ll get to hear the little peanut’s heartbeat.7wks4days

 

And the winner is…

So, I shared our Love Story on the Facebook wall of The Pasta Tree (our favorite restaurant) to win a Valentine’s Day giveaway for a 1-night hotel stay, a round-trip horse-drawn carriage ride, and a complimentary dinner (a $600 value!)…and we WON!!! Thanks to everyone’s support we had over 100 “likes” on our story, and we are SO excited to spend a romantic night together. What a wonderful way to spend Valentine’s Day before Jon leaves for the Army next month. <3Jon&Nic

Like I mentioned, this restaurant is incredibly special to us: we had our wedding reception there, and it is literally “our” place. The food is delicious home-made Italian, the service is excellent, and it is SO romantic and quaint. If you’re ever in the Milwaukee area and you’re looking for a romantic evening with amazing food and atmosphere, look no farther than The Pasta Tree. Seriously, the food is to DIE for.

9 Weeks

{{First of all, thanks to anyone who “liked” our story on the Pasta Tree’s page! They announce the winners of the Valentine’s contest tomorrow!}}

So this is my first pregnancy post. Kinda exciting! And accordingly, here is my first official “belly pic.” No belly yet, but I hear it shows more quickly with baby #2. We shall see. Personally, I think I just look bloated. And please excuse my morning hair.

Baby2-8wk4d

My BabyCenter App told me to take a “belly pic.”

In baby-related news: I had my first appointment this week Wednesday, but it was just routine background/family history. They also analyzed last week’s ultrasound, and said the baby looks great. BUT they did find a 5.5cm cyst on my left ovary. Bummer. So they’re just going to monitor that whenever I have ultrasounds.

Last March (before I started this little blog), I had another large cyst removed from my left ovary. I’d had it for several months, but it had developed walls inside (visible by ultrasound), so the doc was very concerned: it was either ovarian cancer or endometriosis. I never thought I’d find myself hoping for endometriosis. I had a laparoscopic surgery to remove it, and they found that it was a large endometrioma (blood filled cyst caused by endometriosis)…but at least it wasn’t cancer! Phew! The doctor was surprised that I wasn’t experiencing pain, because usually endometriosis is very painful…I think he secretly thought it was cancer. Not complaining here. But ultimately, I’m just glad it didn’t cause any problems with conceiving baby #2.

We have also opted for a “First Trimester Screen” for genetic testing (mainly just because I want another ultrasound so we can see “it” again). We have genetic counseling & a blood test later this month, and on March 7th we’ll get the ultrasound and the results of the bloodwork. That is right before Jon leaves for the Army, so I’m very excited he’ll be able to be there with me and see the baby again. And maybe we’ll get a sneak peek of the sex? That would be awesome. I know that the “parts” can be visible by that gestational age, but it’s still pretty early. Hopefully we’ll get lucky!

Oh, and my jeans don’t fit anymore. I’ve gained like 3 lbs…I’m 178lbs now. That’s CRAZY. That’s what I was at the END of my pregnancy with McKenzie. Fuck. I’m screwed. The joys of pregnancy! But don’t judge me, I’m tall. I am currently living in yoga pants/leggings. I was so happy to find LONG yoga pants at Costco. I always need longs. My legs are longer than my dad’s, who was 6’3″.

Other than that, I’ve been a little queasy lately. The smell of cooking hamburgers/steak almost made me lose it. I find that soda settles my stomach, so I think I’m going to pick up some sparkling water to avoid the empty calories. Also, since Jon will be in the Army, we’ll be switching insurance mid-way through the pregnancy. So that should be interesting. And who knows where we’ll be living when I deliver? Maybe here? Maybe somewhere else? That should be fun.

Did you have to deal with any cysts during pregnancy? And if you’ve had 2 children, when did you start to “show” in your 2nd?

I have an obsession with seat belts.

Maybe it started when I was little…my dad would routinely say, “You will die if you do not wear your seat belt.” (Well, that’s an attorney for ya…he also told us we couldn’t have a tree house because it was a “liability.” And in case you’re wondering, my first sentence was: “Daddy, will you buy me an irrevocable trust.” Truth.) So perhaps that’s the origin of my obsession? I don’t know. All I know is this: McKenzie must ALWAYS be buckled in properly. Always. And I always wear my seat belt.

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Why would I do anything to jeopardize the life of this precious little girl? (The chest clip here is even a little low for my taste…I’d move it up an inch.)

I absolutely CRINGE when people post “cute” photos on Facebook of their children in their carseats sleeping and their 5-point harness is buckled wrong. Oh. My. God. CRINGE. All I can think is, “Seriously?!?! Do you want your child to die?!” Now, perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic…but am I?

According to the CDC’s Child Passenger Safety Fact Sheet, “Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States.” Furthermore, “Child restraint systems are often used incorrectly. One study found that 72% of 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child’s risk of injury during a crash.” To translate: nearly 3 out of 4 children are not buckled in properly.

So maybe I’m not overreacting? Parents.com made a list of 8 Common Carseat Mistakes to Avoid. My biggest pet peeves are: #3 Infant turned forward-facing too soon (American Association of Pediatrics recommends 2 years! Better a broken leg than a broken neck.) and #5 Using the retainer clip incorrectly (“The retainer clip should be at armpit level, resting across your child’s breastbone. The clip assures that the harness straps are in the right place. When the retainer clip is in the wrong place, the straps can easily slip off a child’s shoulders, and the child is at risk of being ejected from her seat in a crash.”)

Two more facts for ya: The safest spot in the car is the center seat in the back (next is the rear-passenger seat), and children are not supposed to wear coats in their carseats (although I have been known to break this rule, I’m not perfect).

Sometimes McKenzie says that the clip is choking her…but I know it’s not. I’d rather have her be safe & uncomfortable than the alternative. And she gets over it quickly.

Sorry for the lecture. But not really. Keep your kiddos safe. Proof I practice what I preach:

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So, will ya help us win dinner & a carriage ride for V-day?

Well, it appears pregnancy insomnia has set in early. I don’t remember having sleep issues until the 3rd trimester with McKenzie, but here I am: wide awake at 3:45am. [Insert expletives here.] What better time to clean & do a little blogging? At least I’m productive, I suppose.

Jon&Nic

Our reception at The Pasta Tree, gotta love the “clinking” glasses. ;)

ANYWAY. So, there’s this little contest going on at our favorite restaurant, The Pasta Tree, for Valentine’s Day: they’re giving away a 1-night stay at a boutique hotel in downtown Milwaukee, a horse-drawn carriage ride to/from the restaurant, and free dinner (all valued at $600). All I had to do was share our “Love Story” on their Facebook wall…how awesome would that be?!?!

Now, not only did Jon & I go on many, many dates to this incredibly romantic restaurant, but we happened to have our wedding reception there! Granted it’s an hour-and-a-half away from Madison, but it is seriously “our” place. Only 2 people have posted anything, and obviously it would mean a lot to us to win…especially with Jon leaving next month, and all that jazz. I think we have a pretty rad love story (long, blog version here), but obviously I’m a little biased. ;)

Soooooo, to anyone who reads my little blog: would you please, please take the time to “like” and/or comment on my photo-post if you have Facebook? Pretty please? It would mean a lot to me. And you don’t even need to “like” their page, just our photo. It doesn’t say anything about the most “likes” winning, but I figure it can’t hurt. =) The contest is Feb. 1st-8th, so we should know by next week! I’ll keep y’all posted, wish us luck!