20 Weeks

20weeks.wordsAh, the official “normal person” half-way point in pregnancy! Yay! But alas, I am not normal. Blah. I think the insanely nice weather we’ve been having has made the itching worse…I’ve been trying to walk 2 miles/day, but I find it really exhausts me. That, and the warmer my body feels, the more my skin prickles. I’m trying to stay VERY hydrated and drink plenty of water & my favorite lemon-lime Gatorade. It’s such a crappy situation.

Because my itching as gotten worse the past few days, I have been referred to the Perinatal Clinic (high risk) at Meriter hospital for a consult, and see if they can offer any more relief. I mean, I’ve been waking up with bloody scratch marks on my legs, and I’m pretty positive we don’t have a poltergeist in the house. ;)

Also, last week I met with my hepatologist (liver specialist), and he told me the medication has lowered my levels from 44 (toxic for baby) to 25. Much improved, but still elevated (10 is normal). So that’s good. AND ON TOP OF ALL THIS, my doctor also suspects that I have “carpal tunnel syndrome of pregnancy,” because my right had has been getting numb/tingly, so I’m supposed to wear a wrist brace when I sleep. Not sure if that’s gonna fly. Anyway, on to the survey:

How far along are you? 20 weeks, 2 days. He will probably be here in 4 months! That’s crazy.

How big is the baby? According to my BabyCenter App, it’s about the size of a banana.

Weight Gain? Still 7 lbs.

Maternity clothes? Loose work-out clothes (still yoga pants & sweatshirts)…helps the itching.

Stretch marks? Tiny ones on my inner thighs. And my boobies.

Sleep: Sleep has been better, I’m just taking 2 Benadryl before bed every night.

Best moment this week? Pregnancy-wise, Baby Boy’s movements have dramatically increased the past week or 2. Oh, and someone called me “tiny” today…definitely haven’t been called tiny in awhile. Haha.

Movement? Yep! ^^

Food cravings? Last week it was French Onion Soup. Yum! And yesterday I posted the recipe for all to enjoy!

Food aversions? Nope.

Labor signs? Nope.

Gender? BOY!

Symptoms? Itchy. And now whenever I sneeze, McKenzie asks, “Did you pee, Momma?!” Hahaha. Joy.

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? Pretty happy.

What I miss: My hubbs. But I think we’ll get to speak every Sunday now. Yay! Something to look forward to.

What I am looking forward to: 20 week Anatomy Scan tomorrow! I’ll probably post pics ASAP. And I’m also looking forward to meeting with the Perinatal Specialist to see if there’s any itching-relief in my future. And tomorrow night I meet our doula!

A whole week?

Wow, I usually don’t go a whole week without posting. I guess I’ve been “busy.” My sister and niece visited last week during her spring break, and this week we reciprocated with a visit to their new house in Minnesota! Their closing/loan underwriting process was quite a hassle, so I know she’s relieved it’s over. The house is lovely, it’s a great “forever home!” I can’t wait to own a house someday, a condo is just not the same. To be able to simply let the dogs out a door will be heavenly…

Anyway, I got them this wicked-cool decorative tripod clock as a housewarming gift. At least I know Jesse likes it…men are not prone to rejoice over home decor, I suppose.

tripodclockBut we’re home now, and it’s McKenzie’s spring break. I think I’m going to enroll her in K5 for the fall here in Madison, just in case we don’t have a “post” with the Army yet. The local elementary school has a Spanish dual-immersion program I’m considering, BUT I know it’s only beneficial long-term if they complete the programs, so I’m not sure it makes sense if we’ll be moving. That said, I speak Spanish so it might be cool even if it’s for a little while.

And I haven’t heard from Jon. I guess we’re going to be pen pals the next few months. =( And I don’t know when we’ll see him again. But McKenzie and I are settling into a routine, though. I got her a Shutterfly photo book with only photos of her & her Daddy. She loved it and sat down with it right away. It was really cute, I’m so happy she likes it.

In the Bebe department, I had my first visit with my actual doctor last week, and I really like her. She was super approachable, friendly, and great with McKenzie (which is important to me because she’ll probably be coming with me a lot). And is it bad that I like her because she’s young? But I do. I don’t want my doc to be an out-of-touch old fart. No offense to them. Anywho, the baby’s heartbeat was 145 and everything looks good. And we get to find out the sex in 1 week! As in, in 1 week I will know if it’s a boy or girl. Woot! Any guesses? Come on…

And because pregnancy can make any lady feel gross & icky, here is a picture I like of myself. Yes, it is a year old. And yes, I really like this hat & scarf. Oh, and I’ve been having pretty awesome risqué dreams lately. This lady ain’t complainin’. Totally forgot about that part. ;)mewglasses

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?!

A family of feet.

AltfeatherFBCoverPhotoI haven’t had a [paid] photo session lately…since October actually! I’ve been trying to spend as much time with my hubbs as possible before he leaves. I forgot how much I enjoy what I do! =) We took the “foot photo” at my client’s suggestion (a Pinterest inspiration), I think it was a particularly fun shot.

In other news, I’ll be 11 weeks tomorrow, and baby #2 has been giving me grief…I am so disgusted by foods I usually love. And I crave fruit. And calamari…mmmmm…I’m salivating just typing that. But to be honest, other than my intense aversions/cravings, I don’t really feel pregnant. My “bump” is a slightly more pronounced (my hubbs can tell), and thankfully I’m not as tired as I was a few weeks ago. We have the first part of our prenatal screen on Monday, with the ultrasound on March 7th…I can’t wait to see how much our dear little fetus has grown…I REALLY want to find out the sex at that appointment (if we can)! I’m dying to know.

Enjoy the rest of your weekends everyone!

Raising Children: The Power of Positive

I have a confession: we rarely say “no” to McKenzie. Now, that’s not to say we let her do whatever she wants…that would not fly. BUT according to one UCLA study, the average 1-year-old hears “no” more than 400 times a day. That’s a lot! And that really stuck with me. So for us, instead of focusing on what she can’t do, we focus on what is acceptable behavior. We make a concerted effort to be positive, and I think it’s made a huge difference in her life! She has a very positive attitude, and now that she’s more independent she needs less direction. And isn’t that our goal as parents? To raise happy, self-directed children?

FBHeaderSunsetNow, of course kids need tough guidance here and there (especially where their safety is concerned), but it can easily be achieved without saying “no.” When she was younger, we’d simply say, “We don’t do that, let’s do this instead…” (redirect) but now that she’s older we’ll ask, “Do we do that? Is that acceptable behavior?…Why not?” And she answers us every time.

Another example is, “We don’t do that, because we could get really hurt if we play with the stove. It doesn’t feel good to be hurt, does it?” Yes, we actually say that…sometimes harshly. We are still firm, but instead of yelling “No, no, no,” she understands why. ((Adding the “because” also does an excellent job staving off the “why?” stage…because you’ve already answered the question.))Positive-Thinking1

Other times, when she asks for candy, a toy, or something else, instead of saying “no,” we’ll reply, “Oh, of course you can have it! After your nap/After lunch/After you clean your room/Tomorrow after school/etc.” Sometimes she fusses, but she responds very differently than she would to a flat-out “no.” And any ensuing argument is quickly remedied by, “Well would you like ______ after school, or not? We don’t reward this kind of behavior.” By responding to her requests in a positive way, she knows that she will eventually get what she wants, which in turn teaches her the importance of delayed gratification (for a fascinating Stanford Study on children, linking delayed gratification and future life success read this Wiki article).

And you may have noticed we really focus on her behavior. It makes me sad when I hear a parent say, “You’re a bad boy,” or “You’re a naughty girl.” To a degree, children internalize those words, so I think it’s really important for parents to emphasize that it’s the behavior & actions that are “bad” or unacceptable, and that doesn’t make the child “bad.” After all, every child misbehaves. Now, of course there’s something to be said about “Nature & Nurture”…obviously each individual has predispositions. BUT, I firmly believe that the way we interact with McKenzie influences her behavior in a positive way. It’s simple to change small words we use with our children to create a more positive environment.

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?

How to have a happy marriage: 9 little words.

“Don’t sweat the petty stuff…pet the sweaty stuff.” Oh my goodness, isn’t that ridiculous? Hilarious? Horrifying even? Haha. You know what makes it even worse? Apparently that was one of my dad’s favorite lines (of course I never knew that though). It sorta makes me want to gag and giggle simultaneously. I’ve said it to Jon before when he was upset, and I sorta yelled it at him, “DON’T SWEAT THE PETTY STUFF, PET THE SWEATY STUFF!” It ended in a mutual fit of laughter. You should try it. Works like a charm. I think it covers pretty much everything: the importance of both communication and intimacy…and it lightens any mood because it’s so damn ridiculous. Yup. 9 little words to live by.

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Not quite the same, but you get the idea. ;)

Stupid sh*t kids do. Care to share?

stupidkids0Fortunately for my parents, but unfortunately for me, I was an overly well-behaved kid. The worst thing I ever did was try to break my own leg (no joke). I thought it was cool to have a cast, so I wedged my leg under a couch and tried to break it. I was unsuccessful. Ha. Oh and once in high school once I sneaked out the car with my friends to drive around before I had my license. Still pretty tame in my opinion. I partied a little in high school, but not a lot. Basically, if my daughter is a teen like me, I will be extremely grateful.

These kids on the other hand…sniffing shit to get high? Putting vodka in your eye? Gang-bangs? Fence-plowing? Garage-jumping? Vodka soaked tampons? Their parents should be proud. Yikes. What was the worst thing you did when you were a kid?

Mexico & more.

Only 1 week until we go to Mexico! Woo! I’m so excited. We’ve never been to Cancun, so this will feel completely new. Any suggestions for places to visit?cancun

Also, I’m incredibly excited for my sister & her husband: they are buying their first home! Their offer was accepted over 4 competing offers. I’m so happy they’ll have a place to call their own. And I’m living vicariously through her, since we won’t be able to buy a home for awhile; in fact, I just read this article on USAA about why military families shouldn’t buy homes. *sigh* Anyhow, here’s a pic of their new home, provided all goes well until closing! I figure I’ll have a lot of free-time on my hands with Jon gone training, so maybe I’ll help them move & organize. It’s so nice! 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, office, fireplace, and it’s on 1/2 acre…plenty of room for gardening & kids to play!jessicashouse

On that note, any creative housewarming gift ideas?

2013: Full of change.

happy2013

The year 2013 is full of exciting uncertainty for me & my family. For those of you who know me, or have been following my blog, you know that my husband just graduated college and is leaving for the Army soon. For some reason, we were thinking, “Oh, it’s 3 months away,” maybe because March is the 3rd month? I don’t know…but two months seems infinitely closer than three. So, for the next two months we’ll be enjoying precious time together as a family, before we’re on the military’s schedule.

Now, if you’ve read our love story, you’ll know that this lifestyle isn’t new to us…I was a military wife before. BUT (and it’s a big but) we didn’t have a child when he was in the Marines, which I think is both good and bad. Good, because now I can keep myself busy in his absence, but bad in the respect that I know it will be harder on McKenzie, and Jon too, for that matter. I’ve been preparing her, telling her that Daddy will be gone for awhile and we’ll be moving to a new home. I told her that she’ll get to go to a new school and make new friends. I think the mental preparation is key, so it’s not a shock. We don’t know exactly when Jon will be done training, so we’re not even sure when we’ll move. Exciting uncertainty, as I said.

And since a lot of people have asked: no, he’s not going to be an Officer, even though he has his Bachelor’s…at least not until he exhausts his other options. His contract is 18X (google if you’re curious), but of course there are a lot of obstacles to overcome…literally…before he would be assigned to a duty station. In order to prepare, he’s training with a personal trainer 4x a week for the next 10 weeks before he leaves (I don’t even want to tell you how much that cost…but we’re considering it an “investment”). We have no illusions about the realities of Army life, so we have no expectations. We’re just keeping an open mind and going with the flow.

On that note, I resolve to make 2013 a great year. Life is primarily about attitude, so I will strive to have a positive attitude, be more patient, and be kinder to myself (I am notoriously hard on myself). Three simple things I think I can easily achieve with a conscious effort. As Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

I sincerely hope that 2013 is a wonderful year for everyone, full of happiness, success, and joy. Happy New Year!