Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A sappy post to baby Markface

I wrote most of this post last week, but am just getting a chance to post it now. I'm happy to report that Markface is sleeping slightly better than he was. Hopefully this trend continues!

Hipster baby

I know that I said:

Don't worry, I'm not planning to post copious amounts of crap about my pregnancy or kid. Obviously my life will change, but I am hoping to still be awesome and not have my child totally consume my life.

But at the moment, my life revolves totally around the little guy. It's all about him right now. Babies are incredibly demanding. Once he gets into a better sleep schedule and we find a few reliable sitters, it will get easier. Right now it's just a lot of love and sleep deprivation.

I came to motherhood reluctantly. Perhaps even kicking and screaming. There were too many adventures to be had - too many places to travel, so many things to do. Last year I posted this rambling monstrosity about the things going on in my head and how I wanted to move to Australia. I would still love to live in OZ, but then...

All of that said, on to my sappy post to Markface -

I never knew how much I wanted and loved you until you were placed on my chest; wriggling, screaming, slimy, and grey.

Even though my alarm was going off this morning and I had to get in the shower, I couldn't get up.

Your body was snuggled against mine. You're a little furnace, just like your dad. You woke up three times during the night to eat, and I was exhausted - but all I could do was lay in bed and look at you. After the second time you woke me up, you ended up in bed between me and Jay. This week the sleeping is not going well -but if you're hungry, I have to feed you.

I was fully in the moment this morning before I had to get up for work. I know this time is fleeting. Too soon you will be too old to snuggle. You won't give me smiles in the morning and make me late to work. Too soon you will have your own opinions and be your own person, and those things will make me late to work. But for now, you are all mine. You can't protest if I snuggle you too much or give you too many kisses. 

I hope that I never take this time for granted. I hope that I can be patient. I hope that I can be fully in the moment more often.

I didn't expect any of this... it is new and awesome and so much better than I was expecting, if I'm being honest.

I still want to travel and have adventures, but now I get to share that with this little person.

Life is good.

Monday, November 17, 2014

25 Things in 2014 - how I'm doing

Earlier this year, I posted this list.

Of course I was secretly pregnant, so "survive childbirth" did not make the list. But it should have!

Here's how I did:
  1. Pass the Series 7 exam.
    I passed on the first try, even though I was freaking out the morning of the exam and already planning on strategies for the next time.
  2. Housebreak our dog.
    I won't say that he's fully trained as far as obedience goes, BUT he is fully housebroken.
  3. Finish the fence.
    It's finished, otherwise the dog would be even more obnoxious.
  4. Plant a garden.
    Our yard guy has planted some more perennials in our front garden. So yeah, the garden is planted. ;)
  5. Finish at least one closet of the two unfinished ones.
    Both closets have drywall and places to hang clothes. I'm calling it a win.
  6. Rearrange upstairs bedrooms.
    Totally necessary when you have a baby. We rearranged ALL of the upstairs bedrooms. And did I mention that we bought a king size bed? It was needed. I have no idea how we slept in a queen before.
  7. Find pet-friendly accommodations.
    No desire to do this anymore. Maybe one day our dog will be nice to take on vacation, but we often need a vacation from the dog.
  8. Take a road trip with our dog.
    See #7.
  9. Go on vacation somewhere new.
    We went to Maine in June... it was lovely!
  10. Do something that I'm afraid of.
    Considering that childbirth has always terrified me and so has having a kid, then yes, that was a huge fear that I am ending up loving.
  11. Blog at least twice a week (or 104 posts for the year).
    Failing hard at this.
  12. Spend more time around the water (sunning, diving, swimming, boating, or sailing)
    Failed at this too. Went to the beach a handful of times and no diving while pregnant either. Looking forward to getting back in the wetsuit soon!
  13. Try paddleboarding.
    Hopefully next year!
  14. Actually send out Christmas cards in 2014.
    I think this is going to happen. We had our photos taken and have ordered the cards from Shutterfly. 
  15. Get my wedding ring re-sized.
  16. Come up with new savings goals & reallocate funds.
    Done! And now we have more new goals. We are trying to figure out which plan we are doing for Markface with the Maryland Prepaid College Trust. It's a pretty great deal.
  17. Spend a weekend in NYC.
    Didn't do this. We are heading to NY in a few weeks, maybe we'll get to the city.
  18. Swim 1000 yards (I might finally accomplish this)
    After I got pregnant I wasn't feeling too great and slacked off on my exercise routines. My girlfriend wants to start swimming at the Y, so I am planning to join her and get back in the swing of things. Maybe I can get this done by year-end.
  19. Frame and hang at least one of my photos.
    Maybe by year end? 
  20. Start foyer photo wall.
    We bought frames and everything. I just need Jay to hang them!
  21. Spread some of Dad at Martinak. Maybe on his birthday.
    I meant to do this. Maybe next year on his birthday... he would have been 68 in February. I wish he were still around to meet his grandson. :(
  22. Stay in better touch with relatives.
    I'm trying, but I still suck at it. It's much worse now that I have a kid.
  23. Log at least 365 miles, walking or running. One mile each day (totally doable!)
    I think I may have done this, but since I haven't kept up with wearing my fitbit or logging on my exercise app, I have no idea.
  24. Complete an obedience class with our pup.
    We did this! Unfortunately we need about a hundred more.
  25. Throw an awesome dinner party.
    I really can't recall. We probably haven't had many people over but the last year has been such a blur I'm not sure. 
So all of that isn't too bad considering the major life changes that have taken place this year.

I've been back to work for three weeks now. The lack of sleep is pretty brutal, but I'm surviving. The first day of leaving the baby at daycare was awful too. But we are slowly getting into a rhythm, hopefully Markface will start to get with the program and begin sleeping longer. We had been getting anywhere from 4-6 hours each night, even almost 7. Then there are the days that he is up every 2-3 hours, or he'll sleep for 3 hours and then be up every hour, or some combination thereof.

Overall, life is still pretty damn good, even though I am now tired all the time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mark Anakin is here... and a month old!

On September 5th at 1 p.m., I checked into the hospital for my labor to be induced. Twenty-nine hours later, on September 6th at 4:41 p.m., Mark Anakin was born. 7 lbs, 5 oz and 20 inches long.

My life has been a bit busy since this little guy arrived.

MAL <1 hour old - first picture that went out via text/email/Facebook 

There was also an incident involving waffles that caused me to lose it the day I checked into the hospital. It was pretty much the only time I got overly emotional over something stupid while I was pregnant, but in my defense, I was over a week overdue at that point. One day soon I'll write about my waffle and labor experience. In some ways it was better than I expected and in others it was worse.

It was all worth it when they put that wriggling messy human on my chest - it was instant love like I've never known. I was also overwhelmed with the new love I felt for my husband. He was amazing during (and afterwards, of course) the labor process and seeing him as a dad is so awesome. I am so grateful for this journey that we are taking together.

The nurse (Bernadette) during delivery told Dr. Liu that Jay was the best husband/labor partner she's ever seen while working there. Bernadette said that Jay was just perfect - that he was supportive of me and generally helpful for everyone. She said that some partners don't do a good job of being supportive or are too protective and get in the staff's way. Dr. Liu said that Bernadette has never mentioned anyone else positively for as many times as she's worked with her.

This is the last picture ever taken of me pregnant. Although my pregnancy was free of complications apart from my back spasms, it's not something that I am eager to do ever again. Plus little Markface is so damn perfect, I don't know why we would need another kid. That and I feel like one kid is totally doable when it comes to traveling.

After his bath - cleaned up photo in the hospital

First day at home

He's so sweet when he's sleeping

Instagram photo taken during photoshoot we took with the good camera (still haven't uploaded those photos)

I know that all parents want to think that their kid is the smartest, most advanced, and early with milestones. We think ours is pretty amazing. 

Here are a few details just in case I forget them later on:  

He weighed 7 lbs when we left the hospital. He was back to his birth weight at his two day check-up, and had already started holding his head up a bit.

At one week, he was up to 8 lbs. At his two week appointment, he weighed 8 lbs 11 oz. He also passed all of his one month milestone checks then and was doing so well gaining weight (the pediatrician said I must have milkshake boobs) that we could skip his one month appointment and bring him at 6 weeks.

The kid is insanely strong. He can support his weight on his legs briefly and has great head control. He makes eye contact and can track objects somewhat. So far he has blue eyes.

Mark at one month

Other stuff that's gone on this month: 

Mark's plastibell device from his circumcision didn't function properly. It was supposed to fall off after it healed. Instead it got stuck on. So a week after being discharged from the hospital, we watched our baby scream for an hour while two pediatricians tried to remove it. We almost ended up having to take him to the ER to have it taken off. Fortunately the docs were finally able to remove it. It was incredibly traumatizing for all of us.

Jay started working construction part time for an Amish guy. He shot himself in the leg when his nail gun misfired. Which he of course pulled out himself, slapped a band-aid on and wrapped electrical tape around his leg. He then finished his day at work. I would have cried and gone to the ER.

Loki decided he wasn't getting enough attention and broke his leg. He knocked me out of the way while I was taking out the trash, ran out the front door and after a speeding car coming around the corner. He is good with the baby, but has been a serious pain in the ass since he broke his leg. The vet said that we can't play with him as usual and can only take him on walks to wear him out. Of course that doesn't work so well.

Oh and I just came down with a case of mastitis. It sucks.

So it's been an eventful month! Sure hope the next month is less eventful.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Countdown is on

Right around this time last year, Jay and I were in the process of getting our PADI Open Water certifications. I was also about to meet with my now boss for the first time.

It's incredible how much can change in a year.

I now have my PADI Advanced Open Water Certification as well as my FINRA Series 7 registration. For the record, the Series 7 was a lot harder. But my dive certification will keep me safer when it comes to breathing underwater.

We went to the Dominican Republic to celebrate our three year anniversary last December, and we brought home a parasite.

After we found out we were expecting, we of course rushed out to get a puppy, since the breeder in Maryland still hadn't come through for us. Speaking of which, I still haven't heard from him and it's been over a year now.

Loki is settling down, kind of. Okay, not really. Maybe a little. Part of the problem is that he's a high energy breed and pregnancy kind of takes all of that extra energy out of you. He is awesome as long as you keep him busy playing fetch or frisbee. We had hoped to take him for a second round of obedience training, but this summer got away from us.

So on to the countdown... if due dates are to be believed, I will become a mom in five days. It's all rather surreal and terrifying.

The nursery is ready, we have childcare for when I go back to work, my awesome friends have set up a food delivery schedule to get us through the first six weeks, and we have everything that we need.

I'm trying to get some rest this weekend, but it's not easy when you're 9 months pregnant and have to pee constantly. That and having a dog who constantly wants to play.

I suppose that I should get back to writing my thank you cards... and hopefully that elusive nap!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Trip to Ogunquit and last few weeks

So my plan to blog more often kind of fell apart. The problem is free time, and also the amount of time that I spend on the computer at work. By the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is log on and stare at a screen some more.

Ogunquit was a beautiful, charming town. The only problem was the hills... for this flatlander who is quite pregnant, they were a lot for me!

This was the view on our beach day. We had pretty much the place to ourselves! The water was freezing, but Jay jumped in anyway. I did manage to get in to about halfway up my thighs, but my legs were numb when I got out. The water there was unbelievably clear and beautiful.

I got to pick my dinner!

This is a view of the coast a little farther south

Another beach view from Marginal Way

One day we went to get ice cream at the Scoop Deck, where you also get a free pickle if you're pregnant. Their ice cream cones were HUGE and Jay and I both ended up throwing them away halfway through. Yes, it's true. I wasted ice cream.

This was the place that we stayed, Unit 303 in the Lookout Condos. We got to sleep on a Queen sized Murphy Bed, which was pretty cool. However, I was very happy to get back to my King Size mattress at home.

I finally had to take off my wedding ring while we were on vacation. One of the days was pretty warm and my fingers were swelling up. A bought a cheap band from Amazon when I got home because my finger felt naked. It's 1.5 sizes larger that my wedding band, so hopefully I can wear it for the rest of my pregnancy. It is pretty loose right now.

The weather was rainy and kind of crappy the day before we left, which drew some surfers down to the water. We spent a few minutes trying to watch them, but after seeing surfers in Coolangatta, it was pretty disappointing. Obviously not on par with the surfers Down Under. 

Wedding selfie from a wedding in NoVA at Zion Springs. Although the food and music were great, the layout was horrible. They only had two unisex bathrooms available for all of their 150+ wedding guests. So I spent the bulk of the evening waiting in line for the restrooms. It was literally a 20+ minute wait each time. So that sucked. The dance floor area was also open to the elements and was a brick patio, which I found a bit odd. 

And my first attempt at making a cake from scratch went awesomely. My mother came over this weekend and for dessert, I made Julia Childs's chocolate & almond cake from her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The recipe can be found here. Yes, it's true. Until this weekend, I had never made a cake from scratch before (except for a pumpkin cheesecake that I made probably ten years ago). I'll tell ya what, the recipe says that it serves 6-8 people, but there's not much of that cake left.

I have a little less than two months left of my pregnancy. I'm tired of being pregnant for sure and am in some ways eager to get it over with, but I'm also rather apprehensive about becoming a mother, oh, and that whole process of getting the baby out. That's rather terrifying. We are also not done the nursery, which we have finally decided to decorate in a Star Wars theme, partially because of some awesome posters we found on vacation. Originally we hadn't planned on painting, since the room is already blue... but it's not a very nice blue. We are going with the color baby elephant, same color as this laundry room post. I will post photos when it's all done.

That's all for now, I suppose. Perhaps I'll have some time this weekend for posting, since it's a long weekend!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#9 Go on vacation somewhere new.

I'll be completing #9 from my 25 things list this weekend!

Despite my considerable travel experiences, I have never been to Maine. I thought that "visit Maine" was on my 101 list, but apparently it didn't make it on the list.

So we'll be traveling to Ogunquit, Maine this weekend. Since I'm pregnant, we want to stay somewhat close to home. We did think of going to Florida or doing an all-inclusive, but it's better for me to go somewhere cooler where my ankles don't swell as much.

Our trip has already had some hiccups... we booked a rental property from Saturday-Saturday, but then found out that Jay's best friend Brian is getting married in New York on Sunday. Rather last minute! So we are having to delay our plans, including having to rearrange a longer visit with my cousin in Boston, which I'm bummed about. We're now spending the weekend in Long Island and will spend the following Saturday afternoon with my cousin and her family in Boston. But we will still have five full days in Ogunquit, so that is good!

I'm planning to take a lot of photos, since my poor camera hasn't seen the light of day for a while.

Other plans: eat plenty of lobster, go on walks, read books, and enjoy some quiet time with the husband before we welcome our screaming blobfish of joy into our lives around August 28th.

Speaking of vacation, we are planning our next big trip - and the first one with the baby. One of these days we will actually use our timeshare, and I'm hoping that by contacting them now for next June that we can actually land a decent place in Hawaii. The plan is in the early stages, but my Australian Auntie thinks that she may be able to meet us out there next year. It's kind of halfway between OZ and the US. And this way she'll be able to see us and her great-nephew and we will be able to do some diving. I don't think we'll be taking the trip back to OZ until our kid is old enough to remember the trip and appreciate it just a little - i.e. think that lorikeets, koalas and roos are the coolest thing ever - maybe when he's 4 or 5? And then hopefully he'll fall in love with diving like mom and dad, and then we could take him again when he's older and a certified diver. Or maybe he won't love diving and will find something else fun to do. It's Australia after all.

Of course going back to OZ will be out the window if we have a second kid. I'm pretty sure that we can swing these kinds of epic trips once every five years or so if we just have one child, but the second kid would wipe out that kind of discretionary spending. And honestly, I really don't enjoy being pregnant!

So three posts in three days... not too bad. Glad that I could put in some time over the weekend blogging! I do miss it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Catching Up Part II

Here is a photo summary of the last month or so...

The cows have been grazing across the street again... they like to come over and say hello.

Kitty Whore aka Piper is the least scaredy-cat that we have. She stands up to Loki pretty well, but our pets are still working things out. I'm hoping that one day they'll all get along. Loki of course just wants to play and doesn't understand why the cats don't want to play with him.

The dog loves to play fetch and will do just about anything for his ball. It's our most useful training tool. Although he does love treats, he's not as food-motivated as most other dogs. We are working on playing frisbee with him and he's had a lot of awesome mid-air catches, but he still prefers the tennis ball.

There was also this morning a week or two ago, where Loki chased the rooster into the house. I was standing outside in my bathrobe with the door open, trying to stop him from chasing it. The rooster had his head down in the corner like, "If I can't see him, he can't see me!"

And then I got a hold of the dog and Mr. Roo-Roo went on his merry way.

Draco, aka His Royal Highness The Reverend Doctor Tasty, Esquire is loving his new bed. I feel kind of bad for all of our animals... they have no idea how their lives are going to change in a few months. My friends Jen and Tim are done having kids, so they gave us a ton of their baby stuff late last summer. It turned out to be perfect timing. This is the pack & play bassinet that we're going to keep in our bedroom for the first few months. Jen and Tim were over a few weeks ago with their girls (two and four, who Loki did very well with) and they helped us set up the bassinet while they were here.

And speaking of the baby, here I am pretending to chug a Strongbow. That said, I am of the belief that light drinking during pregnancy is most likely okay. It is of course a controversial subject, and since there are ethical questions over setting up any kind of study that involves pregnant women, I doubt that most OB/GYNs (in the U.S., at least) will ever encourage drinking. I've weighed the risks and read more than a few articles and studies on the subject. My definition of light drinking? Since the beginning of my second trimester (my first trimester I abstained almost entirely), I've been having anywhere from one to three drinks a week. And I do mean single servings, like a 5 ounce glass of wine instead of my usual 8-10 oz pour pre-pregnancy.

The pregnancy itself is going well... I'll be 28 weeks on June 5th, which is the beginning of my third trimester. At my last doctor's visit, I was measuring a week ahead, so my appointments were moved up to every other week. I didn't post about it, but I was having some horrible sciatica and muscle spasms in my left side quadratus lumborum. The pain was pretty unbearable, but my OB sent me to physical therapy, and I think that the combination of PT, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic finally got me all straight. The pain also seemed to clear up a ton after passing my Series 7 exam, so that may have had something to do with it.

I've been continuing with massage and also started going to acupuncture in February. I really think that it is having a positive impact on my life as well as how I'm feeling. My massage therapist moved from the Shore Health integrative medicine group to starting up Whole Being Health with a group of like-minded practitioners, which is how I ended up trying acupuncture. My acupuncturist is also a licensed counselor, so it's like having a therapy session and acupuncture treatment together. I love it! There are also studies that show the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy - and some states and insurance companies have approved acupuncture as another way to bring on labor naturally. So I will be keeping that up, as I do not want to go past 40 weeks.

And last but certainly not least, my dear friend Christina tied the knot with her hubby Dan a few weeks ago. She was such a beautiful bride and we all had a fantastic time celebrating her nuptials. I can't wait to see Laura Dye's gorgeous photos from the wedding!