Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's the Holiday season

You know, I thought that I'd be much more prolific with my blogging when I quit my desk job.  But, it turns out that sitting at a desk 9-10 hours a day is actually helpful in the blogging department.  Now my days are filled with other projects (and the eternal morning sickness that just sucks all my energy and will to be productive), and I do a lot of my writing by hand or away from the intrigues of the internet.  So, sitting down for some quality blogging time seems to happen less than I'd like.

The holidays always seem to be an especially busy time of year.  And is it just me, or does the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seem shorter every year?  There's just so much to do, and so little time in which to do it.

So, in the interest of brevity, and due to my recent sniffly temperament, here's what we've been up to since I checked in last:

1.  Pregnancy has made my sinuses stuffy in the general sense, so when I started getting stuffier last Sunday, I tried to play it off as a pregnancy symptom plus maybe a small cold.  A couple days later I was at the Urgent Care at the request of my OB.  Turns out I had a double ear infection and a sinus infection.  That, coupled with nausea and nosebleeds made for a very interesting week where I did little else but sniff Vicks Vap-o-Rub and blow my nose.  All I can say is thank goodness for antibiotics!

2.  Bear and Blake were troopers throughout my self-imposed quarantine.  Blake woke up extra early before work every day to take Bear on a long walk, and then took him on a long walk again (in the pitch black) when he got home.  Bear, for his part, was very sweet to me all week, and spent most of his time in bed with me resting his chin on my feet.

3.  I re-watched a couple of seasons of Gilmore Girls between nose blows.  It made me nostalgic for college (when I watched the show the first time, Rory and I were at the same time of life and I felt a special kindred with her).  Embarrassingly, Bear seemed to recognize the theme song by the end of the week.  I swear he was rolling his eyes at me every time a new episode started.  He's a cultured dog, but I guess he doesn't appreciate quality cinematic entertainment when he sees it.

4.  We've started in on our traditional Christmas movie marathon.  Every year we start with Love Actually on Thanksgiving, and proceed with Home Alone 1 & 2, Elf, Christmas Vacation, Fred Claus, and The Santa Clause (if I get my way - Blake hates that one).  Blake also makes a list of all the good Christmas shows on TV and we set them up to record so we always have something Christmassy to watch.  We're serious about our holiday entertainment around here.

5.  We're working hard to get our house decorated in time for our annual Ugly Sweater Christmas party this weekend.  Blake has held this party every year for 13 (or maybe 14?) years and it's one of our favorite Christmas traditions.  Everyone seems to have a great time each year, and it's always a hoot explaining to half our friends that we- as boring Mormons- aren't going to have alcohol at the party.  It's like a rite of passage for them, I think, surviving a Mormon party.  Ha.

Add in laundry, keeping the house mud-free with a Bear on the lose, and attempting to keep our sanity through this hellish experience called pregnancy, and that just about sums it up.   Here's to a happy and healthy holiday season filled with blogging and cheer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dignity - of which I have none left

Last Tuesday I lay in bed trying to get to sleep.  As I tried to finagle my pregnancy pillow into a comfortable position, I thought about how grateful I was for that very (uncomfortable) moment.  Blake was asleep next to me, dead to the world, Bear was curled up at my feet - snoring and acting like a portable heater.  I felt so lucky that IVF worked for us and that things were going so well (aside from the ever-present nausea. yuck).

I fell asleep happy.  And then I woke up to a nosebleed.  Not just any nose bleed, but the most horrific blood faucet I've ever had.  I spent the next 45 minutes hunched over in the bathroom, pinching my nose and trying to get it under control while Bear paced and whined next to me.  Poor guy is very sensitive to when we're not feeling well and he was not pleased with the situation.  Either that, or he was antsy about postponing his morning walk.

Thankfully, I got the nosebleed under control in time to walk over to my dentist appointment.

I brought some spare tissues in my pocket, just in case, but didn't seem to need them on the walk over.  However, right after I signed in at the front desk, I felt the familiar rush.

[Warning, graphic descriptions ahead. Proceed at your own risk.]

Before I could even grab the box of tissues on the counter, my coat, hands, and the bottom half of my face were covered in blood.  I mumbled an apology to the receptionist and took a seat in the corner of the waiting room, hoping that it would stop quickly.

No such luck.

The old ladies trickling in for their appointments looked ill at the sight of a someone dripping so much blood all over the place.  Pretty soon, the entire staff of the dentist's office was crowded around me trying to help.

My dentist, who is probably the world's coolest dentist, had the distinct privilege of helping me change the packing and seeing huge, slimy clots dangle out the end of my nose in between tissues.

They moved me to my own room to "bleed privately," and brought me ice packs, tissues, gauze, and a slew of packing materials that look suspiciously like tampons with the string cut off.

Half an hour later the blood had dried up...along with what remained of my dignity.  I mean, I thought I'd lost all dignity being sick from IVF and then being sick from pregnancy (being sick in public is just soooooo fun!), but here I was going deeply into the red (pun!) in the dentist's office.  Oy.

Here's hoping that the holidays this year will be more green and white...and less red.

Before I go and leave you with the image of gooey blood clots lingering in your mind, here are some darling picture of the Bear.  We bought Maybe Baby a small stuffed animal that looks just like him, but now he thinks it is his.  Sigh. Sibling rivalry already?




Friday, November 14, 2014

Family Photos

We've had the most glorious fall weather this year.  In fact, until a couple days ago, it hardly even felt like November.  The leaves have been gorgeous.  The sky has been blue.  The sun has been shining.  The rain has been kept at bay.  Basically, DC is really spoiling us.

A couple weeks ago we took advantage of the weather and headed downtown to do family photos for our Christmas card.  Last year we got super lucky with a photo we had a random tourist take of us, but this year we decided to move a step up and buy a tripod.

The only drawback to having the camera on a tripod instead of held by an actual person was getting Bear to turn and look at the camera.  The little guy was being quite obedient, and would sit when we told him to (the promise of peanut butter will make him do anything), but he kept sitting facing us with his fluffy bum toward the camera.  In fact, I think the only reason he turned around for this one was due to a well-timed squirrel appearance.  He's very vigilant when it comes to squirrels.

The best part about taking family photos in late October is that we're completely done with the designing and ordering portion of our Christmas card venture...and all with the bonus of some great coupons.  I feel like once November hits, it's all a blur until the New Year.  Things get busy.  The thought of doing Christmas cards gets shunted aside.  Now I can indulge myself in the gluttony of Thanksgiving and the joy of Christmas movies with very little hanging over my head.

But back to Bear (no surprise, right?) Blake and I have pinky sworn that we won't share the actual Christmas card photo until we send out the cards, but I couldn't help myself with this outtake.  Bear's fluffy, over-the-shoulder smirk is just too good.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Grand Cayman

Blake spent 8 weeks this past summer living in a hotel in Brooklyn for a trial.  I spent those same two months at home doing daily doctor visits and injecting myself with ungodly amounts of hormones.  Basically, I'm just proud that we both survived.

At the beginning of the summer we'd made a deal with ourselves that if we could get through the summer and also be securely pregnant, we'd take an awesome babymoon vacation to celebrate.

We wanted to go somewhere relaxing and also somewhere neither of us had been before.  We started looking at places in the Caribbean and narrowed it down by where there were nice Starwood hotels.  Blake earned approximately one billion (that's a rough estimate...) Starwood points from the summer, so we were able to get five nights at the Westin Seven Mile Beach for free.  We used credit card points for our flights, so it ended up being a five star trip for next to nothing.

Neither of us knew much about the Caymans before we got there, so we were expecting something a little more like the Bahamas in terms of the feel.  We were pleasantly surprised when it surpassed our expectations.

The water is crystal clear and about 85 degrees, so you can stay in all day long (even if you're a wimp like me).  The snorkeling right off the beach was amazing, too.  We rented snorkel equipment and spent all day out on the water.   We'd swim out about 50 yards from the hotel and there was a great reef with an amazing amount of colorful fish.  I think it was my favorite snorkeling since the Great Barrier Reef when I was 16.  We saw rays, puffer fish, squid, tons of colorful fish, sea urchins and all sorts of great coral.

The only thing we ended up not liking were the fish called Bermuda Chubs.  I guess they are used to being fed by tourists, so they swarm you when you are snorkeling.  At one point I looked over because Blake had yelped and he was surrounded by about a hundred of them swirling in a circle and darting in to inspect him.  One bit him on the elbow really hard and made him bleed.  Who knew that fish could be so aggressive?

From that point on, whenever we saw the Chubs coming we'd hurry and paddle in the other direction.  I wasn't about to get bloody fish marks all over my arms.  Scary Chubs.

In between snorkeling and hanging out at the beach, we ate some truly fabulous food.  Our favorite places ended up being the ones right across the street from the hotel: Eats Cafe, and the Sunshine Grille.  I think I gained five pounds in five days. Nothing completes a fabulous trip quite like gluttony.

Before I drown you in photos...probably our favorite thing we did while we were there was to take a catamaran out to Stingray City.  It's a series of shallow sandbars out in the middle of the bay where you can touch and hold stingrays.  The rays have been coming to the spot for years because they know they'll be fed there, so they've become as docile as house pets.

Some of them are quite large - 4 feet across, so it's a bit unnerving to have one swim up to you and give you a sucking kiss or slide its wings past your arms and legs.  Nervous factor aside, they are SO COOL.  We got to hold and a pregnant one and the guide had me feel where she was carrying her pups. I felt a bloated kinship with the thing (though I'm glad I'm only carrying one as opposed to 3-5 like she was).  Their skin is very soft and silky.

Also, did you know you get seven years of good luck if you kiss one?  All I know is that I will do anything for some extra luck, so I took the kissing very seriously.  Really.  The look on my face in the photos below shows the seriousness with which I approached the situation.

I'm hoping that the seven years of good luck includes being able to go back to the Caymans again soon.  We're already trying to figure out when we'll be able to go next.  Forget real life.  If you need me, I'll be in the Caymans.













Monday, November 3, 2014

Surely

So here we are in November already...and I wish I could tell you that blogging is the only thing I'm behind at in my life.

Alas. I'm behind at practically everything.  Except my laundry.  I'll count that as a win.

We've had lots of lovely things going on lately, but our biggest news is that Maybe Baby is now Surely.  We're having a baby girl and she's due on April 17th.

The best part of all of this is that, at over 16 weeks along, my morning sickness is finally fading to manageable levels.

Cue the choir of angels! Bang the gong!  Celebrate in the streets!

I've had a few people ask me how my pregnancy has been going and how I would compare it to how I imagined it would be.  Well, it took me three years to get pregnant (and I desperately wanted to be pregnant), so I was hoping that I would adore it.

BUT

Let me tell you. This whole pregnancy this is highly overrated.  IVF was no picnic, but I was hoping that I'd get a break from some of the less fun symptoms.  No dice.  From six weeks on it has been one big party centered around crackers, string cheese, and the porcelain throne.  I've had vertigo, whooshing in the ears, hot flashes, restless legs, bloody noses, stuffy sinuses...you name it.  Set me in front of a teen audience with my zits and cellulite (no glow here!) and those suckers would never have sex again.

I feel silly for how useless I've been the past couple of months.  Looking at screens of any kind gave me headaches, so I avoided the computer and the TV like the plague.  A couple loads of laundry would take me all day (with naps in between folding sessions) and cooking has been practically non-existent in our home (the smells! the horrible smells!).  Whoever named it "morning sickness" was horribly mistaken.  Try all day/all night sickness.  Blech.  I'm so glad to be over the worst of it.

Now that I'm starting to see straight again, am able to eat salad, and am no longer cursing the heavens during every waking moment, I'm looking around in awe at all of my friends and family that have birthed multiple children. I've got a whole new respect for the women in my life.  I've also got a long list of questions as to how/why they had more than one child.  Women are tough cookies.

(As I'm reading over what I've written so far, I'm thinking I'm sounding a little hard-done-by.  I'm not.  Life is good.  I've had it fairly easy.  I'm just grateful that the worst of it is coming to an end.)

Switching from complaints to SCIENCE...fertility science is THE COOLEST.  The more I learn about pregnancy and the human body, the more I think WHAAAA? and WOWWWW!

I have a picture of my "baby" at five days old.  It's 150 cells and looks more like a biology class slide presentation than what will become a baby, but it's pretty much the neatest thing ever.  Also, we found out the gender at 10 weeks!  10 weeks, people!  From a vial of blood drawn from the crook of my arm!

The day after we found out that Maybe is a girl, we celebrated by buying a couple baby dresses (Janie and Jack will probably take the majority of our bank account from now on. yikes!) and building some shelves in her room.  We've been working on other projects off-and-on as the whim strikes, and the room is really coming together.

Check out the shelves and the dresser we bought for $25 at a yard sale (and painstakingly refurbished)...and my favorite thing: the stuffed animal that looks like a mini copy of Mr. Bear.