Still Kickin’ — Literally (Foxlet 2: 31 Weeks)

Why, hello there! In what has now become sadly unsurprising, I’m back in spectacularly late fashion, I’m back with another pregnancy/life/Gretchen update. There’s been a lot going on in these parts lately, so much so that it sometimes feels I’ve barely been able to keep my head above water, let alone come back to document it all on the blog, but I’m gonna try my best to catch up (for those who may still be interested — goodness knows why, lol — and also just for posterity’s sake, heh.)

As of tomorrow I will be 31 weeks pregnant — which means I’ve got a mere 6 weeks to go ’til we get to meet Foxlet 2! (In case you aren’t aware/need a refresher, I have gestational hypertension — high blood pressure that surfaces only when I’m pregnant, so I’m being induced at around 37 weeks.) This pregnancy feels like it has FLOWN by — there really is such a marked difference between going through this all for the first time, and going through it all with a sassy, spunky, never-gonna-let-you-rest toddler along for the ride, lol.

Things were holding very steady with my blood pressure for a while there, and thus I haven’t really had too much to update on the pregnancy front (thankfully!). Unfortunately, it seems like that honeymoon period might be ending, as my BP had clocked in high again at my checkup last week (womp womp.) This may just have been a fluke (I get stressed out just getting my BP checked these days!), but it’s more likely that I’ll need to increase my blood pressure medication dosage in the coming weeks. Which, of course, isn’t a big deal, I just hope that the medication continues to keep it under control until we get to 37 weeks! With everything else that’s going on right now, an earlier delivery, or even bedrest, is not really something I think I can handle.

In the spirit of total honesty, given how early my hypertension condition surfaced (at 20 weeks), my anxiety over early delivery, potentially developing preeclampsia again, or other possible things going wrong with this pregnancy and baby had really been starting to get to me. I began to experience pretty intense anxiety attacks with physical symptoms (heart palpitations, shortness of breath, etc), so under the guidance of both my therapist and my OB, I started taking Zoloft and it’s really been helping me feel more level / less doomsday-y about everything. I definitely still have my moments, but in general I think it’s helping keep my tendency to immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion at least a little under control, so that’s good.

She was unimpressed.

Aaaaaaanyway, I had a growth ultrasound a few weeks ago to make sure that Baby F is still growing as it should be and everything looks good in there (it does!). I have also progressed to going into the OB for weekly blood pressure checks (in addition to checking at home) and NSTs (non-stress tests) where they monitor the baby’s movement, heartrate, etc. In fact, I have another appointment this afternoon!

My other symptoms have mainly just been your typical third-trimester pregnancy pains and issues — pelvic pain, heartburn, needing to pee all the time (lol), and being super-dee-duper exhausted, etc. I’m still feeling very grateful that despite my complication, this pregnancy has been a lot less severe symptom-wise than my pregnancy with Penny was, which probably has been helping me maintain a bit more of a que sera sera attitude about things lately. So hopefully that will continue to be the case even if my BP is up again today. Cross your fingers for me!

In other news, Sean, Penny, and I took a quick little mini-babymoon trip down to VA Beach a couple of weeks ago which was really nice. The weather wasn’t terribly cooperative for a beach trip (overcast and a bit rainy), but it was still just great to get out of town for a little bit and spend some quality time together.

Plus, in what should come as a surprise to no one, my little mermaid water baby absolutely loved the ocean! We, on the other hand, did not love how totally unphased and fearless she was about it — our little daredevil girl kept trying to charge riiiiiight into the tide, lol. So in reality, we actually ended up spending more time at the hotel pool than on the actual beach, but hey, at least we can check that experience off for her, lol.

We also celebrated Father’s Day last weekend with a lovely trip to the National Zoo! It was Penny’s first time at the zoo, and both of our first trip in a looooong while, and was so much fun! Penny really was into seeing the animals, and we even got to meet up with some friends who were visiting from out of town, whose daughter is just a few months younger than Penny.

Bear!

Also on the Penny front, we have unexpectedly began potty training!

I was totally not even thinking about attempting to potty train for a while still (honestly, dealing with two kids in diapers sounds so much easier than dealing with a newborn and having to deal with accidents + rushing my toddler to the bathroom every few hours), but we’re really just following Penny’s lead here. She started out telling us right after she pooped in her diaper, then progressed to telling us right before she had to poop, and now is telling us when she has peed/is peeing as well, constantly pulling on her diaper and yelling “POTTY!” at the top of her lungs.

So we’re just kinda rolling with it!

We’ve had a handful of successes, and while I’m definitely not trying to pressure her, I am trying to be as encouraging as possible. I mean, if she’s ready, she’s ready, right? We have a couple of little pottys placed around the house as well as a potty seat in the bathroom, and we’ll see how it continues to go!

Things have been going well on the work-front as well, not a whole lot new to report there since I think I already mentioned my promotion at the beginning of this quarter in a previous post. I’m just mainly trying to keep afloat with a calendar of fun and exciting events, keeping the Yelp Northern VA community engaged, and getting my ducks in a row before going out on maternity leave in August!

And then finally, we have the last piece of the insanity puzzle: our house move. Things have taken a lot longer than we initially planned to come to a head, but it looks like we are finally moving for reals next month! Because, you know, it’s not enough to be extremely pregnant and have a toddler and be planning out maternity leave and have a senior citizen dog and just, you know, deal with life in general. Nah, let’s throw a move and selling our current home in there as well! 😉

No, in all seriousness, I’m incredibly excited for the chance to move back inside the beltway and bring Penny and this new little one up in the same city I spent so much of my own childhood and youth. Plus, Falls Church just keeps getting better and better! There are lots of new developments in the works and cool new businesses constantly moving in — totally worth the traffic jam that all the construction causes, hehe.

I do think that Penny is starting to become a little bit more aware of all the change and upheaval brewing though, though whether it’s because of me being so noticeably pregnant, or because of the move, or just her toddler sixth-sense, who knows. She’s been clingy AF lately (as has Daxter, as you can see in the pic above, lol), and is definitely going through a very severe “MY MOMMY” phase. Hopefully by the time this baby actually arrives, she’ll remember how much she loves babies in general, because I don’t think her little sibling will be as tolerant of being shoved out of my lap as the dogs are, hahahaha.

And I think that pretty well catches us up! Let me know if you think I missed out on anything, or if there’s anything you’re curious about — I know this was already a lot of post to slog through, so I’m sure I skipped something. And, as always, if you’re craving more insight into my oh-so-interesting (lol) life, feel free to follow me on Instagram where I update much more frequently. See you next time!

Springing into Action (Foxlet 2: 16 Weeks)

Whoosh! And just like that, it’s basically Spring! Feels like it happened quicker than a snap of Thanos’ fingers, but there’s no denying it: it’s mid-March, I’m 16 weeks pregnant (today!), and it’s time to start makin’ some big moves in our life (both figuratively and literally!) But first, a recap of what’s been a-going on over the past few weeks.

Penny and I just returned from another fantastic trip down to the Atlanta area to see my sister and her littles, and we had so much fun! We went to this exhibit called Candytopia, which is as great as it sounds: a giant museum/love letter to candy.

There was free candy in every room, lots of very cool, very impressive candy scultures and art installations, and had super fun, Instagrammable photo opps galore. We had an awesome time!

Candytopia travels from city to city, so right now I think it’s in Atlanta and Minneapolis, and is opening in Dallas soon. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in one of those places!

Outside of our candy-coated field trip, there was just a lot of general fun times spent with my sister, bro-in-law, nieces, and nephew. You know that getting Penny together with her cousin Alex (just three weeks older than her!) is like my whole reason for being, ahaha. “A-leh” is literally one of her favorite words, she says it like 8 times a day.

We’re always sad to have to say goodbye at the end of a trip, but luckily this one will be (particularly) short-lived, as my sister is bravely coming up here with all three kiddos during Mia’s Spring Break in just a couple weeks!

Penny also had her 18-month checkup at the pediatrician just before we left on our trip, and is doing great.

She’s around 27 lbs (got weighed on the big kid scale for the first time!) and 34″ tall, which puts her in the 92nd and 97th percentiles, respectively! At this rate she’ll end up even taller than me when she’s fully grown! (I’m 5’10” and Sean is 6’1″ if anyone was curious.)

And I guess that brings us to our update on how the other little Foxlet is doing, eh? As I mentioned above, I’m 16 weeks pregnant today, and I’m actually (shockingly!) feeling pretty okay! I finally feel like I’ve almost gotten over the string of terrible colds and sinus infections that have plagued since literally Day 1 of this pregnancy (watch, I’m totally gonna wake up sick again tomorrow now that I’ve said that, lol.), and I’m hanging in there.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, my bad pregnancy symptoms like nausea and vomiting have been much less severe this time around (thank GOODNESS), and though I have still been nauseous it seems to have eased up in particular just this past week or so. Huzzah! Food is still kind of hit or miss with me (I have not gained any weight yet), but in general I’m happy not to have spent as much time feeling truly miserable.

I’ve got a bit of heartburn and am still trying to make piece with the skin issues this pregnancy has brought me, but the biggest obstacles I’ve been battling this time are exhaustion and sleep disruption. Which, I know, you’d think that dealing with the former would mean I’d be sleeping better since I’m so tired, right? But sadly, it doesn’t seem that my body understand that, haha. But I’m rallying through and while I maintain my stance that pregnancy is not exactly the best time ever, I remain very grateful that things have been generally more mild this time around.

I think I’ve already felt a few little bubbles and bursts from Foxlet 2 — those first little movements — but it’s nothing super significant yet. I go in for my 16 week checkup on Tuesday, which I normally would be looking forward to but they are monitoring me very closely for preeclampsia this pregnancy (since I developed it late in my pregnancy with Penny), so I have to do one of those super glamorous 24-hour urine collection tests (I’ll do another one later in my pregnancy so they can compare) and get a whole bunch of extra blood drawn. Wheeeee!

At least the weather has been frickin’ beautiful these past couple of days! I’ve been really enjoying getting to spend a bit of time in the sunshine with my little bean. It’s helping me manage my stress levels which are admittedly at a bit of an all-time high as I’m dealing with the last bit of exciting-slash-terrifying news that’s been piling on as of late: we’re moving!

Not far, though. We are in the process of packing up our little house to put on the market, and purchasing my parents’ house in Falls Church! We’ll be living in my old family home, literally half a mile from my brother and sis-in-law (Penny and Marnie will be able to go to the same school!!), while my parents will be downsizing into a condo.

We’re really excited about being able to have more space for our growing family, as well feeling super fortunate to be able to move back to Falls Church City, but of course, there’s the simple fact that moving is a huge PITA even when you’re not pregnant and have a toddler, lol. I just keep looking around and thinking, how do we have so much STUFF?! The timeline feels impending as well since we want to be able to list our house during the prime selling timeframe (which is late April/early May), so I’m already feeling the crunch.

Anyway, I think that pretty much brings us up to date on the major things (and boy, do they feel major!) that have been happening lately. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, and I’ll try to get back in here with another update before another entire month goes by, heh. Cheers!

Holiday Hubbub!

Hi and hello there! I hope everyone is having a fantastic lead-in to Christmas week! This month has been a complete and utter whirlwind so far, but in the best possible way! I’ve been staying really busy with work, family, time with friends, and gearing up for our trip to my sister’s for Christmaaaaas!

Somehow despite the craziness that everyone is dealing with, we found time to ring in my brother Ben’s 35th birthday with a little family dinner celebration. Marnie is so flippin’ cute! I can’t wait to see her experience her first Christmas.

Other festive celebrations included getting together with a group of my wonderful mommy friends for a playdate and surprisingly successful cookie decorating party!

Not quite as successful was the attempted group photo of the kiddos, but, hey, at least we get points for trying?

And since we’re doing Christmas with my family again this year, we also had a little mini Christmas dinner with Sean’s family last weekend. We’ll also be seeing them again for Christmas Part II when we get back, but Sean’s mom had a couple of gifts for Penny to open (she still doesn’t really “get” opening gifts, but I had fun opening them! Haha), and we had a damn fine dinner. Plus, the Foxes always have their house decorated so perfectly for the holidays!

It hasn’t all been sunny and positive and fun festive things, though. Unfortunately on Monday Harry had an accident where he tore one of his toenails off, and apparently doggy foot wounds bleed a LOT (it seriously looked like a murder scene), so I totally flipped out and rushed him to the pup ER. Luckily, he’s okay but has to wear the cone of shame for a while so he doesn’t continue to mess with it. My poor old man dog!

But back on the positive side, I also had the opportunity to attend our very first Yelp Holiday Party with the new DC office! My fellow community managers and besties, Mike, Kimberly (and our boss Tara), have always had a little lunch celebration of our own in years past (and we did so again this year), but it is kind of a cool perk of having a “real” office here now that we also get a “real” holiday party!

My final work events are officially done with for the year, so this week has been primarily about wrapping up the year and getting ready (and mentally prepared) for the road trip down to Atlanta! It’s going to be Penny’s longest (by FAR) car trip yet, plus we’re taking all three members of the Schnauzer Squad…. should be an adventure!

 

I asked for tips on how to survive the trip on Instagram, and got some amazing ideas, so THANK YOU if you’re one of the ones who responded. We’re going to try to do it one go (with contingencies and backup plans, lol), so I got a bunch of new toys and books to offer Penny throughout the trip, and we will be loaded up with sooooo many snacks… it’s gonna be fine, right? RIGHT??

Honestly, I’m not even sure why I’m so nervous about the trip. It’s not even like I’ve never made this drive before! I’ve done it with my sister and HER kids (and even her dogs once or twice!), but for some reason now that it’s gonna be with Sean and Penny and my gaggle of high-strung terriers, I’m feeling pretty anxious.

But hey, it’ll all work out, right? I mean, just look at this face! And, of course, I’m really really looking forward to being together with my WHOLE family for Christmas again this year. Bring on the gingerbread house and cookie decorating and present wrapping and eggnog drinking and all the general holiday hubbub! Also, my sister and I are running a 5K on Christmas Eve so, you know, if you’re gonna be sending good thoughts into the universe for our road trip, please add a couple extra ones for that, lollllll cry.

I hope that you all have the very happiest of holidays, a very merry Christmas, and an absolutely wonderful New Year if I don’t make it back for another update before then!

Catching Up

I know how trite it is to say, but I can’t help it: I am in total shock that Thanksgiving is a mere 2 days away. Like, I just… I mean… how?!

This time of year always goes by really quickly, but this feels like it’s on a whole other level. I think that Thanksgiving coming early has a little bit to do with it, as does the fact that I’ve just been in a total tizzy of nonstop activity since Halloween.

Penny and I have come and gone from another successful trip to Atlanta to visit my sister, which is always so wonderful. And it’s, of course, even more fun now that Penny actually shows excitement and affection for her cousins (and vice-versa!)

 

There were carousel rides and gymnastics birthday parties and all sorts of fun stuff for her to do while we were down there — we had a blast!

 

I also got to see Ed Sheeran in concert while I was there, which was such a treat. After my last concert being Taylor Swift (at the same venue), I wasn’t sure whether Ed Sheeran’s performance would captivate me, but he is just so damn talented!

It’s just him — no band, no backing tracks, just his guitar, a microphone, and a bunch of looping pedals. My only disappointment was that he didn’t play Tenerife Sea, which was Sean’s and my wedding song, but the rest of the setlist was really great. He has so many big hits!

Sadly, I got sick on my last few days in Atlanta, which put kind of a damper on the end of the trip, and I’m STILL dealing with the same freaking cold now, 10 days later. It hasn’t been debilitating, just making me thoroughly snotty, sneezy, and miserable… and of course at what feels like the worst possible time. I’ve just had a lot to catch up on from being out of town, in addition to all the craziness of it being a short week this week, then holiday stuff, etc. I also haven’t worked out since before I got sick, which is kind of depressing.

On the brighter side of things, at least we got back in time to get to experience the first snow of the season in the DMV area!

Well, it was bright news for like, a few hours that day, before everything turned to total crap weather-wise and it was just an onslaught of sleet and rain for the rest of the day. But still, at least we got a few hours of beautiful crisp, powdery white fluff, which is just the best. You can take the girl outta Ottawa, but I guess her love for snow’s gonna stay.

Like I mentioned, I did have two events over the weekend as soon as I got back, so between jumping on those, digging myself out of my email inbox, and trying to get Penny back on some semblance of a schedule (it’s not really working, lol), things have felt pretty frantic since coming back. I’m trying not to get overwhelmed but I can definitely feel the anxiety starting to rumble under the surface. Hopefully the Thanksgiving holiday and the fact that I have a couple of weeks before my next big work event will help me feel like I have a little room to breathe.

Despite all the busy-busy-ness, we did mange to squeeze in a family photo session this weekend with my brother & sister-in-law — this was literally the only time that we would have been able to do it, so I’m thankful that it ended up being a beautiful, if chilly, day! All of the snow had melted by then, so we got lots of beautiful fall colors as our backdrop.

 

 
 

And that just about catches us up to today! Hopefully I’ll be back with another post a bit sooner this time, but that’s unlikely to be before Thursday, so let me say Happy Thanksgiving in the meantime, and see you on the flipside!

Atlanta: The Return of Aunt Pookie

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, it’s been quite a couple of weeks ’round these parts! Just a few weeks after our last visit, Penny and I made a return trip to my sister’s in Atlanta to participate in a whole slew of big honkin’ life events. As if the fact that Penny is 11 months old weren’t enough of a reminder of what a cruel thief time is, try throwing my nephew Alex’s first birthday AND my eldest niece Mia’s first day of Kindergarten into the mix!

WHEN DID SHE GET SO GROWN?! ::sob::

 
 
Penny had a grand ol’ time helping Alex with his smash cake after he started slowing down, hehe. And it also really helped whet her appetite — literally — for the donut smash photos that I took of her in preparation of her own upcoming big day!

More of those will be comin’ at you later — I am chomping at the bit to share them all right now but trying my darndest to save them for her actual birthday (just 2.5 weeks away!!!!).

Other great things that happened during this trip included plenty of quality time with my best gal (obvs), quality time with my best sister, working out 7/9 days I was visiting (ARE YOU NOT IMPRESSED?!), and even getting to spend a day at the pool!

 
 
Oh, right, and also that little thing where me and my 50,000 besties saw Taylor Swift perform. The show was PHENOMENAL — such insanely high production value! Whatever you might think about her or her music (obviously, I’m a big fan, but I know she is somewhat polarizing, lol), you cannot deny that she is a stellar performer.

 
And as a bonus? My Fitbit logged over 18,000 steps and more than 8 miles on the day of the concert! Gahahaha.

It was a great trip, and thankfully at the end of it I didn’t have to say goodbye for too long — my sister and her family will be coming up here in just a few weeks for Penny’s birthday party & baptism! I admit that I’m kind of glad to have all that solo air travel behind me… for the time being at least. Penny is a great flyer so far, and she very rarely gets fussy, but she is just sooooo busy and nosey and energetic that it’s pretty hard to keep her contained on flights nowadays. She doesn’t fall asleep too easily these days anymore either — except, of course, for during the final 10 minutes as we’re descending, lol. Thankfully, we had our row to ourselves on both flights!

 
Anyway, after so many weeks of being up, on the go, and busy as all get out, I was looking forward to at least a modicum of calm before Penny’s birthday but, as always, life has other plans. Alas, after successfully avoiding it for 30 long years of blissful, wise, toothy bliss, I finally have to have my wisdom teeth removed. Two of my wisdom teeth have erupted (turns out I only have 3 of them — #soevolved) but they are all impacted, and one started giving me some serious jaw pain last week. So my surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

So if you’re not already following me on Instagram, I imagine that my Stories will probably be pretty entertaining that day, lol. See you on the flipside!