To Viability and Beyond! (Foxlet 2: 23.5 Weeks)

Howdy neighbors! Hope everyone is having a great… day? Week? Month? Season? Whichever you choose, I hope things are going well for you! My own isn’t shaping up to be too terrible, though it certainly does keep throwing a few curveballs my way to keep things fresh.

Penny is 20 months old and has firmly entered her bull in a china shop phase — she is a full-blown clumsy toddler, complete with spills and tumbles and our little family’s first real kid accident. As we were walking home from the playground the weekend before last, Penny tripped over her own two feet and landed literally face-first on the sidewalk. Pregnant or not, I don’t think I’ve ever moved so quickly before in my life. I scooped her up and ran her back inside, cleaned up her scratches, and continued to bawl for like 15 minutes (me, not her, of course. My tough girl stopped crying after like, 45 seconds, lol.)

She bumped her forehead in addition to scratching up her right cheek, but thankfully it was nothing worse than that. She didn’t really even mess with it as it was healing. It’s been a little over a week since then, and her face is almost totally healed up. And alas, I’m sure it’s just the first of many injuries for my wild girl — she is absolutely a march-to-her-own-beat kinda lady, always charging off on her own and wanting (well, demanding, really) to do everything herself. And she already got herself a brand new skinned knee (very lightly — phew!) yesterday, lol, sob, cry.

We also celebrated our Harry’s FIFTEENTH birthday a week or so ago! He definitely has been showing his age lately (::tear::), but also still has his moments where you see he’s still got some of that puppy-like spirit. They say that mini schnauzers retain some of their youthfulness right until the very end, and given how our ailing, arthritic old man still has his random bursts of energy, I believe it. We love you, old man!

On the work front, things have been great. As I mentioned in my last post, I was promoted at the beginning of April, and my coworkers & I got to film something for a fun national campaign Yelp is coming out with later this year!

Filming in the city was really fun, but super exhausting — I am totally already at that point in my pregnancy where I’m slowing wayyyy down. I’ll be 24 weeks on Friday, which is kinda exciting because that gestational age is often when the baby is considered officially “viable.” Which I think essentially means that if I were to go into premature labor or need to delivery crazy early due to my gestational hypertension (or if it were to progress into severe preeclampsia — knock on wood!), there’s a reasonable chance that the baby would survive.

Obviously I am hoping, praying, and taking every precaution to ensure that DOESN’T happen and this little bean continues to bake as long as it needs, but I did have a little bit of a scare last weekend with an all-day headache (one of the signs they told me to keep my eye on with regard to preeclampsia), feeling “off,” and even further elevated blood pressure, so I can’t take anything for granted.

Thankfully, everything is fine. My results are still negative for pre-e, baby looks great, and my blood pressure came back down after a couple hours in the hospital. I know it’s way better to be safe than sorry, but it probably goes without saying that I did not miss being sent to the hospital for this kinda thing. -_-

My next OB checkup is next week, and I’m hoping things remain stable and that I’ll get the go-ahead to be able to travel out to the Oregon Coast with my family next month, as my dad’s been planning a little family reunion with my relatives in Oregon for a while, and right now my ability to join is a bit up in the air.

Aside from all of that, things seem to be progressing pretty normally with my pregnancy. I’ve got some pretty bad tailbone pain and every time I sneeze or cough too hard there’s like an 75% chance I either pee a little or throw up in my mouth (PREGNANCY IS A BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS TIME), but I really can’t complain too much because at this point with my first pregnancy I’m pretty sure I still felt like total crap. I have been experiencing some anxiety over all of the “unknown” stuff in my life right now — how my pregnancy will progress, our moving situation, work changes, etc — but I’ve been continuing to see my therapist throughout all of these big transitions and it’s been really helpful just to have that additional outlet to talk through everything.

Anyway, that’s where everything is at right now! Cheers!

Halfway There! (Foxlet 2: 20 Weeks)

Well whaddya know, just like that *Thanos snap* another month has come and gone, so I guess that means it’s time for my now-monthly blog updates (::sob::). I swear, I really do want to be posting more frequently but life is an insane mess these days and my personal blogging has fallen so far off the priority list that it actually depresses me. But hey, instead of dwelling in the doldrums about it, let’s dive right into all that aforementioned insanity, shall we?

LIFE

Jenny and the kiddos came up to visit during Mia’s Spring Break, so we got to spend lots of family time together and even braved the ridonkulous tourist traffic to go see the cherry blossoms in DC! Nothing like having visitors to finally get you to take advantage of the cool stuff that exists in your backyard that you totally ignore on a daily basis, lol.

We also celebrated my birthday a bit early while they were still in town with a giant dual-family dinner… which honestly ended up being kind of a disaster hahahaha.

I don’t know why I thought that 11 adults, 2 kids, 2 toddlers, and a baby out at a restaurant was a good idea in the first place, but I was already skating on thin ice with the entire idea… and then Penny ended up barely napping that day and thus was a total clingy overtired NIGHTMARE the entire time (save for the first 15 minutes when we took these photos lololol).

She only wanted to sit on (not with, ON) me, wanted to run amuck the whole time, was continuously melting down into a puddle of tears and tantrums, and even ended up shimmying out of her diaper right there in the restaurant partway through. I even spilled an entirely full glass of iced tea all over myself trying to wrangle her at one point, lol. At least we were in a semi-private area and at the restaurant really early so it wasn’t too terrible for other diners, but it was… not the best. But hey, I tried! And I learned a valuable lesson too, which is that dinner celebrations like this will either A) take place at home or B) involve a babysitter in the future.

Things went much smoother on my actual birthday the following week, where Sean surprised me by taking me out to one of my favorite sushi spots, Penny was muuuuch better behaved, and our waitress was in complete love with her so it made for a very pleasant evening all in all. And it was a great day in general because I also caught a movie and had lunch with my parents and mother-in-law (who actually shares the same birthday with me!) earlier that day.

Not a bad way to ring in my 31st year!

MOVING

We are still deep in the throes of packing up our stuff, preparing our house to be listed, and moving. Things slowed down a wee bit on that front for a little while, but we’re back on the train and things are starting to chug along again. Just trying to go through all of our crap, living amongst stacks of boxes and piles of stuff, figuring out what to pack up first, what to sell, what to keep but keep accessible, etc, has been one of the biggest things affecting my stress and anxiety lately (let alone getting to the point of actually listing and selling this place, lol) but I’m trying to keep everything in perspective. Trying being the operative word, of course, but just like the process of moving in general, I am a work in progress, heh.

WORK

Things are continuing to chug along at work, too. I actually received a promotion a few weeks ago, so you’re now looking at the Senior Community Director of Yelp here in Northern VA! The parameters of my job aren’t changing much, which is great because I love what I do and want to continue doing exactly that, but it does come with a few added opportunities, responsibilities, and perks so that’s a definite plus. We’ve got a lot of exciting initiatives, campaigns, and fun stuff coming down the pipeline, so now the trick is figuring out the balance between keeping work a top priority, and also not letting it get me even more stressed out given everything else I’ve got going on, haha. (And also starting the painstaking process of planning for my maternity leave!)

PENNY

Penny continues to be just the absolute light of my life. She is 100% a full-blown TODDLER now (see above story about my early birthday dinner, lol), but she’s also got so much personality (she’s FUNNY!), is starting to show imagination and creativity, is starting to actually sit through full books being read to her, reacts to scenes happening in movies (“Oh no!” “Uh oh!!” “Yayyyyy!!”), cheese for the camera, and is just the biggest joy.

She’s still a pretty good eater, although admittedly is starting to get a little pickier. She primarily alternates between great days (she had salad last night!) and good days, with the occasional yogurt-and-chicken-nuggets-only day thrown in there. Her favorite foods are eggs, cherry tomatoes, bananas, yogurt melts, and whatever Mommy is trying to eat.

She’ll be 20 months (!!) in a short 12 days, and I continue to be simply flabbergasted at how the time is flying by. She’s wearing 24 month/2T clothing, weighs around 28 pounds, and is a little over 34″ tall (maybe 34.5? Haven’t measured here since her 18 month appointment but I do think she’s sprouted up a bit since then.) We love our giant girl!

BABY FOXLET

And finally, an update on how Baby Foxlet #2 is doing — which is great! We had our anatomy scan on Monday and everything looks normal, which is the best word you can hear when you’re lying on the table and they’re scrutinizing every little artery and bone and body part. Sean is still holding fast to not wanting to find out the sex of the baby, so we’re still keeping it hush-hush, although I just couldn’t hold out myself (shocking, lol), so I do know myself. Hopefully Sean will crack sooner rather than later so I can announce it though! Any guesses?

Alas, while our little bean’s checkup went hunky-dory, my own 20 week checkup was a bit less golden. I clocked in some high blood pressure, which isn’t great. Some of you may remember my preeclampsia diagnosis with my first pregnancy which involved several blood pressure spikes, being sent to the hospital a couple times, then eventually being put on bedrest and being induced at 37 weeks on the dot.

My doctor prepared me that previous preeclampsia might mean I have an increased chance of getting it again, so while I can’t say I’m surprised that this could potentially be a sign of that, I am just a little worried about it presenting itself so much earlier this time. I know everything happens sooner in subsequent pregnancies than in your first (hello my belly!), but given that I’m 21 weeks tomorrow, it’s just a much longer time to try and manage my blood pressure (if that’s what this is.)

However, there is a chance that it’s just stress-related, or maybe even just a bit of a fluke reading (I swear that just getting my blood pressure checked makes my blood pressure go up because I get so nervous about it now!). And “just” having high blood pressure doesn’t necessarily mean I have or are going to develop pre-e again (gestational hypertension is a thing in and of itself), but they have started me on blood pressure medication and I’m going back next week for another check. Fingers crossed!

And that just about catches us up, I think! Today my goal is to get as much done as I can while also trying to reduce my stress and anxiety levels. I got a pretty good night’s sleep last night for the first time in a loooong time, I have a massage scheduled for later (woot!!), and I’m working guided meditations with my Calm app back into my routine (I was doing really well with that for a while, but it kind of slipped off my radar).

As I’ve been feeling a bit better lately sickness- and energy-wise, I’m trying to work more regular exercise back into my life again as well. I did a yoga class (highly modified, lol) on Tuesday and it was great (though humbling, since folding forward and scrunching my body up isn’t the easiest thing these days), and I’m going on lots more walks outside with Penny since the weather has been so lovely lately. Hopefully it’ll all pay off with lowered (or at least maintained) blood pressure and feeling better in general!

Penny: Seven Months Old

Happy 7 months, Penelope!

This past month flew by so quickly, I can’t really even say I’m that surprised to be ringing in seven wonderful months with our baby girl. Penny weighs 18 and a half pounds, stands 27.25″ tall, and is still our little double-Whasian genetic anomaly since she’s still got those blue-gray eyes and red hair!1

Sitting up remains her absolute favorite thing, and she’s still really great at it, and she also finally (FINALLY!) is now rolling completely over from back to belly! Of course, all this new skill has managed to do is make her really, really mad, since she hates being on her stomach, lol. But hey, at least we know she’s capable! (Alas, this also means she’s capable of getting those chunky li’l thighs stuck in the slats on her crib ::sadface::)

 
As you can see in the photos above, we’ve also officially transitioned her out of her Magic Sleepsuit! She’s in a regular ol’ sleepsack / wearable blanket now, and much to my surprise, it’s gone pretty smoothly. We’ve had to revert back to the sleepsuit a couple of times since starting the transition a few weeks ago (and I did use it a lot while we were traveling), but the past week in particular she’s consistently made it pretty much all night long without any interventions from us. HOORAY!

The real gamechanger has been the fact that she’s now mastered the ability to grab her pacifiers in her crib now! So we just put her to bed with, like, 6 pacis and she’ll find them when she wakes up in the night and soothe herself back to sleep. It’s miraculous!

Penny also continues babbling away on the regular, lately adding in plenty of squeaks, shrieks, and squeals. Most excitingly, she can now say MAMA!!! I mean, she mostly says, like, “Mmmmamamamaaaa,” but I have gotten at least two clear, distinct, two-syllable Mamas with her looking directly at me, so it 100% counts in my mind as her really saying it. Not gonna lie, it was preeeeetty awesome. I may or may not have cried.

She also continues teething like a fiend, and has the drool-soaked bibs and rosy red cheeks to prove it, but there’s still no sign of any little chompers actually poking their way through! I’m honestly fine with her not having any teeth yet, tbh, since I’ve heard anecdotally that maybe there’ll be less of a chance of her biting me if she gets her teeth later… I guess because she’ll be more aware of what she’s doing? Although maybe that just means that when she does end up biting me, it’ll be on purpose!

And her lack of teeth certainly isn’t inhibiting her ability to continue trying and loving aaaaall the foods! Current favorites include scrambled eggs, bread, chicken, peas, and puffs. We’re also working on drinking water out of a sippy cup, and she’s constantly trying to eat her feet! Hehe.

She loves looking at herself in the mirror (mama’s girl, hahahaha), is finally starting to show interest in the dogs, loves listening to music and hearing mama sing (wheeeee!), and her little personality shines through more and more every day! We love you, Penny-Poo!

Penny: Four Months Old

Penelope is four months old!

She continues to delight and awe us everyday, even with us going through the dreaded four-month sleep regression & conquering Leap 4 (leaps refer to the developmental stages that your baby is making, from the book/app The Wonder Weeks). In just the past few days, she’s started really being interested in toys and teethers — grasping them with intention and being able to get them in her mouth, and she grows more alert and interested in the world around her each day.

Our little fox is 16 pounds, 8 ounces (still 90th percentile for weight, hehe), and I *think* she’s about 25 inches long (74th percentile), although we have our four month peds appointment this week, so they’ll be able to measure my squirmy baby a little more accurately methinks.

Before this weird sleep-regression period, she was down to just one wakeup per night pretty much — I’d put her down around 8, she’d sleep 5 – 6 hours, I’d feed her around 2, and then she’d sleep again until 7 or 8 AM. Right now, every night is kind of a gamble — two nights ago she slept for 7.5 hours straight, followed by like 4 hours (and napped super long during the day!), but then last night she woke up every 2 – 3 hours. ::shrug::

 

Four months is definitely proving to be a bit of an adjustment period for both of us — I think there’s a big hormonal shift for moms around four months postpartum, which is causing my emotions to go a bit haywire again right now, and causing some other weird stuff to be happening to me physically. Luckily, I do seem to be avoiding the big postpartum hair loss issue that a lot of new moms get plagued with (so far, at least), but my hair is still changing (breaking a lot more easily), and I’m just basically a hot mess emotionally at at least one point every day.

Obviously, it’s all worth it in spades, and her smiley little face helps a lot. But… I’m still looking forward to hopefully things getting a bit more normalized again here soon. *crosses fingers*

Here’s to the next month… and the next year! Hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year’s celebration tonight!

Busy, Busy, Happy, Happy

Well, I think it’s safe to say that Winter has come to Northern Virginia. Despite the fact that it was 75-degrees and sunny a week ago, the past few days and have felt like they’re of Winterfell-level proportions. Lows of 29 and 30 – brrrrr! The upside?

 
I’ve been able to make use of these stinkin’ cute fleece bodysuits that make Penny look extra-strength adorable.

 
We’ve certainly been keeping busy since last we checked in with you guys! Lots of time spent with family (that’s Uncle Ben hanging out with Penny in the photo above) and friends, old & new, plus Penny went to her first party and had a grand old time!

So, Wednesday night I finally got fed up with what was going on with my roots, and tried to re-dye my hair under the VERY MISTAKEN ASSUMPTION that Penny had gone down for the night and I had at least, like, 90 minutes before she woke up again. Well, I was unsurprisingly very wrong, and with Sean already asleep and me not wanting to disturb him (he has to get up very early for work), I had to pull my very best Tim Gunn and make it work.

 
Sooooo yeah, this resulted in a nice bleachy nursing session and lots of prayers that all of my hair wouldn’t fall out from bleaching too long, lol. Thankfully, I managed to get her to go back down pretty much right away after she was done, and thus escaped with hair unscathed and repurplefied!

And so I was able to look presentably vibrant (and very easy to spot) for my #momsquad coffee date the next morning! Now that Penelope and I are nice and comfy with each other, I’ve been really eager to meet other mamas in the area with similarly-aged kiddos. So being the totally level-headed and not-in-any-way-overzealous person that I am, I joined like, four different new mom Facebook groups and also downloaded the Peanut app (which is literally Tinder for moms, lol). I’ve been fortunate to connect with some lovely ladies and their even lovelier bebes!

It’s so nice to have other ladies with whom to get together and commiserate over developmental milestones, spit up, blowouts, and sleepless nights, hehe. Most of my friends’ babies are at least 8 – 10 months older than Penny, and right now the age difference of even a few months makes a huge difference in the whole parenthood experience. So while by this time next year, Penny and my friends’ babes all might be able to play together, it’s especially wonderful to have found some new mama friends with birthdays close to Penny’s — since they’re going through literally the exact same things as us. 🙂

On Friday, I met up with my friend Vicky for coffee in the morning. Mayhaps you are starting to see a pattern here: COFFEE. IS. LIFE. I’ve always enjoyed coffee, but was never really a habitual drinker. Didn’t need my daily cup of joe to get through the morning or anything like that. But now? HAAAAA! You should see the amount of stars I’ve racked up on my Starbucks rewards account. Lorelai Gilmore would be so proud.

And after yet another successful coffee date, Sean’s mom came by for a visit! Not only did she bring a delicious spread for lunch (homemade chicken pot pies!), but she also watched Penny for a stretch while I took a glorious and much-needed nap. Fri-yay indeed!

Which brings us to Saturday! We were invited to my coworker’s daughter’s first birthday party and were super excited to have Penny experience her first party! Naturally, she slept terribly the night before (go figure), so we got a pretty late start to the day. When I eventually had to jump in the shower, I asked Sean to get Penny dressed and returned to this bit of fashion-forwardness:

Bahahahahahaha. He gets major points for matching, but she is 100% missing the actual dress that’s supposed to go under the cardigan and over the bloomers. ::laughing crying emoji::

  
Much better. 😉

The party was so much fun! There were sooooo many kiddos and babies there, and it was really fun for Sean and me to see what our future holds, hehe. My fab coworker Kimberly did an amazing job with the theme, decor, and food (there was a Chipotle bar!!), and gave me serious goals for next August when we’ll be going through the same thing, hehe. Oh man, I’m getting emotional just thinking about that. I know that sounds ridiculous since it’s so far away, but I mean, I already can’t believe Penny will be 11 weeks on Wednesday! ::sniff::

 
Kimberly also arranged to have a Tunes 4 Tots session at the party, so Penny also got to experience her first music class! I can’t wait ’til she is, y’know, able to like, sit up and clap her hands and actually do stuff. But even though she was literally just sitting up in my lap watching it all unfold, I like to think she was having a grand ol’ time, hehe.

Later that night, Penny and I met up with one of my oldest friends, Megan. We’ve been friends since meeting in Taiwan in 2001, where we both attended high school! 16 years of friendship and counting…! Not that that makes me feel old or anything, heh.

After dinner, I dropped by my parents’ house, as another one of my uncles was visiting and wanted to meet Penny (she is far more popular that I could ever be!). This turned out to be a great thing, because while I was also supposed to see my parents again the next day, my mom came down with something so it didn’t work out.

They had originally offered to babysit for Sean and me while we went to a show, but since that didn’t happen we ended up having a nice lazy Sunday at home. TBH, it was really nice. I love having a reason to get out of the house (and I still did end up taking Penny on an errand run… and to get more coffee, hehe), but all the social engagements, coupled with the fact that Penny’s sleep has continued to be very unpredictable, did leave me feeling pretty drained.

So Sean, Penny, the dogs, and I all got to enjoy being home together — cooking (Sean), playing (Penny and the dogs), napping (everyone but me ::laugh/cry::), and taking care of stuff around the house (meeeeeee, heh.)

 
Which catches us back up to today! We’ve got lots of additional plans for fun this week, including our first Crybaby Matinee, more mommy dates, and a trip this weekend — whew! I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to get another one of the (many) parenthood posts I would like to write up this week, but guff, finding time to blog really is a challenge these days. I don’t know how actual mommy bloggers do it!

‘Til next time!