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’s Birthday Weekend: Part 1 (Her Birthday!)

HOLY MOLY. What a weekend!

Between all the fun we had on Penny’s actual birthday, her party, and her baptism the day after that, we really packed a LOT into this Labor Day Weekend, I tell you what. And yes, it probably goes without saying that I am absolutely, thoroughly, completely exhausted. But, it should also go without saying that, yes, it was worth it. My sister and her whole family came into town for the weekend festivities, and we just had a whole lot of awesome family togetherness in celebration of our little Princess Penny.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

On Thursday morning, Sean and I both went in to greet the birthday girl with balloons and lots of cheer. She was definitely thrown off a bit by the morning greeting (normally, Sean has already left at work by the time she wakes up), but got into the spirit very quickly!

I’m so ridiculous, I even made a conscious effort to ensure I was wearing my own donut jammies to match hers. And I’m going to go ahead and say I was approximately 1084% more excited about the fact that it was her birthday than she was… she did like playing with the balloons tho.

 

Sean left for work, and I fed Penny breakfast, got her changed, and then we headed into Falls Church to meet up with the rest of my family (minus my brother-in-law and Mia, who flew in Friday evening because Mia’s in — gasp! — real school now.)

 

Then my dad, my sister, and I (plus Penny, Kira, and Alex) all hopped on the Metro and took a jaunt into the city to visit the National Building Museum! They had a really cool exhibit called Fun House going on this summer (sadly its last day was September 3rd), and it was a total kiddo paradise.

 

Penny and Alex were definitely on the young side to be able to appreciate all of the element of Fun House, but they still had a great time — and Kira had the time of her life!

 

The whole exhibit was kind of like a cool, architectural, playhouse twist on the idea of house and home, with different rooms and different fun spins on the things that exist in a house.

One of the biggest draws of the Fun House exhibit was the giant pool in the “backyard,” which was like 5 feet deep and filled with thousands and thousands of ball pit balls. I tried not to think about all of the thousands of people who had been in that ball pit prior to us, and jumped in with both feet (literally).

 
Instagram vs. Reality

And there’s some kind of metaphor for motherhood here, I can feel it:

 

After our time at the Fun House (which already left me feeling pretty wiped — getting out of an adult-sized ballpit is no small feat!), we had a quick lunch nearby at Bantam King and then headed home.

We got the babies down for an epic nap (and even Kira fell asleep!), hung out for a bit, and eventually saddled everyone up to head back out. This time, to the mall!

Build-A-Bear Workshops has a promotion where if you bring your child in during the month of their birthday, you can pay their age (!) for a special birthday bear! Hey, a $1 bear? Sign me up! My whole family and I (including Ben, Taylor, and Marjorie this time) met up with Sean at Tysons Corner, and then all went together to get Penny’s first Build-A-Bear together! (I think when the whole Powell-Robinson-Fox clan rolled up into the BAB, three strollers deep, I think the girls behind the register got a little panicked, hahahaha.)

 

I was planning on just getting her the plain $1 birthday bear, but Penny’s PoPo (the Chinese term for Maternal Grandmother, pronounced “Paw Paw”) wanted to trick out her bear, so this bear went home with some unicorn jammies and a song inside! Thanks PoPo!

  

Finally, we ended the already epic day with a family dinner at the Nordstrom Cafe, where Penny feasted on a birthday dinner of grilled salmon, green beans, roasted potatoes, and the fluffy insides of all my bread rolls. And we all slept hard that night!

Much of Friday was spent running errands and prepping for the party that would be happening the next day. I was feeling pretty anxious about all the things I wanted to get done, but managed to sneak in a very quick (and lazy, lol) workout at the gym and also slipped away to enjoy a ladies’ night out with my sister and our friends Anne & Lara!

I’d been looking for an occasion to check out Cheesetique’s newest location in Mosaic, and this was the perfect night for it! Four baby-free mamas out on the town? Hot diggity dog! My cocktail & the food we shared (which was like, twice as much as what’s even pictured below, hahahaha) was all excellent — if you’re local and looking for a great spot, I definitely recommend. Get the tot poutine and thank me later!

 

And that brings us up to Saturday which, of course, was party day! But since Penny’s birthday party comes with a whole truckload of photos and details in and of itself, and this post has already turned into quite a lengthy one, I think I’ll save it for tomorrow. Hope everyone has had a somewhat smooth transition back into the week after the long weekend! See you on the flipside!

This is 30

Last night, I bid adieu to my twenties.

Yup, I’ve officially entered the next decade of my life, and I gotta say, thirty is looking to be both flirty AND thriving, y’all. My twenties were great, and a lot a lot a LOT happened, but I think this next year will truly be my best one yet. Which, okay, fine, I’m pretty sure that I do say that every year. But how could it not be when I get to spend my days with these two?

I mean, okay, sure, there are things about getting older that aren’t exactly the best. For example, yesterday I went to a trampoline park with my friend Rachel, and today I am sore. Also, all that jumping made me realize my, er, pelvic floor has not yet recovered from birthing a child as much as I thought it had, HA.)

Another example, I had half a glass of red wine the other night and it baaaasically got me wasted, lol. And I imagine that somewhere under my bleached-and-dyed locks lingers a grey hair or two — let’s be real though, I don’t really ever intend on finding out! Gahaha.

And yes, my late twenties in particular were really good to me. I went on tons of trips, spent lots of time with friends, and even more time with my rad family. I met, fell in love with, and married Sean. I landed my dream job at Yelp. And then, to cap off what were already several strong years full of life milestones, we had Penny, who has been more of a blessing than I ever could have possibly imagined.

 
But it’s precisely because my 20s ended on such a high note that I’m all the more excited about what 30 holds! I’m actually starting to almost feel like a fully-formed adult these days — I can do my own taxes and install carseats and everything! I’ve gotten back into the groove work-wise after being out on maternity leave, and finally feel like I’m starting to get the hang of this whole working mom, work-life balance deal.

The dogs are doing great, too. They remain healthy and high-energy, even with Harry starting to show his age (he turns 14 this month!) and Daxter having to compete with Penny for attention now, haha.

My marriage is in a really good, positive place (although it probably won’t remain that way once he learns I posted the above picture on the internet hahahahaha). It hasn’t been a smooth road as we’ve had to learn and adapt to the changes (and challenges) that having a baby adds to a relationship, but we came through the other side stronger, having grown together.

And, naturally, Penny continues to change and grow and delight us every day.

So here’s to the next decade of love, laughter, light, and just this ol’ thing called life. I honestly can’t wait to see how my thirties go.

My Brave Little Unicorn + Sean’s Birthday Weekend

Happy Monday, folks!

Hope everyone had a fun, sugar-filled Halloween last week! We got literally zero trick-or-treaters that night so that means that I SURE DID bahahahaha. My candy bowl literally overfloweth and I ain’t mad about it, guys.

As I mentioned before, Penny’s two-month pediatrician appointment was also on Halloween, so my I took my gorgeous little balloonicorn (yes, in costume, of course!) to the doctor’s office. She clocked in at 23-and-a-quarter inches and 13 pounds, 2.8 ounces — 83rd percentile for length and 88th percentile for weight! Unsurprising, given how many delicious little baby rolls she has going on, but it’s always fun to hear where she falls on the charts especially since she was an early bird at 37 weeks.

The two-month appointment also meant ::DUN DUN DUNNNN:: getting her vaccinations! Thankfully, my brave baby did amazingly with her shots! They gave her one oral vaccine which must have tasted pretty good because she seemed to like it, haha, and then one shot in each thigh, and she only cried for like 15 seconds afterwards (and it took me just slightly longer to stop crying myself.)

The aftermath of getting her shots outside of her immediate reaction was all right, but not great. She was mainly just very sleepy the rest of the day, but didn’t have any kind of adverse reaction or anything. However, the next day she did develop a very low fever (didn’t seem to bother her too much, but naturally I was wigging, lol), and after that first day, SOMEBUNNY has been having a LOT of trouble sleeping ever since.

She’s fighting naps like whoa right now, and only wants to nap for like a single sleep cycle (30 – 45 minutes), and then at night she won’t go down without being nursed to sleep.

We’re also back at 2 – 2.5 hour stretches of sleep at night… and just when she was starting to seem like she getting into a real groove of 3.5 – 4 hours between wakings, too! Womp womp. I’m just going to keep being optimistic that we will quickly be able to get back to where we were. I don’t even care about her sleeping through the night or anything, I just want that one four hour stretch back each night. I tell ya, that extra hour, hour and a half makes a ridonkulous amount of difference in my attitude, energy level, and the amount of coffee required to function, haha.

Anyway, despite the difficulties that nighttime has been bringing with her sleep setbacks and whatnot, the rest of last week and the weekend was super fun! We stayed very busy with lots of fun meetups with family and friends, and also happily celebrated Sean’s birthday.

We got to hang out with my friend Lara and her pups (she’s expecting Penny’s future BFF early next year!), and also had lunch with my coworkers, getting Penny used to the delicious smell of Korean BBQ — it IS the food of one-quarter of her people, after all! I’m really loving being on maternity leave, of course, but didn’t realize how much I missed my coworkers and talking about work stuff until we got together! Definitely have been missing my workfam. Maybe the transition to going back to work in December won’t be as sad as I was initially thinking, hehe.

On Friday, we met up for lunch with the glowing & gorgeous Anne, who is 37 weeks preggo herself and ready to welcome her baby girl super soon! Always so much fun to get together with her — especially now that we’re both in this whole kid-producing season of life! We commiserated over how uncomfortable these final weeks are, talked about how fun it will be when our girls are old enough to actually play together, and how weird it is to think that when I was at the same point in my pregnancy that she is currently, Penny was already here!

I was also able to hand off several packs of size 1 Honest Co. diapers to both Anne and Lara, since Penny definitely can’t use them anymore with that baby wagon she’s draggin’. I swear, I didn’t even buy that many diapers, I just couldn’t have predicted how rapidly she was going to grow between month 1 and month 2 (nor how much junk she’d be carrying in her trunk, hahahaha.) I’m all paranoid about buying too many diapers in larger sizes now too, bleh. I’ve actually always planned on incorporating cloth diapering into my routine (especially when at home — my sister has cloth diapered all three of her kids very successfully), but I wanted to make it through the excess size 1 disposables we had first, so I gotta be extra careful about not going overboard with the disposables now.

Butttttt my problem is that Honest Co. just released these adorable seasonal prints, including one with arctic foxes on them — I mean helloooooo! — and a friend also turned me onto Parasol brand diapers and how they’re eco-conscious, bleach/chlorine-free, and have adorable prints just like Honest Co, but are much softer. So obviously I had to pick a pack of those to try as well (and true story, they are SUPER soft!)

Basically I am just every single baby brand’s dream consumer because I’m 100% a sucker for anything pretty or cute or trendy or that will occupy her attention for more than 45 seconds… heh.

 
ANYWAY! Friday was also Sean’s birthday, so we spent the whole week celebrating my baby daddy in style! All three of us went out for a casual dinner Friday night, and then we ventured down to his parents’ place on Saturday for a birthday dinner with Grandma and Grandpa Fox!

 
And finally, on Sunday my parents babysat Penny so that Sean & I could have a baby-free evening together, just the two of us.

We went out to dinner and saw Thor: Ragnarok, which was AWESOME. Two thumbs way, way up — it was outrageously funny and Thor’s near hair gave me all kind of feelings. We had a great time and miraculously managed to talk about stuff other than Penny, but we still missed our little nugget, of course!

Anyway, that catches us on up to today! This week has lots more social fun, including more get-togethers with friends, meeting up with a couple of mommas that I met on a local new mom Facebook Group, and my friend’s daughter’s first birthday party — Penny’s first party invitation! And who knows, if the stars align and the universe is looking favorably upon us, perhaps this week might also include getting a modicum more sleep? Hey, a girl can dream!

My Best Birthday Yet

Today is my 29th birthday! Which, since Baby Foxlet will be making its way into the world before my next turn ’round the sun, basically means it’s the last birthday I’m planning on celebrating, uh, ever. I pretty much plan on just staying this age for the rest of my life if that’s cool, ahahahaha.

I spent the weekend celebrating, and oooooooh man, WHAT a weekend! It was full of family, fun, and feasting… and a little something extra special, which obviously means it was pretty much the best.

My sister, Jenny, was up for a visit from the ATL, so I got a lot of QT in with my little nieces. We also spent some sister-sister bonding time Saturday morning by heading to the salon for a little beautification. Since chopping off my hair, I’d just been letting it grow kinda wild… and it was heading dangerously into mullet-territory.

 

 

I was in desperate need for a little shape-up as it grows out, and I’m feeling much happier now that my locks have been tamed! Jenny lightened up for summer with some refreshed highlights, too. Huzzah!

 

 

Before Jenny and the girls had to skidaddle back to Atlanta yesterday, we had an early family birthday celebration for meeeeee! We headed to one of my favorite restaurants, Chasin’ Tails, and had a regular ol’ seafood feast. I was ecstatic for many reasons (y’all know how much I love my birthday!), but in particular because I was actually able to eat a good amount at dinner! I finally seem to be getting my appetite back (at certain times of day, at least), which after 4 straight months of nausea has been straight-up amazing.

 

 
 

After dinner, we headed back to my parents’ house for presents, dessert, and an extra fun bonus surprise… finding out the sex of the baby!

 

 

Yep, as what I’m sure comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, I totally caved, and ended up getting an elective ultrasound to find out early. I just couldn’t take not knowing any longer! Don’t judge me.

 

 

I had my ultrasound on Friday, just one day before the big reveal, and amazing bakery agreed to whip up some reveal cakepops on super short notice for me. the ultrasound tech called them to tell them the result, so I genuinely found out along with everyone else! And, well… just watch the video below to see! (My brother has a super cool 360-degree cam so we were able to capture everybody’s reactions all at once!)

 

 

Ooooor, if you ain’t got time for that, this oughta do the trick:

 

 

It’s a GIRL!!!!!!!!

 

 

I’d had a total of four separate and different dreams that the baby was a girl, but I wasn’t sure if that was just my own wishful thinking, since I’d always said I really wanted a girl, hehe. Turns out, it must have been my mother’s intuition!

Sean and I are both SO excited to be welcoming a baby girl into the world this September! I feel like I haven’t stopped smiling since Saturday evening (well, except for the hour I spent bent over the toilet around midnight that same night. Apparently baby girl does NOT like it when I take my prenatal vitamin on an empty stomach.) And I’ve already gotten to work adding lots of pink, fluff, and bows to my baby registry, ahahaha.

I know, I know, it’s not hip to be so gender-normative these days, but c’mon. It’s not like I wouldn’t love it if she ends up being all about trains, sports, and rocket ships instead of dancing, princesses, and tea parties! Okay, maybe not sports because I literally don’t care about one iota about sports, but how awesome would it be if she wants to be an astronaut when she grows up?! I just know myself, and know that I’m an annoyingly girly girl at heart. So are we really that surprised that I’m looking forward to filling my world with lots of pink, purple, and polka dots for the time being?

I will say, it is crazy how suddenly REAL things feel now that I know the sex of this little one. I mean, aside from learning this one little fact, nothing else has really changed all that much since my last update. And yet, when I think about the future, the picture is now all that much clearer! Trying to come up with her name suddenly has a real purpose, I can actually envision what it’ll be like to change her diaper, etc.

All of which is exciting, of course, but also mildly terrifying. In my excitement (and impatience) to learn the sex, I didn’t really think about how doing so would sharpen my image of the future, and thus make it all the more real that I am going to be responsible for an actual human life very, very soon. Like, responsible for her not dying on a daily basis. And when you think about it like that, 29 really just doesn’t seem all that old.