Foxlet: Week 17 & 18

Helloooooo! So in case you missed last week’s news

We found out that there’s a baby girl growing inside me! Sean and I are both super excited, and extra terrified, hehe. And now we’ve successfully arrived at week 18, so read on if you’re interested in how this little lady (squee!) is doing!

 
Foxlet’s Size: Foxlet is the size of a tall Frappuccino with whipped cream on top! Or, y’know, a bell pepper or an artichoke.

Weight Gained: I don’t even know right now. My weight seems to fluctuate up and down by 2-3 pounds on any given day, and sometimes more than that. I actually kind of freaked out a few days ago because the scale said I’d dropped an additional 5 pounds, which would have brought my overall pregnancy weight loss to almost 20 pounds! And, as I’ve said before, while it’s not uncommon nor a bad thing for me to have lost weight (since I started out overweight), I’m getting to the point where things should probably be evening back out. But since that 5-libbie loss occurred after a night fraught with toilet-hugging, I realize (now, in the light of day and sanity) that it doesn’t count.

If I had to guess based on, I dunno, averages or whatever, I’d venture that I’m like 12-ish pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I think I’m slowly starting to gain my lost pounds back, but I’m still in the red for right now. And I still barely even understand how that’s the case, since hardly any of my non-maternity pants fit anymore and I already feel like a walking stomach.

Symptoms: Dude, I am EIGHTEEN WEEKS and my nausea still hasn’t gone away! I’m starting to get to the point where I’m more pissed about that than anything else. 12 weeks, they said. Then 14 – 16 weeks. Well, heeere we are, and I’m still spending most nights rubbing my belly (in an attempt to quell my nausea, not for good luck.) I’m trying to keep things in perspective and remember that it wasn’t that long ago that I was nauseous literally 24/7, so things really have been getting better, it’s just still not great. I’d say I feel good like 30% of the time, okay (not great, but not terrible) 40% of the time, and still pretty damn awful 30% of the time.

At least the active puking seems to have primarily taken a backseat… aside from twice this past Sunday, including once while at church. Happy Easter to me! (Don’t worry, I made it to the bathroom and didn’t end up heaving into the collection plate.) And the lessening vomitous activity is definitely a good thing, because (and this most definitely has TMI written all over it, but whatever, pregnancy is gross) lately throwing up has involved simultaneously peeing my pants. YUP. Now, if you’re suddenly thinking that I’m the most disgusting person who’s ever walked the face of this planet, this is apparently a pretty common issue at this point in pregnancy — just ask the hilarious genius behind Alpha Mom if you don’t believe me:

(Side note: if you’re pregnant and not subscribed to Alpha Mom’s weekly pregnancy updates, you are seriously missing out. They. Are. Everything.)

Aside from those oh-so-lovely symptoms, additional ones lately include breast tenderness, round ligament pain (a kind of stretching/pulling/occasionally sharp pain as my uterus continues to grow), and getting embarrassingly short of breath from doing things like… pacing while I’m talking on the phone. Lol.

Emotions: Here are just some of the most recent Reasons that Pregnant Gretchen is Crying:

  • My mom asked my dad to switch seats during Easter brunch
  • I died in a video game I’ve been playing
  • My friend Jackie unexpectedly brought me bubble tea when we met up for dinner
  • I’m babysitting Pixel (my brother’s dog) and all three dogs looked up for a photo at the same time

  • Phoebe temporarily died for the 34892598th time on Charmed
  • I couldn’t find my right flip flop
  • Daxter crawled into my lap while I was trying to take a belly pic and fell asleep on my baby bump
  • I ate all the hot dog buns in the house but we still had hot dogs leftover
  • My sister sent me a ridiculously cute picture of my niece Kira

Okay, I guess you can’t really blame me for that last one. ::heart eyes emoji::

Cravings: Raw fruit and veggies are still a big craving, as is sandwiches with lots of mustard on them. Raaaaaandom. In general I’m just so happy that appetite has started coming back (yay!), so I’m finally able to eat foods that I have barely been able to look at for the past few months. Though, I’m definitely not back to my old self by any means because I’m still awfully picky about what I want/am willing to eat.

On the more stereotypical pregnancy craving front, I have been indulging in ice cream relatively regularly, and I ain’t mad about it.

 
Aversions: Still having that big marinara/red sauce aversion, which means I have officially surpassed my lifetime record for the longest period of time gone without eating pizza. On the plus side, meat’s finally back on the menu! Huzzah!

Sleep: Sleep’s been kind of iffy. I’m trying not to take Unisom as often right now, as I fear I’ve been getting too reliant on it (plus it made me sleep SUPER late sometimes, which delays eating, which makes me more likely to be nauseous…). Which means that sometimes I sleep fine, but sometimes I toss and turn all night, or I have those nights where even though you know you must have fallen asleep at some point, it feels like all you’ve done for 8 straight hours is lay there thinking about stuff. Also, my crazy vivid pregnancy dreams have been making a comeback lately.

Purchases: I made the grave mistake of going to Target on Monday to pick up supplies for a Yelp event I’m planning, and got immediately waylaid by the baby section. And while you should be VERY proud of me for being able to resist picking up the teeny watermelon baby bikini below, I couldn’t quite stop myself from procuring just a couple of wee little baby tings. Heh. It’s just a set of socks and washcloths though, so I still think I was rather restrained!

 
Wearing: I have fully jumped aboard the maternity clothes train and I’m loving it. Why haven’t I been wearing maternity clothes my entire life?! They’re so comfortable and they make my bump look way cuter. I’ve picked up the majority of my maternity wardrobe online from Old Navy, got a few pieces from H&M (didn’t even know they carried maternity or baby clothes until recently!), and I also just ordered a dress from Pink Blush Maternity after salivating over the gorgeous maternity dress that Ashley wore for Easter. Love that they have a huge, well-stocked plus size maternity section to peruse!

Missing… not much right now, actually! I’m not really feeling deprived, I just continue to be eager to have my nausea be gone 100%… and am getting a little fearful that that might not ever really happen for me.

Looking Forward to… my big Yelper Party next week! It’s my biggest bash of the year — free food, awesome entertainment, the works! — and this year’s theme is Yelp Goes Gatsby, so it’ll be extra fun! (Though admittedly, trying to find an era-appropriate dress that works with this belly has been slightly less fun.) This is one of just a few events I throw that’s open to literally anyone who RSVPs on Yelp (plus it’s totally FREE to attend with the option to donate at the door to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) so if you live in the DMV area, you should totally come out!

28 Years Young

So, I know it’s been a minute since I’ve been back in these parts, and I don’t even have a single excuse (other than, well, y’know, life). I truly, honestly, genuinely meant to get back to blogging much sooner than this, what with all the wedding DIY projects I want to share, various trips I’ve taken, and additional hair colors I’ve gone through.

So I apologize for taking so long to get back to my blogging roots. But today I make my triumphant return to the interwebs and we begin again!

First off, some updates:

  • I chopped off my hair basically the minute I returned from my honeymoon, and have proceeded to dye it varying shades of purple and also shave designs into the back of my head. I’m kind of loving it.

  • I got a new tattoo about a month ago. It’s a vial of Felix Felicis, the liquid luck potion from Harry Potter, and I think it’s pretty rad. I got it done at Patriots Tattoo in Fairfax.

  • Sean’s grandfather sadly passed away at the end of February, so we took a quick trip down to San Antonio to be with his family. We are so grateful that he was able to be at the wedding and that we got as much time with him as we did. <3

  • We had our annual Yelp regional conference a few weeks ago, which not only gave me the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by my coworkers (our team spans from PA to NC), but also to bust out my trusty Pikachu onesie. (#bestjobever)

  • My niece/goddaughter Mia also turned 3 at the end of March! Unghhhh, look how little she used to be…

  • And finally, speaking of birthdays…

Today is mine! Huzzah! I am 28 years young today which means it’s time to update my bio and start thinking about what to put on my before-I-turn-30 bucket list, heh. Fun fact: I don’t know if I’ve already shared this, but Sean’s mom and I actually have the same birthday! So did he luck out or what? He only has to remember the one date for both of us! 😉

I spent this past weekend in Macon, GA with my family for my baby niece Kira’s baptism, but we also snuck in an early birthday celebration while we were all together. We went to Dovetail, this awesome hyper-local farm-to-table concept — my kinda place.

I know I probably say this every year, but I think that 28 is shaping up to be my best year yet! I mean, I’ve already got a blizzard wedding under my belt, so pretty much everything in life seems easy breezy in comparison. I’m still loving my kickass job with Yelp, I’ve got a rad family, a home into which I can pour all my post-wedding extracurricular energy (a post on my obsession with my new bar cart is forthcoming), and my awesome grumpy old man pups (plus I basically timeshare my brother’s dog Pixel).

And as a perfect birthday present, I just received my wedding video! So please, feast your eyes on the wonderful video that the wonderful Doug Stanford created, which really showcases just how awesome and crazy and sentimental and special our wedding day really was.

Those last shots at the end are my favorite. 🙂

With that, I leave you for now — with the promise that much more is to come soon. (Although, I realize that my promises mean essentially nothing to you, since I’ve been promising to blog more for like, a year. Hahahaha…haha…ha.) I fly back to DC tonight (still in Macon for the day), so I’ll catch you on the flip!

From Harry Potter to Harry Powell

So, last I left you, I had just finished detailing my massively amazing Harry Potter World vacation (with Disney and a cruise and Sean’s birthday and other stuff thrown in there, too). Of course, since it’s been a couple of weeks since returning from said vacation, there are other things to catch you up on as well!

So, let’s talk the last day of vacation and the days that came directly after, shall we? Having just finished an epic, practically tailor-made-for-Gretchen vacation, you’d think that I would be flying high on good feelings and vacation happiness for quiiiiite a long time. My internal happiness meter was damn near bursting on that last day in Florida! So what happened next?

Murphy’s Law. That’s what.

See, on our last day in sunny Orlando, as I lounged around in my new Hufflepuff robes in our hotel room, I received a text from my parents. My dog Harry wasn’t feeling too well, they said. Turns out that he got his little paws on a cooked pork bone (cooked bones of any kind are big no-nos for your dogs, FYI, because of their compromised hardness and potential to splinter) and completely obliterated it.

Now, I’ve been a dog owner for a fairly significant portion of my life, so I’m no stranger to my dogs eating stuff they ain’t supposed to. There was Daxter’s Fizzing Whizbee betrayal of 2012 (which somewhat ironically also happened right after I had returned from Harry Potter World, hmmm…) and the sugar-free gum incident of 2013 (xylitol, a main ingredient in sugar-free gum, is extremely toxic to animals), not to mention all the half-eaten sandwiches and leftover chicken wings that Harry has pilfered from coffee tables in days past. You know, just to name a few.

All of these previous incidents ended up having relatively little impact, thankfully. We got the dogs’ stomachs pumped after the sugar-free gum thing just to be safe, but otherwise all other bad-dog situations luckily passed without incident. So when my parents explained what had happened and that he had thrown up a couple of times, I honestly didn’t think too much of it… until I Facetimed with them later that morning and saw what was going on for myself.

Most vets will tell you that the #1 way to tell if something is wrong with your pet is if there are any sudden changes in personality or energy level. Harry, despite his years, is quite a spry little guy. He’s always excited to see you, he’s always a little TOO excited to see other dogs, he loves to go outside and play and snuggle and, well, you get the picture.

Happy Harry, pre-incident.

So when Harry, whom I had been separated from for a week, didn’t even seem to register the sound of my voice, I started to get worried. He was thoroughly down and listless, I could observe that much through the Facetime screen alone. He was completely uninterested in food and water, and he didn’t even flinch when my dad tempted him with the question, “Outside?” which is usually a foolproof way to trick him into coming to you getting him to move his tookus. That’s really when the panic set in.

I told my family to go ahead and take him to the vet, and they immediately went to work on the most imminent issues. Namely, the fact that he was majorly dehydrated from vomiting without taking in any additional water. The vet did a stomach x-ray to see the cause of the problem, and identified one large piece of bone that was stuck in his stomach (it actually ended up being two pieces.) If it didn’t pass on its own, Harry would need a procedure — either via endoscopy or surgery — to remove it. And that’s pretty much when the tears began.

Over the next several hours I would reach a level of hysteria that caused me to cry all the way through the movie John Wick, which Sean and I had tickets to go see before we left town. (In retrospect, John Wick is a TERRIBLE MOVIE to watch while your dog is in the hospital, since the basic premise involves mobsters killing an ex-hitman’s dog at the beginning of the movie.) Now, I know that to some of you, incessant, unstoppable tears seems like a bit of an overreaction to your dog getting sick, but let’s look at the facts, shall we?

1. I am a crazy dog lady whose pups are her children. Let’s just get that out of the way.

2. At 10 1/2, Harry is no longer what I think anyone could consider a spring chicken. Plus, he was really, really sick. He was so sick that my vet couldn’t even give me reassurances that he would make it at first. Worst. Feeling. Ever.

3. I was out of town, out of state, and getting a lot of my information secondhand from multiple sources. Not being able to be there in person made things 1,000x more stressful!

4. And let’s face it. Even without life-threatening illnesses, my natural state at any given point in time hovers somewhere between a 6 and a 9 on the emotional spectrum. I just have a lot of feelings, ok?

Harry was still very dehydrated at the vet, with regular bouts of, well, let’s just say stuff was coming out both ends, and he was in a lot of pain. Since any kind of invasive procedure would have been risky given his state, they wanted to wait and see if there was a chance Harry could pass the larger bone pieces out on his own. Thus, Harry definitely needed to stay overnight, and I was given the option of leaving him at my regular vet’s office or having him transferred to a 24-hour emergency pet hospital.

Because my vet doesn’t have overnight staff, this was a no-brainer for me. But it also meant that essentially from the time we got out of the movie until we boarded our plane, I was on my phone making arrangements for Harry’s transfer, including getting all my payment information and pet insurance forms to the hospital.

Harry ended up needing to be hospitalized for four days, and during that time we did ultimately decide to move forward with the endoscopic procedure to try and remove the bone once his condition stabilized.

Thankfully, it worked! He was discharged 24 hours after the procedure was complete, and when I picked him up from the hospital I could already see a marked difference. That said, he had definitely gone through a lot, so his recovery was of the slow-and-steady sort, with lots and lots of various meds to give him. He also was still very iffy about eating and drinking, so we had some good bonding as I handfed him all of his meals.

I can officially report that he seems to be 100% back to his jolly old self, and the only real reminders of this horrible experience are his single shaved poodle leg (where the put his IV) and my credit card bill.

Speaking of which… I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again now, and I’ll keep saying it from now until eternity: If you are a pet owner, you NEED to have pet insurance. Thanks to my policy with Embrace Pet Insurance, I should be getting about 80% back of all Harry’s expenses. Without pet insurance, this “little” incident would have set me back almost $4,000. And between both of my accident- and illness-prone dogs, we’re talking tens of thousands of overall savings in their lifetimes. Just think on that.

So yes, unfortunately my magical vacation did have a bit of a sour note to it towards the end, but the most important thing is that the Harry Powell train is back in business! Also, I learned a lot about what 12-straight hours of crying does to my body, so I guess that’s good to know? I’m not really sure what’s going to happen when I have human kids one day…

Mia-cation and the Evolution of Balance

I’m back, baby!

Well, actually, I’m back from visiting the baby!

I returned yesterday from my trip to Macon wherein I spent a crapton of time with my wonderful 17-month-old niece, Mia.

It was awesome. What did we do while I was there, you ask? Well, let me tell you!

We played…

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We read books…

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We were extremely fashionable…

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Her, not me, obviously.

We also snuggled…

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And celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival with Mia’s first moon cake…

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And we watched Frozen.

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Every day.

Sometimes twice a day.

I mean, I fall asleep and wake up with “Love is an Open Door” stuck in my head.

But those of you who know me also know that I am totally, 100% okay with that. 😀

Of course, since my sister teaches fitness classes, I also ended up doing a few other things. Most of which can be summed up by these extremely attractive pictures:

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She. Destroyed. Me.

In a very positive way, of course.

I went to the gym and was thoroughly worked not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES IN A ROW during my so-called “vacation.” Given how ridiculously lazy I am, you should be pretty proud of me. And on the second day, she taught back-to-back classes, and I DID THEM BOTH. Who am I?!

Actually, if I’m being honest (and aren’t I always?), getting my work out on with Jenny really was a bit of a wake-up call in terms of my fitness. I know that in the (many) months since I quit running and working out regularly, my fitness level has really tanked. And nothing brought that to my immediate attention more than the outrageous pain my muscles were in the morning after I attended Jenny’s first Ab Crunch class. Oy.

IMG_7794-1.JPGOne of these things is not like the other…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, staying active is a real struggle of mine. If given the choice between going to the gym or going on a hike or going for a swim OR watching a Gilmore Girls marathon on TV (DID YOU HEAR THAT THEY’RE RELEASING THE ENTIRE SERIES ON NETFLIX?!?!), it’s not hard to guess what I’m always going to pick.

I mean, even when I was on the rockin’ weight-loss train, it was still really hard to motivate myself just to be active. I had to bribe myself with races just so I had some reason to go to the gym, to hit the pavement, to get moving. And, really, even though I was running and racing and talking a lot about my health and fitness levels (which were, obviously, much improved over what they are now), the main reason I was doing all those things was to aid in my weight loss.

So it’s not too much of a stretch to understand that when I stopped actively focusing on losing weight, my sole motivation for being active pretty much went out the window, too. It is just so, so, so easy to live a sedentary lifestyle. Between my computer, TV, PlayStation, and books, I spend a lot more time sitting than anything else. And while I really do enjoy taking Harry and Daxter out for walks, those fluffernutters are even lazier than I am.

  

Seriously, try going more than a mile with them and see what happens. (Spoiler alert: it involves carrying Daxter home.)

So yes, anyway, the wakeup call. It comes as no shock to you, I’m sure, that I am suuuuper out of shape right now. Even if you take the whole weight factor out of the equation (and I am not truly that oblivious, I do realize they’re associated to a certain extent, but let’s just put that conversation off for another day), I simply recognize that I’m not currently at my most energetic or my peppiest or my most well-rested…est. I’m sure that on some level I’ve known these things for a while, but I haven’t been motivated to do anything about it because, well, I didn’t want to. Simple as that.

As you know, I’ve been taking some time to try and separate myself from my former identity as Someone Who Is Losing Weight, as Someone Who Needs To Be Thin, as Someone Who Is At War With Her Body. Instead, I’ve been honestly trying to embrace and love myself as-is. And that truly means embracing everything — from my large frame, height, and thighs that will always, always touch, to my tiny ears, widow’s peak hairline, and double-jointed elbows.

But life is all about give and take. And as my focus shifted away from the number on the scale, giving me the confidence to feel better about myself, it also was taking a lot (okay, all) of my motivation for maintaining the healthy habits that I had originally cultivated to help me lose weight. Which led to a serious backslide in terms of my overall fitness level.

So, yes, unsurprisingly, when I actually did find myself back at the gym, I got my ass handed to me. But you know what the surprising part was? I really felt so accomplished for getting through those workouts. For going back the next day. For working hard enough to really get sore. I mean, the soreness wasn’t great in that it was a literally painful indicator of how out of shape I’ve gotten (it seriously feels like a totally different person ran Reach the Beach back in 2012), but it still felt good in a weird, semi-masochistic way.

So I started to think about why that was — after all, it’s not like I’ve never worked out before. I’ve done plenty of challenging classes, I’ve been CRAZY sore after a workout before (my brief stint with CrossFit in particular comes to mind). But I’ve never been, like, happy about feeling like I got schooled by a workout. And I realized, sad as this sounds, that’s probably because I’ve never really known what it’s like to go to the gym or try a class or take up a exertion-based activity without the question constantly stirring in the back of mind, “How will this help me lose weight?”

Which I guess actually probably isn’t shocking given that I’ve been basically obsessed with my weight for most of my life, and it’s admittedly really hard to break free of that kind of thinking. But… I think I’m starting to get there. Just maybe. I think I might just be getting to a place where I can see myself taking steps to be active and fit because of how it makes me feel, not because of how I want to look.

So that’s pretty neat. We just have to hope that this feeling will last long enough for me to get into the rhythm of things even without my super fit, crazy active sister here to drag me to class with her, haha. This is new territory for me, after all! I mean, exercise for the sake of… exercise?! Not just with the aim of losing weight?! Egads!

Let’s see how this goes, shall we? I think the main thing I want to bear in mind moving forward is this: embracing my body and loving myself shouldn’t be an excuse for me to be lazy. Loving myself should mean taking care of myself, right? Just because I’m not trying to be thin doesn’t mean I get a pass on making an effort to be healthy, happy, whole, and balanced.

So, all this is really just to say that next time I get a craving to binge-watch back-to-back-to-back-to-back episodes of Revenge, I’ll most definitely still be doing so. I’ll just try to make sure I’m gasping aloud from major plot twist shock from atop a treadmill instead of my couch. #balance

Happy

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

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Harry and Daxter got to spend a large chunk of yesterday at their favorite place in whole wide world: the groomer! So they came home sporting gentlemanly beards and heart-spotted Valentine’s bandannas. Oh, how I love my tiny old man dogs. Heeee. 😀

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Why did you do this to me?

Valentine’s Day is one of those “holidays” (I use the term loosely) that I’ve always really liked, even when I wasn’t romantically attached. I know a lot of single people rally against this day, but I dunno. I guess that even when I wasn’t in a relationship, I just liked what the day stands for. Love, y’know? Because, let’s be honest, I am a huuuuuge drippy romantic cheeseball at heart. (This should really not surprise anyone though. I mean, you guys have seen how into weddings I am. I am pretty ridiculous.)

Sean is keeping me in the dark about our Valentine’s Day plans tonight, the wonderful jerk. He absolutely LOVES planning surprises and I am the wooooorst at waiting patiently for them. I have a love-hate relationship with surprises, actually. I love the IDEA of being surprised, but I also want to know everything ever ahead of time (I’m the kind of person who actually loves reading spoilers for movies, haha). So all I know is that we have dinner reservations SOMEWHERE in DC. But other than that, zilch. Hopefully he a least got the memo about me giving up sweets and desserts for Lent though (what unfortunate timing!) and forewent the box o’ chocolates this year. I wonder if an Edible Arrangement would count against my Lenten sacrifice? 😉

Anyway! Since I have no idea where we’re going or what we’re doing, I guess I’ll report back in tomorrow with the V-Day celebration. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Just remember to bask in the love, mon amis–whether that’s relationshippy love, familial love, or–the best love of all–the canine kind.

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