Thanksgiving Weekend & The Baby Shower!

Thanksgiving weekend was amazing! I only get to see my family a few times a year, so it was fantastic to have everyone (except my brother who had to work all weekend… boo Black Friday!) out and sharing a roof!

Thanksgiving day was probably the most exhausting for me. We cleaned, set up all the tables and decor, and cooked a ton of food before hosting 16 people for a feast. It all went very well, but I was so drained on Friday! We were hosting even more people – 20 – for the dinner, but it was way less work because Luke and a couple others were handling the lobster and everyone was bringing a lot of sides to supplement the lobster and leftovers. All I made was a casserole with the leftover turkey. We also set up the Christmas tree and got the house all festive! I spent a lot more time on the couch during this party just relaxing, and we had Elf (my favorite Christmas movie ever) playing before dinner. Lucky for me, my mom and mother-in-law made themselves busy with dishes after both feasts, so that helped me out a ton!!!

I loved seeing all our little nieces playing together, and every little girl under the age of 10 thinks I am having a girl!

After the family fun of the precious couple days, Saturday we had our baby shower! It was not like any baby shower I had ever been to before, it was more like a wedding reception haha. I wanted it to be co-ed because my family was in town and I wanted Luke there (it’s both our baby, after all!) so my in-laws hosted it at the same manor where we had our East Coast wedding reception. There were about 60 people there, lots of food and a bar!

It reminded me how much support we have, and how many people love this baby before it’s even born. We are so blessed!!!

We, of course, got a lot of presents for the baby- a lot of the stuff we needed, a few things to return, and some gift certificates to get what’s left! What was cool was after the shower, there were tons of Cyber Monday sales so I was actually able to get a bunch of stuff from our registry that we didn’t receive as gifts for a good deal. Now that we have a crib, car seats, a stroller, and all the main stuff, I feel much more prepared for the arrival of our little one!

Everyone left on Monday morning – Liz, Tony and the kids by car, and Mom and Dad by plane. After I dropped my parents off at the airport, I got a flat tire on the highway on the way back. What a cliche… pregnant lady stranded on the side of the highway haha. Luckily Luke came to my rescue, and when the hole was too big to patch, he had a tow truck come and drove me back. He replaced the tire the same day, and currently my car is at the shop getting tuned up! All things considered, that could have been way worse, but it was a clear day, there was no traffic, big shoulder, and I was able to pull over easily before my rim had any damage.

I did get a little choked up when I remembered I nightmare I had involving myself in a car wreck, tons of traffic, and Luke trying to get to me to no avail. In my dream I got thrown from my car and was bleeding on the ground. I knew I was critical but could feel the baby kicking and knew it was OK, so all I was thinking was that I needed an ambulance so they could cut the baby out of me to save it. Terrifying!!! Thank God it wasn’t anything like that, and we are both totally fine!

All in all, my long weekend was fantastic. I loved seeing my family and friends, and just being surrounded by so much love!!!

Giving Thanks

This is a very busy but fun week for me this year! My older sister Liz, her husband Tony, their two beautiful daughters Honor and Sailor, and their poor old dog Buster packed it all up in Minnesota on Friday night and began the road trip out here. We weren’t sure if they were going to visit some family in NC before coming up to NJ for Thanksgiving or if they would come straight here, but after the first stretch of the long drive, they opted to come here! They rolled in around 3am on Sunday and after settling in, we all went right to bed.

I have to say, Honor and Sailor are amazing little girls. Honor is four and Sailor is one and a half, and they are both so warm and open. We try to Skype regularly, so there is not a second of hesitation when they see us even though we only get together a few times per year. Luke commented, “I hope our kid loves us as much as they do!” I am so astounded seeing how they grow and see the world… I feel so much joy and love when I am around them that I can’t even imagine how I will feel when we have a child of our own to love and protect.

I only had a couple days of vacation time left for the year so I took them Wednesday and Monday, since we weren’t expecting anyone to arrive until Tuesday at the earliest. Yesterday I worked, had a chiropractor appointment (I swear, this is helping me so much!) jetted to the grocery as fast as the NJ rush hour traffic would allow, and got back in time to host the girls for our DWTS girls night! It was a lot of fun having Liz there and having the girls make an appearance (Honor even went around and gave everyone a hug and a kiss good night!), and then hanging out and chatting for a bit when the show was over and Tony And Luke re-emerged.

Today I am at work again before my super-long weekend! My parents are arriving tomorrow morning and the weekend will be filled with family, friends, and general gaiety! I will miss my brother who is stuck back in MN for work, but I am so overjoyed to have the house filled with people that we love. We are hosting Thanksgiving and the Black Friday Lobster Feast – a tradition we started a few years ago – and then the baby shower is on Saturday!

I am just so thankful for all of the people in our lives that love us and care for us, and who love this baby before it has even emerged.

Back up and running!

A friend of mine is a reporter for the Minnesota news station KARE 11, and knowing I was now living out on the East Coast and still out of power after Sandy, she asked me to do a Skype interview. Here is the segment along with a glimpse of my baby bump!

Seemingly just to prove my doubt was unfounded, our power finally came back on last night! We are fully back in the 21st Century now, after 11 days without power.

I want to use this forum to thank my husband for taking such good care of me over the last couple weeks. After the storm, he was out there cutting up the fallen trees. When it got cold he was lugging in firewood, collecting gas, and keeping the generator running so I would be warm. He ran cords all over the house so we could use lamps and have some semblance of normalcy. When I was feeling exhausted and stressed, he cooked us up dinner on the grill. Towards the end, he even had the generator wired into the house so we could use the furnace, and now it is all ready for the next storm that wipes us off the grid!

Not to brag, but I married a great one πŸ™‚

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom & I have always had a great relationship. I’ve been out of the house since I was 18, but I’ve always known that the door would be open and a bed (laundry machine, refrigerator, glass of wine) would be there for me whenever I came back. Although I know it must have been difficult at times, Mom has been incredibly supportive of all my decisions, including when I got up and moved across the country to be with Luke and start a new job. The distance has been difficult at times, but I am so thankful that we live in the technology age and that my family is only a phone call, email, Skype call, or plane ride away. (And can I say, I am super excited that my Mom is getting an iPhone now too so I can finally text her and picture message bomb her!!!)

I am just starting to learn what being a mother is all about, and how much love and sacrifice it really takes. I always had an idea, but I know that I will only keep learning about this more and more in the years to come.

I want to thank my mom for doing this for me and my siblings, and for extending that love and support out to my husband and baby-on-the-way. I have always loved and admired her, and my appreciation is now stronger than ever!

So thank you, Mom, and have a very happy birthday!!!

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β€œA mother does not become pregnant in order to provide employment to medical people. Giving birth is an ecstatic jubilant adventure not available to males. It is a woman’s crowning creative experience of a lifetime.”
― John Stevenson

The last couple weeks…

We have been very busy lately!!

Over labor day weekend, Luke and I took a trip to Cape Cod for a “babymoon.” We left first thing on Saturday morning, then after checking into our hotel, got some food then hopped on a ferry to Nantucket island! There we spent the day exploring and eating, and we had our big lobsters we had been craving! Here’s me by a lighthouse:

The next day we made the trip to Provincetown and just did a lot of eating and exploring. On Monday we headed back after an amazing brunch, and got stuck in mad traffic trying to leave the cape… what should have been a 4-hour drive ended up taking us 7 hours!!!

We had been discussing what we would do about our car situation once the baby arrived, since I had a coupe (no back doors) which wouldn’t really work with a car seat, and Luke had a Trailblazer which is way too big for me. Luke ended up doing a bunch of research and secured a great deal… we traded in my Cobalt and upgraded to a 2009 Chevy Malibu Hybrid! And… it’s gold! Here is the baby’s backseat:

Last weekend, we took the new car on a road trip to Baltimore, Maryland, where we attended Luke’s cousin’s wedding. It was a gorgeous weekend and we were right in the cute historical district (the haunted Admiral Fell Inn) right by the harbor! The wedding was on Sunday, so I took Monday off and we headed back after brunch in plenty of time to catch the season finale of Bachelor Pad with the girls!

We are finally back to stay for a while… no more trips scheduled! I will save all the pregnancy-related stuff for another post, coming soon!

Hair

When it comes to my hair, I am generally pretty lazy. I only get around to cutting it twice a year max, usually less, I let it air dry, and don’t do a lot of styling unless I have something going on or it’s particularly unruly.

It’s getting really long now, at about my waist, and I was considering taking a trip to the salon. I keep hearing how pregnancy gives you fuller, healthier, shinier hair – mine is already pretty good in all of those respects since I don’t color it (I’m a natural redhead) and don’t mess with it a lot, but if it gets better, awesome. I thought about it for a little while and came up with a better idea…

Instead of getting it cut, I am just going to let it keep growing until I am about 9 months pregnant. Then it will be really long, and hopefully thick and gorgeous – perfect time to donate to Locks of Love! I already have over 10 inches but I would like my hair to be long enough that when I do cut it, it will still be below my shoulders so I can easily tie it back.

Any tips on how to grow hair healthy, long and strong?

One-Year Wedding Anniversary

I am originally from Minnesota and pretty much my whole family is still there. For our one-year anniversary, Luke and I headed back for a week to catch up with family and friends, go to the cabin, and eat the top of our cake! It was so wonderful to see everyone and tell a few more people of the forthcoming addition.

Today is Luke and my official one-year anniversary, and although I am not sure what we are doing tonight, Luke already did something to celebrate…

Pregnancy announcement on Facebook

So I guess it’s really out there now! Luke still has a few people on his side of the family to tell. I guess they will either find out through the grapevine, or if we are lucky they won’t find out since they aren’t on Facebook so we’ll be able to tell them in person!

Officially “Trying!”

The wedding was absolutely perfect! Karen and Dave tied the knot during a delightful ceremony on an absolutely gorgeous day in New Jersey. We then rode around in a party bus to take pictures (and I got a little sick from the combination of no sleep, two Excedrin Migraines, a Red Bull, and a 5-Hour Energy, totally not paleo), and finished the day with a grand reception full of food and dancing at the Knoll. It has been a long journey and am so happy for them!!!

Of course, this means my deadline is up! We are now officially TTC, or “trying to conceive.” I am not tracking my temperature or ovulation, anything like that, but I am basically back to healthy eating, cutting the over-consumption of alcohol, and basically no longer trying to prevent pregnancy from happening! I am not going to stress out about it because when the stars align it will happen.

I cracked open another book yesterday- Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper, R.N. Luke and I watched the included DVD which touted the advantages of midwives and home birth, and (graphically) showed multiple births. It was really informative though, and I was actually surprised at how interested Luke was… He seemed to be very pleased that we had chosen to do a natural home birth. I haven’t read much of the book yet, but I am very much looking forward to diving in and learning more.

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I don’t have all the answers (obviously) but I enjoy learning from others! Here are some interesting articles related to pregnancy and parenthood…