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Sunday, November 24, 2013

27 Weeks

I'm 27 weeks today, and since I'm never quite sure when each trimester begins and ends, I'm self-declaring myself in the third trimester! (Woot woot.) Once again I feel compelled to share that Baby Brez grew this week from the size of a head of lettuce to the size of a rutabaga! (Source.) (I feign excitement because I don't think I've ever seen or heard of a rutabaga before just now.) 

Too windy to venture outside the cover of the condo walls...

(Sweater - Target: Liz Lange Maternity; Jeans - Old Navy Maternity; Boots - Aldo (old).) 

Linking up with the FLAP girls for What I Wore Sunday, the last of our Florida residency (and the first time I got to wear a sweater and boots). Happy Solemnity of Christ the King! And Happy 25th Anniversary, Father Phil! And holy moley it's the end of the Year of Faith! (Today was a mixed bag at Mass, for sure!) Next up: ADVENT. So excited. I know I will have plenty opportunity to wear winter clothes when we move to Illinois, but it's almost December, it was finally a chilly and windy day, and I am impatient. Also, I just bought this sweater like 6 weeks ago, I've only been able to wear it once in Maryland, and it's already getting too short to cover the growing bump! Oh well!

What Will Wore:

"You didn't get my boots!" - Will Brez
He's a trooper, that one.

To the pregnancy deets . . .

Overall Weight Gain: Our scale is in storage, but I have an OB's appointment tomorrow and will be weighed. At my last appointment four weeks ago I was at 19 pounds. I'll be sure to let you know if the number compels me to cry tears of shame versus make a mad dash to Olive Garden. I'm not feeling confident because Friday night's date night consisted of Chipotle followed by Cold Stone, and I do in fact feel enormous, but we'll see!

Exercise: Still lots of walking (though, admittedly, less than in weeks prior) and squats! I'll do squats anywhere. 

Cravings: Apples, wine, and fountain soda. So random. I was also thinking today about how I can't wait to get unpacked so I can Whirley Pop to my little heart's content.

Strange Observations
  • This past week was the first time the baby's movements creeped me out. It was the first time his movements seemed slow and deliberate across my belly (rather than just constant quick jabs). I found myself thinking, What are you trying to tell me, baby??? 
  • I definitely have a higher tolerance for spicy food now. I used to be a wimp, but now you can bring on the hot sauce. 
The Sister Bump Wars!

Shannon at her baby shower yesterday (28 weeks). :)

Have an awesome week! Eat lots of turkey. 

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Frustration Turned to Gratitude

It was with great sadness that we learned that Will's uncle, Danny Shay, passed away earlier this week after a year-long battle with leukemia. Will grew up living just minutes from the Shay household and regards Uncle Danny (along with the rest of his 47 nieces and nephews) as the "cool uncle." As Will got older, their relationship only got stronger as their shared interests converged, including memorable discussions about history, law, and eventually service in the United States Air Force.

Will had originally wanted Uncle Danny, who was enlisted in the Air Force, to render his first salute to Will at his commissioning. Uncle Danny couldn't be there because of his cancer treatment, but sent this picture with the whole Shay family saluting instead! Through Will, I also learned to love, respect, and look up to his "cool uncle." Today we attended an emotional service celebrating Uncle Danny's life, which included an Air Force flag ceremony, a bagpiper, a flyover, and a paddle-out on the beach in his honor. 

A couple weeks ago, we learned that Uncle Danny's cancer had spread and his time left with us was running out. He left the hospital to spend his final days in the comfort of his own home surrounded by family and loved ones. As mentioned before, Will and I had grown really frustrated and upset about Will's Air Force start date getting pushed back further and further. Little did we know, this time in limbo allowed us to spend quality time with Uncle Danny during these last two weeks. Our frustration was quickly transformed into gratitude. 

This is just another reminder that even though we may not see it at first, through the grief, the stress, or our own selfishness, God's plans are perfect. It was a true blessing from God to be able to spend this time together. We'll miss you, Uncle Danny.


Monday, November 18, 2013

26 Weeks & A Baby Shower

At 26 weeks, William is the size of a head of lettuce (yum) and is now around 2 pounds. (Source.) Keep fattening up, baby! I am being a good mother leading by example and showing you how it's done. I am feeling much better overall this week---the back pain is much improved!!!--- and things are just chugging along. Now that we have Will's orders and our move to Illinois is imminent, the time is just flying by. (Pun intended: see below.)

Yesterday, my mother-in-law and aunt-in-law threw me a small baby shower with, like William's nursery, an airplane theme. So how amazing are these invites from Etsy? 

Without further ado, some photos of the shower:

^^^The lovely hostesses.

This cake was amazing. It's actually pumpkin cheesecake. And check out that creepy baby hanging from the airplane, floating in the icing clouds.

It's the eyes.

^^^A pretty impressive spread.

^^^Nan got crafty!

There was a lot of posing with pastries (and eating of pastries).


We also played a game where you sniffed baby food and had to guess the ingredients. The winner picked an impressive 7 out of 10! I got only got one correct, the only green one that smelled of my favorite veggie ever, peas. I think I came in last.

A sincere thank you to everyone for such a wonderful shower! 

Back to our regular scheduled programming next Sunday, where I tell you about how Will keeps complaining he's fat and out of shape . . . . Meanwhile, I'm enormous. Oh wait, I guess I just told you the whole story. Rookie move, Lt. Brez. Rookie move!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes: PCS and the Move

After quite the hiatus, I'm linking up with Jen over at Conversion Diary.

1 - Will received his official orders yesterday, which is a proverbial weight off our chests. Basically, in order to arrange anything in the military, you need this magic piece of paper in your hands. Now we have to navigate the shipment of our things, travel arrangements, housing, etc. As lawyers, we are literally trained and conditioned to read wordy documents and fill out paperwork, but we find ourselves scratching our heads constantly. This PCS ("permanent change of station") stuff is like a huge puzzle of acronyms that must be slowly pieced together. That's just the federal government for you. I haven't put together the big picture. 

2 - I think I am in for a rude awakening once I'm a real life military spouse. I don't know, but there is a formal military spouse orientation. A formal class on how to be a military spouse? This fact alone intimidates me. I have visions of it being a boot camp, where I'm derided for making eye contact with a general or not being able to sing the National Anthem in under two minutes. I'm sure it's just normal things like how to shop at the commissary or use the on-base gym, but what can I say? The idle mind wanders.

3 - The majority of my time (when I'm not reading birth stories or trying to figure out PCS) is spent checking out the surrounding neighborhoods by the base. I'd like to know exactly where the closest Starbucks is located and its proximity to my future home, church, and workplace. (It's 15 minutes away from base, but close to World Market and their supply of Cheerwine, so I guess I'll survive.) 

4 - With orders in hand, I can begin applying for my Illinois bar license. Illinois has a rule to temporarily admit military spouses with licenses from other jurisdictions while stationed in the state. On the one hand, this is fabulous because it means I don't have to study and sit for another bar exam. (I don't hate the idea, but it's time-consuming and costly.) On the other hand, all the legal jobs are in St. Louis, which, if you didn't know, is just across the state line in Missouri (pronounced, Mizzouruh, if you didn't know!). Most jobs require a Missouri license, if not a MO/IL dual license. So, in effect, I don't know how helpful an Illinois license will be to me. Oh well, can't hurt.

5 -  This weekend, Will's mom and aunt are throwing me a baby shower! Nan has gone borderline out of control with the Pinteresting, so I'm sure the shower is going to be a hit. Be sure to check back Sunday (or, more likely, Monday) for all the pics! 

6 - Jen posted today that she will be announcing her book title and posting the cover . . . on Monday. Raise your hand if you think the cliffhanger is too much and she should just post it later today. And if you are confused as to what I'm talking about, click over to Conversion Diary, read her post, and then raise your hand in agreement.

7 - And just like that, I'm out of takes and out of patience because I'm most definitely hangry. It's lunch time, you guys.

Have a great weekend, all!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Homeless Happenings

We may be homeless, but that doesn't stop me from nesting. We know we'll be moving soon, so we have to be smart about what makes sense to purchase beforehand and what can wait. Obviously, one issue is that we don't quite know how much space we'll have at our new place and what the layout will be, but we are fairly confident we can get more space for our money in the midwest than we did in South Florida. We've been slowly accumulating stuff for the baby's nursery, but I had my eye on this dining room table from World Market:

for about a week. (We didn't even bother moving our old, awful, hand-me-down table we had before, so, we needed one for sure.) We sold one of our cars (we miss you, Versa, and we hope that spoiled high school student will treat you with the dignity you deserve!) and used some of the proceeds to take advantage of WM's 25% off furniture sale since it ends before we move.

So she's mine---all mine! I'm feeling pretty grown-up about this purchase. (Even more so than when we purchased our first baby's crib.)

You could say it was a pretty tight squeeze in our SUV.

We defied the laws of physics to get the furniture box into our truck. Will, genius that he is, removed the headrests from both front seats and slid the box over top so the back door would shut. We had just enough head space to bring the Cheerwine bottles to our mouths and take large gulps. In other words, it fit perfectly and comfortably.

PS - No, we don't have chairs yet. Builds character. (But I'm thinking a bench like this and some mix-and-match chairs like this via eBay or Craigslist.)

Sooo, what else do I do in my abundant free time? Read birth stories. Duh. I freakin' love reading birth stories. I'm about 75 birth stories into the Camp Patton Birth Story Link-Up. (Yes, I'm reading them all. Every word.) I also finally got through all the birth stories in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. It took me months because I just cannot handle reading this book for more than a half an hour at a time. It is exhausting! I gotta say, at around page 80, they started getting really weird. Like: lots of making out during "rushes" (okay, I can live with that), orgasms during labor (probably untrue), and aborted children returning as current children (definitely untrue).

As my husband will likely be gone during my labor, if not the entire birth (who knows), I will probably have a hard time finding someone to make out with me during the contractions. I don't think they would allow Daisy or Ace in the birthing room with me. 

She'd give me some tongue action.

Things are clearly getting weird here so I'll move on. 

Anyway, I find myself constantly going back and forth between wanting a med-free birth and asking myself "what's the point?" and planning on the epidural. On the one hand, my body was made to give birth. I literally have to sit there and my body will do what it needs to do, eventually, so why mess with it? On the other hand, I hear there's no trophy at the end for going pain med free and as long as there's a healthy baby at the end, who really cares how you get there? Sure I could offer it up, but I'm sure there will be plenty of suffering go around with an epidural as well! Decisions, decisions.

Either way, I'm not sure it's smart for women put a lot of stock into the "birth experience." I'm wondering whether putting too many expectations into a physiological process you have little control over is a good idea to begin with. This might be one ride that really is all about the destination, kind of like how we got that huge box from World Market into our storage unit. If I could sneak some Cheerwine during labor, that would be ideal.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

25 Weeks

25 weeks, you guys. This week, baby Brez grew from the size of a cantaloupe to the size of cauliflower. (Source.) The third trimester is so close I can taste it. I can't believe how fast the second tri went by after the snail marathon that was the first tri. I have a feeling the third trimester will go by just as quickly between the Thanksgiving, the move, and the holidays. The time will go quickly, but I physically will not be moving quickly in any way, shape, or form. 

Some WIWS linky goodness: Shirt - Target, Jeans - Old Navy Maternity.

Hmm . . . sometimes it takes full-length photographs of yourself to realize it's time to retire a certain garment. I bought this shirt a few months ago and I'm happily surprised it made it to 25 weeks. Here I am last time I wore this shirt to Mass and linked it up, at 17 weeks, so about two months ago:

Yowzers. Time to go into the storage bin known as the graveyard of pre-maternity clothes past.

I've been hurting this week. Hurting, as in the naked little boy living in size me has been kicking me in the same spot in the ribs . . . repeatedly. It's effecting the entire right side of my abdomen, especially my back. I've been doing inversions and trying to keep things more aligned, in general. The biggest help has been seeing a new massage therapist: my husband. Speaking of my husband, here's what he wore to Mass:

I call this look, "Florida, retired." He has the no-look fashion blogger pose down. I'm in envy. We'll get him to work on the tilt next week.

Daisy and Ace creep on our photo shoot. Ace is camouflaged. Can ya spot him?

Our to-do list before the big move is about a mile and a half long. We conquered some of it by gathering our important paperwork and getting Will, Florida born and bred, an inexpensive winter coat. I also snagged this little bump-friendly number, just because, cold weather and 30% off sales. Winter is coming. This week we are going to sell one of our cars (yes, we'll be a one car family for an indefinite amount of time) and take an inventory of everything that will be going with the movers.

Will these two make the list? 

Yeah, you should be nervous.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Meet Me in St. Louis

If you've been anywhere in my vicinity in the past two months, you've probably heard me whining, wondering, speculating where on Earth we'd be living for the next two years. I try to keep this blog a happy, cheerful space, where dogs can wear spectacles and I can discuss every minute detail of my pregnancy. As a result, I've failed to update the blog regarding the saga that is the first base assignment. The drought ends now. 

The story starts ages and ages ago. It was some time in early September when Will notified JAG headquarters that he had passed all legal licensing requirements and was good to go active duty. He was told he probably wouldn't go active duty until November 1, and as we were thinking he would go active duty in October, we were a little disappointed. (Ha!) My last day of clerking was August 30, so we were both rearin' and ready to move out of South Florida and get this military lifestyle show on the road.

Then there was some dragging of feet. . . . Then there was a government shutdown. . . . We moved out of our apartment, put our belongings in storage, and became traveling gypsies. (Okay, we've basically been living with Will's parents, but I prefer the term "extended stay.") November 1 of course came and passed. As did November 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th, not just without Will going active duty, but with no news of even where we would end up. I was getting pretty anxious about where I would be giving birth to this baby. Will was just anxious in general from sitting on our hands for so long. Things were getting a little hairy after being told over and over for weeks that base assignment news was imminent. Finally, on Wednesday we finally found out where we will be living the next two years!

St. Louis, here we come. 

(And we'll be there sooner than we thought.)


Will is actually assigned to Scott AFB in Illinois, just east of St. Louis. We don't know yet if we'll be living on-base or off, or how long it will take to find a place to live, but we do know that we will get to enjoy Thanksgiving with our family and should be nice and settled in before the Christmas holiday. Praise. The. Lord.

There is some slightly bad news. Will must go to JASOC (JAG training) in Alabama from February 18 to April 18. Our due date is February 19. But it's fiiiine, right? I hear the first two months are the easiest, right? RIGHT?! I'm sure Daisy and Ace will do more than enough to help me take care of the baby!

It really will be okay. We knew this JAG School timeline was a strong possibility and the grandmas are already lining up their trips to St. Louis. I also have a cousin in the St. Louis area who will help out as much as she can. Oh, and I also hear that babies can come early? (Pretty please? My momma never delivered past her due date, so . . . fingers crossed.) And Will should be able to come home for a few weekends over the two month training. 

So you know what? We are looking forward to life in the midwest! Four distinct seasons? Count us in. (We know it's cold there, but you know what? 90 degree weather in November ain't no picnic either!) As some people say, midwest is best. Boots and scarves be mine.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

24 Weeks

Happy Viability Day, Baby Brez! He's the size of a cantaloupe now and stands a reasonable chance of survival outside of the womb. At only 24 weeks/6 months! We've been calling him Belly since that's all we know of him and it's kind of like Billy, the nickname for William we are leaning toward (still playing around with options, e.g., Will, Willy, Liam, Billy, Billiam, Willow, Wilhelmina). 

Linking up with FLAP! T-Shirt - Target, Jeans - Old Navy Maternity, Shoes - Toms, Headband - World Market (my new fave place - they have Cheerwine in glass bottles). I realize that at any given moment, especially in maternity clothes, there is a 99% chance I am wearing an article of clothing from Target.

Let's talk about the Blanqi. Still loving it. I always thought that maternity jeans with the full belly panel would have no problem staying up once you get bigger. (I'm officially categorizing myself as "bigger," FYI.) Well, that's definitely not the case. They slide down like crazy and it's so annoying. Enter (again) the Blanqi. I heart you. The Blanqi and maternity jeans are perfect counter-friction foes and hold each other down and up, respectively. 

Overall Weight Gain: At my appointment last week, I was at 19 pounds gained. Normal people probably wouldn't be too excited about this number, but remember I gained 7 pounds during the first trimester curbing nausea with all-day carb-grazing, so I am pretty thrilled to be under 20 pounds at this point! Will and I celebrated in style with all-you-can-eat Olive Garden salads after the appointment. (And breadsticks, too, fine.) Olive Garden and Target. We fancy.

Exercise: SO. MUCH. WALKING. And not much else. Long walks on the beach (serious) and walks with the dogs. A trip to the beach even warranted a few minutes of jogging. Just like Baywatch, sans red floaty, swimsuit, and glorious toned beach bod. 

But how cute are my little water dogs? 

Cravings: An ice cold fountain Coca Cola (indulged) and a heaping glass of red wine (not indulged). Weird because I've never been a huge wine drinker. 

Strange Observations:
  • The nosebleeds continue. They weren't so bad for a while, but maybe it was the trip to Maryland and the dry air, but since our return to Florida, I've had several gushers.
  • At the end of the first tri/beginning of second tri, I was complaining that kneeling at Mass would make me really dizzy. Now it feels amazing. It must be opening my hips or something.
  • Belly's movements are becoming much stronger and more---how do I say this?---human-like. Instead of quick abbreviated punches, I imagine him naked breakdancing inside of me like this:

Bump Comparison Time:

My sister this past Monday at 24 weeks. Who wore it better?

Just kidding. Please don't answer that.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Maryland Trip, Part II: 2013 Marine Corps Marathon

The main reason for our visit, motivating the 14-hour (one-way) drives, was to cheer on my mom running the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. She only started running long distances a few years ago and decided to run her first full marathon to commemorate her 50th birthday celebrated just a few weeks ago. I maybe helped convince her to run by agreeing to run it with her and/or teasing her that no, she was too old and definitely couldn't do it. We both ran the Zooma Annapolis (kind of, but not really) Half Marathon and were all set to start our marathon training program ahead of the curve. Three days into the program, Will and I found out we were pregnant. So, after the excitement of her first two grandbabies' due dates days apart, Big Momma D realized she just lost her MCM running partner. 

Womp, womp.

Luckily, my mom found a new, non-pregnant, non-bulging disked (ahem, EMac) running partner and conquered the course:


Our day started out early with 8AM Mass followed by the Dunkin' Donuts drive-through. Watching people run for hours and hours? Definitely calls for sugary carby energy. Little did we know it would be our last meal for a very very long time . . . . We met up with my stepdad and drove out to park at my mom's hotel in Arlington and take the metro to the National Mall. 

During the short metro ride from the hotel to the Archives stop, we went across the running route, which was pretty cool. There in the background you can see the runners right around Mile 12. Will is still sporting his GO Skins GO! beanie that I believe he took from my dad's house with intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession. That's called larceny. (Lawyer brain cells still firing.) 

Like I said, we hopped off at the Archives - Navy Memorial metro station and trotted across Pennsylvania Ave.  I got to see my old place of employment (as an intern) and future place of employment (as Attorney General, obvi), to my right (only slightly delusional around here), and that place where people argue and get nothing done to my left. Many a sign read: "You run better than Congress!" Always true.

We ended up at the National Mall, where Miles 17-20 were set up.

We posted up at the intersection about a quarter mile before Mile 18 and waited for Big Momma D to make her appearance. We immediately, of course, thanked all Marines in the vicinity for their service. (Our friend Ward was standing at this intersection and had to be up at 2:30AM to stand around at this race! Besides, like, defending our freedom and junk, that is service enough. You, sir, are an American hero.)

"Thank you for your service."
We were here for a while. I was supposed to get text messages when my mom reached each 10K mark, but the first 10K text never came. I was getting a little worried when there was still no text 10K text and we saw this racer drop out: 

She eats and sleeps running! This is so traumatic.

Finally, I received the 20K text and we knew Big Momma D was getting close. Let me just say, it is hard to spot a single runner in a crowded race as big as this. Everyone wore something bright that stood out, so you really had to remain vigilant. Luckily, the 4:45 pacer jogged by with his little ballon-adorned sign, so we knew her arrival was imminent.

Spotted! Behind the man in the bright shirt, duh.

Looking pretty lively for 3.5 hours in!

High fives for the cheering section.

Who wouldn't want some encouragement from this adoring crowd:

^^^Left to right: Karate-chopping Emac, Hooker, Bearded Will, 
Sarah, and Woodad in the right-hand corner. 

After she passed, we just made the very short walk across the Mall to wait again at Water Station 9 near Mile 19.

^^^On your left. 

^^^On your right, wearing some body armor.

There was a lot of trash at the water station, and it was kind of smelly. Thankfully it was only about 15 minutes before we spotted her again, behind---who else---the woman in the bright shirt!:

She paused here to drink some water and talk to us for a bit (which consisted of lots of statements about how this was the worst idea, all my fault, and she'll never run another marathon as long as she lives). Only 6+ miles to go! 


And off they go.

So from here, we walked down to L'Enfant, and got off at the Arlington Cemetery station. From there it was the long walk to the finish line.

But the view of the race wasn't so bad. I couldn't believe how crowded the actual race was, still! (I've only run races that start this crowded, but then half marathon runners break off and the second half of the marathon is much less crowded. There is no such break-away at the MCM. Sorry Kelly C, no spreading your wings and learning to fly.) I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing.

These two were spotted near the finish line. Nothing beats race fatigue/soreness like a scalp massage from Superman . . . 

^^^Did I mention it was crowded?

At this point, my phone was dead, I hadn't eaten anything in 5 hours, so I was kind of over the picture-taking with my bulky Nikon. Big Momma D crossed the finish line after 4:54:40 (11:14/mile pace) and so this picture is stolen from her Facebook page: 

WOOOOO! Victory. 

Okay, so post-race. It must be documented. We were right by the Rosslyn metro station, but the line to get on the metro went on for literally a mile. Despite, oh, just running 26.2 miles, our group opted to walk allllll the way to the Clarendon metro station (scroll back up for the map, it was crazy) to get back to her hotel. My mom was a trooper. (She even let me devour the banana in her finisher's bag.) My pregnant, hangry self, not so much. Alas, I was undertrained. For marathon observing. 

Getting out of the Finish Festival area was pretty crappy. We were all hungry and tired from standing/walking/running the entire day, but I think if we weren't rushing to get home (mom's friend/hotel roomie had somewhere to be and c'mon, there was a Redskins game on that afternoon) it could have been a lot more enjoyable to relax and enjoy ourselves at the festival.

IN ANY EVENT, a couple days later, this happened:

From my mom's phone...

My track record is not good so you can't really blame her, but the MCM has a liberal bib transfer policy so why not? It only took 3 days for my mom to change her tune ("I'll never run another one ever again - worst idea ever!" to "Maybe next time, I can break 4:30"). That's how it works.

See you next year, MCM.


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