Saturday, January 29, 2022

Halfway There!

We made it to 20 weeks which means we are halfway to meeting our baby BOY!!! That's right, we're having a boy! I mentioned in my hodgepodge post Wednesday that hubby and I had found out the gender on the 20th and I'm excited to share it out loud now! 

Week 20: Baby boy is the size of a Belgian endive- the vegetable sizes are a bit all over the place in my opinion but nevertheless he is growing and we are thrilled! 

As I mentioned in my last update post, I am not good at weekly photos. I said I was going to do better however you'll notice I do not have a week 17, 18 or 19 photo soo I'll keep working on that! But baby boy is popping in week 20 :) 

Symptoms: Pregnancy continues to treat me pretty well! I will say that this past month I have had quite a bit more hip pain and some sciatic pain. So sleeping isn't as easy but luckily I'm not working now so I am able to rest during the day as well. I also have pregnancy induced acid reflux which is no fun but I'm hanging in there! 

Cravings: I eat a lot of clementines. Like I've eaten 4 today so far. I also still tend to crave things like chips, french fries etc. I'm pretty good at controlling myself and not going overboard, but every now and then hubby opens our pantry to find some odd impulse buy that I couldn't resist at the store. Like a bag of just the "rye toast" pieces- the kind that come in chex mix. And while I don't think it's a craving- ice cream has always been a favorite and continues to be one in pregnancy. Mom and I split this delicious milkshake when she visited this past week. 

Favorite Moment of Weeks 17-20: This is a split answer for me. 1. Definitely finding out the gender was such an exciting moment! Hubby and I found out at our anatomy scan- we didn't do anything special or surprising just let the doctor tell us and it was a really special moment. We both had kind of been feeling like it was a boy but there is that moment as our doctor was getting closer to that section of the scan where I was wondering if my intuition had been off. We also had the joy of telling our immediate family that evening. We told them via a family zoom call- where we popped a balloon filled with blue confetti for them to see. Did I record it? No. Did I take a picture of the excessive amount of confetti all over my floor before hubby swept it up? Also no. But I can assure you it was festive and exciting for all involved. My nephews reactions were my favorite- they both had said they thought it would be a girl baby and were a bit disappointed by the blue butt I think they'll be exited once our little man is here! 

My second favorite moment of this month has been feeling my baby boy move! I have been waiting so expectantly for those first few flutters and it has been so fun finally getting to feel him moving all around. He's always been wiggly at every ultrasound so now to feel all that it's really exciting. Hubby has even gotten to feel a couple kicks as well which has been fun. His excitement remains one of the sweetest things to me about this season. 

What I'm Looking forward to in Weeks 21-24: We're taking a "babymoon" if all goes smoothly travel wise so that will be a much needed rest for both of us and we're excited to be able to take one last vacay as a couple before being joined by our newest family member. And I'm excited to be inching my way closer to baby boy being here!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Opposite Day in Hodgepodge Land

Linking up with the Hodgepodge over at my mom's blog this week- head on over to join in!

 From this Side of the Pond 

1. January 25th is National Opposites Day. 'They' say opposites you agree, and if so is that a good thing? Or do you subscribe more to a 'birds of a feather' philosophy? 

I think it's true that in some aspects opposites attract or at the very least they compliment each other. But I also think- total opposites are going to have more short lived attraction. I think opposites that attract are opposite in a few things- one is outgoing the other more shy, one spontaneous the other more of a planner but I think in the foundations of life they are birds of a feather which keeps them together- pardon this silly rhyming. 

2. Something you're glad to have behind you? Something you're glad is ahead of you? 

Something I'm glad is behind me...middle school. A time of life that while I actually really loved it, would never want to go back to. Something that I'm glad is ahead of me...motherhood, adventures I don't even know about with my husband and future family.

3. Your favorite hot food? Cold food? Are you a fan of breakfast for dinner? 

My favorite hot foot is probably something with cheese- grilled cheese, mac and cheese, cheesy potatoes, cheesy pizza etc. 
My favorite cold food is most likely ice cream or if I'm trying to be healthier I suppose maybe some kind of fruit?

4. Are you someone who always arrives to appointments/events early or do you tend to run late? Last thing you were late for? 

I am always early, not just to appointments but anywhere I need to go I want to be there early and being there let definitely causes me to get antsy. The last thing I was late for was a baby doctor appointment last month and you can ask my husband, I was pitching a mini fit as we sat in some traffic trying to get there as promptly as possible. But lesson learned- we were there 15 minutes early for our next one :) 

5. "What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?" John Steinbeck....Your thoughts? 

I definitely think I appreciate summer weather more because of winter, in the same way I think you appreciate anything more if you can't have it all the time. I think I will fully appreciate a cup of caffeinated coffee in June after 9 months without and I will savor any sunshine I see this week after a week of dreary gray skies last week. But I inevitably know at some point during the summer I will wish for colder weather in one kind of never ending cycle of growing tired of the weather. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

My momma is here for a few days!  We are staying busy shopping and snacking and walking and talking and overall just enjoying the company. Hubby and I found out the gender of our little peanut at our last appointment this past Thursday and shared with our immediate family that evening. Stay tuned later this week for my official announcement here! Any guesses?

Monday, January 17, 2022

Year 1

Yesterday, hubby and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary! Neither of us could believe a whole year has already gone by but then when we start to think over our year, it's amazing how much life we crammed into year one of marriage. 

Year one started with what I consider to be the best party I have ever attended or will ever attend in the future.

This picture may not be the most flattering one I have of the two of us, but if it doesn't scream "we're having the best time ever" I don't know what does.  Now I know I'm bias but the day was truly the sweetest of days full of joy and celebration and happiness. I know there were nerves and stress, because thats what happens when you get married in a pandemic and things are not guaranteed to go smoothly. And of course there were people missing from the day that we wished could be there. But that's not the part that hangs with me. The parts I dwell on and think about (pretty regularly) are the ones that bring a smile to my face and a calm to my heart. 

And then we went back to real life and a foot of snow outside our house and jobs and planning dinner and running errands. All the things that real life is made of. 

As the year crept on, we celebrated Allan's 34th birthday...

managed to have a mini getaway to Atlantic City...

and then of course our honeymoon in Grenada which we had delayed until the summer. 

We also hosted both sets of parents at different point in the spring, getting to show off the mini renovations we'd done to our home and show then around our Pennsylvania stomping grounds. 

We continued Friday date nights, a favorite of ours and then unfortunately had to say goodbye to our sweet Gemma in July. 

We celebrated my 31st with a weekend trip to Harrisburg in September where we sharpened our axe throwing skills...

And then not long after that began our whirlwind adventure of moving south. We found out we would be relocating at the end of September/early October. And about a week later I discovered I was expecting. 

Fast forward a few more weeks to the end of October and we were buying a house, selling a house, packing and driving towards our new home. 

We saw baby and heard the heartbeat for the first time in mid November as we unpacked boxes and prepared to host our first Thanksgiving in our new home. We ate turkey with people we love then we packed up just a few weeks later to hang out around a few different Christmas trees in South Carolina. 

Our first year wrapped up last night with the most delicious date night out at a Brazilian Steakhouse. Grilled meat is probably my husband's love language- though I noticed it was missing from the best selling book. If you've never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, they essentially continuously serve you various grilled meats (cut straight off a skewer onto your plate), until you turn your cube to red to ask them to stop. There are also the most delectable "bars"- cold and hot items to select from as sides and if you leave this place feeling anything less than stuffed you're doing it wrong. 

We managed to sneak in a picture- after we got home because we're forgetful like that. I am wearing a dress that I wore on our second date. We live in a different state, I have a new last name and a much rounder belly than I did the first time I wore it but I'm still standing next to my favorite guy and if possible I'm even happier. 

Now I'm no expert after only one year, but it feels like the core of our marriage is built not just in the milestones- of which there are plenty but in the day to day as well. That's where trust is formed, where habits and quirks are learned, where romance is shared, and daily choices are made to love the other person well. I love doing everyday life with my husband- he makes it fun, he's patient with me, he's thoughtful and generous, he's cranky almost never and is the funniest man I know. 

So year one- check! I'm pretty excited about year 2! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

It's Hodgepodge Day!

I'm linking up with my mom's blog for the hodgepodge today- hop on over to join in! 

 From this Side of the Pond

1. What do you wish you'd done more of last year? Less of? 
More- reading. Less- screen time/social media. 
I did read quite a bit last year but I feel like if there was an option to see how many hours I spent on my phone either on social media or playing games I would be alarmed. Honestly, maybe there is a way to see that but don't tell me because I don't think I actually want to know. 

2. What's the tallest building you've ever been in? Do you have a fear of heights? 
Hm, I guess probably the Empire State Building, with the Eiffel Tower not far behind. I would say I don't have a fear of heights but I do have a fear of falling from a large height- that's different right? I get nervous around the edges of high surfaces but my fear of heights is definitely not crippling and doesn't keep from them. 

3. Do you have a word for the year? Elaborate if you'd like to elaborate. 

I don't. I know a lot of people do this and I've done it in the past but haven't chosen one in a few years. I like the idea but feel like they've just never really stuck for me- or maybe I just don't know how to meditate on them as well. I will be curious to see the words that other people have chosen.

4. January 11 is National Milk Day...are you a milk drinker? What kind? Your favorite recipe that calls for milk (cereal doesn't count)? 

I'm ordinarily not a huge milk drinker just by itself but I do love cereal. I particularly love cereal at night- I think it tastes better as a late night treat than for breakfast. I have been drinking some more milk since being pregnant because it helps with heartburn and reflux for me- thanks to a tip from a friend! A favorite recipe that calls for milk I'm sure is any number of baking recipes I love. Cream cheese frosting perhaps. 

5. What excites you most about the future? What do you miss about the past? 

I think what excites me most about the future is that I feel like mine and hubby's life is just getting started so we have so much life in front of us. We have adventures and excitement and some challenges too but everything is just out in front of us and that's so exciting. This year is the year I get to become a mom, a lifelong dream of my heart, so what's not exciting about that?! I think the thing of the past I miss lately is just a more peaceful climate in our country. Now I know there has always been struggle and tension but lately it is just so much for my heart and feels draining and difficult so I think the past feels much more rosy in that respect. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

We have visitors coming this weekend! My favorite little people (and their big people too) are coming to see us and check out our new hometown. We're going to check out the aquarium, eat some yummy food, read some books and get in some snuggles. We can't wait! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

New Beginnings

Today I linked up with "Two Writing Teachers" for their Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge. My slice was a bit maybe the whole cake but definitely flexed my writing muscles. 

I remember the first time I walked into the classroom. Well let me restate that, I remember the first time I walked into my OWN classroom. I had been in many classrooms before, probably hundreds between my own school years and the years I spent in and out of classrooms in college preparing for exactly this moment. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of things about teaching they don’t cover in school. One of those is how you’ll feel when you finally have your own classroom, your own group of students. For me at least, there was an immense feeling of pride and ownership, which was the expected feeling right? You’ve worked years to be in this space and you’re finally here! It was a similar feeling to when I moved into my first “grown-up” apartment after college. 

I walked in and looked around at the relatively bare walls, the empty desks piled in the corner and the fancy smart board I would need to figure out how to hook up and immediately felt a sense of adulthood. The realization that I was the one in charge and could decide what went where and how our day would go. I wasn’t copying a mentor teacher anymore, I wouldn’t have to make every move as if there was a question mark attached to it. But all of these feelings of pride and empowerment, of excitement and anticipation were coupled with an overwhelming sense of “what the heck do I do?!” Because no one had ever really taught me how to take this empty canvas of a room, which is actually packed full of a bunch of random odds and ends from the previous teacher, and turn it into the magical place of learning I’d imagined for my students. I felt stuck, like I had a to-do list a mile long but it was written in another language.

Even years later, as an experienced teacher, I can recall that same feeling, when I switched grade levels or had to move classrooms or even just when I had to put everything back together for a new year after the custodians had taken everything down to clean over the summer. That sense of “what do I do?” or “where do I even begin?” would inevitably greet me at the door of the new (or sometimes familiar) space. My mom would often offer to come help me in my classroom when we lived close to one another and I always had her wait until the 2nd of 3rd day of my being in there. Because truly that first day was a lot of me wandering around the room, stopping at different spots and wondering what purpose that part of the room would hold. And I was pretty sure I could wander aimlessly without much assistance as I tried to decipher my to-do list. 

I didn’t stay frozen forever of course. Even that first year, after my initial moments of being seemingly stuck to the patterned tile floor, of staring at a blank lesson template wondering what we’d do the first day, the moments of holding bags full of supplies unsure what to do with any of it…after those moments had passed I rolled up my sleeves and figured it out. I can still picture myself in that first classroom, putting up the bulletin boarder I’d selected, hot gluing 4 inch letter cutouts to title the boards, putting books in baskets for the library. Doing it all with a mixture of confidence and trepidation all at once. New beginnings are like that, they stick with you and freeze frame in your mind until you’re looking back on them years later and hit “replay”. And I would venture to say that more often than not they are filled with a lot of “and” feelings. Meaning, they are a lot of excitement AND nerves, comfort AND discomfort, calm AND frenzied. 

And that’s a little bit of what I feel now, in this new beginning that I’m in. A sense of “what do I do?” and “where do I even start?”. I’m not a teacher anymore, not right now anyways but when I get asked what I do, I still answer with “Oh, I’m a teacher.” Because for years that was my answer, it was part of who I was. It filled my days and lets be honest some nights too. And now, in this new town and new home that isn’t true. When we found out we were moving, and then about a week later found out we were expecting a little one, we talked it over and determined that it didn’t make sense for me to go back to teaching right away when we moved. For a lot of reasons, time to get settled, not wanting to take a job just to have to go on maternity leave, the flexibility of getting to be a stay at home mom, the safety of being home instead of surrounded by little germy hands during my pregnancy. So the decision made sense, so I’m not working. But  that feels strange sometimes. 

When I think about not teaching or get asked how I feel about it/do I miss it I can confidently say that I wouldn’t change my mind about leaving the classroom even if given the chance 100 more times. It’s one of those yes and situations. Yes I’m glad I made the decision to leave the classroom AND I miss some of what teaching was to me. Not the day to day aspects or the things that make teachers everywhere roll their eyes, but in the sense of purpose it gave me, in the direction it provided for my day to day life. Because while waiting for little one to arrive, there are many days where I find myself asking “what now?”. Days where I feel like I am metaphorically wandering my “classroom” trying to determine what goes where and what should be on the lesson plan. But my mental replay of me at 22 checking things off and making progress in a space that felt impossible at the time reminds me that’s what I need to do now too. I need to get things done, make plans even if I’m not entirely positive they’re perfect, be out of my comfort zone so I can begin to make a new one. 

So I’m writing. I’m working on building a writing routine, and a writing life. Maybe it will be for others, most of it will probably be for just me. It will be a jumble and a hodgepodge at first, just like those early days in the classroom, but I think eventually it will start to take shape and I can’t wait to see what that looks like. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

New Year, New Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond

It's Hodgepodge day! Head on over to my mom's blog to join in on the fun or check out other people's responses. 

1. Share one happy moment/memory from the holiday season. 

I wrote a whole blog post about our holiday here where you can check out all of our happy memories but for today, if I'm just picking one I think I will go with mini golfing on a cold rainy day with my family. It doesn't sound all that happy what with the cold and the rain but it was such a fun afternoon spent with the people I love. 

2. Let's be reasonable with our expectations going into this new year, k? What is one thing you'd like to accomplish/improve/complete/do in 2022? 

Let me start by saying that I completed a new years resolution for the first time ever I'm pretty sure. In 2021 I decided I was going to read through the Bible in a year using The Bible Recap plan. I have attempted to read the whole bible in a year many times- at least 4 if not many more than that. But usually I get stuck around Leviticus, Numbers etc. But not this year! I made it all the way through and finished right on time on December 31st and it is something I am oh so proud of! So if your answer to this questions was to read the bible in a year I highly recommend you head over to this site- it links the plan they use (a chronological plan) and also gives you the info on the daily podcast that goes along with the reading. That's where the recap comes in. Tara-Leigh Cobble "recaps" that days reading for you- it isn't a devotional, it is a true recap of what you read and it helps clarify so many things. I'm working through it again this year but I added in the optional daily study guide to go a bit deeper.

Off of my rabbit trail, back on the main path, this year something I want to accomplish/improve is my writing! I want to take a writing course or two- nothing fancy but something through masterclass probably and get into a better habit of writing regularly. And I'm not speaking solely of my blog, which I do enjoy writing on, but other types of writing as well that will probably never see the light of day except on my own computer or journal. I'm ok with that though :) 

3. Every January 1st (since 1976) Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse or just general uselessness (go here to read more about how the words are chosen). Here are the words/phrases they'd like to see banished in 2022-

wait, what?-no worries-at the end of the day-that being said-asking for a friend-circle back-deep dive-a new normal-you're on mute-supply chain

Which of these words/phrases do you use regularly? Which of these words would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word/phrase not on the list you'd like to add? 

Hm of these words/phrases I say "wait, what?" fairly regularly and don't see that stopping anytime soon and I also frequently use the expression no worries. While teaching I found myself saying you're on mute far more than I'd like although these days I spend far less time on google meet/zoom.

If I were picking one I'd like to see go I'd love to be done with "new normal". And if I were adding one, as a teacher if I never heard the words synchronous/asynchronous again I'd be alright with it. 

4. Best thing you ate in the month of December? 

Oh boy, I ate a lot of delicious things in the month of December so it is difficult to choose. We were fed like kings when visiting our families- prime rib (twice!), brisket, lobster all the things. I also ate a lot of Christmas cookies and treats and I would probably have to say that the treats are my favorite- white chocolate peppermint bark is something I only eat at the holidays and I just love it! 

5. January 5th is National Bird Day. Are you a bird lover? What's your favorite bird to see in the wild? Choose a phrase from the list that follows and tell us how it relates to your life like a bird, bird's eye view, early bird, bird-brained, free as a bird, a little bird told me, or kill two birds with one stone.

Hm, I guess I'm a bird lover in the sense that I enjoy seeing birds from afar like a heron on my parents dock, or a hawk sitting on a telephone wire. I enjoy seeing the exotic birds at the zoo as well. But in terms of up close and personal with birds that would be a no, I'm actually a bit afraid of birds. I was once tasked with feeding my parents blue birds that were living in their bird house for a week while they were away and was NOT a fan.

Of the phrases listed I can assure you eat like a bird does NOT apply to me right now, I pretty much finish a meal and decide what I'll be eating next as soon as I'm done. I think perhaps I'd have to say bird-brained. While I feel that I am an intelligent person pregnancy has made me a bit "bird brained".  I left my car running when I went into Lowes a few weeks ago- keys in the ignition and all. Don't worry, I realized my error when I was in the doorway and trying to lock my car with non-existent keys. I've become very forgetful in general so I think that phrase suits me best for now. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I made this for dinner the other night, it's a favorite of ours and I've made it several times. I found it on pinterest so I linked it for you here. Her pictures are much prettier than the one I took also. They are delicious and easy and pretty healthy. It comes together in about 30 minutes and mostly in one pot (plus a sheet pan) so it's super easy clean up too! Two things that are high on my list these days, relatively quick and not too many dishes to do. Her recipe is an instantpot recipe, which I do own so I use it when I make these, but you could definitely do it without. She offers a suggestion for using the slow cooker or honestly you could just use a rotisserie chicken too. I do make a few changes when I make it- I don't use whole 30 BBQ sauce as she suggests although I'm sure it would be healthier that way. I also don't make my own pickles- we always have a surplus of pickles in our home so I just use what I have. Seriously, I think we have 4 different types of pickles right now. I also use less mayo and more vinegar in my coleslaw because hubby isn't a fan of mayo based slaws.  Check out her recipe and enjoy! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Week 16

I will not be doing weekly pregnancy updates but I am hopeful to do monthly ones! So this is a little update on me for month 4 of pregnancy (i.e. the last 4 weeks of my life). 

Week 16: Baby is the size of a...Dill Pickle! One of my absolute favorite things is checking on my app Saturday mornings when I wake up to see how baby is changing that week. It tells me the fruit/vegetable or my personal favorite the french pastry it is the size of. For those interested, in the pastry side of things it is this delectable looking dessert. 

I usually tell my husband the fruit/vegetable of the week because he is not up on his french pastry terms but my mom and I (both lovers of all things sweet), enjoy knowing the pastry size too. 

I did manage to take a week 16 photo...I try to remember a weekly photo but it is a struggle! However, you're in luck this week!

I think I've definitely "popped" as they say. Although, I have felt that way for quite a few weeks! I have also definitely received some suspicions of twins but my doctor assures me there is just the one. 

Symptoms: Overall pregnancy has been good to me! I was lucky during my first trimester to pretty much skip the whole morning sickness thing. I had about a week or 2 that I felt pretty nauseous and ate an excessive amount of saltine crackers but never to the point that I couldn't function somewhat normally. My main first trimester symptom was excessive tiredness. Now perhaps it was also related to moving during this time but I did a lot of resting, laying on the couch, and napping during those early weeks. Now that I'm into my second trimester (yay!!), I am still feeling pretty good! I have more energy, although I still don't turn my nose up at plenty of rest and an occasional nap. My main symptom so far for this month has been some added aches and pains. 

Cravings: Not really one thing in particular at this point but often find myself craving different things throughout the week. I mostly crave salty things although I did insist on cookie dough ice cream the other day so my sweet tooth isn't totally gone. But I haven't yet experienced any of those strange pregnancy cravings you hear about- there's still time though. 

My mom got me this adorable bowl and I think its the perfect ice cream bowl...I also use it for other things but I imagine whoever made it pictured pregnant women eating ice cream out of it for sure. 

Favorite Moment of Weeks 12-16: My most recent doctors appointment which was just before 14 weeks. I was expecting just a check up and to hear the heartbeat BUT then was pleasantly surprised to discover I would also get to see our little peanut as well. Nothing is as exciting as seeing that baby pop up on the screen! Our baby moves and wiggles a bunch which is so fun to see during an ultrasound since I can't feel it just yet. 

What I'm Looking forward to in Weeks 17-20: I have two things here. Finally feeling the baby move! It should be soon and I can't wait! And then of course...finding out the gender! Hubby and I both were positive we wanted to know the gender so we've been eagerly anticipating the appointment where that would be possible. Speaking of my hubby being excited about this next appointment, I would just like to say that he has been to both of my other appointments as well and I love that he is so excited and wants to be part of all the moments with me. 

We will be sharing the gender news with our family first but then rest assured, it will be part of my next update as well!