Life Lately: Showers

July in Arizona is “monsoon season.” Without warning, the winds pick up, the clouds roll in, and it showers. Then a few minutes later, it’s moved on by.

But those sudden gusts of high winds and unexpected downpours can wreak a lot of havoc, including ripping off roofs and flash flooding.

This trimester has felt a lot like the weather. Physically, it’s naturally been much harder than the rest of the pregnancy, but it’s also been really rough emotionally. I thought I got off that emotional roller coaster after the first trimester, but not only is it back, but it’s got a few more loops and steeper dives.

For example, I took that photo above of my breakfast at around 6:30 am one morning, after I’d been up since 3:30 am. I just woke up, wide awake, and couldn’t go back to sleep. I’ve had some sleepless nights off and on throughout the last several months, usually tied to work stress, but this was different. I think the realization of how drastically life is about to change caught up to me. I’ve been struggling with anxiety ever since.

One way I’ve found to help with both work stress and baby anxiety is to make crafts. Art has always been my therapy. Plus, working on projects for the baby makes me feel more in control and prepared. Making my own actual clouds helps keep the metaphorical clouds away. 
But the best medicine is the reminder that I’m not alone, lots of people have done this baby-making/birthing/mothering thing before, and there’s people who love and care about me. And that’s what I felt after these baby showers. 

Baby shower #1: the church ladies outdid themselves with the nautical theme!

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were able to come to the shower, and stayed with us about a week.

This cake. Chocolate ganache. I have no words to describe how good it was. And look how cute!

So many presents!

My in-laws have been busy – not only did they bring me all kinds of diaper bags and receiving blankets they made, they also gave me several of Brian’s baby items, including two quilts, one crocheted by his great-grandma, and one hand-embroidered by his grandma, his receiving blankets, and his first outfits.

Brian went straight for the jogging stroller when we got home. He had it set up in minutes, and then he used Sirius to test it out.

Sirius was not impressed.
Speaking of Sirius, he hates swimming, but while my in-laws were here and we were spending every available moment in the pool, we taught him to climb onto this floaty, and now he lets us push him around the pool on it. 

We also enjoyed an Angels and Diamondbacks game with my sister-in-law. I mostly enjoyed the Sonoran Dog, a hotdog wrapped in bacon, topped with chili, pico de gallo, and sour cream. What can I say… the baby wanted it.

Sirius has been super cuddly lately, and he likes to stretch out and get comfortable on our bed in the mornings after Brian gets up.
It took some convincing, but I went to a pool party. My friend Lorne graduated from college this year (yay!) and had a pool party to celebrate. As much as I felt self-conscious about being so, well, pregnant, I ended up having a great time, and I’m glad I went!

Brian and I went to Restoration Hardware, just for fun, since I’d never been there before. How crazy/cool is this?

35 weeks!

Baby shower #2! The same Lorne I mentioned above threw a baby shower for me at work. Look at the cuteness! And she only had a few days between traveling for work to pull it all together.

More presents!

The party throwers – all who helped with the food, decor, and party coordination.

That was the beginning of week 36. A couple days later, my feet and hands swelled to previously unseen dimensions, and it wasn’t going down overnight, even after swimming and chugging lemonade, a tip from my big sister, which used to always work.
That didn’t stop us from having the youth group over for a 4th of July party on Friday though. And even though a storm blew up and it started raining, we played games for awhile inside, and then got back in the pool. I wish I’d taken some pictures, but I believe a great time was had by all, especially Sirius, who wore his life jacket and dutifully patrolled the edges of the pool. 
But I started having some dizzy spells, and then Saturday morning, my lips were swelling too. We were worried about preeclampsia, and technically, I probably should have gone to the ER, but … it was the 4th of July. And I really didn’t want to. So I just tried to take it easy and spent the morning in bed.
But I had a long list of things I needed to get done over the weekend, like shopping for the things left on our registry we needed, and getting a few things at Ikea for the nursery, which was still in progress after all this time.
And maybe a couple other projects … like curtains for our bedroom, curtains for the office, a gallery wall for the nursery, repotting a fern, some office organization. Also, you can never have too many candles. At least, that’s Brian’s philosophy – he insisted on all candles. 
Then there’s decorating the living room, cleaning the house, doing all the laundry, writing all the thank yous for shower gifts, finding a pediatrician and a daycare and a public cord blood donation bank … just a couple things. 
Brian really did most of the work around the house, but Sunday, I was still feeling exhausted. I spent some time in the pool on the new flamingo Brian found for us at Target. How fun is that?!
I love our backyard!
Then I took a long nap, and woke up feeling incredibly stressed. Now I was behind on everything! It all sort of culminated on Monday night when I couldn’t find a gift receipt from one of the showers, and had a meltdown. Like, a first-trimester-level-basket-case meltdown.
So, this week got off to a rough start. Thankfully, my boss agreed to let me work from home Wednesday through Friday to get some rest. After a day of working wearing comfy clothes, stretched out on my couch, drinking tea, I’m already less swollen and feeling all around much better. 
Beyond that, the biggest help has been texting my family, having dinner with friends, and spending some long, unhurried time in the Bible, and journaling. This week I’ve been reading Psalms 34, and verses 4 – 8 stood out to me: 
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. 
Those who look to who are radiant, 
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles. 
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
When my head starts spinning with what-ifs about getting ready for the baby, what labor will be like, and what life will be like afterwards, I’m trying to take deep breaths, pray, and just let it go. 
(Cue Frozen soundtrack. Now it’s stuck in your head, isn’ it? You’re welcome.)
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers! We’re almost there!

Life Lately: Of Traveling Adventures and Cankles

Last week I traveled for work: Washington D.C on Friday – Monday, then to Raleigh, North Carolina, then back to D.C. on Tuesday night, and back to Phoenix on Thursday. Of course, I figured this would be no big deal, since I’d gone to SXSW a few weeks ago. 
But that was when I was 21 weeks along. I was now 27 weeks, and those five weeks really make a difference, as I was about to discover.
The first night in D.C., after an incredible Italian dinner, my coworkers and I drove and walked around to all the monuments, and didn’t get back to the hotel until around 1 am.

I’m not skilled enough with a camera to take great pictures at night, and my phone died, but we saw the White House, Eisenhower building, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial (really cool at night, with the Washington Monument and lights of the city reflecting in the pool), Korean and Vietnam War memorials.

I’ve been to D.C. once before, as a high school sophomore. I didn’t remember there being so many steps at the memorials. Now, I know where to find all the elevators! Pregnant lady win.

I took this photo from my hotel room early Saturday morning. With the time change and work, I didn’t get much sleep on this trip. I worked until 1-3 am most nights, and then had events to go to. 
But Sunday, I did more sightseeing. 

Come to find out, the Library of Congress is closed on Sundays. We found that out after we walked all the way there. Amazing building though!

The National Archives! I saw the Declaration of Independence (Looking a little worse for wear, but I guess that’s understandable after being stolen by Nicolas Cage, rolled up, almost run over, shot at, and rubbed with lemon juice), the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and … the Magna Carta, wearing its age well – since it was written in 1297.

Outside one of the government buildings, I happened to see this statue. Nathan Hale is one of my heroes – he was only 21 when the British hung him for treason. His famous last words: “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

We also went to the Smithsonian Museum of American History, but adding all those photos would really make this post long. But, not to downplay the amazing historical artifacts of great importance, I totally geeked out at a display in the lobby of movie costumes from “The Adventures of Robin Hood” with Errol Flynn. 
To close the day, I met up with a co-worker at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the National Cathedral, to hear the choir from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London sing. It was a boys and mens choir, with an other-worldly organist.

After the craziness of the weekend, and the craziness to come, I really needed that hour of peace and beauty.
It’s funny to think that I actually sang in that cathedral. That high school trip I mentioned earlier was with the acapella choir, and we performed in the exact spot as the choir I listened to that night. 
Then after the concert, things got a little crazy. My ankles swelled, probably from spending the last couple days on my feet. It hurt. Plus, I had a killer headache, and I’d realized how much stuff I’d actually forgotten to pack, considering that 60 degree weather was a lot colder than I remembered.
And I was supposed to fly to North Carolina the next morning, at 6:30 am. But since someone else had bought the tickets and said they’d send me the info, and hadn’t, when I finally got in bed at midnight, I still didn’t know what airport I was flying out of.

Monday morning! Time to wash the windows.

I woke up to my alarm at 4:00 am, after not sleeping much at all. Thankfully, I saw I had a text from my co-worker, saying she got us later flights. But even so, thanks to some slow Uber driving, we still had to run through the airport. Not easy when pregnant with cankles, but we still made it on the plane. Another pregnancy win.

So, let’s talk about Southern hospitality. It’s real.
When I arrived ready to work, I was given a present, just for being there. 
I was invited to dinner in the backyard of someone I’d just met, and not only was it beautiful, but it was delicious: steak, potatoes, watermelon salad, and apple pie for dessert.

Raleigh is truly stunning. There’s beautiful southern mansions mixed in among the corporate buildings, forests everywhere, and everything is so green. And everyone is nice! While working, people carried my laptop bag for me, brought me water and food, and often checked on how I was feeling, which was actually really nice after several days of the cankle situation. 

I was a little sad to leave, but after a crazy Monday and Tuesday in Raleigh, I was needed back in D.C. So I caught yet another flight, and made it back. 
After having spent the previous Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and some of Monday there, as I flew in over the Potomac River, it felt oddly like coming home. 
But sometime in those last couple days, I injured myself. I don’t remember how, since tripping on sidewalks is a pretty normal occurrence for me. But somehow, I did something to my right foot. Of course, I kept walking on it as usual, so by Tuesday, not only were my ankles swollen to an unusual size, I couldn’t put my full weight on my right foot. 
And, I started having the curious sensation of the ground moving beneath me, when everything was definitely standing still. I think it might have had something to do with flying so much … maybe it’s vertigo? I’d never experienced anything like it, except after riding the Tower of Terror at California Adventure (never again).
I took it a little easier on Wednesday, and Thursday I spent the day off of my feet, but on a plane of course. 
Ironically, I had to switch planes in Charlotte, North Carolina. I can’t seem to get away from there. 
But the flight home felt like the longest of my life. I was actually thrilled to look out the window and see brown. 

After a weekend of sleeping in my own bed, elevating my feet and not walking as much as possible, the dizzy spells have passed, I haven’t had any more ankle swelling, and my foot injury is almost completely better. 
Pregnancy win!

Life Lately: My bump Really Starts Showing, SXSW, and Being Sick While Pregnant

I realized that I only blogged once in March, with the gender announcement. Here’s the highlights of the last month: 
We took the baby to his first baseball game, a spring training game between the Oakland A’s and the Angels (bumpie above). He enjoyed it – at least that’s how I interpreted all the kicking. He just can’t wait to get out there. 
It feels like summertime, so we bought some patio chairs. Sirius and I are loving sitting out by the pool and enjoying the weather.

I got to go to SXSW with some of my coworkers! It was crazy, but good.

I tried to take a bumpie on the elevator whenever I happened to be in it alone, but it never really turned out.

Oh the food! It’s a good thing I did lots of walking. I’ll spare you all of the photos I posted on Instagram, but Ironworks Barbeque and Franks hotdogs were my favorites.

I’m glad I went, but I was also happy to get home. Five days is a long conference. 

22 Weeks!

I went through my closet, pulled out all my summer clothes, and figured out what I could still make work. I might have had a little freakout when tops I’d always thought were loose were too tight, and my shorts? Not happening. It did motivate me to start watching what I’m eating and make more of an effort to work out. 

Pool time! We got in the pool for the first time last week. It was COLD. But we stuck it out. I realized I would also need a maternity swimsuit to survive the summer. 
That, plus a great pair of maternity shorts from Target and a couple of maxi dresses = my summer wardrobe game plan.

Long hours + too much stress + not enough sleep = sick. Last week I worked myself sick, and wow, being sick while pregnant sucks. I’m taking the nurse approved cold medicine, but it isn’t doing much for me. I know I need rest, but since I can’t breathe, I haven’t been able to sleep for the last four nights. 
Other than this cold, I’ve felt awesome the last several weeks. Yay for second trimester energy! I’ve also experienced the nesting syndrome – it’s real, although I thought it wasn’t supposed to happen for a while yet. More on how that turned out later!
Also, the baby is kicking so hard, I can actually see my stomach move! Brian is finally able to feel it, which makes me happy. 
Today marks 24 weeks! 
Any little known cold remedies I could try? Let me know in the comments!

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It’s A …

A very active one, in fact. He gave the ultrasound technician a rough time … she never did find his kidneys! He yawned for us, and boy, is he cute. He’s also tall! 
Of course, I wanted to put together something creative and cute to announce it. After coming up with ideas like throwing darts a paint-filled balloons, glitter filled balloons, dog tracks in paint, a paint filled baseball … well, we ended up calling and Skyping our family and just telling them. 
But I held out hope for at least a cute picture of Sirius in a blue bow with the baby shoes.

Instead I ended up with fifty blurry photos of Sirius destroying the blue bow. He didn’t want to put up with it for a second. 

Well Baby Conley, we can’t wait to meet you!

Nursery Decor Inspiration: Nautical Boy and Girl

I’ve pretty much decided that whether we’re having a girl or a boy, I’m going to go with a nautical themed nursery. I came to this conclusion after spending some time on Etsy gathering inspiration.

For a girl, I love this combination of pinks, gold, and aqua.

Baby Girl

The Jaylin Swaddling Blanket – All Organic Cotton / Coral nursery nautical nursery coral baby by TASbabyfactory / Baby Shower Blush Lace Baptism Decorations Nursery by MarigoldPoms / Shell Mobile. Perfect for your baby’s nursery or for by Fairyfolk / Boppy cover Gold Polka Dot Boppy Cover Nursing Pillow by KBCute / Gold Dot Lovey Security Blanket Coral Minky Lovey by DelvaBTree / Whale Pillow/ Aqua Chevron/ White Minky/ Nautical by sandaba

That mobile is what sealed the deal. Let’s get a close up:

And for a boy, navy, light blue, gray, and orange.

Baby Boy

Also, whales and octopi. Can we talk about that octopus fabric, and that whale mobile? Also, the sailor hat?

I don’t think it gets cuter than that. 

Only one more week until the ultrasound!

Between the two nursery looks, which is your favorite?

Life Lately: I Eat a Lot, Get a Haircut, and Take Two More Bumpies

Ok, so a few more things happened over the last three weeks than just eating, but it was sort of the theme. An interviewee for a position where I work brought us the donuts above – a great way to make an impression. 
Here I am after church at 16 weeks! I bought this maternity dress at Goodwill, and it’s super comfy. I’m finally at the point where I have a set of outfits that are comfy, and I stick to those. 
My sister and brother-in-law stayed with us for a week, so we introduced them to Chick-fil-A, Sirius fell in love with them, we went shopping, and my little sister decorated my apartment for Valentine’s Day!
Speaking of Valentine’s Day, on the holiday itself, we planned a youth group activity of offering free babysitting at the church so that couples could go out on a date. On Friday, we were going to our friends’ house for dinner. So on Thursday, I surprised Brian by bringing home cupcakes. I got the Miss Princess, strawberry with cream cheese frosting, and I got chocolate chip cookie dough for Brian. 

Saturday, Brian left early in the morning to get some work done on our cars. When he came home, he brought me this: 
So perfect! I’ve enjoyed the roses every day since. And the card actually made me choke up. He picked well. 
Also on Valentine’s Day, I got my hair cut. Yes, that’s how it looks in the mornings when I wake up. I was so frustrated every day by how long and heavy it was, I couldn’t handle it. It might not look a lot shorter, but it feels much lighter, and it’s much easier to work with. 

Here’s my baby bump at 17 weeks! Notice that it looks smaller than at 16 weeks. Is it the dress? Eating fewer desserts that week? Who knows. I definitely feel pregnant. 
Our Valentine’s babysitting went well, although we had at least three teens per kid. I got to spend some of the evening playing with a one and a half year old girl, and let me tell you – all this time I’ve been sure I wanted a boy, but after that, I really think I’m ok with either. 
Brian is not so convinced. He’s still very set on having a boy. 
Thankfully, my headaches have been fewer and farther between. I’m getting hungrier. Last Monday, I was standing at my sink getting ready for work, when I started blacking out. I sat down, and realized I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. I also hadn’t had much for dinner the night before, since I’d had a big lunch. I found a granola bar in my purse, and after eating that, I felt much better. I’ve been careful to keep almonds or granola bars in my purse since then. 
I’m pretty sure, no, really sure, I felt the baby move! It’s happened a few times now when I’m laying in bed. At first I thought it was just my stomach rumbling, but there’s been several times that definitely felt like little kicks from the the inside! 
The realization that there’s something alive inside me, who is either a girl or boy, and who will definitely come out, makes me feel mingled awe, and panic. 
I had kind of a rough beginning to the week. Some one at church told me about their friends’ gender reveal parties, and it kind of hit me that we don’t have many people to invite to such a party. Like two people, actually. Then I started thinking of all the people we’ve been friends with in the last five years who have moved away, or somehow stopped being friends with us, and I asked Brian, is this just life as an adult? Do people just not have that close group of friends they go through life with, like they had in college? I don’t know. 
It didn’t help matters that a project I’d worked really hard on at work was handed off to someone else, who feels they need to redo it, and they don’t understand what they’re doing. It sucks to see all my hard work going down the drain. 
All in all, I wanted to run away to California. But problems wouldn’t just go away. This is where we’re meant to be right now. 
Cravings this week: Fish and Chips. Don’t judge. 

Happy Birthday to Brian! It’s Monday, but yesterday we bought him his present: a new bike!

To celebrate, we checked out a new restaurant! New to us, I mean. It was as good as it looks!

Then we explored downtown Gilbert, and found this hidden hallway. We pretended we were in Europe, or Greece.

And I know we just bought our house, but we might have to move to Gilbert now that there’s a Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles. 
Now I’m at 18 weeks, and the baby is the size of a bell pepper. In just a couple weeks, we’ll find out if we’re having a boy or girl! Almost half-way there!

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Life Lately: I Take a #Bumpie, and We Tear Up Our House

First, this is, I’m informed, is called a #bumpie. A selfie of your baby bump. Second, I’m sorry. For those of you who really don’t want to know these things, just skip this part. Because I have family and friends spread out all across the country, I need a way to update them on how the pregnancy is going, and I felt like this is a better alternative to posting photos every week to Facebook. We’ll see. 
So, the bump. This is week 14, I took that photo Saturday, and honestly, I feel like it changes in size every day. Some days you see it, some days you don’t. It makes getting dressed a stressful affair. I must be smack in the middle of the awkward phase when none of my regular clothes feel right and my maternity clothes are way too big. It’s aggravating.
Also, can we talk about my hair? See that messy bun above? I wore it that way for three days straight. And most of the week. My hair won’t do anything I want it to – at least not quickly, and in the morning, when I’m trying to sleep in as much as possible, I really need it to behave. It’s gotten unduly long and wavy, and I really want to chop it all off. 
The one bright spot lately in all this is that I’m rarely having morning sickness now. Even during the previous 13 weeks, it hasn’t been bad. Mostly gagging, not a lot of actually throwing up. Now, I only have isolated instances. The downside is that I’ve been having horrible headaches. Oh, hormones. So not fun.
Early on, all I wanted to eat was pizza and macaroni and cheese. Now, usually nothing sounds particularly good or bad. I’m making a conscious effort to eat at least one vegetable and one fruit every day, which sounds like a small goal, but if I didn’t make the effort I could easily go days without any fruits or vegetables. 
I also started working out! Hi-five to myself (which yes, does look like clapping). Most days now I have more energy when I get home after work, and I don’t fall asleep on the couch every evening. I found some pregnancy workouts on youtube: Denise Austins’ toning workout and Apple Yoga’s prenatal yoga
I’m having a hard time winding down to sleep, and staying asleep. But, it’s been extra motivating for me to get to bed in good time to read some Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. 
Saturday, I managed to sleep in as long as possible through a lot of banging and clanging. When I did finally get up, I discovered that Brian had ripped out the carpet of the office. 
It’s a good riddance – very good. It was nasty. But I wasn’t expecting to replace it until we’d found flooring for the room. We have a couple boxes of the same bamboo flooring that’s in the rest of the house, but it’s not enough for the entire room. And we have no idea where it came from. And we were going to repaint the room – which I’d rather do before putting in new flooring.

Now, at first I was thrilled. Then I realized that now all of our office stuff was in the kitchen/rest of the house, we have no flooring, and we have family coming to visit. My sister and brother-in-law, closely followed by my sister-in-law, an overlapping visit from my other sister-in-law, and then sometime after that, my mother-in-law.

Quickly, my initial joy at getting out of all the ripping out the carpet work changed to more than a little stress at having to live in the midst of piles office stuff for the unforeseeable future. Add to that the fact that we are in the middle of redo-ing the baby room too, getting it ready to paint as soon as we find out if we’re having a boy or girl.

And then I had the great idea to tackle the fireplace too.

Add that all to my pregnancy hormones, and I might have sorta kinda flipped out at Brian a few times this week. In my defense, it didn’t help when his response was “Wah-wa-wah-wa-wah,” Charlie Brown style.

This is the fireplace in the cleaning process. Normally, I’m not a fan of painting fireplaces, but I’m not a fan of this one’s color. White will really brighten the whole room. I’ll show you the finished result in another post soon. 
Since I’m trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, I finally broke in the juicer we got for Christmas with fresh oranges from our own yard.

Cheers! So easy and so delicious.
And that brings us to today. It rained all day, and I worked from home, cozied up on the couch with hot tea, and later, Hilary Rushford’s Instagram With Intention Class. I’m two videos in, and already learning a lot.
More house projects tonight, and probably some Chick-fil-A for dinner. If I was to have a craving this week, it’d probably be for an original Chick-fil-A sandwich and waffle fries with Chick-fil-A sauce and lemonade.
Week 14 is a wrap!