Letting Go

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When my husband Nate was severely injured (and nearly killed) in the line of duty two years ago, a side of me that I had never known existed came to the surface.  I’d always been the smiley, bubbly girl of Nate’s life.  But seeing him lying there, helpless, in an ICU hospital bed and hooked up to countless machines did something to me.  It brought out this fierce, protective instinct that had – until that moment – remained dormant.

I was his bulldog that week and for many months afterward.  When the doctors warned me that visitors put him at a risk for meningitis or other complications, I refused to let anyone come in to see him (no matter how much they pushed or insisted).  I kept the reporters from badgering him with questions.  And when he started to recover and oftentimes forgot about his limitations, I made sure he wasn’t pushed to do more than he was ready to do… and took care of him on the days that he did try to accomplish a little too much.  I canceled plans with friends so that I could be home after my eight-hour work day, realizing that Nate needed companionship after having spent most of the day alone.

I was there to hold him when he cried that one time and asked me why God had spared his life when so many others are taken too soon.  I was there when he dedicated his life to helping others, especially children; because he wanted his life – going forward – to be a life of purpose.

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For me, it was as though a flip had been switched.  I was his protector, and no one could get to him before first going through me.  And although Nate and I – in our love for each other – had always been supportive of the other’s physical and emotional needs, his relying on me so much (even for daily feeding, bathing, and dressing) sparked a fire inside me.

Recovery from the tragedy that had burst the safe, little bubble we lived in took time.  It took more time than I had imagined.  We’d think that we had put it behind us, only to have something (a sight, a sound, a smell) trigger flashbacks that left us reeling with unresolved emotions.  But time (coupled with faith… and the love of family and friends) healed those wounds; and we began to look back and see miracles, hope, and reason for celebration.

We saw a reason to smile.

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I breathed a sigh of relief when we finally moved forward and placed the nightmare behind us.  But then this summer happened.  And I realized that maybe I still have one little thing to get over still.

Nicole the bulldog hasn’t yet put down her protective shield.

I struggle to make plans with friends if I know Nate will be home alone, because I realize that he had been home alone for so many days while I still worked full-time.  (And I know how – due to the inactivity and boredom – he had struggled with self-worth for some time).  I worry that he’ll be lonely or sad.  And heaven forbid one of his guy friends take a joke too far, or someone ask him to do something that challenges the physical limitations imposed on him since the assault.  The sweet version of Nicole is instantly replaced by mama bear, ready to attack should her charge show any signs of exhaustion, whether it be physical or mental.

Deep down in my heart, however, I know that mama bear can go into hibernation… for good.  Nate is now perfectly capable of taking care of himself, whether he’s coming up with plans for his day or determining what his body is able to do.  (And now that I’m pregnant, I have to be willing to realize that the roles will reverse, as I will need him to help take care of me some days).

The fact of the matter is that the act of letting go isn’t easy.  But it’s also not something that I alone will face.  It’s a part of life for anyone who has mentored or cared for someone.  Young mothers have to wave ‘goodbye’ to their little ones, as they climb onto a large, yellow schoolbus.  Fathers have to leave their teenager at a college, located just a little too far away from home.  And the list goes on…  When the time is right, we who have been caregivers and teachers must learn to let go of those we have cared for and taught.

And it’s not easy, because the switch that so easily jumpstarted our protective instincts is not so easily turned off.

For me, I’m not yet having to learn how to let go of a child.  But I am learning to put down my guard so that my husband can be the strong man of the family again.  Because he is capable of being that man.  He wants to be that man.  And while he appreciates my having his back, I know he’s also ready for me to stand by his side again… instead of my marching a few paces ahead of him in order to block whatever dangers may be coming.

I need to remember that the God I worship is strong enough to move mountains or to part oceans, and He loves Nate even more than I do.  So I don’t need to carry Nate’s well-being on my shoulders.  I need to learn how to let go… and to let God take care of the rest.

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All that to say, when an opportunity came up for me to go away this week, my first reaction was to politely decline.  My parents / sister invited me to visit them at the cabin they rented for later in the week.  (They invited Nate too, but he isn’t able to make it).

I realized, instantly, that this would be the first time that Nate and I have really been apart since the assault.  And that’s when I realized that I haven’t yet put down the protective guard I had put up.  Because I was afraid of leaving him.

In the end, I said ‘yes’ to the gracious offer, ignoring the lump in my throat and the guilt in my chest.  I know, full well, that I need to take this step in order to fully heal.

Nate really is going to be okay.  He’s proven to me that he’s more than okay… that he’s happy, and motivated, and busy with things that he loves to do.  (Remember how I mentioned that he dedicated his life to helping others?  He has been volunteering so much lately to help people in need.  And he’s even going to start teaching children Sunday School at my church, because he wants to be a positive role model for them.  The kids already adore him, so I’m not sure who is more excited — him or the little ones that follow him around on a weekly basis).  :)

Honestly, maybe it’s a relief for me to have arrived at this point, even if it’s a little tough – at first – to let go.  In the end, it’s also very freeing to realize that he doesn’t need me in that way anymore.

Life…  It’s all about learning and embracing the journey, isn’t it?  :)

Have you yet been faced with the challenge of letting go?

 

 

 

 

Preggo Journal – Week 22

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How far along:     Only 38 weeks to go… but who’s counting??

(Correction thanks to one of my readers:  I have 18 weeks to go.  Apparently I can no longer do math.  Should this be listed under the symptoms section)?  ;)

How big is baby:  This week, according to websites that compare baby to the size of veggies and fruits, Brady is the size of a papaya.  :)  (Hmmm, this makes me wonder to myself.  Have I ever even tried a papaya?  I don’t think so, but I kind of want to now).

papaya

 Total weight gain:   My next doctor’s appointment isn’t until August, so I don’t have a current weight update.

 Gender:  Team blue!!

Name:  Brady

 Maternity clothesStill dressing the bump with my normal clothes (other than the one maternity sundress and two pairs of shorts I bought a few weeks ago), but I’m becoming more limited as to what still fits.  ;)

 Sleep:   I’m sleeping pretty good, for the most part.  Still waking up several times a night to pee though.  Ha, ha.

 Best moment of this week:   Feeling more flutters and tiny movements.  It’s incredible!

Miss anythingIced coffee.  I missed it so badly, that I actually called a Dunkin Donuts hotline to find out how much caffeine was in their decaf iced coffee!  :)  The caffeine in their small, coffee coolatta (with skim milk)  was so minimal that I felt comfortable splurging (especially since I’ve been so good about avoiding coffee and caffeine in general).

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MovementJust those tiny flutters and little bubble sensations.  I’m loving every one of them, because it lets me know that Brady is doing well and exercising his arms / legs.

 Food cravings:   I actually didn’t have any specific cravings this week, although I’ve definitely had a major sweet tooth.  I need to cut back on the sugar going forward!  :)  (Although from the moment I became pregnant, I’ve really wanted stuffing.  So I was excited that stuffing was served at an anniversary party I attended over the weekend.  Soooo delicious!).

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Exercise:  I had SO much energy on Monday that I actually jogged a little bit at the end of my morning walk.  I didn’t run fast or run very long, but just jogging at all made me oh-so-happy!  Also, I have fallen in love with swimming.  My friend Liz and I try to go once a week, and Nate has agreed to go with me at least once a week as well.  It’s so refreshing and really works my entire body.

Anything making you queasy or sick:     Still not a huge fan of chicken.  But nothing makes me gag anymore (that I know of), so I’m incredibly happy about that!!

Symptoms:  Major upper-back pain every night.  But I feel great every morning and for most of the day, so I can’t complain!

 Have you started to show yetBaby bump is round and growing by the day!  :)

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Happy or moody most of the time:    Happy!  This was such a great week for me, because I had so much energy and just felt so healthy.  I’m loving each summer day and living in the moment.

Final thought:  Happy Friday, my friends!!   :)

Bits O’ This and That

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1.  The ‘Share a Coke’ soda bottles are probably the smartest marketing plan I’ve ever seen.  Whenever I see a Coke bottle with a friend or family member’s name on it, I have to buy it for them.  I had promised Nate that I was done being the soda fairy, but then I ran across one with my sister’s name on it.  So obviously I had to pick it up for her as a special treat.

I really hope other companies don’t jump on this band-wagon, because I can’t afford it.  :)

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2.  I met this furry guy over the weekend, and I wanted to take him home with me.  I think donkeys are just the cutest!

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3.  Nate and I picked our first zucchini from the garden yesterday!  I sliced the long veggie into zucchini coins, sprayed them a bit with cooking spray, then cooked them lightly on a griddle.  I topped the grilled zucchini with pepper, garlic powder, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese.  To finish off the ‘pizza bites’, I broiled the zucchini until the cheese melted.

It was a delicious – and low calorie – way for me to satisfy my never-ending pizza craving.  (Even Nate ate his half of the zucchini right up, when I served it to him like this).  :)

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4.  Nate and I had plans to watch the New England Patriot’s first day of practice, but the weather forecast is calling for rain.  Once I read the weather report, I wondered how our plans would be affected, as I didn’t think Nate would want his preggo wife sitting in the rain for a few hours.  Apparently, I was right, because Nate came home from Walmart with a poncho just for me.  ;)

Oh, yeah, I plan on rocking this poncho!!

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5.  This fuzzy guy has taken over the new office chair and isn’t showing signs of giving it up anytime soon.  I’m not complaining…  He usually wakes me up a few times a night, because he wants treats or his head scratched.  (He also likes to try sleeping on my chest, which is way comfier for him than for me).  ;)  Since the introduction of the office chair, he sleeps on it all night long and lets me sleep in peace.

So I guess you could say that we’re both in love with the now-fur-covered chair.

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6.  These coconut Outshine bars are amazing!!!

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Anything new with you??  :)

Beautiful

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One morning not too long ago, I was rushing to get ready for the day, juggling an affectionate cat in one arm and a pile of dirty laundry in the other.  I had places to go, people to see, and more than a few things on my mind.  But as I rushed past the bathroom’s full-length mirror, I suddenly dropped cat, laundry, and to-do list for the amount of time it would take me to fully critique myself in the reflective glass.

This outfit makes me look fat.

 Instantly I felt ashamed; because I’m pregnant and my belly is supposed to be swelling.  Any additional weight I may be carrying is thanks to the first trimester nauseousness that forced me to eat nothing but carbs.  (…and due to the second trimester cravings which consist only of… carbs).  The girl looking back at me might not be slender, but she was healthy and growing a miracle inside of her.

What type of mother-to-be struggles with her body image while growing her beautiful baby, especially when not everyone can experience this? 

Sadly, more than you might think.

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I’m extremely fortunate to be married to a man who not only tells me that I look beautiful with the extra curves; but who actually shows me – with his eyes and body language – that he is attracted to my changing body.  And honestly, even without that, the body image concerns started to melt away the first time I felt my baby kick.  That moment does something to a woman that I can’t explain.  Because suddenly, the stretching of skin and extra weight isn’t something to be despised.

It’s the sign of a miracle.  And it’s exquisite.

But I’m not going to say that just because it’s a beautiful thing, I don’t sometimes struggle with the fact that the top button of my favorite jeans can no longer snap shut.  In the safety of my home, I do feel beautiful, healthy, and strong.  But it’s summer; and I often venture out into the world of bikini-body magazine covers and blockbuster-movie babes.  I find myself staring at images of impossibly toned, beautiful women; and I sometimes struggle with the fact that I am moving in a completely opposite direction.

There are also times that I have to fight the urge to cover my husband’s eyes in immediate panic.

What if he sees that and wants me to be that, when I can’t?

I had thought that being pregnant would make any insecurities in my body disappear.  But it doesn’t work like that.  And upon talking to some close friends who are either pregnant or who have been pregnant, they too went through a stage of insecurity… followed by the same guilt that I had experienced.  I suppose that, at the end of the day, we are still human.

I read an article the other day that called for the government to censor air-brushed images used in magazines, television commercials, and even store-fronts.  These models, depictions of a false reality that no female could ever hope to reach, are nothing more than false-advertising.  And customers, right down to little girls, are being negatively affected.  (It’s an obvious fact that women in general, not only pregnant ones, often struggle with their appearance when surrounded so often by images of ultra-skinny models and actresses).

Let’s face it, if most of us were asked whether or not we needed to lose weight, we would say ‘yes’.  But if asked for a reason and we were to answer honestly, we would admit that our wanting to lose weight had very little to do with health or a more active lifestyle, and a whole lot more to do with how we think we should look.

And tragically, this way of thinking starts at a very early age.

Have you watched the Disney channel lately?  The teenage actresses are getting skinnier and skinnier, some of them dancing dangerously close to what looks like the beginning stages of an eating disorder.  And our children are watching this on a daily basis, wanting to mimic what they see and subconsciously beginning a lifetime of body-image struggles at a very young age. 

A part of me wanted to throw both my hands up in immediate support of government censorship, but I do hesitate when it comes to any kind of censorship on my free speech.   I value the freedom I have to write down what I think and feel.  Being a blogger, for example, would be a radically different experience in a country whose government regulated what was allowed to be said or depicted in photographs.

At the end of the day, it really does come down to us… the consumer.  And sadly, the skinnier that models get, the more magazines are sold.  The vicious cycle of fad-diets and power-foods continue as women (and even men) struggle to obtain that impossible body, instead of being happy with the healthy version of themselves.

And that cycle of surrounding ourselves with society’s version of beauty only strengthens and begins to shape our reaction to the reflection in the mirror.  The more we’re inundated, the more ashamed we feel of our appearance.

Being pregnant most definitely does not change that struggle or cycle.  Trust me on that.  But for me, it did make me more aware of how ridiculous it is to give into it.  In total, I have only nine months to enjoy being pregnant with my baby boy, and I won’t let the culture’s depiction of beauty steal the joy that should come with that!!  I won’t compare my bump to skinner, pregnant women who better depict what this society deems beautiful, even if they appear on every preggo magazine, advertisement, and even some mommy blogs.

I will be happy with being healthy and strong!

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Honestly, I wish I could hug all of the true-to-life bloggers out there who post honest pictures of themselves on a daily basis.  Who put the real, beautiful versions of themselves out there every day for the world to see, not caring that they don’t have a team of makeup artists, hair stylists, and air-brush experts working on their image.  Who show us that you don’t need to be a certain size, shape, shade, or height in order to be gorgeous.

To you bloggers out there (and to you amazing readers who also share some of your own experiences with me), ‘thank you’.  ‘Thank you’ for being real amidst a culture that doesn’t embrace it.  (Because let’s face it, there are blogs out there who put forth a perfect image that the rest of us can never hope to obtain.  And at the end of the day, it’s just another reason for us to feel that we’re not good enough or pretty enough).   But to the real-life bloggers, you inspire me every day to embrace what really matters, and you motivate me to focus on what is genuine and to ignore what isn’t.  You remind me that sometimes life isn’t easy.  That sometimes zits happen, that it’s hard to find work-out motivation most days, that preggo bellies shouldn’t be hidden or measured with disdain, that sometimes – most times – a girl does want chocolate over kale, and that each-and-every day is still worth smiling about.

We’re all on a journey, but we’re beautiful here and now.

True beauty is unique.  It’s curvy, but sometimes straight as a board.  It’s freckled, and frizzy, and toothy-grinned, and sparkly eyed.  It’s real.

Who knows, maybe someday, if enough people stand up in protest, advertisers and magazines will make YOU the new face of their products.  And oh, what a beautiful day THAT will be.  :)

Until then, I challenge you to look in the mirror today and to see real beauty.  I’m not asking you to find one feature you like about yourself.  Too often we’re told to do that.  We’re told to focus on our eyes, or our lovely nose, or even our hair; as though the rest of us is better off ignored.  If the girl (or boy) looking back at you from the mirror is different than everyone else you know, then embrace it.  Embrace who you are, right here and now.  If there are pounds to be shed for you to feel your strongest and your healthiest, then do your best to become that version of yourself… but don’t wait until tomorrow to release your body-image insecurities.  You are gorgeous today.

No one out there can be you.  You are unique.

And unique – just the way you do it – is beautiful.

 

 

My Preggo Reality

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I’ve never been a huge fan of kale.  I try to like it.  Really, I do.  In fact, I try so hard that I buy it almost on a weekly basis; although most times, it sits in my fridge until it’s withered and brownish.  At which point I toss it into the trash and buy another bunch to get me through the week.  Maybe someday I’ll come to the realization that kale just isn’t my thing, but – for now – I want to be ready, should I be overcome by a sudden, kale-craving attack.  Also, I’m pretty sure that buying kale at least gives me some sort of health points (minimal as they may be) that I can put towards a splurge item.

Like chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake

The funny thing is that I always thought that once I became pregnant, I’d somehow find within myself the strength to give up everything but whole grains and veggies… and kale.  The precious bundle of joy inside of me would help me overcome my ever-stubborn sweet tooth, and I’d live off of carrot sticks and seven grain bread for nine months.  I’d also continue jogging until my belly became really huge, at which point I’d stick to daily yoga; and the neighbors would shake their heads in silent awe.

*Insert the sound of crickets chirping*

Pregnancy woke me up to reality like a slap to the face.  Food aversions and pregnancy nausea are no joke.  Like seriously, my peeps, they’re not funny at all.  They’re real, and powerful, and convinced me that carbs were the only thing that would make me happy.

Pie

Broccoli = bad.

Pizza = good.  (Make that a mushroom with extra cheese, please).

Then finally the nauseous phase is over, you’re starting to feel better and able to eat a wider range of foods… and all that sounds good are carbs still.  Hmmm, so when do the vegetable cravings begin?  Sometimes I even try to convince myself that I want carrot sticks for a snack, and I even go so far as to prepare them.  But then an invisible force-field implodes out of nowhere, blocking my hands from grabbing the veggie, followed by a powerful magnet that pulls me to the bin of muffins on the counter.

It’s really quite traumatic.

And delicious.

Sigh….

Eat all the food!

I fought it for awhile, but then I reasoned with myself that there are a lot of worse things out there than pizza.  And at least muffins aren’t fried, so – in a sense – they’re way healthier than donuts.  Besides, at the end of the day, as my friend Liz says, “A preggo has to do what a preggo has to do.”  Sometimes the munchies come calling, and you just have to give the baby what it wants.  And let me tell you, baby wants a bagel with cream cheese right about now!

So while it would be nice to experience cravings for broccoli, spinach, and kale (for once in my life), I’m just going to appreciate the fact that I’m feeling a ton better and that food is my friend again.  Nicole the foodie is back… mostly.  And, hey, I’ll take it!

Breakfast

As for bringing back the foods that I had an aversion to for so long, I’m taking baby steps. I could still take-or-leave chicken, but I’ve nibbled on the lean meat occasionally over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been adding broccoli to my pizza again.  Last night, I ate a stir-fry absolutely exploding with veggies, and I ate every bite before the force-field could deter me.  And – well – there’s kale sitting in my fridge, so I’ve still got those bonus points.  :)

I purchased a notebook to begin my food and fitness journal, so I’ll keep you posted on whether or not that motivates me to reach for veggies a little more. I’m really going to try!

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Takin’ It Easy

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My sister Sarah and I absolutely love getting all dolled up for special occasions.  There’s something special about getting your hair done and spending a little bit more time on your makeup.  And when it comes down to it, I adore dressing up in something nice and then dancing the night away with a certain handsome fellow (or a handful of fun gal pals).

But let’s face it, one can only keep that up for so long.  (Unless you’re a princess, I suppose, in which case living in heels and perfect makeup is a part of your life).  If that’s the case, however, my sister and I are most definitely not princesses.

Because on Sunday night, we were a couple of very tired, frazzled bridesmaids.

We had been up at 5:30am and after a long day of wedding photo-shoots, walking down the aisle, dancing, and even a beach bonfire, we didn’t make it to bed until midnight.  To put it kindly, we were a mess.

The next morning, we scrapped any plans that would put us in sight of the general public and decided to find a beach.  To me, the beach is the ultimate stress-release, and it’s a great way to unwind after a busy weekend.  The promise of breakfast, followed by sand under our toes, gave us more energy than caffeine ever could!

Awwww, that’s better!

We ended up at the Sandy Neck Beach in Sandwich, which was almost empty when we got there!  The shore was very rocky, so we had to wear our flip flops a lot.  (That was the only downside to our visit there).  But still, it was absolutely amazing.  Sunshine, salty waves lapping at the shore, feeling calm and relaxed…  It was the perfect way to end our busy weekend, for sure!

We even had a little makeshift photo-shoot!!  :)

Rather than leave the beach area, we decided to just buy lunch at the snack shop on site, even though we weren’t entirely sure what the food quality would be like.

Oh…my…word!!!!!

Sarah and I each bit into our lobster rolls and then gasped.  Seriously, we gasped.  These lobster rolls were jam-packed with sweet lobster and had the perfect blend of mayo and celery on a toasted bun.  I’d say they give the Maine lobster rolls a definite run for their money and – should I have a lobster roll list going – these definitely would have made the Favorite Top Three!

Nate ordered the biggest, freshest scallops he had ever tasted.

So needless to say, that snack-shack at Sandy Neck Beach is no joke.  It is absolutely delicious!

Three thumbs up for a chillaxin’ day at the beach and for just taking it easy when we needed it the most.  :)

Oh, and Happy Friday!!!  :)

 

The Wedding Day

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Ashley’s wedding reception was being held at the Wychmere Beach Club, probably one of the most beautiful, upscale places that I have ever been to.  We were all pretty certain that at some point, someone from management was going to drag us all off the premises, declaring that we weren’t classy enough to be there.  Instead, everyone who worked there was exceptionally nice, courteous, and more than willing to help out with anything we needed.  Which then led us to the belief that we were probably all dreaming.

But when you’re dreaming about being at a place like that, you don’t ask anyone to pinch you and wake you up.  You just go with the flow and enjoy every moment.  ;)

Ashley had stayed on site the night before in an absolutely beautiful room that looked as though it had come straight out of a magazine.  This was where the bridesmaids met to get our hair done and also to do our makeup.  When I wasn’t snapping photo’s nonstop, I was gawking out the window at the ocean spread out before us.  (Classy, I know).

The hairdresser decided to do all of our hairstyles differently, which was very creative and fun.  For my hair, she did a side braid, which she then spun into a bun.  I absolutely loved it!

Here are a few more hairstyles that were done…

Oh, and I sort of- kind of loved the dresses Ashley had picked out.  The picture below doesn’t need any explanation for those of you who have been reading my blog for a few days or more.  ;)  For those of you who are new, let me explain that I have a stripe addiction.  And take a look at the skirts we were wearing!

Yes, I know, be still my heart!  :)

Ashley looked absolutely gorgeous in her wedding gown too!

The limo picked us up around 1:30pm to whisk us away for the photo-shoot.  (Ashley and her fiancé wanted to do photo’s before the wedding, allowing all of us the opportunity to enjoy the cocktail hour).

I don’t have any pics of the actual wedding, since I was standing up front with the other bridesmaids.  :)  But here are some pics from the fun, beautiful, and delicious wedding reception (which was also held right on the water).

(BEST wedding food I have EVER eaten, by the way).  :)  Sooo delicious!!!

Yes, it was breathtaking.  :)  AND even more importantly, my best friend Ashley had the beautiful, romantic wedding that she deserved.

A Wedding at the Cape

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This past weekend, my husband Nate, sister Sarah, and I piled into the car for a mini road-trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Actually, to be completely honest, Cape Cod isn’t all that far away from our New England homes.  But when you take into consideration the traffic (a.k.a. the time it takes to get there during peak season), the fact that I’ve only been there twice, and the fact that Sarah had never been – well – it rather did feel like a road trip.  (We had enough luggage in the trunk to officially call it a road trip anyway, and Sarah had packed enough food to hold us over for about two weeks).

So, yeah, it was a weekend road trip for us!  :)

The reason for our weekend get-away was that my best friend Ashley was getting married at the Cape and had asked me to be her Matron of Honor and Sarah (also her very good friend) to be her bridesmaid.

The weekend started promptly upon our arrival at the Cape with a bridal party luncheon being held at the Hot Stove Saloon in Harwich.  (In the picture below, in order from left to right:  Sarah, Ashley, Me).  We could almost all pass for sisters, I think!  :)

Sarah and I had decided to split a plate, and we went with the chicken salad sandwich.  (Yeah, I know, I know, I never eat chicken these days.  Well, this preggo girl suddenly wanted a chicken salad sandwich, and I wasn’t about to argue with myself).  :)  It was really delicious and definitely one of the top five chicken salad sandwiches I’ve ever eaten out.  It was really fresh tasting and had a hint of garlic (which I love).

The fries weren’t too shabby either.  ;)  YUM!!!

Once finished with lunch, Nate, Sarah, and I drove to the hotel to check in.  Nate and I have stayed at the Mariner in Yarmouth before, and we were not only fans of the price but also of how clean it was.  It’s not cheap to stay at the Cape, so we were all for staying at the Mariner once more.  Besides, they have a really awesome, wooden chair out front that makes for fun photo-shoots (in addition to their own tiny version of a mini-golf course and a small playground).

After going for a small walk for coffees (don’t worry, decaf for me), Sarah and I began the serious task of getting ready for the rehearsal dinner.  Oh, who am I fooling?  We goofed off and laughed until our ribs hurt.  (Don’t feel too bad for Nate.  He’s a goofball too, so he fits right in).  :)

The rehearsal went really well, and – once again – Ashley proved why I call her Martha Stewart.  She was completely organized (while looking absolutely put-together and gorgeous in her white, polka-dotted dress).  And the bridesmaids looked absolutely adorable too, I must say!

 

The rehearsal dinner was Italian food, and I was absolutely starving by this point.  I’m pretty sure that I beat both Sarah and Nate at finishing a plate of food, but then I still had room to split a piece of carrot cake with Sarah.  (Ya know, I am eating for two after all… and rehearsing a wedding takes up a lot of energy).  :)

Next on the agenda was to crash in the hotel room watching television before falling asleep.  Morning, and wedding festivities, would come early!  :)

Baby Name Reveal!!!

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Nate and I have had three potential baby names picked out for weeks.  The only slight problem we ran into was that all three were girl names…. and we found out last Monday that Baby B is a boy.  And even though we knew we had more than enough time to brainstorm boy names, we still were a little nervous; because – for years – we have run into the same issue.  When we dreamed about the future and thought about our favorite baby names, we could only come up with comical boy’s names that we would never name our potential son.

Like Colby… Jack.  Get it?  Colby Jack, like the cheese?

Yeahhh, maybe you had to be there?  ;)  Nate and I sure thought it was hilarious!

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(No wonder my mom was terrified, when we told her that we were going to pick out the baby name without any assistance.  She was terrified as to what her future grandson would be named).

No lie, when I called my mom to tell her that we had officially picked out a name for Baby B, her response was, “Oh no!”  Which made me nervous too, even though we both burst into laughter after her outburst.  But don’t worry, she loves the name we picked out as much as we do!  :)

So that brings me back to the important news.  Our baby’s name!!

Nate is actually the one who picked it out first, suggesting ‘Brady’ as a potential name.  For those of you who are familiar with the New England Patriots (and with how obsessed my husband is with the football team), you probably aren’t in the least bit surprised.  Tom Brady is a legend in these parts, and the quarterback is still running strong.

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I surprised him, however, by absolutely loving it!  ‘Brady’ just sounded right somehow.  As my sister Sarah so eloquently put it, “It’s as though his name was Brady all along, but we just didn’t know it yet.”  And although Nate and I slept on it for an entire week and ran through endless baby name lists, we always came back to ‘Brady’.  No other name felt right.

For the middle name, we have always known that we wanted it to be ‘Paul’ after my dad.  Although we have been influenced by many amazing people, my dad is someone that both Nate and I truly look up to, probably more than I could put into words.  (You should have seen the look on my dad’s face, when he found out that our little Brady is going to be named after him.  His face was beaming and so filled with pride).  :)

So baby’s official name is Brady Paul.

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Our little Brady.  :)  Yes, it really does sound right!

Preggo Journal – Week 20

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How far along:     20 weeks!

How big is baby:  This week, according to websites that compare baby to the size of veggies and fruits, Baby B is the size of a banana.

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 Total weight gain:   14 pounds, so far.  (Technically, you’re only supposed to gain about 5 pounds your first trimester, but my doctor isn’t worried about it… so neither am I.  As long as me and baby are healthy, I’m happy!!  Also I was eating a lot to help control the nausea for the first trimester, so hopefully – now that I’m in the second trimester – the weight gain will balance out).

 Gender:  Boy!!  :)

Name:  We’ve picked a name and will be announcing it very soon.  YAY!!!

 Maternity clothes:My jean shorts are maternity from Target, and I also have a very comfy maternity sundress (the black one I’m wearing in the pic above).  Other than that, everything else isn’t maternity yet.  But I am taking advantage of belly bands and keeping the top button of my jeans unbuttoned, because they’re getting a little snug around the belly.  :)   And my clothing options that still fit are definitely starting to become much more limited, so maternity clothes will soon be my best friend!

 Sleep:   I sleep really well during the night (other than waking up fifty-million times to pee), but I wake up super early every morning for some reason.   (This week was particularly hot and humid, so I also took two afternoon naps).

 Best moment of this week:   The gender reveal ultra-sound, for sure!  We were so excited to find out that our sweet little baby is a boy.  Receiving the crib that my parents ordered for us was a close second though.  :)  I can’t wait until Nate puts it together!!

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Awkward moment this week:  So I ran into a girl that I used to work with, and I told her that I’m pregnant.  She congratulated me and asked how far along I was.  I said “four weeks” with a smile, not realizing that I had replaced ‘months’ with ‘weeks’.  She looked a little puzzled, but then continued on with the conversation without missing a beat.  When she walked away, I realized what I had done, quickly found her, and laughingly said, “Oops, I’m actually four months!”

She laughed, pointed at my belly, and said, “That makes more sense!”

She walked away… and then I realized, “Wait, I’m actually five months!”

But I didn’t want to look like an idiot, so I didn’t chase her down with this corrected information.  ;)

 

Miss anything:I really, really miss running.  My doctor gave me the go-ahead to run, but my body just doesn’t feel up to it.  So I’ve been walking instead.

Movement:Just tiny little flutters that feel like gas bubbles in my tummy.  :)

 Food cravings:   Mashed potatoes… and pretty much any carb in general!  That being said, my favorite food of the week was a BLT.  My friend Liz introduced me to nitrate-free, turkey bacon, and it is amazing!

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Anything making you queasy or sick:     Chicken.  I still can’t stand the taste or smell of it.

Symptoms:  My upper back aches ALL the time.  The backaches get worse at night, so my hubby has been giving me backrubs before bed.  I’m convinced that his knickname should be ‘Olga’; because when he feels a knot in my back, he really works it out.  It hurts SO much when he does it… but then my back feels a little better, so the pain is worth it!!!  Ha, ha.

 Have you started to show yet:Oh, yes, I have officially popped!  Just the other day, Nate looked at my belly and said, “Wow, you really look pregnant.”  Then he smiled and said, “It looks good on you.”  :)  That made my heart happy.

 

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Labor signs:     Still way too early for that!

Happy or moody most of the time:    I’d say that I was happy for about 99% of the week!  ;)  I did have a rough day of pregnancy hormones once this week (I wanted to cry all day), but I can honestly say that I’ve been so happy and positive most days.  So no complaints there!

Final thought:  I cannot believe that I’m halfway there!!!!