Halfway-ish there

I actually wrote this last week but since my 20-week ultrasound wasn’t until the end of the 20-week period and they have a firm no electronics policy followed by a procedure of waiting three days before I get the CD of pictures, which you also can’t print from but can take pictures of from the computer monitor…it’s actually easier to buy a gun than it is to look at my own medical information. All that waiting and the pictures are not even interesting enough to post.. How disappointing.

On the plus side, we got our welcome box from Amazon for having  registry on there. I do like free stuff and cute doggies.

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Anyway, some reflections on making it to the halfway point.

Working out

Working out is still comfortable for me, mostly. Little Zoya the Destroyer (I binged all of Glow early in pregnancy) is pretty pointed as far as an actual baby bump and it’s only been the past couple of weeks where I can’t wear tights or capris anymore because of where they hit on the bump. Strangely enough, all my shorts from SOAS and Oiselle are fine and fortunately it’s still 90 degree here (in October, absolutely ridiculous) so I’m not missing too much but I did order a couple of pairs of maternity leggings anyway.

Other clothes

All my pants and most of my shorts are now boxed up in my closet to make room in my drawers for maternity pants and shorts. I also switched to the maternity uniform for work and to say that I’m unimpressed would be an enormous understatement.

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The things I hate the most: the sleeves are slightly too short, it has buttons on the front (everything else is zippered now except this thing), the button tabs on the side are fixed so you can’t button further back for a tailored look because they’re basically a decoration, and the worst part of it is the pockets are tiny and mainly useless. I went from having four pockets on my top and six on my pants to four total and they’re all the same size and have velcro closures. I can’t fit my phone or wallet in them. Also on the pants the belly band is just a panel with a tight ring of elastic at the top that I swear is giving me heartburn. I am going to modify it, I’m just not sure yet how or when.

How I’m feeling

Fine, mostly. Apparently I’m having Braxton-Hicks contractions and Zoya is kicking up a storm, but I really don’t feel it. Baby movement is supposed to feel like fluttering and some other women also due in February are seeing and feeling visible kicks, but the closest I’ve come is feeling like period cramping occasionally, which could be the Braxton-Hicks I guess, or that feeling you get when a part of your body is pulsing. I am also really good at ignoring my body’s signs and feelings so that is probably another reason why I haven’t noticed anything – I’m generally too focused on whatever else it is that I’m doing.

The things that people say

I saved the best for last. A coworker told me that I really shouldn’t be lifting or doing anything other than walking because one of his kids was injured in utero. I love anecdotal advice the most. Also, I broke my policy of not discussing names and immediately regretted it when the woman I was talking to told me my names were “too old,” especially annoying after I’d already told her they were names that had belonged to deceased relatives. I’m back to not talking about names aside from the ones we aren’t using and even then only the really out-there ones, like Falcor.

 

No Disneyland events in 2018

I heard rumors about this a few days ago and then saw the announcement that they’ve cancelled/suspended the races held at Disneyland for 2018. I’d also heard they were having trouble with permits with the city of Anaheim and there’s speculation that it might also have to do partially with all the construction at DL.

I also wonder if it could have something to do with trying to revive waning interest in Disney races? For the past several race weekends now the challenges and the shorter races have sold out first and the longer, capstone races languish unsold. I think it was a couple of weeks ago someone was offering bibs for the Disney World Marathon for only $75, which is ridiculously cheap for a WDW race. I have to agree that I think they’ve outpaced themselves by raising the prices each year and then also now making it harder (impossible) for their travel agents to sell bibs only and not a lot of people also want to be forced into buying park tickets and also a hotel package.

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For me, a race weekend like Dopey and then the Castaway Cay Challenge were a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because of the cost

Even though I’m now much closer to WDW than DL, this is still such a bummer as DL trips were almost always cheaper than visiting WDW. There are excellent hotel options (I like staying at Grand Legacy at the Park, they have a military discount and are a block away from the entrances and also have a really good continental breakfast)off site and lots more food options than just in the parks, as well. On the plus side, since the races were typically held in the off-season, going to the parks now should be less crowded since there won’t also be all the runners there.

 

Lady of the Night

No, not selling my body for money except in the sense where I show up to work and they pay me every two weeks for my presence and whatever I do at work.

I’ve been working the mid shift this week which is already a challenge in itself, trying to convince your body that its circadian rhythm is wrong and you actually should be up all night and sleep all day, but also because I’m pregnant I can’t rely on caffeine as much as I probably would if I were not.

I’ve done overnight shifts before, they’re pretty routine in military life, but they tended to be limited to one night every few months and not a dedicated week of mid shift work.

For me, the keys to successfully staying awake all night and then sleeping most of the day:

Bring lots of food. When I worked individual mid shifts I’d get hungry and tired around 2 a.m. necessitating a run to the gas station where I’d buy energy drinks and candy. That’s not sustainable for a week (or adulating, really) so now I take the time to pack my food. I try to pack one actual meal plus plenty of healthy snacks. I love fruit so I tend to pack a lot of fruit.

A pregnancy consideration is I can have about 100mg of caffeine a day so I save my caffeine allotment for the mid shift. I’ll have one cup early in the shift and maybe a second one before the halfway mark, depending on how things are going. I also have tea and hot cocoa if I just want to sip something.

Take walking break. It’s hard to sleep if you’re moving so every hour or so I make sure I get up and walk around a bit.

Daylight lamps help. I bought a “happy light” in Alaska to simulate daylight when it was dark in the winter and to fend off the winter blues. It’s found a second life at my desk where its bright light does the same trick.

Bring something to keep you occupied during down time.. After a point, I don’t produce quality work and start getting a little loopy and tired. I bring a book or knitting with me so I have something low-key to focus on and keep me alert.

GO TO SLEEP. After the shift, obviously. I drive home, let my dogs out, and go straight to bed. To avoid waking up from sunlight, I use an eye mask to help keep things dark and also ear plugs sometimes.

I went to a baby show this weekend

I feel like I have a good handle on what things I still need for the baby but I also feel like I’m not qualified to feel like I have a handle on things yet. Because of that, I thought it would be worthwhile to go to a baby show in Atlanta over the weekend.

I had some trouble finding the location. It was in a ballroom on the sixth floor of a building, but the building with the address had legal offices on the bottom floor and they wouldn’t let you go through them (also they probably didn’t have access). Instead you were supposed to go down around the corner and take the elevator inside a separate parking garage to the sky bridge to the ballroom. I did two laps around the block before I asked for more specific directions.

Once inside the parking garage’s elevator, there was a sign unhelpfully telling you to 1) navigate to that location and then 2) take it to the sixth floor. Well, yeah, but some signage outside would have been more helpful than watching men and women in various stages of pregnancy wander around looking lost and confused. I like to think I look more pregnant than fat at this point but I had a couple of other women blatantly staring at my stomach area so possibly not.

Once inside, I checked in and got two big reusable shopping bags full of different samples. Also, because I show up to things early, I got a third big bag full of MeadJohnson samples. If you’re not familiar with MeadJohnson, welcome to the club I vacated just a day ago – they’re the folks who manufacture Enfamil, a well-known infant formula. I also stopped by the La Croix booth to try a new flavor. I really want to like La Croix and I just really don’t. I’ve tried pamplemousse and lime so far and yesterday I tried cranberry-apple (can we just call it cranapple already?) and had a similar reaction. I just don’t like La Croix…but I do like free drinks and it was hot and humid so I wanted to drink something.

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They had different levels of admission with different add-ons for each. Silver and Gold got baby carriers, and mine (Bronze) I got to enter 30 minutes early and an extra gift bag.

The expo part wasn’t bad as far as quality of the vendors, it was just disappointing how few there were. I was also disappointed in the lack of informational sessions they offered, there were only a couple, one on cloth diapering and one on baby wearing. I would have liked to have seen more sessions, even just on the products themselves or on other topics.

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They raffled off one of these babies. It was pretty sweet, but I can’t justify $250 for a temporary bed, even if it does play music and vibrate.

I was done looking at all the vendors in about 45 minutes and they didn’t do the raffle for prizes until 3:30 pm so I had a ton of time to kill. I took my gift bags back to my car and went to a Microsoft store in a mall nearby to ask some questions about discounts on their OS (spoiler: they didn’t know and it’s cheaper elsewhere). I had some lunch and then took the Atlanta MARTA back to the convention.

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The crowd wasn’t big so I thought my odds were pretty good

I was pretty impressed with the prizes they raffled off. It was everything from pacifier sets to bottle sample packs to a Stokke high chair and even a Halo bassinet. Sadly, I was not a winner of any raffle prizes, though I did get an entire case of Enfagrow from the MeadJohnson rep as he was packing to leave. I don’t have any plans on keeping a toddler milk drink in my pantry for 18ish months so I’m going to take it over to the local food bank later this week.

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Not shown: case of Enfagrow

In summary, was it worth it? Maybe. I *did* like the free samples I got, but I thought overall the show could have been a lot better. There is a bigger show that happens every year in April, which I didn’t go to (obviously) because I wasn’t pregnant then and I’m unsure whether I’ll go to it next year since Mini-K will be 2 months old and I’m not sure I want to try to do that with an infant. I think I’d be willing to go to another baby show, but I would likely do some more research to see the number and quality of vendors and classes they’re offering before I committed.

 

Embracing Fall When its Still 90 Degrees Out

We’re supposed to get cooler weather this weekend (thank goodness) but just because it’s still summer outside and I’m still wearing shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops doesn’t mean I don’t also want all the fall things in my life, too. 

For me, part of embracing fall is making everything pumpkin-flavored. I tried out this recipe this week and P even was a big fan (he is not a pumpkin lover like I am). I think it worked because it’s still flavorful and you can taste the pumpkin, but it’s not overwhelmingly PUMPKIN. Plus, it lends itself really well to the addition of your favorite hot sauce (which I put on almost everything).

Sneaky begging dog in the background


Recipe was modified from here though I added probably four times as much garlic and chili powder and red pepper flakes because I like my food spicy. 

* 1 pound ground beef
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste 

* 3 cloves minced garlic 

* 1 large onion, diced 

* 1 green bell pepper, chopped 

* 1 red bell pepper, chopped 

* 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained 

* 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 

* 1 (15 ounce) can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed 

* 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

* 2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes 

* 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes 

* 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree 

* 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 

* 2 teaspoons chili powder (or more of you like spicy)

* 1 teaspoon ground cumin 

* 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 

Directions

* Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir the beef in the skillet until crumbly and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes, garlic, and onion; continue cooking until the beef has browned and the onion has softened and turned translucent. Add the green and red bell pepper and cook 5 minutes more.

* Once the beef is cooked, add the kidney beans, black beans, Great Northern beans, tomato sauce, tomato sauce with garlic and onions, petite diced tomatoes, fire roasted diced tomatoes, and pumpkin puree in a large slow cooker. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder, cumin, and salt. 

* Cook on Low until the chili is hot, 1 to 2 hours.

Charleston Getaway

I knew I was going to be bummed about having to pull out of Augusta 70.3, even though I knew realistically that doing a tri in the second trimester was just not a good idea, so to avoid further feelings of sadness and missing out seeing all the shiny, sleek bikes pour into town, I booked us an AirBnB in Charleston for the weekend.

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Pineapple fountain in the Waterfront Park



I LOVE Charleston. It’s where we had our marriage ceremony and I was captivated with it from the start. Funny story-our actual marriage was by proxy as I was living several states away. I asked a friend of his I liked to be my stand-in and we did my vows over the phone. We did our ceremony a while later and chose to do an elope-acation with just us and in a place we’d never been-Charleston.
It also seemed fitting that we go back to Charleston now that we have our little one on the way for some alone time before we become a family of three.

Rainbow Row


We did a half day charter with Charleston Fish Rod Bending charters and had SO.MUCH.FUN. I’d wanted to do deep sea but the weather was pretty choppy from the storms so we did inshore instead. I had such an amazing time.


We caught a ray, a speckled trout, a sand perch, and several red fish (which fought like hell and were so much fun) including one really incredible big one that had a tag. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has a program where you report catching a tagged fish and they’ll send you a t-shirt. This beautiful fish was a solid 8.75 pounds and 29 inches long. We released all of our fish this time; I am 100% a fan of keeping and eating fish but we were meeting a friend for dinner and I didn’t want to have to stuff fillets into a ziplock bag and try to freeze them and keep them frozen.


We ate at several great restaurants, Ms Rose’s in West Ashley, and revisited some favorites, like Kaminsky’s where we went for dessert after our wedding in the Waterfront Park. Our only disappointment was Caviar and Bananas where our food was just bland and tasteless and the drinks were not chilled enough.

Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe


We walked along King Street and the Charleston City Market, went back to where we got married in the Waterfront Park, and spent a morning out at Ft. Sumter seeing the old fort.

Ft. Sumter ruin. The original was three times taller.


It was such a fun trip and definitely the right thing to do. I never even thought about the triathlon I was missing and I loved being able to reminisce with P about when we got married.

It’s all fun and games until your pants don’t zip

I had a surprise trip to the DC area last week and was excited to wear some clothes for the cooler weather (it’s still above 90 degrees at home right now as I’m typing this). I tried on all my clothes before I left to make sure they all still fit since some of my clothes have been getting a little tight.

I’m not sure what happened but Wednesday I pulled on the same jeans I’d worn the night before and although I could zip and button them, they felt much tighter and more uncomfortable than I remembered them ever feeling before. I always had the idea that I’d be able to get through the whole pregnancy either buying no new clothes or modifying what I had with some assists. That was clearly no longer an option. One of my relatives had given me a gift card to Motherhood Maternity and my hotel happened to be across the street from an outlet so I decided it was a good opportunity to do some shopping.

Since I’ll be pregnant/recovering from pregnancy down here where it’s pretty warm year-round, my wardrobe is a little more forgiving in that I won’t have to worry about making a winter coat fit. I tried to add some clothes that were easy to wear and could be dressed up a little if I wanted to look nicer.

Maternity Inspiration

 

By far, my favorite item so far has been Jessica Simpson’s skinny maternity jeans with a spandex belly band. Holy cow, these are easily as comfortable as my favorite pair of sweatpants. These leggings here look amazingly comfortable as well. (I’m totally okay with wearing leggings as pants).

I also bought a loose cardigan and a couple of side-ruches t-shirts that I could mix and match with other things for a little more variety.

I’m also loving these belted tops for looking nice and pretending that I have a middle section somewhere, and as always, Tieks ballet flats.

House Projects

I took advantage of Labor Day weekend by catching up on a number of house projects that have been sitting on my to-do list since I moved in. I had a master plan to get everything done before the movers showed up but I had to cut a few less-essentials and push those off. And then I kept pushing them off so finally that weekend I decided to get some of them done.

  1. Refinish the bathroom countertops. I used another kit from Giani Granite since I loved the kitchen results so much. I wanted a white counter in the bathrooms so I chose their White Diamond kit. I’m not as artistic as I wish I was, and I didn’t think it was as forgiving or intuitive as the Black Bombay kit, but overall I like it a lot better than the previous color. Also, P wholeheartedly likes it a lot better, so that’s a total win in my books.

2. Convert the spare bedroom’s closet bifold doors to French doors. I tried to see if I could just buy closet French doors, but you can’t. You can buy regular doors, bifold doors, or barn doors, but not French doors. I wasn’t interested in cutting down regular doors, or losing the entire wall to make a barn door happen, so I followed this tutorial (or rather, P did all the work and I sat there and scrolled through Instagram and helpfully held down the sides of the door while he screwed in the brackets) and am much happier with how they look and function now. I’m going to move the handles to the front of the door and paint them, but I’m debating caulking/spackling the center line where the hinges used to be. P says they’ll split but I’m hopeful they won’t.

3. I haven’t really loved the Recycled Glass color I painted the spare bedroom and what is going to be the nursery ever since we moved furniture in there. They get less light than the master bedroom and the green just looked sort of murky and sad. I had almost a full gallon leftover of Sea Salt so I repainted the nursery that and Lowe’s was having a rebate on paint so I picked up another gallon of Comfort Gray to redo the spare bedroom. I also put together the guest pop-up trundle bed so now we can actually have people over without making them choose between a camping cot or the couch.

4. Still working on the kitchen table. P is doing the sanding and staining since he’s convinced it will give me a miscarriage or something, but once that’s done we’re going to paint the bottom of it the same Dixie Belle chalk paint in Buttercream that we did six of the eight chairs already. If I have any leftover I may re-prime and redo a couple of the chairs that have tannin bleed-through. Right now I’ve relegated those to the desk and spare bedroom as additional furniture.

Maybe not the most exciting weekend, but it’s been great getting some of the longstanding projects finally done.

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale

Today is the last day of Lilly Pulitzer’s semi-annual After Party Sale, famous for its deep discounts on a brand that never has a sale section online.

I was fortunate that Disney Springs has a brand spankin new Lilly store and this year they let the stores open their doors for the sale a day early, meaning I got to get some shopping in before we left Disney to head home. There was still a line to get in and then a line for the fitting rooms and a line for the checkout, but I appreciated being able to try things on.

I also stopped by my home store in Georgia and did some shopping online. Each experience had different things available. The items available in the Florida store were different than what they had in stock in Georgia and online so Im glad I was able to try all three.

The last day of the sale ends today and there are still tons of great options available. Since I’m pregnant, I tried to buy things that I could still wear for a bit and hopefully camouflage my growing belly.

Lilly Pulitzer APS
First of all, I loved the Bohdi skirt when I tried it on. It’s lovely and flow and plenty of stretch and I should be able to wear this the entire time I’m pregnant.
The popovers are perfect for fall and I love the extra UPF protection built in, which makes them extra perfect for fall fishing trips or anytime I’m worried about sun exposure.
I saw this Kimora Kimono dress and thought it looked so different, unique, and beautiful. It had great reviews from all different sized women so I’m really looking forward to it arriving in the mail.
Lastly, I admit to loving leggings far more than I have reason to. The luxletic leggings are so soft and snuggly. Unlike this picture, the ones I bought go down to my ankles and I think will be perfect for working out or even tucking into some tall boots for fall.
I bought several other things; I have a definite weakness for their t-shirt dresses, but these were some of my very favorites.

Camping at Disney World

My original plan was two short Disney trips in September and November, but then I got pregnant, P signed a hunting lease, and looking at the crowd calendar I realized those two trips were going to be SUPER crowded at the parks. I canceled the other trips and made a plan for a slightly longer trip at the end of August when the parks were a lot less crowded.

I also managed to swing a discounted rate at Disney’s Fort Wilderness campsites. I think most people don’t know that Disney has a campsite; I didn’t until we went to the Hoop-de-due Revue last trip there. They have everything from tent sites to RV sites and even cabins you can rent. It has water transportation to the Magic Kingdom and bus transportation everywhere else. They also have free wifi throughout the campground, which I didn’t expect at all.

We did a tent site and it was really nice. The site was really big and even had a dedicated parking space in it for our car, though another site fit two cars in there pretty easily. There’s also electricity and water at the site, and a shared restroom/shower facility, called “comfort stations” dotted around so they’re never far away. It was a little like a gym facility, except the cleanest, nicest gym showers you’ve ever had with constant water pressure and hot water. I had read that they tended to be crowded in the mornings from 7 – 9 am, but never really found that to be the case. I never had to wait for a shower, sink, or toilet but that also may have been because we were in the off-season.

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Picture from Disney’s website. That little brown stump on the right has multiple electrical outlets as well as a water spigot.

We didn’t have any issues with mosquitos, either which was my other main concern. We went cat fishing the weekend before and I got bit severely and it was awful afterwards. I brought my diffuser and diffused citronella all night and the resort also gave us free DEET wipes. I think I saw maybe one mosquito around our tent area. P got some bites on his feet but those were more likely from walking through the tall grass.

We are used to Army “camping” so our standards for comfort are significantly lower than the average person and we had the most bare bones campsite out of everyone else. I’d be willing to bet most of those folks out there have never slept on the ground in just a sleeping bag while it rained on them. Others had mosquito-netting popups over their picnic tables and a couple even had AC units that attached to their tents. The hardest thing was just how hot it was at night. P opted to sleep outside while I just took the rain fly off the tent at night to allow for more air flow. We had our sleeping mats so it wasn’t uncomfortable, just uncomfortably warm.

The resort itself is huge and has an internal bus system available, or you can rent a golf cart or bikes. We brought our own bikes but didn’t use them except for the first morning when we rode them down to the commissary for breakfast. Since we got free parking at the parks, it was easier and quicker to just drive ourselves rather than waiting for a bus. Since I’m not drinking, we also knew we’d have a designated driver each night when we drove back.

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We stayed in the 2000 loop which was about 2/3 mile from the boat transportation area.

Overall, I liked it and I would stay there again but I’d do it differently. We’ve already discussed how we’re going to need a bigger tent once our baby comes and since we already have two smaller tents that are good for solo or joint hunting trips, we’d like to get something fairly large and roomy that P can stand up in and can adapt to our growing family. I would also like to look at renting either a pop-up camper or even an actual RV in the future.

I loved how affordable the campsites were. Normal pricing for the off-season started at $53/night and then we also got a reduced rate making it even lower. You also get all the perks of staying at a Disney resort, like Magic Bands and Extra Magic Hours, and can add on the Disney Dining Plan if you want. There were a ton of activities at the resort all day and into the evening and a lot of families seemed to be enjoying themselves. You could honestly just spend all your time there and never even go to the parks.

We did our last two nights of our trip at Shades of Green, a military property on Disney. I have a deep, abiding love for SOG that will never go away. They remodeled recently and now have a big, covered parking garage and remodeled rooms. They’re also right across the street from the Polynesian so we just walk over and take the monorail to wherever we’d like to go, but also have bus transportation to the parks. They have Extra Magic Hours, but don’t do Disney Dining or Magic Bands, and no free parking at the parks. I also like that the pricing is tiered depending on the rank structure and the average room can easily sleep five or more so it’s a great value for military families. SOG has been my default place to stay for years now, but I may be switching my affinity to the campsites now that I’ve got some experience under my belt there.

 

 

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