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June 2016


    Summer Weekends

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    This weekend was as close to perfect as they come. I can’t stop thinking about how many/few weekends we have left before the little guy gets here and everything changes.

    I know that change is good and necessary for growth, but this weekend I found myself wishing, more than a few times, that I could just put our lives on pause for one more summer. (And since I’m making rather far fetched wishes to begin with – let’s make that one more summer, not pregnant, OK? Mama wants a summer cocktail.)

    J and I will be celebrating six years together this summer and we’ve definitely had our fair share of glorious, free summer weekends together. So when the little guy comes and we can hold him instead of just theorizing about who he’ll look like and how little sleep we’ll get — I’m willing to bet we won’t feel like we’re giving up anything at all, and we’ll love our new normal.

    But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that right now, it’s scary to think that in 6-8 weeks the weekends (or any day, for that matter!) won’t be spontaneous celebrations of great weather and searches for great food. For a little while, anyway.

    And that’s definitely how I’d describe this past weekend.

    I woke up Saturday and spent an hour or so partaking in my favorite Saturday morning ritual: making fun of Food Network chefs (I’m looking at you, Trisha Yearwood!), drinking coffee and browsing Pinterest. I headed out for a very slow walk down to the end of Olive Park and back, intended to head over to Navy Pier but it was so hot (already almost 90!) I decided that probably wasn’t the best idea. Olive Park is by far the most beautiful park in the city and I love watching people swim at the beach and watching the boats out on the water. I think all the time about bringing the little guy down there for picnics and eventually, to run around and play.

    J and I made a big breakfast at home, then I headed down to the pool where I snagged a great chair and read magazines for a few hours in the shade until J came out to join me when the sun came out. Floating in the pool feels like heaven these days, especially on a 95 degree day.

    We headed out on our balcony to watch the America’s Cup races for a while and I while I admit to not having a clue what they were doing out there, seeing the lake full of boats is the best thing ever, and I could watch them all day.

    J’s birthday was the middle of this week, so I had made reservations for Saturday evening to celebrate at Spiaggia. The atmosphere and food were incredible — the gnocchi in particular was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. And we had a great table overlooking Oak Street Beach on Michigan Avenue… definitely a pinch-me moment!

    And then we did something I swore I’d never do: headed to Navy Pier on a Saturday night for a fireworks boat cruise. I stay away from Navy Pier at all costs during busy times because it sets my claustrophobia into high gear, but seeing the fireworks from the water has long been on our Chicago bucket list. Anything for Jason 🙂 It was still in the 90’s and extremely humid, but once we grabbed our seats on the boat and got a little breeze, I (almost) forgot about being jostled by strangers and the fact that my hair was sticking to my neck.

    And it was totally worth it. The view of the city under the fireworks was nothing short of spectacular. I love Chicago and I am so lucky to live here.

    Sunday morning we slept in and then I grabbed a Zipcar and headed out on my mission: to fill up our patio planter with flowers. Something I’ve said I’d do for the last 3 years we’ve lived here, by the way!

    My little urban gardening experiment was surprisingly therapeutic, and I’m hoping the flowers fill out a little bit (and also that we find a way to straighten the flower box that apparently was not meant for condo balcony railings!)

    The flurry of activity the day before (plus wearing heels to dinner) left me pretty pooped despite a good night’s sleep, so I ran a few more errands then indulged in a long mid-afternoon nap. I woke up and relocated myself to the couch for some research for our winter vacation, Jason grilled us dinner and we called it an early night.

    Change may be a-comin’, but it’s hard to feel anything but grateful when a weekend is as perfect as this one was.


    Pregnancy: 31 Weeks


    And just like that – we have single-digit weeks left to go! How did that happen?! 9 weeks feels both very far and very close, especially considering that due dates basically come with a 2 week range on either end.


    My app is basically giving up and today said my baby is the size of “four navel oranges.” Points for creativity, at least? He’s probably somewhere around 3.5 lbs, and I can feel every ounce of that, particularly at night. We can visibly see him pushing against my belly every night now and can differentiate between his little head and an elbow or a foot. A few times, his head has been pushed so hard against me that I could feel the shape of his little skull. Incredible.

    I’ve given up my crusade to name him now before the baby is born and have agreed with my husband to wait. We have a strong front runner for his name, but we’re going to make sure he looks like the name we have in mind once he’s here – and we have a solid list of backups ready to go.

    We’re hoping to squeeze in one more 4-D Ultrasound before we get cut off because there’s not enough room in there to get a good view of him! I’m so curious to see how his face has changed from 19 weeks and now it will compare to what he looks like when he’s here.

    I’ve read that he’s also heading into a growth spurt at this point and I have to admit I really can’t imagine him gaining 4-6 more pounds of fat in there… where am I going to put him?!


    All in all, I’m feeling pretty darn good. High energy (which I attribute to a conscious effort to eat very, very well) and even though I feel slower and slower, I’m still feeling far better than I did in the first half and remind myself of that daily.

    The doctor said I actually lost a few lbs (but that the baby is growing normally) which surprised me but is probably due to eating better foods. I’ve been sticking to a mostly Whole-30 style diet with lots of fruit and starches to make sure I’m getting enough carbs. Oh, and I’m recently addicted to kefir, so I’ve added in a cup of that daily.

    I’ve noticed a little more swelling lately but I think that’s still fairly minimal. It was not minimal after my trip last week, but since coming home it seems to have mostly gone away.

    I’ve also been feeling some Braxton Hicks contractions, mostly in the same spot on my right side where he prefers to hang out. At first I thought it was just odd movement on the little guy’s part but thanks to our labor and delivery class the other week – I’m pretty sure we’re looking at warm-up contractions. I felt the first ones on the plane to SF, so I’m really, really glad I knew what I was dealing with there!

    On a less positive front, I was feeling so great that on Monday I worked out using light weights (both upper and lower body) and I have been feeling the pain since then. And it’s not in that good, muscle-stretching way… it’s all concentrated in my back. My back has been significantly better since cutting out any strength training and after this week, I’m pretty convinced I need to leave that until after the little guy is here if I don’t want to gimp around for the next 9 weeks. So sad! But I think if I just ditch the strength training, I’ll at least be able to keep up daily walks… which the last few days would have been impossible with the back pain. So, it’s a trade-off right now but there’s not much time left.


    Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself so, so happy and excited for J and I to meet our little guy. There are definitely times when it feels a little overwhelming, too, but I just know we’ll figure things out and it’s going to be this great adventure. Don’t ask me where my confidence is coming from – I have no clue.

    I’m really looking forward to a baby-filled weekend of fun. Saturday, I’m attending a Bump Club and Beyond event at the Swiss Hotel with my friend Lauren. It looks like some sort of baby expo? But I’m excited to chat baby stuff with her and see a ton of baby products in one place.

    And Sunday is my baby shower! I have no clue what the plans are so I’m just going with the flow, but it will be nice to celebrate with some of the women in my life. This little guy is already so loved and for that, I’m really grateful.

    Whew. With that, we’re heading into week 32!


    From San Francisco to Sedona – My Last Trip Before Baby!


    The view from my 25th floor room in San Francisco – not too shabby!


    Hills and trollies – quintessential SF


    Breathtaking Sedona colors


    My handsome date and I against the Sedona red rocks.


    But there’s no place like home.

    I’ve always thought travel is actually a form of time-traveling because weeks can disappear so, so quickly. Sitting here at home now it’s hard to believe I was already away and back for my last trip before the little guy arrives.

    I headed to San Francisco Monday-Thursday of last week for a planning session with my team at work. I have to admit, I was completely freaked out about being so far away from J this late in the pregnancy game. My food poisoning adventures on my previous trip really highlighted how stressful and scary it would be if anything went wrong and I were by myself. In the end, I told myself lightning wouldn’t strike twice (logic!) and was determined to have a great trip.

    I think the law of attraction was on my side because it totally worked and all legs of my flights (Chicago to San Fran to Phoenix, home!) were easily my best travel experience to date. A kind woman with TSA brought me to a new line that they were opening so there was no long standing wait in O’Hare’s dreaded security lines, I got PreCheck on all legs of my flight, empty seats next to me twice, bag off the plane first, etc. Oh, and Mike Tyson was on one of my flights! So thanks, Universe, for making it a great last run for my 8-month pregnant self.

    San Francisco treated me to beautiful weather and while I didn’t get to walk to the Bay, my favorite thing to do in SF, I was still happy to spend some time in my second favorite city in the US. I even made it to two dinners with my team without falling asleep at the table, a serious concern after long days of meetings!

    I had the day off on Friday, which was much needed when I arrived in Phoenix. J had wedding duties to attend to, but I was more than happy to lay by the pool under an umbrella and read. We had a great time with the couple’s families and friends on Thursday and Friday nights at a welcome and rehearsal dinner, and the actual wedding on Saturday arrived quickly. (A little too quickly – I could have spent an extra day at the pool!)

    The wedding was beautiful – I cried my little eyes out. The service was Catholic, and even though I’m Methodist, I really enjoyed being back in a church. It reminded me that I’d love to find a church that I can attend here at home – something I’ve intended to do for years but never quite follow through on.

    We made the drive out to Sedona right after the wedding and I slept pretty much the entire car ride. I think being on the go the whole week really (plus 100 degree temps in AZ!) caught up to me, so it was nice to catch a cat nap and awake to some of the most insanely gorgeous scenery I’ve ever seen.

    We checked in to our little hotel and wandered around Tlaquepaque, a small arts and crafts village that I’d read about before and was so, so happy to see was adjacent to our resort. I joked that taking a short walk to go shopping and eat ice cream was the extent of hiking I’d be doing… and to be honest, that statement could be the truth pregnant or not! Dinner that night was at the most beautiful restaurant I’ve ever seen – Mariposa, a Latin-inspired restaurant where we had the patio to ourselves. One of the bride’s friends was a food critic and secured us what should have been an impossible reservation for our group of 20 to enjoy the food and scenery in celebration of the new Mr. and Mrs.

    Everything about dinner was amazing, but by far my personal favorites were the virgin prickly pear cocktails and an ice cream cake with mango sorbet and a coconut crust. Back at the resort later, I looked up to see a sky full of the brightest stars and said a little prayer of thanks for all of the blessings in my life and the adventures to come.

    The next day we were up early and I was snoozing away another drive to the airport. (Poor Jason!) After a long day of travel, waking up to an 80 degree, cloudless Chicago sky the next morning and some serious kitty snuggles reminded me that there is really, truly no place like home.

    I don’t know what my next trip will be (well, my fingers are crossed that it’s a Caribbean getaway for J and I over a long weekend in the winter!) but until then, I’m happy to be in the best city in the world for the summer.

    Cheers, friends!