Last Class of 2016

It’s official! I taught my last exercise class last night. My medical leave kicks in October 1st and I won’t get back to teaching until 2017.

I’m pretty proud of myself, that I made it to now. Yesterday was 35w 2d and I made it through my full 60 minute class. I made modifications, toned down what I needed to, but I still did it! It’s definitely time to hang up the mic because I know I’m not giving my students the full push they need, but I’m happy that I made it to the end of September.

I’m already nervous for my return to the teaching stage because I have been teaching at least three classes a week (sometimes four or five or more) for over five years now. No breaks. Ok… maybe a two week break here or there for vacations, but nothing this long. I’m really trying to keep away from the mentality of “all that work going down the drain” as I think about the lost endurance. (Not to mention that I’ll be so out of practice.) I try to frame it more as a challenge to myself.

Speaking of last classes…. things are starting to get a bit more countdown-ish over here. The hospital called me earlier this week, wanting to confirm insurance information. This weekend is marked on my calendar (as it has been for almost the entire pregnancy) with reminders to do things like install the car seat base and pack a hospital bag and start eating dates. I have also added a trip to a big-box baby store to the to-do list for the weekend – gotta buy all those little necessities no one got us (I mean, why wouldn’t our friends want to buy me breast pads and nipple ointment???).  My dad happens to be driving through town for work this weekend as well and he’s promised to cart down some of the stuff they have from my family shower.

All of these things point to the very real fact that our baby is coming. Quite soon in fact. One more flip of the calendar in ONE DAY and we’ll officially be in his birth month (or at least, his due date month).

Some days, as I contemplate that thought, I’m brimming with joy over the idea that he’ll be here! In my arms! Where I can hold him and kiss him and love him. Other days, the same thought just brings about a sort of panic over the fact that he’ll be here. In my arms. Where I’ll be expected to feed him and change him and keep him alive and stuff. Eep! Not sure I’m ready for that yet.

Either way – October is right around the corner and this baby is on his way.


Oh what a weekend

It’s quite possibly the most cliche phrase ever uttered on a Monday, but – man – I wish it were the weekend again. Luffy and I had a wonderful weekend and I would pay good money to rewind the clock to Friday so that we could do it all again.

The weekend started a few hours early for me when I left work around 1:00 on Friday afternoon. I picked up some lunch for Luffy and I and headed to his office for a little desk picnic. I don’t know about you (and your SO), but seeing him earlier than usual always puts me in the best mood. I then headed out to run some errands and clean up the house a bit in preparation of our EPIC Saturday plans.

First up Saturday were our standing lunch plans with Luffy’s parents. Not all that exciting, per se, but always delicious. We then headed over to a friend’s house for the last baby shower. This one was co-ed (and hosted by mutual friends), so Luffy tagged along. We had a wonderful shower, filled with fun games (the boys tried to guess the flavors of baby food and then, in a much more appreciated game, tried to drink beer from baby bottles), tasty food, and good company. Our friends outdid themselves and some of my favorite outfits came from them (seriously! little tiny Fullmetal Alchemist and One Piece onesies!! so adorable).

And then, as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, Luffy arranged for the most delightful treat for me and our friends: a private Frank dinner, hosted at our house.

Now, I’ve talked about Frank before, but one thing that I didn’t mention is that they actually offer in-home cooking (and some of the Frank experience) for private dinner parties. It wasn’t something I’d ever seriously considered (little awkward with just two people, don’t you think??), but Luffy decided that it would be a lovely thank-you to our friends for hosting our shower and a surprise for me. AND I’M SO HAPPY THAT HE DID. We had THE BEST time. He didn’t quite get to make it a surprise for me (he had to check that I was ok with it being at our home because, you know, he knows me and knew I’d want to clean all the things before I had professional chefs using my kitchen), but he did do all the heavy lifting of the planning and the prep.

Our chef arrived at little after 6pm. Our friends arrived at 7pm. Champagne was popped at 7:10 – and things only went up from there.

I’m not a food blogger, so bear with me and my woefully lacking descriptive skills, but you guys! The food! Was just unbelievable! We had risotto balls and THE MOST INCREDIBLE SOUP I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY LIFE and octopus with assorted supporting cast members (like a delicious black bean sauce and a Cara Cara orange wedge topped with beer salt!) to create your perfect bite and chicken with waffles and blackberry ginger sorbet with granola and chocolate chunks. The soup! Best soup ever. Tasted like queso, but even more delicious. And I had three waffles to accompany my chicken. And Luffy told our chef that I like pickled things, so there were many freshly pickled items to choose from. And the dessert was incredibly refreshing and the perfect way to end the meal. The entire evening was wonderful. The wine flowed like water (for my non-pregnant friends) and they even made a couple of non-alcoholic mixed drinks for me. I had to turn in earlier, of course (a friend practically put me to bed herself after she caught sight of my drooping eyelids), but our friends stayed until about two in the morning.

Our Saturday was packed full of activities, so we did absolutely nothing on Sunday except enjoy the rain and football (and knock out the thank you notes).

Ahhhh, weekend perfection.

34 week checkup and a bit of bad news

I had my 34 week check-up today, complete with growth scan to see how Little Dumpling is doing. Unfortunately, the sonogram revealed that our little guy is breech. Even more unfortunately, my doctor won’t allow me to deliver a breech baby vaginally and with Little Dumpling’s due date just six short weeks away, there’s not a whole lot of time left for him to turn. So. I have a c-section scheduled.

I’ll be honest that I’m very bummed by this news.

There’s still time! We’re doing another sonogram at my next appointment to check his position. I’ll, of course, be following just about every recommendation laid out by the fantastic site – Spinning Babies. He was head down at my last ultrasound (23 weeks), so I’m hopeful that he’s head up only because of tight ligaments or something “fixable.” I have two weeks to help him turn.

But – when my doctor’s office called me back to inform me that my c-section was officially on the schedule, I broke down a bit.

It’s not that I’m against a c-section; I’d previously been fine with the thought of having an emergency one. Mainly, my negative reaction comes from the knowledge that I won’t even be allowed to try. I won’t labor. I won’t have that experience. And it’s quite possible that I never will because we all know how difficult it is to find a doctor who’s willing to try for a VBAC. (And before this takes a turn for the truly melodramatic, I do know that there are plenty of other options for a VBAC if that’s really what I want. No need to worry about that right this second.)

I’m still processing this news and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. On one hand, there’s the allure of knowing exactly when he’ll arrive – he’s already on the schedule now! Since I won’t labor, it removes some of the fear (I know for sure I won’t be laboring for 48 hours – alternately, I also know I won’t be giving birth on the side of the road because I didn’t realize I was in labor). But it’s also major abdominal surgery. There’s a lengthier hospital stay and recovery time involved. The surgery comes with its own set of risks, just like any other surgery. And again, there’s the simple fact that I’ll miss out on part of the experience of labor. I also tend to agree that women’s bodies were made to labor and give birth and fear the intervention of a c-section. (I can’t help but think that my abs would be better off not sliced in half.)

My apologies for the all-over-ness of this entry. Welcome to my brain at the current moment. Like a browser with a hundred tabs open.

I know I don’t need a definitive label on my emotions right now but I just can’t decide if I’m ok with this. I want to labor. I want him to move into a head down position before my next appointment. I’m not sure how I’ll feel if he’s still breech. I’m not sure if my gut reaction to this news is simply the disappointment of learning (already) that a c-section is very likely in my future (and again – ALREADY on the schedule – somehow that just makes it seem worse even though my OB assured me that he did it just to hold a place and that we’ll cancel it if Little Dumpling’s head down by my next appointment) or if my reaction has more to do with the fact that I was comfortable with the path I was on and have just been abruptly moved to a new path (I’m often not very good processing big changes immediately).

The odd thing is, I almost don’t quite believe them. I mean, I am no expert on fetal positioning and I’ve already mentioned that I can’t tell an arm from a leg from a butt. And yet…. I feel his hiccups down low in my pelvis, just like other ladies with head down babies say. I feel kicks and strong pushes up by my ribs. To me, he feels head down. I suppose this just goes to show what I know, right?

Anyway – send us positive thoughts. I’ll be spending the next two weeks of my life upside down.*

*Kidding! Totally kidding. I will be spending the next two weeks of my life religiously following the advice and stretches of Spinning Babies.

My alternate lives

One thing I realized while wedding planning, that I later realized could be applied to my entire life, was the idea that there are many paths to follow. We can only choose one path, obviously, and even though you didn’t pick one of the other paths, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been a great option. I originally had this thought (truly light-bulb style) while lamenting the fact that I couldn’t just wear ALL THE DRESSES. (I mean, why not right? I could have one for my entrance and then a mid-ceremony dress change and then a reception dress and perhaps a mid-reception dress change and maybe a rehearsal dress and a post-reception dress and lace on tulle on sequins WOO!)

Ahem, of course, once I made peace with the fact that I could not wear all the dresses and instead had to pick just one that maybe wasn’t THE dress, but a wonderful dress nonetheless, this thought process applied itself to other aspects of wedding planning. We obviously couldn’t have a small, intimate backyard wedding while also having a large, glamorous black-tie affair. We couldn’t do a destination wedding that also happened to be at my grandparents’ house. We couldn’t do ALL THE IDEAS, just like I couldn’t wear ALL THE DRESSES. We had to pick one and perhaps give a little wave to the other ideas, because they were great too, but they were not the idea we went with.

(I’m making it seem like I had a lot of wedding planning angst here…. I did not. I was mostly just sad I couldn’t wear all the wedding dresses.)

SO ANYWAY – I swear I have a point that I’m getting to: In life, we have to choose a path. It might not be THE path, but it’s a pretty good path (I mean, hopefully, gah). We make decisions about where we live and what we do for a living and we’re deciding our path as we go. Naturally, there are things that fall by the wayside as we decide our path. I do not live in DC because …. I don’t live in DC. Not saying I wouldn’t enjoy living there or that it’s not for me; I just don’t live in DC because I live in Texas and it never occurred to me to move out of state. You catch my drift?

Same goes with careers. We all eventually find ourselves working. For the majority of us, our job is just that – a job. A means to earn money to pay for our living expenses. Bonus points if you don’t hate it. Gold star if you actually enjoy it. I’m an accountant because I very logically decided to be an accountant. It doesn’t rely on my body (which will probably give out much earlier than my brain), it has a fair amount of job security (the world will always need accountants), and it pays more than peanuts. However, there are several career paths I could have chosen, had I not decided to follow my logical brain:

Bakery Girl Belle: I love to bake and I’m fairly good at it (if I do say so myself). I could totally see myself working in a bakery (as opposed to running it, which is a totally different career/life). This Belle might not have left West Texas as there are plenty of bakeries there (even fancier ones!), but I might have eventually still made my way to DFW. My days would be filled with sugar and fondant and pastry cream. I would use my eye for detail to painstakingly ice a thousand cookies or frost dozens of cupcakes. My artistry would probably need some improving (stick figures are pretty much my highest level of expertise), but I could always handle the trace/repeat designs. I might also be a solid ten pounds heavier in this life, because who can resist all those scrumptious sweets? My feet would be sore and my back would ache by the end of the day, but I would be making the world a better place through the power of sugar!

Professional Dancer Belle: I took dance lessons from the age of 5 all the way up to 23 – nearly two decades worth of lessons and rehearsals and recitals. I ultimately decided against a career in dance because (1) it takes a lot of work, (2) no, more work than that, (3) the pay isn’t great (might even be non-existent), (4) it relies on my body, so if that goes, I’m out of a job, and (5) very little job stability. I probably couldn’t have made this profession work in West Texas. I might have had more luck in DFW, but I probably would have landed somewhere like LA, New York, or Vegas. However, if I had gone this route, I would be very fulfilled with days full of rehearsals and perhaps an audition or two. I have always loved to perform and would be ecstatic that part of my job description included regular performances.

Food Blogger Belle: The PERFECT career. Food + blog + stay-at-home + baking + cooking = AWESOMENESS. Seriously guys, I would leave my current job in a heartbeat if only I could (a) take better pictures than I do (as evidenced by the hundreds of blurry shots of Jas on my phone) and (b) not have to suffer through the start-up phase of food blogging. That wouldn’t be fun. So, basically I want none of the hard work that goes into setting yourself up for success, but I do want to reap all of the rewards. Sounds about right.

Veterinarian Belle: Oh you know I had to put this on here, right? What self-respecting animal lover has NOT thought about days spent squeeing over puppies and kittens? But then, there’s always that moment of heartbreak when you consider everything else that goes into being a veterinarian (handling sick animals, not being able to instantly make sick animals better because oh my gosh he just looks so sad poor wittle baby) and we change our minds. Probably for the best.

Fitness Instructor Belle: So I know that I am technically a fitness instructor now, but if I had my way (basically, if money was no problem) I would be a full-time instructor. I would LOVE for fitness to be my profession. I love helping others achieve their fitness goals and I love teaching classes (my current program, obviously, but also kickboxing and step and BOSU and water aerobics and barre and yoga and I COULD TEACH THEM ALL). I’m still holding on to this one for my post-professional life (aka, when Luffy and I are financially independent and I can do whatever I want for a living).

So yeah, those are some of the life paths that I could have chosen, but didn’t. Kind of fun to think about.

*And now that I’ve written all this down, I realized that a much better way to introduce this topic would have been what Barbie do I want to be????  Ballet Barbie? Blogger Barbie? Baker Barbie? Vet Barbie? Now I’m just picturing the outfits and cute little accessories…. 

Hi! Bye!

Man you guys…. it’s noon on a Friday and I haven’t updated all week! Atrocious! In my defense, work has gone kind of kablooey again (maybe I should just consider this the new norm) and while I thought I had it all sorted out and solved and that today would be slow…. well best-laid plans and all that. I’m here for some quick updates because I can’t let a week go by without something – anything – new posted here; that would just be irresponsible!  So I present to you this week, in a nutshell:

  • My hips hurt! And I feel like an old man because my hips hurt. At first, I thought I might have legitimately hurt myself teaching my class on Wednesday evening. I woke up in the middle of the night Wednesday night (to go to the bathroom, of course) and immediately felt the pain in my left hip. The pain stayed the entire day Thursday and it’s not really any better today. And now! My right hip has decided to join in on the fun (perhaps it was jealous of the attention?) and has decided that it too shall be in pain. So now I’m wondering if maybe it’s just a 33-almost-34-weeks-pregnant thing. Yay.
  • Luffy was craving some Peking duck yesterday so he turned to the Googles to get some recommendations and that’s how we found ourselves in a fantastically tiny and very noisy Chinese restaurant last night. The food was so good you guys. We had several types of dumplings and the Peking duck and I just want to go back to yesterday so I can have that meal again.
  • I’m looking forward to next week because we have (what should be) our last ultrasound scheduled for Wednesday morning. We’ll get another peek at Little Dumpling and I’m excited to see how much he’s grown.
  • I’m also pumped because the shelves I ordered for the nursery come in today and that means I can make more headway into organizing! Woo!!
  • Uh …. combs through brain trying to come up with more interesting stuff …. uh ….
    • Jas was really hyper and adorable yesterday.
    • Luffy and I got a two pound box of chocolates last Saturday and I finished them on Wednesday.
    • Two pounds of chocolate!
    • Over five days!
    • I had help, to be fair.
    • I was also unreasonably disappointed to see the chocolate did not, like, replicate overnight so I could have some more Thursday.

…. And that’s all I’ve got folks! I’m looking forward to doing a lot of sitting this weekend, interspersed with some nursery organizing. Should be super exciting! Maybe I can get some more chocolate…..

Gender Inequality

Earlier today, a coworker flagged me down (on my way to the bathroom!) to apologize for what he said on a conference call Tuesday. I wracked my brain, trying to think of what he had possibly said that could warrant the apology. My brain turned up zilch. It was a routine call, with a lender, nothing out of the ordinary had been said. Then he chuckled, saying that he said something to the effect of “[the lender] had his panties in a wad” and that he felt bad for making the comment. Our partner, who was also on the call, had taken him to task later in the day apparently.

I blinked at him a few times as I thought really? You’re apologizing for that? Lololololol. Panties…. ehehehehe.

I quickly assured him that his comment didn’t even register on my radar and that, while I appreciated it, he was perfectly fine and there was no harm done.

I believe I’ve mentioned (probably here or here) that I work in a small office. We have 14 professionals, though we’re looking to add another this year, and two admins. I am the only professional female, although the two admins are also female. I’m an accountant, but I work in an industry that is also heavily dominated by men. This means that I often find myself as the only female in a meeting or on a call, even with external parties.

When I originally went through the interview process, my (future) boss went over this fact several times, wanting me to be crystal clear on the circumstances and also wanting to make sure that I didn’t have any qualms or hesitations about working with mostly men. I assured him that I didn’t and he assured me that they would all take care in creating a work environment suitable for both sexes (in other words, no keggars to celebrate victories and no strippers in the conference room …. not that a professional office would ever deem this sort of behavior acceptable).

To the credit of my coworkers, they really have gone out of their way to make sure that the environment here is inviting and comfortable. Some days though, like today, I have to laugh because they go above and beyond what’s necessary, worried that they’ve offended my dainty sensibilities or something. While I greatly appreciate the thought, it always makes me laugh and I really want to assure them that I’m not that uptight.

I’ve gotten a handful of apologies over the years, for comments that might be just on the wrong side of unprofessional. I’ve never actually been offended by anything anyone’s said here. The closest I’ve come was this meeting, but that was probably fueled by some hormones and also the envy of what life looks like for men (seriously! no yearly appointments just to get birth control, which, last time I checked, benefits both sexes! Or, while we’re at it, none of this “getting ready for work” bullshit – they just throw on clothes and go! Ugh!)

The most memorable apology I’ve had to date though came from one of the partners. In a meeting earlier that day, he had made a quip about a rather annoying third party manager and how he drove a nice car because he was compensating for … things. The entire room laughed, including myself, because that’s hilarious. On a roll, he then referred to a Hooter’s-type restaurant as a “titty joint” which, yeeeeah, probably not the best choice of words for the office setting, but the comment wasn’t directed at me and mah boobs, so whatever. However, an hour or so after the meeting ended, he stopped by my desk to apologize. My boss (who, for clarity, is actually underneath this partner in terms of corporate hierarchy) had admonished him for making the off-the-cuff remarks.

I know I’m lucky in that these guys are at least in touch enough to realize when they’ve possibly stepped out of bounds. They’re also human enough to apologize when they think there’s a need. I truly appreciate it. Mostly though, I am far too thankful to be out of the catty world of female coworkers to let a few off-color jokes get my panties in a wad.



32 weeks and counting

32 weeks…. thirty-two weeks down…. eight weeks left…

[insert minor freak out]

Time seems to be speeding up a bit. Not in a way that helps all of the aches and pains that go along with being very pregnant, but in a I-swear-it-was-just-June way. I mean it’s September. SEPTEMBER PEOPLE. How?

Things I can now do:
1. Answer “two months” when people ask how long I have left.
2. Answer “next month” when people ask when Little Dumpling’s due.

Things I can no longer do:
1. Put on shoes without considerable effort and bending and grunting.
2. Make it to a reasonable hour before succumbing to exhaustion from a day’s worth grueling tasks such as walking or standing or sitting.

So! 32 weeks and counting, let’s get a little pregnancy update!

Baby Showers
I’ve now had two baby showers: one thrown by my group fitness ladies and another thrown by my family. They were lovely and we’ve started accumulating quite an adorable collection of baby clothes.

I went to the family and family friends shower in my hometown over the weekend. Probably the best part was getting to see my granddad (the same one who lost his wife last year). I know this has to be hard on him, as I imagine he wishes my grandma could be around for this pregnancy and to meet her great-grandson. My mom tells me that he asks about me and Little Dumpling every time he talks to her and that he was so excited for the shower, he loaded his present into his van six full days before he made the trip. It was wonderful getting to see him and catch up. His present quite literally brought tears to my eyes. (It was a stuffed bear that holds a tiny blanket between his paws and uses it to play peekaboo when you press his paw. Seriously! Peekaboo! So precious!)

It was nice to see all the family friends as well and my good friend Liz even made it into town! My mom and a family friend hosted, which was awesome because it ensured that some of my favorite foods were included. My mom even had the great idea to take a recipe that called for mason jar presentation and put it into reusable baby food containers (which I’ll get). Of course, it’s wonderful to get the presents, but I mainly enjoy getting to celebrate Little Dumpling and his imminent arrival. It’s amazing to see just how many people are excited for us.

The Nursery
While I wouldn’t say my nesting drive has kicked into overdrive, I’ve definitely stepped up my preparation. Our crib and changing table are ready to go. I’ve framed some watercolor prints I bought (of course I had them for a month or so before I finally got around to framing them). I haven’t hung them, but that’s mainly because the darn frames require two nails to hang, rather than one, so I need to go to Target for more hooks first. I’ve also started organizing and washing the hand-me-down clothes we’ve received. I purchased a bin for the larger sizes so I could fold those up and put them away. I’ve hung up all the smaller sizes. The changing table drawers (which double for our dresser) are filled with PJ’s and basic onesies and drool bibs (all washed and ready). I’ve prepped our cloth diapers and have plans to organize the drawers (I’m thinking for the tiny stuff like socks I’ll just have mini bins and I might also get some dividers to separate the sizes of larger stuff…. still brainstorming this one).  Every time I walk in there, I complete some task and bring us one step closer to being ready.

My Body
I’ve reached that point in my pregnancy where literally just existing is exhausting. I am worn out at the end of each day, even if I’ve just spent the day sitting on the couch. My abdominal muscles are tight because they’re so stretched. If I stand for more than a minute, my feet start to hurt. If I sit in one position too long, my body protests. I am always hungry. My stomach is cramped. My lungs are actually getting a touch cramped now as well. (Although, I really think that I’ve been blessed in this area because (a) he’s been so low and (b) I think my abs have been holding him fairly contained for a while. A lot of women started complaining about being out of breath or feeling kicks in the ribs starting around week 24 or so and I’ve really just now started feeling this way.)

So yeah, not really a walk in the park over here, not that I ever expected it to be. I must say though, I do love the belly and the kicks and movement. Right now, I can feel him rolling around in there. At the airport Friday night, I was rubbing my belly because he was awake. I had my hand over on my left side, just under my rib cage, and I swear I felt his little foot! I was sitting there completely confused because WTH is that thing??? Is that my rib?? Hmmm… as I circled my fingers around this little protrusion. Then it disappeared back into me and it hit me that it must have been his foot! How crazy! I do wish Luffy could feel more of his movement, but Little Dumpling seems to be the most active whenever we’re apart (like right now at work, for instance, he’s moving up a storm or, at night, he’ll give me a few hard kicks and then instantly go back to sleep before Luffy has a chance to feel).

That’s about it for now. I know I’ll blink and he’ll be here, so it seems trite to say, but I’ll say it anyway: I’m so excited to meet this little guy and I can’t wait until he gets here!