It Takes A Village

click image for source

click image for source

I am scheduled to return to the office tomorrow. As this realization washed over me yesterday, I became extremely sad. To boost my spirits I took Watson for a long walk, hoping that the adrenaline would keep the sadness from getting any worse.

The walk in itself didn’t accomplish the task. However, on our way home I saw a woman, hands full, who was clearly in conflict as she left her car. I called out to her and asked if she would like some help. She gave me a puzzled look and then accepted. I held a package for her as she retrieved her child from the back seat. She thanked me as she, again with her hands full, made her way to the house across the street.

Not only did this good deed make me feel better, but it reminded me of the African proverb that states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Although I may be returning to the office full-time, I have a wonderful support system of family, friends, and colleagues who can help me navigate the day-to-day struggles of a career mom. I realize that asking for help on this journey isn’t so bad after all and am prepared to face tomorrow head on with an optimistic attitude. (However, I TOTALLY wouldn’t mind if this big storm comes through tonight and the university closes 😉 )

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The Return

This morning as I fed JG, I took a moment and looked at her. The past six weeks are a blur, and I am scheduled to return to work soon.

I wanted to cry. While I’m eager to return, I love our slow mornings. Our mid-day naps. Lunches with friends. And let me tell you, there is truly nothing better than baby cuddles. Her squeaks and eeks as she shifts in my arms or on my chest are precious.

JG cuddles 1-15

I feel like I’m just getting a hand on things. I was cleared for moderate exercise two weeks ago and have been making use of our new elliptical as often as I can. This past week, we started being able to discern an ‘I’m hungry’ cry from an ‘I’m uncomfortable’ cry. We’re trying to get her on a sleep schedule. There’s still so much I want to do before I’m gone most of the day. Granted, Mommy Janks will be here for a few weeks once I return before JG goes to daycare. I know I’m leaving her in good hands, but I’m still leaving.

Words of encouragement, strength, and wisdom are appreciated and encouraged.

Spilling the Beans

Not sure how you all would feel about pregnancy updates/details, so I’m going to keep these catalogued on a separate Pregnancy Page. Check it out for all that’s going on with our family as we plan to welcome Baby A+ in December.

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I found out I was pregnant on April 19th, the day before Easter. I had felt some nausea on and off for a few days and, although it wasn’t bad, figured that it might be a sign. So I waited for the JA to go out and took a pregnancy test. It turned out positive.

So then I took another one, just to make sure. This one didn’t show a result.

Obviously, I had to then take a third. Positive. Oh boy.

Yes, these are also three different tests. Don't judge.

Yes, these are also three different tests. Don’t judge. The record number, for our OB, was six.

At this point, our neighbors were scheduled to arrive at our house for game night in a few hours. I quickly baked some carrot cake cupcakes and tried to figure out a cute way to tell the JA. I wanted to tell him prior to their arrival for a multitude of reasons: 1 – I wouldn’t be drinking that night; 2 – we also were attending Easter Vigil, which is one of the longest Masses of the year. I didn’t want nausea to hit (or anything worse to happen) and for him to be left worrying as I beelined out of the church.

So he came back from the gym and I blurted out, “So, I think I’m pregnant..” as he stood at the bottom of our stairs. Smooth, Jess. He replied that I’m never allowed to bake carrot cake anything again, as he would forever associate the two. And then, being the loving husband (and now father-to-be) had a look of both shock and awe on his face as he ran up the stairs to hug me.

Just to make sure, I took a fourth test the following morning. Still pregnant. Okay. This is really happening.

We weren’t exactly trying to get pregnant but weren’t NOT trying, either. It was a pleasant surprise. However, this made it difficult to track, being that my periods were a bit irregular. We told some close friends that we had begun our journey, but not our families.

We confirmed the pregnancy with my OB, I ran my half marathon (with the blessing from my doctor), and tried to figure out a way to tell our parents. Mother’s Day was around the corner, and while we only had an estimate of how far a long I was, it wasn’t far enough that I was ready to share just yet.

Then fate stepped in.

There’s a huge community yard sale in the neighborhood adjacent to ours. We walked around, picked up a few things for the house, and also scored a bassinet (for $5!) and couldn’t resist picking out a few baby clothes. [Let me tell you, smuggling that bassinet into the house without anyone seeing us is a story in and of itself!]

I had already purchased spa gift cards for our mothers and decided to place a onesie in the box as well.

grandma onesies

Our parents came over for our monthly dinner date, we had the moms open their gifts, and lots of joy (and maybe a few tears) followed. We vowed them to secrecy until we confirmed how far along I was and made it out of the first trimester.

The rest is pretty straightforward – calling family and friends, announcing it at our Memorial Day gathering to friends, finishing with an announcement a few weeks later to the other side of the family, and then to you all and on social media.

Special kudos to those who stuck with me this entire post – I’m hoping not all of these updates will be this lengthy, but who knows?

Summer Snapshots

So good to see you again! There’s been a lot going on over here, but maybe not in the way that you would think. Yes, we’re prepping for Baby A+. Yes, I’m still exercising. Yes, meals are still being had. And yes, Watson is still being one of the best dogs around town (biased parent, party of one!).

However, I’ve found that this summer I’d rather hang pictures on walls than post them to one.

front gallery wall 7-14back gallery wall 7-14

I’m savoring my ice cream instead of watching it drip as I check on social media.

froyo cone

I’m trading getting up early to blog for sleeping in and spending time with my family of three.

first baby card

I’m bumping to the beat, but with a bump of my own.

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And I’m okay with that.

Additionally, some changes have happened on the professional front. I’ve accepted a new position at a local university and start at the end of the month. It’s been a crazy few months getting everything in place, but I feel that this is the best move for myself and our family.

If you’d rather have a more consistent look at life from my perspective, follow me on Instagram. It’s much more in line with my slower summer pace.

Talk again soon!

Five Ways to Keep the Romance Alive When Time is Tight

As you can imagine by my sporadic posting schedule, things are still a bit hectic for us right now. The end of the school year is upon us, wrap up events are happening in the evening, the JA has returned to grad classes for his summer session and, well, we kind of want to spend time with each other without one of us using an electronic device. (Easier said than done, my friends.)

However, in these crazy times, we’ve found a few ways to keep our relationship steady without having either one of us feel neglected.

romance

1. Spend some time apart. This may seem counterintuitive, but when I’m stressed I get cranky. No one likes a cranky partner. By taking time to ourselves – whether it be at the gym, a happy hour with friends, Book Club, or a run – we can get all our negativity out of our system before unleashing it on the other person. Makes for more quality time AND a happier couple.

2. Make time for each other. Even when the JA has an incredibly long day, he does his best to at least take five minutes to sit with me and chat about his day. It’s not much, but it’s better than him just entering the house, kissing me on the cheek and heading straight to bed. Communication is integral to any successful relationship, so by setting aside even a little bit of time just for your partner, it can go a long way in making them feel important.

3. Laugh. During busy times, tension can run high. To paraphrase the cinematic classic (Legally Blonde), “Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” By diffusing this tension, you not only are producing endorphins to increase your own mood, but you’re making memories with each other and bonding through giggles.

legally-blond

4. Chat it up. I mentioned this before, but when we feel like we’re on opposite schedules we up our communication. Texting, email and quick visits at work help reinforce the foundation of love we’ve already built. A simple, ‘I miss you’ or ‘Hope you’re having a good day’ can make a big difference in getting you through until you can spend some face time with each other.

5. Small gestures/gifts. Everything from making the bed to sending a bunch of flowers to work let’s your loved one know that you’re thinking of them. Having the knowledge that the other person in your relationship cares enough to take time out of their day to do something for you puts a smile on your face and helps ease the pain of their absence.

How do you and your partner keep the connection strong when time is tight?

Time for A Change

I’m a pretty predictable person. I like routine, and tend to stick to it. I can have the same thing for lunch every day of the week and not tire of it. I can listen to the same song on repeat for hours on end and still find it as enjoyable as the first.

But yesterday, I got the itch to change. I hit the breaking point, took a leap, and did something drastic.

hair

I don’t think my hair had been that long since before my wedding in 2012. Chopping it off and giving it its ‘summer blonde’ color was just as exhilarating as it was when I did it back then.

Seeing the hair fall to the floor did give me a minor panic attack at first, but I love my stylist and she’s never let me down. The color is perfect, the cut is divine, and why is it that even when washed it my own sink, my hair is always so much softer and smoother when a stylist touches it? Totally not fair.

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Here’s to a new season and changes to come!

Four Word Weekend

Community Yard Sale. Score!

yard sale decorations

First post-half marathon run.

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The game that wasn’t.

Outdoor dining’s the best.

We had a great, relaxing weekend. The weather cooperated for the most part & kept us busy outside. We tried to soak up as much as we could, seeing as graduation is right around the corner and our lives get a bit busier in these net few weeks. Simply spending time hanging out, while not exactly riveting for you readers, is just what we need to stay sane.

Here’s to a great week!

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in My Monday!

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in My Monday!