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 ūüėČ )

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.

One Week Ago

One week ago, on Thanksgiving Day, Baby A+ made her debut at 38 weeks, 2 days.

JGA newborn

Jacqueline Grace weighed 5 lbs., 13 oz. and measured 19 inches long.

We made it home for the hospital in one piece on Saturday and were greeted by a very eager and already overprotective big brother in Watson.

We’re doing our best to adjust to our new normal and, to be completely honest, it’s been rougher that I ever imagined. But this face makes it worthwhile and walks outside do WONDERS for both body and soul.

Hope you all have been doing well! I have so much to tell you and, depending on schedules and such, am hoping to spout off a few words here and there again soon.

Let Them Eat Cake

Sunday afternoon, the JA’s extended family and my immediate family gathered together to celebrate.

Baby A+ Shower 1 - banner

Part one: baby shower. Games were played, laughs were had, and presents were opened. Oh, and cake was eaten. So. much. cake.

Baby A+ Shower 1 - cake

Why so much cake?

Well, it was also Mommy Janks’s birthday. And while we had everyone together, we celebrated the birthdays of JA’s grandmother’s birthday and¬†Jeff, whose birthdays were yesterday.

Baby A+ Shower 1 - birthday

Did I mention that the favors were cupcakes, too?

Don’t get me wrong – I loved every minute of it! In other news, how are we already at 32 weeks?! (Photo was taken Sunday, pre-shower, at 31 week 5¬†days.) Things are starting to get real – one of our friends delivered at about 36 weeks and that’s not too far away! We’re SO not prepared yet. However, the JA assures me that everything will be okay, no matter what happens. I sure hope he’s right!

Bump 31 weeks

Favorite/least favorite shower game? For bridal showers, I’m not a big fan of the toilet paper dress game. For baby showers, my hands-down least favorite is the guess the poopy diaper game. Gross.

Running While Pregnant: 2nd Trimester

Please note that the following post is my personal experience with running during pregnancy. Every woman and every pregnancy is different. I suggest consulting your doctor before beginning or continuing an exercise routine while pregnant.

My second trimester proved to be the best for me in terms of running. I don’t know if it was the weather, my energy level, or the fact that I cut back on barre and my legs were feeling good, but things just clicked.

If you remember, my first trimester had me completing a half marathon and then taking some time to let my body recover. (To read a full recap of my running routine during that first trimester, click here.) I started jogging with Watson and found that with my slower pace, he had become a great running buddy. We generally completed a 2ish mile route with intervals of running and walking. Some days were better, some were worse, but we stuck to our routine and relished our longer morning workouts.

Then the second trimester began. I/we got quicker. We were back in the 10-minute mile club, and it felt good. The bump continued to grow, and the weather stayed surprisingly cool for a Baltimore summer. The first few times I thought the time was a fluke, but after a some consecutive 10-min/mile runs, I was sold.

10min mile 2nd trimester

The times and the running continued right until the end of my 26th week. While the competitive side of me wished to maintain this great accomplishment and keep running through my third trimester, I also knew that the dark fall mornings were quickly approaching and that running with both an increasingly bigger belly and a sometimes finicky dog may not prove to be the best idea.

running belly and W

Stay tuned for the next update: third trimester!

Getting Into A Groove

All the warnings in the world couldn’t have prepared me for how much my world would change after both finding out I was pregnant and then starting a new job.

Both have their challenges and their triumphs, and I think I’m finally finding a good rhythm. With a little over two months to go until Baby A+ is due, I know it will be short-lived. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying this ‘quiet time.’

baby bump purple

So, since we haven’t really spoken in a few weeks, where do I begin after such a long absence? I guess this past weekend is as good any another point.

We took our babymoon to New York, kicking off a month filled with baby activities. Without gushing too much, it was glorious. Even with a bit of rain, we balanced hanging out with friends, trying new eateries, a museum visit, a Broadway show and even managed to squeeze in a walk through Central Park.

NYC JAs

In somewhat related news, I can’t believe I’m in my third trimester. Hitting 31 weeks tomorrow is making the impending arrival of our little girl more of a reality than some abstract idea. Delivery is still a big, scary unknown for me, but¬†I’m¬†doing my best to manage my thoughts and ideas by educating myself just enough to kind of know what to expect without being overwhelmed. Truth: some days are better than others.

I’m still exercising, although not to the extent that I was in the beginning of my pregnancy. With the mornings being darker, I’m taking the time to alternate sleeping in with some light strength training. Watson and I are making our morning rounds, as it’s good for me to start my morning outside. Getting my endorphins up and enjoying the sunrise make even the groggiest morning better.

morning sunrise

Work is good, but we’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of us. Adding this to what’s going on in my personal life has resulted in a few instances of stress/anxiety-induced tears, but in our two years of marriage (and especially the past few months) he’s become an expert in managing my emotional surges.

I think that hits all the major points of what’s been happening over here. I’m hoping to have posts with a bit more detail regarding the pregnancy, books I’ve been reading, and other fun things, but for now, let’s consider ourselves all caught up.

What’s been happening with you? Any exciting news I should know? Spill! I’ve missed all of you.

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!

New Beginnings

[taps the mic] Hello? Hello? is this thing on?

A little over a month¬†ago, I started a new job. It was scary, exhilarating, nerve-wracking, and exciting all at once. You see, my employer¬†didn’t know I was pregnant before extended the offer. (Which will be another post on another day, but certainly something that added to my stress level and anxiety about the change.)

It’s everything I hoped it would be and more. I’m working with three different entities in a university setting. My co-workers have been extremely welcoming and incredibly kind. My supervisors have all been open and receptive to both my news and ideas. In addition to all that, the work is exactly what I liked most about my previous position and seems like it could provide more flexibility to me in the future.

Yet, new beginnings are hard. I miss my old co-workers. I miss my 10-minute commute. I miss having my husband on the same campus. However, I also know that this was the right decision. Not just for me and my sanity, but for our family as a whole.

we dont look back.disney

I’m not the only one starting anew this fall. My absolute favorite barre teacher, Rachel, has¬†returned to the classroom. I attended her¬†last class and to say it was bittersweet would be an understatement. Once we bought our house, I began traveling 20 minutes to the gym twice a week so I could continue to take her class. She gave me the push and confidence I needed to substitute teach for her on occasion. She reawakened my love for barre and ballet in general. She also became a friend.

We gathered together a few weeks ago¬†to toast to our new beginnings. While we both know it’s not a goodbye – more of an ‘I’ll see you later’ – it doesn’t make the transition any easier. We spoke of how we know each of our decisions is right for us at this time, the anxiety that comes with starting something new, the change this has and will bring to our families. We also spoke of our excitement, our passion, and how our new journeys will fill a void that we didn’t realize we had until now.

It was wonderful.

Since then, things have only gotten better. I’ve enjoyed the lingering days of summer and, as usual am anxiously awaiting the start of fall. The JA and I feel like we’re in a really good place (and I’m probably jinxing myself by saying that), Baby A+ is doing well, and Watson’s still up to his normal shenanigans.

But Ma, you left that whole roll of hot dog buns just sitting on the counter...they were begging to be eaten!

But Ma, you left that whole roll of hot dog buns just sitting on the counter…they were begging to be eaten!

I’ve missed this space, but working on websites/social media all day does isn’t¬†exactly inspiring me to come home and get back on my computer right now. I thank you for being patient, and promise to be back soon.

xoxo,

J.