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.

Advertisements

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.

preg header blog.jpg

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?

Time to Get Away

As I mentioned in my post last week, one of the ways that the JA and I keep the romance alive in busy times is to have individual ‘us’ times. While this weekend wasn’t exactly ‘me’ time, it was the perfect treat to celebrate the end of the school year.

My three college girlfriends and I have tried to get a girls-only weekend on the books since, well, graduation. Between full-time jobs, weddings, and kids, it got pushed off again and again. Sure, we saw each other, but this weekend, we finally got our getaway.

Terrible Trio

WV June 2014

Friday afternoon, we packed into our respective cars and made our way to Canaan Valley, WV. Food was shared, talking was done, and we hit the hay around 10p. (Don’t be too jealous.)

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at Amelia’s and then headed back to the condo to chill and relax. After a few hours (and some leftover pizza), we gussied ourselves up and went to dinner. The drive through Canaan Valley State Park was gorgeous and filled with wildlife. The view from the resort dining room wasn’t so bad, either.

WV June 2014-2

TT WV getaway

Sunday, we returned to Amelia’s for breakfast before cleaning up and heading home. I have to admit, it was good to be back with my boys – even if it meant I spent most of the night doing laundry and prepping for this week.

What’s your ideal getaway? What do you dread most upon returning home?

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!

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?

Falling In and Out of Love…with Blogging

It seems like every month I hit a point when it’s difficult for me to find the words or the time to write. I, obviously not having posted since last week, am currently in one of those phases.

Blogging is ebb and flow for me. There are days when the words and ideas just seamlessly stem from my fingers and I feel like I could write for hours. And there are days that I’m tired and nothing’s coming to me and I have no images and I just feel like an epic fail.

creative_color_pencil

There are also days where I fall into the comparison trap – belittling myself and this space to the point where I think, “What would happen if I just stopped blogging? Would I have more time? Feel more fulfilled?”

Some days the answer is yes. Sometimes it’s a resounding no. The topic was posed to a blogger community and at that point I wanted to scream, “Yes! I’ve wanted to stop blogging – but could I do without it?”

And right now the answer is no. Another day, it could be yes. And then I’ll re-evaluate.

But like any love worth having, blogging and I will have our ups and downs, our good times and bad, our fantastic days and the days I want to just up and quit. Those hard times are when I remember why I started blogging in the first place:

I blog to put a voice to this time and place in my life.
I blog not simply to be heard, but to help.
I blog to be an inspiration and friend to those who need it. To reach out and maybe make someone feel that they are not alone.
I blog because it’s the only way I can get away with posting an excessive amount of pictures of my dog without being labeled crazy. Right, Watson?

It's okay, Mom. Let's take a walk and talk about your feelings.

It’s okay, Mom. Let’s take a walk and talk about your feelings.

I blog to form a relationship with my readers – who cheer me up with their comments, likes, shares, words of encouragement, texts emails, and overall support. Thank you for reading both the good posts and the not-so-great ones.

I blog for you, but selfishly, I also blog for me. Writing keeps me sane. It helps me channel my energy into thoughts and words. It clears my mind and clarifies things that I wouldn’t have thought if I weren’t writing them. It keeps me accountable for my actions, goals, and dreams.

So blogging is not only a relationship for you, my readers, but also a relationship with myself. One that sometimes gets put on the back burner, one that is sometimes shaky and insecure, one that sometimes empowers me and makes sure I’m keeping myself happy.

Blogging and I have been on the outs recently. But writing this post is helping to clean the slate, get the creative juices flowing, and hopefully puts me back on track.

Thanks for sticking around & I hope all’s been well with you!

Losing Steam

Ever have those days when it seems like time is moving so quickly and then you get into work and the day drags on? That’s what my life feels like as of late. It’s so nice outside and there are so many graduation-related activities happening that our ‘down’ time anything but relaxing.

Watson, however, has nothing but time.

Watson, on the other hand, has nothing but time.

With all that’s happening, I’ve definitely lost my workout mojo. I went to barre last week and ran on Sunday, but that’s about it. The humidity is already kicking in here in Baltimore. I’d wake up and work out, but I’d rather snooze. These are lame excuses, but they are swirling in my head. The JA’s been doing wonderfully with continuing his routine – working out a few times a week, sometimes twice a day. But for me, that time is over. Training is done and I’m happy with my race performance. I’m hoping that when Watson’s ‘cage rest’ is finished at the end of the month, that getting back into our morning and afternoon walk routine will light a spark and get me back in the game, but what until then?

lack-of-motivation

I trained for so long for the half marathon that now it’s over, I feel a bit lost. While I don’t want to jump into training anytime again soon, I also don’t want to lose all my dedication and tenacity (not to mention my muscle definition and sense of accomplishment).

HELP! What do you do when you’ve lost motivation?

My Husband Hates My Smartphone (and Secretly I Do, Too)

Hi, my name is Jess and I have a secret. I’ve never told you this, but there’s a third entity in the JA’s and my marriage…

My smartphone.

You may have seen this article titled, “Why I’m Getting a Divorce in 2014.” (Spoiler alert: it’s about his attachment to his phone.) For some people, they can easily ‘divorce’ their phones. However, being in the field of public relations lends itself to a certain marriage with one’s phone. You never know when a reporter’s going to call or respond to you with a last-minute photo request, when your client’s calling you with another idea, or when you get word that, yes, that placement you’ve worked so hard to secure will air/print at its desired time. Add in that I’m a blogger, and that relationship grows even stronger.

But for me, and many others, our relationship with our phones goes beyond that. My phone never leaves my side. When I get bored, it serves as a comfort. It’s a constant companion, waiting to entertain me. And my husband hates it.

Why? Well, he’s too much of a gentleman to tell me outright, but here’s why he hates my phone (and I do, too):

phone secret3

1. My phone slows me down. It’s true. I get sucked into the social media vortex and can spend hours doing nothing by reviewing Facebook, crafting Instagram posts, working on the blog, or cleaning out my inbox. He’s taken to giving me a 5-10 minute buffer for when he says we need to leave and when we ACTUALLY need to leave the house.

2. My phone is similar to Pavlov’s bell. When it pings, dings, rings, or even lights up, I go to it – no questions asked. It could be a bad comment on our company’s page that needs to be handled! It could be a tweet that needs to be immediately retweeted! It could be someone liking my cute puppy photo! (Ok, so I don’t have Facebook notifications for my personal page but if I did…we’d be in even more trouble than we are now.)

3. My phone is a third wheel. Sitting on the couch watching a movie used to be relaxing. Now, it can be a time for multi-tasking. So not romantic.

4. Really? Another picture? This is one of his biggest pet peeves – especially when it comes to food. He just wants to enjoy the moment or savor the first bite and I want to showcase it in its best light before diving in. You never know when you might want to recreate that recipe at home…right?

5. Warning: the contents of this phone may cause user to self-destruct. Some days, social media lifts me up and makes me feel like a rockstar. Other days, it contributes to my crankiness and discontent. Either way, it shouldn’t have that much power. I shouldn’t let it. But it does, and I do.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step. What am I going to do now? Well, I’ve started purposefully leaving my phone places. If I know we’ll be watching a movie in the den, I’ll turn it on silent and leave it in the kitchen. If we’re going out to dinner, I leave it in my purse (zipped in so I can’t see the notifications as they pop up.) I’m putting it on vibrate more often and trying to keep its use to a minimum when we’re together. These are baby steps, but they’re making a difference. I find myself more focused on him and others, bringing more quality content to our conversations, and enjoying the little things more and more.

Smartphones – love them or hate them?