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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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.

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.

Blue or Pink – What Do You Think?

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
We found out baby’s sex before it is due.

Although Baby A+ will be loved either way,
Whether boy or girl is no longer gray.

We discovered this marvelous surprise last week,
and it’s been difficult for us to not utter a peep.

The JA and I are very happy to say,
we’ll have a baby girl come this Christmas Day!

girl cupcakes

Thanks for all your excitement and love,
we can’t wait to welcome our blessing from above!

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!

For more information and updates on my pregnancy, check out my Pregnancy page.

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?

Puppy Love

Yesterday, Watson went back to the vet for a mid-term heart worm check up test. After the JA showed me this piece chronicling a dog’s last day (and I promptly started bawling like a baby), I was a bit worried. We did everything we could to make his treatment successful, but there’s only so much control we have in these matters.

I’m happy to report that the test came back negative and our pupaplup is in the clear! He still needs to take another test in October, but we are thrilled that this guy will be with us for many years to come.

W hanging out

We were going to celebrate with a puppy cone, but major thunderstorms hit. As a replacement treat, he was allowed to sleep in the bed with us. Good news like this warrants a little spoiling, don’t you think?!

W in bed