Things I’m Going to Miss

So, I’ve been really trying to be present and appreciative and zen like; reminding myself to live in the moment and give my growing baby my undivided love and attention as often as possible.

This may be the last week I can really stretch my “appreciation” for this pregnancy though… As time goes on, I’m getting more and more to the point of “I’m so done!” Baby feels like he’s just going to drop right out.

But I want to be able to say I really cherished each moment (to the best of my ability in between pulling my hair out running after these other two) of this last pregnancy. So, every night, I take a few minutes to pray (My prayers tend to go like this, “Please help my children behave; please give me strength, patience, compassion, kindness, love, more patience…”) and read Scripture and try to get into Mommy/Fetus mode. To zone in and to connect. Tonight, I’m connecting through writing. Not thinking too deeply; just saying what comes to mind at this moment. With that, I bring you:

Things I’m not Going to Miss about Being Pregnant

  1. The stiffness/soreness in my neck and shoulders
  2. The extreme sensitivity of my right hip (I think it’s a pinched nerve type thing. Possibly sciatic nerve.)
  3. Pregnancy triggered hand eczema (started with my first pregnancy. Got it under control in this final pregnancy with diet restriction and creams! #Win!)
  4. Heartburn (all three, but I think my first was the worst)
  5. Lady issues (This is code because I don’t want to disturb anyone with TMI. Started with my second pregnancy but I have it TOTALLY under control in this pregnancy due to…PROBIOTICS! My God, this stuff is amazing. Absolute LIFESAVER)
  6. Aching bones in pelvic area especially when sleeping (and only being able to sleep on my sides! Argh!)
  7. Being swollen
  8. Having a sore butt and thighs after any drive longer than 30 minutes
  9. Not being able to bend down properly
  10. Numb wrists and hands (this is a totally new symptom that I never experienced in my other pregnancies. Started like 3 weeks ago and it’s super weird and disconcerting…hoping it goes away right quick after I have this little one!)
  11. Lumbering around like a cave man. So….heavy….
  12. Waddling around like a duck. I’m usually pretty good at avoiding this signature move, but as it gets this close, it’s hard to avoid…
  13. Feeling all the pressure of this growing being stretching me out and moving my organs out of the way. As a result, peeing all the time, stomach feeling smaller, lungs being restricted…
  14. Trying to keep two kids unharmed, fed, clothed, bathed, and behaved, while feeling all of the above. Especially bedtime OH MY GOD. We fell into the habit of all lying together until they fall asleep…(long story). But both want me to face them at the same time, they’re either fighting or totally distracted by everything, they take FOREVER to fall asleep, etc etc (I can’t wait for daylight savings again. The light seems to make a huge difference) ARGHH

Things I’m Definitely Going to Miss about Being Pregnant

  1. The kicks! And punches and hiccups and somersaults. It’s the weirdest, coolest, unexplainable feeling…a little human squirming around inside. And trying to figure out: Is that a foot? An elbow? Is he making a snow angel?
  2. Trying (and failing miserably) to take the perfect video of all the exquisite, excited movements. I swear they can tell when you turn the camera on. It’s like they get stage fright.
  3. Certain enhanced body parts…
  4. Lounging around with my older two as they rub/pat my belly, feeling his movements and giggling; pillow talking with them about what the baby is doing and what he’s going to be like
  5. Never being really alone; having a little sidekick with me at all times
  6. The excitement; the expectancy. What will he look like? What will he be like? How will the dynamic in our family change? He’ll fit right in like a missing puzzle piece we never knew we had and bring an overwhelming sense of calm and joy to our family. Right? Right?!
  7. Looking at people with doe eyes and having them offer me their seat or to cut them in line hehe…
  8. The right to act completely b*tchy now and again and be excused…
  9. The extra warmth and compassion from my husband – more spontaneous meals out, more cuddling (his hands are definitely my favorite to have on my belly), more attention, more taking the kids out so I can relax, just all around more lovin’
  10. Watching the perfectly formed (well, after he gets past looking like an alien) tiny black and white skeleton bouncing around on the Ultrasound screen
  11. Baby showers! I had to plan my own for my first cause no one thought to throw me one… Skipped it for my second. But by my third, my two closest friends here in NJ decided to plan one! Yay! It was really small, but it was perfect. Just sitting around catching up with friends, eating yummy food, opening presents (Yay free stuff!), playing games, and overall relaxing and enjoying good conversation. Nothin else like it
  12. Hearing baby’s tiny, yet strong and reassuring heartbeat on the Doppler
  13. People being more understanding toward me (i.e. not glaring at me as my 4 and 2 year old whisk by almost knocking them over, but just smiling knowingly and forgivingly). Not everyone, though. Some people are just dang harsh!
  14. Having that ultimate feminine silhouette. Despite the general weight gain, pregnant bellies are just so cute and endearing! And one out of every 30 photos is actually quite flattering!! Not to mention – absolutely no expectation to have a flat middle for once – Yay! I can relax and not suck it in for 9 whole months!

There are so many fascinating, incredible experiences and stages in life. Everything has a beginning and everything has an end. It’s bittersweet, but in a way, comforting. I wish all of you strength and peace, appreciation and love for whatever you may be going through right now. Every situation, good and bad, presents an opportunity for growth and a lesson learned. Every single experience makes us more human.

Welp! It’s an hour and a half past my bedtime! Good night!

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Caffeine

So I’ve never been much of a coffee person. At least not a habitual drinker. I partake in coffee for the sake of socialization. I’m a social drinker. I certainly enjoy a Mocha Frappachino or a cafe mocha every now and then.

That being said, I’ve never experienced much of a reaction to caffeine. Never in all my 27 years have I noticed it making me more alert or keeping me awake at night (or any time of day for that matter).

Until last night.

I suppose I miraculously discovered the magical threshold. Turns out I’d just never tried drinking enough coffee. Or enough on an empty stomach. Or enough while pregnant? There could be all kinds of contributing factors, but all I know is, after having a medium Frappe Mocha from McDonald’s (which honestly looked to me like it should have been called a large – what was that like 4 cups worth? At least 3…) around 4 pm, I could not for the life of me turn my brain off come 11, 12, 1 in the morning. I started to really worry that I was somehow starting to develop insomnia (which I’ve heard from friends can be really annoying and sometimes scary). I lay on this side, I switched to that side, I sat on the rocker, I turned on the AC, I turned off the AC, I took a break and browsed my phone for 10 minutes, then tried it all again, all to no avail. My mind was racing a thousand miles an hour. On top of that, my baby was excitedly performing a full on acrobatic routine in my belly. I started to worry that I had really messed him up… And then my worry continued on to other things…if I was really prepared for labor and delivery, if I would be strong enough, if I would have him prematurely, if something would be wrong with him, if something is wrong with me, Can I handle 3 kids? What am I gonna do? What if they all fight every night and NO ONE. EVER. sleeps?!! Luckily, as if on cue, my son woke up and came to my room and lay next to me. That was actually surprisingly comforting. Kind of snapped me out of my little panic attack. I held his hand and my anxiety dissipated. Of course I still couldn’t sleep… and just as I was finally drifting off a while later, his sister came to join us (*sigh… what else is new…), which woke me up again and got me started again on this seemingly endless cycle. I think I ended up actually falling asleep around 3 or something. Got a good 3 and a half hours in! Hooray!

All in all, a learning experience. I FINALLY get what all the fuss is about! I finally understand how powerful caffeine is and how it affects people. I’ve also resolved to NEVER do that to myself again.

Note: Before you pounce on me, I know it’s not advisable to have that much caffeine on any given day while pregnant (I repeat; I did not know this medium would be such a large medium…). Up to this point, I have strictly abided by my midwives’ recommendations of no more than 2 cups of coffee a day, and I very rarely even have that. Caffeine from chocolate? Well, that’s another story…

Other note: If you think that cup is as funny as I think it is, you can find it here.

‘Bama!

Ok, it’s getting really bad how I’m posting things so far after they happen… Blame my at home business, blame overlapping toddler rearing and pregnancy… I dunno AGH! My blogging seems to go in waves of productivity and non-productivity…

So two weeks ago now, we took a little family trip to visit my older sister in law’s family in Auburn, Alabama. Beautiful state, but a bit too hot for me if I’m honest. Their April felt like what I’m used to back here in NY/NJ in June/Julyish. I’m pretty sure I literally got sunburned after only an hour or so every time I stepped outside (without sunscreen). Back in NY/NJ, I rarely wear sunscreen anywhere but my face unless I’m going to the beach. Not sure if this change is related to the difference in the ozone layer or what, but just something I noticed.

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Here’s baby girl, Aunt J, and I strolling to the community gym and pool in the apartment complex.

Besides being hot, though, Alabama is beautiful. I love any place that’s green and treeful (The Diane Dictionary: entry #412). Driving around and seeing farms and cows again was really nice. It brought me back to my North Carolina road tripping days.

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Swimming! Well, standing. I don’t know how to swim anyway. I just kind of putter around clumsily, gasping for air the whole time. #25weekspregnant

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One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is to feed me. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing…

We didn’t plan anything extravagant while we were away. Spent a lot of time just relaxing. Besides working out and hanging out at the pool, we lounged around the house playing video games, cards, and Monopoly, watching tv, baking pies. My sister in law J and brother in law Y worked hard on planning my dream gender reveal photo shoot. Love you, guys!

We did take a little drive down to Destin, Florida. Played on the beach, checked out some local eateries (I recommend Donut Hole and Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House!), rented a boat (Thanks, Dockside Watersports & Parasailing!). Silver Dunes Condominiums was lovely. The rooms were clean and well kept and having the beach literally a 2 minute walking distance from us was pretty perfect.

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3 1/2 hour drive. The kids did really well (playing, singing, using their gadgets, eating, sleeping) for about 3 hours…before all hell broke loose. I won’t post any pictures of that. 

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View from our condo

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Lookin out over the water

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My children seem to endlessly have dirty feet 

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Making our way to the beach

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Y and her doting older cousin

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Look at that crystal clear water!

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Cleanest, purest white sand I’ve ever seen

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Best buds. So glad they could be reunited. Just noticed that photobomb in the back. Who is that, Appa?

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BAM! Look at dat bellay!

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Splish splashing with the daddies

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So glad my husband thinks family vacations are important. They’re the only things he’ll really take time off for.

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My little angel. Hard to believe she’s not going to be the baby anymore soon!

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She’ll always be a daddy’s girl, though. She goes running to him instead of me a lot these days. Pretty adorable.

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T writing his name in the sand. What a studious boy trying to get in some practice while on vacation!

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Obligatory legs on the beach photo. Ignore my wonky toes

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I like shadow photos

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Wanna go back

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Boating!

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Me gazing adoringly at my daughter despite her quirkiness. Is she eating that mouse?? ALSO, Floridians are so friendly! Three people in the span of 10 minutes told me they loved my shirt/thought it was hilarious (“I grow people. What’s your super power?”). NY/NJans are not nearly as quick to speak to strangers let alone compliment them.

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Couple photo! Yay! This is probably 2 seconds before he collapsed from my monstrous weight on him.

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Back at the room. Whose idea was it to bring s’mores?! OMGGGGGGG 

We headed back to Auburn after a refreshing beachy weekend. Back in ‘Bama, we tried to use up the rest of our time as wisely as we could (time always goes too fast!!) despite being pretty exhausted already.

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Had to visit the Waffle House!

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Ice cream from Bruster’s Real Ice Cream! Free cones for shorties! They have a chart shaped like a giant ice cream cone that measures about 3 1/2 feet tall and if you’re shorter than that, you get a free mini cone! Too cute! 5 stars just for that.

I think this is about the point my phone ran out of memory to be honest. Always happens! One of my biggest dilemmas since becoming a mom.

Hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into our lazy little getaway. Tell me about some of your favorite places to relax!

It’s a…

Hubby, myself, and our kiddos just got back from a little family vacay in Alabama! During our stay we also took a drive down to Florida and back to get our beach on in Destin. Shout out to Silver Dunes Condominums- beautiful facility right smack dab next to the water, so we could walk out there anytime we wanted. (Will post some more vacation photos in the next entry)

I find myself looking for little things to anticipate. I live off of things to look forward to. This was one example. My older sister in law’s family (including T’s best friend- his cousin S) moved to Alabama in the beginning of March and we’ve been missing them ever since and planning this little trip for some time. We were so blessed to have brother in law Y and sister in law J be able to travel out and meet us too! It was a mini family reunion! Y and J were gracious enough to help me carry out one of the things on my bucket list for this pregnancy. We are pretty sure this is our last and so I decided I needed to do some of the things I had wanted to do but never got a chance to during my other pregnancies. One thing was cute gender reveal photos! We kept it really simple and just did the balloons in a box idea that’s everywhere. Set up right outside of the house and had our two amateur photographers click away for about 10 minutes total. That’s about all we could manage! I gotta say photoshoots with kids have proved to be one of the most challenging activities I’ve endured as a parent. I don’t know if my kids happen to be squirmier than most or what, but if we continue to push and prod and bark “Sit down!” and “Smile!” and “Look here!” past the 10 minute mark, one or two meltdowns are almost certainly on the horizon. H has two children as well, so put the four of them all together…well, we ended up with a lot of tears.

Here are two of my faves (before things broke down):

 

With each of my pregnancies, I had a gut feeling what the sex would be. Mostly an instinctual thing, but I also had a few dreams. Side topic – does anyone else have really weird dreams when they’re pregnant? Like their baby popping out of their belly like in the Alien movie? Crazy hormones…

So, anyway, I did think it was a boy, but it was still really cool to hand the sealed envelope over to my brother in law and have my guess confirmed in the form of helium balloons!

Three months to go. I already feel enormous. But I shall make it through! I always do…

A Poem

I decided to revisit my fifth grade gifted and talented class days and try my hand at poetry again. I call this “Sketch of a Typical Morning in the J Household”. Just a rough draft, nothing serious. I’m not liking the way WordPress adds a whole giant space every time I go to the next line, but whatryagonnado…

[Dreaming]

Hubby and I walking through Central Park

What is that ruffling sound?

Zzzzzzzz

Is hubby crinkling a plastic bag?

Zzzzz

Tap tap click clack

Is that a train approaching?

[Roll over]

[Yawn]

*Giggle

That doesn’t sound like hubby

Heavy weight on my body

Something squishing my cheeks together

[beautiful dream fading]

*Giggle

That’s not hubby.

Eyes flutter, open halfway

I look to my right. It’s Y.

Up at 6:30

the usual.

Busy as a bee arranging blocks in a line and shuffling papers

Better get up before she gets to the fridge

She always does.

Come on, Diane, you can do it

Up, up, up!

….

Outta bed sleepy head!

….

Where’s mom with that annoying Time to Get Up song when you need her?

Ughhhhh

Why do I NEVER feel like I had enough sleep…

Oh I know. Probably because each child generally wakes up at least twice…so I really DON’T get enough sleep…

And now I’m pregnant….

Woe is me… Ok enough of the pity party

[Finally extracts self out of bed as slowly as humanly possible]

Let’s see the mess she’s caused so far

Ok, not too bad, only three toy baskets overturned.

At least all the food is still in the fridge. Let’s count our blessings

“Y, let’s go into the other room for a few minutes until big brother wakes up” (maybe mommy can even steal another few winks…)

10 minutes later (or 15? Who can tell)

*Footsteps

That’ll be him!

“Morning, darling”

*big hug

Time to start the day

Any legit poets out there, I’m open to constructive criticism, but be gentle please! I’m rusty after…17 years 😉

Good Ol’ New York

Ah, New York. I’ve gotten used to people saying thank you when I hold the door for them (leave it to Jersey). Not the case here! Things to do, places to go, people! Ok, I’m exaggerating. It was one woman. And oh, look, that guy said thank you. He must have read my mind.

I just got off the bus and walked through Port Authority. Meeting up with a friend in Times Square today! Yay! Grown up time!

I just now realized how slow I’ve gotten accustomed to walking. When I used to work in Manhattan, every morning, I was on a mission. Get up, get out, on and off the bus, and book it to my office. There’s just too many people in Times Square. I can’t deal. Gotta get through.

All right, here it comes. I’m picking up the pace. Gotta keep up. Seriously, everyone walks so fast! At least the natives. I did feel like a tourist of some sort rambling my way through leisurely a minute ago. Get in the zone, Diane! You’re still a New Yorker! 

Anyway, now I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs at Villa, waiting for my friend. We ordered something online together through my Atomy business (learn more on my About page) and I’m delivering her hand creams personally! Also, I’m craving New York pizza. Thank God I can eat wheat again (more on that later).

Oh God. Oh God. They’re playing Call Me, Maybe. I think I’m going to be sick. I think I have to leave. Ahhhh pins and needles. Breathe. Breathe. It’s just a song. It will be over in 3 minutes. Ugh, the horrible part is that eventually you start singing along anyway 🙄.

Ok, this pregster needs to eat! P.S. Whoever loves me the most, please buy me this shirt:

Mom’s Jingles

I come from a musical family. Simple, home grown kind of musical, nothing professional. Mom also grew up surrounded by music. She, her three siblings, and her parents all have beautiful singing voices. My parents and I used to sing a lot during road trips to pass the time: lots of Sound of Music, John Denver, My Fair Lady, and church hymns. Three family favorites were Getting to Know You, High Hopes, and Today

Mommy had song coming out of her pores. Sometimes I felt like she thought in music. She used to make up little jingles and sing them throughout the day. Here are a few I remember (of course it would be more interesting if you could hear the melody. Maybe one day I’ll record them):

Joomi Joomi koko bop Joomi Joomi bop…

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s, really go! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s, really go! (this one was more like a chant)

It’s time to get up, its time to get up, its time to get up this mooorning! (I think she thought she was easing the blow of getting me up by singing a happy little tune, but this used to drive me crazy! ☺️)

Focus, focus, and no hocus pocus, hey! Focus, focus… (I think she got this from her high school cheerleading squad or something)

I burst into song a lot, too. Singing makes me feel alive. And I’ve totally been making up my own funny jingles as I stroll along this path of raising my silly little snickerdoodles.

Miss your pretty voice, Mama! I feel you when I sing. I love that I exude song like you did. I’m just like you! 😊


Blueridge Mountains. Taken during one of our trips to North Carolina. (We used to love Country Roads too!)

Maryland

I just worked out for an hour and a half, so now I can eat chocolate for an hour and a half, right? The math checks out, yes?

It’s so nice to have munchies to eat while you write.

I never got a chance to tell you about my little Mommy Daughter road trip to Maryland to see my bestest friend! C moved to Maryland like a half a year ago, and I have been PSYCHED ever since, counting down the days that I could actually go visit her. Maryland is so much closer than North Carolina!

Little girl and I left the house  bright and early- around 6 am. I was hoping she would fall back to sleep after being in the car for a bit, but no such luck! She wanted to be in on all the action! Thankfully, she was pretty satisfied with the random toys, stickers, snacks and/or animated conversation I threw at her every twenty minutes. Part of the time, she was satisfied just to hear me singing (Yes!).

She did finally start to get restless when we hit like the three quarter mark, so I let her have a nice, long break while I got gas around 8:45.

I arrived at my final destination at 9:30 am! Not bad, I say! C and I went to church together, where I saw lots of people I haven’t seen in a while, so that was really nice.

For the rest of the day, we did what best friends do best- blissfully enjoyed each other’s simple company. We strolled leisurely around adorable downtown Annapolis right by the marina- drinking coffee, listening to the water, taking pictures, picking up trinkets at a street bazaar, and chatting as if not a second had passed since we last saw each other. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to recharge my batteries and “fill my bucket” (If you’re scratching your head, check the children’s book “How Full Is Your Bucket?” out at the library)

My little one was smitten with the dogs at C’s place, but not enough to want to be within 2 feet of them. She seems to like the idea of dogs better than the actual dogs. She enjoys keeping a safe distance and watching them from afar, squealing “Mongmongy mongmongy!” (Doggie, doggie!). Once I shuttled her off to bed, I was able to enjoy a little grown up time with C and her hubby and in laws- playing Bananagrams of course! Super fun. I have so many good memories playing that game. A big thank you to C’s mom in law for a DELICIOUS dinner of veggies and dip (I’m going to text C for that recipe right now!), scalloped potatoes, roast lamb and apple pie!

I honestly want to make this a regular thing! Driving down like once a month or so? Traveling is good for my soul.


Perfect Strangers

So, early this week I was under more stress than usual; tired out from separating fights all day, arguing over silly things with my husband, feeling frustrated, anxious, and exasperated.

On Tuesday, I took my son to an indoor play area called Billy Beez at Palisades Center (expensive but awesome!) after he had been begging for two days. Both kids fell asleep within 5 minutes on the car ride home  (This fact alone may be enough to convince me to go there every day!)

After a few hours of running around exhilarated and breathless, we stepped out to eat lunch that I had packed- rice, seaweed, fruits, and acorn jello (sounds weird, tastes DELICIOUS). I settled us in at the closest table and chairs I could find, sharing the space with an elderly Korean couple and a middle aged woman. The elderly couple took one look at me feeding my toddlers and sang my praises: “You’re such a good mom”, “You’re such a great wife”, “You’re doing a wonderful job”. It was incredibly surprising and unexpected since I had never seen them before in my life and all they had seen of me was me strolling my children over, sitting them down, and feeding them. I’m not sure why they were so impressed! Maybe they are just unusually complimentary and sweet and have a knack for seeing the good in people. We chatted about our families, raising children (they have two), cooking, working, etc.

It was just what I needed. Two complete strangers to validate me. To look me in the eye with such genuineness and warmth and tell me I’m a good person doing a good job in life. I half thought they were angels sent to comfort me. The grandmother assured me that everything with my family would keep getting better over time and that we would live well and be really happy, just like her own children and grandchildren were. Obviously they have no way of actually knowing this to be true, but it was such a nice gesture.  We both said our “God bless you”s and the kids and I were on our way.

Little old man and woman from the mall, wherever you are, THANK YOU. Your simple, genuine encouragement meant more to me than you may ever know.