Friday, September 30, 2011

Fetal Friday: 18 weeks

One of the funny things about a first pregnancy is how much stuff has been written about the topic that you just devour.  I say first pregnancy because I imagine if you have more than one child, you: a) don't have time to read a ton of books on pregnancy; b) if you are reading, you might instead be reading books about the actual raising of a child; and/or c) you assume that since you've already been through one, you know the ropes.

But since I don't know the ropes, consider me in the school of people devouring pregnancy books, websites, and blogs - and I love it!  I mention all this because I'm reading one of the most fascinating books I've encountered thus far: Origins - How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of our Lives.  I highly recommend to anyone who is trying to get pregnant, already is, or just likes a nice pop science read with some personal memoir-type stuff thrown in.  I'll do a full review when I finish.

But yes, back to me.  18 weeks - insane!  And the best news of the week was that the blood work we did for Downs Syndrome came back perfectly normal and is about 90% accurate in determining that we don't have it.  Awesome!  One less thing for this neurotic mama to worry about.

How Big is Baby?
The size of a bell pepper, apparently.  And perhaps more interesting, my uterus is now the size of a melon.  A melon is big!

New Symptoms
(I say "new," because none of the ones from last week have changed [nor do I think they will.])
-rash-type "acne."  I call it "acne" for lack of a better word.  It looks more like a rash, almost - like, tiny little red bumps on my forehead and by the hairline around my eyes.  Also, the same thing on my back (with a couple actual pimples back there).  Good thing it's too chilly to wear all my backless shirts and dresses!
-And while this isn't really something that I think will stick around, I had the second moment of my entire pregnancy when I thought I would puke.  It was at a Junior League meeting and didn't have time to eat beforehand (so I was going on multiple hours without food).  We were standing up for a long time shooting this video clip thing when all of a sudden, I knew if I didn't sit down, I'd throw up or pass out.  I felt mildly better after sitting (although I was anxiously watching the clock the entire meeting) and raced home to have some dinner.  Note to self: you have to eat!

Weight Gain
According to my scale at home, I've gained 6-7 pounds, depending on the day.  Per reading my new book, I'm hoping to make really good food choices moving forward.  It's not that my food choices have been bad thus far, but there are certain times when I just don't need to eat the thing I'm eating.  Like, after work, I don't need to eat baked chips.  I could eat them with my lunch, for example, but generally speaking I want to go for nutritionally-dense foods most of the time.

Belly?
My friend Emily asked me at book club "when do you think you'll pop?"  So, I guess you could say the belly is the same as last week; that is, when I'm wearing clothes, you can't really tell.  You can definitely see a bump when looking at my bare belly, though.

Maternity Clothes
I put on my normal jeans last Friday night and was like, "holy crap."  I thought the low-rise of them would be fine, but they wouldn't button!  So Saturday I headed out to Gap Maternity and bought a couple pairs of pants and some shirts.  One thing that's kind of sucking with the maternity shirts is how big my chest has grown.  So they say you should buy your pre-pregnancy size in maternity stuff.  Mine is a medium.  But a lot of times, the medium pulls and gathers at the chest, so I have to size up to a large.  I feel like I'm just swimming in the large everywhere other than the chest.  Hopefully once this belly sticks out a little more, it will all look better.

Food Aversions / Cravings
Not really...

Baby Moving?
No!  I'm dying to feel him/her!

What I'm Looking Forward To?
Same as last week.

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
Um...  We're still a little behind on this.  We did get life insurance this week, though!  It's been about a month-long process (interviews with the insurance guy and a basic physical done by a nurse), but I think we're officially signed up now.  And on that note - who knew how freaking expensive it is?!  I sure didn't!

General Mentality
I'm feeling slightly more emotional than normal - ie, more prone to cry or become upset/have my feelings hurt even if I know the thing causing it is silly.  Stupid hormones.  And I'm still anxious about birth defects, but getting the good news about Downs and knowing the ultrasound is in two weeks is calming me a little.  I would say overall, through the whole pregnancy, I've generally felt a lot less anxiety than I normally do.  Not that I'm not anxious about all the pregnancy-related stuff, but the anxiety-ish attacks that use to plague me every now and then haven't reared their ugly head at all in pregnancy.

And here's the belly:
Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

And Also, Just Have to Say...

Go Cards!
Source
I wasn't really in the school of "believers" who thought it would happen.  But it did!  According to Jonathan, I missed "the best night of baseball ever" when I was at book club last night.  Whatev, though - there's reason to watch in October now!

Terra Nov

This week has been a little crazy on my end!  Work's been somewhat busy; but then Monday night I had a Junior League meeting (which lasted waaaay longer than normal [and at which I thought I'd puke - but that will be a story for "Fetal Friday"]), and last night I had book club.  When I'm both busy at work and busy at night, my little, ole blog gets ignored.

But what about Tuesday night, Jackie?  Couldn't you have written one then?

Well - no.  Tuesday night, after exercise, cooking, and dinner, Jonathan and I plopped on the couch for the DVRed 2-hour series premiere of Terra Nova from last week.  (Yes, it's the one about the dinosaurs.)

Have you guys heard of this and/or did anyone else watch?  I'll admit that I wasn't really on the up & up about the new Fall tv shows that were premiering (except the ones on NBC because they advertise constantly when I'm watching the Today Show).  But Jonathan mentioned Terra Nova as one he'd like to give a try (we're also giving Person of Interest a try, but they're still on the DVR), and so we buckled up for a 2-hour premiere.

I knew nothing about it going in, except that it was about dinosaurs.  So to my delight, I learned in the first 5 seconds that it's a Dystopia of sorts!  My fave!  It takes place in the 22nd century when Earth has been just about destroyed by humans and is on the verge of being inhabitable.

I have to say, the first 15-20 minutes were great!  It immediately gripped you and made you invested and interested in the story (which centered around a family).  "Terra Nova" is a place where they're sending a limited number of select Earthlings (in waves) to live.  Once you go, you can never go back to Earth.

Since all the previews feature the dinosaurs in "Terra Nova" (and not the dilapidated Earth), you can probably guess that the family makes it over there away from Earth.  So we then see their first full day in their new world in the 2-hour pilot.

Overall, I was a fan, I think.  It was action-packed, and we've been given just enough info about the characters to make me want to know more.  We've also been given just enough hints about some of the mysteries of this new world that I'm interested in hearing more.

Some things that weren't great: the writing (sometimes - that is, the dialogue, not the actual writing of the plot); the set (sometimes - because for the most part, it was shot in some lush, tropical place, but there were a few scenes where the characters were clearly standing in front of a blue screen and tropical paradise was superimposed in the editing room); and some of the actors.  But I guess when you have a huge cast, it's almost impossible to not have a bad actor or two in the group, so we'll let it slide.

Anyway - maybe watch the pilot online if you're interested in a new show - I think this one might be cool because come on - dinosaurs!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shell Out For the Arts - Do It!

Memphis Friends:

Jonathan and I are a part of the host committee for "Shell Out For the Arts" next Friday night (Oct. 7th) at the Levitt Shell.  We're big lovers of The Shell, and when my friend who works at ArtsMemphis heard that, she roped us into asked us if we'd be interested hosting. 

(Just kidding on that.  There was no roping.  We're actually super excited to be a part of this.)

Anyway, it takes place next Friday and will be really fun!  It's basically like any other night at the Shell (that is, you can set up "camp" wherever you want with whomever you want [there's not a specific section for the Arts people], and you can enjoy the music and peoplewatching as you usually do), but in the back of the Shell will be a tent set up where, before and during the show, you can eat all you want from Fratelli's catering, and drink all the wine & beer your little heart desires.

We'd love to have tons of friends come and help us support the Arts!  100% of ticket sales go to ArtsMemphis.

Tickets are $20 per person and kids under 12 are free.

If you're interested, let me know!  You can either get your tickets through me, or I can send you a link where you can purchase online (and put our names in the comments section as your friends on the host committee).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend

Finally, finally, Memphis got some rain!  We've had this awful dry spell for pretty much the whole summer, and last night, the rains finally blew in!

Aside from this lovely weather miracle (at least our plants think so), our weekend was great!  It was our church's annual Sole to Soul weekend, which is planned by the recreation committee.  Jonathan is at the end of his 2-year term as head of the rec committee, so it was a busy weekend for us.

Friday night was trivia at the church.  There were teams of six people, and basically everyone comes, brings food, decorates their tables, and we do about 10 rounds of trivia.  It's a pretty fun night every year (even though Friday night at church might not be everyone's cup of tea), and this year was no different.  Our team did pretty well, actually, and came in 2nd (or maybe 3rd - they don't really announce anyone but the winner, so we weren't entirely sure).  It was a fun night, though, it made me wish I was better at trivia.

Saturday morning was the annual 5k.  Jonathan had to get there at 5am to set up, and I had to be there at 7 to volunteer, so it wasn't an awesome Saturday of sleeping in, but whatev.  Jonathan then ran the race and I stood on the corner cheering people on and steering them in the right direction.  Overall a fun event with a bigger turnout than year's past.

After our early morning (and a Fino lunch), we pretty much spent the rest of the day on the couch watching football.  I went to the mall at one point to pick up some maternity wear.  But other than that and going to pick up frozen yogurt, we stayed planted on the couch all day.  All.  Day.

Glorious Sunday morning after church was the annual potluck.  It didn't disappoint!  Mmm!  Even though we spent a ton of time at the church the whole weekend, it was really fun and made me happy that we have such a fun and loving church family.  Everyone knows about my pregnancy and was so happy and interested in hearing all about it.  I'm excited that we get to raise our kid(s) in such an awesome and nurturing atmosphere (with a TON of other kids).

Sunday afternoon, we decided to venture out to the Shelby Farms dog park.  It was awesome!  It's basically this big park area (with lakes and trails) where you're allowed to have your dog off leash.  Hank loved it!  It was actually really encouraging to see him not act like such a big scaredy cat.  He was interested in playing with the other dogs (and not too afraid of the people).  And he even got into the lake to swim!  We'll definitely go back!

Sunday night we had dinner with Jonathan's parents at the University Club.  It was a nice end to a nice (busy) weekend.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fetal Friday: Weeks 16-17

"Fetal Friday?"  What do we think - cute title or sort of lame?  Does it sound too much like "fecal?"  It's just that I Always Adore and Appreciate Awesomely Astonishing Alliteration.  And since I decided to do these updates on Fridays, you know, "fetus" was really the best I could do.

Anyway - here we are in "real time" with some pregnancy updates!  I decided to do weeks 16 and 17, because, you know, not much changed between the two, so why not?  But as of right now, I'm a full 17 weeks pregnant (about to turn 18).

How Big is Baby?
For week 17, baby is the weight of a turnip, but sadly they didn't give us a size comparison.  At week 16, baby was the size of an avocado, apparently.

Symptoms
Between the time I wrote the 13 week post and today, any negative symptoms of pregnancy have greatly decreased.  In fact, I feel great!  Pretty close to pre-pregnancy normal, but just with the added "new-normal" things:
-tinkling all the time (including once a night)
-sore boobs
-less exercise capability (walking is exclusively the way I raise my heart rate now)
-gastro troubles
-deep sleep at night
-round ligament pain (it feels like super sharp stabs around the areas of my ovaries and it lasts about 1-2 seconds each)

Weight Gain
According to my doctor's scale I've gained five pounds.  We'll go with that!  Especially since according to my scale, it's been a wee bit more. 

Belly?
When I'm clothed, I don't think I look pregnant.  Yes, my belly looks bigger, but it doesn't look bigger in a pregnancy way.  Unclothed, I think you can tell there's something going on in there - but whether it's a baby or a food baby is probably up to the viewer to decide.

Maternity Clothes
Nope.  Although last week on casual Friday at work, I wore some casual-ish black pants and couldn't really button them comfortably, so I used a bella band to hold them up.  (I should say that pants are fitting a little tighter, so I'm just wearing skirts instead.  If it were winter, I might be more anxious to get the maternity wear going, but I prefer to wear my normal clothes for as long as possible.)

Food Aversions / Cravings
This has kind of ended, to everyone's sadness, I'm sure (since these are often the funny parts of pregnancy to hear about).  I still want nothing to do with spinach (raw or wilted).  And I had to have some Cheerios this past week, but other than that, not too much.  I'm back to being ok with pizza and coffee, although I don't really consume them too often.  I'm sort of on an egg and soy sausage kick, but those "kicks" wouldn't be uncommon pre-preg, so I'm not really attributing it to that.

Last Doctor's Appointment
I went for a 17 week appointment (I should've gone at 16, but scheduling issues pushed it a week late) on Tuesday.  It was sort of fun because when the nurse held the doppler up to my belly to hear the heartbeat, she found it, but then the baby squirmed away from her and she had to "chase" him/her down.  (I don't really blame the babe - she pushes that thing hard into my pelvis!)  Other than that, the appointment was just one for checking in, so the doctor and I had some chit chat and then called it a day.

Baby Moving?
First-time mothers usually feel the baby move any time between 17 and 21 weeks.  I haven't yet.  But I can't wait!

What I'm Looking Forward To
So much!  But in the near term:
-my belly "popping"
-feeling the babe move
-our 20-week ultrasound
-a stranger asking "when are you due?"

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
Um...not many preparations for baby are happening at the moment.  I guess we need to get on some of those in the next few weeks!  Thus far, the only major decision we made is to not find out the sex.  We also opted to get a blood test this week that screens for Down Syndrome. 

General Mentality
Still sort of concerned about birth defects, etc., but also a little less consumed by the negative thoughts.  We'll see a lot at the 20-week ultrasound, so I think knowing that it's so close is putting my worry to rest, because at least at that point we'll know.  I'm also feeling a little anxiety about choosing a name.  We haven't even discussed names yet, but it's just such a weighty decision!  It sticks with the baby for his/her whole life!

And what you've been waiting for....a belly pic (even though, as I said, there isn't much to see).

Happy weekend, guys!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Randoms

I'm feeling a bulleted list today.  Maybe it's lack of interesting, complex things to write about?

1) I love my digital kitchen scale.  I registered for it when we got married thinking, "I like to cook, I probably need a scale," but not really expecting to use it all that much.  But I was so wrong!  I whip this guy out a lot!  It's just so convenient when, say, something on a nutrition label is listed in ounces (cheese, for instance) and you want to know how much you're eating.  Or when cooking pasta, and the nutritional info is not only listed in ounces but is for the dry pasta - use the scale!  I also find that lots of baking recipes list amounts in both cups and grams.  And since precise grams are obviously the most exact way to measure, I use the scale!  I think it cost like $20 or $30 - I recommend a purchase if you don't have one.

2) One of my favorite days of the year is coming up this weekend: POTLUCK SUNDAY at church!!

3) Did anyone else watch the season opener of Glee on Tuesday?  I was pretty disappointed.

4) I really need to put my reading glasses on and get to town on our book club selection for next Wednesday, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  I'm on about 200 (of 500 pages) and have a somewhat busy weekend coming up.  But the book is so good so far - and reads quick - so hopefully it won't be a problem.

5) I haven't spent a ton of time on the new Facebook page, so I don't yet have an opinion on if I like it or not. BUT, I mostly use "the book" on my iPhone, and I have to say, I think it is now most definitely more awesome than it was before!  What I have been wanting all along has finally happened: for the "Recent Updates" to show me everyone's updates, not just the people that the algorithm determines I care about.  (To me, it seemed like before it was a nasty cycle.  The algorithm chose which updates to show me.  Since it didn't show me any other people's, I would click around on the updates I was given, thus making the thing think I wanted to see more of those people's posts!  I got to a point where I would meticulously avoid clicking on certain people's pages because I didn't want fbook to think those were the updates I wanted to see.  Phew.  I'm tired just typing all that!  Glad it changed!)

6) I bought some plain Cheerios from the store the other day because I had a craving, and man, they are just as good as I thought they'd be!

7) I've also, in the past couple of weeks, resurrected a sandwich from my childhood that's still as freaking awesome today as it was when I was 6: the ketchup/cheese sandwich.  Ingredients: bread, ketchup, sliced cheddar.

8) I'm finally starting to feel healthy-ish again.  My nostrils mercifully agreed to stay open the past two nights so I was actually able to sleep.

9) I was hoping to buy some CoffeeMate Pumpkin Spice creamer to keep at the house, to save both our wallets and our waistlines when the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte cravings start to hit hard (although my waistline is probably a lost cause this Fall).  BUT - it isn't out in Memphis stores yet!  What gives?  Shouldn't it come out when Sbucks debuts theirs?

10) At work this week, I've been adding "Crystal Light Pure" in mixed berry flavor to my water.  (When I'm sick I don't love to drink plain water.)  It's delicious!  Slight disclosure: I drink it extremely diluted; you're supposed to add the packet to 16 ounces of water and I add it to my 40 oz jug.  But at that diluted level, I love it!  It adds just a hint of sweet and tartness to otherwise plain water.

I think that's all I've got right now.  Happy Thursday - it's almost the weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

13 Weeks

This is the last of the pregnancy-related posts I wrote before sharing with the blog (awesome job documenting everything, Jackie!).  I wanted to get it posted so I can start my weekly updates that are actually up-to-date on Friday.  I'll add a few new categories on Friday, as well, because the baby is getting big enough to have some of his/her own stuff going on.

Also, can we just stop for a second and say where did September go?  I can't believe I wrote this 13-week post a whole month ago.

___________________________________________________


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This past weekend, I became 13 weeks pregnant.  13 feels like a lot of weeks, but maybe it's just because it's a number I've been waiting for.  I'm slightly confused if 13 signals the start of the 2nd trimester or if it's the last week of the first, but either way, it feels like I'm out of the danger zone for miscarriage, which feels great.

Generally, the past two weeks have felt incredible.  I've regained loads of energy.  Actually, I almost feel like I have the energy of a "normal" person.  I can stay up every night until 10; I don't need an afternoon nap; I can come home and exercise after work without feeling awful; basically, it's been a great change from earlier weeks.  And many of my food aversions are clearing up.  I actually had a banana a couple days ago!  I had been convinced I wouldn't eat another banana until after baby arrives (because they grossed me out so much).  So yeah, things are looking good.

Symptoms
-the occasional twinge of nausea or hypoglycemia if I go too long without eating (I'm thinking this might happen the whole 40 weeks).
-intense increased smell - I sort of thought I would miss out on this symptom of pregnancy since I'm eating dairy again (thus have a constant stuffy nose), but it has come on in the past week or so, and it's bizarre!  I almost feel like an animal because I can smell everything.  People, places, food, nature smells - everything.  It was pretty pronounced when we were at a play last weekend (sitting in the front row) and I could smell the different actors as they came on stage.  Bizarre, right??
-some unfortunate gastro problems - we'll leave it there.
-constant need to tinkle.
-vivid dreams, especially nightmares, which has been a little weird.

Weight Gain
Still holding steady at 3 pounds.  Although I find myself receiving conflicting information about when to gain weight...  "They" say a woman should gain 25-35 pounds in her whole pregnancy.  25 basically accounts for everything happening to your body (the weight of the baby, the placenta, the extra blood, etc.), and I'm sure they say 25-35 because gaining 10 more than required is probably a-ok.  But when all this happens is up for debate.  My doctor says in the 1st & 2nd trimesters, one should gain 5-7 pounds, and then starting at 20 weeks should gain a pound a week.  Some places will tell you to gain nothing in the 1st trimester, and then gain about a pound a week in the 2nd and 3rd.  Some places will tell you to gain 0-5 in the 1st, a pound to a pound and a half per week in the 2nd, and a half pound per week in the 3rd.  Who knows??

Growing Belly?
I think my belly looks slightly bigger right now.  But in no way does it look like it's related to a baby.  It looks like I had a two-week bender of junk food and multiple beers every night.  HOT!  And I still seem to have "growing thighs" as well, so that's really hot, too.  I'm definitely not going to be one of those people who is "all baby" when they gain pregnancy weight.  But I'm ok with it.  I think being tall will probably be on my side when it comes to how I look pregnant.

Food Aversions/Cravings
These have chilled out a bit both ways.
I'm enjoying more than normal: m&ms, Fresca, milk, whipped cream, and chips.
And I'm opposed to: pizza, spinach, homemade salad dressing, and coffee (decaf, of course).

General Mentality
Like I said earlier, I'm feeling good about my risk of miscarriage at this point.  But I'm still terrified about birth defects or diseases/syndromes the baby might have.  I'm praying so much for a healthy baby!  (Please join me if you feel inclined!)  At our 20 weeks ultrasound they'll be able to see a ton of stuff (if the brain is developing as it should; if the heart has 4 chambers and pumps in & out the correct way; if the spine is ok; if we have 2 arms, 2 legs, 10 fingers, and 10 toes; if the organs are developing as they should; etc.).  I think it's normal for women to be worried about this.  And as my doctor says, you never stop worrying about your kids, it's just different worries for different ages.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yuck, Blah, The Sickness

For the past 3-4 years, I've been really lucky to avoid sickness, for the most part.  People at work would be sick, I'd be healthy.  Jonathan would get sick, I'd stay healthy.  It was wonderful.

(I was also a freak about it - when someone would mention sickness, I'd pull out antibacterial wipes and wash my hands 300x/day.  And similarly, when Jonathan got sick, he was quarantined out of our bedroom and not even allowed to touch me.  Yeah.  I'm hardcore.)

So I sort of wondered about pregnancy and sickness.  With the baby due at the end of February, I'll basically be in a compromised immune system situation for the majority of cold and flu season.  And in case people don't know, you can't really take many medicines while pregnant.

But generally speaking, I'm not a big medicine-taker to begin with.  If I have a headache, I don't reach for the Tylenol, I reach for a huge glass of water and an apple.  If I have a stomachache, I lie down and drink some water.  If I have cramps, I rock out with a heating pad.  Medicines make me feel weird (and I don't love how they're just masking a problem that probably needs to be addressed otherwise).  But the general exception is if I have a cold.  And in that case, I dive into the Nyquil/Dayquil, Tylenol Cold, Afrin, you name it, I'm up for it.

Fast forward to this past Sunday when I woke up super dizzy and had some postnasal drip going on.  I attributed the dizziness to pregnancy and the drip to allergies (since the weather has been crazy up & down here).  But as the day went on, the drip got worse and worse and I feared it might be more than allergies.

By the middle of the night on Sunday, I was full-on sick and feeling pretty bad for myself.  (Imagine thrashing around in bed, whimpering, moaning, etc.)  I woke up in the morning in a bad place, so I took a sick day from work to lay around and sleep a lot.  I also did a little research once I was awake and learned that Tylenol is ok in pregnancy, so even though I wasn't able to treat the stuffy nose problem, I could at least address the headache/bodyaches/mildly sore throat with the acetaminophen.

I'm feeling a little better today, but am pretty freaked out for the rest of cold/flu season (since it's only September!).

One thing that did help me through the day?
I think this is the generic brand of Diet Squirt, but my store didn't carry Squirt and I was dying for some citrus soda!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fun Weekend

We had a great, rather busy weekend!

Friday night, Jonathan ran in the Cooper Young 4 Miler, which is the annual kickoff to the Cooper Young Festival.  "Cooper Young" is the neighborhood right next to ours and is known for its eclectic residents, awesome restaurants, and funky shops/businesses.

I was proud of Jonathan for sticking with his weeks-ago plan to run, because in the 10 days leading up to the race, he ran once (because of a minor foot injury).  Also, this was only his second race ever and was therefore the first time he was running 4 miles in a race setting.

I was a little sad that I didn't get to hang out with a group of runners before the race since I had to pick up Jonathan's parents from the airport.  But at least I arrived, found a parking spot, and found a place to watch the first mile (with a few minutes to spare before the gun went off).  Overall, it was really fun to watch and was easy to move to different locations; I got to see Jonathan 4 different times during his run.  And he did well!  He averaged about 9 minutes/mile, which impressed me (he probably would've liked the number a little lower - but come on - first 4-miler!).

Afterwards, we hung around and chit chatted with some friends who also ran.  Then went home so Jonathan could grab a quick shower, and even though I planned to make a fun new recipe for dinner (pumpkin macaroni & cheese!), it was so late, we just ran to the pizza place at the end of the street, Little Italy, and had a few slices.  Great night!

Saturday during the day, we went to the CY Festival.  It's basically an art/craft festival with lots of food vendors and live music.  The weather was gorgeous (even though it got a little toasty around 3ish).  And we just enjoyed walking around, eating crap, and chatting with people we saw.  Actually, one of the highlights for me was having lunch at Imagine Vegan Cafe!  I'm not sure we really experienced it enough to do a full on Restaurant Review, but in short, I got a buffalo "chicken" sandwich with "ranch" dressing and a side of macaroni and "cheese."  And it was fun!  Nothing gourmet, just fun vegan food that you can't get at any other restaurant in town.  I'm not sure I'd crave it, per se, but I'm definitely glad I went and will want to go every now and then I'm sure.

Saturday night we went to a non-surprise, surprise 30th birthday cookout for Emily.  It was chill and really fun.  Emily and Joe have a great backyard and patio set up, so we spent most of the night chatting, drinking, and eating around the fire pit.  I ate waaaaay too many Las Delicias chips and a hefty chunk of ice cream cake, so I'm sure that'll be great for my weigh-in at the doctor on Tuesday, but whatev.

Sunday was pretty standard: church, laundry, errands, NFfreakingL, etc.  But overall, it was a fun weekend.  Even though we often like to be homebodies, it was fun to get out a little more than normal.  The worst part of the weekend?  I now have some nasty post-nasal drip that I fear will turn into a head cold, which is only awful because you can't take cold medicine while pregnant! Ahh!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pregnancy: Weeks 1-10

Every Friday, I'd like to post a weekly update on my pregnancy.  My "turnover" day for the week is Sunday (does that make sense - every Sunday I "turn" a new week), so posting my recapped thoughts for the week on Fridays seems like perfect timing.  I've only written a couple of these: this one I'll post today (which is super long and covers ten weeks) and one from 13 or 14 weeks.  I might go ahead and post that other one soon (maybe early next week?) so I can hopefully catch up to real time.

I should maybe stop for a second and mention that this blog is probably going to turn into a "pregnancy blog" to some extent in the next 6 months.  I realize this doesn't interest some people in the least, and I get that.  But this is a major, major, exciting thing happening in our lives right now.  To say that it doesn't consume so much of my time/energy/thoughts/prayers would be a complete lie.  And for that reason, I'm going to write about it.  Just like I wrote about the other stuff that consumed my time/energy/thoughts/prayers before I had this avocado-sized person in my uterus.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

I've been wanting to write weekly posts documenting stuff like symptoms, weight gain, cravings, food aversions, and just general feelings about my pregnancy...but I haven't yet.  I think part of it was the worry that I might miscarry, but part of it was definitely laziness and procrastination (I have 40 whole weeks to write about this thing, right?).

Well, as of yesterday, I'm 11 weeks along, so it feels like a nice time to look back on the oh so pleasant first 10 weeks.  I'll hope to do these updates weekly, moving forward - but since I haven't done that yet, enjoy this mammoth recappage of the past 10 weeks of my life.  (Well, actually the past 8 - not sure if everyone knows, but the "40 weeks" of pregnancy start on the first day of your last period, so there are technically two weeks that you're retrospectively considered pregnant, even though during those two weeks, your body was not pregnant.)

Early Symptoms?
I've been meticulously charting my cycles for more than a year, so in the time between ovulation and when my period was due (2 weeks), I was looking out for any sign I might be pregnant.  I'll say I had mild heartburn a couple of the nights before bed, and ravenous hunger a couple of the days, but both could be completely unrelated to the uterus (and could've also just been PMS-related).  Two things were noticeably different from my past pre-period 2 weeks, though: 1) I didn't really have any breakouts on my chin like I usually would with PMS; and 2) usually my, ahem, "girls" would be super sore starting one day post-ovulation, and with this cycle, the soreness didn't set in until maybe 2 days before I would've had a period.  I also had one of the most painful acupuncture appointments of my life.  But other than that stuff?  Nada.  All the movies where women wake up and puke their brains out before they've even gotten a positive pregnancy test was not at all similar to my experience.

Symptoms After the +
Oh so many started to set in a couple weeks after I got a positive...
-Major food aversions
-Extreme, unbelievable, uncontrollable exhaustion - this has been the biggest symptom I've experienced.  Every afternoon, there comes a point in my day when I can't do anything because I'm so tired.  Like, tired in the way you feel when you have the flu - just total body exhaustion, no matter how much sleep you've had.  This was especially bad in my early-week workouts - I would start to exercise, and just feel beat, like there was no way I could possibly do even close to what I did before.  I would finish a workout and feel done for the night.  There were a few nights I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30.  I would go to bed between 9 and 9:30.  Thank the good Lord I've regained some energy in the past week.  I still go to bed in the 9 o'clock hour, but whatev.
-Peeing at least once, but sometimes twice per night.  I never did this before - and honestly, especially on a get-up-twice-in-one-night night, I don't understand where all the pee is coming from!  I don't really drink that much before bed...
-General nausea, but no puke.  Especially when I don't eat for awhile, I get a general feeling of blah.  I'm so thankful I never threw up, and I seemed able to control the nausea a little by meticulously planning meal and snack times during the day.  Also, and this could be total nerdiness on my part, but I tried to mentally overcome the nausea - like, if I could take deep breaths and mentally be in control (saying in my mind, "you are fine, your stomach is fine, you will not throw up"), I felt like it actually helped a little bit.
-Bad hypoglycemia when I wouldn't eat enough (especially if I was out in the sun).  This disappeared once I learned I needed to eat all. the. time.
-A constant stuffy nose.  Unknown whether this is pregnancy-related, or related to the fact that I've started eating dairy again - or maybe both!
-And "the girls" - wow.  Some major growth (and I thought I was doing just fine in that dept. pre-pregnancy); major, major soreness; a feeling of heaviness; and a couple other things I'll just keep to myself. :)

Weight Gain
Thus far, at 11 weeks, I've gained 3 pounds.  It's hard to think that 2 of those haven't gone straight to my chest.  The other one?  Well, see the "food craving" part of this post.

Showing Yet?
When I wake up in the morning and look at my stomach, it looks no different.  But for some reason, after I start eating food, I feel like it protrudes for the rest of the day and doesn't go down until the next day.  My pants will feel normal in the morning, but by the afternoon, they feel tight.  No clue about this phenomenon.  Also, just for the record, my thighs are getting bigger.  I can tell by the way they look.  And I think my face looks a little chubbier than before.

Food Aversions
This has been a huge problem for me.  You guys know how much I like to eat healthfully.  Well, one day, maybe a week after the + preg test, I was eating my usual lunch (an apple and a salad), and I was almost brought to nausea. The salad disgusted me.  The apple was so sweet I couldn't tolerate it.  And with that, I started to have some major troubles in the eating department.  Things I've been repulsed by uninterested in eating:
-Apples (although, I started eating these again a couple weeks ago)
-Salads
-Bananas
-Pizza
-Wilted spinach, or any kind of green
-Oatmeal (this has come back, though)

Food Cravings
In a way, I feel like a huge jerk.  The first 10 weeks of your pregnancy is so important for baby's development.  If you would've asked me before actually being pregnant, I would've said, "no way will I eat unhealthy foods while pregnant - I'll force myself to eat vegetables if I have to."  Um, no.  It didn't work like that.  All I wanted to eat was unhealthy restaurant food for probably 6 weeks.  I had things like french fries multiple times (usually I eat them maybe once every 4-6 months?).  Restaurant veggie burgers.  Fattening sandwiches at lunchtime.  I also had a lot of frozen yogurt with sugary toppings and on a couple occasions bought some individual servings of ice cream from the grocery store.  So my cravings were generally for restaurant food.  I didn't have much interest in cooking.  But also some specific things...
-Quaker Oat Squares
-Open Pit bbq sauce
-Ketchup (despite being "the Queen," I usually greatly limit my ketchup consumption since it's so high in sugar and sodium)
-Spicy foods
-Whole wheat pasta with sour cream, parm, and salt & pepper
-Mexican food!  Oh my gosh - can't get enough!
-A strawberry/orange/banana smoothie
-Chips
The cravings for "bad stuff" are dying down a lot.  I'm able to eat healthier now.  Fruit has actually become a bit of a craving - so I'm trying to eat a ton of that.  They also come and go pretty quick.  I was in the grocery store the other day, saw a can of whipped cream, and had to have it.  But the can is done now, and I'm not racing to the store to get another - they're totally fleeting in nature.

General Mentality
The whole time I've been pregnant, I've felt extremely grateful that I was actually able to get pregnant.  The first maybe 9 weeks were filled with fear of miscarriage.  That's gone away for the most part.  But has been replaced with the fear of an unhealthy baby.  I'm terrified of this.  And I'll hear a news segment about birth defects or see a severely disabled person and think "I'm hearing/seeing this because God is trying to prepare me for what's to come."  I realize it's a little irrational, but I can't help myself.  I look at all our friends with healthy kids and think, "statistically, our baby will be unhealthy because no one else in our group of friends has an unhealthy kid."  Suffice, I'm praying hard for a healthy little baby.  I'm also really worried about Jonathan and his health and/or the chance he'll be hurt or killed in some kind of freak accident.  Maybe the pregnancy brain is a worrying one?

Anyway - I think that's about all - the past 10 weeks in one blog post.  Hopefully if I can stay on top of these updates every week or so, the next post won't be quite as epic.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Day We Found Out

I wrote some blog posts during my early pregnancy and saved them to publish after I announced it on the blog.  This post (written on the day I found out I was pregnant) seems like both an appropriate and an inappropriate one to publish first.  It's technically the beginning of the pregnancy, so posting it first seems correct.  But it also sort of ignores our "journey" to becoming pregnant, which was not just the standard: decide you want a baby + start "trying" = get pregnant.

So know that I plan on sharing a lot more about the pre-pregnancy time, because it was difficult and involved and made us very scared that we wouldn't see a + for quite awhile.  But for now...the day we found out.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

This morning I took a pregnancy test...and it wasn't negative.  I'm pregnant. 

I'm pregnant! 

It doesn't feel real.  Saying that word, "pregnant," and associating it with myself can't be real. 

For accurate documentation, I took a pregnancy test on Tuesday and then again yesterday morning.  On Tuesday, it was negative.  (Note worthy: I took it in the middle of the day - "they" say you should take it in the morning when your urine is most concentrated.)  When I woke up yesterday morning and my temperature was still high (this was 17 days post ovulation [at 18 high temps, 99% chance you're pregnant]), I took a cheap-o test I'd bought at the dollar store.  It was the kind where you get 2 lines if you're pregnant, 1 if you aren't.  Immediately the dark first line came up and I sat there looking at it totally perplexed, wondering why my temperature would still be high if I wasn't pregnant?  Then, right before my eyes, a faint, faint, faint second line appeared.

Jonathan was out walking the dog, so I got back into bed and waited for him to come home (meanwhile google searching "faint 2nd line on pregnancy test").  When he got home, I called him into the room and showed him the test.  He kept saying, "what does this mean?  what does this mean?" and I was like, "two lines!  two lines!"  But we still weren't 100% convinced.  It just seemed so unlikely that I'd be pregnant, that we thought the 2nd line was too faint to make a call.

So I called my doctor, got an appointment for Monday, and headed to the local Walgreens to buy a digital test.

Today was my day to walk the dog in the morning, so I woke up early and took the digital test.  After about a minute of the taunting hourglass symbol, the word "pregnant" appeared.  Holy crap!  My hands were shaking as I walked back to wake up Jonathan and show him.  We hugged and cried a little and mainly talked about how shocked we were that it actually happened!  It's only been 4 months since the official PCOS diagnosis, it's only our second cycle of actually trying, and here we are!

Part of me still doesn't believe it.  But then part of me feels so happy, blessed, grateful, scared, and excited!  (It feels really scary, actually. Like, these next few weeks will be pivotal to the pregnancy - I'm scared. Just given how bizarrely my body has been acting, I'm scared it will freak out and not handle a pregnancy. I pray it doesn't.)

So yeah - holy crap!  But YIPPEE!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

10 Years


It's been a decade.  A whole decade since that Tuesday in 2001 we'll never forget.  Think of all the other Tuesdays that have come and gone in the past 10 years about which we remember absolutely nothing.  Zero.  But then there's Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and everyone can say exactly where they were and what the weather was like and how they felt and who they called when the Towers fell.

I was at Rhodes, on my way to a morning class and noticed things felt weird on campus.  People seemed more frantic than normal.  My professor told the class what was going on and we all headed to the Lynx Lair to watch news coverage on tv.  I also distinctly remember being unsure whether to attend my other classes.  I went ahead to Botany (just in case, but expecting to be dismissed) only to be met with a professor who said, "lucky for us everything happening in the World is going on above ground, but we're studying roots, which are underground, so we'll go ahead with class."  We had an hour and a half class, as normal, while things "above ground" were nothing close.

I hope that professor looks back and feels remorse for holding his classes that day.  I hope he looks back and thinks, "man, I didn't even consider that some of my students might have been directly linked to a person in New York; or that they were terrified and just wanted to be in their rooms talking to their parents on the phone and watching the news coverage."  But maybe he doesn't think that, because it's been a whole ten years and a lot can happen in a decade.

For example, I: graduated college, got a "real job," met my husband, got married, got a dog, and then mostly recently, got pregnant.  But my decade has been full of so much more.  I: met some of my best friends, went to Spain, gained 30 pounds (and then lost 50), drank a lot, ate a lot of delicious food, ran a lot of miles, changed my hair cut/color, saw a lot of movies, went to concerts, pulled "all-nighters," wrote a lot, read a ton of books, and watched a lot of tv.  Thankfully I laughed a lot.  But I also cried.  10 years ago, my step dad, my grandfather, my great aunt, my great uncle, Jonathan's grandmother, LB's dad, Bencat, Bobby Maessen, and many many others were still alive.

What will our lives look like 10 years from now?  I pray September 11, 2001 will still hold the same impact it does today.  I hope it's the only national disaster we all have to share our "where were you" stories.

Our church said a prayer yesterday that included this.

You are a God who remembers us.  In your Holy Spirit of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, whom you did not forget in the grave, remember, now, O Lord, the innocents who died ten years ago:


     Americans as well as 236 citizens from more than 90 countries.
     2,977 victims and 19 hijackers.
     246 people on the four planes:
          40 aboard United Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania;
          87 aboard American Flight 11, which was the first to hit the World Trade Center;
          60 aboard United Flight 175, which was the 2nd plane to hit the World Trade Center;
          59 aboard American Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon.
     2,606 in New York City in the Twin Towers and on the ground.
     125 at the Pentagon, 55 of which were military personnel.
     411 emergency workers who responded to the scene, including 342 firefighters, 10 paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority officers.
     3,052 children who lost a parent.

Let us all continue to remember.

Note: I snapped the picture on my iPhone of our bulletin from church.  A woman in our congregation is an artist and she does these carvings (that are then stamped and printed) for our weekly bulletins.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our Family is Growing Again!

Almost a month to the day after this cute boy entered our lives,
We learned that another little boy (or girl) will also join our family.
We're super excited that Hank will have a human brother or sister at the end of February!

I'm just shy of 16 weeks and will have much, much, much more to say about all this, you can be sure...

Happy weekend, guys!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

So Long, Farewell Schnucks

Schnucks is a St. Louis grocery store chain.  When I was growing up, my family shopped at the one right by our house.  And in general, it's a pretty good store there, especially the new one right by my mom's house which, in my opinion, could easily compete with Whole Foods

Well then in the early 2000s (maybe 2003?), Schnucks expanded its St. Louis-only chain to, of all places, Memphis!  I was excited when it first came here because I thought the Schnucks chain might clean up the Union Avenue store they'd just bought (the main non-ghetto Midtown grocery store).  I thought wrong.  I'm positive I've complained about Midtown Schnucks on my blog before, so I won't get into it again.  But in short, it's awful: small, cramped, horrendous parking, often un-stocked, etc.

Last week they announced Kroger bought all the Schnucks stores in Memphis.  I heard the news from a co-worker and didn't really read any of the news stories about it or anything, and actually, I didn't even really think of it much longer than that moment where my thoughts were, "hmm, ok."

So we got back from our Labor Trip late Monday afternoon and I had no energy to do anything, let alone drive all the way out to Whole Foods to grocery shop.  And our week was a little weird anyway with Jonathan's work travel schedule, so I figured I could run to Schnucks and get a couple things that would last us through the week.

I walked into the produce section and it was empty.  Like, barely anything on the shelves.  I had accidentally left my phone at home or I would've taken a picture to show you guys.  But it almost looked like some kind of joke.  Or it looked like the power had been out for awhile and they had to throw away the refrigerated stuff.  I had no idea what was going on, so I went up to one of the employees and said, in a half-joking, lighthearted way, "where's all the food?"  She gave me a look of death and said, "well I guess it's still up in St. Louis."  (Add rude employees to the list of negatives about Midtown Schnucks.)

Then the whole Kroger buyout situation dawned on me.  I had totally forgotten and also didn't think it would be such a quick turnaround.  I then overheard another customer talking with a nicer employee about what was going on and he informed us that the last day for Schnucks to be open is Friday (like, tomorrow).  So they're selling everything at deeper and deeper discounts each day until they officially close their doors then.  The man then said, "so you guys are going to close, then Kroger will remodel and reopen?"  And the Schnucks employee was like, "I think you might be thinking a little ambitiously about the whole thing."  Awesome.  Kroger is buying out the crappy store and will just keep it crappy.

But all this to say, I'm feeling slightly apprehensive about the whole buyout.  Even though I do the majority of our grocery shopping at WF, there are certain staples I buy at Schnucks every week, too.  What if Kroger doesn't stock those things?  I don't think I can live without 100 calorie packets of Wholly Guacamole!  Also, I'm not that pumped that Kroger will now have a huge monopoly on our grocery store market in Memphis.  That's never good.

What I am pumped about, though, is going to Schnucks on the last day it's open to hopefully score some awesome deals on non-perishables! So I guess it's sort of a win/lose situation. I'll keep you all posted!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

RR: Farmhaus (St. Louis)

Wow - I feel so cosmopolitan doing a restaurant review from another city!  Since I travel so much, it's only appropriate...or not.  But whatev, I can pretend.

As I said in yesterday's post, on Saturday night of this past weekend, Jonathan, my mom, my sister, and I headed to south city Stl to hit up Farmhaus, a new-ish restaurant located in a residential neighborhood.

First things first, and to get this out of the way, this restaurant is not necessarily the coolest looking place you've ever been.  It's pretty small and the tables are super close together (which I'm fine with, but just an fyi).  There are white tableclothes, but the napkins are dish towels.  I get the shabby-chic they're trying to nail down, I just don't think they did it very well.  Also - and note before I say this, I'm a huge freak about lighting and am super picky about it - the lighting was awful, in my opinion.  It was overhead lit with dim yellow lights, which maybe sounds nice, but it wasn't.  It felt oppressively yellow but too dim at the same time.  A few lamps and some candles on the tables could've done wonders, I think.

But all that aside, let's get to the food, which was great!  The waitress informed us that the kitchen makes food and it comes out as it's ready.  The menu itself was sort of odd in that it wasn't divided in any way, it was basically just a long list of stuff.  The only differentiator between courses was the price, and it was then left up to you to decide which course went where.  My usual go-to at a nicer restaurant is to get a salad/first course, a main course, and a dessert if I'm still hungry.  Well on this menu, that didn't seem like the best option since there were only a couple salads and a ton of small plates/appetizers.

We decided to get three of these apps to split, each get an entree, and each get dessert.  Our apps were: bruschetta, conch fritters, and "nachos."  I was really happy with all of these.  The bruschetta was delicious - it isn't something I usually order at a restaurant, but I loved it.  The ingredients were fresh and there was a nice balsamic drizzle.  The "nachos" were also great - sweet potato chips topped with warm, melty blue cheese, bacon, and bell pepper-flavored ketchup.  Yum!  The conch fritters were good, but not as much as the other two - I think the only redeeming aspect of them for me was the spicy sauce they were served with and the jalapenos inside the batter.  I love spicy stuff!

For our entrees, I got a fish dish (maybe halibut?), my mom got a fish dish (grouper, maybe?), my sister got bacon-wrapped meatloaf, and Jonathan got steak.  My and my mom's dishes were tiny.  But it was ok, it was maybe a relief, actually, compared to some of the absurd portions other restaurants serve.  Mine was good - it wasn't the best entree I've ever had, but it was also far from the worst.  It was served with some awesome bread on the side and some creamy shrimp.  The cream sauce was abundant and I ended up dipping the halibut in it as well.  My mom said she liked her dish and Jonathan did as well (I ate some of the cheesy potatoes his steak came with and they were awe-some!).  My sister wasn't a huge fan of hers but she's maybe a tad too much of a picky eater at restaurants with more adventurous menus, so possibly not the best judge.

For dessert, I got a peanut butter mousse in a chocolate shell; Jonathan got a toffee cake; and my mom and sister got a baked peach cobbler/pie thing.  The peach was the clear winner in the dessert category - delicious, flaky pastry with sugary, warm peaches.  But mine was pretty good too.  Jonathan's was just decent which made him sad.

Overall, I would recommend Farmhaus for the food.  When compared to three other upscale-ish dining places I've been of late in Stl (Atlas, Vin de Set, and 1111 Mississippi), I would rank the food high (alongside Atlas).  But I would rank the atmosphere the lowest, no question.  We didn't walk into the small bar, so that might be a little nicer in terms of feel.  But that lighting - man, it was no good!

Overall, I recommend.  Check it out if you're in the area.  I think it would be fun to go and just get drinks, a few small plates/apps, and dessert.  (Also, there were some cool seats that were right in the front window which I would recommend if I ever went back.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Weekend Without Labor

Oh how I love three-day weekends!  (I mean, who doesn't?)  But really, coming off of this one, it almost feels like we had a little vacation, which is exactly what I hoped for.

Jonathan and I decided, somewhat last minute, to spend Labor Day weekend in St. Louis visiting my mom.  It was going to be an exciting weekend, as well, because it was Hank's first trip.

The three of us headed up on Friday and arrived just in time for a delicious home-cooked dinner.  Hank seemed a little timid at first about the new house, but soon enough he was running the place, so on that front, all was great.

Saturday was h-o-t outside (about 100) so we decided to go to the neighbor's pool to cool off and enjoy the end of summer.  Jonathan and I were curious about Hank and swimming (since he's super scared of new things, in general, but as swimming seems to be universally liked by most dogs, we didn't know).  While we were there, it was totally classic what happened in relation to the dog...  So, I was in the pool and Jonathan was standing about seven feet away from the pool with a hose filling up a kiddie pool for Hank.  Hank was standing between the kiddie pool and the big pool.  Jonathan thought it would be funny to spray him with the hose; but when he did, Hank ran away from it - only, he didn't realize where he was standing and ran straight into the big pool!  He dove in a with a huge dunk!  I was ready to go rescue him, but once he emerged from his dunk, he doggie paddled perfectly over to the side of the pool and jumped out.  He wasn't super jazzed about getting back in after that, but he was ok with the kiddie pool (and at least we now know he can swim!).

Saturday night, along with my sister, we all went to Farmhaus for dinner.  I'll do a Restaurant Review tomorrow, but as a preview, we really enjoyed it!

Sunday, the four of us had tickets to the Cards' 1pm game.  Our seats were in a box that served food and drink, so we got to the stadium early to enjoy that before the game.  Even though they lost, it was so fun to be there!  With the minor league team in Memphis, sometimes it's hard to remember what it's like to go to a major league game.  It's basically like the Redbirds, but on extreme supersize.  And the new stadium is so much nicer than the old one, it was great to walk around and explore a little bit.

By the time we got home, it was probably 6pm or so.  Jonathan and I enjoyed the fab weather and walked the dog a little bit through the neighborhood.  Then we all enjoyed some time on my mom's awesome screened-in porch.  I had been madly craving Ted Drewes, but really, I just wanted frozen custard, so we went over to Silky's (which is a custard place right down the street from the house).  It was as delish as I remembered.

We woke up Monday morning to 50 degree weather!  (Not that you guys can't do the math, but that's fifty degrees cooler than Saturday!  Dang!)  After some lovely exercise for us (in cool weather!), we hit the road pretty early.  It was perfect because we got back with enough time to get some stuff done around the house and chill out for a little bit.  And - Memphis had cooled down as well!  It was in the mid-70s and lovely!

Overall it was a great trip!  Good to see my mom and sister; good to know that Hank can travel well (he was perfect in the car both ways); good to consume about 100,000 calories in awesome food; good to walk on the lovely walking path around my mom's house; and great to have a day longer than the standard weekend trip!

Did you guys enjoy your day off from labor, as well?