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.

The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year

For generally being a Type A person, I’m not doing a lot of reading regarding my pregnancy. [Googling, on the other hand, is another story.]

I was looking through Amazon and this book came up as suggested reading. I figured that after many a conversation with female friends and co-workers regarding pregnancy and childbirth, I was adequately prepared for what lay ahead.  But before we get to my thoughts, let’s get some background on the book.

 

Sh-t No One Tells You

Summary (from Goodreads):
There comes a time in every new mother’s life when she finds herself staring at her screaming, smelly “bundle of joy” and wishing someone had told her that her house would reek of vomit, or that she shouldn’t buy the cute onesies with a thousand impossible buttons, or that she might cry more than the baby.

Best-selling humor author Dawn Dais, mother to a one-year-old and author of The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women, is convinced that there is a reason for this lack of preparedness. She believes that a vast conspiracy exists to hide the horrific truth about parenting from doe-eyed expectant mothers who might otherwise abandon their babies in hospitals and run for it. In The Sh!t No One Tells You, Dais tells it like it is, revealing what it’s really like to be a new parent and providing helpful insights, humor, and hope for those who feel overwhelmed by the exhausting trials they’re suddenly facing. Eschewing the adorableness that oozes out of other parenting books, Dais offers real advice from real moms—along with hilarious anecdotes, clever tips, and the genuine encouragement every mom needs in order to survive the first year of parenthood.

My Thoughts:
LOVED IT. I thought I had a pretty good handle (or at least a small understanding) of all things motherhood related (ha!), but this book proved me wrong. It was funny, yet informative  – often leaving me in giggles as I relayed pertinent information to the JA. From what to take home from the hospital (everything that’s not nailed down, apparently) to how to deal with postpartum depression, this book showcases a woman’s first year of motherhood via the lives of ‘seasoned vets.’ I have a feeling I’ll be re-reading it again closer to my due date and possibly even referring to it once Baby A+ is born.

Rating: 5 of out 5

Hey, you. Yes, you! If you liked this review, check out my thoughts on other books by visiting my Reviews page. Want to see what I’m reading next? Let’s be friends on Goodreads!

First Trimester Recap

I know I said this isn’t going to turn into a baby-centric blog, but I did want to let you know what’s been happening during those first few weeks after I announced my pregnancy.

preg header blog.jpg

First Trimester Recap

The Good Stuff
Running my first half marathon
Carbohydrates – specifically cookies, bread, and pasta
Naps
Crabs and shrimp
Seeing the baby for the first time
Hearing the baby’s heartbeat
Sharing the news with our immediate family and close friends

The Not-So-Good Stuff
Other fish/fishy smells
Periodic nausea (but not anything too bad)
Fatigue
Scaling back on intensity/frequency of workouts
HORMONES

The biggest issue for me was learning the limits of my hormone-ridden, pregnant self. If you recall, I ran my first half marathon just before week 9 of my pregnancy. I was burned out from running (or so I originally thought) and didn’t push myself as much as I know I could have. Upon confirming my pregnancy, I also started scaling back during some of my other workouts. I was unsure of how frequent/intense my workouts could be. It was hard knowing that I probably could have pushed myself harder and further, but wanting to protect my (very small) child. Things have gotten better since then, but I definitely had a moment or two where the JA had to talk me through a particularly rough patch while I sat crying and saying, ‘But I could do all this fine before!’

In regard to diet, my doctor has the ‘everything in moderation’ mentality. One of my first questions about food, being from Baltimore, was, “Can I have crabs this summer?” He answered, “Yes” and I was one happy lady. Ice cream has become a regular staple in our grocery cart in addition to gummy bears. I’ve scaled back on other proteins like chicken and fish, but have enjoyed baked ham, shrimp, and tuna here and there. While I do want to do what’s best for my baby, I know that making myself happy will produce a happy child. So if I want an small decaf iced coffee in the morning, I get one.

One question I get asked from non-pregnant friends is about booze. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t miss it. However, the urge to drink simply isn’t there anymore. I do miss champagne, but have used sparkling water to get my carbonation fix. Crabs aren’t the same without a nice cold brew, but I know that this period will only last a short time. Additionally, since my doctor is in the ‘everything in moderation’ camp, he has said that a glass of wine here and there wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. I don’t trust my heavy-handed self to pour a correctly portioned glass. If I am to have a glass, it will be with dinner at a restaurant.

I think that’s it. We’re just passed the halfway point (ridiculousness), so let me know if you have any questions for the next recap!

For more information on this crazy journey, check out the Pregnancy page!

Pop Physique

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’re well aware that barre is one of my all-time favorite group fitness classes. Being a former dancer, the moves came naturally to me and I reconnected with my inner child. All this without the pain of pointe shoes?! I’m so there.

So when I got the opportunity to attend a free class at Pop Physique Baltimore last week, I jumped at the chance.

pop physique logo

Let me tell you, they don’t call it ‘butt school’ for nothing. Although I’ve been taking barre classes at my gym on a regular basis, this was a bit more intense. This fast-paced, high repetition workout uses small movements to isolate various parts of the body to give you a total body workout within an hour. (Learn more details about the workout here.) Shaky legs are encouraged and the grippy socks are mandatory for a reason. The instructors were knowledgable, encouraging, and succinct – they aren’t there to mess around, they’re there to help you get the most of your workout. However, don’t get the impression that they are extremely disciplined or mean, in fact, just the opposite. They were more than excited to help me modify moves for my pregnancy, but also made sure that my form was on point (no pun intended).

belly at the barre

belly at the barre

While I don’t know if I’ll be back before the end of my pregnancy, the Baltimore shop does have a New Mom’s special so I’m hoping to see the team there in the new year.

TIU group at Pop Physique

Special thanks to Pop Physique Baltimore for opening their doors to the Baltimore Tone It Up crew! I paid a small fee to attend the class, and all thoughts and opinions on the experience are my own.

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.

Spin, Sweat, Sip

I’ve chronicled my journey with running while pregnant, but what about other exercise? I’ve been trying to make the barre class at my local gym on a regular basis, but since I have more time in the summer, I wanted to take the opportunity to test out some of the newer exercise options here in Baltimore.

REV logo

I heard about REV Cycle Studio when they opened, but was a little nervous about attending a class. I haven’t been to cycle in ages, much less with a growing belly. But when I got the invite to #SpinSweatSip, I knew I had to go.

REV studio

The evening began with a preview of REV60Blast, described on the studios website as follows:

“Push through your fitness threshold with our intense, signature 60-minute cycling class. Get inspired by one of REV’s certified indoor cycle instructors, who are trained to help you crush your fitness walls over flats, climbs, and valleys. All fitness levels are welcome.”

Our instructor for the evening was Jami, who led about 20 of us ‘social media influencers’ through 45 minutes of spin combined with strength. It was a great balance and each portion was easily modifiable to fit one’s fitness level. Her music choice was on point, and her teaching style left you invigorated and ready to conquer anything.

SpinSweatSip

Once we finished our workout (which certainly lived up to the promise of making us sweat), we were treated to wine and appetizers from The Wine Market, a local restaurant.

SSS food

All in all, I LOVED this event. Often, a group fitness class can be scary the first time. This way, I was allowed to meet other like-minded people and chat/commiserate about our experience. I also got the chance to speak to REV staff and learn about other classes and specials they currently offer.

SSS group

Special shout outs again to REV for hosting and The Wine Market for feeding us. Can’t wait to return and try out some other classes!

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?