Tag Archives: baby

That one time I was pregnant for the second time

The dreaded pregnancy post. As usual, feel free to move along if food aversions and placenta placement aren’t your bag, baby.

This will be my only prego recap this time around—the second child neglect is already starting—so I will try to cover everything.

When I found out I was pregnant, it couldn’t have been better news. I know the old cliché of having a baby to improve a crappy situation usually ends up with a bigger mess than before, but for our little family unit, it’s exactly what we needed. We could be distracted from other people’s messes and had a teeny tiny acorn-sized reminder of hope and possibility. It was a good day.

Addison was the first person I told. After I picked her up from preschool on a Thursday, I asked her if she wanted to know my secret. She said no, but I spilled the beans anyway. She did a fabulous job of not telling anyone by accident for several months. When we were ready to start spreading the news to close friends and family, she was our accomplice. I would ask her, “Addison, what’s mommy’s secret?” And she would whisper, “There’s a baby in mommy’s tummy.”

And then we all died from the adorableness. Except me. I belched because I was disgustingly bloated.

Trimester Uno

The first trimester…well, it’s over. So that’s reason to celebrate. Much like last time, it wasn’t earth shattering but it was zero fun. I had to take progesterone, which comes with familiar side effects like nausea, bloating, headaches, hot flashes and aching boobs. Need I list the symptoms of first trimester pregnancy? I don’t know if my nausea and excessive bloating were from the itty bitty babe or the meds, but they raged until trimester two. I had Clayton bring me home hospital scrubs from work and lived in them for about two weeks when the idea of a waistband grazing my stomach was too much to handle.

boo and mik IG

Hence the oversized t-shirt as a Halloween costume.

I ate way too many Chick-fil-A fried chicken sandwiches with extra pickles and Chick-fil-A sauce. Like, way too many. Almost nothing sounded appetizing, so I tried not to worry about the junk I was eating and told myself it was better to eat something than nothing for three months. As my doctor pointed out, “There’s protein in there somewhere.” Amen, sister.

Trimester Dos

Once the drugs and the first twelve weeks were behind me, I sailed into the sweet spot. I hadn’t really planned out the timing, but this pregnancy has been impeccable for the ol’ schedule. Most importantly, I will avoid being pregnant during the hottest months of the year. Holla! (Are we still saying holla? I don’t know. I’m old.) And as it turns out, the weeks I felt my best coincided with the chaos of the holidays. They were a normal level of exhausting rather than a send-me-into-a-month-long-hibernation level of exhausting.

In November and December we traveled for Thanksgiving, shook our groove thangs at Clayton’s work party until the wee hours, saw The Black Keys and hosted a Friendsmas dinner, all while smiling and not dry heaving.

After PDQ mistakenly gave me a grilled chicken sandwich instead of turkey, I haven’t been able to eat chicken. Something about biting into that thing expecting one taste and getting blindsided by different poultry was more than I could take.

This was also the trimester I realized no one cares that you are pregnant the second time around, especially your other offspring. People will ask you the obligatory questions, but since there’s an actual named little person running around, conversation and activities revolve around the kid that we can see. The bump better hang on tight because little changes in day to day life. Gone are the days of foot massages and back rubs. Toddlers still gotta eat, take baths, have their teeth brushed, get to preschool and not impale themselves on household objects.

Oh, and we found out the little peanut is a BOY. Much giggling and baby clothes swapping occurred.

baby boy ornament

Trimester OMG This is Really Happening

I am legitimately fuhreaking out that I will be full term in six weeks. I can’t even type that. We have, shall we say, slacked in the preparation for baby department. The nursery is still an office/guest bedroom, only now there are bins of unsorted clothes and baby toys stacked in the closet. My nesting translated more into maternity clothes shopping sprees and sorting through seven years of utility bills rather than more productive tasks like choosing paint colors and buying a crib. Oopsies.

closet before and after

Some progress is progress, right?

Luckily, I still feel pretty good—albeit very, very round–and can wrangle some energy when I need to. There was the tiniest of worries this week that had a very distant possibility of bed rest, and well, that just would have been laughable considering the state of our to-do list. I’m not too concerned because at least this time I know we have a few weeks after his arrival before the nugget will actually be sleeping in his own room. (I do, however, have concerns about a certain father attempting to operate power tools to finish some elaborate projects while sleep deprived.) Basically, I’m just trying to stay as zen as possible until I can drink wine again.

IMG_7163They give you 35 minutes to kill and a mirror on the door. You do the math.

Similar to my first rodeo, I haven’t had too many cravings and instead experience more food aversions. My cravings are more moment-specific. One day all I can focus on is downing a huge salad and the next day lettuce sounds like an abomination. Doughnuts are back, and much like before, I’ll cut you for a Boston cream.

socks and granola

What else, what else…my wedding rings still fit, I don’t have that dark line on my stomach (yet), I found the world’s most comfortable pajama pants that aren’t even technically maternity and I don’t have gestational diabetes. Holla! (Whatever, I’m rolling with it.)

This kid moves ALL THE TIME. With Addison, my placenta was in the front, so I couldn’t feel her very much. This little break dancer parties all day, every day. I never thought I’d be into it, but I sort of love it.

Ambivalence tends to be the name of the game. I am not the girl who loves being pregnant. It’s strange and achy and everything abnormal is normal; I have no idea whose body this is. On the other hand, I realize how very fortunate I am to have such smooth, healthy pregnancies and am thankful the most serious complication has been picking a name. Which we still have not done.

Nameless or not, I absolutely cannot wait to meet my baby boy.

Closure & Contemplation

“The only way to find out if you’re in the right place
is to stand in the place.”
- Amy Poehler

During a brief respite from determining how I can force Amy P. to adopt me, I took a few minutes to watch this Smart Girls video of her speaking on courage. The above quote kept echoing in my head after I heard it for a few reasons.

Most obviously, I thought about our time in Virginia. Clayton and I had been so excited and optimistic to leave Florida. We’d talked about that leap for years, imagined it over and over, and finally had an opportunity. We were so ready. Never in a million years did we think that journey would circle right back to Florida two years later, at our own choosing.

nat shenandoahIn some ways, it felt like we’d failed. Scratch that, it felt like I’d failed. I was the one who couldn’t hack it less than a year in, I was the one looking for PA jobs in Florida (no one would even see me for an interview) after building up this dream of what life would look like anywhere but here. But Ames reminded me that we wouldn’t have known if that move was for us unless we actually packed up and moved. Turns out, Newport News did not hold the Noas’ glamorous, reinvented future. It did, however, hold a lot of military bases, terrible traffic and an insane job in a trauma hospital. (But weekend D.C. trips were pretty fantastic.)

nat clayton dc

So we moved on. I think about those years quite a bit, for better or worse. Maybe moving on didn’t necessarily have to mean moving back, but Clayton and I were both so desperate for relationships. Tampa had a whole vending machine of prepackaged, ready to consume friendships waiting for us. It would have been hard to take another risk in a new city at that point. Plus, I was pregnant and wanted my mommy.

When I think about where we’ll be five or ten years from now, though, I don’t know that Florida is sustainable. Crazily enough, I’m the one who will probably initiate another foray outside the Sunshine State. Clayton has the personality that accepts things as they are; I am the wanderer and questioner. He can’t sit still literally, but I can’t stay still figuratively. After only a few years being back, I cherish the family and friends that fill my life but still wonder what might be waiting. And, quite simply, we won’t know if there is another place for us until we’re standing in that place

Apart from an actual get-up-and-go battle cry, A.Poehls reiterated some thoughts I’ve been wrestling with about my work. Writing as a career in and of itself still thrills me. Factor in doing it from home, on my own schedule, and in between caring for kiddo(s), and it’s oh so tempting to ride this wave as far as it takes me without changing course.


But then some days, like today, I will catch a glimpse of what writing about things and people and places that truly inspire me would feel like. And I know with certainty I could do that. That’s about where the debilitating blackness of the Unknown begins to stretch out ahead. I have no idea what “writing about what I want” looks like. A book, a column, a blog that is actually maintained, a journal that never sees the light of day. Or a more creative day job that nurtures me professionally but prevents me from nurturing my family in the way I am used to.

So far, I have not felt a strong enough pull to make any effort to change my work load. I take what I am given by my current clients, weathering the hectic months along with the silent ones. Thankfully, my income has remained pretty steady and everything balances out by the end of the year. Except for taxes. God forsaken taxes.

Now that baby number that’s-it is coming along, I’ve been getting a different thrill thinking about what comes next. I am sure this was a crux, but it seemed a little pointless to dive into a new lifestyle, hobby or work situation knowing a baby was about to be on board. Could I have opened a new business or enrolled in a doctorate program in my second trimester? Sure. Would it have led to a mental breakdown ending in a murder-suicide primed for a Lifetime movie? Probably. All signs now point to the imminent end of childbearing, and I’ll be “free” to and (eek!) responsible for creating what life will look like raising babies instead of making ‘em.

It’s an exciting proposition to feel like anything is possible. I honestly feel that way, as cheesy and PSA-sounding as it is. I’m looking forward to training for all sorts of running PRs in the next decade, planning trips that require air travel and being able to take the necessary sedatives to follow through with them, visiting far away friends more regularly, and who knows what else. I was semi serious about the doctorate program. Always the scholar.

oh the places

My future second mommy Mama Amy offered an added reassurance that yes, all those plans may crash and burn—okay, not cool to use that analogy related to air travel; double my dose, please—but taking steps to stand in those places, no matter what the result, is courageous. Even more, it’s living.

C’mon get happy!

I posted an overly obnoxious and whiny caption on Instagram the other day and have been feeling lame about it ever since. I was—and still am—extremely frustrated by our new insurance situation as of late, but hey, we can afford (loose use of that word) insurance for our family and one way or another, I can see a doctor whenever I need to. So, time to get over myself.

As a recompense, here are some things that are making me not frustrated right now, 90% of which are food related because hello, pregnant.

1. Cream cheese + red raspberry preserves. Maybe I ordered a bagel with cream cheese, added the preserves at home and devoured the combo like a starved mountain lion. And then made two more pieces of toast so I could have more of it. Related: how are your New Year’s diet resolutions going, those of you not baking a baby? Suckers.

2. Mama got a new pair of boots. And baby is about to get fancy.



3. It’s been less of a meatless Monday and more of a meatless two trimesters over here, so I made vegetable enchiladas and they were filled with good veggies (albeit smothered in cheese) that I’ve been neglecting and lasted for three nights, i.e. I could slack on meal prep for two nights.

4. I ordered a decaf coffee at the Target Starbucks counter, and since they don’t keep a brewed pot of decaf, they made me a pour over. Holy delicious. It didn’t seem complicated until I looked it up; there are like 29 ways to make a pour over at home, so…whatever. Here’s my $3, pour hot water over powdered beans for me, please sir.

5. Doughnuts. I haven’t actually had one in a few months, but just the idea of them is putting me in a pretty good mood. Which reminds me of the ridiculous idea I had to do a pregnancy announcement using whimsically decorated Halloween doughnuts and the phrase “Something wickedly sweet this way comes.” Adorable, no?!



There was so much failure happening with the manifestation of this idea. First of all, the Dunkin Donuts commercials obviously used professionally trained, bakery owning frosting masters to craft the images I saw on t.v. Over at the ol’ local DD, I was treated to a “let me see what I can do” and gifted the scraggly interpretations of a moody teenager with some sort of clear musculoskeletal dysfunction. Then there’s the lighting, the giant plate, just a whole lot of no.

I was so annoyed I didn’t even eat one.

6. Breaking Bad. Not exactly an upper, but our two nightly episodes are little mini dates. Intensely graphic, drug-filled, cringe-worthy mini dates. We are at the beginning of Season 4 and OMG I want to punch Hank in the throat. (Source)

hank marie text1

hank marie text2

7. My brother (who is called Kunkle instead of Uncle) popped in this week and played with Addison for a couple hours. The next morning on the way to preschool, out of nowhere she shouted, “Kunkle’s here!” It melted my cold, dark heart.

8. Clayton, and now also Addison, playing the harmonica while Maya howls along. Never gets old.

9. Filling out paperwork and answering the “Occupation” section with “Writer.” Because stay at home pajama wearer, toddler chaser, kitchen avoider, stink eye deliverer and Instagram enthusiast usually takes up too much space.

10. The Bachelor is back and I don’t care who knows I am ALL IN already. With the sheer number of diagnosable alcoholics alone, this is going to be excellent television. SPOILER A’COMIN.

So sad to see you go, Tara. Thank you for representing Florida in a truly spectacular fashion. Enjoy that month long hangover. (Source)

drunk tara

I’ve dropped my baby.

It looks like we are seriously, 100%, actually going to have a baby ‘round here. You may have realized that back when I announced I was pregnant or when I whined about the first trimester, but I don’t think it sunk into Mama’s brain until yesterday. We had our 36 week appointment. After our first appointment around 9 weeks, the exams were simple: walk in, lie back, listen for heartbeat over stomach, see you in four weeks. But yesterday, the gown and stirrups reappeared for a more thorough check-up of the peanut.

I’m so glad I can look back at my pregnancy and fondly recount to Addison that one time the doctor was checking on her and all of a sudden said, “Oops. Gross!” Mama has never felt more confident or attractive. The doctor dropped one of her “tools” straight out of my hooha and into her lap. I’m so sorry that my pregnant anatomy disgusts you, Dr. Dropsies. I’m not a huge fan of your scaly man hands, but you don’t see me throwing out tactless epithets in the exam room, do you?  

When the nurse tried to prep for a re-do, they were out of whatever sharp, pointy torture device they needed. So she opened the door and went to retrieve another one. With my knees still pointed up to the ceiling and my dress pulled up over my chin. I understand that the medical team may adopt the “you’ve seen one woman’s ladybits, you’ve seen them all” mentality, but I’d really prefer that my ladybits not be that one. And I don’t believe patients innocently walking through the hallway necessarily want to stumble onto that makeshift Cinemax set.

When things got back to normal—as normal as metal objects and latex gloves poking around your uterus can be—the doctor checked on the position of the baby. “Her head has dropped a little,” she noted. At the time, her comment breezed right past me and I got down to business asking the 14 questions saved on my phone about labor and delivery and breaking water and all that otherworldly mess.

About four minutes into the drive home, it hit me. There is a head. That the doctor just felt. That is most likely attached to an entire little baby. In my body. THERE IS A BABY IN MY BODY.

I explained this to Clayton when he called about dinner plans, but he seemed to have known that these past nine months have confirmed the whole “baby in body” thing already. At least for him. He was more worried about the grocery list. Men.

So there you have it. There really is a little baby on the way, and she is getting herself locked, loaded and into position for her debut. I don’t think this means anything concrete about how soon (or not soon) we may get to meet her, but it’s stop-you-in-your-tracks thrilling to realize that we definitely ARE going to meet her one of these days.

32 weeks32 weeks edited

35 weeks
35 weeks edited36 weeks
36 weeks edited

Peace through sadness

Dear Addison,

Before I even meet you out in the world, I wanted to tell you a story. It makes me sad that you’ll never get to meet the goofy guy that first taught your Dad and me what it means to be responsible for another life. His name was Bryson, and we adopted him when he was a baby, just like you. He was only about eight pounds then, but it didn’t take him very long to grow bigger. And bigger. And then a little bigger. He became a tall, lanky puppy that developed into a tall, lanky dog.

Your dad and I had so many adventures with Bryson. He was around for almost all of the important milestones throughout the beginning of our marriage, before we even thought about bringing you into our family. He moved with us about a dozen times, across town and then all the way to Virginia and back, plus lots of weekend trips in between when we’d let him sleep all by himself on the extra bed in the hotel rooms. He could really fill out a queen size bed.

Bryson was so sweet and loving most of the time. Whenever your Dad would leave for work in the morning, the door hadn’t even closed before Bryson would jump up on the bed with me and sleep until I woke up. So many times I rolled over in a panic thinking that Dad had slept in, but it was just Bryson snoring away. He loved to play fetch with his rope or tennis ball. And he didn’t really love swimming in the pool (like I hope you will), but he still managed to fall in a few times. Your Dad and I couldn’t help but laugh at him when he would do silly things like that. He loved meeting other dogs and playing for hours when he got the chance. I hope that you make friends just as easily; you’ll have to get that from your Dad.

I hate to tell you this part, but I have to. For a year or so before we found out about you, Bryson was not always nice to everyone. He didn’t like strangers. Now, I don’t really like strangers all that much, either, but it’s important that dogs are nice to strangers even if they don’t want them around. Bryson never learned how to tolerate or ignore those strangers, and he was mean to them. Sometimes he even thought our friends were strangers, and was mean to them, too. Your Dad and I didn’t like having a dog that was mean to other people. We wanted so badly for Bryson to show everyone how good he could be. We tried a bunch of things to help him understand that people, even strangers, aren’t dangerous. But none of it worked.

When we found out about you, baby girl, everything changed. Even though we loved Bryson so, so much, we loved you more. A lot more. We loved you with our whole hearts and then some. And because of that love, we wanted to protect you from anything that could hurt you or scare you. We didn’t know how Bryson would feel about you, or how he would feel about other people (a lot of strangers) coming to meet you. And of course we were going to have to show you off to everyone! So we had to make a decision about Bryson. And it was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do.

It wasn’t hard to know that you came first, sweet Addison. That was never the question. The hard part was saying our good-byes to Bryson. We were so used to having him in our lives and our home, wherever that was, for so many years. We watched him grow and mature, find his own personality and discover the world, just like we’ll do with you.

I wanted you to know about Bryson because he taught us lots of lessons that will help us when we finally bring you home with us. He taught us that we can be stern without screaming. He taught us that pulling harder against the leash will just make some people want the squirrel even more. He taught me about 2 a.m. potty breaks, and that I can sort of function with them in my regular routine. He taught us not to be afraid of poop. He taught us that even though some things might be scary to us, sometimes we have to sit back and trust that you’ll know what to do without us.

And the most important lesson was learning how to truly be parents, about what it means to sacrifice something that you might love to pieces for the sake of the life you’ve been entrusted with. This was the very beginning of a life that wasn’t about me and your Dad anymore. We know that we did the right thing by letting Bryson go, even though it was the toughest choice we could have made. But please know–and always remember–we don’t feel guilty about doing what’s best for you. We hope to do that every single day for the rest of our lives.

From My Whole Heart,

profile park

Craigslist: Helping New Parents Abandon Reason Since 1995

Preparing for a baby will leave you in all kinds of situations you never imagined. Take our search for a dresser/changing table, for instance. Under normal circumstances, Clayton and I might have greater self-preserving instincts. Like, when we have to lock the car doors and speed away from the gas station a block away from our destination because we are being approached by the man with a grocery cart full of aluminum cans…that would typically present a red flag for us. And maybe we would u-turn ourselves out of that neighborhood and find solace in a panhandler-less Circle K.

But not this time. This time, I’d been searching for a dresser for our well punctuated baby for weeks and finally found a good deal on Craigslist on what appeared to be the perfect fit. So we wound our way farther away from safety and into a part of town that could probably give you an addiction and/or Hepatitis from touching the sidewalk. I honestly don’t think I’m exaggerating.

We missed the street three times, and each time contemplated just scrapping the trip in favor of not getting car jacked. But then the vision of $400 price tags for wood laminate dressers flashed in our minds, and we headed back into the darkness. Except that it wasn’t dark yet or I would have ended this mission immediately. By the time we found the house, I had already committed to not stepping a foot outside of the car. Clayton had committed to carrying the cash in his jersey shorts pocket and not having his wallet anywhere on his person. And we’d both committed to silently praying to get out of there alive from the moment we saw the man with the can-cart at the gas station.

Once we parked on the side of the “road” (slightly widened sidewalk?), we were greeted by the incessant, charming barking of a Rottweiler that didn’t seem to be joking around. The chain length fence seemed awfully short at that point. Clayton took the route behind the three cars parked in the driveway, opting to not walk along the fence. I opted to continue praying. And check for the tenth time that my window was up as far as physically possible in the case of stray gunfire or Rottie teeth.

The door to the house opened, and then closed, and then opened again. Clayton went in. As soon as Clayton left my sight, I regretted this whole mess. I would have called Pottery Barn Kids that second and placed an order for any overpriced dresser they had to get him out of that house. I fought with tragic scenarios and escape routes and guilty tears (and maybe one little daydream about where the new changing table would go in the nursery) before he reappeared. Sans blood or stab wound, that I could see. And then I saw our beautiful, glistening espresso-colored dresser with changing table attachment and all was right in the world. Also, he was being assisted by an overweight middle aged woman with glasses who just didn’t fit the profile of my previous fears.

I even ventured outside of the car to offer an obligatory gesture of helping. I was outside long enough to make a few awkward jokes and offend the woman, and then I hopped back to my post in the passenger seat. We exited feeling somewhat victorious but mostly just plain lucky that our stupidity and frugality didn’t have more homicidal consequences. But that dresser sure does look pretty in its new home.

Phoebe or Phoebo?

At the beginning of my pregnancy, Clayton and I weren’t sure if we would find out the baby’s sex. When people would ask, I would flaunt our courageous decision like some kind of medal. Man, we are so brave for having a baby with complete pre-natal medical care, in a hospital surrounded by specialists and in the middle class of a first world country without knowing the gender!

But that lasted about a week. Until the appointment where the possibility of knowing was upon us, and there was no more bravery to be found. I wanted to know, and I wanted to know bad.

In an effort to maternalize myself and to compete with the growing “Throw a Party for My Baby’s Genitals” trend, I got a little ambitious. I found a recipe for cake ball-stuffed chocolate chip cookies that could have either blue or pink cake in the middle. I went for it. And by “it,” I mean to Wal-Mart for every single ingredient, including the pie pans and hand mixer, because this gal doesn’t do much baking.

Our appointment was last Friday afternoon, and I was not going to have enough time to teach myself how to bake between then and our dinner plans with my family. So I started the night before, and even though I’m still eating cake balls for breakfast, it was exhilarating to start the process without knowing what the end result would be.

cake supplies (2)   batter collage

cake ball collage

Once we knew the million dollar answer, I covered the winning cake balls in chocolate and baked them into giant cookies.

choc cake balls2 (2)

And then it was show time. I already have to apologize to my little nugget for how it’s finally announced on the first video. Sorry, kid, your mom is sarcastic and the pre-natal vitamins don’t seem to be changing that. Also, please make sure you hear my dad’s comment.

The Big Reveal, Part 1 (YouTube link)

Clayton’s mom just happened to be passing through town and stayed with us that Saturday night, so we got to tell her in person. She was a big fan of the belly rubbing.

The Big Reveal, Part 2 (YouTube link)

pink cookie4

tony ally collage

 mom jenn collage

nat gift3 text

So there you have it. I’m pretty confident that our little genius will be able to give Mama spa pedicures and shampoo/cut/highlights in about two years. So much to look forward to!

Love Language: Carbs

I just love a good “you won’t believe how disgustingly sick I was” story. There was commiserating aplenty on Facebook after my last post. It makes me feel like I’m in fabulous company and less of a horrible sarcastic mother-to-be.

Since I’ve been feeling pretty good lately and we’re still shacking up with my ‘rents, we decided on a fancy night out for Valentine’s Day. I don’t think it’s a fake holiday and I am an unashamed advocate for getting gifts for any reason under the sun. So tearing through tissue paper on a random Tuesday night in the middle of a parking lot was just fine with me.

For our “no gift” Valentine’s, Clayton understood that chocolate no longer falls under the “gift” category and has instead taken up residence in the “necessity” category. Good boy. Apparently, a bickering Edward and Jacob and vampire/human honeymoon appear in the same category because I also came home with Breaking Dawn: Part 1.

I got a little crafty and stole this idea from Peanut Butter Fingers. I tailored it a bit for our pending situation and embroidered what Clayton affectionately called “a snowman baby.”

vday gift1 vday gift me you

 vday gift i do

vday gift we grew

Yes, the “I do” and “we grew” portions are basically the exact same section of the map, but I did not have this gift in mind when we planned our marriage or decided to procreate. Also, I hope you never need to buy an old school map because they do not exist anymore. I went to five different stores looking for those bad boys and wound up being ogled as I waited in line at a truck stop off the interstate a few exits past my safety zone. Lesson learned. Store bought presents from here on out.

Dinner was a-mah-zing (one of my fave Pennyisms). We ate at Bon Appétit, where we had our wedding reception almost four years ago. Clayton may or may not have said it was five years ago to get seated sooner. And what do you know? Everyone was right – they have delicious food. I wasn’t sure because my nerves were still so wacked out during my reception I couldn’t eat. Definitely did not have that problem on V Day.

clay nat vday4

Yep, my bottom four shirt buttons are open on purpose. Ain’t no shame.

Reasons Why I May Resent My Baby, or First Trimester Blues

1. The smell of coffee makes me want to vomit.

2. I feel more guilty if I eat junk food.

3. I could not properly celebrate FSU’s lackluster victory over UF. With beer or cartwheels.

4. All I have the energy to do is sleep.

5. My clothes are tighter five weeks before “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” says they should be.

6. The smell of…everything makes me want to vomit.

7. I almost sobbed halfway through checking out at the grocery store when I realized I was in the express lane and had a full cart. I seriously had to blink back the tears.

8. My husband makes fun of my burping.

9. I am on the verge of paying an assistant an exorbitant salary to remove any trace of chicken, cooked or uncooked, from my sight, smell and general vicinity.

10. No more running. Which translates to no more runner’s high.Which translates to endless grumpy pants.

11. I can’t brush my teeth without dry heaving. Despite all the unsolicited advice and pregnancy recaps from friends and strangers alike, no one seems to be able to relate to this one.

12. Clayton and I had to pull over on the second day of our trek to Florida because I was having a “I-am-so-tired-I-can’t-go-on-living” meltdown. A Yoohoo, bag of M & M’s and three-minute cat nap at a gas station helped dramatically. (So did swapping out “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” audio book for some seriously awful pop music.)

13. Our life savings has been transferred to Planet Smoothie in daily $4 increments.


Thankfully, I’m well past the trying times of the first trimester and most of that list. Except the occasional teeth brushing incident (seriously, what is the deal with that?) and chicken is still blacklisted.

So far, Mama likes the second trimester burst of energy and appetite. And even though you will probably skip right on over them, much like I would if it was your bambino, here are a few snapshots of Señor/Señorita Coffee Bean. It has a distinguishable head, body, spine and limbs now, which is light years beyond what we saw at our first photo shoot. And we are kind of stoked.

Silly Baby Noa, dry heaving notwithstanding, I can’t quit you.

sono 17 weeks3 (2) sono 17 weeks1 (2)

sono 17 weeks2 (2)

In transition

If Clayton and I were to write a list of all the major transitions we’ve undergone, are undergoing, and will undergo in a span of nine months, you might run out and fill the Xanax prescription for us. Looking at it on paper seems terrifying, which is why I’ve avoided it.

When we told people our plans—move from Virginia to Florida, get a new job, move in with my parents, buy a house, have a baby, reconcile the major political parties, decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil—we watched as their eyes grew wider and wider as the answer to their innocent question “what’s new with you guys?” grew ever longer. It was pretty unusual for us to have anything new, much less so much new stuff that people forgot the beginning by the time we made it to the end. We also had a sincere suggestion to “go ahead and sign up for marriage counseling.”

But today, sitting down in the middle of all the upheaval on my parents’ sunny patio, I don’t feel that weight. A little indigestion from the growing nugget, sure, but not the pressure that I expected.

And this is precisely why we are here, in a cramped bedroom in the house that holds decades of my memories. Because this place is safe. This place is comfort and warmth and shelter from that list that feels like it’s growing every week. We are checking things off, we schedule what needs to be done, make appointments to meet serious-sounding professionals in their offices to sign stacks of papers, make handfuls of phone calls to grown-up companies to be put on hold for 14 minutes and sit in new waiting rooms anxious to hear the steady, rhythmic, enchanting pounding of our coffee bean’s heartbeat.

On top of those necessities, we laugh with my brother and his girlfriend. We wonder what gourmet meal my father is preparing each night. I go shopping with my mother and spend afternoons with my grandma. I cuddle my best friend’s new baby every week and see him changing in my arms and see her as a beautiful mother with my own eyes. We get invited to Super Bowl parties. We meet family for birthday dinners on a Monday night and my husband and I giggle at baby names before falling asleep.

We are living. We are awake with new possibilities arising from familiar faces and places. We are rejuvenated within the blankets of support and encouragement that we haven’t felt for two years.

So I will trip over boxes tiptoeing to bed. I will work from a couch or dining room table rather than an office. I will wait to decorate a nursery. And my husband will play musical cars every morning that he is blocked in on the driveway.

Because this life is filled with so much love.

And this life is every single thing I was hoping for.      

 fashion show9

fashion show8

nat max hospital3

clayton max edited

boys edited