Friday, October 29, 2010

All-American Weekend - In the Bag!

Late October is always a crazy time of year for me - and subsequently, for Jeff.  For the last five years, the third weekend of the month has marked American University's Alumni Weekend (this year re-named as All-American Weekend).  Which means that from about October 1 - October 24, I not only work until at least 6:30 or 7 every night (plus some weekends) in preparation, but I'm also tired, stressed out, and perhaps more than a little crabby. 

Jeff's always a trooper for putting up with me during this time, and never more so than this year (my 6th Alumni Weekend!), when I was balancing the traditional Alumni Weekend workload with a work trip to Seattle and a growing baby starting to make an appearance by way of too-tight pants.  That's right, the week before All-American Weekend, I woke up on a Wednesday to find that nearly 90% of my pants just wouldn't button without extreme contortions and unsuccessful sucking-in of the baby pooch - which really isn't meant to be sucked in any more! 

As you might expect, this experience with the pants did not go over well with me, and caused even more stress than normally experienced from AAW prep.  My sweet husband definitely received the brunt of my wardrobe frustrations (I'm sorry, babe!!!) and I think we're both happier now that I've added several pairs of comfy, full panel maternity pants to the closet.  Even though these new pants fall down a little because there's not quite enough of a belly to hold them up, they're infinitely better for my comfort and my psyche than the old ones. 

We're also both happy that All-American Weekend is over for yet another year!  Jeff was sweet enough to join me for my big Saturday event, the Alumni Awards Ceremony & Reception (the culmination of nearly 7 months of planning), which was a big hit, and then we headed to the All-American Bash for more schmoozing and cheesecake lollipops (yummy catering is definitely a perk of my job, especially with a baby on the way!).  We even got some photos to remember the night!  T-Pup, take note - it's your mom's last Alumni Weekend before you completely change her world!  :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Big J Comes to Visit - Part II

Since getting Mom's entire visit into one entry would have made for a VERY long read, I divided it into two.  After the intensity of Thursday and the go-go-go nature of Friday, it was nice to take it a little bit easy Saturday and today.  That's one of the things that I love most about spending time with my mom.  It doesn't matter whether we're running around or just taking it easy, watching TV- it's always quality time.

We took our time getting ready on Saturday and then got ready to go to Great Beginnings, this fantastic baby store in Gaithersburg that has all kinds of furniture, bedding, strollers, high chairs, etc.  You name it, they have it for babies.  Of course, this was all a little overwhelming for me, as I don't do well with that many options.  I nearly had an anxiety attack in the stationary store when attempting to select wedding invitations!  But it was helpful that we were just there to get the lay of the land, not to make any decisions on purchases.  There's a TON out there, but it's nice to know we have such a good store nearby. 

At night, Mom and I watched some old family videos she has recently converted from VHS to DVD.  It's such a blessing to have all of those family memories recorded for posterity.  Some of the things I remember (like our family trip through Zion, Bryce, and Arches National Parks after my summer at the Bolsohi in Vail), but so many things I didn't, like my dad playing with my cousin Paige in our kitchen.  Just truly priceless memories.  It's really amazing to think that Jeff and I are going to be making our own family videos someday soon, and taking family trips like the ones my family used to take.  I can't wait!

Today the three of us went to some open houses in Gaithersburg, just to see what's out there.  We're not quite ready to move yet, but we know we will be in the next two years and it's fun to see what the future could look like!  While Gaithersburg is a little further away from work than we'd like, we think we might get more home for our buck there than we can in Rockville.  Obviously, we'll have to wait and see when the time comes, but we were impressed with the places we saw and excited at the prospect of future house hunting!

Of course, the day was tinged with more than a little sadness for me, as we dropped my mom off at the airport after the open houses.  Every time we leave each other, I feel a bit lost and anxious.  We have six or seven weeks until the next visit at Thanksgiving, and I'm just grateful that October is such a busy month!  Less time to think about missing my best friend.  Until then, I have a few pictures to commemorate the weekend - grandma's first meeting with T-Pup!
13 weeks and 1 day pregnant!

Parents-to-be with baby's first toy

Tara, Grandma, and T-Pup

Big J Comes to Town - Part I

On Wednesday night, my mom (aka Big J, although I have no idea why I call her that - she's not remotely big!) flew in from California for a long-awaited visit.  As always, we couldn't wait to see each other, and she was even more excited this time around.  She was just dying to put her head on my still relatively little, but slightly rounding, belly!  While definitely too short, it's been an eventful visit.  Here is Part I of the highlights:

Thursday morning I had my 13-week OBGYN appt and both Mom and I were so excited to hear the baby's heartbeat.  But before we could make it to the doctor's office, I had an accident in the shower that had my mom, Jeff, and me all more than a little freaked out.  After my morning workout, I went to take my shower and, while leaning my head back to wash my hair, felt the vertebrae in my upper neck crunch together and then horrible pain in my upper spine and neck.  Worse than that, I got very dizzy and nauseous and ended up falling in the shower.  I wasn't sure whether or not I passed out, but the whole experience was terrifying.  Of course, my first concern was for the baby, but the second was that I had little to no movement in my upper back and neck.  Fortunately, we had the doctor's appointment that morning, and we DID receive a great deal of reassurance.  We heard the baby's heartbeat - a strong 160 beats per minute - and the doctor and nurses all assured us that everything was fine.  I was also able to get an appt. next door at my primary care doctor, and they told me (after a bunch of neurological tests) that there appeared to be no spinal or nerve damage.  They said it was a pulled muscle, possibly a small tear, and to try and rest it for 10 days.  Three days later, I'm feeling a lot better, and just so relieved that both T-Pup and Mommy are okay, and glad that my mom was here to help out in what was definitely the most scary day of the pregnancy thus far!

We did get some other good news on Thursday that helped ease the pain of my back and neck.  The results from our Down's Syndrome risk assessment came in and, based on its measurements and my bloodwork, our baby has less than a 1 in 10,000 chance risk of having Down's Syndrome or Trisomy 18.  We feel so relieved and glad that that one particular hurdle is behind us. 

On Friday, we met friends Terry Hunt and Peter Heinsheimer (who were in town for Terry's father's service at Arlington National Cemetery) for brunch, and then went to the Columbia Mall (a little bit of a hike!) to do my first round of maternity shopping.  While I don't really need anything yet, I'm nervous that one day soon I'm just going to pop out and have nothing to wear.  While we didn't have much luck in the dress pants department, I did get several cute tops, a great pair of jeans, and a dress.  I think I might be in love with maternity clothes.  That stretchy band at the top of the pants is just heavenly.  Who cares what they look like off the hanger!  I don't think I've ever worn anything more comfy.

A belated birthday dinner with our friends at Beni Hana capped off Friday.  We were joined by the Steiners, Turners, Simons, Speigels, soon-to-be Willchers (Ben Willcher and Erin Sudow), and Kate Calvin.  After entirely too much hibachi food, tempura, and a very embarrassing birthday dance, we rolled ourselves home.  Jeff and I feel so lucky to have such amazing friends here in MD/DC.  We don't have family nearby, and these people truly have become our extended family.

More to come about Saturday and Sunday with Big J - but this post is getting too long!  Stay tuned and, in the meantime, here are some fun pictures from Beni Hana.

Pre-dinner fun

Parents-to-be Beth & Alex Steiner

Kate, Ben, Erin, Jen, Dustin, Ryan, and Rachael

The whole group