Saturday, December 25, 2021

christmas with claire

Merry Christmas, friends!

I've been looking forward to this holiday season since I found out I was pregnant in February. Since my due date was early November, I knew I'd get to spend all the holidays with our brand new daughter without worrying about taking time off from work. 

What I didn't anticipate (naively) was that not working would be the least of my worries, and that the holidays would look a lot different for us, and not always in the romanticized way I'd initially imagined:

  • It took us almost three weeks to get the tree completely decorated, with large storage boxes full of unused ornaments and decor hovering around the living room for days, adding to the mental chaos that we were already feeling with our baby who was fighting her daytime naps.
  • As much as I wanted to make Christmas treats and cookies, it turns out that finding recipes, going to the grocery store, and actually making something was a project that I simply did not have the energy for after all.
  • Outside of a secret Santa amongst Ryan's family and buying a couple gifts, we really dropped the ball on Christmas gifts this year. By the end of each day, I hardly felt like looking for anything online, and we didn't have much time to shop in person.

But even though things looked and felt a little different in ways I didn't expect this year, there was also so much joy to be had, like:
  • Saying goodnight to the Christmas tree with Claire every night. Calming Claire with the Christmas tree  lights. Plopping Claire in a swing in front of the Christmas tree lights so I could throw back a cup of coffee or clean a bottle. Basically anything that involved Claire + our Christmas tree.
  • Walking Claire around downtown St. Pete, showing her (more!) Christmas lights on our walk back to the car after our first happy hour out with her.
  • Watching Christmas movies at all hours of the day, even on weekdays.
  • Finally finding my favorite holiday coffee creamer (Silk dark chocolate peppermint almond creamer), because mama neeeeeds her coffee. I'd rather have a nap, but coffee is a close second.
  • Getting to have a few hours out with work friends for a holiday themed Christmas happy hour.
  • Having a few weeks off with Ryan, as he took the rest of his parent leave + PTO this month. It's been wonderful having him here to fully co-parent with me vs. working from home!
I get so excited (and borderline emotional? ...hormones!) when I think about all of the holiday seasons to come, the traditions we'll continue, the new traditions we'll start, the activities, the baking, the gifting, the magic. We can't wait to watch this little lady grow up, and I know that having her around during the holidays will make them even more special as the years go on.

So again, Merry Christmas and happy holidays from my family to yours! 


Thursday, September 2, 2021

second & third trimester "bumpdates"

Hello, 31 weeks!

What a time warp pregnancy has been thus far. September has begun, and pumpkins, fall fashion, and all things autumn related have made their way into stores (and right back out of them, into my home and my stomach). I've spent all of spring and summer being pregnant, looking toward fall as my "final destination," aka little one's due date, so to think that summer is nearly gone really puts things into perspective for me. Ryan and I are going to be parents in two months (give or take)!

Second Trimester

I'm officially up and out of the glorious second trimester and into my third. After easing out of my all-day nausea and sickness in the first few weeks of my second, I felt like I was living the pregnancy dream by about 18 weeks. I didn't have the "energy boost" that I was promised. The way people talk about energy in their second trimester, I was anticipating more of a transition from Gary the Snail to the Energizer bunny. As it turns out, I just started to feel like myself again. I started craving more than just macaroni and cheese, I began cooking dinner again, making plans, exercising, etc. The only thing that felt different was my growing belly, with the occasional bout of discomfort. 

We went on a little baby moon down in Naples in the middle of June, which is about a two and a half hour road trip down I75. With a lot of expenses to come in the following months, we really wanted something short and sweet with minimal travel involved (though in retrospect, I would have been perfectly happy with just one extra day). We stayed at the Escalante Hotel right in the historic district of Naples, and spent the weekend eating out at cute restaurants, lounging by the pool and getting (complimentary!) cabana service at the beach. We even snuck in a little bit of family time, as a few of Ryan's cousins who live in Naples met us downtown for ice cream on our last night.

A few weeks later, we road tripped up to North Carolina to spend some time at a friend's family cabin with a couple girlfriends, and their husbands and kiddos! Both girlfriends are also pregnant, so it was nice to be in sober company...LOL. I'm so glad I still had plenty of energy on this trip (minus one random mid-day nap) because we filled it with hikes, exploring, and lake swims. It really was the perfect summer trip, and I was still feeling okay enough for two 11-12 hour car trips. Not ideal at 24 weeks pregnant, but it was certainly doable! Shoutout to my husband for driving about 90% of the time.

Third Trimester

The exact day I hit 27 weeks, it felt like my body did a 180 and I went from bopping along, happy as a clam, to feeling straight up uncomfortable. I'd spent so much of my time in the second trimester feeling good that I forgot it was likely going to get worse again.

Since beginning the third trimester, I've been experiencing:
  • wrist pain, similar to that of carpal tunnel, but it's in both wrists?
  • overall joint pain in my hands. 
  • upper rib pain, almost like a big bruise that feels like someone is constantly digging their elbow (or foot!) into them. I should note this has been on the left side only (right side rib pain can be a sign of preeclampsia).
  • difficulty sleeping, due to everything above.
Thankfully, some of these symptoms have been coming and going. Right now, I'm mostly having the pain in my wrists, which has been really fun when it comes to typing, using my phone, opening bags, existing, etc. 

On a brighter note, we are getting closer and closer to baby girl's due date. In fact, it's exactly two months from today! Because she's due November 2nd, she could even be an October baby. I'm hoping she stays snuggled in tightly, at least until after October 28th, as that is tentatively my last day of work. But she's in charge, right? I just keep rubbing my tummy and whispering to her "full term, full term, full term" and hoping she gets the hint.

(Most recent "bump" picture - 31 weeks, on the dot!)


We have a running list of about 3-5 names at any given time. I still look at lists every so often, just to make sure I'm not "overlooking" anything that I could potentially love. I was listening to a podcast about naming your baby, and one of the pieces of advice that stuck with me was that hearing a baby name is kind of like listening to a new song. You might think it's just okay at first, but the more you hear it, the more you love it! We likely won't decide on a name until the day she's born and we actually see her, but that could change.

Next on our "to do" list:

  • Get the nursery set up! Or at least, organize it, wash and wipe down everything we'll be using. We don't have the crib up and running yet, but we plan on using a bassinet for the first few months anyway. I know there are only so many things a newborn truly needs in those initial weeks, but I know our minds will likely be a chaotic mess once baby gets here, so I would prefer our home to be relatively clean and put together when she comes!
  • Finish our guest/baby bathroom renovation and get a fence installed in the backyard for easy pooch release once baby is here.
  • Attend a newborn preparation class (if possible...thanks COVID!) and watch some birthing classes online. I'm leaning toward Tinyhood, but if there is something else anyone recommends, please comment down below!

The countdown is on, my friends!


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

gratitude for this season of life

Lately, I've been having sporadic moments of gratitude for this life.

I think I read somewhere in one of my baby apps that this is typical for the second trimester of pregnancy. For one, I'm exceedingly grateful that my daily nausea has finally subsided, as it's been about six weeks since I last got sick. Aside from my consistent lower back pain and intermittent growing pains, I'm actually feeling pretty good, and it's making this pregnancy a lot more enjoyable thus far. I'm still waiting on that burst of energy I've been promised, but overall, it's been a pleasant couple of months.


Now that we have a little one on the way, we've kick started a lot of bigger house projects. Ryan (with the help of some friends and family) has been demolishing our guest-soon-to-be-kid's bathroom, and we'll likely be adding a fence and gate to our front and back yard in the next couple of months. We'd like to get started on our porch renovation, and I'm toying with the idea of adding a board and batten wall to our dining room situation and throwing in a few pops of wall paint color. On top of that, I'm starting to get a cohesive idea of what we want our little girl's nursery to look like, and getting the itch to begin "nesting."

While our list of house projects can be daunting, and it seems like we'll never have the time, money, or dedication to accomplish it all, I can't help but feel grateful for this home we get to build together (in the figurative sense). I feel it when I sit in specific corners of the house, like our living room couch facing the open shutters on a rainy day, or walk into our bedroom with the basket lights emitting a warm glow next to our fiddle fig tree. Our house is finally starting to feel cozy, like ours

I look at Ryan and feel so, so thankful that he is going to be a father to our daughter. Shortly after meeting him (almost eight years ago!), I just knew he'd be a wonderful dad. He's literally the kindest person I know; someone who continuously goes above and beyond. He's thoughtful, silly, active, adventurous, appreciative...all of the things I could want in a partner on this parenting journey. To say I feel lucky is an understatement.

I'm not blind to the difficult times to come. I know there will be long nights, sleep-deprived arguments, excessive diaper changes, tantrums, and even thankless days ahead. But with those moments, no matter how long they feel, there will also be laughter and baby cackles, neighborhood walks, new traditions, story time, and memories made in this house, as a [bigger] family. I'm ready for the milestones and the big moments, but I think I'm even more excited for those tiny moments of joy that truly create a beautiful life.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

It's a GIRL!

A few weeks ago, I announced on Instagram that we're having a girl! We couldn't be more excited to add a little girl to our family this fall. 

"Do you want a boy or a girl?!"

If you'd asked us prior to my bloodwork, we would have told you that we'd be excited for a boy or a girl, which was completely true! Everyone just wants a healthy baby, and I think that's fair to say. Having said that, and now that we know the baby's sex for certain, I can tell you that we were both gunning for a girl from the get-go.

I've always been fairly sure that I wanted to have children. Ryan and I talked about it before even getting married - we both wanted kids, but if for some reason we weren't able to, we would promised to each other that we would continue to find fulfillment in other ways (as there are so many ways to lead a full, happy life). In my mid-twenties, I had brief moments where I felt as though I could go either way - become a mom, or become the really fun "aunt Sam" to all of our friends' children. In any case, I knew I definitely didn't want us to start trying until after I turned 30...or, that's what I thought, anyway. It wasn't until around this time last year, just before turning 29, that my mindset began shifting. When I thought about waiting to get pregnant, I felt sad thinking about how long it would be until Ryan and I would become parents, and I realized that maybe I didn't want to stick to my self-created timeline after all.

But even within my moments of uncertainty, I'd always pictured myself as a girl mom. I had far more girl friends than guy friends growing up, even into high school and college. I loved playing dress up, getting new clothes for my American Girl doll, playing with makeup (which boys can do, too, of course). Long story longer: I realized that, when I pictured myself as a mother, I always pictured myself with a daughter. And after seeing Ryan interact with his cousin's daughters over the past few years, I knew that he would be the very best "girl dad," too.

How We Found Out

I know "gender reveals" are all the rage right now, but Ryan and I really wanted to find the news out together, just us. I took a non-invasive prenatal test (a blood draw) back in April, and after patiently(ish) waiting a week for the results, I reached out to my doctor's office to see if they'd heard anything from the third party company. I got a message back 20 minutes later:

"We do have the results! How would you like to receive them?"

Ummm, immediately, that's how!

I quickly sent back a message saying that I'd be happy with an email or a phone call, and they didn't open it for an hour. Ryan had gone out to pick up some to-go lunch for us, but I couldn't eat. I was too anxious/excited. When the doctor's office finally did call, I ran outside to where Ryan was hitting golf balls in our practice net in the backyard.

"Alright, guys. What are your bets?"

Ryan quickly said girl, but I hesitated. Earlier in my pregnancy, I'd been so sure our baby was a girl. But then I began having doubts...was I projecting?! I knew I'd be happy with a sweet little mama's boy, especially a mini version of my husband. It wasn't what I'd initially pictured, but I knew that I would love being a mother to any little nugget we could call our own. I said, "I think it's a boy."

"Alright, dad, go out and buy a lotto ticket. It's a girl!"

Me: "IT'S A GIRL?!?!??!!!!"

And just like that, we found out that we would have a daughter this fall. We are over the moon excited, and I haven't stopped looking at adorable dresses and boho onesies since. 

"Do you have a name picked out?"

I thought picking out a girl name would be a lot easier, but as it turns out, we have a handful of names that we can't seem to decide on. As of now, our plan is to have a list of three names and see what she looks like when she's born!

Thank you to everyone who has reached out and congratulated us during this time in our lives. I love being able to document this journey.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

baby fredericks, coming november 2021!

Just call us mom and dad...we're expecting a little babe this November!

What a journey it has been already. To those who claim to love being pregnant: so happy for you! but wowza that has not been the case for me...ha! I'm so happy to be on this journey and I'm getting more excited with every passing day, but the first trimester had me feeling like anything but myself. Apparently the second trimester is supposed to be when things start to look up, so here's hoping!

From the beginning

I found out I was pregnant quite early on. Between getting the house together, going off birth control, and waiting to get the COVID vaccine, we never really gave ourselves the opportunity to "not try, not prevent." Once we were ready, I made an effort to track my cycle and before I knew it, I was staring at two pink lines. We'd been really careful until we decided not to be, and I realize that we are truly lucky to be able to say it happened quickly! 

On Friday, February 19th, I woke up after a great night's sleep and lounged around on the couch for awhile, sipping my coffee, and getting a slow start to the morning. About an hour later, I took the dogs for a short walk and felt totally winded. Knowing I'd slept well and done absolutely nothing that morning, I thought it was kind of weird. A couple hours later, I checked my Flo app to see when I was supposed to start my period, and saw it was five days away.

I thought about all of the "5 days before your missed period" pregnancy test commercials I'd ever seen and decided to take a random cheapie test I had on hand, without much expectation. After a few minutes, I looked at it and did it a double take at the super faint second line. I knew I needed a second opinion (err, a second test), and thankfully I had two digital tests on hand...which I promptly ruined (if you've ever used a digital test, you know this is pretty easy to do...ha!).

So there I am on a Friday morning - Ryan's working from home, I'm trying not to freak out alone, but I have nothing left besides the cheap tests that were already in question. I made an excuse to run to Target (like I need one) to "pick up a few home things," which was a borderline intention. Once I got there, I managed to distract myself in the home goods area for a bit (and scooped up a runner rug in the process) before dashing over to the family planning section and snagging both traditional pink dye tests and digital "pregnant/not pregnant" tests. 

I was shaking nearly the whole way home, trying to sing along to "Electric Love" (you know, "baby, you're like lightning in a bottle..." - what an appropriate song choice) and breathe. I immediately ripped open both types of tests and waited for a full three minutes. I looked out the window, closed my eyes, and opened them again to see that both tests were absolutely, no doubt about it, positive. I started shaking, laughing, crying, having an immediate "omg omg omg this is real, this is happening" moment, but managed to pull it together to call out to Ryan (in the middle of his work day...whoops) to help me open something in the bathroom. From the doorway, he looked at the tests, looks at me and says, "stop," before looking back down at the tests and pulling me in for a hug...not long before saying "holy shit!"

Safe to say we were both very thankful, and also very surprised! 

Cycle Stuff (if you're interested)

Since coming off my birth control back in September/October 2020, I've been religious about entering in my cycle information on my Flo app so that I could anticipate when my period was coming. My cycle hovered between 28-35 days, with one whopping instance of a 47 day (!!!) cycle in January. We'd considered starting around the end of 2020, but then I was given the opportunity to get the COVID vaccine, and after consulting with my doctor, we decided to wait. Well, I can officially be one of the many individuals to debunk the "COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility!" statement, because it surely did not.

Symptoms between 1st & 2nd trimesters

I was hoping to be one of the (seemingly many?!) people without any pregnancy symptoms, but by the end of week 5, I was feeling rough. I had difficulty going to the bathroom for about a week, and as soon as that subsided, the nausea swept in. Oh, the nausea. Just days before our nine hour road trip to Georgia (that hot tub I posted on IG? the glass of wine in hand? wishful thinking...ha! it was all an *~illusion~*). 

By week 7, I was getting sick several times a week, which in the grand scheme, isn't bad at all. But for me, being nauseous feels debilitating, so I was hardly myself. Nearly every night, I'd come home from working a ten hour day and retreat to the couch or the toilet, willing myself to get sick, just so I could finally feel better. It's only now, at 15 weeks, that I've started to feel more like myself again, with only intermittent nausea when I get really hungry.

Nausea aside, I've been zonked. Some days, I felt like I could just fall asleep right at my desk, beyond the kind of sleepy I'd usually feel after just a long day at work. I had moments where I thought to myself, "surely I cannot make it through the rest of the day," but I managed to keep it together most days.

Cravings & aversions

Cravings: anything cold! Give me alllll the [cooked] sushi. I miss raw tuna so much, but tempura shrimp and crab have sufficed in the meantime. Soda has been another random craving for me. In the last 10 years, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've ordered a soda or picked one out of a cooler to drink. But dark soda (Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, etc.) has been a biiiiig favorite of mine. Ryan scoffs at me because he thinks soda is totally gross, but damn, nothing beats a cold Coke, you feel me?!

Aversions: I haven't had coffee in over two months. I went from drinking a cup or two every morning to totally stopping cold turkey. I woke up one morning, went to make coffee, got a whiff of the beans and just thought, "nope." And I haven't touched it since. Also! Those Ritual prenatals everyone goes on about? Oooof. I can hardly talk about them, even to this day. While I don't think they specifically made me sick, I definitely got sick after taking a few doses, and they completely put me off lemons. Also, water sounded awful to me for quite a few weeks, so staying hydrated was overall a really fun experience for me.


Because we found out so early, it already feels like I've been pregnant forever. Ha! But with such a massive life change inching closer and closer by the day, I think we're both taking it all in stride. I'm scooping up baby clothes left and right, imagining our nursery, scouring baby registry lists, and taking one day at a time. We are so excited for this next chapter in our lives!


Thursday, April 8, 2021

a quick georgia getaway

A few weeks ago, Ryan and I drove about eight-ish hours up to northern Georgia for a cabin getaway. It was our first trip out of Florida since December 2019, just a few months before the pandemic and traveling became a complicated topic. 

We bought our first house at the start of everything, so travel felt far off our radar, anyway. We wanted to throw our money into creating a beautiful home, and with a lot of newfound free time on our hands, we worked on doing exactly that. 

I know that everyone has had different journeys over the past year. I've seen a few tone-deaf bloggers travel in the very early months of the pandemic, with seemingly zero concern. I've seen other bloggers, good friends, and even family safely travel by plane. Toward the end of last year, like many, I was itching to travel again. I scrolled through Instagram, and fell into the trap of, "well they're doing it, can't I do it, too?"

Ryan felt it, too. We contemplated booking a trip for awhile. Neither of us felt very comfortable flying just yet, but we still wanted to get out of Florida. We wanted to go somewhere a little off grid, as we weren't planning on restaurant hopping and getting back to our usual travel routine. As selfish as it sounds, we needed something to look forward to; something to be excited about. 

Back in April last year, when companies were scrambling to figure out what was going to happen next, my job required us to take PTO, even into negative hours. I didn't start earning PTO again until September, so aside from a couple days near the holidays, I've taken next to no time off since last spring.

I don't think I realized just how badly I needed dedicated time off; how badly we all need that time.

So, we decided to book a cabin in Blue Ridge, Georgia, where we spent four nights (Friday-Tuesday). It was one of the most relaxing trips we've had, because aside from an outdoor dinner reservation on our first night, we had absolutely nothing planned. We browsed downtown on a whim, grabbed lunch someplace on a whim, found a waterfall trail on a whim. We didn't have any "must-sees" or "can't do withouts," which was a welcomed break from our usual everyday schedules.

I took the rest of the week off work, anyway. Because you know what? I needed it. It felt so good to completely check out and come back from vacation without a schedule or an immediate need to jump back into a routine! I think that, as adults, we forget what it's like to abandon our to-do lists and just let the days take us where they may. 10/10 recommend, even for a staycation, or a no-cation.

I'm already counting down the minutes until our next adventure (which we have yet to plan or schedule)!


Sunday, March 7, 2021

making our house a home

I haven't sat down to write in a long time.

I attribute some of that to not having my own office space at home. Ryan has been working from home since the start of COVID last March (you know...a year ago. WILD.), so my previous grad school/blogging desk has been converted into a permanent WFH space with giant double monitors and clunky keyboards to replace my sleek and slim Macbook and an unorganized mass of thick black wires instead of twinkly fairy lights. 

Talk about uninspiring!

We've been on a hunt for a standing desk for Ryan, to no avail. Much like everything else we bring into the house, it takes a few months for us to make any kind of furniture or home decor decision. But I've finally figured out that that's just part of our process. We limit our impulsive purchases, and spend so long making decisions, that we end up changing our minds altogether...or we end up going with our first choice that we picked out weeks ago. There is no in between!

But slowly, our house is coming together. If you're following along on Instagram, you know we recently purchased a Lovesac sectional couch. While it was a pricier buy, we absolutely love it! It's the perfect seat height for Ryan, and we have a combination of standard and deep seats. Plus, it seats up to seven people! A big upgrade from our chaise lounger that sat three, if we were lucky. Between the warranty, washable and interchangeable covers, and its versatility, we're hoping this baby lasts us a loooong time. Cheers to never couch hunting ever again!

Even though we take our sweet time making decisions, I'm ready for us to gear up and make this house feel as cozy and welcoming as possible. We kind of hit the ground running when we bought the house last year - from painting to flooring, then renovating our master bathroom - so we took a well deserved break from big projects, which our bank account has thanked us for. But now, we're itching to get the patio moving, and the guest bathroom isn't getting any prettier on its own.

In the meantime, I'm working on being grateful for what we have, and soaking in the moments of an unfinished home (though, I hear they're never quite finished). Speaking of the patio and guest bathroom - we have loose plans to get both of those going in the next few months! Keep up with me on Instagram for more frequent home updates!

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