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Baby Update

Posted on: Friday, September 19, 2014

It's been over two months since I shared that we're having a baby in January, so I thought it was time for a little update.

Her Name
We found out at the end of August that the baby is a girl, and we're naming her Eleanor. I've had the name on my list of names for future kids for probably 3 or 4 years now, and Kyle liked it as well (and didn't love my other top girl name choice. But I'm not giving up and going to save it for if we have another girl), so it was easy to arrive at. I didn't have anything or anyone particular in mind when the name Eleanor came to me years ago, but obviously you think of Eleanor Roosevelt, and that is a fine association by me! The middle name is proving to be much harder. We're leaning towards something with one syllable, and I don't want her name to sound too "old," since Eleanor is a classic name itself (I saw it's in the top 10 popular girl names for 2014 so far). I joke that if we can't come up with something, we will just go with BeyoncĂ© and call it a day. People have suggested using family names, but I'm not particularly fond of any names on either side, nor attached to any meanings (nor have any been conveyed to me by relatives), and I feel that once you start down that road you have to continue for every kid, and I have no interest in engaging in the drama that might ensue with that. Plus, you only get to name so many human beings in your life, so you should name them what you love!

I've been asked if I think she may be born and not seem like an Eleanor, if we will pick a different name, but I really think that after referring to a life by one name for so many months, it would be hard to picture her as or call her anything else, you know? I've seen her face (and spine and toes and femurs and heart beating, etc) and she's already our Eleanor.

Family
I don't imagine we will have any family with us when Eleanor is born. I don't know that she will know her extended family well for her first 2-3 years of life, either, since everyone lives far away from us, and I doubt there will be more than one visit a year as it has been for the most part since we moved to Texas. Kyle and I certainly won't be able to travel much.

I don't think it is ideal to grow up without extended family around. I did for the most part, and when my grandparents died I didn't really feel much because I didn't know them. I learned more about my grandfather from his online obituary than I remembered hearing about my whole life. I don't want for it to be this way for Eleanor and potential future kiddos. I feel like Kyle and I get almost blamed for being far away in Texas, and staying in Texas maybe longer than originally thought, even though neither of us came here by choice, and it's unreasonable to not expect us to make a life here while it's where we are living, particularly given the nature of my work (that deeply ingrains me in the community). We would like to move back to the North eventually, but it's more difficult than packing up and leaving. It may happen in 2 or 3 years. Anyway, we have done most of our lives together without family around, so it's not going to be an adjustment and there's not any expectation of family involvement as I imagine there would be for other new parents who have family close by or even in the same part of the state or country.

Everyone seems very excited for her arrival, and I'm extremely excited for her to meet people, whenever that happens! Maybe  folks might be able to visit during Spring Break.

Health
We had our 18 week anatomy scan at the end of August, where we found out she is a she. She was also hiding a bit, so they couldn't quite get all of the measurements they want, so I was scheduled for another one about four weeks later (yesterday, at 22 weeks!). Ultimately, all of the measurements and pictures they got were marked N for Normal. They also noted my placenta was possibly low-lying, so they wanted to check for that as well. Low lying placenta may cover the cervix, therefore requiring a cesarean section, but I wasn't worried because I read that it typically moves. At the second ultrasound they noted I didn't redemonstrate low lying placenta, so that's good! Eleanor was moving all about at this scan; the tech called her "wiggle worm." I saw her moving her hand to her mouth, opening her mouth, and striking a Thinker pose. It is really the coolest thing, maybe even more since I am such an anatomy dork. I also have been feeling her move more strongly now, and it was neat to both feel and see her move at the same time. I started feeling little blips around 18 weeks, but now it's full-on, strong flutters that are unmistakable. She seem particularly active when I'm driving; maybe something to do with the motion of the vehicle and/or the music. I think she's going to be kicking and punching me a lot in the coming months. I can't wait for Kyle to be able to feel her move from the outside! Also, her due date has moved up a day to 1/22/2015.

I had heard that often women start to feel much better once they enter the second trimester. Well, I got a lot more energy back, and wasn't quite as sick, but still was struggling 2-3 days of the week, throwing up maybe 4 or 5 times in a week and usually getting bad headaches those days (like, hurts to lie down because my whole head is in pain). I have never missed work or even arrived late or left early, though, I just tough it out and allow myself to be miserable when I get home. I've definitely driven to work several days with a plastic bag in my lap, in case. At my last ob appointment I was given a prescription for Zofran to take as needed/desired to help with the sickness, so I will see how that helps things. I still weigh less than I did at my very first appointment (which was just confirming the pregnancy), though I gained back a couple pounds from the first trimester, one of which is all Eleanor as she should now weigh one lb. I am hoping to be able to work pretty much right up until I give birth, so we will see how things go.

It is looking like Kyle will be going to a training in Kentucky for a month, and I'm just a little paranoid that Eleanor will decide to be born super early when he's gone, or that something will happen. At least the only times I'll be alone is when I'm at home in Temple, where I live two minutes away from the hospital.

I'm not really sure what happens next, appointment-wise (as I never am because they never tell me...and yet every time I go in for an appointment they ask me "what brings you in today?!" and I say- "Um, you guys told me to come."). I have a next follow-up appointment from this ultrasound back at the doctors in two weeks, and I got a flyer about birthing classes that I sign up for around 28 weeks.

Baby Things
I've really gotten into researching and looking up baby gear and items we will need.   Before it was mostly overwhelming, but now it's fun for me. I've been adding things to our registry on myregistry.com, as it seemed like the easiest way to gather things from various stores and shops.

I was asked if I'm OK with pink and frilly things for our girl. Yes, but not to the extent that all of her clothes should be pink (/purple/girl), and no leopard print tutus or anything too ridiculous. Also, I pretty much hate baby clothes that say dumb things like "Daddy's Princess" or "Mommy's BFF" or "Worth the Wait," so please, none of that. :) Kyle jokes that we can dye any pink things we get green, but that's not going to happen (though good green baby items are kind of hard to find). I like variety, and in addition to fun "girly" clothing, I want to gather a bunch of neutrals, should we have a boy at some point.

There was talk of having a baby shower up in Pennsylvania in October, for my friends and family up North, but I didn't really see it happening, and I started to think it would be better to save the plane money on either a trip later when the baby is here, or just on baby things we're going to need to buy. I learned in May that being pregnant and taking quick turnaround trips does not mix well. I also don't think seeing a pregnant Sarah is generally an interesting enough reason for people to gather, but I know others would say otherwise.

As far as I know, friends down here are planning a shower for November, so that will be fun and a nice reunion, since people have been all over the place since graduation. I am generally very uncomfortable celebrating myself, but I figure after missing out on a bridal shower, honeymoon, and most typical life celebrations (I don't even have an engagement ring anymore since mine broke a while ago), I should let a baby shower happen, and hopefully Eleanor can take the spotlight, not the person carrying her (no games that involve measuring my belly). I'm excited! :)


What Else
It's looking like Kyle and I will be moving to Waco in December, hopefully a little bit gradually through the first few weeks, so we can be somewhat settled by Christmas. I won't be much help, which I'm sure will drive me crazy, but I will just try to focus on the fun of putting together Eleanor's room and try not to be too controlling about everything else.

We have seen hints of fall here in Texas, and I don't think I've ever been more excited for fall and winter to come. It'll probably be another month until it is more consistently cooler weather, but I'll take whatever I can get!

Having a growing human inside your belly is really the weirdest thing that is actually the most normal and natural thing. It doesn't make any sense for women to have been ever viewed as a "lesser" sex.


Baby McP First Update

Posted on: Tuesday, July 8, 2014



Yep- we're having a baby! It feels great to finally be able to share the news with everyone. It makes things a bit more real. Since we figured we'd be announcing near the start of July, we played off the holiday season (Canada Day on July 1, and Independence Day on July 4), and the fact that I'm Canadian and always root for Team Canada, and Kyle always goes for Team USA (it is particularly heated during the Olympics when Canada always wins at hockey). We each found and selected our respective onesies. Mine- tasteful with a touch of humor (see photo below), Kyle's- a bit obnoxious yet still somehow adorable.

I wasn't sure what to post or how to organize this, so I think I'll just do bullet points for now in one huge post so ENJOY.

- Baby is 11-12 weeks now, with a due date of January 23. Initially, when I first found out I was pregnant, I was given a due date of December 25, which would put me at almost 16 weeks now. Pretty big difference, but I hadn't had an ultrasound prior to last week, so I wasn't that surprised that their estimate was off by nearly a month. My mom's birthday is also 12/25, and my brother is 12/27, and there's also Christmas, so we don't mind pushing it back until later into the new year. (I know babies will come when they come, so you don't need to tell me that due dates don't mean much).

- I found out towards the end of May that I was pregnant. What prompted me to take the test was actually just that I was super tired one day. I could hardly get out of bed and felt so exhausted, and I'm not usually one to do that or nap, so I was like- what is going on!? Kyle had actually flown to PA earlier that day, so I spent the first week of knowing I was pregnant alone (though I told Kyle and a close friend).

- Since Kyle and I were both going to be in PA for a couple days, and probably wouldn't see any family in person until...maybe the baby was born, we decided to share the news in person with immediate family (Kyle's family was in town for his brother's wedding, and my sister and mom are up there). I didn't like the idea of just saying "hey, I'm pregnant!" or some other exclamation, so I came up with the idea to get birthday cards that said "Aunt" and "Grandma" and give them to my sister and mom. I handed them the cards and just said they were thank you cards from graduation stuff, and so they were definitely surprised when they opened them and realized what it meant. I loved it! We ended up doing the same thing for Kyle's parents (though Kyle thought we should announce it at his brother's wedding....full of people I don't know and didn't need knowing I was pregnant....also it's someone else's wedding...poor guy is not gifted in knowing how to share news with people). People were excited and it was fun to share the news.

- Morning/anytime sickness hit just a few days after I found out I was pregnant. The worst was having to take three flights and travel for 15 hours up to PA for the wedding. I broke the "fasten seat belts and remain seated during landing" rule and ran to the bathroom once. The guy at the end of my aisle didn't move at all to let me through, and flight attendant gave me a snarky look and shook her head, so I just had to tell her when I came out that I'm pregnant (so don't give me snark, lady!), at which point she became sympathetic and offered me a drink (ok, baby, we got this). I thought the sickness was done with when I had about a particularly calm week, but it seems to be back, and worst in the evenings. I spent most of June sick in the morning, tired all afternoon, and sick in the evening, so I was super fun. I'm feeling generally better now, but I still have a lot of food aversions (the weirdest is olive oil...even the thought of heating olive oil in a pan to cook something is repulsive), and some days I have to hold my breath if I even step in the kitchen. Ginger ale and crackers help, but please don't ever give me or let me see another ginger chew again. I sucked those continually for the first five days of sickness and can't stand even the thought of them, because they are gross, and I just associate them with feeling crappy now, and who would eat those for pleasure?!

- I am really glad to be having a winter baby! Mostly I'm glad to get summer over with during the first half of this pregnancy (well, more like 2/3 being down in Texas where it won't get consistently cool until October/November), as I already do not like summer and I can't imagine I would be functioning well as a very pregnant person in this heat.

- We have a name for a boy pretty set (we've had that name picked for about five years now). For a girl, I think we have a first name pretty well established (though I have another name I love and would want to use, but Kyle isn't sold), we're just playing with middle names. We will share the sex of the baby once we find out, probably around mid-August. I don't know yet if we will share the name, but probably, and a bunch of people already know the boy name at least. I'm keeping a list, an informal poll on who thinks girl and who thinks boy, so feel free to let me know where to add you name, just for fun! It's pretty even right now.

- I'm pretty sure all the animals will handle a baby well. The cats and Luna will be mostly curious and sniff it out. It'll be good they will have time to adjust to it before it can chase after and grab them. :) I'm excited to see the baby grow up with an awesome pup like Loony.

- Doctors appointments. So far, not like the movies, or even like you think it should be considering you're growing a life and that should be important and not a time for your health care providers to be super chill about things. It has been a lot of waiting, and poor communication, and frustration. I had to wait five weeks from knowing I was pregnant to get my initial appointment (which seemed like a long time, particularly since they were telling me I'd be almost 15 weeks by the time the appointment came around...that is super pregnant). Hopefully, though, the troubles are in the past (laughing at myself for writing this already). The ultrasound? You know in the movies it's a bright room, and you can see the screen and the squirt the goop on you and it's like "there's mah baby!"--that is not how it was. It's a dark room, which was nice and calming. But the tech doesn't say much of anything to you, you can't see the screen, you're left wondering- is there a baby in there? Surely they would have said- oh yes, there's the baby, if they saw it? Thirty minutes of silence and mystery, then the tech leaves the room, and you're sitting the dark room in your gown, fully expecting the tech to return with a doctor to break the bad news to you (what bad news? Oh, you have about 10 minutes to think off all the possible bad news scenarios). But then, the tech returns and says "looks like you're just not quite as far along as they had thought you were." Upon which you then have to ask how far am I then, because you have to ask everything very directly, and the tech tells you and hands you a picture, and says you'll probably come back at 18 weeks. Ok, so there is a baby in there. Good, just wanted to know THAT MUCH AT LEAST. Everyone has been nice to me, which has been the silver lining here.

- It is weird and kind of lonely being pregnant. It is better now that friends and people know, but I don't have any close friends who have had babies or been pregnant, so I'm kind of venturing into unknown waters without much reference. We are also very far from family and close friends, so that's kind of a bummer. Since learning we are having a baby, our plans have kind of narrowed a bit, and we're not looking to move somewhere completely new. I definitely don't want to be moving end of this year, to a new place, with a new baby on the way, and zero support systems. We already live in Temple, where we don't know anyone, so I don't want to do that again if at all possible. So, I'm hoping to get a job in/near Waco, so that I can commute there for now, and we can move towards the end of the year (and then Kyle would hopefully go to Baylor as he will be leaving the Army and planning to finish school). Hopefully all of this works out!

What else? I think that's it for now! No, we haven't bought anything aside from the onesies in the photo above, and a couple books. I think I am more comfortable easing into all of this instead of going crazy for nine months, so I don't feel eager or rushed to go buy all the baby things. Yet.

Thank you for all the excited messages and well wishes! I don't know how much I will be updating on here/various medias, but if there's something worth sharing I will. I have zero plans to take maternity photos (rather, I have all the plans to not take maternity photos), so unless this baby inside of me makes me for some unfathomable reason want to spend money on a professional photographer to take pictures of my pregnant self in a field (I do not understand that impulse at all, though most photos I have seen of other people have been lovely), that won't be happening. Ok, bye for now!

New Tattoo

Posted on: Monday, May 19, 2014

Amid graduation events and happenings, I wanted to share my new tattoo! 

"Sisu" is a Finnish word that doesn't directly translate to English (I lived in Finland for a year, if you didn't know). It means determination, bravery, resilience. Taking on and conquering against odds. Courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity. Guts. Something inside that drives you. Perseverance. Survival. Getting it done. It is all of these things but none of these things exactly. It is housed within your spirit and character. I believe this is the spirit of world changers, and of so many of the people that I chose to surround myself with. I can't think of a better word to capture what I hope to do and be with this one life of mine.

Meal Plan Week 11

Posted on: Sunday, March 30, 2014

As the semester reaches its last month, I find I have more events and happenings in the evenings, so meal planning has become more sporadic. Such is life!


Saturday: we went to the Texas Wine and Rogue Art Fest so we had dinner in Salado

Sunday: ^^beer can chicken with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts^^

Meatless Monday: Jalapeno and mushroom quesadillas with black bean and corn salad

Tuesday: leftover beer can chicken for Kyle (I'm speaking at a Baylor event in the evening!)

Wednesday: Glazed pork chops with roasted asparagus and garlic pasta

Thursday: leftovers or take out or Kyle cooks

Friday: tacos, probably!

Have a lovely week!

- S

Grad School Party

Posted on: Saturday, March 29, 2014

Last night a bunch of my social work cohort had a little get together to eat catch up and play Cards Against Humanity, which is probably the anti-social work game if there ever was one. This semester we are all at our internships just about full time, so we don't see each other regularly. It was nice to relax and take an evening off!
^^there were veggies and pulled pork sliders, but they didn't make it on to the table^^
^^Dani explained the very simple rules^^

- S

Meal Plan Week 10

Posted on: Sunday, March 16, 2014


Sunday: ^^Shepherd's Pie^^ (I would do this on Monday for St. Patty's day, but I'm going to happy hour with some friends and not sure how late I will be in Waco)

Monday: leftovers or other

Tuesday: baked barbecue chicken with asparagus

Wednesday: curry turkey and rice

Thursday: roasted red pepper pasta with brussels sprouts (I don't know if Monday will be meatless, so going meatless a different day this week)

Friday: lemon and herb baked tilapia with mashed potatoes and garlic green beans

Saturday: beer can chicken with veggies and leftover mashed potatoes

- S

Meal Plan Week 9

Posted on: Sunday, March 9, 2014

It was nice having a week off of cooking duty, that's for sure. I ate some tasty food at a few restaurants, and also cooked by my friends.

I was too tired to cook on Friday, but on Saturday I made these three-ingredient brownies that turned out quite well and were super easy. I recommend eating them with ice cream or milk.

Saturday: steak, sweet potato fries, sauteed brussels sprouts and garlic, glazed carrots

Sunday: turkey chili with sourdough bread

Monday: bruschetta, sesame noodles with broccoli

Tuesday: turkey chili leftovers

Wednesday: slow cooker chicken fajitas

Thursday: honey chipotle crusted salmon with balsamic roasted cauliflower and garlic broccoli

- S

DC So Far

Posted on: Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Just a quick check in! This has been a more atypical Washington, DC trip, as the first two days were spent only at the conference at a hotel and not seeing anything of the city really, whereas on my last trip we were walking past the White House every day. There was also a snow storm and doing much more than getting to and from the metro in my non-snow boots was out of the question. But the conference is over and I'm staying with Abigail in Baltimore, the sun is out and snow is sort of clearing, so hopefully we'll have some more adventures! 
^^my comfy digs via Airbnb^^
^^construction picking back up after the snowstorm^^
^^Georgetown cupcake red velvet^^
^^National Cathedral^^
^^finally went to the Holocaust museum^^
^^fun dinner in Alexandria with high school friends and their significant others^^
^^learned poker over late night tea^^
^^a classic, in snow^^

- S

Meal Plan Week 8

Posted on: Monday, February 24, 2014

I was having an off-weekend, so I didn't do too much meal planning before Monday, though I knew we were pretty well stocked from grocery shopping the previous weekend.

Sunday: Kyle ended up making garden pasta with turkey meatballs, and it was very good!
Monday: ^^white bean and pasta soup^^ (I'll probably take this for lunch during the week, too.

Tuesday: salmon with mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts and broccoli

Wednesday: spaghetti squash with veggies and chicken sausage

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: out to eat, leftovers, improvise

I'm heading to DC on Saturday and return Friday, so no meal plan for next week! But I will surely take lots of photos of the tasty food I hope to eat. :)

- S

One Per Month Challenge: February

Posted on: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Well, I took the plunge and purchased a pair of matte black Tieks for my February purchase. These are certainly an investment piece. I have only heard good things about Tieks, and I needed a simple, classic pair of black flats, because I didn't actually own any plain black shoes. Aside from saving money, this challenge is about finding quality pieces of clothing rather than spending money on bogo impulse buys in the Target shoe section. I thought about this purchase a lot before ordering, and in the end I decided to go for a more expensive pair that I knew was going to be comfortable and last, instead of a cheaper (but still fairly expensive) pair that might not feel much better than a $13 Target or Old Navy pair. So far these have really been amazing- best pair of flats I've ever owned. I'm looking forward to giving them a real test during my upcoming trip to DC, where I'll be walking around the city all week. The packaging was truly superb, the leather nice and soft, and I've received compliments on the teal color pop already.

As far as how the challenge is going so far- I've been tempted a couple times, to the point of adding some things to my virtual shopping cart,  to take advantage of some great online sales, but I haven't bought anything. Though, the things I'm looking at are for work/professional purposes, but I'm going to wait until closer to the end of February to get a couple things, and I will probably buy in-store so I know the items fit (and no shipping costs). Two months down, ten more to go!

Previous Months:

- S
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