20 weeks and It's a....

Monday, December 30, 2013

No actual Christmas pics this year since I spent this Christmas in the hospital, but we did snap one in front of my parent's tree last night (our tree, sadly, was long dead when we got home from the hospital). My 20 week baby bump is starting to round out nicely (Stephen: "no offense, but your belly's getting way bigger"). And what I wore Sunday (linking up with Fine Linen and Purple): this sweater (don't judge me that it's from Vicky's) and some black leggings, my 5 month preggo uniform.

We did a little gender reveal with my family after my ultrasound and my sister Ingrid made this lovely cake...

It's a BOY!!! So in the very beginning, I was convinced the baby was a girl (Gianna Marie, to be exact). But as the pregnancy progressed, Stephen was more than convinced it was a boy...he even started referring to the baby as his son. He had a dream a few days before our ultrasound that he was rocking our baby boy to sleep...and after all of that, I was pretty much convinced too that it was a boy. Funny thing was that the ultrasound tech initially told us that it was a girl and neither one of us believed him...a few seconds later he informed us it was definitely a boy (we have the picture to prove it).

I just love his profile. I have to be honest that pregnancy has induced a new level of anxiety in me that I didn't know was possible. And getting sick enough to land myself in the hospital hasn't helped. But he was wiggling around on the ultrasound, and his heartbeat has been strong, and I'm pretty sure that I'm feeling little movements now...

My entire family was together this Christmas for the first time since Stephen and I got married: all 8 kids, one sister-in-law, one almost-sister-in-law, one brother-in-law, and one nephew.

Happy Monday!

Playing catch up...and happy Christmas.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I can't believe that I almost went the entire month of December without posting. I actually didn't even realize it until my sister said "I keep checking your blog and you haven't posted one time this month!!" It's kind of hard to summarize an entire month into one post but here are some of the reasons to explain my lack of posting..

1. Interview season continued...I got to visit Hopkins, which was every bit as amazing as I imagined it, and managed to squeeze in a day to explore Baltimore with one of my best friends.

"Christus Consulator" in the dome at Hopkins

2. I got stuck in the East Coast blizzard on the way back from my interviews which meant postponing my Step 2 boards to mid-December (I was so sick of studying by the end). I finally got them over with, and let's just say that a 9 hour computer exam and an almost-5-months-pregnant bladder are not very compatible. But yay it's over!

3. My belly finally started to grow. It's still not that big (my little sister keeps saying "ok I can finally see it but when's it really going to explode?") but Stephen and I can definitely tell a difference. And thank God it's finally rounder-enough to look a little less like I've been eating too many carbs. I've been wearing leggings every day since I'm not quite big enough for maternity pants but my old pants definitely don't fit, and this sweater has been my savior.

16 weeks
17 weeks
18 weeks
19 weeks
4. Christmas snuck up on me faster than any year before. Stephen was working...and I ended up in the hospital. It started with a little cold, and then progressed to a bad asthma flare, and then ended in an ER visit Christmas day after hours of struggling to breathe. After IVs and monitors and respiratory meds, a swab revealed influenza A. Influenza A is not kind to pregnant women or asthmatics, so with both against me I earned a hospital stay. I'm home now, and we've been staying with my parents a few days while I recover. Today was my first attempt to venture out of the house. I'm still feeling pretty bad if I'm honest...it's hard to walk up the stairs, and I have to sleep sitting up so I can breathe. But I'm happy that I'm home and that the baby seems to be holding up ok (which has been my greatest fear through all of this).

We did get our first real Christmas tree this year despite all the craziness

5. So we exchanged gifts on Christmas night in the hospital (Stephen stayed overnight with me...hospital policy normally wouldn't have let him, but it was Christmas...). I didn't ask for anything this year, and Stephen completely blew me away with an amazing black leather Coach bag. I was shocked when I opened it; it's the sort of thing that I would never buy myself (or ask for) and he came up with it all on his own (partly inspired by his observation of the $30 pleather bag I've been bringing to my residency interviews). He is just the most thoughtful, sweet husband.

6. And for our best Christmas present by far: the one bright thing that ensued from my hospital stay is that our ultrasound got moved up and we got to see the beautiful babe again...kicking and somersaulting and looking just fine despite it's sick momma and the myriad of medications making their way through my body for my unhappy lungs.

7. So we now know what we're having! And am I terrible to leave you with this? More details to come...

Lovely gender reveal cake courtesy of my sister
Linking up with Jen and hoping that everyone had a beautiful and blessed Christmas (and maybe less eventful than ours).


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Leggings: J. Crew 
Scarf: H&M (old)
Headband: Francesca's
Boots: Frye

You know that outfit that makes you feel good every time you wear it? This is mine. Lately it's been on repeat as many times as I can get away with it. Leggings + a loose tunic = the perfect Thanksgiving dinner attire, and I added a sparkly headband to make it a little more holiday-appropriate.

This year I really feel like my heart is full: there is so much to be thankful for, and putting aside some of my recent worries and stressors in the spirit of Thanksgiving helped me to see it even more clearly. 

A few of the things I'm most thankful for:

1. My kind, hard-working, multi-talented husband who loves me unconditionally, takes care of me, and (almost) never complains about my poor house-keeping/cooking skills.

2. This little guy/gal who's heartbeat sounds stronger every day.

3. My fun, crazy, wonderful family complete with my 7 siblings...

4. ...and our amazing Thanksgiving dinner, which Stephen and I were lucky to be a part of (I really can't imagine us cooking our own Thanksgiving dinner although I'm [almost] sure it will happen someday). 

5. My wonderful mother who is the best example I know of a mom, gives the best advice, and spontaneously hopped on two planes last week so that she could be there for my med school induction into AOA.

6. For the opportunity to become a physician: even though I still don't know exactly where I'm called in medicine, it is such a privilege to be entrusted with people's health and lives.

7. For my Catholic faith, that continually guides and inspires me.

Linking up with Jen and Fine Linen and Purple. Happy Thanksgiving!

Santa Fe!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No, I've never been there. Although I'd love to be there right now while the snow is piling up and the temp is barely hitting the teens (not counting wind chill). Potential baby-moon perhaps? Anyways, Santa Fe is the name of the new collection by Dansko which they so graciously sent me and my sister to try.

Vest: Gap
Top: Lulu Lemon
Leggings: J. Crew
Scarf: Gift from my brother from Afghanistan
Shoes: Dansko

 Jacket: AK Burton via T.J. Maxx
Hoodie: American Eagle
Leggings: Calvin Klein activewear
Scarf: Street vendor in Vienna
Shoes: Dansko

This is my little (but much taller) sister Ingrid. She's a dietician and we both currently work at the same hospital and (very) occasionally are mistaken for each other (although I don't think we look alike). She was my maid of honor and gave the most beautiful toast that I have ever heard at a wedding. She also always finds the cutest workout clothes at T. J. Maxx. And she loves her new Santa Fe's and based on the picture above is clearly much more expressive about it than me.

So here they are, the Shaylas. Perfect shoes for running errands, going walking, wearing with scrubs, exercise class...and they come in lots of fun colors. I tested them out last weekend at Zumba and I couldn't believe how great the arch support is (both Ingrid and I have flat feet). Disclaimer that they are probably not meant for the snow but we have to improvise up north, ha (and they held up just fine).

Check out the collection here; I love the blue and silver because it's so versatile (and it's the brightest, prettiest shade of blue) but I almost wish that I would have gotten the fun blue/teal/lime green ones. You can enter to win your own pair here!

Linking up with the Pleated Poppy.

On pregnancy brain and denim...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sweater: J. Crew (old)/Vest: Gap/Boots: Hunter/Scarf: J. Crew Factory

It's a winter wonderland outside, and it's been nearly impossible for me to study for my boards (which are in a little over a week) with thoughts of Christmas and babies and life choices running through my head. I firmly believe that I do not have the pregnancy brain that everyone has told me about (they keep asserting that I will experience it if I haven't already) but maybe I can partly blame my distracted-ness on that?

I was sort of ecstatic that this sweater still fits, albeit different than before, despite all the bodily changes I've been experiencing. And this denim skirt probably deserves an entire separate post it's so wonderful. It's maternity and has an adjustable waistband! I have it pulled tight right now but it has plenty of room to grow for the entire pregnancy. The brand is Noppies and I think I found it on Amazon (sorry I can't find it anymore to link to...) Also thanks everyone for the maternity jeans suggestions! Old Navy seems to be the winner, so I'm going to have to try them. Their regular jeans never seem to fit me right but maternity clothes are a whole new ballgame so we shall see.

I went to Zumba again yesterday on a much-needed study break, and then Stephen and I hit up night mass after he got off work. Happy feast of Christ the King! Linking up with what I wore Sunday.

15 weeks + Quick Takes

Saturday, November 23, 2013

 Dress: J. Crew clearance/Cardi: Gap (4 yrs old)/Shoes: J. Crew Factory

1. Here's 15 weeks! There's definitely something there, although I still think it's hard for the random passerby to tell that I'm pregnant. A shift dress is not a good choice if you're trying to not look pregnant, but I didn't have another option (that still fit) for my honor society dinner on Thursday so this J. Crew origami sheath dress was it, pregnant or not.

2. You never know how people will react to a pregnancy, especially those in the medical profession. At the awards dinner Thursday, I overheard my mother-in-law mention that I was expecting to the older female physician sitting at our table, who responded with (a sarcastic-sounding) "Well, that's one way to start off her career." This physician had a very successful career but never had any children, which seems to be a fairly common trend with women in medicine. Reflecting on this later made me hope that family will always come first to me over my career.

3. Some pictures from my brother-in-law's wedding last weekend. Neither Stephen's tux nor my dress fit particularly well.  Empire waists never worked well for me pre-pregnancy, but with the added pregnancy chest expansion it was almost unbearable ha. On the drive to the wedding I read Stephen part of the men's chapter in What to Expect When You're Expecting, which ascertains that men can experience pregnancy symptoms with their wives including weight gain. This prompted Stephen to blame his tight tux on the pregnancy (I'm still skeptical).

4. My sister subscribed me to this for my birthday and I just got the first issue:

5. This past week, I craved sushi with a passion, and poor Stephen had to deal with sushi twice during our travels. This sushi is from my absolute favorite place in Lansing, although I have to admit that the non-raw variety is just not the same (also I did not eat all of this myself).

6. I haven't worn jeans for weeks and after several non-successful maternity jean orders, I'm starting to wonder if I'm resigned to leggings the rest of this pregnancy. I did order these and these when H&M had a 30% off sale last week so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of them will work. Any suggestions?

7. I'm now 6 residency interviews down with at least 7 more to go (I have more than that scheduled but am planning on canceling my January ones). They've gone well so far I think, and my suit pants still fit so I'm counting myself lucky (crossing my fingers that they last one more month). My favorite places so far were Chicago, Mayo, and St. Louis Mercy (of course). I'll be heading to the east coast soon for a couple and am excited to check out Hopkins. More updates to come...

Happy weekend! Linking up with Jen.

Guest post: A Minimalist Walks Into Target

Thursday, November 14, 2013

 I'm thrilled to have a guest post today by Laura while I'm traveling the Midwest for residency interviews. Laura is a Catholic mom and lawyer who blogs over at This Felicitious Life. I just love her style posts (and witty commentary) and find myself reading many of them more than once.

A Minimalist Walks Into A Target

My husband and I had a hot date a few Fridays ago.  The night’s excitement included a stop at Tropical Smoothie CafĂ© and a visit to Lowe’s to pick up a new bathroom door.  We topped off the evening with a jaunt to Target.  “It’s just to make a return,” I explained.  Once we arrived, though, I broke down and asked to browse.  My husband, Pat, acquiesced.  Romantics that we are, we went our separate ways, agreeing to meet up when Pat got bored. 

This trip to Target was different than any I had ever experienced before.  Over the past year, I’ve worked at streamlining my wardrobe.  I have an outfit for every day of the week, plus a just few extras for nicer occasions.

Everything mixes and matches.  I have everything I need, no more no less.  This Target trip was a first test, a maiden voyage, to prove my minimalist mettle.   

First, I browsed the accessories and admired some necklaces, but I already had one for each of my outfits.  My kids were sure to break one of my existing ones soon, I thought, and then I would have a real excuse to buy a new one.  So I moved on.

Next, the clothing: I already had a shirt for each day of the week.  I briefly considered buying a shirt I already had, in a second color, to replace another shirt that I like less.  But I realized that, being from Target, they both would need replacing next year, anyway.  Again, I moved on, this time to the cosmetics.

A trip to Target usually reveals previously unrealized wants and needs and desired. 

This was different.  This time, I didn’t need anything.

I didn’t even want anything.

I felt light, free, unburdened by materialistic excess.

And then . . .

I found a new lipstick.

Well played, Target.  Well played.  

What I Wore Sunday

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sweater: Gap
Chambray and pearls: J. Crew Factory
Skirt: J. Crew
Boots: Steve Madden via Amazon Warehouse

So I was planning to wear this lovely mustard skirt today for one last hurrah before it's retirement until next year post-baby. It zipped happily, but I unfortunately could barely sit down in it. The striped pencil still fits fine, although I'm guessing not for long...

This was supposed to be a study weekend for me. I'm taking my boards in less than a month and I've been less than focused. Now that I'm in the second trimester, I'm actually feeling well (other than a little fatigue) so my only excuse is that I've been distracted lately. Very distracted. Thinking about the baby and what he or she will look like, what his or her name will be...worrying about potential things that could go wrong with the pregnancy...and pondering my decisions for next year as I get ready for another slew of residency interviews this week and face starting residency with a newborn.

So I did what any sensible medical student would do: put down the books and headed to Ulta to take advantage of their $20 gel manicure special. I can count on one hand the number of manicures that I've gotten in my lifetime, but I figured that I had a good excuse with my interviews this week and Stephen's brother's wedding (which I'm in) on Saturday. It was my first experience getting a gel manicure and I'm sold.

I also picked up some fun travel-size toiletries for my carry-on. 

Pregnancy randomness: The belly is growing. Unfortunately I'm at that awkward stage where I look like I've put on some weight in le belly instead of looking preggo. It still amazes me that my weight hasn't changed one bit but none of my clothes fit right. Baby's heart is going strong per my morning Doppler time. Cravings include grapefruit, any type of herbal tea, and baked Ruffles. I started this prenatal workout and really like it; I also went to Zumba today for the first time in ages (it felt great...and I kept picturing the little babe inside me dancing with my crazy Zumba moves).

Stephen and I just got back from mass and now I need to pack so I can leave on a jet plane tomorrow. The next three days = three flights and three interviews so I'll be praying that I make all my connections, and that my bridesmaid dress still fits on Saturday despite my growing bump and various pre-interview residency dinners (ha). 

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple.

Quick Takes: Tanzania and some pregnancy thoughts

Friday, November 8, 2013

Joining Jen for the usual.

1. This old J. Crew sweater has worked fortuitously well as a 1st-2nd trimester maternity sweater, but these skinny jeans are another story. Actually none of my jeans have felt comfortable since I was about six weeks, despite the fact that I actually lost weight during the first trimester (not a surprise considering my nausea but definitely a surprise considering my chest expansion and uncomfortable pants). Anyways, I picked up one of these at Target recently (Target's version of the infamous Bella Band). It stays put surprisingly well and is allowing me to wear the jeans I have on in this picture (although I still feel weird walking around with my pants undone).

2. I've replaced my morning cup of coffee with Tazo green tea and my nightly glass of Cupcake with Tazo mint tea. Surprisingly I don't really miss either one, but I have discovered a new love for Tazo.

3. Stephen and I received our first gift for the new babe this week, some adorable little tees from Tanzania from the physician who just got back. I had planned on still going to Tanzania even after I found out that I was pregnant (I figured that I'd be so early it would be fine) but after thinking/praying about it and talking to a couple OB/GYN friends (including the physician that I was going to go with) I just couldn't go. I felt like I was taking to many risks for the baby by taking malaria prophylaxis (which hasn't been well-studied in pregnancy) and the many infectious diseases that I would invariably encounter working in the Tanzanian hospital. Fortunately our plane tickets were fully refunded and the money went back to the church who sponsored us. I can't say that I'm not a little sad that I didn't go (it's been a dream of mine to work in Africa for a long time) but I know in my heart that I made the right decision.

4. Here's the little babe himself (Stephen is convinced that 'he' is a boy, to the point where I'm even saying 'he'). We had a repeat ultrasound yesterday to reassess the ovarian cysts that they saw in early pregnancy, which are now completely resolved. The baby looked perfect, he's measuring appropriately and was wriggling around everywhere while we watched the ultrasound. I still can't get over this little person that's growing inside of me.

5. I went through a little blog re-design this week. I wanted a theme that was more minimalist and less cutesy and I'm pretty happy with this template that I found on Etsy. I would love to change the header and the blog navigator, but with my minimal coding skills and minimal time it will probably be awhile. I also finally created a facebook page here.

6. I'll be off traveling the Midwest for interviews this next week and then standing in my brother-in-law's wedding next weekend (I'm trying on my altered dress today and could write a whole post on the travails of wearing a bridesmaid dress in pregnancy). Laura is guest-posting, so be sure to check back for that (her blog is one my favorites).

7. And I'm off to have my hair colored after 10 long weeks of waiting (I didn't want to color it during the first trimester). I can't wait to have my summer highlights finally covered, which definitely look un-classy after 10 weeks of growth and my dark dark roots. Happy almost-weekend!

An outfit + Five Favorites

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Jacket: J. Crew
Scarf: Etsy (old)
Shirt: H&M (gift)
Leggings: J. Crew

5 Favorites this week:

1. These shoes. Could they be any more gorgeous? They are also impractical for me for a multitude of reasons, the two most important being that they are  too expensive and happen to have an almost 4 inch heel. But they are oh so pretty to look at. 


2. Not Your Mother's hair products. I first saw the Beach Babe sea salt spray on Grace's blog and now I can't live without it. I've since tried four other products from this line (Target now carries most of them and Ulta has them all) and my favorites are:

3. The Clean Freak dry shampoo, which happens to be $4.25 at Target and works just about as well as the $20 stuff I've used in the past (it also doesn't leave that awful white film in your hair that some dry shampoos do)...

4. And the Beat the Heat thermal shield spray, which smells so wonderful and doesn't make my hair crunchy.

Has anyone tried the Girl Power hair powder? I'm wondering if it works as well as this one.

5. Some links that I'm loving around the web this week:

This post on travel essentials (old, but I found it on Pinterest this week)...I own something similar to most of the essentials and am keeping this list for my many travels over the next two months.

This article on marriage which is so very true.

This adorable announcement (I might be a little over-excited about our May babies-on-the-way).

Linking up with Hallie and the Pleated Poppy.