Third Trimester

Blogged while waiting on the sous vide to heat up. And updated throughout the last few months of this pregnancy!

Week 28: Jason and I took Part 1 of childbirth class (again, offered by Piedmont Hospital) in a two-part series. Very helpful information presented, particularly the 5-1-1 rule, which advises that I don’t go to the hospital until my contractions come every 5 minutes, each lasting a full minute, and have been that way for an hour. Apparently, first-time moms usually show up too soon and are either sent home (gah!) or are stuck at the hospital longer than needed.


Bumpie at 28 weeks

Also, I started taking a prenatal water aerobics class. It’s definitely not strenuous, but a decent workout with water resistance strength training and laps. I dread really facing my decreased fitness level after Paxton arrives…

Week 29: Part 2 of the childbirth class, including a second tour of the labor & delivery area of Piedmont Hospital. Jason made a Paxton website/app that is the cutest. I think he put notes in there for him to reference when the baby is coming, in case panic sets in.

Week 30: Holy hormones!! Minnie had to have a teeth cleaning, which means she goes under anesthesia. This completely freaks me out normally, but I cried for two days prior to the appointment and was a blubbering mess during the vet consult. A total snotty, crying disaster. The vet was kind enough to say that she used to cry during commercials while pregnant, but I’m sure she thought I was a looney tune. Two of Minnie’s tiny teeth up front had to be pulled, but the snaggletooth lives to see another day!

Week 31: Was completely wired and slept for a grand total of 2 hours Sunday night. I’ve been having some trouble sleeping, but this has been the worst yet. Everyone says things like, “sleep now, while you can!” but I can’t seem to. Also, started to see some swelling in my feet, but could have been because I was in the kitchen (hardwoords) doing chores all day.

Week 32: Still making the rounds at daytime infant care facilities. Everything – whether it’s a daycare, a school or even a nanny-share – costs about $1,800 per month. $1,800!! How is that possible?!

Week 33: Insomnia. As in, not sleeping for an entire night. I’m told by other moms that it’s just nature’s way of preparing me for sleep deprivation after Paxton arrives. Still, it’s freaky.

Week 34: Last week of pre-natal water aerobics. I did enjoy this class, but I’m worried that my water will break in the pool, and the whole thing will have to be drained. Gross. Also, Helena isn’t teaching a new session.

Week 35: Took a “Baby Basics with CPR” class at Piedmont. Helpful, but I’m sure that in a real-life choking or non-breathing situation, I’ll just run around crying and flapping my hands instead of remembering the CPR process.

Week 36: We took a bunch of photos in silhouette. Here’s the best one: Bumpie-36w

A common question I’ve gotten is what cravings I have. There hasn’t been anything specific, but I’m definitely letting myself indulge more often than I would normally. Lots of sweets and cheese in particular. 🙂


Also, I loved this from my Ovia app! Paxton will be larger than Minnie when he’s born. How wild is that?

Week 37: Three birthday celebrations this week! My poor left foot was so puffy and swollen from all the dinners at restaurants (something about the salt levels restaurant chefs employ…all for better-tasting food, I am sure.)

He must have dropped down because I gave a presentation at work without running out of breath. This is new. Speaking of PGi, Jason and two other dads-to-be were showered and toasted by the marketing team this week.


How perfect is this gift Jenn gave Jason?!?!

Week 38: Minnie has been so exceptionally snuggly lately. She must sense that big changes are coming. I don’t care what anyone says…she’ll be just as important to me after Paxton arrives as she was before! Also, Minnie has been perching on top of my bump which gives her direct access to give me kisses. She doesn’t seem to notice when Paxton moves either.

Had dinner at Mom’s with Gayle, who will be in the delivery room and helping me somehow deliver this baby. As much research as I’ve done about labor and delivery, I was still feeling anxiety about how to manage the pain and what was going to happen. I felt such a sense of relief after talking with Gayle, who has a real no-nonsense approach.

Other milestones this week: insomnia is back and raging. Weighed in at 202 pounds (!). 2cm dilated and starting to efface on 3/17/17.

Bumpie update, awkwardly from the bathroom at the doctor’s office:

Now that the end is near, let’s get into specifics, shall we?

Week 39, 0 Days (3/20/17): Felt a very light contraction in the morning around 8:30am, but then nothing after. Still walking normally (I don’t have the pregnancy waddle for some reason) – even took out the trash (per Jason’s request…jerk. :)). Then, while waiting on the parking deck elevator at work, I felt a gush. Thankfully, I decided to wear Depends for the first time because I was paranoid about my water breaking at work. So I texted Mom and Gayle, who said to call my doctor. After a very long 10 minutes on hold, the receptionist said to come in and they’d check to see if my water broke. It didn’t. But I got another cervical exam (2.5 cm dilated) and a sonogram (to check for too much fluid loss).

The sonogram tech said that Paxton had several indicators that he’s a healthy baby (yay!) and clocked in at 7 lbs and 14 oz (yiiiikes). My fluid was still in the normal (but low) range so back home, I go.

Here’s what the nursery looks like, btw:


Week 39, 4 Days (3/24/17): No other labor indicators since Monday. At my doctor’s appointment today, Dr. Z says that I’m 3cm dilated, cervix is thinning and he’s very low. She says it really could be any day now! I’m feeling ok. Just really large. 197 lbs!

Week 39, 6 days (3/26/17): Eliza(beth) gave me two passes to an Atlanta Movie Tour for my birthday last year – such a thoughtful gift, because I have always wanted to know what movies/TV shows are filmed where! I took Mom because Jason had to get things done at home before baby. You may be surprised that I scheduled this the day before my due date, but I just knew Paxton would not be arriving on time. I think I made a couple of people on the tour nervous, and Mom was clearly on edge. But it was fine. Wore my Depends, just in case!


Thank you, Eliza!!

Week 40, 0 days (3/27/17): Due date! But no action at all. It seemed like everyone and their brother texted or called me today to check in. I am amazed that all these people remembered the due date! My sweet boss let me work from home since the fluid gushing incident, so I’ve had time to take Minnie on extra-long walks every day since Week 39/0 Days. I swear, she’s pooped from all of the extra exercise!

Week 40, 1-3 days: Took this unexpected extra time to wrap things up at work. I am grateful to comfortably walk away from everything knowing that I was able to handle all of the heavy lifting on my projects. Hopefully the colleagues covering for me won’t too much of an extra workload.

Week 40, 4 days (3/31/17): When I scheduled this appointment a week prior, my doctor was thinking that I wouldn’t make it because she expected me to go into labor before. Well, surprise! No baby yet. At this appointment, they connected me to a fetal heart rate monitor and gave me a button to push every time I felt Paxton move. It was tracking contractions too – apparently, I had 3 light ones in the 20 minutes that I was hooked up to the machine, which I didn’t feel.

Stats from this visit: 3.5 cm dilated, 80% effaced, baby is at -1 station. Apparently, many women are already at the hospital, in labor, with those stats. Me? Still walking around, cleaning the house and not feeling a thing. Because my cervix is so favorable, my doctor went ahead and scheduled me for an induction on Tuesday. Dr. Z said that sometimes putting the induction on the calendar gets things going.


Walking out the door to my 40+4 week appointment. Not my best photo but look at Minnie!

Week 40, 5 days (4/1/17): Whew! Paxton wasn’t born today! An April Fool’s birthday would be a tough one to celebrate your whole life. Meanwhile, I am trying every natural induction trick in the book. I’ve read enough about inductions online to know that I don’t want to have one if possible. After thoroughly worrying myself about the possible outcomes of an induction (greater chance of c-section, longer/harder labor, more trouble breastfeeding), I let myself stew about it for a day.


Our last Saturday park day as a family of 3!

Week 40, 6 days (4/2/17): Mucus plug (gross!) may have fallen out today? None of the old wives tales of natural induction methods worked. I’m really getting nervous about the induction and results, per the internet. Thank goodness for my smart friend, Jen B., a labor and delivery nurse – who has been patiently answering all of my questions the past few months. She said that being 3-4cm/80/-1, is more of an augmentation rather than a full-scale induction. Gayle, another smart (retired) labor and delivery nurse, agreed. So I’m feeling more hope than dread now.

Gayle also explained to me that the tightening in my stomach that I’ve been feeling the past couple of weeks are Braxton-Hicks contractions. I thought it was Paxton stretching!

On this day, I mopped the entire main floor of our house, repainted some base boards, went grocery shopping and took Minnie on a long walk with Mom. This can’t be normal?

Week 41, 0 days (4/3/17): Awake the whole night before with my head spinning. Jason says he was too anxious to sleep also, but the snoring I was subject to all night paints a different picture… Everyone seemed convinced I’d go into labor over the weekend, but no luck! Tomorrow, we go in for an induction at 7am. I hope I can sleep tonight, but I’m scared. I have to keep telling myself that babies are born every day, and mothers in much worse situations than me manage to make it through. I can do it! I must do it.

Signing off now for a few days. The next post will be Paxton’s birth story!

Baby Shower for Paxton

Blogged after a false alarm that the baby might be on the way. It’s getting really real!! 7 days and counting until due date.

My mom, aunt and friends threw me the best baby shower I could have ever asked for! (As a full disclaimer, I was annoyingly specific I’m sure about what I wanted this baby shower to be – thanks to all for putting up with my particular point of view!)

The concept was cooking freezable meals for us to have after the baby arrives – and absolutely no baby shower games. It was held at Cook’s Warehouse in Ansley Mall. Here’s the invitation Jason designed:

All of the hostesses and close friends and family submitted recipes, and we picked the 10 of them to make during the shower. If you want a copy of what we cooked (and served) at the shower, just email me!


Recipe books for every guest.


Recipe book cover that Jason designed…SO CUTE!


My wonderful baby shower hostesses: Tishie, Gena, Gayle, Me, Kelly 2, Sarah Barham-Cage, Sarah Young, Mom, Vann, Eliza

Here’s several photos of everyone in action cooking!


Our (new) standalone freezer, stuffed to the gills with frozen meals!

I accidentally deleted the photo of the hostess gift bags, but I thought they turned out pretty cute. A sticker of the baby chef on the outside, a mini zucchini bread and locally made cheese straws on the inside.

SENTENCE REDACTED UPON REQUEST. More on that another time (or never).

Big, huge, thank you to my fabulous hostesses and guests who cooked in support of our new family. Love you all!


2017: It Begins!

Blogged in the nursery, it seems like we need more people energy in here. Minnie snuggled in the glider next to me.

I’m grateful that we’ve been busy in this last trimester of pregnancy. Otherwise, I bet it would feel like it drags on forever. Here are some highlights from January and February of 2017.


Happy New Year! (At Tish & Clay’s)


Anyone remember this guy? @ Nuevo Laredo


Mom’s old kitchen, working it at Dillard Street.


Jason’s first art show at Abernathy Arts Center! This print was my favorite.


Everyone loves Jason’s art!


Minnie scoping out the action from the outside.


I love that the Abernathy Arts Center is dog-friendly. Of course, Minnie came along to support Jason!


Another of Jason’s prints.


We must have been at Atlanta Memorial Park here. Not sure why I took this photo…


Chinese Lunar New Year Party!


This scene warms my heart. Sweet Minnie.


Surprise birthday for Erikaa at Argosy!


I made Mom’s chocolate peanut butter mousse cake for Erikaa’s birthday. That mousse is to-die-for good.


Water leaked from our guest bathroom, down to the powder room underneath, down the wall and to our hardwoods. Hardwoods and dry wall have to be replaced. Ffffffffff.


Hanging with Minnie on the porch.


Squishy face.


Unkie Steve and JoAnn met Vince Dooley (!) and Steve got his kids book signed for Paxton! Such a sweet gift!


Our Big Green Egg arrived!


Looks perfect on our porch. More to come on this bad boy later on. 😉

Second Trimester

Blogged while (still) watching Top Chef reruns.

Whew. Everyone says the second trimester is the best you’ll feel while pregnant. I’m thankful for feeling more like myself and getting my energy back! (Kind of).

Weeks 14-15: Started taking a prenatal “Fit and Tone” exercise class with Oh Baby! Fitness. I’m learning that no one wants you to exert yourself with exercise while you are pregnant, which means all pregnancy exercises are…lame. I froze my OrangeTheory membership in the first trimester because I couldn’t even fathom surviving one of those classes (where I want to throw up most of the time, not being pregnant). Oh Baby! classes are good though – mainly for the chance to talk to other pregnant ladies.


13 weeks old!

Week 16: Switched doctors/hospitals from Emory Midtown to Piedmont Hospital. I wasn’t comfortable with the online reviews of Emory Midtown, and Piedmont has more preparation classes, feels cleaner and is closer. Dr. Zertuche, my new OB-GYN, is exactly my age and is fantastic. She also was a resident under my former doctor at Emory Midtown (who I really liked). I think I made the right decision to switch.

Weeks 17: Feeling much better now! Trying to load up on protein (per Eliza’s game-changing suggestion in Trimester #1) via non-mercury-laden seafood, including a dinner at GUNSHOW and Beetlecat. Both were a bit much for my delicate sensibilities at this point, but I hope to go back when I can be a more adventurous eater again.

Week 18: Time to officially announce the baby! Jason and I designed these adorable printed announcements, after borrowing the concept from a talented Etsy artist.


Week 19: Really starting to show now. Vainly, becoming concerned with the weight gain, but the doctor says I’m tracking just fine.

Week 20: Exactly halfway!!! Weird numbness in my right arm.

Week 21: I think I felt baby kick flutters on the drive home from work on 11/15/16!

Week 22: (Thanksgiving Eve) WHOA I definitely felt Paxton in there! It felt like an alien doing somersaults. Crazy, wild feeling. It happened in bed, after Jason fell asleep (of course).The next day, on Thanksgiving, I didn’t feel anything. I think it’s because I ate so much that he couldn’t move. 🙂 The next day, and every day since, I’ve felt a little something. It’s getting very real!

Week 23: Heartburn? Already? Alright. Bumpie update:

Week 24: 180 pounds. YIKES.


Bumpie at 24 weeks.


Jason and Steve assembling the changing table. It took them, like 2 hours?

Week 25: Y’all. Pregnancy is the most un-glamorous process you can possibly imagine. I just typed out a couple of details to support this statement but decided now that it’s TMI. But trust me. It’s gross.

Week 26: Christmas!! And a little bit of wine. Just a little.

Week 27: Took a Breastfeeding Basics class, offered by Piedmont Hospital (where I am delivering) with Jason. Apparently, breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, if baby/mom are doing it correctly – which is a relief to hear. I hope I can remember what to do when the time comes!

On to the third trimester!

Christmas 2016

Blogged while 9 months pregnant and eating popcorn for dinner. Please keep your judgments to yourself.

I really enjoyed the holiday season in 2016. I had lots of vacation days to burn (no big trips for us and vacation time doesn’t roll over) so I took a week off around Thanksgiving and another week or so around Christmas and New Year’s. It was so relaxing to putter around the house, go shopping, get ready for baby, etc.

One home improvement we ended up making was upgrading the master closet. Believe it or not, it was Jason that really pushed for the upgrade – but I’m definitely enjoying it now. Here’s a “before” of the closet:

And here’s the “after”:

It would probably be more helpful to show you an after that includes all of our clothes, but I don’t feel like doing that right now…so you’ll just have to come over and see for yourself! We worked with Jason’s friend Sharon at Creative Closets and she was great.

Back to Christmas! King of Pops (local Popsicle company) has a seasonal side business called Tree Elves, where they install and remove your Christmas tree – and it’s delivered by real elves!

Girl (elf) power! Love it. We had a couple of friends over for the install and watched Scrooged that night. The tree ended up being a little shorter than we expected, so it’s perched on top of an old hard drive and covered with the tree skirt. I think I like the elevated small tree better than a tall one!


I loved our little tree! Tasteful white lights, of course.


I swear, I didn’t like our house until it was decorated for Christmas. It felt so festive and snuggly in the living room with the lights, tree, stockings and garland!


That poinsettia is still alive as of today (March 7). Costco, for the win!


“Frag-eel-lay! It must be Italian!”


Of course Minnie has a stocking!


Beautiful table garland, made by Mom’s friend at the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market.


Fun gift wrapping this year.

Lots of get-togethers with the usuals over the holiday season. Like I said above, I really enjoyed myself this Christmas!


At Miracle on Monroe. The usual restaurant is completely converted to a Christmas wonderland, dripping in holiday decor, playing Christmas music and serving only Christmas-themed food and drinks. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

We spent Christmas Eve in Athens with Jason’s family and Christmas morning and day in Atlanta.


We found this artist, Fabio Napoleoni, at a gallery in Laguna Beach and I was immediately obsessed with his prints. But we didn’t see anything that really fit when in CA. Jason found a local art gallery in Roswell that carries his work – and Jason picked out the most perfect print for my Christmas present!! I love it more than words can express. I started bawling the moment I unwrapped Jason’s gift. So thoughtful and special!!! Love you, honey.


Another Fabio Napoleoni print! He made these art and characters for his daughter who was in the hospital with heart problems, so everything has a heart in it. This print hangs in our bedroom.


Speaking of amazing gifts, look at what my mom gave us for Christmas!!! A Big Green Egg, a case of chicken AND a chef demo at our house, where they will show us how to cook on it!!!! Incredible gift. Love you so much, Mom!!!


Minnie loved her gifts too!


For Christmas dinner, we went over to Mom’s friend’s house – Mike and Dana. They have a beautiful home! Also in attendance at their house was a WWII bombardier – he was adorable and very entertaining. Jason, in particular, was enthralled with his stories!


Putting Gena’s turkey-carving lessons to use already!


Creme brulee cheesecake

After Mike and Dana’s, Jason and I went over to the Cages’ for dessert and drinks.

Although our Christmas celebrations weren’t as family-focused as in years past, I really enjoyed spending time with good friends this year. I loved every minute of the Christmas season!

First Time Hosting Thanksgiving!

Blogged on a rainy Tuesday night.

We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time in 2016, now that we have a house big enough to accommodate. But before I get to that, here’s a recap of a pretty rough week prior – it’s like we were cursed!

First, a terrible driver swerved into Jason’s lane and they had a head-on collusion. The damage in the photos doesn’t look that bad, but because of the XJ’s aluminium frame, it was very expensive to fix. Plus, because the car was so unique, there was a struggle to even find a comparable vehicle for insurance comparison purposes.

After months of back-and-forth (poor Jason, I don’t know how he handled the continual frustration), the insurance company ended up totaling the car. In more bad news, the other driver was under-insured and didn’t have enough coverage to pay Jason for the full value of the Jag. If you’ve talked to Jason for more than 5 minutes, then you know already how special this car was to him. It was one bad development after the other. Basically, poor Jason got totally screwed by this accident.

Then, a few days later, Mom ended up badly spraining her ankle and had to go to the emergency room!


Minnie (aka Florence Nightingale) taking care of mom. 

But the show must go on…so Thanksgiving! We served turkey (used the turkey brine from Beautiful Briny Sea – you must try it!), gratin of four onions, paprika sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy (by Tishie), cranberry sauce (by Gena), a casserole, brussels sprouts (by Tishie), rolls – and for dessert, apple pie and cheesecake (by Mom).

There is absolutely NO WAY we could have pulled off Thanksgiving dinner without my mom’s help. As you know, she’s a whiz in the kitchen. I was basically a sous chef/decorator. Everyone agreed that the turkey my mom made was the best, most juicy turkey we remember. Way to go, Mom!


Jason dressed up as my uncle Clay (cut-off white tee, with pull-on shorts) as a joke – we expected more laughs than we got. 


I folded napkin turkeys! It took a lot of starch.


Gena teaching Jason how to carve a turkey. Invaluable life skill!


Our bountiful table! Excuse the folding chairs. One day we’ll have more than four dining room table chairs…


Jason sampling the goods on Thanksgiving Eve.

Our dinner guests included: me, Jason, Minnie, my mom, Tish, Clay and Gena. Kelly 2 and Matt came over for dessert and drinks afterwards. It was fun to host (but a LOT of work) and again, it would have been a disaster without Mom in charge.

Clearly, we have a lot to be thankful for: family, friends and family and friends that cook good food. Love y’all!


Laguna Beach

Blogged while watching Real Housewives of New Jersey re-runs…I should have been watching Orange County!

For our fifth wedding anniversary, we knew we needed to do something special, because it’s the last anniversary before baby! Zika prevented us from going to any beach in the Southeast, and it would be too cold to go up the Eastern coast. We ended up flying across the country to Laguna Beach, CA.

Jason found the beautiful Montage Laguna Beach Resort for us to stay. He also sweet-talked the reservations lady into upgrading our room and throwing in a complimentary night. The hotel, knowing it was our anniversary, stocked our room’s fridge with Champagne.


That awkward time of pregnancy when you don’t look obviously pregnant, just kind of chubby.


View from the pool, overlooking the ocean


Jason enjoying a boat drink

Our first night in Laguna, we went to Nick’s for dinner, and walked around downtown Laguna for awhile. There are tons of art galleries and I ended up seeing and falling in love with the work of one artist, Fabio Napoleoni. More to come on that.


View from our room at sunset…


…and the view from our room in the morning.


View from the hotel, walking down to the private beach.


Private beach with service…ahhhh….so decadent.


You’ll probably recognize this photo from our Christmas card – on our actual anniversary! Dinner at Maro Wood Grill was yummy, with desserts and drinks at Mozambique afterwards.


On a whale watching trip!


But sadly, not a whale to be seen…


Lots of free time for selfies!


Have you ever heard of vignette? It’s non-alcoholic wine, apparently. I didn’t try any.


However, the mocktails and snacks at the Montage resort bar were excellent! Sadly, we waited until the last night to try ’em out.


Our last morning in Laguna Beach. 

Jason was taking a javascript class at General Assembly every Tuesday and Thursday in October, so we could only do a long weekend trip, but it was the perfect amount of time. The resort was very preggo and family-friendly, in addition to having beautiful views. Plus, Laguna Beach is the cutest town, everyone is friendly, attractive and most places are dog-friendly! I want to go back!