Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blame it on the Brain.

These pants came in the mail, and I finally wore them. In other words, I finally blogged them. I felt that taking a picture of them while I was in the dressing room of the same store at which I bought them online was fitting. (See what I did there? Dressing room = fitting? AHA.) Anyway, the belly band on these pants officially ranks as the most comfortable and the softest belly band of any of the million and one maternity pants I have tried. I ordered my pre-pregnancy size (a 0, which is a weird number because it makes me feel as if I do not exist), and they fit well, minus a bit of give in the front, a presumably intentional design decision since I will need to fit in them at several different weights. After all, I don't want to end up large, in charge, and pantsless.

Of course, pregnancy appears to serve as an excuse for just about everything. Oh, you spilled water all over the front of yourself? It's the hormones. Oh, you cannot find your way back to the receptionist's station after having been in the office ten times before? It's the hormones. Oh, you snarled at someone unknowingly? It's the hormones. Oh, every time you get on the road, the drive turns into a round from Need for Speed? It's the hormones. Oh, you fell asleep in a pile of gluten-free Cheeto goodness? It's the hormones. I still find myself perplexed by this social phenomenon, but I will not complain because my brain has quite honestly turned into a large (or perhaps small) slice of Swiss cheese.

I reread something that I typed and find about three errors in it, which probably frustrates me more than any other brain blip. An English teacher who has lost her command of the English language? UGH.  I recently e-mailed a parent and continually referred to the son by his older brother's name. (In my defense, I taught all three of the sons.) I felt rather sheepish when the father e-mailed asking me which son I really meant. At least the e-mail was a really positive one? GET IT TOGETHER, BRAIN. Prevail over the hormones, dangit.

I can, however, still put together a coordinated outfit, so I take comfort in that materialistic whim.

The Look:
Cardigan: Forever 21 for $8.90 (check out their insane color selection here.)
Top: Old Navy maternity (floral not online, but it's this style.)
Pants: LOFT maternity (exact, 40% off sale this weekend!)
Shoes: J.Crew Factory 
Necklace and earrings: Lauren Conrad via Kohl's  (couldn't find it online)

TIP: LOFT online says that you must return all maternity items via mail, which forces you to pay $8 return shipping. Some stores, however, DO take maternity returns, so ask your local LOFT before you pay that money or decide against buying stuff online.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dear Daughter (Food Edition)

Dear, Vincenza,

Your momma is 21 weeks along right now. According to Parents magazine, you are the length of a carrot, which is interesting because your daddy loves carrots. Sometimes, I call him Bugs Bunny, a character we will teach you all about when you come out to meet us. He likes to nibble off part of the carrot and feed it to our crazy dogs, Roxy and Squirt. I like carrots only when I get to dip them in hummus or ranch dressing. They also taste quite delicious when they are steamed with some butter. You better like vegetables because your daddy and I love vegetables. I just sent him out for some kohlrabi because your grandpa said Wegman's has really delicious kohlrabi right now.

If you are anything like your momma, mom mom, and big cousin, Jules, then you will devour watermelon, and you will probably want it with some salt on it because that is how the women on the Wojcik side like their watermelon. You might also be a big tea drinker like momma and mom mom. Please remember that the only good tea is sweet tea, and your mom mom makes the best batches of it. Daddy and both of your grandpas love coffee, but your mom mom and I think it smells terrible, so terrible. Your great mom mom, however, drank hot coffee even when the thermometer read 100 degrees outside. When your daddy first met your great grandparents, he was sweet enough to drink some coffee with your great mom mom during the sweltering summer heat. He sweat the entire time, but he made me love him so much more because I realized, once again, what a wonderful man your daddy is.

We hope you like to eat meat because momma loooooves Chipotle barbacoa bowls, and one of your daddy's favorite meals is steak and potatoes. Your daddy likes to fish and cook what he catches, but I think the freshwater fish taste a little funny. I try to eat salmon or shrimp once a week so that I can get those omega-3's and grow that big brain of yours! Sorry I cannot eat gluten for your right now, but your Italian daddy will show you the wonders of bread when you are old enough to eat it. Hopefully, you do not inherit any of my food allergies because I want you to enjoy eating every food. Let's pray that you take after daddy in that department.


Dear, Readers,
Please enjoy the periodic installments of "Dear, Vincenza" that will include snippets from my life and my wishes for this little lady of mine. Also, if you came around these parts yesterday, you might have cast your vote for which Stitch Fix item I should keep. I ultimately decided on the top versus the necklace because the print makes me SO happy. Based on the plethora of compliments it elicited today, I think I made a good choice. I have zero regrets. It gives me an opportunity to wear one of my cutest pairs of flats, these little red numbers. What a perfect little pairing that turned out to be. I imagine it will look lovely with some white jeans/shorts as well. I could not wait to wear it, and this hurried outfit combination this morning came together way better than I anticipated. 

The Look:
Cardigan: Old Navy
Top: Stitch Fix
Pants: Indigo Blue via Motherhood Maternity
Flats: Sole Society
Belt: Francesca's

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Stitch Fix #1: Maternity Edition

Okay, I finally tried out Stitch Fix after creating an account an absurdly long time ago. I decided that finding maternity clothes sort of sucks after years of learning how to shop for your shape. It's confusing, and once you think "AHA! I figured it out!" it changes again. I wanted someone else to pick out my clothes for me. My mom has done such a swell job for so many years that I figure someone else deserves a shot at it, too. If you have not yet signed up for Stitch Fix, something that surely places you in the minority, then feel free to do so here. If you do, I receive a $25 referral credit if you feel so inclined to help a pregnant lady out.

Anyway, I took some gorgeous mirror selfies upon which you may feast your hungry eyes.

Items 1 & 2: Trisha Clover Charm Layering Necklace by Bancroft ($32.00)
and Tait Dress by Skies are Blue ($48.00)
Necklace Thoughts: I love this necklace and have actually been looking for one like it because I used to have a similar one and it died on me. I know it will go with a lot of items in my closet. I am not sold on the $32.00 price tag, however.
Necklace Verdict: Possibly keep (I'd love to hear your thoughts.)

Dress Thoughts: When I first pulled out the dress, I fell in love with the colors and the stripes. Plus, the bottom half of the dress is so soft. Have you ever tried putting on a shirt or a top that ultimately fits you, yet it feels a little tight as you are trying to pass your shoulders with the shirt/dress? Well, I encountered that situation with this dress. Since it's not a jersey fabric, it didn't really give as I tried to put it on. I like my fabrics to give a little if no buttons or zippers are involved. I have already gotten stuck in my jacket this school year, which took two teachers and a pair of pliers to remove from me, so I do not need to find myself pregnant and stuck in a $48.00 dress. Also, the sides of the dress are just low enough that my bra shows. No, thank you.
Dress Verdict: Return

 Item #3: Corinna Striped Dolman Top by Market & Spruce ($48.00)

 Top Thoughts: When I saw the pattern, I immediately disliked it despite the stripes. I disliked the marbled gray meets aqua-ish stripes. If the stripes were white or black, I'd like the top much more. The length is great, but WHAT is with the sleeves? I have spindly arms, and the cuff of the shirt strangles my radius and ulna, which is not humerus.
Top Verdict: Return

Item #4: Ernie Pleated Maternity Blouse ($48.00)

Top Thoughts: When I pulled this top out of the box, the pattern and the color scheme wooed me immediately. When I first tried it on, I loved the details (cool back, snap buttons in the front, and it did not choke me as I tried to pull it over my head). My bra does not show. I think it looks better from the side when it's belted, and I asked my husband if it "looks like a tent." He assured me that anything I wear "will look like a tent soon enough." Thank you, sweetheart. One concern strikes me: will it turn into a crop top when my belly grows? Also, do I want to keep this or the necklace? I plan to keep one of them but not both.
Top Verdict: Possibly keep (I could really use feedback on this one.)

 Item #5: Fallon Mixed Print Sleeveless Blouse by Brixon Ivy ($44.00)

Top Thoughts: I love the print, the colors, and the length is about right. However, it fought my shoulders/expanding ribcage when I tried to put it on, so that problem is a bit difficult to overlook. Plus, if I had to choose between it and the previous top, I would pick the previous top.
Top Verdict: Return

I could use your help deciding between item #1 (the necklace) and item #4 (the red and white blouse). Since I don't want to lose the $20 styling fee, I want to pick one of them. It helps that I really do like both of them and will wear both of them. However, at their original prices, I cannot justify both. For the record, I was aware that their prices are a bit more than I tend to spend, but I was willing to take a little risk for the experience.

Feel free to help me out!

Monday, April 13, 2015

What's in a name?

Jeff encountered his first "I don't know about your kid's name" experience. Jeff, my ever-animated husband, jubilantly almost-runs into the OBGYN's office for every one of my appointments. He pops his face in front of the secretary's (always the same one), and amuses her with his antics. This time around, he told the secretary that we're expecting a little girl.

As is common, she asked about the name. We will call her Vincenza Leigh. Vincenza (pronounced Vin-chen-zuh) is Jeff's beloved Nonna's name; she passed away when Jeff was younger, and we decided to pay her homage by naming our sweet little lady after such a prominent woman in Jeff's life. We would have named her after my Mom Mom, but Mom Mom would come out from the grave and pull me down with her if I EVER considered naming one of my children Geraldine, which sort of sounds like the name of a female gopher. Sorry, Mom Mom.

As for Leigh, it's my brother's middle name. It just so happens to be unisex, and I just so happen to love my brother a lot. He also prayed to baby Jesus for a little sister, and here I am. He also prayed for me to have a little girl so that his little girl has a best friend, and here we are having a girl. Additionally, my mom named me Danielle because Dad's name is Danny. Giving our girls names after the important men in their lives sounds like a pretty good tradition to continue.

Obviously, we love the name because it is profoundly personal and sentimental to us. The secretary argued that our little girl will hate us when she tries to spell her name, and her teachers will hate us when they try to pronounce it. Jeff, a little flustered, sputtered out some responses. Very calmly, I responded, "Her momma's an English teacher; she's got this in the bag." The name is extremely easy to pronounce once you learn that the c sounds like a ch. Any adult who cannot master that pronunciation probably should not be instructing the youth of our nation. At least we didn't put an r you have to roll in there. (If we had, I would not be able to pronounce my own child's name.)

Finally, she suggested we call her "Vina," and Jeff argued that the name sounds "like the name of a lotion." HAHA. He does not want to call her anything other than Vincenza because "why give her a pretty name if you don't call her by it." People are natural nickname givers, so I am sure she'll go by Vinnie or Enza or something other than Vina. 

He better get used to hearing people's unsolicited opinions because everyone else wants to tell you how to carry your child in the womb (gain more weight! gain less weight! eat more fish! eat NO fish!), how to name your child (too long! too hard to spell! too common! too unique!), and how to raise your child. Want to know the theme that exists in all of those phrases? YOUR CHILD. Listen to sage advice, forget all the rest, and simply do your best. (I have learned this same strategy as a teacher, and it has served me well.)

Here is one of my favorite, most recent outfits. The last picture shows the truest color of my pants, which are olive. I found olive-colored maternity pants on the sale rack. I call that superb luck, my friends.

The Look:
Cardigan: Gift from Target
Necklace: Francesca's
Striped Shirt (my top ten item): Gap Maternity
Pants: Motherhood Maternity
Flats: Audrey Brooke via DSW
 Headband: Target (I want more of them, so I might have to make them since I cannot find anymore as soft and stretchy. Headbands always choke my cranium and fly off the back of it, but this one has proven to be quite perfect for my noggin.)
(Forgive the mess here, but I wanted a clearer shot of the pant color.)

Friday, April 10, 2015

And everything was good again.

Two days ago, Jeff was working on my computer and unsuccessfully saved multiple articles I had minimized on my screen for my final grad paper. He could not recover them, and I cannot remember any of them. All of those hours of work lost. I sobbed. Then the baby started dancing on the inside, and everything was good again despite the lost files.

A few days ago, the end of the quarter grading period caused me more stress than usual. The baby danced around a lot that day, and everything was good again despite the headache.

Yesterday, I started to feel crummy thanks to my autoimmune nonsense acting up (had to take today off as a result). The baby danced around when I felt my crummiest, and everything was good again despite the health problems.

I think the kid keeps dancing around to remind me that everything is still good because SHE is here. Yes, there's a mini me dancing on the inside, and grateful does not begin to cover how I feel.  She must know I am typing about her because she is just bee bopping around right now. Jeff really wanted a little boy, and a big brother would be cool.  However, I feel so much more relieved knowing our little one is a girl because I know she will be a fighter like me. I feel like she will be okay because she will inherit my "everything will be good again" attitude. (Note: Let's hope she inherits her father's beautiful eyelashes, consistently clear complexion, and rock-solid immune system.)

The Look:
Cardigan: Gap Maternity
Shirt: LOFT outlet
Maxi skirt: Gap 
Necklace: Francesca's
Sandals (you can't see): Franco Sarto (my top ten remix item)

I told Jeff to make the gender announcement and to "go with a Game of Thrones" theme. What he came up with had me laughing hard.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Top 10 Remix Challenge: The Items

If I broke the law, I'd want Sarah to be my lawyer just based on her witty sense of humor alone. It comes as no surprise that she has a style challenge (Top 10 Remix Challenge) going that I wanted to join. It took me an embarrassingly long time to choose my 10 items for this challenge, which you can read more about by clicking the link. Essentially, you pick items from your closet that are quintessentially you and work one of those 10 items into an outfit for every day of April. Like Andi, I am not entirely sure how this challenge will work with pregnancy, but I am willing to try. I decided to choose things that should work regardless of what crazy things might happen to my body.

My Picks:

1. Floral blouse (exact--on sale for $25): I immediately wanted this top when I saw it in Kohl's. It has cornflower blue, blush, and white--all colors I can't get enough of these days. It feels so crisp and feminine.
2. Striped tee: I decided to buy this maternity tee because my other tees are too short, and I miss my striped shirts. Stripes are always my thing.
3. Striped dress (exact--on sale for $15): If this thing doesn't fit me for the duration of April, then color me shocked. It is so comfortable, and I'm already thinking of wearing it with #6 and #8.
4. Skinny jeans (similar): Why would skinny jeans scream me? Well, I'm a jeans kind of gal, so I think they belong on this list of things that is supposed to feel very "me."
5. Necklace: It's a pendant necklace and filled with lots of bright colors. It instantly drew me in at Old Navy and begged to be bought.
6. Jean vest: I wore the crap out of this thing last summer when I bought it, and it'll fit even when my belly grows. I'm a child of the 80s and 90s; it's definitely me.
7. Scarf: It has elephants on it, and someone bought it for me in THREE colors just because of the elephants. If someone else thought of me when they saw it, then it's me.
8. Sandals (exact--$49.95): Everything Franco Sarto. I love it. This is my third pair of sandals by him. I bought them in white, too. I am also eyeing a pair of pewter ones when my DSW rewards process. He is by far my favorite sandal maker.
9. Orange flats: They are a fun color and they're comfortable. Nothing is more me than that.
10. Kimono: It's blush and gray and I bought it without hesitation or regrets.

Essentially, I picked items I bought without hesitation or regret (or a gift that I would have bought for myself). If I love it so much that I don't hem and haw over buying it, then I know it's a very "me" item. That happened with every single one of these items. You are the chosen 10. Feel lucky. On a random note: my new headboard makes an awesome background for taking pictures of my clothes (by themselves, of course. I don't stand on my bed for pictures.)!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Managing (some of) the Symptoms of Pregnancy

My go-to line these days during pregnancy is, "I finally have a wonderful reason to feel awful." Honestly, I am no stranger to feeling like a turd on a stick, a sophisticated medical term if I ever did hear one. Anyway, many of my friends who are struggling with medical problems--everything from sinus problems to GI problems--consult me when they feel helpless because they know the medical community and I go way back. Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, and these are the strategies that work best for me. (I picked up many of the strategies from one of my medical professionals, however.) I feel compelled to admit that, as long as this kid remains healthy, every single uncomfortable symptom is 100% worth it. Truly.

* Nausea lasted about 12 weeks--I ate whatever sounded good first so that I could stomach the stuff I needed to eat. Luckily, I never vomited, but I did feel sick Some days, I wasn't sure I could peel myself out of bed. I just kept rubbing my stomach and saying, "just stay healthy, kid. Just stay healthy. I can power through this as long as you stay healthy."
What didn't work? Seabands and ginger (actually made me gag)
What did work? Going to bed earlier (sounds weird but it made a big difference going to bed at 8 instead of 10) and vitamin B6 (I used Preggie Drops, but Vitamin water also works. I bought Preggie Drops on Amazon, a bundle of 3 for like $20).

*Snot. A lot of it. (the symptom that never ends)--I am not describing this symptom because it's disgusting. I will tell you how I combat it.
What makes it worse? Dairy (WAHHH!), not drinking enough water, not following the "system" that helps
What helps? My "system": Neti pot in the morning, lots of water during the day, and humidifier at night. If I miss any parts of the system, I am wrecked the next day or more. Also, had I not undergone sinus surgery last April, I would feel unbearably miserable right now.

*Hip pain (round ligament/sciatica). This pain started much earlier for me than most women. One, since I am a tiny human, the doctors tell me the shifting of body parts affects me more than it might others. Two, I had previous back problems because of a car accident. Three, felt so sick in the first trimester that I stopped doing yoga, which I need for my back/hip pain.
What makes it worse? Not putting my feet up at some point, wearing crappy shoes (I actually am getting rid of all "bad" shoes and replacing them with better-for-my-feet versions), and sitting too long
What helps? I recently started using the elliptical and stretching again, so I presume that will help. I also started seeing a massage therapist who specializes in pregnancy massages, and I'm going back to yoga when the weather warms up and flu season is gone.

In terms of doctors/medical professionals, I see certified nurse midwives from my OBGYN practice. When my due date gets closer, I'll ask to meet with a few of the doctors. For now, I rotate to the different midwives because who knows if the one I really like will be available the day I go to the hospital? Gotta be prepared for any scenario.

I see a massage therapist through my OBGYN clinic. She specializes in pregnancy massages of all kinds (even ones to induce labor...WHOA). 

I see an acupuncturist whose specialty is actually fertility. He has worked wonders on my headaches and hip pain. I believe in mixing Eastern and Western medicine. Someone in the bunch is bound to get it right. They are all certified doctors, including the acupuncturist, so it never hurts to work with a group of talented medical professionals, especially if insurance covers it. Honestly, much of what they suggest overlaps, so they aren't as different as one might assume.

I am thinking about a doula for our first kid. It should come as no surprise that I love to learn as much as I possibly can. After speaking with one at a Baby Expo, Jeff and I are considering adding this option to our buffet. (No, I will not try for a home birth. Yes, I will ask for an epidural. I appreciate hospitals and what they can offer me. However, if another human can rub my back during the process and coach Jeff and me, then I am open to their presence.) More research required on this front.

And that's all we have time for today, folks. Now, here's the outfit I wore to my nephew's birthday dinner last night (at their house, just family). No, pink is not a subliminal message about the gender of this child, which we find out on Monday.

The Look:
Cardigan: Old Navy
Scarf: Gap via thredUP
Tank: Target 
Jeans: Gap Maternity 
Shoes: Converse via DSW
Sunglasses (gift): LOFT

I am aware that 19-week bump is a tiny thing. However, my mom did not know she was pregnant with me until my brother told her that he "prayed to baby Jesus for a little sister." Lo and behold, my brother was prophetic or something. Here I am.