As you may have noticed, we've gone through quite the dry spell here on Freckle & Fair. In 2014, Theresa and I used this blog as a launching-off point for some passion projects. For her, that was her greeting card and stationary business, which has evolved into the adorable Boss Dotty. I'm so proud of her and unsurprisingly, I love everything she makes. I still get excited every time I see a new card or print by her! Though her business isn't quit-your-day-job successful yet, she's gotten some pretty awesome clients — you can find her stuff at legendary NYC bookstore The Strand, for example! I'm so excited and proud of her.
For me, this blog was a way for me to have a place to publish things I was working on. At first, that was a lot of food work, and then, as you may have noticed, a lot of travel work. Then, I got into my own portrait photography side gig, Freckled Photos, and was busy editing client work and didn't have as much time for personal projects — heck, I barely had time to blog about the trips we were taking!
Anyway, this blog has been around since October 2014, so we actually just past our third birthday — albeit quietly! We're not sure if we'll be regular about posting, or how it will evolve (especially with a baby on the way and with Tyler and I moving back to America soon!) but it's a great space to come back to to reflect and write about what's going on. So we'll keep it live!
And I don't know if it's the nesting or that I've been slowing down on client work (yay maternity leave!), but I've been a blogging fool these last few weeks. And I figured it was time to just put fingers to keyboard about my pregnancy. I don't really want to do this for any reason other than to remember it for myself — because, dang, 9 months is a long time, and I've already forgotten so much from when we began!
- NAUSEA: My first trimester wasn't a total pain, but it was a struggle. I definitely battled some "morning" sickness and basically just constant nausea. My savior was Cheez-Its, which I kept beside my bed and would eat right when I woke up to calm down the nausea. Ginger candies helped, too, though I probably just liked the taste. Tyler and I had a few fights over him drinking my Ginger Ale ;)
- CLEAN TOILETS: Tyler was a total saint with my nausea (with the exception of the Ginger Ale thing). I don't even know how many times I asked him to clean the toilet for me while I was on my way home because I knew I'd be running right to the bathroom. Once, I came home and he had cleaned out the toilet and then surrounded it with pillows — too sweet! I will say that European toilets are a total bummer — the flusher is way up on the wall, so I would use the toilet paper holder to flush it so I could still sit with my head in the toilet! It's not exactly within reaching distance while you're curled up on the tile.
- THIRST: The one thing that has been consistent throughout my ~entire~ pregnancy has been the need for water. I am thirsty all. the. time. I finally invested in a nice water bottle — a stainless steel one with a durable lid and it goes with me everywhere. It's been a must-have. I've had a few folks ask me what gift they should get their newly-pregnant friend and my answer is a really nice water bottle.
- I LIKE BIG BUTTS: Though I didn't need maternity clothes until late into my second trimester, what I did need immediately was, well, bigger underwear. My butt got bigger like, immediately. Luckily, I never had to buy maternity underwear — or many maternity clothes at all! I actually wrote about my wardrobe in another blog post about wearing non-maternity maternity clothes.
- ANNOUNCEMENT!: It was ~really~ hard for me to wait to tell people I was pregnant, but because I had never been pregnant before, I did want to be on the cautious side. Also, when you live in Italy, basically every event you attend involves wine, so when you're all of a sudden abstaining — and you're me, and you never turn down a glass — well, it goes noticed. We didn't want to make some big hoopla, but did a little photo shoot with a friend to announce our pregnancy. I'm pretty sure I made food baby jokes, too.
- GOING TO THE ITALIAN HOSPITAL: There are a couple birthing options for American women in Vicenza, one of them involving being seen at a local military clinic. However, I was really into the idea of giving birth at an Italian hospital, and have been seen there for all of my care! I'm sure I'll have more insight postpartum, but my care has been really great thus far — I am seen about once a month (more for specialized visits, like ultrasounds and glucose tests) and I actually get an ultrasound at every visit, which is so cool, because we love seeing baby grow! My care has mostly been through midwives, and it will be during the birth as well — the Italians go a little more natural than Americans and kind of let you do your own thing in labor (or so I've heard!) so I'm excited for that experience. We haven't had any issues with language barriers as of yet, and no weird cultural quirks — just the doctor calling our baby broccolini (little broccoli in Italian), which I think is super cute!
- NOT SHOWING: I was SO eager to show in my pregnancy, and it took so long! This is apparently common in first babies, and with second babies you show like, immediately. I don't think I started showing until 24 weeks, which my family was totally bummed about, as I got to go visit my family in America for a few weeks around 18 weeks. The good news is I was able to wear most of my regular clothes through most of my pregnancy (again, something I wrote about here).
- NO READING THE INTERNET: I decided really early on in my pregnancy that I wasn't going to read anything on the internet about being pregnant — no mommy Facebook groups, no Googling things, no articles, no looking up symptoms, no clicking on Facebook articles. I've been mostly successful with this throughout my pregnancy, and I decided this because I'm definitely an anxious person and I knew I would read something and it would stick in my brain and drive me crazy. I caved like, one time and read a click-baity article that was something about how being stressed during pregnancy causes ADHD and I was like, "GREAT, NOW I'M STRESSED." I had a few baby books, but mostly didn't read them, and literally just consulted my doctor, mom, mother-in-law and most-adored mom friends. Super shoutouts to moms of five Stephanie Howell and Amie Honeycutt who are MOM GOALS, plus new boy mom Amanda Spanoudis who has totally talked me through so many feelings, and especially Emma Moores who sums up everything about pregnancy and motherhood so perfectly. If I had a question about a medicine, I wouldn't look it up — I would just email my doctor and wait a few hours for a response because guess what? Everyone on the internet says anything you put in your body is bad for you — yup, even perfume. I'm really glad I set this boundary for myself early on because I know it would've made me stressed to read about everything I did wrong, because in these days of the internet, that seems like everything. It saved me a lot of stress so now I guess my baby is scott free for ADHD — whew!
- MY MANTRA: My one guiding mantra through pregnancy? "Don't be that lady on the internet." The internet has apparently shaped a lot of my parenting choices! But typically, if I wanted to do something that was maybe toeing the line with "Should a pregnant lady do this?" I would just imagine an article about it floating around mommy blogs with "Florida Man"-type titles. And then I would not do that thing. So when I wanted to ride an ATV during our trip to Greece, I decided I better not — because of the internet. So, thanks for that, internet.
- VEGETARIANISM: Throughout my first and second trimesters, I was reaaaally turned off of chicken and fish, and in my second trimester, I could eat almost no meat. I typically cook dinner in our household because of work schedules, so this proved difficult when I couldn't even look at raw meat and because my husband also doesn't really think a meal is complete without meat. We basically ate like vegetarians throughout my second trimester (except for that one time — OKAY FIVE — I craved Popeye's — not sorry), or I would have my husband cook some chicken in the beginning of the week for him to add in our dishes throughout the week. A lot of my vegetarian friends helped a lot here, and my go-to dishes were this black bean soup, Moroccan stew, butternut squash and black bean enchilada skillet, and a lot of recipes from Minimalist Baker. Or, we would order pizza. It was an interesting experiment and I'm still barely eating chicken at all, which was a staple in our diet before!
- ACID REFLUX: This was probably the worst part of trimester two — I didn't exactly have heartburn, but basically it would just feel like something was caught in my throat all day. I was eventually prescribed Zantac to help, but it sort of stopped working towards the end there. It has not been pleasant, but it's not daily and it comes and goes.
- SNACK QUEEN: My purse is basically a convenience store right now — filled with water bottles, Tums and snacks. And the snacks rarely last more than a day. Thank goodness for trail mix snack packs and peanut butter crackers. I was hungry ALL the time in trimester two, and I'm pretty sure I enterted total mom status with the constant snack availability. Another way pregnancy prepares you for motherhood!
- THE NURSERY: Tyler and I are leaving Italy about 1-2 months after baby is born, so that means we don't really have the availability to do the whole nursery thing! We will also be living with my mother once we move back to America to give us some time to find a home we actually like. It's been a bummer, because nursery decorating seems like it would be really fun and right up my alley, but it definitely hasn't stopped me from buying lots of fun Italian things – like an antique wooden Pinocchio — to go in baby's room once we're stateside!
- GENDER REVEAL: I don't think I mentioned – we're having a boy! This took a bit of adjusting on my end, as I grew up as one of three girls, and I literally don't even know what you do with a boy around. But now I've totally got my mind wrapped around it — as much as you can, I mean, I barely have the "we're-having-a-child" thought process down — and I'm stoked to be a Boy Mom. We didn't do anything crazy for a gender reveal - I think there's just way too much pressure to do way too many baby things nowadays, so I literally just posted a photo about how we were having a boy, and that was it!
- EASIEST TRIMESTER: All in all, the second trimester was super easy. I didn't have an energy suck, my body didn't hurt, and it was so fun when I started showing and my friends would get so excited to see ~the bump~. For this pregnancy, trimester two was all the fun parts of pregnancy without too many of the bad — and I thought I was good to go until the third rolled around!
- BOHO BABY SHOWER!: My amazing friends Delaney Perez and Kirsten Schofield threw me the cutest, most Instagrammable baby shower ever. They hosted the shower in a local park and brought blankets and Moroccan poufs for everyone to sit on. Then, Kirsten made hand pies and Delaney made chai tea and a chai tea cake and we opened presents in style. It was such a beautiful, thoughtful event — I loved every second of it!
- VIRTUAL BABY SHOWER: I was so fortunate to have so many people want to take care of us for this first baby. My poor sisters live so far away, but still wanted to do something for us (one is in college in Kansas and the other is deployed in Kuwait). So, my youngest sister, Mollie, got the idea to do a virtual baby shower. I was totally skeptical of the idea at first, but it was such a cool thing and our family members LOVED it. Mollie made a Facebook event and would post updates on there every few weeks or so — pictures of my "bump" progress or little polls like guessing the due date. Then, on the day of the shower, we actually did a Facebook live video and everyone who was invited to the event could tune in and watch us open presents and comment! It was surprisingly easy, especially for our older family members, and totally felt like they were there watching us open gifts. We did little games in between too – mostly answering silly questions — to make it more interactive. We registered on Babylist because I didn't want to just register at one store, and the site made it easy to put items from anywhere on it!
- EVERYTHING HURTS AND I'M CRYING: I was totally caught off guard with how hard the last trimester would be. I'm a total trooper, I never struggle with exhaustion, and I'm not one to complain, but OW. Sleeping hurts. Walking hurts. Sitting hurts. And I'm so tired. And now I'm crying because I'm tired (and also hormonal). I cried one morning because Tyler was actually home for breakfast and I made him eggs and I ruined every. single. egg. I cried one night because Tyler didn't do the dishes. People who want to save their marriages by having a baby — DON'T DO IT. It will not work. I have become a mean pregnancy monster with very high expectations who also needs a lot of assistance from her partner. Tyler is putting up with it. It will be over someday (we hope!).
- PREGNANCY PILLOW: Thank goodness I bought the pregnancy pillow in my second trimester, because it's been a lifesaver. I sleep with it every night and definitely contemplated putting it in my luggage when we were away from home! I wasn't sure if it was something I was going to need, but I'm definitely glad I buckled down and bought one. I went with the Boppy, but I know a lot of people swear by other brands!
- WHAT IS MY FACE?: I just feel like I should be straight up about this, but my acne has returned in full strength and my face has definitely been swollen during this pregnancy. I will look at pictures of myself from March and be like, I LOOK SO SKINNY. I know this is just a part of pregnancy and it will fade, but ugh, it's no fun at all.
- TRAVELING: Y'all know we travel a lot — typically once a month, because we're in Europe and we can. And I did fine traveling up until about 30 weeks, when the everything-hurts-and-I'm-crying phases stepped in. Tyler and I took a 7-hour road trip to Colmar, France for our babymoon which was ~super fun~, don't get me wrong, but the car ride just about killed me. I did not realize how uncomfortable my body would be sitting for that long. I went to Romania two weeks later with Delaney & friends, which was also a blast (and we flew, so I didn't struggle as much), but could definitely tell I was on my last travel legs. It bums me out to have to take a break from traveling — not even because of the walking and exploring, but just because of the getting from point A to point B — but luckily we've got plenty to do at home between now and when baby arrives!
- BABY'S LAST NAME: A question we get sometimes is what the baby's last name will be. My husband actually has a different last name than me. I didn't change my name when we got married, but we agreed when we got married that our children would have his last name. This was simply something that was important to my husband and not to me, and we didn't really like hyphenated names, so it was honestly a simple decision! People ask us sometimes if they think it will be complicated, and I'm sure we'll get questions here and then, but I honestly get so few questions about my last name being different from my husband's, so I figure we'll just cross that bridge when we come to it!
- SMOOTHIE BOWLS: So, I had this really weird symptom show up around week 25 — dehabilitating leg cramps. Like, I would get cramps in my legs so badly that they would wake me up screaming at night and then hurt the entire day. My favorite nurse friend Delaney told me that I probably needed potassium (because, as I addressed — water intake has not been an issue) so I started eating smoothie bowls every morning.
- GIVING NO FUCKS: I think my favorite pregnancy symptom thus far is my short fuse, to be honest. I don't really go off on people, but I have lost that little polite-ness edge that drives you crazy — you know, the one where someone will do something rude to you, and you smile and brush it off? Pregnancy has taught me just to tell it like it is and I am loving every minute of it. Life is too short for people who are rude or inconsiderate, and I'm feeling happier for not letting them get away with it.
- ANTICIPATION: Im 39 weeks now, and yep, this baby could come any time! No really, like, dude, we're ready — you can come out now (and also, stop kicking my ribs). We're so stoked to be parents, and so grateful that we'll have our moms coming to visit to help us figure this whole parenting thing out.