The Preggo Diaries: Entry “I Can’t Stop Thinking About Food”

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Pregnancy #3 started off with a bang with crippling exhaustion and extreme cravings that leave me feeling like eating is all there is to live for.

I don’t know if it’s my age, or the fact that this is my third pregnancy, or just how things are working out this time around, but I don’t remember having such strong pregnancy symptoms this early on before. I remember feeling exhausted with both Michael and Cruz during the first trimester, but not this utter despair at the thought of walking the ten steps from my spot on the couch to the kitchen. I daydream about staying in bed all day watching old episodes of Matlock and periodically drifting off to sleep.

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If I had to describe first-trimester-exhaustion to someone that’s never been pregnant  (men, I’m talking to you), I’d say it’s like having bronchitis without the hacking cough. I’ve seen it described as feeling like having an extreme workout and then running a marathon, but I disagree. I’ve never run a marathon (and am pretty confident that I never will), but there was a time in my life when I was single and care-free when I used to work out. That feeling of exhaustion from expending all your energy is different than what I’ve felt while incubating a baby. It’s more like when your body is fighting a virus and you have no energy to begin with.

So I’m left on the couch thinking about the food that I want to eat. I don’t remember having specific cravings with Cruz, but I clearly remember craving Mexican food when I was pregnant with Michael. This is unusual for me because I’m not a big fan of Mexican food. It’s not even in my top 5, maybe even my top 10. But I got pregnant with Michael and obsessed over Tex Mex.

The Tex Mex craving has revisited me this time around. Also, spicy food, all manner of protein, and Chinese food. And when I say that I’m having cravings, it’s not like, “I could really go for some hot and sour soup. Maybe we’ll go eat Chinese this weekend.” It’s more like, “I shall move heaven and earth to get my hands on a bowl of hot and sour soup! GOD HELP THE HAPLESS SOUL THAT GETS IN MY WAY!”

Unfortunately, my cravings come with a couple of complications: lactose issues and heartburn. I put the hurt on a bowl of spicy queso the other day and paid for it all afternoon. Cheese is now dead to me, as are all dairy products. I bought almond milk for my coffee and cereal and asked my husband to knock some sense into me if he ever sees me anywhere near cheese or a cheese-like product.

And then there’s the heartburn. Oh, Heartburn, giver of nausea and asthma attacks, why must you visit me? But this time around I’m handling it like a boss. I’ve strategically placed Tums  throughout the house like an addict hiding her stash. Kitchen, foyer, bathroom, bedroom…pretty much anywhere I go I can lay my hands on antacid.

Once I satisfy my cravings and deal with the heartburn, I’m left feeling like I never want to see food again. The kitchen becomes No (Wo)Man’s Land and food odors are my kryptonite. I don’t even want to discuss how I’ve been affected by the intestinal issues that my youngest, diaper-wearing child has been dealing with this week or I may start crying.

So there you have it. I’m either obsessing over food cravings or avoiding all food-related sights/smells. My stomach, it’s a contradiction.

In other news, I’m already wearing maternity pants. And I’m sure that has nothing to do with anything else in this post.

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An Announcement I Never Thought I’d Make Again

Photo Credit: Carmen Reyes

That’s right, we’re expecting Baby #3! Woohoo!

I found the idea for this pregnancy announcement on Pinterest and knew it was just right for us since I spent the entire nine months of both of my previous pregnancies throwing up (there I am in the background in case you didn’t notice).

The truth is that I did not have easy pregnancies (don’t believe me? read the posts listed here). In saying that I’m afraid that I’m going to seem insensitive to women that haven’t been able to get pregnant or carry a baby full-term. And I don’t mean to be insensitive, because I truly understand what a privilege it has been to carry and give birth to two beautiful amazing boys.

But at the same time, I feel strongly that I need to be honest about just how difficult it was so that other women that had similar pregnancies to mine know that they are not alone. Because it’s really sad and lonely to finally be pregnant with the baby you’ve been hoping and praying for, only to not enjoy the pregnancy like everyone around you expects you to. And I wanted to be happy! It’s just so hard when you’re throwing up every day and in pain every second and having lots of asthma attacks and breathing problems.

The last month of my last pregnancy was especially difficult because I had what was most likely bronchitis and/or pneumonia. We couldn’t determine which for sure because I couldn’t have an x-ray. I coughed constantly, and every cough felt like I was being stabbed in the abdomen due to my big beautiful baby sitting high up under what used to be my ab muscles.The pain was so bad and constant that I felt like I was going insane and would cry out of pain and frustration because there was nothing the doctors could do. I couldn’t care for my older son and often had to have my mother or mother-in-law stay with us to help out. It felt like I was living in a nightmare.

Throughout all of that, I declared, “This is it! No more babies! The factory is closed!” And since I was 37 when I had Cruz, that seemed likely.

But then, about a year ago, I started to have Thoughts. And Longings. I felt like a crazy person even thinking about getting pregnant again. I kept trying, unsuccessfully, to push those thoughts out of my mind. I finally mentioned those crazy thoughts to my husband so that he could declare that there would be no more babies from us, but the joke was on me because it turned out he really wanted another baby but thought that option was off the table.

So we talked and thought and prayed over the next couple of months. And I spent a lot of time thinking about how difficult my pregnancies were, and how difficult the newborn months are, and how tired I am all the time, and how I can forget about starting a business or any new endeavor like that for the next couple of years at least. And all of those thoughts really depressed me.

But something surprising happened. The more time that went on, the more I felt in my spirit that it was God’s will for me to be pregnant again. I know that may sound crazy to some people, and honestly, it felt a bit crazy to me too. But I just couldn’t get away from that feeling. When it came right down to it, I felt that refusing to even try to get pregnant would place me in direct disobedience to God, and that’s not a place that I want to ever be.

So we tried. I got pregnant with both Michael and Cruz during the first couple of months of trying, and we expected the same this time around. But it took about five months. I’m glad that God worked it out that way, because during those months of trying I realized that I really did want to get pregnant again. It gave me time to wrap my mind around the whole thing and to come to terms with the very real possibility of another difficult pregnancy. It was scary to think about, but I became so convinced that this was God’s will for our lives right now that I was also anxious to see what He had planned.

I finally conceived a few weeks after turning 39. I am now in the eighth week. We had our first ultrasound last week and saw our little baby and heard the heartbeat for the first time. We posted the announcement on Facebook a couple of days ago, something we didn’t do this early on with my last two pregnancies. I’m well aware that the chance of miscarriage is still high, and I’m praying that my little baby remains healthy and strong, but no matter how this turns out I know we’re where God wants us right now. I’ve been telling Michael that there’s a baby growing in my belly (Cruz is still too young to understand), and we’ve looked at pictures of how a fetus develops. It’s fun to see him starting to process all of that since all he understood about my last pregnancy was that it made me walk funny.

One more thing – everyone is asking me if we’re trying for a girl. I’m not gonna lie and say that hasn’t been a topic of conversation between me and Garrett, especially when we first talked about getting pregnant again. But before we even tried I knew that, boy or girl, there was another little person that God wanted us to try for. So it really isn’t about having a girl…it’s just about adding another little person to our family.

And it wouldn’t hurt my feelings any if you prayed for an easier pregnancy and healthy baby. ;-)

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Friday Favorites – Edition “Late to the iOS 7 Party”

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So it’s been a weird but somewhat productive week. Last week the kids got sick, so my Thursday of Freedom (when the kids are usually in preschool/MDO for 5 hours) turned into a trip to the pediatrician and cuddling a sick baby. Would I be an awful person if I said that my little one’s fever resulted in great cuddle time? Yes? Never mind.

I’ve also been working on updating my app, Lamplight, for iOS 7. And yes, I’m super-late getting to that. It’s coming along. Hopefully I’ll get it done before the next rev of the iOS comes out.

1. Benefit Watt’s Up – I got one of these as a sample and LOVE IT. I use it in the inside corner of my eyes (next to my nose) and on my brow bone. I’m definitely getting the full-size version when this sample runs out.

2. Sonic Cherry Limeade – I’ve had quite the thing for these lately. Sonic has happy hour between 2-4pm when drinks are half-off, so I like to pick one up after picking up the kids from school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And I always always always get the Route 44 size. Funny(ish) story: one day I looked at the huge cup that my Route 44 cherry limeade came in and sincerely said to my husband, “I wonder how many ounces this is?” He looked at me like I was the dumbest person on the planet. So when Garrett wants to feel superior, he can always bring up the Route 44 or the kazoo (that’s another story).

3. Belight Software’s Art Text 2 – To fit in with the iOS 7 look and feel, I’ve created brand new icons for Lamplight. Lamplight is a universal app (meaning it’ll run on iPhones and iPads), so I have to create an icon for each device and resolution, as well as different sizes for the various places the icon may show up. So far, that’s 14 icons. That little chore would be truly awful if it wasn’t for Art Text. I can design the icon once, then easily resize it for whatever dimensions I need.

I also used Art Text to create my website banner and other images for this blog.

(By the way, I’m not a graphic designer, so please don’t ask me about logos. I’m just too cheap to hire someone, so I make do.)

4. Hillsong’s Forever Reign – I love this song so much. It describes so well the way that I feel about God. And I love the way that it proclaims the name of Jesus. Check out the video below.

Linking up with The Diary of a Real Housewife.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read about my other Friday Favorites.

The Haircut – Before and After

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Remember when I told you that I was planning to get my hair did? And that I was going to chop it off? And I showed you this collage of pictures from the Hairstyle PRO app?

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I finally went to the salon Saturday, armed with my hairstyle pics and an overwhelming desire to chop my hair off. I ended up showing the stylist the top middle and bottom middle pictures from the collage as a reference for the length I wanted, the bangs, and to spell out that I wanted to be able to wear my hair both wavy and curly and still look put-together.

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So here I am before going to the salon. Oh, that hair. Why did I think that my current life, with all its busy-ness and little people running around trying to injure themselves and destroy the house, was a good time to grow-out Rapunzel-length locks? It was even longer in the back. Washing it was such a chore, along with the blow-drying and straightening and curling that was required to look halfway decent. And the frizz was out-of-control.

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Here I am after the salon (and after watching Bama school A&M). He cut the length how I wanted it and blow-dried it straight. I’m not crazy about the straight look, so I took a curling iron to it to get the look I wanted. The second picture was actually taken the next morning after I slept on it, but it still doesn’t look too bad. With my hair shorter, I need to switch to an iron with a smaller barrel to get the curls just right.

It’s a little hard to tell in the pictures, but I also had my hair colored and highlighted. We went just a bit lighter with shots of caramel highlights throughout. I’m getting more and more gray in my hair (hello, I’m almost 40!), so I know that over time I’ll need to highlight it more and more so that I’m not at the salon every couple of weeks. If my skin were lighter I’d really lighten my hair, but it’s not so gray is always going to be a struggle.

Billion-dollar idea: Invent a way to dye hair in the hair follicle as it grows out. I’d be RICH!

Back to reality…my husband loved the hair cut and thought it actually made me look younger, which I wasn’t expecting. Somehow I tend to think that longer hair makes me look younger, even though I’ve watched a thousand episodes of What Not to Wear that disprove that theory. So bonus, because the closer I get to 40 the more I want to hang onto my youth.

Have you ever been surprised by a haircut?

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The Legend of the Wicker Duck

I was thinking today about the fact that I love story-telling in any form – books, movies, TV shows, and sitting around the table sharing memories. That reminded me of the times that my brother and sisters and I would sit around the breakfast table the weekends that I visited from college and share old stories as well as tell new ones. This is one of the old stories, which I have dubbed “The Legend of the Wicker Duck.” Disclaimer: I’m telling this story to the best of my recollection.

Once upon a time, my mother bought a wicker duck. And she really liked that duck. She didn’t love it and squeeze it and call it George, but she did strongly warn us kids to stay away from it. At the time, I thought that was a strange warning for something as uninteresting as a wicker duck, especially since I didn’t remember a similar warning for the TV or VCR or glass coffee table. But considering that four kids (I was about 11, Julissa about 8, and the twins, Eddie and Diana, about 5) were crammed into a little apartment that the Air Force deemed plenty big enough for six people, I suppose she knew better than me that any precious thing was bound to have a short life-span.

The wicker duck occupied a place of honor on the top shelf of a wicker cabinet in the one bathroom of our tiny apartment, right next to a wicker laundry hamper. Come to think of it, we also had a wicker hanging chair that looked like a bird cage in my room. I will henceforth think of the mid-80′s as the Reyes’ Era of Wicker.

One day, after answering nature’s call and washing my hands, the wicker duck caught my eye as I headed toward the door. I’m a rule-follower by nature and had every intention to stay clear of the duck, but my curiosity got the better of me. What was it about that duck that my mother liked so much? I took a closer look. The duck’s body was made of wicker, but the feet and maybe even the beak (the memory is a little hazy after almost 30 years) were made of wood and painted orange. And whadayaknow, the head was removable! Feeling adventurous and naughty, I removed the head and peeked inside. The body was hollow and filled with cotton balls, I believe. I placed the head back on the duck, a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to it. So, determined to discover the reason for the duck’s specialness, I picked it up.

I don’t remember my sixth grade teacher’s name or what I had for dinner last Thursday, but I remember, 28 years later, the moment I picked up that wicker duck and saw its orange foot fall onto the wicker shelf. My mind spun into panic-mode, akin, I’m sure, to the moment Bernie Madoff realized the jig was up or the moment Tiger Woods faced his golf club-wielding wife. This rule-follower had broken a rule and now there would be consequences! Maybe. I put the wicker duck back on its wicker home and stuck the foot  where it belonged. Look at that, you couldn’t even tell by looking at it that the duck was maimed! And then I got away from it as quickly as possible.

Well. I believe it was later that evening that my mother emerged from the bathroom with a maimed duck in her hand and a take-no-prisoners look in her eyes. Who. Broke. The duck?

She immediately zeroed in on Julissa. Julissa was an active girl and got into her fair share of scrapes, but I couldn’t let her take the blame. So I admitted my fault and got the “Stay away from my things” speech that I richly deserved, the same speech I give to my boys but that they never fully hear.

And that is how the Legend of the Wicker Duck began. Once or twice a year, my brother and sisters and I would sit around and tell funny stories from our past, not because we didn’t remember the stories, but because it was fun. The wicker duck was often mentioned as a comical cautionary tale about getting into my mother’s things.

It was all very cute and fun, until a few years later when, during one of our story-telling sessions, Julissa admitted that she had been the one to break the duck, after all. Gasp! “You mean I took the blame when I thought it was my fault, but you didn’t do the same for me when you knew it was your fault?” Julissa’s point-of-view was that if I was dumb enough to take blame that wasn’t mine, then that worked out ok for her. So we laughed over our silly childish ways and the legend lived on.

Then, one day circa 1993, I was home from college for the weekend and sitting around the breakfast table with my brother and sisters telling stories. The Legend of the Wicker Duck came up, and we laughed that I’d taken the blame when it was really Julissa all along.

And then…it happened. My brother, Eddie, with the look of a man (boy) exposing a long-held secret, threw his hands in the air and yelled, “Ok, it was me! I broke the duck!”

I literally gasped in shock. I couldn’t have been more surprised if he’d told me that he was sporting a third arm under his shirt. That moment when I confessed that I was the wicker duck mutilator flashed through my mind, and I vaguely remembered Eddie and Diana lurking in the background. I looked at Eddie in shock and he explained how it all came about.

Back when we lived in that little apartment, Eddie and Diana amused themselves by hiding in the wicker laundry basket, waiting for someone to come into the bathroom. I have memories of getting ready to take a bath only to have them pop up out of the hamper. Why didn’t I ever check it?

On the day in question, I guess no one went into the bathroom to scare before they got bored, because they started horsing around and knocked into the wicker cabinet, knocking off the wicker duck. Its little foot was a casualty of the fall.

I laughed so hard after my brother’s confession, and have laughed many times since. That story-telling session taught me two things:

  1. The truth always comes out.
  2. An oral history of your family’s funny/odd/special moments is the best kind of history.

Do you swap stories with your family?

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