25 Weeks!

25 weeks

How far along? 25 weeks! Yikes!

What is Baby G up to? Baby G is the size of a head of cauliflower and mama is feeling it. Baby G likes to sit very far forward, so much so it feels like I could topple over my own belly. This also cause my back to arch, so by the end of the day, I’m begging David for a back rub. Baby flutters quite a bit, which I love. I will miss those feelings come November.

How am I feeling? Besides the normal aches and pains, I’m feeling good. I definitely think the bump has grown dramatically in the last two weeks, but as we approach the third trimester, I’m just holding onto as much comfort as I can.

What am I wearing? Still hot. Still living in dresses.

What am I craving/eating? Eh, no real cravings at this point. I’m grateful to have been able to keep drinking coffee this pregnancy. I’m really trying to not worry about my weight and simply enjoy the perks of being pregnant. That doesn’t mean overdoing it, but simply not limiting myself. No need to stress over weight gain. I know come January 1st I’ll be back at my normal diet and workout routine.

What’s on my mind lately? I had an annoying summer cold that hit me hard over the weekend. David took Finn out with him so I could get some rest, which I was very grateful for. I realize our time with just the three of us is slowly coming to an end. I don’t let myself think about it too much given how emotional I was thinking about losing time with Juneau when I was pregnant with Finn. It’s definitely emotional, and I’m nervous about how to juggle it all, but truly I’m much more excited to welcome this baby than I was the first time around. At the very least, I know what to expect!

What am I looking forward to? A finished house! We are getting closer every week and I’m loving how it’s all coming together. Next project is the basement, where we hope to be spending most of our family time this winter. I also have fun ideas for the kids’ rooms, but those are less projects and more just finding the right decor.

Best moment of the week? Finn skipped his nap on Saturday, which was totally my fault. He did fine, and we even made it through dinner without a meltdown! But as soon as we got home, he could barely keep his eyes open. He wanted to lay with Mom and Dad in our bed, so we put on Kung Fu Panda and laid down together. Within ten minutes, Finn was snoring, but I couldn’t quite get myself to move him, so we kept watching the movie. It was wonderful 🙂

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The Best Things We Bought In July

the best products we bought in july

 

July was a good month for the Gregorys. We found out the gender of Baby G#2, we celebrated three years of marriage, and we took a very memorable and relaxing vacation to the Adriondacks. In the meantime, we also continued to add pieces to our home and started planning several projects we’d like to get done before Baby arrives in November.

In the midst of all of this, we bought some stuff to prep Finn for a long road trip. We also bought some things that we’ve been wanting to have, but never had the space in our tiny apartment. Having a house is truly the best!

Rug for living room – I had my eye on this rug for months and knew it would go perfectly with our couch and other decor in the living room area. When it went on sale on Prime Day, I snagged it. (I also got a duplicate of our carseat cause I was tired of switching back and forth. Long overdue!! Thanks, Prime Day!) Even the full price is stellar for the quality of rug. I highly recommend if you are looking for an area rug! Plus you can’t beat two-day shipping.

Instant pot – Can you believe David and I still had a gift card leftover from our engagement?! Apparently it took us three and a half years to decide what to do with it, and I couldn’t be happier to have added an Instant Pot to our kitchen. I have a really bad habit of forgetting to defrost any meat and when dinner time comes around, we are constantly having to come up with alternative plans. Not anymore! This thing is the bomb. I haven’t even gotten creative yet – literally just using it to cook our chicken for the week – and I’m not sure what I ever did without it.

Toddler air mattress – We bought Finn this air mattress for our trip to the Adirondacks. He slept on the floor of the hotel and in our cabin with us, and had zero issue. The bumpers on the side made it so he wouldn’t roll off, and the size is perfect for small spaces and small people. We will totally be getting our monies worth out of this.

Blackstone griddle and accessories – Perhaps the best purchase from July, our Blackstone Griddle. My parents wanted to get us a grill for the house for our anniversary present, but after my dad bought a griddle for himself, he convinced David a griddle was the way to go. I’ve got to say, I’m totally sold. A grill is a wonderful tool, but you can literally cook everything on this griddle. I’m talking eggs, bacon, pancakes, veggies, burgers, chicken, we’ve even done a low country boil. I highly, highly recommend if you are in the market for a grill. We purchased a cover for it as well.

Amazon Fire for Kids – Gahh, I hate to admit it, but I totally caved and got Finn a tablet. We bought it with every intention of using it only for long roadtrips, and we’ve stuck to that so far. He hasn’t even asked for it since we’ve been home. I knew that 9 hours in the car would be totally unfair for Finn, and we would all need a break from each other. So when he started getting crabby, I would pull out the tablet and it would keep him occupied. Heads up – I totally failed and forgot to download anything onto the tablet prior to actually leaving for the trip, so I had to have it connected to my phone as a hotspot the entire time, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Next time, I’ll have more experience!

Blow up swan pool toy– We bought this swan blow up toy for the pool on a whim, but it was such a hit on vacation! I just thought it was fun and for $15 you can’t really beat it. Sadly, we left it behind, but hopefully whoever rented after us found as much joy in it as we did 🙂

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My Struggle As A Full Time Working Mom

 

I have a vivid memory from when I was a teenager – I was watching Oprah! with my sisters and my mom in our living room at home. Oprah was moderating a debate between working moms and full-time moms. I don’t remember much of what was said, but I do remember passion coming from both sides. I also remember feeling strongly connected to the working mom side. I was probably 15 at the time, but for some reason I had the uneducated opinion that being a working mother was much more challenging than being a stay at home mom, and that since I always liked to challenge myself, I would also be a working mom, and I would kick butt at it.

Perhaps my brain filed the memory of this particular Oprah! show in my mind so that when I actually became a working mother, I could laugh at the naivety of my teenage self. Erica, you have no idea what you’re talking about! For the past two years, I have been a full-time working mother, and not only is it challenging, it’s nearly impossible for me. On the other hand, I’ve never stayed at home full-time with Finn, so my viewpoint on that side of things remains uneducated. I will say that those days I do have Finn all day long, I’m much more exhausted than any day I spend at work.

I’ve been a mother for just over two years. In that time, my feelings on working have changed dramatically. If I had written this post when Finn was an infant, you would be reading about how grateful I was to have a place away from motherhood. About how work was my sanctuary, my comfort, my sense of normalcy. Being at home with a newborn was terrifying, and I was grateful for the professionals that would willingly spend the day with the unpredictable baby.

In the past year, my feelings on this topic have done a drastic 180 degree flip – and I never, ever expected that. You see, not only did 15 year old Erica think she could totally kick butt at being a working mom, but she also thought that was what would fulfill her. She always thought that being a career woman would fuel her and give her purpose, that having something just for her would bring joy to her life. She spent tens of thousands of dollars on a college education, after all. She would be successful.

Regardless of these feelings, I still never felt fulfilled the way that I thought having a career would. Even when I succeeded or was praised for a job well done at work, the pride I took in it was fleeting. I still lacked the motivation behind it all – the purpose was missing.

The real struggle came when that feeling didn’t initially come with motherhood either. So I’m not feeling fulfilled at work, and I’m not fulfilled as a mom, will I ever feel it? So, I thought maybe it was because I needed more of a challenge. I asked for more responsibility at work. Maybe I just needed to feel pushed and then succeed at that. Maybe if my colleagues saw me kick butt, then I would feel it.

The feeling never ended up coming from work. It came from the crazy, messy, unpredictable life of a toddler. It came when I started hearing words come out of Finn’s mouth. It came when I saw him running around playing with Juneau. It comes when I watch him overcome his fears, or try a new food, or sing a song along with the radio. So, 15 year old Erica had it all wrong – my joy in life would not come from taking on the challenge of being a working mom, it would come in being a mom.

These experiences, and this story, is just a roundabout way of explaining how difficult it has been spending 40 hours of every week away from my joy, and feeling incredibly lonely in that feeling. I’m surrounded by other working mothers who, like all the women on that Oprah! show, make it look so easy. I, on the other hand, struggle with it on a daily basis. Perhaps that’s just my personality, I lack the ability to compartmentalize my work and personal life. Perhaps it’s a symptom of an unsupportive culture. Perhaps, it’s absolutely normal and there are thousands of other women out there feeling the exact same way.

So, what am I doing about all of this? Ahh, the million dollar question. I think the most important thing to recognize here is that I’m still trying to feel comfortable with these feelings. After a literal lifetime of thinking that I wanted an office job and a family, the acceptance of switching those priorities is taking some time. In the process, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, shed too many tears in inappropriate places and even let some depression set in. However, my next step is and always has been very clear to me – it’s the path of getting there that’s unclear, but I have started taking the steps I need to. 

I think the biggest thing I’ve realized from all of this is that women, especially mothers, feel the need to put on a face in order to succeed in life. I’ve felt ashamed because I’ve cried at work over having to spend so much time away from Finn. I’ve apologized for doing so. And in hindsight, I wonder what I’m apologizing for. I don’t need to pretend to feel any way other than the way I actually feel. The response does not need to be to apologize, but to take action. It’s also important to redefine how we view success. For the first 28 years of my life, I thought success came in the form of dollar signs. Two years ago, I started measuring success on how happy Finn was – was he experiencing new things? Was he healthy? Was he spending enough time with me?

The purpose of writing this is to let other working moms who are feeling lonely in these feelings realize they are not alone. I have had countless conversations over the past week or so with people who have not only validated my feelings, but have looked at me and told me that they totally understand. I’ve also had conversations with people who would rather pretend that I’m crazy and that’s okay too. I have to realize that just because it’s normal for me to feel this way, it’s also not everyone’s reality.

In closing, these powerful words: being a working mom is hard. Do yourself a favor today – let yourself feel whatever it is you feel – pride, guilt, exhaustion, etc. – you deserve to give yourself a little grace!

 

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24 Weeks!

24 weeks pregnant

How far along? 24 weeks! Officially six months pregnant.

What is Baby G up to? Baby G is the size of a cantaloupe, and this cantaloupe is pushing wayyyy out as far as my belly will stretch. I feel so front heavy, which is totally the opposite of how I felt with Finn. He was pushing up on my ribs for the latter half of pregnancy, while this babe seems to want to climb out of my belly button! Baby G is moving a lot, too, but mostly at nighttime when I’m laying in bed.

How am I feeling? I’m feeling good. As my doctor put it, I’m in the cruise control part of pregnancy. Still not big enough to be that uncomfortable, but I’m enjoying my bump and definitely looking pregnant. My back has been a bit of an issue recently, but it’s not the worst. Other than that, I’m just enjoying this pregnancy.

What am I wearing? I’m living in dresses and flat shoes, and that’s totally okay with me. It’s just too easy! I’m feeling a little anxious about the last few weeks of pregnancy when dresses will be a little too cold for my liking!

What am I craving/eating? I’m not craving anything specific, but I’ve been eating a lot of BLT sandwiches for some reason! It’s just an easy, satisfying meal LOL.

What’s on my mind lately? Oh boy. How much time do you have? I’ve been thinking about a lot going on in my life, but the biggest is the anxiety I’m feeling around introducing Finn to a new baby. I’ve seen him interact with babies, and he is so sweet. But how will it be when there is a baby here to stay?

I keep having this calming thought that having the second baby will not as big of a shock to the system as having the first. For the most part, we know what to expect this time. Going from total freedom to ‘holy crap we have a kid’ was quite the adjustment. We already have a pretty set schedule around Finn, so we expect more of the same. However, the idea of having another newborn is not always easy. Those first few months were extremely tough for me with Finn, and I’m hoping that my expectations will help ease a lot of the stress this time around.

What am I looking forward to? I’m excited to close out the summer with my boys! We’ve had such a great summer traveling, swimming, decorating our house, and just enjoying being together. I am looking forward to another month of us!

Best moment of the week? Finn has started saying his name and it’s literally the sweetest sound I think I’ve ever heard. The first time I heard it, it brought a tear to my eye. I love that little boy!

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July 2018 Adirondacks Trip – Photo Diary

Each year, my dad’s family gets together for what is known as Rath Family Vacation. He is the oldest of six siblings, and each of them take a year to pick the destination for the week in July. My dad chose this year and we ended up on Fourth Lake in Inlet, NY. If you haven’t spent any time in the Adirondacks during the summer, you’re missing out. It’s my favorite place to be! We had no cell service, a lakefront property, and 30+ family members scattered across the lake.

I was so happy to share this tradition with Finn and David. Between weddings and newborns, we hadn’t made a RFV in several years. This was the perfect year to go! The weather was absolutely perfect (high of 90s during the day with a need for a sweater at night) and the lake water was great. Finn swam his little heart out and David and I watched our little man grow up right in front of our eyes. It was an extra perk to spend the week with my sisters and my niece who live in Colorado.

Some highlights – Finn swimming on his own, taking a train ride to Otter Lake, David playing “Uncle Dave” to my cousins at the water park, the smile on Finn’s face going down water slides and riding the boat every day, hearing Finn say his name for the first time, getting really into a good book for the first time in forever, all the good food and obviously, the great company! Thanks for a great week, Fourth Lake. We’ll see you next year ADK!

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