Family Photos with the Piggies

family photos with guinea pigs
Last weekend, we set the camera up on the tripod, grabbed my little remote, and had a mini-family photo session with the piggies.  I wasn't going for anything fancy, just pictures of the four of us together which, up to this point, we didn't have.  Molly is still in good spirits and enjoying all her playtime and treats, but the lumps in her lymph nodes are noticeably larger.  She doesn't seem to be bothered by it at all, though.  She's a tough little cookie.  But I know it means our time with her is limited so I wanted to take advantage of her good mood and cuddly attitude while I could and get some cute photos - because I definitely don't have enough already!



Miss S | Boho Chic Boudoir & Headshots

I love when a woman can be sexy while still being classy.  Confidence and attitude manage to convey sultry in a very subtle way.  We wanted Miss S's boudoir session to be relaxed and fun, but a little sassy, too, and boy did she bring it.

boho chic boudoir photos
boho chic boudoir photos
modern boho boudoir photos
modern boho boudoir photos
modern boho boudoir photos
modern boho boudoir photos
modern boho boudoir photos
modern boho boudoir photos
modern boho boudoir photos
modern boho boudoir photos

After our mini-boudoir session, we headed out to the streets of Brooklyn for some new head shots with an urban twist.  We found these awesome graffiti murals just down the street and decided to use them as a colorful, unique background that's a little more visually interesting than the standard NYC head shots.

modern head shots in brooklyn
modern women's portraits
modern urban women's portraitsmodern urban women's portraits
modern urban women's portraitsmodern urban women's portraits
modern urban women's portraits

Interested in doing a boudoir or portrait session, too?  Feel free to email me!  I promise it's tons of fun. :)





7 First Trimester Essentials

first trimester pregnancy essentials

I had a bit of a rough first trimester.  Morning sickness was no joke, and it was not just in the morning either.  In fact, before finding out I was pregnant, I thought I had the stomach flu.  Or food poisoning.  For a little over a week, I was throwing up at a minimum five times a day.  Nothing would stay down.  My diet consisted of applesauce and milk and I lost six pounds in five days.  After that, the puking eased up a bit (two or three times roughly every other day or so) but the nausea was a constant for almost six weeks.

And then, as suddenly as it hit, it passed.  About half-way through week 11, I was doing a session with a friend and his family for their holiday card and he mentioned that they were going out for pizza for dinner.  After that, I couldn't get pizza off my mind.  I texted The Husband and said, "Let's have a pizza party tonight."  He was fully on board, of course, and I managed to eat an entire medium-sized gluten free pizza* that night all by myself.  It was glorious.

That first trimester fell right at the tail end of my wedding season, which was a good thing, but it also coincided with my trip to New York.  So I thought I'd share a few of my first trimester essentials that helped me manage the nausea whether I was working from home, shooting a wedding, or traveling across the country.

* * * * * * * * * *

1. Sea Bands - These things were awesome.  I was skeptical at first and thought maybe it was all in my head but while I was wearing these, the nausea was mild or gone.  I wore them on my flights and just in daily life (including while shooting weddings) and they were a lifesaver.

2. Preggie Pop Drops - When I felt a little nausea hit, I'd pop one of these bad boys and it would quickly subside.  I wish you could select the flavors because the sour lemon was really unappetizing to me (tasted like a cough drop) during that first trimester, but the raspberry was very tasty.  I ordered a three-pack and they lasted a couple of weeks.

3. BeBand - I lost a lot of weight really quickly so a lot of my pants didn't really fit properly.  At one point, my jeans and work pants were so big I could pull them on and off without unbuttoning them!  I'm not much of a belt gal and wearing one at that time sounded really uncomfortable so I bought one of these BeBands from Target to hold my pants up when they were a little too loose.  It worked great!  And, as my weight returned to normal and the belly started expanding in the second trimester, this little band helped hold up the pants when they were too small to button!

4. VitaFusion Chewable PreNatal Vitamins - I could not keep those horse pill prenatal vitamins down to save my life so these chewable, slightly fruit-flavored ones were a game changer.  I was barely eating and what I did eat had minimal nutritional value, so I felt good knowing I was at least getting some basic nutrients from the vitamins.

5. Comfy Tops - All I wanted to wear during the first trimester was pajamas but apparently that's an unacceptable wardrobe for the real world.  A loose-fitted comfy tee paired with leggings was the closest thing I could get to real-life PJs.  Layer it with a sweater and add some boots & a colorful scarf and you have a pretty cute outfit!

6. Coconut Water - There were times when even plain old water wouldn't stay down but, for whatever reason, coconut water was never a problem.  The Husband also loves it to rehydrate post-workouts (especially when training for marathons) so we bought it in bulk from Costco to keep dehydration at bay for both of us.

7. Leggings - Again, pajamas for the real world.  Unless I was shooting a wedding or needed to dress up a bit with some jeans, I wore leggings pretty much all day e'ry day.  In addition to the nausea, I was also extremely exhausted during that first trimester (which lasted until a week ago when I finally found an iron supplement that seems to work, thanks pregnancy anemia!) and took a nap almost every day.  Wearing something comfy that I could lay down and relax in when necessary was a priority.  And, like I said, layer them with boots and a cute sweater and you have a perfectly acceptable real-world outfit. :)


*We order gluten-free pizza from Amici's.  They use Mariposa Baking Co.'s crust and take precautions to prevent cross-contamination by storing and preparing everything separately in the kitchen.  The only downside is it only comes in a medium, but I highly recommend it if you're looking for gluten-free pizza in San Francisco.




Thank You

Thank you all so much for your kind words of love & support for us and Molly.  Though I haven't been able to respond to every comment, mostly because it makes me pretty emotional, The Husband and I have read every single one and you've truly given us a lot of comfort.  I've been lucky not to have any crazy pregnancy hormone-related crying outburst like I've heard so many others struggle with, so I'm pretty sure this news would've hit me hard whether or not I was pregnant.  The Husband even gets a little choked up when we talk about it or while cuddling with her.  She really is special to both of us, but I think Molly has also touched the hearts of many more beyond our little family and that means the world to me.

She's still in great spirits and chippers as always, chasing after her favorite toys and munching on her favorite treats (blueberries, strawberries, parsley, radicchio, and bell peppers).  And don't worry, Gia has not been left out of the fun!  She's been enjoying the extra treats and playtime with Molly, too.  We're planning to do a little family photo sesh with them tomorrow afternoon and to make this DIY paw prints keepsake, too.  I'll be back with regular photography posts soon but, in the mean time, we're definitely cherishing our time with our little Molly-pie.

The piggies wanted to give you a little weekend entertainment and show off their trick for you.  At this point, Molly knows what to do so well, she does the move before I even get the word out!  If you listen closely, you can also hear her sweet purrs and squeaks as she chows down on her reward. :)

Happy Weekend




A Molly Update

Last week, I took the piggies in for a routine vet visit.  It was time for their annual exam.  The vet checked their eyes & ears, teeth & paws, then did a body exam.  Gia got a clean bill of health.  “Perfect!  A little overweight, but overall, perfect,” the vet said.

Next up, Molly.  Again the vet checked her eyes & ears, teeth & paws, then the body exam.  “Hmm...” she said.  After a few minutes of lots more gentle-but-firm prodding, she inquired about their diet.  The quantities and types of food they were eating were all within the healthy range.  “Molly is definitely overweight, too, but guinea pigs are prone to weight gain so that doesn’t concern me as much.  What concerns me are her lymph nodes.”

Apparently all of Molly’s lymph nodes were severely enlarged.  The vet let me feel and it was like little gum balls were stuck under her fur.  She told me it could possibly just be an infection, so she was sending Molly home with some antibiotics just in case, but she wanted to do an aspiration because there was a much greater chance it was something more serious.  Lymphoma.  Molly showed no other signs of being sick - her eyes were clear and bright, her coat is shiny, and she still has lots of energy and a very hearty appetite (as the scale proved).  I knew in my gut it wasn’t just an infection, so I cuddled my little piggy and handed her over to the vet to take her back for the aspiration.  While waiting those long fifteen minutes in the reception area for her to return, I just kept repeating in my head, “It’s just an infection.  It’s just an infection.”

After what felt like hours, the vet finally returned with Molly in her carrier.  Gia had been waiting patiently, too, so I rewarded them both with a blueberry.  Overweight-ness be damned.  We went up to the counter to pay our bill and Molly immediately charmed the vet techs and staff.  They all ooh’ed and ah’ed over her cute little white tuft of hair, her chipper squeaks and sweet little piggy kisses (Molly will lick the hand of just about anyone who pets her).  I opened her carrier so they could get a better glimpse at my little piggy love and they just couldn’t stop petting her.  Molly reveled in the attention, while Gia, true to her shy self, just laid down in the back of the carrier waiting patiently till it was time to go home.

We came home and started Molly on the antibiotics as the vet instructed.  “It’s just an infection.  It’s just an infection.”  Molly, ever the model patient, gulped down her meds like a pro and went on to play with Gia and munch on some hay.  We instituted a ‘no more fruit’ diet for the two of them to hopefully get them back to normal weight.  Just veggies, pellets, and hay for these two fatties.  The next day, the vet called to check in on them.  “The lab results won’t be back in until Tuesday or Wednesday but I just wanted to see how Molly was doing.”  She said we could try feeling her lymph nodes in another day or two to see if the swelling went down.  If so, that would be a sure sign it was just an infection.

Tuesday rolled around and Molly & Gia seemed to have more energy than normal, so I let them come out for a little bit of play time while I took a lunch break from work.  I gently felt for Molly’s lymph nodes in her neck and they felt exactly the same, despite four days of antibiotics.  My stomach knotted up.  “Maybe it’s just a really severe infection,” I told myself.  “Maybe she’ll just need a few extra days of antibiotics to clear it up and that’s why the swelling hasn’t gone down yet.”  But still, I feared the worst.

About an hour or so after lunch, the phone rang.  It was the vet.  My heart started pounding and I almost didn’t answer because I was afraid of the news she’d deliver.  “The lab results are back.  Unfortunately ...”  I started to cry as soon as she said that word.  “Unfortunately, it’s lymphoma.  It’s at an intermediate stage, which is fairly advanced.  For guinea pigs, this is untreatable.”  She said in some other animals, dogs and cats for example, chemotherapy is sometimes an option.  But the chemo meds just don’t work the same in guinea pigs.  Their already-sensitive digestive systems shut down and often they die sooner from complications than they would if the lymphoma were just left alone.  “So what can we do for her?” I stammered out through tears.  “Keep her comfortable, give her all her favorite foods, and shower her with love.”

She said the disease progresses rapidly and Molly most likely only has about 2-5 weeks, but some guinea pigs have lived up to two months with it.  Either way, that’s not nearly enough time.  I’ve been crying off and on ever since hearing the news.  In fact, it’s a good thing this is a typed blog post rather than handwritten because it’d hardly be legible for all the tear stains.  Molly has been my little buddy, my little companion for almost four full years now.  She was my roommate when I lived alone for the first time in my life in Sacramento.  She kept me company and gave me something to look forward to at the end of each day.  She got me through a rough year at my old firm and let me start everyday with a smile, just by greeting me with her happy squeaks and purrs each morning.  When I moved to San Francisco and started working from home, she was my little sidekick through long days alone in the apartment, resting in my lap while I edited photos or playing under my desk as I answered emails and scheduled consultations.  To say I’m attached to her would be an understatement.  And I want more time.  Four years is not nearly enough.  She still so active and vibrant, loving and intelligent, and it’s unfair that she won’t get to be here to enjoy life the way she has the last few years.

And I think she’s a bit attached to us, too.  When she’s out playing with Gia, she’ll often come over and stand on her hind legs, reaching her front little paws up my leg begging to be held, much like a child lifts their arms to you when they want to be picked up.  She naps in my lap, using my arm as her own personal pillow.  Or she’ll crawl up my chest and snuggle into my neck, giving me little guinea pig kisses before she dozes off.  She loves cuddling with The Husband, too, but sometimes she’ll hop out of his lap, waddle across the couch, and climb into mine.  She’s our little baby and it breaks my heart to know she won’t be here much longer.  It breaks my heart to know she won’t get to meet her first human sibling, too.  She loves when we get down on the floor to play with her and I’m convinced she would make tummy time and learning to crawl loads more fun for any baby.  It breaks my heart to know Gia, who’s as attached to Molly as I am, if not more so, won’t have her best friend and piggy sister to play with much longer, either.  Gia was such a scared, shy little thing when we first brought her home and Molly has helped her come out of her shell and blossom into a quirky, playful (but still a bit shy) little guinea pig.  Gia bonded to Molly the first day they met, following her wherever she went.  They chase each other around the living room and play tug-of-war with their chew toys.  Even though Molly has a bad habit of stealing Gia’s food, Gia doesn’t seem to mind.  She happily shares with her pig sister, knowing mom or dad will always give her a little more.

Top: Molly & Gia, meeting for the first time

Molly still seems to be feeling well.  In fact, if not for the lab results you’d never guess she was sick.  She bolts out of her pigloo in the mornings, eager for her pellets-and-blueberries breakfast.  She purrs loudly when I call her name or pet her while she munches on fresh hay.  She’s still active with her toys and enjoys her play time outside of her cage.  But we know that won’t last long.  “When you see a decline in her quality of life, -loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss- call me and we can discuss your options for euthanasia at that point.”  Right now, I can’t bear the thought.  I’m still in denial, I think, convinced that Molly will somehow prove to be the one guinea pig that lives for years with this disease.  She’s proven to be quite a unique little critter up to this point, why shouldn’t she defy the odds in this, too?  But I also know deep down inside that’s unrealistic and the last thing I want is for her to suffer.  She’s brought so much joy and happiness to our lives and she deserves the same in return.  So in the mean time, we’ll continue to give her all her favorite foods (diet be damned) and shower her with the attention she so loves.  She’s our baby and we love her deeply, and we want her to know it right up until the end.  However soon that may be.





A Day in Point Reyes

Being self-employed, The Husband and I don't always get to enjoy three-day weekends the way we did when we worked for someone else.  There's always more work to do, emails to answer, calls to return.  Knowing we'd both end up working Monday, we decided to make Saturday a fun adventure day.  Even though I'm too lazy to actually enjoy exercise, I do love to hike.  So I did a little research and found a new hiking trail for us to check out, just an hour and a half from San Francisco, in Point Reyes.  I had my film camera with me and took most of my photos of the day with that, but I did manage to snap a few on my iPhone to share while the film is being processed at the lab.

We made a day of it and started with a stop at Equator Coffee in Mill Valley.  Their coffee drinks are all made with double-shots of espresso, which is just a little too much caffeine for me, so I opted for a sugar buzz in the form of a hot chocolate and gluten-free chocolate chip bar while The Husband got energized for our hike with a double-shot macchiato.

equator coffee mill valley

Afterwards, we headed straight to Abbotts Lagoon for our hike.  The website claims this hike is only 2.3 miles out and back, but my FitBit said it was actually a little over 4 miles.  It didn't matter though.  Rolling hills, bright green meadows, and golden sand dunes made for the most beautiful and peaceful scenery.  Birds flitted in and out of the lagoon, a family of deer grazed at a safe distance from the trail, while a herd of cattle had no fear of humans and came right up to the trail's edge in search of the perfect munchable grass.  It felt more like a leisurely stroll than a 4-mile hike, and it didn't hurt that the weather was perfectly sunny and 70, too.

Abbotts Lagoon hiking trail in Point Reyes

When we reached what looked like the trail's end, we continued on through the sand dunes past the lagoon to the ocean on the other side.  The Husband waded out into the water a bit but it was a little too chilly for me.  I stayed on shore and took a few photos instead.

Abbotts Lagoon hiking trail in Point Reyes
Abbotts Lagoon hiking trail in Point Reyes

After the hike back, we made the short 15-minute drive back to Point Reyes Station for lunch at Station House Cafe and a brief stop at Cowgirl Creamery before heading back to the city.  Though Cowgirl Creamery makes my favorite cheese ever, Humboldt Fog, we opted for a triple cream camembert-like cheese to bring home instead.  Bonus, all their cheeses are made from pasteurized milk so they're totally safe for pregnant ladies!  All in all, it was a lovely day.  And it still felt like a nice, relaxing weekend even though we both spent Monday working.


What did you do for the three-day weekend?  Anything special?




Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK monument washington dc

MLK monument washington dc

MLK monument washington dc

More food for thought to ponder today:

"Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies, or else?  The chain reaction of evil -hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars- must be broken, or else we shall all be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation." - MLK





Four Things on Friday

So I totally stole this idea but it's okay.  I'm pregnant, I get a free pass.  Plus, it did look kinda fun and I highly encourage you to steal it, too, (or add some in the comments) because I want to read your Four Things!

four things survey on twentieth street

Four Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name

1. Steph
2. Sweetie (The Husband)
3. Muffy Fuddlebottom (Again, The Husband.  I think he said this approximately three times before I said "don't ever call me that again if you wish to stay married."
4. Courtney (When strangers meet me for the first time, they sometimes confuse my last name and first name.)

Four Jobs I've Had

1. Hostess at Heaven on Seven
2. Dressing up as a giant crawfish and handing out coupons on Michigan Ave. for Heaven on Seven
3. Elementary school tutor
4. Nanny

Four Movies I've Watched More Than Once

1. All the Harry Potter movies
2. Elf
3. Hot Tub Time Machine
4. Pride & Prejudice

Four Books I'd Recommend

1. All the Harry Potter books
2. East of Eden
3. David & Goliath
4. Jane Eyre

Four Places I've Lived

1. San Antonio, TX
2. Chicago, IL
3. Sacramento, CA
4. San Francisco, CA

Four Places I've Visited

1. Italy
2. Mexico
3. Spain
4. Argentina

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now

1. New Zealand
2. Hawaii
3. France
4. Ireland

Four Things I Prefer Not To Eat

1. Oysters
2. Jell-O
3. Flan
4. Raw Onions

Four Of My Favorite Foods

1. Steak (with blue cheese butter, even better!)
2. Dark Chocolate
3. Almost anything TexMex
4. French Fries
(I know, I'm so healthy.)

Four TV Shows I Watch

1. The Walking Dead
2. Downton Abbey
3. Project Runway
4. The Mindy Project

Four Things I'm Looking Forward To This Year

1. Celebrating our 2nd/7th anniversary (married/together)
2. A trip to Chicago *hopefully*
3. Meeting the newest member of our family
4. Fall

Four Things I'm Always Saying

1. Perfect
2. Gia-bean, cutest-little-piggy-I've-ever-seen!
3. I'm hungry
4. Awesome

Your turn!





Jordana Paige Fall Handbag Shoot

jordana paige bella bag

Back in the fall, I did a shoot for Jordana Paige's fall line of handbags.  Originally, she started out designing beautiful, stylish handbags geared towards knitters, with plenty of room for all the things a knitter needs.  But the bags have evolved into something everyone can love, whether you're handy with the knitting needles or not.  To show the versatility of the bags, we went for more of a lifestyle session, with a few product shots mixed in for good measure.  First up was the beautiful Bella.  A sweet little bag perfect for everyday errands, long days at the office, or a fun night out.



Wise Words | The Moment

henri cartier-bresson quote

Other than a session last week for Bloom Retreat, I've been taking a break from shooting for the last month or so.  After a season of 26 weddings, numerous engagement sessions, and a few portrait/boudoir sessions, it was good to step away for a bit and give myself time to miss my camera.  You know what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.  And it's true for hobbies and passions just as much as it is for people.  After some time away, I'm starting to crave my camera again.  I'm hoping to get out for some personal shooting this weekend and find a few Moments, a few creative fractions of a second, worthy of a frame or two.  My trigger finger is itching for another photography adventure.

Do you find a break helps rejuvenate your love of hobbies or passions, too?





Megan & Anthony | Wedding in a Redwood Grove

elegant wedding at piedmont community hall

Megan and Anthony are two adventurous, fun-loving, family/friend-oriented people, so an intimate yet elegant wedding that allowed them to focus on quality time with loved ones was right up their alley.  The two love to hike and bike, and especially love being amongst Northern California's redwoods (Anthony even proposed in the redwoods) so they chose to have their ceremony in the redwood grove at Piedmont Community Hall.  Each detail of the wedding was meaningful to the couple and incorporated elements of both their individual personalities and their personality as a twosome.  Guests munched on popcorn and sipped lemonade while waiting for the ceremony to begin while Megan's brother-in-law, a musician, performed songs chosen by the couple.  Their dear friend & officiant began the ceremony with a Tibetan singing bowl, a nod to their trip to Nepal, and afterwards the newlyweds celebrated with their loved ones while enjoying a sake cocktail hour filled with lots of laughter and a few photos from their trip to Japan.



Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

gluten free oatmeal chocolate chip peanut butter cookies
I know I teased them a few days ago on Instagram but, trust me, these chewy chocolate-y, peanut buttery cookies were worth the wait!  The batch I made Sunday is already gone and The Husband, who's not really into sweets other than apple pie, asked if he could take a bagful to the office "for snacks."  They're just that good.  And they're super easy to make too!  If you're feeling any bit of guilt for treating yo'self so soon after making those New Year's resolutions, this might help you feel better: yes, they have some sugar and butter but they also have lots of protein and good fat (peanut butter), fiber (rolled oats), and magnesium (pecans!).  At least, that's what I told myself when I had them for breakfast.  And then again for a snack.  And maybe breakfast the next day...

gluten free oatmeal chocolate chip peanut butter cookies

What You Need:
1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, whatever you prefer)
3 c. gluten free rolled oats*
6 oz. chocolate chips (about half a bag)
1/2 c. pecans

What You Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray with gluten free baking spray (I used a canola oil spray).

2. Combine sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until creamy.

3. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking soda and continue to mix until fully combined.  Add peanut butter and mix.

4. Fold in the oats, chocolate chips, and nuts.  Let dough chill in the fridge for at least an hour.**

5. Place spoonfuls of dough on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart (the cookies will spread!) and bake for about 10-12 minutes until lightly brown around the edges.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

6. Enjoy!

A Few Notes:
*Because I used all-natural peanut butter, the dough was a bit oily so I ground about half a cup of the oats in my mini food processor to make oat flour.  It helped absorb some of the oil while keeping the rest of the oats whole.

**24 hours in the fridge would be even better, if you have that kind of will power.  This gives the dough time to firm up and allows the oats to soak up a little more of the moisture from the butter and peanut butter.  But even with just an hour of chill time, the cookie were still chewy and delicious so don't worry if you don't have the patience!

gluten free oatmeal chocolate chip peanut butter cookies





Wise Words | The Day Will Be What You Make It

William C Hannan quote

Yesterday was rough for me.  I felt completely worn out, exhausted, and unmotivated.  I could use a little bit of motivation and inspiration today.  This lovely quote is just what I need to get going and make today extra productive.

Happy hump day, folks.





Autumn in New York

Brooklyn BridgeAn utterly tragic and terrible thought struck me over the weekend: I never shared my photos from my November trip to New York!  I blame the morning sickness I was silently suffering through at the time.  It made it practically impossible to do anything other than the bare minimum to keep my business going, including blogging and editing personal photos.  And these photos are definitely worth sharing, if I do say so myself.  The trees in Central Park were breathtaking, swaying in the autumn breeze and saturated with colors painters only dream of capturing with their palettes.  Besides springtime in Paris, autumn in New York is the best season/city pairing there is!



On Being Knocked Up

Don't be fooled. The photo has nothing to do with the post. I just like it a lot.

Even after four and a half months, it’s still strange. I feel like a walking science experiment. Of course, there are all the bodily changes. The belly that suddenly popped and added inches to my hipline in a matter of days. The congestion that leaves my sinuses feeling like little elves shoved forty million cotton balls up my nose while I slept. The lightheadedness when I stand too quickly. The tender and ever-growing boobs that, for weeks, felt like miniature boxing champs were using them as punching bags. Each week it seems to be something different but all with the same underlying culprit: hormones. Oh, your hips are sore? Hormones. Oh, you get winded walking up a flight of stairs? Hormones. Oh, you have a headache again? Hormones. So far, I’ve been lucky, though. At least, that’s what I tell myself. The changes and discomforts haven’t been too severe, other than the first five weeks or so where morning sickness made me seriously reconsider moving my bedroom and office into the bathroom. (Side note, I’m convinced a man coined the term ‘morning sickness’ because it’s the biggest misnomer I’ve ever encountered. It doesn’t just hit in the morning and it definitely doesn’t magically go away when the clock strikes noon, either.)

Then there are the mental and psychological changes. I think I was in denial for the first few days, still convinced the five or six daily trips to puke my brains out were due to the stomach flu or food poisoning (salmonella!). But when my stomach flu didn’t go away after a week, I had to accept the reality facing me on that little plastic stick. I was never one of those women that dreamed about being pregnant, or about being a mother for that matter.  In fact, for a long time -most of my 20s- I adamantly did not want kids. I was perfectly happy with being the cool auntie. That attitude eventually started to change, but rather than doing a 180 and becoming a part of the I Need To Be A Mommy Club, it evolved into more of a state of ambivalence. I could imagine a happy life either way - with or without children. The Husband, on the other hand, really wanted a family. He wants to be a father and, to be honest, I want him to be one, too. I think he’s going to be pretty dang great at it, actually. Since I could really go either way, we decided to let God/Nature/Fate/Whatever You Want To Call It make the decision for us.

Back in September, I had a Skype sesh with my bestie who had just recently moved back to the States. We were talking about all things life-related, as besties often do, and she asked if The Husband and I were thinking about having kids. She and I have always been on the same page when it came to that subject. Though The Husband and I weren’t ‘trying’ as some might say, we weren’t not trying either. It had been a while since we started not not trying and my body didn’t seem like it was going to cooperate. Of course, I stressed about it. Because I stress about everything. And because for so long it seemed like something that could/would/should happen so easily. No one really talks about how not easy it can be sometimes. I told her my thoughts and feelings then said, ‘Whatever. I’m letting it go. I’m not worrying about it anymore. Whether kids factor into the picture or not, whether biological or adopted, we have each other and we’ll have a happy life together either way.” Little did I know, Nature would make up her mind just a few weeks later.

So when it actually happened, when that plastic pee-covered stick said ‘Pregnant,' it took a while to sink it. And it’s still taking a while to get used to. Though I fully accept I may never get used to it. There’s an element of surrealism to the whole idea that an entirely new and different person is literally living inside my body and I don’t know that it’s something I can ever really ‘get used to.’ Nor do I think I want to. The awe of it is kind of mind-blowing.

I felt The Little One move for the first time a few days ago. It felt like I was being poked from the inside out. Which I guess is pretty much exactly what was happening. I’ve seen it move on the blurry black and white screen at the doctor’s office, but never actually felt it before then. Everyone kept telling me that when I did feel the “flutter kicks” it would feel like gas, or maybe a little muscle spasm, but it wasn’t like either of those things. It was it’s own distinct new feeling that was all at once familiar and unfamiliar. I’d never felt anything like it in my body before, yet I knew exactly what it was - and who was causing it. The little flickers of movement made this whole surreal experience slightly more real, but still strange nonetheless.

The science experiment continues.





Happy 2015!

happy new year message from twentieth street

Like new blooms on a tree, the new year always reminds me of a fresh start.  A blank page.  A clean slate.  And right now, the sun is shining, birds are chirping, and I just ate a delicious gluten-free waffle (with Nutella!), so this year is already off to a great start in my book.  Hope your 2015 is filled with lots of love, happiness, adventure, and a few challenges, too (because without the challenges, how would we ever grow?).  Looking forward to writing the next chapter with you, lovelies.  Cheers, 2015! :)



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