Last weekend continued to bring showers and that oh-so-lovely Seattle spring weather but we finally may have received a long overdue break in the rain showers, cool weather and high winds. Very hopeful but, regardless, San Diego and sun…t-minus one week.
The past weekend felt uneventful, with me pouting about the exam for the last time, but it wasn’t that uneventful. Bryan played touch football in the rain, got brunch at Neighbor Lady, then went bowling withe the boys for David’s 30th birthday. I did stuff around the house, rowed, then cleaned up to join a large group for Mexican dinner at La Cocina y Cantina in Capitol Hill. We closed out the night, walking to Hula Hula, for tiki drinks and karaoke for some before heading home. It downpoured all day long and I guess was still rather uneventful for me. Bryan and I spent Sunday going to church, getting a delicious brunch at Rhein Haus (making me excited for Eastern European food), and then really lazying it up the rest of the afternoon and evening (we did finish taxes and booked a few accommodations for Europe).
Schnitzel, pretzel, perfect sunny up eggs for me.
Delicious eggs benedict on a biscuit and potato pancakes for Bryan.
The week has been similar to the past several. I managed to get to cycling class on Monday. We had our Volunteer Appreciation party at FareStart with our good friends on Tuesday. I finally got to catch up with Marika but she had to cancel the mani-pedi appointment we had. I still treated myself to a mani-pedi because I could use it for San Diego and I’m going to treat myself as much as I can before baby arrives (although I hope to not let that completely go out the window once baby is here). I made it to another girls night (after skipping last week) for some gentle yoga stretching. We had a sold-out night at FareStart with Ethan Stowell and Holland America in the house and salmon on the menu.
Delicious creamy salad with goat cheese and hazlenuts.
Slow roasted king salmon with turnip puree and asparagus.
And now we have one more weekend ahead of us with another birthday party before leaving on a jet plane to San Diego.
This past month has still been smooth sailing in terms of baby making but I feel like there has been a little more action and progress than the following months…at least progress that is noticeable. We just checked in with our doctor for the monthly appointment and essentially a summary of the past month is:
Babies heartbeat is still sounding strong
My weight is up by about 4-5 pounds since last month
Blood pressure still low
My energy has been up and steady, although I do feel I hit a wall late at night just recently
I’ve felt pretty darn normal in all my normal activities, including exercise
I feel my heart skip or flutter a little bit more often
Still no firm signs of movement from baby but I still have this bubbly feeling that I get mostly on my left side from time to time, most noticeable while sitting at work
Sometimes noticeable swelling around ankles at the end of the day
Heartburn and indigestion still definitely there after large and/or late in the evening dinners and digestion has slowed wayyyyy down
Appetite holding steady from last month
Headaches haven’t been common this month
Easter weekend I had some stomach pains/cramps but fortunately those went away
Belly has started its rounding and to me is noticeable
Middle region is feeling tighter in clothes but can still fit into all pants, albeit not comfortably all the time
Still having some lower back pain during long periods of sitting
We keep on rolling, this week moving into Week 23 which means baby is about 8 in long and 1 pound in weight. In the meantime we have not talked anymore about names but do talk to and touch baby more. We have made good progress in nursery, signed up for childbirth classes, and infiltrated our registry on babylist.com for most things. We’ve also booked the all-important R&R just-the-two-of-us trips (that I refuse to call a Baby Moon, because I refuse to admit I’m a Millennial and I don’t like the name) that should provide us enough excitement and adventure solo before the last remaining months we wait out for the arrival of baby this summer. And to also get us the heck out of dodge during what can often be a much-too-long and chilly spring here in Seattle. The calendar keeps rolling…
We continue to have wet and dreary weather here in Seattle. Monday was mild and partly sunny as was Tuesday in the afternoon…but it’s a Monday and Tuesday, why couldn’t we have gotten just a glimpse of it on Saturday or Sunday? Bryan and I are both needing a vacation, bad! Bryan has been a few places this winter though, including skiing and snowshoeing a few times, so I’m inclined to say that Chelsea needs it even more. I’ve been nowhere since Christmas.
And I’m definitely starting to feel like as exciting as pregnancy can be, it certainly has a way about it of making you feel left out. For instance, we have two birthday parties the next weekends. On the agenda, white water rafting for one so I’m out for that one with a lame, “I’ll meet you after for Mexican dinner and margaritas (I mean scratch the margaritas)” and for the other is whirlyball followed by brewery crawl (um, literally out on both accounts). But I want to be a part of the fun. I need some fun but my idea of fun and pregnancy-approved fun doesn’t quite go hand in hand! The eating, the body, everything else isn’t a big deal to me, but the missing out on the fun is.
We have tried to make the best of the wet weather. After another benedict brunch at home we went for a walk through the Arboretum in the breaks in showers on Saturday. We watched Three Billboards, which I really did enjoy. We made a few dinners. I went to church with a friend because Bryan went skiing with other friends. And I thought a LOT about upcoming trips over the weekend. I baked a cheesecake with strawberry and blueberry compote (that’s unusual of me but it sounded good and it came out really good). But the weekend didn’t feel all too much different than the previous weekends when I spent hours studying.
The week treated me alright with another filling Seattle Restaurant Week dinner with Bryan. I got to cycling class and barre for low-intensity exercises. I got someone to clean the house for us. We had our April doctor’s appointment with all news being good news as well as another ultrasound to get stubborn baby to pose right for its measurements. I went to the farewell happy hour for my coworker Maureen at Von’s Gustobistro which I compensated not drinking by eating way too much bar food and spilling the beans to everyone there (about 20). We had a great dinner at FareStart by a previous winner of Seattle’s Restaurant of the Year; Stateside. I upgraded my iPhone 5 to an iPhone 8 which wouldn’t normally excite me so much but I not even able to store more than 10 photos on my phone without running out of space. And we had our staff meeting today with pizza, salad and laughs.
We have two trips coming up; San Diego and Eastern Europe. For San Diego we have a very sweet oceanview balcony room booked in Laguna free of charge thanks to mystery shopping. We will be spending two nights there after spending two nights on our own in San Diego. We leave in a few weeks and really looking forward to sunshine, beach walks, fish tacos and luxe accommodations. For our Eastern Europe trip we have our housing researched (but not booked) for each city and our flights. I’m leaning towards booking train/bus travel once we are there so we can have a little wiggle room on the duration we spend in each city. For that trip I am definitely looking forward to some sightseeing, the food (all the schnitzel, pierogi, goulash, sausages, etc), pastries, and idle time taking in the historic cities.
And on the baby front, we had two appointments this week. We had our monthly appointment for April that was a speedy appointment. We also had the follow-up ultrasound to get a better look at the baby’s spine and cord attachment, which also went fine and we found a very active baby. All signs point to good health and progressive growth so far. We signed up for a 7-week child birth and parenting class through our hospital, Northwest Hospital, which will begin at the beginning of June and will keep us busy on Wednesday nights. Hopefully we will also meet some expecting couples in these classes as well. I also signed up Bryan for a Conscious Fathering class (that was free with our class sign-up) that will be in July. I am looking forward to these classes quite a bit. I’ve been talking to an acquaintance, Anne, who is expecting about a month before us and whose families both live in Texas. We have basically agreed to try to set up some sort of monthly babysitting exchange to give each of us a date night out just as couples. She has also had no complications and smooth sailing so far and is also using a midwife, but at another clinic. Between her and another girl at work I don’t feel completely alone in this whole progress.
I really do feel like my efforts for the past three months have just come to a screeching halt without an outcome whatsoever. The past week has been draining and stressful and I really can’t believe I’m not getting to take the exam that I signed up for next week. I’m sad and frustrated and trying to get over it, which isn’t easy. I feel like I have given up a lot this spring, my last spring without a baby, to put my energy into studying for this exam and now I feel like it was for nothing. And I don’t feel good about it. But I am trying to move past that feeling. It’s going to be hard though. Whereas before I just couldn’t wait to get to April 15th, knowing that on that day I would at least feel a sense of load off of my shoulders and the ability to take a fresh spring breathe and move forward. Now I look at it with a bit of resentment and definitely without the ability take a fresh spring breathe. I feel like I still have a stranglehold of the exam on me, lots of knowledge running through my brain without the outlet for it I was looking for. And I was hoping to feel a sense of accomplishment and reward, getting to go on vacation after working so hard, and its definitely not that feeling that I have been awaiting.
That’s not to say that my pass of the exam would have been guaranteed, whatsoever. It’s also not to say that me passing the exam means anything to anyone. It really doesn’t. People know about the PE. People don’t know about the SE. It is one of those accomplishments that people don’t understand how much goes into it (money, time, brain power) and that it is a really, really hard exam. And it is an exam that people assume will bring you a great promotion, raise or something spectacular at the conclusion of passing it. And it doesn’t. Not at all. Our company offers the slightest bump for passing the PE and absolutely nothing for passing the SE; a much more difficult and time-consuming exam. It’s a bit ridiculous actually. What it does grant me is the freedom to design where I want and on my own if I wanted to. It also, especially being a female, would validate me as a competent Structural Engineer. There is a part of me that really doesn’t know at this time that I can gear up and take this test in the future. Mentally and emotionally it was draining on me. Plus, where will my priorities be in six months?
But I will move on eventually and need to move on and am starting to move on but I just feel like my enthusiasm and joy might take a while to catch up with this moving on. This week I attempted to put the study material down and do things to distract me.
I needed a nice date night out. And we had one at Rione XII for Seattle Restaurant Week, complete with a three course meal.
I needed to get in some exercise. And I got to cycle class on Monday and yoga class on Friday after work to calm me down from the week. A new to me yoga studio right on Lake Washington.
I needed to get some girl time in and made it to Girls Night on Wednesday for the first time in forever. I enjoyed having a meal cooked for me too beforehand at FareStart’s monthly community dinner.
I needed to volunteer and thoroughly enjoyed FareStart this week. Every week FareStart night picks me up and leaves me feeling excited for the weekend and this week was no different. The graduation was one of the most touching ones to date and left me with a tear in my eye and a different outlook on my own life and how simple my own problems are.
Short ribs with greens and purple grits.
I needed to get a baby update, especially after my first few days this past weekend feeling like I had something really funky going on in my stomach. And we had our 2nd term ultrasound on Wednesday morning and everything looks good.
And as to what to expect this weekend? I don’t even know. I haven’t had a weekend where the main priority wasn’t studying. Obviously, I won’t be studying at all. But I am starting to set new goals and priorities for myself, with outlooks of spring and summer.
My 18 for 2018 has been in full effect for a quarter of the year at this point so I thought I would reflect on how far I have come or how far I have yet to go. Of course, the first quarter of this year has not been normal, per say, in terms of my usual free time, energy levels, or schedule with the studying and the baby growing…but I was well aware of this when I created this list so there is still loads of time in the year to make up for lost time during the first quarter. Of course the list hasn’t gone completely by the wayside, I’ve tackled or worked on a few.
De-clutter the house and organize the garage.
So far I have gone through our old nightstands in the bedrooms, the bathroom cabinets, the miscellaneous drawers in the kitchen, our interior mail box, and the wardrobe in the guest bedroom/nursery. Bryan (though this isn’t his list) completely redid the garage; hanging ski racks and bike racks and organizing everything into sensible storage bins. We hung some new racks in the kitchen to store less things on our countertops and I’ve slowly been working on what I want to use them for. Bryan and I built new nightstands for our bedroom (from Ikea) and Bryan also assembled the new dresser/changing table and closet storage unit for the guest bedroom/nursery and I sold the existing armoire in that room. So far I feel great about our progress and in a few weeks and with warmer spring weather our next items to tackle are the office/workout room (Chelsea) and guest room/nursery (both) (pictures still to come for our progress…they are worthy of their own posts).
Cook 20 meals at home every month.
Our average for January – March was 22 meals/month and I’m more than pleased with that. We have FareStart a night every week and we have enjoyed a few mystery dinners out as well as a few splurges.
Revamp my wardrobe, making it easier to pick out outfits by getting rid of what I don’t like and storing away seasonal stuff. Focus on buying quality pieces in the store versus cheap items online.
I got rid of a lot of clothes…though my problem is always buying more, and now I am moving in the direction where nothing will start to fit.
Visit my grandaddy.
Buy a family car.
Prepare with organization and structure for the SE exam. Prioritize this for the first three and a half months of the year.
I have literally covered all material and have done 3 full days worth of practice exams and questions. The test is next week but I won’t be taking it. I now have to wait to October, at the earliest, to try and take the test. My priorities will be different by then but I am trying to look at the bright side so I’m also looking at it giving even more time to tab material and study for it come fall.
Have fun learning guitar.
Make at least six girls nights happen.
So far we have successfully had one; making candles. I would have liked to have another official one but pushed those to post-exam. I am trying to organize a group lunch for those of us that work downtown for Seattle Restaurant Week, so I am definitely going to count that as #2.
Maintain a healthy skin routine.
Have been doing an okay job with this. Still a work in progress.
Re-learn our lindy hop choreographed dance from the wedding.
Pack five picnics somewhere.
Not sure you can count it as packing but we did pick up Subway sandwiches and brought reading/study material and our picnic backpack and blanket to Discovery Park one Sunday after church when we had great weather and that was a glorious way to spend the afternoon…I even got some color on my cheeks!
Work through my devotional book and pray nightly with Bryan.
Reading anything has been tough the past few months with the studying going on. I can’t wait to read more books for fun, for the baby and for #13. I have committed to reading at least the books of the Bible that we are discussing in church each week. Fortunately, we spent two months on Colossians and it is like 10 pages total so that accomplishment was not that great.
Read ten books for fun or learning.
Swap reading/music/puzzles for TV one night a week.
Not too good with this but have worked at limiting social media/phone time.
Cross stitch something.
Make at least two recipes from three different cookbooks.
We have tested out a few dessert recipes that are new for me.
Travel to visit a friend.
Dine at five new-to-me restaurants.
Marine Hardware, Rumba, and Outlier were all new restaurants to us. We have also been to tasting dinners this year that are a splurge and a worthwhile even for us.
So far there has been progress but I think the second quarter holds a lot more hope thanks to potentially having a lot more time on my hands.
Easter Weekend was an enjoyable one, despite it just being the two of us. It was a combination of church, prayer, food, and things accomplished.
Friday night was a great night out of the house for us. We attended the sensory Good Friday walk through event at church which was interesting and well done. I enjoyed it and we stayed for about an hour. After leaving church we made our way to Maslow’s (FareStart’s new restaurant) after not having been since its soft opening. We shared their curry cauliflower appetizer and each tried Brendan McGill’s (from Hitchcock Restaurant) collaboration dish of an amazing plump and juicy porchetta with radicchio, cranberry beans and salsa verde. The dish was only $15 and only available for the month of March and I left completely stuffed.
Saturday was get’er done day. Bryan had several projects in mind to accomplish, I had to pretend like I am still taking this test and took a 4 hour practice test, and Michigan had to win in the Final Four to send them to the Championship Game. All three things happened. It was fueled by a long-missed banana pancakes breakfast before we all started. Bryan spent about 7 hours working on the garage, fortunately for him it was gorgeous out, and I still cannot believe everything he accomplished. He had ordered a ski rack, bike rack, shelving units and ziploc tubs from Amazon that all came last week. He got them all set up in the garage, completely cleared out the garage and organized literally every single thing we have. It looks amazing (pictures to come later)! I spent about 5 hours on a 4 hour practice test plus going over the answers before doing a little of my own work in the nursery/guest room. And we both took a break at 3 pm to watch Michigan beat Loyola despite very poor shooting. We finished the night with an early Easter ham dinner and both fell asleep pretty early.
Bryan surprised me with finding and hanging the Michigan flag up.
Easter Sunday morning came, dreary and cloudy, but we dressed up and got to church early to ensure to get a seat. It was a great service with a packed house. We left church and headed home where we had our eggs and hollandaise sauce cooking in the sous vide machine. Not much work went into the meal once home so we finished it up, plated it and enjoyed our first homemade eggs benedict that was super delicious. After brunch we both called our families to catch up with them for a while. I then started another practice test and Bryan built the last piece of furniture currently for the nursery, putting together the bookcase. We finished the weekend with a lazy night on the couch watching way too much TV. Another weekend of very few steps for me again.
We’ve hit two minor milestones as of today…I’m exactly two weeks away from exam day and I am 20 weeks to my due date (aka, half the way there). I honestly can’t believe it, on either milestone. Time is sure flying and I’m not crazy about that at the moment. I feel like I need more time. Plus this week has kind of turned me upside down and I’m still not sure what direction I am heading…let me explain.
This week was strong on many levels. I had to accomplish a lot at work, and I did, without having interruptions from internship interviews and whatnot. I had to spend time focusing on the lateral portion of the exam, day 2 of the exam, and I did. I still feel light years behind where I should be for day 2 but I’ll keep chugging away. And I managed to get in a bit of non-work/study items to round out the week. I attended the last free Monday class at Riot Cycle for the month of March, feeling very good while donning my Michigan gear in all ways to gloat, I got back to the pilates studio on Queen Anne for some muscle-quaking exercises, we had our usual FareStart night with Chan Seattle for some Korean-inspired eats, I enjoyed a delicious Halal Guy platter while studying and Bryan and I are going to a Good Friday experience thing at Church tonight.
Our last of the three Home Chef boxes was a warming bowl of cod chowder with croutons for a rather chilly Monday.
No smiling in the locker room but feeling good post workout and with my Michigan Alumni shirt on
Got back to Halal Guys for a Middleeastern bowl of goodness to consume while studying hard on Tuesday night.
I’m still feeling really good with lots of energy. If I honestly can just keep that energy up for the next two weeks I don’t really care all that much what happens to it after that. Trying to focus on keeping my body hydrated, taking my nasty pills, and eating balanced and healthy meals. Considering the circumstances of my schedule these past few months I think I have been doing a pretty good job!
Bryan got to go on a rare work trip for less than 48 hours to sunny Southern California. He left early Tuesday morning to fly to Palm Springs with another three guys from work and then drove to San Bernadino to inspect and take note of a decommissioned Airbus (A320) plane, before coming back home around midnight on Wednesday night. He wasn’t keen on going or seeing value in the trip but the reverse-engineering did pay off in some respects and he at least got out of the office and got some sunshine for a few days. I didn’t get much chance to miss him this time with the studying and the stress that consumed me midweek (still getting there) but of course I’m glad it wasn’t any longer than it was.
So what has completely unraveled me the past few days? Well, I received the standard email on Wednesday that my exam authorization was ready for my test. I was directed to sign in to print it out, double check that it is correct, and bring it to the exam with me. Sign in I did but the first thing that I see is that it has me signed up to take SE Bridges not SE Buildings. I don’t design bridges, I don’t know bridges, there is no reason in the whole wide world that I would have ever signed up for bridges. I’m not concerned initially, thinking this is an easy fix. I write to the exam administration and hear back from them hours later that, “That’s what you signed up for and it’s too late to switch.” Excuse me, what?!?
Panic mode ensues. They don’t provide a number to call, they are in EST so by the time I can write them back they are already closed for the day. I tell them that 1.) this is not my fault and 2.) this is extremely important to me and all of my efforts and finances ($1,000 + for the stupid exam) and that this needs to be changed. I ask them in email to call me. Bryan comes home, consoles me, reassures me it will be fine…I don’t sleep.
Thursday morning I get a call at 7:30 am by the most inconsiderate man who from the beginning is adamant that there is nothing they can do about it. I’m obviously upset over the phone to him and ask him a lot of questions as to why this change happened and why fixing it can’t be done and I get bogus answers. He doesn’t care about me and my situation…he already has my money. I ask him what he would do if he were me and his answer was, “Honestly, I don’t know.” Thanks buddy. He said he was going to double check but really doubted anything could be done. That was where I was left. I was so upset Thursday morning, and still am but now more pissed than hopeless. I still have not gotten another response so I’m trying to take as many actions as I can on my part to get this straightened out and going to pretend like I am still gearing up for the exam in two weeks, meaning I will put in another 8 hours plus doing a practice exam this holiday weekend.
I’m not in a great mood but I am at least feeling better than I did two days ago and thankfully we have a holiday weekend this weekend full of hope and prayer. So I’m hoping and I’m praying!