Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: The Year in Books

I started out the year going strong, but about seven months in I hit a wall. A wall constructed of pregnancy related nausea, where in trying to read words on paper or an electronic screen caused me immediate and extreme MISERY. And so my list all but came to a screeching halt. Only the last two or three books on the list were finished post positive pregnancy test. I'd like to hope for more books read in 2015, but with a new baby that is likely an unrealistic goal.
  1. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
  2. The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
  3. Flesh and Bone by Jefferson Bass
  4. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
  5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  6. Dragon's Time by Anne & Todd McCaffrey
  7. Love Thy Neighbor by Mark Gilleo
  8. Hyperbole and a Half  by Allie Brosh
  9. Edges by Lena Roy
  10. The Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald
  11. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  12. Head to Head by Linda Ladd
  13. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  14. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  15. On Sparrow Hill by Maureen Lang
  16. Dandelion Hunter by Rebecca Lerner
  17. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  18. The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
  19. The Giver Lois by Lowry
  20. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
  21. Murder by the Seaside by Julie Anne Lindsey
  22. Messenger by Lois Lowry
  23. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  24. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  25. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  26. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  27. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  28. Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages
  29. Almost Somewhere by Suzanne Roberts
  30. The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers
  31. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  32. Murder Comes Ashore by Julie Anne Lindsey
  33. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  34. Rurally Screwed by Jessie Knadler
  35. The Park Service by Ryan Winfield
  36. Bundles of Joy by Linda Fairley
  37. Zero Days by Barbara Egbert
You can check out my lists from previous years here:

Do you keep lists of the books you read? Leave a comment with a link if you share your list on your blog. Happy reading in 2015!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Check In: 26 Weeks

When people I've haven't seen recently ask me how I'm doing, my standard response is "better."

And while I'm still not enjoying this pregnancy at all, I am absolutely feeling better than I was. The nausea has faded almost entirely, although I must still take care to eat snacks on a regular basis. I am also able to eat a wider variety of food than I was before, including vegetables (thank goodness!).

My extreme sensitivity to smells has also faded to a more tolerable level, which is another welcome development. I also have slightly more energy, which is good because I've taken on a part-time retail position for the holidays. Compression socks are my friends.

I feel enormous. Laughable, I know, considering I have another 3 months to grow even BIGGER. When I over-eat I feel incredibly uncomfortable, like my belly is about to burst. This is harder to avoid than you would think. The last few days my back has been complaining mightily as well.

The best development since I posted my last update is being able to feel the baby move. Every time is exciting and reassuring. It's pretty cool.

See also:
20 weeks
16 weeks

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

NYC Weekend

On Friday morning after a relaxed and indulgent Thanksgiving we woke early, loaded the bags and dog in the car and set out in the midst of a lake effect blizzard. It took us 45 minutes to drop her at the boarder and get on the Thruway, but fortunately my husband had planned for more than enough time. As it was, we still had tons of time to kill waiting for the train in Albany. Neither of us had ridden the train before, and while it was an interesting experience, we both felt satisfied that we've checked it off some invisible list and will never need to do it again. It is just not an ideal way to travel for people that are prone to motion sickness and independence.

Our hotel was between Rockefeller Center and Times Square, a charming place with lots of character and tiny rooms. We ate at Virgil's because my husband is convinced they have the best barbecue on the planet (if I never ate bbq again I would not be sad), got pizza in Little Italy, cupcakes from Magnolia's, and various other NYC style food. We walked around Times Square (which I HATE) and Rockefeller Center. We went to the Today Show and were on TV at 7:30am on Saturday morning if anyone was watching (we didn't think to record it). We walked the High Line, visited the 9/11 Museum, and went to the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

I walked more than I've walked in months, and we both were exhausted for days after getting home. I also aggravated my tailbone during the hour and a half show at Radio City, so that's not awesome. Something about the angle of the seats caused excruciating pain almost from the second I sat down, and it shows no sign of getting better.

My favorite part was by far the High Line. You should check it out.

The snow was ALL gone by the time we got home two days later.

View from the train.

I much preferred the vanilla. It was right up there with some of the best frosting of all time. And I am a frosting connoisseur.

Saks Fifth Ave

High Line

High Line

view from the High Line

High Line

9/11 Memorial

Monday, November 17, 2014

Two Fall Walks

I went on two walks this week that look like they took place in different seasons, but alas, that is just fall in Central New York. Both were slow going, but at least I was outside and walking. Getting myself off the couch and out of the house is a major hurdle, but being outside in nature is almost always worth the effort. Now, if only I could remember that the next time I'm considering a walk in the woods.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Check In: 20 Weeks

20 weeks!

Halfway there! (Maybe.)

On the flip side, I still have 20 weeks to go. Oh my god, seriously? How can that be?!

The maternity yoga pants I've been living in have started to feel too tight. And they are size XL, which actually offends me a little. I'm the first person to admit that I'm not in any way petite, but I'm not an extra-large person either. I tried on a hand-me-down denim dress yesterday, thinking it would be more comfortable around my expanding middle, but alas it looked like a giant blue burlap sack. I just couldn't do it.

It occurred to me as I was changing into my sweats on Friday night after dinner out with friends that I haven't taken any pictures of myself where you can tell I'm pregnant. My mom took some pictures of me while we were out for walks on her last visit, but I was wearing a big coat so nothing was evident. Even though I've been entirely miserable so far during this pregnancy, I may be sad at some point in the future that I don't really have any photographic record of the first 20 weeks.

It also occurred to me a few days ago that I don't do anything other than lie on the couch and watch TV unless it's something I HAVE to do. As in going to work, going grocery shopping, or going to dinner with family or friends (plans either made by my husband or in honor of events that can't be ignored, e.g. birthdays or out of town visits). Entire days pass during which I never leave the house, even to check the mail. It's a trend I find a tad worrisome.

But apparently not enough to actually do anything about it. Clearly, I am mastering the art of apathy.

In other news, our 18 week full anatomy sonogram went well. It's always such a relief to see and/or hear the baby's heartbeat. The 4 weeks between each appointment seem like eternity.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Weekending: Fall Family Fun

This weekend was for fall family fun.

We kicked off the weekend on Friday night with a visit to the local nature center for day 2 of their 4 day Halloween celebration. Every year they set up two short trails through the woods lit only with jack o' lanterns and luminaries. It is a non-scary, family friendly experience. It was my sister and my almost 4 year old nephew's first time at this event, whereas my dad, step-mom, and I have been many times before.

On Saturday, in keeping with the theme, I enjoyed a bowl of pumpkin soup for lunch and then my husband and I were off to a big family party in honor of the twins' 12th birthday. His family throws big parties for each kid's birthday, attended by all the aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends, etc. that live within a two hour radius. They do this all the way through age 21! It's very different from how my family did birthdays for us as kids. We had small, casual kids parties and small family gatherings with just our grandparents. There was already discussion of us having to compete with one of the cousins for future party dates because their younger son has a birthday at the end of March, just a couple days after our due date. Apparently, it has never even occurred to any of them that I might have no intention of hosting birthday parties for 30-50 people every year (or any year). I'm starting to worry about the number of people that will descend on us in the hospital after the baby is born (or worse, while the baby is being born?).

Speaking of the baby, I cannot get used to having my abdomen be the focus of everyone's attention. It freaks me out when people demand to see my "bump." I wore a loose shirt to the party and was asked multiple times to pull it tight across my stomach to show off the true size of my baby bump. I realize it's done with good intentions. Everyone is SO excited about the new baby in the family. It's really sweet how thrilled they all are.

Linking up with Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pregnancy: Some things that have helped so far

The all-encompassing nausea I mentioned in the last post has really affected life over the last few months.

Although I haven't had any of the infamous food cravings, I have plenty of food aversions: ice cream (what??), french fries, avocados, hummus, and garlic. I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting one, but my brain is mostly mush these days.

I am feeling slightly better, but there are still a lot of dicey moments each day. Earlier on, I spent every second of every day with my teeth clenched and every ounce of energy focused on NOT BARFING. I think because of the extreme effort that required, I had nothing left for anything else. When my phone dinged to notify me of new emails, etc., the sound made me physically ill because it meant that I would have to divert some of my not-barfing energies to checking my phone. I got seriously behind in my emails. I gave up reading blogs (all caught up now, thanks). I scrolled through Facebook in brief spurts and dropped Twitter altogether. Every time I opened a book, I'd make it only a few lines before I had to set the book back down and shut my eyes to attempt to regain the little control I had over my nausea.

The prescription prenatal vitamins I was taking were a daily source of trouble. It became more and more challenging to get the giant horse pills down my throat successfully. When I mentioned it to my nurse, she advised trying some OTC gummy prenatals. I left the office and went immediately to the store to buy some, but I've always disliked gummy candies (seriously, what is the appeal?) and the gummy prenatals quickly became another trial. So now, again at my nurse's recommendation, I'm taking two chewable Flintstones daily.

Here are some other things that have helped me so far:

Sea-Band Mama! These look silly and make me feel like I should be playing tennis, but I've been wearing them every single day since week 10.

Preggie Pop Drops. I carry these in my purse everywhere I go.

Ginger candies. I hate ginger. Hate. But my sister-in-law got me some of these and desperate times call for desperate measures. So I carry these in my purse too. I think they work mostly because they distract me from the nausea with their vile, horrible taste and texture.

SweeTarts. My nurse also suggested sour candies, specifically Sour Patch Kids, but ugh, gummies. No thanks. So I tried SweeTarts, which do seem to help, at least in the moment. Of course, they may also cause my teeth to fall out, but whatevs.

Although not for nausea, another essential I've found so far is what I call my "boob tube" for sleeping. It's a skin tight spandex tank top with a built-in shelf bra, which provides support when I'm tossing and turning, trying to find a comfortable position at night. Because tender doesn't even begin to accurately describe the situation.

It's also imperative that I eat almost non-stop, which I need to address immediately. Time for an apple!

(These are not affiliate links, just random things that have seemed to help me.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Check In: 16 Weeks

Yes, I'm still here. I'm just struggling to keep up with life.

As the title of this post indicates, I am 16 weeks into this pregnancy. My first and much desired pregnancy. I've spent my entire adult life dreaming about not just having kids, but being pregnant. I imagined I'd be one of those perky women wearing cute clothes and basking in the glory of pregnancy.

Ha! Reality, you suck. In truth, this has been the single most unpleasant experience of my life. I have no idea how or why anyone would intentionally do this more than once. And that's coming from someone who never, ever had any interest in having an only child. The constant nausea, the exhaustion, the getting up to pee all night long, the extreme burping, and now feeling like an over-filled balloon about to pop. I'm well-aware it only gets worse from here, so don't feel the need to educate me.

And on top of all the physical discomfort, there's the emotional loss of self. I can't do many of the things that made up my daily routine: reading, writing, and walking. Nope, no can do. Every time I try going for a walk, I end up feeling a thousand times worse later in the day. Plus, I'm short-tempered and demanding, or as my husband says, mean.

I hope that after the baby comes I remember who I am beneath all this yuckiness. Of course, then I will be so sleep-deprived that I probably won't care who I am.

(Please don't lecture me on how I should feel blessed. I am 38 years old. We tried for 10 cycles before one took. This is just where I am at mentally and I think it's OK for me to admit it's not all sunshine and roses.)

Oh, and it's a BOY.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Fall Camping at Eighth Lake

This past weekend we returned to our favorite campground, Eighth Lake, for a relaxing getaway. We didn't plan any specific hikes or activities; we just enjoyed the lovely fall colors and perfect weather. Our campsite was waterfront, so we had gorgeous views across the lake. Our new sling chairs made lounging by the fire even more comfy. All in all, a delightful weekend.


Check out: why we love Eighth Lake.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Owl's Head & Olympic Ski Jump

I'm still working my way through our camping trip to the Lake Placid area in early August, so this post will cover two activities: our hike up Owl's Head and our visit to the Olympic Ski Jump Complex.

I wasn't up for any major hiking (and my husband never is), so Owl's Head seemed ideal. The trail is 1.2 miles round trip and the summit provides lovely views of the surrounding High Peaks. Our first attempt was thwarted by giant road construction vehicles using the road to the trail head as a staging area. So we went back the next day and were able to squeeze past and find a spot to park. The trail is quite popular and we saw lots of other hikers, but we managed to have the summit all to ourselves. The hordes arrived just as we were heading down.

We've been meaning to make it to the Olympic Ski Jump Complex for the last couple years, but bad weather has caused us to put off our visit. Not this year. We got to watch some young ski jumpers jumping into swimming pools (crazy!). Then we rode the chair lift up to the base of the ski jump and then took the elevator to the top. It boggles my mind that real people intentionally propel themselves down those jumps. Good grief.

This will probably be the last of the posts from this trip, but is you haven't done so yet, you can also read about our visit to Ausable Chasm and our Ben & Jerry's Factory tour.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Exploring Ausable Chasm

While we were camping at Wilmington Notch State Campground, we spent a day at Ausable Chasm. We'd seen advertisements and flyers for the place for years and decided this would the summer we checked it out.

As we drove there through regular looking small towns and farm land, I was confused about where a chasm was going to fit into the landscape. The very idea was incongruous. And then as the signs indicated our near-arrival, a deep gorge opened up as if out of nowhere.

We elected to do a "float tour," which meant we'd have access to the walking trails and go for a short raft ride. It was pretty crowded, even though it was a weekday, so it was hard to get pictures without a bunch of strangers in the frame. And, of course, the pictures fail to capture the drama of the place that was felt in person.

We drove and walked over this bridge.

Elephant's Head


narrow gorge

rafts being lowered by cables to launch pad below
The raft trip was short (~1 mile long), but it was definitely my favorite part. I'm adding going rafting again to my must-do list.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour

Even though it was a long drive from our campground in Wilmington, NY we decided to spend one of our vacation days driving to Vermont for a Ben & Jerry's factory tour. We are both huge fans of Ben & Jerry's (who isn't, right?) and have long talked of visiting the factory in Waterbury, VT. It was a lovely scenic drive and may well have been my first visit to Vermont.

The tour itself was nothing special. We watched two videos, one on the history of the company and a shorter one on the production line. I was disappointed that, although it was a manufacturing day and after noon, the production line was not running, so we didn't get to see any ice cream being made. The highlight of the tour was the sample of cotton candy we got to enjoy at the end.

Not surprisingly, it was an absolute madhouse, even though it was a week day. I'd hate to imagine how much longer the lines would be on a weekend. I'm glad we did it, and now I can cross it off the list and never do it again. Once was definitely enough.

On the way to the factory we missed the turn off for the ferry (plus, we'd not done any research on times, locations, or cost). Before heading back to camp, my husband hopped on his phone and GPS and found the best ferry across Lake Champlain for our route. It cut many miles and lots of time from our return trip. And best of all, it was super cool. I enjoyed the ferry ride more than the factory tour!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Camping: Wilmington Notch

Our most recent campering adventure took us north to Wilmington Notch State Campground in Wilmington, NY. This is a very small campground (54 sites) and does not offer the types of private, treed sites we prefer. However, the choices for camping with a travel trailer in the Lake Placid area are fairly slim. We decided to try it once and then decide if we'd ever camp there again. The verdict: NO. The camp sites are in what basically amounts to an open field with an occasional tall tree. There is no privacy between sites AT ALL. The sites are not clearly defined either, so we had neighbors decide to set up their tent within spitting distance of our camper. I hope they enjoyed the sounds of our flushing toilet at 2AM. The fire pits are no more than a few feet from the campground road, so when you're sitting around the fire anyone that walks by is RIGHT there.

Beyond the lack of privacy, there were other disappointments with the campground. The fire pits were in shambles, literally crumbling at our feet. My husband was at a complete loss without a chopping block, usually provided in most state campgrounds. He surmised that was part of the problem with the fire pits, because people were using them as chopping blocks, thus accelerating their demise. There was also garbage strewn around our site when we checked in, a rarity at the state campgrounds we've camped at in the past. And lastly, the bathrooms were gross. There was no soap (eeew!) and the showers were tiny. The shower head was well below the top of my head, and I'm not an excessively tall woman. The water was scalding, with no option to adjust the temperature.

Needless to say, we spent as little time as possible at the campground. It would probably be fine if all you were doing was crashing for the night before or after climbing an Adirondack High Peak, but it's not the kind of place you want to spend time at.

I didn't bother to take many photos and none of the ones I took actually show how undesirable the place was. All of the trees you see on the far side are actually the edge of the campground and provide just a little screening between Route 86 and the sites. This picture was taken before the neighbors arrived and set up their tent right off our back bumper. Most of the sites were occupied every night, although there was a high turn-over rate.

Next time we travel to the Lake Placid region I would rather pay more to stay at a private campground and have full hook-ups. That way even though we'd still lack privacy we could at least avoid the public bathrooms and showers.

Hopefully in future posts I will share some of the fun things we did away from camp.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

August Break: Days 1-7

From the August Break, 2014 website:

"This is a community project that has no real rules – the idea is to simply take a photograph every day for the whole of August. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Live inside each moment. Pay attention to what’s there."

This is the first month long photo project I've taken part in. I like that there are no real rules. Do with it what you will. I used the prompts provided for the first 7 days and took the pictures with my Samsung Galaxy S5.

Lunch: leftover pizza, sugar snap peas, and a chocolate chip cookie (in the paper bag)

Pattern: two new Thirty-One bags my husband bought me to help ensure a successful party hosted by a friend of his

Window: heading north with the camper

Orange: riding the Essex Ferry across Lake Champlain

Three: milk, coffee, and hot water for tea

Reflection: clouds and trees while my husband fishes the Ausable. Also: hundreds of mosquito larvae!

Today is... check out day. Time to pack up the camper and head home.

Don't forget to check out the blog roll for other participants.