Thanksgiving Week

Good morning! Happy last day of November – it feels truly crazy that we are already in the Advent season and Christmas is so close!

On Thursday, November 19 I had my 32 week prenatal appointment. Baby is growing well and ahead of schedule. Supposedly he has long legs and they’re predicting him to be a big baby. I had my usual lab work pulled and we went on our way excited to have seen our son on an ultrasound sucking his thumb, and nervous about how big he may be by delivery time. Friday I got a phone call from the OB telling me that while my iron levels were looking better, so we could hold off on IV transfusions, my platelet count was continuing to drop and was in the 90s, diagnosing me with gestational thrombocytopenia. This was scary news to receive because she was sharing how if they continued to decline at the current rate, it could affect my delivery and delivery options, including having to deliver at a different hospital off the mountain. We were more than a little overwhelmed and scheduled a follow-up blood draw for Monday morning. We also cancelled our trip to my sister’s house in Virginia, where my family was gathering for Thanksgiving and a small shower was planned for the baby with just our family, and a few zoom participants. We spent the weekend very low-key, anxiously awaiting our follow-up.

Monday morning we had an early appointment with a different OB in the office who answered all our questions and quieted our overwhelm, including sharing delivery options at our local hospital and just how low my platelets would need to get before a hospital transfer was necessary. It gave us such peace of mind. She also said our levels were high enough before the second blood draw that we could still follow-through with our original Thanksgiving plans if we felt comfortable. We left that appointment feeling so much better and told my family we were coming after all. I spent the afternoon cleaning, packing and getting ready for our trip.

Tuesday morning we headed north to Virginia. We stopped at the Duke campus to stretch our legs and loved the architecture of campus. We can’t wait to go back and explore more! Our drive took longer than we had hoped when we had to reroute through Fredericksburg due to a couple accidents on the interstate, we still made it to their home in Prince William County before my sister got home from work. That night was spent relaxing and enjoying time together with my parents, sister and brother-in-law after a walk around their neighborhood over a supper of chili and a berry salad. We played a family game of Farkle after dinner and then all turned in early since the boys all had an early morning Wednesday.

Duke was beautiful!

Wednesday morning the guys all went to pick-up my brother from the airport before coming home and relaxing. That afternoon we took family photos at a lake in my sister’s neighborhood and then when we got home opened shower presents (since Saturday’s shower was cancelled) and ordered pizza from their favorite local pizza place.

Thanksgiving my mama worked hard in the kitchen creating a delicious meal for all of us to enjoy and my sister made some tasty pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that we all munched on throughout the day. We played a couple rounds of sushi go and phase 10 while everything cooked and enjoyed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Friday while my sister had to work, the rest of us headed into the district to walk the mall. The three dogs enjoyed the walk, and we enjoyed how empty the mall was! I have never seen that stretch of DC so empty – it was such a treat. We appreciated that many of the people also chose to wear masks and kept distance in passing one another. We took our masks off for pictures, but otherwise kept them on the whole time. The Capital Christmas Tree was being decorated and the inauguration platform was under construction. They were also setting up the National Christmas Tree and the surrounding 56 trees – always a holiday favorite! It was perfect weather for a nice long walk and was fun to be back in the city after 10 years. That night we grilled some chicken and had another berry salad before a massive game of Farkle that my sister won, like she had won every other game we played that week.

The three boys & three dogs. It was a lot of energy this week!
When is The Capitol ever this empty?!
The World War II Memorial was also very uncrowded compared to non-Covid times.

Saturday morning we relaxed and enjoyed time together before my parents headed home. We spent all day building the Elf puzzle we gave my brother for Christmas.

He has LOVED Elf since we saw it in theaters 17 years ago. He had a lot of fun with this Christmas present.

That afternoon we watched The Iron Bowl and picked up supper from Five Guys. The boys started a fire in the backyard firepit and we just enjoyed being together before all heading out on Sunday. It was a fun day with Alabama beating Auburn and App State beating Troy. My brother also enjoyed watching his alma mater, Colorado Buffs, play against San Diego State since their original game was cancelled due to Covid.

My brother enjoyed snapping polaroids all week & gave me this one of us siblings.

We all headed out Sunday and we had an easy drive back home to the mountains of North Carolina, where we promptly crashed as soon as the car was unloaded.

I am so grateful we were able to spend this time together in such an uncertain year. I am grateful for my family’s health and that they were able to experience this pregnancy alongside us for a couple days, as our son will be the first of a new generation.

How was your Thanksgiving week?

What’s Up Wednesday: November 2020

What We’re Eating This Week

Monday: Leftovers

Tuesday: Chili

Wednesday: Pizza

Thursday: Thanksgiving standards

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: TBD

Sunday: TBD

What I’m Reminiscing About

I’m just feeling grateful to feel so healthy right now; last November I was miserably ill and ended up in the hospital, so this November I am just feeling grateful for my health!

What I’m Loving

I love how cozy out home feels decorated for Christmas! I love that the weather in NC this time of year is still warm enough for near daily walks outside.

What We’ve Been Up To

November has been full of Monday night small group, Tuesday night Bible study and Wednesday night childbirth class. The steady rhythm made the month go quite quickly!

What I’m Dreading

Nothing.

What I’m Working On

Reading through the parenting books we have, working on the nursery and ordering baby stuff mostly. Finishing our Christmas shopping and getting everything mailed.

What I’m Excited About

Celebrating Christmas and the Advent season. Finishing our childbirth class and taking a breastfeeding class. Saying farewell to 2020.

What I’m Watching

We’re loving the Great British Bake Off – so sad the finale is this week! The Queen’s Gambit is really compelling TV. Love that The Mandalorian is back. We’re enjoying Bless The Hearts, The Unicorn and American Housewife on cable.

What I’m Reading

I just finished Well Played by Jen DeLuca; the sequel to Well Met. It was a delight! I’m currently reading Can’t Even by Ann Helen Peterson and Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams.

What I’m Listening To

Lots of Christmas music and classical music while reading.

What I’m Wearing

All the maternity clothes – baby boy is really making his presence known!

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Celebrating Thanksgiving.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

Advent. Christmas. Breastfeeding class. Our last childbirth class. Weekly appointments to check on our boy.

What Else is New?

Honestly, not much.

Monthly Musings

Today I am linking up with Holly and Patty for their Monthly Musings.

Favorite holiday traditions?

I love going to local Christmas parades (not this year). I love baking cookies and drinking cocoa. I love decorating the house for the holiday season. I love celebrating Advent through a devotional and in church each Sunday; I’m doing a special Bible study at church around Advent this year. I love driving around to look at Christmas lights. I enjoy a couple chestnut praline lattes from Starbucks every year. I love fresh Christmas pajamas. I always loved stockings growing up and look forward to starting that with our son next Christmas.

Must have holiday wardrobe staples?

New Christmas pjs! I normally enjoy getting a new outfit for Christmas church too, but there is no need to this year.

Favorite holiday recipe/dish?

I love my mom’s homemade cranberry sauce in the crockpot. I enjoy making a cranberry jalapeno cream cheese dip. I look forward to the homemade bread flavors William will play with over Christmas this year.

What will your holiday plans look like this year?

Very lowkey. Our church is doing all Christmas services virtually and I’ll be in the final weeks of pregnancy, so we’ll be cozy at home. We’ll still go driving and looking at Christmas lights and enjoy fun Christmas movies, but we’ll be very relaxed this year.

Favorite holiday song?

Oh! This is so hard! I love Thistlehair the Christmas Bear by Alabama, Take a Walk by Trisha Yearwood, the whole Michael Buble Christmas album, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by NSYNC, What Christmas Means to Me by John Legend and Stevie Wonder (another great whole album!). I love the classic carols we sing at church, especially In the Bleak Midwinter and O Holy Night. I just genuinely love Christmas music!

Does Covid-19 make you want to do up the holidays or make you not into it?

It makes me want to surround myself with Christmas spirit more – more peace, hope, love and joy. More twinkle lights. More cozy cocoa and movie nights. More Christmas books. It’ll be simple this year, but I look forward to the little ways to delight in the season.

Do you have any charities you like to help this time of year?

We love sponsoring an angel from the church Angel Tree and I love serving in our local community kitchen in the winter too, especially after having been the director of a soup kitchen. I’m looking forward to finding ways to serve in our new community next winter when we hopefully have a successful Covid vaccine and I’m no longer super pregnant!

Tree before or after Thanksgiving?

Before. Growing up, we always put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I love to get the house decorated mid-November because of the coziness and joy it brings my family and I.

Favorite holiday movie?

So hard to choose just one! My top three (all tied) are The Santa Clause, Elf and The Holiday.

Egg nog … yes or no?

YES! It is the best coffee creamer alternative this time of year!

2020 Christmas Wishlist

Expecting our son in January has me craving all the cozy pajama sets like this one from Nordstrom. I think the button down top will be wonderful for breastfeeding and I love that two-piece pajama sets still feel put together for hanging out at home.

I wear my LLBean slippers all day every day when I’m home and I hate traveling without them. They’re so cozy! While mine are still in decent shape, they are 2-3 years old and not quite as fluffy as they once were, so I would love a fresh pair and switch my current pair to back-up status.

I love the idea of wearing my son’s initial on a dainty necklace and think this one from ByChari is so dainty and beautiful! Perfect for a daily jewelry piece. (The N is a stock image and not a hint at our son’s name).

I also love this Mama necklace from ByChari. I find it so sweet!

I foresee lots of playground time, walks, and running around in my future keeping up with our son. Knowing that, I love the look of these trainers and have read so many great reviews.

What is on your Christmas wish list this year?

Weekend Update

I can’t believe how fast this month is flying by!

Thursday morning I had a routine GI appointment, and while we’re watching my iron and inflammation levels, all is going pretty smoothly this pregnancy- hallelujah! That night I was able to FaceTime with my dear friend Jenny, who is my little from my sorority. It was so nice to catchup on life!

Mavis hanging out with me on our patio while I talked to Jenny.

Friday morning we went to the dog park with Mavis – it was a beautiful day, especially after a rather dreary Thursday.

Happy to play fetch and eat grass.

After the dog park, William and I headed to Winston-Salem for the day. We ran some errands to places we don’t have in town, like Target, Costco and Sephora before heading downtown for a walk and lunch. While the commercial district was crazy crowded and busy, downtown was very dead for a gorgeous Friday afternoon. Covid has made it so strange to experience different things, but it made walking around really pleasant too. I was grateful for the space to wear our masks, sanitize our hands and spread out – we’re still taking everything very seriously. Especially as we get closer to our due date.

Friday evening when we got home we caught up on Young Sheldon, The Unicorn and The Great British Bake Off. A very relaxing night in.

We’re also 31 weeks pregnant now – this boy is starting to make his presence known. I had several women ask me if we were trying to walk this baby out when we were in Winston-Salem. Hopefully he keeps growing for awhile longer though!

Saturday morning we woke up and went for a family walk.

November walks in the 60s! I missed living in the south – this is so lovely!

Later, we made a trip to the storage unit and finished decorating for Christmas; our tree is up and the apartment is feeling extra cozy and festive!

We kept our decor minimal, but it’s so nice to be surrounded by Christmas cheer. We spent the afternoon flipping between the college football games that didn’t get cancelled from Covid outbreaks and The Masters. We also made a delicious chicken and berry salad that while very summery, perfectly fit the gorgeous weather we’re having and definitely hit the spot – it tasted so fresh and light.

I slept terribly Saturday night. While I fell asleep by 9, I woke up at 2 and just couldn’t get back to sleep. So I took a bath starting at 5:30, and by 6:30 I was ready to sleep again, but it was time to start the day.

We did an early morning grocery shop after breakfast, came home to stream church and then watch The Masters. The weather was really windy and kind of gross, so we just had a cozy day at home and enjoyed sweet potato, rotisserie chicken, black bean and rice bowls for lunch.

It was a relaxing weekend. How was yours?

Weekend Update

Happy Monday friends! The sun is shining brightly and we’re supposed to be in for a week of temperatures in the 60s, so I’m excited.

Last Thursday we had our neighbors over for supper before they move into the house they just bought. It was nice to spend time with them and Mavis loved playing with their 15 month old daughter. It was good to feel “normal” with friends over to the house who have been taking quarantine seriously too – she works for the county health department, so they’re equally as cautious as we are.

Friday we enjoyed a nice walk as a family and had a low key day around the apartment since I was still feeling a bit tired from the fun the day before.

Saturday morning we woke up and headed to the dog park with Mavis. She enjoyed getting to run around, eat grass and play fetch. After the dog park we headed down the mountain to Winston-Salem for the day. We enjoyed driving around different neighborhoods and spending some time at a beautiful local park, Tanglewood, where they were setting up a fun Christmas light display set to begin this upcoming weekend. That afternoon we met up with a family friend and his family for lunch at a local brewery where they were practicing wonderful social distancing procedures and I felt really safe. I’ve been so impressed with breweries specifically and how they’ve adapted to this year. It was fun getting to know them better, hearing what they recommend for new parents (their son just turned two!) and what they love about living in the Winston-Salem area compared to the mountains where they were previously. Mavis was exhausted by the end of the day from the dog park, there walk around Tanglewood and getting to play with their son. It was a really great Saturday spent seeing a new area and enjoying time together.

Sunday we grabbed some of our Christmas decor from storage so I can begin decorating this week. I’m hoping to set up the tree this upcoming weekend, so I want to have everything else decorated first. We also did our weekly grocery shop and enjoyed some NFL football. That afternoon we headed for a shorter walk around part of the Greenway before heading to the beer garden at a local brewery to enjoy the fresh air and pretty views. Again, easy place to social distance and I know the cleanliness standards they are held to, plus the Adirondack chairs are just so comfortable in the tiered beer garden. Thankfully the day ended with both a Steelers and a Saints victory as we head into the week.

I would be remiss to not mention the genuine relief I felt when the election results were called while we were driving around Winston-Salem this weekend. I pray this country can begin to heal and unite as we work towards the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States. I am so hopeful for what they next four years can hold, especially as someone with a lot of healthcare concerns. I’m also so relieved to see empathy restored as a key value in the White House. Maybe this son of mine will be born late on Inauguration Day – wouldn’t that be a story to share.

I hope each of you had a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend and feel rested heading into this new week ahead. It’s a busy one in my world and I can’t believe we only have about eight weeks left of 2020 – it has been the strangest year on multiple levels for the passage of time.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! What a LONG week we just experienced.

I am grateful for the sunshine we enjoyed this week and the walks we were able to take to soak it up.

I need to increase my iron levels in my diet due to my anemia, and that means I get to enjoy an afternoon treat of dark chocolate. I look forward to it daily! I’ve also enjoyed fresh figs and dates this week – such a treat!

I’ve begun drinking a cup or two of raspberry leaf tea in the afternoons an evenings to strengthen my uterus for labor and its another tasty treat to look forward to.

I had my gestational diabetes test last week and passed – woohoo!

I had a growth scan for our boy, since my autoimmune disease can contribute to slower growth, but he was measuring around 3 pounds, 3 ounces and about a week and a half ahead. I was so happy to learn he is growing healthy and strong! We also caught him practicing breathing while doing the scan, which was so cool to see his little chest moving up and down.

I am also thankful for the small outlets of community we are part of with our small group, my Bible study, and our childbirth class. It is such a strange time to have moved to a new community, so those small intentional interactions via Zoom or our childbirth class in person mean so much to me!

Finally, we had our neighbors over for dinner last night. We have enjoyed our small amounts of time with them and will miss them when they move this weekend. Mavis loves their toddler and they are just so kind. I’m excited for them and their new home, but will miss having them across the hall and knowing that while home alone, I’m not alone, since they’re home too.

What did you love this week?

October Reading

I feel a bit disappointed I only finished one book in October. It was the audiobook of Louise Penny’s The Cruelest Month – the third book in the Inspector Gamache series. I enjoyed listening to it while on our walks. We did have a lot happening in October with both sets of parents coming to visit, but I still wish I would have read more, so I’m hoping to prioritize this better in November.

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny

Summary

Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat.

It’s spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life. . .

When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil—until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was the victim somehow helped along?

Brilliant, compassionate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is called to investigate, in a case that will force him to face his own ghosts as well as those of a seemingly idyllic town where relationships are far more dangerous than they seem.

Review

I adore this series and the descriptive writing and character development Louise Penny provides. While I love the narrator of the audio books, I find I’m not as engaged in the story, so this rating is perhaps more for the format in which I have access to this series, than to the plot itself. I enjoyed the various twists and turns this story took and how there were layered mysteries atop one another. It was a delightful journey to Montreal and Three Pines and I look forward to going back to visit these characters in book 4.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I read three quarters of The Lions of Fifth Avenue before it was automatically returned to the library, so I’m back on the wait list to be able to finish it.

What did you read in October?

Weekend Recap

Happy November friends! How was your weekend?

Friday afternoon we enjoyed a nice walk around campus. Most of the leaves have fallen, but there was sill beauty to be found! We also enjoyed the latest episode of the Great British Bake Off (Japanese week!) and the latest season of Somebody Feed Phil. They’re both such happy, relaxing shows!

Later that afternoon we headed to Earthfare to grab some fun components for a Saturday afternoon snack board. Once home for the night, we decided to have a baking date night! We made an apple crisp, my great-grandmother’s sugar drop cookies and dough for a loaf of bread to be baked Saturday morning.

Saturday morning I slept in and then we went on a nice walk along the Greenway before heading home for a cozy afternoon of football and a tasty snack board. Our neighbors came over for part of the Appalachian State game, so that was fun and Alabama looked good against Mississippi State, so that was fun!

Sunday morning we headed to the dog park when it opened for the day before heading home to stream our church service. After church, we did our weekly grocery shop and spent the afternoon watching football, though I also took a nice long nap. I woke up for the final minute of the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game to see Pittsburgh remain undefeated and learn that Tottenham won their match too. Successful sports weekend for the teams we cheer for.

I ended Sunday night with a nice warm bath while the wind shook our apartment – a cold front moved through on Sunday accompanied by crazy, strong winds.

Here’s hoping each of you have the best week available to you, as Beth from Pantsuit Politics likes to say.

What’s Up Wednesday

What We’re Eating This Week

Monday: Brats with leftovers as sides

Tuesday: Pasta

Wednesday: Brats & salad

Thursday: Black bean & sweet potato tacos

Friday: Guinness stew, crescent rolls & salad

Saturday: TBD

Sunday: TBD

What I’m Reminiscing About

I’m just feeling grateful to feel so healthy right now; last November I was miserably ill and ended up in the hospital, so this November I am just feeling grateful for my health!

What I’m Loving

I love how quickly October past, with having both of our parents in town back to back weekends. The time with family was so sweet!

Grandfather Mountain with my in-laws
Moses Cone with my parents

I am also loving getting connected, albeit digitally, to our local church. We joined a Monday night small group and I’m in a Tuesday night Bible Study – the connection feels extra needed this year with all of our personal changes in the midst of the pandemic.

We started our childbirth class last week and it’s making it even more real how soon our son will be joining us!

What We’ve Been Up To

October flew by! We grabbed dinner with our neighbors at the beginning of the month, played trivia with some new friends at the brewery, had two weekends of back to back visits from family, started our small group, my bible study, and our childbirth class. October felt the most “normal” of recent months with my calendar actually having more than just doctor’s appointments written down!

What I’m Dreading

Nothing. But I am cautious to see how our country handles the election – some of what I’m seeing from friend’s experiences around the country is genuinely unnerving.

What I’m Working On

Reading through the parenting books we have and working on the nursery and ordering baby stuff mostly.

What I’m Excited About

Celebrating Thanksgiving with my family in Virginia. Celebrating our son with William’s colleagues at the shower they’re hosting for us – such a sweet way to welcome us into the community!

What I’m Watching

The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. I’m excited for holiday movies the next couple months – we watched some fun family Halloween movies in October, and I love the fun Christmas movies to come over the next couple months. We’ve been enjoying watching college football too – Roll Tide!

What I’m Reading

I’m finished The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny on audio, and got 70% through The Lions of Fifth Avenue before it was due back to the library, so I’m on the wait list for it again to finish it. What I read of it, I was thoroughly enjoying, so I’m anxious to check it out again.

What I’m Listening To

Classical Garden, Cold Fronts and Campfires and Nancy Meyers’ Kitchen are my favorite music stations on Spotify.

I’ve also been enjoying Up First and Pantsuit Politics.

What I’m Wearing

All the maternity clothes – baby boy is really making his presence known!

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Celebrating a very low-key Halloween by a cozy weekend in. Hopefully we get out on a walk or two and maybe take a trip to the dog park, but I’m looking forward to just hanging out at home.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday. Our baby shower. Two check-ups on our son.

What Else is New?

Honestly, not much. Just enjoying the slower rhythm of life these days.