13 Week Bump and Update

Bam! I’ve got a baby belly.

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The general consensus this week is that I’m visibly pregnant, though a stranger without access to a before picture might assume I’m chunky and built like a barrel.

Total weight gain is back to 2 lbs, im wondering if that will be taking off soon despite not increasing my average caloric intake or if I’ll just shrink elsewhere as my belly grows. Or I’ll get hungrier maybe.

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I did more walking this week because I’ve got family visiting and we’ve been trekking to national parks, so far one in Virginia and three in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Five more to go, maybe seven if I can stand it. I’ve been wanting to go to OBX anyway, so it was a good excuse and thanks to the frigid weather/offseason we stayed in a great suite in Kill Devil Hills over night for under a hundred dollars.

Of course I had to add to my vast Starbucks mug collection. This one is the first that’s just a state not a specific city, I guess that’ll work, though. Much to C’s chagrin I’ll be getting a Virginia mug before we move as well.

None of this has had anything to do with pregnancy. Let’s see… Oh, I’ve had round ligament pains this week thanks to the speedy expansion of all things baby, still staving off headaches with a bit of caffeine and I sat on the floor for a few hours yesterday and now I am stiff and sore and feel one hundred years old. I guess I also have to stop sleeping on my back soon wahhhhh. I love lying on my back when relaxing during the day and up until the moment I turn over to sleep at night.

Snippets From Turning Stone Resort and Casino

Because I’m totally baller (according to my somewhat facetious brother) I was offered two free nights at the hotel at Turning Stone in Verona, New York. I had no plans for my birthday and don’t know anyone around here (still!) so it seemed like the perfect week to cash in those free nights. My brother managed to get a couple days off and we went to live it up for a couple of days. I drove two long days round trip (9hours one way, 12 on the return- DC/Northern VA traffic is the worst) and it didn’t even seem like too long of a drive for such a short trip because we packed so much in that it felt like 4 days, not 2. I barely slept but it’s not like I have to go straight back to work after vacations so it doesn’t matter, though the drive home was rough.

I thought id share five pictures that captured the experience well, though there may be another one coming with food, which was delicious.

The ceiling at Upstate Tavern
The ceiling at Upstate Tavern

A sight i haven't seen in a long while, fresh pine cones.
A sight i haven’t seen in a long while, fresh pine cones.

The  gorgeous foliage
The gorgeous foliage

I tried a flight at Upstate Tavern
I tried a flight at Upstate Tavern

A crowd just beginning to form at Lava (it was 18+ night and I was dressed as a 29-year-old librarian and didn't dance)
A crowd just beginning to form at Lava (it was 18+ night and I was dressed as a 29-year-old librarian and didn’t dance)

3 Days of Driving

The moving truck, which C. said was out of alignment and didn't have cruise control. Packed tight with all of our belongings.
The moving truck, which C. said was out of alignment and didn’t have cruise control. Packed tight with all of our belongings.
I got a lot of double-takes when people saw me fueling this thing up alone. I guess I don't look like I would be the driver of this truck with a motorcycle in back... and I'm generally not.
I got a lot of double-takes when people saw me fueling this thing up alone. I guess I don’t look like I would be the driver of this truck with a motorcycle in back… and I’m generally not.

Day one got off to a dramatic start when our attempts to give the cats benadryl failed and we figured they’d be okay and just got on the road anyway. As soon as I hit the first stop light in Thibodaux I looked back to check on the cats and Kit Kat had her mouth agape, panting in panic. I called C. and told him I was making an emergency stop at the vet to get her kitty xanax, but there was no room for the moving truck with my car towed behind it in the vet parking lot, so C. just had to hit the highway while I dealt with the cats.It took an hour to get them in, weighed and medicated, an hour which involved my climbing into their carrier to carry them out because they wouldn’t budge and the carrier is huge. Once they were weighed, they went back in until the vet tech got them their calm-down pills, so I had to them try to administer them. I bought pill pockets, but they were not having it and eventually the vet tech took pity on me and forced them to take the medicine. I wondered how we were going to manage giving it to them on days 2 and 3, but luckily youtube has plenty of informative videos on how to “pill” your cat. The techniques we saw worked on Kit Kat, and Jolie is really calm in the car so when she fought us, we just let her ride without it unless there was a problem.

Luckily, the rest of the trip was uneventful… we drove about 400 miles each day, stopping for the night in Montgomery, AL and Charlotte, NC.

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The Welcome Center in SC since I couldn't manage a picture while driving for that one (I had a cat on my lap)
The Welcome Center in SC since I couldn’t manage a picture while driving for that one (I had a cat on my lap)

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We arrived at our apartment complex in Hampton, VA yesterday evening at 5 and spent 45 minutes signing and going over the lease. Then, exhausted as we were, we unpacked most of the car as well as the box spring, matress, TV and xbox. We don’t have the internet yet, so I went to Target to buy season 2 of Shameless on DVD and shower curtains. Living in a highly populated commercial area came in handy quickly when we ordered delivery chinese food for dinner. In Thibodaux we could only get Pizza delivered, but here we actually have choices for what to eat when we don’t want to leave the house and have no food to prepare. Score one for Hampton. Score two is the fact that I’m at Starbucks right now and it took about 15 seconds to drive here. It’s less than a mile down the road, which I think could be dangerous. More dangerous than that, though is Peninsula Town Center (a huge outdoor shopping center) being just another half mile down the road. I can’t even begin to describe how close we are to every kind of store, restaurant, bar, etc we could ever need. I’m psyched and I haven’t even been able to get over to the beach 7.5 miles away yet. We’ve only lived here for about 10 hours now, but I think I am going to really enjoy it.

Moving on Up to the East Coast

At the beginning of this year, I though I was going to be moving with my husband and cats into a camper and tramping around the country while my Don Quixote chased his windmills. Well, C. is Don Quixote no more, and at least for this year is working with battery cells and some solar power. I can’t think of a book or play involving these alternative energy sources, so he’s also lost his little nickname for the time being. Anyway, so yes, I dropped out of grad school and quit my beloved G.A. position to go on the road with my husband and then… my husband and I both ended up sitting around our small Louisiana town for at least two months before he even went back to work. And when he did, it was 2 week trips and he came home way more frequently than he ever had in our four years together. Basically, his job completely changed and the plans we made just didn’t work anymore with two week turn-arounds and a month or more between jobs.

At first, I was just kind of bummed about being stuck with no job or school in Thibodaux all the time. This town has no outdoor activities (hiking, lakes, good trails, batting cages- anything!), no movie theater, no bookstore, etc. etc. it’s a total void as far as I’m concerned. There are bars, a couple of chain restaurants, a Walmart and many gas station casinos and daquiri shops.
Those being my entertainment options, and trust me I have scoured the internet and bugged the locals for four years, those really are the options, I mostly left the house only to grocery shop or vacation far far away. Which kind of gave me an idea… the idea being to move far far away, back to a place like those I lived in before moving down here, but warmer. It needed to be near the ocean, have actual hills, be more centrally located so that C. could drive more and fly less, be closer to most of our family, and not too big of a city or with too high a cost of living. I worked on C. for quite a while and he finally agreed that it was only fair that we live somewhere that I chose for a while, since with his job we can live anywhere and I lived in Thibodaux for 4 years despite pretty much absolutely freaking hating it. I chose Hampton Roads and let C. have the last word on which city we would live in and he chose our fabulous apartment as well. These concessions worked out fine by me because he chose Hampton, VA which is on the Chesapeake bay about 45 minutes from VA Beach. He was looking for a smaller city with more reasonable rent and I was looking for the ocean, sidewalks on roads so that I could once again walk everywhere as I so love (and need!) to do, and actual entertainment/food/outdoorsy options. We found our perfect compromise, at least my optimistic heart is telling me this, and are all set to move in on August 8th.

I actually meant to write a tiny little post about how I thought my life was going to be all gypsy-on-the-road and instead its all medium-sized-city-with-a-beach in an apartment with free yoga. So, yeah with C.’s job it is really hard to make any plans, as we once again learned, but I think this change of plans, this rolling with the punches and punching back all the way to the beach thing is going to be a very very good thing. I can’t wait and I expect to make a lot more healthy lifestyle choices in VA since it’s way more feasible and fun when there are outdoor options. I’m thinking running, paddleboarding and yoga are going to be much better hobbies than netflix, hulu plus and amazon prime (those are still going to be in rotation, just much lighter rotation). Oh yeah and I want a weekend job. So many plans. I’ll definitely be posting more when we move, probably less text-heavy than this huge entry where I spilled all of the thoughts and details. Signing off now…

One last night in New Orleans

C. and I decided to spend one last day and night in New Orleans before we move 1300ish miles away. I had to drop him off at the airport for an emergency work trip to Tokyo (because his life is way more exciting than mine!). There were pretty heavy thunderstorms but we braved the rain and checked out the art in Jackson Square since some vendors were still there despite the weather. We ate delicious appetizers for lunch (I finally tried fried green tomatoes- they were so good!!) and ate dinner at my favorite restaurant ever- The Palace Cafe. We were back in our room at the Westin by 8, watching tv and ordering room service before an early bed time
since he had to leave at 5 am.

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The pictures of New Orleans are all from the rooftop pool on the 29th floor except the food and the night shot from our 19th floor window. It was a sweet and wholesome goodbye to a not all that wholesome city.

A historically fascinating photography exhibit

The following are pictures of photographs on display at the Onandaga Historical Association in downtown Syracuse. The exhibit was of George N. Bernard’s photography, spanning decades and much of the United States and Cuba. Included are photos of the pre-and-post civil war south, the great chicago fire, Niagara Falls completely frozen andSyracuse back in the day.

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Syracuse, NY: Dave and Buster’s/Mall Edition

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It’s been a dream of mine for the last 3 years to go to Dave and Buster’s. It sounds silly, but as soon as I heard that there was such thing as an adult version of Chuckie Cheese, I was SOLD. So, of course while visiting my brother in the ‘Cuse, I had to hit up this magical land of skeeball (the only game I anticipated being excited about because I was born loving skeeball) and a ton of other, trendier, games.

M grabbed a beer, I grabbed a prosecco and we were off, playing a ton of games on our $30 worth of credits because we waited to go until half-price wednesday. All of the games cost half what they normally did, which I can verify because I scoped D&B’s out ahead of time, which meant that we got over 2 hours of play AND played the crazy games that normally cost too much to play. Our favorites were skeeball, the fake beer pong game, one where you throw balls to knock the clowns over (reminiscent of a carnival game) and even the game where you drop a coin to make others fall of the edge. We raced motorcycles, played Simpsons soccer, threw footballs (failing horribly) and I died while playing Dance Dance Revolution.

At the end I turned my tickets (1,566!) in for the “like” coffee mug, fun dip, nerds rope and a fake Rubik’s cube. The photo of the racetrack is from the mall as well- there’s a HUGE racetrack in the mall where the go-karts 35 mph winding through an indoor track. The fact that this even fits in a mall already loaded up with huge arcades, bowling alleys, an Imax theatre and a regular 17 screen theater just blows my mind. Apparently, the mall in Syracuse is the 6th biggest mall in America and after spending some time there, I definitely believe that… it has an indoor ropes and walkway course spanning the atrium in the 2nd and 3rd levels where kids are harnessed in and basically tightrope around amongst the rafters. Even without shopping, you could while away hours upon hours at this mall. They even provide parking and charging for your electric cars, which make sense because you could plug it in while on a roadtrip, then go eat or play in the mall for an hour or two. I can’t sum up how great this mall is, but I give it two thumbs up!

Old San Juan

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So, for my last Puerto Rico post, I present you with the whimsical architecture and colors of Old San Juan. I loved how I could look down a narrow, cobblestone street lined with colorful buildings and see the sea at the bottom of the hill. Honestly, I just get excited to see hills period half the time because southeast Louisiana is so flat and I grew up in hilly, mountainous Maine. Until my next visit, I sadly conclude my Puerto Rico posts, but I highly recommend that anyone who loves history, good food and the ocean visit. It’s as affordable as going to the keys, yet more storied and you really feel like you’re getting away, that it’s foreign. And if you are passport challenged it is perfect because as a U.S. Citizen, you don’t need one.