Saturday, January 27, 2018

Well That Was Scary

The last week has been a tough one for me. Last Thursday, I felt a lot of tightness in my left groin. Since that is the side my hip surgery was on, I assumed it was related to my hip. So I went to see my post-op PT to see if she could figure anything out. She could tell things were tight and tried doing some soft tissue massage but it didn’t give me much relief.

By the weekend, it was really painful to walk. I still went to my massage day with my girlfriends but I was hobbling around and in quite a bit of pain. And the pain just got worse as the week started. I assumed the pain was due to some pregnancy-related adjustment in the ligaments or my pelvis so I called my OB’s office and asked for a referral to a PT that specializes in pregnancy. I didn’t go into work as I decided to work from home as there was no way I could get into the office and move around in my state. 

On Tuesday I was able to see the PT my OB referred me to. She did an examination and said she thought my groin muscle was over compensating for my weak glutes. She said it looked way over developed compared to my right groin. At the time I thought that was odd as the left side has always been weak and I had a lot of atrophy after my surgery. But I figured things had adjusted during pregnancy or something. She did some massage of the groin area and sent me home with some stretches and a glute exercise.

I had my regular OB appt on Thursday. I hobbled into the practice and told the nurse I was in a lot of pain. I had pain no matter what I was doing - sitting, standing, laying down. It was the worst whem standing/walking. The only time I had relief from the pain was when I was laying down with an ice pack on my groin. I saw a NP in the practice at this appt and told her about how bad my pain was. She did an examination as she thought it was very odd to have an acute onset of pain without any increase in activity. When she examined the groin area she could see it was very swollen so she sent me down to an imaging lab for an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot.

I texted Phil to tell him I was getting an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot and that really freaked him out. Blood clots are scary. They can move to your lungs and result in a pulmonary embolism, which is often fatal. Luckily the imaging lab was able to squeeze me in and they detected that I had an extensive blood clot in my groin - hence the reason for the intense pain I had been having. The lab tech sent me back up to my OB and then after the NP consulted with the on-call OB (my OB was off that day), they decided to admit me to the hospital given the size of the clot and how high up my leg it was (the closer the clot is to your heart, the more dangerous it is).

I definitely was freaking out when I found out about the clot and that I would be hospitalized. I called Phil to tell him to meet me at the hospital and was crying so hard, it was tough for him to understand me. :( But once I got admitted and knew what the treatment plan was, I felt much better. They monitored the baby when I got admitted into the labor and delivery area and he/she was doing great and has been doing great every time they monitored the baby during my stay. I was relieved that the baby appears to be oblivious to the pain his/her momma is experiencing!

I’ve been in the hospital since Thursday afternoon and will get discharged today. I was on an IV of blood thinners since being admitted but last night they unhooked the IV and I transitioned to injectable blood thinners. When I go home, I will be giving myself injections of the thinners twice a day from now until 6 weeks post partum.

So how am I feeling?

I feel relieved that the NP was concerned and thorough with her examination and decided to order the ultrasound. I’m thankful the blood clot was caught and that it’s being treated. But I am also feeling pretty upset that I am going through something that very few pregnant women experience. Being pregnant puts you at a higher risk for blood clots, but it’s still very, very rare to get a blood clot. And mine is apparently huge - it’s present  in the vein in nearly my entire inner left thigh. I just feel like I can’t catch a break with this pregnancy. I know we are so lucky to have a healthy baby in there but it feels like I have experienced one challenge after another. I know it will all be worth it in the end when we are holding our sweet baby in our arms, but dang this pregnancy has been tough.

That said, I am relieved that the pain will eventually go away. I haven’t had any pain relief yet as my body will absorb the  clot over the coming days and weeks. Then the swelling will go down and my pain will lessen. Before we knew the pain was from a clot, I was pretty terrified about going into labor at my current pain level as walking around was already so painful so I couldn’t imagine adding in the pain of labor... so I am relieved the pain will eventually go away.

I will likely be induced at 39 weeks now as I need to change blood thinners closer to delivery and my OB/internal medicine doctor went to be able to manage it. I was hoping to avoid an induction as induced labors are longer and harder. But I trust my OB and I know she is making the best decision for baby and me. And all along, Phil and I knew that labor and delivery was very out of our control and we would have to roll with the punches. So that’s what we will do. And in a way, it’s nice to know that there is a finite amount of time left of this pregnancy. Between all the glucose monitoring and RA flares, I am ready to be done with this process. I can’t wait to get on some good RA drugs after baby is born so that my RA will be better managed.

So that’s the story of the past week or so... it’s been a pretty terrible week, but when you are going through something tough, it reminds you how many people you have in your corner.  I’ve received so many calls, messages, and texts from family and friends. Phil, Baby S, and I are feeling very, very loved. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Currently: January

Yay! We are over half-way through the month of January, which is probably my least favorite month since it's just so cold here! Here's what's currently going on in my world. 

Reading: Bonfire by Krysten Ritter. This is another book of the month club. In this book, the protagonist, an environmental attorney, goes back to her home town to research whether a local plastics plant has contaminated the water. The protagonist had an awful experience in high school so it's kind of painful for her to be back in her old stomping grounds. I also had a pretty crappy experience in high school so I can relate to how the character feels. 

Loving:  the warmer weather that arrived yesterday. It's going to be in the 20s-40s over the next week which feels tropical after many days of sub-zero weather. It's funny how 'cold' is such a relative term depending on where you live and the time of year. 40 feels cold in the fall but tropical in January!

Feeling: all the pregnancy body changes. I've definitely started to 'feel' the weight gain. My weight gain has been really healthy but I'm at a much higher weight that I am used to and it just kind of adds to the fatigue. I'm also feeling the effects of the compression of my lungs due to the growing baby. Of course it's a good thing that the baby is growing and pushing up against my lungs, but I get winded so easily. For instance, I got winded just putting on my winter boots before work yesterday!

Thinking: about how lucky I am to work for a company/have a boss that is so understanding about alllll the doctor appointments I have to go to. Between seeing my OB, the endocrinologist, my rheumatologist, and now the pediatric urologist, I have so many appointments! My boss and coworkers have been so understanding. 

Frustrated: by my body. After a nice 3-week break from flares, I've had weekly flares for the last 2 weeks. When I get flares, I have to increase my prednisone dosage, which makes my blood sugar higher. This, in turn, makes me even more sensitive to carbs so it's even harder to manage my blood sugars. Gah. It's just frustrating all around.

Anticipating: the massage I'm getting this weekend. The max time for a prenatal massage the spa I go to is 55 minutes. I wish they would do a 90 minute massage because there are so many areas of my body that need attention right now! I've been trying to get monthly massages but I think I will splurge and get them every 2 weeks for the remainder of the pregnancy. 

Watching: very little tv, besides the news. We don't get cable and Phil and I haven't found a new Netflix or Prime series that we both like to watch, so I spend a lot of time in the evenings reading

Grateful: for the amazing family and friends I have. The baby and I felt so very showered by love last weekend. Everyone is so excited for us which just adds to the excitement and anticipation of baby S's arrival!

Working: on preparing my coworkers for my absence during maternity leave. I will be gone over 2 quarter ends, which are the busiest times of the year for us. I'm trying to document everything as much as possible so they can cover for me when I'm out but it's a lot of work to do that! 

Listening: to the podcast, "Slow Burn" which is about Watergate. Shout out to Stephany for recommending it! I wasn't alive during Watergate so don't know much about it. It's been interesting to learn more about what happened and how Nixon came to resign. Each episode is about 30 minutes long and something is covered in every episode that makes you think - 'are you kidding me? This actually happened?' 

Wishing: that the warmer weather we've been having will stick around! Chances are we will dip back down to below zero before long, but in my dream world, it would stay in the 20-40s for the rest of winter. A girl can dream, right?

What are you loving, anticipating and wishing?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My Baby Shower

This past weekend, Baby S. and I were showered by so much love by family and friends! My mom, sister, and sisters-in-law hosted the shower at my brother's house in the Minneapolis area and they did an AMAZING JOB. I knew they would do an amazing job as they are so crafty - especially my SIL in Chicago (she helped tremendously with our wedding DIY projects) - but they exceeded my high expectations!

The shower was Dr. Seuss-themed and they included an invitation insert that asked guests to bring a card instead of a book, which was such a wonderful idea! I would much rather receive a book than a card! Plus these days, the cost of a board book and a card can be about the same, which is kind of crazy (why are greeting cards so expensive??)!

The adorable invitation

Shortly after the guests arrived, we ate the yummy food. I love how they tied all of the food into the Dr. Seuss theme! Here are some pictures of some of the food!

Green Eggs and Ham
The "train" veggie tray
"Cat in the Hat" Fruit Kabobs

"Hop-on-Pop" Cake pops

A sweet take on "Green Eggs and Ham"
Grinch Punch

After eating, they had a couple of activities. The first was guessing what was in these gift bags. The bags had the letters for "baby shower" on each of the bags and the guest had to guess what baby item, that started with the letter on the bag, was in each bag.

I, of course, got to keep all the items in the bag. They were filled with things like bibs, a brush, oragel, hats, an aspirator, yellow duckies, etc. 2 people tied - one is my cousin who has a 4-month old; the other is one of my closest friends that is due this week with her 2nd baby. So they clearly had an easier time thinking of all the things a baby needs!

The next activity was for guests to decorate onesies. They had stencils and iron-on decals so that made it a bit easier for guests. But I am still SUPER IMPRESSED with what they came up with! I have some very artistic family and friends!

There are so many clever ones - like the "Kitty Did It" one! Too funny. They decorated a range of sizes so it will be fun to dress the baby in them over the next year!

After those fun activities, I "opened" presents. I say "opened" because I had my family include some clever wording on the invitation, asking guests to not wrap their gifts. I think opening lots of presents in front of people can be kind of awkward. Plus it's not very green as all that wrapping paper goes in the trash as most of it isn't recyclable. I still went through my gifts so people could see what I got and I could acknowledge the gift-giver, but it was a more efficient/less drawn out than it would have been if I unwrapped all the gifts. We got lots of wonderful things that we will need for the baby, but I am most excited about all the books we received!

After the guests left, I stuck around and Phil joined us for dinner. My 12-year-old nephew, Andrew, researched recipes to find something GF that I could eat. He went with Jambalaya. When he was at the grocery store with my brother, he asked if it would be ok to buy bread as he wanted to make sure it would be ok to eat something in front of me that I can't have. How sweet is that? I of course do not care at all when others eat something I can't eat but it was very sweet of him to worry about that.

Andrew then did the bulk of the cooking, with some assistance from my brother!

My sweet nephew, the chef

He even plated everyone's meal and added a garnish. This kid can cook!

After dinner, Andrew and Phil loaded up my car with gifts. It was below 0F so I was very glad that they did all the heavy lifting! Then we headed home and I spent a good chunk of the following day going through the gifts, washing the baby items, and writing thank yous.

It was such a special and wonderful day. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends who are so excited for us. I couldn't have dreamed of a more perfect shower!!

Friday, January 12, 2018


After several 4-day (or less) work weeks, this 5-day week really felt long! Good thing we have another 4-day week next week thanks to MLK Day! Here's how my week shaped up!

The high of my week was getting to see our baby again yesterday. We had an ultrasound to re-check something they detected in the kidneys at the 20-week ultrasound. Unfortunately they are still detecting a slight dilation of one of the kidneys but it can still resolve itself and if the issue persists, they can fix it with a non-invasive procedures (but fingers crossed and prayer sent that won't be necessary!). The baby is measuring a little bit big, which was surprising since my bump is measuring 2 weeks behind and I get a lot of comments about how small I am carrying. I do have a long torso, though, so that probably helps with how I am carrying! They also said the head is measuring a bit big, too.  Hope the head growth slows down so labor isn't too bad!!  :P

Baby S. had his or her hand by the face during the ultrasound

The low of my week was spilling almost an entire bottle of water in my purse. I filled a bottle with water before going to our breast feeding class on Tuesday but apparently I did not screw the top on right. Doh! When I got to class, I realized there was about an inch of water in the bottom of my purse! Everything was wet - including the new glucometer I wanted to start to use that night. Luckily Phil was able to shake the water out of it and get it working again. I'm glad it was salvageable because this new monitor has bluetooth and updates an ap so it's MUCH easier to keep track of my glucose levels! I was so mad at myself for not checking to make sure the top of the water bottle was on right!

The book I am reading is The Windfall by Diksha Basu. I got this through my book of the month club subscription several months ago and sadly I'm not really loving it. It's about a couple in Indian that goes from rags to riches due to the sale of a website that the husband developed. There are characters I like, but the 'keeping up with the Jones's' theme kind of annoys me. I'm almost done, though, so will finish it off but it might be a 2 star read unless the story redeems itself soon. I'm getting better at abandoning books that aren't working for me, but I have the hardest time giving up on books that I've spent money on, even though it's a 'sunk cost,' which is a concept we focused on in grade school. Basically the concept it about how a lot of people make bad decisions because of money they have already spent so they end up wasting more time and potentially more money because of the initial investment... 

Recipes I made were chicken cacciatore and chicken tikka masala with cauliflower and peas. Both were instant pot recipes and we liked both of them. I think this is the 3rd or 4th time I made the chicken tikka recipe. It's one of our favorites as we LOVE Indian food. I really love my instant pot and tend to use it 2-3 times a week, especially now that I eat a hard boiled egg with breakfast every day. The instant pot makes THE BEST hard boiled eggs. I'm going to write up a post with our favorite recipes soon as it seems like lots of people are looking for recipes based on the facebook posts I've seen!

The best money I spent was on some nursing tanks. It's not an exciting purchase but something that I wanted to get ahead of time as I want to bring 1-2 tanks with me to the hospital to wear once the baby is born.

My plans this weekend include making this beanless chili in the instant pot tonight. I miss chili so much but beans have carbs in them so I have avoided chili as I don't think the bean-to-protein ratio will be high enough (I'm sooo sensitive to carbs thanks to being on steroids!). Tomorrow I have my baby shower which I'm really excited about and we'll have dinner that evening with my brother/sisters-in-law and their kiddos. Then on Sunday and Monday I don't have much planned besides watching the Vikings game on Sunday. I have some organization projects that I need to do but that's kind of about it. I'm looking forward to a couple of relaxing days!!

Did you make any new recipes this week? What was the high of your week?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Looking Forward

The turn of the calendar means a new set of things to look forward to! I'm sure you can guess what I am MOST looking forward to in 2018, though!  ;)

This weekend I'm looking forward to my baby shower! My mom, sisters, and sisters-in-law are hosting it. I'm only having one baby shower as I decided to invite both friends and family to one shower instead of having them separate like I did when we got married. I don't have much local family and do not expect people to travel for a baby shower so I figured it was best to combine them. I feel like we don't have much baby stuff so I will feel much more prepared for the baby's arrival after this shower! I'm also looking forward to the long weekend as we get Monday off since it's MLK Day.

This month I'm looking forward to a spa afternoon with my college girlfriends. We all have winter birthdays so last year I suggested that we get together for some spa treatments instead of buying gifts for each other. There is a spa close to where I live that has a really wonderful deal. You get a 55 minute massage or facial, a manicure, a blow out, and a set of travel products for  $132. I think that's a steal! We'll have brunch or dinner before or after. I think this is the best way to celebrate our birthdays as we all want and deserve some pampering!

In February I'm looking forward to my birthday. Since I'll be very pregnant (35 weeks) I've decided that I am going to have a very low key celebration - I'm inviting some girlfriends over for a drop-in puzzle party the weekend before my birthday. I bought a 1,000 piece puzzle that I'll be working on through the day on the Saturday of my birthday weekend (and probably for the whole weekend unless I get a lot of help!). My hope is that people will stop by, have some snacks, and help with the puzzle. It's the weekend of the Superbowl, though, which is in Minneapolis. So who knows how many will be available as there is a lot going on that weekend. But even if only a few people stop by it will still be a fun day. We'll either go out to eat or order in on my actual birthday depending on how I feel. But I will be honest and say I'm not all that excited about my birthday dinner this year since the gestational diabetes diet is so restrictive. There will be no birthday dessert for me, but I'll make up for that after the baby is born in March.  I've already told Phil that I want him to bring me some treats in the hospital from a GF bakery that recently opened! :)

In March I'm looking forward to the birth of our baby! This is of course the thing we are most anticipating and excited about. I can't wait to find out what the gender is and see what he or she looks like! For most of the pregnancy I was so sure the baby was a boy but I don't have a strong sense anymore as I feel like I'm carrying differently than other friends who have had boys - not that there is any scientific evidence that the gender impacts how you carry! I'm also curious to see how my labor will unfold as every birth story is so different!

This spring I'm looking forward to settling into life with a newborn. I know our world will be turned upside down but I can't wait for all the baby cuddles and to fawn over this new life that we created. I'm also looking forward to working out again. Because of my RA, my 'workouts' have been limited to walking. I can't wait to get back to some sweat-inducing workouts, and to running eventually.

This summer I'm looking forward to *hopefully* buying a house. We started to look this fall but knew we had missed the prime buying season. I'm really hoping that we can find a house and move before the end of my maternity leave at the end of July. Fingers crossed we find the right house. We are being very, very picky, though, because our current house has plenty of room for us for now. I know that holding out for the right house will be worth the wait, though, as we plan to be in our next home for a very long time!

What are you looking forward to these days?

Friday, January 5, 2018

Finance Friday: 2017 Spending

Happy Friday! I'm back with another finance post - this time focused on my 2017 spending (see my 2016 post here and 2015 post here). I debated whether to do a spending post this year since it's no longer 'my money' and is instead 'our money' as we combined all of our accounts. But it's still mostly my money since Phil spends very, very, very little! I consider myself to be pretty frugal but he just takes it to a whole new level! This doesn't show a 100% complete picture of our spending as there are a few credit/debit cards of Phil's that aren't on my Mint account. But it comes pretty close to showing our total spending.

I can't really do a 2016 to 2017 comparison, though, because 2016 was only my expenses, so didn't include the mortgage for our house and other miscellaneous spending by Phil. But I can still make some general comments about what categories increased. And I can say for certain that we spent more money in 2017 than 2016 thanks to our wedding. But I'll get more into that below!

Here's how our 2017 spending broke out! I won't talk about every spending category, just the ones that are noteworthy. Also this only includes spending - not savings.

Wedding (23%):  It's kind of sad that this was our biggest spending category for the year, but weddings are expensive. We tried to keep the cost down as much as possible by DIY'ing the decor, but the cost of the reception venue/food was sort of a set amount. And since we had so many out of town guests that flew in for the wedding, we wanted to provide a nice meal and we hosted beer and wine. We did receive money from both of our parents, but I didn't adjust the amount we spent on the wedding to account for their contributions so that this would be a true reflection of how much the wedding cost. I'm really glad we will only be getting married once as I would not want to pay for it again!!

Auto and Transport (17%):  This was another big spending category for us as Phil payed off his car loan since the 0% interest on his loan was expiring. We both have cars that are fully paid off now, so this category should be very small in the years to come hopefully!

Home (16%):  This category includes our mortgage, miscellaneous house expenses, like getting some walls of our house painted, and utilities. We spend very little on the house category right now but we are planning to buy a house in 2018 so this category will go up. This category has gone down SO MUCH since I moved in with Phil, though, as his mortgage is quite a bit less than the rent was for my downtown condo. We don't have cable so that keeps this spending category lower than it could be. I can't believe how expensive cable is and we really don't miss having it.

Condo Rental (8%): This category depresses me because it goes to show how not economical it is to rent out my condo. I had some expenses related to the condo and my rent didn't quite cover the mortgage, HOA dues, taxes, and insurance, so posted a loss for the year. However, I am putting my condo on the market in February so fingers are crossed that I can sell it and break even. Buying that condo was the worst financial decision I have ever made as the value steeply declined during the great recession. It's depressing that I have to cross my fingers and hope to break even after owning it for almost 13 years! But oh well - soon it will be behind me! I can't wait to have it off our balance sheet!

Donations (7%):  I'm proud of the fact that this category is as high as it is. It's actually understated as it doesn't include the United Way contributions that come out of each paycheck. But it's too much of a pain for me to add in those deductions. We feel very fortunate to be able to afford to give back to others who are in need of help.

Financial (6%):  This category mostly represents investments we made in 2017.

Miscellaneous (6%):  This is a catch-all category that represents lots of things like haircuts/hair products, amazon purchases, gifts, postage, entertainment and pregnancy/baby-related items. I put anything that was too small to break out on its own in this category.

Groceries (5%):  I'm happy with the amount in this category as it ends up being less than $100/week which is a reasonable budget for 2 people who value eating lots of fresh produce and locally-raised meat (well, I mostly value it, Phil is 'along for the ride' when it comes to grocery decisions because I do all the cooking/meal planning).

Travel (2%):  I'm actually really surprised how low this category is. We went on 3 vacations this year - San Diego, Maui and Asheville. But we used miles for the Maui trip and used companion fares for the San Diego and Asheville trips, so we only had to buy 1 tickets for each of those trips. I also took solo trips to NYC and St. Louis but I used miles for both of those trips so didn't pay out of pocket for my flights and my accommodations in NYC were very inexpensive. I have a feeling that the apartment rentals for our San Diego trip and honeymoon aren't included in this total as Phil might have put it on a credit card that isn't on my mint account. So it might be understating our travel expenses - I would guestimate that travel should have been more like 5-6% of our spending. But all in all, we did not spend all that much on travel and I highly doubt we'll spend much in 2018 since we'll become parents!

Restaurants (2%): I'm also proud of how little we spend on dining out. We really view dining out as a special treat and do not do it very often. And when we do dine out, we usually go to inexpensive places that we love. This is one of those 'you do you' categories, though. Some people really value eating out but we just aren't those people, especially because of my gluten intolerance as it kind of takes some of the fun out of dining out.


Looking ahead to 2018:  We won't have a wedding so our total spending *should* decline. We will have a new baby but I am hopeful that we'll spend far less on him/her than we did on our wedding.  However, we'll start paying for daycare when I go back to work full-time, which is not cheap! But we will see how it all shakes out. Luckily we still have a lot of amazon gift cards from our wedding so we can use those to pay for the various things we'll need for a new baby. And we will save money by cloth diapering!

Our housing expense will go up in 2018, but we won't spend much in the auto and transportation category. It will be interesting to see what happens as the result of selling my condo. I'm hopeful that I can sell it for enough to cover my mortgage + some of the things I need to do to prepare to list it (new carpeting, paint, and a new light fixture).


Overall, I'm pretty happy with how our spending broke out. There's always opportunities for us (well, mostly me) to tighten the belt on spending. But in general, I think we make wise spending decisions and we are also big savers so I'm happy with how we are managing our money. I think we've found a good balance of saving aggressively, living below our means, and spending money on things that matter to us.

Do you review your spending on an annual or more regular basis? I use and keep track of my spending throughout the year. It does require some work as you need to make sure that expenses are categorized properly, but it's worth the effort to have a clear view of where your money is going!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Podcasts, Books and Looks of December

So I know I said I was going to retire the "looks" portion of my monthly recaps but I had some cute'ish looks thanks to holiday parties that I thought I'd share. Here's how the last month of the year shaped up for me.


Birthful on Gestational Diabetes - This was a timely podcast to drop in December since I just got diagnosed with GD. It was interesting to listen to and I learned some new things. I wasn't too surprised to hear that the registered dietician that was interviewed often tells her client to ignore the GD diet protocol as it's too many carbs for many and results in high blood sugars, but it made me wonder why it's the protocol in the first place if it sets people up for failure? Hmmm.


December was another strong reading month for me as I read 7 books. My favorite was definitely "We Were the Lucky Ones." I'm a sucker for a great WWII novel and this one did not disappoint. Check it out if you like that genre.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - 4 stars - This is a WWII novel about a family of war refugees in East Prussia that is trying to get on a boat in search for freedom. I liked this book but sometimes got confused by the multiple narrators.

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter - 5 stars - Another WWII novel, this time about a Jewish family in Poland. It's based on the true story of the author's family.

The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard - 4 stars - I read this to fulfill my goal of reading 6 books I already owned. It's about 2 girls born on the same day in the same hospital. The story follows how the 2 girls as their lives unfold.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - 4 stars - This book almost made my top 10 list for 2017. It's a great story about a young girl who is the car when her friend is shot by a police officer during a traffic stop. Both are African American. This is a timely read given the high incidence of police violence on people of color.

My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul - 3 stars - I was drawn to check this book out from the library as I listen to the author host the NYT Book Review podcast every week. This book is about "Bob" - the author's book of books where she has kept track of all the books she has read since she was a teenager. It was a fun approach to a memoir.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor  - 3 stars - I bought this book when I visited my friend Nora in St. Louis as I couldn't resist a book about Paris AND Christmas. It's written in epistolary form as it features letters between a British soldier and a girl back home in Britain during WWI.

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan - 2 stars - I won this in a gift exchange with my college girlfriends. It's a light read set in a coast village in England. I knew it would be a light, breezy read but it was just a little bit too cheesy for me.


I went to 2 holiday parties this month and wore dresses to both. I got both dresses from Pinkblush.

This is the dress that I wore to my work party in early December. I don't love the excess fabric around the belly but I know it's needed for when my belly expands and the girls at work said that I looked great, so I will take their word for it!

Later that week, I went to Phil's work holiday party and wore a pink dress. It has short sleeves so a wrap was necessary. I know some women say they are hot all the time when they are pregnant but that has NOT been the case for me.