goodbye second trimester

Gosh time is flying by!  I cannot believe I am finished with my second trimester. It truly feels like just yesterday we found out the happy news that we were expecting a little one and now there are only 85 days left until his estimated arrival. Ironically, it somehow stills feels like the end of the school year is a long way off.  How can it be that the end of the school year feels so distant yet the arrival of our little  one (which is for the same time) feels imminent?  David and I start our Natural Childbirth classes on Sunday.  Things are starting to get very real! I am super nervous about the class. I hope that whatever they teach us can actually be applied when the moment arrives, but I guess there is really no way of knowing, right?

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The second trimester has definitely been my favorite so far. I have felt energetic, playful, and excited. Exercising and eating well have been my prerogatives and despite the one week hiatus on the cruise, I feel like I accomplished both mostly successfully. The baby is kicking up a storm these days and it is amazing to reflect on how the littlest motions of the early months, that felt like bubbles, have become much more prominent kicks. Sometimes you can even see the motion externally like waves on the sea. This is my favorite part. It is so cool to be sitting at home or at work and all of sudden see a stomach flick or twitch. I cannot help but smile and wonder what he is up to in there. David and I talk to him constantly and every now and then he responds with a kick.  Usually though when we place a hand on my stomach all of his activity quiets. I like to think that he feels soothed by this. Watching David interact with my tummy is so darn cute. I just cannot wait to hold the little man and see David hold him too. I definitely am enjoying this selfish period where I get the baby all to myself though.  All of his motions are mine, but it will be wonderful to share him with David in a few more weeks.

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This middle period of pregnancy has been interesting.  My body is definitely changing and it is clear that I am not just putting on weight but am pregnant. I have shifted up in clothes and cannot get enough of maxi dresses. It feels so nice to float around in mostly pajamas. My favorite maxi’s have come from Destination Maternity and they are just so light and airy. Some other favorites include: Mustela lotions and my latest obsession for vanilla smoothies. What I love about this smoothie is that it is so filling. Usually after a full day of class, I rush into the lunch room and gobble up everything in my path. This smoothie though keeps me tempered and able to think about lunch before just shoving my face on to the plate. I have been spending time reading up on breastfeeding and baby sleep patterns and I find it to be quite an interesting lesson on human anatomy.  I keep stopping and reading a loud to David, “Did you know that the human body does….” Pure Barre is still my favorite exercise of choice and I am teaching Pilates this trimester at school in the afternoon program and bought some of the pure barre equipment for the girls. I am hoping to incorporate some of the exercises in for them.

The really big changes to daily life have included:

An epic appetite and insatiable thirst for water

A deep desire to nest around the house and prepare the baby’s room

An ever growing tummy

A new need for foot and ankle rubs from David after long days at work

Constant motion from the little man, he is up to 10 kicks every 30 minutes or so

A lack of consistent sleep at night (I always seem to wake up from 2:30-3:30AM)

A bedtime of 9:30PM (at the latest)

A feeling like this is going to happen SO soon and I need to READ everything I can now!

A constant joy about this next chapter (with a little anxiety about the delivery!)

Goodbye to my second trimester.  You treated me well and helped me feel more and more like a mother-to-be. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the third trimester is not plagued with aches and pains.  Let’s hope that the transition continues along this smooth path. And, as always I am grateful and thankful for my personal miracle.

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family celebration, vacation, and babymoon

Last week was a wonderful celebration!  My mom and dad invited all of us to join them on a Disney Cruise of the Caribbean for their 40th wedding anniversary. Planned a year in advance, it is hard to believe that we just finished this magical time together.  We were so lucky to partake in this incredible vacation and so lucky to be celebrating so many wonderful family moments. While on board we toasted to my parents and their beautiful commitment to one another over their many years of marriage, we sang happy birthday to Avery who recently turned three, we enjoyed being together as a family, and David and I enjoyed some quiet moments that we deemed our “babymoon.”

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We boarded the Disney Fantasy at Cape Canaveral  and spent two days at sea while we cruised down to St. Maarten. The ship was just beautiful. Disney is known for its attention to detail and its excellent customer service and in both of these areas they again excelled. Our dining staff, Yanina and Kaya, became instant friends and helped make our experience truly magical. Each day aboard, we explored all that the Fantasy had to offer from midship pools, to Broadway shows, to character encounters with Avery and Smith and so much more. Ending each night in one of the rotating dining rooms with Yanina and Kaya, we would recap our adventures and dine on lavish four course meals. It was a vacation fit for a king and I am not sure how much of the weight I gained is from the baby-to-be and how much was from the extravagant meals!  Regardless, it was well worth it as we all settled in to life on the Fantasy.

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Our first port of call was St. Maarten.  Here we departed from the cruise itinerary and Bryan became our guide. Having traveled extensively in the Caribbean when he flew for American Eagle, Bryan took us over to Maho Beach best known for its picturesque beach, delicious beach side bar, and the low flying planes overhead!

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To be that close to planes landing was actually quite amazing.  The bar showed the arrival times and people lined the beaches and paused from their swimming to watch the aircraft land. It was so cool!  This topped with warm clear blue water made our day in St. Maarten quite special.

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Our next morning, we woke up in St. Thomas to yet another beautifully warm and sunny day. We left the Fantasy early and boarded the Kon Tiki Island Boat Cruise. While aboard, we sang, danced, and partied our way to an isolated beach where we spent the afternoon soaking up the rays, enjoying our time together, and just relaxing.

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Our last stop was Disney’s Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. This island oasis was groomed in true Disney fashion. From their pathways, to the set up of the lounge chairs, to the island BBQ lunch, to the underwater reefs the island exuded care, relaxation, and fun. This was our longest day off the ship and we enjoyed every moment. David and I snorkeled in the morning.  It was so different snorkeling while pregnant.  At times, we would  be gliding along the ocean looking at schools of fish and then the little guy would move and bump and kick. I like to think all that movement was because he was enjoying the weightless swimming  in the sea. David and I would stop and say, “Wow so right now it is just you and me but very very soon baby makes three!” With only 88 days until the estimated date of arrival this trip marked our last vacation as “just the two of us.”  Thankfully we had plenty  of time with our niece and nephew to practice a little parenting this past seven days =)

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But really just being together as a family made the trip so special.  It is sad being home now in that it is so quiet.  I keep expecting to see someone come around the corner to say hello or to ask us to run off here or there on the ship. I am so thankful for last week and I am really looking forward to our next family gathering which will most likely include baby-to-be!

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pure barre

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Exercising has never been easy for me. I am definitely not a “gym rat.” Talking myself out of exercising is my forte in fact. There is always something else that needs attention or somewhere else I need to go. It is funny though how once I physically get myself moving, I am often quite happy while exercising and extremely proud afterwards. Yet, my pregnancy was an excellent excuse to avoid exercise all together. The first trimester exhaustion wiped me out completely. Waking up was never more difficult than in those early months. Staying up for the full day felt like the hardest task. It was the type of exhaustion that I had just never felt before. It wasn’t just a fog that descended over me but rather it was a wave that swallowed me up and dragged me down.  I did not even attempt to exercise then as merely making it through the day in one piece without putting my head on my desk and falling fast asleep was hard enough.

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Suddenly the wave disappeared and the “sweet spot” of the second trimester began. Not only was energy restored but in some ways I felt more alive than ever.  Perhaps it had to do with the extra blood and human activity coursing through my body! My initial exercise routine was to pop on some barre3 prenatal videos or a prenatal yoga video. While I enjoyed them, I felt that my body wasn’t quite there yet. I still craved more activity that the gentle flow these videos offered. I am sure when I am at my most swollen state I will retreat to these prenatal standards again that offer their calm reassurance that everything will be okay and that your body is beautiful and doing exactly what it should be doing. For now though, I am just so excited that I can still move around, stretch, and do strength work at the pace I was capable of before baby (or a pace quite comparable at least). That’s where my latest obsession comes in.

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Laura introduced me to PureBarre in Wellesley and I have gone multiple times a weeks since. At first the micro-movements were a bit difficult to understand. I found myself not quite accessing the muscles the instructors were indicating I should feel when I lift my leg like this or that. But, a few classes later I feel confident that I am doing it (mostly) right and am noticing a total difference in my mood, energy, and body image. Being pregnant is amazing but sometimes it is hard to look in the mirror and see a version of yourself that you are just not accustomed to seeing. Things shift and expand in places that were not expected.  And while I totally get that I am a child-making goddess right now, the post-natal me sometimes creeps in and says “Hey what will I look like?” PureBarre has helped me feel very strong as I lift weights, maximum my gluts, and do more and more push-ups. I feel more toned and relaxed about where my body is going and I feel more energetic and excited after each class. This was exactly the type of exercise I needed now and the type of exercise I have been looking for, for a long time. I am optimistic that I can continue taking classes throughout the third trimester as along as I don’t get any aches and pains (and my midwife approves of course), and I am excited to have something to come back to once I am ready to exercise again after the little man arrives!

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four years.

I woke up this morning and happily welcomed two things about today: Spring Break begins at 2:15PM and four years ago, David asked me to marry him. Spring Break is clearly exciting especially as we have a BIG family vacation planned in 7 days {pictures and updates sure to follow} but this morning I am blissfully reminiscent of what happened four years ago.

We had just landed in Rome and settled into our hotel. After a quick shower from the flight, we headed out to explore the area around us. Our hotel was located one block away from the Colosseum. The day was clear, bright, and warmish for March and we slowly walked up to the massive ancient ruin. David seemed quiet but I just thought that was due to jet lag. I started to share my nerdy love of history and that’s when David grabbed my hand and rushed straight pass the Colosseum! He said he wanted to go into the gardens that dotted the hill overlooking the ruin.  A little taken aback that he would just “skip” the Colosseum for gardens, I followed along, besides it was his first time in Rome after all. We headed up to Appian Hill and then it happened, the proposal, the “Yes!,” the tears, the joy, the hugs and kisses, and the “wow this is real!” It was wonderful and has been wonderful since.

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But this morning wasn’t just about remembering that moment with deep joy and fondness, but David and I also spent time this morning reflecting on all that has happened in these past four years. It is amazing to see our lives in that moment and how they have grown and changed to today. We are just so grateful for each other and for the many blessings we have shared and continue to share on this journey together. He is my sweetest friend and I am just so happy to have such an amazing individual to share my life with.

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David & Melissa Zippin October 2010

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advisory party

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This afternoon I was anxious about lunch. My advisees, (9 students who I support and advise throughout the duration of their high school experience) wanted to go off campus for lunch. Not just that, but they wanted to go to Shake Shack which is notoriously crowded.  Of course, the idea of lunch off campus was totally appealing, but the reality of getting everyone there, fed, and back in time for their next class was intimidating. Despite my concerns, I went with it. Why not?  I mean my time with them is so limited and we enjoy our time together so much that I got in the car and drove over to our luncheon.

Once there it became apparent that they not only invited me to lunch to enjoy burgers together but also to celebrate the baby-to-be.  They brought “It’s a Boy” balloons and a celebration cake that said “Congratulations” in blue to the table and were too cute with their surprise. They giddily shared how they planned the whole thing and how they tried so hard not to ruin the surprise. There thoughtfulness was truly touching.  The night before this surprise, I had shared with David how hard it feels sometimes to be the first friend in my primary friend circle to have a baby. Not only will a baby change the friend dynamics but I sometimes feel like this momentous event in which my body and my life will forever be defined as “before” and “after” baby is moving by fairly unnoticed. Of course, I in no means expect constant celebration but it sometimes feels that talking about the baby-to-be among friends isn’t always popular.  Rationally I know that life gets in the way of life and that everyone is busy with the events, family, and moments that are most directly connected to them, but it meant so much to me today to celebrate and share with my advisees.  I am going to be devastated when this group of talented, kind, and funny students graduate in another year but I am so thankful to have gotten to know them so well and to share in their journey, just as they have shared in mine.

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