Hiccups are cool!

Wanna know what is the coolest? Watching your unborn baby hiccup during a sonogram. And watching her/him moving all about, with fully visible hands and feet. You mamas (and papas) know what I mean. Wow!

What’s even better is learning that your little baby looks perfectly healthy. No signs of any major issues. Heart beating away. It was truly amazing!

Here’s the obligatory picture:

Looking a lot more baby-like these days

This morning we had our first trimester screening, or NT scan. I am so happy that everything went well. The doctor said that there is no need for further screenings (CVS or amniocentesis) because everything looked so good. Yay for that!

At 12w5d, the baby is measuring 13w1d. They didn’t think this was as great as we did…but let me tell you. When you have exerpienced a baby (or babies) that are not measuring where they should be, 3 days extra in growth is very, very exciting! Go little olive, go!

This is starting to feel REAL!!!

How I’m feeling

I am feeling really good! My energy is coming back and my congestion is going away. Exercise is going well. My friend Rakelle commented on the Born Again post that her OB says that 90% of pregnancy ailments can be cured by exercise. I can see that!

This weekend my friends noticed my baby bump. I loved it, especially when Es commented that she noticed because I usually have a flat belly. I love you, Es!

Yesterday I pulled off the rubber band pants trick (ask me if you want me to explain) since I was wearing my one pair of pants with a standard button closure. It was such a relief! Why do most Ann Taylor pants have that flat hook thing? It doesn’t work with a rubber band and it is making things very difficult right now.

What’s Next

At this stage, the appointments get farther apart. I don’t go back in for an exam for another 4 weeks. That’s kind of great, but at the same time it doesn’t really provide that information fix that type-A mommies to be might be craving. I guess this is where all of that patience I’ve been practicing gets used. I’m think this is also why some mom’s to be buy home doppler devices. I’m going to try to hold off on this.

By the way

I learned something today. Those expensive prescription prenatal vitamins…they aren’t much better than what you can buy over-the-counter. The doctor said that they sometimes have a little less folic acid, but they are generally sufficient. I hear Trader Joe’s makes a good version that I’ll look into. My current prescription, after insurance, costs about $1 per pill. I’m pretty sure that TJ’s is a lot less expensive. If I need to, I will take some extra folic acid.

Thanks for reading and supporting me! You guys are the best!


Try This! Sweet Potatoes with Warm Black Bean Salad

Continuing my theme of sharing some of my favorite healthy recipes, I give you another easy vegetarian meal. Truth be told, I prefer eating vegetarian. The Knight, not so much. So I haven’t made this in a while.
This is a great weeknight meal. If you’re into leftovers, go ahead and double it. It reheats well (and works great for lunch at the office).
This is one of those dishes that surprises you with how flavorful it is – it is more than the sum of its parts. It is also packed with superfoods (sweet potatoes, beans, and tomatoes are all super foods). Right on!
Sweet Potatoes with Warm Black Bean Salad

From EatingWell:  December 2005/January 2006

For a satisfying last-minute supper, it’s hard to beat a sweet potato zapped in the microwave. The fragrant filling of beans and tomatoes adds protein. Be sure to eat the skin, which is full of fiber, as well.

4 servings | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream [I prefer greek yogurt]
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Microwave on High until tender all the way to the center, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425 degrees F until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium microwaveable bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, oil, cumin, coriander and salt; microwave on High until just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, heat in a small saucepan over medium heat.)
  3. When just cool enough to handle, slash each sweet potato lengthwise, press open to make a well in the center and spoon the bean mixture into the well. Top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.


Per serving : 295 Calories; 6 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 6 mg Cholesterol; 52 g Carbohydrates; 8 g Protein; 9 g Fiber; 572 mg Sodium; 541 mg Potassium

3 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable 1/2 fat

Enjoy! If you like this, let me know. I have a couple more sweet potato recipes I would be happy to share.

Today is an Awesome Day!

Well guys, it is a great day! Here’s why today is remarkable:

1) I am OFFICIALLY in my SECOND TRIMESTER!!!!! (I am 12 weeks pregnant.)

2) Today marks my 8 year anniversary with the Federal Government.

3) The Sulemon octuplets turn two years old today. I know, you’re sorry you didn’t know ahead of time so you could send a gift – no, 8 gifts.

I have to say, I am pretty darn excited about #1.

I feel pretty good, except for the intense sinus pain I’m experiencing at the moment. But hey, I’ll take it. I’m not queasy, my nose runs only at a moderate rate, and I am well-rested.

Rumor has it that some time around now I am supposed to wake up feeling fabulous. Energetic, healthy, and happy. I am really looking forward to that. Actually, I’m 2 out of 3 right now.  If I could just stop being a mucus factory it would be terrific!

As you can see below, I am definitely “showing.” That is, if you know what you’re looking at. If you didn’t know me, you might think I just look chunky. I remember my friend Jill telling me years ago that she wished she could tell random strangers that she was pregnant, not fat. I found that very funny at the time. Now I too wish that I had a t-shirt that said that. Whatever. Just my vanity coming out. It really doesn’t matter.

Today the Little Olive is the size of a beautiful plum. I find it kind of funny that two weeks ago we were a prune – which is a dehydrated plum – and now we are a regular plum. Are you starting to see how my silly mind works?

If these fruit comparisons aren’t working for you, I have something else to offer. I think I have just a few male readers who might find this particularly amusing. I found this blog for Dads called His Boys Can Swim. Funny stuff! The writer offers a male perspective on the baby making business and provides this handy-dandy chart with week-by-week comparisons that are easier for the male mind to comprehend. This week the LO is the size of a small tape measure.

The Weight Challenge

Without further ado, I present to you the latest weight challenge photos.  As you can see, I am packing on the pounds. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. I haven’t weighed in the past few days, but the last time I did, I was exactly the same as the week before. I feel like that the weight is shifting – and I am sure you’ll agree when you see the picture. This morning I had to unbutton my pants while sitting at my desk. I swear these pants fit last week.

Joe is making terrific progress, too. See for yourself. He’s been getting it done. He even started hitting the weights before work. Go Joe!!!

Week 4 – Joe is definitely smaller and I’m definitely…not 

At some point I will do a side-by-side presentation of the weekly pictures. Won’t that be fun?

Thanks for reading!



I’m Born Again!

Don’t worry. I’m not going to preach to you. Not about religion, at least.

Recently, my exercise routine has been sporadic at best. Well, not just recently. It has been extremely inconsistent for the past year.

I don’t need to tell you that is VERY unlike me. What can I say? In my defense, the major cause of this inconsistency was medical orders to stop exercising completely (the three weeks after my surgery last April) or to take it very easy (following the numerous embryo transfers and pregnancy scares). And since I always do what I’m told [cough, cough], I listened. Actually, I have been really good about following these orders.

While I am still not back to my usual workout routine, I am exercising at least a few times a week. This is a huge contrast to my self-imposed exercise ban for the preceding month. And let me tell you, the difference is phenomenal. On the days when I exercise, I am much more likely to sleep through the night, have a good appetite for healthy food, and simply feel good.

I am listening to my body. When it says stay on the couch, I stay on the couch. But I do push myself to get down to the gym when I feel the pull to stay at my desk and keep working. That’s different.

Yesterday I did 20 easy minutes on the elliptical followed by 6 sets of light weights (i.e., around 60-70 % of my usual weight). It felt really good! And you know what? I slept well last night. Today I feel great and have that pleasant soreness that reminds me that I had a brief rendezvous with some iron yesterday. Love it!! I almost feel like myself again.

This morning I declared, “I am a born again exerciser! I want to spread my gospel to the world!” Hallelujah!!!

In all seriousness, the difference in how I feel and sleep after exercising is tremendous! It is like a drug. And I’m not talking about a marathon-training run or a P90X training session. I’m talking about small amounts of moderate exercise.

Apart from all of the wacky things that happen to a pregnant body, I totally believe that the colds and crap I’ve been suffering from over the past two months would probably be non-issues had I been sticking with a regular exercise routine (and yeah, a regular sleep schedule). Honestly, before this I think it had been about two years since I was last sick. I don’t regret a single thing, and would do what I did all over again. In some ways, it has helped me appreciate my fitness even more than before.

And my body? Well, I’m pregnant. Who knows how much of my weight gain and body changes are due to the hormonal changes and how much is due to my changed routine. I’m not just talking about my big belly. My butt, thighs, arms, back etc, are all different. Larger and flabbier. It is not the end of the world and this isn’t a complaint. Oh yeah…I’m sure the regular middle-of-the-night snack sessions have played a part as well.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m at peace with all of this. I am prepared for my body to change. I am going to get big. Really big! And I’m looking forward to it. Sure, I would love to be one of those pregnant ladies like my friends Mary and Melody who just looked like their normal selves with a big watermelons under their shirts, but no such luck.

So, what I’m saying is that exercise is the key. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. Most of my readers are my Team Z teammates and already know what I’m talking about. I just want to spread this message. I have seen the light! After a month away from any form of exercise, I am especially appreciative of the benefits of just a little bit of exercise can bring.

Leaving aside the amazing health benefits of exercise, the tangible benefits of how you feel, sleep, and fight off illness are just too huge to ignore. I want to run around screaming and singing about it like those preachers on Sunday morning television. Get off your butt and move, people!!! You can do it! It is worth it!

Okay, I’m done now. Can I get an “Amen!”?

Temporary Insanity

So, yesterday was interesting, huh? I am still laughing about how things unfolded. We had planned to tell the kids about the pregnancy this week (we decided to wait this time since last time well, you know). Then I was going to finally share the news with those who don’t read the blog. I just hadn’t figured out how. But, well, it happened differently and it was so fun.

Last night was interesting, too. I had what I would describe as a brief period of temporary insanity. I woke up a few hours after going to sleep. I felt bad! I was really queasy and my stomach was hurting. I was only about semi-conscious. I reached down and touched my stomach. I felt my larger-than-normal belly and remembered I am pregnant.

My thoughts went something like: pregnant=bad. How did this happen? I don’t like this. I don’t want to be pregnant anymore. This is too much.

Yeah, weird. And it gets better.

Don’t worry, I didn’t do anything stupid. Well, other than share these deranged thoughts with the Knight. I don’t even know what I said. Evidently whatever it was scared him. He tried to comfort me and I supposedly told him not to touch me. My recollection is that I said so nicely, but I don’t think he thought I was being very sweet.

Amazingly, I rolled over and fell back asleep. I told a friend about this when I got to work, but then forgot about all of it until now. I read a blog post by a woman who has a very challenging two month old baby. Apparently, in her sleep deprived state, she decided she was a danger to the baby and started packing her bags. She also freaked out her husband. Everything was fine, though. She got some sleep and is looking into hiring a night nurse.

I think last night’s episode really helped me understand this. You all know how badly I wanted to be pregnant, and how happy I am that I am. But yikes, a little fatigue and nausea and I am all crazy talk. Now it is just an amusing story. History. But wow.

I think I remember my Mom telling me that she had visions of throwing me out the window. It turned out that my nonstop crying was due to a milk allergy. Every time I cried she would try to soothe me with a bottle. you can guess how that went. Poor me. Poor mom.

Has anyone experienced anything thing like this? Hormones and sleep deprivation…look out.

More on the Job Search

In a previous post I alluded to the fact that I am searching for a new job. Don’t worry, this is not a secret. Many of you have probably already heard the really long story in person.

I actually drafted a post explaining the two and half-year history of my decision to change careers and the aftermath. Cue the violins. It was very therapeutic to write but it was just so ridiculously long (as those of you who have endured the verbal account can attest) that I decided not to publish it.

If you’re interested, I will happily email that post to you, but for the purposes of this blog, I will boil it down to this:

  • After 5+ years practicing employment and labor law, I decided that I wanted to do something different.
  • I found a new career I was really excited about.
  • After a long process that involved my new office getting funding for the position (over 1 year), everything fell into place and I was told that my transfer was a “done deal.”
  • I had already resigned from my attorney position when the whole thing fell apart. As a government attorney, I was hired under the “excepted service.”  The only real difference between excepted service and the regular “competitive service” is that excepted service employees cannot be transferred.
  • I applied for the position and as predicted, was “blocked” by the many veterans who applied and received preference (i.e., extra points for being veterans).
  • I have since applied for many other positions. I have been blocked by veterans for all of the competitive service positions – even ones for which I am very over-qualified.
  • I am currently on a 2-year temporary detail to our Office of Congressional Affairs. (I applied for the position I am currently filling and was also blocked by veterans). The detail ends in September.

Look… I realize how incredibly fortunate I am. I have a job. I have skills and an education, etc, etc.  I just need to find the right job.

When this detail ends, I am slated to return to my former office. I had a good deal there. I liked my job, I did it well, and I had good work-life balance.

But a lot has happened in the past year and a half . For starters, my wonderful boss in counsel’s office passed away suddenly a month ago. Then there’s the fact that people weren’t exactly excited that I submitted my resignation and that has made things, ummm, awkward. Finally, I guess I feel like I have worked hard in this detail position and want to build on my experience (and yes, be rewarded for it) and don’t necessarily want to take a step backwards from here. Maybe that’s greedy.

It is the first time in my life where I really don’t know what to do next. I don’t have a clear path to the end. It is not like law school (study, study, study), the bar exam (study harder and longer), or a marathon or Iroman (follow the plan, train, train, train).

I keep applying for government jobs and I keep getting rejected because despite being deemed eligible for the positions I am notified “We have not reviewed your qualifications for this position due to the abundance of eligible compensable veterans” who applied. Many vacancy announcements include a statement that you shouldn’t even bother applying if you are not a veteran.

Now, before anyone even considers calling me anti-veteran, I would like to defend myself and say I am not. My father was a war veteran. My husband is a veteran. I appreciate veterans. I just don’t appreciate the Veterans Preference Rights right now. I realize that veterans need jobs. I really do.  But is it too much to ask that I get a new job, too? I have been a faithful government employee for 8 years.

So, that’s the nutshell version. I’m not really sure what’s next. I can keep applying for attorney positions, but then I wonder if I would just be better off going back to my former office. You know – the known versus the unknown.

Would I consider moving the private sector? I guess. As a lawyer, I am very reluctant to do the law firm thing. Two words: billable hours.

What do I really want to do? Something investigative. I think my biggest strength in my old position was my ability to work with my clients and witnesses. I really enjoyed the interviewing, the witness prep, alternative dispute resolution (mediation, etc). The best part of my job was when I would get a new case and I got to put the puzzle together to figure out what happened.

I’d love a job in an Inspector General or Attorney General’s office. I just don’t want to sit in front of a computer all day writing briefs and memos. I want to be challenged. I want to be excited to go to work.

Things have a way of working out. I look forward to re-reading this post years from now and being happy with how things turned out. Until then, I am keeping an open mind while I figure out what’s next.

Thanks for reading!

The First Part is Not True. The Second Part is.

Ay yay yay! My iPad is beeping like crazy every time someone comments on my status. Here’s the scoop…

So, I watch too much HGTV. I particularly love House Hunters, much to the Knight’s chagrin. Of course, this time of year they are contstantly hyping their Dream House sweepstakes. The Knight and I started pretending that we are going to (I mean planning for when we do) win. So I posted on facebook that we are moving to Utah. Sorry, didn’t mean to scare anyone… I am silly like that.

And then one of my friends said I couldn’t move until she saw the baby, which is big news to anyone who hasn’t been reading this blog. I was planning to wait until later to break the news, but here it is. We haven’t even told the kids yet.

We are pregnant!  We are in the final week of the first trimester.

Everything looks good. We still have a lot of screenings and such to do, but it is really exciting that we’ve made it this far.



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