Second Trimester Reflection

My second trimester is coming to an end in the next week or so (this is only one of about 900,000 things that I have found nauseatingly debatable during this process… some say 27 weeks, some say 28 weeks. The mathematical truth of it is actually 26.63 weeks which technically puts me officially into my third tri, so pop that Fre champagne because I am officially in the final 2/3rds of this thing).

Being pregnant isn’t really as scary as I thought it would be, but now that I’m getting down to the finish line, I am starting to worry that I am absolutely unprepared for the whole ‘keeping this human alive on the outside’ portion of my journey. While I can’t say I’ve enjoyed my trip down spawn shuttle lane, I can tell you that I am one of the lucky ones because I have had it relatively easy. I’m healthy, I’ve gained appropriate weight in the appropriate places, I never threw up and was barely nauseous, my side affects for the most part were very mild, and I have had a supportive partner through it all. I’ve learned a lot, some of it very helpful, some of it not at all, and some of it just god damn ridiculous. So here’s some tidbits:

– It’s okay to feel the way you feel and act the way you act and be the way YOU need to be. There’s some weird shit going on with your body and it’s not always (or rarely) pleasant. As long as you’re not having thoughts of harming yourself or others, feel however you need to feel to get through this weird and difficult time. If you are having harmful thoughts, please reach out to your doctor immediately, you’re not alone and it’s not an uncommon or shameful thing.

– Every time you think you’re clueless about pregnancy or parenting, just remember there are a bunch of other people out there making you look like mom-to-be of the year. If you don’t believe me, join any of the due date groups on facebook. The number of people who ask if it’s safe to get tattooed while pregnant will astound you. Some of my favorites include: “will my heated seat hurt the baby?” “I had to leave the movie theatre today because it was so loud and she was kicking like crazy, I hope I didn’t damage her hearing” Variations of the following: OMG I AM JUST CRAVING SUSHI ANYONE ELSE GIVE IN AND EAT SOME?! (y’all, sushi is not inherently raw, ffs check the menu); I WANT SUBWAY SOOOOOO BAD (okay then go get Subway, if you’re that concerned tell them to heat the lunchmeat up); GUYS I JUST NEED SOME COFFEE HOW MUCH DO YOU DRINK A DAY??? (Please stop basing your parental decisions on what randos on facebook are saying. If you want a cup of coffee, have a cup of coffee or even two! Keep your caffeine intake around 200mg like most websites suggest…or…CaLl YoUr DoCtOr). I AM SO FAT/ I AM NOT SHOWING AT ALL/ I’M 4 WEEKS, WHEN WILL I GET A BUMP?/ GUYS DOES THIS PICTURE MAKE ME LOOK FAT OR PREGNANT?/ I FEEL SOOOOOO DISGUSTING TODAY *POSTS PICTURE OF THEMSELVES HALF NAKED WITH FULL FACE OF MAKEUP*
Girls, google is your friend. Google won’t laugh at your completely ridiculous and asinine questions. The other ladies in these groups are not your friend and we WILL laugh at you. Save yourself and just google or call your doctor.

– Circumcision is a hot topic. Jesus Christ. I never thought I would have so many debates or read so many comments about what to do with a baby dick. Speaking freely (as if I do anything but) we will be circumcising. I let my husband make the decision since he’s a man and I am not. If I did not have a male counterpart in this equation, I would still circumcise and do you want to know why? Okay cool, let me know and maybe I will make a separate post about it someday but today is not that day. Moving on…

may have went a little crazy at Hobby Lobby once we decided on a theme for his room

– Every single person will have an opinion on what you’re eating, what you’re wearing, how you’re carrying, what you’re saying, what you’re posting, whether your bananas are too ripe to eat, whether your partner is being loving enough, whether you should work, drive, sleep, fart, chew gum this way or that. Ignore every single one of those people unless you’ve specifically asked them. Don’t even bother with being polite in accepting their advice, because it was unsolicited and unnecessary. I have been very lucky in that my friends and family (for the most part) have left me to my own devices and given me advice when I’ve asked and just blindly supported me when I haven’t. Probably because they know what a nightmare I can be when I’m not busy growing a whole ass human 🙂

– Be wary of ‘without the Woo’ and ‘evidence-based’ facebook groups. Take them with a grain of salt. While they do offer great advice, I have found them to be so. damn. judgmental. They’re fear-mongering and straight up rude to anyone who doesn’t fall exactly in line with what they believe.

– Closely related to the previous point…mind your damn business. If I’ve learned anything through this experience and reading post after post, article after article, it’s that there really is not any one totally correct way to parent. And just because someone’s doing something you don’t think you’ll do doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I will never co-sleep, I don’t think it’s worth the risk (but there’s risk in everything right?) but I know plenty of people who co-sleep and raise perfectly fine children. When I was a baby, they said to put me on my belly. Then in the 90’s, kids were put on their sides in their cribs. Now, my child will be sleeping on his back because that is what is (currently) considered safe. The truth is, all of these practices…there’s flaws in all of them and some of us get really fucking lucky and raise healthy beautiful kids and some of us experience things that no parent should ever have to experience. Just do your research, decide for you what you think is best and that’s all you can do, right?

– People will argue over literally anything related to pregnancy and parenting. A N Y T H I N G. Best to just avoid it unless you’re feeling feisty that day. Then jump in, express yourself, and jump back out before it consumes you. The mute option on people and groups is a great thing, really.

– If you want to buy 739 new baby items, and have the financial means to do so, then do it. I have been blasted by several people for buying things new instead of taking hand-me-downs or buying from thrift stores, facebook marketplace, etc. Here’s my reasoning: it makes me happy. Plain and simple. I wanted to buy things for Lucas because his is my child. He’s my first and if I have it my way, my last and only child. Being pregnant has not been an enjoyable time for me, so buying these things (as early as 6 weeks) when I make my weekly trips to Target or Walmart…or daily on Amazon… have brought me joy. I grew to be excited by picking up a new onesie for him or making a wish list for him of toys that I can’t wait to buy him. Don’t turn away good items if your friends and family are offering them to you, of course. But, if you want to do something that makes you happy (and it is mentally and physically healthy) then for the love of god, do it.

– Always, always, always put yourself and your baby first. This is the one time that you can come off as being completely selfish without anyone having any business calling you so. I haven’t seen my friends since…mid-November? and have only seen family because they’re family. I’ve grown closer to my ‘internet’ friends and book group friends, people that I can connect with from my couch when I choose to pick up my phone. And same goes with my friends too, I keep in touch with most of them via text and I do miss sitting around bullshitting with them in person, but I just don’t have it in me right now. I have scaled back the amount of stress, energy, and general fucks that I put into anything other than myself. I enforce the guidelines I set but never stuck to at work to make it a healthier place for me to be, which does include being there less and working from home more. All of these things are selfish, right? I was very social on the weekends; I did bend over backwards way more than I should’ve for my job and now I don’t. Because I mentally and physically cannot. And yeah, it makes me feel less than and it makes me feel shitty and like a bad friend, coworker, daughter/wife/abc-in-law/etc, but I refuse to put these things above making sure Lucas grows to his healthiest potential while my body is the one fueling him. It’s equally the most selfish and least selfish thing I’ve ever done.

So that’s it for now. It’s been a wild, weird, uncomfortable, weird, unstable, weird, hopeful, weird, and did I mention weird? ride so far. I know I’m really in for it, these last three months and I am absolutely NOT looking forward to that final month. But I’ll power through and I’ll come out better and grateful on the other side because it means that Lucas will have finally forced his way into this insane world.

The Whisper Man by Alex North – 2019 Release Book Review

If you are at all active in book groups or blogs, then it’s near impossible that you haven’t heard of The Whisper Man by Alex North. This may have been the most hyped thriller of 2019, and really with good reason.

While detective-involved mysteries & thrillers are not my typical cup of tea (I much prefer your run of the mill average Joe trying to figure out wtf is going on), this worked well.

The story itself mainly follows Tom and his son Jake as they navigate life on their own, after Tom’s wife passes away unexpectedly. What follows is a multi-POV mystery that is thick with varying types of family drama, a semi-nod at supernatural elements, a CREEPY singsong about a child murderer, intertwining plots, and more is what you will get with The Whisper Man.

The characters were well-done, and while this book is a thriller/mystery, it does a deep psychological dive into the parties involved. I loved the complexities of Tom’s relationships going both ways on his family tree, it was fantastic on a psychological level. I didn’t care much for DI Beck, but I enjoyed getting the perspective of DI Willis, with the flashbacks to the past. And am I alone in this, or did Jake remind anyone else of the little boy in The Ring? I really enjoyed Jake’s character, which I can say does not happen often with child characters in thrillers.

The twists were enjoyable, I didn’t see them coming.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon – 2019 Release Book Review

This one was a small step out of my comfort zone, although I didn’t know it until I was already in it.  I had heard Rivers Solomon’s name in the past as their release An Unkindness of Ghosts fit a 2019 reading prompt that I was attempting to fill and never got around to it.  It is still on my ‘check this out sometime’ radar, after reading The Deep.

Short synopsis – The Deep is a story about a mermaid-like descendant of humans…created by the offspring of pregnant African slaves that were thrown overboard. Because of their tumultuous and horrifying history, there is one being selected to retain all of the memories so that the rest of their people can go about their existence happily. Yetu, our MC, is that Historian. It becomes too much for her so she leaves her people in search for something better. Part mermaid mythology and part African folklore, The Deep is definitely an original story that will most likely stick with you.

The story itself was a little hard for me to take. The writing style isn’t something that typically keeps me interested, it’s flowy and romantic and I tend to prefer the directness of the author telling me exactly like it is. For only being 160ish pages, it felt like it took me a lot longer to read it than it should’ve, and honestly I don’t fault Rivers for that, they write beautifully, it’s just not my preference of style. Additionally, another thing that doesn’t always work for me is an allegorical story. I am daft and I read fast and I like my stories, again, to slap me in the face with their intent rather than finding the deeper meaning and connection. However, I think Rivers made it pretty obvious what they were intending to convey…or at least what I took away from it felt obvious. I found three heavy hitting allegories throughout this book – the idea of roots versus wings, can you have both? Can you make both work without one crushing the other? If you have wings, will you lose your roots? Are your roots even worth saving? / The grass being greener on the other side, that tale as old as time that everything we don’t have is better…and then we get it and is it really? / and lastly, growing up to discover your identity and whether or not that identity works with your past and where you came from and will your identity outgrow where you are? And is it okay to have that identity and go searching for what you need? Will people understand, and does it actually matter if they do or not? So yeah, a lot going on there. Especially when you consider this book doesn’t near 200 pages.

The characters…I didn’t have much of an opinion on.  I could definitely relate to Yetu and her struggle to want to get away but not want to disappoint anyone, and the inner turmoil she felt trying to decide between what may be best for her versus what may be ‘right’ for her people.  The side characters didn’t bring much to the story, but again with 160ish pages to work with, I don’t know how much a reader can actually get involved in the characters.

Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao – 2019 Release Book Review

Released in late 2019 after a TON of controversy (I have opinions, I’m not getting into them beyond saying…haters g o n n a hate), this probably became one of the most hyped/anticipated/talked about YA releases of the entire year. And despite the controversy and hype that it built up…Blood Heir lived up to expectations.

For a debut book, this is phenomenal. I know that a lot of revision supposedly went into it to try and correct the ‘mistakes’ the author allegedly made, but that aside, it is a fantastic well-rounded, well-written debut.

Short synopsis – Blood Heir follows Ana, a princess thought to be dead after being accused of murdering her father as she seeks revenge & justice. Ana is an affinite, which is a trait in certain people allowing them to control different aspects of the natural world. Ana has one of the rarest affinity’s…the ability to control blood.

The story itself does fit the stereotypical YA fantasy mold that we’ve all come to know and either love or hate. The idea behind having a group of people with specific powers is not creative, the idea of these people being bought/trafficked/enslaved turns it up a notch which I found enjoyable. On top of that Blood Heir includes almost all of my favorite tropes – slow burn, enemies to ???, and magic. There were also some good emotional moments.

The characters were enjoyable, lovable morally gray bad boys are my thing, so Ramson is high on my list.  Ana was relatable and Amelie did a great job writing her as royalty that doesn’t feel like she’s out of touch with the rest of the world…mainly because she wasn’t I guess, since her Affinity made her different.

This was my first five star of the year, I 100% recommend YA fantasy fans to check it out.

2019 Reading Wrap Up part 4 – Mid-Series Reads That Left Me Shook

Like I said in my last Wrap Up, I do have a bad habit of starting series and leaving them unfinished… Most of the books featured in this piece of the wrap up is part of a series that is STILL unfinished. I swear they are all on my 2020 list!

Finale by Stephanie Garber – book 3 YA Fantasy. I loved so much about this series, despite being incredibly annoyed by one of the main characters. The world was gorgeous, the magic was …magical…, the ending was pretty much anything we could ask for. I hope Stephanie Garber returns to the world of Caraval one day, but if she doesn’t, these three books will be worth returning to time after time.

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff – book 2 NA Fantasy. This review is ripped straight from my Goodreads account: “I don’t think I’ve ever said ‘what the fuck’ so many times as I did in the last 30 pages of this book. And that about wraps up Godsgrave and any other book by Jay Kristoff.

Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh – book 2 YA Fantasy. THIS DUOLOGY IS SO UNDERRATED. I received Reign of the Fallen via Netgalley early 2018 and read it in basically one sitting. I loved it so much that when Song of the Dead was being released and Sarah (who is absolutely amazing to interact with) announced that she was doing personalized autographs if you supported her local small bookshop that I decided I needed to own the duology in hardcover…personally signed for me. I fangirled hard over this one and the hype was real going into the final book. I wasn’t let down. Its’s such a cool, creative, diverse world. The only disappointment that I have is that I feel like Sarah only touched the tip of the possibilities in the world she created. I cannot recommend this series or author enough.

The Romeo Catchers by Alys Arden – book 2 YA Fantasy. The magical world of post-storm New Orleans comes back in this lengthy sequel that gives us new stories, new magic, new characters, and new plot twists. As I said in my blurb about The Casquette Girls, it’s so nice to read a fantasy book about New Orleans that drips in real New Orleans folklore, written by someone who grew up there. It’s honestly a love letter to the city and you can’t help but become totally infatuated.

The Wicked King by Holly Black – book 3 YA Fantasy. Uhh. So, have you ever absolutely hated the ending of a book but loved the book because okay fine, I know you’re making for good writing but god dammit give me the story that I want? Because that’s how I felt as I wrapped up the second book in Holly Black’s newest fae series. The finale of this series is sitting on my shelf begging me to read it, but honestly y’all…I don’t know if I’m ready for it. The Queen of Nothing and Darkdawn can just keep glaring at me and I’ll glare right tf back because they’re rude.

The Night Country by Melissa Albert – ARC released 1/7/2020


If you’re interested in my short and sweet underwhelming review of The Hazel Wood click here. The idea of The Hazel Wood was so cool but the execution wasn’t there and it was a struggle to get through that mess. However, that’s the main reason that I requested the sequel on Netgalley – I wanted a redemption song and I got one. 

This book is a full length sequel but it feels like a novella, in the best way. Not much seems to happen, but a lot does. I know those two sentences don’t whip you into a clear picture of what you’re getting with The Night Country, but it’s the best way I can explain it, okay?! We get more backstory, more character building, more stories from The Hinterland and a satisfying ending.

We get views from both Alice & Finch, the tricky part being that there aren’t chapter headlines that let you know we’re swapping characters (at least there weren’t in the e-galley that I received) so if it’s not made clear in the first paragraph or so it can be a little confusing until you’ve figured it out.

I don’t like to say a whole lot about sequels and spin-offs because I want to give people a chance to read a spoiler-free review about a series continuation if they’re on the fence. What I will say, is if you were in the opinion that The Hazel Wood was a let down (and so many of us were) then don’t disregard this one. I feel as though Melissa really took the criticism and made the adjustments needed to give us the story that the Hinterland deserves.

The Pups Have A Maternity Shoot

I’m obsessed with my dogs, and it’s no secret. We have two rescues – 7 year old Buck, a beagle / rat terrier / jack russell who I adopted as a puppy and 6 year old Cali, a pit / lab who was a foster fail thanks to my husband. They are my absolute world, Buck specifically having gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life and it is so important to me that they are involved in my pregnancy (you know, as involved as dogs can be) and that they never stop feeling all of the love that I’ve attempted to show them over the years.

They won’t be joining us on our professional maternity shoot as there will be food involved and they did not behave very well for their engagement or wedding photos (yes, they were involved in both OF COURSE) but being a photography graduate/freelance photographer once upon a time, I’ll be taking some to include them and also having my husband take a couple of them with me. I wanted to share the first few that I took with them here. Cannot wait to take more!