Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

12 Weeks

12.5 weeks....I have definitely "popped"!

How far along? 12 Weeks (well 12.5)
Total weight gain: 8lbs
Maternity clothes? Nope, but I feel less bloated. Jeans are definitely out of the question. Leggings and dresses are my best friend.
Stretch marks? Nope, but I bought lots of BioOil (it was on sale!), and have started to apply it.
Sleep: Sleeping great.
Best moment this week: Feeding the penguins at the Calgary Zoo and Ultrasound on Tuesday.
Miss Anything? Brownie batter! I know this is random, but I baked some brownies the other day and I couldn’t eat the batter :(
Movement: Nope, but I saw the baby move.
Food cravings: Not really. Eating lots of fruit like Mandarin Oranges, Bananas, Grapes and drinking lots of milk.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Still not eating Spinach or Ruben Sandwiches, and brushing my teeth is still an issue.
Gender: Don’t know.
Labor Signs: Nope.
Symptoms: I stopped taking diclectin the other day (by accident – I just forgot to take it), and though I don’t feel as amazing, I’m not really nausea anymore. No other symptoms.  
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy
Looking forward to: Dinner with friends this weekend, and Nick writing his ACP exam.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One + One equals Three

Photo by Guenard Photography
The Irvine clan is about to expand! Nick and I are expecting our first baby this spring, and we’re excited. Though it hasn’t been the biggest secret as we’ve been pretty open about it to our friends and family early on, I guess now that I am almost 13 weeks, I suppose it’s now appropriate to publicly share the news.
It was no secret that I had baby fever. All I’ve talked this year about is how I couldn’t wait for Nick to finish school so we could start trying for a baby. Back when we got engaged and married, we agreed to let Nick finish the Paramedic program before we started a family. At the time we made this decision we didn’t know which school Nick would be going to. If he didn’t get into PMA he would have to attend SAIT, which is a 2 year program and that was a little frightening, because waiting 2 more years was not ideal (for me anyways). Thankfully Nick got into PMA, which started earlier and it would only take him 14 months to complete.
Well Nick’s last day was in September, and with my special convincing powers I was able to convince Nick to at least start trying in August, after all, no one gets pregnant on their first try, right?
Well it didn’t take very long because the day after we got back from our camping trip at the end of August (the 26th) we found out I was indeed pregnant. Though we weren’t too shocked, it still was a little surprising that it happened on the first try. Nick was kind of hoping that it would take us a few months to conceive, just to have a few extra months to get our ducks in a row, but oh well. For awhile Nick was a little more worried than happy (babies = money), but once school ended and with the ACP exam just around the corner, he’s become more happy with the idea.
One the Left: taken after work on August 26th. On the Right: take then next morning just to make sure :)
We first broke the news to Nick’s family at dinner a few days after finding out. I made chocolate cupcakes and made little toppers that said “Grandma”, “Grandpa”, “Aunt Megan”, etc. This is the first grandchild on his side, so I couldn’t wait to tell them as Nick’s mom has been waiting a long time to be a Grandma. When I first presented the cupcakes, Megan caught on immediately. It took a few moments for Nick’s mom and dad to realise what was going on. Megan screamed “You’re pregnant? That was quick!” Apparently Megan had texted Nick the day before we found out, jokily asking if I was pregnant yet. Little did we all know, that I actually was.

Originally I was going to wait until the September Long Weekend to tell my mom and sister when we were in Sylvan Lake, but the Friday before we left I was at my parent’s house getting my hair done by Danika. She kept going on about when we have a baby that she’ll give me some of Alexa’s old things, and finally I couldn’t contain myself and I caved in. I told Danika, and when my parents were both home, I told them. They were excited, but not too surprise as they knew we had started trying. Slowly we began other friends and family as we saw them, and by the end of September most people knew.
We had our first (dating) Ultrasound on September 10th. Not sure why we had to go do the dating one, because I had been super good at tracking my cycles the past 6 months, but I wasn’t about to say no to an Ultrasound. I was about 6 weeks at the time, and we got to see the heart beat and the little “cluster of cells” (Nick words)! It was neat to see that at least there was indeed something in there, and it wasn’t a phantom pregnancy. Around the same time I got my first taste of pregnancy and experienced severe nausea. After a week of feeling like crap and not eating well I made a little trip to the doctor’s and got myself some diclectin. LIFE. SAVERS. I finally was able to feel good and eat proper food. Naps and sleep became my best friend, as I was definitely a lot more tired than normal. I was so glad that we didn’t have too much going on in September, because all I wanted to do was stay home, watch TV and sleep.
I had my first prenatal exam on October 10th followed by another Ultrasound yesterday and doctor's appointment today.

One thing I wanted to do when I got pregnant was do some sort of weekly progress report on the blog (along with pictures). I only plan on being pregnant a couple more times (number of kids is still under discussion), so I want to make sure that as much as being pregnant is no walk in the park, that I document and savour it. It’s a blessing and something that I should be extremely grateful for. So I started to do a little progress report since I was 10 weeks (I'm currently 12.5 weeks), and I want to get it posted. Here's 10 weeks for now, I plan to post 12 weeks really soon:

How far along? 10 Weeks
Total weight gain: 4 lbs. I blame this on the nausea I experienced week 6-7 as I ate extremely poor, and haven’t gained weight since week 7.
Maternity clothes? Nope, but already have a dress that won’t zip up, and I hate wearing pants.
Stretch marks? Nope, but I’ve got a bump, so I’ll be buying some special lotion this week and get into the habit of applying it daily.
Sleep: Sleep great, I just always want more.
Best moment this week: Catching up with a high school friend and celebrating Whitney’s birthday. Sorry it’s not pregnancy related.
Miss Anything? Wearing some of my favourite jeans
Movement: Not yet.
Food cravings: Not really. I usually had a spinach salad for lunch, but that stopped at week 6. I’ve been more drawn to bananas and pasta lately (but not together!), but don’t consider those cravings yet.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Spinach, Ruben Sandwiches (the Rockyview Cafeteria has these sandwiches on their menu, and I can’t stand the smell. I have to run through the cafeteria without stopping). Oh and brushing my teeth is another story. I have to make it quick and can’t let the paste sit in my mouth to long or I start gagging. Weird.
Gender: Don’t know yet (and yes we will try and find out. Didn’t realise people had such strong opinions on this subject. It’s still an “awesome surprise” whether you find out before or after).
Labor Signs: Nope.
Symptoms: If I didn’t have diclectin, I know I would be experiencing nausea. Tired, and bloated some days.
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Two Thanksgiving Dinners next weekend!

Monday, October 14, 2013

13 Things I’m Grateful for

I don’t think I did a Thanksgiving post last year, but I think it was because I was busy planning and executing my parent’s 25thAnniversary Party on the same weekend. This year I decided I should do a quick post, as it’s nice to count your blessings.
So here are 13 things I am thankful for in 2013:

13. Intelligence. I deal with a lot of different people on a daily basis, and you see a variety of people walking through a hospital. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the person I am and I know this sounds silly – but the brain I’ve been born with. Yes there are always things you would like to change about yourself (some have been pointed out to me), and I try my best to always improve, but at the same time I am grateful for many of the traits and common sense that I have. It amazes me how something’s that make complete common sense to me (like the simple equation of how life works – if you want to play hard you need to work hard too) don’t compute with other people, and then they complain about how their life sucks. I get to do some amazing and fun things, but it comes from a combination of hard work and opportunities. I like to surround myself with the same sort of people and I am so proud of some of the amazing accomplishments that my friends have achieved and I love how we all cheer each other on.

12. Calgary. I love living in Calgary. It’s such a beautiful city that offers so many opportunities. Nick was able to attend an amazing school, I have a good job, and all our immediate friends and family all live relatively (except Bev – but she’s ensured me that she intends to eventually move back) close to us. Quite often I will be driving around and think how stunning Calgary is. We have no intentions on living anywhere else, and agree we want to raise our family here. Sometimes the thought of living somewhere warmer crosses my mind, but seeing the seasons is something other people would die to see, so as much as a pain that snow can be, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

11. Clothes. Yes this is on my list. It’s amazing how a beautiful new dress or shirt can make you feel like a million bucks. I definitely cut back a little on my shopping this year (Nick may disagree), but I would indulge from time to time, and sometimes a reward is completely justifiable when you earn it.

10. Holidays. Nick and I didn’t get a whole lot of time together this year or do any big trips, but I still managed to squeeze in some weekend getaways through the year. We had the ski trip in March, our Anniversary in April, and the camping trip in August. We have one more little trip up to Edmonton in December for my cousins wedding. I had a couple other trips with friends and family without Nick, but the ones with Nick are always my favorite. Work has been so crazy for the both of us this year, that I literally countdown the days until our next getaway.

9. Technology. If you know me, my cellphone is never too far from my side. It allows me to stay in contact with the most important people to me. It also allows me to make party plans and set up coffee and dinner dates with those I love. I am getting better at not touching my phone when Nick is around as he really doesn’t it like it when I am on my phone all the time, but I still have some room for improvement!

8. Good Food. Though Nick was a full time student, we didn’t have to live solely on mac n’ cheese (though I do like to have it from time to time). We are able to buy decent groceries and make some delicious meals (let me clarify – Nick make some delicious meals). We also get to go out for dates to some amazing restaurants and enjoys some amazing dinners.

7. Health. Nick and I both work in the health industry, so we see daily the repercussions of bad health. We both don’t have any health issues, for which I am grateful for. I know one day health eventually fades, but until then I will take advantage of the life I have and  not waste it.

6. Our cats. Shmoo and Freddy bring a lot of entertainment and laughter to our home, and so I guess I am thankful for them too. Freddy is constantly doing something funny and he has such a big personality.

5. My job. This year it was kind of hard for me to put this on the list due to some frustrations, however it’s teaching me some patience. Plus I am grateful that I do have a job, as it’s something I know you should never take for granted when you hear about the financial struggles that other people go through. It’s allowed Nick and I to live relatively comfortable while Nick was a full time student, and allowed us to continue to accomplish our goals.

4. Church and the gospel. Can’t say enough about the gospel. We just had conference last weekend, and there were some amazing talks. I am also grateful to know that Nick and I will be together for eternity along with our families. The past year, church on Sunday’s wasn’t always the easiest with Nick’s schedule, but I am still grateful for the Sunday’s we do get together, and cherish them a little more.

3. Our home. Sometimes I catch myself wishing certain things were different about our home, or that it was bigger, but I know Nick and I are blessed with what we have - and considering our age, we are doing just fine. No matter what, people are always going to compare themselves to others and wishing for something more. I know eventually Nick and I will buy a bigger home, but I just need to be grateful for what I have now and know that goals take time to accomplish.

2. Family and Friends. I put them together, because most of my close friends I consider my family.  Nick and I have such great and supportive immediate family that care for us and I know we can count on them. We have also been blessed with some great friends whom are just as supportive.

1. Last, but definitely not least is my husband Nick. I am a lucky girl to have such a wonderful, hardworking and loyal husband. He is always there for me, and does everything possible to provide me with a life of happiness and comfort.

Calgary Zoo

We had such a busy Thanksgiving weekend, but it was full of so many exciting things. On Saturday Nick and I went to the Calgary Zoo to do the Premier Penguin Behind the Scenes experience. Originally I bought these tickets back in May to do in July as a surprise for Nick’s birthday. Then the Calgary Flood happened, and the Calgary Zoo was hit very hard. So we had to postpone this and wait until the Calgary Zoo was reopened. At the end of August I got an email saying they were starting up the penguin programs again, so we booked in October when Nick was finished with his classes.
Now anyone who really knows us, know that Nick and I really like our penguins. It all goes back to when I was living in New Zealand and Nick and I had starting writing to each other. We hadn’t seen each other since high school, but we had this chemistry and started writing each other (through MSN, which then changed over to Facebook). Eventually we were writing each other every day and a friendship was created. Just before I came home, I asked Nick what I should bring him back from New Zealand. I was thinking more along the lines of a stuffed Kiwi Bird or Sheep, but Nick exclaimed that he wanted me to bring him home a penguin. When I asked why a penguin, he said because they’re cool, look awesome (like they’re wearing a suit), and likes that they mate for life. So I brought him home a penguin. Now that particular penguin never made it into Nicks hands, because my dog Mecka got to it first, but after we started dating, I eventually bought him another one. Since then Nick and I love penguins. We tend to buy penguin cards or wrap our gifts in penguin wrapping paper or bags. At our wedding we had penguin cake toppers and I inserted little penguins on our advice sheets that guests filled out and wedding programs. Our friend Kendall even symbolically adopted a penguin on our behalf as a wedding gift.
Anyways when I saw that the zoo offered the experience to go behind the scenes and feed the penguins, I thought it would be a super cool thing for Nick and I to do, and bought tickets for Nick’s birthday. The tickets were a little expensive, but overall it was worth it as we had such an amazing afternoon.

Nick and I got to the zoo about an hour before our tour and walked around the zoo. Most of the zoo was still closed off because of damage from the flood, but we got to see a few animals. After, we meet with our guide outside of the Penguin Plunge and she talked about a few of the different species of penguins as explained which ones were outside, and which ones were inside. The summer ones are still outside during the day, and the winter ones are inside, but they’ll soon be switching them as Calgary temperatures drop further. Then we went inside and she told as more about the Rockhopper Penguins (Nick’s favourites), King Penguins and Gentoo Penguins. She showed us the little tunnels they can swim through to get to each side of the enclosure and explained different things to us. Then she took us into the back where the staff all work and showed us the different areas of the Penguin building. She first showed us the vet area and explained to us about a few different things like special programs in North America that determine which penguin should mate with which penguin in order to achieve a good gene pool and so the species will thrive for the next 100 years. She also told us about their feathers, which are not waterproof (they take an oil from their bum and wipe it all over themselves to make their feather waterproof…eww) and go through a molting phase about once a year which can last anywhere from a few weeks and up to a month. During this time they don’t go swimming, so they don’t eat. So just before they lose their feather they eats lots to gain some extra weight as they lose weight while molting so they're also a little grumpy during this phase. The guide/keeper told us about some of the unique personalities of each penguin and their smallest penguin definitely has the “little man syndrome”, meaning she is the meanest. She even chased a big mean King Penguin around and made him give up his food to her. The keeper told us most of the penguins are scale trained, which is really important because it’s the best way to tell if a penguin is sick, so it’s something they watch very closely. The penguins just step right up onto the scale and is hand feed their favourite fish as a reward.
Got my rubber boots on, and I'm ready to meet some penguins!

She showed us the quarantine rooms and explained they’re uses.  She even told us of a Calgary ophthalmologist performed eye surgery on a penguin that had cataracts and was unable to care for himself. After training him to receive eye drops the surgeon took the penguin to her clinic and performed the surgery in his eyes. After they brought him back, they had to keep him in quarantine so he wouldn’t get any water near his eyes. After about 2 weeks he was let back out, and other then being far-sided, is a completely normal penguin again. He can feed and groom himself as well as walk and swim all he likes. We thought that was a really cool story.
She showed us the huge freezer full of 5 different types of fish and they only get fish shipped in from sustainable fish farms and told us the halibut is their favourite. She took us to the food preparation room and explained to us about the feedings. The first one in the morning is generally the only handfeed one, but that’s because those fish have vitamins stuck inside them. Just like our food, when food is frozen, it loses some of its nutrients. They don’t ever force the penguins to eat them, and just hope they’ll take it the next day.
Finally the keeper took us out with a bucket of fish and we got to feed the penguins. There were lots of onlookers watching us, and were taking pictures of us feeding the fish. I kind of felt like a celebrity, and it was so cool to see the penguins up close. The only penguins we weren’t allowed to feed were the King Penguins, and that’s because they can be a little more aggressive and the zoo doen’t want any guests to go home bleeding. One King Penguin however came over and stood beside me looking for food, but I just kept feeding the Rockhoppers and Gentoo’s.
Finally after some pictures and finishing feeding the penguins, our tour was over (the fire alarm also went off, but at least it happened near the very end of our tour).
I seriously would do this again in a heartbeat, and I plan on too in the future. Nick and I left happy, and Nick just kept saying how cool it was. I’m glad he liked his birthday gift.
King Penguin
Gentoo Penguins
Rockhopper Penguins
Nick and I leaving the zoo

Later that night Nick and I went on a double date with two friends that I set up on a blind date. We had dinner downtown on Stephen Avenue at the Metropolitan Grill. After we walked over to Village Ice Cream for some dessert. It was a cute little shop, and the ice cream was so good. In all it was such a great day, filled with some really good memories.