Hello, old friend!

It has been a while since I checked in over here and HOO BOY, are things better. I would like to kiss the face of whoever invented Phenergan. Seriously. I went from constant, nauseated misery coupled with crippling constipation (a giant bird to you, Zofran) to "I FEEL COMPARATIVELY MAAAAARVELOOOOOUS" with one dose. There were tears of gratitude on more than one occasion, no joke. With time, the nausea has gotten much better on its own too. I am down to one dose nightly, which gets me through the morning, and if I forget to take them, the misery is minimal. Thank GOD; the fall was a dark, dark time over here.

Conveniently, the dramatic improvement in health came just in time for the holidays. We went to Boston for the massive Irish shit show (i.e. Thanksgiving -- it's a lovely tradition, though pretty funny as the sober one). There is lots of delicious food (I come from a family of amazing cooks) and wine, and it's a great day with most of my mom's huge family. She's the oldest of nine, and 7/9 attend with all of their spouses and kids. We missed it last year, so it was great to be back. 

Once we got home, we decorated for Christmas as much as I had energy for, because Mark's parents were coming to us for faux Christmas. I loved having the decorations up; it made the house feel so cozy. 

We had a great visit. We did "Christmas" on the Sunday of their visit, with my MIL making her traditional cinnamon rolls and opening presents. I made a tenderloin roast with horseradish cream sauce for dinner with a potato gratin (Smitten Kitchen's recipe + caramelized onions -- omg) and roasted green beans with a lemon chive butter. We had boozy icebox cake for dessert and sat around on the cozy couch lit by the tree. Lovely. 

We went back to Boston for Christmas proper. We got there in time for the Christmas party with my mom's side of the family, went up to visit Mark's grandmother, and had Christmas Eve/day with my dad's family. We do the whole seven fishes thing on Christmas Eve (my mom hosts -- we have smoked salmon and fried calamari with the apps, linguini with clam sauce, scrod baked with crabmeat stuffing, and baked stuffed shrimp and scallops). It's much more formal than with my mom's family, but my cousins on this side are really funny. I'm the oldest by six years, so I wasn't really close to these cousins when we were younger; I was a babysitter rather than one of the kids. It has been really fun as they've all gotten older too. 

My tiny grandma sleeps over on Christmas Eve (she has done this since my grandfather died in 1996) and we open presents and eat leftover smoked salmon with bagels and cream cheese. We go to my uncle's house for dinner with the same crowd (SO MUCH FOOD AND TOGETHERNESS), and then on the 26th, we have the traditional Day of Sloth. We clean up the presents and arrange them under the tree, shower and change back into jammies, and then we take to the couch. Well, my mom and I do. My dad usually goes to the office and Mark went to meet up with high school friends. It was glorious. I gave mom Downton Abbey on dvd, so she powered through the first season while I napped. We had leftover baked stuffed shrimp for lunch and an afternoon snack of pie. I tried to soak up the gloriousness as much as I could, knowing that next year will (knock wood, fingers crossed) be VERY different. 

On the baby front, all is going well. My biggest issue to date has been some pubic symphysis discomfort. I sleep with a pillow between my legs and sit down to put pants on. Flipping over in bed and putting all of my weight on one foot is pretty painful, and for some reason, walking around grocery stores practically cripples me, but otherwise it's pretty manageable. Baby boy, whom we are calling Billy for the time being (it's a long story, and probably only funny if you know my dad), had his 20 week ultrasound, and he's looking perfectly healthy, which was such a huge relief. He also revealed his funny little personality. My sweet guy is a total stinker. They spent two hours checking him out and I still had to go back for a repeat because he refused to let them measure the structures in his head. He was just as much of a stinker the second time around. They were able to measure everything they needed to, but when they tried getting a 4D image of his face, he hid behind his hands, looked away, and even shook his head "no" (OMG). We did get a profile and he's adorable, of course; I think he looks just like Mark, not that you can really tell. 

The really fun stuff is that he's super active, and I love feeling him wiggling around in there. He's a big chocolate fan, so that always gets him dancing. He totally responds to his space getting squished too. He punches me when I lean over the computer, and he was pissed last week when I wore regular khakis with a belly band. They were kind of digging into the belly, and he spent a good portion of the day punching right where the pants were cramping his style, poor baby. His kicks and punches have gotten to the point where Mark can sometimes feel him too. 

We celebrated hitting the viability mark by ordering his crib, mattress, and changing table, as well as getting baby registries started. Would you please look at these shoes I bought? Have you ever seen anything so wee and adorable?

It is all both awesome and terrifying, because he feels so real now and I love him so much already, and I am absolutely terrified (TERRIFIED) of something happening to him. I know it's out of my control, so I'm trying to focus on the fact that all is going well to this point, rather than all of the horror stories my brain has accumulated over the years and naturally prefers to fixate on. It feels so impossible that we could really be so lucky after so much disappointment; I think I'm just so used to waiting for the other shoe to drop.

24 weeks, 4 days today. We are SO EXCITED to meet you, my Billy. (We'll gladly wait until you're fully cooked, though.)


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