Just Before We Become Three

9 1/2 Month Bump, Due Aug. 30

About a week to go till we welcome our little skipper. And about a week to go till we close on our new house. In the midst of it all, I love that this man continues to make our life together one grand adventure!


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Pregnancy Perks

I am feeling the love from this whole pregnancy thing.

While there are certainly more restless nights, moments of discomfort, and a permanent reservation at the nearest restroom, there have been a plethora of perks that leave me feeling humbled and grateful for this entire experience. From the encouragement, gifts and prayers of our huge-hearted friends and family to standing prenatal massage appointments (it’s wellness people, wellness) and from all access passes at favorite restaurants to special mommy-to-be parking (thank you, Whole Foods and baby stores), I have nothing but a very full heart from it all.

Now, one would think that with both of us being in marketing we would be immune to the promptings of “Push Presents” and “Babymoons” (not a reference to a part of fetal anatomy, but rather a honeymoon-like trip that expectant couples take before the birth of a child). I mean, come on, these ideas seem like “Hallmark holidays” that would come up as ways to generate additional revenue for clients. However, blame it on the hormones and excitement, but we went for both.

First, the captain completely surprised me with a fancy pants DSLR camera and complimenting gear to capture sweet memories and new adventures to come.

The Original “Push Present”

We made the most of a recent road trip by carving out some time for a little pre-baby R&R in one of our favorite places – Charleston, SC.

Babymooning in Charleston

And in other news, we’ve bought a house! Long story short, we were perfectly content bringing the little one home to our downtown condo when Matt stumbled upon a house that went on the market a couple of Sundays ago. We checked it out that day, put an offer on it on Monday, offer accepted on Tuesday, finances approved on Wednesday, great inspection that Saturday and we’re just out of our options period. Have I mentioned that our closing date coincides with our baby’s due date! Why not make an adventure of it all, right?

Completely Over The Top “Push Present”

Why now? Mostly because we want our little one to be near family and friends for her first few years, it’s less than five miles from Matt’s office, in a great neighborhood within the city, is move-in ready (just completely remodeled by a reputable custom homebuilder), and is an equity play for us to be able to sell or rent to go cruising again.

Of course, I haven’t even mentioned that greatest “perk” of all – that we’ll soon be bringing home one of the greatest blessings we could ever be given. Thank you, Lord.


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The Sea Monkey’s Mobile

Project make-a-mobile was recently in full swing as the captain transformed a thoughtful nautical diaper cake gift into the sweetest crib eye candy for our little skipper!

A mobile for her nautical nursery


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Month 8

The bump at 32 weeks on the set of FC Kids’ “Port of Call”

With a little less than 8 weeks to go, we’re sailing through our last trimester. It’s been a fun and enjoyably busy past few weeks as we’ve …
  • Served at Adventure Week, our church’s version of vacation bible school. (Photos below capture a few moments from my sweet group of second graders traveling the high seas to the Adventure Islands!)
  • Enjoyed date nights together and even a couple double dates with friends
  • Inhaled, exhaled, got a little overwhelmed with, and laughed our way through Lamaze
  • Met with and picked out our pediatrician
  • Tossed around a few more baby name ideas but still haven’t settled on the one
  • Received an entire 1st year baby girl wardrobe and other generous gear from a dear friend, courtesy of her quickly growing little girl
  • Celebrated the 4th of July with a BBQ at our home filled with friends that we consider family
  • Cheered on Team Puma through the last week of action in the 9-month long Volvo Ocean Race 

We’re continuing to take each new week as it arrives and look forward to meeting our little skipper soon.


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Showered With Love

We truly have the most thoughtful, generous, fun and creative family and friends! In the months leading up to the arrival of our baby girl, we have been blessed with some very sweet and meaningful baby showers.

They began a few months ago when I visited one of my dearest friends and new mom, Jenny, in Sweden. While there, and to my complete surprise, her and her family threw me a little American shower where we were given unique and traditional Swedish toys, books and clothes. So thoughtful!

Surprise shower in Sweden

Soon after, my Mom and Nana hosted a hometown baby shower and brunch for the ladies in, and closest with, our family. Every detail of their planning and hosting created a sweet, elegant, and truly perfect celebration.


Lovely ladies at our family brunch shower

And just the weekend before, a few of my closest girlfriends threw a fun shower for the Dallas girlfriends. They transformed our condo’s clubhouse into a pink and navy nautical wonderland where we enjoyed catching up and opening gifts over delicious bites and refreshing sips.


Friends at our Dallas shower

Lastly, we were also treated to a shared shower during our recent family reunion in North Carolina. There, we celebrated the upcoming arrival of three new babies entering the family within three months of each other as Matt’s brother and cousin’s wives are also expecting.

So, once again we are humbled by the generosity and thoughtfulness of loved ones near and far. Thank you all!


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Ahoy In There

Today we got to peek in on our little skipper!

At 28 and a half weeks in utero, she’s still confirmed as a GIRL, is weighing in at just under three pounds and measuring about 15 inches from head to heels in length. All fantastic numbers aside, she looks like a perfect sleeping angel to us! (For the best view, tilt your head to the right.)


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Hello Third Trimester!

 28 weeks down, 12 to go

At just over 7 months along, we’re amazed at how quickly the time seems to be passing. I’m feeling well and still pretty comfortable as the Texas summer heat starts to set in. Lacing up the ole tennis shoes is starting to be somewhat entertaining (for Matt mostly) as is getting close enough to the bathroom counter to put on makeup in the mirror.

I’ve held off as long as possible on loading up on maternity clothes but I finally broke down and bought a great pair of white skinny jeans (ohmygoodness that elastic waistband get up is AWESOME), a couple of dresses, shorts and tops. These should give her (and me) some growing room over the next couple of months.

Other than that, we’ve been keeping busy with traveling to visit family and friends, being baby showered with love, prepping the nursery with essentials, and overall absorbing as much as possible from attending childbirth and parenting classes to reading, browsing, listening to and watching the myriad of resources that show up daily. For every moment, we are immensely grateful.


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Daddy Boot Camp

This past week I began my “training” by attending Daddy Boot Camp at our hospital.

 Certificate of Completion

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a pretty candid and casual forum led by a “veteran dad.”  He took us through the basics like changing a diaper and securing the car seat to more advanced techniques of swaddling and burping while protecting your work shirt. One particular highlight might have been the dude who was two days away from his wife being induced. This poor guy was scared out of his mind and it left me thinking, “I wonder if I’ll be like that when we’re two days away.” Only two and half months left to find out.

Most of it was common sense but I walked away with a few interesting tips:

  • Bring a book to the hospital, as there is likely to be some down time
  • Pack a pillow for myself, the extra ones at the hospital are terrible
  • The key to swaddling is getting the first wrap tight
  • After  unfastening diaper, wait a moment before you take it off. It will most likely save you from getting peed on.
  • The technique of wiping a little girl is important – always wipe front to back
  • I will get poop on my face
I felt bad for the other guys in the class after hearing the stories about their hormone-influenced wives. In contrast, Christie has been relatively calm and easy going with no wild emotional swings or irrational requests. I thought for sure by now, I would have had to make a 2:00 a.m. run for cheese logs and pickles. Thankfully that hasn’t been the case.


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What to Expect: The Movie

Have you seen this movie trailer? If not, it’s worth a quick watch!

Today, a dear girlfriend, who is expecting her first little boy in a WEEK, and I took our bumps about town for some shopping, walking and this relatable lighthearted comedy, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The movie, based on the mega popular pregnancy manual, follows the story of five couples and their challenges with impending first-time parenthood. For us, its timely relatability was the perfect was to spend the afternoon together.


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Cruising Cross Country

We recently took to the highway for a leisurely road trip to spend some treasured time with each other, friends and family.

Our road trip route!

Over the course of two weeks, eight states, and 3,375 miles, we took the opportunity to build upon a trip that initially started as a visit to Carolina Beach, NC for our family reunion. First, we noticed that the Volvo Ocean Race was scheduled to be in Miami just a week before and with Charleston being an ideal middle point between the two, we were set to make a an extended trip of it. Sprinkle in visits with some of our cruising family and other close friends along the way, Matt’s birthday and our anniversary, and we had all the makings of a memorable road trip ahead. While each day was its own adventure, here are some of the highlights.
  • Spent an evening with great friends from Dallas, The Breens, who now live in Clermont, FL. They’re a solid family we connected with at Allaso Ranch (our church’s incredible kid’s camp). We admire their take on life and sense of adventure and now make it a priority to see them anytime we’re nearby.
  • Turned into Tampa for lunch stop, as our good friend Crystal happened to be in town for the day, visiting the local office of her agency 22Squared. Seafood at Jackson’s Bistro, overlooking the canals of Hillsborough Bay, made the sunny and breezy afternoon as good as the company.
  • Kept our eyes peeled as we drove through Alligator Alley in the Everglades on our way to Ft. Lauderdale but didn’t spot any live ones.
  • Enjoyed several nights in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area, including one at anchor aboard s/v Morning Glory under the glowing lights of downtown Miami with part of our cruising family, Ted and Mili, cheering on Puma in the VOR. Lots more about our VOR adventures in the post below this one.

 Relaxing aboard s/v Morning Glory

  • Did a little dream shopping, stopping to look at two potential “next cruising boats” and gave up all objectivity by pretty much falling in love with one (a tragically emotional move in scouting boats). But no offers yet as were waiting until our little skipper arrives before making any major moves toward our next cruising plan.

 Could this be the next one?

  • Caught up with our cruising friends from Honu Lele, who’ve since moved to St. Augustine, FL. They introduced us to a local favorite, the Gypsy Cab restaurant, showed us where their new home will be soon built and worked on persuading us to move to St. Aug. (it wasn’t a hard sell).
The St. Augustine lighthouse
  • Returned, at a month shy of a year, to a city that captured our hearts (and stomachs) – the always charming Charleston. We made a “babymoon” of our stay in this beloved city with dinner at Coast and strolls about the town. The next morning we were treated to an exclusive tour of Historic Charleston by Laura Wichmann Hipp, whom we met when we sailed in last summer. As before, it was hard to leave. It seems our anchor always sets the deepest here.

Overlooking the Battery Wall of Charleston Harbor

  • Joined the rest of the Butcher/Carlson clan for a family reunion in Carolina Beach, NC. With Matt’s parents and brother in from Idaho, as well as aunts, uncles and cousins from Minnesota, it made a for a fun-filled week. Boat trips, fishing tourneys, golf, swimming, family banter and laughter around every meal and Mexican Train till you drop made the time fly. The time was further punctuated by a good ole low country boil and a thoughtful and lively group baby shower (for us, Matt’s brother Jeff and his wife Mel, and Matt’s cousin Steve and his wife, Edie).

 Boatin’ with Cousin Jimmy

  • Appreciated an easy drive back with complimentary hotel stays along the way, thanks to rewards points earned from Matt’s recent business travel.
As is often the case when you’re having loads of fun, you look up and wonder where the time went. We had a blast and couldn’t believe how quickly the time flew by.
The Volvo Ocean Race – Miami

While a lot of life has recently been about preparing to welcome our first little sailor, we did get a unique opportunity at the end of May to visit the only U.S. port of the Volvo Ocean Race in Miami.  

Considered the Everest of sailing, the VOR is an intense 39,000 nautical mile, 9-month around the world sailing race with 10 port stopovers. And, the timing worked out ideally as we had already planned to be at a family reunion on the East Coast a week after the race events so we decided to make a “visit-as-many-friends-along-the-way-to-the-race/reunion” road trip of it.

With a goal of being in Miami for the in-port race and start of the next offshore leg to Lisbon, Portugal, we packed up the car and drove the 1300 miles to Ft. Lauderdale. We had two overnight stops on our route there and overall it was a relatively easy ride for the then 7-month pregnant admiral.

Once there, we connected with part of our cruising family, Ted and Mili of s/v Morning Glory, and made weekend plans that revolved around catching up and being at the center the race. First stop was the Race Village in Bicentennial Park, Downtown Miami. As we drove near, even with the multi-story America Airlines Arena clouding our view, we could see the tops of the 103 foot masts piercing the sky (for context, Kaleo’s mast was a mere 43 feet in comparison).

Masts piercing the sky

Walking up to see the six 70-foot long thoroughbreds of ocean racing was electrifying, at least for us sailors. These boats are made of advanced carbon and Kevlar skins, with canting keels (the fin on the bottom of the boat pivots laterally) and can often sail faster than the wind speed. And they are all equipped with exquisite paint jobs to match their prestige.

Naturally, we’re cheering for Puma, the American team in the race. And after having spent months watching Mar Mostro (the name of Puma’s boat) claw her way around the world via the Internet, we were elated to see her in person. There she was, tugging at her lines waiting to pounce back on the water, sporting signature black sails with the Puma logo jumping up as if from the ocean itself.

The bow of Mar Mostro bridled to the dock

Then, as if the day couldn’t get any better, none other than Ken Read, a legendary sailing champion and the skipper of Mar Mostro, came strolling up the gangplank. It was all hands on deck as we grabbed the camera and scurried over to meet him. The picture hardly shows it but Matt was practically speechless.

Up close and personal with Ken Read

Ted chatted up a security guard and soon enough we found ourselves down on the dock right within arms distance of the race boats. Matt and Ted talked with Rome Kirby, the youngest guy on the Puma team (and in the VOR) at 22. When asked how he got on board with the Volvo Race he replied, “gotta start small and win all the dinghy races.” Hmm, something for Matt to work toward.

Chatting with Rome

After admiring the perfectly crafted lines of Mar Mostro’s hull and drooling over sailing equipment that alone is worth more than most boats, we sauntered around the rest of the village. Highlights included the 3D theater, the grinding competition (Matt completed it in 11.3 seconds, Volvo sailors do it in 9 flat), and seeing Iker Martinez, the skipper of a rival team, Telefonica.

Grind faster!!

With our fill of the village it was off to Morning Glory where we spent a gorgeous night anchored out under the glow of the Miami skyline. Swimming, dinghy rides, grilling and the gentle roll of being at anchor brought a flood of wonderful cruising memories back. To really make it more like cruising, we wrapped the night up with great friends and our traditional game of Mexican Train. After a leisurely breakfast the next morning, we raised the anchor and headed past South Beach and off-shore to the race course. We knew it was the right direction as we followed the VOR boats out, all in a stately line as if they were horses parading before the queen’s court.

Headed out to the course aboard Morning Glory

What started as a beautifully calm day, quickly turned tempestuous as a rollicking wind brought in storms. With waves crashing over the bows of Morning Glory, we spent the next few hours tracking around the race course as the VOR boats came ripping by, sometimes as fast as 20 knots. Again, for context, Kaleo sailed at an average of 5 to 6 knots. And after quite a few lead changes and a hard fought race, Puma came steaming by Camper in the last seconds of the race to take 3rd. Not the first place we were hoping for, but with a 39,000 mile race, it’s how you do in the long haul that truly matters.

Rounding the mark just behind Telefonica

The weather cleared as we returned to port with anticipation of the next day’s race, the start of the next offshore leg. After church on Sunday, the guys took Ted’s powerboat out to chase the racers into the Gulf Stream and given the limited amount of shade on board, the gals elected to relax by the pool.

In conditions opposite the previous day, virtually zero wind and a flat ocean, the guys zipped and zoomed around the course, at times within throwing distance of the race boats. The highlight of the day was following Puma out to sea as Read pointed the bow towards Lisbon, Portugal. They followed Mar Mostro out for about an hour waving them off with a holler as they crossed into the Gulf Stream to eventually take another 3rd place coming into Lisbon.

Headed toward Lisbon

Not only was it great to see Ted and Mili but we can’t thank them enough for making it possible to get so close to the action in Miami.

One last note, Matt’s taking donations to purchase Mar Mostro, which is now for sale for a few million. If he receives enough to buy it, all those who donate are promised the ride of a lifetime!


Celebrating Soums’ Wedding

This weekend we traveled to Austin to celebrate the marriage of one of my dearest friends, Soumya and her new husband, Jesse!

The new Mr. and Mrs.

Enjoying the occasion at the Four Seasons

Visiting with the beautiful bride-to-be


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Ahoy From Sweden!

Just back from a really nice visit to one my dearest friends whom I’ve known since grad school and someone whom I’ve seen a lot of this gorgeous world with.

Jenny (aka “La GG” or “the Greek Goddess”, a moniker adopted from our Mediterranean adventures) and I made a pact over a decade ago to travel somewhere new (and fabulous) each year and we’ve done a darn good job of keeping that commitment over time. This year was no exception as I was happy to pack my little in utero passenger for her for first international visit to Scandinavia.

All told, the time was well spent playing, hugging, visiting, walking, shopping, eating, laughing, and loving life with my two favorite Swedish gals, Jenny and her and Morgan’s little Emmy.


Sweet screenshot shared by the captain as he tracked my flight over

Already planning for our girls to visit each other between Sweden and the States

A stroll around Malmö’s waterfront

Enjoying the fine art of a fika with friends


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20 Weeks: Halfway!

 The bump at 20 weeks

20 weeks down. 20 weeks to go. We’re HALFWAY through our first pregnancy and are feeling GREAT and GRATEFUL!

As we march into month five, our growing baby girl is:

  • The size of a cantaloupe
  • Developing working taste buds (often overriding mom’s preferences)
  • Starting to let us know how active she is in there
  • Starting to limit mom on her choices of clothes in the closet
  • Enjoying regular prenatal yoga classes (or at least mom really is)
  • Getting nightly talks and prayers from dad (makes mom’s heart melt!)
  • About to take off on her first international trip (in utero) to visit Auntie Jenny, Morgan and Baby Emmy for a week in Sweden
  • Already being spoiled with generous gifts from loved ones near and far
Spring has sprung here in Texas and overall, we’re enjoying the warm, breezy outdoors while taking in each new week as it comes.

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A Weekend On The Water

There’s nothing like the feeling of getting back on the water after life on land for awhile. Whether it’s been a week away, or for us – weeks away, being welcomed aboard a gently rocking boat by dear friends is one of the best ways to start a weekend.

 Peaceful Sunday sail aboard Our Way Too

We hit the road for the coast as the sun rose Friday morning for a long weekend with good friends aboard their boats and to check out the Southwest International Boat Show. Once we pulled into Kemah, which grows on us with every visit, it was all things boats all weekend.

  • We settled in aboard Our Way Too, where we’d be staying with Katie and Dean for the weekend. In our cabin was the cutest and most thoughtful gift, a Lil’ Legends life jacket to help keep our little sailor-to-be safe when out on the water.
  • The afternoon was spent checking out the recently expanded West Marine (which is now about five times bigger than when we were outfitting Kaleo) and visiting with Carolyn, our broker at HSH Yachts. It was great catching up with her and after all the sailing and cruising talk, we couldn’t help but let her know that  if the right boat comes through the area, call us – we’ll be ready. She knows what we’re looking for.
  • Next stop, Alternate Latitude, our cruising friend Steve’s Voyage 440 catamaran, which seems like a cruise ship compared to our former Kaleo and his former monohull, Anchor Management. Along with his sister, visiting from Milwaukee, we headed out for an easy sail, tacking back and forth across the bay while smiling about everything. In fact, Alternate Latitude is available for charter in Galveston Bay and the Caribbean if you’re looking for some time on the water. You’ll be in good hands under Captain Steve and on a very comfortable and sound vessel.

 Cruising around the bay aboard Alternate Latitude

  • And, it wouldn’t be a day on the water without a little seafood, so as soon as Katie wrapped up her work at the boat show, we all headed off the beaten path to a local favorite, Gilhooley’s for their famous oysters and shrimp. After a fun and filling meal with great company, we made our way back to our berths feeling stuffed like flounders.
  • The Saturday morning sun beamed as we hopped into the dinghy for some exploring. Two highlights included playing bridge limbo with the high tide and dinghying over to Wanderer, the actual boat from the cruisers’ cult classic, Captain Ron.

Scooching under a bridge with just inches to spare

 Up close and personal with the boat featured in Captain Ron

  • After lunch, it was off to the boat show, where we checked out a host of beautiful new sailboats, only furthering our fever. We chatted with Carolyn again, visited Katie’s booth for Redfish Island Marine and even ran into an old friend and sailing instructor, John Brown.

Scoping out a new Lagoon

Catching up with John at the boat show

  • We had a quiet evening on board and were up early Sunday for a dinghy ride for breakfast at Classic Cafe. The 20 hp outboard on Dean and Katie’s dinghy made it a much quicker trip than last time. Two new sailing friends, Chris and Tammy of Living and Loving Life, joined us for breakfast and we all talked about … you guessed it, boats and cruising. Soon we were all back aboard Our Way Too for a long Sunday sail on the bay
Sailing alongside Alternate Latitude

We stayed as long as we possibly could and eventually made our way back to the dock where we reluctantly wrapped up the weekend. Thank you again to our generous friends for opening their floating homes to us. We loved every sun soaked, sea breeze filled moment.


Another Admiral On The Way

Today, we got to see our baby again.

We got to hear the heartbeat. We got to see the little one in detail, from HER fingers to HER toes. We learned that everything is developing as it should, gained some reassurance, and found out that we’re having a healthy little GIRL!

We would have been overjoyed by the news of either gender, but there’s something precious about planning for pink. Above all, we are humbled and deeply grateful for this incredible blessing.


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17 Weeks

Do we want to know the gender of our baby?

You betcha we do. We are planners. In fact, it’s been in our career titles for as long as we’ve had careers so it seems natural for us to want to know as much information as possible. So, we’re pretty giddy that we’re about to find out if our growing sea monkey is a BOY or a GIRL?

Finding out the gender of our first baby in just a few short days has catapulted me into a reality of what’s to come. We’ll start thinking about his or her name, how to decorate the nursery and using real pronouns to refer to our newest addition.

While I really don’t have a feeling one way or the other on what we’re having, there have been a few fun predictions:

So, stay tuned as we’ll share soon.


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Cravings and Aversions

An often-asked question these days is “Have you had any strange cravings?”

While I haven’t had any desires for weird combinations like pickles and ice cream, I do feel more in the mood for certain foods and beverages. But, it’s nothing so out of the ordinary that it could be defined as a “pregnancy craving” rather than simply a “Christie craving”. That being said, there have been a few must-haves and a few must-not-haves:

THE must-have Summer Rolls – Vietnamese spring rolls with snow crab, shrimp, mango, vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, mint, spicy peanut dipping sauce!


  • Could eat for any meal, must have multiple times/week: Blue Fish Summer Rolls!
  • Closely followed by Blue Fish‘s Sundae Roll (tempura shrimp, cream cheese, king crab meat, topped with crab stick, chili, eel and mayo sauce)
  • Thai food (always been a fav but tastes even better these days)
  • Fruit (grapes, all citrus, watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, any really)
  • Belly-Bars (S’More to Love is my fav)
  • Pirates Booty (all natural, puffed puffed rice and corn snack)
  • Coconut Water (delish, chock full of calcium and minerals, more electrolytes than packaged sports drinks, more potassium than a banana)
  • Starbucks Carmel Brûlée Latte (1/2-caff, soy milk, no whip)
  • Fat Straws Soy Chai Bubble Tea
  • Pink Berry frozen yogurt
  • Taco Bell Nacho Supreme (I crave it, baby doesn’t, baby often wins)
  • Sleep (and lots of it)
  • Prenatal massages
  • Sailing (motor off, sails up, cool breeze and warm sunshine)


  • Plain water (tastes like metal, though I chug through as much as possible)
  • Most prenatal vitamins (so far, Nestabs seem to be the only ones staying down)
  • Avocados (bummer since I l-o-v-e-d them before)
  • Meat of any kind (while I didn’t prefer it pre-pregnancy, I loathe the thought of it these day)
  • Taco Bell Nacho Supreme (I crave it, baby doesn’t, baby often wins)
  • The registry (still too overwhelming)
  • Housecleaning (says a lot coming from a supreme neat freak)


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