Thoughts on Pregnancy

I am now in my 17th week of pregnancy.  I feel like the time has flown by!  Here are some of my thoughts on pregnancy so far, or questions that I have been asked:

-I am so blessed that the pregnancy has been going really well. All of the morning sickness is gone. I still become tired faster, but overall have more energy than I did during the first trimester.  The only real difference that I have noticed has persisted is that I am a little bit more irritable than normal. I don’t have a lot of patience sometimes, and so I can go off, which is definitely not my personality. Every so often, I say what I think, and don’t have as much of a filter to say things nicely.


-The way pregnancy is counted is SO difficult to figure out!  There are so many different ways of talking about how far along you are, so when I am asked, it’s hard to know what to say.  For example, today I am : (A) 16weeks2days, or (B) in my 17th week, or (C) almost in my first week of month 5 (because the 5th month is weeks 17-20).  My typical answer is (B), that I am “in my 17th week”, because no one wants to hear down to the day!  It’s also confusing when sources are discussing fetal growth to know if they are talking about (A) or (B) above.  I’ve been confused several times!


-I am treasuring sleeping on my stomach. I am a belly sleeper, and very soon it’s going to get to the point where I can’t sleep on my stomach anymore.  I find I am waking up more on my side/back lately, so I guess I am naturally starting to shift over to not belly sleeping all night. (TMI alert! It’s already been a little bit uncomfortable to sleep on my stomach because of my boobs, which have gotten bigger and are still tender.  But, I’ve been making do. At least doing it while I can!)


-My belly is starting to change.  In the past 2 weeks, I am feeling more pregnant than just bloated, or fat.  It is starting to round out and be more noticeable to others.  I wore a skirt the other day, and that was a big mistake, and so I have sworn off of skits.  I was so uncomfortable because the waist band was too tight!  I started to look for some maternity pants, as mine are slowly not fitting.  I am short though, so all that I have tried have been too long.  Dresses have become my best friend!  Some days I feel I look bigger than others, so here is one of the bigger days.  This is my birthday baby bump (don’t mind the scary dude’s face on the tv lol):

-I have not had any odd pregnancy cravings.  There was one day where I really wanted a grilled cheese sandwich, and thought about it for 2 days before I went to the store to buy sliced cheese.  I made my grilled cheese, and had a few bites.  Honestly, I didn’t even finish eating it!  This was in the first couple of weeks, and I haven’t had any cravings since then.


-Yes, we are planning to find out the gender of Baby Ruiz.  Hopefully, before this month is over, we will know!  And no, we don’t have any baby names picked out yet.  We are waiting to find out the gender first.


That’s all for now…  Thanks for the continued well wishes and prayers!

Trip to Dallas

Between May 17-19, the Marine Corps paid for Tony and I to travel to Dallas and stay for the weekend to attend a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. There was nothing like this offered for his other 3 deployments, so I was excited to see what it was like, learn about various resources, etc.  We also figured that we couldn’t beat a free weekend in Dallas!  I don’t particularly like flying in general, and I was a little nervous how flying while pregnant would be. I did lots of research to see how to make the best of it.  The biggest thing was to drink a lot of water, and to get up and walk around.  I figured my trips to the bathroom counted as “walking around!”

We flew in early on Friday, so we would have the day to sight see.  Tony and I visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and visited the site of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  The GWB Library had a section dedicated to 9/11, and as soon as I saw that area, I started to tear up.  It was very emotional to walk through the exhibit, thinking about how many lives were changed on that day.

Steel girders from the Twin Towers

Us in the replica Oval Office

The assassination site was unique to see as well.  It was a very open scene, apparently pretty much unchanged since the 1960′s.

Dealey Plaza

Standing near where JFK was shot, looking back at the building where Lee Harvey Oswald was shooting from.

On the Grassy Knoll.

The Texas School Book Depository (now the site of the Museum).  The far right window on the 6th floor is where the shot was fired from.  The window is half open.

Both of those outings were seeped in history, commemorating two of our Nation’s past Presidents.

I love going out to eat, and trying new foods; that is definitely one part of traveling that I love.  So, we ate at some amazing restaurants while we were in Dallas!  I tried In N Out Burger and Whataburger for the first time.  III Forks was recommended to us by a friend’s father, and it did not disappoint!  We also went to Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian churrascarian restaurant.  I was in food heaven!

And, last but not least, Tony was determined to find a pair of cowboy boots!  He was victorious!

The trip back did not go as smoothly.  We flew from Dallas to Detroit, where we got stuck.  Due to the tornados in Oklahoma, our flight crew was diverted elsewhere.  Our flight back to Harrisburg was at first delayed while they tried to find another crew, then eventually cancelled.  The airline put us up in a hotel, where we only slept for about 3 hours.  We got a flight into Baltimore, and my dear parents came the next morning to pick us up!  They drove us to Harrisburg, which is where our car was parked.  We arrived home more than 12 hours after we anticipated.  And, I quickly showered, changed, and went into work for 6 hours!

Overall, it was a great trip to Dallas!


We had a First Trimester Screening done to assess Baby Ruiz’s risk of having Down’s Syndrome or 2 other chromosomal abnormalities.  The screening included a blood test (where they looked at some hormone levels) and an ultrasound.  I was very excited at the opportunity to see the baby again!


On Tuesday, May 7, we went for the appointment.  Tony and I met for lunch at the Olive Garden and then went over.  The ultrasound tech began, and we saw the baby immediately!  It looked like it was swimming, or doing summersaults!  The tech said “Well, whatever you had for lunch, Baby liked!”  We watched the baby moving around on the screen for at least 10-15 minutes while the tech got the measurements she needed.  Then, Baby calmed down, and wasn’t as active.  She had me roll to my side to see if that would move it into the position she needed.  That didn’t work, so she had me walk around the room for a few minutes.  That got Baby moving again, so the tech was able to get the position/measurement she needed.  We also heard the heartbeat again.  It is so reassuring to see Baby, and hear the heartbeat.  Since I’m not nauseous anymore, I sometimes don’t feel pregnant, so it’s nice to be reminded that things are going ok in there.


The results from the screening came back as normal.  Baby does not have an increased risk of those chromosomal abnormalities, and they said based on the ultrasound pictures, everything looks great.  They even emailed me some of the pictures they took.  The major systems are fully formed now, and Baby is going to spend the next 5-6 months growing.  Baby actually looks like a baby now, and has defined features!


Here are some of the ultrasound pictures:

Classic profile pose

Baby “waving” at us, as the tech said.  Tony thinks Baby is “fist pounding” from the womb.

This is a 4D picture with arms up at face.

I am awed by this amazing miracle that is growing inside me.  It blows my mind that there is a baby in there, moving all around, with all major organ systems developed already!  I feel so blessed to be experiencing this!  There are no words to describe it.

The First Trimester

That’s right, Baby Ruiz is on the way!

On March 16, 2013, I found out I was pregnant.  It was a Saturday morning, and Tony was in Allentown.  I couldn’t wait to share the news with him.  I called him up on Facetime on my iPad and told him I had something to show him.  I showed him the positive pregnancy test, and let him piece together the details.  He slowly smiled and said “You’re pregnant?!”, and I broke down crying.  We both were in shock for days!  I kept pulling out the pregnancy test to look at it, to remind myself that it was real.

We had talked about starting a family, and were both on board with the idea once he returned home.  Tony had a “master plan” which included not getting pregnant for 6 months or so after he arrived home.  In his mind, we could enjoy the summer, spend time together, and then have a baby.  Well, his “master plan” did NOT line up with God’s…..we got more than a happy homecoming…..we got pregnant!  Our due date is November 19th, so Baby may be joining us in time for a memorable Thanksgiving.

Over Easter weekend, we shared our exciting news with our immediate families.  We bought little containers, put a pair of baby booties in the bottom, and covered them with Easter grass.  We told our families that Tony had brought something home from overseas for them, and had them open it.  When we told my parents, we had my sister and her family in Florida on Skype, so they could watch/be a part of the announcement.


We had a ultrasound done at 7 weeks, where we were able to hear Baby’s heartbeat.  What an amazing sound!  I teared up!  Here is our first picture of Baby!

The first week or two after I found out I was pregnant I didn’t notice feeling any different.  Then, the nausea came.  I haven’t thrown up yet, but have felt nauseated (like car sick) for weeks.  All day, every day…and then one morning Tony asked me how I was feeling, and I said “pretty good”….and realized I meant it!  No nausea since about week 9.  I have been getting increasingly tired though, and have learned to just go to bed when I am tired regardless of the time on the clock.  I’m thirsty all of the time, and am drinking water non-stop.  I now wake up several times per night to use the bathroom.  There were a few nights I was up 4 times!  Now that I am in my 13th week, I feel like I have a bit more energy.

Tony told me he had picked out the Baby’s name.   I told him to start a list of names he liked, and we could talk about them sometime.  This is what he did: made a post it on his desk with his Baby name choice: Conan the Barbarian.  He refers to Baby as Conan the Barbarian, saying he’s in there sharpening his swords.  I think it’s adorable that he has a nickname for Baby already.

I can’t describe how exciting this is.  I have wanted to start a family for a while, but with Tony’s deployments, it was never a good time.  As my body is changing, it’s becoming more and more real.  I held the best secret EVER in for so many weeks, wanting to share it with everyone!  Now, the world can know….and celebrate along with us!


I know I have been quiet on here since Tony arrived home.  I hope to post more often now, and document our journey into parenthood!

Keeping busy

I know I’ve been quiet on here lately. With Tony home, I am focused on spending time with him and enjoying his company! Tony is still on active duty in Allentown, so he is up there during the week. On the weekends, he either comes home, or I go up there.

I have been teaching at Hacc for the past year; this is my third semester. My next class started March 19, which keeps me busy during the week. It is a late start class, which means it runs for 8 weeks, and is two evenings a week for 2.5 hours each time. So, between my regular work schedule, my class added in, and then time with Tony, my life has become turbo charged busyness!

Even though I am super busy, I am so happy right now!

He’s HOME-Part 2

In my last post, I wrote about Tony’s arrival home.  We have had a busy couple of days, so I wanted to give a recap of those his few days home after we greeted him at the airport.


I knew that Brad’s death was really hard on Tony, especially since he was so far away.  I knew that as excited as I was for Tony to come home, that it would be sad for him too.  Now that he’s back, it is real that Brad is gone, that he wasn’t at the airport to greet him like he did every other time.  I knew that Tony’s grieving and healing would only begin once he was home, and saw the grave.  After we met Tony at the airport, we drove to Washington Crossing Memorial Cemetery for Tony to visit Brad’s grave site.  I honestly was not sure how to support him there.  I didn’t know how much he wanted to be alone, or have someone there.  He walked up to the grave alone, and had a few minutes by himself.  I walked up to him, and put my arm around him.   Many Marines and family went to the Cemetery with us, and I know having the other Marines with him there that day really helped him to have some closure.  Tony laid on Brad’s grave his white dress gloves and a coin he has carried on his last deployment.  Later, we were told that every evening, they clear the cemetery, so Tony decided to take the gloves and coin with him.  He talked to Lynsay and she said she was free the next day to take us to see the Memorial that was created at the scene of the shooting, and that he could leave those items there.


We left the cemetery and went to Brad’s hometown bar for dinner and drinks.  Tony was able have some drinks with his friends, and unwind.  I know we were all excited to get together for a happy event!


The next day, we met Lynsay to drive to the site where Brad was killed.  She talked about that day, how she found out he had been shot, and details that until then, I hadn’t know.  I think it was helpful for both Lynsay and Tony for her to share that day’s events with him as we drove to the site.  At the site, a beautiful memorial has been created, and Tony was able to leave his white dress gloves and a coin there.  We spent the afternoon with Lyns and baby Kadence, and had dinner together.  We reminisced a lot, and also shared excitement over Lynsay’s pregnancy.

Sometimes a picture can tell the story better.  And, in Tony’s own words….from his Facebook:

On Thursday, I finally had the honor to lay my white dress gloves on top of Brad’s gravesite. Then on Friday, I laid them down on their final resting place….at the memorial site where Brad had fallen…..along with a coin I carried with me everyday since Sept 13, 2012.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

I love you brother —

Saturday evening, Tony was able to see more friends at Brian and Amanda’s birthday party.  It was another fun time…getting together to celebrate a happy event.

This is Tony with Paul, the lifesaver at the airport!

Sunday, we went to church with Tony’s family, then spent the entire day at our house with both of our families.  It was nice to just relax, and be at home together.  Monday, we went shooting with some friends.

Me shooting Tony’s gun, an AR

Tony then reported to Allentown, where he is still on active duty finishing out his orders.  Those first few days he was home were very busy!  Last Saturday, we hosted (another? didn’t we just have one???) welcome home party.  Over 50 people stopped in throughout the afternoon and evening, and so Tony was able to see many more friends and family.

One of the Marines thought ahead and put his pop up trailer in our backyard


The Marines

The Marines (and Brad’s dad and brother) doing a shot for Brad


Welcome Home Tony!  I thank God for bringing you home safely once again.

He’s HOME-Part 1

Exactly a week ago today, Tony arrived home from his deployment.  I planned to leave by noon on Thursday, February 28, to drive to Lehigh Valley International Airport to greet him.  In traditional style, things didn’t happen as I had anticipated….


Tony called me as I was getting ready to leave, saying his flight was delayed an hour due to mechanical issues.  He said that meant he would miss his connecting flight, and would not arrive when we thought he would.  He told me to hold on, and not leave yet.  I had our friend Kim help me in relaying all this information to the Marines and family members who were planning to join us at the airport.  Over 30 minutes later, Tony called me to say that he was flying into Philadelphia International Airport instead, and that is where I should meet him.  He said he was boarding the plane now, and would be there in an hour and a half.  Talk of a change of plans!


I quickly gathered my things and left the house.  PHL is at least an hour and a half drive from here, and I honestly am not that familiar with the airport.  I figured I would drive that direction and hope to beat him there.  The drive was chaotic, with friends and family calling and texting me since things had changed.  Our friend Paul (a former Marine who Tony served with and deployed in 2003 with) is a police officer in PHL, and he arranged for us to park our cars in a no parking zone, so that we could try to get inside before Tony got off the plane.  Paul figured out what terminal Tony was arriving in, kept me posted that the flight was delayed 15 minutes, and had it all figured out for me when I got there.  He definitely helped to keep me calm by all that he did!  We parked, and were literally inside for no more than 10 minutes before he was walking towards us!


(Since Paul had put the officers on alert for Tony, as he was walking off of the place, security kindly escorted him to the baggage area where we were waiting.  All the TSA agents shook his hand as he walked past, and thanked him.)


There were over a dozen of us in his welcoming committee, including family, friends, Brad’s widow Lynsay, and Brad’s parents.  As he had previously expressed a desire to do, we left the airport and drove straight to Washington Crossing National Cemetery, where Brad is buried.  Tony said he needed to “see Brad” as soon as he got home.  A few other Marines met us at the cemetery, and they were able to pay their respects together.


This was just a quick overview….Stay tuned for a “He’s HOME-Part 2″ for more details of Tony’s first few days home.


Some of the Welcoming Committee

Our first embrace

Us with Lynsay


The boys at the bar


Marines at the bar

Self portrait (Yes, us again…Making up for over 6 months apart!)

Back in the U.S.A.

Tony called me Wednesday from his own cell phone!  As soon as I looked at my phone, that was my indicator that he was back in the country!  Immediately, I started crying.  I cannot even begin to describe the sense of relief I felt.  We are now in the same time zone, and I can call him whenever I want.  What a luxury!  Tony is spending a few days doing debriefing, and who knows what else, and will be coming home very soon!  Stay tuned for a “welcome home” post!

Traveling and Transitions

First, a quick update:

Because Tony is finishing up this deployment, he left where he was and is at another location for these last few weeks. Where he has been for the past 2-3 weeks, he has not had internet access.  I am lucky if he calls me every 3 or 4 days, and we talk for 5-10 minutes.  I had gotten used to regular email contact from him, and phone calls, so it is hard to have less than 20 minutes worth of conversation/communication with him a week!  Since he is coming home soon, I will happily deal with it!


These next few weeks will involve much traveling and transitions for Tony and the Marines he is with.  Please keep them in your prayers as they are wrapping up the deployment, traveling back to the States, getting acclimated to civilian life again, and reuniting with their families and friends.  This deployment is almost over-I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!


After almost 15 years and 4 deployments with the Marine Corps, I am ready to have my husband home with me (dare I say for good?)!!!!

5 lessons I have learned from Tank

I believe that I can learn something from everyone, and I try to stay open to learning opportunities.  I do not pretend to be an expert, and I want to always be open to educational situations that arise.  In that vein, I have put together the top 5 lessons I have learned from Tank:

1. There is always time for snuggling.  I love that he always sits near me, snuggling right next to me while I am on the couch or in bed.

2. You can’t give too many kisses!  He loves to lick, which I imagine are kisses from him.  Now, let’s not get too crazy…I don’t let him lick my face!  I only let him lick my hands.  He will lick to get my attention, or just to lick for the sake of licking.  He could literally go on for hours licking if I don’t put a stop to it after a few minutes.

3. Spend time with those you love.  He is always in the same room as me, wants to go for car rides, and wants to be next to me if I am sitting or lying down.  He doesn’t like to be alone, and likes to interact.  As soon as he sees me, nothing else matters.  He ecstatically jumps up and down until I pet him and give him some attention.

4. Take time to play.  In the evenings, when I am reading on the couch, he will play with his rawhide bone.  He throws it, then pounces, then picks it up and chews for a little.  Then, he does it all over again.  His tail wags, and I know he is having fun.  It is so cute to see him entertaining himself.  In dog years, he is about middle aged, so it is a good reminder to play and exercise no matter how old I am.

5. Practice unconditional love and forgiveness. Even if he has been in the crate for 7 hours while I was at work, he is always so excited to see me.  He forgives me immediately for putting him in the crate for so long, or for forgetting to fill his water bowl with fresh water.  If I scold him today, he will not hold it against me tomorrow.  He loves me with all of my faults.  He doesn’t expect me to be perfect, and he loves me just the way I am.  


What other lessons have you learned from your beloved pets?