Category Archives: Family

The Next Chapter…

Dave and I have been keeping a little secret for the past two-and-a-half months, but last night we decided it was time to spill the beans to the world. Well, the Facebook world at least. There are some big changes coming to the Mathew household…in the form of a tiny human. That’s right, there’s a baby on the way! It goes without saying that I’m thrilled and excited for this next chapter in our lives.

Since we started spreading the news among the family, we’ve been getting a lot of the same questions. So today, I’m going to try and answer most of the things everyone wants to know after hearing the big news!

When are you due? February 18th, 2017. Side note: the “original” due date was February 9th, 2017 but it got pushed back NINE DAYS (eek!) after the first ultrasound.

So how many weeks / months along are you? At the time of this post, I am 13 weeks + 4 days. My weeks switch on Saturdays, if that helps anyone count. That also means I’m just past month #3, but please stop asking me in months because as any woman who has been pregnant will tell you….these things are never measured in months, always weeks! 

Pregnancy TestWhen did you find out? / How long have you known? We found out in the first week of June. At the time, we thought I was 5 weeks along….but it turns out I was only between 3 and 4 weeks along.


Ok, I’m going to stop and explain the “dating issue” that will keep coming up throughout this discussion. For anyone who isn’t familiar with how pregnancies are dated….they start from the first day of the last menstrual period. That means that the first two weeks are kind of “freebies” because you haven’t even ovulated or conceived yet. The medical world likes to use 28 days, or 4 weeks, as the perfect example of a menstrual cycle, with ovulation occurring smack dab in the middle at day 14 (two weeks). Look at any textbook, and that’s how a menstrual cycle is described. Talk to real women, and the vast majority will tell you that they do not have perfectly consistent 28 day cycles. Some might be longer, some might be shorter, it might vary in length for some women….it’s all different. So when pregnancies are originally dated (like, when you call your doctor’s office after figuring out you’re pregnant), they assume you have a perfect 28 day cycle to calculate how far along you are in the pregnancy. There are several problems with this, the main one being that many women (apparently myself included) don’t ovulate on day 14. For example, someone with a 30 day cycle should ovulate somewhere around day 16 rather than day 14. For this exact reason my OBGYN’s office schedules everyone for a dating ultrasound at the 8 week mark to check and make sure the dates are all correct. We went in for my ultrasound on what should have been exactly my 8 week mark and found out the pregnancy was dating at…..6 weeks + 5 days. Honestly, it was kind of a blow. Given the length of my cycles I was expecting to be maybe 2 days behind, which wouldn’t have been a big deal, but NINE days was huge, especially at that stage in the pregnancy. That’s nine extra days of waiting to get out of the period where your miscarriage risk is high. It meant that the embryo was actually closer in size to a sweet pea than a raspberry. It meant we had to “re-live” the end of week 6 and all of week 7, because we thought we had already passed those milestones. We were told that I probably just ovulated late, but it still made us worry because being 9 days behind was some seriously late ovulation. Additionally, when I got pregnant I was still on medication for my sleep disorder. It’s a medication that hasn’t been studied much in pregnancy so there isn’t a lot of data, but there have been two case reports of women who had taken the medication during their pregnancy and experienced intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). There’s no way to tell if the medication caused the IUGR, but it’s a possibility and of course we worried that was the issue. Because of that early exposure to the medication, my OBGYN set me up for a more detailed 20 week anatomy scan with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, and when their office contacted me to set up the appointment they also offered me a first trimester screening which would also include an ultrasound. I wasn’t super concerned about everything they test for in that screening, but I jumped on the opportunity to get another ultrasound to make sure everything was growing okay. We just had that appointment last week, at 12 weeks + 5 days (based on the dating from the first ultrasound), and the tech measured it around 13 weeks….which was perfectly on track with that first ultrasound measurement. So it looks like I just have a tendency to ovulate quite a bit later in my cycle than the average woman, and we’re not nearly as concerned about IUGR anymore! Phew!


Ok, back to the Q + A:

How have you been feeling? Honestly…..not fantastic. Morning sickness hit me around week 7, in the form of unrelenting all-day nausea. I guess you could say I’ve been lucky not to vomit, but there have been some very close calls. I’ve told myself over and over that pregnancy is a blessing, that the reward at the end of this is worth this period of feeling horrible, and often that makes me feel better, but there were a few moments when I flat-out HATED being pregnant. Other than morning sickness, I’ve also been hit with some overwhelming fatigue. It’s normal to be tired in the first trimester, but I’m getting the double-whammy of having to go off my medication for my sleep disorder, which means I’ve returned to zombie-like state. My new neurologist prescribed me….sleep. I was considering going back to work shortly before I got pregnant, but that’s off the table now that I need a nap almost every day, at least 10 (preferably 12) hours of sleep each night, and generally feel like my head is full of fuzz.

One of my favorite gender-neutral finds so far!
One of my favorite gender-neutral finds so far!

Are you going to find out the gender? Ugh. I wish I had an answer to this question. Originally I had no desire to find out the gender in advance and I wanted the surprise at the time of delivery. Dave hadn’t even considered not finding out, and his preference is to find out in advance. I will admit that it is becoming more and more tempting to find out because gender neutral stuff can be tough to find and isn’t even carried by some stores…and the gender neutral nursery stuff is so GRAY. Blech. I was expecting to be able to find a bunch of green stuff, but apparently green is so last year (at least according to the retailers). I’ve been trying to get Dave to make a good argument for why we should find out the gender in advance, but so far all he’s come up with is “I don’t want to be disappointed in the delivery room if it’s a girl.” If you think that’s the worst logic ever, I agree with you. Obviously Dave is team blue. I can’t decide what I want, so I’m going to be happy either way, but right now I’m feeling like it’s a girl. But hey, who knows, right? But back to the question at hand….we’re still up in the air if we’ll find out or not. I had a blood test last week that will be checking the fetal DNA for genetic disorders and will also be able to tell us the gender, and we should get the results later this week or sometime next week. We’ll have to make a decision if we want to know the gender results at that point in time, but even if we opt to not find out then change our mind later, the results will still be in the doctor’s computer system. 


I wrote a few “bump date” posts for the past few weeks, so I’m planning on posting those “en masse” in the next day or two. After that I’ll do my best to post weekly pregnancy updates on Saturdays, but I’m not promising that they’ll get posed on time each week because we’ll be on the road several times before we even hit the 20 week mark. In fact, I can almost guarantee that the upcoming 14-week post will not be going up late! 

Until later,
Ashlen

What I’ve Learned from Two Years of Marriage

Wedding Laughter

Today we are officially celebrating two years of marriage. Unofficially we celebrated yesterday because, well, today is a Monday. That means Dave is working today and heading out for Monday Night Football this evening. Yes, I’m “letting” my husband go spend the evening with a bunch of dudes watching football on our anniversary. Does that make me the coolest wife ever? Really we kind of spent the weekend celebrating our anniversary in a low-key way. We spent it at home, together. That might sound like any other weekend, but when you look ahead at our schedule for the next few months, weekends like those are going to be few and far between. We’re both introverts, and we need that quiet recharge time. We worked on stuff together and relaxed in front of the fireplace together. Last night we headed out to Kona Grill for a sushi dinner, then went to Orange Leaf on the way home for some frozen yogurt. It was relaxing and even though it doesn’t sound to fancy or splashy, it was perfect.  Continue reading What I’ve Learned from Two Years of Marriage

Summer Recap

Given that I dropped off the face of the planet and stopped blogging for a few months after my surgery, I missed blogging about a lot of big summer events. I’ve been debating on how to chronicle everything and catch y’all up, and I think the easiest way is to do a big ole recap post. Let’s get to it…

June

Abby’s Bridal Shower & Bachelorette

Ashlen, Niki, Abby & Katie

Abby is Dave’s cousin. They grew up in the same small town, went to the same school, etc. etc. Given that Dave is an only child, Abby and her sister Katie are the closest thing Dave has to siblings. They were in our wedding and they and their mom hosted my bridal shower. So when Abby got engaged, I knew I wanted to help out with her bridal shower. I helped host it with Dave’s mom at Wolcott House – the same place where my shower was held. It’s kind of a tradition for locals to hold sowers there and it’s easy to see why – there’s space to set up several tables, a kitchen to prepare food, space to play awesome bridal games….so pretty much everything you might need for a shower and no one has to deep clean their house and rearrange half their furniture. Continue reading Summer Recap

Recap: Our First House Guests

Can you photobomb a selfie? If so, I think I managed to do so in this picture!
Can you photobomb a selfie? If so, I think I managed to do so in this picture!

Early last week I posted about how we were getting ready for our first house guests: my cousin Braden and his girlfriend Sabrina.

Wednesday Evening

Braden and Sabrina rented a car and drove down to Indy after spending several days visiting Chicago. They arrived on Wednesday evening, so I decided to do a relaxing barbecue dinner. I had grabbed some steak filets from Kroger as well as some vegetable kabobs. Braden and Sabrina brought something very important with them from Canada: a bottle of Hy’s seasoning salt. There is no seasoning salt quite like it, and we’ve been out of it for several months now. Since we moved into the house we’ve been barbecuing a fair amount because we haven’t been able to barbecue is so long. Plus, barbecue is easy and tasty. It’s even tastier when you season your meat and veggies with Hy’s. I also made my favorite cheesy mashed baked potatoes and a salad. It was seriously delicious, if I do say so myself. What made it even better was that we set up a table on the lanai and are out there. The weather just keeps getting nicer and nicer so we haven’t taken the table down yet. I have a feeling that we’ll keep using it all season long – or at least until we get a more permanent option! Continue reading Recap: Our First House Guests

Our Unromantic Valentine’s Day

Our Unromantic Valentine's Day

I remember when I was single. Valentine’s Day stinks for singles. It seems like every girl around you is getting flowers, chocolates, and nice dinners from their significant other. If it’s not being shoved in your face at work or school, it’s certainly shoved in your face all over social media. Heck, forget social media, you can’t turn on the TV or the radio without the sad reminder that you are woefully and pitifully alone. It’s even worse when your grandmother sends you a cute little card and your mom sends you some chocolates because, as much as you appreciate their gesture, it’s just one more reminder that you’re depending on your family for a little Valentine’s Day happiness. It’s pitiful. Well, I’m here to tell you something, single people: Valentine’s Day isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for some of us in relationships either. 

Here’s the thing about Valentine’s Day: everything is ridiculously expensive. Red roses are at an absolute premium, as is any other red-colored flower. Good luck getting a restaurant reservation, especially if the big day falls on a weekend like it did this year. Even if you can get a table at your favorite eatery, you’re likely to get stuck with a fixed-price menu that doesn’t include your favorite dish but does include about 10 courses for a gazillion dollars. You end up leaving so stuffed you don’t even want your husband to touch you for fear that you might vomit everywhere. As I said, this holiday isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

Dave’s usually pretty great with holidays. I mean, he stinks at planning ahead so if I want reservations somewhere I would need to make them for us well in advance because he won’t think about it until 11pm on February 13th (or the hour before any other birthday / anniversary / holiday). However, he will get up in the morning and sneak out (which isn’t very difficult because I sleep like a log), and find a place selling flowers and chocolates to bring home for me to discover when I wake up. That’s all very nice, but it’s expensive. This year for Valentine’s Day, I requested he do none of it. 

I know, I’m crazy. What girl doesn’t like flowers and chocolates? Here’s the thing: I like flowers and chocolate but I love other things a lot more. I had already told him that our FitBits were early Valentine’s Day presents to each other, but I don’t think he really believed me. I think he thought I was just saying that and I would still expect the normal gifts on Valentine’s Day morning. That wasn’t the case. I could think of so many other things we want to buy together for our new house. We just spent a decent chunk of cash buying a washer, dryer, and fridge for Dave’s wet bar. We had been debating on adding some extra landscaping to improve drainage…to the tune of a few thousand dollars. We want to buy furniture for the lanai so we can enjoy it this summer, and bar stools for the kitchen and the man cave. We need a new kitchen table and more chairs and couches than I care to count at the moment. We want to buy LED light bulbs for every light in the place, we will need to buy a lawnmower soon after getting into the house, and we don’t want to be completely broke at the end of this process. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not doing all of these things (and more) right away…it’s going to take years. The thought of spending over $100 on flowers, chocolates, and dinner seemed ridiculous when we could be putting that money towards things in our house. Things that will help us enjoy each other’s company for years to come. 

So what did we do for our very unromantic Valentine’s Day weekend? We slept in on Saturday. I fell asleep reading a book Friday night so I actually woke up in the previous day’s clothes. I continued reading my book while I drank my coffee, and Dave slept some more. I took a shower, then Dave suggested that I give Katie-dog a bath. She was stinky, so I couldn’t refuse. He’d been trying to get me to do it for a couple of days. The problem? She’s a sweet little angel for me until I put her into a tub…then she’s a nightmare. She’s generally a nightmare to Dave, but is meek and well-behaved when he puts her in the bath. Go figure. I prefer he give her baths, to say the least. He’s done it the last several times though, so it was definitely my turn. I bathed the little imp while Dave acted kind of like a back-seat driver, telling me where I needed more shampoo and how to rinse all the conditioner out of her fur. At least he was there to hand me a towel for her when we were all done. I wrangled Katie-dog into the towel, then proceeded to let her “spin dry” for a bit before capturing her for the blow dryer. She survived, and she smells much nicer now. After drying my hair a bit we called my parents. After that, I hunkered down and got ready to watch the Butler vs. Villanova basketball game and Dave headed out to the grocery store for some frozen pizzas and wine. In other words, Valentine’s Day was not that different from any other Saturday in our household. I would have preferred that Butler beat Villanova, but alas not everything could go my way. At least it was a close game against one of the best teams in the country. And hey, we’re still sitting #2 in the Big East, aka the toughest basketball conference in the country! 

While the day was kind of unromantic and normal, it was actually pretty great. We relaxed, we had fun, we enjoyed spending time with each other. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about?

Until later, Ashlen

Family Shenanigans

For as much as I write on this blog, I don’t often share the little random things that are going on in our life. Frankly, that’s because our day to day lives are actually pretty boring. Yes, we’re building a house and that’s very exciting, but it’s not what consumes most of our time. Well, it did consume a heck of a lot of time while we were going through the selections process, but that’s done, so now it’s just approving the random little change orders that come through (or the big change orders confirming our selections). Only two parts of my day are really focused around house-building at the moment: when we go see the house in the evening and when I write about the house on the blog. So here’s a little update of the other things that are going on in our life. 

Bowling Continue reading Family Shenanigans

Devour Downtown Winter 2015

I’m not going to lie, usually we’re pretty boring on the weekends. We sleep in, we relax, we snuggle the dog. It’s really not worth writing about on the blog. This weekend is a little more action-packed than most for us!

Devour DowntownOur friends Leif and Katrin (who, as you might remember, had the awesome Oktoberfest party I blogged about several months ago) had the brilliant idea of getting a group of friends together for dinner during Devour Downtown. Devour Downtown is an event in Indianapolis where a ton of the restaurants downtown put together a three-course menu for a set price that is significantly less than the normal price. The idea is that it gets people downtown during a time of year when there aren’t a lot of conventions or other events keeping the restaurants packed to capacity. It happens twice a year – once in the winter and once in the summer. I’m assuming it’s good for the restaurants because so many of them participate year after year. From a consumer’s perspective, it’s fantastic. It’s a great time to try out the pricier restaurants that you don’t usually eat at on a regular basis. St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmicks, and The Oceanaire would all fall into that category. For the record, I highly recommend St. Elmo’s (or it’s sister restaurant next door….Harry & Izzy’s) and McCormick & Schmicks. I have never tried The Oceanaire, but I’ve heard excellent reviews. So if you’re not from Indy and you’re ever visiting us, add those restaurants to your list to try! It’s also a great time to frequent your favorite downtown restaurants (Weber Grill being my absolute favorite!) or to try a new place. This year Katrin got reservations for fourteen (yes, 14!) of us at Adobo Grill.  Continue reading Devour Downtown Winter 2015

Spending the Holidays in a Winter Wonderland

Christmas Ornament

I can’t believe it’s already New Year’s Eve. We’ve been up in Canada for well over a week, Christmas has come and gone, but it seems like we just arrived here. Our trip is coming to an end. When we left Indy we hadn’t set a hard “return” date, but we were thinking about leaving on January 2nd. We could relax and enjoy New Years Eve with my family, and spend New Years Day watching the Rose Bowl Parade, football, and hockey games before heading out the following day. It seemed like a great plan, but Mother Nature is messing it all up! It’s not unusual for snow / winter weather to ruin your plans when you’re in Canada, but the weather up here is actually looking pretty clear. Unfortunately, it’s looking like Chicago and Indianapolis are due to get hit with snow and ice on Saturday (Jan. 3rd – ie the day we were supposed to be driving through that area). In order to miss this storm, and prevent us from having to drive through an icy / snowy mess, we’re packing up today and leaving tomorrow morning. Don’t worry, we’ll still be enjoying New Years Eve by eating Chinese food and watching the Canada vs. USA hockey game. 

Christmas TreeWe arrived in Canada late in the afternoon of December 21st, in time to have dinner with my parents. My mom made pierogies with bacon and fried onions – a meal you can easily find in Winnipeg, but that I don’t get much in Indianapolis. Side note: I’ve actually managed to find some pierogies at Fresh Market in Indy so I do get them on occasion! After dinner I was anxious to get the Christmas tree up and decorated. Nothing beats the smell of a real tree in the house at Christmastime! I hadn’t been back in Canada to celebrate the previous two years, so my parents just stepped back and let me do all the decorating with my favorite ornaments that I hadn’t seen in years. We spent the next couple days finishing up the remainder of the Christmas preparations – shopping (we braved several malls, and I have a new appreciation for all the traffic circles in our hometown of Carmel after dealing with Winnipeg’s ridiculous number of stop lights!) and some last minute gift wrapping.

On Christmas Eve we were planning on attending church with my aunt and uncle, then we were going to be spending the evening at their house. Unfortunately, we got news earlier in the day that my uncle had been under the weather and my aunt was starting to feel ill as well. They wouldn’t be attending church that night, they certainly wouldn’t be up for hosting us all for Christmas Eve, and they decided to stay home on Christmas Day as well (which we appreciated, because we didn’t want to get sick!). We have a small family, so the loss of two people for Christmas dinner is kind of a big blow. That, and the fact that I don’t get to see my aunt and uncle very often, made it a bit of a depressing situation. Thankfully my mom’s cousin and her family were planning on attending a Christmas Eve service at their church, which isn’t far from my parent’s house at all, so we joined them instead! I got to see some of the kids in our extended family that I haven’t seen in a couple years. In that time they’ve gone from little babies to walking and talking human beings! After church we headed back to my parents’ house, and my cousin (Braden) and his girlfriend (Sabrina) came over. They didn’t want to get sick from my aunt and uncle either, but unfortunately it sounded like Braden came down with it a few days after Christmas. My mom heated up some frozen finger food in the oven, and Braden and Sabrina brought over Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuit mix. After eating, we sat down and played Wits & Wagers, a game I gave to Dave last Christmas. We even got my dad to play, which was a Christmas miracle.  Continue reading Spending the Holidays in a Winter Wonderland

A Katie-Dog Update

Katie Post-Surgery

Today has been all about Katie-dog. 

Last week, I noticed that Katie had a bit of a skin infection. Katie suffers from atopic dermatitis, which is a fancy way of saying she has allergies and her skin gets itchy all the time. We do our best to manage it with medications, but sometimes she scratches and licks and then gets a secondary bacterial infection. These infections have a tendency to go from minor to out-of-control in a day or two, and that makes her even itchier and super miserable. I didn’t want to get caught out of town for Thanksgiving without having it looked at by the vet, and sure enough they put her on a two week regimen of antibiotics. We have a fantastic vet* who is always really thorough, so she noticed that Katie had a loose tooth. Katie’s had dental problems since I adopted her – the Humane Society had to remove several teeth when she came to them, and she had a couple more removed by my family’s vet up in Canada as well. I knew she was due for a cleaning, and I knew all her teeth weren’t in great shape, so this wasn’t a huge surprise. That said, Katie just had her annual check-up not that long ago, and the tooth problem wasn’t noticed then, so I’m thinking we caught it pretty early! Our vet recommended we get her in for dental work ASAP. Recently Katie had a small benign mass on the back of her neck that had been bleeding a little bit, and she has several of them all over her body, including one that she always gnaws at on her front leg. We decided that if Katie was going under anesthesia anyway for the dental work, then we might as well remove the most problematic of the masses at the same time. The vet schedules all her surgeries and procedures on Fridays….so here we are today. Continue reading A Katie-Dog Update

Hello, Winter!

Winter officially hit us in central Indiana last weekend. The temperatures dropped, and we got a full covering of snow…which is definitely not normal for this time of the year around here. That said, my cousin was born in an early-November blizzard in Canada, so I don’t find it particularly crazy. My favorite season in Indiana is autumn, so I feel like Mother Nature is playing a mean trick on me by skipping over the end of fall and heading straight into winter. That said, the best part of winter is the snow, so I won’t complain about the cold temperatures if there’s white stuff on the ground! 

I took this picture last weekend, when the snow was just starting to stick!
I took this picture last weekend, when the snow was just starting to stick!

Unfortunately this week I would have much preferred some slightly warmer weather. We know that insulation was going to be installed in our new house today, so last night Dave dragged me to the house so we could take pictures of all the wiring and pipes in the walls. We want to  have a reference just in case we ever need it. Dave needed an assistant to hold a measuring tape in some of the pictures and write down the location in the house that correlated to each picture number (because pictures of walls start to look the same after a while). Of course, that assistant was me. I had on a wool hat, mitts, and my Ugg boots, but by the end I was frozen solid….especially my toes. I don’t think Dave noticed it as much because he was moving around taking all the pictures, but I was generally idle and had lots of time to think about how miserable I felt. However, Dave made a good point….it’s a job we’re never going to have to do ever again. Thank goodness for that! Continue reading Hello, Winter!