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This December

It’s been an interesting December, which began with Hanukkah! As Jewish holidays go, it’s not actually a major one, and the proximity to Christmas does seem to be the only reason a lot of attention is paid to it. Still, who doesn’t love lighting some candles?

This is also the first year in some time that we’ve spent the entire Hanukkah celebration on one coast. In 2016 and 2017 we started it in California, and resumed it at the townhouse in Philadelphia. Prior to that, we had at least one weekend during Hanukkah with our tiny travel menorah as a work trip of mine caused overlap. I certainly missed the holiday visit back east this year, but we’ll resume the tradition next year, with a little one in tow!

Even at eight months pregnant I’ve continued to interview for new roles, but with the knowledge that it’s extra important that I find a job that I’d be excited to return to after taking time off for maternity. My career has been a focal point in my life for years, and though I know my priorities will shift in the coming months, I’m committed to coming back strong to work on something that excites and challenges me in new ways.

Job searches are never easy, but I have found things to enjoy about the search this time around. I’ve had the support of a tremendous network of people in the industry, and my experience at this stage of my career means I have a lot of options, spanning both operations and developer advocacy. This has allowed me to explore working with a variety of types of companies and talking to really interesting people. Even when the fit isn’t quite right, most of the interviews I’ve had left me having learned something and grateful for the opportunity I had to explore a possible future with them. Plus, some interviews gave me an excuse to head up to San Francisco for the day. I’ve settled some in Castro Valley, but certainly left some of my heart in San Francisco.

Visits to SF mean street cars!

And cable cars!

Visits to San Francisco also occurred during a few meals with friends over the past several weeks. I got to catch up with my friend Mark over lobster rolls downtown after a doctors appointment one afternoon. An old friend I met long ago Philadelphia was available for dinner one night where we grabbed pizza and ice cream in my old neighborhood.

Catching up with friends was also part of my plan to do a bunch of things this month that are much easier before having children. My other obligations (job search, prep for kiddo, house things) did eat into this, and there were physical limitations (long outdoor adventures need not apply), but I did find some things I could do, mostly around food! MJ and I have been enjoying some lovely date nights, including an amazing dinner at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino a couple weeks ago.

I also took off for a night to spend time alone in Half Moon Bay. I booked a nice ocean view room at a hotel, and a pregnancy massage at their attached spa. My room had a sitting area where I could snuggle up and read, a gas fireplace, and a Sam’s Chowder House, which makes a great lobster roll, was just down the street. I indulged in a couple non-alcoholic, wine-inspired sodas from VIGNETTE (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), which rounded out my lunch, and a dessert I took to go and ate that evening. This adventure away gave me a few things I suspect will quickly become more rare: alone time, rest and relaxation, and spontaneity. I only wish I was able to spend time stopping at scenic outlooks and browsing the shops and things along route 92 on my way home, unfortunately the late pregnancy must-use-restroom-often need put a limitation on how many stops I could make! Still, I had a lovely time, and at just under an hour away, it was an easy and fun drive out there.

I didn’t get as much technical-focused learning as I hoped I’d do now that I’ve wound down my travel schedule. Instead, I’ve put my focus into planning for the future, both the immediate needs for our upcoming child, and more long-term plans sketched out for when we inevitably struggle to find a balance in the coming months and upon my eventual return to work. While I am disappointed with not getting my teeth into the latest tech book I picked up in August, I think I made the right choice, even professionally. I believe time will show this break from the bay area tech hustle will have served me well.

Of course time has been spent preparing for immediate needs as well. Over the past month I’ve scoured parenting forums, reviews, lists, and the brains of fellow parents I know to find the most best (weighted with cost, value, quality) products for the new kiddo. Our house is now full of incoming baby signs, with a Pack ‘n Play and swing sitting in my living room in their respective boxes, a lovely combination stroller/bassinet/car seat, and a nursery, that while sparse, I think everything we’ll need in it, at least right away!

Crib, nursing chair and changing table here in California

There have also been a lot of doctor appointments. I scheduled my twice-a-week non-stress tests for the mornings so I could get on with my day. After the complications that have popped up through this pregnancy, and led to these regular check-ins, I’m very happy to say that things are progressing well and we’re on track for an early January birth. The usual aches, pains, and struggle staying asleep for this stage of pregnancy are ever-present, but I have been taking a short nap in the afternoon most days to make up for some of the lost overnight sleep. Physically, I’ve been spacing out all the manual labor chores I have throughout the days and weeks, and this strategy has worked well so far. We still don’t have a lot of furniture in our house in general, but things are coming together and I think we’ll be in pretty good shape for when friends and relatives start coming into town after the birth, including my aunt who has graciously offered to spend a couple months here with us to help!

My view in the NST room for 20-30 minutes, twice a week

I’d be lying if I said I was ready for what January brings. I’m certain that no amount of preparation can truly get you ready for how much your life will change once you have kids, especially for someone my age who has become so accustom to, and largely happy with, a child-free lifestyle. Still, we’re excited and looking forward to this new chapter.