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I’m about ready to pop!

Ugh. This last trimester was really kicking my butt. It’s probably because I’ve been working so hard. I still stay at the restaurant until closing time which means I end up working 14 hour days, 7 days a week. I love every moment of it though.

The best part of any day is getting to interact with my customers. I really enjoy checking in on them and getting their feedback. It’s actually helped the business a lot to find out what they like or don’t like because then I’m able to make changes I know people want.

It’s interesting how natural being a manager feels. I’ve always been outgoing so it’s not hard for me to deal with people but I thought I would miss being in the kitchen a lot. Surprisingly, I don’t. I suppose it’s because it feels like everyone still gets to eat my food anyway since it’s my own recipes.

There really is so much of me in this place and that’s probably why I feel like I have to work extra hard to make it a success especially before I go on maternity leave. Unfortunately, toting around a stomach the size of a watermelon makes it difficult to be superwoman on most days and I end up having to take a break more often than I want to.

The good news is that we’re finally getting to that well-oiled machine place that I’ve been looking forward to. Everyone is working so well with each other and we’re actually starting to make a profit. Still, nothing to boast about but it’s a start. I might even be able to start taking a salary from the business soon.

Everyone is really looking forward to this baby. She’s not even born yet and she already has a fan club. Maritza and Jade have even placed bets on who they think she’s going to resemble more between Michael and me. Jade thinks she’ll have Michael’s eyes and my hair while Maritza thinks she’ll be my complete clone.

Then they start making all these suggestions about baby names we can use for our little girl. Michael and I have discussed a few name ideas but we don’t really love any of them. We’re thinking of something unique but also special to the both of us but that doesn’t stop everyone we know from telling us what they think we should name her. I welcome the ideas though especially since I’m so close to my due date and we’re still calling our baby ‘Baby’.

Michael still gives the best back rubs. I love the feel of his hands on my shoulders and he’s even more attentive and patient with me now than he was throughout my pregnancy which is saying a lot.

I really appreciate him spoiling me in spite of not having much time for him. Most days I get home, eat, shower, let him rub my back or my feet, and then go to bed. Usually, I’m very energetic when I get home so much so that I can easily whip up a tasty dinner and dessert for the two of us since Lyra and Liam moved out. These days I end up settling for whatever he makes. I’m not saying his cooking is bad, it’s just not as good as mine. It’s his only flaw, really, but I appreciate his effort nonetheless.

“How does this feel?” He asked.

“Awesome!” I practically moan. “Your hands are like magic, babe!”

“You’re now noticing?” He joked.

“Ha ha…” I rolled my eyes. “I’m so over this pregnancy!”

“You sure? Right now it’s easy cause it’s still the two of us.”

“Easy?” I said with a laugh. “You try carrying this child for a day and you’ll be begging to push the kid out too!”

When he was finished with the back rub he put his arms around my stomach, hugging me from behind while gently kissing me on my shoulder. “You know, we need to come up with a name before the baby is born.” He said.

“I know. Nicole sounds nice, maybe Natalie? Lyra suggested Natalie.”

He shook his head. “Let’s not go with that name!”

“Why not?” He got really quiet so I turned to face him. “Why don’t you like it?”

“Uh…the thing is, I knew a ‘Natalie’ back in the day and I don’t want to give our daughter that name.” He chuckled awkwardly.

“Oh.” It was obvious this Natalie was an ex-girlfriend or something of the sort and I didn’t want to name my daughter after one of his exes either so I dropped it. “So what ideas do you have?”

“Well, I know we wanted something unique and meaningful so I was thinking…what about Nori?”

“Nori? That’s a type of seaweed, they use it in sushi.”

“But doesn’t it sound cute?”

“It sounds like you want to name our child after seaweed!” I laughed.

“Yes, it means seaweed, but think about it, we first met in a Japanese restaurant and you ate that cubed ahi thing that had nori in it. And on the night she was conceived we were at the Romance Festival and you had the nigiri that had bits of toasted nori in it too.”

“It’s kind of a random name to come up with though.” I shrugged.

“You ate the same thing on both nights and they were pretty meaningful moments in our relationship. Plus we’re both food-lovers. It’s like a part of us so I don’t think it’s random for her to have that name. And it’s definitely unique! I don’t think there’d be another Nori in her class.”

The more he said the name, the more I was sold. It did have a nice ring to it, plus it was unique which is what we were going for, and on top of that, he did make a good point about it being present in those important moments in our relationship. I was surprised he even remembered those details. “Wait a minute…you remember what I ate on our first date?”

“You mean our first non-date.” He corrected me with a wink.

“Exactly! You remembered all that?”

“How could I forget? The moment you walked in there with that sexy blue and white dress and that smile I just knew my life was gonna change for the better…and it did.”

Another thing I loved more than his massages was the way he looked at me with so much love and adoration. I don’t know what I did to deserve a man like him but I’m pretty happy to have Michael in my life as my husband and the father of my child.

I especially feel this way whenever I see him with other children like Tatiana’s daughter Aspen.

Or Patrick and Ashley’s daughter Amiyah who often runs away from her parents and comes to our house next door for cookies. Thank goodness we live in a cul-de-sac and no one ever drives up this street unless they’re coming to see one of us. She always cries a little when we drop her back home because she wants her Uncle Mike to read her a bedtime story. I think Patrick might be a little jealous of Michael and all the attention Amiyah gives him whenever he comes around.

He’s just so perfect. I mean I know he’s not perfect, perfect but he’s pretty damn close if you ask me. I’m still a little nervous about balancing motherhood and my business but knowing that I have such an amazing partner like Michael to do it with me helps to ease my worries.

I think we’ll be okay as long as we have each other.

And our little Nori will only add to our happiness.