Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall favorites as a fam of THREE

Hello. Here I am.
Yes. I'm surprised too.
Not necessarily bad surprised, just surprised.

We are still a family of three.
Just waiting on our sweet little nugget to arrive.

Oh the waiting.

Good thing I have a cute toddler to keep me entertained.


The most frustrating part is that I still have 5 days until my due date. So I really have no right to have ants in my pants just yet. And I *annoyingly* feel better than I have my entire pregnancy - like I could carry this baby for 3 more months. {Heavens mercy me, let's hope not}.

It's just that I (and many others) truly thought I'd be snuggling my newbie by now. I had Lyla at 38 weeks, my doctor has told me over and over that it's historically common for mamas who have their first early will have subsequent babies early, I've been measuring ahead, and I've had signs of imminent labor for a couple of weeks now.

Not to mention all the lovely texts and messages that are messing with my head asking if I'm still pregnant. Or if there's a baby yet. It really means so much having friends and family check on us. But, I promise we are not keeping our baby a secret, and I promise you will know once he or she has arrived. :)

It is just a bit surreal because this past weekend was a milestone in my mind. Way back in the summer when I was planning out my calendar, and when I finally decided on a last day date for my job, I specifically remember penciling in events on my calendar for this past weekend. I did so with a smirk on my face because I knew Gabe and I probably would not be participating in any festivities this weekend because we'd have a newborn.

I was just sure of it.

Well. Here we are. The weekend has come and gone. And I'm still pregnant.

Very pregnant.

But quite honestly, I really am okay with that. We've had amazing family time, I've had so much fun with Lyla, and this baby is doing his/her job by staying put and growing. Plus, baby is quite cozy in there, and we are all cozy getting our sleep on. Who am I to wish that would end?

But let's be honest. All of those things still don't take the ants out of my pants...

-----------------------

We really have had the most delightful fall-filled weekends as a family of three. And I am so thankful we've had the time together.


Two weekends ago, we spent our Saturday morning at Entz Apple Orchard. This is absolutely one of my most favorite fall traditions. I love supporting this family-run orchard, and Lyla has the best time picking and snacking along the way. She thinks she's the biggest of kiddos.






This year, I made the mistake of dressing like my toddler. So awkward. I swear it wasn't planned...it's just that Ly looked so darn cute, and I was 37 weeks pregnant and had really run out of options. {I've pretty much been on a 3 outfit rotation for the last 3 weeks.}

The tacky matching cheese-factor is almost painful. But we still managed to get some cute pics regardless.




Our last picture as a family of three? 
Nope. 

And then this past weekend, while I anxiously anticipated labor, we hung with friends for the K-State game, celebrated a good friend's 30th birthday (and even stayed out past 9:30...whaaattt???), and went to the pumpkin patch.

For the past 2 years, we've always gone to Walter's Pumpkin Patch with our "crew" - a near and dear group of friends who have kiddos the same age and who share the same love for fall traditions. We had it on the calendar for months {even though I was sure we wouldn't be joining}, but it was our plan to go with them IF I wasn't in labor or IF I didn't have a newborn.

Well, I had neither and we still didn't go with our crew. Thanks to my Mother-in-Law who scared the bejoobies out of me by reminding me that I'm 39 weeks pregnant, and that driving over 45 minutes away with our toddler in tow may not be the best idea. I wasn't exactly prepared to deliver a baby on the side of the highway.

So we opted for a more local patch and ended up meeting up with some of our good pals anyway. And Lyla was pretty stoked because she got to hang out with her best bud since birth.

And for the record, Gabe always likes to point out that these two tots are "just friends". But I'm not so sure...


Just a couple of "friends"


Going to the patch almost trumps my weekly pumpkin spice lattes every fall. Ironically, I was begging the baby to stay put through the weekend so we could in fact make our traditional stop at the patch. I didn't think baby would actually listen, but I'm so happy he/she did. Lyla loved chasing Dad through the corn maze, continuously begged for "Cal hold muh hand", fed the animals and then proceeded to suck her thumb before I could sanitize it, and felt like the biggest of kids walking away with her prized pumpkin.









Goodness I love fall. And I love that baby hung on for one more weekend so that we could enjoy fall.

But now, I'm ready for you, Baby. Go ahead and make your debut. 

Who am I kidding? At this rate, I'm sure I'll be blogging about our Halloween...with a babe still in belly.



Friday, October 10, 2014

Permanent Maternity Leave

It's finally starting to sink in.
At least a little.

At this moment in time, I am on permanent maternity leave.
I'm *gasp* a stay-at-home-mom.



I can't say this was ever in our plan. It's never even been a dream really. That is until Lyla was born just over two years ago, and I went back to teaching for a year. Priorities started shifting away, and I got sadder and sadder deep within my gut. And that sadness never subsided for me like it does for many other moms. So, I made some life changes, got an ideal new job, found more balance, and was happier than I'd ever been.

But now that we're expecting our second, and after a lot Saturday morning coffee talks, one too many morning-rush-blurs, the inability to take care of my own kid when she's sick, a super-jazzed-up excel spreadsheet of our budget, and the realization that working for me simply meant paying for daycare for two kiddos, we came to the conclusion that it would be best for me to stay home.

And I couldn't be more excited...or thankful.


I have no idea what this new gig will look like. It's quite difficult to imagine, really. And I don't exactly know how long of a gig it may be. I tend to get antsy easily. I like being productive. I like being social. I like using my brain. And, if we're completely honest, I like not having to check our bank account every 15 minutes to make sure I haven't spent too much at Baby Gap. That being said, however, I love being a mom. Every ounce of my being wants to be there for my kids, put more than half of myself into their lives, and stop going through life at such a rapid speed that I blink and suddenly have two teenagers arguing over the car. And although I do have an idea or two up my sleeve to help me with my desires to stay with-it and be a productive member of society (and hopefully bring in some extra income too), I am reminding myself that this time goes by in a flash. And I want to soak up every moment with my babies. Just enjoy. Just be. 



However, things started off a bit rough my first week on the new job. My hope was to have a good, solid week with Lyla. A few days for just the two of us before baby arrives. To make up for lost time, busy schedules, and future time that will be spent with a newborn. But my first day into my new gig, I was just sure I was going into labor as I woke in the middle of the night with stomach-flu-like symptoms. Same exact thing happened the day I went into labor with Lyla. All I could think was "I'M NOT READY. THE NURSERY ISN'T READY. MY HOSPITAL BAG ISN'T READY."

Well. Instead of me going into labor, my "stomach-flu-like symptoms" turned out to be the actual stomach bug. I was pretty miserable (and pretty 9 months pregnant) with a toddler at home who needed me. Because she, of course, came down with the bug too. Luckily, hers only lasted 24 hours. But in those 24 hours, I washed sheets a total of 6 times. And I lost a total of 4 pounds between last week's OB appointment and yesterday's. Where I found out I am indeed progressing, and it really could be anytime that baby makes his or her debut.

Could be in 2 weeks. Could be tonight. {And because I'm admittedly neurotic, I went back to look at my blogpost from a few days before Ly was born. Turns out, I am exactly at the same spot I was four days before I went into labor with her.}

Ugh. The anticipation. And I still don't think I'm quite ready. {insert nervous emoticon face}

And just as we're finally getting into the swing of things as we wait for "baby sister" (according to Lyla) to arrive. We've gone to story time at the library, she started "school" one day a week, and this mama has been hyper-productive. I've crossed things off my list that have been sitting there collecting dust for a good 6 months. And Gabe and I even went on our first date in, oh, probably 6 or 7 months, to celebrate my birthday. I had the best shrimp and scallop fettuccine alfredo and banana caramel bread pudding. And it was worth every minute spent in misery with a horrible tummy ache.


And oh my goodness the mood shift in this house. Everyone is more relaxed. And all around happier. Especially Lyla. It's amazing at how much of a buzzkill I was at the end of each day after work. Now, I have more energy and time for Ly, and she is just happier. Of course our blissful, dream-like state is about to come to a crashing halt any day once we bring home a crying newborn and jump back into a life of lack-of-sleep-induced comas. Believe me, I'm aware.



And in fact, because this baby loves squeezing the heck out of my bladder, I'm up all hours of the night. And every time I wake, I'm thankful I haven't yet gone into labor because I get one more day with Miss Beans. As excited as I am to meet our new babe, I do get a little misty thinking about how the dynamics of our family are going to change. I remember feeling the same way when it was just Gabe and I anxiously waiting for Lyla to be born.  Of course that sadness went away and was immediately replaced by the most incomprehensible joy we'd ever felt the moment Ly entered the world. And I'm sure that will happen again with new baby's arrival. But it's still bittersweet.





But while we wait, we will continue to utilize every moment of our weekends together as a family of three. And during the week, I am soaking up this girl time - just the two of us. Ly is at the cutest age, and I truly wish I could bottle up her two-year-oldness forever.



I melt over so many things... // When she pulls up my shirt and gives "kisses to baby sister" at random. // Or when she's playing for hours at a time sporadically stops what she's doing to look up and say "hi mom" as a little reminder she's still in the room and needs a moment of attention. // Talking on the phone to her and hearing her say "hi mama. I love you." or "happy birthday mama" in the sweetest little voice I've ever heard in my life. // Her warnings to "be careful" when I'm cooking over a hot stove or if I trip over something. // Her wanting to be a little adult by carrying around her purse and phone everywhere she goes or "putting on makeup" while I get ready. (No. I do not let her put on makeup. I give her my makeup brush and she goes to town). // How she tells any guest who leaves "see ya alligator". // Or when I had her test out the pouf in the corner of the baby room. She sadly walked over and said "Lyla in timeout." Bless her sweet little heart - I nearly cried. //

I would love to have a two year old for the rest of my life. It's just the best. And I'm so grateful I get this one on one time with her before babe.


So far, I sure am loving this new life. And I am unguilt-ily going to go enjoy every last sip of my homemade pumpkin spice coffee, finish up some projects in the baby room, and savor these quiet moments during nap time. Because these days are fleeting and going to abruptly come to an end very soon.

And call me crazy, but I couldn't be more excited for the chaos that is to ensue.

Bring on our family of four.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thoughts at 35(ish) Weeks

So here I am. Nearing the end of my pregnancy. Obeying strict orders from my husband to put my feet up after working all day. Trying to nurse my right cankle back to its original state. While I longingly watch as he sips on a glass of red wine.


It's nights like this where I'm just so ready for pregnancy to be over. Where I feel so limited in what I can do because of {take your pick at just about any pregnancy side effect: high blood sugar, fatigue, swelling, or nausea.} Let's just say, I'm not the kind of girl who handles limitations well. I want to do-do-do. All the time. Especially when there is so much left to do-do-do before baby arrives.

But of course, I snap out of it. And I'm often gently humbled. Because I am so thankful, so grateful that I am able to carry and grow a little human. Even if it takes a nasty case of cankle-itis to achieve. And as much as I am desperately looking forward to being done with the sciatic nerve pains and late night heart burn, I still want to remember it all. You know, remember the battle wounds and thoughts I had during this pregnancy. Like...

- Just about everyone I talk to, strangers included, asks me if I'm having a boy. I usually tell them that's what I think I'm having. I'm carrying lower, the heart rate has been in the high 130's, and all I can picture is a little baby boy. Even our nursery leans a little on the masculine side. Oh, and we only have a boy name. I mean not even one girl name in the running. Because of all of these things of course, the baby is more than likely going to be a girl. Either way, we can't WAIT to meet our baby and will surprised no matter who he/she is! And not finding out the sex is so.much.fun.

- Although I definitely have good days too, overall, this pregnancy has taken its toll on me. I may have only dealt with "morning sickness" for 14 weeks this time around, (whereas with Lyla, I was sick 24/7 for 7 straight months) but I've had my fair share of infections, illnesses, and ailments that have beaten me to a pulp. I either had a cold or sinus infection every few weeks from January to July, I've had blood sugar and blood pressure issues causing me to faint, I failed my glucose test, I had a UTI, I've had pretty severe lower back pain for the past several months, my ankles swell the moment the temperature rises or I sit too long (which is all day every day at work), I've had strong and at times uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions off and on since 20 weeks, and I feel like a large, ridiculous walrus waddling and rolling about. Let's just say I cannot relate to my unicorn friends who love being pregnant and whose only pregnancy side effects are trying to find clothes that fit the extra 10 pounds they're carrying. ;)

- My latest doctor's appointment was the jolt we needed to send us into a we-better-get-moving-and-prepare-for-this-baby frenzy. My doc decided to check me because of my contractions and pressure I've been feeling. I'm measuring a week early and I've already started to dilate - just barely, but the process has begun. And we have a whole lot of nothing ready for this baby. No seriously, I'm not even sure where the carseat is at the moment. So this appointment was just the motivation we needed. And it's quite weird to know that I could be 35 (almost 36 weeks). I totally wasn't prepared for that. Then again, this babe could stick around like it's "supposed to" until the end of October. Not knowing is a killer for this controlling planner mama. But baby is in control here, and joke's on mom.


- There is no better word to describe this pregnancy than bittersweet. I truly cannot imagine putting my body through this again. But in the exact same breath, I can't imagine not ever doing this again. Ironic, eh? As much as I *most of the time* am ready for pregnancy to be over, I just know I will miss it and feel sad and nostalgic the moment the babe is on the outside. Funny how that works.

- There is absolutely nothing I love more than feeling this babe move. I know it's everyone's favorite part of pregnancy, but I sort of feel like I missed out on this with Lyla. No really. Of course Ly moved around and kicked, but very little. She was super quiet. In fact, when I checked into the hospital during labor, they asked me the last time I felt fetal movement. When I responded, "a week or so ago", everyone freaked out. Now I understand why. I get nervous if I go a few hours without feeling babe #2. And there's nothing I love more than feeling little legs and arms...even if they're jabbing me raw. It's still so sweet. Totally going to miss it.

- I always thought pregnancy brain was a cop-out. But oh no, my friends. It is very, very real. Lately, I've been doing the silliest of things - forgetting everyday words, not remembering how to perform the simplest of work tasks, and losing my keys on an hourly basis. But oh my word. Last week it hit a mama-needs-an-intervention level. I'm on a committee where each member is responsible for one meeting out of the year - to secretary for the meeting and bring food for the group. I've had it on my calendar for months. Well. I planned everything out over the weekend, lined up a babysitter, and had Gabe make a Sam's run for snacks while I made cupcakes for my meeting. But while baking on the Monday evening before my Tuesday meeting, I got an e-mail. I opened it, and it was from my director asking me if I was ok because it wasn't like me to miss a meeting. Yep. The meeting was on Monday, not Tuesday.

- We actually made some progress on the nursery this weekend. What in the world took so long? We had to tackle Lyla's big girl room, plan and execute her second birthday party, and begin potty training. {Yes, I made the dumb decision to try 3 Day Potty Training Boot Camp at 8 months pregnant. And although I'm now very thankful we stuck to it, I've never been so mentally and physically drained. A whole other blog post in and of itself). Now that all of those things are finished, we are finally starting and even making some progress on babe #2's room. I even had a couple of tearful, intimate moments sitting in the rocking chair and putting the sheets on baby's bed. Baby, I love you so much already and can't wait to meet you.

- Confession. I often forget how many weeks I am, I have yet to know what "fruit" my baby is, and I have no idea at any given time what organs are forming on a given week. Oh. And I eat deli meat and drink coffee almost every day. Does that make me a bad mom? Nah. It's just completely obvious that this is my second kid. And I'm so clearly a pro that I no longer have to follow the rules.  ;)

But seriously. We're having baby soon. And I am ecstatic.

Eeek!



Friday, August 29, 2014

Lyla's 2nd Birthday Picnic Party

It's 9:14 on Thursday night.

And I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've actually sat down to relax since exactly one week ago. Because one week ago, I was ignoring my very pregnant body {and every family member begging me to take it easy} as I planned, crafted, cleaned, grocery shopped, and prepared after work each night for a very special two year old's big day.

And a big day it was. We partied like it was our job.



The thing is, I vividly remember going into all of this swearing up and down that I was going to keep things very small and very casual this year. It really did start out that way: our parents, a few of Lyla's toddler friends and their families, and the idea to have a casual picnic. And although I may not have gone completely all-out like I did last year, I still overdid it. By a lot. And I've got the ankles to prove it. Exactly one week later.

I don't know why I don't just cater in, or at least for Pete's sake leave the baked goods to the professionals. I guess for the same reason I refuse to buy Halloween costumes - I like to put my special touch on things and somehow create a labor of love {even though my strengths by no means lie in craftiness nor the kitchen}.

This year's labor of love was the strawberry vanilla cupcakes. Why? Why do I feel the need to try a new recipe from scratch when I have several friends who run very successful bakeries? Especially when I have officially, for two years in a row now, managed to concoct a baking disaster. This year, instead of accidentally doubling the butter, I added too much strawberry puree into the buttercream frosting which made it runny. And let me tell you. Runny frosting, now matter how delicious, looks absolutely horrifying. So, my mother-in-law, for the second year in a row came to the rescue with extra confectioners sugar just in the nick of time -  40 minutes before the party began. I seriously had to talk myself out of throwing a full-on adult tantrum because we didn't have time {or enough frosting} to do fancy swirly-doo's with the buttercream.


You win some. You lose some.

But swollen ankles, lack of sleep, and runny frosting aside, it was all so very worth it. To see Lyla's face as she woke up and walked around the house saying "Lyla boothday pawty"and recognized that all the fun decor was for her!!! And when all said and done, I just can't ignore how much fun it is for me to plan and incorporate all the little details. I love myself a theme and creating a corresponding menu and signature drink. And since I couldn't partake in any adult fun, I stuck to the most delicious infused water I've ever had: Strawberry lime cucumber mint - obnoxious name, but seriously tasty.









My favorite detail was the party favors - everyone got to take home a honey bear from Grandpa Green's farm!


And of course we couldn't have pulled it off without the fam - surely they are used to me by now. Always running out of time at the last minute and pleading with them the night before an event to get their party pants on and "bring in the reinforcements". They're true saints, I tell you.

This year was no exception as I put everyone to work. If I saw anyone standing, I handed them something and gave them a job. Yes, even the birthday girl herself. She helped Dad chill the beer. And Bots was on babysitting/storytime duty.



But I have to say. My favorite part of the entire day was right before any of our guests arrived. It was just us and the grandparents. We took Ly outside for her big "present reveal". And I have never, ever seen such joy, and I will never forget her face.






Let's stop for a moment and talk about this wagon. I have to brag on Gabe. After several weeks of laboring in sweltering 100 degree weather, over a dozen trips to Home Depot, and more than $150 spent, he finished refurbishing his brother and sister's old childhood wagon.

So scratch the runny cupcakes, I guess my sweet husband wins in the labor of love department.

Oh. And we can't forget the part where Lyla was hysterical because everyone sang happy birthday to her. Poor thing really just can't stand all attention on her.








Other than the "Happy Birthday meltdown", our sweet bean had a fabulous time and loved playing with her toddler pals. I only wish I would have gotten more pictures of them all together. {Darn you August heat!} And she really loved playing with all her new treasures.




Well, another successful party in the books. 

But I really am sticking to my word as next year's theme is going to be "Pizza and Party Hats". And it may just be our family of four celebrating together. Because I'm sure I'll still be recovering come August next year. 

And I know this little party animal would likely agree.