Friday, May 23, 2014

A Colorado Trip Sandwich

Not too many things trump a good road trip. 

Except maybe the destination in and of itself. 

And maybe a disastrous experience or two {hint: foreshadowing}. 

But with the right partner(s) along for the ride, road trips are quite possibly one of my most favorite life experiences. Even the long ones. And we've definitely had our fair share of road trips with all of our cross-country moves. I just love the quality time with the hubby, snack stops, mindless magazines, perfectly-selected road trip tunes, cheesy gas station memorabilia, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, digging into a really great book or two, and snuggling in a layer of blankets because Gabe likes the air conditioning on full blast. 

However. Thanks to a certain special toddler, road trips look a bit different these days. Tacking on a few extra hours to the original allotted time, planning and preparing for meltdowns/snack attacks/potty breaks, stopping a lot, and figuring out how to deal with a little who refuses to sleep in the car. 

Flat out refuses. 

We took our first long road trip with Lyla a few weeks ago to Buena Vista, Colorado. And by long, I mean l-o-n-g. Without a toddler, we're talking a a solid 10 hour drive. So at least a good 12 hours. And let me repeat, we have a toddler who does not sleep in the car. Even though we woke her up at 4 a.m. the day we left and arrived around 6:30 p.m. (or 7:30 our time). Still no sleeping. 

But she did surprisingly well. Aside from a couple of mini tantrums and a two hour I'm-so-tired-I-might-die cry fest, she did really well. Luckily, the hysterical meltdown occurred at the very end of the drive, both there and back. I must say, timing was impeccable. Thank goodness mama packed a huge bag of goodies with games! and books! and snacks! and toys! and bubble wrap! We only had to bust out the iPad for about an hour. But when we did, it was a lifesaver. 

And although some thought we were crazy for driving such a long way for only two and a half very short days, it was totally worth it. One of the most breath-taking and relaxing trips we've taken in a long time. 

Our balcony view. For real. 

But let's just talk about how the trip began. 

As mentioned before, we left at 4 a.m. Gassed up. And hopped on the highway, praying our toddler (who had a lingering ear infection) would go back to sleep for a few hours. And being nearly 15 weeks pregnant, I still wasn't feeling great. Lots of nausea. But this particular morning, I was feeling sicker than normal. And about 10 minutes into our twelve hour road trip, I begged Gabe to pull over. He just looked at me and said, You mean, like right this second? I'm pretty sure I simply nodded and then screamed, Yes! 

I had about .001 seconds to spare before my door was open and I was puking on the side of the highway. In the dark. With headlights whizzing by. A whole body-convulsing-and-heaving, exorcism kind of puke. When finished, I simply looked up at Gabe with vomit dripping from my mouth and nose and said, Well I guess that's one way to start a 12 hour road trip.  

Luckily {and unluckily}, I really don't ever vomit. Like ever. It's actually sort of a blessing and a curse. Because I always feel so much better after I do. But when I do, I tend to do it so violently that I burst all kinds of blood vessels. And on our super-special road trip, I burst dozens of tiny little vessels on my neck, around my eyes, and in my eyeballs. So gross. 

It's actually quite funny. After the highway "incident", I no longer had any more morning sickness again. At all. I must have expelled it all via broken blood vessels and side-of-the-highway vomiting. 

That was all the action I could take in one day. So we spent the rest of the day driving. And stopping. And driving. 

But we chose one quite amazing spot to stretch our legs: Garden of the Gods. 

Once we finally reached our destination, we were starving and quite tired. So we did some eating and we did some sleeping. But then we woke up refreshed and ready to take on the Colorado air and sunshine. 

Um. Why do we live in Kansas again?

And I fell head-over-heels with this father-daughter duo. I mean, seriously. They were the best of buds all weekend. I don't think I've ever seen Gabe so happy - he finally has someone who appreciates adventure and exploration. {Someone besides Samson}. 

Ah. The chipmunks. These little guys were the absolute CUTEST. I, of course, was too scared to feed them. But not my little adventure duo. Even Lyla, who is terrified of sprinklers and bubbles, stuck her hand right out to feed these little creatures. {100% totally and completely her father's daughter}. 

In fact, here, you will witness her laughing and loving all the attention these little critters gave her. You'll also notice the finger. This was just seconds before the cute little jerk bit her. Hard. 

Apparently, that wasn't enough action for the adventure duo...

So, the night before our last night there, I noticed some little red bumps on Ly's chest and arms. They didn't really seem to be bothering her, which was odd because they looked so ITCHY. I truly thought they were mosquito or flea bites. Of course I went crazy cleaning and laundering our entire room and Lyla's pack and play, hoping that she wouldn't get more bites in the middle of the night. 

Well. We woke up to Lyla crying the next morning. I didn't think much of it. I grabbed her, scooped her into bed with us, and rubbed her back while Gabe got a few more minutes of shut-eye. The sun slowly began to rise and started peeking into our bedroom. And that's when I noticed Lyla's eyes looked funny. I immediately turned on the lights, pulled Ly's jammies off, took a minute to take in what I was seeing, and held back the feeling of desperately needing to scream. The "bug bites" had spread all over Lyla's entire body in a 3-D, welt-ish, painful-looking way. But the most shocking part was her little slivers for eyes. 

All I could think was, We are a good hour from any kind of civilization, and it's a Saturday at 6 am. I called our friend's dad who's a doctor and he advised us to get her to the nearest hospital as she was having an allergic reaction. I racked my brain trying to think what we'd done differently the day prior  and came up with absolutely nothing. All I could think of was the antibiotic she'd been taking for her ear infection, but she was on her seventh day of it! Didn't matter. 

We went and woke our friends up, whose cabin we were staying in, and they graciously drove with us  30 minutes down the mountain, and another 30 minutes into town. Long-story-short, Ly was indeed having a pretty severe allergic reaction to Augmentin, which is a form of Penicillin. *Her dad is also allergic to the P. 

After a good dose of steroids, the swelling went down within the hour, and we had a pretty happy toddler. The hardest part was giving her the darn steroids for 5 days. The doctor warned us how disgusting and brutal the steroids were. Lyla could smell them from a mile away, no matter what kind of treat we hid them in. 

Although it was absolutely terrifying being in an unknown *middle-of-nowhere* mountain town while your child is having an allergic reaction, all turned out great. And we simply have a new note in Lyla's medical chart. 

And one more hospital visit down. 

Our long-anticipated Colorado trip had a rough start and an even rougher ending. But sandwiched in between was the most-wonderful first little road trip.

Just a few hours after the almighty steroids. 

Something tells me that my adventure duo will be planning many more trips to Colorado in the future, allergic reactions be darned. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A lame excuse for a bumpdate.

Poor baby #2.

Already getting second child treatment.

As evidenced by my first bump pic. 16 weeks into my pregnancy, while running out the door to a cookout, with the worst ever background chosen for a photo.

Oh. Don't worry. I got one more bump pic for you, sweet baby #2. This one with your big sister in it, of course. Something tells me she's going to be in most of your photos.

I'm 16 and a half weeks and just doing my first "bump date" post. If you can even call it that. And sadly, I don't really feel bad about it. There's not a deep desperate desire to track every little thing with this pregnancy. All the symptoms, the cravings, and belly pics. I don't even have a clear vision of my new babe's nursery yet {gasp}.

I just don't have the energy.

I'm terribly sorry, sweet second child of mine.

And although my pregnancy motto tends to be "Thanks for your concern but I'm not dead, I'm pregnant", I really do think I was partially dead my first trimester. All I had the energy to do was curse my harsh wake up call of 5:30 a.m. every morning, go to work, make nightly dinners of cheese and tortillas, and barely brush my teeth before the ripe bedtime of 7:30 p.m.

Not to mention the constant dizziness, 24/7 debilitating nausea, and super-fun dry heaves.

Pregnancy is a hoot, I tell you!

But we're out of that phase, folks. And I truly can't believe it. Because I felt the exact same symptoms during my pregnancy with Lyla for seven months.

Seven. brutal. months.

So, I'm trying not to get my hopes up. But we're going on 2 weeks of no nausea and much less fatigue. So I'm really hopeful that we've moved on and are completely done with "morning" sickness.

Please oh please, jinx gods, be kind to me.

So what else have you missed out on in the past four months?

- Telling everyone our news. For the most part, telling others this time around has been significantly more anticlimactic than the last time we shared the exact same news. {Again, I'm sorry sweet babe #2}. Don't get me wrong, everyone has been excited, of course. It just seemed that most everyone else was much less surprised than we were to find out we were expecting #2. It's funny when your mom or mother-in-law don't nearly pass out this time around, or when you have responses such as "I knew it" or "I figured it would be any day now". Especially when we ourselves didn't even know nor had the plan to get pregnant with a second just yet.

Regardless, spreading the news was so much fun as we had several different variations of sharing: Lyla walking out in a Big Sis t-shirt, holding up my margarita glass in a group toast only to interrupt with a "cheers to baby #2 on the way", ending a simple phone conversation with "Well, you're going to be an uncle/auntie...again", and my personal favorite {which happened multiple times} - when a friend sarcastically asks me why I'm not drinking "Are you pregnant or something?" and I respond with a simple "yep."

Fun times.

- Most commonly asked questions when finding out I was pregnant. It always tickles me to hear the questions and responses people have once they find out you're preg. I really got asked the exact same things over and over. And just because we all have a little bit of a nosy-nancy in us, I'll ease your mind and answer a few for you. {Because I'm sure it's kept you up at night...simply itching to know}.

Were you trying? And yes I know how babies are made. Gabe actually brought up the "maybe we should start trying for a second" talk over Christmas. But I panicked and decided I wasn't ready. Well, clearly there was some carelessness involved a time or two. we're expecting babe #2.

Have you told Lyla? Yes. We told her right away that we were so excited for her to be a big sister and that mommy was going to have a baby. And I point to my belly and say "baby". She gets terribly confused. And she has no clue that her world is about to be rocked in six months.

How have you been feeling? Thank you to those who have asked this question! {Which is pretty much everyone who has been pregnant before}. The answer is absolutely rotten. But I think I'm in the clear at this point...fingers crossed.

Are you finding out the sex? Nope. {Insert lots of dramatically loud gasps, "but how will you ever do the nursery???", and annoyed, blank looks.} Oh. And several people have bet that I'll never be able to go through with not finding out because of my control-freak nature. But those people obviously don't really know me...because the very thought that I can't do it only fuels my fire and makes me absolutely giddy to prove them wrong. Besides, it has been SO MUCH FUN watching quite a few of my friends not find out the sex of their babies. Best surprise in all of life. And I really don't even feel tempted to find out at our next sonogram. Honest!

Will you have a natural birth this time around? Oh dear. This is a tough one. I love labor and birth so much. And I am so, so happy I had a natural childbirth with Lyla - it was the most cathartic, spiritual, and beautiful experience of my entire life. In fact, I just read my 11-page personal birth story this morning (the one that never got published to this here blog). And I teared up throughout, incredibly thankful that I wrote out every single detail just 72 hours after Lyla was born. That being said, as truly amazing as the experience was, the jury is out on this one. Still thinking about it.

Cravings. I always thought the whole idea of cravings was a load of bull-honky. I think it's an excuse for us deprived, American women to indulge in the things we've ban ourselves from eating since we were in middle school. {We need to take advice from the French who always indulge but in moderation , therefore not going crazy during pregnancy. Currently on my nightstand and loving: Bringing Up Bebe.} That being said, I really have only had two cravings this pregnancy: cheese and fruit. Oh my dear word. I could eat a block of cheese a day. Or a tub or two of cottage cheese. And I would probably sing the national anthem at a Red Socks game completely naked just to get to a bowl of fruit. Pure decadence.

This pregnancy versus my first. I would say there have only been two major differences between my pregnancies. For one, the blasted sickness. Although I felt identical to the way I did when I was pregnant with Lyla, the nausea went away in the second trimester this time around.

The other difference has been when I started showing. I swear my belly peek-a-boo'd at 5 weeks. And has only gotten progressively bigger much, much sooner than it did with the first. As we speak, my current 16 week belly is as big as it was at 21 weeks last time. {Believe me, I compared photos}.

Oh. And I'd say my mentality is different his time around. A huge part of that is the lifestyle changes I've made - mostly leaving a job I wasn't crazy about and feeling much less stress. But also, I'm just not as obsessed about researching and reading and preparing as I was while pregnant with my first. I'm much more laid back and relaxed. Sadly, that also includes how I'm treating my body. While pregnant with Ly, I was psycho about working out and eating like a health nut. I simply don't have the time or energy {or willpower} this time around as I still have a full time job...and a toddler.

This *ahem* could be the contribution to my protruding-much-sooner belly.

See there, baby #2. I've completed my first bumpdate while pregnant with you. And look at the bright side, you're getting much more delicious food than your big sister AND your mama isn't nearly as crazy with you as she was with her.

You win some, you lose some.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Deja Vu.

Thank you, blog, for always being there.
I can always count on you to bring me nostalgia.

I am so incredibly happy I jotted down my thoughts the week I found out I was pregnant {again}. I love to remember the exact feelings I have at significant moments in time. Because it's funny sad how you start to forget the details even after a few days.

So. Thank you, blog.

Written February 19, 2014. {Lyla's 18 Month Birthday}. 

Last Wednesday started off as the most ordinary of days.

Woke up before my alarm.
Tossed and turned to try to get an 20 extra minutes of sleep.
Cursed myself for watching Netflix until 11:30.

Decided to finally roll out of bed around 5:40 a.m.

I hopped in the shower.
Said my morning prayers.
Reviewed the day's to-do's in my head.
Ate breakfast and packed my lunch.

It was two days before Valentine's Day.
And although the day itself was ordinary, something felt a bit different.
Extraordinary almost.

I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.
Maybe I was just excited for our upcoming Valentine stay-at-home seafood date night.
Or maybe I was happy because it was almost Friday.

And then it dawned on me.
I'm about to start my "favorite" time of the month. Yes, that's it. I always feel a little off. 
Speaking of, when should I be expecting that?
So, I went and checked my trusty iPhone app.
Your period is due today

This wouldn't have raised even the slightest of questions pre-Lyla when my cycle was all over the place. But post-Lyla, my body has been like clockwork. I had a brief moment where I thought, What if I'm...? No. There's no way.

And I didn't really give it another thought.
Well, that is, until Gabe offered to make me our usual morning coffee. Suddenly, that feeling washed over me. It's a feeling I can't really explain. And one that I've only ever felt one other time in my life - the morning I found out I was pregnant with Lyla.

No physical feelings or symptoms.
Just straight up deep-in-my-gut I-just-know feeling.

I convinced myself I was loony-toony, but quickly assured myself I'd pick up a pregnancy test at Target while I ran my Wednesday lunch break errands.
Just to be sure, I thought.

My gut-feeling took over on and off throughout the day.
Internally, I was poking fun and laughing at my neuroses.
Angela, there's no way. Gabe had poison ivy for a week {yes, for a fourth time this year}, and then we were sick for another two weeks. Just no way. 

Besides, I wasn't quite ready for #2 just yet. Our plan is was to begin trying late spring early summer. You know, so we could pay off a little more debt, get in a little better shape, and get a little better mentally prepared for a family of four.
You're a wack-a-doo, Angela. Besides, you aren't ready for TWO yet. 

So, I picked up Lyla from daycare and started dinner right when I got home.
Gabe walked in the door, told me dinner smelled delicious, and changed his clothes because he was having beer with the boys that evening.
He walked back in the kitchen, and I incoherently blurted out that I was going to go take a pregnancy test before he left because I just had a feeling.
He laughed and assured me I wasn't pregnant but to "do what I needed to do".
{I love that my man loves me despite my default psychotic tendencies.}

The next few minutes were unexciting, unromantic, and anticlimactic.

I peed on a stick with no anticipation.
In fact, I'm pretty sure I was thinking about the RSVP's I needed to make to some upcoming showers and birthdays.

Then I saw the little clock ticking.
I quickly read the test directions {after I had already begun the test}, and they said that the little clock signified the test was working. And I suddenly felt like my stomach was in my throat. Because although I was just sure that I wasn't...what if I was???

I left the bathroom. Played with Lyla. Chatted with Gabe. And nonchalantly went back to the bathroom.
I slowly crept up to the test. Peered over the sink. And stood there in complete silence and shock.


Oh that word, YES.  
It stared me down, mocked me, and practically screamed back at me, "nanny, nanny, boo-boo."

I began to laugh. I laughed so hard, I nearly cried. And for a brief second, I had a moment of clarity. I thought I should totally save this special news for Valentine's Day. You know, let Gabe enjoy his boy's night. Besides, that's only 2 days of keeping a secret {from the one person whom I share ev.ery.thing.}

But of course I couldn't contain myself.
I ran to the kitchen, waved the test in the air, and hysterically laughed out the words, I'm pregnant!!!

I'm pretty sure Gabe's initial reaction was, How? But very quickly followed by a huge smile, a kiss and this is great news! how exciting! I love you! He then swooped up Lyla and said you're going to be a big sister!

Much different than his reaction the first time around.

I wanted to freeze that exact moment in time.
It felt like an out-of-body experience. Yet so completely natural.

I'm pregnant.


And I am acutely aware of how very blessed we are. Being thankful doesn't even begin to appropriately illustrate the feelings of gratitude I have toward our little blessing.

Baby number two is on the way.

Although I've had a little time to process this news, it still feels unreal. And comforting all at the same time. There's just something about being pregnant with our second that makes me feel whole. It's like our little family is complete.

Greens, party of four. 
That sure has a nice ring to it.