Monday, December 31, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 30th

Final meal plan of 2012.  I can't believe tomorrow is a new year!

Sunday:  Cheddar-Stuffed BBQ Mini-Meatloaves with Mashed Potatoes - carried over from last week

Monday:  New Year's Eve - Apps night!  Potato skins, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Tuesday:  New Year's Day - Leftovers

Wednesday:  Creamy White Chili (Crock Pot)

Thursday:  Panini with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Friday:  Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wraps with Ranch Potato Wedges

Saturday:  Stromboli with Salad

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pregnancy #2: 37 Weeks!

Christmas morning!  37 weeks, 1 day

I can't believe how close we are to meeting this little one!  I'm in a little bit of denial about just how close we are, but I think diving into some baby prep will help me to get a little more prepared, both practically (getting things all set up for baby) and mentally because I'm so not ready yet in either regard!

I keep saying I'm not ready yet and I'm really not.  I think there are a few reasons for that.

First, the timing.  Because my estimated due date falls so soon after Christmas I feel like we haven't had as much time or energy focused on baby coming as we have about getting through the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  Jack was also a winter baby, but we had about 2 months between the holidays and his expected arrival so we were able to take a breather and refocus before he was due to come along!  This time, being right on the tail of one of the busiest times of the year for us definitely changes things!

Second, this pregnancy has just flown by.  Time moves so fast right now!  I honestly feel like I was *just* at this point with Jack.  Meanwhile, that was 3 years ago... yikes!

Third, I feel so much better at this point than I did during my pregnancy with Jack.  SO much better.  Now, that's not to say I'm not uncomfortable and I'm not in pain at times, I am, but last time it was so much worse.  I think that contributes to my denial about just how far along I am.

And fourth, I feel like this whole pregnancy has just been different emotionally.  I've talked about it before.  I just haven't had the time to focus on myself or the baby I'm growing the way I did last time considering there is already an outside baby here that's plenty demanding of time and attention.  Also, my eyes are open far wider this time around about the realities of the amount of work it takes to care for a baby.  Last time it was just excitement for the unknown.  It's still very exciting, but something about knowing there's a nearly 3-year-old in the mix along with the soon to be arriving newborn makes for mixed feelings about how we'll handle it all!

Overall I feel like at this point last time I just wanted the baby OUT!  I was so done being pregnant, I wanted to meet Jack right away, and I wanted to finally experience being a mom.  There's something very special (and blissfully ignorant :) ) about being a first time mom.  Not that subsequent pregnancies are any less special, they are very special and exciting, it's just a different experience is all. 

So let's talk about what's actually going on with this pregnancy.  I had a midwife appointment yesterday and everything looks great.  I've gained about 15 lbs (of course I feel like I've gained at least 50 lbs right in my belly, but you know, the scale doesn't lie!), blood pressure looks good, and my group B strep test came back negative (it was also negative last time.  SO glad I don't have to worry about this!).  Fundal height is still measuring right on track and baby's heartbeat was in the 150s.  Baby is still head down and seems like she will be in good positioning for birth.  She goes from laying completely facing my spine to sometimes laying a little bit to the side. 

I've been experiencing lots of Braxton Hicks contractions.  I've had them throughout most of this pregnancy, but they're definitely gearing up and becoming much more frequent.  Pretty much any time I'm on my feet they tend to start up.  Nothing that's painful at all, just uncomfortable and inconvenient when I'm trying to get stuff done!  I don't remember having Braxton Hicks with Jack at all.  Either they were too mild for me to notice, or I did feel them, but just didn't have enough to really know what they were.  I know they're more common/frequent with subsequent pregnancies and that's definitely held true for me. 

As I said, I'm feeling pretty good.  At this point I feel so huge and my abdomen is so heavy, but I'm also carrying a ~6 lb baby in there at this point so that's understandable.  I have mild aches and pains all the time, but mostly it's just discomfort.  Sometimes I get real pain, but thankfully it comes and goes.  I mentioned that the pelvic pain set in again a few weeks back and I was so sure that it had set in for good and I was going to have the same experience as last time, but it went away again!  The pain is always there, but it's still really mild.  Some days (or at some points during some days) the pain gets more extreme, but it has definitely not been the same experience as last time and for that I'm truly thankful.

The only other thing of note is my body decided to celebrate 37 weeks gestation in a unique way.  On Christmas Eve I experienced an episode of what I would call "heavy spotting".  Spotting can be totally normal during pregnancy, but it's not something I've experienced before so it was a little disconcerting.  It was enough blood that I put in a call to my midwife just to be sure that it was nothing to worry about and I'm not one to call about random things.  This was the first time I've ever had to call with a question.  It was all a little scary.

Anyway, everything was and is fine.  It was a totally isolated incident.  I was more worried that the spotting was going to keep up at that rate, but it didn't.  After seeing the initial blood I haven't seen anymore.  At the same time it felt like maybe baby was sitting a little lower so I wonder if what happened was baby dropped a little bit further into my pelvis putting pressure on my cervix and caused a little bit of dilation, which caused a blood vessel to burst.  Definitely a possibility and at this point cervical change or any kind of irritation can certainly cause a little bit of bleeding to occur.  Oh, so fun!  If nothing else it was a BIG wake up call that my body is preparing for labor and this baby is going to be making their arrival soon!

Other than that, my tummy just feels so full of baby.  Most of the time I'm still fairly comfortable, other times I feel like I just can't find a comfortable position for all of the body parts that are pushing from the inside.  Being quite short and having a short abdomen there just isn't much room for baby in there at this point.  But I keep saying, I'm not quite to the point where I'm so uncomfortable that I'm just done.  I think I'm headed that direction, but not there yet.  Hopefully baby will stay in until at least 39 or 40 weeks.  We'll see if she cooperates with my timeline :)  That will give us plenty of time to prepare and I think by that point I'll also be mentally ready for baby to arrive.

I did finally register for our hospital stay yesterday so at least that's checked off the list.  And I think we've decided on Molly for a name.  No middle name yet.

Oh, and the only other thing I've done is finish the baby's hat:

So, now we have a plan for the birth, a hospital to stay in, a hat for the baby's head, and a partial name.  One thing at a time :)

Now to accomplish all the other tasks we have ahead of us! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fun in the Snow

We didn't have a white Christmas, but the next day brought a winter storm that started out as freezing rain and sleet and changed over to snow.  I think we ended up with a little over 4-inches in our area.  Just enough to be able to have some fun!

This was actually Jack's first time really playing in the snow.  Last year we just didn't get very much snow at all and the year before that he was too young to really get out there and play.  Of course he had a blast!  He wasn't so sure at first because of the amount of clothes he had to put on in order to go outside, but he did end up cooperating and I'm sure he's glad he did.

Making a snowball like DaDa

Mark tried to show him how to make a Snow Angel

You mean I have to lay in the snow?

I don't think so!

Helping to shovel the driveway.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas festivities this year were plentiful, busy, and fun.

Jack is currently on a nap strike in addition to not sleeping well at night, probably from all the chaos surrounding the holiday.  Hopefully we can get back on track soon.  We had 5 Christmas celebrations in 4 days, 6 if you count our own celebration on Christmas morning and today all I want to do is stay in my PJs all day and recover!

This year was a lot of fun because it was the first year that Jack was more aware of what was going on and really participated in present opening and talked about Santa and even tried his hand at singing some Christmas carols!  Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, and Ruldolph the Red-nosed Reindeer are his songs of choice.

Jack is also still on a photo strike, which means every time I tried to get a picture of him if he was aware of it he would just yell NOOOOOO! and sometimes put his hand in front of his face as well.  Not cooperative!  I did get some photographic evidence of our celebrations though.

Saturday night was our first Christmas celebration at Mark's mom's house.

Sunday night we were at Mark's dad and step-mom's house.

Monday evening we were at a Christmas Eve celebration with my family.  I didn't get any pictures of this.

And Tuesday morning was Christmas at our house:

Jack headed straight to the train table.

On Christmas Eve, while getting ready for bed, Jack said that he wanted Santa to bring him a truck and a car (big surprise!) and Santa did!

It pretty much took all morning for Jack to open his gifts, including a break to eat some homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  He likes to open one thing at a time, play with it, then open another.  He doesn't understand marathon present opening.  I can see where he's coming from.

Later in the afternoon we headed to my parents' house to exchange gifts.  I didn't get pictures of this.

And then we headed across the street to my grandparents' house for more Christmas celebrating with extended family.

And then we all headed home, exhausted, and ready for a day of relaxation.  It's been freezing rain/sleeting/snowing all day so it's a good day to stay in PJs, play with new Christmas toys, and spend some time recuperating from all the holiday fun!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 23rd

Happy Christmas Eve!  We have several holiday events right in a row, but I'm enjoying it not only because we get to visit with family, but also because it gives me a nice little break from cooking :)  I'm hoping to use the break as motivation to get some more things stashed in the freezer for when baby comes.

Sunday:  Family holiday gathering

Monday:  Christmas Eve!  Family holiday gathering

Tuesday:  Christmas!  Family holiday gathering

Wednesday:  Broccoli Cheddar Soup in Bread Bowls

Thursday:  Spaghetti (Crock Pot) with Garlic Bread

Friday:  Cheddar-Stuffed BBQ Mini-Meatloaves with Mashed Potatoes

Saturday:  Homemade Pizza

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Friday, December 21, 2012

Some Christmas Fun

In other {better} news we have managed to have some holiday fun this month!

A few weekends ago we made it to the zoo to see the Wildlights.  It probably wasn't the best time to go.  We had originally planned to go on a weeknight evening when it would be less crowded, but then I started to get some pelvic pain and I wasn't sure if we waited much longer if I would be able to do all the walking that's necessary to see the lights so we decided to take our chances and go on a Saturday.  A Saturday in December where the high temperature for the day was in the 60s.  Apparently everyone else and their mother had the same idea as us.

Thankfully, we planned to get there early so we beat some of the traffic.  We saw that the main freeway exit most people take to get the zoo was backed up for about 2 miles so we decided to get off at the next exit and kind of go the back way.  It definitely saved us some time, but then we hit a line of traffic about 1 1/2 miles from the zoo entrance and sat in that traffic for about an hour.  Yes, AN HOUR to get 1 1/2 miles.  It was insane.  Poor Jack, he did really well, but towards the end he was like, "I want to get out of the car now.", "I want to go to the ZOO!".  He just didn't understand why we had hyped up this trip and then were just sitting in the car forever and a day. 

ANYWAY, we eventually got there and it wasn't so bad.  Jack loved seeing the lights!  It was pretty crowded, but we didn't stay too long considering we had to get home for Jack's bedtime and I really wasn't in any shape to be walking miles and miles.  It was actually more crowded as we were leaving than when we had arrived and on the way out there were STILL people waiting in a long line to get to the zoo entrance and they were only open for about another hour.  Craziness!

Jack's been pretty uncooperative about pictures lately, but I did get some photographic evidence that we were there:

Riding the Merry-go-Round.  Jack LOVES to ride the pony.

Watching an animated light display.

Earlier this week we took Jack to see Santa.  We weren't really sure how it would go, but we figured we would try it.  Well... it wasn't exactly a success.  Jack absolutely did not want to sit on Santa's lap and he hardly wanted to acknowledge his presence.  Eventually he did talk to him a bit, which was cute.  I wish I had thought to snap a pic while they were talking, but at that point I was holding out hope that he would warm up and sit on his lap.  When Santa asked him if he wanted to sit on his lap Jack responded, "No... not today, Santa.".

So, no pic with Santa again this year.  And there wasn't even a line this time!  The best I could get looks like this:

We tried!  Maybe next year.  I'm just not down with forcing him to sit with a stranger for the sake of a photo op that will just show him crying :(

And today we made cut out cookies!  Man are those things a pain.  Also, baking sure isn't what it used to be 36 weeks ago!  I am glad we did it even though I wasn't really feeling it because Jack had tons of fun helping!  Plus now I have cookies to eat :) 

Enjoying the fruit of his labor.
Am I the only one who tries a new cut out cookie recipe every year?  Because I totally do.  I just haven't found The One yet.  These cookies are promising, but we haven't frosted them yet.

Also, as you can see in the background of the cookie pictures, there is actually snow on the ground! First snow of the year. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An Early Christmas Gift

...that I'd really love to return, but it seems that I can't find the receipt.  

A week and a half ago Mark came home on a Friday with some unwelcome news.  He had very unexpectedly lost his job.

About 6 months ago, he left a company he had been employed with for about 10 years in hopes of expanding his skill set.  What was supposed to be a good move for his career turned out to be exactly the opposite when 6 months later this new company let him go with no more explanation than "it's just not working out, but we're happy to give you a good recommendation moving forward".  Gee, thanks.  Before he was let go he hadn't received any negative feedback or any indication that things "weren't working" so we're both kind of baffled by this turn of events.

With my being a stay-at-home-mom not only have we lost our only source of income, but all of our healthcare coverage as well.  Oh, and I'm less than 4 weeks from my estimated due date with baby #2.  GREAT timing, huh?  We've never been in this situation before and I can definitely say that it sucks.  Bad.

Also, I just have to say, I've never been a fan of the craptastic way that health insurance is run in this country.  But this?  This is exactly why our system is so messed up.  Mark is unemployed through no fault of his own and now we have no access to affordable healthcare coverage.  Yes, we have the option to elect COBRA, but it's quite expensive and paying those premiums plus what we're going to have to pay out of pocket for the birth of this baby is going to put a significant dent in our savings.  Private insurance isn't even an option because individual plans are still allowed to view pregnancy as a pre-existing condition and deny coverage.

How is it that we've lost our only source of income and at the top of the list of worries is health insurance?  That's wrong.  My access to affordable healthcare coverage should in no way be tied to a job because one thing has nothing to do with the other.  And that's all I will say on this topic for now because I could very easily devolve into a very long rant.

Thankfully we have some money in savings and we started out 2012 debt-free (with the exception of our mortgage) so that's a HUGE help financially.  Mark should also be eligible to collect unemployment benefits from the company considering the circumstances surrounding the separation, but we're waiting to hear back on this.  We're really hoping that he is able to find a new position that's a good fit for him and that it happens quickly, but at the same time it's not a great time of the year for job shopping with the holidays and people being off work and end of year budget stuff.  Despite Mark having already applied for several promising positions I seriously doubt the process is really going to start moving until after the 1st of the year.  Everything is just kind of scary and uncertain right now.

There's never really a good time for these sorts of things, but I really, really wish we wouldn't have been faced with this whole situation until after the holidays and after this baby arrived.  The timing just makes everything so much more stressful and difficult :(

Maybe Santa will bring us health insurance.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 16th

We all came down with some sort of nasty upper respiratory bug last weekend and it hung around all week long.  Last week's menu plan went right out the window while we subsisted on easy to grab foods until I was finally able to manage a Crock Pot meal on Friday!  So, lots of stuff to carry over from last week.

Sunday:   Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

Monday:  Parmesan Tilapia with Roasted Broccoli

Tuesday:  Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa and Sauerkraut (Crock Pot) with German Potato Salad

Wednesday:  Turkey Pot Pie

Thursday:  Burritos

Friday:  Homemade Pizza

Saturday:  Family holiday gathering

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Monday, December 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 9th

Sunday:  Sausage and Lentil Soup with Bread

Monday:  Turkey Pot Pie

Tuesday:  Parmesan Tilapia with Roasted Broccoli

Wednesday:  Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches (CrockPot) with Ranch Potato Wedges

Thursday:  Burritos

Friday:  Homemade Pizza

Saturday:  Appetizer Night!  Pulled Pork Nachos (I have pulled pork stashed in the freezer!) and Spinach Artichoke Dip

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 2nd

Sunday:  Parents' house for dinner

Monday:  Turkey Dinner - this keeps getting bumped, but I have to have time to do it!  Definitely getting done on Monday!

Tuesday:  Turkey Panini with Chips

Wednesday:  Mom's Night Out with friends

Thursday:  Turkey Tetrazzini

Friday:  Pizza with Friends

Saturday:  Leftovers

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Friday, November 30, 2012

bumGenius 3.0 Snap Conversion

I finally decided to take the plunge and convert our cloth diapers from aplix (velcro) to snaps.

After more than 2 1/2 years of heavy use these diapers have seen better days.  They're in pretty good condition considering the amount of wash and wear they've seen.  All of the fabric (including the waterproof PUL layer) is in great working condition, we don't have stains, and the inserts are still fine, but I found myself faced with some necessary maintenance especially considering we're planning to use these diapers with our next little one.  Cloth diapers are a long term investment, but they're very frequently used and washed and they do wear out just like any other piece of clothing.  For us, we're having the typical problems of the aplix wearing out and the elastics around the legs and back becoming too relaxed.

When we started cloth diapering we tried out several different brands of diapers before settling on bumGenius pockets.  At the time, bumGenius pockets were only available with aplix (they have since moved on to their 4.0 version, which is available in both snaps and aplix), but this was fine with us because we wanted the aplix.  Even though I'm converting to snaps now, I still think that aplix is a little better for ease of use and getting a perfect fit.  However, we do have some snap diapers (Flips) so I can say that the snaps really aren't a problem to use either and snaps are definitely the way to go for long term functionality.   

We purchased the aplix knowing that it would eventually wear out and we would need to do something about it.  We didn't have any problems with it for probably the first 2 years (aside from the laundry tabs not working very well, but as far as functionality of diapers, no issues) and then the tabs on our most frequently used diapers (we have specific colors set aside as night and nap diapers because we stuff them differently) started to not work so well.  We would end up with diapers coming loose while Jack was sleeping, which equals leaks, which is obviously not a good thing.  Especially now that the weather has turned cold and Jack is back in footie PJs (and therefore doesn't have the waistband on his PJs to help hold the diaper together) it's become quite frustrating and the rest of his diapers are starting to have the same problems.  Something needed done right away!

Now, back when we first noticed that the tabs weren't working as well, I notified Cottonbabies (the diaper manufacturer) of the problem and they sent me refresher kits with their new and improved 4.0 aplix free of charge.  The refresher kits are a great option if you still want to stick with aplix.  It contains new tabs, laundry tabs, and elastics to give your diapers a face lift.  I went ahead and used one of the kits on a night time diaper and while it was totally do-able, I realized that to replace the aplix on all 23 of our diapers it was going to be quite a project.

So... I ran out of steam and stopped there.  I'm glad that I did though, because several months down the road I'm discovering that replacing the aplix probably isn't our best option.  The 4.0 aplix and new laundry tabs have held up really well, I have no complaints with that however, looking at the wear to the landing strip across the front and the way that the new tabs are sticking to it, I see that there will likely be issues with that down the road and replacing the landing strip isn't exactly recommended as it's quite a process and involves taking the diaper apart.  It's not something I want to tackle.  Not to mention, I really want to tackle this issue and have peace of mind that it's going to be a long term solution.  Even with the improved aplix, it's just never going to be as durable as snaps and even IF the landing strip holds up (which I don't think it will, at least not long term) the aplix is eventually going to wear out again and I'm going to have the start the process all over again.  And that would not make me happy.

And so we decided to go with snaps.  It's still going to be a decent project to get all of our diapers converted, but at least I'll only have to do it once!  I started out by shopping around as there are people who will do the conversion for you, but it's not cheap.  And I see why it's not now that I've started the process.  It takes a decent amount of work.  It's not difficult, but time consuming.  After pricing it out I decided it was worth the time to do it myself (of course, when do I ever pay someone else to do something that I can do for myself more cheaply?  The answer to that is erm... never.  At least not when I can avoid it.).

So I got online and researched what supplies I would need to do the conversion.  KAM Snaps is pretty much the place to go for all your snap needs.

First, I needed snap pliers to set the snaps.  They also have snap presses, which I can totally see why those are nicer, but the pliers are much more affordable so I went with that option.  I also got an awl (the tool used to poke holes in the fabric).

Then, I needed snaps.  They actually have snaps that match bumGenius colors so you can either choose to do a perfect match or you can do whatever color you want.  I ordered size 20 shiny plastic snaps, which are the ones available in the matching colors.  I decided to do 20 snaps across the front of the diapers (2 rows of 10, which is what Cottonbabies actually does with their snap diapers now that they have that option) and two snaps on each wing.  For this formulation you need 24 caps, 20 sockets (the female piece), and 4 studs (the male piece) for each diaper.  The snaps can be purchased either in sets (which are comprised of 2 caps, 1 stud, and 1 socket) of 100 or you can choose to purchase the pieces individually in groups of 100.

I decided to just order them in complete sets because I wasn't 100% sure what I was going to do and how many of each part I would need, plus I needed a variety of colors.  I think it works out to be about the same price-wise.

So anyway, for everything I needed (minus some Black Friday discounts) I was able to get all of the supplies for $45.86 shipped.  And I ordered on a Friday and received my package on Monday.  Definitely a good experience!  The price works out to ~$2 to convert each diaper and obviously I'll have some parts leftover.  I also discovered that I maybe have over ordered by just a little bit.  This is quite a bit cheaper than paying someone to do the conversion for you, especially when you consider the cost of shipping both ways.

My first diaper took quite a while to finish.  First, I started with the diaper that I had switched out the aplix on and WOW did I do a good job of attaching that new aplix!  It took forever for me to detach the aplix (you'll also need a seam ripper if you don't have one of those).  Once I finally got everything removed I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted to configure the snaps.  As I said, I ended up basing it on the diapers Cottonbabies now offers in snaps (like the Flips that we already own), but the problem with that is the Flips, bumGenius 4.0s, etc. also have very slightly different measurements than the 3.0s so I had to keep that in mind and couldn't copy their snap placement exactly.

After playing around with it for a bit I decided on 2 rows of 10 snaps across and 2 snaps on each wing.  To do this I have the first row of snaps placed 3/4" down from the top of the diaper, the next row of snaps is 1" apart (all of my measurements are done to the center of the snap), and each snap is 1" apart from the next.  For the wings the snaps are about 1" apart, but I really had to eyeball this because I found that the wings are a little less consistent in shape (probably the nature of the stretchy fabric), but luckily because it's stretchy it's very forgiving.  I don't know if any of this makes sense, but when I was looking at conversion tutorials I couldn't find a lot that talked about specific measurements so I thought I would share mine in case it can help someone else!  Also, KAM Snaps does have tutorials on their website with a few different configurations that are helpful to reference.

So anyway, the first diaper was definitely a process since I was trying to figure out what I was doing, but after that I made a template with my desired measurements and the process goes a lot quicker now.  It's still a process, but now I know what I'm doing, which makes quite a bit of difference!

Here are two of the diapers I have converted:

And here's what it looks like opened up:

3 down, 20 more to go! 


And then on to replacing the elastics, which I am NOT looking forward to.  It seems like quite a process (double uggghh), but I'm going to hold off on that until Jack is done with the diapers so the new elastics stay nice and tight for tiny baby legs.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pregnancy #2: 33 Weeks!

I know I keep saying this, but WOW is this pregnancy going by quickly!  I just can't seem to comprehend that we're literally down to the last few weeks.

It's interesting how emotionally different this pregnancy is from the last one.  Just things like how last time I lived and breathed my pregnancy, thought about it all the time, obsessed over preparations, and could. not. wait. to meet the baby.  This time around, it's just... different.  There's less to prepare for because we've done it before and we have the stuff.  We're not setting up a nursery this time (which, to be honest, I'm slightly bummed about, but I know I'll be able to do it in the future.  It's just a fun thing to do in preparation for the baby!) because we're planning for baby to sleep in our room at first like Jack did and hoping to move before a separate bedroom is needed.  Hoping being the important word here.  We'll see about that.

Also, while I am very excited to meet this little one I feel like I'm more in the mindset of it will happen soon enough.  I'm sure that has a lot to do with already having a toddler to care for and being nervous about adding a baby to the already exhasting enough mix and also having a more realistic view of parenthood than I did as a first time mom waiting to meet the baby.  At this point, I'm quite enjoying that I still have an inside baby because I know it will be an outside baby (and a lot more work!) soon enough, so I'm just kind of enjoying the calm before the storm while it lasts.  Plus for all the discomforts of pregnancy, I do enjoy it.  I love watching my belly grow with baby and feeling the little movements and envisioning what baby will look like.  I like that it's just us right now.  Pregnancy is such a blip on the radar of a child's life (and my life) and I like to soak it up while I can.  Maybe this will be the last time I get to experience it.

So let's talk discomfort.  I am definitely uncomfortable.  I have hit the point where unless I'm laying down, strategically supported by pillows I'm in constant discomfort.  By the end of the day discomfort elevates to pain.  I must say, I'm in less pain/discomfort right now than I was at this point in my pregnancy with Jack so that's a positive that I'm grateful for.  Last pregnancy the pelvic pain set in at 31 weeks pretty badly and just got progressively worse.  This time, it set in about the same time.  Whomp, whomp.

The interesting thing is that baby settled to head down position towards the end of week 30 (which is pretty typical).  I knew when it happened and it was confirmed at my 31 week midwife appointment a couple of days later.  Right after baby settled head down is when the pelvic pain started, now I'm thinking that maybe this is the exact thing that happened last time (baby settles head down, triggers the pain).  And of course, similarly to last time, I'm getting reports that baby's head is nice and low.  Well yeah, I can feel that, have I mentioned the pain factor?!  I guess this is just how my babies like to sit.

BUT it has yet to be as bad as last time and it comes and goes a little more.  Thrown into the mix this time is also some hip pain, which is interesting and I'd much rather deal with the hip pain than the pelvic pain if I have a choice.  The thing is, sometimes it's more hip pain (and only on my right side, not my left) and sometimes it's pelvic pain, but it seems to be one or the other.  I really, really think that getting adjusted weekly by my chiropractor has helped keep the pain at bay.  It's there, but it's not as severe as last time and I feel improvement after I've been adjusted, so that's good.  I'm just hoping we can keep it at bay right up until the end.  I'm still optimistic.  I realize that I'm getting to the end and it's just hard physically.  As long as we can keep it from progressing to the point it got to last time I'll be happy!

I must say though, even though I feel better than I did at this point in my last pregnancy it's very hard because I'm caring for a toddler all day.  I can't get around without least some mild discomfort, but at the same time, I'm lifting a 34lb toddler frequently (which is not easy or comfortable anymore) and at times he's being uncooperative, which is even worse.  34lbs feels like 50lbs when it's a limp or squirming toddler that doesn't want to be picked up.  We've had some rough days lately and I think it's a combination of me lacking patience and Jack being difficult.  He's 2 1/2, so it's normal and expected, but my is it harder to handle when just moving is getting more difficult!

The good news on the Jack front is he finally, FINALLY seems to be sleeping better (::knocks furiously on wood::).  His sleeping had been terrible in a variety of ways pretty much my whole pregnancy.  It was terrible timing.  But for the last 2 weeks it has definitely improved.  He's still not napping every day, but he's sleeping better at night and later in the mornings, which means I'm sleeping better, which means I'm feeling better in that regard.  I am so grateful for the little bit of extra sleep.  I really need my 8 hours.  Let's just hopehopehope that it continues.

Oh, names.  We're still discussing.  I've had a name in mind since the very beginning, but Mark's not so sure about it.  Around 30 weeks I was telling Mark that we really need to buckle down and get serious about the name discussion.  He insisted that we didn't have a name yet for Jack at this point last time.  Well, I consulted the blog (this is exactly why I blog!) and sure enough, it was right about that time that we had chosen Jack's name.  A few weeks later and we're still undecided, but we do have a list.  Of first names at least.  We haven't even started talking middle names yet.  Oy!

Because I can't imagine Jack being named anything different at this point I really liked looking back at his list.  So, for posterity's sake, here's The List of top name contenders:

Molly - this is the name I've had in mind all along.  It's still my top choice although I really am open to considering the other names despite what Mark says!

Lucy - this was Mark's suggestion, but was on my radar as well.  I think this tops his list.


Emmaline, we'd call her Emmie (pronounced Emma-Lean) - and right there in the parentheses is exactly my problem with the name.  I love it and the nickname, but I think that 1) people would think we were saying something like "Emily" instead of Emmaline, and 2) people would probably pronounce it Emma-Line, and 3) I think I actually prefer Emmie over Emmaline, but both Mark and I agree it seems more like a nickname than an actual name.  She would be the kid on the first day of school every year saying "I go by Emmie, not Emmaline" or "Actually, it's pronounced Emma-lean, not Emma-line".  I wouldn't rule out a name for any one of the reasons listed because none are that big of a deal, but I think there are just too many negative points for my taste.  It's still in the running though. 

That's pretty much it for the updates.  Still working with my Hypnobabies stuff.  I had a midwife appointment this week, everything looked great and my midwife even said that not only is baby head down, she's also currently facing my back (ideal positioning for labor/delivery), which I suspected from the movements I've been feeling.  ::Fingers crossed:: that baby stays this way!  A lot of our problems last time came from Jack's posterior (sunny-side up) position so I've been doing things (like the chiropractic adjustments and pelvic rocks) to encourage proper positioning this time.  I have another midwife appointment in 2 weeks and then I go to weekly appointments.  HOW is this happening already?! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 25th

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had a great day even if it was long.  We were able to see both sides of the family for Thanksgiving meals and Jack got lots of play time with his cousins.  He did great even with a lot of driving, no nap, and going to bed about 2 hours late, and even made up for it by sleeping in the next day!  Definitely a win!  Then we had a glorious long weekend that went by much too quickly.

Now, onto December holidays!

Sunday:  Parents' house for dinner

Monday:  Burritos - carried over from last week

Tuesday:  Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup (Crock Pot) with Grilled Cheese

Wednesday:  Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole with Salad

Thursday:  Meatball Subs with Salad

Friday:  Out

Saturday:  Turkey Dinner - we ended up not getting the turkey into the fridge to defrost so we'll do our turkey dinner this weekend instead!

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Consignment Shopping: Round 3

I shopped my last consignment sale for fall 2012 a few weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting about it.  It's been a little crazy around here.  Hard to believe, I'm sure :)

This sale I predominately shopped for Baby Dos considering all the great stuff I was able to pick up for Jack during round 2 of shopping

Here's what I got:

Newborn size: 3 sleepers

0-3 month size: 3 sleepers, 1 sleeping gown, 1 hooded, fleece zip-up coat (with ears!  So cute.)

3-6 month size: 5 sleepers, 1 short-sleeved onesie, and a 2-piece sweat outfit with pants and a jacket

Nearly all the items are Carter's brand.  The 2-piece sweat outfit is Old Navy brand.

Not pictured: 10 pairs of 0-3 month baby socks in a variety of colors (I picked these up for $2, can't beat that!), and for Jack: 3 pairs of sweatpants (2 cotton, 1 fleece), and an Old Navy brand zip-up hoodie.  I wish I would have gotten pics of these, but they're already washed and being worn and I don't want to dig them out of his drawers.

I paid $47.50 for everything, which works out to a little over $2 for each item.

LOVE shopping the consignment sales!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tried & True Recipe: Whole-Wheat Pizza Crust

Pictured is an individual-sized Margherita pizza

I've shared recipes for our favorite pizza sauce as well as our take on Margherita and BBQ Chicken pizza toppings.  Now it's time to share our go-to pizza dough recipe.  It's comprised of more than half whole-wheat flour so it's a little healthier than the usual all-purpose white flour recipes and it's so simple to throw together and easy to work with.  This recipe is easily doubled if you want to make two pizzas (or you could split one recipe into two single-serve pizzas) or you can freeze a ball of dough to pull out to use another day or make up a second pizza at the same time and pop it in the freezer before the final bake for a homemade frozen pizza waiting for a busy day when you need a quick meal.  I've also used this dough to make sandwich braids, calzones, and stromboli, but we most often use it for pizza.  Very versatile! 

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough
adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Yields 1 ~14-inch crust (depending on how thick or thin you like your crust)

3/4 c. Warm Water
2 1/4 t. (or one package) Active Dry Yeast
1 t. Honey (or you could substitute sugar)
3/4 c. All-purpose Flour
1 c. Whole-wheat Flour
1/2 t. Salt
1 1/2 t. Extra-virgin Olive Oil (plus additional for brushing on crust)

Combine water, yeast, and honey (I usually just do this right in the measuring cup) and set aside.

To the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with dough hook (or in a large bowl) add flours, salt, and EVOO.  Once the yeast/water mixture is frothy (~5 minutes) add to other ingredients.  Knead on medium speed (or by hand) ~8 minutes.

Cover mixer bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm place (I usually put it in my oven with just the light on) to rise for 1 hour, 15 minutes or until doubled in size.

Pre-heat oven to 450-degrees (don't forget to remove your dough first if you're using the oven to let it rise :) ).

Lightly grease pizza pan.  Press dough out to your desired thickness.  Lightly brush dough with EVOO (I usually just concentrate around the edges).  Bake for 7 minutes.  Remove crust from the oven and top with desired toppings.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 18th

Woot!  SO excited for Thanksgiving!  It's my favorite holiday :) 

I'm also kind of looking forward to it so that I can stop being angry that so many people are already celebrating Christmas prematurely and infringing on Thanksgiving.  I'm tired of being annoyed.  Maybe next year people will further erode the Christmas season by stretching it to start right after all the back to school hype and then I'll be over the whole thing by the time Turkey Day rolls around :/ 

Sunday:  Ruben Sandwiches with Chips

Monday:  Butternut Squash Soup with Grilled Cheese

Tuesday:  Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Wednesday:  Chicken Burritos

Thursday:  Thanksgiving!

Friday:  Turkey Dinner

Saturday:  Leftovers

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 11th

Sunday:  Parents' house for dinner

Monday:  Beer Cheese Soup with Pretzel Rolls

Tuesday:  Kale and Butternut Squash Pizza

Wednesday:  Parmesan Tilapia with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Thursday:  Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Friday:  Mini Corn Dog Muffins with Baked Beans

Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hypnobabies, Chiropractic Care, VBAC, and 30 weeks!

I know I keep saying this, but this pregnancy is flying by!  I'm 30 weeks pregnant and definitely feeling that I'm firmly into 3rd trimester.  Nothing major, just tired, general mild aches and pains.  Certainly nothing to complain about! 

I've been seeing a chiropractor on a weekly basis mostly in an attempt to avoid the pelvic pain I experienced last time, but it has also made a difference in my overall comfort (and it's just great for pregnancy, there are a lot of benefits.  So glad I decided to start going!) so I'm optimistic about how the rest of this pregnancy will play out.  Additionally, I'm sleeping so much better since I started getting adjusted, which I hadn't planned on.  Seriously, overnight, better quality of sleep.  Granted my schedule is still set by a 3-foot-tall dictator, but when I AM sleeping it's quality sleep, which is important and much more than I can say for the sleep I was getting up until now.  I'm totally sold on chiropractic care. 

Last weekend was our final Hypnobabies class.  I really enjoyed the classes and I'm so glad we did them, but I'm also glad that they're over!  They took up a big chunk of already too short weekends and made for a long day.  Now that the classes are behind us I'll spend the time from now until the birth basically compounding what I've learned.  I'll continue working with it every day, practicing the techniques, and very importantly, surrounding myself with positive thoughts.  Hopefully all this work will be worth it and lead to a great experience during my birthing time.

So obviously it's been implied, but I don't know that I've actually yet stated, I am planning for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).  Based upon my circumstances I'm a great candidate and the risks of a VBAC are lower for me than that of a repeat cesarean.  We're doing everything we can to stack the deck in our favor in order to achieve a VBAC. 

Last year, before we were even trying for another baby, I switched to a new practice because I knew I wanted to attempt a VBAC and I knew that I needed a new care provider to give myself the best chance possible.  The practice I'm currently with is comprised of 3 Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) and 1 OB/GYN.  I rotate between the 3 CNMs and will only see the OB if something becomes higher risk or if I end up needing a C/S after all.  The practice definitely subscribes more to the traditional midwifery model of care than the medical model and overall I just think this is exactly where we need to be.  They attend births in the hospital, but they're extremely supportive of my attempt at a VBAC and I think they'll really be great partners in this process.

So far our experience has been night and day.  Last time I was with a huge practice where I saw someone new every time.  Appointments were extremely quick, they were doing things their way, and I was nothing more than a file to them.  I really should have explored other options (I really wish I had found my current practice last time, I really think things would have gone differently), but at the time I thought MY knowledge could overcome whatever my care provider situation is.  I've since learned the importance of having a supportive provider whose views align with your own.

Anyway, despite having a great experience so far, I was kind of holding my breath until the appointment where we discussed everything in detail.  In order to move forward with a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC) the patient has to sign off on paperwork indicating that they understand the potential risks.  It's a good thing really because the it gives the provider a chance to ensure that you're giving informed consent and it gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. 

And I had questions.  A whole long list of them, because I definitely do not want any surprises when we get to the end.  I wanted to know ahead of time just where they stood on issues that are important to me in an attempt to really gauge how supportive they are.  I was nervous going into this appointment because I really felt that this practice is the best fit for us and what if when I asked all of my questions I found out things weren't going to go quite the way I was imagining?  Well, I'm so happy to report that after thorough questioning I'm more reassured in my providers than ever.  I really think they're going to partner with us and support us through this process.  I don't feel like I'm going to have to fight for what I want or second guess their recommendations.  Trust is priceless and of the utmost importance in a situation like this. 

As of right now I'm just really looking forward to everything coming together and seeing the process unfold.  I hope I can maintain a positive outlook right up through the end!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 4th

Annnd it's November.

Sunday:  Late lunch

Monday:  Chili con Queso Mac & Cheese (using leftover Pumpkin Chili) with Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday:  Zuppa Toscana with Breadsticks

Wednesday:  Parmesan Tilapia with Butternut Squash

Thursday:  Baked Chicken Chimichangas with Mexican Rice and "Refried" Beans (from the freezer)

Friday:  Italian Subs with Chips

Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

From the cutest little lion I know!

As you can see, Jack dressed up like a lion for Halloween this year.  Leading up to Halloween I kept asking Jack what he wanted to be.  He just didn't quite get the concept.  If we suggested costumes he'd say yes to anything we suggested, but he didn't have any ideas of his own.  So I tried to figure out if he did understand what the heck I was talking about, what he might want to be.  Lately he's been pretending to be a dinosaur stomping around, and roaring like a lion (he really likes to watch The Lion King).  He was a dinosaur (dragon?) for his first Halloween, so a lion it was!


I thought about making the top, but I ended up being able to purchase one more inexpensively from eBay than it would have cost to make, but I did make the pants using this tutorial.  They turned out really well!  Of course there was a hiccup as the evening before we needed the costume I sat down to work on sewing the pants and we promptly lost power.  Ugh...  Thankfully it was only for a few hours, but I found myself finishing up the pants around 11.30 at night after a long day.  As I was working I realized that, being the procrastinator I am, this is very likely not going to be the last Halloween I'm up late finishing a costume.  Note to self: it's okay to work on things ahead of time!

Power outage aside, the costume was ready to go for Halloween festivities!  We had a party with his playgroup friends (is there much cuter than a bunch of toddlers dressed up in costume?  I think not.) on Tuesday and then Jack spent Trick-or-Treat helping us pass out candy.  The weather was gross this year so I was very thankful that he's not yet old enough to realize he was missing out on going Trick-or-Treating.  This was probably going to be the first year we let him go around to a few houses, but considering he didn't even know to miss it, we were not taking him out in the cold rainy weather!  Next year.

He did have a blast handing out candy though!  He loves kids so he spent the evening in our big window (in costume, of course) watching everyone else and waving hi.  He also helped to put candy in trick-or-treater's bags and yelled "Trick or treat!" back at the kids, and then "Thank you!" after he gave them the candy.  He's so silly.  He definitely enjoyed himself though and that's what matters!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 28th

Sunday:  Stuffed Shells with Bread

Monday: Mom's night out with friends!

Tuesday:  Sloppy Joes with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday:  Happy Halloween!  Pumpkin Chili (CrockPot) with Pumpkin Cornbread

Thursday:  Cheddar-stuffed BBQ Mini-meatloaves with Mashed Potatoes

Friday:  Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tried & True Recipe: Baked Sweet Potato Fries

These aren't really fries considering they're not fried.  They're actually seasoned and roasted sweet potatoes, but they're cut into a fry shape, we eat them in place of fries, and dip them in ketchup, so fries they are!

These are definitely one of our favorite sides and something you see pop up in our weekly meal plans often.  They're cheap, healthy, everyone likes them (Jack LOVES them!), and they're so easy to make!  They pair well with just about anything.  We often eat them alongside of burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, panini, and they also pair well with Mexican-style cuisine.  Jack can eat a whole sweet potato's worth of these "fries" and I love that it's a veggie side I know he'll happily eat every time!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
adapted from Fitness Magazine via With a Cherry on Top

2-3 Sweet Potatoes*, peeled and cut into fry-shape
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 t. Cumin
1/2 t. Chili Powder
1/2 t. Paprika
1/4 t. Pepper
1/8 t. Cayenne Pepper (feel free to omit this if you don't want any heat)

Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees.

Combine spices in a small bowl and set aside.

Place potatoes in a single layer onto a greased, or parchment paper-lined baking sheet (you may need 2 baking sheets depending on their size and the amount of potatoes you are making.  You can put them pretty close together, but don't overcrowd the pan!).

Sprinkle spices evenly over sweet potatoes.**

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges start to get crisp and a little brown.

Serve with ketchup, if desired!

*Number of sweet potatoes will vary based on size and number of people you are serving.  Basically you'll want one sweet potato per person unless they're really small or large.  Use your own judgement :)

**Notes about the spice mix - I actually like to make a good sized batch of this and keep it in an old spice container so it's all ready to go and I don't have to mix it up every time.  Also, I mentioned that Jack likes these.  They're just a touch too spicy for him with the cayenne pepper so I actually make a separate pan for him that I just lightly sprinkle with the chili powder, cumin, and paprika.  That way it's spicy in a flavor sense, which he loves, not a burn your tongue kind of way! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Picking 2012

I feel like we've had a very busy few weeks and after a nice weekend yielded a wealth of friends sharing their pumpkin patch pictures via Facebook it reminded us just how quickly Halloween was coming up.  We decided to take advantage of a nice Sunday morning to head out to the pumpkin patch to pick our own pumpkins.

This is the third time we've trekked out to the fields to pick our perfect pumpkins.

1st visit:

Jack was 7 months old here

2nd visit:

Jack was about 1 1/2 years old

Annnnd this year's visit:

27 weeks, 6 days pregnant with Baby Dos

You'll notice that 2 1/2 year old Jack is not in the picture because, well... he's 2 1/2 and was having a rather 2 1/2-year-old kind of day.  Despite Jack's being rather photogenically inclined as of late he of course firmly declined pictures while at the pumpkin patch so the only child I could get to take a picture with me was the one currently residing in my ute who didn't get a choice about the situation.

Jack's pictures this year looked a little more like this:

Hey!  This one's not so bad.  I think he was telling us to "go away!" though :/

Yes, Mark was laughing in the final photo while Jack is crying.  No, he was not laughing AT the crying child, but rather the whole situation as by this time we had entered the laugh or cry territory and we chose to laugh.  Now, in Jack's defense, he had adamantly declined his photo opportunities (well, except for the one with the pumpkin. He wanted that one... but then he didn't, but then he did, but then he didn't...) and yet we persisted in trying to snap a few photos for the memory books.  So, this is what we get.

Despite what you see in the photos Jack was actually pretty excited about picking out a pumpkin.  He had a lot of fun traipsing through the (muddy) field and looking at the pumpkins.  He did have a good time, he just wanted no part of pictures for whatever strange toddler reason.  It's especially odd considering he's been pretty into having his picture taken lately and will actually request it, but yeah, go figure toddlerness strikes again at an outing where we actually wanted to snap a few pictures to capture the memory.  Well, capture the memory we did! 

After we picked out our pumpkins we headed over to the little play area, which is where the day quickly declined.  We had never been to the play area before (they have a food stand, corn maze, bouncy house, barrel train ride, etc.) because Jack had been too young to enjoy it, but on the way in he caught sight of the barrel train and was very excited about the prospect of riding it so we decided to give it a try.

When we arrived in the play area Jack was feeling every day of his 2 1/2 years and decided at that point he didn't want to ride the train anymore, he wanted to go down the GIANT blow up slide that you have to climb up one steep side to access.  It was not at all for his age group.  We explained to him that he couldn't go down the big slide, but that he could ride the train.  ::cue immediate breakdown::  He was in a weird mood.

Then he wanted to ride the train.  He didn't want to ride the train.  He wanted to ride the train.  He didn't want to ride the train.  Okay,  he REALLY wanted to ride the train.  We bought tickets.  We stood in the short line (Mark and I feeling apprehensive because we really didn't know that this little activity was going to have a great outcome considering the kind of mood Jack was in).  Jack was really excited waiting for the train.  He got in the train:

And then he started waffling again - he wanted to ride, he didn't.  He wanted to ride, he didn't.  Then there were some tears, I can't remember if it was because he wanted to ride or he didn't, but at that point it was obvious the train ride wasn't happening.  Oh yeah, then he threw a leg over the side of the car.  That's when we took him back out and decided it definitely wasn't happening.  Then he had a meltdown because he wanted to ride the train.  At that point we decided we were leaving and ended the madness.  Maybe next year.

If nothing else, this year's trip to the pumpkin patch was certainly a microcosm of life right now.  Toddlerhood is nothing if not an exercise in extremes.  One minute the kid is happy as a clam, the next he's throwing a fit.  Emotions are hard stuff!