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