I'm ready...


With a little over 3 weeks to go, I am ready for Baby O to arrive. I am not "over" being pregnant or anything, I'm just ready...


  • to sleep again. I know it will be interrupted by a hungry little guy, but to just be comfortable in my own skin and not tossing like a fish out of water will be a relief.
  • to be able to bend over to pick things up again! Life with a toddler and a dog who steals things (both leaving a 24 hour trail) is a constant bend-and-snap routine (see below) for me. Lately, the trails have lingered longer or I've insisted that Larkyn pick up certain things before she's allowed to have something she wants.
  • to adjust to feeding him however I need to. I am not 100% sure I'm going to use formula (but Enfamil was nice enough to send me 2 free containers), but I have everything in it's place. This time around, the Boon drying rack is accentuated by the Boon tree to hold tiny parts. 
 
  • to snuggle him up in all the blankets we have received. My mom made him the gorgeous gray knitted one, there are several light cotton ones, and Ann got the super plush light blue one to match Larkyn's irreplaceable pink blanket. The adorable fox is a little lovey that Amber got him pretty much the day I found out I was having a boy. Matt's mom is creating quite the collection of Jellycats for the kids. The raccoon is just the start!
 
  • to arm myself with dinners that are ready to go once we get home from the hospital. My ideas, pending husband approval:
  1. Mexican lasagna
  2. potato soup
  3. chicken noodle soup
  4. chili
  5. We will definitely have some carry-out options in there, as well as my dad's beef stew, which is NOT freezer material!


  • to put our changing "dresser" to good use. All 3 of us put it together this week, and it filled up FAST. Minor detail...it is next to our dining room table. It is literally the only place left in our teeny house, and when the pad is removed (for house showings), it won't scream "DIAPER ZONE".
 
  • to finally use these hats I have been lusting over for months. I finally ordered them from Christy at Carolina Knots and they are so freaking cute.  I could buy about 10 more.
  • to hold my long-legged boy, share him with everyone, and complete our family!

The only place I do not feel ready at all is at school. I know life would go on if I had the baby tomorrow. But, I have 11 conferences set up over the next 3 weeks and 42 report cards due on my last official day. I met with my long term substitute today, filling her in on everything she will need to know to be "me" for 8 weeks.

And now, I leave you with one of cinema's greatest scenes. I can only aspire to be like the woman in the blue windsuit.

My Valentine


Dear Larkyn,

3 years ago, I took the day off with daddy and we went out to breakfast (chocolate strawberry pancakes, of course). It was snowy and I was huge. At that time, thoughts of my sweet baby girl-to-be were consuming. You were all I thought about!  For the past 2 years, nothing has changed. Daddy and I still celebrate in a similar way, only now you are really a part of it. We eat pancakes together, you understand holidays, and mama is huge again. You make us laugh and amaze us every day with your new words, questions, and your sweet nature. This is our last Valentines Day with just the 3 of us, so I thought I better tell you how much we love you!  Even though Baby Brother will be here in about a month, our hearts will just get bigger to love you both. You will always be our sweet girl.

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

5 on Friday



{1}

Harper changing pad cover and Rugby essential bath wrap, both 29.50

Who has the best customer service ever? Pottery Barn Kids continues to wow me by going over the top every time I work with them. Online, they were back-ordered on one of the two things I really wanted to get Baby O before he arrives. I called to see if they had both in the store, and they did. Sweet. Instead of just "holding" them, she offered to take my payment info over the phone and had them waiting at the loading dock in the back of the mall so I didn't even have to go in


 {2}

We watched a documentary the other day called Forks Over Knives. It isn't often that I watch something and get really into it, but this was one of them. In short, the film documents the benefits of eating a whole-food plant-based diet. Several years ago, I learned about Super Foods and was pretty good at eating a whole foods diet, but never thought too much about the vegetarian aspect. Because I love meat. Anyway, watch this movie. I'm not turning vegetarian and I'm not trying to turn you vegetarian. But it is incredible to see the disease prevention and reversal that takes place when people focus on whole foods (rather than processed) and plant-based eating.

So, the above being said, my meal planning is going to include more than one vegetarian night. I've always tried for one, so I'll try two and then eventually three. I don't think it will be easy, but it will be worth it for our family. Any great recipes to share?

{3}




It is so fun to experience holidays with children!  I am totally guilty of getting her amped up for Valentines Day this year, and it was fun to wake her up and see her reaction to a table of her favorite things: Hershey hugs (really anything that is the shape of a "hug" is considered a Hug to her), a Toy Story card, a light up wand and light up cup, and M&Ms! God bless Walgreens for all their fun, cheap thrills.

{4}

A non-fussy Valentine's Day. For the past two years, Larkyn has been sick (like really sick) on V-Day, so I think we are used to not making a big deal. Requirements? Delicious carry-out (this year from Cap City), valentines, and getting each other our favorite treats. All I could think about today was the promise of chocolate covered strawberries, and Matt delivered!

{5}
Babies are making their way into the world! My dear blog friend, Desiree, had Andrea a week ago. Congratulations on your sweet girl! And my niece Kristy, who is due with Baby Henry, has news from her OB that he is definitely making progress ahead of his March 9th due date. Then guess who is next?!

Meal Plan for the week of 2/9

Well, last week, I slacked a little bit and missed making 2 of the meals I had planned on. Which of course went over well here because it is still a guessing game of what anyone around here would like to eat! I don't find out until the dinner is made and on the table that no one wants it, which is awesome. I'm not giving up on having a plan for dinner though and saving us $ by eating at home...

Sunday
King Ranch Casserole (since we missed it last week)

Monday
Manwich with veggie sides (you don't need a picture of fancy Manwich, do you?)

Tuesday
White bean soup (I'm adding ham)

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday
Valentines Day dinner!  My bucket list before baby included going out on a kid-free dinner, so here's hoping that actually happens and we can have a nice dinner together somewhere. If not, fantastic carry-out and a chocolate dessert will do:)

My favorite symptom

Both of my pregnancies have been relatively easy after the first 10 weeks or so. And even in those first 10 weeks, there wasn't any throwing up or spending all day in bed--just feeling a little under the weather. Both have been very similar, with citrus cravings, stretch marks right at the end (yippee!) and my personal favorite:
via
Snoring.

There are a few things going on here, and because like ANY normal person, I googled the crap out of something that is out of the ordinary (mostly to prove to Matt that I am normal). Being compared to the "heavyset guy in accounting" is a bit much, but it helps to know that I am not alone! 

See? 2 MILLION results. The good thing is that I'm cleared for gestational diabetes, so that isn't a complication. And my blood pressure is so low that anyone who is new to taking my BP often has a look of concern until they read my chart. So, there's that.

There's also a new sleeping arrangement in town because my chainsaw sound effects aren't appreciated by everyone (which I get--sometimes I wake myself up!) We watch Breaking Bad, I immediately fall asleep, and Matt ends up moving to the couch. Then when he can't sleep out there any longer because it is the most uncomfortable sleeping couch in the world, he comes back in. Therein lies the problem, because I'm happily snoring away and he can't get back to sleep. Several "You're snoring" and "elbows to the back later, and I'm out here because I feel bad.

I know it's not my fault because it is part of being prego, but dammit, I don't want to be sleeping on the couch for 6 more weeks.

Any ideas out there?

And speaking of 6 weeks...seriously?!  All of a sudden, it's getting real!  A friend at work told me that her cousin, who was due 5 days before me, had her baby over the weekend. That kind of sent me into panic mode because if our baby should decide to come any time soon, he would probably post an adoption ad on Craigslist because we are so not ready.

Priorities now.
  • Diapers- check. 
  • Enough clothes for his first month- check. Um. That's it. 
  • I have to pre-register at the hospital, get his changing table/dresser set up with said clothes, and have a to-do list at school that is so long it makes me want to cry. Not that I put any of my work tasks off; they are all items that need to be done at certain times (report cards, conferences, lesson plans for my maternity leave)
  • Shopping trip for essentials like bibs, blankets, a new diaper pail, and I'm sure several other little things I forget that we need until I see it
  • A hair appointment must occur prior to this baby's grand entrance
  • A pampering day is in the works with Julie, including pedis, lunch, and MAYBE a blowout:)
  • Last but not least, this time I WILL have food lined up for our first days home. This may or may not include Matt picking up carry-out for 5 straight nights. As long as I don't have to cook!

Meal Plan 2/4/14

OK, the first two weeks were filled with lots of experimenting, which resulted in wasted money and food!  So this week, we are toning it down a bit by only adding two new recipes. Hope it helps!

Monday
Manly carryout to make up for the fact that I was useless to the world during the Superbowl, so we had Wendy's. Wife fail (apparently)

Tuesday
Spaghetti with meatsauce, salad, garlic bread

Wednesday
Giant Eagle wedding soup, sourdough and sharp cheddar grilled cheese

Thursday

Friday
Shredded crock pot Luau Chicken over rice

Vintage Valentine Baby Shower


My dear friend Julie will be celebrating the birth of her baby girl this spring, and I couldn't wait to shower her with a Valentine-inspired party today. Being the classy lady she is, the vintage (rather than a "pink explosion" in her words) look was more her speed, so after I found the invitations to set the tone, everything else was easy.

Thank goodness I had the help of my mom, who always helps me with putting everything together. Get ready for a billion photos of our fun day celebrating Julie and her sweet baby-to-be!

In true Valentine spirit, I fell in love with these invitations from Green Cherry Factory

 Mason jars filled with the first tulips of the season, tied with a Cricut heart and twine

 Inside each bag was a baby item beginning with the letter on the bag. Guests wrote down their guesses (answers: bubble bath, aspirator, bib, yellow rubber duck, shampoo, hat, (baby) oil, wipes, ear thermometer off her registry, rattle)

 Favors were Dollar Store salt shakers filled with a cinnamon sugar mix (1/2 C sugar + 1 TB cinnamon) and tied with party circles from Green Cherry

 Now do you get it?

 Supplies for one of our guest activities. We made baby blocks to coordinate with the Baby's nursery, which will be navy, pink and nautical. Blocks are from Melissa from West Virginia Cabin, who was awesome!

 
The directions were to pick a letter sticker, use paints, paper cutouts and paint to design a set of alphabet blocks for the baby. 

Some of the finished products!  The kids and tweens especially liked this activity.

 
Another activity that left Julie with a keepsake from her guests was letter writing. Guests chose an envelope with a note card inside. They wrote encouraging and inspiring messages for Julie and Keith to open when the envelope says to open (mom and dad's anniversary, mom goes back to work, etc.)

 Veggies in cordial cups from Party City. This leaves more room on your plate for sweets!

 Chicken salad from Meijer (one pound served over 16 people) and cucumber sandwiches (which were cut into hearts and I totally missed getting a photo of that detail!)

 Peanut butter kisses (I made them with Hershey hearts rather than Dove because the hearts hold their shape better), Nutella brownies (I made them into minis and only baked 10 minutes), and strawberry fruit pizzas (always a hit)

 These chocolate cake pops were alllll my mom. I just showed her the pin and she figured them out!

 Again, all mom. She used a can of Wilton pink frosting with a decorating tip and added a heart sprinkle. PS, who owns a sugar cube serving set? My mom :)

 I used those party circles everywhere I could! If you print them on full sheet labels, they become stickers. And the Valentine punch was a serendipitous mix of 1 large can pineapple juice + 1 bottle cranberry juice cocktail + 1 can undiluted pink lemonade concentrate + 1 2 liter gingerale + raspberry sherbet.

 Julie loves her tea, so we had the full tea set up. I was pleasantly surprised that this was very popular after lunch, while guests watched her open presents. 

 
So many fun and practical gifts for the mom-to-be!

 It'll be fun when boyfriend and girlfriend finally meet! And it'll be fun when I have a minute to get my hair cut. Oy.

 What a fabulous photo, mama!

Hope you enjoyed your time as Queen for a day. Can't wait to meet the princess. Love ya!

This kid is covered!

Last night, the upstairs room of Bravo Cucina was filled with laughing, smiles, pasta, and....diapers. 12 of my closest friends, one handsome baby boy, and I got together, courtesy of Jill's organization.

This was the perfect way to celebrate a second baby. The restaurant provided the food and the venue, Jill provided sweet caramel corn favors, and an amazing Chocolate Covered Strawberry cake (they even sliced and served it for us!)

If you have a friend who is pregnant with her second baby and want to make her feel special, this is the way to do it:)

And, judging by the full van at the end of the night, this kid will be covered for quite a while. I'm anxious to try all the different brands and hopefully save some money this time around with some more budget-friendly brands.

What diapers worked for you?
 Jill, Alyson, Me, Amber, Mara, Heidi, Ann, Brenda, Mom, Elizabeth, Shannon, Mo, Julie


Mom knitted a beautiful blanket for Baby Boy. There are sure to be more close-ups of it in his newborn pictures. 


Ann made a diaper cake, complete with a bottle of bubbly in the middle!

Martha Stewart Jill filled these with her grandma's caramel corn (ie: my breakfast)

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