Hadley’s Third Birthday – Best Laid Plans

So, I was hoping to have a rundown of the decorative plans I had in mind for the little guy’s birthday, along with some pictures of the whole thing for you today. Well, I have some pictures, but they don’t show much of anything.

With all three of us under the weather and unsure of whether or not we’d be super contagious, we had originally decided to cancel the whole thing. Then, after talking with my mother a bit, we decided just to have the grandparents over. There are a couple of newborns in the family that we wouldn’t want to get what we’ve got, so we cut it back. Besides, I had already bought tons of food (which there was no way we could save another week or two for a party that we weren’t even sure others could attend), so it would be great to celebrate the day in a low-key way.

That said, I still worked hard (which, as a pregnant lady means that I worked until my belly ached — the belly knows when it’s time to slow down, y’know) to bake and chop and grate and assemble. As the time drew nearer and nearer, I realized I wouldn’t have the time I’d hoped to do the decorating I had planned on.

No baby blue streamers. No Peter Rabbit cake topper and wall hanging. No poufs. No Pinterestworthiness.

That’s not a word, but it’s definitely a thing.

But, we did have time to do a thorough cleaning job, and last night at 11pm I found myself sketching chalkboard drawings to bring a little festivity. Oh, in complete honesty, this stuff finally took the place of my spring chalkboard and *ahem* Easter baskets. Seriously. I’ve been slacking. 😉

So, from the things I grabbed at the local “dollar store”, I used some faux greenery on vines to give a little garden feeling. And, seriously, don’t fresh fruit and veggies do a great job at hitting both a) feeding partygoers and b) adding to the ‘garden’ theme?


 Sorry, beverages. Party was underway and, as usual, Dave took the pics while I did last-minute stuff.


So, we served a pared-down version of the original menu: loads of fruit, veggies and homemade herb dip (Ina Garten), cold cuts with fresh rolls, chips/cheese/crackers, “munchies” (Annie’s chocolate bunnies and bunny snack mix…get it? Peter Rabbit??), and our family’s favorite pasta salad (Mom brought). Water, lemonade and iced tea for the hot day’s beverages. Oh, and chocolate-covered strawberries (Ina, again), homemade carrot cake (good ol’ Good Housekeeping – very moist, but took FOREVER to grate the carrots) with cream cheese icing, and an untouched strawberry rhubarb crisp. Admittedly, everyone was stuffed, so that’ll be breakfast this week. 😉

I know it still sounds like a lot, but considering I cut the decorating down to next to nothing and we didn’t have tomato pie and sausage bread and stuff…it was far less crazy and more chill than it would’ve been. Oh, and for the record, it’s the only cold cuts I’ve had (I believe?!) the entire pregnancy. I cheated, but at least I didn’t have a beer…right??

Considering we only had three guests (my stepdad wasn’t feeling well) plus the three of us, this kid got GIFTS. Thomas stuff, clothes galore, books, a fishing game he’s loved at his cousin’s, some superhero stuff, a bubble mower and A SHAAAAARK! (We also saved some stuff for tomorrow since that’s his actual day, but MAN I’m thinking we should save some of it for Christmas!)


When it was time to nap and he melted down, you could hear how sick he still is. Super runny nose, incredibly raspy…not as croupy as when he sleeps, but not good, poor thing. I’m just glad that his daddy and I have gotten past that “I don’t feel goooooood” whiny crappy feeling so that we could focus on how awesome our special guy is.

We felt awful that we couldn’t party it up with the whole family (namely, his super fun cousins, and I always love seeing my siblings), but I know we’ll see everyone throughout the summer, so we’re trying not to focus on it too much. Considering he’s only turning 3 and he doesn’t have a huge circle of friends yet, it was still a memorable, fun day meant to make him feel remembered. I’d say, snotty noses aside, it was a success!

Now, if he could just feel better. 🙁

On a positive ending, we didn’t realize how much Hadley has changed in the past year until Dave started putting together his annual video. Wow. A year ago, his words existed but were guttural and communication was highly emotionally-charged. A recent BabyCenter email updated me that he’s probably saying 3-word sentences now, but it’s sooo far from the truth. Aside from run-ons, he’s incredibly verbal, and his vocabulary surprises us with its complexity. We still have our toddler meltdowns, but he’s much better able to communicate his feelings.

He helps when we give him a task. He’s open and welcoming to the idea of a little sibling (he insists it’s a girl and today said her name is “Flamingo”). He’s sweet with a tiny mischievous side, prefers running to sitting still, and is dying for us to find him more friends. Somewhere along the way, he’s started coming to us with spontaneous moments of love and brief cuddles, which he was never a fan of before. Overall…the kid rocks.

Here are some of the answers to some questions I asked him:

Favorite Things – Age 3

Color – “Blue.” (funny, it’s usually orange)
Toy – “My firetruck.” (really?!)
Stuffed animal – “My lamby.”
Thing to take to bed – “My shark.”
Fruit – “I like all of them.”
Cereal – “Gorilla Munch.”
Breakfast – “Gorilla Munch.” (I blame the order of the questions on that answer)
Lunch – “Peanut butter and jelly.” (had to answer for him; this is his fave)
Dessert – “Ice cream.” (not really, he doesn’t eat the stuff)
Beverage – “Grape juice!”
Dinner – “Nothing, nothing, nothing.” (I think lunch and breakfast are his big meals; he’d prefer not eat dinner.)
Animal – “Uuummm…a lizard!”
Book – “Pajama Time.”
Song – “1-2-3 sing with me…(continues singing own lyrics)”
Game – “Matthew and me used to play golf. And Aunt Mary and Lizzie and Uncle John were there….”
TV Show – “Cartoon Batman” (the 1970s cartoon version, although we know he loves “60s Batman”, too.)
Movie – “The Muppets”
Thing to do outside – “Run around.”
Best friend – “Cooper.” (Actually, equal parts Cooper and Lizzie, so the answer varies.)
Job when he grows up – “Do Daddy’s job…Lego Batman exercise!” (He wants to use Dave’s old Lego Batman Wii game but knows he can’t until he’s big.)

One Recipe, Three Flavors

I was hoping to share my annual birthday planning post for the little guy, but we’ve all come down with what seems to be a summer cold. Wop, wop. So, I figure if I share the plans, that’ll pretty much guarantee that we’ll have to postpone the thing (which may happen, anyway). So, instead, I’m sharing a recipe we used last night that really worked for us. Hopefully we’ll all be felling super great by the weekend and you can hear our theme/plans after the big hurrah next week.
 
We’ve been up to our ears in lettuces thanks to the CSA, so I’ve wanted to try something, ANYTHING besides salad (which I currently have zero appetite for; maybe if I could make a dressing that appeals to my pregnant whims). Since I’m not brave enough to cook the stuff, I decided to try lettuce wraps.

I had doubts if they’d meet the “needs” of all three of our taste buds. The little guy likes salad but not chicken (weird, I know), so it would need a heavier sauce to mask the chicken – enter honey mustard. Mine was going to have an Asian style dressing. Because Dave’s not a fan of those flavors, I decided to treat him to a little buffalo sauce (made all the healthier by the fact that it was just a drizzle and the rest of the ingredients were super healthy).

And, against the usual odds, we all liked it. The most skeptical of all (Dave) loved it and requested it again…soon. When I do make it, I think I’ll do a peanut-based Asian sauce for mine, just for something a little different.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Three Ways
(or as Hadley calls them, “Lettuce Tacos”)
serves 3, but can be adjusted easily
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Romaine lettuce leaves, washed & dried (12+ leaves)
Two carrots, julienned
A few inches of cucumber, julienned
Mushrooms, chopped (I didn’t have any, but would improve it)
Various grape tomatoes, sliced
S&P

* Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Grill on grill pan for 8-10 minutes (until cooked through) and shred/chop. Use dry lettuce leaves as a base and fill with ingredients. Drizzle with sauce of your choice. (Our lettuce was smaller than usual Romaine, so you could cut larger pieces in half to make easier to eat.)


Dressings (enough for one serving of 4 wraps):
Honey Mustard
– Equal parts local honey & yellow mustard
*Mix ingredients together. Bam.

Asian Drizzle
– 4-5 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
– ~ 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
– dash sesame oil
– drizzle honey or sprinkle of brown sugar
– dash red pepper flakes
– splash of water (optional; was too wet this way)
*Mix all ingredients together. To create thicker sauce, cook down in saucepan for 5+ minutes.

Buffalo Sauce– 2-3 Tbsp. butter
– about 3-4 Tbsp. hot sauce
– dash cayenne pepper
– sprinkle of white vinegar
* Microwave butter until melted, then add the rest of ingredients. Mix.


See? Even fit for a toddler. Honey mustard is a savior around these parts.

BTW, everything except the chicken was organic (and that was natural and humanely raised, so whatchya gonna do?). I threw some berries (strawberries & two types of raspberries from the farmers’ market) on the side to round it out; I also grabbed some cottage cheese when I was done just to fill up a little more, but the boys were fine without. Pregnancy will do that to ya.

Now, if anyone has ideas for fennel (I am NOT a fan, but am willing to try new things…gulp), chard, salad turnips, and a ton more lettuce, I’m up for suggestions.

Just know that I’ve got some pickiness going on in the house. 😉

Our Summer Vacation – Where and Why

So, it took us awhile to land on a vacation option that the whole family could enjoy. We were originally discussing one option, but the more I researched, the more our minds changed. Today, I’m here to share our thought process…and, of course, where we’ll be going!

Our goals were to take a few days to enjoy being a family in a fun, relaxed setting. (The “relaxed” part is relative; it’s more that we’d take a slow pace.) If it could be a relatively short drive (like, 4-5 hours or less), all the better. We didn’t want to try to fit a million things in and overbook, which we learned about last year (we did well, I think, but I did fit a lot in and still missed some stuff! Here’s one post and a second recapping our 2014 summer trip.)

We originally considered another trip to Mass., as well as other New England trips (namely, Maine). The more that I looked and realized a) the travel time would be nuts, and b) most of the stuff we’d be doing could be done locally, we turned our attention elsewhere: Pennsylvania.

My MIL had suggested Sesame Place to us awhile back and we put it in the back of our brains…way back. Hadley’s not a HUGE Sesame Street fan, but he’ll watch it if it’s on and we’ve also raised him watching the OLD episodes, so he knows Bob, Maria, David, etc just as well as he knows Abby, Elmo and Zoe. Then, his grandparents took him to see Sesame Street Live locally and meet Elmo, and he had a great time. After deciding to shift from the Maine trip, I started looking at the website and realized that he’s the PERFECT age to visit.

Here are our reasons for making a completely kidcentric vacation choice:

– The place is PERFECT for a three-year-old. He’s never been on rides and has a major aversion to getting his face wet, but the rides here seem like he can handle them and will probably love them, and the variety of water areas (gentle, wild, etc) are great to test out his fears. (He loves splashing and playing in water, so there’s a splash pad area that he should love no matter what.)

– It’s a special time, being pregnant and knowing that it’s our last summer with an only child. Yes, I have dubbed it “The Summer of Hadley” and I am totally cool with that.

– It’s not too far away. Bam.

– There are options to use local hotels that are family friendly and have a shuttle to get to the joint; the fact that we’re going for an extended weekend and won’t have to pay for parking (since there are tons of extra costs with this option) adds up. ***Since I’m preggers, I may be able to get half off my ticket when I get there since I can only do a few of the rides and the gentle water areas; fingers crossed!*** 

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I usually try to fit in some history, a fun kiddo activity (usually museum-based), animals, and so forth into a vacation. This summer, however, we’ve got this all covered with the other cheaper activities we have planned throughout the season.

Stay tuned for a blog post about how we’ll be hitting all these marks, and inexpensively

First CSA – “Lovage” It

As a sick little boy slumbered for his nap upstairs, I anxiously awaited Dave with the arrival of our first CSA share. What would that little box contain? The farm had sent an email stating the bounty of seedlings they had recently planted, but given the recent cold snaps in the weather, I was doubtful we’d have much to show for it this first week.

Winston was immediately interested in the overflowing, larger-than-expected waxy box. Of course, it smelled like “outside”; his favorite smell. (He loves us when we spend the day outside doing yard work and gets upset when we shower. Strange to us, normal to him.)

The first time through this box was a little of an emotional rollercoaster for this pregnant lady. I noticed a few flower buds and grew excited, “Flowers?? Or, no…wait!” Yup, I knew what it was: chives. They were bundled with a small handful of an unfamiliar herb. It looked like parsley with huge leaves, but upon smelling I knew it couldn’t be. Celery? What herb smells like celery?

Upon further inspection, we found lettuce of all sorts, which admittedly sank my heart a bit. This pregnancy, I have had zero appetite for salads (or much of anything that’s super healthy, honestly), so I thought, “Dave’ll be having lots and lots of salads…or I’d better find an awesome new dressing or vinaigrette recipe to make them palatable.” Keeping positive, this is my plan.

Aside from the overabundance of salad greens, we got 5-6 potatoes, a bunch of radishes, some scallions, and some Swiss chard (another “never cooked with that” item). Overall, I’m super happy with the take, and was surprised at just how much we got, all things considered.

So, this week I’ll be on the lookout for a recipe that the family will actually endure for Swiss chard and a dressing that will help ME endure all the salad in our futures (I had a warm bacon one years ago that I may need to revisit).

As far as the “mystery herb” is concerned, I’ve already done my research (Mother Earth News gave the best information). Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of “lovage”. Needless to say, I never had before. It was apparently a very popular herb, up there with parsley and dill, until just a few generations ago. Funny how an ingredient can be well-known for literally centuries only to lose popularity and become practically unknown in modernity. It definitely says something for the narrowing of our collective taste buds. Hmph.

So, anyway, the facts. Lovage has traditionally had both culinary and medicinal uses, dating back to…well, nobody knows where or when specifically it first originated, but it’s said that the Romans first brought it to England, where it was grown at medieval monasteries. (It could very well have started its life in Asia, for all we know.) It was used to treat rheumatism, and was even brought by the American colonists to consume in tea form in order to ward off the inevitable aches and pains of the New World.

Smelling strongly of celery, it can actually be used any place that celery generally is. However, it is much stronger in flavor, so should be about halved. (Note to self.)

That said, we’re keeping it, along with the chives and their pretty buds, in a bit of water until I can track down some more ingredients. If it’s not too warm over the weekend, a chicken soup would take care of it nicely, as would stuffing (in June? Really, Dellecese?). The leaves also add a bit of celery flavor to salads, so I may have to remember to use them when we’re making our inevitable salads feasts.

Grumble.

Any suggestions for making a food (salads, in general) that has seemed completely disgusting and inedible to a pregnant lady more appetizing? I’ve eaten maaaaaybe one a week. Tops. And it hasn’t been fun. (My husband, who could absolutely live on them, looks at me strangely and, I’m guessing, doesn’t get it.)

I’m thinking BLTs (I don’t eat tomatoes, but I’m down with this…maybe with avocado, yay healthy fat!), using it as a lettuce wrap (Had may be down for this…not sure it’ll help me at all), or just shoot the moon and do taco dip piled high with lettuce. Maybe. Any other ideas??

Same and Different

Since I shared some insight to our pregnancy last week and how things are going, I’ve been excited to chat about some of the things that we hope to do raising Baby #2. Some are repeats that worked well (and we hope, with crossed fingers, that they do the second time around); some are things that either didn’t work the first time or that we simply didn’t try.


Babywearing (Different) – It could’ve been our baby’s large size. It could’ve been because he wasn’t really into it. It could’ve been the fact that I simply didn’t stick with it very well. Whatever it was, I want to give it another go.
Considering we’re still in “NO, Hadley! Don’t go near the road!!” chasing-a-kid-around mode, it feels like babywearing will be a big benefit to our family in so many ways. It’ll leave me/Dave hands-free to hold the little man’s hand or tend to him however he needs while getting some uber-important bonding time with the little one. I already have an Ergo carrier and a Moby wrap (unless my sister’s using them, in which case I’ll try new ones!), so I just have to get used to the actual carrying of a baby. 😉
Breastfeeding (Same) – While we had some definite low points, I can proudly say that we successfully breastfed Hadman for about a year and a half, maybe longer (it got down to one feeding at the end, so my memory’s foggy). I’m determined to make it work again with this next child. (Watch them have a tongue tie or not be as willing to help. ;-))
I think that the two biggest reasons for our success in this area are: 1) a super big, super hungry baby (he latched immediately in the hospital, after a bottle in the nursery(!), ‘cuz he was *Chris Farley voice* STAAARVIIIING!!!; even if we had a few issues later on, it gave me the confidence to continue) and 2) a super awesomely supportive husband (who actually called the lactation specialist, who intimidated the crap out of me, several times and would advocate for me to people who weren’t very understanding at times). 
Possible C-Section (Same, Maybe) – *sigh* This is one that has me scared to talk about publicly because it’s pretty emotional for me and there are LOTS of opinions floating around…that I don’t need/want to hear. Anyway, here it goes.

We LOVE our group of doctors. LOVE THEM. But, their policy, due to insurance, is “once you have a C-section, that’s whatchya get.” (Paraphrased.) In our area, there are few to no options (aside from a home birth, which we’re just not made for) for a VBAC. We recently heard that there IS at least one practitioner who attempts them, but I’m gun-shy about changing our doctors, especially if Hadley was a 10+ pound kid. If I’m destined for another huge kid and another C-section, I’d like to be with doctors I’m already comfortable with.

I’m getting my head wrapped around this, and I know one day I’ll be able to write a post entitled “Why I’m Okay with My Scheduled C-Section” (since that’s the way I’m leaning). I’m just not there yet. Just let me sit and eat my mint chocolate chip ice cream and think. And think. And mull. And think some more.

Cloth Diapers (Different) – This is one area that I failed miserably at the first time around. I bought a bunch of BumGenius all-in-one diapers (which you can simply toss into your diaper container/bag and wash within 2-3 days, no stuffing/unstuffing/pinning/folding) for Hadley since I’d seen awesome reviews for them. I’m not sure if they need more cleaning or a full-on stripping, but they were a bit leaky when we tried them and bulky.

So, this time, this is the one area I MUST DO. I hope to include the BGs in my stash (maybe sell a handful) but also to grab some trimmer pocket dipes while I’m at it. The AIOs had snaps rather than Velcro, so I’m wondering if I should try some with the sticky stuff to compare more with the disposables. Given that I’m active in the “green community”, I’ve felt horribly that this didn’t work (and not to mention that I feel guilty that I may have another non-natural birth, blah), but it was overwhelming with his colic/gas/newness. I think the second time around, I’m already worrying less, but also optimistic that *maybe, just maybe* this’ll go a bit better.  

Bassinet-to-Crib (Same) – The first month or two, we’re planning on keeping the little one as close as possible to our bedside at night. However, we will eventually switch him over to the same crib Hadley’s been using. (If we’re in a new house, that’ll be time for the big boy bed!!! If we’re not, we’ll be rearranging rooms!!! All very exciting and terrifying.)

Stuff Glut (Same…and Different?) – So, yeah. Since we don’t find out our little ones’ genders before their arrivals, we’ve got plenty of gender neutral clothes to work with. Plus, we’ve got boy clothes from Hadman and girl clothes to borrow from my sister, so we’re set on clothes. As far as all the other “stuff”, we’ve either got it or realized…we never needed it.

We live by the Pack ‘n Play, given that we’re in a two-level home, so we’re glad to have that. I’d like to try a swing out, but by that point we may have one “floating around” within the family (if not, it’ll probably be one of our only purchases — aside from the cloth dipes, which are a beast all their own). Can I just say what a relief it is that I don’t have to have a shower and glut of more stuff?? (The generosity was so sweet the first time around, but it’s just a huge “aaahhhh” moment.)

Our House (???) – This is one area we’re working on. If we can find and move into a new house during this pregnancy, awesome! If not…we’ll deal. We’d rather have more space in an area that’s more conducive to our familial needs, but we don’t want to rush into something we don’t love. So this may be a same…may be a different. Who knows?

What about you? Any huge changes from one child to another? 😉 

Pregnancy #2 Q&A

We’ve received such a rush of sweet congratulatory messages and well wishes since making our special announcement. If you were one of them, thank you from the bottoms of our hearts! Seriously. It means the world. 

As I did with our first, I’m answering some questions I’ve had (and some questions I just feel like answering to clear things up a bit) about pregnancy and our family and all that good stuff. There are a few answers I don’t know yet, so I’ll leave those questions out for now. 😉



Will you be finding out the baby’s gender?

As with Hadman, nope, we won’t be finding out the baby’s gender in advance. It’s such a fun surprise to have! Plus, we’re super lucky that a) the first 0-6 months we’ve already got lots of gender neutral clothing and b) we have TONS of boy clothes and, since my sister’s first was a girl, lots of girl clothes to borrow, as well. So, we’re fine not knowing. 

What are some names you have picked out? (See also: Did Hadley have any other names you were considering? What were you going to name Hadley if he was a girl? *fill in the blank* is a wonderful name!)

Noooo ya don’t! 😉 Sneaky folks, trying to figure out what types of names we’re mulling over (and suggesting your own…usually, literally, your own). Hee hee. We don’t divulge our secrets, clearly. But, really, at first we were thinking of going back to the drawing board and searching the entire baby naming book we used the first time, but after going over our original picks (we narrowed it down to 2-4 names for each gender, along with possible middle names), we decided we still liked them. So, we’re kind of ready to go in with that list in hand and see what matches the baby. (And, no, we won’t share any before the time comes.)   

Is this pregnancy different at all? (See also: Are you sicker? Any bad symptoms?
One reason I’m talking about this is because when I discovered we were expecting, I had forgotten the symptoms I had the first time (and hadn’t really talked about them much on the blog back then). I started the whole thing off coming down with some sort of virus or cold, so those always seem to be my first pregnancy symptoms – days, sometimes weeks, of an illness I can’t take medicine (or even echinacea tea) for! I had a teensy bit of nausea here and there and still get a small amount of heartburn, but for the most part it’s just a bit of exhaustion mixed with complete normalcy. Knock on wood. 😉 I’m a very lucky pregnant lady.


Oh, and the complete lack of motivation thing sucks. It’s one reason I’ve done less posting (although I AM spending quality family time in the meantime) and am not spring cleaning up a storm like I should be. Yeah. Time to get on that.

Any cravings? 
The funny thing is that instead of nausea, I’ve had a complete lack of appetite. Like, I know I need to eat, and if I let it get too long I get Hulk-style hangry, but I have zero appetite. So, the whole cooking for the family thing when you don’t want to eat ANYTHING is kinda weird. Even light stuff like salads or a wrap or anything sounds disgusting.


That said, I’ve had the occasional junk food craving, including some fast food. The closest I’ve come is a couple of sweet onion chicken teriyaki subs from Subway (still crap, but at least it’s not McDonald’s) and a couple of stops by a convenient store for a not-great-bag-o’-something. I remember having a fast food craving with H-man, too, and I allowed myself one meal from each restaurant (so, yes, a McDonald’s meal, a Taco Bell meal, an Arby’s meal, a Subway meal…no Burger King, as I recall), but I haven’t had THAT big of an urge. If I do, I’ll confess to Dave and ask my penance, then move on with my life. It is what it is. Everything else in our house is natural/GMO-free/organic so I really can’t sweat the small stuff.  

How did you tell Dave? When did you find out?

Well, let’s see. I found out when I was home sick (see above, had a cold or some such crud) on, of all days, St. Patrick’s Day. (I’m of Irish descent, so yeah. Perfection.) Poor Dave had to pick up the little guy, rush home, head to a rehearsal for a show he was doing at the time, rush home, and get other stuff done. That night, after he got home and was working on finding dinner and making tea, I grabbed the nearest kitty (Winston, good sport) and shoved one of the positive pregnancy tests into his collar (similar to the first time I told him). It took him FOREVER to realize something was in Wee-Wee’s collar, let alone what it was, but when he found out he was ecstatic. It was kind of neat because we’d found out about Hadley on Halloween and this little one on St. Patrick’s Day. All about the holidays!

How’s Hadley handling it?

Um, like an almost-3-year-old. He knows the news and was/is excited about it, but he forgets (which is fine at this stage). He’s also confused about all the different babies in the family (like when I told him my sister had a little boy last week, he asked “Where’s our baby?” and gets my sister-in-law’s baby, Parker, who’s due in July mixed up with ours and Mary’s). All totally understandable, but he’s been positive about it all. Plus, he had been talking about having a sibling for awhile and not caring whether it was a girl or boy; we also had explained IN LENGTH several times what being a big brother would be like and he was totally on-board with it all. So, I’m not too worried right now.

The cats have not voiced any concern, either. Yet.

Is this why you’re searching for a new house?

You got it. Well, kind of. We’ve talked for endless hours about if/when to buy a new house, namely in a safe, family-friendly area. If we don’t find an awesome, larger house by the time the baby comes, it’s fine. We can make our 1,000 sq. foot house work if we need to, especially for fear of buying the money pit (LOVED that movie as a kid!) of our nightmares out of a fear that we won’t find anything. Ever. Not much luck yet, to the point where we’re discussing “How do you feel about a more rural setting?” but we feel calm about it all.       

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So, that’s it for now! I’m hoping to share the things that are the same/different the second time around and some do-overs I’m hoping for. Now that the news is “out in the open”, it’s nice to kind of switch and focus on “normal” stuff again – like planning Hadman’s birthday party. 😉

Oh, and if you think I missed anything, leave a question in the comments and I’ll update accordingly!

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

This year was possibly the most fun and exciting Mother’s Day weekend we’ll probably ever have. Friday, my sister had a baby — little Timothy Conner. Saturday, there was our sister-in-law’s baby shower (she’s due in July with her first, a little boy named Parker!) and my brother surprised us with a visit from Ohio to meet the new little one. Sunday, well, we celebrated Mother’s Day.

Dave gave us a super-early breakfast (because lately we’ve been super-early risers) that he cooked completely on the grill (toast, eggs, bacon, and sweet potatoes) and we got to enjoy peacefully on our deck. A gift of an azalea, new gardening gloves from Hadman and a gift card to “The Tailor and the Cook” (to say nothing of my two adorable, tear-jerking cards) topped off my day. Then, I played and ran around with Hadley while Dave did dishes and got ready before we bolted off to bring a second breakfast to his parents. While there, Dave made one last call to his brother – whom we’d been keeping a secret from until post-shower – to cover (most of) our bases.

When we got home and as Hadley fought a nap (we were heading to my mother’s house later in the day), we synchronized a Facebook status update, counting down 3…2…1….

We were anxious about the announcement, not because of the actual news but because the announcement might be confusing to some of our friends. We’re fans of “The Onion”, which is very much our strange sense of humor, and Dave had come up with this idea months ago. So, we plopped down at our dining room table, told Hadley to “think”, and set the auto-shoot on the camera. The little guy just happened to put his finger up saying, “Me have an idea!” as it went off and there we were. After weeks of writing and editing, we were happy with the final result. 
I figured it’d be nice to do a “normal” announcement here along with our quirky one. (Click and double-click on the above image to read it closer and better, BTW.)

Baby Bunny/Bulldog/#2 is due sometime in November. I say “sometime” because at our first sonogram we were told that our original date was off and we were further ahead than expected (by about a week). So, mid-November works right now. For the most part, things are very calm and peaceful and healthy, just like we like it. I’ll be posting later this week to discuss how things are going and how/when we found out (yup, I’ve got lots of blog posts in my head that I haven’t been able to talk about before now!), so if you have any questions, feel free to ask away. Otherwise, I’ll just over-share on my own. 😉

So, yeah. It was probably the best Mother’s Day I’ll ever have. I hope any moms out there had one just as wonderful!

5 Reasons I’m Okay Spending $100 on a Dinner

Depending on the time of year, we go out maybe every 1-2 months and get a pizza every, eh, 2-3 weeks. Compared to the old days when pizza was weekly and going out was, well, probably also a weekly thing (plus any fast food stops, especially back when we were first dating and acting in shows), this is pretty stellar. 

So, I thought I’d talk about briefly about why it’s totally cool with me that Dave’s taking me out for my birthday for what’s undoubtedly going to cost probably $100…give or take. 

via Trip Advisor


Special Occasion – I don’t usually give into the “it’s my birthday, I deserve it” sort of thing. However, we often decide that we’d rather take advantage of a super rare date night (seriously, if we get four a year, we’re doing something) than to actually buy gifts for the other person. This year, I don’t find myself “in need” of anything, so an incredible meal it is. (We often do something similar for our anniversary or Valentine’s Day.) Plus, any time we can eat without the little one is pretty much a special occasion. 😉 Thanks to the sitters (grandparents) of the world!!!

Insane Food – I know you probably already assume that insanity has to come into play when it comes to spending over $100 on dinner, but it’s not our insanity; it’s the INSANELY AWESOME thought put into the cuisine at our favorite restaurant. I’ve chatted about what an incredible spot The Tailor and the Cook is in the past, but yeah. I’ll repeat it again, it’s just. That. Good. The word “delicious” doesn’t describe it well enough. Also, the fact that we eat out less than the “good ol’ days” makes us really enjoy this style of food more, even if we do it only a couple of times a year. 

Locavore’s Paradise – We obviously wouldn’t be willing to spend the big bucks at a regular, local restaurant (or chain) that serves the usual fare. But, much of the food served here is based on the local ingredients they’ve sourced. The care in the menu alone shows the thought put into the season and proper preparation of the food (hello, fiddleheads and ramps!). Plus, knowing (and often seeing at our local farmers’ markets) the farms and food producers displayed in a totally proud, transparent way? We have to get behind that. 

The Anticipation – Okay. I haven’t had a huge appetite lately, but when I found out we’d be going to T&C, I couldn’t help but check out the menu. Seriously, I can’t decide what to get, but it doesn’t matter! Just look at that menu! And the things that sound strange are what end up being your favorite, so I put my faith into the hands of the chef(s). 

It’s an Investment – People consider all sorts of things investments. Saving for college. (Okay, we do that.) Buying cars. Collecting dolls. All sorts of things. For us, food like this is an important investment. We care about the food’s treatment before it even gets to the restaurant, we care that the chef(s) give it the best possible flavor profile, and the experience of the entire evening fulfills us to no end. So, yeah. It’s an investment we’ll gladly make.   

Blogiversary 5.0

Holy crap, guys. Happy Earth Day! You know what this means, right?

Earth Day just coincidentally happens to be our blogiversary! Perfect, right?


I love that there’s a connection between our eco-friendly attempts and the ol’ blog. Wow. Now, it really IS old. Five years is forever in the world of the web.

Today, I thought I’d just chat a bit about this place that I call home. Meg, Acting Out. Meg Acts Out. Whatever.

I haven’t converted to WordPress. I haven’t linked the site up to a unique URL. I haven’t actively monetized.

I haven’t taken professional head shots. I haven’t glammed the place up. I’ve thought about getting a DSLR camera, but it’s just as much to get awesome pictures of my family as it would be to enhance the blog.

I’ve started posting a little less (I used to do MWF). I’ve even started to worry less about our number of hits (although I do find myself growing excited when I hit a certain modest number). I have no cares about whether we’re SEO-aligned or not.

It’s not that I don’t want to put the effort into all these things. As a matter of fact, it’s a dream of mine to focus on the blog and make it what it deserves to be.


But, instead, I’ve taken a small step back. I’m kind of taking after my husband, The Dorky Daddy, only posting about topics that I enjoy writing about, when I feel like doing so. We’re slowly but surely converting to WordPress (but, really, no hurry). I’m not accepting offers that simply sound like a commercial or don’t align to my values.

Ultimately, y’know what I’m doing? I’m enjoying it. I’m blogging when I feel like it. I’m not beating myself up when I decide to spend my night goofing around with my little boy or watching a great movie instead of getting that fluffy blog post set for the next morning. I’m valuing my outlet and using it just as that. And. It’s. Awesome.

Will I suddenly get a spark to organize the place into a more user-friendly, resource-based space? Will I start posting daily? Will I ever make a career out of sharing my ideas for living a simply fun life? I have no idea. If I don’t, it’s fine. If I do? Incredible!

But, in the meantime? It’s just fun.

So, on this fifth (!) blogiversary, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking around and stopping by. It means the world that you’re reading, whether you’ve followed for years, just check in from time to time, or you just found my small section of the world.

Now, who wants some birthday cake? 😉 

Summer 2015

It’s equal parts being an over-planner and getting excited for some fun family activities, but every year since Hadman was old enough to have fun (in 2012, he was a newborn, so we didn’t do much of anything that summer!), I’ve made a list of fun summer ideas. In 2013, it was as much about my goals as it was the family. In 2014, we simplified quite a bit. While this year I’m still planning to get some personal goals accomplished (at least one book is written, so I’d like to get it sent out to publishers and work on other ideas) and we’re always puttering away at the house (and may be finding a new one! Eek!!), I’d ultimately like to keep it family-oriented. 

Heck, I’ve been so excited about summer that I dropped in with a wishlist in January! But, now that we’re getting closer, I thought I’d fine tune things a bit. So, I give you some dreams for THIS summer (along with some family favorite repeats from years gone by) – 


1. Birthday Party 3.0 – Had’s birthday is in July, so I always like to get my creative juices flowing so that I at least know a theme or what have you for the big day. This year, my sister will have a brand new baby (in May!) and my sister-in-law is having her first little one (due early July, so it’s anyone’s guess as to when!). So, it might be a smaller event this year, which is totally fine. However, given that every time I’ve asked him in the last several months what type of party he’d like, he’s given me the exact same answer, I at least know what type of party it’ll be. Even if we only have, like, 5 people there. 😉

2. Walks – We didn’t take nearly as many walks as I would’ve liked last year. Call it my own laziness, I suppose, but this year I’d like to take several a week. Whether it’s a quick up-and-down the street or around the neighborhood, we’ve gotta get movin’! (And, yes, I’m already exhausted thinking about it.)

3. Zoo – This was a HUGE hit last year, so we’re planning to re-up our family membership to the Utica Zoo this year. With the price that it is, we don’t mind just going for the morning, eating lunch, then heading home for a nap (or staying the whole day, if we so choose). We particularly love that the animals they have on “display” are part of their focus on conservation, habitat preservation, and species survival. It’s the absolutely perfectly-sized zoo for a toddler/preschooler (with a great playground area) and H talks all the time about the animals he’s seen (and even some he thinks he’s seen ;-)). It’s definitely a big part in our raising an animal lover. Plus, there are reciprocal zoos that we could get in during any trips at a discount or free with our membership.

4. Trips! – We’re planning on taking a couple of day trips (like, within 3 hours from home) plus one 2-3 day trip similar to our Massachusetts trip last year. Still working out the details. You’d be amazed at how many places you search for that are “toddler friendly” that simply babysit the kids for the parents to have alone time all day. Not our bag; we like a FAMILY vacation, not a vacation FROM our family. 🙂 We’re also pretty loose, enjoying things like museums and hands-on play places to relaxing on the beach (not the whole time) to discovering local history and culture, so our ideas are all over the place.

5. Sandy Feet – Whether we get to a beach during our “bigger” vacation or not, I’m really hoping to get to the beach one or twice in our area. We’ve got some awesome state-protected lakes with family-friendly beaches in the area, and H is at a “love to run and play” age now, so it just seems perfect. Plus, I’d love to do the same. 🙂

6. “Potted” Garden & CSA – Between the prospect of possibly moving and the fact that our friendly neighborhood cats have taken over our gardening space, I’m hoping to just get some small plants going this year. I’ve tried in years past and had crappy-to-moderate success (I think watering is my downfall, maybe?), but am determined to at least grow a tomato plant, some herbs, and maybe something else that might catch my eye. I’d love to be able to use our back deck for this purpose, but have had issues there in the past. More research ahead! 

Oh, and we’ve finally found a CSA that has us super excited to sign up. We’re still discussing between a full share (May through October) or the summer share (May through August) due to cost and our willingness/ability to keep up with meal planning come the new school year. But, we hope to figure that out this week and get our check mailed to hold our spot quickly. I’ll chat more about that once we get our first share!

7. Library – We haven’t utilized our local library much at all. It’s a pathetic state of affairs given that I’m a school librarian. We’re not huge fans of our town’s library, quite honestly (it’s always surrounded by riff raff, so kind of intimidating to bring a toddler into), but we should at least give it a shot. I’m going to look into whether or not they have a story time (their website says they do, but it hasn’t been updated since November). If not, I’ve seen that another local library has storytime and other events, so hopefully we can start getting used to *QUIET* spaces and interacting with other littles a bit.

8. Kindermusik – Here’s the opposite of quiet time! We noticed awhile back that seem to have Kindermusik classes available about a half hour away. I’d like to try a month of classes (4) to see how he likes them. If he does, it’d be cool to continue; if not, it was a good learning experience. I’m also eyeing some swim classes (that we would take with him). Again, this all might add to the “crazy” of the summer and with the idea of maaaaybe finding (and selling) a house and two new family babies coming, it might be shooting for the moon.

9. Baby Help – Speaking of which, I’m hoping to offer up my help as much as possible to Dave’s brother and SIL, and my sister and her family. Whether they’ll take it or not is totally up to them! That said, if anyone has some yummy, healthy meals I could make for their freezers, let me know in the comments! 😉 


So, what about you guys? What are you looking forward to the most this summer? This week is a dreary, rainy mess of a spring week (last week was gorgeous and spoiled us with borderline summer-like weather), so my mind is definitely wandering!