Catching Up and 21 Weeks

I inadvertently took last week off from blogging. Whoops. Sorry about that! Totally unintentional. It was my first week off from school for the summer and we had something planned (at times, several things) every. Damn. Day. Some of it was awesome; some of it was an emotional rollercoaster. Needless to say, I’m LOVING enjoying the fun and relative relaxation of the holiday weekend.

Seriously, I would love to post at least twice a week throughout the summer, depending on what’s happening. So, we’ll see how that goes down. 😉

Here are a few anecdotes from  what’s going on in our world, in general, to catch up:

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* We didn’t really have set plans for Independence Day, and tend to like it that way, so we played it by ear. We met up with a close friend (and, randomly, tons of other friends and acquaintances! Love when that happens) at one of our favorite farmers’ markets. Since our CSA has us filled to the gills with veggies, I was ecstatic to find a berry vendor, so we stocked up on raspberries and strawberries, and even happened upon a rare late-season bundle of rhubarb. Looks like I’ll be making my grandmother’s recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie, if I can track it down. Hadman had his fill of berries – seriously, is there such thing as berry overdose? – and enjoyed socializing and counting dogs.

From there, we decided to hit up Barnes and Noble (a rare successful, no-meltdowns visit) for a few gifts for the little guy’s 3rd birthday, then a quick lunch at Panera’s, then still more shopping at Toys ‘R Us. The rest of the night was pretty chill, with nitrate-free hotdogs and corn on the cob for a super late dinner, some “Yankee Doodle Dandy” watching, and fireworks on TV. The little man stayed up way past 10 (and still had us up throughout the night, grr) and danced his arse off. 

My face looks like the mother of a newborn today. (And I’m not.)


* House-hunting front: We found a house that we loved…but it made us reevaluate our situation and realize that, nope, we can’t do it. At least, not under our current parameters and not that house. Big “wop, wop”s all around. But, as always, we appreciate what we’ve got and will figure it out. As Dave said, “We’re lucky to have a house at all, and wherever my family is, that’s home.” I truly feel the exact same way.

We learned long ago not to get emotionally attached to houses with what a heart-pounding experience house-hunting can be. So, we’ve actually gotten good at completely objective about any house. The more that I think about it, aside from the incredible location and just-right size (two things that are, admittedly, hard to come by) of this particular house, we could totally make a future place just as loveable.

Sings “the sun’ll come ooooouuuut…tomorrow!”

* Saying goodbye sucks. A quick story of friendship: Dave made a friend in high school who, as with many of his friends, became lifelong kindred spirits. Fast forward a bit and she moved back to town, along with her equally-awesome husband. We started having occasional girl time and even became pregnant just before we did with this second little bean. At the same time, she dropped the “reality bomb” that her family would be moving down south (to, admittedly, a much more comfortable situation, culturally and career-wise, for all). Prenatal yoga and an awesome Harry Potter themed baby shower, and the time has come to say goodbye.

Sad faces. Throw some tears in for good measure. I am SUPER bummed, not only that our littles won’t be raised closely, but that it’s so hard to make good friends. Luckily, they’ll visit during the holidays and it’s true that real friends never actually go away…but, yeah. Still bummed. 

* Blogging for realz, yo. During the super-late naptime yesterday, I was finally able to finish off my FIRST POST EVER for an awesome (seriously, never saw one bad review!) cloth diaper company. The fact that I can speak with my own voice, NOT just discuss cloth diapering (although, clearly, that’s a thing I plan to do) but also parenting toddlers/newborns and just our experiences, in general, is huge. I don’t have to speak commercially. And, yes, it’s paid.

Needless to say, super excited!    

* Birthday boy! So, we’re planning a low-key 3rd birthday for the little guy to take place…in a week. I know, I haven’t posted a recap of my plans or anything (which I hope to do this week!), but at least we’ve stocked up on gifts. Now, just comes the *simple* meal-planning, prep & cooking/baking and any decor we may use.

So, stay tuned for that this week!

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* Oh, yeah, and I’m 21 weeks along. As of last week, the baby’s officially measuring from head to toe (rather than head to rump). After a spill down the stairs last week with Hadley (we’re fine), I was super happy to have a sonogram showing how awesome everything’s coming along last week. We did have an encounter with a usually-super-cool doctor when I asked about the impending (like, early August) blood glucose test. I had asked about the possibility of drinking or eating an alternative to the chemical- and artificial color-filled orange gunk and she became unexpectedly testy. It was actually the first time I’ve had blatant push-back about eating organically (not ALL the time) and naturally (again, not ALL the time, but a majority of it). Huh. So, yeah, that was weird and not the norm whatsoever for our usual visits.

***For the record, she said I COULD do the “pancake and the works meal” that morning (I had heard that are particular 100% juices that you could chug instead), but it’s “the same amount of sugar”…to which I said that the sugar’s not what I’m concerned about. I guess some people can’t get their minds out of “sugar and calories are the enemy” mode? We’re down on chemicals and general crappiness of food.***

Otherwise, everything’s going fine and I’m trying not to dwell on stupid crap like that. Which, of course, means that I’m subconsciously obsessing about it and dreading my next appointment and making me think “they’re forcing a C-section on me AND make me feel like crap about asking questions…okay, screw that.” Blah. 

For the record, I hardly feel pregnant most of the time and don’t feel like I’m gaining any weight at all lately. Like, I think my tummy was bigger a month ago than now, but they didn’t seem to see any issue and as long as that little heart was beating (and he/she was ACTIVE while they were trying to catch a profile view), I’m good. Like, really good. Like, “don’t take me down, doc” good. And Hadley totally, 100% thinks it’s a girl.

So, what’s new with you guys?? I know, tons of boring information comin’ atchya. I just couldn’t seem to write anything else without doing a brain-dump first. You lucky readers, you. 😉

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.

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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!*** 

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

CSA Week #2

Last week, I talked about our first CSA box. In some ways, it was a success; in other ways, we dropped the ball. It was an awesome learning experience.

Since it’s so early in the season, most of our take involved lettuces. We didn’t tend to and prep the produce quickly enough, so some of it went bad. I put the chives and lovage into some water, but the lovage turned quickly and I wasn’t able to use it. Lesson #1: Fresh produce goes rotten quicker than even the fresh grocery store produce. I kind of knew it already, but naively lost track of time.

It doesn’t mean that we didn’t use lots of the lettuce, the chives, radishes (still looking for some more recipes for those), green onions and Swiss chard.

So, I thought I’d share a recipe that came out pretty darn well. I based it on this recipe, but made slight variations.

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Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan and Lemon

2 Tbsp. bacon drippings
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard (separate ribs/stems and chop; chop leaves separately)
splash white wine
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan (or more)
salt to taste (optional)

Heat bacon drippings and butter in saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook about one minute. Add chard’s ribs/stems and white wine; cook about 5 minutes. Add rest of leaves and cook until wilted. Add lemon juice and sprinkle with parmesan.

Would be great with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes or crumbled bacon. 

This week’s box includes: more salad (not nearly as much), including “head lettuce”, frisee, arugula, and spinach; broccoli, broccoli raab, salad turnips, bok choi, and spearmint.

Things are getting interesting now! The ones I’m most excited about figuring out will be bok choi (I assume I’ll be making stir-fry at some point), salad turnips and spearmint.

I was lucky enough to get a list of the week’s take before heading to the grocery store tonight, so my meal plan includes a beef gyro type thing. I’m hoping the tzatziki I make will be improved by the mint. Plus, I’d like to try fresh mint tea. *fingers crossed*

I had never heard of salad turnips before, either, but have found that they can be eaten raw and are on the sweet side. So, we’ll be using them in salads, and I may finally make some homemade hummus to try dippin’.

Now, to use up these radishes… 

Finding Timeless

Do you ever find yourself getting burnt out by the craziness of “now”? Feeling detached from your own thoughts because of the constant viral conversations and noise? Have you ever longed to transport yourself back to another time (any) just to appreciate the simplicity of life again?
My husband and I are quite modern in most of our ideals but, by nature, drawn to “older” interests. We have both been told that we were born in the wrong time period. We gravitate to old movies – I literally can’t remember the last time we saw a movie in a theater. Our car rides entail older music (Dave’s into the ’80s, but can also get down with classical and Big Band, which I find an awesome spousal trait). When we take a vacation, we always make at least one historically significant stop along the way. We generally prefer older houses (although goodness knows what we’ll end up with during our current house hunt). The list continues on and on.   

So, today I’m sharing some ideas for anyone who may have had enough of the current fast-paced, do-it-all world in which we all seem to be swirling. Here’s how to add some timelessness to slow things down…

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Simplify. Okay. Look at a person one hundred or more years ago (or even less, actually). How much “stuff” did they own? Or, simply think about their wardrobe. One nice Sunday outfit, then maybe two outfits for every other day. A woman used an apron and petticoats so that they didn’t have to wash their dress every day. One pair of shoes kept cean.
Now, I’m not advising that we go to these extremes. But, consider this individual and ask yourself, “Am I any happier?” Life is easier thanks to modern day conveniences and we certainly don’t have to “do the washing” nearly as much. But I didn’t say ‘is life easier?’; I said ‘are you any happier?’ Big difference.
So, address your closets. Check out your over-flowing storage situations. Analyze whether or not you need enough plates, cups, etc to feed four dozen people. Is this all stuff that you NEED in your life? Does it make you happier by having it? If so, you may need to do some more soul searching to discover where your fulfillment lies. (We are slowly but surely making our way through our own stuff and, boy, does it feel freeing!)

Be mindful and let go. Common sense truly used to be a common trait. It was partly inborn, partly taught. I find that by being in touch with one’s surroundings and trying your best to be “present” in the current moment, we can find a lot of clarity – which, in turn, helps us make wiser choices. (There’s that common sense thing.) Try your best to be mindful and you may also find yourself enjoying life quite a bit more, as well.
At the same time, the current issues that people have are plentiful. Yes, there were issues many years ago (disease and mortality have always been problems, right?), but when they were problems, they were HUGE – think: the crops didn’t come in and we don’t know how we’ll keep the farm this year. Many of our current problems are self-made. Say you didn’t have enough taken out for your taxes and rather than getting that juicy tax refund (the one you’ve already mentally spent), instead you have to pay. This isn’t something to hold on to. It was a mistake — a mistake you made. Own it, figure out a way to amend it (in other words, pay the darn thing), then move on. It’s not the government’s fault. It’s yours. But, we all make mistakes, so it’s perfectly find to move on.
Learning to let go can be downright liberating. Mindfulness can help you connect to your life. Both awesome things.

Go green. It’s surprising (or not) how many of the “green” initiatives and suggestions these days are actually deeply rooted in practices that our great grandparents would have found to be the norm. Cloth diapering? Breastfeeding? Eating natural, home-grown foods? Finding natural treatments for minor ailments? Finding uses (and reuses) for things? Backyard chickens and gardening? None of this is new. It’s just starting to make more sense to people.
There are a million small ways to go green. So, save rain water. Start a small potted garden on your patio. Keep an eye on your water use. Eat vegetarian once a week. Or check out the many websites that have a plethora of other suggestions (of course, I’m biased and love Green Child Magazine and The Eco-Friendly Family). Every time I water a plant, I think about the backyard garden my great-grandmother fed her five children on.  

Step outside your comfort zone. Maybe your annual vacation consists of a nice long trip to a beachy resort with lots and lots of splashing fun for the little ones. This is an awesome way to recharge and get some fun family time in, but consider just trying one thing that might be outside of your family’s comfort zone, like a quick trip to a historic lighthouse for a guided tour or a stop by the visitors center to learn more about the significance of the area you’re visiting. If you’re camping, you may be surprised to find a gem of a museum right in the middle of the woods (my favorite is the Adirondack Museum). There’s often far more than meets the eye when you’re traveling, and you may find yourself with a deeper appreciation for your favorite vacation spot.
The funny thing here is that it’s often a battle with older kids (or your spouse) to take precious time away from one’s vacation for one of these stops. However, if you start your kids young with this type of activity, it will often spark a further interest in history of all different kinds; and older children ride along with a pout but before long are found with smiles and laughs while helping historical interpreters pour candles or test out an old trade. Now, it’s your job to get your significant other on board. 😉
Read. The best way to get in touch with the past is to get hands-on like with the aforementioned activities. However, arguably the second best way (I have friends who would claim it to be THE best way) is to immerse yourself in books that were either written during a past time period, are set in the past, or are about the past.
The cool thing about this tip is that if you’re a reader, you don’t have to change much. If you like a certain style of fiction, I guarantee that you’ll be able to find it in a historical setting (adventure, romance, science fiction, realistic…it’s all available in historical fiction form, too). If you prefer non-fiction, well, just head for ANY time period that sparks your interest.
The great thing about history is that you can tailor it to your interests: if you enjoy a good political debate, read up on American politics (things were just as raucous and rude 150 or 200 years ago, believe it or not) or even Greek and Roman politics; if you’re a world traveler, pick up a great piece on the turmoil your favorite country underwent in centuries gone-by; if you’re a crafty individual, grab a “book of receipts” (oftentimes a how-to book on how to run a house in the 1700s and 1800s, it’s quite fascinating and creative to see what activities were undertaken and how without electricity and modern conveniences), found for a steal on Amazon; if you’re into current Hollywood celebrities, try a biography on a classic starlet; fashion, try ANY historical clothing book. There are practically endless options.
If you’re not a reader, a lot can be said for “books on tape” (although they’re now downloadable in a variety of formats and available as CDs), especially read by a famous actor you’ll actually enjoy listening to.
Watch a movie. Wait, what? First you tell me to read a book, then you say to watch a movie? Isn’t that kind of contradictory? Nope, not really. There’s a ton of history in movies, whether they’re new films based on historic events or an old movie about, heck, anything, either way they can open your mind.
When Dave and I were just “friends in a show together” he got me an old ’40s film noir called “Scarlet Street” for my birthday. While it wasn’t necessarily my usual “style” of film, it was superbly acted and meant more than anything in the world to me because he realized I had a taste for the old school (ie he “got” me). Later, when we started dating, we enjoyed nights in watching, yes, the occasional “Family Guy”, but also movies that had a meaning to them, like “His Girl Friday” (Dave worked in news). Now, as our family has grown, we’ve raised our son with Andy Hardy movies and even a Fred Astaire clip here and there. It definitely pulls us not only back into another time, but back down to earth.
Learn about your past. You may think you know everything there is to know about yourself, and to an extent that’s accurate. But, you don’t fully “know thyself” until you are aware of how you got to where you are and how many people are really rooted in who you are today.
I’ve accomplished much of this by reading our family’s papers on particular past members, but also through my research on Discovering how many ancestors had hands in real, significant historical events is both humbling and heart-touching at the same time. It definitely forces me to consider what my effect on the world might be.
You don’t need to buy a subscription to Ancestry, though, to learn about your family’s past. Just start by asking questions: your parents (my mom somehow knows more about my father’s side than many of Dad’s siblings!), any living grandparents or aunts and uncles. They all have a wealth of information to share, and it’s often like chatting about old times (and people that were very dear), so can be a very pleasant conversation to have.
Try something an old way. My husband has forsaken his electric or disposable razors for an old-fashioned safety razor and brush. Aside from this method giving a good, clean shave and looking super cool on our bathroom shelf, it lowers our waste (yes, the razor part needs to be disposed, but if you rinse and dry it well, they last 5-10 times as long as they would otherwise).
We also wash our dishes by hand. I’m not sure if it conserves water, but we do our best to do so. We also don’t really hate to do it (most of the time) and it gives your mind a chance to wander. You may be surprised at how just-as-convenient some “non-convenient” methods can be.
Limit your online time. This is one that Dave and I still find to be a challenge, but we’re trying to be mindful (ha! See above!) about it. Unless I’m hunting for a recipe for dinner, my phone is away when the guys get home at night and doesn’t reemerge until after the little guy goes to sleep. It’s important to give your mind a rest and to remember that you CAN survive without checking Facebook or your email every hour (or minute).
Every once in awhile, I’ll do a tech-free day (sometimes without TV, most of the time just a little). It definitely helps to break the addiction and cycle of constantly leaving the “real world” for the “non-reality” of the internet. It’s hard to remember sometimes that it’s not a real place to give every second of your life to. Your tangible reality – your family, friends, pets – are in the now and won’t always be there. Cherish the real world.
Go outside. While avoiding that internet time, try heading outside. You can be extreme and take a hike to a tall mountain or simply head to your back deck with a coffee, but there’s something refreshing and soul-recharging about listening to the birds, feeling a breeze, smelling grass and flowers. You may also strike up conversations with some unexpected neighbors, much as people once did very commonly. Just think about how much time people spent outside in years gone by and how, at the end of the day, the feeling of a day well-spent in fresh air must have filled their souls with such contentment.
So, here we have just a handful of ways to find and insert some “timeless” into your daily life. What are some ways that you hold history dear in your day-to-day life? Any suggestions to add?

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.

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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. 😉

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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.       


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….

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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.)

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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!

Ithaca – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Before I get into the semi-regularly-scheduled post, I just want to say SQUEEEEEAAAAL and best wishes to my sister, Mary, and her family on the birth of their second little one today! I’m so happy that we’ll get to be there to meet him or her. 🙂 Lots of joy in this family right now!


I’ve been around the block enough times to know that E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G is unpredictable when a toddler/preschooler is involved. As a family, we have learned to plan excessively, adapt accordingly, and remain flexible at all times. Also, as with all things in life, it’s important to take the good with the bad (and be grateful for it all).

So, when we planned our recent day trip to Ithaca, NY (a little over two hours away), I went into it with the usual well-planned day with a hint of “this could change at any moment” thrown in.

Dave was there for a day-long comic book convention to chat with folks and sell issues of his hilarious comic book series, Holidaze. So, after we dropped him off at the college, Hadman and I were on our own. I was totally ready for the day.

Only, I wasn’t. After the long-ish drive, a coffee and tons of water, I was in dire need of a bathroom. Like, crying in the parking lot, not knowing where I even was, with a toddler insisting that we go some place (ANY place!). Finally, as my teeth floated and my eyes watered, I looked up the closest grocery store – less than 5 minutes away. Whew. Upon pulling into the parking lot, I spotted a nearby Barnes and Noble. Even better! Hadley’s favorite place on Earth.

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After the potty break, we hit up the Thomas train set and grabbed a book for Hadley’s soon-to-be-born cousin with only two very loud meltdowns before leaving. Score.

Finally! Off to the main event for the day. The Sciencenter was everything we had hoped for and more. We spent the entire morning exploring animals, shadows, lights, mirrors, our senses, sand (one of the sand tables actually displayed a contour map on top, which took me right back to Mr. Buckley’s Earth Science class), and an awesome toddler toy area with a water table. Outside was a discovery jungle gym-type thing with more sand and water tables, a music center…seriously, the list goes on and on.

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He was a VERY good boy and got a rubber snake for his troubles. I wonder where we put that thing…

For lunch, we fought the traffic outside and sat together at Ithaca Bakery. I had brought a PBJ sandwich and snacks for him but grabbed a turkey wrap for myself. This marked the first time he has sat in a restaurant without a high chair (or booster, which we don’t normally use anyway) with no wiggling or walking around. We talked and enjoyed our meals, and it was one of the best lunch dates ever.

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Here’s where things get a little ugh. I had planned to take the little guy over to a parking garage then push him around the Commons in his stroller in hopes of getting a nap out of him and getting some writing done, myself. Welp, construction. The whole thing was torn up. We visited a couple of stores, but the whole point of the thing was killed. Back to the car we went.

I decided to drive back up to the college to find a spot to park (and hopefully let the little guy sleep). I was able to get a little writing done, but he kept waking (noisy college kids, of course), so while he did nap a bit, it made for a grouchy afternoon.

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Yeah. That’s my finger. Oops. Added dose of embarrassment? He drooled SO MUCH. Hee hee.

Before picking up Dave, I took the little guy back down the hill a bit to a playground I had spotted, which worked wonderfully…until it was time to head back up to campus. Meltdown #3 (or 4 or 5…I’ve lost count).

This is where the “ugly” comes in. Back at Ithaca College, I knew the parking lot we were supposed to use as “visitors” to the convention (I had dropped Dave in a closer lot used just by vendors and probably should’ve tried to park there again). Instead, I followed the rules and buckled Had back into a stroller. After trying to cross through the inside of a building (as advised by Ithacon’s website), I discovered just how stroller (and handicapped) inaccessible the campus is. Oh. My. God. After exiting the building and meandering around the sidewalks, I reached our destination completely beat, looking like a mess, and feeling like a raging bull.

When Dave asked if I wanted to walk around (and, namely, meet one of our favorite authors, Bruce Coville), he knew immediately that I wasn’t moving from the chair I had claimed. I was a wreck, but after some water and time to cool down, we were able to retrieve the car, pack up, and head out.

Given my state, we decided to break our “take-out” rule (kind of…this wasn’t REALLY fast food) with a trip to A&W. We got to order, wait, and eat in our car just like the 1950s, which was pretty darn cool. And better control over the little guy is always a plus.

So, there we have it. Ultimately, the trip was actually a really fun, memorable one. I’m already able to laugh at the ridiculous things that threw the plans out the window, and am kind of relieved that most of the issues weren’t caused by a raucous little guy, but by the unknown situations that were thrown at us.

It already has my brain darting around planning our summertime getaway(s). 

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. 

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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.   

Spring Cleaning, Simplified

This year, I’m not stressing about spring cleaning. This doesn’t mean that I won’t be doing some high-octane cleaning; it just means that I’m not going to break a huge sweat or give up my long-awaited-for warm days.

Here are a handful of simple but super helpful ways I’ll be gettin’ ‘er done. (Hate that phrase.)

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Do all the jobs. Wow, that DOES sound overwhelming. What I really mean is that when I do ceilings, I’ll take a broom with a microfiber cloth and “sweep” all the ceilings in the whole house while I’m at it. (Spoiler alert: Already did this. While on the phone, even.) Or, when I do the fans, I’ll wipe all of them down and only do the “take off every single light cover and wash/dry” if absolutely necessary. All the woodwork at one time. All the vacuuming at one time. Etc, etc, etc.

Sometimes, I try to do a room at a time (like last year) and, sometimes, it works fine. But, this year, I kind of prefer doing the jobs I feel like doing at the moment and getting them ALL done. Also, once I get out a particular cleaning product (say, the Old English for our woodwork), it’ll be nice to just put it away when the job’s done.

Stretch it out. While it sounds like a buttload of work doing the above clusters of jobs, I’m not doing them all at one time. Instead, I already started the cleaning process and am doing a quick 5-10 minute job before work in the morning or at the end of the day, or a longer one on the weekends (sometimes a couple). It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Use the least amount of products possible. I love multi-tasking cleaners. We use a Method all-purpose cleaner made with mostly-natural ingredients that does glass, wood, ceramic…frickin’ everything. We also love our Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, which can be used on pretty much anything and everything you can imagine. Sure, this time of year I take out the big guns (like Old English), but for the most part, it’s simple. Kind of the point of this post. 😉

Enjoy the clean. By doing little jobs here and there, it highly reduces the amount of stress we put on ourselves. Know what else reduces it? Enjoying the clean stuff.

Throwing open the windows not only helps to freshen up your indoor environment, but also lifts your spirits. Opening the curtains after you’ve washed and rehung them helps the light come in and – yup – same thing, lift your spirits. Or just plopping down after you’ve finished a job and allowing yourself some relaxation time by way of a book or movie is totally allowed – even if you haven’t finished ALL the cleaning yet.

I can’t say how many times I’ve looked in my newly fresh (and deodorized, woohoo!) fridge just to enjoy a job well-done. Seriously.

Do you guys all spring clean? What are some of your tips and tricks for getting your spring cleaning done? We’d love to hear them in the comments!