22 June, 2016

Beach Trip 2016

Last summer Eric's parents took us on a beach trip down to 30-A.  I was blown away. When we first moved to Atlanta everyone talked about Hilton Head being the place to vacation, but after we took a family trip there in high school we were all really disappointed and have never been back. I was skeptical about going to 30-A after all the hype. However, it does NOT disappoint. It's classy and family oriented, but still casual. It's clean. There isn't a chain or hotel to be found along the entire strip. Aaannnnnddddd. Let's talk about it being called the Emerald Coast for a reason. The water is crystal clear and the sand is pure sugar. Now, there are some faults....like sometimes you have to walk over the river and through the woods to get from your house to the beach, but let's not talk about that.

This summer my parents treated my entire family to a trip to 30-A. We rented a huge house. The big cousins got to sleep in a bunk room. Each couple and their baby/infant/toddler had their own room. There was an upstairs and downstairs living room; a dining room, bar, and a gourmet kitchen.  It was luxury.  We also had access to a resort-like pool with zero entry and a shallow end.  Seriously, the kids were exhausted from too much fun by the second day!  

The week was not without it's hiccups. Eric woke up the morning of our trip with a stomach virus that lasted a few days into the trip. Just as he was feeling better, Maggie came down with a sinus infection and fever than had her up throwing up mucus one night.  And then in the middle of all that, I had some painful swelling in my knee that had signs of a blood clot so Eric and I spent an evening at the ER getting that examined. (Turns out I had just twisted it. Doctor said it's common on the soft sand, especially for preggos).

Other than these minor set backs we had a blast spending the week with my parents, my siblings and their children.

We're already looking forward to next summer's trip with Eric's family!

07 June, 2016

Bump Update: 33 Weeks

33 weeks

30 weeks

 25 weeks
 23 weeks
22 weeks

How far along? 33 weeks

How big is baby? According to The Bump, 
He weighs about 4.2 to 5.8 pounds and measures about 17.2 to 18.7 inches. And he may grow up to a full inch this week -- amazing.

Total weight gain?  33 lbs (Maggie - 26lbs, Evie - 40lbs)

Maternity clothes? Oh yes. I am rotating between 2-3 pairs of shorts and a few sundresses. I bought a pair of bright red ankle pants and 2 dressy tops for "going out".  As much as I love dresses I just can't sit modestly in a short dress these days. 

Stretch marks? Not a single new one this pregnancy!

Belly button? the top part of the circle sticks out, that's it.

Exercise?  I was going to Pure Barre 2-3x a week until about 3 weeks ago. They changed the schedule and it just didn't work for us right now so I put my membership on hold until September. I had been walking during the week too, but it's too hot. Once we got back from the beach we joined a big fancy gym with a pool and childcare :)  Swimming has been amazing.

Sleep-  Hit or miss. Mostly I wake up with one of the girls and then I'm up for 2-3 hours. Not awake enough to do anything but obviously too awake to sleep. That's a dumb sentence. ha.

Movement- Little brother is a dancing fool. He's mostly "activated" by sweets and caffeine. He is head down, left presentation and already descending. Way to go little brother!

Food cravings- Donuts, but nothing really strong. Oh, wait. I really like cold, shredded iceberg lettuce. I know.

Food aversions- Really, I just don't want to eat any more.
What I miss- Energy

What I am looking forward to- Not having to fret about cankles and preeclampsia symptoms appearing. And obviously, meeting our little man!

Milestones-  I can't really shave or pick anything up off the floor.

Say What?  Still getting a lot of "I hope you're having a boy" comments.  But why? WHO CARES? And honestly, I kind of wanted another girl AND I totally love my two girls so I am super offended that you think I NEED a boy for my family to be complete or for me to be satisfied. 

Sweet moments: The girls are just SO in love with "Baby Brudder". They beg to come to the midwife with me to hear "Baby Brudder's Heart Beep".  They're constantly asking what he's doing. They love to give him kisses. This morning Maggie tried to feed him breakfast through my belly button.

Make room for baby: Eric is still working really hard on the bunkbeds for the girls room. I don't think we're going to move Maggie in with Evie just yet, but he wants to have them done so 1) he's not worrying about it once Brudder comes and 2) he can park his car in the garage again.  Clothes are washed. Diapers are stripped/prepped/washed. We need to get the cradle, carseat and pack and play set up but we have a few weeks.

Oh, and THIS: 

In my head I had written about going to the hospital because I had a stomach bug so violent that I was actually delirious and it was triggering contractions.  Some Zofran and a LOT of water and gatorade and I was good as new in about 48 hours. My stomach muscles hurt for almost a week from throwing up. Crazy.

While we were down at the beach I thought I might have a blood clot in my knee so we went to the ER and they did an ultrasound on it. (While I am slightly a hypochondriac, my family carries a blood clotting disorder gene, plus pregnancy, plus the long car ride....too many risk factors for my comfort level)  The doctor said it was good to have it checked out, but I was fine.  He said a lot of people get weird inflammation on old injuries when they travel down there because the sand is so fine and difficult to walk on. At least I wasn't alone?

Now for the good news: I've only had little flare ups of anxiety. Nothing lasting more than a day and nothing I can manage without using the techniques from therapy last summer.  Hoping for a better post partum situation.

Really good news: I've been seeing two amazing chiropractors (one who has had homebirths!) who have been keeping on top of my diet and exercise in addition to keeping my hips/spine aligned. Their accountability has really helped me stay healthy this pregnancy. They have also recently hired a massage therapist who is certified in pregnancy and thai yoga massage.  I was having trouble putting my shorts on and in one visit she worked the ridiculously deep muscle that was causing the pain. I can't wait to see her again next week :)

Even better news: I have had AMAZING blood pressure this pregnancy. I think the lower starting weight, the base line of exercise + REAL exercise during the pregnancy + knowing my inflammatory foods + not working has really helped. I know it's a lot of variables, but whatever, it's working and that's all that matters!  We did a baseline of proteins lab at 31 weeks and unless I have symptoms of preeclampsia we don't need to do any more tests. My midwife gave us the green light to retake the waterbirth class (hospital policy) and to start planning for whatever kind of birth plan I want. This is SO unreal!

Just a few weeks left. Hopefully I'll remember to write another Bump Update before brother is here!!!

26 April, 2016

Maggie: Twenty Four Months

Weight: 27-28lbs (75%)
Length: 36.5 in (97%)
Eats: 3 full meals with us, a snack or two if she's hungry,  and 8-12 ounces of cows milk (nap and either dinner or bed).  She has a sippy of water throughout the day
Diapers:  All our favorite OS cloth diapers.  Size 5 in disposables (more for the extra absorbency and rise than for fit)
Clothes:  We skipped 2ts and went straight to 3ts. She's so tall that she has to wear little shorts under her dresses.
Shoes: 6.5
Sleep: 8pm bedtime, wake up around 7 or 8, one nap around 1:00 (a little earlier if we don't have carpool)
Teeth: Everything she should have by 2!

All The Things:

Maggie couldn't be any more talkative. She's such an extrovert, and I believe she favors her Grandma in her love of a good party and hanging out with family and friends. If we're home for too long Maggie asks to go see friends, go pick up Evie from school, or go to the playground. She loves to be out and about.

Maggie is quite the chatterbox. She'll talk to no one or anyone, just like her Daddy.  She can speak in complete sentences, and sometimes put a few sentences together but when she does this she's often so excited that you can only understand a few words at a time. She's very animated in her storytelling, using hand gestures, facial expressions, and voice inflection to get her point across. 

While she has an excellent vocabulary, I'd say up in the 75-100 or more range, her speech isn't super clear.  Often I am the only one that understands what she's saying, though this is getting better every day.

Maggie is thriving in gymnastics and asks almost every day if we can go to "My 'nastics" and "see my friends".  She can almost walk on the balance beam by herself, crawl through a tunnel, jump on a trampoline, do a summersault with minimal help, and makes up little obstacle courses for herself.

She's also SO READY to go to school. She cries most mornings because she wants to go with Evie.

She can sing a few songs almost by herself, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "Head, shoulders, knees and toes",  "Hail Mary", "God Our Father", and "Itsy Bitsy Spider"

She can count to at least ten.  She does not know her ABCs.  She knows her color words but rarely matches them to the correct color.

We've hit the "I survive on air and french fries" stage. This worries us a bit because she doesn't have any baby fat to survive on.  We often have to bribe her to eat more protein.

Girl can eat some chocolate. Starting around 9am until after dinner it is a battle wills between Maggie and me over "chocolate raisin" and "emonays" (M&Ms).

She's not as interested in fine motor activities or sitting still like Evie was. She loves to PLAY, jump, run around, or ride bikes. She can spend hours playing house, Little People or dollies. She's very nurturing. She does love to sit an look at books. If we can't find her, she's often up in her rocking chair looking at books.

We had to re-sleep train her around 18 months. She'd been sick and growing and was not sleeping through the night or napping well. We used the Mom's on Call 15 months to 4 years book and within a week or so she was back on track. She's now an AMAZING napper and sleeper.

She had her first real hair cut at the salon. I'd trimmed the ends a few times, but I took her in for a bang trim and to have the back evened up. She's got a bunch of crazy cowlicks like her Daddy that are growing in so the hairdresser didn't want to mess with it too much until it thickens up.

Maggie is such a joyful kid. She wants everyone to be happy and to "feel bedder". She remembers to ask the next day, too!  I absolutely adore our one-on-one time

12 April, 2016

On SAHM Routines

When I first transitioned to being a stay-at-home-mom I feared that I would waste the days away, and while some days this is true, I have found that having a decent routine helps keep peace and order in the house but also increases my productivity.

It has taken me a decade or two to admit that I actually need and thrive on routine.  My free spirit didn't want to seem "trapped" or "tied down" - however, sometime at the end of college I learned that a little self discipline goes a long way.  When I graduated I was balancing 3 part-time jobs, and later added graduate school into that mix. It wasn't that each day had the same routine, per say, but that each day of the week did and that was enough.

Now that I am home with the girls, we have preschool, I teach an online theology class, workout, and juggle dance/gymnastics/PSR, and a small photography business. It seems like a lot but finding the day-to-day routine and the weekly routine has made everything possible.

So what does our day look like?  Well to start with, I have to thank Fr. Dennis, a fellow free-spirit for encouraging finding routine for the sake of my mental health and also my prayer life.  He actually just did a podcast on this which inspired this post.


6:45 - alarm goes off, aim to read Blessed is She daily readings & devotional email, check emails and social media. Delete the junk and mark anything urgent to be replied to later
7:15 - My turn in the shower, get dressed, etc
8:00 - if the girls aren't up yet, wake them up. Evie should be dressed, potty and teeth brushed before she goes down stairs.  Eric typically has breakfast & coffee started if not ready.
8:15 - Eric is out the door if he hasn't left already, girls get a TV show if they're ready for the day and breakfast has been eaten.
9:00 - hunt for shoes, make school snacks, load the car
9:15 - depart for pre-school
9:30 - pre-school drop off for Evie
9:45 - Maggie and I run errands, visit the chiropractor/midwife/pediatrician/other appointments, come home clean the house, take her to gymnastics (Thursdays), start laundry, prepare something for the crockpot, have one-on-one time with Maggie, etc
12:15 - load up for preschool pick up
12:30 - pick up Evie
12:45 - lunch for everyone (sometimes out), followed by a nap for Maggie and a movie for Evie
1:30 - I settle in for work time (school, photography, sewing, blogging, etc) and/or one-on-one time with Evie (baking, crafts, make play-doh, etc).  Tuesdays this is pushed back due to Evie's ballet
3:30 - if Maggie is still napping I take a nap, read or watch a TV show
4:00 - run any last errands we might need to for the day (read: oh crap we had snack duty tomorrow), on Mondays we leave for PSR
5:00 - Maggie is woken up if she's not already up, girls play in the playroom or on the back patio
5:15 - I get dinner started, often listening to a Podcast
6:00/6:30 - Eric is home just in time for family dinner
7:00 - I leave for Pure Barre/evening meetings/quiet time at Target/reading at a coffee shop.  Eric bathes girls and gets them to bed by 8pm.  Now that it's light later sometimes we go to the park, on a walk, or ride bikes.

8:30 - we finish up any chores, clean the kitchen
9:00 - Eric and I sit down for a game, TV show, talk about our days, or finish up any hobbies/projects
10/10:30 - Head to bed



8am family snuggle time
9ish I leave for Pure Barre/photoshoot/Cloth Diaper class, etc or Eric leaves for his cycling club ride
Family Lunch
Eric usually does yard work and I do random stuff.  Maggie naps and Evie plays.
Many weekends we then go to a birthday party, out to dinner, or to visit grandparents


Snuggle time
Mass (some weekends)
Eric leaves for adult swim at the pool or I go workout
Whoever is home takes a nap
I sit and plan the week, review with Eric, meal plan
Mass (if we didn't go in the morning)
Out to dinner
Home for bedtime
Eric goes to the grocery store for the week

There you have it. Our super exciting weekly routine. Seriously though, our best weeks follow this pattern.  When the girls start to get grumpy or defiant, or if Eric and I find ourselves short with each other, is usually because we've had too much break from the routine and it's time to pull it back in, even if it means saying NO to things...good things!  For example, this weekend we had a 1st birthday party. But the girls were absolutely exhausted to the point where Maggie cried for a solid 3 hours. We pulled the plug on the party and put everyone down for a nap. I knew if we didn't set that boundary there'd be hell to pay for the rest of the week.  I hated to say NO to the party, but I also have to know my limits and the kids' limits.

The other important thing Eric and I have come to realize is that we often have to tweak the routine, change our chore lists, and re-evaluate our expectations anytime we have a major life event (Eric training for a half Ironman), pregnancy, big illness (a week of the flu!), a newborn, new job, or new school year.

What's your day like?