Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Freezer Meal prep

Ok, there is just something about seeing those teeny little newborn diapers and swaddles ready to go in the dresser, right? Eric did a lot of work clearing out the nursery this weekend and you can actually walk in there now.

Still has a bunch of random crap, but LESS random crap.
My friend just asked me what the theme of the nursery is. The theme is "stuff we got for free and/or already owned". See - really old junky dresser, equally old futon because we still plan to use it as a guest room temporarily while the baby sleeps with us.

I even bought a print for the wall which is SO not like me. Now the question is, will I actually get it hung before the kid can talk and voice his or her own preferences? #notlikely There are very few clothes in the dresser yet because even though I am fine with dressing a girl in Dalton's old clothes, I have a giant bin of cute as hell newborn clothes from my niece so I'm holding out to see which one to unpack.

Now I'm at the point where every morning I go through my day and try to get an idea of what we would do if I went into labor at all the various points. Spoiler - most of them are "I don't really know, it's not convenient, I probably won't go into labor today anyway". I'm group strep B positive again, which isn't really worth mentioning except that it means I need to get to the hospital right away if my water breaks to receive antibiotics. And daycare is in the complete opposite direction of the hospital, but my water never broke with Dalton and I got the antibiotics in plenty of time so I'm sure it will all be fine.

I'm pretty sure this baby will be born around my due date (May 13), like his or her older brother. No reason, just my intuition. Speaking of, I have NO clue about the sex. Absolutely none. I was 100% sure Dalton was a boy from 8 weeks on, and had two really vivid dreams the tech told us it was a boy the night before we found out. This time - I've had almost 38 weeks and I'm completely clueless. Eric thinks it's a girl.

I'm blogging right now primarily to brag that I'm pretty proud of myself. With Dalton, I did a pretty decent job preparing freezer meals, especially considering we were in an apartment with a freezer approximately the size of a shoe box.

So much easier with an actual kitchen.

This time, we have plenty of room, but I'm lacking energy. Severely lacking. Like, it's seriously a problem. I was also kind of lost about what to make, because a lot of things that freeze so well (chili, soup, casseroles) aren't always what you're craving on a 100 degree day in July. I had resigned myself to relying on takeout post baby. While that's a delicious option that I appreciate, it's not ideal for the following reasons.

  • I'm already not thrilled about spending summer with the post - baby fat, and ordering pizza on the reg isn't going to help anything in that department. 
  • The mom guilt is strong with adding a sibling, I really don't need to be feeding my kid massive amounts of takeout to add to that. We're FAR from psychos who don't let our kids eat birthday cake or anything, but I try to give him some nice home-cooked meals which include veggies., even if he doesn't necessarily eat them. 
  • It's expensive, and you know what else is expensive? Kids. 
Don't get me wrong, I see plenty of delicious takeout in our future, in fact, it's been a significant part of my pregnancy diet. But I actually got motivated enough to ensure that we will at least be eating some home - cooked, decently healthy (or at least healthier than Dominos) meals this summer. 

In progress

I relied on my friend Jessy's Guide to Freezer Meals (which I highly recommend) and Pioneer Woman, because, it's Pioneer Woman. Here's what I made: 

  • PW Enchiladas - Eric is so not a leftover person and he was so mad when I said he couldn't eat the rest of these because I was freezing them for post baby - they are AMAZING.
  • PW Turkey Tetrazzini - I made this when pregnant with Dalton and froze it and it was pretty much our favorite frozen meal of them all. 
  • PW breakfast burritos - I severely neglected breakfast in my meal prep last time and clearly that's not going to fly with a toddler during round 2. I actually made banana bread several times this pregnancy to freeze, but, it never made it to the freezer. It's so addicted. I've never tried these but they smell delicious and, again, it's Pioneer Woman.

The filling

  • Chicken and Parmesan Soup with Spinach and Orzo - I figured we can just blast the AC to get in the mood for this, I made this soup before and it's totally worth eating even in June. 
  • Turkey Chili - Same as above, and you just can't go wrong with chili. 
  • French Onion Chicken - I didn't save the link for this recipe because it didn't wow us, but we had leftovers that I froze and we would eat it again. 
  • My mom's baked ziti with homemade sauce - It's epic. Just trust me. We had it for dinner tonight and there are tons of leftovers to freeze. 
I forgot at least one ingredient for every recipe, because, pregnancy brain, but the following two the forgotten ingredients were crucial, so I plan to finish tomorrow after hitting the store. 

Jessy has assured me they are both delicious, and will be easy to throw on the grill with some veggies. I loved taking Dalton to the farmer's market as a baby, and I have high hopes of figuring out how to leave the house with two kids and do it again this summer.

I'm also hoping to make How Sweet Eats lactation cookie recipe, because I love all her recipes, and freeze the dough, but I haven't gotten there yet. 

Dalton loves to help in the kitchen. While his company is always appreciated, it's not always helpful. I had to do most of these while he wasn't home, or while Eric was there to assist his helping. I love having him around to cook dinner, but cooking that many meals required serious focus (I made the enchiladas, turkey tetrazzini and french onion chicken earlier but the rest I knocked out in one day).

What's your favorite takeout food? We got Five Guys the other day, and I've carefully considered this, and I really feel Shake Shack is superior to Five Guys. Thoughts? Other current obsessions is a local pizza place near our house, and in general I've just been more into Indian food than usual this pregnancy (but it's always delicious).

Monday, April 25, 2016

Not finding out the sex: thoughts at the end of pregnancy

I'm now most of the way through two pregnancies in less than two years, and in that time, I've completely changed teams. With Dalton, waiting 20 weeks to find out the sex felt like a tortuously long time, and I hated waiting even that long. Then, I found out I was pregnant again before his first birthday, and there was no doubt in my mind that we wouldn't be finding out the sex until the baby arrived.

My loving husband wasn't so convinced - in fact, he was still firmly on the original team. He had these delusions that he would just find out alone at the 20 week ultrasound and let me enjoy my surprise. While I have confidence in his abilities in many, many things, going approximately 5 months without blurting out the correct pronoun for the baby was not one of them. Also, a major reason for not finding out was so we could experience that moment together, when the baby arrives. He still wasn't convinced, so I just had to pull rank - it's not really something we can compromise on, and one of us has to carry this baby for 9 months and then deliver it, so, I win. Sorry not sorry. However, as I predicted, now he's happy we waited and excited for the surprise.

A lot of people have complimented my willpower in not finding out, but I really don't deserve any compliments. I'm honestly so excited to find out at the end that it's been really easy, and I have enjoyed keeping it a secret. Sure, I was tempted at the two ultrasounds where the sex was visible, but that was fleeting (and it helped that Eric wasn't even at the second one since it was unexpected and I rushed out while Dalton was home napping with him).

I really wanted to record all my thoughts about not finding out the sex at the end of this pregnancy, and time is running out! As soon as the baby is here, I know I'll forget what our lives were even like before he or she joined our family (stupid things parents say that are actually true, at least for me) so I need to get on this blog post. While a healthy baby is absolutely 150% the priority, like many pregnant ladies, I have a lot of complex emotions about whether I'm having a son or daughter. I'll also address the questions that we've gotten a lot from people.

1. Realism

I don't think I could have waited to find out the sex with my first pregnancy, and that's something that truly impresses me when people do it. I found the idea that I was actually going to have a baby, and be a mother so unbelievable. I was still in denial it was actually happening while I was getting sent home from work in early labor! Finding out we were having a boy was like an anchor to give the whole idea some sort of basis in reality.

Really needed to break up this text with a picture. 

Probably like most moms, there was never that disbelief in the second pregnancy. In fact, it was a very different approach. I felt like it took me months to even believe I was actually pregnant with Dalton. With this baby, while of course I was still very fearful of something going wrong in the early days, but as soon as I took the test, my thoughts went to how life with a second child would be, rather than just trying to get my head around being pregnant. I didn't feel the need to know the sex to make anything "real", that's for sure.

2. Bonding

I thought maybe knowing the sex would help with bonding before the baby is born, but, eh. Of course I feel a bond with my unborn child while pregnant, but so far my experience with Dalton has shown me that that bond is pretty much a joke compared to how I'll feel when the baby is here. I don't feel any less connected to this baby than I did to Dalton before he was born. Even though I knew he was a boy, I still had no idea what he would look like, act like, or really what it was like to live with a newborn period. Also, with a newborn, does the sex really matter anyway? Other than making diaper changes somewhat different? Babies pretty much do the same limited activities regardless (eat, poop, cry, maybe sleep once in awhile if you're lucky).

3. Complex emotions

I don't really know how to title this one, but I have all the feelings, and I want to try to express them without sounding like an asshole, because I truly don't take a healthy pregnancy for granted for one single second and honestly just want a healthy baby, girl or boy. BUT. This could very well be our last child. We always knew we wanted at least two, so with Dalton, there was no doubt we would at least try for another. Knowing this could be it is a different feeling.

First of all, I would LOVE to have another boy. I mean, I have a boy, and I love it now, so imagine doubling that. And how great would it be to have two brothers who get to grow up so close in age? That's an easy one, because it's all I know right now. I keep picturing the baby as a boy, because that's been my only experience.

I've always, always wanted a daughter. Even when my mom was pregnant when I was six, I was obsessed with the baby being a girl (which it was, obviously that was a sister and not a daughter, but that's where it all began). I have an amazingly close relationship with my mom, and I wanted to experience that as a mother myself. If this baby is a boy, that means it's fairly likely that I never will. I felt like that would be a tough pill to swallow during an ultrasound. When the baby arrives, I know I'll be thrilled beyond belief, and so happy there won't be any room to be disappointed about missing out on that relationship.

What I didn't expect was, now that it's getting close, I'm starting to get scared about having a girl. My bond is so tight and close with Dalton, I can't imagine having that with any other child, but at least a boy is familiar so it seems to be more likely to be possible. I think this is just a variation on the "how can I ever love anyone as much as my firstborn" theme that every second time mom seems to experience though, and I'm not actually too worried because I know I will.

I just love the crap out of this kid. 

4. Names

I know for some couples choosing two names is a serious downside to waiting to find out, but we really lucked out there. We had boy and girl names picked out for years, maybe even before we got married in 2008. The girl name was easy, since obviously we didn't use it last time. We were positive any other boys we had would have to just be Dalton 2, Dalton 3, etc, because we didn't seem to have any other boy names in the entire world we both agreed on. Then, this past summer, just before I got pregnant, we heard a boy's name that we both loved, so it was game on. Now, I'm really obsessed with our boy's name and desperately want to use it, and Eric feels the same about our girl's name.

5. Clothes

It never fails to crack me up how shocked and outraged people get when I say we're not finding out the sex (people our age, generally people of the previous generation get really excited about it). "But what if it's a girl? What will she wear?!". Um, she could wear a green onesie with dinosaurs just like a boy could? Sure, if we have a daughter I won't be dressing her in Dalton's old "ladies man" outfit, but she can use whatever we have, even if it's blue. Also, last I heard, Target isn't closing it's doors when I deliver, so any urges for adorable newborn girl clothes I feel can still be fulfilled. I'm extremely lucky anyway and I have all of my niece and nephew's newborn - 3 month clothes in our basement, just waiting, so I'm good either way. That's where I picked out the two going home outfits from!

Of course, now that I'm 37.5 weeks, I'm extremely antsy to find out what this baby is, but you know who else gets antsy at 37 weeks? EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN EVER. I'm hardly unique there and doubt I'd be feeling any more patient if I knew the sex.

Whether or not you have or want a kid, what team are you on?  Find out the sex asap, or wait until the birth? Now I can't imagine going back if we did have a third kid, but I guess I'll see for sure once the baby is here!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Our first night away from our first baby

I feel like the last few weeks of pregnancy have been filled with "ok, we can have the baby now that X is checked off the list" moments, both times. We knocked out a big one this weekend. First night away from our first baby.

Leaving this face - it's not easy.

As I'm sure I've said numerous times, I've been pretty hysterically anxious over leaving him to go to the hospital, maybe because that's easier to focus on than the actual fact of raising two children? He had never been put to bed by anyone except us, and never woken up to anyone except us. Now I can rest easier, because he's officially spent a full 24 hour period with his grandpa (my stepfather) and had a fantastic time.

Eric and I hopped in the minivan with 3 of our besties and headed to Delaware for my running buddy Lily's wedding!
You can't tell here but my hair and makeup were ON POINT. I followed a Pinterest tutorial!

Fun times - on the expressway, we were happily jamming out to 90s on 9 and chatting, when the van started making a terrible noise, like it had to try too hard. We pulled over, Eric pushed some buttons and did some things, and it stopped and we kept driving. But then it started doing it again, and his opinion was that this was a real problem. He dropped us off at the ceremony, while crying tears of regret that he would miss the full Catholic mass in store for us. But God was still smiling at us, because:
  • The van was still under the 30 day full warranty
  • There was a Carmax (where we bought it) just a few miles from the church
  • The car completely shut down and stopped turning on in the parking lot of the Carmax
Tell me that is not the most perfect chain of events if your car has to break down while full of passengers on the way to an out of state wedding. Carmax gave Eric a loaner van. We had originally been approaching any and all acquaintances following the ceremony to beg for a ride back to the hotel, but he was able to let us know he could pick us up before we got to the point where I was going to pretend to be in labor to hustle a ride. 

All was well, and we made it to the reception with time to spare. Everything about it was adorable and amazing, and I wish I had a good picture of the bride because she looked stunning. 

Instead, here's this (Sweet Caroline, if you can't tell). 
It was pretty sweet partying with all our  buddies like old times, and naturally I was partying pretty hard. Back in our mid-20s, we always used to pack like 8 people into hotel rooms after weddings to save money. Eric was shocked Saturday morning when I told him that we had all gotten our own rooms and it would be just the two of us. Adulthood, sometimes we try it. 

When we realized we hadn't done the photobooth on the way to the end of the night shuttle.
You know what really makes you a hero in the eyes of your friends? Buying a bunch of snacks before a wedding and then inviting everyone to your hotel room. 


Sure, there was an actual afterparty, at a bar, but we went the "eat Cheeze-It's and chips as fast as you can in a hotel room and then all go directly to bed by midnight" option. 

Also known as the "partying in your mid-30s as parents" option.

Another important event from last week - my stepfather, Vince, came down for the whole week to hang out with Dalton so he would feel comfortable for the overnight! Grandfather award, right there. And it worked like a charm. He even cooked us dinner, on HIS birthday. Oh, and he also painted the whole nursery while he was here. NBD.

Don't freak out, I sent a picture to my friend and she thought it was blue and I was making a baby sex announcement. Nope, turquoise. I had this whole yellow plan and then I fell in love with turquoise at Home Depot. I love it even more on the walls. In Eric's mind, painting the nursery is a step towards baby-readiness. In my mind, I wasn't concerned since the baby will hopefully sleep in our room first (we have the rock and play AND the snuggle nest ready) and their vision is limited to boob to face distance anyway. But I get it, it's my job to create the baby, he's kind of left out, so focusing on the nursery gives him purpose. It also lets me ignore that room and take more naps, so, win win. Now the room is still full of crap but SO PRETTY.

I'd also like to report several firsts for us.

1. First stomach flu. I won't go into detail, but Dalton had it, then I had it. Do not recommend.

But those little parted sleepy lips...
2. First night of grilling on the patio this year!

Finally, some beautiful, warm weather!

3. First time at Cracker Barrel. This happened the morning after the wedding, and it was all I hoped for and more.

That pregnancy weight isn't going to gain itself.

4. First time attempting maternity photos.

I wasn't super into them for whatever reason, but then I had a sudden freak out that this could be my last pregnancy (but I'm in denial about that) and it's now or never. So, here I am, pregnant, recorded for posterity and blogging purposes.

If you're coming to my sprinkle, pretend you never saw this dress, thx.

We were supposed to do them before the wedding, because why get dressed up twice? That ended up being a disaster so we tried some today. My top priority was to get the cheesiest of all cheesy photos - the heart over the belly.

It was actually just supposed to be the two of us, but Dalton ran over. Adorbs. 

I also wanted some family photos, even though obviously our fourth member has not yet made his or her appearance. We don't have any professional, non iPhone photos of Dalton since he was four months old, so Vince was kind enough to also take care of that for us. I knew he wouldn't really be cooperative with any Pinterest perfect visions I might have, because he's a toddler. But we got two that I absolutely love, because I feel like they just so perfectly capture his personality at this age. 

Guess who insisted on this chair? Not an adult. 

Started out with Eric holding Dalton, but Dalton is a man of strong opinions. His hand placement is classic Dalton.
Now that we're back from the wedding, I plan to pack my hospital bag, and we have our car seat check on Wednesday. Let's all cross our fingers the van is fixed by then, since we have to pick it back up from Delaware. Can I just share how happy it makes me that I don't feel the need to agonize over stupid blog lists of "what to bring to the hospital" this time? I'm throwing a lotion, toothbrush, chapstick and nursing tank in there and calling it a day. And, of course, the adorable boy and girl outfits I picked out! I'm getting anxious to find out what the sex the baby is, to say the least.

Opinions on maternity photos? They can be cheesy, but I have loved my pregnant belly both times and I'm happy now I have a nice picture of it.

Anything else I need to bring to the hospital? Cell phone and charger will be added at the last minute, obvi.

Favorite wedding song? For me, it's a toss up between Don't Stop Believing and Living on a Prayer.

I need to get all the questions in because who knows when I'll get around to another blog post.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Whatever cool points I ever had are gone

Ok so, I try not to swear on here, but sometimes, it's just necessary, so here's your warning.

I'm officially a soccer mom and I freaking love this thing. I thought I was pretty familiar with minivans, since I grew up with one and learned to drive on it, but they have come a long way. I can just push a button and the doors or truck open right up for me. There's SO MUCH ROOM. It's not the reason we bought it, but in my standard transmission honda civic, we were rapidly getting to the point where the place I needed to sit to reach the pedals was not where I needed to sit to accommodate my belly. Now my belly has plenty of space, and not having to wrestle a toddler into a sedan 8 months pregnant is glorious. He's so amazed by the newness of it that right now he doesn't even fight me at all getting in the car seat.

I bought my civic in 2005, right after I graduated from college and got my first real job (which is still my current job). Do you have any idea how many cool things have been invented for cars since 2005? I have satellite radio, navigation, blue tooth, a billion cupholders, and we can even get a DVD player installed that has two separate screens for the two kids. That being said, I'm actually really sad to say goodbye to my civic. 11 years is a long relationship!

Here we are on the last day of spring break. Womp womp. Let's take a look at how I used my time.

Freezer meals made: 0
Closets/drawers cleaned out: 0 
Junk items moved out of baby's room: 0
Naps taken: 3 
Vans bought: 1
"Dates" with Eric: 2
Books read: 2.5
Fun things with Dalton: all of them

Overall, a success. It's been an amazing week of living the sweet life, being a lady who lunches. Monday, Eric and I brought Dalton to daycare and went to test drive vans. We even went out to lunch and shopped for discount Easter candy at Target! That's a date, right?

Eric has been raving about the new movie theater near us that has the fancy pants reserved seating, bar, and restaurant where they bring you food to your seat. We actually have an awesome babysitter that lives a mile away and is amazing with Dalton, and we really need to take advantage of her before she leaves for college/going out is a mess of pumping confusion and not even worth it. We saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Sequels are always a gamble, but we were legitimately cracking up the whole time and John Stamos even has a cameo! Prior to this week, we've only done 3 "dates" away from Dalton, so this was kind of a big deal.

Then we took selfie stick selfies.

Of course, I've used the majority of my time off to hang out with Dalton. My mom group is all teachers/SAHMs, so we had a zoo date.

These cuties - I can't even! All born within two weeks of each other. 

Dalton very hesitantly brushed a goat. 
After going home for naptime (which didn't happen in our house), we met up that night. Apparently a sushi place downtown has "Toddler Tuesdays". They set up this baby jail and toys and have deals on kids meals.

He looks kind of pathetic in this picture but I swear he LOVED IT. 
Wednesday, just two of us had lunch at "Play Cafe", which is similar in that it has kids items and all the table are near this giant play area. As the name indicates, it's like that all the time and is just overall very kid friendly. Dalton is generally very clingy and stays close to me in new situations, so I was really impressed that he ran right over to the play areas both times and had fun playing on his own - I even used the bathroom and he didn't even notice! 

I ordered a 16oz avocado, blueberry, coconut milk, lime, and mint smoothie for us to share, forgetting that I hate smoothies. No worries, Dalton took care of the entire thing, plus shared both my lunch and his little buddy's lunch.

He couldn't get enough. 

Thursday, we went to baby story hour at the library while Eric finished up our major spring break project (and when I say "our", that basically only refers to the fact that technically my paycheck goes into the joint checking account that bought it). 

Babies need a lot of stuff. We need more room. Hence, shed. 
I didn't totally neglect my second child this spring break. Tuesday, I flipped out because I hadn't felt the baby move all day at the zoo, and this baby is ALWAYS on the move. I called my OB and she sent me to the hospital for a non-stress test (basically measures the heart beat for an extended period) and an ultrasound. The baby is fine, just teaming up with his/her brother by apparently napping all day while he decided not to nap all day. Siblings unite! The ultrasound showed that everything is in place for a VBAC, the baby is growing as it should be, and the baby has hair! 34 weeks today - I cannot wait to meet this little one in about 6 weeks (and not more). It's now April, and I can say I'm due next month!

Because I'm giant and tired and my husband was busy building a shed, we decided it was time to treat yo self. To getting our house cleaned. We had a cleaning lady come over to give us an estimate for a few cleanings after the baby was born. Then she was there and I was just like...I'm enormous and tired and bending down hurts and this house is a freaking mess. Can you start tomorrow? She did and now our house is SO CLEAN and the new van is SO CLEAN and it's literally the only time my vehicle and home will both be spotless and I love it so much. I want all my friends to stop by unexpectedly and then I'll pretend I just live like this normally.

Have you ever used a cleaning service? It was my first time, and it was kind of awkward since we were home for part of it, but I don't even care because everything is so clean and shiny.

Does your city have all these restaurants with baby jails so you can chill with your friends and ignore your kid? I didn't even know this was a thing, and it's awesome.