My adventures in pregnancy, motherhood and beyond

Please enjoy the musings and updates and leave me a comment if you'd like!

Friday, March 28, 2014


We're so excited to tell you all that we closed on a house yesterday!

With the keys!
We are so grateful to St Peter's in Bon Secour for offering us their rectory to live in, but we really needed to find a space that was closer to James' work and G's new daycare. The house is in the exact are we were looking for, only .5 miles from Fairhope's downtown district and even closer to the elementary school. The school ratings are fantastic and I'm really looking forward to having sidewalks to walk around on, and living closer to amenities.

There is work to be done: we're having the ceiling scraped and painted, the walls painted and a babygate/bookshelf built and installed before we move in (the bookshelf is necessary to support the babygate; currently there are only metal railings on the sides of the stairs). Then we move to camp for the summer, we'll be doing some serious renovation on the kitchen and downstairs, which will become a master suite. It will be a beautiful home for our family, and though I know it'll take a while, I can't wait to be all settled in and finally unpack those last few boxes.

We'll probably be moving in mid-April, whenever the initial work is done. Then we'll move to camp, put G in a big boy bed, move to the house and bring home a new baby! There are so many big, scary and exciting changes going on this year!

We have a mortgage this being all grown up?

Here's the front of the house; the garage is on the right

Here's the entryway; the bookshelf will go along the side on the left, and attach to the babygate

OMG the wallpaper! The cabinets and counters are very low

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

13 Weeks

How far along: 13 weeks
Total weight gain: ?
Favourite clothes: My sweatpants. It's been a comfy week
Sleeping: Not too badly
Best Moment: Irish dance
Worst Moment: Tuesday at PT was a really difficult, exhausting day
Miss anything: Sushi
Cravings: BLT. On a croissant. The only thing that could've been better is adding avocado
New symptoms: The acne from last time is back, headaches
Looking forward to: Seeing the doctor next Monday

Crafting: Gnome newborn outfit, monster pants

Monday was St Patrick's Day, but like the weekends and any days James has off, the weather seemed to be conspiring against us with a gray, gloomy day. We picked G up from school early to take him to the passport application (both parents must be present to get a minor's passport). The woman at the post office had no idea how to use a camera and kept taking pictures of the floor, we ended up with a picture that made him look drunk and were charged $15 for it. But the application is in. We also took him for his first haircut! Yes, the curls are gone, but his hair was getting out of control and it looks so much better now that it's shorter. He did very well--no screaming and no fussing til the very end. 

We've been fighting with Verizon and after spending two nights in a row on the phone with them for 3 hours (pretty much all of our adult life per night) we were just done. It has become more hassle than it's worth. So James ordered some unlocked phones and we're switching onto AT&T as soon as they arrive. The phones have been working well so far, and I'm pretty happy with them. They're really fast and the battery lasts a long time.

Tuesday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Basically the physical therapy and acupuncture haven't helped my hip pain at all and may have been aggravating it. It's not the normal pregnancy hip pain, and it's stumping the PT, who said he's never met someone for whom acupuncture has had no effect. I can't sit on the floor with G, I am almost constantly uncomfortable (if not in actual pain) and I've been told to not exercise since moving probably aggravates the joints. The pain has been problematic for close to 2 years, and though it diminished after G was born, it didn't go away. Some days it's so bad I can barely walk. I'm frustrated with how I look and feel, but I can't do anything about it because of my hips. The current theory is that I'm too flexible: my hip flexors/soas are tight, but the hip capsules are stretched out, letting my hips slide out of alignment and I don't have the muscles to hold them in place. But I can't exercise to strengthen the muscles. Nice catch 22, huh? It was just too much that day with added billing issues (yay insurance), and I ended up crying most of the morning. It was an exhausting draining morning. But the world goes on and I try to keep upbeat. Lots of people have given me suggestions so I'm looking into those as well. 

Crafting, on the other hand, has been going great! I finished a newborn set I was making for a friend and even though the hat was my own pattern, it turned out pretty cute! I'm excited to send it off to them! (I'll post pictures later--it is a surprise!) I'm working on another newborn set and when that's done, I'll finish the monster pants. The more crocheting. I'm having a blast with these newborn sets! They're fun and cute and quick!

On Saturday, James took G to camp in the morning so I could go to an Irish dance class I found in Mobile. I had so much fun, and my hips haven't been reacting too badly. I haven't been so sore since my first Irish dance class ever, but it was totally worth it for my emotional and mental health. It was so good to exercise, and especially to dance again. If only I could find my dance bag with my real shoes in it; for now I'm wearing ballet flats and dance sneakers. We ended the night with a nice dinner with good friends, G staying up way past his bedtime (but doing pretty well). Unfortunately, he fell into a hole on the porch, but he seems to be no worse for wear. He just loves to explore and get into everything and everywhere, which results in some bumps and bruises sometimes. He still had a great time and it was a wonderful end to an emotionally hectic week.

13 weeks: Baby2 is the size of a Mandarin Fish
(Please note the amazing drawing...I have no artistic skill, so it's amazing)

Oh hello, baby bump. You're about four weeks early...go back.
Cuddles with a fork

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

12 Weeks

How far along: 12 weeks
Total weight gain: -10 lb
Favourite clothes: Yoga pants. Don't hate.
Sleeping: Horribly. I'm getting up to pee like 8 times a night.
Best moment: Having friends over for dinner/playdate and very successful stew and homemade bread. Seeing a turtle crossing the road on my way to daycare.
Worst moment: The car ride from Panama City. G was pissed the entire time, and traffic wasn't great.
Miss anything: I really, really want everything I can't have. Especially raw sushi, beef carpaccio and steak tartare
Cravings: Subconscious ones that I didn't recognize as such until I ate it: falafels, sweet potatoes
New symptoms: Pretty much all the standard pregnancy symptoms with a good dose of hip pain thrown in
Looking forward to: The doctor said we can find out the sex in a couple months! Wheee!!! Names!
Crafting: Still working on G's monster pants, a few other crochet projects
Baby projects: Doctor Who onesie, shark socks (? need to buy pattern), crocheted set once we find out the sex

I missed last week! Sorry! Still waiting for a shirt to arrive so I can get the maternity calendar shirt done for this time around!

The past two weeks have been fun! I still haven't felt very pregnant yet, but I am starting to show already, much earlier than last time. I'm feeling pretty good, though my nausea is still there. However, without the added stress of a new job with a verbally abusive boss like last time, I am feeling much better and have been having fun cooking! I realize that the fatigue I indulged in last time was a true luxury; this time around there's still G and stuff to get done during the day so I can give him my attention when I pick him up. James has been great about getting him in the morning, but I still have to be up to do shoes, jacket and drop off.

We went to Panama City for my brother in law's birthday last weekend and had a lot of fun! It was great to see James' family and we enjoyed being out on the boat two days in a row! G had a blast at the beach the second day, though he was ticked off he couldn't get in the water (it was too cold! Brr!!) He wasn't too thrilled with his lifejacket or the boat, and managed to give himself a little goose egg when he pulled away and didn't quite have his sea legs yet. We had a nice time, and even got to go out for a dinner on our own. We also had a delicious lunch the day we left; my falafel wrap was fantastic!

I saw a PT for my hip pain, and we tried acupuncture. It was an interested experience, but so far hasn't been very effective for the pain, though it is moving around (can feel it in the back of one hip now). I also saw an ENT and it turns out my ear drum burst at some point and is still healing up. He said the culprit was probably allergies, but there's not much to do until I'm not pregnant anymore. Personally, I think it's the mold, but we're working on that.

Other than that, it's all been good and we're looking forward to a lot of changes this year! In chronological order: we're moving G to a big boy bed, probably just a twin mattress on the ground, we're moving to camp for the summer, taking G on his first international trip to take a vacation in Jamaica and then by the time we move back home, the new sibling will only be a few weeks away! I'm just so looking forward to everything that's coming up in the future!!

A HUGE thank you goes out to my friend Rebecca, who is helping me figure out fetus size comparisons to marine animals instead of the typical fruit ones. I knew I wanted to do something different this time, and this is way more fun for me! I can't wait to share more of them!

Please note the baby handprints around the word "Baby"

Showing a lot earlier, just looking chubby

Monday, March 17, 2014

17 Months

What a month it has been!

G and I have been pretty sick this month, still recovering from ear infections and sinus infections with bronchitis (that one was me). When James was out of town Valentine's Day weekend, I somehow caught a nasty stomach bug and couldn't even keep water down. Luckily, my mother in law drove out to take care of me and G. He got to stay up until he pretty much collapsed at 11 because I was stuck over the sink in the kitchen and could barely bring myself to move. Lots of gatorade and saltines, and by the end of the weekend I was feeling better. I am forever grateful to Beth because I was in really bad shape, and James was at least 7 hours away. I'm also grateful because I'm sure that her taking care of him the next day and cleaning everything and doing laundry kept anyone else from catching the nasty bug.

James was out of town at the diocesan convention the next weekend too, and I was able to join him for the gala on Friday night. We have a fantastic baby sitter, who G was so happy to see, and I had a blast not being mommy for a night. Socializing with adults is so much fun! [I think I need to get out of the house more, huh?]

We had some friends over for dinner, and enjoyed good food and even better company. We spent three hours waiting to register G for a new daycare. I think it'll be really good for him. He's been biting a lot lately, mostly when his toys are taken or another kid is hovering, but it's been a bit of a difficulty, because one of the teachers isn't willing to discipline him at all; not even removing him from the situation, because he won't stay in time out. I tried to explain that even 30 seconds will help him understand that there's a consequence. He's been bitten a few times too and another kid pushed him, causing him to trip and split his lip. Nothing major, and he didn't even cry. His teacher was impressed that he could hold the ice pack to his lip himself though.I think the new program will be better; it'll be shorter and less days. On the bright side, he's stopped crying when I drop him off.

We announced that we're expecting a sibling for G in late September! It's been exciting, and James and I got to hear the heartbeat at the last doctor's appointment at the beginning of March. We can't wait to see how G does as a big brother. (More on this in separate posts). I do have to share one story. We've been telling G that he'll be a big brother and that mommy has a baby in her tummy. One night, he came up to me, patted my stomach and said "bah-bee!" This continued for about 10 minutes. It was adorable.

Challenges: Tantrums (the car is the worst), lack of weight gain, biting starting up again. We bought a potty seat for the toilet and he screamed when we put him on it. Any tips?
Triumphs: He loves to bring us books to read him. He might not make it all the way through a page, but he likes to sit on our lap and help turn the pages. My favourite time of day!
Words: "mama," "daddy," "beebee" (no idea), "bah-bee" (baby?), "boo" (book)
Favourite toys: A stuffed dog that sings, has ears that move up and down and is soft, a late Christmas present from his great aunt. We've culled the toys in the living room a bit, so he doesn't have the same crazy amount. We'll switch them up every couple weeks.
This is our every day level of energy

The flash on the camera made him smile and laugh

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Recipe Review

This will just be a quick review of some of the new recipes we've tried lately. We had great success with the Irish stew and bread of the last post, but the other new recipes need some modification. I'm withholding judgment until I can try the modifications I have in mind. If you try any of the recipes, please let me know how it went, and whether you tried with or without modifications!

The first recipe we tried was the artichoke tomato pasta, which can be found on Better Homes & Gardens website here. It ended up being a very liquid-y sauce, falling past the pasta to the bottom. We used fettuccine, and I had to use white onion instead of sweet onion since I forgot to pick up a sweet onion at the store. The first instruction says to mix Parmesan cheese and the reserved pasta water into the drained pasta; this made a horrible mess and didn't work at all, so I would definitely skip this step and just sprinkle the cheese on top before serving. I think if you use a 14.5 ox can of pureed tomatoes/tomato sauce and a 14.5 oz can of drained diced tomatoes instead of the crushed/diced tomatoes, it would make a thicker sauce that better coats the pasta, but still give you the tomato chunks of the original. The flavour was really good though, and even James, who doesn't like artichokes much, agreed it was a good recipe, though the limp sauce was a bit of a let-down. I can't wait to try the modifications.

Next up is a recipe from an advertisement for McCormick spices. You can find it online here (their website has a neat tool where you can adjust the serving size and it'll edit the recipe!! So cool!) This one had a lot of potential, but despite all the seasonings, it just ended up kind of bland. I think if you added salt and pepper to the flour mixture (or directly to the chicken prior to flouring) and to the sauce, it would end up much more flavourful. We didn't use the brand names, sticking with what we had at home and getting rosemary from an off-brand at the store for much less than McCormick's. I also only use Swanson's reduced sodium chicken broth. I've tried a few different chicken broths, and the flavour just isn't right to me, so I stick with what I know works. We ended up with a large sauce to chicken ratio, and I think we should've used a few more chicken tenders, but you could also always chop up the chicken and add it as an ingredient of the sauce over the pasta. If you can kick up the flavour a bit, this would be a great dish; as it is it's just a bit bland. If the salt and pepper doesn't work, I'm binning the recipe.

A few nights ago we tried grilled chicken with lemon-cucumber relish. This is another Better Homes & Gardens recipe, here, which my mom gave me a subscription to. We've found some great recipes through it, and I always look forward to flipping through it (it's also where I found the paint colours on our walls). There were a few thing about this recipe. The first was user error. I mixed together the relish and yogurt sauce because pregnancy brain. It still ended up ok, but in my attempt to make it more like the picture (before realizing my mistake) it ended up a bit thinner than expected. However, it still worked out fine, though next time I'll mix them separately and properly. I left out the lemon peel since I just use RealLemon for juice. I would also season the chicken differently. I'm not a huge fan of the cumin flavour, which is really prevalent in this recipe. It's ok, but definitely not to my or James' tastes. James pointed out that the chicken could really be quite versatile in this recipe, from plain grilling to lemon-pepper topped (<--this one!!) I definitely think if you season the chicken differently and properly mix the toppings, this would be a phenomenal dish. 

We made the side dish or sweet potato wedges. I've had this recipe for ages; my mom clipped it from the newspaper and sent it to me years ago (seriously, the newspaper is yellow). I found the same recipe here on Martha Stewart's website. These were FANTASTIC!!! Why did I wait so long to make these? James thinks I exaggerate, but he's never been pregnant, so he doesn't understand satisfying a craving you didn't even know you had. I think I hate 3/4 of them, only stopping when I was so full I physically couldn't take another bite; there were two half wedges left out of 32. I mixed the potatoes and seasonings in a gallon sized ziploc bag, shaking it until well-coated. I cooked them for the full 20 minutes and they were so soft, but still sturdy enough to dip (ranch, a tiny bit). So so so so so good. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Menu

I love having dinner guests. I love cooking for other people. I might go a little crazy sometimes; my first Thanksgiving had a giant turkey and probably 6 or 7 sides, plus 2 desserts. When we knew we were having dinner guests, I decided to try some of the recipes from my to-try binder. I just realized it would make the perfect St. Patrick's Day menu.

The stew recipe I used can be found on Irish American Mom, an Irish woman living in Kentucky, who shares Irish recipes using American ingredients. I had a little bit of trouble with some of the ingredients: frozen pearl onions and bittersweet chocolate chips aren't easy to find here (the clerk tried to tell me semi-sweet was the same thing.) But eventually, I found all the ingredients. I won't go through the whole recipe here since she has a really thorough tutorial with photos. I'll just tell you some of the differences:
  • I took the instruction to julienne the parsnips to heart, so mine ended up as shoestrings. Still good though
  • I would cut the potatoes smaller to ensure that they soften enough
  • Instead of using a bowl/plate to dredge the beef, I put the flour, salt and pepper into a gallon size ziploc bag, added the beef and shook to coat it
  • Between no prep the night before, dropping G off daycare and an emergency run to buy a larger crock pot, I had barely 6 hours to cook the stew instead of twelve. It was on high for 3 hours, then low for 2, then high again for the rest of the time
  • I had a slight panic attack because the stew tasted off when I tried it after combining all the ingredients. I was sure I had doomed our guests to an inedible meal and emergency delivery pizza. Luckily, by the time it had cooked, the flavours were rich and perfect. 
  • I don't like the taste of Guinness, but it was great in the stew. I used the extra stout bottle. Don't bother measuring out 1.25 C, just dump in the bottle; the head makes it impossible to measure.

I would highly recommend this recipe and will definitely make it again. The beef was fork tender, the veggies were soft and it was nice and filling. The leftovers are freezable and even the weather cooperated: nothing like a rainy night for warm stew.

As some of you know, I'm horrible at making sides, but what goes better with stew than bread? Since returning to the States, I've missed Irish bread so much, and this seemed a good opportunity to finally get over my hesitation and bake my first loaf of bread! Irish American Mom has a recipe for brown bread, but I didn't want to have to buy whole wheat flour, pastry flour, wheat germ, etc, so I searched for a soda bread recipe and found one from a Southern food website, of all places. But it used all purpose flour, and I had everything but the buttermilk and cream of tartar. You guys, this was SO easy! Why have I never made bread before?? It took half an hour to prep, less than an hour to cook and made the house smell delicious, as well as tasting delicious. The recipe is pretty self explanatory. The only thing I'd recommend is after melting the butter, stick it in the fridge, mix in the buttermilk first, then mix in the butter, otherwise you'll end up with little clumps of flour that don't incorporate. This happened to the first batch of dough I made and it was horrible, but the second batch was perfect. It was soft on the inside, crusty on the outside, warm and tasty. It also had the added benefit of making the house smell great. It's not sandwich bread, but it is delicious and the perfect accompaniment to the stew.

Again, if you make any of these, let me know how it goes and if you enjoyed it! Happy cooking!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Big Brother G

That's right, time to pull out the chalkboard again!

We're so excited to announce that we're expecting Baby number 2 on or around September 28, 2014!

I've been feeling pretty good so far, just some morning (evening) sickness and a lot of fatigue. We found out about a week after my gallbladder surgery, but our doctor assured us that it was so early that there shouldn't be any ill effects and all the medicines I was on afterwards were safe. We've been dying to tell everyone and yesterday we got to hear the heartbeat! It sounded just like a horse galloping along. It's starting to feel real! (Plus, I can now start wearing my maternity shirts, because you do start showing earlier the second time)

Note on the photo: My idea was that you'd be able to see the "Maternity Clothes" sign on the box, but hopefully the idea came across. This was one of the few where G wasn't running around or with his back to us. Nonetheless I think it turned out pretty cute--already exhausted by the idea of a sibling ;)

"Being a big brother is already exhausting!"

This was about the 5th time unpacking and "repacking" the box of clothes

How far along:
10 weeks
Total weight gain: -7 lb
Maternity Clothes: I'm a little bloated and showing a bit, so I can get away with them, but they're not necessary yet
Sleep: I'm having trouble falling and staying asleep. I get up at least twice a night
Best moment: Hearing the heartbeat
Miss anything: Margaritas, sushi
Movement: Baby, no. Mama, no. I have an appointment with a PT to look at my hip pain, which is back with a vengeance
Cravings: Jelly Bellys, Sprinkles cupcakes (Atlanta is the closest!), blackberries, veggies
Queasy: Every evening, starting around 3 pm and first thing in the morning. If I don't keep something in my stomach it's worse
Symptoms: Morning sickness, fatigue, hip pain
Looking forward to: Everything! I'm excited to be pregnant again and so excited for G to be a brother!! I can't wait til I get some energy back!