Pregnancy style – LuLaRoe edition.

Okay, so this post has been a work in progress for months. I’m no longer pregnant, but decided that I should still finish the post and let it see the light beyond the draft folder. 

I have postponed my quarterly Stitch Fix boxes for the time being because I would need maternity clothes in order to really use them for the next month, and I’ve tried to not buy many maternity-only clothes during this pregnancy.  I’m fortunate that many of my regular clothes continue to fit late into pregnancy and I have plenty to get by, even when the majority of my closet gradually becomes unavailable.  However, I have purchased a few things recently that work for my pregnant and non-pregnant self so I decided to share a bit about those pieces in lieu of my quarterly Stitch Fix post.

Most people know about the clothing company LuLaRoe, but in case you don’t, here is the website.  A guy I went to school with is married to a lady who, until recently, was a LuLaRoe consultant and my aunt and cousin have both hosted Facebook parties through this woman in the past.  Just for fun and to support them, I bought a few items at each of those parties.  Then the lady had a super big clearance event to make room in her stock and then later because she decided to phase out of consulting, so I took advantage of those discounted prices for each of those sales as well.  And I have since found a new “dealer” – my aunt introduced me to Christine and Jenna’s Facebook page and if you are in the slightest bit interested in LuLaRoe, I recommend following along with them.  They seem really fun and are super engaging on Facebook.

Here are the majority of the LuLaRoe items I’ve accumulated over the past year and a half or so and how they’re serving me during pregnancy…. {This post has been a work in progress for months now, so I’ll put descriptions below the pictures for how pregnant I was when I wore the outfit and conned Kevin into taking a photo for me.  :) }

DRESSES

This is the Amelia dress, worn in the traditional manner.  It has pockets, which makes it a winner.  In terms of sizing, this is an XS and I was 31 weeks pregnant when these pictures were taken.  It was pretty tight in the chest area even then so I don’t think I could wear it now.

 

And this is that same Amelia worn with the zipper in the front.  Pockets are still functional (yay).  The dress is breastfeeding friendly when worn this way.

 

This is the Nicole dress.  I am wearing an XS, and like the Amelia, I don’t think I could wear this one much past the 31 week mark, like I am here.  It’s a great first and second trimester option though!

 

This is the Carly and I’m wearing an XXS.  It is definitely an every-trimester kind of dress!  These pics were taken when I was at 31 weeks, but I know I can fit into the dress now (37 weeks) too.

 

This is the Julia dress and I’m wearing an XS.  I love this one and, as I tend to prefer more fitted pieces for pregnancy, it’s probably my favorite in terms of pregnancy style.  This picture was taken when I was 31 weeks, but I could squeeze into the dress fine now too.  I’d just probably wear a loose cardigan or something that covers the wide-load bum a bit.  :)

 

Speaking of Julia and long cardigans….  I wore this to a baby shower brunch some friends hosted for me when I was 36 weeks pregnant and the beautiful blue was perfect.  This is also an XS.

 

SHIRTS AND LEGGINGS 

LuLaRoe is famous for their “butter soft” leggings and here is a one size pair in mustard. They’re paired with an Irma – this is an XXS. I get so many compliments when I wear this shirt. Irma is probably my favorite style of LLR shirt.

 

This is a Classic Tee in XXS and a pair of patterned one size leggings.

 

This is a Randy shirt (obviously a baseball style) in XS. I’ve had this one a long time and have worn it a lot, but will probably retire it soon because it is starting to pill.

 

This is a Gigi shirt in XS and I love it. I like fitted styles in general, especially when pregnant. The Gigi is basically the top half of the Julia dress.

 

It’s hard to see in this picture but this patterned Classic in XXS is one of my most worn shirts.

 

This is a Lynnae shirt in XXS. I think it is a lot like the Classic but has long sleeves. Perfect for fall!

I have a few more pieces that aren’t shown here – some grey leggings, green leggings, and a Classic in XS which is super drapey on my frame (and started to pill after just one or two wears, so not my favorite piece and will probably be donated during my next closet clean out).

Have you ever worn LuLaRoe? What are your favorite pieces? 

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Owen’s birth story.

If you’ve been around these here parts for two years, you may recall that Ava’s two-part birth story posts were titled “Evicted – a birth story” because, well, she was. I considered titling Owen’s birth story something like, “Textbook – a birth story,” because, well, it was. My doctor said so. I clearly have opted for the simple, straightforward title of “Owen’s birth story” and am instead building anticipation with this basically pointless commentary.

You’re welcome.

But now, on to the main event.

Okay, so on Monday, October 2 we had our 38 week prenatal appointment at 8:15 AM. I hadn’t really planned to have the doctor check me because I’ve never really thought that it mattered too much how dilated one is if one isn’t in clear labor, but ultimately I decided in the moment, what the heck, and had him check. I was at a 3 and 80% effaced. This was exciting because it meant I was 3 cm further along than when Ava’s induction started.

Kevin, my doctor, and I started to talk timelines. I’d given Owen explicit instructions to NOT come between October 4 and October 8, because Ava’s cast change and move to the brace was scheduled for October 6 and I wanted to be there with her for that and for the first couple of days in the brace. So basically Owen needed to come THAT day (the 2nd) or wait a week. The doctor explained my options – based on how dilated I was and how I was describing the contractions I was already having, my body was moving on its own toward labor but of course, there was no way to know what that meant or how long it would take. He could scrape the membranes and, based on my current dilation, there was a 70% chance I’d have the baby in the next 24 to 48 hours. Or it could have no effect. Ah, labor and delivery crystal ball, where art thee?

The doctor left Kevin and I to talk it over for a few minutes. Ultimately we decided to go for it and get those membranes scraped because: a) it wasn’t going to hurt anything (besides, you know, ME, but alas that would only be the beginning of the pain, so…) – either it would move us into labor or it wouldn’t; b) my blood pressure reading that day was a tiny bit high and, based on my experience with Ava, I knew that could lead to bed rest if it continues to be elevated and bed rest really didn’t fit well into my plans for the week; and c) it seemed more appealing to me to have a lighter weight baby and Owen wasn’t getting any smaller in there, soooo yes, let’s increase the chance of a 38 week weight baby versus 39+.

We headed home around 9:00 (we stopped at Einstein’s and split a six-cheese bagel with garden veggie cream cheese – we were both so distracted that Kevin pulled past the drive-thru ordering menu and it wasn’t until we were one car away from the window that we realized we’d skipped a step). Kevin dropped me off at home and then went to the office. His plan was to put serious effort into cleaning up his desk and inbox so he could be out for a few days if needed. Ava was at our house with Sue (Kevin’s mom) so I headed upstairs to work myself. I was definitely having contractions and they seemed to be increasing in frequency and duration, but it wasn’t anything too distracting.

At noon, I went downstairs to make Ava’s lunch, Sue left, and Ava and I ate. Kevin joined us around 12:20, and when we were all done eating, he took Ava upstairs to put her down for a nap. By now I was definitely having regular contractions and I decided to start timing them. I alternated between resting on the couch and walking around it in circles. Kevin headed back to work. Ava woke up mid-afternoon and we had a nice time playing in the chair-chair, and watching Cat (Daniel Tiger). She was just being so sweet and adorable and I soaked up my time with her as my only baby, because I had a feeling that afternoon could be it.

Kevin called at 5:15 to say he was headed home and make sure we didn’t need anything. I told him that I would definitely want to go to the hospital that evening. My contractions were around 4.5 minutes apart on average at this point. When Kevin got home, he sat down next to Ava to watch Cat and I stepped outside to call the hospital and get advice from the midwife on duty. She recommended guzzling a bunch of water and taking a warm bath to ensure that labor continued until the contractions were 3 minutes apart like clockwork. I downed 20 ounces of water and Kevin started a bath for me when he went upstairs to change out of his work clothes (and pack his hospital bag – such a procrastinating, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy, my husband). When he came downstairs, I went up to get in the bath and he started to cook our dinner (salmon, rice, and roasted asparagus and tomatoes). The bath felt really good and the contractions didn’t slow down.

I went back downstairs around 6:05 and we started eating. The roasted tomatoes were really hitting the spot and I picked at the asparagus, rice, and salmon. Contractions were consistently 3.5 minutes apart and at 6:15, I told Kevin I’d want to leave for the hospital after he put Ava to bed. He texted his parents and told them to come over around 7:15. Within minutes of him doing that, I knew I wouldn’t make it that long. He texted his parents and asked them to come over right away. They arrived by 6:35, we gathered up our things, kissed Ava goodbye and told her we loved her (provided this wasn’t some fluke fake labor thing and we weren’t sent home, this was going to be the first night I’d ever been away from her. It took having another baby to leave my baby!), and hit the road.

The hospital is about a 30 minute drive and fortunately traffic was light so we made good time. My contractions were coming steadily at 2.5 minutes apart. We arrived at around 7:15 and since we had done the pre-admission paperwork, we went right to triage. Immediately, the triage nurse did not inspire a lot of confidence. She had a soft, mumbling voice, and she didn’t seem especially organized. I put on the hospital gown and she started fumbling around, hooking me up to monitors. She checked me and I was at a 4 or a 5, which I found really disappointing since I felt so much worse than I had when I was at a 3 earlier that day. The baby had moved down a station since my morning appointment though, which showed great progress.

It was around 8:10 by this point and the nurse recommended that we go walk around the hospital for a few hours and then come back to triage to get checked again, just to be sure this was “the real thing” before being admitted to labor and delivery.  I must have looked at Kevin with a wild, desperate look in my eyes because he told the nurse that we wanted to be admitted now and we’d walk the halls of labor and delivery if we needed to, but this was the real thing and please, for the love, start the fluids so the epidural can come soon. Nurse obeyed. Soon she was admiring my pretty veins and continuing to fail to inspire confidence with a “now watch me miss this nice vein,” comment. Come on, Nancy – think positive thoughts.

She did fine, the IV started pumping, and I contracted in triage until the labor and delivery nurse (Jean Marie, who proved to be awesome) came to collect us and move us down the hall. The nurse anesthetist came at 8:45 and started the epidural. He did great and soon I was in a lovely place of being able to feel the pressure of a contraction without any pain. Kevin and I chatted with Jean Marie and with each other and when she checked me at 9:30, I was at 9.5 cm. Woo hoo! Around 5 cm in 2 hours. Not too shabby. Jean Marie said she’d be back in an hour.

Kevin and I relaxed and checked in on Ava, who had gone to bed great for Grandma and Grandpa. Jean Marie came back at 10:30 and said I was complete and ready to start practice pushing. We did that until 10:45 and then she called in the doctor and the baby nurse. The doctor on call was one I’d never met but I instantly liked him – he was calm and laid back. I started pushing around 10:55 and Owen was born at 11:06 PM on Monday, October 2, 2017. He immediately showed off a powerful set of lungs as they put him on my chest. Kevin cut the cord and the nurses worked to remove the liquid and gunk from his mouth. He started nursing pretty easily and quickly. They left us alone for an hour and a half while the epidural wore off and we enjoyed some time with our son (feels so strange to say son!).

My doctor checked in on us when he was working on Wednesday (the physician’s office building is adjacent to the hospital) and said we’d had a “textbook” membrane scraping experience. :) It was definitely a preferable labor and delivery to the one we had with Ava! 4 hours between check in and baby being born versus 36 hours with the first experience. Between that, Owen coming on an approved date from my perspective, and him coming as a Bronco’s bye week was beginning, like his dad jokingly requested, he is proving to be a considerate and accommodating little guy. :) In all seriousness though, he is sweet and adorable and proving to be such a wonderful addition to our family. We love him like crazy and feel so blessed to call him ours.

That’s a wrap {September}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. This letter from a mother to her daughter.

  1. Road trips that showcase stunning fall foliage.  Gorgeous scenery here!
  2. And no links here, but my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the hurricanes over the past few weeks and the shooting in Las Vegas last night. I don’t have words, but I do have prayers.  <3

Making Memories:

  1. Kevin has been assisting with the football team at home games only and while the team is in a bit of a “re-building” year, I think he is really enjoying getting out there to work with his former head coach and the kids.  It’s a beautiful field and campus and a great opportunity for him to get out of the house on the weekends and do something that he enjoys.  Ava and I wish we could go to the games, but they are always right during naptime.  And nothing messes with naptime.
  2. We met up with the Escape Room dream team again to do another room.  This one was super tech heavy and centered around getting into an Egyptian tomb.  We did it with time to spare!  Then we went to a brewery for beers and chicken with waffles.  It was a great afternoon!
  3. Ava has had several playdates with friends and neighbors and a birthday party attended in September.  We continue to usually have friends come to us because it is so much easier to have chair options for her to sit in at our house.
  4. Some friends that I met through Junior League threw a lovely brunch to celebrate Owen’s impending arrival.  I hope to write more about the three celebrations Owen has had in another post because it really is so sweet to me that people put so much love into making us feel special.  But I can barely manage to get up this one monthly recap post recently, so I want to be sure to share a bit about these highlights here too.  I had so much fun catching up with some of my favorite ladies.  Many of them aren’t in the local Junior League any longer or if they are, not very active or on Sustainer or Leave of Absence (yours truly) status, but I am so appreciative that the organization brought us together.  One friend (hi Megan!) even timed a trip to NM from NYC (where she currently lives) to come to the brunch!  It was an awesome morning and I felt so spoiled.
  5. We got Owen’s room painted and the crib and dresser delivered.  Décor has started to come together, even if it’s not on the walls yet.  A neighborhood friend has passed on so many baby clothes to us!  Owen has a much larger wardrobe already than Ava has ever had.
  6. My mother-in-law and a sweet friend threw a baby sprinkle brunch for Owen on September 30.  It was awesome!  The décor and the food and all the thoughtful little touches were so special.  There was a great turnout of family and friends and I loved having a chance to catch up with a few people I hadn’t seen in awhile.  Seriously.  I’m so spoiled!

Bookish:

  1. In September I finished five books:  Miss You by Kate Eberlen (3 stars), Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes (listened to this one on Audible and gave it 4 stars), The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (4 stars), Miss Mapp by E. F. Benson (4 stars), and Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (4 stars).
  2. I’m currently reading Persuasion by Jane Austen and listening to Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool.  Both are great!
  3. Kevin finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and gave it 5 stars.  He also finished The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell:  A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee.  He gave it 4 stars.
  4. Kevin is currently reading Naked by David Sedaris and HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership.  He’s listening to American Kingpin by Nick Bilton.
  5. Ava has been loving The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood:  Meet the Neighbors

Challenges:

  1. This phase of life has included many doctor’s appointments.  I am so fortunate that Kevin is able to make all the pre-natal checkups and all of Ava’s appointments too.  It does take time from work for both of us and that can lead to working evenings and so forth to stay caught up.  But the appointments have all been filled with so many blessings and I have my favorite guy right by my side for all of them, so I can’t say that this is a tough challenge.
  2. We have met our out-of-pocket max for Ava and will soon for myself and Owen, so big year for medical expenses.  I’m so grateful that we have good insurance and that our need to use it has been for stuff like welcoming a new baby into our family and tending to a medical need like hip dysplasia, which, while certainly challenging and scary, is treatable and was caught relatively early for our little Ava.

Sustenance:

  1. We made these mozzarella stuffed meatballs in the slow cooker for lunch one day and they were really good.  Except they gave me heartburn.  But that’s too unexpected at this gestational stage, so I can’t blame the recipe.  Easy, look fancy with the cheese oozing out of the center, and I recommend.
  2. Kevin and I went on a date night to Indigo Crow where we both feasted on Caesar salad and lobster ravioli.  He enjoyed a glass of wine and we both enjoyed the patio atmosphere and each other’s company.

How was your September?

Current obsessions – my favorite facial skincare products.

I am no expert (not even close) on skincare, but I always enjoy these types of posts when other people write them, so I figured – hey, why not me?  I am just loving how my skin looks recently and wanted to share a few newer products that may have contributed.  None of these companies know I exist, I purchased all items listed below, and these are not affiliate links because I don’t care enough to learn how to set that up.  :)  Full disclosure.

A few months ago I was not loving my skin.  I – in general – have very dry skin.  Like very, very dry.  It was really patchy and flaky and just PARCHED a few months ago and I chalked that up to 1) naturally dry skin; 2) getting over a cold; 3) pregnancy.  But it was really bothering me, so I decided to go see an esthetician who I’d met in pre-natal yoga two summers ago.  She owns Broadway Skin and Body Retreat and is a really sweet person.  She reviewed the products I was using at the time, looked at my skin with her fancy magnifying machine (a scary sight, I’m sure), and confirmed that my skin was very dry with some hyper-pigmentation and discoloration.  She politely told me that a few of my current skincare products were not ideal for me (most importantly – my face wash and the fact that I was using witch hazel as a toner) and recommended that I focus on exfoliation to get rid of the layers upon layers of dry skin that had built up on my face.  She was not pushy with the products she carried in her shop at all, and made some general recommendations.  She sent me home with some samples and sold me on the benefits of a couple of items that I purchased that day.

I heard a quote recently and I’m so sad I can’t remember where I heard it (probably a YouTuber) to reference the person who said it and precisely share it here, but it was something along the lines of, “When you’re young, you have the skin you were given.  As you age, you have the skin you earn.”  That resonated with me!  It is within my power to take care of my skin and protect it from the sun and so forth.  Why am I not better about doing that?  Older me will thank younger me.

Okay – so here’s what I currently do and I really think it’s working well for me in this phase of life.

IMAGE Skincare Ormedic Balancing Facial Cleanser.  I really love this stuff!  It tones the skin as well and balances out that pH without any added steps.  It’s gentle and non-drying.  I will definitely keep using this.  I am religious about washing my face each evening.  I go through phases where I’ll wash it in the morning (I know that’s recommended due to all the bacteria on our pillowcases – ew – and so forth), but more often than not, I don’t.

HollyBeth Organics Grits Honey Scrub.  I use this exfoliating scrub approximately three times a week and it has made an amazing difference in how plump and healthy my face feels.  Gone is the dry, listless appearance of a few months ago.  I think getting rid of all that dead skin was huge for me.  Since I have dry skin I thought that exfoliating was a no-no because it would dry the skin out further, but I guess I had that backwards!

HollyBeth Organics Eye Cream.  I was previously not using an eye cream and it showed.  My dry skin needs something around that eye area to keep the lines at bay.  I have seen a major difference since I started using this cream and I’m very happy with it.  Maybe any other good cream would be just as good, but this has worked for me.  I apply it after I cleanse my face.  It’s pricey but lasts a long time and I don’t mind investing in good skin products when they work.

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator.  This was one item that I was previously using and Devon said that Clinique is okay but not at the top of her list of the best product lines.  I tried a HollyBeth moisturizer sample she gave me and it was not effective, so I went back to my trusty Clinique – mainly just to use the jar since I hate wasting products.  It seems to be working well with the changes I’ve made, so I’m sticking with it.  I’m not opposed to trying something new, but am not deliberately seeking anything out either.  I’m happy with this!  I apply it after I wash my face each evening.

IMAGE Vital C Hydrating Repair Crème.  I have been using this in the morning and I really like the citrus scent.  It’s perfect for the AM and this seems to work well to keep my skin moisturized through the day.  I’m only wearing make-up once or twice a week these days and this has served as a good unofficial “primer” for me when I do put on makeup.  If my skin feels super dry, I’ll reach for the Clinique option above, but in general I’ve been using this and like it.

Supergoop! Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40.  If I am not wearing makeup and know that I’ll be outside a decent amount in a day, I’ll use this sunscreen on my face, neck, and décolletage instead of using the Vital C crème above.  It’s light and doesn’t have a strong scent, which I appreciate.

Supergoop! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35+ Sunscreen.  As previously mentioned, I’m only wearing makeup once or twice a week recently, and honestly – I have never been the type to NEED makeup in order to feel like I can leave the house (not that there is anything wrong with that – it’s just not something I’ve ever cared about).  When I do have the desire and want to take the time to wear a little makeup, this is what I am using.  It gives me enough coverage to even out my skin a bit but is obviously not full coverage and doesn’t hide all freckles, hyper-pigmentation spots, etc.  I think I got a sample in a Birchbox years ago and it has been my go-to ever since.  I use the shade Light to Medium, I think.

Clinique Blended Face Powder.  I’ll set my CC cream with a very, very light dusting of this powder.  I don’t really know why as it’s basically invisible.  Maybe it’s purely mental but I just feel like a powder gives a little finish and adds a smooth quality to the skin.  This container is huge and I’ll be using it until I’m 40 probably because I use so little of it.  I think I have the Transparency Neutral shade.

A few other things I use and do include:

Clarisonic Mia 2 with a sensitive skin brush head.  I requested this for Christmas a few years ago and my mother-in-law delivered.  I use my Image face cleanser with the Clarisonic about three times a week (on days that I don’t use the HollyBeth exfoliating scrub).

Water.  Without fail, I drink 80 ounces a day.  Some days are easier than others, but I know this is good for my skin and especially important while pregnant to keep those Braxton Hicks, among other symptoms, at bay.

Clean makeup brushes/sponges.  I have become quite diligent about cleaning my Sephora makeup brush, BeautyBlender sponge, or Clarisonic Sonic Foundation Brush Head (a recent little splurge that I LOVE) after every use.  I would formerly go weeks without cleaning whatever tool I’d been using to apply my makeup and I cringe to think about that now.  It takes about a minute of my time and I think it applies makeup so much better when I next use it.  Plus – more importantly – it’s clean and better for the skin without all that buildup and bacteria.

And that’s all she wrote on a subject she knows next to nothing about.  I love talking about makeup and skincare and beauty products, even if I do barely dabble in using them and don’t know anything.  What are your favorite skincare must-haves?

That’s a wrap {August}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. I’m certainly not a minimalist (although I am closer to minimalist than hoarder on that spectrum, for sure), but I think there is a lot of value to this idea:  kids need minimalism.
  2. An oldie but a goodie and one I am really relating to recently…  {What’s Up Moms:  I’m So Pregnant}
  3. Even older.  Also always makes me laugh:  Pregnant Women are Smug.
  4. I got this one from a recent Links & Loves post that Amanda did:  Let’s Bring Motherhood Down a Notch.  Timely because I’m in a high-strung phase of motherhood, fo sho.
  5. This was also one that Amanda linked to (she was on a roll with that post):  When the Words Feel Heavy.  It’s beautifully written, and I especially liked the links to other resources that address racial inequality issues so prevalent in our country at the end of the post.

Making Memories:

  1. In general, we haven’t gone out much since Ava went in the cast.  We do our grocery shopping each week – one of us will push Ava in the stroller while the other pushes the cart – which we all enjoy, and we take morning walks each day.  We also go to Kevin’s parents’ house once a week for Sunday dinner.  And we go to Ava’s doctor’s appointments.  Kevin and Ava went to the zoo one morning before it warmed up too much and we plan to do that more as it cools down.  I’m also thinking I’ll take her to the aquarium or something soon because school is back in session and it’ll be less chaotic.  But overall, it’s just not worth the hassle of getting her out in the heat and dealing with packing up our cast-friendly booster chair, etc. and instead we just make friends come to us.  :)  However, we did make it to her little friend’s birthday party which was something right out of Pinterest.  It was fun to catch up with friends and Ava was quite the charmer.  She talked about going to the party basically the entire drive to the party and then the following couple of days had plenty of talk of the party.  Kevin’s arms were really tired by the time we left because he held her the whole time!  But I think we all had a really nice time.
  2. We also ventured out to breakfast with my great aunt one Sunday morning and it was so pleasant.  Honestly – Ava may be even better in restaurants now than she was before (and she has always been very, very good) because she is so accustomed to sitting in one spot.  She was perfectly entertained with the bowl of single serve half-and-half containers and the pieces of paper we peel off her disposable placemat.  She is such a good little toddler.
  3. For Mother’s Day, my mother-and-father-in-law gave me a gift card for a prenatal massage at a local spa.  Since I was not very pregnant at the time, I decided to keep it for the third trimester and I am so glad I did.  It was such a treat to spend a few hours at the spa one Saturday morning in August.  Thanks to them for that pampering!
  4. Kevin is helping with the varsity home games for football this year, and I’m so glad that he’s able to get out for a bit some weekends and go do something he loves:  coach football.  I think he’s perfect of course and it’s really fantastic that he’s able to be involved with those kids and set a good example for impressionable teenagers.
  5. Some people at work threw Owen a surprise baby shower!  It was so sweet.  They had posole, green chile stew, and the BEST tres leches cake in the whole wide world.  There were dinosaur balloons and a diaper cake and lots of gifted diapers and wipes.  We feel so fortunate to work with such awesome people.

Bookish:

  1. In August I finished quite a few books.  I’d been working on this one for a bit and finally finished Emma by the one and only Jane Austen, of course, to which I awarded 5 stars (and I want to go on the record saying that I prefer Mr. Knightly to Mr. Darcy, hands down).  I listened to One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid and gave it 4 stars – it was actually a really interesting storyline (lady marries high school sweetheart, he disappears after a helicopter crash on their first anniversary and is presumed dead, then three years later, he is found alive and she has, in the meantime, gotten engaged to someone else) and a good listen.  Often narrators start to annoy me or I notice that the author repeats words a lot more when I listen versus read or whatever – but I was engaged and not annoyed through this whole listen.  I read The After Party by Anton DiSclafani and gave it 3 stars.  My first ever Agatha Christie was And Then There Were None, to which I gave 5 stars.  My second Agatha Christie was A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple #10) and I gave it 3 stars.  I read Queen Lucia and loved it – 5 stars.  E.F. Benson’s writing is just excellent.  And finally, I read The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth and I gave it 4 stars.
  2. I’m currently listening to Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and think it is hilarious.  It’s all I can do to get out of my car and stop listening when I reach my destination.  Highly recommend – thus far at least – as a light, easy read/listen.  And I’m currently reading Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson, which I’m also loving.
  3. In August, Kevin finished American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic by Joseph Ellis and he gave it 4 stars.
  4. Kevin’s currently reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (his mom is reading it too and they’re doing a little book club together) and really enjoying it.  He is also still reading Naked by David Sedaris and HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership.  He’s listening to The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell:  The Dyslexic Traitor, An Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, and finds it fascinating.
  5. Ava’s favorite books these days are probably My Dynamite Dad, A Ride Through the Neighborhood (Daniel Tiger), Hoot, Zoom, and Big Fish Little Fish.  :)  Those are the ones she tends to request at bedtime, night after night.

Challenges:

  1. Ava had a cast change on August 22 which meant anesthesia and uncertainty.  Fortunately all went perfectly and the surgeon said the x-ray looks even better than he expected (he’s super conservative with his communicated expectations, so that is glowing news really).  Ava didn’t even seem to notice that she had a different cast, which we were grateful for because we thought she may be in a bit of pain since the legs were repositioned slightly.  Anyway, all went really well and we’re so grateful, but it was a mental and emotional strain through the beginning of the month as we lived with the anticipation of more anesthesia and the surgeon getting a good look at how things were coming together in that hip zone.
  2. She continues to be such a champ, but entertaining an immobile toddler is a challenge and worth noting.  Kevin and I have become masters of extending an activity for a ridiculous length of time by pointing out something, tweaking it a little bit, etc. just so we’re not shuffling through puzzles, legos, homemade games, books, etc. at breakneck speed.  Her attention span truly is amazing, but sometimes the hours seem long.
  3. We’re in the every-two-week-appointment zone for pregnancy and Ava has pretty regular appointments as well and we’re both working and running a household and….  It feels like there is a lot to juggle right now.  My belly is getting bigger and I’m moving slower and sometimes at the end of the day it just seems like so MUCH.  I know we’re not unique in any of this – this is life for everyone, with variations here and there.  We all just do what we can when we can, right?

Sustenance:

  1. We tried this chicken penne casserole with corn and zucchini.  I grabbed yellow squash rather than zucchini at the store, and we subbed in Banza for regular penne to increase the protein a bit.  {Sidenote:  have you tried Banza?  It’s a pasta substitute made with chickpeas.  I really do think it tastes like regular pasta – and I’m picky about pasta.  Worth trying if you care about watching carbs!}  Anyway, the casserole was good, but I’d probably go in with a heavier hand with the salt and pepper and maybe even some red pepper flakes or green chile if I made it again.
  2. We made this creamy sun-dried tomato baked chicken as well and it was really good.  Dairy-free!  I love using coconut milk.  It’s also supposed to be gluten free but I tossed the chicken thighs in flour instead of buying potato starch or tapioca starch just for this one recipe (the recipe also suggests corn starch, but I just went with flour because it was easier).  I’d add mushrooms next time – those would add a nice depth of flavor, I think.  We ate it over rice, but it would be really good over egg noodles as well.
  3. And evidently I didn’t track new recipes well or we stuck with old, familiar favorites in August, because that’s the only noteworthy things I have to share about food for the month!

How was your August?

The second bambino – a pregnancy update.

Here we are in the third trimester and I’m finally taking the time to jot down a few things about this pregnancy and what I know about this baby I’m carrying.  #secondchildproblems indeed.

I saw a meme that said something like:  First Pregnancy – “The baby weighs 1.3 pounds which is 6 ounces more than last week.”  Second Pregnancy – “I think I’m due in the Fall….”  I’ve found that to be very true.  I definitely have a hard time keeping track of what week I’m on.  My Ovia app keeps me on track there – and I mainly only check the app when I need to remember how far along I am.  I don’t devour the information in the articles like I’m going to be tested on the material the way I did during my first pregnancy.

Much like my pregnancy with Ava, I have been very blessed thus far to be enjoying a relatively easy time of it.  I still – even as recently as last week – gag in the mornings if my stomach is too empty, but it’s nothing a Kind bar won’t fix lickety-split.  There are other pregnancy symptoms that I won’t go into detail about, but overall, it has been pretty smooth sailing.  My varicose veins are out of control, which is glamorous, but doesn’t really affect how I feel.  There have been a handful of days when I think I was on my feet too much or something because by the end I feel very mild contraction-like discomfort in waves, but maybe those are just a different style of Braxton Hicks.  I spoke to my OB’s office about it and mentioned it at yesterday’s ultrasound and since there is nothing else to indicate an increased risk of pre-term labor, no one seems concerned.  Owen looked great at the ultrasound yesterday.  He’s measuring right on track at 30 weeks, 6 days and weighing around 3 lbs 9 oz.  His heart and kidneys and spine and brain all look great and he’s taking his practice breaths like a champ.  He’s head down and in a good position for now, so hopefully he stays comfy just like that for the next 7-10 weeks.  He had a hand up over his face and his feet pulled up around his head, but we got a few cute 3D pictures with a little smile on his face.

I feel like my immune system really took a hit in the early second trimester, but I’ve felt well and healthy through the summertime months.  Speaking of summer, I know that being pregnant in the summer is many women’s nightmare (hot hot HOT) but I continue to have cold blood coursing through my veins and have not been affected by the heat at all.  In fact I usually need a sweater or blanket if I’m sitting or lying down through the day.

Owen moves a lot which is so fun.  Those baby kicks and punches and rolls are one of my favorite things about pregnancy.  I’ve been taking a continuing ed prenatal yoga class, which is a really great way to unwind and do something for just myself and Owen each week.  The class ends soon and I won’t renew, but I want to find something else to do in its place.  Other than that class and our morning walks as a family, I’m not exercising.  I walk around a lot and am pretty active in general for everyday activities, so hopefully that’s working okay for me.  As of my 28 week appointment with my OB, I was only up 11 pounds from the 8 week appointment weight.  He was really comfortable with that, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.

I passed the glucose test (yay!) and have been trying to limit my sugar intake in general, which I’ve noticed makes a big difference in how I feel.  Of course I am craving ALL THE SWEET THINGS, but I’ve been pretty disciplined about not eating them because I know it’s not worth not feeling well later.  I basically only drink water (always 80+ ounces a day) with the exception of the occasional (once a week? maybe?) sweet black tea from Starbucks.  And I’ll have a sip or two of Kevin’s diet soda when he indulges in one (once a month? maybe?).  So overall I’m very happy with how I’ve been doing on the food and drink front.

We have basically made no preparations.  I think we have bought three sleep and play outfits and we have maybe four gender neutral items of clothing in Ava’s stash of things outgrown.  Of course we have the high chair and the pack and play and the travel crib and changing supplies.  We need to get a Rock’n’Play sleeper (hopefully Owen is the same kind of sleeper – awesome – as Ava) and some newborn diapers.  We’ll get away with not buying a second infant car seat because Ava is in a forward facing seat and will likely continue to be from here on out because of the span and shape of the spica cast and rhino cruiser brace (by the time she’s out of the brace she should be big enough to face forward anyway).  We need to order a crib soon and get the room converted from office to baby, but there is no sense of urgency since we know Owen will be in our room for 4-6 months.  We’re going with a safari kind of theme with a lot of grey and brown and yellow in the room.  We need to get a double stroller at some point as well.

I think Ava is going to be an amazing, sweet big sister.  She has been obsessed with babies for the past few weeks.  Of course it’ll be different when the baby doesn’t leave and takes mama and daddy’s time away from her, but I think we’ll all do fine with the transition.  We’re so fortunate that Kevin’s parents live so close to us and that they regularly care for her now and she’s accustomed to being around them for longer stretches of time.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’m nervous about the timeline of the next 10 weeks.  Ava should be transitioning to the brace from the cast when I’m around 37 weeks and I had her at 37 weeks (and 6 days), so it just seems like it could be a whole lot going on at once.  I know it will all work out fine, but the unknowns are unnerving.

I feel a little guilty sometimes that so little of my time and thoughts have been focused on Owen versus how I was when pregnant with Ava.  But maybe it’s to his advantage – I feel like though there is more life stress during this pregnancy, I am much less stressed and worried about stuff that could go wrong related to the pregnancy.  Does that make sense?  Maybe he’ll be totally chill – just like his mom (wink wink).  I do know that we are so, so grateful for this life and that he is thriving.  We love him already and are excited to meet him in a couple of months.

{Pregnancy Announcement – Owen}

That’s a wrap {July}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. As I had an epidural during my first time in the labor and delivery ward, and I have every intention of repeating that blissful experience in a few months, I thought this was very wise.  And the writing yielded a chuckle or seven from me too.
  2. Ten ways kids appear to be acting naughty but aren’t.  I thought this article was interesting and it definitely reminded me to keep my expectations of a toddler in check.  Structure and clear parameters and expectations are important at any age, but gosh – kids are kids!
  3. Let the record reflect that I have not purchased anything from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  Normally I pick up a pair of Zella leggings because…why not?  But this year the Zella leggings I already own are feeling a little tight so I know I wouldn’t be able to enjoy new leggings for several months and I’m more an instant gratification kind of shopper.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve perused the sale items and put a plethora of items in my cart, but then I change my mind (for reasons such as:  out of my size, won’t fit now, not breastfeeding friendly and therefore I know I won’t reach for it in a few months, etc.) and remove all items.  Just to go back the following day and play the same game.  Here are a few of my favorites:  Vince Camuto Prasata Bootie, Halogen Long Open Front Cardigan, Gibson Tie Front Cozy Fleece Pullover, Eliza J Cold Shoulder Fit & Flare Dress, Free People Electric City Pullover, and Born Allie Scalloped Ballet Flats.
  4. I did recently buy some new sneakers because I realized my beloved purple New Balance shoes have served me well since 2013 (!!) and well, there is zero support remaining and my arches aren’t getting any younger.  I bought these.  Simple and basic.

 

Making Memories:

  1. We had planned to do a staycation this year and a staycation we had.  It was just a little different than we’d imagined.  I am so grateful that Kevin and I were both able to take over a week off work after Ava’s surgery.  We really enjoyed our time together as a family, taking it pretty easy.  Kevin’s parents hung out with Ava a few times to let us get out of the house for a couple of hours.
  2. We were and are so floored by the support and love of our family and friends bringing/sending gifts and food and well wishes and texts and calls and prayers and…  Feeling the love, folks, feeling the love.
  3. I’ve been taking pre-natal yoga on Saturday mornings and it has been enjoyable.  It’s a little…prop heavy (seriously – three blankets, two blocks, a bolster, a folding chair, two sandbags, and a strap – every time.  There’s barely enough room for the pregnant ladies with all those props scattered about the space.) and it’s the kind of place that would probably frown upon my epidural birth plan, but it still provides a nice little escape for Amy and Owen.  We both feel good coming away from class.
  4. We’re adjusting to a work schedule that is slightly abbreviated as either Kevin or I work from home while Sue is with Ava, just so we’re available if she needs help with anything related to the cumbersomeness of the cast.  So far it has been working out really well.  We’re so grateful that we have the flexibility to do that with our jobs and that we have family with Ava.  I cannot imagine how tough this would be if Ava were in daycare or if we had jobs that did not allow us this flexibility.
  5. We met some friends – a quadruple date of sorts – at a local escape room one Saturday afternoon and it was so much fun.  We escaped the room, which was awesome (15% success rate for that room and we escaped with 15 minutes remaining on our time and we didn’t ask for a single hint while in the room!).  We already have a tentative date set for our next escape room adventure!  After escaping we went to a local brewery that has awesome food to boot.  I had some of their house brew root beer and a roast beef and cheddar wrap.  Kevin had a beer and a sandwich.  It was really nice to relax and chat with the other three couples, who are all just awesome people.  We’re so grateful that Kevin’s parents are so generous with their time and always willing to watch Ava so we can get out and do stuff like this or even just grab coffee and read for a bit at Starbucks.

Bookish:

  1. Kevin and I finished listening to Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.  I believe he gave it five stars and I gave it four.  He also finished listening to Treason by Newt Gingrich, which he really loved – five stars for that one too.  He was on a reading kick this month and also finished American Lion:  Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham – it received a three star rating.
  2. Kevin is reading Naked by David Sedaris (we’re all into David these days), HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership, and American Creation:  Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic by Jon Meachum.
  3. I finished the fourth Harry Potter (Goblet of Fire).  I love re-reading that series.  They truly are such good books.  I also finished Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams, to which I gave three stars.  And f.i.n.a.l.l.y – Team of Rivals:  The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  I’ve been chipping away at that one since last October (!!) and it was so good.  Five stars undoubtedly.
  4. I’m currently reading Emma by Jane Austen and I’m listening to One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
  5. Ava’s favorite books currently are two from the library: Body in the My First board book series (she calls it the “baby” book because there are a lot of babies in it) and The Itsy-Bitsy Bunny.

Challenges:

  1. Obviously having a toddler in a spica cast is a challenge.  Overall we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the new normal routine and how well we’re all doing with it, but there have certainly been challenging moments.  It’s still really hard to see her immobilized.  Considering it is a short term thing, we are probably too maudlin and nostalgic about missing the sound of her little feet running down the hall or playing on the swings and slides at the park.  I think both Kevin and I have struggled with being weighed down by all the “what ifs” – what if the hip comes out again, what if the acetabulum doesn’t move down the way it needs to, what if another surgery is needed….  We are very, very grateful that things have gone smoothly thus far and all seems well as of the most recent appointment last Friday, but it has still been emotionally and mentally draining.
  2. Along those lines, both Kevin and I have had some little aches and pains as we adjusted to picking up, setting down, and carrying Ava in that bulky cast.  It turns out that it didn’t add nearly the weight we thought it would, but it’s very cumbersome and has no give to it (good thing too because it’s keeping that precious hip in place!) so it can get a little tiresome to hold and carry her for extended amounts of time.
  3. Kiki had a little digestive issue in July.  Poor girl was trapped in a room with Rue while our master bath reno was going on, and then I’m sure she picked up on our human stress with Ava’s recent experience.  She turns 15 this weekend (!!) and is overall doing so good, but we did have to go to the vet in July to get her a little medicine.  We also think her thyroid medication may need to be adjusted again.
  4. I’m only 29 weeks pregnant but starting to feel very pregnant and experienced some aches and pains that I’ve found a little alarming.  We’re on such a tight timeline in terms of when Ava is expected to move from the cast to the brace and our due date for Owen.  I just pray it all lines up okay and the pregnancy continues to go smoothly so that I can focus on Ava and all the stuff we need to do before Owen is born.

Sustenance:

  1. I made this apple breakfast cobbler in the crock pot one night.  It was pretty good with some vanilla Greek yogurt.  I don’t think it’ll be a regular breakfast in our house, but I could see it being a good option if you host a brunch or have people over for breakfast.
  2. This creamy chicken and rice one-pot dinner was a home run.  Kevin and I both loved it, Ava ate some of the chicken (she’s so picky about chicken), and the leftovers were delicious.  It reminded me of a risotto – minus all the stirring.  It really is one-pot too, so easy clean up.  I highly, highly recommend and will be making this one again.
  3. I love muffins and I love making muffins but neither Kevin or Ava are super into them (except for Einstein’s blueberry muffins – Ava will inhale one of those) so that means that I basically go through phases where I want to make a lot of muffins and then I eat a lot of muffins.  I try to stick to low/no-sugar options since I know that I’ll be eating so many of the 12-18 that a recipe produces (I know I could freeze some but I’m really bad about freezing food for “later” but NEVER eating it and eventually I have to throw out a bunch of ice-covered blocks of best of intentions), and these were really good – 2/3 of the flour used is whole wheat flour, a cup of Greek yogurt which I think must add a little bit of protein, and they’re sweetened with honey.  I happened to have blueberries and raspberries that needed to be used so I tossed both in the mix rather than just the blueberries that the recipe lists.  I also made these banana nut muffins which were delicious.  And I made these sugar-free, gluten-free chocolate peanut butter protein muffins.  Loved them!
  4. We made this slow cooker beef and potato au gratin and it was pretty good.  Super easy, and Ava friendly since she likes beef so may be something we repeat at some point.
  5. Another slow cooker meal that was a hit with Ava and Kevin was this cubed steak and gravy.  I thought the steak was a little overcooked and therefore didn’t love the texture (Kevin probably secretly agreed but he is the nicest/smartest husband on the planet and NEVER criticizes my cooking).  The gravy, however, was delicious and I would so make it again with chicken or turkey.  I also added sliced mushrooms which were perfection in that gravy.
  6. Lots of recipes to share from July!  I made these breakfast sandwiches to freeze and am happy with how they turned out.  Next time I will leave out the red bell peppers just because I’m picky about bell peppers and don’t like them with breakfast food?  I don’t know.  Can’t explain it, but that’s the one thing I’d change.
  7. Last one:  we made this Slow Cooker Korean Beef last week and it was pretty good.  I think we’d make it again.  I would recommend taking some of the sauce out and thickening it with cornstarch on the stovetop rather than trying to thicken it in the slow cooker like the recipe recommends.

 

How was your July?