Links to Love:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I’m currently reading Emma by Jane Austen and I’m listening to One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?