A tale of a bathroom reno: the master

This was a major undertaking – the renovation of the master bathroom.  Our master bath was very dated – 1990’s light oak, jetted tub (that we never used), the one-sink vanity that had seen better days, and there was this really random shelf and wasted space at the foot of the tub.  Rue figured out how to get the door on the tub open and took it upon herself to explore the mechanics of the jetted tub, so we {and by we I mean I} duck-taped it closed with some classy mustache tape.  {Kevin probably would have preferred Rue having access to the underbelly of the tub than look at that mustache tape day in and day out!}  All that to say, we were really excited to update the bathroom.

We have a contractor guy who works with his son on projects such as these so we got a quote and some ideas from them and started buying the stuff.  So much stuff.  Kevin is really good at piecing these projects together and he pays attention to the details.  I’m more big picture.  I know what I like, I know what I don’t like, but I can’t really articulate that until I see it in a photo or something.  I sometimes get a little impatient because he is so deliberate and doesn’t rush decisions.  Basically if we ever built a house from the ground up, he would just have to make all the decisions and tell me when to move in because I get so bored with the details!

Anyway, Kirk and Scott set to work on June 5 and finished on June 21.  A bigger company probably would have done it faster – for a price – but we really like knowing and trusting the people working in our house.  And they do great work, so it was definitely a great decision.

Here are the photos, by phase!

And some final photos with the paint touched up and our stuff moved in…

We worked with a local company to get the vanity and shelves custom built.  The place does granite work, which is why we looked there to begin with – the granite top of the vanity is also from them.  We already can’t wait to have that company gives us an estimate to replace our kitchen countertops!  From one project to the next.

And a tale for another day – the next chapter in the adventures of Ruester. She took it upon herself to explore the space between the first floor and the second floor. That cat – she’s a pistol.

Do you like the idea of building a house from the ground up, with all the little decisions that entails?  Any big projects on the horizon for your space?

That’s a wrap {June}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. This song (Homecoming – Josh Ritter) was at the end of the Billions season finale and I immediately bought it on iTunes.  My play count since purchase is probably 100+.  (Slight exaggeration.  Slight.  Maybe.)  I love it.
  2. Speaking of songs, Rach shared this one recently, and it really resonated.  Hannah Kerr’s voice is beautiful.
  3. Comparing the Big 12 Football Teams to characters from The Office – I thought this was pretty funny.
  4. Heart eyes on this little video – a baby elephant chasing birds.

Making Memories:

  1. Our master bath renovation took a little over two weeks but it is over now and we are so, so happy with the results!  Our bathroom feels so luxurious and spa-like.
  2. Kevin and I have each made time for friends in June.  He met up with some guys he used to work with for a golf tournament and they had a great time.  I’ve lunched and brunched with a few friends, and we met up with my aunt and some of my cousins for dinner one night.
  3. I started a pre-natal yoga continuing education class.  It’s eight weeks and I think it’ll be really good for me and therefore the little guy.
  4. Speaking of our boy, we have announced his name:  Owen Daniel.  Owen was honestly the only name that Kevin and I agreed we strongly liked and Daniel is Kevin’s middle name.  We’ve probably known for two months that Owen was the strongest name contender, but we waited for quite awhile to share because why not?
  5. Ava had a lot of fun in June.  She’s been to the zoo a couple of times, had a few play dates, played in sprinklers with the neighborhood kids, and went swimming for the first time!
  6. We have felt so blessed by the outpouring of love and support from family and friends. Seriously – I’m so humbled by the generosity of the people in our lives. Kevin’s parents have kept us fed from the day of the surgery forward and so many others have given food and time and prayers and gifts and…we’re just so fortunate.

Bookish:

  1. I’m still currently reading Team of Rivals (slow and steady progress) and re-reading the fourth Harry Potter.  I also started Emma and I’m really enjoying it!  Jane Austen is so witty.
  2. The only book I finished in June was actually an Audible book:  Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella.  Definitely not my favorite book by her – I gave it three stars.  It’s hard to say for sure, but I may have liked it better if I’d read it rather than listened to it.
  3. Kevin finished Good to Great and gave it five stars.  (Ron, are you reading this?  I promise we’re not just saying five stars because you’d disown us if we rated Jim Collins any lower.  ;-) Kevin really loved the book and sees so much application for it at work.)
  4. Kevin is reading American Lion:  Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham.  He is also listening to Treason, which is the sequel to Duplicity, the book we listened to on our way to and from Denver last December.
  5. We also are both still listening to David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day.  And we found out that David Sedaris is coming to town in November!!  We’re definitely going to go to that show.
  6. Ava made a trip to the library in June and has really enjoyed two of her checked out board books:  Show Me Your Feelings and Baby’s First Words.

Challenges:

  1. This post goes into the details, but finding out on June 1 that Ava’s hip is out of joint and she would require surgery was undoubtedly a monster challenge.  The month included a lot of anxiety, tears, and research as we tried to prepare ourselves.  A few decisions were made:  I decided to take a leave of absence from Junior League which meant abandoning my role on the board and Kevin decided to decline the offer to be the head coach of the middle school football team at his alma mater.  We both struggle with feeling like we’re letting people down by backing away from those commitments, but I feel strongly that as rewarding as those roles would be in a normal fall, we simply have too much else going on personally and professionally.
  2. The surgery was Wednesday and it was a very, very hard day. We had to be there at 6:15 am and they called us back around 7:00. By then Ava was starting to get hungry and she doesn’t care for medical professionals anyway, so we went into meltdown mode pretty quick. And by we I mean both her and me. The people – nurses, surgeon, anesthesiologist – were all so professional and amazing but oh my goodness I think it was the hardest thing either Kevin or I have ever done to send our baby back to the sterile surgery environment section. The surgery was definitely best case scenario –  a closed reduction. They made a small incision to cut a tendon but it was a primarily un-invasive procedure, for which we are very thankful. The nurse kept us updated from the OR through the process and the surgeon came out to talk to us when he was done and we were happy with the degree of confidence he had in the result of the procedure.
  3. Ava’s recovery and our adjustment is only three days in but we’re doing well overall. Ava gets frustrated with her lack of mobility and has asked us a few times to let her “out” of the cast or for us to put her down to walk. It breaks my heart to see her confused and frustrated. We think we are managing the pain well and we’re learning as we go. It’ll be a long 12 weeks in the cast and then the unknown of what will follow (brace for probably 12 months and the continued uncertainty of everything in that hip area staying in place, etc.) but one day at a time, one day at a time.
  4. We still know that we did the right thing with this surgery. Without intervention, Ava would have likely had arthritis by age 15 and needed a total hip replacement by age 30. But it is still hard in the moment to see her so immobilized.

Sustenance:

  1. We made these tomato-basil fish packets on the grill and they were really good.  We’re definitely going to try other variations of veggies with white fish.  Salmon packets or shrimp packets would be great too.  So many possibilities!  Perfect for summer!
  2. I made these 2-ingredient fro-yo bites as a dessert option for myself since I’m trying to really limit my sugar.  I did Oikos Triple Zero vanilla Greek yogurt with raspberries and I think they’re good.  They also made excellent little popsicles for Ava.
  3. Kevin loves this sauce which is a staple in Costa Rica, so we ordered some on Amazon and made this Costa Rican arroz con pollo.  It was very good and easy.

How was your June?

Capsule recipe box: beef.

Beef…it’s what’s for dinner.  Probably once a week or so at our house.  My parents own cattle so we know exactly where our beef comes from and what goes into it, which is really a great thing.

Here are a few of our favorite beef recipes.  {For our “capsule recipe box” of chicken recipes, click here.}

SLOW COOKER BEEF GYROS

I’ve posted this one in a past monthly recap post (here).  It’s really easy and customizable in terms of toppings.

BEEF STROGANOFF

Ava loves this stroganoff and so do Kevin and I.  We always keep a stash of the McCormick Stroganoff seasoning packs on hand and it’s a really quick go-to recipe on a week night.  We follow the instructions on the seasoning packet and add some red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.  We have used both stew meat and ground beef and both are good, but Ava prefers the ground beef and we keep more ground beef than stew meat in the freezer, so we’ll default to that.  This is best served over egg noodles, but we’ve been really trying to watch our pasta intake so more often than not we’ll serve it over rice.  Still delicious!

MELT IN YOUR MOUTH POT ROAST

This one needs a little time to really reach peak flavor so we’ve really only made it on weekends.  Perfect for a chilly day!

SPAGHETTI WITH MEAT SAUCE

We’ll usually brown some ground beef and mix in Newman’s Sockarooni spaghetti sauce, but sometimes I love to make my own simple spaghetti sauce like the one my mom made when I was growing up.  That’s just cans of tomato sauce, cans of whole or stewed tomatoes, dried seasonings like basil and oregano, salt, pepper, and lots of simmering time.  I love that there is no added sugar and just simple ingredients.  Our favorite pasta to serve any sauce over is De Boles Organic Spinach Fettucine.  I’ve also recently really been into zoodles.  I don’t have a fancy spiralizer and just use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons which I then sauté very lightly in olive oil or butter, if I’m feeling decadent.

EASY SHEPHERD’S PIE

Technically this is cottage pie if you use beef (lamb = shepherd), but it really is easy and it really is delicious.  The recipe can be found here.

STEAK ON THE GRILL

Kevin is the official grillmaster at our house.  This is the marinade we most often use on steaks.  It is so, so delicious.  I like my steak medium rare, but I’ll eat it less rare when pregnant.  My sister doesn’t have a grill so she cooks her steak in the cast iron skillet and raves about that method as well.

BEEF STEW

Another one that is great for a chilly weekend day as it takes a little time to prepare and cook.  But it is worth every ounce of effort and it will leave your house smelling so, so good.  Here’s the recipe we love best when we have a hankering for beef stew.

TACOS

We brown up the ground beef and mix in some taco seasoning packet (probably McCormick?).  We use the hard corn shells that stand up by themselves.  Load them up with meat, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top, and place in the broiler until the cheese is melted.  So good and easy.

What are your favorite beef recipes?  How do you like your steak?

 

A random assortment of random.

Thanks for all the sweet comments and emails and texts and phone calls after my last post.  I so appreciate it.  While I am striving to think of this chapter as an adventure, I’d be lying if I said that’s easy.  There are minutes – hours – days when what we’re facing feels completely overwhelming and I am in complete denial (or hysterics, depending on the severity of the moment) that it’ll be our reality for a bit.  Anyway.  Thanks again.

Ava’s surgery was originally scheduled for today – June 19, but because the OR wasn’t available for long enough that day, it had to be postponed to next week.  At first I was upset about the delay because I was anxious to get on with it.  An earlier surgery meant the cast should have been coming off ten days earlier than it now will be, which is ten days further out from my due date with baby boy.  Waiting ten days for surgery means ten more days of the anxiety sprinkled unknown.  But overall it has worked out for the best because we had our master bath renovation start on June 5 and they were supposed to be done by June 16, but alas – are still going and probably won’t finish until June 21.  It’s nice to not have a newly body casted toddler in a house with the noise and stress of renovation projects.  Also, we got hit with a quick turnaround (5 days) audit at work, and while my boss could have handled that fine on her own, I’m glad I’m at work this week and able to help get all ready by Thursday.

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I think the surgery being today would have put a nervous damper on Kevin’s Father’s Day yesterday too, so it was nice that it was pushed back for that reason too.  We had a great Father’s Day celebrating our favorite guy.  Kiki and Rue got him a card and Ava and I got him a card.  We also gave him a book about dynamite dad’s and a photo to replace the one that was in a frame in his office at work.  I picked up Bocadillo’s breakfast burritos for breakfast and we just played in the park and at home and hung out during the morning.  Ava didn’t want to stop celebrating her dad long enough to nap in the morning, but she did take one in the afternoon when Kevin went to meet his dad for coffee.  Kevin’s parents came over for dinner and poor Kevin had to grill his own Father’s Day dinner.  The burgers and bell peppers were so delicious.  He also made his awesome guacamole.  Seriously – poor guy can’t get a break all year.  :)  I slaved over the stove to bake a box of store bought Thin Mint brownies, which were amazing with the vanilla Haagen-Dazs Sue brought.  Ava enjoyed her little burger with guacamole.  She’s hesitant to try new foods recently and at first she turned down some ice cream.  Kevin started questioning paternity.  Fortunately I convinced Ava to try a bite with the promise that it was “like a popsicle” (of which she’s only ever had healthy homemade versions) and she loved the ice cream.  :)  We also had her show off her ability to say her brother’s name and she told my step-dad via FaceTime, my mom and sister via recorded video, and Kevin’s parents in person.  I think they all approve of the name or are at least pretending to. :)  It was a great day and I hope that Kevin felt even half as special as we think he is because that would be a whole, whole lot.

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One morning at about 7:40, the doorbell rang.  We were expecting Sue soon after that time to watch Ava, so I thought I would see her when I opened the door.  Nope.  It was a police officer.  He had a serious look on his face and asked if everything was okay.  I said, “Umm, yes,” with what I imagine was a perplexed look on my face.

“Your panic alarm was set off.”

Oh.

Oops.

We have alarm fobs that include a button that automatically dispatches the police when it is pressed.  Ava likes playing with our keys and when she has the keys, we are quick to take that one away from her so that this very thing doesn’t happen.  But…earlier that morning, as we were getting ready, she started playing with the contents of my purse and when I noticed her toddling around with the keys, I asked Kevin to remove the fob.  Too late, we found.

I explained what had happened, he called off the two other officers that were patrolling our side yard, I apologized profusely, he only looked mildly annoyed, and that was that.  The city charges $25 a year as a “False Alarm Ordinance Fee” and I guess Ava just wanted to be sure it wasn’t for nothing this year.  We did get a sternly worded letter from the city police a few days later telling us that they operate on a ‘three strikes, you’re fined’ system, so we’ll try to keep our false alarm count under three.

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One riveting piece of trivia a la Amy is that my favorite place to tweeze my eyebrows is in my car, using the rearview mirror.  For some reason all my blonde little hard-to-see stray hairs become glaringly obvious in that rearview.

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We’ve been enjoying some good TV recently.

Homeland ended several weeks (maybe even a couple of months?) ago.  My absolute favorite character on the show died (I won’t give more of a spoiler than that), which I’m still sad about.  {But NOT the level of sad I was when my favorite character in Breaking Bad died.  Immediately following that scene, Kevin made the mistake of trying to tickle me and I snapped at him.  “I am NOT in the mood to be tickled.  Mike just died.”  That line has become a standing joke for us.}  But about Homeland.  The season (was it season 6?) got better as it progressed but didn’t draw us in like the first few seasons did.

A Showtime show that got it RIGHT this year was Billions (season 2).  I really, really like that show.  We were really impressed with it.  I’ll be very interested to see where it goes next year.  When I grow up I want to be like Wendy.  She’s my favorite.

Silicon Valley is one episode away from wrapping up the current season and we’ve enjoyed what they’ve done.  I like that Jian-Yang has more of a role this season.  He and Erlich’s interactions are really funny.

Better Call Saul season finale is tonight and I am really on the edge of my seat to see what happens.  I have a feeling it’s going to be big.  Will Nacho die?  I’m worried about him.  Will Hector have the stroke or whatever happens that lands him in the wheelchair with a bell we know and love from Breaking Bad?  It has been a good season.  Jimmy is really starting to develop into Saul.  I loved the re-introduction of Gus this season.  And any time Mike gets on the screen is good time by me.

Big Bang Theory!  Who saw the final scene of the final episode of the season that just wrapped up coming??  Super sweet.  It was hard to get into BBT this year because the schedule was so sporadic.  Show airs on Monday!  No, wait, Thursday!  It’s on every week for a month.  Now it’s not on for two weeks.  Blah.  But overall, good ending for the season.

We exercised remarkable self-restraint and did not binge-watched House of Cards this season.  Mostly timing of the release, but also I thought it started out slow.  I think Frank is getting too philosophical and spending too much time talking to the viewers. We did finish the season over the weekend and I’m just apparently never happy because I thought the beginning of the season was too slow and the end was too fast.  There was so much happening!  It got hard for me to track all the pieces.  It did end with a high note of anticipation for next season.

I’m on season three of Grace and Frankie on Netflix and am enjoying it, although I don’t know that it’s as good as the first two seasons thus far.  That show is just so perfectly cast.  I love Jane Fonda as Grace.

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Are you watching any good shows? 

An adventure.

Back in February or March a woman who volunteers in Ava’s music class mentioned that she thought there was something a bit off in Ava’s gait when walking.  The woman works with Early Intervention and we set up a time for the PT and LSP to come to our house and do an evaluation.  Ultimately the PT thought that Ava’s seemed to have a 25% delay in her gross motor skills and she recommended that we make an appointment with a pediatric orthopedist to get x-rays.  At Ava’s 18 month appointment, our pediatrician agreed that it wouldn’t hurt to get the x-rays and she sent over a referral.  When I called to make the appointment in early May, the earliest they could get us in was August 1.  They don’t keep a wait list but I was invited to call as often as I’d like to try to snag a cancelled appointment.  I managed to do just that and we got in with a specialist on June 1.

Knowing how much Ava hates doctors we were definitely dreading the appointment.  Kevin went in with her for the x-rays and I waited outside the room since I couldn’t be exposed while pregnant.  Her poor little cries (screams – girlfriend has a healthy set of lungs) were heart wrenching.  We met with the specialist that we were scheduled to see and he, who actually specializes in spines, very quickly referred us to one of his colleagues because Ava’s issue was with her hips.  It was clear from the x-ray that Ava’s left hip was completely out of the joint, a form a hip dysplasia.  Hip dysplasia is hereditary and I had it (my pediatrician was apparently amazing and caught it at 2 month check up.  I went into a brace at three months and came out of the brace, good to go, hips aligned, at nine months old).  It is also most commonly seen on first born children, particularly girls.  Our pediatrician did all the hip tests, etc. as part of Ava’s wellness checks, but this dislocated hip eluded her.  Ava hit all her physical developmental milestones within a normal range, so we didn’t think there were any issues.  We attributed her gait to the literal toddling of a toddler.  I’m glad that the woman in our music class said something to us because otherwise this could have gone on for years without treatment.  The earlier the intervention, the better, like with most things.  Ava isn’t currently in much or any discomfort when walking because she is so light.  But as she gets older, the dislocated hip will undoubtedly lead to other problems: arthritis, back issues, a pronounced limp, etc.  For these reasons, after a lot of research and questions hurled at the pediatric orthopedist, we’ve decided to proceed with a surgery.

The surgery is scheduled for the end of June and the surgeon will attempt a closed reduction and if that is not successful, move immediately on to an open reduction.  Ava will be under anesthesia for either/both.  Following the surgery (while still under anesthesia) they will put her in a hip spica cast.  She’ll need to wear the cast for 12 weeks (they’ll change it out at 6 weeks – more anesthesia) and then wear a rhino brace for potentially a year.

To keep this post from getting too wordy or emotional – and because this is just how my mind works – I’m going to break stuff down into lists.

Things That Terrify Me:
1. My baby being in surgery
2. So much anesthesia for such a little human!
3. Seeing Ava in pain after surgery and casting
4. The possibility of re-dislocation and therefore a need for further surgery/intervention

Things That Worry Me:
1. Spica cast care – diaper changes and avoiding pressure sores and skin issues especially
2. Keeping a very active toddler entertained during 12+ weeks of immobilization
3. Carrying a 21+ pound toddler wearing a bulky spica cast up and down the stairs in our two story home (where all bedrooms are on the second floor) through the second and third trimesters
4. Timing.  If all goes as planned, Ava will move from the cast to the brace when I am 37 weeks pregnant.  I delivered Ava at 37 weeks, 6 days, so the timeline is tight.  I really would like for her to be in the brace and have a bit of time to adjust to that before we bring a newborn home.
5. Restless nights – Ava will need to be repositioned regularly to prevent sores and it also will take some adjusting for her to be able to sleep comfortably in the cast

Things That Make Me Sad:
1. It makes me sad that the pediatrician didn’t catch this earlier.  It makes me sad that I didn’t push her to check Ava’s hips more carefully, knowing my own hip dysplasia history.  Both of these things used to make me angry.  But now I’m just sad knowing that maybe this issue could be behind us.
2. As I watch Ava running around the house, climbing stairs, exploring her tip-toes, kicking her legs, it makes me so sad to think of immobilizing her for 12+ weeks.  She’s not going to understand why or how – she’s just going to know that she wants to be an independent little person who can explore her world on her own two legs.  And she won’t be able to for a bit.

Things That Make Me Thankful:
1. While this is will be a challenging experience, it is – in the grand scheme of things – a little bump in the road.  This is an isolated ailment that is very treatable.  Ava will be dancing in a ballet recital in no time or kicking a soccer ball (or both!) around in no time.
2. Everyone says it – this will be more traumatic for Kevin and me than it will be for her.  Kids heal quickly.  They are resilient.  They adjust to a new normal so much faster than adults do.  I will always remember this season; Ava will not.
3. We have been so impressed with the quality of care and responsiveness shown by the staff at Carrie Tingley thus far.  Every person we met was very helpful, understanding, empathetic.  The surgeon encouraged us to email him with questions and he has responded to each email within an hour of me sending it (sometimes in the late evening and/or weekend).  A friend’s neighbor is an orthopedist in town and he said that this doctor is great and has had excellent results with this surgery.
4. We have such a fantastic support system to help us out.  Family near and far and friends here in town have been so supportive and ready to jump in and help however they can.  These people are such a blessing.
5. There are a lot of resources out there – info about the surgery, info about recovery, info about caring for spica casts, ideas for entertaining a toddler in a cast.  One of my best friends put me in touch with a friend of hers who has been through this experience with her child, and a blog friend (hi Nicole) posted a blog post on my request about her experience when her 2.5 year old broke his femur last winter and had to be in a cast.  It has been really nice to get practical advice from “real” people who have tips to share and be able to interact with them in real time.

I’m sure there is more, but I’m going to end this here for now.

It’s easy to become bogged down at the thought of all the challenges – known and yet to be discovered – ahead, but I’m trying to shift my outlook and think of this more as an adventure.  On any adventure there will be obstacles, but there will also be great things.  We’ll get to work together as a family and come out on the other side stronger and closer.  I think Kevin and I will both be really focused on being present with Ava –  just before she gets a sibling and our attention is forced to be more divided – and that will be something that we look back on as a blessing years from now.  Her verbal vocabulary has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past couple of weeks (I hope to post more about this soon because it truly is amazing, but my two favorite phrases she uses now are “belly button” and “sound machine”.  They sound so cute coming from her sweet little mouth!) and I hope this experience will help her learn to communicate even better.  This is as good a time as any to start working with her on her Latin.  ;-)  She won’t be able to say, “Hand!”, grab my hand, and lead me to what she wants/needs.  I’ll miss that and there will be days that I just want to fast forward to the next season, but I think the time will be better spent focusing on taking it one moment at a time.   Your thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, however you send good stuff into the universe are appreciated as we prepare for this adventure.

That’s a wrap {May}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. I’ve been doing a lot of internal audits at work and really have enjoyed listening to YouTube videos simultaneously.  I’m not super into makeup or hair really, but I’ve been loving Tati’s channel.  She’s just entertaining and because I’m not really in it to pick up makeup application tips or anything, it’s fine to have on in the background and not have my eyes on the video.
  2. Whack-a-meow is adorable.
  3. It’s vacation season.  I won’t be going to a beach this year, but a few of these look really nice.

Making Memories:

  1. We did a lot of prep for our master bath renovation.  The reno is scheduled for June, so we ordered the vanity, tub, tile, shelving, shower door, etc. in May.  Basically we spent A LOT of money.
  2. Mother’s Day was lovely.  We went to breakfast at Weck’s, which is our two-year-running Mother’s Day tradition.  Then we did our grocery shopping.  As a gift from Ava, Kevin gave me an adorable picture plaque with four of my favorite photos of Ava.  He also chooses the best cards and I always treasure the card itself, but most importantly his sweet, heartfelt message.  We had his parents over for dinner and he grilled up some delicious steak and bell peppers.  Ava took a 2 hour nap which means mama and dad took naps of their own!  It was a good day.
  3. We had a site re-credentialing audit at work and passed with flying colors.  Audits are always a lot of work and stressful, but our director of QA is great at getting us prepared, with a little help from her assistant (me :)).
  4. A few years ago, in prenatal yoga, I met a woman who owns a spa and beauty retreat here (Broadway Skin & Beauty Retreat).  My skin had been acting really wonky (pregnancy + a cold + weird variations in the weather patterns + …) so I decided to go get a facial with Devon.  It was really relaxing and fantastic.  Quite a treat!
  5. Kevin and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary!  Since it fell on a Wednesday this year, we decided to celebrate on the following Saturday by going to Indigo Crow, our favorite restaurant.  Lobster ravioli and ceasar salads all around.  Wine for the gentleman.  We sat on the outdoor patio and it was a perfect night.  We even stayed out until almost 9:00 and had Kevin’s parents put Ava to bed for the first time ever.  It went really well!  She has been such a champ at bedtime recently (knock wood a million times).

Bookish:

  1. I’m still currently reading Team of Rivals and re-reading the fourth Harry Potter.
  2. The only book I finished in May was Sense and Sensibility.  I gave it three stars, cringed, and changed my rating to four stars.  It seemed like a sin to give Jane Austen three stars.
  3. Kevin is reading American Lion:  Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham and he’s listening to Good to Great by Jim Collins.
  4. We still have a lot to listen to in David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day.  It’s really funny.  :)
  5. Ava’s favorite book to read is Old McDonald’s Woodshop.  She is obsessed with that book – calls it “zztt zztt zztt” because that’s the sound the saw makes.  She isn’t especially interested in reading Baby Beluga but she carries it around like a security blanket, even taking it into the crib with her at night.

Challenges:

  1. I had a really bad sore throat that became a head cold in early May.  It was the worst head cold I’ve had in years.  I feel like this pregnancy has really affected my immune system more than my pregnancy with Ava did.
  2. We learned something on June 1 that will present a Challenge with a capital C, and it really is overshadowing anything that may have seemed challenging in May.  Since I’m writing this after the fact (too OCD to not finish out the year with these monthly update posts – even if it means they may be late sometimes :)), our June and beyond challenge is really impeding my ability to backtrack and think of anything else to share about May challenges.  And I will share more on this mysterious new challenge in a future post.

Sustenance:

  1. We made this slow cooker melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, which was very delicious.
  2. These barbeque chicken sweet potatoes were hearty and tasty.  I wish we would have tried them in the winter – great cozy, cold weather food.
  3. The dinner of the month was definitely our lobster ravioli at Indigo Crow.  Always the best.

How was your May?

That’s a wrap {April}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. I’m a birth devotee per this childbirth quiz.  I knew my love of birth stories would pay off big someday.
  2. This is inspiring. The first woman to run the Boston Marathon ran it again this year at age 70.
  3. Continuing with women in sports….  The kicker is my favorite on any football team.  {Unless it’s the Seattle Seahawks because I heart Russell Wilson.  But that’s another story.}  I loved this article about a high school senior making history when she received a scholarship to play football (position:  kicker) at a Division 1 school.
  4. This Heineken commercial is awesome.

Making Memories:

  1. April 7th marked the 7th anniversary of mine and Kevin’s first date!  We celebrated by going back to Jasmine, the Thai restaurant we went to on 4/7/2010.  I just love the life we have built together and I am so, so grateful for him.  Here’s the first date story if you’re interested.
  2. After our pre-Easter Saturday plans didn’t work out (see Challenges below), we capitalized on the open Saturday afternoon to go down to Honda and Kevin traded in his truck for a Pilot!  He loves it so much and it just fits our current stage of life so much better.  There was no way two carseats were going to fit in the Tacoma (we tried and he couldn’t even get his legs in the truck because the seat was so far forward) and he traded it in at a point that really maximized its trade in value.
  3. We had a few playdates with a few friends through the month.  It’s always fun to see our friends being parents.  We’re surrounded by such good people!
  4. I had a couple of Junior League workshifts to attend in April.  Nothing liking waiting until the last minute to fulfill those obligations.

Bookish:

  1. I’m still currently reading Team of Rivals and Sense and Sensibility.  These monthly updates make me feel like it takes forever to read some of these longer books, and maybe it does.  But I really am making progress on each!  I recently started re-reading the fourth Harry Potter as well.
  2. The only book I finished in April was The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines.  I listened to this one on Audible and I really enjoyed it!  It’s narrated by the couple which was very appealing.  I rated it four stars.
  3. Kevin finished The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 in April and rated it five stars.  He said it was really, really well researched and written.  Now he’s reading American Lion, which is about Andrew Jackson.
  4. We still have a lot to listen to in David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day, but it’s really funny thus far.
  5. Ava’s favorite book is currently Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars.

Challenges:

  1. On the Saturday before Easter we loaded up into the car, started our David Sedaris book playing on Audible, and headed north to join my family Easter celebration for the day.  About 30 minutes into our three hour drive, Ava started fussing, which is pretty uncommon for her when she’s in the car seat.  I sat up, craned my neck, and looked down to check on her – just in time to see puke flowing out of her little mouth.  Ugh.  So much puke.  Her breakfast was…colorful coming back up.  And it didn’t smell too great.  Kevin pulled over and we cleaned up our poor baby as best we could.  We put her in the one change of clothes we carry in the diaper bag.  She was crying hysterically and we were all in agreement that the best course of action was to turn around and head straight home.  While it was sad to miss out on the family time, I’m glad we did what we did, because it would have been a miserable day if we’d kept on with the drive.  We still don’t know what was wrong.  Maybe her breakfast didn’t sit right?  Maybe she got car sick (she’s fine on swings and slides and has never shown an issue with being in the car before, so I’m really hoping she isn’t becoming prone to motion sickness)?  She seemed fine the rest of the day!  Especially after a nice bath.
  2. While I cannot complain about how this pregnancy is going because I’ve had it pretty easy, I did have one bout of pregnancy symptom – er – challenges in April.  I’ll just leave it at that and say I’m glad it seems to have passed and I’m going to very diligent about eating well and taking care of myself from this point forward.
  3. We’re starting to really plan out our master bath renovation and finding the stuff and making it all fit together has been a bit of a challenge.  I think we know what we want to accomplish, but gosh, there are a lot of pieces that need to come together to make it happen.  Our plan was to have the work done in May, but we’ll see if we need to push it to June.
  4. The weather was warm and we thought winter was behind us so we called our regular HVAC guy to come turn off the furnaces and turn on the swamp coolers.  Then a week later the temperatures dropped and it got down into the thirties overnight!  Sooooo cold.  Ava refuses to sleep with a blanket on her so I worried all night that she was going to get too cold.  Fortunately I think we all survived fine and the temps are rising again.  Hopefully we’re in the clear.

Sustenance:

  1. These slow cooker beef gyros were really, really good.  Possibly one of the best slow cooker meals we’ve ever had.  I set up a bowl of chopped tomatoes, some feta cheese, sautéed onions (because I forgot to add the onions to the slow cooker with the beef stew meat – oops, but it worked out fine and dare I say, the sautéed onions may have been better than crock pot onions?), the beef, and the tzaitki sauce on the table, heated up a couple of pieces of pita bread, and we built our own gyros.  They were excellent – I highly recommend this recipe.  We made it twice in April and the second time wasn’t quite as good – I think I let the meat cook for too long in the slow cooker.
  2. Umm, I think that’s the only new recipe we tried in April….  We stuck to regular favorites.
  3. I’ve been very into sushi recently and while I can’t have some of my regular favorite rolls because they have raw fish, an avocado roll and California roll will do in a pinch.  Something about the texture is just so appealing to me recently.
  4. I’ve also become obsessed with the Duke City Ruben sandwich served at Bocadillo’s (it was on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives once and the owner was on Chopped!  Spoiler alert:  she won!).  I think I ate that sandwich three times in April.

How was your April?