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?

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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?

Ava // twenty-one months old.

Our girl is 21 months old today and I’ve accepted that I will probably stop counting her age in months and start saying, “almost two,” because, well, that’s where we are.  At almost two, Ava is the most amazing little toddler.  She is resilient and strong and smart and sweet and funny and the cutest little girl I’ve ever seen (I’m sure I’m not biased).  She has all the teeth except the two year molars and she probably weighs 23 pounds (not including her constant companion, the cast, of course).

SLEEPING

Ava continues to be a champion sleeper overall.  We were really worried about how the cast would affect her ability to sleep comfortably through the night because she would move a lot in her crib and sleep on her belly and side, but we have been pleasantly surprised (KNOCK WOOD).  It sometimes takes a bit for her to fall asleep because she’s trapped on her back, on the crib wedge, rather than being able to roll around and move to settle herself in for the night like she formerly could.  We try to be in her room, winding down for the night by around 7:15 PM.  Kevin is the bedtime parent and he’s so sweet and patient.  He walks around holding her for a bit, singing to her, and then puts her in the crib and continues to sing.  Eventually he tells her that mama and daddy love her and to sleep well and he leaves the room.  Sometimes she’s fine from the get-go, sometimes she cries for a few minutes and then gets quiet, sometimes she cries for a long time (long being 10 minutes or so) and he’ll go back in to sing to her some more.  Once she’s asleep she usually sleeps through the night very well, waking up – on average – at 6:30 AM.  Some nights she’ll cry out but she’s very good at soothing herself back to sleep.  We know that she CAN flip herself over in the cast so that makes me a little nervous.  We’ve never dealt with a video monitor but I’m tempted to get one, just so I’ll be able to see if she has turned herself over.  There are a variety of favorite stuffed animals and dolls that stay in the crib with Ava – Elmo doll, Shawna doll, Oregon duck, Portland duck, Nancy the lamb, and Kitten.  Each morning when Kevin goes to get her out she’ll tell him who she’s carrying and who he’s carrying and who they need to pass to me so I can help cart around the friends.

Naps (again – KNOCK WOOD) have actually been easier and more consistent in the cast.  I think it’s because she knows she can’t be running around and her brain is working overtime since her body is stationary, so maybe she’s ready for the little break?  Whatever it is, I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth and will continue to give her lunch at about 11:50, then walk around with her beginning at around 12:15, singing, until she falls asleep.  I place her in the crib (becoming more difficult to maneuver the cast clad toddler up and over and down into the crib with the ever growing belly), keep singing for a bit to be sure she’s asleep, then creep like a ninja – avoiding the squeaky boards as best I can – out of her room.  She’ll nap for an hour and a half to two and half hours and USUALLY – but not always – wakes up cheerful.

PLAYING

Since she can’t run around right now, her playing involves a lot of sensory and fine motor skill games and activities.  She will sit for long periods of time – longer than some adults could, I’m certain! – in her “chair-chair”.  It has a handy little desk and she can play very easily there.  We also have an infant-to-toddler rocker/chair that is great for when she wants to watch TV (she’s into Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood), and a bean bag near the TV as well.  There’s a bean bag in her room too so we’ll occasionally read books and play briefly from that one.  She loves taking things out of boxes, bags, etc. and putting things in boxes, bags, etc.  She also continues to love music.  She likes to draw and has a few options of paper size, utensil type, etc. for that.  Her favorite toys are probably her Leap Frog picnic basket, her blocks (stacking them and making them go “BOOM” is a favorite), her xylophone, and interestingly, really simple activities.  I punched holes in the bottom of the egg stations in an egg carton and she’ll sit for 30 minutes with that – taking clothes pins in and out of the holes and opening and closing the egg carton.  My cousin Lori brought us a plethora of other activities, including a Huggies wipes box and some different textured pieces to put in and take out.  That wipes box has also been great for putting in and taking out her animal magnets that usually are on the fridge.

In order to break up the day and the monotony for Ava, we try to get her involved in what we’re doing as much as possible.  She and Kevin used the manual nut chopper to chop up some walnuts for me when I was baking muffins.  I’ll carry her to the washer and dryer and have her push the buttons to turn it on and start it (something she loved to do when she could run around).  I’ll let her play with my makeup in the chair-chair while I’m getting ready.  That kind of thing.

We’ll read a few books through the day too.  I’ve enjoyed turning on classical music or the James Taylor or 90’s country Pandora stations to have some background music and she likes that too – requesting to hear some songs “Again!”.  I’ve tried to set up at least one play date each week, just to keep her engaged with other kids.  They usually come to us since she has more options of places to sit when she’s at home.  It has been interesting to see her interact with other kids when they can move around and play with HER stuff and she’s stuck in the chair-chair or on my lap.  I think that’s really frustrating to her, and I can understand how it would be!

EATING

Ava is still a good eater – for a toddler.  I continue to be disappointed that she doesn’t request a veggie omelet for breakfast, but I’ll make my peace with that right around the time that she decides she likes veggie omelets.  She does tend to eat a favorite item incessantly and then get burnt out on it, so it keeps us on our toes, trying to think of replacements that she’ll try and like for the stuff that she couldn’t get enough of yesterday but shuns today.  She’s getting a bit more adventurous about trying new stuff, which is a step in the right direction.  We have tried to emphasize that something will make her strong if we want her to try it and she’ll “flex” her little arms and say, “Grrr!”

We did our usual grocery store run over the weekend and none of the stores (we checked three) had our Stonyfield yogurt pouches with a cat (jaguar) or Baby Beluga (whale) on the package so we tried Chobani pouches with Spider-Man.  It has posed quite a disruption to our morning routine, and I hope we are back to our regularly scheduled programming next week, but she has begrudgingly tried the new yogurt and I think we’re all stronger for the experience.  ;-)

Right now her favorite foods are beef, bananas, applesauce, yogurt, plums, apples, chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, deli turkey, and perhaps the ultimate favorite – cheese.  She’ll drink small amounts of “almond juice” (almond milk) and even smaller amounts of regular milk, but that’s better than the none that she was drinking of those things, so we’ll take it. When Kevin or I am eating or drinking something that she has learned is not for her, she’ll shake her head and say, “Blegh!” and we’ll agree with her assessment that it is a yucky Dad or Mama drink/food.

 

DOING

We all miss baths in the bathtub, but we have figured out a system for washing her hair in the kitchen sink and doing a sponge bath on the kitchen counter.  It gets the job done.  She’s so patient with us as we fumble our way through figuring out how to make lifestyle adjustments such as that and it makes me want to weep because it is so humbling to have this little person put their trust wholly and fully in you.  Ah, parenthood.

Ava loves touching Kevin’s face to gauge how long ago he shaved.  He’ll say, “Is Daddy’s face rough?” and she’ll giggle and then he’ll feel her face and say, “Is Ava’s face smooth?” and she’ll laugh.  No one makes her laugh like Kevin does.  It’s the sweetest sound in the world.  She likes to put her hands over her eyes and say, “Clown,” or “Ava,” or “Cat,” or something/something else and we have to sing a little song from music class (“We know you’re hiding in there, we know you’re crouching down, we really want to see you…come out!  Little clown (or Ava, Cat, etc.)!”.  She’ll uncover her eyes and laugh laugh laugh.

It is too hot during the day to be outside much while she is in the cast, so we have been going on morning walks at around 7:00 and we have a great routine going.  She eats a yogurt and some puffs and we keep our eyes peeled for cats and birds and bunnies and hot air balloons and sprinklers.  We go “bump bump bump” down a little dirt path that leads to the Bosque and then we stop on a little bridge to look at the water (and occasionally see fish jumping up to catch bugs, ducks floating by, and a bullfrog gazing out and croaking).  The fresh air is great for all of us – especially her since she’s pretty housebound during the day.

We have people over a couple times a week (with kids or without) and we’re going to start a developmental therapy and a music therapy lesson each week through Early Intervention, just to break up the day and engage Ava’s mind while she’s immobilized. She loves music and has a little xylophone that she dismantles and assembles and plays. Sue also bought her a little ukulele that Ava enjoys “tuning” and “playing” and insisting we play for her.

COMMUNICATING

I know that 19-21 months is when verbal development typically takes off anyway, so maybe it’s coincidental or would have happened this way anyway, but Ava’s verbal communication is astounding.  Every day she rolls out a new word or puts a few words together to explain something to us in a phrase.  She can mimic any word or sound we ask her to repeat.  She knows that Mama is Amy and Daddy is Kevin and her pronunciation of each is so sweet.  I’m waiting for the day when she’ll call out, “Kevin!” instead of Dada, or “Amy!” instead of Mama to summon us to her.  We have dialogue conversations with her, which are so cute and repetitive and it’s just really fun to interact at that level.  Her favorite word is probably “awesome”.  Or “yellow”.   She knows her colors well but often declares non-yellow things to be yellow simply because it is fun to say, I think. Or “helllllllooooooo” which she says in a very exaggerated tone that is sooooo cute.  My favorite, which she said yesterday, is “privacy”.  As in when people go to the bathroom, we give them privacy.  :)  I also love when she says “exactly”.  It’s just adorable to hear such formal words coming from such a little lady.  She has learned “stop” and “go” and has hand gestures to match.  This morning on our walk she would randomly call out, “Stop!” and put her palm up.  We’d stop the stroller and wait a few seconds for her to say, “Go!” and point her finger forward.  She’s amazing.

Or, as she would say, awesome.

We love you so much, Ava, and we’re inspired by your strength and sweet spirit every single day!

(I chose photos that spanned the 18 month – 21 month range, so that’s why we jump around from no cast to cast to no cast in the photos. :))

 

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 {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?