Monday, December 30, 2013

38 Weeks with Baby #2

Today was my last Monday of babysitting our nieces until well after the baby is born, so I asked our 8-year old niece to take a belly pic for me. My camera is clearly not behaving lately since this picture is just as fuzzy as the last one. Dagnabit!
Out of fear of forgetting something important, I finally wrote down my pre-baby to-do list and starting tacking projects. In two days, I have packed our hospital bag, washed covers for the car seat, swing, bouncer, play gyms and cradle mattress, started recovering the cushions for the glider rocker (a project that has been in the making since I was pregnant with Natalie. Oops!), cleaned the laundry room, and written out a few Scriptures to look at for encouragement during labor. Alex brought the cradle down for me today and Natalie immediately climbed into it. She looked pretty darn cute, but I made her get out and suggested she put her baby doll in it instead. She went and got her doll, laid her down in the cradle and proceeded to rub the baby's back like I do to her. She sure knows how to melt my heart, and she's been doing a good job of it lately, too. Whenever I bend down to get in a lower cabinet or something, she'll come over and rub my back and then give me a hug and a kiss. Sometimes she even asks, "You ok, Mama?" Precious. I decided to cuddle with her in her toddler bed tonight, a feat easier accomplished in a larger bed or without a big belly in the way, and she started rubbing my arm. I tried to get up at one point, and she sat up and pushed my head back down to the pillow. Guess she wasn't ready for me to leave her just yet! I'm soaking up the cuddles and making sure to try and take advantage of opportunities to show her that she is special and I'm here for her. With all the changes that have already happened and the ones getting ready to take place, I want to help her feel safe and secure instead of anxious.

Once we get the car seat installed and bags packed for Natalie to take to my parents' and for the baby, I think all the necessary things will be done. I have a laundry list of sewing projects that I'd like to tackle, but we shall see about those.

I've had a couple Braxton Hicks contractions the last two days and plenty of heartburn as soon as I eat sugar. And have I mentioned how badly I've craved sweets?!

Tomorrow, we are taking Natalie back to an inflatable games place we first went to back in February. The plan is to feed her lunch and then let her nap in the car on the hour-long ride there. I hope she enjoys it as much as she did when she was 14 months old. She really surprised me back then. I thought she'd be intimidated by it all, but she was my little wild child, running around as fast as her little legs would take her. I'm really looking forward to having some good quality family time before Alex heads back to work Thursday and our family of 3 becomes 4.  Hopefully the camera will cooperate tomorrow and we can get some good pictures to remember the day by, too!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

37 Weeks with Baby #2

I have been entirely too lazy with the belly pictures this time around. Weeks go by where I think about taking one and put it off again and again. I finally bit the bullet and took this one, and of course, it is fuzzy! 37 wks 3 days with still-nameless-baby-girl-Godin:
We put all the Christmas decorations away today because I was just too eager to get the baby gear out. Natalie immediately tried to climb into the baby's swing, but I convinced her to let her new baby doll go for a ride in it instead. She got a new doll for her birthday and is obsessed with it and enjoys trying to feed it her food, letting her sit in the booster seat, high chair, training potty, etc. I think she is going to really enjoy having a real baby in the house, but I am going to have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she doesn't do anything dangerous! Recently, a friend came over with her 2.5 month old baby and Natalie managed to pick the baby up off the couch when we were distracted. Talk about a heart attack!

Pregnancy has been enjoyable for the most part. My ribs have been behaving better recently and not causing me as much discomfort. Heartburn started up a couple weeks ago, but it's not horrible. Our last ultrasound at 35 weeks showed that this little one has hair like her big sister! My feet swell just a little bit at the end of days when I've been standing a lot, but that's not bad either. Over all, I feel really good. I just want this precious little one to be healthy and take her time. Well, maybe not too much time...41 or 42 weeks of pregnancy would surely test my emotional and physical strength! I feel very blessed to have a wonderful doctor who believes in God's intelligent design for a woman's body to successfully deliver babies and is supportive of my desire for a natural delivery. We're praying that our doula will be able to assist us in my labor despite having 3 other mothers due the same day as me. She made such a tremendous difference when I was laboring to bring Natalie into the world and we can't imagine going through labor again without her guidance.

These last few weeks are going to pass all too quickly. As excited and nervous and eager and anxious as I am to meet my new daughter, I do not want to be too busy or distracted by a to-do list or my own thoughts to spend quality time with Natalie before she has to share me with a sibling. Alex had to use up the last of his vacation time before the end of the year, so he is home with us until Jan 2 and then he'll be taking time off when the baby is born, so we have the opportunity now to make some good family memories with Natalie. She is at such a fun age, despite some recent challenges with nap and bedtime routines and general discipline. God is faithful and will give us the wisdom we ask for when dealing with her. I just really hope we ALL handle the coming transition smoothly. Sleep deprivation and hormone swings make me the most nervous, but it will all be ok. Millions of other mothers have gone through it before me, so I can get through it, too! Hallelujah!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

More Natalie-isms

Natalie pronounces the word pineapple as "apple bapple". I LOVE hearing her say it! Cracks me up. And the kid loves her "apple bapple" as much as her mama.

Recently, Natalie kept opening the freezer door and grabbing the ice cream ("ow keem") before dinner. I told her we could have some after dinner, so after we ate, she grabbed it again and Alex told her that mommy would share with her. She came into the dining room where I was and said, "Ow keem! Share it? Mama?" How could I say no to that?

The other day, we were listening to our Veggietales station on Pandora and the song, "I Like to Move It" from the Madagascar soundtrack came on. Natalie jumped up and down, spun around, waved her hands and "moved it" like a wild woman. Now she asks for "move it move it" quite often. I am not crazy about the lyrics and wish she'd get hooked on a catchy Christian song instead. The Veggietales station drives me a little crazy at times because no matter how I try to customize what they play, they still manage to play a ton of stuff that kids probably wouldn't like (think lots of slow songs) and there are a lot of secular songs thrown in there that I was trying to avoid by creating a Christian station in the first place.

Thursday, at her 2-year well-child check-up, Natalie made friends with just about everyone in the waiting room. My mom was with us and had been reading her a story, but Natalie decided she would rather have another grandmotherly lady read it to her instead. She said hello to everyone she saw and even tried to climb into a few laps. She is never that friendly with strangers! While waiting in the exam room, we helped her pronounce the doctor's name, so when he came in, she said, "Hi, Doctor Miller!". We ran into good friends in the waiting room as we were leaving and Natalie kept wanting the husband to zip up her coat. Then we headed to the chiropractor, whom Natalie has met once or twice I think, and she reached out all on her own and shook his hand!

I have loved watching Natalie grow and change and learn so many new things these last two years. It never ceases to amaze us when she learns new things, especially when she says or does things and we have no idea where she learned them. God is so good to have blessed us with this child. Sure, she gets under my skin and tests my patience, usually on a daily basis. It's certainly not all sunshine and roses being a mom. I just never want to take her for granted. She brings us lots of laughter and joy. I can't wait to see her as a big sister!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Big Ol' Brain Dump aka Pregnancy Dreams and Natalie-isms

Women talk about having some off-the-wall dreams during pregnancy and this time around, I have been no exception. At first, I had all nightmares, but lately my dreams just seem to be unbelievably random and well, kind of funny. I thought it might be nice to document them just so I could look back someday and remember what it was like to be pregnant with baby #2.

Two nights ago, I dreamed I married Daniel Boone. As in, the famous wilderness explorer/pioneer, Daniel Boone. Yeah. I hadn't watched any documentaries or anything that would have triggered that in my subconscious, so it must be those wacky pregnancy hormones! ;)

Before that, I had a dream that Tina Fey came to my house for my birthday along with a bunch of friends and their dogs. One friend has a HUGE Great Dane, by the way. It was a crazy party!

I started to write about the nightmare dreams, but I just can't do it. I don't think I'll ever want to remember those down the road. Lots of tragedy and sadness. No fun. So, on to a happier subject!

Natalie has been full of hilarious and/or cute anecdotes lately. Even though we are in the full-fledged tantrum-throwing phase, she can still be quite charming most of the time. Yesterday, after wearing out my nerves with incessant crying and whining for over an hour after waking from her nap, I heard her in the kitchen behind me as I was making dinner, saying all of her grandparents' names and the word "cousins". I turned around and she had her hands clasped together in front of her and then she said, "Night night. Amen." My sweet girl was praying for her family! It was the most precious thing ever!

Earlier this week, I dug out some books that I'd put away for when Natalie was old enough for them. I introduced her to Clifford, the Big Red Dog and well, she loved him. I read one book through and then she proceeded to "read" it herself, saying "Cifford" (no 'l') about every other word. She babbled on and on for a good long time.

Natalie repeats every. single. thing. she hears and sometimes it's just too darn cute. A couple of weeks ago I exclaimed in exasperation, "You are driving me nuts!" and Natalie said, "Nuts!" and ran to the pantry. I had to laugh and then deal with the mom guilt from saying that to her. She has discovered cashews and loves them. And she has an insatiable appetite these days, so it is like a constant feeding fest over here.

Baby girl wants to be held. A LOT. So she holds out her hands as if she expects you to hand her something, not like she wants to be picked up, if that makes sense, and then says, "Hole-jer?" I think she's saying "Hold her?" It's funny how she doesn't know to refer to herself as "I" and "me" yet, although I am in no hurry for her speech to develop to that point. We understand most of what she says and it's just sad when toddlers start speaking in full sentences, sounding like big kids!

I know there are more cute things that have happened lately, but my memory fails me. Natalie is in bed for the night and this mama needs to get busy sewing Christmas presents! My sewing machine awaits...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Long Overdue Baby #2 Update

It's amazing how my blog post titles continue to get more and more un-creative...

It's also amazing what a poor job of documenting this pregnancy I've done...

But, alas, I finally took a belly pic and am posting it here for the world to see!

It's true what they say about showing earlier with your second baby. I feel like my belly has been noticeable since the middle of my first trimester. Maternity pants have been a must for at least a month and a half now, if not longer, but I'm still trying to make some non-maternity shirts work (see belly pic above, lol).

I've been taking fewer naps these days, although it's more out of stubbornness to enjoy some peace, quiet, and "me" time while Natalie naps and not because my energy has completely returned. It's getting there though. I started taking an iron tonic earlier in the week since I have always been borderline anemic and wanted to hopefully get a good report on my iron screening at my next doctor's appointment. The reviews of the tonic said it also gave lots of people energy, so here's hoping that the same will ring true for me!

Baby girl move around quite a bit, but is still wreaking havoc on my sciatic nerve on my right side. Chiropractic and prenatal massage haven't entirely helped the discomfort, but this too shall pass. I'm so grateful for my doula, Mattie and her beyond wonderful massages.

I'm craving sweets even more than usual, so bring on the Moose Tracks ice cream and apple pie!!! I made 2 pies this month - one for my birthday and one for company. Can't get enough apple pie! It's my favorite! I really do want to get the sweet cravings under control, so I stocked up on fruit at the grocery store yesterday and am going to try to make myself snack on that instead of the aforementioned Moose Tracks decadence.

Natalie is starting to catch on to the idea of there being a baby in my belly. Today, she patted my belly and said, "Baby!" out of the blue. I'm so looking forward to her being a big sister! I've been praying this whole time that my girls will be best friends from day one. Despite the fact that Natalie is a light sleeper, in my heart, I want her to share a room with the new baby, so we've rearranged the furniture a little to better accommodate the toddler bed being in the nursery. We'll see how it goes! Alex and I just started working on turning my office/craft room (the 3rd bedroom) into a combined office for the two of us, so that's even more motivation to make the kids' bedroom sharing work since it will allow us to keep our office set up until the day we (possibly) have a 3rd baby.

We have pretty much resigned ourselves to the idea of waiting until the baby is born to give her a name. We have a short list of contenders, and I'm sure hoping that one of them is THE ONE, otherwise, well, we're sunk. We have had SUCH a hard time agreeing on possibilities. It seems strange not having a name for her yet since Natalie had a name from day one. But, whoever she is, I'm excited to meet her and snuggle her close! Personalizing anything for her will just have to wait...

And speaking of that, a friend just gave birth to her third baby girl yesterday morning and she and her husband are still in the process of choosing the perfect name for her. I finally learned how to crochet edging on a receiving blanket, so I made one for the new baby.

My best friend's mom made two of these blankets for Natalie and they are now both mine and her favorite blankets. They are so generously sized that they can swaddle a newborn securely and still cover up a sleeping toddler. She gave me some pointers and after reading a few tutorials and ripping out a lot of mistakes, I finally figured it out. I have a blanket in progress for our new baby, too. Only 15 more weeks, give or take, and she'll be here! Man, that doesn't sound like much time. Eek! Have so much to do between now and then!

Monday, September 23, 2013

21 Months on the 21st

Last week, Natalie turned 21 months old. I really wish that time would slow down already!Last Wednesday (9/18), we moved Natalie to her toddler bed. (I made her sheet and pillow case out of fabric from JoAnn's. Sheets are surprisingly easy!)

The first two nights, she shocked me by not getting up even one time to test her new boundaries (or lack thereof, since she isn't contained like in her crib). On the third night, our air conditioning went out, so her bedroom was too warm for her to be comfortable to fall asleep. We opened her window and let her sleep in just a diaper, but she was quite restless well past bedtime. Then she woke up at 5 am Saturday, wide awake and asking to eat. Not a good way to start the weekend.

She has shown a lot of interest in the potty recently, so I tried to start potty training her today. All along, I have been eager to be done with diapers, but after today, I'm in no hurry. Apparently Natalie is not as ready as I thought. We had NO success. It was ridiculous. Like, 3 accidents in 30 minutes ridiculous. So, I'm backing off and waiting, probably until Spring sometime once we're hopefully in a routine with the new baby. Part of me feels like a dope for thinking she could possibly be ready at this age and another part of me also feels like a loser for giving up after one day. But you know what? It's not the end of the world and life with cloth diaper laundry will go on and my child WILL be potty trained eventually, and that's what matters. Who cares if it doesn't happen right now. Just pray that I have enough energy to tackle the potty training when she's truly ready and am not just utterly exhausted from adjusting to life with 2 kids. I'm pretty scared about all that!

These days, Natalie thinks she is too big to sit in her high chair and will only eat while sitting in a chair or next to us on the couch. She hates wearing a bib and is getting picky about sippy cups. Um...mommy hates cleaning up unnecessary messes, so just wear the bib and use the no-spill cup, please, child!!! She is obsessed with apples and asks to eat them all.the.time. We took her to an apple farm and Alex let her mooch off an apple with him, so now she prefers to bite right into the whole thing instead of having me cut it up for her. I made an apple pie last week and Natalie kept asking for "Ah-pie". She can say "apple" clear as day, but for some reason, she hasn't figured out how to say it with "pie".

We take a lot of walks around our neighborhood, and recently, we've been leaving the stroller at home. In some ways, it's nice not having to push a 30 pound stroller with a 26-pound toddler in it, but our walks last twice as long since we're constantly having to tell Natalie to keep moving. She likes to watch for animals and airplanes, pick up rocks, mystery berries, acorns, and flowers along the way. At least she's observant, enjoying nature, and getting some energy out! She asks to take a walk pretty much every day and even goes into the laundry room where we keep Layla's leashes to make sure her puppy gets to come along, too. Speaking of is now Natalie's regular job to feed the dog in the morning and evening. She gets right into it, too! Sometimes she even tries to sneak a 3rd feeding in there in the afternoon...

Any time you ask Natalie a question, she answers with the cutest little "yes". My mom asked her something like, "Does Mommy have a melon in her belly?" and Natalie said, "Yes". Thanks, kiddo! Needless to say, she's pretty agreeable these days! She says well over 100 words and has finally started saying Grandma ("Damma". She has been saying her other grandparents' names for quite a while). She came up to me the other day with her hands clasped together and said "pray". So we did, and then at the end she said, "Amen!" It was precious!

I'm loving the age that she's at right now. Everyday is full of new things she has learned and figured out. It's amazing how quickly kids pick up on things! She loves to give kisses and asks to cuddle. She is definitely both a mama and a daddy's girl (just what we prayed for!). We're working on tantrums and how to not be upset when she doesn't get her way (like when mean old mommy doesn't choose the grocery cart with the car on the front for her to ride in). It's strange to actually be able to almost carry on a conversation with her now. She seems so grown up and yet still so much like a baby at the same time. I think she is going to be a great big sister! We had lunch at my parents' house after church yesterday and Natalie cuddled up next to me and started rubbing my belly. It was the most precious, sweet thing ever. She's never done anything like that. My mom tried to take a picture, but, as usual, Natalie's 6th sense for when the camera is out kicked in and she stopped being all cute.

So, that's life with a 21-month old Natalie! Never a dull moment around here and we wouldn't have it any other way! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Funny Bacon Story

I'm back from oblivion just for a quick little story so that I don't forget it. Today is my 27th birthday. I woke up and popped some cinnamon rolls and bacon in the oven for a quick birthday treat/breakfast. Natalie has become quite the little fan of bacon and kept asking for more. We thought she'd had enough because she reached up and put a small piece on the counter like she didn't want it anymore, so Alex took it and fed it to Layla. Well, Natalie didn't like that at all. She ran over to Layla yelling, "No! Bacon!" and tried to pry the dog's mouth open to retrieve her bacon. Bless her heart! Hahaha!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Before I Forget These Moments

In the eyes of a 20-month old, every day is full of possibility. Opportunities to learn something new, to find new trouble to get into, maybe convince Mommy to give you a treat or two. Natalie is literally growing up before my very eyes and it is exciting and heart-wrenching at the same time. Her vocabulary has exploded to include approximately 80 words (I counted it up yesterday and today) and she's even started putting a couple phrases together like "shoes on", "want this", and "here, mama".

I wanted to remember a few moments and details that have stuck in my mind lately before I forget them. Yesterday, Natalie handed me a half-chewed piece of green pepper, so I told her to go throw it away in the trash and she ran to the kitchen to throw it away and then ran back to me yelling "Throw in trash!", all proud of herself. I was proud, too! Maybe it seems strange that I am proud of something like that, but she is just becoming so independent, plus that was only one of a handful of times that she has said two or three words together.

The grandparents have all gotten a kick out of Natalie's latest antic: checking mommy for a dirty diaper. Yeah. I guess she figured that since I pull her diaper back to check if she's clean or not that she should check mommy, too...

Natalie loves playing chase. She gets Layla to run after her in the backyard and just giggles and cackles and squeals in delight. When we're inside, she says, " 'Mon! 'Mon!" (c'mon) so that we will chase her around.

My independent toddler loves trying to buckle the chest clip on her car seat, the buckle in shopping carts and the buckle on baby swing on her swing set. She is starting to dislike eating in her highchair and prefers siting in a regular chair. Don't even think about trying to hold silverware for her or she will probably refuse to eat. Yogurt used to end up all over her face, hair, and bib, but now she manages to get the majority in her mouth. The first thing she has been asking for in the morning is to put on her shoes and a bow for her hair. I walked into her room to get her out of bed the other day and she immediately said, "Mommy! Hi!". Melt. My. Heart.

She might be growing up much faster than I'd like, but I'm going to do my best to remember as much about these busy days as I can and be a better mom tomorrow than I was today so that when my daughter looks back on her childhood, she will have fond memories, too.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baby #2: Boy or Girl?

Last Thursday, our little family headed to our doctor's office for a gender reveal ultrasound! They didn't offer this option when I was pregnant with Natalie, so we went a little further away to Lexington to find out early (16 weeks) with her. The excitement of a new baby joining the family is just too much for us to contain, apparently :) They quickly took us back to the ultrasound room where we got to take our very first look at Baby Godin #2. Seeing your baby for the first time, even if it's on a tv screen, is just surreal and oh so wonderful. So, after convincing the baby to move it's little foot out the way, the tech froze the frame and said, "Here it is! It's a..." I was honestly surprised at her announcement because the ultrasound looked very different from Natalie's, but we'll take her trained and experienced word for's a girl!!!

Very early on in this pregnancy, I had hoped for a girl because I wanted to Natalie to grow up with a sister. I love my sisters dearly and can't imagine life without them. Getting to raise sisters who are close in age is sure to be an adventure. Disclaimer: After the initial excitement of this pregnancy settled down, I got excited about the possibility of having a boy as well. We had a boy name picked out, which really vamped up my eagerness to find out the gender, so I was going to be really excited either way! We are still working on choosing this baby's name, although we are finally making some progress! Alex and I both agree that choosing boy names is far easier for us as we have very different taste when it comes to girl names.

On the Saturday after our ultrasound, we invited our parents, local siblings, nieces and nephew over for a gender reveal party. I was absolutely exhausted and thus did not put forth as much effort into cute decorations or any party games as I would have liked to, but it still turned out nice. And the main focus is finding out the gender anyway, right? The week of the gender reveal, I learned to crochet baby booties and found a cute pattern for a boy's style bootie and a girl's Mary Jane style shoe and went ahead and made a pair of each. I wrapped each pink bootie in several layers of tissue paper for each set of grandparents to open.

My mom (in the blue shirt) said she had managed to stay neutral on the boy vs. girl debate, so she felt genuinely excited by the news that she would have a 5th granddaughter (there are no grandsons on my side so far!). My mother-in-law said she had anticipated a boy, but she was happy about having her 5th granddaughter as well.

We spend the rest of the party just visiting, noshing, and tossing baby name ideas around. We had a really great time!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

NH Vacation Part 2: The Rest of the Trip

 The day after we arrived in New Hampshire, we went to a family reunion on Alex's mom's side of the family. The kids swam in the ice cold water of the swimming pool pretty much the entire time we were there. The adults, however, only endured the water for a few minutes at a time to appease the begging children :) Natalie enjoyed playing with some water toys on dry land:
 Alex's Aunt Kathy had a tire swing in her yard that made for a great photo op:

 Tuesday, we went to a creative playground that reminded me so much of the wooden playground we had where I went to kindergarten. They seriously need to build one of these where we live. The closest one to us is 75 miles away. I wish I'd taken a picture of the whole thing because the little kiddy area where these pics were taken does not do it justice.

 At the same park, there were walking trails that led to this river (we are so not a photogenic family!):
 Friday, we hung out at Alex's Aunt and Uncle's for a few hours. Except for the first few days of the trip, it was around 100 degrees and soooo humid the whole time we were there. Natalie and Alex tried to cool off on a hammock in the shade:
 Natalie looking fly in daddy's sunglasses:
 Before we headed home on Saturday, we stopped to say goodbye to Alex's Grammy, Aunt and Uncle. Natalie was barely awake and hadn't eaten breakfast, hence the look of sheer delight on her face...ha!

We drove home separately from our little caravan so that we could stop to visit my lifelong friend, Boo, and her husband, Tim, in Pennsylvania. We have been friends since we were two years old. She was my maid-of-honor and now she's expecting her first child, a little girl, in August. Boo was a good sport and let us get a belly pic at 7 in the morning before we headed back on the road.
So, that about sums up our vacation! Natalie was a great little traveler and didn't get very fussy in the car. We kept her supplied with snacks and she watched a little Elmo, but for the most part, she napped, ate and played with toys and books. When we got home, she was excited to see her puppy, Layla, again and ran around the house doing a dance. I think she was glad to be free from her car seat after two long days of car riding!

Monday, July 8, 2013

NH Vacation Part 1: The Ocean, a Love-Hate Relationship

Well, we just got back from an 11-day family vacation to New Hampshire where Alex's family is from. Natalie went to bed fairly easily, leaving me plenty of time to upload the pictures from the trip. Alex's parents, sister, grandma, three nieces and a nephew drove up with us, making up a 3-car caravan. The 1,000 mile trip was an adventure, but it actually went much more smoothly and was far more enjoyable than I had expected. On Monday, we drove to NH's only ocean-front beach, Hampton Beach. The weather was cool and drizzly when we arrived, and then it just stayed cool and overcast for a little bit before deciding to rain buckets on us, driving us away to come back again on Wednesday. So, here was Natalie's first experience with sand and the ocean:

This last picture is one of my favorites from our trip, as awful as that sounds. It's just real and raw and honestly, it makes me laugh. She was tired, the weather was unpleasant, the water was frigid. I don't blame her for being less than impressed with the ocean! We ended the torture and went back to our blanket to feed some seagulls.

My mother-in-law and the kids found a tiny star fish, clam, and hermit crab:

Thankfully, we got another opportunity to go back and this time, the weather was absolutely perfect. Sunshine, warmth, fewer and fewer clouds as the day went on. And after a long nap in the car and eating lunch, Natalie was ready to give the beach a second chance.

 There had been a sand sculpture competition the week earlier, but the sculptures were still on display for everyone's viewing pleasure. The castle behind us was our favorite.
 Because of the downpour two days earlier, there had been some damage to the sculptures, but they were still cool to look at.

 Our nephew, Sky, loved being buried in the sand:
Drea had to give it a try, too!
I got a nice sunburn on my shoulders and the backs of my legs the second day, but we still had a great time!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How I Found Out About Baby #2

In case you missed it, here's the pregnancy reveal post I wrote yesterday. I'm writing this weeks before I'll actually publish this post so that I don't forget any details. Sometime after our miscarriage in January, I started having this feeling that our next baby would be due in January (2014). That thought just wouldn't go away. I wondered if it was God whispering to me about His plans for our family's future, but, to be honest, I still doubted because I didn't want to get my hopes up and be disappointed if things happened differently. That's how this whole waiting-to-get-pregnant process has been for me. It's like a repeating cycle of vulnerability, hope, anticipation, and then putting on protective armor to shield your heart from the pain of disappointment and uncertainty. This second time around has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but still not nearly as much as it was before I got pregnant with Natalie. I vowed to myself that I wouldn't stress out about it like that again this time because ultimately, things truly do work out in God's timing. I know my journey doesn't look like anyone else's journey. So, the month came when I knew that if I did get pregnant, we would have a January baby. And things just felt different in my heart. I had a stronger positive outlook. I kept the doubt at bay, for the most part (again, putting up that protective shield in case my "intuition" was wrong).

Well, on a Thursday night, two days before I had told myself that I would take a pregnancy test, I went to bed super early because I was just really tired, and then I woke up super nauseated when Alex came to bed later. I managed to fall back to sleep, but woke up again at 4 and was really sick. Like, stomach bug sick. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to take the pregnancy test at 4 a.m. Just a few seconds after the control line appeared, the test line appeared, forming that so deeply-desired plus sign.

Maybe it was because I physically felt so ill, but I didn't have nearly the same reaction this time as I did when I got a positive test with Natalie. I was excited and thanked God and vowed that I would not let my mind run wild, preventing me from sleeping the rest of the night (I still barely slept anyway because I kept getting sick). I think the thought of another early miscarriage happening a few days down the road probably factored in, too. After all, that was precisely why I was going to wait a few more days to test in the first place, but curiosity is a powerful thing!

After a rough night, my mom took Natalie later in the morning to help me out. I was pretty sure that I did indeed have a virus and not just really early on-set morning sickness, and tried to play it off as such to my parents. With Mother's Day just a little over a week away, I thought for sure that I could wait that long to surprise our moms with the news. And, I hadn't even told Alex yet! He'd been in a hurry to get to work that morning, so I figured it would be best to wait until after he got home so he wouldn't have the news of a new baby on his mind all day while he was trying to wrap up his work week.

My mom brought Natalie home for her nap and than a good friend took her to dinner before Alex got home so that I could rest some more. I wrote a quick note and taped it, along with the pregnancy test, to the cover of a baby name book I bought last summer and stuck them down in the most gender-neutral baby shower gift bag I had left from Natalie's baby showers. When Alex came home, I asked him to come sit next to me on the couch and he said, "But I don't want to catch whatever you have" and I said, "I don't think you can catch what I have" and I pulled the gift bag out and handed it to him. He was excited, but reserved about it being so early. Then he made a crack about having another winter baby. Oy vey. I just replied that if we had another girl, she could wear Natalie's hand-me-downs to save money and if we have a boy, well, we'd have to buy boy clothes anyway!

So there you have it! That's how I found out I was expecting baby #2!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Lately, I've been cherishing all the cuddles, hugs, smiles, giggles and all other adorableness this cutie wants to dish out my way. She is just growing up way too fast:

Playing with her cousins' tinker toys in PA in May
I've been snacking frequently on garlic-lover's hummus, my new-found food addiction (Warning: You'll be keeping vampires and husbands away with your garlic breath after you indulge! Haha!). I got mine at Aldi. Pair with garlic, Parmesan, and herb pita chips and you'

I've been spending more time doing this during Natalie's nap time:

So, life is pretty good right now. Snuggles, snacking, and sleeping sounds like a mom's dream come true, right? Well, another dream is coming true because I'm expecting baby #2! I'll share more details in another post, but I found out the good news the weekend before Mother's Day and am due January 11, 2014. This pregnancy has been fairly similar to my pregnancy with Natalie. Lots of nausea, exhaustion, a few food aversions and lots of excitement! God is soooo good!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Busy, Busy

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We had a very busy and exhausting Memorial Day weekend, so I have lots to blog about and pictures to post, but Natalie will be waking up from her nap soon and there's a huge pile of laundry with my name on it, so my updates will just have to wait. I hope you had a great weekend, too!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Everyday Treasures

I started taking Natalie to story time at the library a few months ago and her normally wiggly, always-on-the-move self did really well sitting on my lap through a few stories and songs. It had been several weeks since we'd been able to go, so I got us ready to go today only to find out when we got there that last week was the last one before summer activities started. So, we checked out the pet bunny rabbit and played with toys instead!

Sidenote: anyone who has spent time with Natalie in real life knows that she has a bunny lovey that she must have to go to sleep. I affectionately (and I use that term loosely) refer to said lovey as "skanky bunny" because she chews on the ears and they smell disgusting, even after it has been soaked in vinegar and washed. I tell you that to say that she already has a thing for bunnies, but she also is just an animal lover in general. Being raised with Layla, who is the absolute perfect dog a kid could ever want (mommy feels a little differently about her after she has repeatedly done some disgusting, naughty things that I have had to clean up after), has probably nurtured that love and fascination for animals.

So, back to the library story. I was holding Natalie when we walked over to the rabbit's cage and The look of sheer delight and surprise on Natalie's face was PRICELESS. Her jaw hit the floor and then her face lit up with a huge smile and she couldn't wait to get a closer look. I fell in love with her all over again. Nothing can compare to a child's sense of wonder. Not only did seeing that bunny probably make her day, seeing the look on her face made MY day.

Once I'd had enough of the germy toys it was time to go, we washed our hands and headed to the car. Natalie seemed to really be enjoying the warm weather, so I decided to let her explore the children's garden across the parking lot before leaving. I forgot my camera today, but these are pics I took of Natalie at the children's garden when she was 8 months old. I can't believe how much she has grown up in the 8 months since then!

While we were there, Natalie saw a bumblebee among some short little flowers. She sat right down on the sidewalk to watch it for a minute and the moment just struck me. As I had been trying to move her along through the garden, she took time to notice the little details, the new surrounds and new creatures around her. She did not have an agenda. She wasn't concerned about the errand I wanted to run before heading home for lunch. She was living in the moment. She even took a seat in an unlikely spot so that her curiosity in that little bee could be fulfilled. And when she saw the rabbit inside the library, she was filled with such pure joy over a seemingly simple surprise.

How often do I live in the moment? How often do I notice the little things, much less take joy in them? Time passes so incredibly quickly and so much of it is wasted on being in a hurry, being mad, having an agenda, just trying to make it til nap time, cramming as much stuff as I can into a day to accomplish as many things as possible. I strive to be more intentional in my time with Natalie and to soak up who she is while she is little, and then I look at those pictures above and realize that time STILL sneaked up on me and she is most certainly not that little baby anymore. 

Lord, help me to see the treasures You've hidden around me in my everyday life. Help me to not take them for granted. Help me to nurture the appreciation that Natalie has for these treasures so that she will always continue to live in the moment and be intentional with her time and interaction with others. 

Every day is a gift, even when things don't go as we've planned, when nap time is too short, your husband pointed out one of your flaws and hurt your feelings. There is always something new to learn, something that God wants to tell us if we'll listen. His love is never-ending. His mercies are new every morning. He loves me. He loves you.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Recipe: Blueberry Sauce

As I prepared batter for pancakes yesterday morning, I remembered a childhood memory about my grandpa that I had long forgotten about. When we would go visit my grandparents in Pennsylvania growing up, my grandpa Fred would make us silver dollar pancakes. I think I thought it was cool to see how many of the cute, mini pancakes I could shovel in my mouth in one sitting (usually 10 or so, if memory serves me correctly). I look forward to carrying on that tradition with my kids some day, but for now, Natalie couldn't care less about the size and shape of her pancakes as much as how quickly I can feed them to her! I am semi-crazy when it comes to feeding my child healthy food (we do eat processed stuff, but I try to give her fresh, wholesome food as much as possible), so instead of feeding her maple-flavored corn syrup with pancakes, I whip up some of my mom's blueberry sauce. It's just sweet enough and is a big hit with the toddler crowd, I assure you!

Blueberry Sauce

Makes enough for 6-8 pancakes

1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 c water
1 c blueberries (I always use frozen since they're always on hand)

In a small saucepan, mix cornstarch and sugar. Add water and stir. Add blueberries.

Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens into a sauce. I use a potato masher to mash some of the berries during the cooking process. Enjoy over pancakes, waffles, and biscuits!

We even ate leftover pancakes with a fresh batch of blueberry sauce for breakfast again this morning, but this time I fed Natalie myself instead of letting her smear blueberries all over her body feed herself since I didn't have time to give her another bath. Yesterday, she was literally covered from head to toe because she smeared it all over her high chair tray and then stood up in the chair and put her bare foot on the tray. My child does not have a short supply of personality! Haha!