Sunday, August 21, 2016

Toddler-isms and a Better Weekend

To put it mildly, this week was tough. If I didn't already appreciate all my husband does around the house--and I consider myself quite grateful for him--I certainly do now. Terry really did help a lot more than expected this week--he folded laundry, stood on one leg to do dishes, helped with Marshall's bath and diaper changes, and gave me lots of encouragement. Even so, it was hard to have to do drop off and pick up for Marshall for day care (one day, it took me an hour and forty minutes to get from work to Marshall to home) and to be the only physically capable adult in the house for things like cooking and picking up the toddler. I am very much looking forward to Terry's (hopefully speedy) recovery!

But of course, we made it through and ended up enjoying a wonderful weekend. Spending time with these two makes every weekend great!

Marshall loves when I take out the yoga mat and has taken to rolling it up, picking it up, and putting it away for me. 

Sometimes he gets frustrated when it's too hard to lift.

We took a family trip to UCLA (we drove, parked on campus, and kept to a small radius so Terry wouldn't have too much crutching-around to do). Marshall brought his trucks along in hopes of finding some dirt.

We found a forklift instead!

My favorites.

We also got a kick out of this tiny tunnel where Marshall could run through on his own and then sneak back around for a fun game. So much laughing!
 On Saturday, Terry suggested an outing for a treat (either I've rubbed off on him or he was just that desperate to get out of the house), so we chose Rita's frozen custard. I always get Marshall a vanilla, so I branched out and ordered him a strawberry ice with vanilla custard on top, and I still got myself vanilla with chocolate chips. Guess which one he wanted? We should have just shared...

On Saturday night I made this delicious quinoa enchilada bake (Terry described it as everything my dad would hate all in one meal--kale, quinoa, and no meat). It was SO tasty, and there a LOT leftover, but unfortunately it gave me a horrible stomachache. Lately it seems anytime I eat something extra healthy--salads, certain vegetables, this casserole--I get knocked down by another bad stomachache. It pretty much set me on the couch the rest of the night, so that was for sure the low point of the weekend. Here's hoping it was just a fluke, because we're eating this meal for lunches all week!

This morning we enjoyed a slow morning of reading and relaxing before heading out to a new-to-us breakfast spot, Walter's Cafe, in Beverly Hills. Tasty, big portions, and not too crowded for a Sunday, so we will definitely go back! Marshall ate a TON: two eggs, a piece of bacon, at least 1/4 of my huge French toast meal, a cup of fruit, and a small piece of toast. Growth spurt?

Then we headed to the car wash, and Terry discovered a window where Marshall could watch the cars go through. He LOVED it.

Marshall has also learned how to turn on Terry's ice machine and is quite the helper when Terry needs to plug in the cord.

During Marshall's (short) nap, I made sure to take some down time to myself, and Scout curled up with the belly.

Dinner tonight was a new recipe, broccoli melts, which were seriously delicious! Marshall wanted to focus on the bread, but he ate a solid serving of broccoli, too, which is a great win in my book.

The photo below is turned the wrong way, I realize, but the point is that we actually completed our entire list of to-dos this afternoon! Almost never happens because I'm usually too ambitious and write down about ten items more than I can really accomplish. Lately, though, I'm all about making my life a little simpler, so I focused on simple meals and lots of prep-ahead stuff.

Meals and snacks this week:

Mango chia pudding (I made enough for three days for each of us, since we all really liked it last time; I think this time adding some coconut might make it even better)

Quinoa enchilada bake for several lunches

Broccoli melts - tonight and tomorrow

Pancake batter (made yesterday) to start our Monday with pancakes :-) 

Plus lots of fruit and vegetables when I can handle it

So here we go into what is sure to be a busy week! We all have appointments--dentist for Marshall, prenatal for me (32 weeks!), and post-op for Terry (hoping he'll get cleared to drive and get a better sense of timelines for crutches, being able to stand on his leg, etc.). 

Have you been watching the Olympics? I think I watched more this year than I ever have, and it was fun to keep up with a lot of the more popular events. My favorites were gymnastics, men's diving (I never saw women's - was it not covered in prime time?), and track & field. But I'm also looking forward to not staying up so late waiting for coverage of my favorite events. I will be happy to get into bed by 10 every night this week!

The rest of our time has been occupied by figuring out my maternity leave (way more complicated than it should be - get it together, America), working out when I have time (mostly walks and short strength workouts), deciding what else we need to prepare for baby, and enjoying every second of Marshall's hilarious personality. I've loved all 27 months, but lately he is just so talkative, funny, and sweet. Some recent favorites:

While I was trying to parallel park in a TINY space and had already tried about four times, Marshall, in the back seat, says: "Let's try again, Mommy. That's better. There we go! That's better." It was the perfect time for a good laugh.

"I want Mommy to cuddle with me." Now that he is in his toddler bed, I have crawled in to cuddle with him a few times (when the bed isn't wet--which is another story), and he's so sweet! He'll let me cuddle with him for several minutes, and I love every second.

Regarding Terry's knee surgery: "Daddy needs to ice his knee!" "Daddy has crutches." (Very matter-of-fact.) "Daddy needs crutches to help him walk." 

To various waiters at restaurants: "Bread?" (with hand raised, like he's ordered food for years). "I want food." As a waiter was walking away from our table, "I want watermelon!" (The waiter brought him watermelon. NOT okay that he is ordering his own food.)

Us: "What's Daddy watching?" (wondering if he is familiar with the sport on TV)
Marshall: "TV." Touche. 

He keeps us on our toes, and we are so excited to see what the next days, weeks, months will bring before his little sibling arrives ("in five weeks," according to Marshall, but let's hope not quite that soon!). 

Off to bed to start this week on a well-rested note!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Week of Challenges

We've had a wild week or so around here. I am a little unsure of how this new week is going to go, but first let's recap last weekend, which included a visit from my parents!

(Random adorable photo of Marshall with his future sibling.)

My parents arrived Friday and picked up Marshall from day care for us so we could work. They stayed really close to our apartment, which made the visit extra convenient.

My mom generously brought down several homemade meals for us to freeze for after baby. Our freezer is now overflowing! I'm grateful, but we need to make it two more months (hopefully), so I might need to find a back up freezer. It's a good problem to have.

As part of our visit, we all headed to the Metro to take the train to brunch one morning. It was so fun!

My dad's birthday was in July, and my birthday was August 11, so we also celebrated. I baked a coconut cake (his favorite!), which was really fun for me. I really love making birthday cakes; there's something special about putting lots of love into baked goods for someone I care about. :-)

We also went out to dinner, and my dad and I ordered the same thing. Here's my plate after:

And his plate after:

He's got this thing where he almost literally licks his plate clean. I finally asked him why, and he said it's because he grew up with three brothers, so he had to eat with gusto.

And then they had to head home, but it was a great visit, and we're looking forward to the next one!

The rest of the week quickly turned to chaos as we got ready for our next big event: Terry's knee surgery. A while back, he tore his ACL and lateral meniscus playing flag football. When it was determined that surgery would ultimately be the best path, we decided to get it over with before baby arrives. So on Wednesday, he headed in for his (first!) surgery. I took the day off work, and Marshall went to day care as usual.

The day itself turned out to be rather stressful. I hadn't really thought how scary it would be to watch my husband go into surgery and then be left by myself afterward for several hours. I went to lunch, ran a few errands, and anxiously awaited the doctor's call. Unfortunately, the timing was all messed up and the communication from the recovery ward was less than clear, so I picked up Marshall once I realized how late the surgery was running. When we tried to go back to see Terry we ended up having to stay out of the recovery room. (Note from Terry: The nurse in recovery was apparently terrible, so he wasn't surprised she kicked me out with my toddler and giant belly.) I cried as I carried Marshall back out to the car, unsure of what to do or how to get back up there to see Terry. It was not a great moment for this exhausted, emotional, pregnant mama.

I don't know if I've ever felt more guilty than I did when I realized I wouldn't be there with Terry when he woke up from his surgery. Thankfully, my friend Amanda came to rescue me after she finished work and spent some time with M so I could meet Terry. By then, though, Terry was discharged, so the nurse was already wheeling him out. I felt absolutely awful for not being there, and the day completely wiped me out. I know I did all I was capable of that day, but I felt pulled in a million directions. I am so grateful to our friends for being so supportive and willing to help.

Upon arriving home WAY later than we expected, our friend Justin generously met us to help Terry up the stairs and bring us dinner that he and Jenn had cooked for us. Eggplant parm is incredible comfort food, just for the record.

After that horrible, horrible day, we woke up to my birthday! I turned 31 on Thursday, and I ended up deciding to take the day off (with much encouragement from my boss and coworker). While I was tired and busy all day, it was such a blessing to be home to take care of Terry, to care for Marshall, and to keep our house running amidst all the chaos. I am so grateful for these boys (plus the little blessing in my belly!), and being with them on my birthday is all I need. Living this life is such a gift.

Marshall being silly on the way to daycare:

There's been a little more of this lately:

 Believe it or not, Terry is actually feeling pretty well. He's barely taken any pain meds since arriving home and is motivated and active despite his condition. In fact, on Friday night we attended an awards dinner for his work! Can you see the brace?
(Thanks for letting me borrow the dress, Heidi!)

We were quite a sight, me all pregnant and Terry all gimpy (his crutches are not in the photo but are definitely necessary for him to walk). But I am glad we attended the dinner, because it was pretty awesome to see my stud of a husband win an award with his team. Bonus: His team was by far the youngest to accept an award!

On Saturday, we got another tough day: Marshall suddenly came down with the stomach flu (turns out it is going around at his school). After three rounds of carpet cleaning, a bath and a shower for Marshall (plus one for me), about ten loads of laundry, and a few hours of holding my poor little boy, we survived the evening. I ended up sleeping on the floor next to Marshall's bed, a good idea because he woke up about six or seven times before 3 am. But ouch--sleeping on a hard floor while pregnant was a TERRIBLE idea. I am so sore and achy today!

But can we pause for a moment and talk about how awesome my husband is? Three days out of surgery, down on the floor cleaning up his kid's bodily fluids. This is the man I married, and I am so glad I did.

Today, after a rough night of sleep, Marshall woke up at 8:30 (thank goodness!) feeling mostly better. He kept down applesauce for breakfast, and then he and I headed out for some fresh air and a light walk. It was definitely the highlight of the weekend! We stumbled upon a construction site, and Marshall surveyed all the debris. This little boy loves construction!

(At one point, I told him it sounds like he's ready to be a construction worker. His response: "No, I'm a boy." Okay, buddy. Point taken.)

While Marshall took an epic almost-four-hour nap this afternoon, I ventured out by myself for grocery shopping and stopped at Target to find something fun for Marshall and Daddy to enjoy together while Terry is resigned to the couch for a few weeks. I lucked out with a memory game! So far, Marshall only wants to put the pieces into the box, but we'll get there.

After this rough week, I'm ready for a fresh start but nervous for what the challenge of a full week of work will bring. We are so grateful to friends and family for their help and support, meals, and offers to do what they can to ease the burden of dealing with a bum knee, a toddler, an illness (which we pray is done), and a pregnant mama. But on the other hand, I have to admit I'm pretty proud of our little family for dealing with all these obstacles. It has shown me I'm stronger than I thought, Marshall is more independent than we often give him credit for, and Terry is even more amazing than I realized. Plus it's a lesson in knowing how many people we have around us willing to help, and I am so, so thankful. Part of me thinks if we got through the last four days, a newborn in a couple months will be no problem! ( to me in late October to see how things are going then.)

And with that, we begin Monday.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Third Trimester Update - 28+ Weeks

I hit 27 weeks, which officially marked the third trimester, on July 20. And it's only taken me about 17 days to finally get around to this post; not bad, right?

This pregnancy felt pretty similar to the first for a while, aside from not getting wildly sick at conception, so I felt blindsided when, about halfway through the second trimester, I finally recognized that, in fact, this pregnancy feels completely different.

Physically I feel far more exhausted and less agile. I am falling asleep by 9 pm every night and I'm asking Terry to do a lot more around the house (granted, last time we didn't have a toddler mattress that needed changing every other evening or a 30-pound kid to pick up at random intervals, so I'd likely have been just as exhausted back then, too). My workouts are still going well, but I'm happy to squeeze in two "official" workouts per week, as opposed to easily finding time for four or five last round. Now I walk a lot throughout the day (between 5,000 and 7,500 steps, which is enough for me right now) and feel all sorts of tuckered out by the time we put Marshall to bed. The heat adds another element of lethargy, so mustering up energy for brief workouts still feels like a feat. I've been taking it easier on myself this time, too, so if I'm tired or hot or just want a break, I don't push it.

Here's a typical prenatal workout that has felt really great for me, even on the hot days:

Upper Body
(5-lb. weights have felt comfortable for me so far)
15 biceps curls
15 triceps overhead extension
15 hammer curls
15 bench dips
15 reverse curls
15 push ups (on knees)
Complete three rounds of the above

10 overhead press
10 lateral raises
10 upright rows
10 front raises
Complete two rounds of the above

I take lots of breaks, drink a ton of water, and quit if I'm not feeling well. Having been through it already, I know there will be a time when I can get back into shape for intense workouts, but now is not that time. My goal for pregnancy workouts is to give myself energy, keep myself and the baby healthy, prepare my body for labor and birth, and to maintain my sanity.

The other physical challenge I've faced this time is crazy stomachaches. I have struggled with these stomachaches for over ten years, so I'm familiar with the symptoms (back ache, tight stomach pain in my upper abdomen, chills, clammy feeling all over), but I had them completely under control for a long time. And for whatever reason they've just been brutal lately. For one stretch, I had a stomachache every day--about an hour to five hours at a time--for two full weeks. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out the exact trigger(s) nor the best way to get rid of them, other than sleeping it off (not exactly appropriate at work). I do know that they tend to be more frequent when I am stressed, so I try to keep my stress levels low, and I know that eating too much or too fast can exacerbate things.

Emotionally, this pregnancy has been worlds better than the last. I've said it before, but I feel so much lighter this time. There are stressors in my life, of course--the rush of daily errands and chores, election madness, sad news around the world, stress at work, inevitable life issues--but it's all so much more manageable and in better perspective this time around.

Speaking of perspective, a big emotional hurdle I have had to conquer has been my hopes of having a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) coupled with my emotional recovery from having an unplanned C-section with Marshall. Luckily, I've made a ton of progress! I still hope--and am planning--to have a VBAC with this baby, but I am also at peace with what happened with Marshall. More importantly, I also know that another C-section with this baby will be okay. Ultimately, I am thankful to live in a time and place where I will be allowed to try for a VBAC but also where a C-section is an option if that's what's best for baby.

Overall, it's been a happy, albeit uncomfortable pregnancy. I am so grateful for this experience, and I am trying to view even the aches and pains as a blessing.

For comparison, here's a snapshot of the beginning of my third trimester with Marshall.

As far as the baby goes, we just had an appointment last Monday, and baby is growing and healthy, right on track for size. And--huge news for me--baby is head down already! I am thrilled he or she is already in good position for labor. I remember feeling Marshall roll from breech to head down, but this one did so much more subtly. I get TONS of kicks all day, some of which are rather uncomfortable (sharp knees and feet!), but they are reassuring and funny, too. Marshall still hasn't had the patience to feel baby kicking, but he does refer to the baby on occasion: "Baby is coming out in five weeks!" (He has been saying this for about two months, and thankfully it hasn't come true yet.) "This puzzle is for the baby." "Baby is going to eat dinner!" So we'll see how that goes.

We don't feel rushed to get much else done before baby arrives, but we have a decent to-do list, such as touring our hospital (same hospital as last time, but we thought it would be good to review their policies and to make sure we're in the know about any changes since two-plus years ago), registering for delivery, finishing our labor/birth books, and buying a couple more items to refresh our newborn stash of goods. We're certainly a lot more prepared than last time! (Or so we think...)

This week I hit 30 weeks, and we're feeling excited, although we have a big challenge ahead: Terry is getting knee surgery on Wednesday for a torn ACL and meniscus. I've planned ahead for meals as much as possible, and we have a few friends helping us with meals and such, too. I won't lie: I'm a little nervous about handling the whole house on my own while Terry is recovering, but I know we'll get through it. Wish us luck, especially Terry in his recovery!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Loving Lately

Mid-week post! Hello! I'm here to share some fun finds I've come across lately, as well as some family adventures. Here's what's making me happy lately...

Online shopping! I’ve had way too much fun finding things we need (and “need”) lately, and I’ve been randomly scoring some great deals! Following companies on Facebook really helps, and stocking up when there’s a good sale has been a huge time and money saver. The other day, for example, Jet posted 25% off Honest Company products, and I walked away with tons of bubble bath for about half off (thanks to a first-time-user discount)! I also checked out thredUP (an online consignment store where you can buy and sell clothes) for the first time, because I’ve heard great things about their deals for kids’ clothes. Before I checked out, I asked (via the little “Chat with us!” feature) if there is a first-time-user discount, and sure enough I got an additional 40% off (I bought two maternity dresses for a fancy night we have coming up, but neither one worked out unfortunately, and I also bought Marshall a pair of overalls!).

Amazon Prime Day wasn’t as huge a hit for me, but I did buy a new diaper bag, and I’m so excited to start using it. It’s a big upgrade from my last one and will transition easily to a weekender bag when we no longer need diapers.

New recipes
Terry and I have really stepped outside our comfort zone lately with some awesome new recipes. I love browsing Cup of Jo, 100 Days of Real Food, and Smitten Kitchen <--I love the “Surprise Me!” button!) for inspiration, and sometimes I’ll put my own spin on dishes. Here are some we’ve tried lately:

Orange Creamsicles--perfect for hot nights!

Strawberry-coconut water popsicles (I just threw a bunch of strawberries and some coconut water in a blender and then poured the resulting mixture into our popsicle molds--they were so sweet and delicious! And perfect for me to get some healthy coconut water in, because I’m not a huge fan of drinking it straight)

Mango Chia Pudding--again, I’m not a huge fan of chia seeds and so far haven’t found a good way to incorporate them into my diet, but this recipe is DELICIOUS. So easy and quick, too! Marshall kept asking for more, also, which is a great bonus lately, as he’s hitting the infamous two-year picky phase!

Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Stuffed Peppers - I made this recipe once with a few minor tweaks and loved it, so we tried it again with an enchilada flair. I just added some cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, and used pepper jack and cheddar instead of the other cheeses. It was delicious, and a perfect side dish or main entree.

Sloppy Joe’s! I can’t remember the last time I had sloppy Joe’s, but I thought it would be a fun recipe to try. SUPER easy, totally delicious, and we all gobbled it down. Terry even convinced me to try making homemade hamburger buns, which are tasty but not quite fluffy enough for me, so I’ll keep working on it.

Egg (white) pizza bake--like a frittata, but bigger, and cooked entirely in the oven. I used kale and collard greens for some variety, and we portioned them out to bring as snacks at work all week. Honestly, chopping all the greens and sauteeing all the vegetables was a LOT of work (luckily I had some cooked sausage and ground turkey in the freezer, so I just threw those in, but that would have added even more work), so I’m not sure we’ll make this one super often, but the idea of it--lots of veggies + cheese + eggs--is definitely one to repeat. Next time I’ll just double the batch and freeze half so I get even more out of it. Delicious, though, and a great way to eat tons of greens, which has been a real struggle this entire pregnancy. (By the way, I used 12 whole eggs instead of the recommended egg whites.)

(Making bread with Daddy)

(Recent haul from the farmer's market)

Sticky Toffee Pudding! For our five-year anniversary, Terry and I celebrated a few times to spread out the magic. First, we spent a night in San Francisco while my parents watched Marshall. Then for our actual anniversary, we gave a nod to our honeymoon (Italy and London) with a dinner out (with Marshall!) at an Italian restaurant

and homemade sticky toffee pudding. It was such a fun night!

Movie nights at home the last two weekends have been a perfect way to unwind after a long week. We watched Spy, which was hilarious, and The Big Short, which was fantastic (but definitely required a few pauses on my part to make sure I understood everything). Watching new movies and shows together has always been a favorite pastime of ours, but it is easy to get into a routine of watching our old standbys instead of diving into something new. Silly, because the new stuff is so fun!

And speaking of which, another new favorite: Catastrophe on Amazon Prime! We started watching a few weeks ago on recommendation of our friend Amanda, and we savored every episode. Hilarious, extremely vulgar, British humor...what could be better? I highly recommend it for anyone, but especially if you have kids, because it gets REAL about life with babies.

Watching Marshall and Scout interact has become a real joy around here. Scout is still terrified of the kid, but Marshall is really interested in the cat. He'll grab a toy for Scout and then walk around the house chanting, "Scooooout! Where are you? Come play, Scout!" Meanwhile the cat finds ways to hide.

Finding a healthy (and sustainable) balance during this pregnancy. A few weeks ago, our former birth teacher came over for an exercise consultation, where she took me through a full pregnancy-safe workout and showed me tons of exercises that are perfectly healthy for me to do up through my delivery date. We also talked a lot about nutrition, changes I can make in my diet to optimize baby's health, and ideas for reducing my stress. While the consultation was extremely helpful, it also gave me some anxiety about "doing everything right" and ended up making me feel like I was actually doing everything wrong.

So over the last two weeks or so, I've been working on finding a healthy balance between what our teacher suggested and what is realistic and sustainable for me. I certainly agree with eating healthy, for example, and adding nutritious foods and reducing sugar. But I also think there's something to be said for enjoying the act of eating, indulging in occasional treats, and fully embracing the experiences of eating out or taking Marshall out for a treat!

(After going out for ice cream recently!)

I have added lots of greens and vegetables to my diet and reduced my sugar intake, but I am still having tea on occasion and enjoying dessert when I want (a few times a week). It's a happy medium for me that keeps the experience of eating fun.

Similarly, the exercises I learned have been awesome for making adjustments to my strength workouts. But our teacher wanted me to follow a very specific type of power walking for cardio workouts, and I just wasn't feeling it. We like going for longer walks, and we like letting Marshall out of his stroller to explore now and then. So now I'm incorporating all her suggestions for strength exercises (modified push ups, dips, upper body exercises with very light weights, bodyweight squats, stationary lunges, pelvic rocking, planks, calf raises, etc.), but we're enjoying our normal family walks for cardio. I also walk at work (20-30 minutes at lunch) at least three times a week (which might go down as it gets hotter in LA). I'm so much happier just relaxing and enjoying workouts instead of stressing about doing it "right"! I'm a pretty active person, so I'm not worried about each individual workout so much as maintaining a generally active and healthy lifestyle.

Some photos from a recent walk to campus with our baby Bruin...
(We counted the chimes when the clock struck 10.)

Overall, this pregnancy has been far less stressful than my first, and finding this healthy balance for nutrition and exercise feels like a wonderful way to head into the home stretch. (I'll have a pregnancy update soon...true to second kid form, we're way behind on sharing those updates. But I'm 27 weeks today, officially entering the third trimester!)

So that's what's going on around here! I'll be back sooner than later this time, but have a great rest of the week!

Monday, July 4, 2016

San Francisco, Fake Father's Day, and Fourth of July

I thought I'd pop in to finally share what's been going on recently. Let's go back to a few weeks ago, when we enjoyed our last trip before baby. We started at my parents' house, including a stop at storage... pull out baby stuff! We brought some back with us and left some for my parents to bring down to us when they visit next. I'm excited to start going through it all!

My parents had some famous "Brentwood corn" (corn grown in Brentwood, California, which is seriously delicious), and Marshall got to help shuck.

Saturday morning, Terry and I took off to San Francisco and left Marshall with my parents for the night! We stayed in Union Square at Hotel Abri. Great location, decent hotel and value, but nothing amazing.

The day we arrived, we took our very first Uber across the Golden Gate Bridge to take in some views and walk back across (first time

True to form, we couldn't settle on one location for our date, so we opted for a traveling date. First stop: a brand-new (week old) bar off Union Square for drinks (I got a virgin mojito). Delicious and great service!

Then we popped right next store for fried pickles and another drink for Terry at the craft beer bar.

Finally, dinner was a bunch of shared small plates, including bacon jam deviled eggs, a salad with pickled vegetables and buttermilk fried chicken,

and an incredible cod sandwich. SO good.

For breakfast we returned to Dottie's True Blue Cafe. The lines are long, and we've had pretty slow (but friendly) service both times, but the food is worth it! I chose an omelet with the jalapeno cornbread,

and Terry went with the carnitas quesadilla.

After barely 24 hours, we headed back on BART to see our little guy, and Chris and Ashley also arrived at my parents for a quick Father's Day lunch (err, more likely, to spend some time with their favorite nephew).

And then we drove back down to get home before another week of work. Now that we're done with all our travel through October, we're already excited about enjoying some time at home to ourselves, relaxing as much as possible and getting ready for our new addition in a few months.

Marshall is certainly getting ready and playing big brother to his doll. :-)

Reading with Daddy

Smoothies for a weekend breakfast!

A recent wedding

Since Father's Day was mostly spent on the road back home from our trip up north, I suggested we do a second Father's Day to really celebrate Terry, which included some homemade cinnamon rolls. Marshall and I loosely followed this recipe, and I've already informed Terry that we'll be adding these to our Christmas morning traditions!
For Father's Day, I updated Terry's frame with photos of Marshall in Terry's favorite teams' jerseys (Bruins, LA Kings, and Dodgers),

and two new prints for the baby's room (we're doing an ocean theme with an emphasis on the mystical octopus), so I got him this one and this one from Minted. Terry is a true ocean lover, and I think this kid's room theme is especially meaningful to him, so that's why the gifts were "for Terry" even though they really benefit the baby.

We've tried a few other new recipes lately, too, including stuffed peppers (loosely followed this recipe, but used marinara instead of plain tomatoes and mozzarella instead of cheddar, no Swiss cheese).

And some blueberry lemon muffins, which weren't great (too lemony?), but good enough for the toddler.

Plus a BIG batch of marinara sauce for the freezer. I feel like it's still a bit early to intentionally make freezer meals for when baby arrives, but I assume some stuff might accidentally sit in there for three months, and I'll be thrilled to dig it out and have an easy meal ready to go!

A new park in our neighborhood opened last weekend! 

I have a feeling we'll spend a lot of time here. It's not very shady (yet--they have trees planted, but they're not providing much shade as of now), so it'll be great for summer mornings, but I like the setup. It's entirely enclosed, pretty small, lots of benches, and closer than any other parks (big bonus!). It's also near our library, so we can stop on the way to or from getting books. It might also be less crowded than our other park for a while, so we can keep an eye on Marshall while giving him some independence once the little one arrives. 

Marshall has been in a bit of a Mommy phase lately, but luckily it's not that he is at all resistant to spending time with Daddy. And thank goodness, because then I get adorable photos like these. <3

Super random, but on one of my walks at work recently I stopped for a quick photo of the back of Royce Hall. I love that I get to work at my alma mater and that UCLA happens to be such a beautiful place. 

Fourth of July Weekend

Okay, finally caught up to now! I got off early Friday, so we picked up Marshall and headed to a local splash pad, which turned out to be a little overwhelming to Marshall. He watched the other kids play for a few minutes, then decided he wanted nothing to do with the water and insisted that we leave the area. So we tried out some big kid swings instead, which were a hit! 

This weekend also marked our official transition to the toddler version of Marshall's crib. We wanted to make this transition well before baby comes so that Marshall has time to adjust (and we have time to catch up on sleep, if it's a rough transition). We want to avoid buying a second crib (our plan is just to switch Marshall to a real twin once baby is ready to use the crib, around 5 or 6 months), so this is a nice option for now. He fell asleep without incident each night, but in the mornings he's a little uneasy and calls for me. It's pretty adorable that he'll sit there, waiting for us to get him, apparently not realizing he can get out by himself! But for the most part, the transition has been smooth. Since it's virtually the same as his old crib, I think when he's half asleep he barely notices a difference.

Breakfast Saturday: pancakes. Marshall's favorite thing to "cook" in his kitchen.

Saturday we mostly took care of chores around the house, made a trip to Bed Bath & Beyond (I saved $30 because I had no fewer than SIX $5 off coupons...the cashier must have thought I was insane stockpiling all those!), and hosted Jenn, Justin, their baby Monroe (HE IS SO FRIGGIN CUTE!), and Jenn's friend from the Bay Area for an impromptu BBQ. Terry grilled a gigantic tri tip and absolutely nailed it. We used the meat for sandwiches and salads, and I think everyone went home happy.

On Sunday, we had big plans: A whole day with some of our best friends up in their neck of the woods (about 40 minutes from our house). We started at Underwood Family Farms for play time, meeting the animals, and strawberry picking!

Terry and I completely fell in love with strawberry picking and can't wait to go back (or find more farms) to pick more. It's certainly more of an experience than a farmer's market, and Marshall was pretty into it, too!

After lunch and naps and some much-missed adult time, we all headed to the pool. I was so excited to swim (last pregnancy I had plenty of opportunities to swim because we had a pool at our apartment, but this time we don't really have any access to a pool) and even completed a few laps between watching our little fish.

Then we loaded up our wagon caravan and headed to the annual Third of July celebration!

This thing was SO fun! Thousands of people, food trucks, music, kids' activities, picnicking, and fireworks. We attempted to make a potluck, and Katie brought an incredible couscous salad (<-- might be the recipe), and Heidi made some killer snickerdoodle blondies. I wanted to provide a chopped kale salad with nectarines, burrata, toasted almonds and pecans, and red onion, but the kale we bought at Costco was awful and ruined the entire thing. I was pretty embarrassed; luckily these people made me feel like it wasn't the end of the world. (We tried the salad again at home today, with better greens, and it really was delicious, so hopefully I can share it next time.)

Heidi is pregnant too (same time again! Kayla was born three weeks before Marshall, and now Heidi's baby is due about two weeks after ours)! Another bump photo!

We headed out early (before fireworks) because we had a long walk and a long drive home, but it was such a fun day. Perhaps a new tradition!

13,000+ steps later, this mama is TIRED and sore today.

Today, we are totally taking it easy. I'm even "slacking" (purposefully) on meal prep in favor of relaxing and enjoying the day off. We spent the morning at home (Marshall changed his doll's diaper and demonstrated awesome form, so we're putting him to work once the baby's born),

returning a few items at the mall, and whipping up a few just-for-fun goodies in the kitchen, including our first batch of homemade popsicles (fresh strawberries combined with coconut water) and a huge four-berry cobbler (straw-, black-, blue-, and rasp-), using this recipe.

We're reluctantly heading into another week, but only four days until the next weekend of family time and fun!

Happy Fourth of July to all of you!