Sunday, September 11, 2016

34 Week Update

Sunday night again, another fun but tiring weekend in the books. This time I started my weekend with a little girls' night with Heidi and Katie; we saw Bad Moms (funny but way more vulgar than I expected) and then chatted over Starbucks until way too late. It felt awesome to go out, catch up with friends, and talk (mostly about our kids and husbands, of course). We had a great time! 

Of course, that late night meant way too little sleep, so after swim lessons on Saturday morning I gladly took advantage of Marshall's nap time with a nap of my own. I'd say I slept about 90 minutes, and it was wonderful. Then we headed out for our little adventure. Originally, we planned to take the Metro to Santa Monica for dinner, but there were some delays with the westbound train. Instead, we headed eastbound and enjoyed dinner in Culver City (the highlight for me was chasing Marshall around a tree after our meal) before heading back to the train station and panicking because the earlier delays still appeared to be an issue. 

Thankfully, we made it home around 8:15, way past Marshall's bedtime, and I promptly fell asleep on the couch. 

(Scout didn't mind)

This morning we watched some of the 9/11 coverage on the news, hit up the grocery store, and walked to our local bakery for our weekend treat, assorted French cookies. Marshall played by himself a while, we got some chores done around the house, and then for lunch we tried "butter sandwiches," which are apparently a thing in France. I had read an article about them, and basically you use really good bread, really good butter, a little salt, and whatever (single) topping you want to make the world's simplest sandwich. We chose cheese today, but you can use fancy meat, tomato, avocado, whatever sounds good to you. They were indeed simple but also totally delicious! 

In other food news, we made this quick shrimp pasta with jumbo shrimp (found wild-caught shrimp at TJ's in the freezer section!), roasted cherry tomatoes, and Costco pesto. 

I asked Marshall if he wanted to watch a video this weekend. He said, "Uncle Chris," which means the videos that Uncle Chris (my brother) has sent Marshall of the construction sites where he works as a project manager. This kid can't get enough.

Speaking of this kid, some funny recent developments and Marshall-isms:

Asking questions instead of making observations. He used to announce his observations, like, "Daddy has a brace on his leg." But now he asks questions, and his inflection is priceless. "Daddy, you got a brace on your leg?" "Mommy, you're in the driver's seat?"

He's learning a little bit of Spanish at school, and today he asked us how to say a few words in Spanish. His little accent is pretty great! Our downstairs neighbor is working on his Ph.D. in Spanish at UCLA, so he offered tutoring. :-)

He's interacting with Scout more, for better or worse. The other day he walked by Scout sitting on the table, and Scout swiped at him (no claws), which scared Marshall. But he also has started talking to Scout like a little friend: "Scout, I'm playing with my garbage truck. You want to play with me?" "Scout, you want some food?" "Scout, you want to read a book?"

Random side note: One of the greatest joys of my life has been stealing glimpses of Marshall and Terry together. I don't know how my heart will be able to handle watching Terry become a father of two, but I'm excited for the challenge!

Speaking of which, a quick update on where we are in preparing for baby number two:

I'm 34 weeks along! I feel totally huge (I'm not, I know, but I still feel huge). I'm pretty uncomfortable most of the time; my hips hurt a lot, especially at night. My back hurts anytime I stand up. The baby is kicking wildly, and I'm thrilled for a healthy, active baby but a little nervous about how active he or she will be on the outside! I have had some trouble sleeping lately, which I know is quite normal for the third trimester. Overall, it's been an uneventful, healthy pregnancy, so I am very grateful and so happy to be where I am.

Workouts are down to a few a week. I am mostly active throughout my days, but I could definitely stand to walk around more at work. I squeeze in short strength training workouts at home a few nights a week, but I'm also focusing more energy on stretching and relaxing when I feel tired, so I'm not overdoing it.

As far as prep for baby, we got a little more serious this week about getting things ready. I sorted through all of Marshall's old clothes to determine which ones would be appropriate for boy or girl, and which ones will only work if we have another boy. I washed a whole bunch of baby stuff, started packing my hospital bag, and added to our lists of stuff to do before baby arrives. 

A few weeks ago, a new sensation hit me that I hadn't yet experienced in pregnancy: excitement! I'm sure it sounds terrible to say, but in complete honesty I don't remember feeling a lot of excitement before Marshall's birth. I felt scared and anxious, and even though I felt very blessed and lucky to be having a baby, I did not feel ready for his arrival. This time, I was thrilled when we learned I was pregnant but also focused a lot on the present. But now, as we near baby's due date and I think about meeting this sweet new addition, I feel absolute joy! I know we will face obstacles, but I also know our little family is strong and that we have support outside the three (four!) of us to help if something big comes our way. Of course, it helps that even after feeling so nervous and stressed about Marshall, we made it through and fell in love with our little boy the instant we met him. I can't wait to meet this little one, too!

Here's the 34 week photo this time around:

And 32 weeks and 33 weeks with Marshall:

I actually think I looked bigger last time!

It's been a great weekend. We're hoping Marshall will fend off what looks like the beginning of a cold. My parents are visiting this weekend, and I'm just hoping for some good sleep before then. Hope your week goes wonderfully!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Treat Tradition & Labor Day

Happy Labor Day! We enjoyed a wonderfully low-key weekend (as is becoming the norm around here, and you'll hear no complaints from this pregnant mama), and I am finally getting around to sharing some photos and happenings from recently. 

This week I will hit 34 weeks, well on our way to meeting our newest addition. Marshall still isn't super into feeling the baby kick or anything, but he'll show some interest and give a kiss if we suggest it. It's a little hard to believe he'll be a big brother in just a few short weeks, but I think he'll fill the role wonderfully.

(That photo was probably around 32 weeks)

I've had some meal planning hits and misses lately. For the most part, I'm planning away as usual, with two caveats: I'm incorporating one night out per week (order in, take out, eat out, whatever) to give us a break from dishes and cooking; and I'm mostly using meals that require very little prep. Plus, I'm enlisting the help of my little sidekick! Last weekend, Marshall sat with me while I wrote out my grocery list and "wrote" a list of his own with crayons! Then we folded up his list, put it in his pocket, and pulled it out at the store to remind me of what we needed. Two-year-olds are too fun!

Of late, we've started a new weekly tradition of going out for a treat! We've hit up various ice cream shops and last weekend chose a new-to-us donut place, Sidecar. It was incredible. We tried the cinnamon crumble, butter & salt, vanilla with chocolate, and buttermilk "drops" and loved every bite.

This weekend's treat was a trip to Beverly Hills to Bouchon Bakery, where we tried an almond croissant, a chocolate chip cookie, and a beignet. Marshall's face when I tried to steal a bite of his beignet--I will never forget it. Anger, confusion, panic. I put it back down (without taking a bite) and he instead shoved the small bite of cookie he was holding toward me. But I was already laughing so hard I told him he could keep the cookie. Such a sweet boy who loves food so much.

Then we spent some time checking out the fountain (getting super soaked) and walking around the block before heading home. These quick trips for treats are becoming my favorite part of the week, and I'm glad it's something we can easily continue once baby is here.

Random photo: Marshall helped Daddy build our new shoe rack. He hasn't stopped talking about it since.

Also last weekend, Jenn and I took a cooking class together! We have a new Sur La Table in Westwood with cooking classes, and Terry booked a class for me for my birthday. The class, Global Gourmet Burgers, was fun and unique, but I think next time I'd go with a multiple-course class to incorporate more techniques and variety. Still, we had a great time, and it was awesome to be out doing something new and different!

More in food: We recently tried out Smitten Kitchen's summer squash pizza, which was delicious and a great way to throw in vegetables, but took more time than I expected for a weeknight meal. Next time I would do some steps ahead, but it was tasty. Marshall loved helping me throw the squash into the food processor to grate it!

Last week we made nachos at home. They turned out to be more of a treat and less veggie-filled than I had planned, but still, a fun, easy meal.

Breakfast casserole has become my favorite way to throw lots of vegetables into my diet. My stomach is not handling raw veggies well lately, so leafy greens are tough to incorporate. Luckily I can easily eat a whole serving each morning with this casserole. I just throw a bunch of frozen chopped greens all over the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, then a bunch of sauteed vegetables (onion, bell peppers, squash, etc.) and then cheese on top of all that. Then I whisk up a dozen eggs with salt and pepper and pour them over the vegetables. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. It lasts us three or four days of breakfasts!

Other highlights of the last week or so:

Hanging out with my favorite little guy

A photo of Marshall wearing an outfit my dad would totally wear
(Also, Marshall recently learned how to "smile for the camera," which is adorable and so sweet!)

Terry and I took M to a playground yesterday and let him do his thing. We love watching him explore his abilities and have been deliberately hanging back more to see what he'll get up to without us nearby. Yesterday he explored the entire playground set and was so proud of himself for going down both slides. It truly makes me so proud, too, to see him figuring out his limits and becoming more independent and coordinated.

This weekend also marked another attempt at watching a movie. Marshall has shown very little interest in movies and television, which of course is fine, but we also don't want him to be that weird kid who doesn't know what a movie is. So we tried again, this time with How to Train Your Dragon, and he was actually into it! But he does have a strange quirk: He fixates on small, random details within some books and, apparently, movies, where he obsesses over something really minor. In Lady and the Tramp (book version), his favorite part was the rat(? I completely forgot a rat is even in that story!). In Pinocchio, he loved the whale (a little more understandable). And now, in How to Train Your Dragon, he was absolutely fixated on...the boats??? There are approximately two scenes that feature boats, and not even prominently.

So anyway, we had to watch the movie over three different attempts, but we made it through. He was genuinely into the dragons by the end, and he kept saying, "It's funny!" so I guess he liked it well enough. I can tell movies and TV will be a rare activity around here, but at least we can say we tried!

Meanwhile, yoga is apparently much more entertaining.

Today was pretty close to a perfect day. Marshall slept in, so we all slept in until 7. We took it slow this morning, ate breakfast at home, helped our neighbors jump their car, and made a quick trip to the store. We finished the movie, hung out around the house, and had Marshall help me with making a breakfast casserole. During M's nap, I went out for a massage(!), and then this afternoon we took a family walk around the neighborhood before dinner. Nothing too big or exciting, but a truly great day with my boys. I am so grateful for my little family and am finding myself more and more eager to meet the little one on the way!

Okay, that was pretty long. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow, so maybe I'll post a pregnancy update this week, since I'm running out of time to post those!

As for meal planning this week:
- Veggie spring rolls as snacks (hoping my stomach will tolerate the raw vegetables)
- Pasta with pesto, roasted cherry tomatoes, and shrimp
- Bruschetta and broccoli melts (not sure if we'll do these all on one night or just split them between two nights)
- zucchini corn chowder (Marshall gobbled this up tonight! I like to puree the soup before adding the corn for a smoother texture)
- sweet potato fries (tossed in olive oil and salt and roasted at 425 for about 20-25 minutes) with a chipotle hummus from our farmer's market
- breakfast casserole, as mentioned above

And now we're heading into a short week! I'm already looking forward to another wonderful weekend in just a few days. Hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

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.