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!