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Clearly, he’s brilliant.

(wink)

Happy weekend!

I was talking with my friend the other day about how this pregnancy is different from my first. I told her that this one just…is. I don’t know if it’s actually an easier pregnancy than with Owen (a peek into my archives tells me that at this point last time, I was really uncomfortable and up a few times a night, which isn’t really the case this time), or if the little nuances of pregnancy are familiar now and go mostly unnoticed.

I’m calmer this time. When I had early spotting, just like last time, I didn’t freak out. Aches and pains and the occasional dizzy spell don’t send me running to the internet to Google a specific symptom paired with a specific week of pregnancy.

The awesome parts – the movement and the kicks and jabs, the belly that just keeps getting bigger, Owen kissing my belly and telling me that brother is growing, the love and adoration from Michael (I really couldn’t ask for a better husband when it comes to being pregnant. He may joke about my size sometimes, but he truly makes me feel beautiful and womanly) – those parts are the same. And I appreciate that.

I have new fears this time. I worry about how Owen will transition, what will happen if my labor is quick and I’m home alone, whether or not my family will arrive in time for the birth. I fear not labor and delivery, but recovery while parenting a toddler.

I worry about the lack of sleep and the post partum blues, and being the best mother I can to two children while working through the first tough weeks.

So, it’s the same, this pregnancy, but it’s different. And with only 16 weeks to go, it feels like it’s flying by.

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Dear Owen,

Recently you started insisting on wearing a baseball cap any time we leave the house. It’s because you want to be just like Dada; you like his hat with the red ‘B’. It wasn’t until I watched you walking along the driveway in your zip-up hoodie, sneakers and little hat that it struck me what a little boy you’ve become. The last set of photos I sent to the family was met with shock — who was this smiling lean little boy with the sparkling eyes and the mop of blond hair?

I do have moments of “where did my baby go?” shock, but mostly, I’m not sad to see you grow. I’m amazed and dazzled by you. Whether you’re counting to 14 (the highest you’ve learned so far), or identifying and reciting the alphabet (although sometimes you still forget X), I am filled with happiness and pride to see what you can achieve.

You love trucks. LOVE trucks. You love to sing and dance and read and play and laugh. You are one of the most affectionate and talkative children I’ve ever known — you are hardly ever not talking about something. Sometimes I can tell your brain is working faster than your mouth and you stumble over a thought that is just bursting to get out of you.You can also be cautious and shy when you first meet someone, but I think that’s not a bad thing.

Nom, nom, kissable lips.

We have some really nice boys who live in our neighborhood and they play basketball every day after school. You are fascinated by them and when they notice you, they will often come over and toss the ball with you. You shriek with joy and bounce it back to them. When they go back to their game, you stand at the end of the driveway with a look of wonderment and watch them play. I often find my heart catching in my throat during these moments and my eyes welling up a little for a few different reasons: I see how happy it makes you, how cool you think those big boys are. And that makes me happy. But I also see a glimpse into your future — the pains of growing up you will experience that I can’t shield you from. The first time someone tells you they don’t want to play with you and you sadly watch them play from afar, or when someone is mean to you and you just don’t understand why. I know you have to go through these moments, but I’m glad I can keep you away from that for a while longer.

This is my last letter to you before you turn two, and your world as you know it will be forever changed. Next time I write, it will be just under three weeks until your brother is born and you become a Big Brother. I’m excited and anxious about our family growing, but I know you are going to love him so very much. You tell me that our family is “mama, dada, and toady (Kodiak)”, but when I ask you who is going to join our family you shout “Brother!” and lift up my shirt. I can’t wait for you two to start your sibling journey together.

Until then, I’m savoring these last three months of just us. It’s going to be a great spring, buddy.

I love you through and through.

Love,

Mama

 

- March Photo Challenge? What’s that? Ughh. I will try to catch up this weekend. FAIL. Again!

- Owen is well again. Three days of a fever and tons of sleeping and he seems to have kicked whatever bug he had. Yesterday’s normal hour and a half nap confused me after days of four hour ones!

- I think I am most productive between the hours of 4-5 p.m., and only in the kitchen. Yesterday I unpacked groceries, made  homemade turkey nuggets for Owen, chopped and froze fruit for smoothies, started dinner and unloaded the dishwasher. If only I could stay that efficient all day long.

- It’s date night with another couple tonight. What should I wear?

- Not this, it’s too casual:

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23 weeks, y’all. Just the right size for balancing a pint of ice cream on my belly.

- Which I did, last night, as I polished off the ‘Everything but the…’ Ben & Jerry’s. There’s a reason I never buy it…I can’t NOT eat it. Why did no one ever tell me about Heath Bars before? WHY??? (Nom).

- I got bit by a tick yesterday. While not unusual in the slightest (it is New England, after all), it had attached on my belly and that just freaked me out.

My initial reaction was GAH and GROSS and MY BAAAABY, but then I got over it, pulled it off and cleaned the bite. I’ll check in with my OB today, but I think it will be fine. I’ve had Lyme before, though, and definitely don’t want it again, especially pregnant.

- It’s been nearly 70 degrees every day this week. In MARCH. If it snows next month I will die, just die.

- There’s a foot under my rib. Time to get off the couch. Happy weekend!

Time for another round of Pinterest recipes! The good, the bad, and the adjusted.

You can read the last Roundup here.As always, all photo credit belongs to the original poster.
The weather here has been beautiful lately — just straddling the line between late spring and early summer, despite it only being March. On one particular warm day after spending the entire morning playing outside with Owen, I had just put him down for a nap and was relaxing on the deck when I got the craving for a frosty beverage. Of course, being pregnant means I can’t have the exact beverage I had in mind, but I thought this one might be a decent baby-friendly substitute.

Pina Colada Smoothie by Paula Deen

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I really liked the short list of fresh ingredients in this smoothie: pineapple, coconut milk, bananas and honey. That’s it. Unusual for Deen the Butter Queen, no? I don’t keep coconut milk in the house so I bought a can especially for this recipe. It was a little on the pricey side for one can, I thought (just under $4), but it keeps well in the fridge. I have about half left over and another recipe in mind to use up the rest.

Overall, I enjoyed this virgin pina colada-ish drink, but if I make it again I would add more honey, or maybe a teaspoon of sugar, as it was a little under-sweet for my taste. Also, it says it serves 2, but I poured it all into a tall glass and drank the entire thing myself!

Cake Batter Cookiesby Stephanie Cooks

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I live with a Cookie Monster. Michael can go through them at top speed and they never last more than 2-3 days in the house. I usually just add cookies to the shopping list, but they really started adding up. Plus, homemade is always so much tastier. The only problem is, sometimes homemade takes more time than I have. Which is why this recipe struck me as interesting.

The main ingredient is boxed cake mix, which means you basically just have to toss in a few things and you’re done. Hardly any measuring at all. And because there’s so many different flavors of cake mix, you can really use your imagination here to come up with a combo you love. I followed the recipe this time and used yellow cake mix and a peanut butter/chocolate chip mixed bag.

Verdict? These are SUPER easy and quick to make. This was a big plus for me. However, at least following the recipe the way I did, they pretty much taste like boxed cake mix. Which…duh. Of course they do. They weren’t UNtasty, but I think unless you are a big fan of that cakey taste, you’re not going to love them. Michael actually said he thinks because they taste so much like cake, they might actually be better with a frosting rather than with chocolate chips. Might be worth trying it again and going that route.

For what it’s worth, I thought they tasted much better the next day…and I was the one who ate most of them; not Michael! Do with that what you will.

Sugar Saucers - by Annie’s Eats (which has quickly become my new favorite food blog)

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As far as cookies go, it’s hard to go wrong with a good sugar cookie. They make a great base for frosting, and are equally good with sanding sugar, or even plain. These came together easily (got to love that Kitchenaid mixer), and I’ve made them twice already. They are definitely going into the Cookie Monster’s regular rotation.

What I like best is the subtle hint of citrus from the lemon rind (although the next time I used a lime, and might like that even better!) I topped the last batch with green sugar for St. Patrick’s Day, and our mini-monster got his hands on one. The first bite was met with a big “MMMM!!!”, so I suppose they are toddler-approved as well.

Man-Pleasing Chicken by Witty in the City

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Chicken is my go-to protein and I always try to buy it on sale. When I snagged a pack of thighs for cheap, I knew I wanted to try this recipe. I was a little hesitant though, because it calls for half a cup of dijon mustard and…I don’t like mustard. At all. I think it’s pretty gross. I mean, I’ll cook with it in tablespoon quantities usually, but half a cup? This made me nervous.

Well, I had no need to be. This was SO GOOD. And really, REALLY, it wasn’t mustard-y. There was a slight spicy flavor from it, but nothing overpowering. The dish lived up to its name — all the men in my house were pleased, from Michael to Owen to Kodiak, who got a few scraps at the end of the meal. I served it alongside rice and broccoli, and every plate was left clean. I also had one piece left over, which I sliced and served cold on a sandwich to Michael the next day.

The recipe says to cook it at 450 degrees for 40 minutes, but that seemed like a long time at a high heat for thighs to me. I ended up doing 22 minutes at 450, then 5 under the broiler. It didn’t get as crispy as the photo, but it was certainly cooked through and juicy. My one big tip if you make this is to line your pan with foil. The sauce pooled around the chicken, but any that went to the edges burned on thick and took an entire night of soaking plus LOTS of elbow grease to scrub away. Foil is your friend!

Another Roundup complete! Happy eating! And as always, you can find me on Pinterest here.

I’m behind again in my photos of the day. I had planned on doing another round up post today, but yesterday Owen woke up from a FOUR HOUR nap with a 104 degree fever.

We spent the rest of the afternoon cuddling on the couch and watching some Thomas the Tank Engine, his hot little body burning into my skin. After I put him to bed, he woke an hour later sweaty and screaming, so we repeated the whole process until he fell asleep on my chest. I felt sad for him and helpless, even though I knew my arms were the best thing I could offer him.

Today the fever is down to 102, but he’s still a malfunctioning little furnace, playing one minute and sobbing the next. And he won’t eat! Anything! Luckily he is drinking, but I can’t convince him to take a bite of one little thing.

Last night he ate applesauce for dinner, so aside from that he’s had no solids since about 6 p.m. If he gets worse I’d like to give him some medicine, but I’m nervous about doing that on any empty stomach. Suggestions welcome!

It’s so sad watching your baby feel sick, but it’s also hard not to get frustrated when nothing seems to work. I hope whatever he is fighting passes soon and we can all go back to normal. Until then, wish us luck!

- I think I’ve reached the point in Owen’s life that my archives will one day come back to haunt him. Like, I can’t believe you told the Internet that, mom, haunt him. Because I have to tell you the weirdest thing I love about this kid.

Every time I vacuum, he poops.

It’s some weird Pavlovian response, I guess. Michael says he’s just cleaning house at the same time I am. But you guys, it is SO weird. Slash totally hilarious. Unless he’s gone right before I start to vacuum, by the time I’ve finished with the bedrooms, it’s almost 99% guaranteed that he has gone number 2 and is ready to be changed. I told my sister this when she was visiting, and had she not witnessed it first hand, I don’t think she would have believed me. But, Owen did not disappoint.

Aside from being the funniest weirdo thing he does, it’s actually really convenient. As a matter of fact, he hasn’t gone since  yesterday and I have errands to run this morning, so…I think after I wrap this up it will be time to break out the Kenmore and get to work.

(Dear future Owen: I’m sorry, I had to share this story. I’m sure you’re not still pooping every time someone vacuums. Or…maybe you are. In which case, you’ll have to explain to me the logistics of it, because I am so curious!)

 

- We haven’t gotten very far with names for TLB #2. The short list isn’t getting any longer, or any shorter, and it seems as though we’ve just stepped away from it for awhile. Unfortunately, one name we both have always liked rhymes with our last name, and I just won’t do that to my kid. Growing up is hard enough without having to be a Julia Gulia. I have a favorite out of the bunch, though, and while Michael hasn’t committed to it, he hasn’t rejected it either. So, we’ll see. I just hope it doesn’t come down to the wire. I’d hate to leave the hospital with him being named ‘Boy’.

 

- Owen has taken to pulling up my shirt and saying, “Hi, brother!”, which is super sweet. He also responds “Baby” when we ask him what we should name him (one step up from ‘Boy’, no?) and most recently asked me to open my stomach. When I told him I couldn’t open it, he patted it and asked me again. “Pease, mama, open!” Again, I told him that my belly didn’t open, and that Brother was inside growing big and strong.

Then he asked me for some cereal and walked away. That’s pretty much the extent of his interest in his sibling.

I don’t think I’ll be able to pull him away from watching trucks at the front door all day. Tearing up and replacing the driveway means no cars on it for a few days.

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This makes him so happy, it’s totally worth it.

The fog burned off and now there’s nothing but sun. We are outside playing already!

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Oops! My sister has been visiting and I slacked off!

Day 11 – Someone you talked to

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My sister! Although, she was talking on her phone at that moment.

Day 12 – Fork

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His and hers.

Day 13 – A sign

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56 degrees at 4 in the afternoon. Yesterday it was still in the mid-60s and we stayed outside until we were chilled again. A sure sign Spring is here!

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