Friday, November 20, 2015

Eleanor Farrell

Bringing Eleanor into this world was vastly different from bringing Adly into the world. Enter lesson 1 for mama: Eleanor is not Adly.

Beginning around the start 36 weeks, I went from having regular Braxton Hicks to having some big contractions. Just a few, and not regular. It is crazy how quickly you remember "that old feeling" of a good tight squeeze from back to front. At 36 weeks, 4 days, I spent the better part of the day dealing with contractions. Of course, I was teaching so I had no time to count them. All I knew was they were consistent. By the end of the day, I called my doctor who ordered me straight to hospital. Adam and I headed in around 4:30. When I got in, I was 2cm dilated and still contracting regularly. They had us walk the halls for 2 hours to check for any changes. After two hours of walking my behind off, there were none. So we were sent home. I was grateful. Having an early baby can bring a whole host of complications and if we were able to avoid it, I was ok with it. By then I had started my weekly checkups, and when I saw doc the following Monday, there were still no changes. Nor had I experienced anymore powerful contractions, just your usual Braxton Hicks.

Counting contractions at home. 
Ready to head in. 

During the next week, I experienced my bloody show, mucus plug loss and more sporadic contractions. I didn't experience any of this with Adly so it continued the rollercoaster of "is this it?!". At my 38 week appointment I had progressed to 4cm dilated without much effort. My doctor was convinced I wouldn't make it to 39 weeks, but in the event I did, she allowed me to schedule a voluntary induction. I figured at that point, my body had been progressing through labor for a few weeks, it would be ready by 39. Contrary to everyones beliefs, little miss Ellie hung on for another week. She even gave mama one last scare of thinking my water broke. But that turned out to be just another form of liquid leaking from my body. (Pregnancy is the sexiest time in a woman's life EVER!) 

So on Tuesday, November 10 at 6am, we packed our bags and headed to the hospital one last time, ready to have our sweet little girl. 

I was happy to end up with an induction because I was induced with Adly. While it can take a while, I was so far along already, as soon as I was checked in I began hearing "oh, this will go fast" from all the nurses and doctors. I was also happy to be scheduled so I could ensure I didn't go too fast to get the necessary drugs to not feel the birth. 

I know drugs aren't for everyone, but they're for me. I don't deal well with pain, and thanks to medicine, I was able to "enjoy" my delivery of Adly (despite the exhaustion for pushing for an hour and fifteen minutes). I wanted that same (hopefully shorter) experience with Ellie. Soon after starting pitocin I was also hooked up with anesthesia and then began the waiting game. 

At noon, I was still only 4cm but my contractions were ramping up and becoming more regular. So doc broke my water. Soon after that, I began noticing I could "feel" my left side and move my left leg, while my right side was completely numb. I began asking the nurse what could be going on, she called in the anesthesiologist to check it out. She couldn't figure it out either, so she began moving the needle in my back to try to realign the insertion. They also had me turn on my left side to see if the drugs would naturally take to the left side. By now, my contractions were STRONG. So the left-sided-laying-experience involved me curled up in a ball, crying my way through each awful contraction. 

The anesthesiologist came in once more and tried to readjust the insertion point. That still did no good. By this point I was full on sobbing yelling to the nurse to get the anesthesiologist in there again and do her f*%*ing job! (I mean come on, hell hath no fury like an in-pain-Kelly). 

In that time, I suddenly felt that old feeling. "Oh my god I'm going to poop. I have to push!" I yelled. The nurse asked if I was sure and I yelled yes. She dashed to call the doctor in, and she came in no time. With Adly, we had 5-6 people delivering her. This time, it was so quick it was just Adam, the nurse and my doctor. The doctor immediately told me to get on my back because Ellie was crowning! I panicked and began crying and yelling, "I can feel everything!! I don't want to do this without druuuugs!!!" But it was too late. Doc yelled for me to push, I pushed my hardest and then she was yelling for help. I panicked and she said she couldn't get baby out. She told me to push harder than I've ever pushed before. I screamed screams I never thought possible, and pushed harder than I ever thought possible and then just like that, Eleanor Farrell was on my chest. She came so fast, the assistance the doc needed, which was because her shoulders were stuck, came in after she was already on my chest. Crazy, right? According to Adam, when the doctor came in, she had looked at him and said he was going to have a baby by 3:15. When he looked up at the clock, it was 3:10. She arrived at 3:14pm. 

I spent the next 15 minutes with Eleanor on my chest sobbing my eyes out because I was still so upset over "feeling everything". It was not the way I had wanted it, and I was still reeling from it all. Not to mention she came SO FAST I was in complete and utter shock. 

As soon as the shock wore off I realized no matter how painful it was, SHE WAS HERE! At last. I had waited 39 loooong weeks to get to meet her. And she was perfect. 

They do things differently now from the 2.5 years it's been since Adly. They allowed Ellie on my belly for what seemed like an hour. It was a good chunk of skin to skin. I'm grateful for it, but it was a long hour of Adam waiting excitedly to get his own hands on his baby girl. When they took her to weigh her, she was a very healthy 8lbs, 9oz.

I have to note, I later found out the anesthesiologist was actually doing her job. The problem was, Ellie had dropped down so fast and far down the birth canal that she was blocking any of the drugs from reaching my left side. In hindsight, that would've been a big clue she was coming, but it's ok. It's all a guessing game for the most part. Also, in hindsight, the pain wasn't that bad, it just wasn't what I had in mind. So those of you drug-free mama's I applaud you. But I also applaud all mama's for going through the act of childbirth in general. What an incredible act of strength it is, no matter which way you go about it!

We are so very thrilled to have this beautiful addition to our family. She, like her sister, has already begun writing her own story, from the very start of her sweet little life.

Welcome to our family, Eleanor! We love you to pieces.

Family photo. 

Dada getting some time with his girl. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

So I Made A Quilt.

I am not a quilter. Nor am I necessarily a sewer. I'm a find-a-project-and-doer. I just decide I'm going to do something and then spend some time convincing myself I totally know what I'm doing. Sometimes I may stop and take an extended break along the way due to fears of what's next, but I always find a way to finish. Call it whatever you like, it's probably mostly crazy.

Last winter, I saw an idea for a baby onesie quilt on a super beautiful blog. And I was all like, "wow that is so cool. I think I could totally do that. I kind of know how to sew." So the idea spun around in my head for the better part of six months. I just couldn't let the idea go no matter how much it intimidated me. I procrastinated when we found out we were pregnant again to wait until I found out the sex. That way I'd know what onesies to use and what to save.

In hindsight, it really didn't matter if baby #2 was a boy or a girl. This project was truly a walk through a boxed up time capsule. The bottom line is, there were a lot of outfits that Adly wore that would always remind me of, well, Adly. And I wouldn't necessarily ever put them on her future little sister. Some blatantly had her name on them, others were just special from an experience we had or pictures I took that I now treasure from various moments in time. 

I wanted to share the tutorial I followed and my experience of making my first quilt. However, I also really wanted to encourage other moms to try it. While it was labor intensive and took a few months to complete (because my only work times are 2-3 hours during nap), I think it was so worth it. And totally doable for beginner sewers! You just need to know how to sew a straight line (or make it look straight). I can't begin to say what a special keepsake it turned out to be. The outfits included in the quilt likely would've always remained boxed up for I don't even know what. Now Adly will have them out in her room and anytime the moment strikes we can walk down memory lane talking about each square.

The first step for me was picking out the clothes I wanted to use. Like I said, it's a literal walk through a time capsule. I loved looking through and reminiscing about the days when Adly was itty bitty and the cutest clothes she had. The blogger from the tutorial had suggested I'd need a lot of onesies, and she was so right. First I pulled out all the ones with Adly's name on it, obviously those wouldn't be reworn. Then I pulled my personal favorites. Next I pulled some I thought were just cute or reminded me of a certain memory. Lastly, I went for soft fabrics that would be comfy to snuggle with. I used outfits ranging from 0-3 months, up to 18 months. Some weren't onesies but super cute outfits I just couldn't see on our next daughter because they reminded me too much of Adly. And, I'll admit, the frugal side of me pulled a few specifically because I knew the seasons would be off and little Ellie would never be able wear it.

I was honestly most surprised by how easily a color scheme came together. The author of the tutorial had found this in her case too, but I seriously thought that was just a coincidence for her. In order to keep with my theme, I did have to put back a few I really wanted, like her first Thanksgiving and first Christmas outfits. The orange and red just didn't fit with the other colors I had going.

Here is the list of materials you will need, once you have your pile of 50-60 onesises (See! You need a LOT). I ended up making a quilt that was 7 squares by 7 squares, so I used 49 in the end.

Onesie Quilt Materials List:
-Pile of 50-70 outifits (the size of quilt you decide to make will determine this).
-cutting mat
-5.5"x 5.5" square guide for cutting squares (I used cardboard measured from a box I had)
-rotary cutter
-Pellon 911FF (backing for onesies to make them stiff. I tried both kinds she suggests, and this was my favorite to work with as a beginner).
-Batting. I used Pellon Natural batting. Make sure it is thin enough to be used in a home sewing machine. Also, I would honestly buy this by the yard. I bought the bag and it was WAY too much. 
-Post-Its (for labeling your piles and rows)
-Spray Baster
-Painters tape
-Bias tape or Binding fabric. (I googled how to do this and used binding fabric. There are excellent YouTube videos out there showing how to do both.)
Let me warn you, the first cut is seriously the deepest. I may or may not have shed a tear when I cut into the first little teeny onesie. Just remember you would've just left them in a box otherwise. Although, cutting into the onesies does mean you have to follow through and finish the project. Motivation at it's finest! Another tip I have is that if it is big enough, and it's an outfit or pattern you really love, cut a few squares from the piece. Adly had a sleep sack that was so soft, and had her name embroidered on it. She wore it for months on end, but it was still in great condition. I was able to cut three squares from the sleep sack and they are all in the quilt.

Finally, the last part, the binding of the quilt was definitely the worst because I had to do it by hand. I looked for ways to do it by machine, but by hand seems to be the way of the road. So be prepared to spend some nights on the couch sewing like you're Betty Ross, only by the dim light of the TV and a lamp. This is actually the perfect project for a boring pregnant lady. Besides all that intensive labor, that's true love, right?!

I'll leave you there. The tutorial comes from the blog, Coconut Robot and she honestly does an excellent job explaining how to put the quilt together, especially for beginners. Click on the link to go to her tutorial.

Again, I seriously recommend trying this if you have a sewing machine, a little guts, and sentimentality. Even if it's not the most amazing, perfect quilt, it will have all the meaning in the world to your little dear one day. Maybe even more so to you. 

Lay out your squares and play around with different placements. I left this, walked away and came back a few times to ensure I liked it. 
First three rows sewn together. 

All rows sewn, with batting and backing cut larger. 
Using painters tape to sew the lines to sandwich the quilt was a genius tip!
Back of the quilt with lines sewn in.
Finished quilt waiting for hand sewn binding. It waited a few weeks. 

Close up of binding. I chose to use the same fabric from the back because I really liked it. Many people use a different style of fabric.

Finished quilt!

Friday, July 31, 2015

24 Weeks!

This week we slid into the 24 week mark, or what is known to most as 6 months along. 6 months! Only a few more left to go.

This pregnancy is, for the most part, continuing to zoom by. While I'm definitely bigger than I was last time, my belly isn't in the way too much yet (although this week I definitely started noticing the annoyance of bending over with a bowling ball in front of you). I am having a beyond amazing summer with my only daughter that is here. So far I've been trying to savor every minute with her being the one and only for the last time, and do as much as we can together without passing out from exhaustion. Our days have been filled with visits to the park, zoo, farm, play dates, and walks to just about anywhere. She is so fun right now and such an unbelievable trooper no matter what we do. I don't know what I'd do if she were giving me a dose of that business called the terrible two's

While Adly has been amazing, the last month of pregnancy has been filled with annoying aches and pains unfortunately. While I really can't complain much about this pregnancy overall, these new pains suck. Additionally, raising a toddler while pregnant is just not that fun. When you don't have a toddler, you focus all your energy and time on this little beautiful being inside you. This time around, I'm spending most of the day entertaining and running around with my kid that is already here. She's got a lot of energy these days and really needs to be out of the house for at least a few hours daily. This does not coincide with her mom who would much prefer to lay on the couch, relaxing with headphones on her belly talking to her princess all day. Let's just say, every day I am counting the minutes to nap time AND bedtime so I can get a break and/or go to sleep myself. 

As far as the aches and pains go, they are all in my hips. I swear to the heavens above, WHERE ELSE CAN MY HIPS GO?!?

These girls will destroy whatever pre-baby skinny-hipped images you had of yourself. My hips hurt constantly when getting up from sitting, laying down or bending down. It sucks. I went and complained to my doctor hoping she'd subscribe me some awesome drugs. Ha. Ha. Juuust kidding. No, but really, let's be honest, preggos get no kind of fun like that. Instead, she informed me that the second time around, you're more likely to feel the aches and pains of pregnancy, and they usually begin earlier on.  Oh, and I can expect them to continue for the remainder of the pregnancy.


She was kind enough, however, to suggest I take a warm bath and relax, or even a hot shower to help them ease the pain. To which I laughed out loud. Because honestly, baths?!? Who has time for such luxuries? The only way I'd get to experience that gloriousness would be with my toddler who, bless her heart, loves talking non-stop and hasn't yet discovered the bliss of a few minutes of peace and quiet. Thankfully, the other day she was snooping through my things as usual and somehow she dug up a heating pad I forgot I had. See? Those nosey toddlers are good for a lot of things. Although she thought it was something she could use to "shock mama at the doctor" (I don't even want to begin to think about what she was referring to),  it has helped quite a bit to ease some of the pains at nighttime and in the morning. 

Let me tell you something else that's not awesome about the second time around, especially at this point. I'm entering the final hump. The third trimester. And now I know. I know what's coming. I know how big I'm going to get. I know how hard it is going to be to walk. I know how tired I'm going to be.  Let me say it again: I know how big I'm going to get. And this time, I won't be able to be sprawled out on my couch in the heat of the summer like a beached whale awaiting the impending birth. No. This time, I'll be working all day, then coming home to work job number two with my 2 year old and then trying to spend time with my husband without too much complaining until I pass out on the couch like an exhausted beached whale.

I can't even wrap my head around how I will survive?

Ok, I know I'll survive. I'll be fine, because millions of hard working women do this all the time. But seriously, how am I going to do this?!

These are the thoughts that are swirling through my head at this point and time. 24 weeks. Only 16ish more to go.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


I don't have words to say how I can even fathom that my child is now two. It has flown by so fast. I am regularly reminded each year of this as a first grade teacher, by misty-eyed moms, just how fast they grow. I just thought it would never apply to my own life.

At two years old, Adly is a beautiful, awe-inspiring, loving, and spirited child. Here is Adly in a nutshell of the last year. 

-She learned to sing this year. It is the most precious thing, and literally music to my ears. Her favorites are You Are My Sunshine, ABC's, Rain, Rain Go Away, Taxi, Taxi and a song her grandma Shalagh taught her I'll call, Beautiful Adly.

-She loves to dance! And I will admit, it is terrible. Just like me. But I couldn't be more proud. She may not look a whole lot like me, but she sure does have my dance moves. 

-She is funny- and knows it! Seeing her develop a sense of humor and comedic timing this year has been fun to watch. She laughs a lot at jokes- and herself when she thinks she's funny too.

-She is so kind. She adores taking care of her "babies" and making friends at the park. Twice this year, she became a victim of mean kids at the park. Thankfully I wasn't present either time. But the after effect was her saying things like "that boy not nice" (after being slapped in the face by some random). It broke my heart, but I was most happy to see it not become a learned behavior, rather something she knew was wrong and not the way to treat others. She prides herself on sharing with others and making new friends, whether it's a newborn or a "baby" (any child up to 7 years old).

-She is also very sensitive. While she is very comfortable with those she knows well, I'm noticing she's definitely more shy and apprehensive when around groups of kids she doesn't know well. She still kind of likes to play on her own more than anything, unless she knows the person/people well. She is learning to navigate social relationships and definitely leans on me a lot to guide her. She's unsure of other kids a lot and definitely struggles with how to voice her feelings. As Adam and I say, she's a totally girlie girl, very sensitive and definitely not rough and tumble or leader of the pack. 

-Adly loves to bake and cook with mama. While she enjoys taking what she learns and cooking with her imagination in her kitchen, Adly most loves to cook for real. Her favorite thing to bake is banana muffins (mostly because she can eat the sugar topping as we work). But any chance she gets, she's dragging the big chair into the kitchen for her to stand on and help mama. I have to admit, it's one of my favorite things too.

-She is going to be the best big sister. In February, our friend Eileen had a beautiful baby girl named Stella. Stella has become Adly's pride and joy. She looooves "playing" with Stella, touching her hair gently and holding her hand. Stella has introduced Adly to the world of newborns and Adly is obsessed. She seeks them out at parks and loves pointing them out anywhere we go. She talks about "baby Stella" regularly and always wants to visit. This has also led her to taking care of her own babies doing things like changing their diapers, putting them down for naps and feeding them. It melts my heart. 

-She LOVES her little red car and walking to the park in it. She calls it "Adly's Red Car" and jumps at any time she can ride in it. It was given to us by a friend of mine and I am so grateful for it! Speaking of the park, there is no where Adly would rather be these days than at the park, in a swing. She loves to swing and also enjoys trying out every swing available.

-In her last week as a one year old, she began stringing together actual sentences, in conversation style. Typically, until this point, she has responded in more stilted, or short sentences as her little brain worked hard to string the words together. This week, as I was putting clothes away with my back turned to her,  I could hear her grunting trying to get something. More or less talking to myself, I asked her what the struggle was all about. She responded, "Mama I'm trying to reach these books!" I can't tell you how weird it is when your child starts talking to you like an adult. I had to do a double take on that one. In the days following, she's begun doing this more and more.

-For the better part of the last few months, Adly has only spoken in 3rd person. Meaning, everything she says about herself includes "Adly". "Adly going to the park", "Adly likes books", Adly wants to get down" etc. It has also been in the last week that she has begun to use pronouns like "I" and "her". Now I'm starting to hear "I want to get down", "I'm hungry", etc. When talking about other kids, she calls them all her and says things like "her want a snack", "her running". While it is a small shift, it has been a big milestone to watch. I just love hearing her talk about anything and everything.

-She loves to narrate while driving in the car. We recently turned her forward-facing and this has made a big change for Adly as she rides. She loves to talk about what we are doing, where we are going, and what she sees out the windows. There is no longer such thing as a quiet car ride in our house. The most common question of the day is "What we doing today, mama?" and "Where we going mama?." Even when it's been answered 100 different times and ways. 

 -One more note on the talking, she has learned to memorize books. Some of her most favorite books at the moment are, Corduroy, Pocket for Corduroy and One Fish, Two Fish.... She has memorized the better part of the entire book for each of these and can "read" them on her own. I tell you what, spoken from a true teacher nerd, nothing can warm your heart more than the sound of a child quietly reading. I am so happy she appears to have a total love of books instilled in her. 

-Her favorite TV show remains Peppa Pig. She still has no interest in movies, becoming bored after 5 minutes and asking for Peppa. However, recently she has started to enjoy watching Bubble Guppies too. It has been nice to switch it up every so often! Peppa is a British show, and Adly has learned some pretty funny phrases from the show such as "off we go!" and replying with "certainly!".

-She loves, loves, loves electronics. What child doesn't these days? If she gets her hand on any phone or iPad, she knows how to work it and get into everything on it immediately. I have been able to find some great apps that are actually great with helping her to count and read books on the iPad, which she enjoys, so that has been a good addition. For now, iPad use is limited to long car rides. Phone is limited to whenever mama needs a 5 minute break.

-Heading into two, Adly knows how to count to thirteen and say the alphabet.

-She still loves cows, but has definitely taken an interest in many other animals too, especially doggies. Unfortunately, we've recently discovered she is allergic to pretty much every dog, so her affections have had to turn into waves from afar.

-My little diva hates having her picture taken these days. Most often, the camera is met with a scowl and a "noooo picture!". In order to get the very few smiling pics of her that I have it has to be hidden, or some serious monkeying around and laughing at myself has to take place. Someday, child. I will get you back for this. Someday. 

Here are some answers Adly had about what she loves at the age of two:

Favorite Food: pasta....pancakes (she also loves cooking these in her kitchen).
Favorite Color: purple and red
Favorite TV show: Cubs? Ok. (Cubs were on when I asked her this. I would say Peppa Pig).
Favorite Thing to Do at the Park: swings
Favorite Animal: cow
Favorite Toy: umm my refrigerator 
Favorite Book: umm...The Big Animal Book.

Weight: 29 lbs
Height: 35.5"

One was a very big year for Adly. She learned to walk, talk, and run. She had a first trip to the ER. We moved to (another) new home. We learned she was going to be a big sister- and have a little sister! Her hair grew long enough to put pretty ponies in. She turned forward facing in her car seat. 

Looking ahead, two is also going to be a big year for Adly. We have potty training and moving to a big girl bed as the biggest hurdles for the next year. Adly will also have to learn how to share mom and dad with a new sibling. However she handles these transitions, I have no doubt that two will be a GREAT year. 

Mama and Dada love you so much my sweet little girl. You light up every moment with your smiles and silly laughter. Thank you for making every day of our lives together truly amazing. 


Friday, July 3, 2015

We're having a.....


Despite almost everyone's boy predictions, despite the different pregnancy and totally opposite cravings, Baby Bway 2.0 is a girl!

To say I was shocked is an understatement. I don't know why. From the start I really wanted another girl. But then I spent so much time being told it was a boy and telling myself it was a boy, I think I honestly believed it was a boy. And then I started to really want to experience having a little boy. So when the card read GIRL, it took me a full few minutes to soak it in.

We found out the sex at our 20 week ultrasound so they also examined every inch of her teeny little body, and everything appears to be very healthy. She was very tired and all balled up for most of the examination, but would move throughout the poking and prodding so they were able to get a good peek at her. This is different than her older sister, who was very stubborn and took two doctors pushing, poking, and prodding to be able to get a look at her. However, just like her big sister, she appears to already be self soothing through thumb sucking. How did I end up with two thumb suckers?!! Orthodontists everywhere will love us in 15 years. 

Our plan had been to keep the sex a secret until Adly's family birthday party next weekend, when most of our family would be present. I laugh out loud at this decision now. I don't know who we were kidding. We are the WORST secret keepers that ever lived! Literally as soon as we found out, I dried my tears, Adam slammed some wine (TWO girls!?!) and the appetizers arrived, we were ready to head home and call our families.

Adam always knew he wanted to carry on his middle name, Farrell, to one of his future children. Once we found out Adly was a girl, we decided to pull her middle name from my side of the family. For the second baby we decided we would use Farrell for the middle name, whether it was a boy or a girl. Soon after Adly was born, we began talking about another girl name, and how it could it ever be just as special as Adly's name. That was when Adam brought up the idea of carrying down his grandma Eleanor's name. I loved the name from the start, and although I was never able to meet her, I had heard many amazing things about her. From that moment on, we planned on using Eleanor, were we ever to have another girl.

I'm so glad we ended up doing it the way we did, and not waiting another week. We were able to share the news and the decision of the name individually with our parents and it was very special. When we called his mom to tell her the news last night (Eleanor was her mother), she was beyond thrilled and it was a very special, emotional moment.

So, meet little miss Eleanor (Ellie) Farrell. Sucking her little thumb from the start, just like her big sister!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

20 Weeks.

Bad parent alert! Or rather, "sorry baby number 2, you're already getting the shaft" alert!

Either way, here we are at the halfway point and I'm finally getting around to documenting this child's introduction to the world.

I say introduction because it was at some point during this week that my belly started protruding after hiding quite well the last 4 months. Actually, it wasn't at some point. I know exactly when it was. It was Sunday evening around 8pm when the all too familiar growing pains in the groin and stomach region happened. The kind that make first time mommies everywhere panic that something is wrong. But no. It's just your body spreading out in all different ways to make room for the cantaloupe that is growing inside you. This time, it has been quite weird to feel the familiar aches in my joints as my hips realign themselves again to carry a heavy load up front. 

Up until this point, I have to say this has been such an easy pregnancy. Sure, I've definitely had my evenings of being really exhausted, had the bouts of sickness, and ohmygod don't even mention sausage or quinoa to me--they still make me want to hurl. But beyond the weird aversions and normal nausea that ended around 9 weeks, I can't complain.

I am especially grateful for this, as I chase Adly around all day. I cannot imagine doing this while feeling absolutely horrible. In some ways it has been so easy, I've forgotten all about being pregnant. This comes in handy when it comes to the passage of time. It is flying by! Seriously, I blinked and realized I was 20 weeks- half way there!!! 

At 20 weeks, the speculations over the sex of baby #2 continue. I honestly have no idea what we are having. Some days I think strongly boy and other days I strongly think girl. With Adly, I consistently felt "girl" from the start. There have been two major differences in this pregnancy: cravings and sleep. With Adly, I consistently craved sweets. Anything sweet, which was so out of character for me. I ate Sour Patch Kids by the bag. This time, I cannot get enough of everything salty. Chips, pickles, banana peppers (by the jar), spicy sauces, popcorn...anything with salt, I'm down for it. 

I think because of this, I've been slightly saved when it comes to weight far. By now with Adly, I had already put on about 15 pounds. Mind you, prior to pregnancy with Adly, I was at my best fighting weight having just gotten married. But either way, I was packing on the pounds--and fast. This time, I have been slow to put on weight which is good. That means no scolding by the doctor so far. At 20 weeks, I am around 7 pounds over pre-pregnancy weight.

As far as sleep goes, with Adly, I was exhausted. Maybe it's just a difference of having nothing to focus on but the pregnancy that made me so tired. But I fell asleep constantly around 8:30/9. This time, I'm finding myself having much more trouble sleeping. I'm not nearly as tired at night and now that school is out I've been staying up until 11ish every night. I then wake up between 5:30/6am most days. Ugh. Then there's the insomnia. I've had some terrible bouts of it this pregnancy, sometimes staying up from 3am on, but regularly being awake from 2-4am area. This is exhausting, so I've been regularly napping when Adly does, purely to catch up on sleep.

This week, we finally find out the sex of Baby #2. However we aren't sharing the sex until after Adly's birthday on the 10th. We are having most of our immediate family over to celebrate her 2nd birthday in two weeks and we've chosen to also then share the sex of baby with them then. You know, just to draw out the waiting game a little longer. Because we can.

Of course, we won't be waiting to find out! God no. I'm about to burst inside with the need to know exactly who has been occupying my stomach the last 20 weeks! With Adly, Adam and I went downtown for a little babymoon to find out the sex. We shopped, went out for a really nice dinner, and I was asleep by 9pm. It was a really nice night. This time, however, we have a delightful toddler at home. After going back and forth for a bit, we decided not to do downtown overnight. Adam has to work the whole day still, so our timing would be pretty tight. Instead, after visiting the doctor and getting the best information ever tucked into a card I'm going to stare at all day, I'm taking a mama day.

This calls for a massage with one of my best girlfriends and some shopping. ALONE. This never happens anymore! Maybe I'll go crazy and go to Costco by myself too!?! When Adam gets home, he and I are going to a movie together. To some, this may sound boring. Until I reveal we have not seen a movie together since before Adly was born. Two years it's been! Before you have your baby- GO TO THE MOVIES. You never will again. After that, we're going to dinner at a place we've been wanting to try and then getting a little crazy and doing Tango lessons. Because, why not? We've got a night off from being parents! (All thanks to our dearest and most amazing soon to be officially, sister-in-law Jess).
Just to note, with this pregnancy, the overwhelming guesses, intuitions, and feelings from others have gone to boy. As we head into the day of the ultrasound, Adam is still feeling boy and I have switched to girl. My guess has switched only due to the fact that now that it's officially popped, my belly seems high again, a lot like it was with Adly. However, I will note the baby tends to hang out down low. That is where it has been for the ultrasounds and heartbeat listens. I also don't remember feeling her kicks so low last time. I know that boys tend to hang lower. See what I mean!? This baby is already keeping me guessing.
So, here is belly at 20 weeks. It is far bigger at this point than with Adly. She did a great job of stretching out those muscles a few years ago, so baby #2 is having no problem making themselves at home in there. 

Bottom is Adly at 20 weeks. Yipes! Such a difference this time.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Cooking With Your Toddler: Banana Muffins

I am not a baker. I don't claim to be one, I don't really even strive to be one. However, cooking isn't always the easiest to do with your child, as it usually involves a stovetop and raw meat of some kind. And my child happens to love being right next to mommy, cooking away.

So in order to solve that problem, I began baking with her. It's easier to keep her entertained, she can stir things that aren't hot, and none of its going to kill her if she eats it as we go (since that's what she does. Every. single. time.)

I've tried out a lot of recipes and one that has become our favorite are these banana crumble muffins. We have made these so many times and every time they come out tasting delicious. They are also great to take to friends houses or any brunch events.

They mostly are an awesome recipe to cook with your toddler mostly because of the crumb topping. Who doesn't love a bowl of brown sugar/butter yumminess? When applying the topping, Adly likes to follow the golden rule of "some for you muffin, some for me". Sorry, people who have had them. You've definitely had a little bit of Adly love, mixed in. 

When I first began cooking with Adly, I'm not going to lie, it was really hard to keep my patience intact. I would get very frustrated when flour spilled or when things dropped on the floor. Over time, I've tried to keep reminding myself that a mess is a mess. And it can always be cleaned up. What can't be replaced is the fun your toddler will have, being a part of what mommy does and acting as a helper. She seriously gets so much joy out of pouring the ingredients in, stirring them with a whisk, and then tasting everything as she goes.

She even has her own apron, thanks to her godmother who sewed her one. This apron is essential to Adly's cooking process and must always be worn.

Another benefit to these baking sessions with Adly has been the growth in her imagination skills. She loves her play kitchen and now really loves pretending to cook. I hear her using the same terms we use as we bake as she makes her own creations, playing on her own in her kitchen. Although she gets a little crazy with chicken and ketchup and french fries in her one-pot-wonders. 

I honestly follow the recipe to a tee, except that after reading comments from others, I add cinnamon and nutmeg to the flour mixture.

I encourage you to give this recipe a try, with your toddler. It has made so many rainy Saturdays much more bearable in our household!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
2.In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
3.In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
4.Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
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