Thursday, October 15, 2020

Three Things Thursday

Well, this has just not been our week. We found out on Sunday evening that a little girl in Paul's class tested positive for Covid. That really threw a wrench in the week... but such is life in the time of a global pandemic. Here are 3 things on my mind today - I forced myself to come up with something positive for the 3rd one. But that's like and sometimes you just need to acknowledge rough times/crappy things so you can move ahead. 

1. Paul's classroom will be closed for 14 days from the day the little girl was last there, so Paul is home with us until he can return on Friday, October 23rd. In the spring, you were able to send your child back once they had a negative test (per the MN Dept of Health guidelines). MDH has since revised their policy and now you need to stay home for 14 days from the last known exposure. I am glad they made this change because in the spring, when we last had cases at daycare, kids got tested within the first couple of days of finding out about the positive case. They might not have had the viral load to get a positive test. So I think it's better to err on the side of caution and have people isolate for 14 days. This time around they told us to wait 5-7 days from our last exposure to make sure the testing was as accurate as possible, so we waited until day 6 (yesterday) and all got tested. It was negative - phew!! All of this has definitely resulted in some anxiety for me. I had to cancel my 32 week OB appointment, which isn't the biggest deal as I have them weekly starting at 32 weeks, but it wasn't ideal. I'm finding it harder to work from home with Paul around than it was in March/April. I'm busier at work, plus quarter end is the busiest time of year for me, and he's more verbal. I've told my coworkers I can't take client calls unless it's nap time and they've been able to accommodate that. Everyone is very understanding that this situation is out of our control. Here are a couple of pics of how we have been keeping Paul busy. I ordered some stickers and new puzzles as we clearly need more things to entertain him!

He's very into stickers. Note the usage of our "I voted!" stickers - Phil and I voted by mail in early October and confirmed our ballots had been received within 4-5 days of mailing them.



This puzzle is challenging for him, so requires some help from me. He sings his ABCs and recognizes the letters, but getting them in the right order/getting the letters to face the right direction is challenging. 


2. I'm also still struggling with flares even though I am on my max dose of prednisone. I had to stop taking my RA injection at 28 weeks and once it was out of my system, I started getting rolling flares that move from joint to joint. I guess that is just how the rest of this pregnancy is going to be. This time I got one in my elbow and it just won't go away. :/ On Tuesday, I had email exchanges with my endocrinologist, rheumatologist, OB, and hematologist. And then the hematologist had to contact the perinatalogist. It's just kind of overwhelming at times as that is a lot of -ologists to communicate with. Thank goodness for my chart/patient portals - it's way more efficient than having to call all these practices and get a nurse to call me back, etc. 

3. I'll end on a positive note. This fall has seemed especially beautiful - or maybe I'm noticing it more because I'm taking daily walks - and sometimes multiple walks/day - in our neighborhood. There is a house we walk by on most walks that has 2 geese - they change their costumes every couple of months. Paul loves walking by this house, although he calls the geese ducks - close enough, right? Seeing them is the highlight of every walk for Paul. Other costumes they've worn include a shark, football player, referee, and teacher - and the list goes on and on. There's someone creative and crafty living in that house!


The latest geese costumes - a scarecrow and a squirrel with an acorn!


Is your week going better than mine??? I hope so!

Friday, October 9, 2020

TGIF

Happy Friday! It's going to be summer-like here this weekend so I am looking forward to the weekend ahead!

The book I'm reading is Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. It's 600+ pages so it will take me while to get through it but I am enjoying it. He's a very quiet, thoughtful writer so it's a slower paced novel. The protagonist in the novel is writing about his grandparents settlement in the west in the late 1800s. His grandfather worked for mines so they lived in some remote places. I'm not sure if any of this is autobiographical - it kind of reads like it is, though! 

The high of my week was getting together with a friend I hadn't seen in 2 years (!!!) for a walk. She has a 7 and 10 yo so it's been hard to plan get togethers in the past with all the activities her kids are in. I reached out to her this fall to see if she wanted to get together for a walk and we made it work. It was great to catch up! We met back in 2004 at my first job out of college and she sang in our wedding in 2017. It's one of those friendships where you can go a long time without talking and you just pick up where you left off!

The low of my week was RA flares. Oof, I am in a really bad stretch. I've had 4 flares in the last week - 2 in my feet, one in my left pointer finger and then both hips are flaring right now. I've never had a flare in my hip joints before and wow it is painful. I am hobbling around like a 90yo woman and sleeping is really tough as you need to sleep on your side when pregnant. I've increased the dose of my steroids so hopefully they do the trick soon. If this keeps up, these last 8 weeks of pregnancy are going to be looooong. I went off my weekly RA injections at 28 weeks so I had a feeling things might get worse but I didn't imagine this many flares. :( 

This is what an RA flare looks like - the impacted joint is the pointer finger.



A recipe I made was Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade GF Enchilada Sauce. I made these on Thursday, but made the enchiladas sauce and poached/shredded the chicken on Wednesday to make enchilada assembly faster. The enchilada sauce is very easy to make and requires staple pantry ingredients/spices - at least for us. Everybody liked this, including picky Pablo. Because of spanish immersion daycare, he tends to love/eat Mexican food!

I forgot to take a pic before Phil and Paul had dished up! I added olives since we love them. 



A show we are watching is nothing at the moment... We watched the Epstein documentary series and the American Murder documentary series which is about the Denver-area husband who killed his wife and 2 daughters. Both were horrifying and I wondered why we watched such grim shows?? Phil and I have very different tastes in tv, though, so we tend to watch documentaries and most of what caught our eye was sad/dark stuff. We definitely need something lighter! We also watched "The World's Toughest Race" on Prime which we both enjoyed. We had fun talking about who we would have on our teams. Our number one pick for both of us was our friend Kyria! She's the toughest, most fit person we both know. We met through blogging but now we have joint custody of her as a friend as Phil and her get along super well - they are both frugal, and love hiking/the outdoors and beer!

The best money spent was on some LS shirts from Target for Paul. We mostly rely on hand-me-down clothes but he was in need of some warmer clothes for fall/winter. Target had a bunch for $5 which you really can't beat so I bought 8 shirts!

My plans this weekend include getting together tonight with 2 former coworkers for an outdoor take-out meal. The high will be 82 so it should be a really pleasant evening to be outside! Tomorrow we are doing a post-nap play date with my friend whose kids go to the same daycare. I told Paul about the play date on Wednesday night and he keeps asking if today is the day we go to their house? I'm also planning on baking these pumpkin oatmeal cups with Paul. They have too many carbs for me to eat but I think Paul and Phil will enjoy them and they are fairly healthy. And then on Sunday after Paul's nap we are going out to Phil's HS friend's house for a bday get together for one of his friends. This is the group we got together with for Phil's bday in August. The couple that hosts us has a huge house on a lake with a huge outdoor table. So we can all safely spread out. So it's kind of a 'busyish' weekend, but the right amount of activity for me and it's all outdoors so very covid-safe!

Bonus Paul photo!

My only Paul photo from the week is the one I took on Tuesday when we went to the creek to throw rocks. It was 80 degrees that day so very summer-like! 



How was your week? Any shows you'd recommend for a documentary-loving couple?

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

What We Read in September

September was another solid reading month for me - I finished 8 books. I really like most of what I read! As of today, I've read 74 books and my goal is 75 so it's going to be another banner year of reading for me! I read over 100 last year but I kind of doubt I'll hit that number this year - which is fine. I track my reads because I find it interesting but I don't put pressure on myself to read more each year. I'm in the middle of a 600+ page Wallace Stegner novel (Angle of Repose) so my number of books read in October will certainly be lower - and that is ok!

Mom's reads:



Hits:

- All 4 books in the first picture are excellent and are books I would recommend. Of those 4, Vanishing Half and Rodham were my favorites. In the 2nd picture, I'd recommend You're Not Listening (great non-fiction read about the decline of our listening skills) and Royal Holiday (fun romance novel loosely based on Megan and Harry - great if you are looking for a light book!). 

Misses:

- I struggled to get through "Girl, Woman, Other." Had it not been a book club book (which only 2 of us ended up reading!), I would have abandoned it. It won the Booker Prize in 2019 so clearly it was a critically acclaimed novel. But as I've said before, big awards are often a kiss of death for me. There was no punctuation or capitalization in this book, so it took a long time for me to get used to that. The 2 of us who read it discussed whether that benefited the book in any way and we really couldn't see how it did... The other person was a literature major so she has the education background to identify how it helped the book and came up with nothing. This math major just really did not care for it and found it distracted from the novel. 

Paul's reads:

I started to get library books for Paul this month. He has loved having new books to read. His favorites this month were "Mighty Mighty Construction Site" and "Frog and Toad Together." We have the bedtime construction site book but probably need to buy this one since he loves it so much. When he's a bit older, we will probably buy the boxed set of the Frog and Toad books as they are great for early readers.


Phil also surprised us and bought a book he loved from his childhood called "Strega Nona." It's about a woman in a village in Italy who has a magic pasta pot. It kind of reminds me of "The Sorcerers Apprentice" as the theme of the stories (trying to do magic you shouldn't be doing) is very similar. Paul really loves this book! 


He continues to love to read books which makes my heart very happy. He loves bringing us a huge stack of books to read on the weekend or evenings. He's such a busy little guy so I love reading to him as he will snuggle in and relax for awhile.


Did you read anything great in September?

Monday, October 5, 2020

Weekend Recap

We had a pretty quiet fall weekend here which I didn't mind as the weather was nice enough to be outside quite a bit. The key to happiness for us is outdoor time! Here is how we spent our weekend!

We had a quiet Friday night. After logging off from work, I read Anne of Green Gables, which is a delightful re-read, while kitty kept trying to find a place to sit on my chest. I didn't take a picture of our dinner, but we had walleye with a lemon butter sauce, broccoli and a baked potato. It was really good! 

Is there room for me?

On Saturday morning, I met up with 4 moms from my mom's group, sans kids, at a park for a catch up. We keep in touch via text, but we hadn't seen each other since last October! We were going to get together in March to celebrate the toddlers birthday, but then covid hit. It was great to catch up and hear about what is going on in their lives. One of the moms is a couple weeks further along than I am and their baby has a major heart defect and will require surgery in the first week of life and further surgeries. So it was good to hear how she is doing/hear what to expect for the first 6 months of life so we can figure out how to support her with meals and such. It puts my GD/RA/challenging pregnancy in perspective as what she is dealing with is so so difficult. Phil stayed home with Paul and I was gone for about 2 hours - it was nice to get a little time away! 

After Paul's nap that day, we went for a walk and stopped at the park. Since it was a cold morning, Paul hadn't been outside at all so it was good for all of us to get some fresh air and let Paul run off some of his endless energy!


When we got back from the walk, Paul and I made cookies. We used this easy recipe from my friend San's blog and they were really good. We used PB instead of almond butter as we aren't almond butter eaters. Paul's favorite part was licking the peanut butter spoon! I used monkfruit sweetener instead of coconut sugar - monkfruit is a sugar substitute that doesn't raise your blood sugar like sugar does. They turned out really good and only have 10g of carbs/cookie so I'm able to have one as part of a snack. 


I made a stew in the instant pot with pork roast, butternut squash, and corn - it turned out good! You cut off the kernels from the cobs and put the cobs in with the stew when cooking and it really adds corn flavor to the stew. The recipe came from my Milk Street Kitchen cook book - pretty much everything we've made from it has been great! I recommend it for people who love to use their instant pot!

We woke up to chilly 37F temps on Sunday morning. The sun was shining so I bundled Paul up and we went out for a walk. He ditched the hat and mittens within the first 1/2 mile, though. 



When we got back from the walk, we had an early lunch and then headed to his haircut appointment. He has school pics this week so I figured it was a good time for a trim. It's not my favorite haircut of the 4 he's had, but oh well. His hair is tough to cut because it's very fine/thin and he has a lot of cowlicks in the back. But it looks good enough from the front!


He took a good nap after he got home from the haircut and then Phil and him headed out for a walk to the creek to throw rocks. I came down with a flare during the night on Saturday and it was feeling worse by the afternoon so I opted to stay home. After their walk, Paul took my spot on the couch and played for quite a while. He is usually in constant motion!


For dinner, I made this crustless broccoli cheddar quiche. I was hoping Paul would eat it as I cut the broccoli pretty small but he wouldn't ever TASTE it. That is one of the most frustrating aspects of feeding Paul. When we offer him new things, a lot of the time he won't even put it in his mouth, even though Phil and I are eating the same thing and tell him how good it is. Toddlers! Phil and I enjoyed it, though. 


And that's a wrap! All in all, it was a good weekend. I could have done without the flare (and I got another one during the night last night). But so it goes! 

How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Pregnancy Update: 30 weeks

Woo hoo! 30 weeks! Hitting the 30s makes it feel  like the end is in sight! Which I am happy about because I don't love pregnancy. But the end is approaching!

Baby size:  He's the size of a head of cabbage this week. Last week he was the size of a butternut squash. The vegetable comparisons are so weird and seem to flip from length to mass or something.

Here are some bump pics, which I apparently only take at doctor appts, hence the mask! I'm 28 weeks on the left and 30 on the right. I feel so huge - I'm close to as big as I ever got with Paul. Eeks. But my belly is measuring on track and the baby was measuring 2 weeks ahead at my 28 week ultrasound so my doctor said the size of my belly is healthy/normal. 




Sex of the baby: boy! 

Name progress:  We have 2 in mind and are leaning toward 1 but haven't made a final decision. 


Symptoms/RA management: My RA management has been ok. I got a flare in my foot over the weekend so had to bump up my prednisone. But overall, I'm feeling pretty good all things considered. The baby is moving a TON! I can often feel a foot or something pushing out by the top of my belly. It's kind of crazy to feel that and something I did not feel with Paul! I'm definitely getting short of breath very easily and have a hard time getting a full breath of air when sitting on the couch so I guess he's already lowering my lung capacity!

Gestational diabetes management: Eh. This has been tough and I've had some tears this week. Overall it's going fine. I have only had 2 high blood sugars - both times I had not eaten much carbs so they kind of surprised me. But I had ketones in my urine over the weekend which means I'm not eating enough carbs and I lost 3 pounds this week. My doctor isn't too concerned about the weight loss as long as it doesn't continue and I keep feeling baby move. But if I can't eat enough carbs to maintain/gain weight, I might need to go on insulin which I'm really hoping to avoid as it requires more monitoring and increases the chances that the baby will need to go to the NICU. I think I'm eating pretty similarly to how I ate when I was pregnant with Paul but I guess even being 2 years older can impact how my body handles prednisone/the lower carb diet. 

Recent/upcoming appointments: I had my 30 week appointment on Tuesday and everything looked good. We talked about my blood sugar/ketone issue and will take a wait and see approach. Starting at 32 weeks, I have weekly ultrasounds, biophysical profiles, and non-stress tests so they can make sure the baby's growth isn't impacted by my super low carb diet. I'm not looking forward to those appointments as they will be a good 1-1.5 hours but it's unavoidable with all my complications. 

Sleep:  It's been pretty good. I have bouts of insomnia about 1-3 nights/week but overall it's not terrible. I live for weekend naps, though!

Cravings/favorite foods and aversions: My new favorite "treat" is Fairlife chocolate milk. I drank this during Paul's pregnancy. It has a lot of protein and fat (more than typical milk as it's filtered many times) to offset the carbs and it is so thick and delicious! I stopped drinking my coffee with creamer as there are carbs in my fat free french vanilla creamer. So instead I treat myself to a whole milk latte with 2 pumps of sugar free vanilla syrup about once/week. I tested my blood sugar after having one and didn't have any issues so this is my go to 'treat' for the rest of pregnancy. 

Exercise:  I'm still sticking to walks - I shoot for 1 45 minute walk on week days and 1-2 hours of walking between 2 walks with Paul on the weekends as we usually take walks/go to the park or creek in the morning and afternoon.


Recent baby prep/decisions:  Nadda! I don't think we'll do anything more with his room until after the baby is born as Phil uses it as an office when he works from home. The baby will sleep in our room until around 3 months, so we really don't need to do anything else in his room, besides move the changing table in there, until February.

Mood: Meh. I cried a bit this week out of frustration over the gestational diabetes thing. Pregnancy hormones don't help. It's just hard to be on a really restrictive diet and spend so much time thinking about it. I keep reminding myself I only have to do this for 9 more weeks, but that can feel long at times. But GD frustration aside, I'm doing pretty well all things considered.


My C-section got scheduled for December 3rd so the baby will be here 9 weeks from today! And yes, I am totally counting down the days until his arrival!

Monday, September 28, 2020

A quieter weekend

 After last weekend's jam-packed socialization, this weekend was the complete opposite. I had zero social plans and we stayed close to home. Paul had a runny nose during the week and then I caught his bug towards the end of the week. I don't have any of the tell-tale covid signs such as a fever, dry cough, loss of taste, etc but out of an abundance of caution, I decided that social plans were not a good idea. Plus I was extra tired - story of my life these days! Here are some highlights from the weekend, though!

Changing colors

Fall is starting to hit here in Minneapolis. It's definitely my favorite time of year as the changing colors are so beautiful. I've been taking so many walks now that the weather is cooler and I need activity to make sure I don't get a high blood sugar. I've been soaking in the views and appreciating the beauty of this season. Pre-Paul, my schedule was pretty hectic between work travel and fun travel but that came to a screeching halt after I had Paul. There were a lot of falls that went by unappreciated by me because I was simply too busy to take in the beauty around me. So while I sometimes miss the jet-setting I did back then, overall I'm happy I'm not wracking up as many frequent flier miles!


Starting to see some peeks of color along the lake. This will be gorgeous when we hit peak season!


Walks and Park Time with Paul

Getting out of the house is essential for our sanity on the weekends! So we took lots of walks and visited our local park each day. I'm glad we live in such a beautiful area for walks. We are about a block away from a creek and about a 1/2 mile from a lake so we have lots of different walking options. On Sunday morning, we saw some ducks on the creek so we let Paul get out of the stroller to watch the ducks. They were diving for food so he had fun watching that! We were probably out of the house for 2+ hours each day which makes the days go much faster and usually guarantees a better nap!


Kitty's return!

Phil went out to his mom's on Saturday to help with some chores and bring kitty home. Originally we were going to go out there with her, but we decided to stay home to keep our germs to ourselves (Phil is healthy so far and hopefully remains so!). Oscar has been gone for 7 months so she's going through a bit of an adjustment period. But overall, she seems happy to be back. Phil said she's been all over him at night and purring like crazy. She even sat on my lap for about 5 minutes on Sunday (she much much much prefers Phil - she's really "his cat" and just puts up with Paul and me). We are working on teaching Paul to talk quietly around her... There has been some hissing and growling. She would never hurt Paul, but she definitely lets him know when he needs to give her some space! Hopefully they will be friends some day, but I kind of doubt she'll ever really "love" kids since she's very shy and very particular about who she likes!


How was your weekend? Are you seeing peeks of fall colors where you live?

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Three Things Thursday

Happy almost Friday, and happy start of fall! On Tuesday, our temps were in the 80s so it did not feel fall-like at all!But I will take it because I know what comes next and I can see that our temps will cool off next week. I was so over 80-90 degree temps this summer but that was because the humidity was high. It's very low now, so 85 felt way different/better! Here are 3 things going on/on my mind as we close out this week!

1. New room at school! Pablo has been transitioning to a new room at school for the last 2 weeks. Monday was his first full day in the room so we took "first day of school" pictures. He was a really good sport about this. He's typically extremely crabby in the morning and I kind of doubted he'd smile for a photo, but he was super cooperative! So far the transition is going well. He's definitely extra extra tired at the end of the day but overall, it's gone well. He transitioned with his BFF Georgie and knows a lot of the kids in this room since they used to be in his toddler room. And now he's finally in the same room as our good friend's son who is 5 weeks older than him. They know each other from all the play dates we've done so I am sure they will really start to form a friendship now that they are in the same class.



2. Endo appointment. Not exactly a 'fun' update, but I met with the same NP I saw at the Endocrinology practice I went to during my pregnancy with Paul. She agreed that a glucose test was unnecessary so she gave me a refresher on the gestational diabetes diet (GD), gave me a glucometer and supplies to start, and sent me on my way. I had a high sugar the first night which was disappointing. I'm such a 'gold star' person, so seeing a number in red bummed me out. For dinner that night, I had 2 ground turkey tacos with corn tortillas (1 corn tortilla/taco) and literally 2 tortilla chips. And then I had a high sugar. The total carbs in that meal were probably 25g. The diet says I can have 3-4 servings of carbs, which is 45-60g (1 serving = 15 g). I know I can't eat 3-4 servings of carbs since prednisone makes me incredibly sensitive to carbs, but I was surprised that I got a high sugar off not quite 2 servings of carbs. I guess I didn't have enough protein/fat to offset the carbs. Have I bored you to tears yet? All this is to say that while I know what I am doing and can leverage what I learned during Paul's pregnancy, it's still a huge challenge at times and there will be bumps along the way. Going forward I am going to try my best to fit a 15-20 min walk in after every meal as that will help my body process the carbs. I have to test my blood sugar 1 hour from the start of the meal, so that hour can go fast, especially on week nights when I'm helping out with bathtime/etc. But we'll figure it out, I guess! I just really really really do not want to have to go on insulin as it requires even more doctor appointments. Plus I already give a blood thinner injection once/day and prick my finger 4 times to test my blood sugar, so I'd like to avoid more pokes! I avoided it last time so I *should* be able to avoid it this time - fingers cross. 

3. Recipe search. Now that I need low carb meals, I've done a ton of recipe research. In general, we eat a pretty low carb diet due to my gluten intolerance, but we do not eat much protein typically, so I'm on the search for low carb/high protein meals that look appealing to us. The first one I made this week was loaded Italian sausages. We used chicken sausages to lower the fat content a bit and I had to leave out the mushrooms since Phil hates them. I served this with roasted broccoli and Phil and I both liked it. We did not serve it to Paul - he had cauliflower tots and dino-shaped chicken as he doesn't like sausage. Or peppers. Or onions. Or broccoli. Toddlers!

Not the prettiest picture, but here are 2 of the 4 stuffed sausages!

Bonus item: Lest you think every weekend is filled with social obligations - let me tell you that we have 0 plans this weekend and I'm just fine with that. Phil is going to get Oscar from his mom's this weekend and we might join him if the weather is nice enough for us to be outside. And that is it for plans! Oscar has been out there since mid-February when we went to Florida! Covid hit when we got back from FL, so we left her out there as an 'emotional support animal' for my MIL. She lives alone and with covid precautions/isolation, we figured she could use some company. But Oscar will be coming home for a couple of months as she has dental surgery in early October. Hopefully she adjusts to life with a toddler ok. He gets so excited around her which Oscar does not like - especially when he vocalizes his excitement... Oscar will go back to live with Grandma right before the baby is born and will probably stay out there for a couple of months. We miss her when she's gone but I know my MIL benefits from her company! 

What's on your mind today?

Monday, September 21, 2020

A Social Weekend

 Happy Monday! We are going to have summer-like weather here this week and I'm not mad about it! Temps in the 70-80s is way more comfortable when the humidity is super low. So my goal is to soak up as much sunshine as I can this week! 

This was one of the most social weekends I've had in, well, years probably! Pre-Pablo, I would often have plans every day of the weekend but after Pablo was born, I was overwhelmed by working and parenting so I limited myself to one week night commitment and one weekend commitment. I would make exceptions at times but that was my rule of thumb. Flash forward to Covid times and I'm finding that I can handle more social plans - I think because I'm not commuting/rushing to catch a bus/rushing to get to daycare/etc. I also planned a lot this weekend in recognition of the fact that there are a limited number of nice days left in Minnesota. I'm envious of those who live in milder climates. Come November, it will be pretty tough to get together outdoors! Here's how I filled my weekend with some pictures sprinkled in!

On Friday, 2 former and 1 current coworker came over for lunch. We got take-out and sat on our patio. It was great to catch up! That evening, 2 college girlfriends came over to help me hang photos on our freshly painted walls (we had our interior walls painted while we were at the lake in August). We all wore masks while they hung pictures and then enjoyed some salad and take-out pizza on our patio. 

On Saturday morning, I met a coworker for coffee. We sat in the grass by a coffee shop and spent an hour catching up. I hadn't seen her since March so it was great to catch up in person! When I got home, Pablo and I made Blondies to bring to our Sunday evening get together. He was a good helped but kept wanting to eat the batter. It had eggs in it, so I wouldn't let him but he kept saying, "I want to put it in my mouth!" While the blondies were baking, he kept playing with the bowls. He loves to mix things up and pretend to eat them. In the picture on the right, he has a bunch of little people and bath toys - not sure it's good that they are the basis for a recipe! Ha!


After Pablo's nap, we met up with 2 daycare families at a new-to-us park close to his school. The kids played so well together and had a lot of fun!


On Sunday, we woke up to beautiful weather so I went for a long walk with Pablo and treated myself to a PSL since I had received a giftcard in the mail from our realtor! On the way back from our walk, we stopped at our neighborhood park. We were gone for about 2 hours so got lots of fresh air!


That afternoon, Phil took Pablo for a walk to the creek to throw rocks so I started Rodham - a book I've been looking forward to reading for months! It's by one of my favorite authors, Curtis Sittenfeld, who actually lives in Minneapolis now! I read 50 pages while they were gone and had a hard time putting it down last night!!

When they got back from their walk, we headed over to my coworker's house for a get together. They have a play set and lots of balls and other outdoor toys, so Paul was in heaven. We got Thai take-out and I spent most of the time catching up with my friend while Phil and her husband kept an eye on the kids.  

That was A LOT for one weekend, but it didn't feel like too much since I had downtime each day - and napped during Pablo's naps! I couldn't do that every weekend, but it worked out this past weekend. I'm glad that socially distanced outdoor gathering are safe because I definitely need the social contact since I'm not going into work. I didn't realize how much work was filling my 'social cup' but since working from home, I've found that I really need outdoor interaction with others, even though I'm a hardcore introvert! We don't have any plans this coming weekend, but I'm sure I'll keep filling up my calendar in October with coffees and walks and outdoor meals. I'm just hoping and praying for a long, mild fall!!

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 18, 2020

TGIF

Happy Friday! This 5-day work week definitely felt long. Just me?  ;) Here's how our week shaped up!

The book I'm reading is Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo which is my September book club book. If it wasn't a book club book, I probably would have abandoned it... the writing style is very unique - no punctuation, no capitalization. But another book club friend said to stick with it and I am finding that I'm enjoying it more. It just took a good 20% of the book to get into it. 

The high of my week was getting to see our baby boy on an ultrasound. The tech got some great profile photos - as soon as I saw his face I immediately thought he looked just like baby Pablo. He's measuring 2 weeks ahead so the umbilical attachment issue is certainly not causing any problems! He also has a giant head like Pablo did/does. Where do these big heads come from?? I also was able to skip the glucose test and just get a referral to the endocrinologist instead. Phew. I am glad I didn't have to waste an hour waiting around for a test I knew I'd fail. I see the endocrinologist on Tuesday so I will start the GD diet then. Until then, I'm trying to eat like I know I'll need to - so the days of desserts, ice creams, mochas, and lattes are over. But the baby will be here in 11 weeks and I know those 11 weeks will go fast. I'm glad I blogged about my previous pregnancy as it was helpful to go back and read the posts about how I handled the GD diet. My prednisone makes me soooo sensitive to carbs that I end up having to eat half of what they recommend for the GD diet. BTW, GD = gestational diabetes, but it could also be gosh darn or a less PG phrase. ;) 




The low of my week was feeling disappointed in the state of our world. Between the horrific wild fires on the west coast, the fractured state of our nation, and divide over the seriousness of Covid, I'm feeling frustrated and sad. My heart goes out to those living on the west coast who have been impacted by the wild fires. The photos of the devastation was just unreal. :( 

A recipe I made was lentil enchiladas and Spanish rice. I made this on Saturday since I know a meal like this will be off limits on the GD diet since it's pretty carb heavy between the rice and tortillas. But it's something all 3 of us love so I wanted to make it one more time!

A show we are watching is Alone season 2. We will probably take a break from this show after we finish this season but it's been fun to watch this wilderness survival show! The people on the show are incredibly industrious. Seasons 1 and 2 are on the northern part of Vancouver Island which is home to a lot of black bears, cougars, and other predators. So I think it's actually a bit more challenging than Season 6 which was in the Arctic Circle as they didn't have to deal with predators on that season. But the bitter cold would have been tough to contend with, so either location would be super challenging!


The best money spent was on another potty chair so we'd have one on each level. Such an exciting purchase, right? Paul is moving into a new room at school that focuses on potty training so we are going to try to work on it at home, too. He's been pretty resistant so far but I'm hoping once he's in that classroom full time (this was week 2 of his 2-week transition) and focusing on it more, he'll be more cooperative at home. We've packed away the cloth diapers since he's using pull-ups during the day and I will say I am very much enjoying a break from washing cloth diapers!!

My plans this weekend include a lot! For lunch today, 2 former colleagues and a current colleague (we all worked together at a previous company - only 1 of the 4 of us is still at that company!) are coming over to have a take-out lunch on our deck. Tonight, 2 college girlfriends are coming over to help me hang photos on our freshly painted walls. We will all wear masks while we hang photos and then we'll eat take-out pizza on our deck. On Saturday morning, I'm meeting a colleague for coffee. She took the voluntary separation package so I wanted to see her one more time before she leaves the company in 1.5 months! Then on Sunday, after Paul's nap we are heading over to a friend's house (who I actually met through work and have become very close to) for an outdoor get together. Phil and I love hanging out with this couple and her boys, who are in 1st and 4th grade, love to dote on Paul. That is a jam-packed weekend, but I know we have a limited number of nice days left in the year so I am trying to see as many people as possible outdoors before we are cooped up indoors!

Bonus Paul photos!

I only have one photo this week as I haven't been good about taking pictures lately! Here's a picture of Paul with his latest library books. The book he is holding is a "Frog and Toad" book - I wasn't sure if he would be ready for this longer form book w/ minimal pictures, but he loves it! The other books are "What Kind of Car Does a T. Rex Drive," "Mighty, Might Construction Site," and "I Love you Funny Bunny." He loves all of them and we've read them over and over and over again! We are definitely instilling a love of the library from a very young age!


How was your week? What is something you made for dinner this week? 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Weekend Highlights

Happy Monday! Who is ready for a 5-day work week? I've got a ton of meetings today, including a 4-hour block starting at 12:30. Bleh. While I like working from home, I feel like I have WAAAAY more meetings, which I don't love... but so it goes! Here are some of the highlights from our weekend!

- Cleaning out my garden. I don't have any pictures of this project because it's depressing to take a picture of a dying garden or an empty plot! I accomplished this on Friday afternoon before the rain set it. It felt good to get this task done as it's my least favorite fall task. I have decided that this will be my last year of participating in the fall garden. It's been increasingly hard to get over there as often as I'd like (it's about a mile away) and it will only get harder w/ a 2nd baby coming in December! I also think I spend more between renting the plot for $50 and buying all the seeds/plants. So next year I will support local farmer's markets instead. I wish our yard had room for a garden, but our backyard is on a steep hill, so it's just not possible to have a garden until I build something into a hill and we don't feel like doing that. 

- Baking with Pablo. On Friday night, I told Pablo we'd make muffins together on Saturday morning. When I went in to get him up on Saturday morning, the first thing he said was "make muffins mommy?" So clearly he loves baking! A friend had given me a bunch of kale last weekend, so used some of it to make Kale-Banana Toddler Muffins, a recipe that was recommended by a friend. I was skeptical about whether Paul would eat them, but he gobbled one up when they had cooled off! He actually ate 1.5 that day but hasn't been interested in them since. Typical toddler! Phil would tell you that they taste better than they smell. ;) Since Paul loves helping in the kitchen so much, I'm going to try to incorporate him into more meal prep!





- Video chats. We had our weekly Saturday morning chat with my mom and dad but also got to talk to my niece Anna and her mom on Saturday morning as it was Anna's 9th birthday. Pablo was very shy on that video call but it was fun to "see" them! I definitely miss seeing family but video chats definitely help as I far prefer them to phone calls!

- Block Party. Our block had the annual block party on Saturday night. It was different than usual - no sharing of food, no shaking hands, everyone kept their distance. But it was really nice to meet some of our neighbors. We moved in back in November when cold weather had already hit and then covid hit so we really hadn't met many neighbors. Our block has a Facebook group so we've gotten to know people through there but nothing can replace talking in person. Paul had fun playing with the little girl across the street who is just 3 months older than him and he enjoyed his first root beer float, which this same family generously shared with us.


- Coffee with girlfriends. On Sunday afternoon, I met up with 2 girlfriends in a friend's back yard for coffee and some treats from a local bakery. It was a beautiful afternoon and I had a great time catching up with them. We chatted for about 2 hours and then I had to head home since my MIL came over post-nap. We talked about how we are going to fill our winters/stay sane.

- Dinner with Joan. My MIL came over post-nap on Sunday since it was a beautiful day. We pretty much only see her when it's nice enough to all be outdoors. I made Greek Turkey burgers, roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. Paul let her read some books to him, which made her day!


How was your weekend? Has fall weather hit where you live? I'm personally loving the drop in humidity! It's going to mostly be in the 70s this week which I'm very much looking forward to!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Currently: September

Happy Friday! This is the one-year anniversary of the day we looked at the house we ended up buying. What a whirlwind year it's been - if you told me masks would be part of my daily wardrobe, I would have told you that you were crazy! But here we are, living in a global pandemic, preparing to bring a 2nd child into the world. Life is full of unexpected surprises, both good and bad!

Here's what currently on my mind!

Reading: You're Not Listening by Kate Murphy. I can't tell you how this ended up on my hold list at the library - I must have read about it or heard about it on a podcast? But when another blogging friend (Jolene from Everyday Foodie) raved about it, I was glad it was on my hold list. It's all about how bad our culture is at truly listening and how much we under emphasize the skill of listening. For example, there are lots of public speaking classes, debate teams, etc, but our curriculums don't focus on listening, but it's an important skill. I feel like social media and the shift to text/email has really hurt our ability to listen, especially for young people who conduct so much of their communication via text! It's been an interesting and fast read so far.

Loving: the cooler fall temps we've had this week. Some of the temps have been a bit colder than ideal, but I will take what I can get. I was just so ready for cool, crisp weather after the hot, steamy summer we had. It was the 4th hottest summer on record for Minnesota and previous record summers were when I was 7 or before I was born. So it really was the hottest summer that I can remember. We'll be back in the 70s next week which I'm looking forward to. 70s with no humidity is ideal weather for me!

Feeling: really tired, and tired of being tired! I don't remember feeling this tired when I was pregnant with Paul but I guess the body can forget things like that! I do think that chasing a toddler around adds to the exhaustion and my anemia doesn't help either. I'm iron supplements but those seem to take awhile to make a difference!

Thinking: about 9/11/01 and shocked that it was 19 years ago. It doesn't seem like that long ago, does it? I am sure we all remember where we were when it was happening. I was a junior in college and was in the tv rooom of my sorority. We were all glued to the tv and couldn't believe what was happening. I felt so powerless so the only thing I could think to do was donate blood. What I remember most, though, was the unity of our country at that time. There were yellow ribbons on trees and everyone banded together. Will we ever have that kind of unity again? It's hard to believe we will given the current state of the world.

Anticipating: my 28 week appointment on Tuesday! It's a long one as I have the glucose test, which takes an hour and a growth ultrasound. I know I'm going to fail the glucose test since I'm on prednisone - it's basically impossible to pass when you are on that drug. So I might ask if I can just avoid the whole thing and get the endocrinologist referral. But we will see if I have to follow the protocol. I'm looking forward to seeing the baby - given how much he is moving and shaking in my tummy, it seems like he's growing well so I don't expect any issues to pop up on the growth  ultrasound but we'll see! 28 weeks means I'll officially be in the 3rd trimester and will only have 11 more weeks of pregnancy. Hooray!!

Struggling: with insomnia. It's very common in pregnancy although I don't remember having it with Paul? But maybe I am just forgetting! About 2-3 nights/week I will wake during the night and have trouble falling back asleep. I usually get up and read but sometimes I just toss and turn because I don't feel like reading at 2 or 4 in the morning when I should be sleeping! I know it's a passing thing, though, so will focus on the fact that in about 11.5 weeks, it will be over!

Grateful: that my company is having employees work from home for the remainder of 2020 and likely for the first half of 2021. They've been very conservative about bringing people back to work and I'm glad. Anyone can opt to WFH at least through next August since they recognize many parents are also dealing with virtual schooling. My plan is to WFH until there is a widely available vaccine, so I am guessing I'll be home for most if not all of 2021 (I'm skeptical about the availability of a vaccine - especially with the AstraZeneca trial being put on hold this week due to an adverse, unexplainable outcome in a patient in the trial). Luckily I've thrived in the WFH environment. I'm equally productive and while I miss being able to talk face-to-face with colleagues, for me, it's not worth risking getting covid. My company has been very respectful of people with risk factors so I think they'll be willing to accommodate me if I ask to remain home in 2021. 


Working: on seeing as many friends - outdoors, socially distanced - as I possibly can while the weather is still nice enough. I've reached out to a lot of different friends to arrange outdoor coffees, walks, take-out dinners, etc. Once the cold weather hits in November, we'll be in lock-down again to lower our risk of getting covid. And then when the baby is born, we'll continue to be pretty locked down until we are out of cold/flu season - especially for the first several months of the baby's life as hospitalization is often required if an infant spikes a fever. Knowing we'll be pretty isolated come Nov/Dec, I want to see as many people in person as I can to 'fill up my cup.' 

Listening: to "Inside the Bubble" which is a podcast about Covid. The host lives in Minneapolis and is a healthcare policy expert as he used to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. He covers a lot of super interesting topics and has great experts on his show. Up until recently, his co-host was his 18 year old son. I thought it was very cool that he involved his young son in this project. He did a send-off (his son starts college this fall) during a recent episode that was very sweet and touching.

Watching: Alone which is a History Channel survival reality tv show that we got hooked on recently! They drop 10 people in a remote area and whoever survives the longest wins $500k. The participants are dropped far enough apart from each other that they do not see each other, so the contestants are alone.

Wishing:
for a long, warm fall! I hope we don't see any white stuff until Thanksgiving! That's probably unlikely but a girl can dream!

Bonus Paul Pictures:

Paul stayed home one morning last week as he had a 10:30 ENT follow-up appointment. He was quite the cute and well-behaved little coworker. He's very into stickers and coloring right now so that occupied him for a good chunk of time.


And here's another sleeping photo of him - you can tell he's a big drooler when he's sleeping hard, hence the web crib sheet! Check out all of the toys he brings to bed with him. There's a fish (bath toy), cat, owl, and captain (another bath toy) plus a kitty lovey by his hand. He's been wanting more and more 'friends' to sleep with him - at one point last week he must have had 10 toys in there, including a T-rex! So starting this week we've made him choose 3 'friends' to bring to bed with him.He doesn't play with them once he goes to bed, he just seems like having them close by. But it's just a lot of stuff to have around in a small mini-crib!



What are you anticipating, watching and wishing for?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Labor Day Long Weekend

Happy Tuesday! Who else is looking forward to a shorter 4-day work week? Just me? ;) We had a nice look weekend here. It was a quiet one since but that's Covid life for you. I worry about what the case numbers are going to look like after this long weekend... Our leadership in MN has asked people to be very careful about decisions they are making in their personal life because they are seeing a lot of case growth from social gatherings, weddings, etc - not from trips to the grocery store where everyone is wearing masks... With some students going back to school in person, I hope people made good decisions about how they spent their weekends but we'll see...

Despite it being a quieter weekend, we still had a good one. The temps dropped and most of the weekend felt fall-like with the exception of Sunday which was warm and humid! But I figure that's one of the last really warm, humid days we'll have so I embraced it. Here are some highlights from our weekend!

Rock throwing:

We live close to a creek and walk by it on every walk we take. Throwing rocks at the creek is a favorite activity for both of my boys! I'm a terrible rock skipper so I usually hang back and take pictures.



Park time:

We went to the park every day! It was pretty quiet at the park since many families go to their lake homes on long weekends. On Monday, we met my friend and her son at a new-to-us park. It was a nice small park and we were the only ones there which was great!


Baking and kitchen play:

I baked with Paul for the first time on Saturday. It went better than I expected! He dumped all of the ingredients in, except the peanut butter, did some of the stirring, and anxiously waited for the cookies to be done. His favorite part was sampling the chocolate chips, hence the chocolate on his face in the picture below! We need to do something low sugar next time because he's been asking for cookies with every meal!




He also spent quite a bit of time playing with the kitchen set that our friends lent to us! He's very into pretend play right now so I think this toy will get a lot of use! In the picture below he's making pasta for me.


Good eats:

I did a bad job of taking pictures of meals we made, but this was one of my favorites. I marinated the shrimp in some jarred pesto that I wanted to use up and then we grilled them in a grill basket and enjoyed them with grilled asparagus and corn on the cob. Yum! I also made a pork taco recipe from my instant pot cook book which turned out good. It was a mojo pork recipe so featured a lot of citrus.


Reading:

And of course our weekend featured a whole lot of reading! I picked up some library books for Paul last week and both were a hit - especially "What Kind of Car Does a T. Rex Drive" since he's so into dinosaurs right now! I finished "Sea Wife" over the weekend, which I burned through in 2 days and started "Saint X" which is sooo good! I also got my first Food Network magazine at the start of the weekend. I haven't subscribed to a magazine in probably 7+ years, but we lured by a prime deal. My mom gets the Food Network magazine and I love paging through it when we are up there so I figured it was a subscription I'd enjoy and get some meal inspiration from.



How was your long weekend?