Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Currently: December

Christmas has come and gone! And December is almost over. Is anyone sad to see this year come to an end? I certainly am not! I know turning the calendar to 2021 won't make all the problems of 2020 disappear, but at least we have hope that 2021 will be better thanks to the vaccine! Here's what is currently going on in my world!

Reading: 2 books - 60 Million Frenchman Can't be Wrong and Vision in White by Nora Roberts. The first book is a non-fiction book about France - it's written by 2 Canadian journalists who move to France to learn more about how the country works. This is my 'daytime' book. Then at night when I am up for hours feeding/soothing Will, I read Vision in White which is the first book in a series coined the "Bridal Quartet." I was never a 'read multiple books at the same time' kind of person but have found I need something very light and easy for those middle-of-the-night reading sessions! 

Loving: watching Will grow and change. He has already grown out of his newborn clothing due to his length. Paul was in NB size for 2 months so Will is quite the different baby! He's getting to be more alert during the day and his cheeks are getting chubbier! I'm looking forward to longer stretches of sleep, but he's sleeping better than those first 10 days so I'm reminding myself it could be worse.

Feeling: tired! But that is to be expected with a newborn. Napping is tough for me as Will does not want to be put down during the day - and really he'd prefer to be held 24/7 but I can get him to sleep in the snoo at night. It helps to have the perspective of having gone through this before, although Paul slept more and didn't mind being put down in a swing or boppy during the day... 

Thinking: about my fitness plans for 2021. Once I get cleared to exercise at 6 weeks, I'm planning to buy a Beach Body on Demand membership. It's only $99 for a year and you get access to so many different programs. Phil is missing working out, too. He would typically workout at the gym in his office building but that is not happening thanks to Covid. So he might try some of the programs, too. I just hope I can get Will to be cool with being set down for 30 minutes so I can workout during the day. We'll see how that goes - hopefully as he gets older he'll be happy to lay under the baby Einstein gym. Fingers crossed.

Anticipating: getting my vaccine! I am not optimistic about getting it all that soon, but hopefully my mid-year we will be vaccinated? I'm hopeful that our parents will be vaccinated in the first quarter, though!

Struggling: to keep track of what day it is. As a result of this constant state of confusion, I missed the first 'second mama' class last Monday. I knew it started on 12/21 but didn't realize 12/21 came and went - I didn't realize I missed the first class until Sunday night as I was thinking about how the 28th is my dad's birthday and had an 'oh crap!' moment where I realized I missed my first mama class. Gah. I am so mad at myself, but that's life with 2 kids during the holiday season. The class is a zoom class, too, and I have a harder time keeping track of zooms/calls since you aren't going anywhere to attend. Hopefully I did not miss too much by missing the first class.

Grateful: for all the meals we've received from family and friends. My mom stocked our freezer with lots of soups and we've had other friends and family send Grubhub gift certificates and meals. I did zero meal prep before Will was born since I was in so much pain from RA so we are super grateful for all the food we've received. I figured we would not get much for our 2nd child so have been very pleasantly surprised1

Working: on getting rid of maternity and baby stuff as Will grows out of it. I sold some maternity clothes on Facebook and will sell the rest when the pregnancy consignment shop in our area re-opens (they are closed right now due to covid numbers). As Will grows out of things, I'm sending the gender netrual stuff to my little sister who is expecting a baby girl (!!!) in mid-February. The boy stuff is going to the daughter of a former co-worker who is expecting a boy this spring. We received so many hand-me-downs for Paul and Will so I am very happy to pay it forward!

Listening: to very few podcasts these days as I'm not going for walks (too cold for a newborn). I try to listen while doing meal prep but I'm doing less of that these days, too!

Watching: so much tv! But that's newborn life for you! I watched "Emily in Paris" in a matter of days once Phil went back to work. Right before Will was born, we started to watch "Homeland" and are almost done with season 5!!! And now I am watching "Sweet Magnolias" on Netflix during the day when Phil is at work. I'm still reading a ton, but am also giving myself permission to watch more tv than I normally would as I know this phase is very temporary.

for longer stretches of sleep at night! Will is up every 2-2.5 hours, and sometimes he's up an hour after I put him down... But I know it should only get better!

What are you reading, anticipating and grateful for?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Baby Will's First 2 Weeks

Baby Will is 2 weeks old today! His birth kind of feels like a lifetime ago. The first 7-9 days were incredibly challenging but we seemed to have turned a corner (knock on wood) when it comes to sleep so everyone is feeling much more human! Here's a little recap of his first 2 weeks of life.

Likes: being held my mom alllll the time. During that first week of life or so, he really wanted to be held or fed during the night hours. Since I am breastfeeding, he spends more time on me so I can more easily calm him. He's willing to sleep in his bassinet now - more on that later - so that has made a huge difference in how I feel. He also likes to be held during the day, too, but will tolerate going in his swing or doing tummy time on the floor. He also really likes to be in the lillebaby carrier (it's an Ergo-type carrier). I barely used this with Paul because it just wasn't necessary with one baby - but is getting used EVERY day now! I put him in it around 5 so I have both hands free to help feed Pablo/eat dinner/etc. He mostly wants to be held in a cradle hold or against my chest, but he's starting to like laying on my legs when he's awake. 

Dislikes: diaper changes, sponge baths (umbilical cord hasn't fallen off so he can't take baths yet), being cold. 

Firsts:  We started to do tummy time after his pediatrician appointment last week and he shockingly LOVES it. We just put a toy next to him and sit close so we can talk to him/make sure he doesn't fall asleep.

I don't have a picture of this, but he also had his first trip to the park! It was pretty mild on Saturday so we walked to our local park to burn off some of Pablo's energy. Pablo rode in the stroller and I put Will in the carrier. I need to get a carrier cover for these cold winter months - I should be able to borrow one from a friend. For this walk, I wore my maternity jacket, which I could zip about 3/4 of the way, and then I put a blanket over the top of the carrier to keep him toasty. It worked well and he slept for the whole outing. Here's hoping we have a mild winter so we can spend lots of time outdoors!

Feeding: Breastfeeding is going very well for us - so a complete 180 from my experience with Pablo! We did go in for one lactation consultant visit last week to check the latch as I was having some pain and trouble getting him to latch for night feeds. It was super helpful to get some help from an expert. He seems to be putting on weight, as evidenced by this photo taken about a week apart.He was about 3 oz from birth weight at the LC visit last Thursday, so I just assume he's above birth weight now. We will step on the scale with him at some point to get an idea of what he weighs but I am trying to be less obsessive about how much he weighs than I was with Pablo. Pablo struggled to gain weight so we had so many weight checks and LC visits and my instinct is to know exactly what he weighs every few days - but when I look at pictures like the comparison below, I can see it's really not necessary to track his weight so closely. 

Sleeping: was the biggest challenge in the first weeks. We had a string of nights where we got between 2-4 hours of sleep but then my body wouldn't let me nap during the day, so I felt like an absolute zombie. He slept well in the bassinet at the hospital but similar to Pablo, as soon as we got home, he HATED the flat-bottomed bassinet and would wake up as soon as we put him down. I kept trying for several days and then hit a wall last Wednesday and put him in the swing where he slept for some longer stretches. That is where Pablo slept for the first 3 months of his life, but sleeping in a swing is NOT safe so this time around, I knew we had to do something different. So I talked Phil into buying a Snoo off of Facebook. The Snoo is a bassinet designed by Dr. Harvey Karp, who came up with the "5 S's" that are used to calm babies. I can only think of 4 - shushing, swaying, swaddling and sucking. So this bassiet basically is meant to calm the baby - it will respond to them fussing and increase the motion/white noise. The bassinet has a very secure swaddle that you put the baby in. It's VERY expensive brand new ($1,400!!) so we opted to buy it off of Facebook as the resale value is very high. So we figure we will maybe lose $100 round trip on the buy/sell. I will say we are incredibly fortunate to be able to afford to buy this contraption. But it gives me major peace of mind to know he's sleeping in a safe place. It took a couple of days to get him used to it but now he sleeps in it all night and gives me 2.5-3 hour stretches which is amazing!

We experimented with 'arms up' swaddle to get him used to the Snoo but now he sleeps with his arms down.

Phil says the Snoo is like a "Clockwork Orange" reprogramming device. Ha. I have never seen that movie so don't completely understand the reference, but I can see what he means. It is a strange contraption - it will increase the sound and motion when the baby fusses. I've opted to keep it at the lowest level of 'soothing' - so very gentle motion with increased white noise. There are 5 levels of soothing and the higher levels seem a bit much for a newborn but maybe we will use the higher levels when he's bigger/more sturdy.

Dad:  Phil has had 2 weeks of paternity leave but has done a little bit of work here and there. Tomorrow will be a bit of a more full day for him as he has trading he has to help out with. But he works for a small company so he has to pitch in when needed. And working a bit here and there is not a big deal. He'll get some days off in the coming weeks to make up for doing so work this week/last week. During the day, I don't really need his help. When mom breast feeds, dad is just a bit less helpful! But he is doing 95% of the work when it comes to Paul. He gets him up/dressed/fed, takes him to school, does pick-up, takes showers with Paul, does bedtime, etc etc. I can not lift Paul for 6 weeks due to my C-section incision so his help with Paul is incredibly key! He also brings me snacks and keeps my water filled, etc. So he helps me out as much as he can but his role is all about helping Paul!

Mama: My RA flares have gotten better - I've had some rolling flares but they are not as intense as the ones at the end of pregnancy. I fully expect to start my RA injections tomorrow after my incision check as it looks good to me. My C-section recovery was definitely better/faster this time around. It blows my mind how fast the body can heal. The nurse anesthetist took photos of the c-section which are 3 second 'live videos' so I can see my doctor and her partner VIGOROUSLY pushing on my stomach to get Will out and there is so much tugging and jerking. I mean, it is not a 'gentle' procedure by any stretch of the imagination. So to think they could do all that and cut through all those muscles - and I feel pretty good 2 weeks later? It amazes me. The first 7-8 days were the worst but now I can get in/out of bed and shift around without discomfort. 

My post partum emotions are starting to fade, too. Thank God. I am not an emotional person but post partum makes you cry at the littlest things. Example: I read Paul's bedtime books on our first night home from the hospital. When I started to read "I Love You Goodnight" I started to cry and could not stop! It's a strange feeling to have no control over your emotions. Logically I knew it was ridiculous to cry while reading a book to Paul! And then I kept crying when I came downstairs which was pretty embarrassing with my parents there. I know they - especially my mom - understood it was out of my control but I hate not having control of my emotions! 

Next week I start a virtual "Second Time Mama" class which I am looking forward to. I took a new mom class from the same organization and had an awesome experience. I have a text group with the 7 moms from that class and we text every week and sometimes on a daily basis! Having a tribe of moms is so key so I'm looking forward to meeting more moms. The class is led by an RN/LC so you also get lots of great advice. 

Pablo: All in all, Pablo has done pretty well with the transition. The return to school has been rough - he went back the Monday after Will was born per the recommendation of his pediatrician. She said to get him back on his schedule ASAP and that we are less likely to get covid from him. Returning to school after a gap in care is always tough - it takes about 3 weeks for him to not cry at drop off. :( He is very happy at school but loves being with mom and dad... Add in a new brother/change at home and it's just making it a bit harder. But I know he will adapt and I know he's having fun there and getting the attention he needs! 

He's very excited about his little brother and wants to hold him often. He does pretty good, we are just working on gentle touch which is tough for an almost-3-year-old to understand! 

We are being intentional about spending one-on-one time with him. So dad plays in the basement with him and I baked muffins and play board games with him. He got a couple from my parents for Christmas and loves them!!

There has definitely been some regression behavior, which is to be expected. He's very interested in the pacifier and has said he is the baby... But I know this phase will pass!

So all in all, things are going pretty well - especially now that I'm getting more sleep! 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Meet William Otto!

William Otto entered this world last Thursday, just after 8am! I've been meaning to sit down and share his arrival but it's been challenging to find a block of time with an empty lap. But here goes!

Birth Story

Planned c-section birth stories feel like less of a 'story' since everything is so planned out and there is no wondering when and how the baby will arrive. But I will say that a planned c-section was way better than an emergecy one done 29 hours after induction/after 17 hours of active labor! My c-section was at 7:30 - I walked down with the nurse, hopped up on the OR table, got my spinal block, and the baby was born 38 minutes later! I lucked out and got the same nurse anesthetist as last time - I did not remember her but she had clearly looked at my medical records and noted that she was there for Paul's birth - which is pretty cool of her to do. She was so incredibly kind - she held my hand until Phil got in there and took lots of photos of the birth. She also took pictures of Paul's c-section delivery. Medical stuff does not gross me out, so it's very cool to see how our boys came into the world! He clocked in at 8 pounds 4 ounces (so 1 ounce shy of a pound bigger than Paul!) and 21.5 inches. He has a big ol' head - just like Paul, too. 

I wasn't able to do skin-to-skin with William because his body temp was too low so they needed to wrap him up.

But he was able to lay on my chest while they stitched me up - I'll take what I can get! 

We went into the recovery room next and got lots of time to cuddle and work on breast feeding. Those who have read this blog for a long time may remember that Paul did not latch/transfer milk well - luckily I am having a completely different experience with William. He breastfed well from the start. We've had some challenges as breastfeeding definitely takes work and there always seem to be hiccups along the way, but all in all it's going well!

Then it was back to our post-partum room where we could rest and soak up some snuggles with our little guy. 

The Name

His name is William Otto, but we will call him Will. Phil came up with the name and I was totally on board with it. Otto is Phil's maternal grandfather's middle name. Phil was very close to this grandpa so it was a great way to honor their special relationship. We called the baby Taco through most of the pregnancy and half the time, that's what we continue to call him! We'll see if that nickname sticks or not!

Delivering during a pandemic

Overall, Covid didn't drastically change my delivery/post-partum hospital experience. I had to get tested 5 days before my c-section (it was negative thank goodness!) and I had to wear a mask during the delivery. We also wore masks whenever a provider came into our room. And you can't have visitors, of course, but my parents were the only people who came when Paul was born - and it was a very brief visit. The nurses said they think the no visitor policy is actually better for moms and dads so they can focus on the baby/establishing breastfeeding/etc without people coming in and out. Phil was also not able to leave the hospital, but I don't know that he would have if he could have, especially since our stay was so short. I definitely had a lot of anxiety about getting covid before delivery and now I will worry about us staying healthy with Paul in daycare, but the delivery itself felt pretty "normal." We won't be having any visitors at home either which is a big change from last time, but we've had people drop off meals and gifts and such so we are still feeling the love.

Big Brother Paul

I was almost more anxious about being away from Paul than I was about having another c-section. Phil and I have each spent nights away from Paul for work but this was our first time away from him together. I had no concerns about my parents watching them. They had 5 kids, this is their 9th grandchild and my mom was a nurse - so clearly they are extremely capable! But Paul is very sensitive to care providers and is very attached to me so I was worried he would struggle with us being away. But he did extremely well and only cried once on Friday night. Apparently he was extremely well-behaved and a great listener. Go figure he was on his best behavior for Papa and Nana!

We pushed hard for a discharge on Saturday, so a 2-night stay, instead of the typical 3-night stay for c-sections. The nurses and doctors were all on board with this as they are trying to get people out of there ASAP due to covid. So we were home by around 11:30 am on Saturday - after a pitstop at Starbucks to pick up a venti peppermint mocha, of course!!

Paul was jumping up and down and screaming with excitement when we pulled up front. He was very excited to meet his baby brother and loves to hold him! 

Our first week at home

Will turned 1 week old today. We are happy but extremely exhausted. While Paul had to be woken to eat every 3 hours as he was so sleepy/not into eating, it's a whole other story with Will. He seems much hungrier. But he is also much fussier - but only during the night, of course. We had several nights of being up every 45 minutes which is brutal. He seems to just want to be held/cuddle and really wants mom. So we feel pretty bleary-eyed and are hoping for some longer stretches of sleep soon so we can start to feel more human. I am glad Phil is home for 2 weeks of paternity leave to help out and he's been doing the vast majority of care for Paul. I can't lift Paul for 6 weeks so he will be doing the bulk of caring for Paul. I try to do what I can that doesn't involve lifting him and try to make sure I spend some time reading to him each day. 


Even with all the exhaustion and lack of sleep, I will still take this over pregnancy. I was so miserable at the end, and even had flares the night before the delivery that I was icing as we prepared to go into the OR. I had some flares post-delivery but the prednisone seems to be taking care of them now and I can go back on my injections after my 2-week incision check. Fingers crossed the incision looks good so I can get back on my miracle drug!

And that's my lengthy birth story post! Thanks for following along with this pregnancy! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

What We Read in November

December is here! Hurrah! My C-section is on Thursday and I could not be more ready to be done!! But the end is in sight!! 

I read a ton in November - 14 books. That might be the highest number for 2020 but I am too lazy to confirm this. I think the main reason I read so many books is that I went off social media for the month of November, mostly because I did not want to see posts about the election - even ones I agree with would trigger my anxiety. I needed a clean break and it's been good for me. I'm questioning whether I want/need to go back on but will likely go back on to share the news of the birth of our son and to sell some maternity items. But I'm thinking social media is not a great use of my time, all in all. 

Back to what I read, though! I broke the 14 books out into 3 groups: Hits, Just Ok, and Misses. I won't go into detail on the Just Ok ones. 


- Notes from a Young Black Chef is a book I'd recommend to fans of Top Chef. The author was on the show several seasons ago. It was interesting to read about his experiences working in the food world, especially as a person of color. 

- Party of Two was the latest installment in Jasmine Guillory's romance series. I find these books absolutely delightful. Highly recommend them if you need something light and easy-breezy. 

- All Adults Here gets mixed reviews but I ended up really enjoying it. It's solidly character-driven literary fiction and there are plenty of unlikeable characters, which can bug me. But in this case, there were enough people that I liked to offset the unlikeable ones.

- Beach Read was another romance that I enjoyed. Nothing earth shattering but it was a light, fun read. 

- A Good Time for the Truth is a collection of essays written by BIPOC who live or have lived in Minnesota. It delves into the racism and inequity that Minneapolis is sadly known for. Sometimes us northerners can think we don't have the issues with racism that the south does, but upon closer examination, we have plenty of problems to work through here. 

Just Ok: These books range from pretty good to fine. They aren't books I would highly recommend to others but I enjoyed them. 


- I read Fahrenheit 451 to complete the final category of the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge I did this year. This filled the 'read a classic' category. I think I just have to accept that classics never seem to be a good fit for me. Phil told me he really liked this book but we definitely have different tastes in books. I found this book to be a complete slog and was glad it was only 158 pages. The fact that it was Dystopian/Sci-Fi probably did not help matters as those are genres that I don't tend to enjoy. 

- Suite Francaise was a book that my friend Kyria and I read together. We've been reading a book set in France each month. I used to own this book but got rid of it during a huge book purge before moving in with Phil so when she suggested we read it, I thought it sounded like a good idea. It was definitely a slog and had it not been a buddy read, I would have abandoned it. It's a 2-part book set during WWII. The first part features aristocrats fleeing Paris during the German invasion. The second part features more ordinary people living in a more rural area of France. The people in the first part were SO AWFUL. The people in the second half were less awful but it was still a slog. The unique thing about this book is that the author died in a concentration camp in 1942. This book was published posthumously many years later. It has been very popular but I did not work for me unfortunately...

- Paris By the Book was another book Kyria and I read together. I liked the concept - a woman and her teenage daughter move to Paris and run a book store when her husband goes missing. Did he die? Did he abandon them? There were aspects I liked, but as a parent, I found the father storyline to be very unbelievable so that impacted my reading experience. It was fun to read about areas of the city I am extremely familiar with. I hope to return to France some day but that is a LONG ways off!  

Paul's reads:

He got a new Ranger Rick magazine this month. He loves these so much so I suggested that the grandparents get him a Highlights subscription for Christmas and my parents took us up on that idea. We keep every Ranger Rick and he will go back and look at them again. He has outgrown the 0-3 Ranger Rick subscription so I am hoping my MIL changes the subscription to the next level up. 

In November, I ordered some books about Thanksgiving and Native Americans. His favorite was this book, Fry Bread. It's about a traditional food made by Native Americans and also addresses, in a child-appropriate way, the challenges the Native American population has experienced. 

Our neighbors brought over a bag of books their kids had grown out of. Paul's favorite was this Elmo potty book with songs. Unfortunately it has not encouraged him to use the potty. He is still STRONGLY resisting potty training so we are kind of throwing up our hands for now and hoping his teachers have some luck at school. I know he is intellectually capable of learning to use the potty but he is VERY resistant and there is no talking this stubborn kid into doing something he doesn't want to do...

And that is our reads for November! Did you read anything great this month?

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pregnancy Update: 38 Weeks

Woo hoo - this is my last pregnancy update! Hurrah! I could not be more ready for this pregnancy to be over. If this pregnancy was a marathon, I'd say I hit "my wall" about 2 weeks ago. Here's how I'm doing at this point!

Baby size:  I had my last OB appointment today and they estimate that the baby weighs 7#7oz. Those estimates aren't terribly accurate so I'm guessing he'll be close to Paul's size - Paul was 7#5oz at birth. So chances are the baby will be very average which I am ok with! Granted, the size matters less when you are having a c section! 

I feel large and in charge, but that's pregnancy for you! I have gained a bit less weight this pregnancy, but weighed more when I got pregnant. With Paul, we had just gotten married so I was at my lowest weight in years! So all in all, I feel good about how much I've gained this pregnancy. Following the gestational diabetes protocol definitely caps your weight gain.

37 weeks
38 weeks

Sex of the baby: boy! 

Name progress:  Final decision has been made but we aren't sharing it until there is a cute baby attached to the name. ;)

Symptoms/RA management: Pregnancy-wise, I don't have many complaints. I have a hard time breathing and sleep is challenging since I'm up every 2 hours to go to the bathroom. But if it wasn't for RA, I would say I am feeling pretty good. But my RA has been horrible. I've had flares in my shoulders this week so haven't been able to lift my arms above my shoulders without yelping in pain. RA sucks - that is all. 

Gestational diabetes management:  This has been totally fine. I'm burned out on my food options and don't have the motivation to research recipes/try something new - especially since flares often make it hard for me to be up and about/meal prep/etc. But the end is in sight and I look forward to enjoying lots of treats when this baby is out of me!

Recent/upcoming appointments: I had my last OB appointment today. I've been going weekly since 33 weeks so am very glad to be done with these. I love my provider and her partners but being gone for 1.5-2.5 hours every week for an appointment is not fun. I was able to cancel my endo follow up appointment, though, since my blood sugars have been good. 

Sleep: Oof, sleep has been tough, but that's common for late pregnancy. I think it's your body's way of preparing you for what is to come. Since I'm battling a cold, I decided I really need sleep so caved and bought some unisom - which is safe for pregnancy. It really knocks me out! But I was getting less than 7 hours of sleep before taking it and that's not enough for non-pregnant Lisa and certainly not pregnant Lisa. I'll stop taking it once the baby is born. 

Cravings/favorite foods and aversions: Nothing new - Fairlife chocolate milk and Venti SF Vanilla lattes with whole milk are life right now. ;) 

Exercise:  Nada. RA is making this impossible unfortunately. I wish I could go for long walks but it's just not possible with my pain situation. 

Recent baby prep/decisions: Phil moved all of the baby stuff from the basement to the baby's room. We won't set up his room until he is closer to sleeping in there. He'll sleep in our room for 3-4 months in a Halo bassinet. So for those first 3-4 months, the baby's room will continue to be Phil's office when he works from home. I know setting up a nursery is something most couples do, but we haven't found it to be necessary... plus we are so minimalistic when it comes to decorating so there won't be much to do when he does move in there. I will hang some book-themed prints and call it good! I will put more effort into our kid's bedrooms when they are older and actually spend time in there. Paul is only in his room to sleep. 

Mood: ready to be done! 

And that's a wrap! No more pregnancy posts from me! Thanks for following around - I know these kind of posts aren't for everyone, but it's nice for me to have my pregnancy journey documented. It's definitely been a challenging pregnancy but I am glad I'm on the brink of being done with pregnancy FOREVER!!!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Giving Thanks

2020 has been A TRYING YEAR. And while we shouldn't need a national holiday to remind us to give thanks, it is convenient that Thanksgiving comes around once a year and pushes us to think about what we are thankful for. The year has presented a lot of challenges for our family and the broader world, but when I stop and think about it, I can still come up with a long list of things I am thankful for. So here are some of the things/people I am thankful for in no particular order!

I'm thankful...

- we are in a larger home than we were last year. We moved out of a 1,300 sq ft home and into a 2,400 sq ft home the weekend before Thanksgiving last year. We knew we wanted to have a 2nd child so that was the main reason for moving (our last home had 2 bedrooms plus an office). But I sure am glad we have more space since I've been working from home since March 12th and likely will through much of 2021! Phil WFH about 2 days/week but it's still nice that he has space to do so. We would have been very cramped in our old house, especially when Paul is home with us - which has been a lot. He's missed over 12 weeks of daycare (that we still paid for of course - ouch!). Only 2 weeks were due to his classroom being closed. The other 10 weeks were times we pulled him out to lower our risk of getting covid, with the exception of the 1 week we kept him out for a visit to my parents lake home. 

- that I have a healthy marriage. Phil and I have spent more time together this year than ever before since we've worked from home a lot and have not had the busy social calendars we had in the past. I will be honest and say that it's been challenging at times, especially during those 7 weeks in March/April when we had Paul out of daycare and were not seeing anyone - and I was dealing with first trimester exhaustion. Most friends that I've had candid/real conversations with have said this year has definitely put stress on their marriage but I'm glad we've been able to weather it. 

- for Paul. He reminds us what is most important and keeps the mood light when things can feel heavy. He loves to make people laugh so he is the best mood lifter! He's a healthy, thriving, bright little guy and I can't imagine our lives without him.

Icing his 'owie' (he didn't have one). He knows all about ice packs since most days I have one on a joint.

It's nearly impossible to not smile when you are around Paul!
- that we are adding a 2nd boy to our family! This pregnancy has been HARD but I don't take for granted how lucky we are to be able to grow our family. I just can't wait for him to be here! I'll take major abdominal surgery/recovery and the challenges of a newborn over being pregnant!

- that we've all stayed healthy and covid-free despite Paul going to daycare. His daycare has done an excellent job. They did close his room for 2 weeks when a classmate tested positive, but no one else got covid - thank goodness! We've been very careful about keeping our risk of getting covid as low as possible, which has resulted in some sacrifices, like not seeing family, only seeing friends outdoors, not going to restaurants, etc. But the sacrifices are all worth it.

- that there is a covid vaccine on the horizon! Huge shout-out to all the scientists who have worked tirelessly to deliver a vaccine in record time. 

- for my extended family. I miss my grandma, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews so much. I look forward to a time when we can all safely gather. Not everyone has the kind of family dynamic where they miss time together so I know I am lucky to have healthy relationships with my family!

- that Biden won the election. Enough said, right? 

- that my boss/team has been really understanding during this final stage of pregnancy and have cut me some major slack!

- for my wide group of friends. I'm glad I was able to fit in lots of walks and outdoor visits before the cold weather arrived. I can't imagine my life without my circle of friends.

- for all of you out there who are reading this blog, especially the faithful commenters! There are times when I question whether I should keep blogging or not but I love engaging with all of you!

Your turn! What are some things you are most grateful for this year? 

Monday, November 16, 2020

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

It may only be mid-November, but it's looking like Christmas in our house. This is extremely early for us to decorate. I'm typically "give Thanksgiving its due before decorating." But this year is different. Plus, we are having a baby the week after Thanksgiving, so who knows how I will be feeling Thanksgiving weekend. When we got our first snowfall in October, Pablo said "It's Christmastime!" No idea how he already has that association between snow and Christmas, but he had a point. It does feel like Christmastime. I've even seen outside decorations - and I'm not mad about it. Is there anything more cheery than holiday lights on these dark nights? We will still have a special Thanksgiving, although it will be different with just the 3 of us. I bought some November/Thanksgiving books so we are making sure the holiday doesn't get lost in the shuffle!

Since I didn't have flares in my hands this weekend, it seemed like the perfect time to decorate. I assembled the tree during nap and decorated the top 2/3s with our breakable ornaments and then let Pablo decorate the bottom 1/3 when he woke up. He only ended up hanging a couple of ornaments but he pointed out where we should put things. 

My MIL Joan sent us these adorable felted kitty ornaments. I didn't have a lot of kid-friendly ornaments, so this helped us build out that collection.  

We also put up this little felt tree that Joan gave us last year. Pablo did not really understand what to do with this last year, but he loves it this year. He's already re-decorated it multiple times. It's something I never would have thought to buy since I'm not a shopper... but I am glad my MIL thought to buy this for him as I think he'll love it for years to come. Plus it's nice for him to have his own little tree.

If I'm feeling good next weekend, my plan is to get our outdoor planters and maybe do our window boxes. It wasn't possible this past weekend as I had flares in my hip and ankle that made walking difficult so I had no interest in going to a large greenery. But hopefully next weekend is better - fingers and toes crossed. Worst case scenario, I will buy the planters and materials and have my mom decorate when they come to watch Paul. She did 100% of the decorating last year as they were here for Thanksgiving so it won't be much of a change from last year! ;) 

It's amazing what the glow of a tree can do for a person's mood so I am definitely glad we switched things up and decorated early. Between Covid stress (our numbers and positivity rate are terrible here), grief from the loss of Phil's brother, and just a general feeling of this year being off, I need that warm glow of the tree! 

If you celebrate Christmas, when do you plan to decorate? 

Friday, November 13, 2020


TGIF! I'm off work today so yesterday was kind of my Friday. I realized I hadn't taken a day off work since our August vacation so felt like I needed one day off when Paul is in school before the baby arrives! I don't really have any plans for the day besides taking it really easy. In pre-Covid times I would be getting a massage but that just seems like a bad idea for a high risk person like me. But I will find other ways to relax/treat myself.

The book I'm reading is Beach Read by Emily Henry, which is another romance novel. I have read more romance novels than ever this year because I have craved light, happy books during this heavy, challenging year. I've heard great things about this book so am sure I will enjoy it!  I used to kind of turn my nose up at romance novels, but I've change my mind this year. There are great romance writers and it's not the 'ripping bodices' plotlines you might picture on Harlequin novels. There's great character development and strong female characters. And sometimes a person just wants a guaranteed happy ending (if there isn't a happy ending, it's not a romance). 

The high of my week was that the baby looked good during all of the monitoring at my 36 week appointment. They did a growth ultrasound and he's measuring about where Paul did at this point (I also had a lot of ultrasounds/monitoring with him) so I'm guessing he'll be similarly sized? We'll see! To be honest, I do wish at every appointment that they will see something minor that will require moving up my c section. Obviously I want baby to be healthy but the sooner this pregnancy is over, the better, given how challenging these final weeks have been. 

The low of my week was pregnancy stuff. I'm in a bad stretch of RA flares so ended up getting 2 steroid injections on Tuesday. I haven't had any this pregnancy since it's been hard to get in with a PA due to reduced staffing, but I was able to get in this week thank goodness, as these flares did not seem to be going anywhere. The other low was finding out I needed to have a CT scan of my chest. Phil pushed me to email my OB to let her know I've been having trouble getting deep breaths. I didn't have this problem with my last pregnancy but I chalked it up to the baby restricting my lung capacity. But since I have a history of blood clots (I had a massive one at 34 weeks with Paul), my OB said I had to have a CT scan to rule out a pulmonary embolism. We knew it was incredibly unlikely since I've been on blood thinner injections since 6 weeks but better safe than sorry. The scans came back clear but it wasn't fun to spend about 2.5 hours at a hospital getting a scan/waiting around for results. December 3rd can NOT come fast enough!

A recipe I made was loaded Italian Sausages with asparagus and bake potatoes. We have a lot of turkey sausages in the freezer so this was a good low-carb way to use a package of them. Even though my baked potato was small, I got a slightly high blood sugar from this meal. But I'm just accepting that I am going to have 1-2 highs/week - my endo is ok with that. 

A show we are watching is the 2nd season of Fargo. This show is a bit too dark for my taste but it's interesting enough to keep me watching. We aren't liking it as much as the first season but decided to stick with it. I'm looking forward to the new season of "The Crown" which comes out on Sunday as that is a show we both love!

The best money spent was on lattes! I did get a suggestion for a vanilla creamer that is diabetes/keto friendly, though, so I might have Phil try to find that to me so I don't keep spending $5/day on coffee. But we'll see - with less than 3 weeks left of pregnancy, I feel like coffees might be worth the splurge.

My plans this weekend include crickets. We have no plans. The weather won't be terrible but it's not 'have an outdoor play date' kind of weather either. I'm sure we'll go for walks and find ways to fill the days but we don't have anything specific planned. Such is covid life in the winter! If I don't have any bad flares this weekend, I think we will put up our Christmas tree. This is extremely early for me to do that, but I feel like the warm glow of a tree would be nice and cheery! 

How was your week?

Monday, November 9, 2020

Virtual Coffee Date

Hi, friends, and happy Monday! I thought I'd do a virtual coffee date catch up this morning. I've got my beloved Starbucks whole milk latte with just a little SF vanilla syrup next to me. It's become a daily treat since treats are pretty limited when you are on the gestational diabetes diet. But I figure it's ok to spend about $5/day for the last month of pregnancy. I did try to switch to brewed coffee with my FF french vanilla creamer and it made my blood sugars SKYROCKET so I said forget that and have become a very good Starbucks customer. :) Typically, a latte is a once/week treat so this is NOT normal for a frugal gal like me! Anyways, here's what's going on in my world.

If we were having coffee today...

- I'm sure we would talk about the election. I voted for Joe Biden so was very happy with the results. I hope that he can unite our country and that we can end the phase of bitter, attacking insults against those on the other side of the aisle. I don't like talking about politics on my blog, but I think it's important to note that I used to vote for Republican candidates up until the 2016 election. I've always been more of a moderate, though, and Trump's decisions, policies and rhetoric were not a fit for me. I hope the Republican party returns to the era of people like John Kasick, but we'll see. I definitely breathed a heavy sigh of relief when the race was called on Saturday morning but it felt anti-climatic given how long it took. 

- I'd tell you that the last week has been really hard and sad for my family. My brother-in-law passed away last week. It is not my story to share and Phil is an intensely private person so I will leave it at that. But it was a difficult blow in the midst of a year that has already presented plenty of challenges. I'd tell you how glad I was that the weather was so nice this past weekend. We went to my MIL's on Saturday morning since it was nice enough to be outside for most of our time out there (we are trying not to be indoors w/ her since Paul is in daycare). 

- I'd talk about how we made the most of the nice weather this past week. It was so gorgeous, so I made sure to get as much fresh air as possible when my body allowed. We went to 2 parks - one by our house, one by Nana's - played in the back yard and did lots of scootering. I bought a scooter earlier this summer but Paul refused to try it until the last couple of weeks... It's taking some time to figure it out but he's really enjoying it. 

- I'm sure we'd talk about pregnancy, too. Oof, my RA is angry. I'm getting flares nearly daily, sometimes in multiple joints. I'm a little terrified about what will happen after the baby is born but hopefully I get a little reprieve. And I'll go back on my $1000/injection wonder drug ASAP so I know that will help, but it can take 4-6 weeks to be fully effective. I'm glad Phil will be home for 2 weeks of paternity leave, and will work from home a decent amount around the holidays. I did have a lot of flares before Paul was born (not as bad as this pregnancy) but I don't remember having them after he was born so hopefully I get lucky again this time. 

- We'd of course have to talk about reading! I'd tell you about the 2 books I read over the weekend - "Notes from a Young Black Chef" by Kwame Onwuachi and "Party of 2" by Jasmine Guillory. The first one was non-fiction and a very interesting read. Kwame was a contestant on "Top Chef," which is one of my favorite shows, but I knew very little about his back story. "Party of 2" was the latest installment in Guillory's romance series. I have loved all of her books - they are very light and easy reads but the characters have substance. Check them out if you need a break from the heaviness of life! Then I would want to hear what you are reading or are looking forward to reading!

After talking so much about myself, I'd be sure to ask how you are doing? How is your family? What are your plans for the holidays? Are you as excited to turn the page on 2020 as I am?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

What We Read in October

I’m ignoring the elephant in the room and decided to talk about something besides the election today. But I am hoping and praying for a Biden win in the days to come!! Most stressful election ever for me. 

October was another full reading month for me. I imagine my reading will really drop off come December when the baby arrives, though! We'll see! I read 9 books this month, bringing my 2020 total to 82! 


- Dear Edward was a total page-turner for me. It's about a boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash. His whole family was on the plane with him, so he goes to live with an aunt and uncle. This is a dual narrative novel - one part tells the story of the day of the flight, the other part follows Edward as he deals with the grief of losing his family and survivor guilt. Definitely not something you want to read on a plane, but who is on planes these days anyways? 

- Anne of Green Gables was a delightful re-read from my childhood. My MIL bought and read the entire series this summer and pass it on to me so I plan to read more books from the series and would also like to watch the re-booted show on Netflix. 

- The Tenth Muse was another book I burned through. The protagonist is a female mathematician so I especially enjoyed this book since I was a math major/love math. I'm not sure the average person would enjoy it as much as I did, though, since math features prominently in the story line. 

- Raising White Kids really made me think. I am looking forward to discussing this with some other moms in November. 


- Again, Again was a 2-star read for me. The author wrote the book, "We Were Liars," which I loved, so I decided to try another novel by her. It just did not work for me. 

- The End of the Day was another disappointing read. I loved the author's first book, "Did You Ever Have a Family," so had high hopes for this one. Most of the characters were very unlikable - I struggle to enjoy books when I don't have anyone to root for!

Paul's Reads:

I knew this Halloween would be a little different this year, so I decided to make it extra special by buying some Halloween books. Every week I'd pull out a new one. A friend also sent Paul 2 Daniel Tiger fall/Halloween books. Of the books I purchased, Room on the Broom and Pumpkin Soup were our favorites!

I want to do something similar this month for Thanksgiving and again in December for Christmas. I rarely buy books for myself but I will gladly spend money on books for Paul because they get read SO MANY TIMES. 

We've also been getting a lot of books for Paul from the library. He's very into the Llama Llama books right now, so we have 3 checked out and I'll pick 2 more up this week. We've also checked out a lot of construction equipment books in October. I'm very glad that Paul loves books so much. I'd estimate that we read about 10-15 books/day, and more on the weekends - but he's usually the one bringing books to us to read, it's not us pushing books on him! 

Have you read anything good lately?

Monday, November 2, 2020

A Spooktacular Weekend

Happy November! Another month is behind us and I am not sad. Time can just keep marching on. We had a special Halloween weekend, despite Covid limitations. Here's how we celebrated!

On Friday night, we had our friends over for pumpkin carving. Our kids go to the same daycare, and 2 of our boys are in the same room. Since we are in the same 'immunity bubble' it felt safe to get together indoors. We also know they take Covid seriously, wear masks, etc. I'm thankful we can get together indoors with them - play dates with them will be our saving grace this winter!

This was the most 'mailed in' pumpkin carving party we've ever hosted. I knew I'd be in pain from a flare (it's a given these days - good days are few and far between), so we ordered pizza and Phil got a cauliflower crust GF pizza from Aldi for me. Our friends brought a salad and everyone had Halloween candy for dessert. It's a reminder that you don't have to go all out for gatherings and people will still have a good time. The kids enjoyed having their own table to eat at - this was a great hand-me-down from my college friend Heidi!

I cleaned out our pumpkin and Phil did the carving (the cat one of course!). The other 2 were carved by our friends. 

The kids played really well together, too. This barn is such a hit with Paul and Gus loved it, too. I've said it before but I'll say it again, "Green Toys" are amazing! They are made from recycled plastic but are indestructible, come with minimal packaging, no batteries are required and they encourage creative play! Check them out if you have a toddler in your life!

On Saturday I pulled out all of our Halloween books so we could give them one last read before tucking them away for next year. I really added to our collection this year so we had quite a few to read. 

Reading a Daniel Tiger fall book, gifted from my friend Erin

Paul took a good 2 hour nap that day. When he woke up, it was time to head out to our block's treat hunt! A group of us moms organized this and it came together great. Each kid had a bag of treat and 5 orange eggs or black cauldrons to find. Before the treat hunt started, we did a little costume parade around the block. It was the perfect covid-safe way to celebrate Halloween. Paul is incredibly shy around people he doesn't know so I think this is a way better fit for him than trick or treating. I think he would have a very hard time going up to people's houses and I don't think he would say trick or treat... 

We also ended up with a small amount of candy which I prefer since Paul is so young. The only things he seems to really like are m&ms and we got plenty of those!

And that was our Halloween - pretty low key and easy peasy. We did not hand out Halloween candy but we really didn't see much foot traffic on our street so I don't think many kids in our neighborhood were out. Hopefullly next year is a more normal'ish year? 

How was your Halloween weekend?