Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Virtual Coffee Date Catch-Up

Happy Tuesday! Can you believe it's the last week of July? Usually that would make me sad, but since this summer hasn't been typical with all the COVID precautions we've been taking, I'm not sad that it's going by quickly!

I haven't done a coffee date catch-up in a while! It's a good way to chat about a random assortment of things that are on my mind! So grab your beverage of choice and settle in. I'm writing this while enjoying a hot decaf coffee w/ vanilla creamer - I wish I liked cold coffee and it's not ideal to drink a hot beverage when it's so warm out but I can't stand cold coffee. I don't even like coffee ice cream. It's weird I know.

If we had a coffee date today...

- I'd tell you that our 20 week ultrasound went well last week. Phil was able to come with since we went to a perinatal practice. Perinatal practices tend to encounter issues since they only see high risk or complicated pregnancies, so that is why they allowed a support person. It was really nice to have Phil there. Everything looked good on the ultrasound which is such a relief. There is a slight issue with where the umbilical cord attaches to the placenta, so they'll need to do growth ultrasounds starting at 28 weeks. But so far the baby is measuring ahead so it doesn't seem like it's causing any problems. Hopefully that continues to be the case. I think now we will start to talk more seriously about names. Phil has vetoed all of my suggestions so I told him he needs to come up with some suggestions. He doesn't seem to be in a rush, though. Ha. Granted, we have 4 months but I'd like to get this decision made sooner than later!

- I'd tell you that I've been reading a ton lately! I'll finish my 11th book for the month tonight! Yes, 11! Insane, right? But I've read some light reads/major page-turners like The Bride Test, The School of Essential Ingredients, The Bookshop on the Shore, and Love Lettering. I'm finding myself drawn to more lighter reads right now because life just feels kind of heavy with everything going on with COVID, the fight for racial equality, etc. I am still reading 1-2 antiracist books each month, too. This month I read a young adult novel called "Stamped: Antiracism and You" and "So You Want to Talk About Race." Both were great but the second is as must-read for anyone trying to educate themselves on how to be an antiracist.

- I'd tell you that we just finished "The Last Dance" which is a documentary series about Michael Jordan's seasons with the Chicago Bulls. It was SO GOOD. There is strong language in it, so I probably wouldn't recommend it for young kids. But it was really interesting. That was such an amazing era for basketball. I did not know about all the drama going on between the general manager and owner and the players/coach. The general manager and owner definitely come off as idiotic a-holes. They basically destructed a team that had just won it's 2nd 3-peat within 8 years. It shows you how amazing Phil Jackson was/is. Funny story - my mom went to college with him at UND. She knew the girl who was dating him at the time and he was apparently the big man on campus - both literally and figuratively.

- I'd tell you that I am trying to not wish away summer but DANG it has been hot and humid. Like too hot and humid to be outside in the afternoon. We've had Florida-like humidity with dew points in the 70s and 80s. Luckily the humidity is much lower this week so I am going to try to make the most of this week before the humidity returns. People are often surprised to hear how humid it gets in MN. It's crazy to think it can be -30F with the windchill in the winter and then we can have heat indexes above 100 in the summer! I typically love summer but this year our options are so limited due to COVID so it's not a typical summer at all. Usually we'd be up at my parents lake place for a long weekend once/month and I was planning to hit a bunch of splash pads and wading pools with Paul but that is not happening thanks to COVID. All that said, I'm grateful for air conditioning! And that we have a guest room in the basement - that's pretty much where I sleep every night because it is much cooler down there. Phil has a higher tolerance for heat and prefers to keep our house at 78 which is just too hot for pregnant Lisa!

- I'd end my telling you how excited I am for our visit to my parents in August. I'm just hoping and praying our COVID tests are negative, but I really doubt either of us will be positive. We haven't had any cases at daycare since Memorial Day and we are very cautious about where we go/what we do. I will only see friends in outdoor settings with the exception of our best friends whose kids go to the same daycare. We are all living for that week off at the lake. Hopefully the weather cooperates but no matter what, I know it's going to be an awesome week of time in the water, good food, and lots of card games with my parents. Plus I know my mom is going to help out so much with Paul - or as much as he will let her!

Your turn - if we were getting coffee or tea today, what would you tell me? 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

What We've Been Eating Lately!

Happy Wednesday! How is your week going? Today, I'm going to talk about what we've been eating lately as I love reading about what others are cooking. It usually gives me some much-needed inspiration! As you can see, we tend to eat a lot of Mexican and Indian dishes as these are flavor profiles we love. Plus those cuisines tend to be naturally gluten free.

1. Picadillo from my new Milk Street Kitchen Fast and Slow Instant Pot Cookbook. This is the first recipe I made from this book and it was a hit! Paul's portion is shown on the left below. I served it with beans and rice (we ate it on top of beans rice, I kept his separate as I wasn't sure if he'd eat the picadillo). It yielded several meals of leftovers and then Phil and I finished it off on Sunday - he put it on top of eggs and hashbrown. That was a really good combo! For those not familiar with picadillo, it's a Cuban dish with green olives, tomato paste, and spices such as cumin.

2. Chipotle Chicken Kabob tacos. This recipe caught my eye when a finance blogger I follow posted it. It's a kabob recipe but I skipped the kabob process and just cooked it over the stove top along with some peppers and onions. Originally I was going to cook this on a grill basket on our grill, but the heat index was 110F that day and I could bear to stand over a hot grill in that heat. I should have halved the chipotle in adobo sauce like the blogger did. It was too spicy for our toddler, but he did take a few bites. I used the leftovers to make burrito bowls for lunches using Spanish rice leftovers from another meal and black beans.

Sauteing the peppers/onions and the chicken while warming the corn tortillas.

My tacos with a little guac on the side for chips. I topped mine with a little sour cream to offset the heat of the chipotles!!

3. Lentil Enchiladas. The recipe I use is in the Peas and Thank You Cookbook, but this version is a copycat. We use real cheese and extra olives when we make ours. I also use green lentils instead of red so our filling takes longer to cook. I served this with Spanish rice. This is Phil's favorite meal I make and Paul loves it, too!

4. Rogan Josh from the Milk Street Kitchen cookbook. This recipe was kind of putzy as you had to reduce the sauce after the chicken cooked but it was worth the effort! It was on par with Indian take-out in my opinion!! I served it on Basmati rice with green beans from my garden. Paul did not eat any of this as I figured the Indian flavors would be too strong for him. So he had beans, rice, and enchiladas. I tried giving him some green beans but he wouldn't touch them. He's missing out!

And that's a wrap! Tell me what you've been eating lately! Typically we would have had one grilled meal during the week but the extreme heat/humidity made grilling less appealing last week!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Division of Labor

Hey hey! Happy Monday! This post has been brewing in my mind for awhile and then I heard an episode on this topic on The Girl Next Door podcast and it motivated me to actually write it!

Division of labor is something Phil and I have given a lot of thought to, especially since Paul was born. Or maybe it's more accurate to say it's something I've given a lot of thought to and have forced him to think about! Ha! A lot has changed since Paul was born, and that is a good thing. There is so much research out there about the uneven distribution of work in households. If that is ok with both partners, then the uneven distribution is fine. But if it's NOT ok, something needs to change or resentment will build - at least in my experience. Ha. But unless you talk about that resentment/frustration, nothing will change. It turns out your partner can't read your mind! Ha!

Here is how we split things, broken up by category. It's about as equitable as we can get, I think. I'm sure it will ebb and flow as our kids get older, but this system is working pretty well!

Kid related:
- Phil and I typically split drop-off and pick-up duties. When we were working in our offices, Phil did drop off and I did pick up. Now he honestly does way more of both because he goes into the office 3-4 days/week (it's very safe for him to do as he has his own office and very few people are coming in). When we both were working in the office, I got Paul ready every day as I would shower first and give him breakfast while I got ready for the day. Now Phil gets him ready nearly every morning.

- I schedule all doctor/dentist appointments, which is a lot since he sees a pediatrician, ENT, and urologist. I'm hoping we can drop the urologist appointments after his next check up when he turns 3. I tend to take him to most appointments but if I am busy at work, Phil will take him.

- We used to take turns doing bedtime, but in the summer Paul needs a bath every day. He comes home super sticky/sweaty from all the running around at daycare and he smells like sunscreen. So I do bath every night and then Phil does bedtime.

- Paul has a strong preference for mama, so sometimes that limits how much we can split duties. There are times when Paul will say, "no, mama do it," especially during mealtimes and while we could push back on that, it can result on him throwing a handful of food in frustration so we usually just give in and I help him... This will hopefully/probably change when the 2nd baby arrives.

- In general, though, I need to acknowledge that Phil is doing even more than usual right now because I have been so exhausted during this pregnancy and have had a number of flares. When I get flares, they tend to impact my hand joints so it really limits what I can do. And I also have been napping when Paul naps so Phil often gets him up from his nap and gets him his snack. 

- This will get a turned upside down again when baby #2 arrives. I'll be on maternity leave until mid-April so I will do all the night time wakes up since I can nap when baby naps. But once I'm back at work, if I'm not breast feeding we will split the night wake ups like we did with Paul.

Home/maintenance related:
- Phil mows the lawn, trims shrubs, etc. I actually don't even know how to turn on our lawn mower! But this is a task he enjoys doing. He also handles bigger projects like putting down mulch. In the winter, he does all the snow blowing and most of the shoveling. I will occasionally offer to shovel the sidewalks/steps to get a workout in but he does this 90% of the time.

- He handles all the other home maintenance stuff like scheduling the furnace tune-ups, replacing air filters, replacing light bulbs, etc.

Food/Meal related:
- This is the category that has changed the most since having Paul. I used to do the meal planning, grocery shopping and all the cooking. Now we sit down together mid-week to look at the ads for our local store and Aldi and discuss meals. I find meal planning to be fatiguing at times and while he was always happy with what I picked, having his input/suggestions really helps. Then we update the grocery list on our shared note on the iPhone and he does the grocery shopping on Saturday morning. I do nearly all of the cooking except he does the grilling and will make scrambled eggs when we have that for weekend brunch.

Laundry/cleaning related:
- Last August, Phil agreed to hire a house cleaning company and this has been a big game changer for me. We used to split the house cleaning but I hated doing it. We were gone 50+ hours/week between work and commuting and the last thing I wanted to do on my weekends when Paul was napping was clean. I realize that we are incredibly lucky to be able to hire this out, but it's been very good for our marriage/my happiness. Our cleaners come every other week and do an amazing job. They get the house cleaner than I ever could. They have a crew of 4+ people so are only here for about an hour. So I hide out in our upstairs office during that time. We do not do much cleaning in between to be honest. We'll wipe up counters and use our dust buster to vacuum up crumbs but that's about it.

- I usually start the loads of laundry, except we try to share the chore of starting Paul's diapers because that is the grossest job! Ha! We each fold our own clothes and I fold Paul's clothes.

- Phil manages our finances. He keeps an eye on the cash balance in our checking account and will move money in if he knows of an upcoming expense, like a tax payment. He also takes care of all of the differently insurance policies.

- We have a quarterly financial review where we update the balances of all of our various investment accounts, etc, and talk about our investing plans. We are each responsible for managing our own 401k, IRA, etc.

If you have a partner, tell me about your division of labor! I always find others' approaches to this fascinating. Are there any pain points? For us, pain points are usually related to caring for Paul but we have tried to make that as equitable as possible. Now if he would let daddy do more, we'd be in an even better spot!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Currently: July

I somehow haven't done a currently post since April - where did the time go? Time felt like it crawled in the spring but it's been going by pretty quickly lately! Summer is so short here, so I'm trying to pack as much outdoor fun as I can. Plus once the cold weather hits, my social options will be very limited - we'll basically only hang out with day care families since they are in our immunity bubble... but let's not think about that yet!

Reading: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. After reading many light books, I decided it was time to read another book about race. I've heard great things about this book so I am sure I will learn a lot!

Loving: our Sunday tradition of going to a local lake. Phil swims the course and Paul and I play in the water. He loves the water so much which makes me so happy! I do wish I could get him to wear a puddle jumper life jacket so he could try swimming more independently, but he only weighs around 25 lbs and the puddle jumpers are best for kids who weigh around 30 pounds. So it seems like he won't be big enough for the puddle jumper until next summer most likely as he seems to gain about 4 pounds/year!

Feeling: better mentally/emotionally now that I've been able to get together with different friend groups. March-May were kind of tough as I felt so isolated. I'm glad that outdoor gatherings are safe! I'm trying to plan social gatherings often right now since I know our options will be extremely limited come late fall/winter.

Anticipating: our week up at my parents' lake home in August. We are all living for this vacation right now. Neither Phil or I have taken much time off in the last 4 months so we are really looking forward to a full week off from work. Plus my mom is always super helpful when we are up there so I imagine we'll get to sleep in and really relax up there. I know Paul misses Nana and Papa, too, so it's going to be a great week! I did find out this week that I need to bring my laptop out as another coworker planned a vacation for the same week and will not have cell reception, so I'll need to be available if my coworker gets overwhelmed. So that is a bummer, but summers tend to be quieter so hopefully I don't have to login. 

Struggling: with anger over people making such a stink about wearing masks. This is not hard to do and research shows it limits the spread of COVID. I've stopped reading articles about mask-wearing because it works me up so much. Phil and I wear masks anytime we are indoors. They are not required outdoors here so we don't wear them on walks. We can't get Paul to wear a mask so we don't take him to stores, etc. We didn't before COVID, though. Shopping/running errands with kids is NOT fun!

Grateful: that we haven't had any COVID cases at daycare since the 3 cases in May. I think our daycare is doing an excellent job and I am very grateful we can take Paul there. Everyone is much, much happier when he is in daycare! He learns so much and gets to do fun things like water days! 

Working: on our 2020 photo book. I try to work on 2 months, so I did Jan/Feb pages in March. But then I hadn't touched it since! But earlier this week I worked on the Mar-May pages. It really doesn't take much time when I sit down and do it, but I tend to put it off. I highly recommend working on it throughout the year so you can remember things more freshly in your mind. Plus I found it overwhelming to do alll the months at once like I did for our 2018 photo book. I'm sure I am over-documenting Paul's childhood but I know we'll appreciate having these photo books to look back on!

Listening: to Taylor Swift when I am in the car with Paul. He is a big T-Swift fan! His favorite songs are "The Man" and "Soon You'll Get Better" (which he calls "ohh ahh" since that is part of the chorus). He actually knows most of the words of "Soon You''ll Get Better." It's so cute to hear him sing along. Now I need to introduce him to Brandi Carlile!

Watching: Brooklyn 9-9. We are almost done with season 4. I will say the last couple of seasons have been a little meh compared to the first 2. But I'm thinking it must get better again since they kept making the show!

for gorgeous weather during our August trip to the lake!

Bonus Paul Pictures:

Watching videos with daddy. I love how he has his hands behind his head. He loves watching Baby Shark, Old MacDonald, and some Sesame Street videos.

 Since he's a big fan of chicken and farm animals, he loves this shirt! It says "hangin' with my peeps."

Giving some of his blocks (remnants from building our deck) a ride on the slide.

What are you reading, loving, and anticipating?

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

What's in a Name?

On a recent podcast episode of The Mom Hour (great podcast about parenting!) the hosts talked about how they came up with names for the 8 kids they have between them (one host has 5 kids, the other has 3). It was a really fun episode and was a topic that is heavy on our minds right now since we have a 2nd boy on the way in December. So I thought it'd be fun to talk about the origin story for my name and how we decided on the name Paul Donald for our first child. I'll also discuss nicknames, too!

My name story:

How my name was chosen:  I was the 4th kid my parents had and my dad got to pick out my name. Wow, my mom must have really trusted him or known she would like what he picked. I can't see myself telling Phil to pick the baby's name! Maybe she had a veto option, though? He chose Lisa and I was named after.... a soap opera character!! Funny, right? My dad is a very blue collar man's man but he used to watch a soap opera when he came home for lunch each day. Apparently there was this strong, confident female character whose name was Lisa, so that was the inspiration. My middle name was going to be Suzanne, but our last name started with a D so my initials would have been LSD. My parents were NOT on board with that, so they shorted it to Anne.

Nicknames:  The main nickname I have is not derived from my name at all - I have no idea where it came from. But my parents called me Fritz when I was young. Some college friends call me "Lees" but most of the other names I've had were derivatives of my last name. At work, I used to be called "D-rod" which is the first letter and last syllable of my maiden name. Now that I've changed my name, that nickname doesn't get used as much, except by one co-worker.

How I felt/feel about my name:  well, I tried to change my name to Stephanie (after the character in Full House) in 3rd grade so that probably tells you that I wasn't thrilled with the name when I was young. I took this name change very seriously. I wrote Stephanie on all of my papers/homework and would only answer to Stephanie in the classroom. I eventually gave up and accepted that Lisa would be my name. As an adult, I'd say I've accepted my name. I know it's a very big decision that parents put a lot of thought into. And I can't imagine my name being anything else.

Paul's name story:

How his name was chosen:  We did not know the gender during the last pregnancy so we had to come up with a name for either gender. It was NOT an easy decision as both Phil and I are extremely picky. But we do both prefer strong, classic names. Early on, we decided to go with Paul for a boy. My dad's name is Paul and Phil's parents' first child was Paul. Sadly, their little boy died shortly before turning 2 due to a fall at daycare that resulted in head trauma that he did not survive. When we were leaning towards picking Paul, we talked to Phil's mom to make sure she was ok with this and said we could use it for a middle name if it would be painful for us to use that for a first name. She was completely on board with us using it as his first name, though. It is nice that the name Paul has meaning on both sides of our family and Joan has told us that our Paul reminds her of her Paul. We did not tell my parents that we chose Paul until after he was born. I remember calling my parents from the C-section recovery room, having them put me on speaker (they were on their way to the hospital), and telling them we had chosen Paul. We knew my dad would be very touched so didn't think we needed his permission to use the name. And we were right. He was incredibly honored/touched. Our Paul's middle name is Donald which is Phil's dad's name. So Paul is named after his 2 grandfathers. Family is very important to both Phil and me so I am glad we were able to use family names!

I do have a funny story about my dad and Paul sharing a name. During my maternity leave I was up at the lake for a couple of days. My mom's brother called while my mom was giving Paul a bottle, so I answered the phone for her and said my mom was feeding Paul but I'd hand the phone off to her shortly. There was this long, pregnant pause. And then my uncle realized that she was feeling baby Paul! He laughed so hard and said he was thinking - 'geez, what is going on with your dad if your mom is feeding him?' hahahaha

Nicknames: Paul goes to Spanish Immersion daycare and the vowel sound of Paul is difficult for native Spanish speakers to pronounce, so from day one he's been Pablo which quickly became Pablito because Paul is very small for his age. I think Paul knows his name is Paul, but he mostly says "Pablo" when referring to himself. And we tend to call him Pablo more than Paul. I sometimes wonder what people think when they see a white lady calling her blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned child "Pablo." But it does really fit his personality. Once he goes to school, I am sure he will start using Paul instead of Pablo, but for now, it just fits him so well.

The next baby's name:

Well that is to be determined and we won't share the name until the baby is born. I've learned from watching others share a name before the baby is born that some people tend to say awful things about a name when it's not attached to a beautiful baby. People seem less likely to tell you to your face that they don't like the name you've chosen if you wait until the baby is born. I started a list of names in the note ap of my iPhone but so far, Phil is not ready to talk about names. So I don't think we'll start seriously discussing it until the 3rd trimester. It would have been kind of nice to have a girl, because we both still liked the girl name we had picked out before - Claire Margaret. Claire is not a family name, but Margaret is Phil's mom's middle name.

It's going to be challenging to pick another boy name. I have 5 nephews and there are so dang many boys in Phil's family. We don't really want to pick a name that is already in use and we don't like any of the options of the older males in our family. Well, I like Neil, my paternal grandpa's name, but Phil isn't on board with that as it's the name of one of his good friends. So we'll see what we come up with. I will say it will likely be another traditional name - neither one of us feels like the name needs to be unique.

Your turn! Do you know how your parents came up with your name? If you have children, was it hard to come up with names? It's such a big decision so we find it kind of difficult!

Friday, July 10, 2020


Happy Friday! This was another 4-day work week for me as I took Thursday off to get a haircut/enjoy some 'me time.' Here is how our week shaped up! 

The book I'm reading is The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan. It's about a single mom who moves from London to Scottland to care for 3 kids in a massive castle and also worked part time in a mobile bookstore. This is the 2nd book in the series. I read the first book on our honeymoon in Maui (take me back there!!) and in my goodreads review I said I would read more by this author when I was craving something light. And I've been craving just that lately! My memory of the first book is very foggy but that's ok as it just references characters from the first book and reminds you of their story. This is the 3rd 'light' book I've read in a row this month. I do want to return to some deeper reads but I needed a little reprieve. My next "heavy" book will be "The Warmth of Other Suns" which is about the great migration of over 6 million black people out of the south to the north and west in search of a better life/opportunities/equality. It's a massive 500+ page doorstop of a book. I bought a copy last winter at Half Priced Books but have put off reading it because I know it's going to be a heavy read, but I've heard nothing but great things about it. 

The high of my week was getting my hair cut yesterday! My hair person moved to a different salon post-COVID. She now has her own private room so it felt very safe to get a haircut since we both wore masks the entire time and she sanitizing everything between clients. I've been seeing my hair girl for over 12 years so it's like hanging out with a really good friend.

The low of my week was getting another flare on Thursday. I guess my RA is done behaving during this pregnancy. I had only dropped my steroid dose 2.5mg from the max dose I can take during pregnancy so I wasn't even on a low dose yet. Le sigh. It's feeling better today since I was able to ice it for many hours yesterday. It wasn't the day off I envisioned as I was hoping to take a long walk after dropping Paul at daycare. But when my body is flaring, I need to take it easy. And it was nice to not have to work while having a flare. It was in my thumb so typing would have been painful. 

At least I was able to read my book while icing my joint.

A recipe I made was pasta with sausage and peppers. Again. This was the recipe I mentioned in my last TGIF post. I will admit that I do not have much motivation when it comes to cooking right now. I tend to have more motivation in the fall and winter. Right now I'm all about making meals that I think Paul will eat and that won't heat up the house too much (so I'm using my oven as little as possible). 

A show we are watching is the 2018 season Call the Midwife on Netflix. By we I mean me. I will usually start an episode when Phil goes upstairs to do bedtime with Paul and I'll get through about 20 minutes and then shut it off when Phil comes downstairs because it is not his thing. I will say this is an odd show to watch when you are pregnant. Phil watched the end of a couple of episodes and asked if there were any happy stories and if it was a good idea to watch while pregnant... There are happy'ish stories but obviously they need some drama to make the show interesting. But I really love it and it doesn't make me anxious about my pregnancy. 

The best money spent was on this Instant Pot cookbook. When our friends had us over for dinner last month, she made a soup recipe from the book and it was SO GOOD. So I decided I should buy it because the instant pot is the perfect gadget for the summer since it doesn't heat up your house. Granted, the foods that come out of it are piping hot - not cool, summer meals. But we like eating soups, stews, curries, etc year-round. I'm planning to make a recipe from it each week. Christopher Kimball used to work for America's Test Kitchen so he is a great recipe writer. My friend said every recipe she has made has turned out great! The first recipe we will try next week is Picadillo which is a Cuban dish. I think Paul will eat this as it has ground beef (he will eat ground meats - he isn't a big fan of more firm or stringy meats like chicken, sausage, etc) and olives (he LOVES both green and black olives). It's also one of Phil's favorite dishes. 

My plans this weekend include quite a bit for a change! Tonight I am going to a park with 2 girlfriends and we will get take-out from an on-site restaurant called Sea Salt. I can't wait to have some fish tacos! Tomorrow morning I am meeting up with 3 college girlfriends to go for a walk. And then on Sunday I am getting together with 3 other girlfriends - all sig others of Phil's college friends - for an outdoor catch up session. Research shows it is safe to gather in small groups outdoors so I am glad I have these option as I felt pretty lonely/isolated this spring. I am an introvert but I was used to leaving the house for work 5 days a week and these days I rarely go anywhere! So it's nice to introduce more safe social gatherings!

Bonus Paul photos!

Paul's latest obsession is... his nipples! I do not know what prompted this, but he is very interested in his nipples and likes to point them out to us and play with them when he wears a tank top. When we had our friend over last weekend, he lifted his shirt to show her his nipples and then kept saying "Pablo's nipples" while laughing hysterically. Kids get into the strangest things! And if you look closely, you'll notice his hair is a little bit blue thanks to a paint art project he worked on that day. Luckily it washed out easily! 

How sweet is the photo of Paul looking at a picture of my parents? Most nights, Paul will watch some videos on Phil's computer (mostly songs like the alphabet and Baby Shark). After Phil decides it's time to be done watching videos, Paul asks to look at the picture of "Papa Nana" from our wedding that is saved on Phil's desk top. We really miss my parents! We can't wait to see them in August.

How was your week? What are you reading and watching these days?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Pregnancy Update: 18 Weeks

Happy Tuesday! I'm back with another pregnancy update. I'm planning to share updates every 4 weeks. I know this is not of interest to many people but it's fun for me to document the pregnancy. I love looking back at posts from my pregnancy with Paul so am sure I'll read back on these some day, too. 

Baby size:  the baby is the length of a bell pepper. He's 5.5" long and weighs almost 7 oz. 

I am definitely showing way more this pregnancy. I'll be honest and say I don't love it. I know it's healthy and part of being pregnant but I just feel bulky. The photo on the left was around 18 weeks with my last pregnancy and the photo on the right is this pregnancy (the photo quality is pretty crappy but it's the best I can do in our bedroom). And my hair is very frizzy because of the humidity! As you can see, I was barely showing at this point with Paul. I know my belly size is probably more typical than my previous pregnancy. And it's normal to show earlier. It's just taking some getting use to on my part... But that said, I know I am very lucky to be pregnant and I don't ever take it for granted!

Sex of the baby: boy! It's been fun to experience the pregnancy knowing what the gender is after not knowing last time. I loved not knowing last time but it is nice to be able to picture a growing boy in my tummy. 

Symptoms/RA management:  Ugh. My RA has not been good. I was on prednisone for my last 2 flares and as soon as I tapered down to a lower dose of prednisone, I got 2 horrible flares in my right wrist and right ankle. Both made sleep difficult and work was difficult as typing is painful when your wrist hurts like heck. It is looking like I will need to stay on prednisone for this pregnancy. I was really hoping my RA would behave this time but it just isn't. :( Being on prednisone means I'll likely end up with gestational diabetes again as prednisone raises your blood sugar. So I'm dreading the extra doctor appointments/monitoring and adding 4 finger pricks/day to the 8 injections/week I've been giving myself since week 6 of the pregnancy. I am very grateful to be pregnant and to be adding to our family but I really wish that pregnancy wasn't so hard for me... 

Recent/upcoming appointments: I had my 15 week appointment 3 weeks ago. Those appointments are always so reassuring since I get to hear the heartbeat. At that appointment I did another round of prenatal screening (the alpha fetal protein test) and the results came back normal so that was another relief! I have my next appointment at 20 weeks. I'll go to a perinatal clinic for my ultrasound instead of my usual OB practice since I'm high risk between my blood clot history, RA and prednisone usage. And then I have an appointment the next day with my OB. I'm very excited for the 20 week ultrasound as you see so much at that appointment. I'll have to go alone as they are still only seeing patients due to COVID, but I understand that requirement and can FaceTime Phil in for the scan. 

Sleep:  It's hit or miss depending on my RA and stress levels. Weekend naps are LIFE. Sometimes I nap for over 2 hours which is so not like me. But clearly my body needs the rest. 

Cravings/favorite foods and aversions: I don't really have any weird cravings but I didn't with Paul either. I eat a lot of chips and salsa and pickles but those are foods I'm drawn to when I'm not pregnant! I still have aversions to most sweets, hard-boiled eggs, and yogurt. Sometimes sweets sound good to me, but it's hit or miss. 

Exercise:  Eh, not great. I was doing good with frequent walks but work has been so busy and then the RA flares make it hard to get out for walks. So I am going on long walks when I can and I will do a lot of lake swimming with Paul this summer. That's not exactly a 'workout' but it can be strenuous to pull a toddler around or jump up and down with him in the lake (he loves that!). 

Recent baby prep/decisions:  nothing. Can you tell this is a 2nd child? Ha. To be honest, we didn't do much prep for Paul either because we were house hunting and were hoping to move before he was born... So I didn't actually 'decorate' his room until this winter when he was nearing 2. And by decorate, I mean I hung some reading-themed prints over his crib. We are just not 'decorate the nursery in an elaborate manner' type of people! This is such a YOU DO YOU thing! We are glad we didn't spend much money/time decorating because he is literally only in that room to sleep! But I totally understand that most parents love to decorate the nursery.

We will eventually turn our 3rd bedroom upstairs into the baby's room but it's currently used as an office for Phil when he WFH. One of the walls is pink so I do want to get that bedroom painted. Other than that, we really don't need to buy much since we already have everything! I know the baby won't sleep in his room until he's around 3-4 months so we are thinking Paul will be ready for a big boy bed by then. So our plan is to move his crib into the baby's room. We will see how that works out. That's a long time away but he loves his crib and has never tried to climb out of it (I highly doubt he could if he tried). If he's not ready for a big boy bed, we'll just get a 2nd crib at that point.

Mood: overall my mood has been pretty good. I have less anxiety than I did in the first trimester so that is good. I'm starting to feel more excitement and we talk more about the baby with Paul so now he knows there is a baby in my tummy and will point to it. I think Phil and I will feel much better after our 20 week ultrasound since that is a big milestone. 

Maternity clothes:  I finally pulled out my maternity clothes 2 weeks ago. I felt very nervous about bringing my maternity clothes out before that. I had brought them out in October the weekend before our ultrasound and then at that appointment we found out there was no heartbeat. So I just felt super anxious about unpacking them again. 

To be clear, I was not able to wear much of my pre-pregnancy clothes starting around week 12-13 I think. But I've been living in workout clothes since I started to WFM in mid-March so I just wore the same stuff over and over again. This past weekend I went to a pregnancy consignment store to buy some summer clothes as I have no summer pregnancy clothes. I bought 15 items for $160 which is a pretty good deal! Pregnancy clothes are so dang expensive so I couldn't stomach paying full price for things that I will only wear for the next couple of months. 

This before (left) and after (right) photo isn't very impressive, but I did pack away a ton of clothes. I don't think I will wear most of the stuff I wore with Paul since we won't be going out on dates or to holiday parties, etc and I don't have to dress up for work. But I wanted to at least see what my options are. I can't wait to sell all this stuff to the consignment store after the baby is born because we are 100% done having kids after this pregnancy. 

18 weeks down, 21 to go! 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Holiday Weekend Highlights

Happy Monday! I hope everyone enjoyed their long holiday weekend (well, those in the US!). It was a HOT one here. I can't remember it being so hot for so long so early in the summer. Again, I'm really trying not to complain but this heat/humidity is INTENSE.

I was definitely sad to miss out on family time at my parents' lake home but staying home was the responsible decision. Here are some highlights from our holiday weekend!

Water table time

Paul still loves to play with his water table, although his attention span for it has shortened recently. I'm so glad our backyard is shaded in the afternoon. It's been unbearable to be in the sunshine when it's as hot and humid as it's been.

Diaper-only play time

You can't tell from this picture, but Paul is only wearing a diaper. We let him play in a diaper or without shorts any time we were indoors. He seems to naturally run hot so we figure minimal clothing makes sense when it's just and we are indoors.

Lake time

We went swimming every morning Fri-Sun. We were in the local lake by 9 am on Friday and Saturday. Paul really loves swimming and it holds his attention for about 30-45 minutes. It's a short 20-25 minute walk to this lake. On Sunday we went to the lake (Nokomis) where Phil swims a course. It was not as clean as Harriet so I definitely find that we prefer Harriet. But the beach we go to at Nokomis is shaded so there are trade offs for each place! The picture below is of Lake Harriet. The lakes were like glass all weekend since there was zero wind.

Baked goods!

I so rarely bake but I had some blueberries that I wanted to use up, so I looked for recipes in my America's Test Kitchen Gluten Free cook book (highly recommend this cook book if you/someone in your life has a gluten intolerance). I decided to make some muffins. They turned out so good! GF baking is so hit or miss, but every recipe from this book has turned out great!

Toddler indoor activities

We pretty much were not outdoors after mid-day any day this weekend. So I had to find activities to entertain Paul. Luckily he is pretty into coloring these days. He only lasts for 10-15 minutes but I'll take what I can get!

Our 4th of July celebration

We did have one friend over for dinner on the 4th. We stayed outside except for when we ate dinner. The humidity wasn't too bad that night so it was fairly comfortable. Paul had fun flirting with this friend. It's clear that flirtation is second nature and not something that is taught. He had to sit next to her and kept grinning her in the most flirtatious way!

How was your holiday weekend? Is it super hot and humid where you live? We are supposed to get T-storms throughout the week so I am hoping we get a break in the humidity. I can handle the heat - it's the humidity that kills me! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What We Read in June

I was surprised to see that I read 8 books in June! It didn't feel like I read that many books but I guess all the time I spent reading before bed adds up. That is pretty much when I do all of my readings - I go upstairs between 8-8:30 every night and read until 9-9:30. I do read when I lay down during Paul's weekend naps but the exhaustion takes over and my reading session turns into a nap. Hopefully that will change some day but I think I will probably use nap time to, well, nap during this pregnancy!

Once again I did not have any misses this month for the 2nd month in a row. It's tough to pick favorites but the books that stuck with me are:

- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi - This is clearly a heavy read. I took it slow and only read one chapter/day as there was a lot to soak in. It's very research based and while he uses some of his personal life experience in the book, it's not narrative non-fiction. But it really made me think about the unconscious biases I have and it made for a great book club discussion.

- In Five Years by Rebecca  Serle - This the biggest page turner for me. If I wasn't disciplined about my bedtime, I would have stayed up late at night to finish this book. It's about a woman who has dream the night she gets engaged. In her dream, it's five years later. But the man she is with in this dream is not her fiance. This dream haunts for her the five years to come and makes her question the decisions she makes.

- City Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller - This was another easy, breezy light read that felt like a spin-off of The Gilmore Girls. There is a lot of baking in the book, too, so it might make you want to bake a pie (I feel more motivated than ever to bake a pie from scratch but this will not happen when it's 90 degrees outside - maybe this fall I will bake my first pie from scatch)!

- If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais - This is the 2nd book I read by this author. She's from South Africa so her books are set there and they tend to deal with the Apartheid. This book was set during post-Apartheid South Africa. Nelson Mandela was recently elected but there is still so much racial tension. It's narrated by 3 people - 2 white sisters and a black women who lives in a resettlement camp close to the sisters. Their lives become intertwined and the story unfolds from there.

- Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center - This is kind of a mix between romance and women's fiction. It's a lighter page turner but it also covers from heavier topics so it wasn't 'fluff' (not that there is anything wrong with reading a fluffy book!). It was very difficult to put down and I found myself trying to find extra times during the day to read, like while Paul takes his bath (I give him his bath every night and sometimes I need a little entertainment while he sings to his toys, etc). 

Paul's reading:

Paul got 3 new books this month and really loves all of them!

In an effort to diversify to diversify Paul's library, I ordered some books. 3 of them were too mature for Paul's age but he loves We're Different, We're the Same, and We'll All Wonderful (he's obsessed with Elmo) and Citizen Baby: My Vote. I'm honestly surprised he likes the voting book so much. He asks us to read it all the time. There are other Citizen Baby books so I think I will get more for him.

My parents also got him this Big Brother book and a new t-shirt, too. He loves this book! 

He continues to be our little book worm. On Sunday afternoon, he brought me some books, crawled into my lap and said, "I love books!" And then I brushed my hands together and said - well my job here is done! Ha. But seriously, raising a reader is super important to us. I mean, we had a book-themed wedding so you knew our child was going to have to love books! We've read to him from the early infancy days and books are just part of every day life for him. But it makes me very very happy to see how much he loves to read!

Have you read anything great lately?