Monday, September 28, 2020

A quieter weekend

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

Changing colors

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

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

Walks and Park Time with Paul

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

Kitty's return!

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

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

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Three Things Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

What's on your mind today?

Monday, September 21, 2020

A Social Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 18, 2020


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus Paul photos!

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

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

Monday, September 14, 2020

Weekend Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 11, 2020

Currently: September

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

Here's what currently on my mind!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus Paul Pictures:

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

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

What are you anticipating, watching and wishing for?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Labor Day Long Weekend

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

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

Rock throwing:

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

Park time:

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

Baking and kitchen play:

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

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

Good eats:

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


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

How was your long weekend?

Friday, September 4, 2020

August Reads

Happy Friday! I'm closing out this first week of September by talking about books! August was another super strong month of reading for me. I read 10 books. Surprisingly, I did not read all that much during my vacation since I played cards in the evening instead of reading and then (unsuccessful) tried to nap when Paul napped since I had bad insomnia at the lake. But I still got a ton of reading done since I read from 8:30-9:30 nearly every night and also read during some of Paul's naps when I couldn't nap. All of that time adds up!

Here are the 10 books I read. The picture on the left were my favorites from the month.


- The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory was a fun read! It's the 3rd book in her romance series, so I suggest starting at the beginning because each book includes characters from a previous book. This is a romance series so it can be a bit steamy at times. I never used to read romance novels, but I've been drawn to lighter comment given the state of the world!

- The Guest Book by Sarah Blake was another great read. I almost didn't read it because a friend on goodreads gave it 2 stars. But I gave her last book 5 stars so I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed it. It is a slower moving book so if you need a fast read, this is probably not the book for you. It's about adult siblings who inherit a home after their parents pass in a sudden/tragic manner. They have to decide what to do with this vacation home on the cape. There are family secrets and challenging family dynamics.

- The Lost Art of Mixing by Eric Bauermeister was the 2nd and I believe final book in this author's series. These books are incredibly cozy and so well written. The first book is about a cooking class at a restaurant. This 2nd book follows the lives of a couple of participants in the class. I'll be reading more by this author as she has a way with words!


- Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia was a big miss for me. It was recommended by Modern Mrs. Darcy in her summer reading guide. Her recommendations are usually a home run for me, but that was NOT the case with this book. It's a thriller that features forensic accounting so it seemed up my alley as a gal who loves all things finance. But nope. I didn't like any of the characters and I struggle to enjoy a book when I don't like any of the characters. I need someone to root for! One fun aspect of this book is that it was set in downtown Minneapolis so I was extremely familiar with the setting.

Paul's Reads:

My friend Erin sent Paul this "Things That Go" indestructible book and that's been a big hit for him as he loves anything with wheels! I'm going to buy more of these books when baby #2 comes around. I love that they are impossible to destroy - they can be chewed on/drooled on/you name it!

He still loves lift-the-flap books, especially this farm one. He loves to pretend to eat the foods on the farmer's market page. If only he would eat these things in real life! It's been fun to watch him experiment with pretend play. When he looks through this book, he likes to give Phil and me bites of the food.

His new favorite book for the month was Corduroy! I remember loving this book as a child, too. Initially we grabbed a beat up copy of it in the little free library by our house, but we accidentally took the pristine copy my parents had at the lake home with us and my mom said to just keep it. My mom read that book to him a number of times as well as lots of other ones. I love that Paul is enjoying longer books with more of a narrative! He still reads board books, but is definitely more drawn to bigger kid books!

Did you read anything great this month?

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Paul at 2.5 Years!

It's hard to believe we have a 2.5 year old! I continue to marvel at how the statement "the days are long but the years are short" is. There have been some long days, especially in March/April when he was home with us for 7 weeks and we were also juggling work. I will say those were the hardest 7 weeks since he was born - like way harder than maternity leave because at least during maternity leave, I was solely focused on caring for him. I'm so glad he's back in daycare and that we've all stayed healthy since. I was so anxious about the decision to send him back but it couldn't have gone better and we are alll happier when mom/dad can focus on work and Paul is at school (we tend to call it school instead of daycare since there is a strong curriculum aspect and he learns a ton there).

Growth: He's still very much on the petite side but I worry less about this now that I've accepted that this is his growth curve. Plus Phil and I have more fine bone structures and are just not 'big people' so it makes sense he's smaller. He's 25 lbs and about 35". He wears 18m bottoms and a mix of 18m/24m shirts. He just moved up to size 6 shoes after being in size 5 for soooo long. He definitely gets a lot of use out of his clothes and shoes since he doesn't change sizes very often!

Words: Paul's vocabulary has really exploded since he turned 2. He is talking in sentences more and more and is constantly surprising us with what he knows! When Phil comes back from swim club he will said, "Have a good swim daddy?" which I think is so sweet. Up until a couple of weeks ago, he pronounced garbage as "bargage" which was a really cute mispronunciation. His most used phrases are "oh no!," "no, mommy do it," "need help," "I no want to," "I no like it," and lately has started to say "I dunnoknow??" - it kind of all runs together and sounds very cute when he says it. Obviously the grammar is not correct in some of his sentences but that's just part of language development. He also will say some things in Spanish, like arriba (up) and abajo (down) and a handful of other things. A lot of the times he will say a word or phrase and I'll have to ask Phil what he's saying as it sounds like Spanish but I don't speak much Spanish so can't figure out what he's saying. So it's definitely helpful to have a Spanish speaker in the house, although Phil will say he's lost his fluency.


- Taylor Swift! He is a huge Taylor Swift fan! Listening songs from her "Lover" album will often calm him down if he is in a bad mood (like when he fights getting in his car seat - see dislikes below). He will request certain songs - there are about 5 he likes and he knows some of the words/sings along to them.

- Cars, trucks, trains, construction equipment - basically anything that goes. He loved playing with the cars at my parents and also plays with Phil's cars from childhood when we are at my MIL's. He loves to line them up. He's more into the train table Santa got him for Christmas, but he hasn't figured out how to use the tracks. Instead he like to tell me what all the vehicles are and line them up. He's also very into dinosaurs and can identify the stegosaurus, brachiosaurus, t-rex and triceratops.

- Being outside. When he comes home from school every day, he asks to play in the backyard. We don't have much for outdoor toys, but between his trike, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, a golf set, and a ball, he stays entertained. Phil does most of the outdoor play because Paul wants to be chased and I just don't have the energy or the stability to chase him on the steep hill in our backyard! Joan got him a little camping chair that matches our adult ones and he loves to sit in that.

- Reading is still a huge interest for him which makes me so happy. We have a bunch of books on our tv stand in the living room so we end up reading 4-6 books after dinner and then he gets 4 books upstairs in his bedroom at bedtime. He still reads some board books but is more drawn to picture books these days!

After getting laundry situation one Sunday morning, I came upstairs and found him sitting on the couch with his hat on, reading one of his lift-the-flap farm books. There is a farmer's market page at the end and he likes to pretend to eat all the different foods (most of which he'd never eat in real life!)
- Picking out his clothes each day. I did not expect clothes selection to be such a battle! I used to pick out his outfits for the week on Sunday but I had to stop doing that because he refused to wear what I picked out. So now I've learned that I need to give him 2 choices for shirts and I try to talk up one of them "Oooh, do you want to wear the shirt with dinos on it today??"

- He loves Daniel Tiger and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (he loves the Laura Numeroff books so much!). He gets to watch part of a show when eating his breakfast snack on school days. On the weekends he gets to watch about 2 shows during breakfast and then 1 after his nap. To some, this may be too much tv, but I feel like it's a reasonable amount. Each parent has to make a choice they feel good about. We also watch Wheel of Fortune as a family nearly every night. He doesn't sit and watch it and instead he plays or we read books. He loves it when the contestant guesses a letter that isn't in the puzzle. He gets excited, turns to us and says, "no T!!" I do think this show helps w/ him learning his letters. He sings his ABCs in English and Spanish, thanks to school, and he recognizes all of the letters.


- Mornings. OMG he is not a morning person at all. Even though he is usually awake when we get him up to get ready for school, once we get downstairs he turns into the crabbiest toddler. Whoever got him up needs to get him his milk and cracker (he eats a graham cracker for breakfast - he gets a full breakfast at school at 8:30). He doesn't want to talk to the other parent. I get him ready most of the time and man he is not nice to Phil when we get downstairs! When Phil gets him ready, he doesn't want to talk to me initially, but then he usually won't let Phil put on his show (either Daniel Tiger or If You Give a Mouse a Cookie). He gets to watch part of a show while having his cracker/milk. We laugh over how manic he is in the mornings.

- Getting his teeth brushed. We brush his teeth twice a day and don't let him do it himself because he thinks 5 seconds of brushing is sufficient. I brush his teeth 90% of the time since I tend to get him ready/do bathtime and sing the "brush brush brush your teeth song" twice for the top teeth and twice for the bottom teeth. He knows the song and usually this will calm him down a bit but it's definitely not a fun task.

- Getting in his car seat when we pick him up from school. This can be an epic battle! He will squirm and fight us so hard and say he wants to go back to school. I guess it's good he likes school and doesn't want to go home but it's is stressful when he won't cooperate - especially when we park right in front of school and have an audience of parents. I know they are all thinking 'I've been there' but Phil gets really embarrassed when Paul throws a fit about getting in his car seat.

Eating: Eating has gotten better over the last 6 months but I would still say he is incredibly picky. It drives me nuts when he won't even TRY things! But after making him his own meals for a long time, starting this summer we have him eat what we eat even if we know he likely won't eat it. He also has 2 sides that we know he will like (cottage cheese, yogurt, apple sauce, and/or cauliflower tots). Because he goes to Spanish immersion school, he does best with Latin flavors like tacos and enchiladas. If we make something on the spicy side, we will make a different entree for him. His favorite foods are cottage cheese, crackers of any sort, banana pancakes, and cookies!! We don't let him have cookies all that often but he will often say "have a cookie for Pablo?" or will ask to eat a cookie for dinner. As if that would ever fly! He is terrible about eating vegetables and we can not 'sneak' them into things. If I put diced peppers in something like pasta sauce, he will fish them out of his mouth! There is no tricking this kid! I hope he becomes a more open-minded eater as neither Phil or I are picky! But I keep reminding myself he's only 2. His teachers at school say he is a good eater with the exception of fruit so we don't stress about it too much.

Enjoying some picadillo with rice and beans

Other developments/things we are working on:

- He got his upper 2 year molars but I have no idea when this happened! The bottom ones are supposed to come in first so I've been watching for them. Then last week when I was drying him after his bath I realized the top ones had come in. Whoops! I guess they didn't cause too much trouble since I didn't notice they were coming in. It is really hard to see inside a toddler's mouth, though!

- After our failed attempt at potty training in late March, we haven't tried again. We have the potty out and will ask if he wants to use it occasionally but mostly we are just not focusing on it right now. He'll move to a different room at school next week (the young preschool room!!!) and they really focus on potty training there so we'll start to focus on it at home at that point. Hopefully it goes well as it would be great to have him out of diapers by the time the baby is born!!

- We are working on getting him to do more things for himself like take his shoes off/put them on. Even though he can be independent about some things, he usually just wants us to take his shoes off/undress him. But daycare asked that we worked on getting his shoes on/off. He's getting better at taking them off but can't get them on... but he mostly wears sneakers and they aren't the easiest shoes to get on!

I know the arrival of the baby is going to rock all of our worlds (in a mostly good way, of course!) so I am soaking up this time as a family of 3!